Religion news 27 April

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Places of worship In India become hospitals to deal with Covid-19 crisis

Temples, mosques and other places of worship have been turned into hospitals in order to cope with the overwhelming number of Covid-19 cases in India. The five storey Jain Pawanham Temple in Mumbai has been fitted with 100 beds, charged out to patients on a daily rate. The Swaminaraya temple in Vadodara now has 500 beds, liquid oxygen tanks and piped oxygen lines, ICU beds and ventilators. And the Jahangirpura mosque, also in Vadodara, has been fitted with 50 beds and medical equipment. India Today sent a reporter to all three places, his report is here . Volunteers have helped create the hospitals and devotees have given money for equipment. There are several high profile appeals run by UK charities. The RMC weekly zoom briefing today at 1200 is on the place of religion in the India Covid-19 crisis, Details from [email protected]

Former Post Office chief steps aside as vicar

The Rev Paula Vennells, former chief executive of the Post Office, is “stepping back” from her role as a parish priest in Bedfordshire, following the scandal of post office workers wrongly convicted for financial crimes, due to a faulty IT system. She was ordained in 2006. The next year, she joined the Post Office as group network director and on 1 April 2012, she became its chief executive officer, leaving in 2019. Paula Vennells has served as a non-stipendiary minister – having the role of an ordained priest but not drawing a salary – at the church of St Owen, Bromham in the Diocese of St Albans. She said she was truly sorry for the suffering caused to the sub-postmasters who had their convictions overturned. Story here

$9.5 million to help persecuted victims of Islamist attacks in Africa

The Pope’s foundation supporting persecuted Christians, Action to the Church in Need, is giving $9.5 million towards a campaign for victims of Islamist attacks in Africa. The “Heal the wounds of religious extremism in Africa” campaign will sponsor projects dealing with spiritual and psychological needs after traumas, such as the kidnapping of schoolchildren, and the killing of men and women, leaving child orphans. ACN says it considers aid to Africa – the “continent of martyrs” – as one of its most crucial missions.

Archbishop: Be curious, present and imaginative to build peace

The Archbishop of Canterbury says three habits are needed to procure peace in a world of conflict – curiosity, being present and re-imagining. Justin Welby gave the advice in a film series “Faith in a Conflicted World”, a course for church groups and individuals in reconciliation and peace building. He said: “Reconciliation is a journey: a long and rocky one, and few of us reach its destination in this lifetime”.

Signs and wonders shown to the Australian Prime Minister

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a Pentecostal Christian, has been filmed speaking at a convention where he said he was “called to do God’s work” as the nation’s leader. Morrison, a centre right Liberal party politician, said that during a 2019 campaign visit to a gallery, he asked for a sign that God was with him, and saw a picture of a large eagle soaring in flight. He said he had practised the “laying-on of hands” – a ritual to pass on the Holy Spirit – and prayed while working; and he called the misuse of social media a weapon used by “the evil one”.  He was speaking at the Australian Christian Churches conference on the Gold Coast last week.

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