Religion news 28 May 2021

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Image credit: UN Art for Peace CCLicense

Gordon Brown to launch Methodist social justice campaign

The former prime minister Gordon Brown will launch a Methodist social justice campaign with an inaugural lecture on 13 June. The son of a Church of Scotland minister, he will argue that people of faith have a role to play in the search for justice and hope. The two-year campaign, Walking with Micah, aims to help the Methodist Church to explore what it means to be a justice-seeking church. Rachel Lampard, leading the project, said Gordon Brown’s political record showed his commitment to tackling child poverty, cancelling international debt and reducing global inequality, passions shared by many Christians.

Muslim Council of Britain challenges the media for skewed reporting of Palestine

The Centre for Media Monitoring at the Muslim Council of Britain has produced a guide on reporting Palestine, after it observed “skewed reporting of events in Palestine” in the last month. They say terms like evictions, clashes and conflict to describe Israeli aggression implies a power symmetry between the two sides. They say Palestinians are often framed as the aggressors, with Israel acting in self-defence. The report sets out how it believes the media skews the narrative by, for example, justifying the actions of the Israeli police/military/settler groups by presenting them as legally valid; and referring to “Palestinian militants” or “Palestinian Islamist militants”, which “essentialises all Palestinians as violent aggressors”.

Anglican vicar will wade in the water to remember slaves who died

The Rev Canon Eve Pitts, the first black woman vicar in the Church of England, has spoken of the racism and sexism she has confronted in the church and her belief that the black lives matter movement is a breath of fresh air. In 1997, after she went public on her experience of being marginalised and sidelined, she was asked to resign, left her church in Birmingham and eventually was sent to a rundown church nearby where she raised £200,000 for repairs. Interviewed for The Guardian by Kehinde Andrews, professor of black studies at Birmingham City University, she revealed that she intends to visit every slave port in Britain to pay respects to the dead. “On these visits, she wades into the water and says prayers for the souls lost to the barbarity of transatlantic slavery.” The Guardian article is here

Ravi Zacharias’ daughter makes first public statement on her father’s historical sex abuse

One year after the death of disgraced evangelist Ravi Zacharias, his daughter, Sarah Davis, has made a public statement on Facebook speaking of her errors, sorrow and disbelief that her father was a serial sex abuser. She is the chief executive of RZIM ministries, the global evangelistic organisation which her father started and which is now in a process of reviewing its failures and dealing with the fallout of the revelations of her father’s secret life. In the film, she apologised for not believing women who first made complaints in 2017 and spoke of how she is coming to terms with the truth about the father whom she trusted and loved. She appealed to other people harbouring secrets, to confess and acknowledge the truth.

The cornerstone of the House of One in Berlin is finally put in place

The foundation stone of a building housing worship centres for Christians, Muslims and Jews has finally been laid on a derelict site in Berlin in a landmark ceremony 10 years after the vision was born. The House of One is a unique project to bring faith groups together, forging understanding, tolerance and community. At a ceremony including faith and community leaders, the intention was made clear — to be open to other spiritual perspectives showing equal respect.

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