Religion news 29 April 2022

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Holocaust survivors from Ukraine arrive in Israel for Yom Hashoah

Remembrance ceremonies have been held around the world on Yom Hashoah, the day when the six million Jews who were killed in the holocaust are remembered. The Jewish Chronicle reports that 21 holocaust survivors fleeing the war in Ukraine arrived in Israel on Wednesday for the commemoration. They joined 500 other survivors of Nazi genocide and 15,000 others from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. In Golders Green, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the message of Yom Hashoah was that “we must never forget and never let it happen again”.

Church in Wales urges Russian Orthodox Church to condemn the war in Ukraine

The Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John, has called for the Russian Orthodox Church to condemn the war in Ukraine. In a speech to the two-day meeting of the Church in Wales’ governing body, he said the unprovoked attack was deplorable and backed calls for the Russian church to condemn the killing of civilians, press for an immediate ceasefire and demand an end to the war. Later the meeting appealed to the World Council of Churches to distance itself from members which supported the war in Ukraine, including the Russian Orthodox Church. It stopped short of urging the Russian Orthodox Church to be thrown out.

Church leader slams process “thwarting” passage of Ukrainian refugees into the UK

Bishop Mike Royal, the General Secretary of Churches Together in England, has criticised the process for enabling Ukraine refugees to settle in the UK. He told the Religion Media Centre’s latest podcast that the huge response of the British public to open their homes has been thwarted by bureaucracy. There was no real coordinated approach and the red tape wrapping round the process looks like it was designed to keep refugees out. Ministers and civil servants should learn lessons from volunteers at the border who are working effectively to try to get people through the system.

Court told of Pope Francis’ actions in relation to a property deal

Tommaso Di Ruzza, the former director of the Vatican’s internal financial watchdog, has told a hearing into a London property deal that Pope Francis wanted his office to support the Vatican Secretariat of State’s negotiations in the final part of the deal. The case involves ten people charged mostly in relation to the multi-million dollar purchase of an investment property in London. The Catholic News Agency reports that Di Ruzza and former Vatican Financial Information Authority president René Brülhart have been charged with abuse of office for allegedly failing to stop an agreement that “should have been considered suspicious,” according to Vatican prosecutors.

Fears new public service broadcasting rules will “stifle accessibility” to religious programmes

The government’s white paper on broadcasting, published yesterday, will enable companies to put public service programmes online, in a move which is feared to threaten religious programming.  Roger Bolton, journalist, presenter and Religion Media Centre trustee, says this would stifle accessibility to a wide audience. In an interview with Premier Christian News, he said the same resources should be given to minority as well as majority programming, adding that the quality of religious programming needs to be addressed. Interview here

Church of Scotland moves towards same sex marriage ceremonies

The Church of Scotland says the majority of churches are in favour of allowing ministers and deacons to marry same-sex couples if they wish. A report to the 2022 General Assembly (21-26 May) shows that 29 churches approved the measure to allow same sex marriage with 12 voting against.  

Next Bishop of Bath and Wells named

Dr Michael Beasley, suffragan Bishop of Hertford, is to be the next Bishop of Bath and Wells. He was Chaplain of Westcott House, Cambridge in 2003 whilst also working for a research group in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London. In 2010, he became Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford and was appointed Honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford in 2014.

Chicago streetcar on tour of sacred spaces as festivals are celebrated

In Chicago, 70 people boarded a street car (trolley) last weekend, for a tour of world religions’ places of worship situated within a few miles of each other. Bob Smietana from the Religion News Service reports that the Interfaith Trolley tour of sacred spaces was inspired by this month’s convergence of Ramadan, Passover, Easter, Vaisakhi, Ridvan and Ram Navami. One of the tourists said the event was a reminder of our common humanity and that people of different faiths still had much in common.

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