Religion news 29 November 2021

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Dungeness. Image credit: Simon Huguet CCLicense2.0

Bishop’s inner rage at migrants’ plight

The Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, has spoken of her anger  at the deaths of 27 migrants in the English Channel.   She told BBC Radio Kent: “I am feeling a deep inner rage that the world continues to allow this to happen, couched with political rhetoric as to whose fault it is. This is all our fault, we must all take responsibility.”

Essex church members told to get PCR test for Omicron Covid-19 variant

People who attended the Pentecostal Trinity Church in Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood, last weekend are being urged to get a PCR test for Covid-19, after the Omicron variant was detected in the town. Three cases have been recorded in England and restrictions are being re-introduced such as mask wearing in shops, schools and on public transport

Bishops urge WHO to ensure vaccine equity

Leaders of the worldwide Anglican church are calling on the World Health organisation to address the equity in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and education to counter vaccine hesitancy around the globe. It follows complaints that developed countries have not been  sharing vaccine supplies and the lack of adequate vaccination cover in poorer countries has led to the emergence of a new variant in South Africa. The Anglican Primates had hoped their plea would be considered at the WHO meeting this week, but this has been postponed because many members could not travel due to renewed restrictions.

Catholic bishops in Scotland say mass is obligatory

Catholic bishops in Scotland have said that the obligation to attend mass on Sundays and holy days will be re-instated from Sunday 2 January, as society emerges from several lockdowns. And they strongly encourage attendance at mass on Christmas Day, a Saturday, and the following Sunday, the feast of the Holy Family. They say the country is in a fluid situation and this was not an easy judgment to make, but churches have proven to be safe places and gathering as a community will “re-invigorate” faith.

Indian comedian hounded out of work by religious fundamentalists

The Indian stand-up comedian , Munawar Faruqui , has indicated that he won’t perform any more, after Hindu fundamentalists forced organisers to cancel several of his shows. In January he was jailed for a month after accusations that he had made derogatory remarks and hurt Hindu religious sentiments, but his lawyer said he was arrested for jokes he didn’t make. Munawar Faruqui, who is 29 and a Muslim,. said hate had won and the artist had lost.

Advent a season of hope

The Christian season of advent started yesterday, leading up to Christmas. Clergy have been expressing their delight at being able to run a full series of services in their churches with congregations, song and festival decoration. The Methodist church acknowledged that during the lockdowns, communities had become disconnected and dispersed and it is encouraging congregations to reach out to their neighbours and people living on the margins “to offer hope”.

Hannukah a festival of light

The Jewish festival of Hannukah began yesterday, with giant candelabras – menorah – situated once more in Trafalgar Square London and in other cities and towns across the UK. The Festival of Lights commemorates the Maccabees overcoming the Seleucids, the Greek empire, in 164 BCE. A candle will be lit on menorahs each day during the eight day festival, which ends on Monday 6 December.

Nagar Kirtan, a celebration of a leader’s birth

The Annual Nagar Kirtan, a Sikh holy procession, in  celebration of the 552nd birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev Ji,  the first Sikh Guru,  took place yesterday in a three mile route from West Bromwich to Smethwick

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