Religion news 31 May 2022

Image credit: Jaqui J Sze

Archbishop withdraws from Queen’s jubilee service after testing positive for Covid

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby,  has tested positive for Covid and will not be attending the thanksgiving service for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday. Lambeth Palace said he was first diagnosed with pneumonia last Thursday and tested positive for Covid on Monday.  He was due to preach at the service, but his place will be taken by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell. The BBC reports his statement that he was “deeply saddened” to not be attending the celebration but would be praying for the Queen and giving thanks to her “extraordinary 70 years of service to us all”.

Strike over banned gay author at Catholic school is “paused”

Teachers at a Catholic school in south London, who went on strike in protest at a decision to ban a visit by a gay author, have agreed to pause their action after an agreement was reached between the National Education Union and the school governors. The strike at the John Fisher Catholic School in Purley, began at the end of April and led to school closures on strike days. The union acted after the Archdiocese of Southwark banned the author Simon James Green from visiting the school to give a talk. Governors who had approved the visit were sacked.  The NEU demanded their reinstatement and insisted that the author be allowed to speak. The Tablet reports that the agreement allows an alternative visit in the next academic year and that talks are continuing on the issue of the governors. Full statement here

Methodist leaders in Nigeria kidnapped and freed within 24 hours

The head of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Dr Samuel Kanu Uche, has been freed after being kidnapped, along with his chaplain and a bishop, by gunmen in the south east state of Abia on Sunday. The Associated Press says police told them all three had been released 24 hours later. Kidnappings in this region have been blamed on separatist groups. Leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria condemned the kidnapping and called on Nigerian President to “stop the incessant abduction of clerics and other innocent Nigerians.” The Methodist Church in Britain has expressed “deep shock and concern” at the abduction.

Pope creates sixteen new cardinals

Pope Francis has announced the names of 16 new cardinals who will be created in August, in time to take part in a “consistory” – assembly – on the new Vatican constitution.  Out of a total of 126 cardinals, 82 have been appointed by the Pope, representing 65 per cent. The quorum for the election of a pope is two-thirds. Pope Francis is 85. Christopher Lamb, writing in The Tablet, says it is a “major step  to ensure the body that elects his successor shares his pastoral priorities and represents a broad cross-section of the global Church”  The new cardinals include two from India, one serving in Mongolia, and leaders of dioceses in Singapore, Ghana, Nigeria and East Timor. The list also includes a cardinal born in Yorkshire – Archbishop Arthur Roche, who leads the Vatican department overseeing liturgy.

Hong Kong vigils remembering Tiananmen Square stopped this year

The AFP press agency reports that annual Catholic vigils to remember the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, will not be held in Hong Kong this year, following a 2020 national security law to stop pro-democracy demonstrations. For the past 33 years, candle lit vigils have attracted packed congregations, remembering those who died – numbers vary from 200 to 10,000. But AFP quotes the Rev Martin Ip, chaplain of the Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students, saying they did not want to breach any law in Hong Kong. AFP story in the Guardian  here

Broadcaster gets behind project to save oldest synagogue in Wales

BBC broadcaster Huw Edwards is to become a patron of the project to transform the grade II listed former synagogue in Merthyr Tydfil into a Welsh Jewish Heritage Centre. There has been a Jewish presence in the town since the 1830s and the synagogue was built in the 1870s – the oldest synagogue still standing in Wales. It was sold in 1983 and has been lying empty since 2006, but now the Foundation for Jewish Heritage has submitted plans for its redevelopment.

Together for the Common Good at Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral is hosting a series of lectures on Together for the Common Good, starting on Tuesday 7 June. Speakers including Lord Glasman, Edward Habas and the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown will explore how social theology motivates Christians in spiritual and civic renewal, through the economy, work, environment, rights, peace, politics and civic life. Jenny Sinclair, founder of Together for the Common Good , gives the first lecture on “Just Responsibility?”.

Jubilee walk of faith brings faith communities together

A Jubilee Walk of Faith is being organised in London on Friday to bring different faith communities together to thank the Queen for 70 years of service and to recognise the contribution of faith groups in serving the community. Organised by Julie Siddiqui, Founder of “Together We Thrive”,  it will involve separate groups setting off from multiple places of faith in the capital towards Westminster Abbey where there will be a Jubilee lunch. Further information here

Golf tour underway for Muslim women in England and Scotland

The Muslim Golf Association has launched a golf taster tour for women, over six weekends in Scotland and England, including London , Surrey and Leicester. The Association was founded by recruitment consultant Amir Malik in 2020, after he experienced racism since taking up the sport. He wants to encourage Muslim men and women to enjoy golf and his dream would be to see Muslim professionals on the circuit.



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