Religion news 4 November 2021

Image credit: Melissa Bradley Unsplash

Chief Rabbi says religious leaders sidelined at Cop26

The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said that religious leaders have been sidelined at the Cop 26 climate change conference. The Jewish News reports that in a panel discussion alongside other faith leaders on Monday, he said faith leaders had been left to “scramble” for opportunities to make their voice heard, despite having influence over millions of people in the battle to save to the planet. “I personally lament the fact that, with regard to Cop26, the United Nations has not chosen faith to be one of the key streams. Within the programme there isn’t a day devoted to faith and its input. Faith leaders coming here have needed to scramble for attention, for opportunities to participate…. This is a religious subject, and God calls upon us to respond in a religious way and to take a religious lead for all of our society.”

Anglicans highlight plight of indigenous people

The Anglican communion representing 46 national Anglican churches, has raised the plight of indigenous people due to climate change, at a Cop26 fringe event in Glasgow. It says people from the Arctic to the Equator joined religious leaders from diverse traditions, to protect nature and the climate. The Guardian reports that indigenous people say they have been ignored and their cultural and territorial rights violated by the international community, as their communities continue to be destroyed.

CAFOD director says wealthy nations have responsibility to fix climate change for the poor

Christine Allen, the Director of the Catholic Aid Agency, CAFOD said the countries that became wealthy through industrialization fuelled by fossil fuel, should recognise their responsibility to take action to solve climate change. In an interview with Vatican Radio, she said it was a question of climate justice. The poorest people in the world who have done the least to contribute to climate change are paying the price.  She supported the Pope’s view that current global economic models, policies and industrial systems are disastrous to the planet, and the cause of untold suffering and injustice to the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Research into Jewish ideas on climate change

The Institute for Jewish Policy Research has published a survey suggesting 69 per cent of Jews accept the reality of climate change and a further 23 per cent think it probable. Four per cent deny it or are sceptical. The Jewish Chronicle reports that 63 per cent put it “mainly” or “entirely” down to human causes and 17 per cent are extremely worried. The findings were based on a sample of 4,152 Jews this summer.

Diwali the festival of lights is celebrated today

Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrating the triumph of good over evil, is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world today –  Thursday 4 November. In the UK some celebrations already happened last weekend.  Last Saturday, Diwali battery powered tea lights were released on small boats in the fountains of Trafalgar Square, and a tunnel of lights was set up on the plaza. BBC Newsround  reports that Leicester is said to hold the biggest Diwali celebrations outside India and last weekend, thousands of people attended the ceremony to switch on the lights, followed by fire displays. In Liverpool, the town hall was also decorated with lights.

Commons hears appeal to free Sikh man imprisoned for four years in India

The SNP MP Martin Docherty Hughes, has spoken in the House Commons to raise the issue of  Jagtar Singh Johal’s imprisonment on the fourth anniversary of his detention in the city of Jolanda, Punjab. No charges have been brought despite accusations that he was a member of the proscribed Sikh nationalist Khalistan Liberation Front, and paid £3000 to fund a murder plot targeting right-wing Hindus. The National says his family believe he was targeted by authorities for his nationality and involvement in a blog commemorating the 1984 atrocities against Sikhs in India.

Catholic schools in Guernsey retain right to appoint only Catholic headteachers

The States of Guernsey has rejected plans to allow people of any faith to become deputy head or headteacher at religious schools. There are three Catholic schools on the island, and the law allows only Catholics to be hired, but the Employment and Social Security department challenged this as morally unjustifiable when two of the schools are state schools. The Catholic church threatened that if the plans succeeded, the  three faith schools would close and pointed out that the proposed change could discriminate against Catholics. 

CofE  “Living in Love and Faith” discussion continues to 2022

The Church of England group steering through a discussion about sexuality and same sex relationships has announced an extension of the process which has already been delayed due to the covid-19 lockdowns. The “Next Steps Group” says the new General Synod members will be introduced to the Living in Love and Faith documents this month, and Diocesan Synods will consider the materials in early 2022, focussing on the question: what kind of church do we want to be and what is the role of Diocesan Synods within that?

Premier Christian radio director awarded Radio Academy Fellowship

Premier Christian Radio’s Director of Content, Charmaine Noble-McLean, has been awarded a Fellowship from The Radio Academy. She joined the station 23 years ago as a volunteer and climbed the ranks. She was awarded her Fellowship by Radio Academy Fellow Paul Chantler and received accolades from Premier’s CEO, Peter Kerridge, who said she had been instrumental in producing digital content that supported and engaged audiences, especially important since the pandemic.

Creating Connections: sign up in Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth and Birmingham

The Religion Media Centre has launched a project this autumn to enhance religious literacy and understanding in a landscape often fraught with misconceptions and assumptions on both sides. Creating Connections, where Religion meets the Media features a series of events to improve links between religious groups and journalists in England. They are an opportunity to explore the way religion and worldviews are interwoven into community life and it is hoped that key stories on religion and belief will be brought to life and lasting contacts for the future will be made. Reserve a place using the links below. All events take place in the afternoon. The Leeds event was last week. Here are the next four:


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