Religion news 7 May

Faith leaders who joined more than 500 people in an online iftar from London,  spoke of their hope that the community spirit and social welfare contributions of faith communities throughout  Britain, would continue after the Covid19 pandemic is over. The virtual iftar marked the end of a day of fasting during Ramadan and is the fifth interfaith iftar to be organised by the Foundation.
The Chief Rabbi Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said “It is so crucially important that we take this sense of unity and empower it to exist well beyond Covid19.” The Bishop of London Sarah Mullaly: “We are so much more reliant on each other now and my hope is that some of those lessons will stick beyond this storm and will shape our society beyond Covid 19.  .. There’s no doubt that coming out of this, issues such as food poverty and unemployment will have grown. ..it may be that we collaborate even more, so that we work across our faith boundaries to support our communities.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby:  “So many mosques are feeding people, so many churches, synagogues are reaching out to feed people. What a wonderful gift the faith communities are to this country. They reach out with the overflowing love of God and compassion for the poor.”Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales: “When our social, world is reduced, our inner world becomes so much bigger and within our hearts are demons as well as angels, and each of us  has a struggle in these testing times,  and the only answer is in the mystery of God and in the presence of God and understanding our life as a gift.”
Imam Mohammed Mahmoud,
who calmed a crowd after a terrorist attack near Finsbury Park mosque: “How our society responds to our crisis today will depend on us – the decision taken by each of us to reach out to someone different, to start an initiative to help the vulnerable, to show our solidarity with the marginalised. These will define whether this crisis is a moment for greater unity, or God forbid, division. Seeing the way communities have come together online with these wonderful virtual iftars makes me very optimistic.”

Operation Noah, a Christian climate change charity, is calling on all churches to disinvest from fossil fuels and invest in clean technologies of the future. The report ‘Church investments in major oil companies: Paris compliant or Paris defiant?’ says major oil companies are planning to continue exploration and extraction of new reserves.

Religions for Peace USA, an interfaith group, has organised a national day of prayer for all impacted by Covid19. It is putting on a zoom and facebook service at 1400 EST.

The hospital set up in Central Park New York, to deal with Covid19 patents, and run by the evangelical group Samaritans Purse, is to close tomorrow (Friday 8th May). The group is led by Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham, and caused controversy by asking staff to sign a statement opposing same sex marriage.

The United Methodist Church in America was due to make a historic decision this week on gay marriage, which would have split it in two. But the conference has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and is now not likely to take place for at least a year.