Religious news July 21, 2022


Devastating impact of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have said they recognize the damage done to their church by the clerical abuse scandal and concerns over power in the Church. The impact was clear from consultation among Church members through the global synod process, which has been written up in the “National Synthesis for England and Wales” and will be forwarded to a synod of bishops in Rome next year. Its release coincides with a report by children’s charity Barnardo’s into the case of Father Joseph Quigley, who was jailed last year for abuse only after a victim contacted police. It is a devastating account of how abuse has been dealt with in the Archdiocese of Birmingham for 30 years.

Conservative leadership candidates launch campaigns with anti-Semitism pledges

Hours after taking the final leg of the Tory leadership race, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss pledged to do more to tackle rising instances of anti-Semitism if they become prime minister. Jewish News features exclusive columns from both candidates. Liz Truss said she recognized that many felt it was too difficult to prosecute anti-Semitic actions, but would ensure that Jew-hatred was quickly prosecuted. Rishi Sunak wrote that Jewish communities fearing for their safety in their place of worship should be everyone’s concern and it was a sobering thought that security guards are needed outside synagogues and faith-based schools.

The medieval church is unscathed as the village is destroyed by fire

The medieval parish church of St Mary and St Peter in Wennington, east London, withstood the ravages of fire on the hottest day on record in the UK. Dramatic footage shows him standing unscathed surrounded by a burnt-out cemetery and next to 41 houses destroyed by flames, including that of churchwarden, Tim Stock. He told The Times he opened the church for people fleeing the fire, but it gradually filled with smoke, so they had to escape again. The fire is believed to have started in a garden compost heap and quickly spread to neighboring properties. His family lost everything.

US Muslim civil liberties leader says only armed guards can protect vulnerable groups

A senior official with America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has called for vulnerable institutions to consider hiring armed security guards to combat the growing threat of a group of heavily armed snipers. Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said, “Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, Jews, Sikhs and others who have been repeatedly attacked by mass shootings cannot wait. We must defend our places of worship, our schools and our community centers from this clear and present danger.” He supports measures to limit the danger, but argues that they are only effective in a rational society and are not enough to protect against racist mass murderers with access to millions of weapons.

Two Methodist ministers murdered in Tennessee and Atlanta

The Religion News Service reports that United Methodist minister Reverend Autura Eason-Williams was shot dead this week during a carjacking outside her home in Memphis, Tennessee. She was superintendent of the Metropolitan District and pastor of Capleville United Methodist Church in Memphis. She was the second minister to be killed this year. The Reverend Marita Harrell, senior pastor of Connections at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Atlanta, was fatally stabbed in May while caring for a man who is now a crime suspect.

Gay chaplain ‘hunted’ by anti-LGBT members of General Synod

The Telegraph reports that the Reverend Andrew Hammond has resigned as chaplain to the General Synod of the Church of England, after his pro-Pride speech sparked complaints. Mr Hammond is openly gay and spoke in response to a motion by an MP calling on the Council of Archbishops to ban the flying of the rainbow pride flag on church buildings. The Telegraph reports allegations that he was stalked by anti-LGBT Synod members. He continues as a chaplain at St John’s College, Cambridge.

CofE nurtures the faith of young people through song

Church choirs are to be set up in Anglican parishes to try to attract young people and their families, with Blackburn and east London being the first to be involved. The project is part of a series of initiatives enabling the church to connect with young people and children, nurturing faith through song. £1.7million has been awarded as part of innovation funding for the Department of Youth.


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