Saturday, 12 June 2010

From: The Times online

Sir, We wish to express our concern over the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), Katherine Jefferts Schori, preaching and presiding at Holy Communion in our cathedral at Southwark tomorrow.

Bishop Schori is well known for her doctrinal statements and practice that are contrary to the teaching of the Bible. She is also well known for initiating many litigations against orthodox congregations within the Episcopal Church and defrocking doctrinally orthodox bishops and clergy, so exacerbating disunity in the Anglican communion. Only recently she defied the instruments of the Anglican communion by reneging on the agreement made by the Episcopal Church to abide by the moratorium regarding the consecration of actively gay and lesbian bishops.

We, the undersigned clergy of Southwark diocese, distance ourselves from Bishop Schori’s teaching and presiding in our cathedral. We seriously question the judgment of those who have not withdrawn their invitation to her after her recent consecration of Mary Glasspool.

Father Francis Gardom
St Stephens, Lewisham

The Rev Stephen Kuhrt
Christ Church, New Malden

The Rev Ray Skinner
St Lawrence, Morden

The Rev Sandy Christie
St Michaels, Blackheath

The Rev Christopher (CJ) Davis
St Nicholas, Tooting

The Rev Ian Gilmour
Holy Redeemer, Streatham Vale

The Rev John Goddard
Morden parish

The Rev Martin Hislop
St Lukes, Kingston-on-Thames

The Rev David Larlee
St Marks, Battersea Rise

The Rev James Paice
St Luke’s Wimbledon Park

The Rev Paul Perkin
St Marks, Battersea Rise

The Rev Dan McGowan
St Martins, Morden

The Rev Precious Omuku
Morden parish

The Rev Les Wells
Morden parish

The Rev Bill Wilson
St Stephen’s, South Lambeth

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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Bishop of Chester criticises 'celebratory' modern funerals

The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Peter Forster, said that he “regretted” the tendency for families to have a small private burial or cremation followed by a larger commemoration of the deceased’s life.

He said it gave the impression that the body is not important, and that death was being denied.

The bishop added that some of the music and poems heard at funerals lacks the appropriate solemnity.

It comes after another Church of England cleric caused uproar by admitting that secular funerals left him feeling “like a lemon”.

Fr Ed Tomlinson complained that hymns and prayers were being replaced by a “poem from nan” and that he had better things to do than stand by as mourners listened to Tina Turner or Frank Sinatra.

In the May issue of Chester Diocesan News, Dr Forster said that his mind had turned to funerals having recently turned 60.

He wrote: “My mind has been concentrated by another experience, which is becoming more common: to go to a funeral, only to find that the cremation or burial has taken place earlier in the day, and the funeral has become a celebration of the deceased’s life. Read more No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Religion's regressive hold on animal rights issues

(Ed: Bear in mind that Singer's views on animals include the notion that objections to sex between humans and animals are equally irrationally bolstered by the Judaeo-Christian tradition.)

[...] The chief minister's comment is yet another illustration of the generally regressive influence that religion has on ethical issues – whether they are concerned with the status of women, with sexuality, with end-of-life decisions in medicine, with the environment, or with animals. Although religions do change, they change slowly, and tend to preserve attitudes that have become obsolete and often are positively harmful.

"Go forth and multiply" was a reasonable idea when the world had a few million humans in it. Now, unrestricted multiplication of our species has become a grave risk to the environment of our planet, and a significant cause of infant mortality and poverty. Yet some religious leaders continue to condemn not only abortion, but also contraception, and their condemnation of homosexuality also has the same roots in the non-reproductive nature of same-sex relationships.

In the same way, there has been great progress, worldwide, in attitudes to animals over the past century, but some religious believers, such as Mohamad Ali Rustam, remain stuck with attitudes that were formed many centuries ago. Read more

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Prisoners convert to Islam for jail perks

Inmates are converting to Islam in order to gain perks and the protection of powerful Muslim gangs, the Chief Inspector of Prisons warns today.

Dame Anne Owers says that some convicted criminals are taking up the religion in jail to receive benefits only available to practising Muslims.

The number of Muslim prisoners has risen dramatically since the mid-1990s — from 2,513 in 1994, or 5 per cent of the population, to 9,795 in 2008, or 11 per cent. Staff at top-security prisons and youth jails have raised concerns about the intimidation of non-Muslims and possible forced conversions.

Dame Anne’s report, Muslim Prisoners’ Experiences, published today, says that, although several high-profile terrorists have been jailed recently, fewer than 1 in 100 Muslim inmates have been convicted of terrorism.

She says that prison staff are suspicious about those practising or converting to the faith and warns that treating Muslim inmates as potential or actual extremists risks radicalising them. The report says: “Many Muslim prisoners stressed the positive and rehabilitative role that Islam played in their lives, and the calm that religious observance could induce in a stressed prison environment. This was in marked contrast to the suspicion that religious observance, and particularly conversion or reversion, tended to produce among staff.” Read more

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Children raised by lesbians 'have fewer behavioural problems'

Teenagers brought up by lesbians achieved better results in school and had a more active social life, the research discovered.

They were also less likely than children of heterosexual parents to engage in aggressive behaviour of break rules.

Researchers concluded that the main cause was because the mothers, who conceived their babies through artificial insemination, were "committed parents" aware that their children may face difficulties at school because of their upbringing.

They therefore took an active interest in their child's education and many chose to attend parenting classes. The mothers also tended to be older than mothers who had conceived naturally. Read moreNo comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.

Church of England Evangelical Council appeals to parishes for funding

(Ed: Please bring this to the attention of your church as appropriate)

To the Incumbent and PCC

We write to ask whether you would be willing to support financially the work of the Church of England Evangelical Council.

The Council exists to bring together representatives of evangelicals ‘To promote effective consultation… order that the evangelical heritage, as expressed in the Basis of Faith, may be better applied to contemporary opportunities and problems in church and nation….To seek primarily to identify key issues, to work for the development of a common mind and concerted action on each, and should this not prove possible, to map out the different views held.’ (Extract from the CEEC Constitution)

As you are aware there are a number of major issues before the church at the present time and CEEC is seeking to represent all evangelicals as we react to them. Our work can only continue if we have sound financial backing.

Over half of the members of the Council are elected – some by the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowships, others by the Evangelical Group on General Synod, and others by the Principals of the evangelical Theological Colleges. The rest are representatives of various evangelical Societies and Networks and people co-opted on account of particular experience and expertise.

You will find further information about the Council on our website .

Please would you consider making a regular contribution to the work of CEEC?

Yours in Christ

{Wallace Benn – President} {Michael Lawson – Chairman}

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