Last weekend’s final of Britain’s Got Talent had a special message – form the leader of The Episcopal Church in America. Bishop Michael Curry said in a recorded message: “Hello Britain’s Got Talent. It’s a joy to bring you these greetings, to all of the contestants, to the judges, to the audience, to all who make this possible.
“Thank you! Thank you for what you are doing. Thank you to the contestants who offer yourselves and share your talent and your gifts with the rest of us. You actually help to bring some joy and happiness.”
He added: “So, thank you. God bless you. God keep you and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.”
Evangelicals hail Court ruling
On Monday the US Supreme Court backed a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple on the grounds of his religious belief. Charlie Craig and David Mullins went to the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, in July 2012, but were told by owner Jack Phillips that he would not provide a cake for a same-sex couple.
However, the Court ruled that a lower court had violated his First Amendment rights that guarantee freedom of expression. Franklin Graham was one of the American evangelicals who praised the latest ruling. “It is a ‘huge win for religious freedom,” he tweeted.
Archbishop is ‘outstanding friend of Jewish people’
The Chief Rabbi has praised the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Jewish community after Justin Welby was criticised by the outgoing president of the Board of Deputies.
In a newspaper article Jonathan Arkush said that the Archbishop had not done enough to support British Jews. However, the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury is unquestionably an outstanding and genuine friend of the Jewish people.”
Minster School staff suspended
Three members of staff at the Minster School in York have been suspended after three ‘unsecured’ air rifles were found there.
The Chapter of York said in a statement: “No child was at risk and no child has been harmed by this situation. The priority in the coming weeks will be to ensure continuity of education and care for the children.”
Anti-immigration views high
Christians in Europe are more likely to express anti-immigration views than non-religious groups. The research from the Pew Research Center also found that European Christians were more likely to express anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiments than non-believers.
The research covered 15 countries in Western Europe only. In Britain 45 per cent of churchgoing Christians said Islam was incompatible with British values, but only 30 per cent of non-religious agreed with the statement.
The survey also revealed that non-practising Christians outnumber churchgoing ones, by 55 to 18 per cent.
A new report from The Children’s Society and the Church of England has warned that welfare schemes to help those in need are failing and faith groups are having to fill the gap.
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, said: “We need holistic, joined-up support that meets people’s underlying needs, as well as responding to an immediate financial crisis,” he said.
Faith groups provide health care and community services worth £3bn a year, according to a report from the Cinnamon Network. Their research found that there are more than 3,500 churches and 200,000 volunteers working on health and social care initiatives.
The Bishop of London Sarah Mullally said: “The NHS is under considerable pressure — increasing public expectation, increasing life expectancy, improvements in technology and limited resources.
“If we are able to improve our health and the health of the community, we can contribute to the better use of those limited resources.
“This report is an important contribution to understanding how the voluntary sector and specifically the church and faith-based projects can promote health and create community and belonging.”
Lord Lieutenant remembered
The Archbishop of York has paid tribute to Barry Dodd CBE, the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire after he was killed in a helicopter crash. Archbishop John Sentamu said: “I was shocked and saddened to hear of Barry’s death. He was greatly admired and valued across the county, working tirelessly with businesses and charities to encourage and inspire them in their enterprises. He will be sorely missed.”