Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Soup run convention

Following some preliminary discussions with members of the Council's Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal programme, and City Centre Outreach team, concerning the work done by volunteers in caring for homeless people on the city's streets, a meeting of two dozen volunteers (hereafter to be called Street Carers) was held tonight at City United Reformed Church in Windsor Place, to share ideas about the work and see if there was any common ground on which to establish a common training, mutual support and a measure of public recognition that would make possible an effective partnership with the local authority's social services, for the benefit of people on the streets.

A new blog has been created to record further development as it happens. Cardiff Street Care Chronicle

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Sikh right to display religious identity upheld

The High Court has ruled that Sikh pupil Sarika Singh was discriminated against by being excluded from Aberdare Girls' Grammar School for wearing the kara - a bangle which is one of the five distinctive signs of Sikh identity.

The school governors will need to examine their position very carefully, in the light of such a judgement against their action. Perhaps if they had read more carefully the school's own statement of principles, with its encouragement of respect for individuals regardless of background, they would have thought twice about their action. Or, is it possible that they were simply ignorant of the significance of the five 'k' s to the Sikh faithful?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Spiritual Capital Cardiff Conference

This afternoon the Spiritual Capital Cardiff research project report was launched at a conference in the Future inn Hotel Cardiff Bay, before a multi-faith audience.

It was due to gather in County Hall but the venue had to be changed at short notice because of industrial action. Deputy Leader Judith Woodman and Policy advisor Paul Orders were among the speakers.

The conference report illustrates the great variety of ways in which faith communities contribute to the social capital and well being of city life, and called for the establishment of a worker whose role would enable a much fuller partnership to be developed between voluntary faith community organisations and the work of the city council.

A full account of the work of the project, its report and the conference can be found at the Spiritual Capital Cardiff website.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Common Word follow through

The Archbishop of Canterbury has today issued a very positive and detailed response to the 'Common Word' document issued recently by Muslim scholars, affirming the initiative and the grounds on which further dialogue should be pursued. A .pdf for the document is available for download with the title 'A Common Word for the Common Good'

With the Lambeth Conference due to start on Wednesday faced with contention, strife and the beginnings of schism on the part of the more conservative Anglicans of the world, this document shows how profoundly and patiently +Rowan is committed to reconcilaition through dialogue on every religious and spiritual direction. Which is more than can be said for his detractors.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Welsh Archbishop takes a stand

Archbishop Barry Morgan declares that should a Welsh Electoral College knowing choose as the most suitable episcopal suitable candidate a gay person living in a committed partnership, he would have no problem about consecrating them. Read about it on the BBC news website and at Wales on-line

Apart from stating that he personally has no moral qualms about this, he is more importantly indicating that he would not use his 'apostolic' office to over-ride an electoral decision which was made with full knowledge and legality. Servant episcopate in place of the monarchical despotic kind with which the church is more familiar.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Groundbreaking Christian Muslim dialogue

The Archbishop of Canterbury has brought together an international and ecumenical group of Christian theologians to discuss ways in which engagement in dialogue between Christians and Muslims might be strengthend. Read about it here

This is response to an historic open letter issued last year by the most comprehensive international group of Muslim Theologians ever to have deliberated together inviting dialogue with Christians on the subject of the great twofold love commandments. This was a follow up to a letter written to Pope Benedict after he had made some contentious remarks in a lecutre about Christinity and Islam a year ago.

A Jordanian website : gives an account of the work of the Muslim theologians, and a list of contributors.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Blair Faith Foundation Launched

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is launching his own Faith Foundation whose goals are :-
  • to promote respect and understanding between the major religions;

  • to make the case for faith as a force for good; and

  • to encourage inter-faith initiatives to tackle global poverty and conflict

Now that he is free of political office he is openly commiting himself to advocacy on behalf of Christianity's role in the public realm.

Information about this can be found on Blair's office website

Monday, 21 April 2008

Organised religion still needed in society

Archbishop Rowan follows Tony Blair into the pulpit of Westminster Cathedral in the series "Faith and Life in Britain", to argue that society still needs organised religion to embody the Spiritual Capital which faith practice generates. A summary is to be found here and the full transcript here

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Anglicans fight shy of woman bishops

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales fails to agree the ordination of women as Bishops, failing to find a way to accommodate those who find this impossible to accept.

The BBC's report is here

Blair on faith in action

Tony Blair talks about religion and politics in an address at Westminster Cathedral tonight.

Reported by the BBC here

Monday, 31 March 2008

Cardiff Legal Interfaith Network

In November 2007 Cardiff University's Law School Centre for Law and Religion launched a new initiative - a Legal Inter Faith network

"Developed in response to the large number of recent high profile court cases involving religious symbolism, and the considerable challenges for faith groups by an increase in State law on religion, the Network invited advisers to the Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Orthodox, United Reformed Church, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Church in Wales, Quaker, Mormon and the Order of St Lazarus faiths."

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Archbishop's Easter stab at usury

The Archbishop of Wales denounces the immorality of lending money to those least able to pay it back.

Mixed message on resurrection

Read about it here

Archbishop of Cardiff joins embryo policy row

Archbishop Peter Smith has added his voice of concern, calling for a free vote on stem cell research policy. Likewise Archbishop Vincent Nicholls of Birmingham.

Read about it here

Friday, 21 March 2008

Scottish Cardinal attacks embryo research policy

Cardinal Keith O'Brien will use his Easter Sunday sermon to launch an attack on the government's stem cell research proposals. He will also call on Gordon Brown to allow Labour MPs a free vote on the issue at Westminster.

Read about it here

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The value of faith schools

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in a BBC radio 3 interview with Joan Bakewell recently stated

"Faith schools are giving kids what they are missing in the wider secular culture. The importance of responsibility as well as rights, the sanctity of marriage, the idea that sex is not to be undertaken without love, love is not to be undertaken without commitment, parenthood is not to be undertaken without responsibility. All these things which we found in the culture in which I was growing up all around us which have today disappeared from the public square. It's faith schools, of whatever faith that are putting them back. Without these values we shall implode as a society."

He attended Anglican schools at primary and secondary level, and is grateful for what he received.

"Church schools gave me an extraordinary lesson in life ... those teachers could understand the importance of faith in life."

In defence of different schools for diffferent religions he said that he advocated :

"... separate schools that teach us our heritage as a way of getting us to be responsible citizens, in a country in which we reach out a hand of friendship to people of all faiths, in fact, as I define Judaism, it's to be true to our faith and be a blessing to others, regardless of their faith."

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Wales benefits £102m from faith community action

Two years worth of research, carried out by Christian group Gweini, and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, highlights the contribution of faith groups to Welsh society. Yesterday Gweini published its report called “Faith in Wales: Counting for Communities". It's the first of its kind in Wales – all Wales' faith community groups between them contribute £102 million to the economy through their voluntary activities. The figure is calculated by looking at accommodation provided in faith community buildings, faith tourism, voluntary work and paid work.

Read the Western Mail story here

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Sarika Singh back at school - elsewhere

The Sikh teenager excluded from Aberdare Girls Grammar School for wearing the Kara, reported previously is attending Mountain Ash Comprehensive pro tem until her case is reviewed by the High Court. The Western Mail update is here

Friday, 22 February 2008

Alcohol concerns - again

Increasing concern is being expressed about the health impact of binge drinking, especially for younger abusers in the long term. In a week when Tesco has declared its willingness to co-operate with other big retailers on cheap booze special offers, another local licensing issue emerges with a letter from the chair of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs to the City Council Licensing committee over a new licensing application for a retailer called 'Bargain Booze' in Canton.

You can read the letter here

and remind yourself of the last time a church based objection to the proliferation of alcohol retailing in the city centre was voiced publicly

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Archbishop's remarks a litmus test

The 'Thinking Anglicans' blog is an encyclopaedia of news reports on the media induced controversy surrounding a serious attempt by the Archbishop of Canterbury to contribute to current discussions on social inclusion.

The whole affairs is an astonishing exposure of media over-reaction, deep seated racism, and reveals the disturbing inability of people in the so-called communication industry to follow, report or sustain an argument of more than one sentence. But bullying our spiritual leader is more their style. No matter how much more carefully everyone thinks he should have expressed his views, he has pointed to important issues in need of discussion.

Even more astonishing is the egotism of elected members of the English General Synod, calling for his resignation. How they square that with the idea/belief that the church has consecrated him to lead in the footsteps of the apostles as a Bishop defies imagination.

After the death of Benazir Bhutto, how a leading Times religious columnist, Ruth Gledhill can say with certainty that leadership and martyrdom are incompatible, and not be laughed out of a job shows how gullible and powerless the public is before media maifioso might.

Such a hostile climate in which to be part of the church, and seek truth.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Archbishop Rowan on just Wales

The Archbishop of Canterbury, interviewed on returning to celebrated the restoration of Brecon Cathedral calls for the creation of a just society in his native Wales founded on values of co-operation. He expresses concern about a housing economy which makes it extremely difficult for young adults to acquire their own home. He also has some interesting things to say about the establishment of the Church of England.

Read about it here

Friday, 1 February 2008

Latest churchgoing statistics

Decline has not been arrested across the U.K., but the picture is patchy, with some areas reporting growth, against the trend, according to the latest Anglican report.

The Church Times carries a an article on this.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury on booze and embryology

The Archbishop of Canterbury expresses concern about the social impact 24 hour drinking laws. He also questions implications of current embryo research.

Read about it here

Monday, 28 January 2008

Armenian genocide denied forcibly

The first memorial in Britain to the 1915 Armenian genocide in Turkey was vandalised the night before it was due to be dedicated. A sign that the long standing dispute over the interpretation of historical events is far from ended, and knows no boundaries.

Read about it here

Friday, 18 January 2008

Analysis of decline

Decline in the number of Roman Catholics born and baptised into the faith in England and Wales is reported in the first statistical analysis of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales to use financial data publicly available through the Charity Commission.

Data taken from 1958 to 2005 published by the independent Pastoral Research Centre Trust is at variance with recent reports that Roman Catholic numbers were surging ahead, largely because of immigration from Roman Catholic areas of Europe, and are now comparable to the number of practicing Anglicans.

The Church Times report can be read here

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Senedd bangle protest

The protests against the exclusion of Sarkia Singh from school were taken to the Senedd today.

The BBC report is here

Friday, 4 January 2008

Exclusion challenged legally

The continued exclusion of Sarika Singh, from Aberdare Girls Grammar School, reported here on  6th November last has now been challenged legally in the High Court. Protest continues.

Read about it here

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Archbishop of Wales on future of Welsh devolution

THE Archbishop of Wales has demanded the findings of the 2004 Richard Commission be used as a “benchmark for what devolution for Wales should look like”.

Dr Barry Morgan has pledged that Tomorrow’s Wales – the organisation he founded to promote the Commission’s vision of a law-making body with 80 members elected by STV – will play an active role in the next chapter of devolution.

Read about it here