Saturday, 26 December 2009

Archbishop's anti-fascist stance

Archbishop Barry Morgan denounces the claims of the British National Party leader Nick Griffin that its uphold Christian values in its scapegoating of Muslims living in Britain.

Read about it here

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Archbishop of Wales' Christmas challenge

Archbishop Barry Morgan's Christmas message challenges modern 'fundamentalisms' and attempts to diffuse or displace the Christian character and content of the festive season.

Read about it here

Earlier in December British Member of Parliament Mark Pritchard, also spoke out about what he calls 'Christianophobia', raising debate about the Christian character of the foundations of British society.

Read about this here

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Spiritual Capital - Lambeth style

The Archbishop of Canterbury hosts an interfaith gathering at Lambeth Palace, to launch 'Inter-faith Week', an initiative of the Interfaith trust aiming to highlight the contributions made by faith communities to benefit society as a whole.

A statement of common commitment was signed by religious leaders present to continue building good inter religious relations and to contribute to the common good from different religious perspectives. This builds on the precedent of the Millennium Act of Commitment, a shared act of reflection and commitment by the Faith Communities of the United Kingdom, in the year 2000.

Read about the event and see the statement here

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

BBC convenes faith forum on climate change

In the run up to the Copenhagen Climate Change summit in December, BBC Wales is running a series of broadcasts on the environment - calling it their 'Green Season'. One of these features a live audience edition of the popular panel discussion series 'All things Considered', hosted by the Revd Roy Jenkins.

The broadcast, was recorded on November 3rd before an invited audience. It presented, Hindu Jewish, Muslim and Christian experts offering from the faith perspective views on climate change and related issues. It went out on 8th November, and can be accessed here

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Vatican opens doors to dissidents

This week the Pope has announced a scheme whereby Anglicans disaffected by the changes in their church may be received into communion with Rome and retain some aspects of their old identity and liturgical life. This is intended as a pastoral response to a situation in which may of conservative catholic persuasion within Anglicanism feel they are no longer at home in their own place. The details are far from clear, and the announcement has been made in a way that suggests that British Catholics and Anglicans were taken by suprise. Their commitment to ecumenical dialogue witness and action in the face of this news was re-affirmed.

Whilst this news has little bearing upon the participation of faith communities in the life of civil society, it does convey the impression that Christians have difficulties in relationships that could weaken the credibility of their common witness, especially as a key issue facing and dividing churches is the role of women in the ministerial leadership of the church - a matter which many in civil leadership find deeply distrubing in this egalitarian age.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Street Carers' pilot training evening

In the year since the first conversations of Cardiff's street care volunteers, a nine strong group of representatives of the 200+ in volunteer teams has begun to meet bi monthly, and has organised a pilot training evening, which took place tonight.

Seventy people took part. The representative group hopes all volunteers, both well established and newcomers, will eventually undergo this shared induction and registration programme, aimed to equip them to serve better the city's homeless people, and bring them recognition as partners with social services in meeting the needs of all who suffer.

Street Care volunteer groups are drawn for the most part from church groups in the city and even neighbouring boroughs. They are organised in an all year round seven day a week rota called the 'Paradise Run' that has been developed by Cardiff's unique 'Rainbow of Hope' homeless charity over the past decade.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Pope to visit UK

The first Papal visit since 1982 has been announced

Read an early BBC report here

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Faith Groups and Climate Change in Cardiff

A conference today at City Hall organised by Christian Aid, with City Churches Together and support from the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, looked at the likley impact of climate change on life in Wales in General and Cardiff in particular. It also brought to a pitifully small assembly of thirty people present, witnesses to the impact of climate change from rising waters in Bangladesh and drought in northern Kenya.

An outline of Cardiff City's developing carbon lite strategy was presented, and questions raised about the social and economic impact that could be expected in the long run, when sustainability of faith community buildings, due to rising energy costs and carbon footprint restrictions begin to bite hard.

An evening session heard an environmental scientist's concern about unforeseen consequences for the biosphere of climate changes, and continued earlier reflection and discussion on what it would take to motive faith communities to address these issues more seriously. A strong lead is being given by many in civil society today, few are religious leaders, or else their voices are no longer taken seriously. Are faith communities any longer in a position to offer a lead on matters of this gravity, considered perhaps to be beyond its competence? Is this an era in which faith groups need to learn the humility to follow where others lead?

A report on this conference is to be found on the Cardiff Climate Concern website

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Diversity Education

A Europe wide social initiative has finally come to Cardiff. It's an EC funded training worshop under the Religious Diversity & Anti-Discrimination Training Programme. The Brussles based supporting network (CEJI) also runs trainings on Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism. These are aimed at people in secular public service organisations, and government agencies who may a limited knowledge of religious beliefs other than their own, or who may have excluded religion from their own personal conviction. The objective is to enable people to understand and respect each others convictions, especially as these may relate to issues to be dealt with at work, or in relation to public issues of current concern. The two day workshops seek to enable participants to start looking beyond their preconceptions and stereotypes regarding the beliefs of others.

In the eighties, tackling the endemic problems of institutional racism was the challenge in public life that had to be met with educational initiatives under the banner of 'racism awareness training'. Since then, development of greater awareness of gender inequality, the rights of people with disabilities and sexual orientation, has also led to consideration of how all people who are being discriminated against may be included socially. In most recent years this has led to the legislation of the 'Single Equalities Act' with a view to ensure the right treatment of all who have either been overlooked, persecuted or discriminated against. In this contect the need to develop awareneness of discrimination and how it can be countered through education has grown.

In a society marked by greater than ever religious diversity as a result of migration, and also grown seuclarity and widespread ignorance about religion and what it really represents for members of faith communities, education for diversity now embraces appreciating the wealth of different religious groups as well.

The first workshop has now taken place with eighteen participants at the Jasmine Centre in Ely. Two more are planned for November, and more next year.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Welsh AM changes role - becomes humanist celebrant

Welsh Assembly member Lorraine Barrett will not be seeking re-election but is to take on a new role as a Humanist celebrant and will officiate at wedding and funeral ceremonies.

Read about it here