Church leaders’ statement in advance of the General Election

Leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have issued the following statement in advance of the General Election:

“As we prepare for the General Election, we recognise that Christians across our nations will prayerfully vote for a variety of parties and candidates in good conscience. We celebrate the fact that Christian people are inspired by their faith to debate passionately – and to disagree well – on how the United Kingdom should be governed at this present moment. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 28th May

A very, very sad week – and not one for flippant straplines…

The atrocity in Manchester

The appalling news from Manchester is beyond words. How society might react to it, however, is a legitimate matter for concern: there have already been calls in the social media for mass internments (of whom, precisely?) – and worse. Possibly one of the most measured reactions on Twitter was from Adam Wagner:

“1/ A few thoughts on the horrendous terror attack on my brilliant home town of .

2/ Terrorism isn’t just senseless violence. It has a purpose, which is to terrorise us. We, the public who watch in terror, are victims too.

3/ It’s totally natural to respond to terror with fear, anger, sometimes even a need for revenge; an ‘eye for an eye’. That’s what they want.

4/ The very best human societies are open, tolerant, multicultural. Terrorism makes us close up, retreat into our safe, small groups.

5/ In times of fear and retreat we must trust the rule-based system we build in better times. It’s insurance against our worst natures.”

Church of Scotland on same-sex marriage

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has agreed in principle to the report of its Theological Commission, An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage. Continue reading

Church of Scotland votes on same-sex marriage: updated and corrected

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has agreed in principle to the report of its Theological Forum, An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage. According to the Kirk’s press release, in presenting the report the Forum’s convener, the Very Revd Professor Iain Torrance, said that he and his colleagues could see “no sufficient theological reason for the Church not to authorise specific ministers to officiate at same-sex weddings”, adding that this would be possible “if doing so does not prejudice the position of those who decline to do so for reasons of conscience”.

The Deliverance of the General Assembly is as follows: Continue reading

Church of England: confusion over episcopal consecration in Newcastle

Episcopus vagans consecrated at Jesmond

George Conger reports at Anglican Ink that on 2 May the Revd Jonathan Pryke was irregularly consecrated as a bishop at Jesmond Parish Church by bishops of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA).

REACH-SA, aka the Church of England in South Africa (CSA), is one of the breakaway Churches in the Anglican tradition; and the Church of England recognises its orders under the terms of the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967, along with those of the Free Church of England, the Anglican Church in North America and the Roman Catholic Church, “although it is not in communion with them”. The intention, presumably, is that the Revd Mr Pryke should offer episcopal oversight to Evangelical Anglicans who would prefer not to accept the authority of their diocesan bishop.

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Church of Scotland Theological Forum reports on same-sex marriage

The Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland has produced a report, An Approach to the Theology of Same-Sex Marriage, in advance of next month’s General Assembly. The report examines three overlapping kinds of argument in some detail:

  • arguments based on understandings of human rights;
  • analogical arguments which try to build outwards from traditional understandings of marriage; and
  • fully theological arguments for the admissibility of same-sex marriage.

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Law and religion round-up – 26th March

A week in which events were totally overshadowed by the attack in Westminster

A thoughtful consideration of those events from an insider’s point of view was presented by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, in his Yorkshire Post article From a Palace of democracy to an Abbey of prayer, the best and worst of humanity, written just two hours after the end of the lockdown of parliamentarians and others, who had been transferred to Westminster Abbey.

Progress on Brexit

Prior to the Commons consideration of the Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] and the subsequent adjournment and lockdown of the parliamentary estate, a first reading was given to Tim Farron’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, Terms of Withdrawal from the European Union (Referendum). A second reading was scheduled for Friday 12 May – although its chances of becoming law are zero. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 19th March

A week dominated by Brexit, ‘First Minister vs Prime Minister’ and the fall-out from the first judgments of the CJEU on religious manifestation… 

Brexit

As expected, on Monday the Commons rejected the Lords amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, the Lords did not insist on their amendments and the bill passed. So after a total of 70 hours of debate, the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on Thursday. The BBC reports that the Prime Minister is expected to wait until the end of the month formally to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave.

Meanwhile in Scotland… Continue reading