September 17, 2009

Vicar sets up pub church

by David Masters

A Lancashire vicar has invited parishioners to meet him in the pub to ask spiritual questions over a pint. Reverend Alistair McHaffie, vicar of St John’s parish in Leyland, said he set up the initiative for local people interested in religion but put off by “hymn books and hassocks”. “We were concerned for people who […]




September 15, 2009

Adulterers to be stoned in Indonesia

by Benjamin Graham

Adulterers in the Islamic province of Aceh, Indonesia could be stoned to death under new laws approved by the region’s parliament. Rape, gambling, homosexuality, and the consumption of alcohol are punishable by up to 100 lashes under the new laws. Human rights groups said the laws violate international treaties signed by Indonesia. Laws in the […]




Catholic bishop fascinated by Luther’s radical theology

by Sara Levy

A Catholic bishop has said that Martin Luther, the 16th century reformer who instigated the Protestant break-away from Roman Catholicism, offers a “positive challenge” to the Catholic church. Franz-Josef Bode, bishop of Osnabruck in northern Germany, said he is “fascinated” by “just how radically” Luther puts God at the centre of his theology. Speaking to […]




Welsh church urged to become relevant and contemporary

by David Masters

The new leader of the Presbyterian Church of Wales has told church members that they need to rediscover how to engage with society. In her first address as Moderator, Rev Gwenda Richards said Presbyterian churches need to relearn how to be “relevant, lively and contemporary”. Speaking at the Church’s General Assembly, Richards said Welsh churches […]




Tree felling threatens Bhutan’s happiness

by David Masters

Bhutan’s government is urging citizens to stop cutting down thousands of sapling trees every year to make Buddhist prayer flags. The country’s leaders believe the practice threatens the nation’s Gross National Happiness. Buddhists in the small Himalayan country put up prayer flags for good luck or to help the dead find their way to the […]




September 14, 2009

Halal make-up is alcohol and pig free

by Benjamin Graham

A Muslim make-up artist has launched a new range of cosmetics that are halal (permitted) for women to wear under Islamic law. Canadian Muslim-convert Layla Mandi designed OnePure cosmetics to be free from alcohol and animal residues. Islamic law forbids alcohol, pork, and other animal products where the animal was not killed according to procedures […]




Retiring bishop warns of moral crisis

by Sara Levy

Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali held his final service this week as he steps down from the role to focus on helping Christians who are persecuted in Muslim countries. The Rt Rev Nazir-Ali retires from a role he was appointed to in 1994 as the Church of England’s first non-white diocesan bishop. The bishop, who […]




September 11, 2009

Religious leaders prey upon women

by Benjamin Graham

One in 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances from a religious leader, a new study revealed this week. Research by Baylor University found that women across all religions and denominations have been sexually preyed upon. In two thirds of cases, the religious leader was married at the […]




“Lost” Jews ad pulled from Israeli TV

by Sara Levy

A controversial advert that said Jews who marry outside the faith are “lost” or “dead” has been pulled from Israeli television. The Hebrew language adverts, co-sponsored by the Israeli government, feature sombre music accompanied by a video of railway tracks reminiscent of the tracks leading to the concentration camps where millions of Jewish people were […]




Chinese rush to get married on lucky 9/9/09

by David Masters

Thousands of couples across China tied the knot this week because they believe 9 September 2009 is the omen of a long and happy marriage. An estimated 18,000 Chinese couples pledged themselves in marriage on the lucky day. “Nine nine” sounds like the saying “jiu, jiu” in Mandarin, which can be translated “long lasting” or […]




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