US Presiding Bishop pays tribute to Colin Powell
THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, has paid tribute to the former US Secretary of State Colin Powell (pictured with President Obama, in 2010), a lifelong Episcopalian, who died this week. “I give thanks for his model of integrity, faithful service to our nation, and his witness to the impact of a quiet, dignified faith in public life,” Bishop Curry said. “He cared about people deeply. He served his country and humanity nobly. He loved his family and his God unswervingly.”
Charity reports social-media restrictions in China
THE campaigning charity Open Doors reports that the Chinese authorities are restricting social-media use by Christian groups. Churches who use the app WeChat for daily devotions, worship music, and to share Christian material have had their accounts deleted or blocked, the charity says. A keyword search of “Christ” on WeChat brings up information from government-sanctioned churches or historical facts about Christianity, but nothing about Jesus himself, they report. Personal WeChat accounts seem to be unaffected.
Researchers study Lourdes experience
A STUDY of 67 pilgrims who had visited the Marian shrine at Lourdes found that two-fifths of them reported having a transcendent experience. The research, by Emmylou Rahtz, Sara L. Warber, Sarah Goldingay, and Paul Dieppe, from the University of Exeter, is published in the Journal of Religion and Health. Most participants did not describe long-term alterations to their lives or their health as a result of transcendent experiences, but such experiences gave them a strong sense of affirmation in their faith, the researchers report. One 24-year-old man told them: “What I found at the grotto was pure silence. . . I can’t say for sure that I can feel Mary, but I feel that someone, and that probably is Mary, is there with us.”