Vaccination passports for some US churches
SOME churches in the Episcopal Church in the United States are requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination from worshippers, the Episcopal News Service reported last week. They include St Luke in the Fields, in New York’s West Village (above). “The right of individuals to choose not to get vaccinated ends where the responsibility to safeguard the worshipping community begins,” the Rector of St Luke’s, the Revd Caroline Stacey, said. Last month, several dioceses, including Maine and Long Island, began requiring clergy and staff members to be vaccinated. But some Bishops have advised against the move. Vaccination rates vary around the United States, with the national average at 54 per cent. The C of E’s official guidance states that requiring proof of vaccination “would run contrary to the principle of the Church being a home and a refuge for all” (News, 17 September, 3 September).
NZ Archbishops back conversion-therapy ban
THE Archbishops of Aotearoa & New Zealand, the Most Revd Don Tamihere and Philip Richardson, have joined the Church’s Social Justice Unit and its Youth Commission in presenting submissions to the parliamentary justice committee, in support of the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, Anglican Taonga reports. “We believe that any religious teaching which seeks to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression against their will is both abusive and damaging,” the Archbishops wrote in their submission. “Abuse in any form is incompatible with the love of God and completely unacceptable within the Church. It violates our sacred belief that all people are made in the image of God, are loved by God, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Christian Aid reminds world of UN call for peace
THE UN Security Council’s call in February for a “sustained humanitarian pause” to local conflicts must be honoured, Christian Aid said this week. The Revd James Oyet, Secretary-General of the South Sudan Council of Churches, a Christian Aid partner organisation, said: “Inter-communal violence, armed conflict, Covid-19, and climate change-induced floods are wreaking havoc on our communities and sending hunger spiralling out of control. The main driver of escalating food insecurity is violence, conflict, and a lack of peace.” Christian Aid said that conflict and insecurity in Afghanistan had left more than half the population in need of humanitarian assistance.
Baptist pastor shot dead in Myanmar
A BAPTIST pastor, Cung Biak Hum, was shot dead in Chin state in Myanmar (Burma), on Saturday, amid continued attacks by the country’s military on civilians in the state, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. The charity reports that he was shot by soldiers as he tried to help to extinguish a blaze caused by artillery fire, which destroyed 19 homes in the Thantlang township. The Chin Human Rights Organization reported that soldiers proceeded to remove the pastor’s finger and steal his wedding ring. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, wrote on Twitter on Saturday: “The murder of a Baptist minister and bombing of homes in Thantlang, Chin State, are the latest examples of the living hell being delivered daily by junta forces against the people of Myanmar. The world needs to pay closer attention. More importantly, the world needs to act.”