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Quotes of the week

10 May 2024


At HTB, there is none of the ascetic sneering at wealth of more austere churches. Instead, as one observer put it, “dewy-eyed converts enthuse about Jesus Christ as if he were a particularly glamorous guest on the party circuit”, a social ladder in parallel to Jacob’s ladder

Helen Rumbelow on the celebrity attraction of Holy Trinity, Brompton, The Times, 8 May

If I were a believer, the baptism of Russell Brand in the Thames this week might lead me to question, if not the Almighty’s existence, then at least His good judgment. Though the Lord’s summons to the devilish Brand is a perplexing development in the unfolding of the divine plan, it belongs to a discernable cultural trend. God is in fashion with the shapers of public opinion

James Marriott, columnist, The Times, 1 May


It is only as we agree on the truth and authority of Scripture . . . that we can be one as Jesus prayed. . . Nothing apart from a return to the Lord through deep repentance and renunciation of false teaching by erring provinces will suffice

Laurent Mbanda, Archbishop of Rwanda and chair of Gafcon, criticising the Primates’ Meeting in Rome, press statement, 6 May


A free press plays a vital and important role in our democracy, holding us to account, speaking truth to power and helping us know the truth. I pray for those often putting their lives on the line to tell the stories that need to be told.

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, marking World Press Freedom Day, X/Twitter, 3 May


The organisational structure of ecclesiastical bodies, both cathedrals and dioceses, is now so complicated that no one can or will take responsibility for even major changes; which, ironically, makes manifestly self-destructive decisions that bit easier to execute. Attendance at Evensong is one of the few areas of C of E worship that is actually growing, so, beyond malice, there can be little logical argument for dismantling world-beating cathedral choirs

Madeline Grant, columnist, The Daily Telegraph, 8 May


Freedom of religion and belief is an internationally recognised human right, albeit one not upheld everywhere. Yet it requires much more than simply my freedom to believe whatever I like, to change those beliefs, and to practise them privately. Most world faiths need their members to be able to meet with others, to worship together, and to organise themselves for service and witness

David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, Thought for the Day, Radio 4, 6 May


If Christ had a super-power, it was probably restraint. He is known as the Prince of Peace for a reason. . . Such restraint is the super-power the world could use right now, as opposing sides provoke each other, the security forces close in on the campuses, and the tanks amass at Rafa, let us hope that people protesting and those who disagree with them can keep their peace

Rhidian Brook, writer, Thought for the Day, Radio 4, 3 May


What you value in Christianity is something that really is absolutely necessary to pass on to the next generation. And we have failed the next generation by taking away from them that moral framework and telling them it’s nonsense and false. We have also not protected them from the external forces that come for their hearts, minds and souls

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim and former New Atheist, in conversation with Richard Dawkins, UnHerd, 6 May


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