Newsstand 4 - 10 February
Conversion bill passes Victorian Parliament; virus claims Australian Christian working in Malawi; Archbishop Welby says COVID a taste of climate insecurity for West; backlash over curate's Captain Tom tweet; St Benedict on personal prayer; helping school-leavers stick with Jesus; and more...
February 10 2021
A bill banning LGBTIQ+ conversion therapy has passed Victoria's Upper House and will become law, despite tensions within the Coalition and concerns from some religious leaders that the law could have unintended consequences. The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practises Prohibition Bill makes it illegal to try and change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity in Victoria.
Driven by her fierce and strong Christian faith, Cherie Martin spent 19 years building up an orphanage to serve the Malawi community after falling in love with the country. Her strong faith drove volunteer efforts and helped to build the Kondanani orphanage into a self-sustaining village, Kondanani Children's Village, where she was buried on 3 February after dying of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is giving countries in the West a taste of the insecurity experienced for decades by developing countries because of climate change, Archbishop Justin Welby said last week. Many people around the world have been living with uncertainty for decades "as the grim, real and present consequence of climate change". "To think it is a problem of the future rather than a scourge of the present is the blind perspective of the privileged,” he said.
An international interfaith commission has called for an end to violence against and criminalisation of LGBTQ+ people and a global ban on conversion therapy. The declaration by the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, which launched on 16 December 2020, has been signed by almost 1500 religious leaders from more than 35 countries, including around a dozen Australian Anglicans.
A leaked report from the Church of England has suggested slashing the number of paid clergy and called into question the future of almost 5000 loss-making parishes as it revealed up to a fifth of parishioners may never return to their churches after the pandemic eases.
A prominent clergyman has accused the Church of England of aiding a backlash against a trainee priest who tweeted there was a “cult of white British nationalism” surrounding Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died last week.
The controversy over the shares of US video game company GameStop has again exposed what has long been obvious: there is something seriously rotten in the state of the world’s financial markets, writes David James in Eureka Street. "There urgently needs to be a better understanding of the role of authorities and what constitutes sound rule-making ... It is not overstating the case to say that the future of Western economic life depends on improving governance of the system. Sooner or later, the recklessness of financiers really will bring the whole thing down."
The current crisis in Myanmar unfolds in an environment of heightened tensions between Buddhist nationalists and minority groups. Since 2011, Myanmar has been troubled by an upsurge in extreme Buddhist nationalism, anti-Muslim gate speech and deadly communal violence.
St Benedict’s instructions for prayer give voice to the whole Church, but not at the expense of the individual, says Luigi Gioia. The pioneer of Western monasticism was convinced that personal prayer could not be ritualised or codified in the same way as liturgical prayer, and should be left to the individual’s initiative.
A massive transition occurs each summer for graduating Year 12 students as they farewell the familiar structure of school for the freedom and responsibility of adulthood. As they do this, many also leave church and faith behind: data from the National Church Life Survey shows that a third of Christian school leavers will walk away from church by the age of 19. So how can you help school-leavers stay with Jesus?