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All articles in category News

News

February 2018
News > Mission

Mission – Charity merger

Charities Echoes of Service (EoS), based in Bath, and Interlink, in Glasgow, have joined forces and rebranded as a new mission charity called Echoes International. With about 140 years of supporting missionaries around the world, these two charities are merging to form a brand-new charity. The aim of Echoes International is to encourage Christians to get involved in mission and share the transformative power of God’s Word and work. EoS started in England in 1872 as the Missionary Echo, as a means of reporting on front-line Brethren mission across the world. Its Scottish equivalent Interlink served Brethren Assemblies in Scotland, from 1881 onwards, through its...

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News

February 2018
News > Society

Society – What’s age got to do with it?

Last year, 1 October was designated as ‘The International Day of Older Persons’ by the United Nations, with the subtitle, ‘Stepping into the future: tapping the talents, contributions and participation of older persons in society’. It’s a title you’ll rarely see mirrored in a Christian publication. It’s an odd thing when secular organisations point out the value of older people, yet Bible-believing Christians often fail to see it. Church attitudes At a Christian festival earlier in 2017, my colleagues and I surveyed visitors about their churches’ engagement with their older members. In small to medium churches seniors were generally fully engaged, having a role in...

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News

February 2018
News > Society

Society – Being good neighbours or giving social care?

Ethnic minorities are better at ‘social care’ and we should learn from them, said Jackie Doyle-Price, the Health Minister at the Conservative Party Conference recently (The Times, 4-10-17). She was echoed by Dr Phillip Lee, a GP who is also a justice minister. He told Age UK that British society has become ‘atomised’ and selfish, and ‘quite sick’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/05/britain-has-become-sick-society-has-outsourced-duties-old-tory). Ethnic communities They both believe that families and neighbours should do more to help their elderly and that ethnic communities are an example of how it should be done. A report by Age UK says that depression is a huge problem amongst the over 55s, because...

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News

February 2018
News > Society

Society – Britons praying

Prayer in the UK is more common than many people might believe, research from charity Tearfund claims. In research published in January 2018, the organisation found approximately 50 per cent of Britons prayed, and, even among those claiming not to be religious, 20 per cent have admitted to praying. The research, carried out by ComRes among 2,069 UK adults, found 55 per cent have prayed in a crisis. Some 39 per cent said they prayed because they believed in God, while 32 per cent said they believed prayer made a difference. Family was the topmost reason for prayer, at 71 per cent; followed by thanking...

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News

February 2018
News > Politics

Politics – Abortion clinics rated

Abortion clinics are to be forced to display official ratings from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), after the Department for Health (DoH) toughened up its inspection scheme. According to the BBC, under plans revealed by health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt, the DoH is ‘modernising our tough, Ofsted-style inspection scheme’ to make sure patient safety is put first. As part of these proposals, all healthcare organisations in England offering regulated care are now going to be rated by the commission, and marks will have to be available. The CQC already inspects NHS and independent hospitals, general practices and adult social care services, and then...

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News

February 2018
News > Politics

Politics – Seven vital freedoms

Charity and advocacy organisation Barnabas Fund has launched a campaign to reclaim the ‘heritage of freedom of religion in the UK’ and seek a new Act of Parliament. The campaign aims to guarantee seven ‘fundamental’ aspects of freedom of religion. In a statement, Barnabas said these had developed in the UK over the last five centuries but are now under threat. Building on the fundamental freedoms laid out in Magna Carta, the organisation claims the original affirmation that ‘the English Church shall be free’ needs to be reinstated. The freedoms springing from this are freedom: to read the Bible in public (achieved 1537); to interpret...

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February 2018
News > Education

Education – UK lacks good RE

More than 25 per cent of Britain’s state secondary schools have struggled to meet their legal obligation to teach pupils about major religions. This was among the results of the latest analysis of the government’s school workforce census. All state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, are legally required by the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act to provide religious education (RE) as part of a balanced curriculum. However, the latest analysis has prompted the Religious Education Council and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) to create a new ‘State of the nation’ report. This report found 25 per cent of all schools...

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News

February 2018
News

Education – Teaching about relationships

The government has launched a call for evidence on how to teach ‘Relationships Education’ as a statutory subject in primary schools across England. Under the proposed laws, ministers plan to deny parents the right to withdraw their children from such classes, claiming the new subject will focus on safety issues. However, a cursory glance at the media coverage has shown that both liberal Sex Education Forum and equality campaigner Stonewall are prominent among those influencing the agenda, the Christian Institute has claimed. A statement from Christian Institute read: ‘At a time when there is growing alarm at the sexualisation of children, this change could lead...

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News

February 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – Gender plans divisive

Then Equalities Minister Justine Greening admitted the government’s plans to make it easier to change sex are ‘complex’ and ‘divisive’. Although the minister has been championing the change to the law to allow people to legally change sex by self-declaration, without needing medical approval or a waiting period, the plans are being strongly opposed. Arguments against the plans are focused on concerns for the privacy and safety of women and girls. In July 2017, Ms Greening commented the government would consult in the autumn on controversial changes to the Gender Recognition Act. But, according to reports in the Sunday Times, the consultation was delayed while...

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February 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – Down’s abortions criticised

BBC Radio 2 listeners have objected to abortion for Down’s syndrome, following a phone-in debate on the Jeremy Vine show. Last year, presenter Mr Vine examined the recent push by the government and NHS for more accurate prenatal testing to identify Down’s syndrome. Around 92 per cent of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome in England and Wales are aborted at present. This is set to rise, should the government’s screening plans take shape. Blogger Claire Farrington, whose son, Theo, has Down’s syndrome, joined Mr Vine on the show and claimed the new tests were not ‘progress’ at all. Following this, many listeners phoned in, including...

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News

February 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – Lord Shinkwin pushed out

Lord Shinkwin has resigned as a Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) after political pressure from humanist groups. Lord Shinkwin had been campaigning to get the commission to support a bill he is proposing in the House of Lords, seeking to ban abortion on the grounds of disability, including fatal foetal abnormality. He had also been openly lobbying to persuade the EHRC to support his bill. However, atheist-leaning Humanists UK helped lodge a formal complaint against him over his behaviour, prompting the EHRC to start a formal investigation. Lord Shinkwin was appointed an EHRC Commissioner back in April, which triggered a concerted...

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News

February 2018
News > International

International: Asia – Rohingya diphtheria risk

Rohingya refugee camps are facing the possibility of a severe outbreak of diphtheria, medical staff at disaster relief organisation Samaritan’s Purse have warned. The life-threatening infection can cause difficulty with breathing and is most often airborne. Up to 10 per cent of people who are infected are likely to lose their life, and infection rates in the Bangladesh camps are rising fast. Last November, the World Health Organisation stated five cases of diphtheria a day were being reported. But, over December, this rocketed to more than 100 on certain days. According to Samaritan’s Purse, of the suspected cases, 73 per cent of victims are under...

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