The U.K.-based Sunday Assembly, or the "atheist Church," which has congregations also in the United States, is holding its first "general assembly" to establish a church-like management system and discuss governing principles and "doctrines."
The congregation of godless people, which predicts it will have at least 100 congregations around the world by the year-end, is holding its first "general assembly" in London this weekend, which, the organizers say, will be compared to the Church of England's General Synod, according to The Guardian.
"Sunday Assemblies have been kicking off in places we never thought possible," Sanderson Jones, co-founder of the London-based Sunday Assembly, tells the British daily. "If I open my email box the first email is in Hungarian, discussing Sunday Assembly Budapest, after there is something from Kenya, then the Western Cape, then Richmond, Virginia, then Cincinnati, then Boston." more >>
The Roman Catholic Church is set for an important discussion in October on some of its most central social teachings, such as gay unions, divorce, contraception, cohabitation and others in a meeting of senior Vatican officials called by Pope Francis.
The LA Times described the upcoming assembly as "an urgent meeting of senior clerics this fall to reexamine church teachings that touch the most intimate aspects of people's lives," and said that the meeting could potentially pave the way for a new direction by the church on these issues.
The report further said that the run-up to the synod is a departure from usual practice, and highlights Francis' commitment to take a new approach when it comes to dealing with church matters. The initiative is part of the pope's instructions last year to diocese leaders around the world to survey local attitudes on social issues. The results have not yet been released, but reportedly are being analyzed by the Vatican behind closed doors. more >>
Ukraine acting President Olexander Turchynov says the government is "helpless" to stop the uprising in the eastern regions of the country as pro-Russian activists continue taking government buildings.
"I would like to say frankly that at the moment the security structures are unable to swiftly take the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions back under control," Turchynov said during a meeting with regional governors, BBC News reported. He added that security personnel "tasked with the protection of citizens" are "helpless."
Reuters reported that masked military forces took control of government offices in the town of Horlivka on Wednesday. The gunmen were apparently wearing the same military uniforms as other pro-Russian activists who have seized other towns in Ukraine. more >>
Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas have broken up after nearly two years together and what many presumed would be an impending engagement announced this summer.
"He found her too needy and it just wasn't working out," a source close to Prince Harry told People magazine.
Another source confirmed the separation but said that the breakup was "amicable" and somewhat of a relief to both parties, who wanted to go their separate ways. The two had been together through several ups and downs, with Harry being deployed to Afghanistan and then more recently appearing in the spotlight together at official events. more >>
Half a million people attended the canonization ceremony at St. Peter's Square Sunday where Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were declared saints by the Roman Catholic Church, according to the Vatican.
"We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II to be saints and we enrol them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church," Pope Francis formally proclaimed in Latin, Reuters reported.
Delegates from over 100 countries attended the ceremony, including more than 20 Heads of State such as King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, ex-president of the Republic of Poland Lech Walesa, and president of the Argentine parliament Julian Dominguez, among others. more >>
Amid public debate sparked by Prime Minister David Cameron's recent statement that Britain is a Christian nation – a view supported by more than half the country's public – former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, tells a newspaper that Britain is now a "post-Christian" society, which, though remains haunted by Christianity.
Britain is "post-Christian in the sense that habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for granted," Williams, who is now master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, told The Telegraph in an interview. "A Christian nation can sound like a nation of committed believers, and we are not that."
Williams, a member of the House of Lords, added, "It's a matter of defining terms. A Christian country as a nation of believers? No. A Christian country in the sense of still being very much saturated by this vision of the world and shaped by it? Yes." more >>