A former church is being turned into Germany's first synagogue in the state of Brandenburg since 1938.
During a ceremony on Sunday, the key to the former evangelical parish Schlolsskirche, or "castle church," in the city of Cottbus, was handed from Christian leader Ulrike Menzel to the Jewish Association of the State of Brandenburg. A formal dedication ceremony for the synagogue will be held on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan. 27, 2015.
"It's wonderful to see this house or worship returned to its intended use," said Menzel during the ceremony, according to Harretz, which cites the Nordkurier online newspaper. The building had been used for social and communal events during the past few years. more >>
A U.K. priest has said he will stop engaging with groups from the gay community following the filing of a civil action against a Christian-owned bakery firm that refused to make a pro-gay marriage cake featuring the "Sesame Street" characters Bert and Ernie in July.
"I will be writing today to those groups from the gay community — with whom I have had a very constructive and ongoing engagement in recent years — to say that I'm withdrawing my engagement until the rights of all people, in this case Christians, and freedom of conscience is vindicated and respected by the Equality Commission and the gay community," Fr. Tim Bartlett told BBC.
Bartlett, a member of the Catholic Council for Social Affairs, participated on the panel of this year's Belfast Pride event. He insisted, however, that civil action by the Equality Commission against Ashers Baking Company is a violation of people's right to freedom of conscience. more >>
Pope Francis and distinguished representatives of the Roman Catholic Church:
On behalf of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the 600 million people we represent around the globe, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are grateful for this meeting, for the time and freedom to discuss together issues that deeply concern us all. It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the fact that many Christians do not enjoy such liberty, that many suffer from fear, torture and other forms of violence. For their sake and for the sake of the Gospel, we acknowledge the differences between our traditions, yet also affirm the common tasks we have shared in the past and pray that we can build on those.
Evangelicals are a very diverse group that includes peoples and churches from Pentecostal traditions, Reformed, Baptist and independents. We share a common faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to serve God's kingdom, we have a heart to encourage personal spiritual renewal and transformation and a passion to make Jesus known around the world. As we seek to obey Christ, we see this time as a new era in Evangelical/Roman Catholic relations. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, God is enlarging our tent, letting the curtains stretch out and lengthening the cords (54:2). Through strengthened collaboration we hope to see justice and peace kiss each other and faithfulness spring up from the ground (Psalm 85:10). It is our hope that this era will be characterized by a new level of cooperation in which we address social problems of injustice, violence and persecution on behalf of billions of neighbors around the world. I propose a new level and quality of public discussion of our core beliefs, including both areas where we agree and areas where we have differences, so that together we might be enabled by the Spirit to find ways to share the love, peace and justice that we have in Jesus with a world suffering from hatred and wars. more >>
Norway's Police Security Service revealed in a classified terror assessment on Wednesday that a terrorist attack in the Scandinavian country within the next year is "likely." As the global threat from terror group ISIS expands, several Western countries are also increasing security measures.
"Within the coming 12 months, it's likely that there may be threats of, and attempts at, terrorist attacks in Norway," the PST said. "Military personnel, police and some policy makers could be particularly exposed."
Pope Francis is set to open the "Complementarity of Man and Woman" conference at the Vatican on Nov.17-19, which is dedicated to traditional marriage and is set to feature speakers from various Christian churches, as well as from Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and Sikhism. Russell D. Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that he accepted the invitation in order to bear witness to what evangelicals believe about marriage.
While noting that the different religious traditions who will be speaking have "real and ongoing differences on soteriology and ecclesiology," Moore noted on his website that he is "willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled."
Catholic News Service reported that the event will feature more than 30 speakers representing 23 countries, and will aim to "examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society." more >>
As I pressed the buzzer to open the door to the apartment bloc, I noticed an announcement with information on where was the nearest bomb shelter. But how could this be? It was Kiev in 2014. People were moving about, living their lives, and yet here was a warning to protect them from what government saw as a possible attack. Ukraine, a land bordering Russia, still plays out its historic intermingling of Slavic peoples in Eastern Europe.
Now twenty-five years after the fall of the Soviet Union, those who believed the collapsed Wall of 1989 meant they were set free to become their own land and people, once again hear drumbeats reviving memories of empire.
The day the Ukrainian parliament passed an historic bill voicing determination to work with Europe, I sat with leaders of the Evangelical church, hearing their concerns and hopes. One pointed to a map and noted a large eastern region above the Crimea. "This," he said, "is what Russia wants to take." His lament was rooted in fear that the world would ignore this incursion because in world politics, what is denoted as "regional influence," means that in this area Russia can do as she pleases because it is within her "region." more >>