The religious and faith backgrounds of the 113th Congress are more diverse now than at any time in the nation's history, with the addition of America's first Buddhist senator and the first Hindu in the House of Representatives.
Since the birth of the nation in 1776, Congress has typically reflected the religious beliefs of the districts from which they were elected. But gone are days where the overwhelming majority of Congress was Protestant.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, with the assistance of Congressional Quarterly's Roll Call, compiled data comparing the faith breakdown of Congress to the American population and released their report on Wednesday. Here is what they found. more >>
The Church of England has decided to drop its ban on gay clergy in civil partnerships seeking to become bishops, as long as they make a promise to remain celibate. Conservative Anglicans, however, insist celibacy would be difficult to enforce, noting that the decision undermines church doctrine on marriage.
"The House has confirmed that clergy in civil partnerships, and living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate. There had been a moratorium on such candidates for the past year and a half while the working party completed its task," the Right Rev. Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said in a statement on Jan. 4 on behalf of the House of Bishops of the Church of England.
The Rev. James added that the House has deemed it would be "unjust" to exclude from consideration for the episcopate anyone who lives their lives in full accordance with the Church's teachings on sexual ethics and personal discipline. more >>
More than 700 participants attended the final service of Rowan Williams as the Archibishop of Canterbury on Sunday, Dec. 30. The Anglican leader will officially steps down from his post as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury as 2013 begins.
Williams, 62, retired as leader of the Church of England and the wider 77-million strong worldwide Anglican Communion after 10 years of service.
"It was a way for the local congregation and the people of Canterbury to come together and say thank you to archbishop Rowan for all he has done for the last 10 years," a Canterbury Cathedral spokesperson said of Sunday's service, during which Williams was presented with five porcelain bowls by the Very Rev. Robert Willis as a gift for his service. more >>
An extremely rare version of the Bible, called the Bishop's Bible and printed more than 400 years ago, has been discovered and salvaged in England before it could be thrown out.
"It was rotting away in a cupboard, the wooden and leather covers covered in beetles. The pages were like blotting paper and didn't smell too good," Arthur Brooks, a church reader at St James' Church in Teignmouth told the Telegraph. The book was apparently about to be thrown out by the church, before Brooks recognized its significance and potential value.
The Bishop's Bible, only 70 copies of which are said to have been produced, was first printed in 1568 by the Church of England during the time of Queen Elizabeth I, only 30 years after the Church of England separated from the Vatican and established its own authority. more >>
The Texas Supreme Court will determine whether or not a diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church four years ago holds the right to the 52 church properties in its territory.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, led by conservative bishop Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, appealed a lower court decision giving them 30 days to give the disputed property to The Episcopal Church.
Arguments for the case were heard in October and presently both the departed diocese and its continuing Episcopal counterpart await the court's decision. more >>
In an effort to address the concerns of religious leaders, the British government has announced that it will be illegal for the Church of England to perform same-sex marriages, while other religious institutions will be allowed to perform such unions if they wish.
The government is pushing on with efforts to legalize same-sex marriage by 2015, although it has met opposition from the Church of England, Britain's major denomination, which has insisted that the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman needs to be preserved. It has also shared fears that its churches will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages if the practice is legalized around the country.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller tried to alleviate these fears on Monday, however, announcing before the parliament that the Church of England will be banned from conducting same-sex marriages, although other religious institutions will be provided with the opportunity of "opting in" should they express the desire, BBC News reported. more >>