Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Peter challenges us to ‘be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks’. Sometimes the questions are not easy. The Christian Enquiry Agency is here to help. Our website (www.Christianity.org.uk) gives enquirers individual answers to their questions about Christianity, a Gospel of Luke if they request one, details of a local church, or prayer for any issue.
(Peter Graystone, Christian Enquiry Agency)
Students and staff at Immaculate Heart Girls’ School in Los Angeles were buzzing with the news that a previous student was marrying into the British royal family. Meghan Markle studied there from age 11 to 18. On 2 December 1936, the royal engagement of Prince Edward and American divorcee Mrs Simpson was announced: within eight days Edward had abdicated. How times have changed as this week the royal family, politicians, media, and the public celebrate the news that next year an American divorcee will marry Prince Harry. The Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed there will be a church wedding.
Time2Turn is a national prayer conference, to take place from Monday 12 to Wednesday 14 March 2018. It will be a time to pray for things to change, and to be willing for God to use us as His instruments of change. This WPC National Prayer Conference is as much a calling as it is a conference. It is for people who want to stand in God’s presence to worship Him and let Him minister to them; a time dedicated to praying for God’s Kingdom to come in our lives and in our nation; a time of listening to His call. It will be a conference for all people, whether new to prayer or seasoned intercessors, young or old, from any background. This conference is for people who have a hunger for the purposes of Jesus and a hunger to see change in our nations. The guest speaker will be Malcolm Duncan.
The Government's minister for faith, Lord Bourne, has said he is 'unable to welcome' Donald Trump to UK on a state visit following his retweeting of videos posted by the far-right group Britain First. Lord Bourne said millions of people will be appalled by the conduct of the US president when he shared videos claiming to show Muslims inciting violence. Trump was later condemned by Theresa May, to which he responded that she should ‘focus on the destructive radical Islamic terrorism that is taking place within the UK’. Although Downing Street confirmed that Trump’s visit to the UK still stood, Lord Bourne said that many feel ‘unable to welcome him here under these circumstances’. His feelings were echoed by London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, who called on Mrs May to cancel her offer. He said, ‘It's increasingly clear that any official visit from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed.’ Others expressed a different viewpoint, commenting that the UK’s relationship with the USA was strong and a different issue from the President’s comments.
Christian charity Hope for Justice has encouraged those appalled by the Libyan slave trade (see World article no 2) to take action. They produced a petition asking for the Government to put pressure on Libya to stop enslavement of Africans; by 30 November, 90,000 people had signed it. Also a national anti-slavery march has been organised for 9 December. Protesters will meet in Belgrave Square at 12 noon and walk peacefully to the Libyan embassy. The march will also raise people’s awareness that globally 24.9 million people are held in slavery. International Organisation for Migration has helped 13,000 people to get out of detention centres in Libya and 8,000 in Niger, but that is the tip of the iceberg.
The Competition and Market Authority found some care homes applied large upfront costs, and charged families for weeks after their relatives had died. The watchdog also highlighted how those paying for themselves were charged an average of 40% more than council-funded residents - effectively paying a multi-million pound subsidy every year to keep the ailing £16bn sector afloat. It said another £1bn of government money was needed to create a fair and properly-funded system. Also highlighted were an inadequate complaints system, making it difficult for families to raise concerns; unclear terms and conditions; fees being raised after residents moved in; insufficient support at a national level to help families navigate their way round the system; and people being unfairly banned from visiting.
Nothing reveals a government’s values and priorities like a budget. Ekklesia suggests, ‘The Government’s heart is with the wealthy, healthy, strong, and secure. The poor, sick, powerless or insecure seem to be mainly regarded as a political problem, to be solved as cheaply as possible as this budget continued the seven-year pattern of prioritising deficit reduction over the welfare of Britain’s people.’ Austerity continues, although some view it as economically unsound, shrinking the economy as spending power is systematically reduced, and causing the most sustained fall in living standards for over sixty years. If the nation continues to overspend, it will cost future generations dear. Others suggest that the Chancellor could, if he chose, direct spending to the people and the sectors most in need, prioritise socially beneficial activity, and allow austerity to fall more heavily on areas less vital to our wellbeing.
Earlier this year we prayed for Felix Ngole, but the courts did not give him justice. Felix, a Christian reading for a degree in social work at Sheffield University, leading to Health and Care Professions Council certification, joined in a serious discussion on a US website about same-sex marriage. Sheffield university was informed, summoned him, heard his defence and threw him off the course, saying ‘his writings might damage confidence in the social-work profession’. The university’s decision has now raised online comments by a professor of commercial law, ‘that somewhere, at some time, a hypothetical service user might have seen Mr Ngole’s comments, discovered in some unspecified way that he was a social-work student, and as a result, again in some unspecified way, lost confidence in social workers as a whole’.
Today's culture is seeing the denial of God-given sex and gender. The NHS options for children and young people with suspected gender dysphoria include family therapy, child psychotherapy, parental support/counselling, group work for young people and their parents and regular reviews to monitor gender identity development. Treatment with a multi-disciplinary team includes mental health professionals as most treatments offered are psychological, rather than medical or surgical. This is because say the NHS, ‘the majority of children with suspected gender dysphoria don't have the condition once they reach puberty’.
The embattled chancellor was subject to conflicting pressures when he presented his Budget. The media wanted him to respond to the public's desire to end austerity. Amid media doom and gloom predictions, some encouraging Budget decisions are: Scrapping a fuel duty rise for petrol and diesel cars scheduled for April 2018. A new homelessness task force. Preventing developers purchasing land for financial reasons and then not building on it. £400m to regenerate housing estates. 80% of first-time buyers will be exempt from stamp duty. National Living Wage rise of 4.4%. VAT threshold for small business to remain at £85,000 for two years while large technology groups like Google and Apple will pay more. £40m teacher training fund for underperforming schools. Recruitment of 8,000 new computer science teachers for new National Centre for Computing. £2.8bn for the NHS in England. Pay rise for nurses, but not the police.