Salvation Army Celebrates 150
Walking at night on the streets of London’s seedy district of Whitechapel, William Booth, a Methodist preacher, was shocked at the grinding poverty and sights of young girls sold into prostitution. He described the scene as like stepping into Dante’s Inferno. With his wife, Catherine, he would return night after night offering “soup, soap, and salvation.” Later he would write in his book Darkest England: “The blood boils with impotent rage at the sight of these enormities.” Booth founded his own movement, the Salvation Army, which celebrated its 150th birthday June 29. It works in 126 countries with 1.5 million members worldwide.
Cathedral Services on Twitter
Who said English Cathedrals with their pipe organs, robed choirs, and Jacobean liturgy live in a total time warp? Ripon Cathedral, in North Yorkshire, has announced it will make it possible for absent worshipers to follow services on Twitter. It claims to be the first English cathedral to appoint a person dedicated full time to boosting the number of worshipers able to pray using the Web. Canon Precentor Paul Greenall, who oversees worship at Ripon, told the Sunday People newspaper, “We forget sometimes that even writing was cutting-edge social media once.”
Welby Backs ‘Inclusive Capitalism’
Governments need to “create the conditions and culture that encourage altruism,” the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted. Writing in the Daily Telegraph ahead of a conference on Inclusive Capitalism in the City of London, Archbishop Welby said: “A Christian understanding of inclusive capitalism begins with the nature of God, who in Jesus Christ reached out to include all humanity in salvation. … So any human structure that calls itself moral must have this character of seeking to include everyone who is willing to be included, whether they are considered to be deserving or not. The benefits to society are huge.”
In conversation with the president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks, the archbishop explored how religion and history can provide ways of developing trust, ethical business practices, and a strong sense of inclusion within the capitalist system. It was moderated by the president of the Ford Foundation, Darren Walker. The conference brought together international leaders from the worlds of business, finance, and public policy, including former President Bill Clinton, who delivered the closing address.
U.K. Theological Colleges Feel Pinch
Heythrop College, the oldest constituent college of the University of London, which was established in 1614 by the Society of Jesus, has announced it will not admit new students in 2015. It looks set to close by 2018 when it has fulfilled obligations to existing students. The announcement was received with “regret” by Cardinal Vincent Nicholls of England and Wales. Church authorities blamed ever-increasing regulatory overheads and inability to achieve a viable body of students. This is a challenging time for U.K. theological training colleges. The future of St John’s Nottingham, an Anglican college, is in doubt following a recent announcement that it was discontinuing residentially based training.
Church Forms a Company
The five Anglican dioceses in the Australian state of Victoria have voted to form a company in a move that aims to makes their governance more transparent and create an avenue in which victims of sexual abuse may seek financial recompense from a legally recognised entity. The arrangement, encompassing the dioceses of Melbourne, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland, and Wangaratta, is a response to recommendations of State-authorised inquiry into clergy sex abuse that reported in 2013. Welcoming the vote, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, said: “This improves our transparency and our governance, and sets up an entity that is plainly legally responsible. It will help strengthen our public accountability.” While welcoming the move, victims’ representatives point out the change is not retrospective.