Global Briefs for Aug. 10

Worship is Good for You: Public worship keeps depression at bay, new research suggests. A four-year study monitoring 9,000 people in 50 European countries suggests that people who join a house of worship — a church, synagogue or mosque — have better mental health than those joining a community group or political party. British and Dutch researchers, whose findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, assessed the impact of various kinds of social activity and their influence on people’s moods.

Preacher in the Docket: A Northern Ireland preacher who reportedly called Islam “satanic,” “heathen,” and “spawned in hell” has been taken to court and charged with improper use of a public electronic communications network. The May 2014 sermon leading to the complaint against Pastor James McConnell, 78, of Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in North Belfast, was streamed online.

Christchurch Cathedral’s Future: A New Zealand high court judge has ruled that church authorities did not act improperly by drawing on insurance funds to construct a temporary cardboard replacement for Christchurch Cathedral. The case ends three years of legal wrangles about the cathedral, which was almost destroyed in a 2011 earthquake that left more than 150 people dead. Insurance coverage was not enough for a like-for-like replacement, but campaigners have rejected low-cost proposals by church authorities. A decision about the cathedral’s long-term future is due in a few months.

Tribalism in Kenya: In a joint statement the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of Eldoret have accused the national government of undermining efforts to deepen unity in some parts of the country. The Rt. Rev. Cornelius Korir, chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in Kenya, and the Rt. Rev. Christopher Ruto, his Anglican counterpart, say efforts by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission are ineffective because of poor funding. The two leaders said tribalism threatens to tear the country apart and the government is doing little about it.

Keep Sunday Special: The Church of England has joined with trade union leaders, retailers, and campaigners to oppose proposals to relax Sunday trading laws. Most shops may not open beyond six hours on Sundays. “Keeping Sunday special is essential to the fabric of our society,” said a statement signed by the Rev. Malcolm Brown, the church’s director of mission and public affairs. “Longer Sunday opening will have a dramatic effect on family life for no economic gain.”

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