Global Briefs for Sept. 14

Welby criticizes refugee policy: The Archbishop of Canterbury met with Prime Minister David Cameron to express concern that the government’s refugee policy is discriminating against Christians in Syria. Welby reportedly told Cameron that Christians in Syria will largely be excluded from the 20,000 refugees allowed to immigrate to the United Kingdom during the next five years. He said rogue Islamic groups are harassing Christians in refugee camps.

Upbeat funerals: A new poll of U.K. funeral directors says one in 15 funerals do not use hearses and urge mourners to wear bright clothes, not the traditional black. Mourners are choosing buses, motorbikes, horse-drawn carriages, and even white vans instead of hearses. “What we’re seeing is a culture shift in the way that we deal with loss,” said Sam Kershaw, operations director for Co-operative Funeralcare. “It’s becoming ever more common to hear people refer to funerals as a celebration of life.”

Bishop to be sentenced: A retired bishop due to be sentenced on October 7 for sexual offences should have been charged 22 years ago, the Crown Prosecution Service says. The Rt. Rev. Peter Ball, 83, pleaded guilty last week to 18 charges involving men between the 1970s and 1990s and to misconduct in public office. The CPS said Ball was cautioned in 1993, although there was enough evidence to prosecute him. He was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 until his resignation in 1993.

New Zealand parishes to sponsor refugees: Parishes in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, have agreed to house and support 40 refugee families. “We want to say, loudly and clearly, as the Anglican Church of New Zealand, that we are prepared to help in a practical way,” said the Rt. Rev. Justin Duckworth, Bishop of Wellington, in calling for the commitment. The diocese will work closely with agencies to ensure effective support and care.

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