Global Briefs for Nov. 11

By John Martin

Employ the Disabled: The Church of South India will consider a challenge to boost the prospects of disabled people by appointing a fixed percentage to its workforce. This was one of the recommendations emerging from a disability conclave held at the church’s central offices in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The event saw launch of Engaging with Disabilities, a new resource for ministers and church workers. A conference statement said: “It was proposed that we as the Church of South India can be forerunners in mandating a fixed percentage of representation in the different categories of the CSI workforce, which itself will be a major boost to the employment opportunities for the persons trained in the CSI institutions.”

Judge Invokes Solomon: A dispute between a Jewish man and his Anglican sister about burial of their mother has prompted a U.K. High Court judge to confess he needs “the wisdom of Solomon” to resolve it. Iris Freud returned to Anglicanism after following the Jewish faith of her husband during their married life. Her daughter, Susanna Levrant, wants a traditional Anglican service with much-loved hymns and a rendition of “If You Were the Only Girl in the World,” which Iris’s late husband often sang to the deceased. She wants internment at a cemetery near her home. Her brother, David Freud, wants a more austere Jewish funeral without music and burial in a Jewish cemetery. Justice Richard David Arnold told the court: “It must be deeply distressing for all those concerned. I do not have the judgment of Solomon. However, if this brother and sister cannot agree on this issue, somebody will have to decide, and that will be me.”

Requiem for Street People: St. Martin in the Fields, the royal parish church in Trafalgar Square, London, held an unusual requiem on Nov 5. It commemorated the 194 homeless and destitute people who died in London in the last year. Twelve of the names read out to a church packed with relatives and charity workers died on the streets. The Rev. Stephen Saxby, who was homeless as a teenager, said homeless people and those working with them face challenging times and that sharp government funding cuts for charities was “forcing more and more people in the U.K. into poverty and homelessness.” Mourners laid colorful paper fish along the aisle to the altar to remember each of the 194 dead. The No Name Choir, a charitable group comprising people living on the margins in London, helped lead worship.

Peshawar Mobilizes after Quake: The Church of Pakistan’s Diocese of Peshawar has mobilized a workforce to assist victims of a huge earthquake that devastated parts of neighboring Afghanistan and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The earthquake killed 382 and injured 2,700. There are fears that many more are affected in a mountainous region, which is difficult for outsiders to access. The earthquake caused significant damage in Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan last week. Twelve girls were crushed to death trying to escape from their collapsing school. “It jolted the whole country from one end to other,” the Diocese of Peshawar’s Frontier News said. The diocese, located in the Afghan border region, has sent teams to assess the damage and to help victims.

Image: The Church of South India launches its disability solidarity initiative. • Church of South India photo/via ACNS

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