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UK Prime Minister apologizes for Bloody Sunday

On June 15th British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized for the 1972 killings by British troops of 14 protesters on Northern Ireland's Bloody Sunday after a long-awaited report said those shot were unarmed.

The decades of terrorist attacks and reprisals known as the Troubles began in earnest on Jan. 30, 1972, when British paratroopers fired into a crowd of peace protesters in Londonderry, killing 14, half of them teenage boys. Some victims were shot while they were cowering, crawling away, waving surrender flags or being treated for injuries.

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Bishops oppose inequalities in UK bill

Two amendments to the UK government’s proposed Equalities Bill that would have protected the conscience rights of Roman Catholic adoption agencies and of marriage commissioners were withdrawn from consideration in the House of Lords on March 2 after accusations of “homophobia.”

Another amendment, to allow churches to conduct homosexual “weddings,” was passed late on the same night. It is anticipated by some, including the Anglican bishop of Winchester, that this amendment will lead to churches being forced to perform gay “weddings.”

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House of Lords defeats controversial clause

(Staff)  The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, spoke recently in the British House of Lords against a controversial employment section of the Equality Bill. He later described his concerns to the public:

“The Equality Bill, which is going through the House of Lords, had contained a 'Genuine Occupation Clause' which would have made it very difficult for a religious group to employ someone of that religion for a position within their organisation, except in the very restricted role of leading worship, [and] explaining or proclaiming doctrines. Thus a church wishing to employ a youth worker would have been unable to advertise for Christians, and priests from other parts of the world would find it increasingly difficult to preach or work in churches here unless it could be demonstrated that there were no suitable local candidates. This is symptomatic of a trend which has intensified in Britain over the past fifty years in the name of tolerance.”

Pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, likewise criticized the controversial clause. On Jan. 25 peers in the House of Lords voted down the amendment that would have explicitly stated that the religious exemptions do not apply to the hiring of non-religious positions.


C of E loses $78M in New York real estate deal

By Daniel Burke

The Church of England stands to lose about US$78 million in a New York real estate investment gone sour. The church's investment was part of a record-setting $5.4 billion deal put together in 2006 by two New York-based firms to buy two massive apartment complexes in Manhattan, Religion News Service reports. After defaulting on loan payments, the firms will cede the downtown properties -- Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village -- to its lenders.

The Church of England, the mother church of the Anglican Communion, the world's third-largest Christian denomination, invested about $78 million (40 million British pounds) in 2007, before real estate values in New York and elsewhere began to plummet.

Ben Wilson, a senior media officer for the Church of England, told Ecumenical News Service that the New York investment represents less than 1 percent of the church's assets, which are valued at some $6.4 billion. –ENS


English Synod affirms ACNA

THE GENERAL SYNOD of the Church of England has affirmed the desire of the newly-formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) “to remain within the Anglican family."

Meeting in London on Feb. 10, the Synod passed the motion with a resounding 309-69 margin (with 17 abstentions).

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