In recent years, Britain has slowly begun to wake up to the reality of sexual abuse. The Jimmy Saville scandal triggered shocking revelations about abuse carried out by respected entertainers in the 1970s and 80s. Child abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church have been followed by increased reports of similar outrages in the Church of England. Only this week, it was revealed that the Scout Association had paid out thousands to settle legal cases brought by survivors of sexual abuse.
Many Christians regard their wedding day as one of the most joyful, and spiritually significant, in their lives. Those preparing to celebrate marriage are part of the body of the church, whose other members may wish to rejoice with and support them as they make a costly, as well as fulfilling, commitment.
World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
The Church of England has taken the final step in allowing women as well as men to be chosen as bishops (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21059). General synod members, meeting in London, voted by a show of hands that “A man or a woman may be consecrated to the office of bishop.”
On 10-11 April 2015, Christians will gather in Waterloo for Open Church, a conference on ‘The church, sexuality, mission and the future’. It will be held against a background of increasing debate in evangelical circles on sexual ethics.
Marriage equality is a worthy cause, and UK laws rightly ban discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. But a legal case by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland against a bakery unhelpfully confuses different issues.