A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week
A decade of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, Ramadan rules, Jewish housing
44:02We look at a decade of the Church of England under the leadership of Justin Welby. Professor Linda Woodhead and his biographer Dr Andrew Atherstone give their view on his progress so far. Our reporter Vishva Samani looks a new Jewish housing development in Brighton, which contains a Jewish nursery, co-working space, Kosher restaurant, synagogue and resident Rabbi. We hear from residents, locals and a critic who says such projects are likely to increase misunderstanding rather than build bridges with the wider community. We hear from British Sikhs who've have been protesting outside India’s High Commission this week as the search for a hardline Sikh separatist in India’s northern state of Punjab has escalated into a diplomatic clash with the United Kingdom. The BBC’s Surbhi Kaul in Delhi explains what the protests are about, why some Sikhs in the diaspora are campaigning for Khalistan, a separate Sikh homeland and how they have led to a diplomatic row. A report into culture and standards into Met Police this week uncovered examples of faith-based bullying; bacon put in a Muslim officer's boots and a Sikh who had his beard trimmed. We talk to two officers, one Muslim and one Sikh about the environment they work in and what needs to happen next. Dating, sex and swimming: three areas that have inspired frank questions about Ramadan in a BBC podcast called 'Not Even Water'. Emily talks to host Mehreen Baig and guest Farah Raja about the do's and don'ts of the holy month .Find out everything you need to know, but didn't dare ask. PRESENTER: Emily Buchanan EDITOR: Tim Pemberton PRODUCERS: Catherine Murray & Jill Collins REPORTER: Vishva Samani STUDIO MANAGERS: Simon Highfield & Sue Stonestreet PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR: David Baguley
43:56Pope Francis is cracking down on an old Latin form of the Catholic mass. The Tridentine Rite has become an unexpected battleground in a Catholic culture war over the future direction of the church. Now bishops must seek permission directly from the Vatican before it can be celebrated, those who love the old mass fear it could soon disappear from church life altogether. Reporter Orla O’Brien talks to both sides in this bitter 'liturgy war'. It's 20 years since coalition forces began airstrikes in Iraq. The hostilities damaged many religious and historic sites sacred to both Jews and Muslims, and saw artefacts stolen from the country. Dr Rozhen Kamal Mohammed heads up a team that works alongside religious groups to recover and restore this vital heritage, and she updates us on the work that’s been done and the problems they are encountering. New academic research has uncovered the spiritual lives of some sex workers. Although many spiritual texts represent sex work in a negative way, 11 workers of different religions, interviewed by an academic from Nottingham Trent University, believe their faith is compatible with their spirituality and use their religion in different ways in their work. This month marks three years since the first Covid lockdown. Young people especially found it hard to deal with their mental health during lockdown. Now a documentary called "Young in Covid: Routes to Recovery", explores how a group of young people in Bradford used faith as a means to cope with the effects of the pandemic. Jassa Singh and Marium Zumeer speak to us about handling sickness, bereavement and finding an anchor in their Sikh and Muslim faiths. Presented by William Crawley. Produced by Bara'atu Ibrahim and Julia Paul. Studio managers: Sue Stonestreet and Simon Highfield Production co-ordinator David Baguely Edited by Helen Grady.
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Live from Rome on a decade of Pope Francis
43:48Edward Stourton is live in Rome reflecting on ten years of Pope Francis. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected in extraordinary circumstances and his first actions a decade ago marked him out as someone with a different style and priorities to many of his predecessors. It was expected to be a period of great change but how much has he actually achieved? Hear from two men who’ve been training for the priesthood at the Venerable English college in Rome, an institution that has been educating seminarians for hundreds of years. Find out how much Francis influenced their decision to take holy orders, and why they regard him as a great example as a parish priest. The Synod on Synodality has been called ‘the biggest consultation in human history’. It’s Pope Francis’s attenpt to listen to ordinary Catholics across the world and find out what they think of their Church and how it interacts with the world. We follow the process of the Synod starting with Janet Obeney-Williams, who gathered the thoughts of her parish, to the writer Austen Ivereigh who synthesised feedback at a national and global level and finally to Sister Nathalie Becquart, the Undersecretary of the Synod and the only woman who gets to vote on it. And Edward is joined by Vatican experts Sylvia Poggioli, Loup Besmond de Senneville and Gerard O’Connell to look at the road ahead for the church PRESENTER: Edward Stourton EDITOR: Helen Grady PRODUCERS: Catherine Murray, Katy Booth, Louise Rowbotham-Clarke STUDIO MANAGERS: Phil Booth, Jonathan Esp and Simon Highfield PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR: David Baguley
Windsor Deal; Slave Trade and the Church of England; Oscar Contender
43:37Earlier this week British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, unveiled the Windsor Framework, a deal with the EU to fix post-Brexit trade problems in Northern Ireland. The Democratic Unionist Party, whose support is crucial to restoring the power-sharing government in the Province have yet to deliver their verdict on it. William Crawley assesses what this all means for the future preservation and strengthening of the Good Friday Agreement, twenty-five years after it's creation, with guests Dr. John Kirkpatrick, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; and Donal McKeown, the Roman Catholic bishop of Derry and Apostolic administrator of Down and Connor. One month on from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, we revisit Islamic Relief's deputy director in Turkey, Salah Aboulgasem, for an update. An exhibition at Lambeth Palace reveals how the Church of England profited from investments connected with slavery. Reporter Vishva Samani visits 'Enslavement: Voices from the Archives' and speaks to those who feel it fails to show the full extent of the Church's involvement. William talks to author and senior fellow at Theos, Nicholas Spencer, about his new book Magisteria, in which he suggests that the troubled relationship between science and religion has definitively shaped human history. Stranger at the Gate is the Oscar nominated true story about a former US marine intent on attacking a Mosque, but who ended up converting to Islam. William speaks to Bibi Bahrami, founder of the Islamic Centre of Muncie, about that episode and her subsequent friendship with Richard McKinney. Producers: Jill Collins and Bara'atu Ibrahim Production co-ordinator: David Baguley Editors: Tim Pemberton and Helen Grady Photo credit: Chris Vaughan / Church Commissioners for England
Attacks on refugees; Orthodoxy in Ukraine; school singing project
43:32The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been rejected as the ceremonial head of the Anglican communion by a group of conservative primates, over plans to offer blessings to same-sex couples. Archbishops representing 10 of the 42 provinces in the Anglican Communion, part of a group called the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, have signed a statement supporting the move. It's also been supported by the Church of England Evangelical Council. We hear what impact this may have, from religious affairs reporter Harry Farley. What is prompting former Christians to turn their back on the church and convert to traditional African faiths such as ifa? BBC journalist Peter Macjob – himself an ex-Roman Catholic – tells us about his journey. Thousands of school children from all backgrounds will soon have access to the expertise of cathedral choir leaders, thanks to the national Schools Singing Programme. The Programme, which is funded by the Hamish Ogston Foundation, was set up two years ago, working with Catholic schools. But now it's expanded to include six Anglican cathedrals, which will allow it to reach more than 20,000 children every week. And an exhibition of textile art works, raising awareness about the threats to our natural world, has gone on display at Westminster. The Loving Earth Project was started by the Quaker Arts Network, and features more than 400 textile panels made by people all over the world. Presented by Emily Buchanan. Produced by Julia Paul and Dan Tierney.
Ukraine's Religious Freedom Watchdog; Black Jesus; Champing
43:40A year on from Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, William speaks to Viktor Yelensky, the new Lead of Ukraine’s Religious Freedom Watchdog, about what the future may now hold for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, given its ties to the Moscow Patriarchate. The 'Champing' or 'camping in a Church' season begins again soon. Created by the Churches Conservation Trust, it helps raise funds towards maintaining both active and redundant Churches within their portfolio. We send our reporter Mark Hutchings to 'Champ' at St. Bartholomew's, Lower Failand, Bristol. As the staggering death toll continues to rise following the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, we hear from Franciscan Priest, Father Fadi Azar in Latakia, Syria and Ravi Singh, CEO and Founder of Khalsa Aid, on his return from Turkey, about the impact of this catastrophe both on the community and the supply of aid. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales recently unveiled new artworks depicting Mary and Jesus with different ethnicities. Chine McDonald, Director of Theos and Author of 'God Is Not A White Man' explains why it's important to have such representation in religious iconography. Leanna Hosea reports on the Native Americans forcibly removed from their homes as children and placed in residential schools, stripped of their spiritual beliefs and subjected to emotional and sexual abuse. Leanna's report covers themes that some listeners could find disturbing. Details of organisations - in the UK - offering information and support with child sexual abuse are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline. And the full story is on Heart and Soul: Stripped of my Spirituality, BBC World Service, available now on BBC Sounds. Producers: Jill Collins and Katy Booth Production co-ordinator: David Baguley Editor: Helen Grady
Turkey and Syria Earthquake; Patriarch Kirill & KGB claims; C of E Synod; Prevent review
43:56Mass graves are being dug in Syria and Turkey to bury the thouands of people who died in this week's earthquake. We speak to an Imam in Syria about the devastation he is dealing with Might MPs be able to force the Church of England to change its position on same sex marriage in church? The church’s recent decision to allow priests to bless same sex couples who are already married, but not to allow them to marry in church, has caused huge controversy. Several MPs say that the ban is out of step with public opinion and are considering if Parliament could take action to change the church’s position. More evidence has emerged recently suggesting that the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, was a KGB agent in the 1970's. Declassified documents from Swiss police have strengthened the claims. We look at that and why the Russian Orthodox has not yet been expelled from the World Council of Churches for supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Presenter: Edward Stourton Producers: Catherine Murray & Bara'atu Ibrahim Editors: Tim Pemberton & Helen Grady Production Co-ordinators: Paul Holloway & David Baguley
The 'living saint' and the sex cult; Frank Field's belief; chant music at the Grammys
43:49The pope's tour of DRC Congo and South Sudan culminates with a Mass in Juba, with the archbishop of Canterbury and the moderator of the Church of Scotland. Sister Orla Treacy and student Sarah Adut tell Emily Buchanan about their nine day walking pilgrimage to join the Pontiff. In our series on Ukraine, one year on from the Russian invasion, we hear from father Sergiy Berezhnoy. The Ukrainian orthodox priest and chaplain to the 42nd Battalion of the Defenders of Kyiv, describes some of the challenges of the past year and his hopes for the future. A new report from L’Arche - the international Christian community bringing together those with and without learning disabilities - reveals it's founder, the late Catholic theologian Jean Vanier, used the community as a cover for a mystical sexual sect. Emily speaks with one of the report's authors, to the community's current CEO and to two of its members, about how it moves on from here. Cross-bench peer Frank Field has spent much of his adult life campaigning against poverty and for social reform. Underpinning his political thinking is his Christian faith, as he explains to Emily on the publication of his memoir Politics, Poverty and Belief. The ancient spiritual practice of chanting is now a category in the music industry's Grammy Awards. Emily speaks to chant musician Sean Johnson, of the Wild Lotus Band, about this genre’s coming of age. As the Church of England's legislative body prepares to meet, Emily asks the bishop of London, the Rt. Revd Sarah Mullally, about the way forward on the most divisive issue, the recommendation from bishops to allow clergy to bless same-sex civil marriages. Producers: Jill Collins and Katy Booth Production co-ordinator: David Baguley Editor: Helen Grady Photo Credit: Lakshmi Grace Designs
Spiritual Bear; Better Sermons
37:20A teddy bear that was found washed up on a beach has been given a new lease of life and is now providing support to children and people living in care homes. The bear was restored by the Reverend Canon Eleanor Rance and its journey from discarded toy to "therapy bear" generated a global response on social media. The bear, named Sinbad, is used to help people to reflect on issues like brokenness and second chances. Reverend Rance tells us that people have found resonance in how he was washed up on a beach and then given a new start. What's the trick to writing a really inspiring sermon? How can clergy keep their congregation listening? Pope Francis has suggested that Catholic homilies are often a disaster and recently repeated his call for them to be no longer than eight to ten minutes long. Quality is another consideration. Edward Stourton explores the issue with Quentin Letts, parliamentary sketch writer for the Times and drama critic of the Sunday Times and Revd Dr Alycia Timmis, Priest in Charge of the Northleach Benefice in the Anglican Diocese of Gloucester. Producers: Jonathan Hallewell and Bara'atu Ibrahim Presenter: Edward Stourton
Same Sex Marriage and the Church of England
43:47It's been a tough week for the Church of England. The announcement that same sex marriages will remain banned in the Church though blessings for civil marriages of same sex couples would be allowed has been criticised by people on both sides of the debate. We hear from the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell who says he will take part in blessing services even though the Archbishop of Canterbury says he won't. The story of Fr Isaac Achi who was burned alive by bandits in his home in Nigeria has reverberated around the world this week and raised the question - how dangerous is it to be a Christian in Northern Nigeria? William talks to Illia Djadi from the missionary charity Open Doors and Abuja based security analyst Dr Kabir Adamu. Music has the power to change a mood, but what about its ability to change your life? Ismael Lea South shares the story of how listening to Hip Hop in the 90s inspired him to convert to Islam. As part of our series on faith in prisons, William speaks to Rachel Treweek, Bishop to Prisons in England and Wales, who believes that the majority of female prisoners shouldn’t actually be locked up. And it's robots v rabbis as we try out a new development in AI technology called Chat GPT that can be used to write sermons and prayers. Producers: Catherine Murray & Jill Collins Production co-ordinator: Liz Poole Editors: Helen Grady and Tim Pemberton