Features

  • 24 May 2013

    At a meeting of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, on 23 May 2013, a report from the Church and Society Council on theology of land in the context of Israel/Palestine was discussed. Called The inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land’, it has the potential to raise considerable awareness of these issues in congregations and groups, says regional analyst Dr Michael Marten. He examines the background, context, issues and controversies surrounding the report, adopted by the Kirk on 23 May 2013.

  • 23 May 2013

    The 2013 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted for what is effectively “establishment by the back door” in any new constitutional arrangements for an independent Scotland, says lawyer and commentator Carla J Roth. She questions whether this is helpful or appropriate either for the church or for the nation.

  • 3 Apr 2013

    It is not long ago that we marked the two-year anniversary of the Syrian uprisings. What started in Dara’a (in southern Syria alongside the Jordanian border) and later country-wide as a series of peaceful and reform-oriented demonstrations was met with uncompromising firepower. Regional analyst Dr Harry Hagopian assesses what has been happening and where the balance of forces now lies in a damaging, dangerous and heartbreaking conflict.

  • 28 Mar 2013

    Hope solely in an America-tailored and enforced settlement between Israelis and Palestinians today is nothing more than a chimera, says regional expert and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian, in the wake of the US President's regional visit. Moreover, the two peoples will only manage to draw nearer to a peaceful resolution of the conflict if Israel acknowledges that it is occupying and colonising another people on their land and desist from applying those oppressive measures that are apartheid-like.

  • 23 Mar 2013

    As politicians fret about the Leveson inquiry and struggle to square the circle of defending a media free from state interference that some argue needs to be better protected by the state from unethical corporate politicking and domination, there is great value in us returning to examine Jesus’ engagement with the a major medium of communication in his day: the Temple. Keith Hebden argues that across the chasm of the centuries, lessons in confronting power and 'domination systems' are there to be learned if we pay proper attention.

  • 22 Mar 2013

    We have begun to learn something of the varied influences that have shaped the new pontiff. What is required from the new pope today, says Dr Harry Hagopian, is more than an evocative name and a humble posture. Catholicism also needs someone who can bringing a cleansing brush to bear on tired structures, on the abuse scandal, and on the existential, ecclesial, structural, ecumenical and global challenges that Christians face in a fast-changing world. It is a monumental task, but which many hope the first Jesuit pontiff can begin and lead.

  • 11 Mar 2013

    The Conclave of the College of Cardinals starts in earnest this week, when the Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, will solemnly announce extra omnes - or the “outside, all” - and the 115 cardinals will find themselves alone in the Sistine chapel alongside their faith, consciences and beliefs. Dr Harry Hagopian, an Armenian Orthodox Christian and Ekklesia associate who advises the Catholic Church in England and Wales on Middle East and interfaith issues, gives his assessment of what is at stake in the choice that is about to be made.

  • 5 Mar 2013

    “Discrimination and statelessness live side by side; it is no coincidence that most stateless people belong to racial, linguistic and religious minorities.” So says the communique issued at the end of the World Council of Churches consultation on stateless people held in Washington DC from from 27 February to 1 March 2013. This is the full document, made available by the WCC.

  • 3 Mar 2013

    Violence against women is one of the most widespread abuses of human rights around the world, says Tanja Haque, CAFOD’s Gender Advisor. Women and girls in every culture and society are affected by violence and the facts are appalling: acts of violence against women and girls cause more deaths than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. The struggle against gender-based violence goes on across the world, and the Church can and must play its role in this.

  • 20 Feb 2013

    How are we to assess Pope Benedict XVI? What does his time as pontiff say about the present and future of the papacy? Weaving his way adroitly through a recent sea-wave of both condemnation and adulation, Armenian Orthodox ecumenical consultant Dr Harry Hagopian, who is also an Ekklesia associate, finds himself in agreement on many points with third-wave feminist critic Joumana Haddad, while also feeling that graciousness and acknowledgement of Benedict's strengths - including his theological reflections - better serves the cause of forward movement inside and outside the Church.