The Church of England's General Synod: Multi-faith worship faces broad attack

THE CHURCH of England's General Synod meeting in York yesterday rejected a general attack on multi-faith worship, but commended a report that condemns some of the practices of the Commonwealth Day Observance in Westminster Abbey, a service much favoured by the Queen.

The Archishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, said he was convinced that God had not hidden himself from other faiths.

'His grace is not absent from them. To fail to honour the faith of other people soon leads to a failure to honour them as human beings made in God's image.'

But, he asked, 'can there really be common worship together if the content of faith is not agreed and shared? I really have strong doubts that such a thing is possible'.

At the root of the dispute are the strong evangelical objections, marshalled by the Rev Tony Higton, to occasional services, usually in cathedrals, where texts or prayers from non-Christian religions are read out.

The most controversial is the Commonwealth Day Observance, where it is alleged that references to Jesus have been removed from hymns to avoid bruising the sensitivities of other religions present. Mr Higton collected 2,000 clergy signatures on a petition against it.

The author of Multifaith Worship?, the Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Rev Chris Mayfield, said the report 'slammed the door' on such mutilation of hymns. He was also prominent in agitation against a multi-faith pilgrimage in Canterbury in 1989, which the Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, joined.

Dr Habgood intervened in yesterday's debate to remember that 'we were shouted at and vilified by so-called Christians; called apostates, and language was used that I won't repeat here. One of these Christian witnesses forced his way into the cathedral, grabbed a microphone to harangue us, and was forciby ejected. Where do you find witness to Christ in that kind of behaviour?'

The synod rejected an amendment by Margaret Brown, of Rochester, who wanted to ban all prayers of alien religions from cathedrals and spoke in praise of missionary activity. 'How dare the Church of England deprive members of other faiths of the chance of eternal life?' she said. 'Our forebears would have a fit if they knew what was happening now. The Commonwealth Day Observance is blasphemous.'

The Archdeacon of Leicester, the Ven David Silk, describing how he had slowly come to terms with multi-faith events in his city. He said: 'My concern is with my own experience of encounter in dialogue and worship with peope of living faith in the 20th century, and I cannot read of guidance for that from isolated Bible verses very easily. We are not exactly over-run with idolaters in Leicester. But I do see at close quarter a startling and sometimes dazzling quality of sheer goodness in people of other faiths.'

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home