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.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?