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Christian news: 8 things to look out for in 2022

by Marcus Jones
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Brian Houston trial
As leader of one of the largest global church network’s which is home to numerous celebrities, Brian Houston’s case will receive much attention in the early part of the year. Houston is charged with withholding information linked to child abuse carried out by his father. Houston claims he told both church and state authorities in the appropriate way. Whatever the verdict, this trial will undoubtedly cross over into the mainstream news

Lambeth Conference
The much delayed Lambeth Conference is due to take place this summer, Covid permitting. It’ll see Anglican bishops and archbishops from across the world descend on Canterbury for a once a decade event. Divides over the issue of sexuality remain with some African bishops already indicating they would boycott the event. Same sex partners of gay bishops have already been asked not to attend. Justin Welby will be hoping to use the event to foster greater unity for the global body moving forward.

Return to summer festivals?
After two years of cancellations, Christian festivals will be praying that they can return in 2022. The likes of Spring Harvest, New Wine and Big Church Day Out have made moves to take place as normal. They’ve all already suffered huge financial losses as a result of previous cancellations.

Päivi Räsänen trial
Could an MP be imprisoned in 2022 for simply tweeting a Bible verse? That’s the dilemma facing Finland’s Päivi Räsänen who shared a scripture in response to the country’s divide over the issue of homosexuality. She’s been accused of a hate crime. Her trial will be heard in January.

Religious freedom summit
All eyes will be on the persecution of religious minorities as the UK hosts a global gathering of ambassadors for religious freedom. It’s a government sponsored event so there are big hopes that good can come of it. Fiona Bruce, as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for religious freedom will host.

Franklin Graham Tour
US evangelist Franklin Graham caused much uproar last by launching a UK tour. He was accused of speaking negatively about homosexuality and Islam and a result, every venue he booked cancelled him following complaints. Legal cases were brought based on the issue of freedom of speech and the tour is now back on. Expect more protests but Graham promises that he’ll speak of God’s love and nothing else.

Gay Conversion Therapy
The government recently extended its consultation on gay conversion therapy to give more time for people to take part. It’s committed to banning therapy which encourages someone to change their sexuality. Many church groups have raised concern that could lead to a ban on prayer and pastoral support. The wording of any government legislation will be combed with a fine brush. With both sides of the argument very vocal, expect to hear lots on this issue.

Churches to stay open?
With concerns over increases of Covid cases, many countries have introduced new restrictions. In Wales and Scotland sporting events have been forced to go ahead without crowds, while nightclubs have been closed. So far no further restrictions have been put on churches but certainly one to watch in the year ahead.

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