Religion in the World


The General Synod of the Church of England has provisionally agreed to unite with the Methodist Church. The decision to accept a fifteen-year-old program of joint worship for Britain’s two biggest Protestant churches is considered a major step forward in church unity.

Pope Paul VI, to “preserve the interpretation of the scriptures from all rashness of opinion,” has announced that he is bringing the Pontifical Biblical Commission up to date, dismissing its present members, and putting it under the control of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, once the holy office of the Inquisition.

The Reverend Dr. Wilmina M. Rowland, 63, of Philadelphia, became the first woman to give the opening prayer in the U.S. Senate on July 8. She is director of educational loans and scholarships for the United Presbyterian Church.

Roman Catholic administrators, operating 85 percent of U.S. nonpublic schools, say that the decline of their schools will accelerate now that the Supreme Court has struck down state aid to church-affiliated schools. Since 1967, the number of Roman Catholic grade and high schools has decreased 10 percent and the number of students in attendance has declined 16 percent.

North Carolina now provides an optional marriage ceremony—one that does not mention God. At the request of the bridal couple, the magistrate’s ceremony speaks of mutual esteem, abiding love, and comforting one another in sickness, trouble, and sorrow. The old ceremony—still available—joins couples “in the presence of God” and speaks of the bonds of “holy matrimony” in a marriage “ordained by God.”

Abortion is “contrary to the will of God,” but the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has promised to “deal lovingly with the offense.” Meeting in an eight-day convention in Milwaukee, the church also ordered revisions in its new “Mission: Life” educational materials “in response to valid criticisms,” and substituted a reaffirmation of the regular Lutheran standards of scripture and their exposition in the historic Lutheran confessions.

Jehovah’s Witnesses—more than sixty thousand of them—completing a five-day assembly at Yankee Stadium in New York City, heard their president, Nathan H. Knorr, warn of an imminent “collision of all nations, head on, with Jehovah our God during the lifetime of our generation on earth. Do not walk with the nations in a course contrary to God to that unavoidable collision ahead,” he concluded. “What a privilege it will be to have sided with Jehovah in his ultimate victory.”