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Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale
Thursday, 29 January 2015

http://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-empty-churches-go-on-sale-1420245359

 

Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale
Hundreds of Churches Have Closed or Are Threatened by Plunging Membership, Posing Question: What to Do With Unused Buildings?

Church to playgroundThe closing of Europe’s churches reflects the rapid weakening of the faith in Europe.

The Church of England closes about 20 churches a year. Roughly 200 Danish churches have been deemed nonviable or underused. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has shut about 515 churches in the past decade.

But it is in the Netherlands where the trend appears to be most advanced. The country’s Roman Catholic leaders estimate that two-thirds of their 1,600 churches will be out of commission in a decade, and 700 of Holland’s Protestant churches are expected to close within four years.

In Holland, one ex-church has become a supermarket, another is a florist, a third is a bookstore and a fourth is a gym. In Arnhem, a fashionable store called Humanoid occupies a church building dating to 1889, with racks of stylish women’s clothing arrayed under stained-glass windows.

In Bristol, England, the former St. Paul’s church has become the Circomedia circus training school.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, a Lutheran church has become a Frankenstein-themed bar.

The U.S. has avoided a similar wave of church closings for now, because American Christians remain more religiously observant than Europeans. But religious researchers say the declining number of American churchgoers suggests the country could face the same problem in coming years.

In the U.S., church statisticians say roughly 5,000 new churches were added between 2000 and 2010. But some scholars think America’s future will approach Europe’s, since the number of actual churchgoers fell 3% at the same time, according to Scott Thumma, professor of the sociology of religion at Connecticut’s Hartford Seminary. Mr. Thumma says America’s churchgoing population is graying. Unless these trends change, he says, “within another 30 years the situation in the U.S. will be at least as bad as what is currently evident in Europe.”

Trends for other religions in Europe haven’t matched those for Christianity. Orthodox Judaism, which is predominant in Europe, has held relatively steady.

Islam, meanwhile, has grown amid immigration from Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East. The number of Muslims in Europe grew from about 4.1% of the total European population in 1990 to about 6% in 2010, and it is projected to reach 8%, or 58 million people, by 2030, according to Washington’s Pew Research Center. 

 
Church aiding separatists: Tripura MP
Thursday, 29 January 2015

http://www.nagalandpost.com/ChannelNews/Regional/RegionalNews.aspx?news=TkVXUzEwMDA2NzgzNQ%3D%3D

A tribal Member of Parliament from India’s northeastern Tripura state has alleged that, after the BJP led NDA government came to power under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the separatist movement in the state has again resurfaced.
He blamed the Baptist Church for supporting the separatists.
“Church, mosque or temple should not be utilized for the vested interest of the political parties to achieve political goal. A microscopic section of the Baptist churches are backing the separatists and we are upset with that,” accused Jitendra Chowdhury, Tripura’s former Forest Minister and now the CPI(M)’s chief whip in Lok Sabha.
According to him, the IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura), a local tribal party, is using the platform of churches to spread demand for a separate tribal land in Tripura.
The senior tribal leader was addressing a press conference of the Tripura Rajaya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, a tribal wing of the ruling CPIM along with other senior members at the party office here.
“What we are saying is that church leaders should come forward and restrain them (IPFT) from utilising the church platform,” said Chowdhury.
He said though tribal separatism was not new to the state. Tripura had belatedly become the most peaceful state in the region. Now with a new government in Delhi led by non-secular forces, separatism was resurfacing in Tripura.

The Leftist leader alleged that after BJP came to power in Delhi, separatist’s forces are again very active in Tripura and are spreading ethno- communal hatred as the polls to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) draws near. 

 
Just unwarranted?
Tuesday, 27 January 2015

http://ibnlive.in.com/blogs/sksrivastava/3315/65472/just-unwarranted.html

Religious conversion has a history. It was carried out with coercion (Mughals) and then strategic conversions by Christian missionaries during the Colonial rule. Most targeted were the poor illiterates (Hill region), socially discriminated and the simple and ignorant (NE). The mocking interpretations, allurements with promise of dignity and hope attracted them, instead any change of hearts in spiritual sense. This did not change their socio-economic status instead they became more untouchable. But even high caste Brahmins also got converted as in the South (Syrian Christians) and in Bengal. 

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