Trevor Grundy, Religion News Service

Trevor Grundy writes for Religion News Service.

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Scottish Episcopal Church Takes First Step Toward Gay Marriage

Image via REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/RNS

The Scottish Episcopal Church may become the first major church in the United Kingdom to allow its clergy to conduct same-sex weddings in churches.

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, meeting in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, passed on first reading a change to its canon law definition of marriage June 10.

Church of Scotland to Consider Online Baptisms, Communion

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

The Church of Scotland will launch a two-year investigation into the possibility of introducing online baptisms, Communion, and other Christian sacraments.

The church, known as The Kirk, has seen its rolls fall by almost one-third between 2004 and 2015, to just under 364,000 members.

Londoners Elect Sadiq Khan as First Muslim Mayor

Sadiq Khan with his wife Saadiya. Image via REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/RNS

Londoners have elected the son of a Pakistani-born London bus driver as their mayor, making him the first Muslim to govern this city of 8.5 million residents. Sadiq Khan, a 45-year-old Labour Party member, trounced his opponent, the Conservative Party’s Zac Goldsmith, 41, a well-known writer on ecological affairs and son of one of Britain’s wealthiest Jewish businessmen.

Welby Praised for 'Honesty' Over Paternity Shocker

Archbishop Justin Welby. Image via REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/RNS

British religious leaders are praising the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby for responding with “steadiness and honesty” to the stunning news that his biological father was not his mother’s husband. The revelation was expected to bring the image of the elite-educated primate closer to the people.

Survey: Majority of People in Scotland Have No Religion

Image via REUTERS/David Moir/RNS

More than half of the 5.4 million people living in Scotland have no religion, according to a survey published by Scottish Social Attitudes.

Charismatic Movement Thrives as Church of England Sputters

Image via Hillsong Church London / RNS

Church closings are nothing new in the United Kingdom.

In the past six years, 168 Church of England churches have closed, along with 500 Methodist and 100 Roman Catholic churches.

“Christianity in Britain has seen a relentless decline for over 100 years,” says Linda Woodhead, a sociologist at Lancaster University.

Anglican Leaders Downplay Censure of Episcopal Church

Archbishop Justin Welby with protesters. Image via REUTERS/Toby Melville/RNS

The Anglican Communion’s worldwide leaders, finishing up four days of heated discussions, sought to project a sense of unity despite a move to exclude the Episcopal Church from key policy decisions over the American province’s acceptance of same-sex marriage. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, overall leader of the global body, stressed at a news conference on Jan. 15 that the church had chosen to remain together, albeit effectively as a house divided.

As Anglican Leaders Gather, Future of Denomination in Question

Image via Anglican Communion News Service / The Press Association / RNS

Various factions within the Anglican Communion are jockeying for position as bishops of the world’s third-largest Christian tradition gather in Canterbury for the start of a six-day meeting to discuss the future of their communion.

But averting a split may not be possible.

Critics Outraged by British Theater's Cancellation of Play About Muslim Radicalization

Image via National Youth Theatre/RNS.

Prominent artists and human rights campaigners have criticized the National Youth Theatre in London for canceling a play because its theme is the radicalization of young British Muslims and their attraction to terrorist organizations such as the militant Islamic State group.

There is growing concern the play, Homegrown — by British–born Omar El-Khairy — was shut down before its scheduled opening on Aug. 15 because of pressure from the British police.

report in The Times by Jack Malvern, the paper’s arts correspondent, quoted Nadia Latif, the play’s director, saying the police had asked to see the final script of Homegrown before the play opened at a school in Brixton, a part of South London with a large Muslim community.

All-Day Sunday Shopping May Be in the Cards in Britain

REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett / RNS

Pricing signs hang on clothing outside a shop in London on June 3, 2015. Photo via REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett / RNS

The move would bring London into line with Paris and New York, where no restrictions on Sunday shopping exist.

Strict anti-Sunday shopping laws came into being in the 19th century, under Queen Victoria.

In 1986, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tried to do away with them but she met stiff opposition from traditionalists and Christian churches.

Two decades later a compromise was reached, and most shops are now allowed to open for six hours on Sunday.

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