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Anglicans affirm agreement Affirmation of the 1999 Lutheran-Roman Catholic agreement on justification “by God’s grace through faith in Christ” and a call for Anglicans to commemorate the 2017 Reformation anniversary were among ecumenical resolutions adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council at its April meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. “With this resolution, the Anglican Communion had underlined ‘salvation in Christ through faith’ as a central ecumenical conviction of Christian doctrine and expressed a further sign of our common will to be united in the catholic and apostolic tradition,” said Matti Repo, a Finnish bishop who represented the Lutheran World Federation at the meeting.

Defying UMC law For the second time, Melvin Talbert, a retired United Methodist bishop, defied church law and officiated at a same-sex wedding. He co-officiated with Val Rosenquist, a pastor of First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C., on April 23. Both put their clergy credentials at risk, and a formal complaint was filed against Rosenquist in May. “The Book of Discipline,” UMC’s book of law and teaching, states that all people are of sacred worth but the practice of homosexuality “is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

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Religious freedom deteriorates Religious freedom remains under “serious and sustained assault” worldwide, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The independent government advisory body recommended that the State Department add the Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria and Vietnam to the U.S. government’s list of the world’s worst abusers of human rights and religious freedom.

Bangladeshi activists killed Five machete-wielding militants on April 25 stormed into the apartment of Xulhaz Mannan, 35, who worked for the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and killed him and a friend who was also a gay rights activist. The slaying of Mannan, who was also editor of Roopbaan, Bangladesh’s first magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, has shocked that segment of Bangladesh’s population as well as the country’s embattled community of free-thinking intellectuals. Homosexuality is illegal in Bangladesh, a majority conservative Sunni Muslim country. Since the rise of Islamism in recent years many LGBT Bangladeshis have gone into hiding, fearing attacks.

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