Anglicans Argue Uses For Old Churches

Church of England clergy quarreled Saturday over a plan to give old, unused church buildings to other faiths, with some saying the buildings shouldn’t be handed over to non-Christians.

The church’s Board of Mission has suggested that Christian groups should get priority, but that the old church buildings also could be given to Muslims, Sikhs or Hindus rather than be torn down.

The Rev. Julian Litten of Walthamstow said he was astounded to think some of the buildings could be given to Muslims because “to be a Christian in some Muslim countries means certain death.”

The bishop of Bradford, the Right Rev. David Smith, disagreed. He called a church report on the matter “sane and sensible” and said it was wrong to blame Muslims in Britain for practices in other countries.

The bishop of Leicester, the Right Rev. Tom Butler, said it was painful to people of other faiths to hear Christians saying they would prefer to tear down old churches rather than give them to other religions.

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