Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Monday, 18 December 2006

Bishop praises strong Christians

The Bishop of Dudley, the Right Reverend David Walker
The bishop said recent fights over faith had been "magnificent"

The Bishop of Dudley has praised those who stand up for their religion, in his Christmas message to parishioners.

The Right Reverend David Walker highlighted the fights by an airline worker to wear a crucifix and to keep hospital chaplains in Worcestershire.

Bishop Walker said 2006 had been a year when people of different faiths had stood up for their beliefs.

He encouraged all those who had supported such causes to come along to a church service over Christmas.

2006 has been the year when a lot of people have stood up for their faith
Bishop of Dudley

British Airways decided to review its uniform policy in November after Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida challenged the airline's ban on her visibly wearing a cross necklace at work.

Worcestershire Hospital Trust agreed to reduce the planned cutbacks in hospital chaplains earlier this month after protest from the Bishop of Worcester and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Walker said: "2006 has been the year when a lot of people have stood up for their faith.

"Christians haven't been the only ones, but we've played our part.

"In the final weeks of the year the numbers who have stood up for the BA employee who wanted to wear her cross at work have been magnificent, so have those who have defended church schools and the chaplaincy services in Worcestershire hospitals.

"If you've supported the chaplains, or the check-in worker or our schools - even if simply in your heart or your prayers - pop into your local church this Christmas and stand alongside many others doing the same."

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