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Bible Society at work amidst Kiev protests: The Church of England Newspaper, April 4, 2014 April 11, 2014

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The Ukraine Bible Society has responded to the street protests in Kiev and the unrest in the Crimea with a campaign to distribute Scriptures in Russian and Ukrainian. “We believe that only God can bring peace and reconciliation so, with clergy and church volunteers, we went out onto the streets, getting close to government forces and protesters. Local churches set up prayer tents all over Maidan (Kiev’s Independence Square, scene of the conflict between police and protestors), and together we provided food and drink, helped the injured to get medical help, and distributed more than 8,000 Scriptures. People responded so warmly that we completely ran out of free Scriptures to distribute”, reports Rostyslav Stasyuk of UkBS. “We pray that with God’s help, Ukraine will emerge renewed and re–devoted to Him,” he writes.

Blackburn to host Royal Maundy service: The Church of England Newspaper, April 6, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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Blackburn Cathedral will be the site of this year’s Royal Maundy Service on 17 April 2014.

The Queen will present “Maundy money,” specially minted silver coins to pensioners who have made a “significant contribution” to Church or civic life. The number of recipients is by tradition set by the age of the monarch-88 men and 88 women will receive the coins from the Queen, who celebrates her 88th birthday this year.

This year’s recipients will come from Lancashire. The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Rev. Christopher Armstrong said welcoming the Queen was “a huge privilege as well as a great responsibility. I am sure the visit will be a wonderful experience for all involved.”

The Rt. Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, who was appointed in October, added: “It will be wonderful in my first year in the diocese to be able to welcome Her Majesty to the cathedral. Normally people visit Her Majesty to receive honours, so it is symbolic this is the only occasion the Queen travels to make an award.”

The distribution of alms on Maundy Thursday has its origin in Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet.  Beginning in the 13th century, the Sovereign would give alms of money, food and clothing to the poor and wash their feet.  James II, who was the last monarch to exercise the traditional gift of healing touch of the king, was also the last monarch to wash the feet of the recipients.

Beginning in the 13th century the ceremony was traditionally been held at Westminster Abbey.  The Queen changed this practice and services are now held at cathedrals across England—in 1982 the Church in Wales played host at St David’s Cathedral in Dyfed and in 2008 the Church of Ireland’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh hosted the ceremony.

The word “Maundy” is derived from the first antiphon traditionally sung at the ceremony: “Mandatum novum do vobis”: ‘A new commandment give I unto you.’ John 13.34.

Sussex cleric banned for Life: The Church of England Newspaper, April 6, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Diocese of Chichester has banned a retired clergyman imprisoned for child abuse in 2013, the Rev. Wilkie Denford from “ministerial practice for life.”

On 21 March 2014 the diocese released a statement saying: “Following the conclusion of criminal proceedings and a subsequent statutory disciplinary process under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, sentences of prohibition for life from exercising any functions of ordained ministry within the Church of England have been imposed upon the Reverend Keith (Wilkie) Denford. The sentences are imposed under Section 30 of the Clergy Discipline Measure following the respondents’ convictions and imprisonment for a series of indecent assaults, including offences against minors.”

In May 2013 Denford was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by the Hove Crown Court for sexually abusing two teenage boys.  “There can be no greater breach of trust than a man playing the role of a man of God, and as the spiritual adviser to the family concerned, to take advantage of that position to abuse small children,” Judge Paul Tain told Denford at his sentencing.

In a 9 May 2013 statement released after the sentence was handed down, the Bishop of Chichester, the Rt. Rev. Martin Warner, said “today will mark a milestone for the survivors who have had to live through this trial.  To them we offer an unreserved apology and an assurance that we have heard and we believe the terrible story they have had to tell.”

TEC appeal dismissed in SC: The Church of England Newspaper, April 4, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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A South Carolina appeals court has dismissed the appeal of the Episcopal Church and its allies in the Diocese of South Carolina, seeking review of a lower court order rejecting the national church’s demand that attorneys for the diocese turn over copies of their correspondence with the Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence.  A spokesman for the diocese stated they were “grateful” the court had dismissed the appeal. “Their strategy of using legal motions to delay court decisions caused eight months to be wasted when they asked the federal court to override the state court injunction. As in that matter, the courts sided with the Diocese of South Carolina,” Canon Jim Lewis said. The ruling renders moot a motion filed by the diocese last month for the state Supreme Court to take jurisdiction over the appeal and return the dispute to the trial docket, which is scheduled to adjudicate the case in July.

Texas Supreme Court rejects TEC appeal: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Fort Worth, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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The Texas Supreme Court has rejected the petition of the Episcopal Church in the Texas property cases, denying a rehearing of its dispute with the Diocese of Fort Worth and a parish in the Diocese of Northwest Texas that had seceded from its diocese.  The 21 March 2014 ruling sends the disputes back to the trial courts with instructions to adjudicate the case without reference to church canon law, looking only at civil property law. “We are greatly relieved by the finality of the Court’s ruling,” said the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth. “TEC’s rehearing strategy has delayed us from moving on with this case by more than six months and at the cost of several thousands of dollars to oppose it. My advice is that TEC cut its losses and get on with their life without the Diocese of Fort Worth. Their litigation strategy has failed.”

Arab Spring turning into winter: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Coptic Orthodox.
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The Arab Spring was “not a spring or even an autumn, it was a winter,” said the Patriarch of Alexandria, Tawadros II, denouncing the revolutions that had stirred the Middle East and North Africa since 2010. In an interview broadcast on 22 March 2014 on the al-Watan network, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church said Western support for the revolutions had been profoundly misguided as was its support of the former President Muhammad Mursi, who ruled “in the name of religion” while distorting the tenets of Islam.  The Patriarch gave his blessing to General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, leader of the coup that had ousted Mursi calling him “the hero of the June Revolution who had saved Egypt”, adding support for the general’s bid for election as the country’s next president was an act of “patriotism”.

South African church back Thuli: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Corruption.
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Church leaders in South Africa have defended the country’s Public Protector – the top anti-corruption official – from attacks made by allies of President Jacob Zuma over corruption allegations. In a statement released on 18 March 2014, the Most Rev Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town said: “We in the churches deeply regret that certain clergy have ganged up against the Public Protector in the name of the Church. They have done so without adequate knowledge of her reports and their intervention only serves to undermine the fight against corruption.” On 19 March 2014 Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, reported that almost £24 million of public money had been spent to improve the private residence of President Jacob Zuma. The expenditures were not related to security but were luxurious upgrades to the country estate. “It is shameful to see the dirty tactics being employed” to smear the Public Protector the archbishop said.  The Rt. Rev. Rubin Philip of Natal along with other religious leaders of KwaZulu-Natal released a statement noting the Public Protector’s office is “a vital institution which should be given all the support that it deserves, rather than be undermined. If we are patriots with a genuine love for our beautiful country and willing to see it occupy its rightful place in the world of nations, then we have no option but to unreservedly stand in solidarity with it.”

Half a million driven from their homes by Boko Haram: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria.
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The insurgency in Northeastern Nigeria waged by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram has forced nearly 500,000 people from their homes and threatens the stability of West Africa, U.N. High Commissioner for Human rights Navi Pillay has warned.  “With thousands of refugees fleeing from Nigeria, and arms and fighters reportedly flowing across international borders in the other direction, this terrible conflict is no longer solely an internal matter,” she said last week during a tour of the country. Human Rights Watch reports that 2014 is on track to becoming the deadliest year of the insurgency with 700 people reported  dead so far.  Speaking to the media following a service commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Archbishop Vinning Memorial Cathedral in Lagos on 8 March 2014, the Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh warned that no one was safe, adding “As we pray for God to help this nation, we also call on the Federal Government to double their effort.” The Bishop of Lagos West, the Rt. Rev. James Odedeji added “government should take full responsibility of securing the life and property of its citizenry which it took an oath to do.”

Ghana archbishop to lead Church of the Province of West Africa: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa.
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The Archbishop of Ghana, the Most Rev. Daniel Sarfo, Bishop of Kumasi, has succeeded to the post of Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA) following the 21 Jan 2014 death of the Most. Rev. Tilewa Johnson, Bishop of the Gambia and Archbishop and Primate of West Africa. In a statement released last month the CPWA stated that under the terms of its constitution Dr. Sarfo “automatically” became the 10th “metropolitan archbishop of the CPWA”.  Formed in 1951 from the Anglican dioceses along the West African coast, in 2012 the CPWA divided into two internal provinces, Ghana and West Africa, in preparation for the secession of Ghana to form its own freestanding church. In 1979 the sixteen dioceses of Nigeria withdrew from the province to form the Church of Nigeria, now the Communion’s largest province in terms of active members.

South Carolina accepts archepiscopal oversight from Global South: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Global South, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The 223rd annual convention of the Diocese of South Carolina has voted to accept an offer of temporary archiepiscopal oversight from the Global South Primates Steering Committee. On 15 March 2014 the delegates voted unanimously to accept the offer made in the February Cairo Communique of the GS Primates, while also aligning itself with the GAFCON movement. In his speech to the convention, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence said “this will give us gracious oversight from one of the largest Ecclesial entities within the Communion: one wihc includes Anglicans from a diverse body of believers from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean and many, many others.” In 2012 the diocesan convention voted to quit the Episcopal Church in response to disputes over doctrine and disciple with the New York based national office, which led to moves to dismiss Bishop Lawrence from the ministry.

Misconduct charges filed against Presiding Bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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A Washington-based conservative group, the American Anglican Fellowship has filed charges against the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, alleging he $30 million legal campaign against church conservatives is an abuse of office and violates church canons. The organizations website stated that on 19 December 2013, it filed “information with the Intake Officer concerning possible violations of the Episcopal Church Constitution and Canons by the Presiding Bishop … We acted only after prayer consideration, and exhausting all reasonable means of communication to the Presiding Bishop and Executive Council. Our letters went unanswered and letters from other organizations, including letters form five bishops and a petition signed by more than 5000 Christians remained unanswered. The Intake Officer will decide if the information, if true, constitutes a violation of the Canons. We await his decision.” Public comment from the national church on the merits of the charges is unlikely as the disciplinary process requires the parties to remain silent while a review is underway

Celibacy in marriage a sin, bishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa, Marriage.
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Celibacy in marriage is a sin, the Bishop of Sunyani told his diocesan Mothers Union last week. The Rt. Rev. Festus Yeboah-Asuamah to the MU that wives who withhold sexual congress from their husbands are sinning against God and their husbands, prompting their husbands to commit adultery.  “This does not mean men should also over-stretch their wives in sex,” he observed, but noted some wives placed church work above sex.  “Some women had engaged themselves with religious activities to the extent that they do not even have time to satisfied their husbands sexually. This habit, the Bishop said, was a contributory factor to sexual promiscuity by men, which had torn homes and families apart.” The bishop affirmed the church’s teaching that marriage was a lifelong union of a man and a woman and whose purposes as set forth in the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer.  Mutual flourishing was based not on a mirrored set of responsibilities, but upon the complimentarity of man and woman. Husbands and wives had distinct rolls to fulfill in marriage, but it was a mistake to segregate the relationship into mens’ and women’s work. Each had a responsibility to raise the children, maintain the peace and purity of the marital home, and provide economic support, he said.

Supreme Court declines cert in Falls Church appeal: The Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal from the Virginia Supreme Court over the case of The Falls Church v. the Episcopal Church of the USA, ending seven years of litigation over the ownership of $13 million of property and assets of what had been the Diocese of Virginia’s largest congregation. After relisting the case for its conference four times, the case failed to garner the support of five of the court’s nine justices to allow it to be adjudicated. The decision not to hear the case leaves the state of American Church property law unsettled with the state supreme courts divided over the interpretation of the US Supreme Court’s 1979 ruling in Jones v. Wolf, with some states granting priority to canon law while other states have granted priority to civil property law and have allowed congregations who own their property to quit the church and take their buildings with them.

Gay rights are not human rights, Archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Marriage.
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Gay rights are not human rights as understood by the Christian tradition of natural law, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala told reporters on 9 March 2014 after services at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. His remarks came in response to demands made by MPs that the country’s colonial era sodomy laws be stiffened along the lines of recent reforms of Uganda’s criminal code. The archbishop said he did not support change stating it was unnecessary as “Kenya’s constitution clearly outlaws” gross indecency. From the Anglican Church’s perspective, “we are very clear when it comes to matters of relationship which should be between two opposite sexes,” he told The Star, adding it was a false anthropology, however, to conflate actions with individuals. A person was much more than his sexual appetites. It was also wrong to raise an action to the level of a human right. “Human rights and rights are different. Human rights have no values while rights have values,” he told said.

Terry Fullam dead at 83: The Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

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One of the founders of the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the United States, the Rev. Everett “Terry” Fullam has died at the age of 83, reports the Bishop of Central Florida. In a 15 March 2014 Tweet to his diocese, the Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer wrote “Just heard that Terry Fullam passed away. A generation ago he was a hero.” Trained as a musician, Terry Fullam was educated at Gordon College and Harvard University and was ordained in 1967 by the Bishop of Rhode Island after studying privately for holy orders.  In 1972 he was appointed Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien, Conn. During his tenure at St Paul’s, (1972-1989) the parish saw significant revival and became one of the fastest growing churches in America.  A 1980 book about his ministry at St. Paul written by Bob Slosser, entitled Miracle in Darien brought his ministry to worldwide attention, and remains one of the most influential books on church renewal in the Protestant world. Upon retirement, Terry Fullam moved to Ormond Beach, Fla., and remained an active teacher and preacher. A 1998 stroke forced him to discontinue his ministry.

Tsunami devastated cathedral reopens in Japan: Church of England Newspaper, March 21, 2014 April 11, 2014

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The Anglican Church in Japan, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, has re consecrated Christ Church Cathedral in Sendai City in the Diocese of Tohoku, three years after it was severely damaged by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. On 11 March 2011 an earthquake with a recorded magnitude of 9.0 with an epicenter 70 km of the eastern coast of Japan struck, creating a tsunami tidal wave that devastated 20 prefectures in North East Japan. On 10 February 2014 Japan’s National Police Agency reported that 15,884 people had been killed by the earthquake and Tsunami while 2,633 remained missing, while 127,290 buildings were leveled and a further million damaged. In a statement released by the NSKK, the Rt. Rev. John Hiromichi Kato, Bishop of Tohoku thanked the wider church for its help in rebuilding which was “made possible not only by the donations and huge efforts of the laity of the church but also the prayers and support of the whole of Anglican Church in Japan.”

Supreme Court intervention requested in the South Carolina case: The Church of England Newspaper, March 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has asked the state’s Supreme Court to take jurisdiction over its dispute with the Episcopal Church and its allies, arguing the national church has been pursuing a legal strategy designed solely to “interfere with the purpose of a speedy and inexpensive resolution.”

Lawyers for the diocese on 6 Feb 2014 filed the motion after the national church appealed a ruling by the trial court that rejected its request the diocese turn over all copies of correspondence between Bishop Mark Lawrence and his attorneys. American law forbids discovery of such correspondence as being protected by attorney-client privilege. The national church had argued that as they were the true diocese and thus the client, they could waive the privilege on Bishop Lawrence’s behalf.

Judge Diane Goodstein dismissed the request, prompting the appeal from the national church. Under South Carolina law the judge’s interlocutory order is not normally subject to appeal, however while the appeals court rules on the motion the proceedings in the trial court halt.

In its 24 Jan 2014 appeal of Judge Goodstein’s ruling the national church said it should have access to the correspondence between the bishop and the diocese’s attorneys. It argued “in this dispute where both sides claim to be the one and only continuing Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina after the split in late 2012, the Respondents’ exclusive possession and access to the prior legal positions of the then-unified Diocese gives the Respondents an unfair informational advantage. The fact that the same lawyer is now representing the Respondents in this litigation only compounds that unfairness.”

A diocesan spokesman said the Episcopal Church and its local allies, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina were “misusing the judicial system to delay resolution of this case.”

“Their strategy of appealing an interlocutory order is evidence of that intent. This is the same strategy that caused eight months to be wasted at the start of this case in federal court where they asked the federal court to override the state court injunction.”

The national church and its supporters also filed an appeal with the Federal Court on 5 Feb asking for a review of its January decision not to take jurisdiction over the dispute.

“We are disappointed in TEC’s appeal, but it does not surprise us,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese. “The Episcopal Church has a long history of dragging out legal battles in hopes of draining the resources of parishes and dioceses it seeks to punish for leaving the denomination,” he said.

Since 2000 the national church has incurred approximately $34 million in prosecuting 83 lawsuits and defending itself in seven church property lawsuits.

Zanzibar Cathedral attacked by terrorists: The Church of England Newspaper, March 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper, Terrorism.
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Islamist militants have bombed Christ Church Cathedral in Zanzibar. The attack comes amidst a rise of political and anti-Christian agitation as the East African archipelago prepares to vote in an April referendum calling for independence from Tanzania.

On 24 February 2014 two explosions rocked the main entrance to Christ Church Cathedral and the Old Slave Market – the island’s largest tourist attraction. A tourist bar in Stone Town and a Pentecostal church were also attacked.

The Vicar General of Zanzibar told the Church of England Newspaper there were no fatalities in the blast. “We thank God there were no injuries,” he wrote in an email shortly after the attack.

“Police are investigating and have swept the compound. We are assessing the situation, in contact with multiple agencies and Western government officials. The British Consul was on site almost immediately and a tremendous help to us. The people here are obviously shaken.”
Zanzibar has been the scene of several attacks on native Christians and Western tourists. In October 2012 the cathedral was attacked after militant Islamists rioted in the wake of the disappearance of a leading Muslim cleric.

Anglican leaders were evacuated after Islamist militants issued death threats against Bishop Michael Hafidh and foreign clergy serving on the island. Built on the site of the former slave market of Zanzibar, the Nineteenth century cathedral is one of the island’s leading tourist attractions. It also hosted Dr. Rowan Williams and the primates of the Anglican Communion in 2007.

The Muslim Mobilization and Propagation Group (UAMSHO) has called for the dissolution of the United Republic of Tanzania and the creation of an Islamist state for the island of Zanzibar. UAMSHO cadres have also demanded the expulsion of Zanzibar’s Christians, saying they have no place on the island.
UAMSHO has also been suspected of involvement in a series of shootings and acid attacks on Christians, as well as arson attacks on rural churches on the island.

In August 2013 Islamist terrorists attacked two British teenagers, throwing acid on the girls as they were walking in the Shangani section of Stone Town, the island’s capital.

A Roman Catholic priest was severely injured last September after terrorists threw acid in his face while he was walking along a busy street in the town’s commercial district. A Catholic priest was shot to death while standing at the doorstep of his church in Zanzibar on 17 Feb 2013, while on Christmas Day gunmen shot and seriously wounded a Catholic priest as he was returning home from services.


Suffolk clergyman arrested for fraud: The Church of England Newspaper, March 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Corruption.
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A Suffolk clergyman has been suspended by the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich following his arrest last week on suspicion of fraud.

Last month the diocese placed the Rev Canon Ian Finn, the rector of St Mary the Virgin in Haverhill,  on extended leave after allegations of misappropriating wedding and funeral fees were raised.

The Suffolk Constabulary released a statement noting a “55 year old man from Haverhill who was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation on Tuesday (March 4), and taken to the Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre (PIC) for questioning, has been bailed to return to Bury PIC on April 2 pending further enquiries.”

A diocesan spokesman said confirmed Canon Finn had been suspended and but added the “police are investigating and it is therefore inappropriate for the Church to make any comment at this stage.”

Last month the diocese released a statement stating Canon Finn had explained the misappropriation of funds was “entirely the result of administrative and accounting mistakes, rather than any deliberate acts.

“He has already refunded to the diocese what he currently believes to be owing.”

“He has already cooperated fully over the matter and will continue to do so.”

Secret Cairo meeting yields dividends for Justin Welby: The Church of England Newspaper, March 7, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Global South.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has bolstered his wavering support from overseas church leaders following a closed door meeting last week in Cairo with Asian, African and South American archbishops.

The day after the House of Bishops approved its Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage, the Most Rev. Justin Welby met in private with the steering committee of the Global South Primates at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo to explain the Church of England’s stance on same-sex marriage and the blessing of same-sex unions.

Accompanied by his director of reconciliation, Canon David Porter, Dr. Welby alleviated fears the Church of England would be changing its teaching on the morality of homosexual practice by permitting the blessing of same-sex unions and allowing married gay clergy amongst its ranks.  The archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda had warned publicly the archbishop in recent months that they were prepared to break with Canterbury should the Church of England follow the British government’s lead on gay marriage.

Sources tell The Church of England Newspaper that while the overseas primates did not relent in their demands that Dr. Welby take action to discipline the Episcopal Church of the USA, they were pleased with the Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance and applauded the course taken by the Church of England and in a statement released on 20 Feb applauded the “faithfulness of the Church of England in this regard is a great encouragement to our Provinces, and indeed the rest of the Communion, especially those facing hardships and wars.”

The statement, which received the backing of all but the Church of Nigeria who abstained, withdraws pressure on Dr. Welby from the specter of the Anglican Mission in England – the shadow organization backed by the 2013 Gafcon meeting in Nairobi to support traditionalists should the Church of England slide into chaos.

The 14-15 Feb 2014 meeting was conducted in secrecy. Queried by the CEN as to the archbishop’s activities when Dr. Welby was spotted on the ground in Africa, Lambeth Palace declined to answer.  A spokesman for the archbishop later confirmed Dr. Welby had visited Cairo at the invitation of the Bishop of Egypt Dr. Mouneer to “hear from the Global South Steering Committee.”

However, the Lambeth Palace spokesman said this meeting was not out of the ordinary as “he is visiting all the Primates of the Anglican Communion to listen to their perspectives.”

In its statement the Global South group welcomed the “frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.”

However they asked Dr. Welby to convene a primates meeting in 2015, but at this meeting they requested the agenda focus on the “deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion.”

The Anglican Communion was not working, they said, and was “currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional ‘instruments of unity’.”

“We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report,” the Global South leaders said.

Church property cannot be used to compensate abuse victims says archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, March 7, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Anglican Church of Australia has urged a Royal Commission investigating child abuse to distinguish between legal and moral responsibility for the crimes of abhorrent clergy and church workers, noting the national church is not liable for the actions of individuals.

Church lands and buildings thus cannot be sold to compensate victims of child abuse, the church argued.

submission made following investigations into the Diocese of Grafton’s handling of child abuse at a church run children’s home in Lismore stated, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Most Rev. Phillip Aspinall wrote “However, as the assets of all dioceses in Australia are usually held on charitable trusts the Commission should examine the terms upon which assets are held before concluding that they are available for a purpose such as paying compensation claims.”

The paper prepared by Dr. Aspinall, the Anglican Church of Australia’s General Secretary Martin Drevikovsky and the Diocese of Brisbane’s Professional Standards Director Rodney McLary came in response to a finding by the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, that the Diocese of Grafton had sufficient assets to settle abuse claims arising from the North Coast Children’s Home abuse cases.

In a harsh indictment of the diocese and its leaders, Mr. Beckett concluded the church had put its financial interests ahead of the good of the victims.  ”The evidence established that the diocese was able to liquidate a substantial number of assets in order to service the debt incurred from the Clarence Valley Anglican School,” Mr. Beckett wrote, “but did not do so for those claiming they had suffered from child sexual abuse.”

While not excusing the actions of the Bishop of Grafton and diocesan officials, Dr. Aspinall urged the commission to be more precise in its terms.

“The Anglican Diocese of Grafton was at all relevant times an unincorporated association with a fluctuating membership. At all relevant times prior to 1 January 1962 the Anglican Diocese of Grafton was part of the Church of England. The Anglican Church of Australia did not exist until 1962. It is submitted that the Commission needs to be explicit as to what is meant by the term ‘had responsibility’. If it is legal responsibility then that was with the particular Management Committee constituted from time to time. If it is ‘moral responsibility’ it raises a range of issues and circumstances in which individuals could, in good faith, reach different conclusions about what are the relevant moral principles and how they should they be applied,” the submission stated.

The question of compensation for abuse has arisen in a number of the cases examined by the commission, however under Australian law the charitable trust status of churches and some institutes is a legal bar to their being held liable for abuse.

Uganda plea to the CoE: The Church of England Newspaper, March 7, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Church of the Province of Uganda.
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The Primate of the Church of Uganda has urged the Church of England not to follow the Episcopal Church into the abyss by endorsing gay marriage or blessing gay unions.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali told The Church of England Newspaper that while the Church of Uganda “has had no discussions about breaking away from the Church of England or the Anglican Communion,” it was troubled by its apparent indecision over sin and sexuality.

“It’s true that the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn at its deepest level in 2003 when the American Episcopal Church consecrated as Bishop a gay man living in a same-sex relationship. Not only was this against the Bible, but it went against the agreed position of the Anglican Communion. Our current concern is that the Church of England seems to be drifting rapidly in the same direction,” he said.

In a sermon delivered on 1 March 2014 the archbishop stated the Western churches appeared unaware of their double mindedness. “Many people have spiritual blindness but let us not mix issues. One hundred and thirty six years ago, the Church of England sent graduates from Oxford University to Africa to evangelise. America is a super power built on Christian principles… but in all this money is involved,” he said.

In a note of clarification to his sermon, the archbishop told CEN: “We are very grateful to them for sending missionaries who told us about the good news of Jesus Christ. Ironically, they seem now to be reversing themselves. Fortunately, we no longer need to be directed by them. We can read and interpret the Bible for ourselves, and we know what it says about sexual behaviour belonging between one man and one woman in holy matrimony.”

“Homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture, and no one in the leadership of the church can say legitimise same sex unions or homosexuality,” Archbishop Ntagali told AFP, urging the “governing bodies of the Church of England to not take the path advocated by the West”.

Last week the Church of Nigeria congratulated the Church of Uganda for standing strong against overseas pressure for it to accomodate Western cultural practices to its preaching of the Gospel. In a letter dated 21 Feb 2014, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria, commended the Church of Uganda for “uphold the authentic Gospel and the historic heritage of our Church, by rejecting the erroneous teaching and practice of homosexuality.”

Episcopal Church to put more money into the indaba project: The Church of England Newspaper, February 21, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA has asked the church’s executive council to give an extra $312,000 to the Anglican Consultative Council to support the work of the continuing indaba process.

At its meeting last week, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori proposed increasing the three year grant approved by the 2012 General Convention from $700,000 to $1,012,000. Unless the grant were increased, the presiding bishop noted, the US church would only contribute $25,000 to the ACC in 2015, as it had budgeted giving $675,000 to the London-based organization for 2013 and 2014.

Organized by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, indaba is a project of facilitated conversations between the US and Canadian churches and the churches in the developing world. Organized and staffed by the Anglican Consultative Council in London, the project has come under fierce criticism from conservatives and has been denounced by the Gafcon movement for its perceived bias in favor of the progressive agenda.

While the proposal is likely to be approved by the October meeting of the executive council which will set the budget for 2015, the request highlights a growing split between the General Convention and the executive council over the limits of authority within the church.

The amount budgeted for the ACC was the subject of strong debate at the 2012 General Convention with many deputies to the meeting questioning the value for money provided by the ACC. Unilaterally raising the ACC budget by the executive council follows its rejection of the General Convention’s vote to sell the New York office building that houses the presiding bishop and her staff, and relocate to a cheaper and more centrally located facility.


Lifetime ban on 2 Chichester clergy imposed: The Church of England Newspaper, February 21, 2014 March 20, 2014

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Two Chichester clergymen jailed for child abuse have been given a life-time ban on exercising any functions on ordained ministry.

On 14 February 2014 the Rt. Rev. Martin Warner said that in light of the conclusion of the criminal cases against the Revs Gordon Rideout and Robert Coles and their subsequent incarceration, the ban had been imposed under Section 30 of the Clergy Discipline Measure.

“A sentence of prohibition for life is the most severe sanction that can be imposed under the Clergy Discipline Measure and is a further indication of the gravity of the offences committed,” the bishop said.

“Whilst neither of the clergy in question has been permitted to function as clergy in the Diocese of Chichester since their respective arrests, the imposition of these sentences now concludes the Church’s disciplinary processes. I hope this announcement is of some comfort to the survivors of abuse, both within the Diocese of Chichester and more widely.”

In February 2013 Coles (72) was jailed for eight years Brighton Crown Court after he pled guilty on 14 Dec 2012 to 11 counts of child abuse committed between 1978 to 1984 in West Sussex, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and the Isle of Wight.

On 20 May 2013 the jury found Rideout (74) guilty of 31 incidents of abuse at the Barnardo’s children’s home — Ifield Hall in Crawley, West Sussex — and one in Barkingside, Essex between 1962 and 1968, and four indecent assaults at the Middle Wallop army base in Hampshire between 1971 and 1973 where he served as a chaplain. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

Last month Rideout was taken from prison to a local hospital. He has since been returned to jail, but has petitioned the Ministry of Justice for an early release on compassionate grounds.

A spokesman for the ministry declined to speak to Rideout’s petition, but stated compassionate release could be granted if the prisoner had a terminal illness or was bedridden or otherwise permanently incapacitated and would prove to be no harm to society.


Nigerian church support for sodomy laws: The Church of England Newspaper, February 21, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Marriage.
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Faith leaders in Nigeria have unanimously applauded the revisions to the country’s sodomy law, and have denounced as imperialist, racist and condescending Western pressure to change the country’s attitude towards homosexuality.

Leaders of the Muslim community as well as the head of the country’s Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches applauded President Goodluck Jonathan for signing a law banning same-sex marriage, gay clubs and public displays of same-sex affection into law on 7 January 2014.

While overseas Catholic and Anglican leaders including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have expressed reservations about the new law, their Nigerian counterparts have endorsed the ban on gay marriage.

In an open letter written to President Jonathan published by the Catholic News Service of Nigeria, the press arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama called the new law “a bold and clear indication of the ability of our great country to stand up for the protection of the highest values ​​of the Nigerian and African cultures around the ‘ institution of marriage and the dignity of the human person, without giving in to international pressure to promote unethical practices of homosexual unions and other related vices. ”

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh stated his church also opposed the introduction of gay marriage into Nigeria. In a speech given at a banquet honouring retired Archbishop Peter Akinola, Archbishop Okoh was reported to have said the underlying issue was not homosexuality itself, but man’s rebellion against God’s law.

“Many people do not realise that what is referred to as the homosexual trouble is not the homosexual or lesbian trouble but people’s refusal to accept the Scripture for what it is, authority for life and practice following God.”

“In the beginning, man questioned the authority of God in the garden by saying did God actually say that you should not eat the forbidden fruit. That challenge to God’s authority dethroned God’s power and enthroned man’s power. So they concluded that God has no right to tell man what to do and that they were the people who knew what to do. So man set God aside and took over the command. Consequently, disaster followed,” he said according to Channels TV in Lagos.

The question for Nigeria was not merely government sanction for sexual sin, but the decision Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden to defy God, he argued.

The controversy over gay rights and gay marriage in Nigeria has also been played out in the national legislatures of Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon which are in the process of adopting laws banning gay marriage.

Both Nigerian prelates were sharply critical of overseas political pressure to adopt Western sexual mores.

Archbishop Kaigama  thanked President Jonathan for his “brave and wise decision” to sign the bill into law and prayed that God would protect his “administration against the conspiracy of the developed world to make our country and continent as a dumping ground for the promotion of all the unethical practices, that destroy God’s plan for man.”

Diocese found to have put money above justice in child abuse cover up: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia is expected to hand down a report that will accuse the Diocese of Grafton of withholding information from police and failing to exercise proper oversight of a church run children’s home.

Last week the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, released a report stating the church’s “legalistic and cumbersome” clergy disciplinary process allowed priests accused of child abuse to escape punishment if they retired or left the ministry.

Mr. Beckett further stated that he believed the Diocese of Grafton’s first priority in addressing child abuse claims was to minimize potential claims for compensation from victims and make the problem go away rather than seeing that justice was done.

In his report Mr. Beckett said the former Bishop of Grafton, the Rt. Rev. Keith Slater, failed to refer allegations of sexual abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore to the church’s professional standards director. This failure to act had prevented police from investigating the claims, he concluded.

The report further stated that while the diocesan registrar was aware that one priest associated with the home had been convicted of sexual offences against a child, he failed to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the sex offender clergyman.

The report recommended the diocese initiate an investigation into two priests accused of abuse and “regularly review” its clergy disciplinary proceedings and keep its professional standards director appraised of all outstanding claims of sexual abuse. Final submissions arising from the November public hearings into abuse at the home closed on 24 Jan 2014.

In May 2013 Bishop Slater resigned in the wake of charges he had mishandled the Lismore abuse investigations. Last August the diocese released a statement saying it “apologises  unreservedly to children who, in the past, suffered from sexual abuse, harsh punishment or a lack of appropriate and nurturing care while resident at the North Coast Children’s Home, Lismore.

“We also apologise, and ask forgiveness, for the unacceptable manner in which those who in recent years reported their abuse were hindered by church leaders. Our Diocese acknowledges with sadness the serious and long term effects of such abuse. We are committed to assist in the provision of appropriate support and assistance for those who were harmed and who continue to suffer.”

Uganda Martyrs Shrine fundraising campaign begins: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda.
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The Church of Uganda has launched a fundraising campaign to build a shrine to the Martyrs of Uganda at Namugongo.

At a press conference held last week at the provincial offices in Kampala, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali announced that former Archbishop Livingstone Nkoyoyo would spearhead the campaign to raise funds to build a guest house and museum at the site of the martyrdom of 23 Ugandan Anglicans.

The Uganda Martyrs were Christian converts – Anglican and Roman Catholics — who were murdered for their faith by the King of Buganda between 1885 and 1887, after they refused to offer sacrifices to the traditional gods and because they resisted King Mwanga’s homosexual practices.

In 1964 Pope Paul VI canonized the Catholic martyrs and the Roman Catholic Church built a basilica near the site of their martyrdom.  Anglican and Catholic pilgrims from across the Uganda gather at Namugongo on June 3rdto honor their faith and celebrate the conversion of Uganda to Christianity.

The Anglican site presently consists of a small chapel, park and the restored hut of the King’s executioner. The museum and guest house will enable tourists to “understand our rich culture but also understand the power of the Gospel to bring hope and transformation to people’s lives because of the testimony and legacy of the early martyrs,” Archbishop Ntagali told the press conference.


Pakistan terror trial in danger of collapse: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Terrorism.
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The trial of two men accused of murdering a Pakistani government minister is in danger of collapsing, after key witnesses fled the country in fear for their lives.

The sole Christian cabinet minister in Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani’s government, Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated outside his home in Islamabad in March 2011. Two gunmen sprayed the minister’s car with bullets and dropped pamphlets next to his body, denouncing him as a Christian infidel.

Islamabad police arrested Hammad Adil and Umer Abdullah, in September 2012 and charged them with the murder. The two men confessed to the police their guilt in the attack and are being tried by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi

However, the complainant in the case, Shahbaz Bhatti’s brother Paul Bhatti, chairman of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance, has fled to Italy for safety.

“Punjabi Taliban dropped pamphlets at my office in Lahore and warned me of dire consequences for pursuing the murder case of my brother,” he told a Pakistani cable television channel on 8 Feb 2014. But added that: “I will not give up this case despite the threats.”

Mr. Bhatti said he had asked repeatedly for protection from the Interior Ministry and police, but they ignored his requests. His attorney Rana Abdul Hameed told Newsweek International that he too had been threatened for mounting the private prosecution against the killers.

Mr. Hameed also represented Rimsha Masih, the Pakistani Christian girl who had been arrested in 2012 for allegedly desecrating pages of the Koran – but was later found not guilty after police discovered an extremist mullah had fabricated the case — said: “Pamphlets are dropped in my office warning me to disassociate myself from the case.”

“They say you freed Rimsha, now you are trying to convict our comrades, you should be taught a lesson.”

He added: “Paul Bhatti is abroad. He cannot come to Pakistan. Our witness has been threatened. We are receiving constant threats. What can you then expect from the case? It won’t go anywhere.”

Richard III tomb design under review: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

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Representatives of the Dean and Chapter of Leicester Cathedral met last month with the Church Fabric Commission for England to find a way forward through the impasse on the proposed design of the tomb for Richard III.

On 24 Jan 2014, CFCE chairman Frank Field MP and members of the commission met with church and local leaders along with members of English Heritage and the Richard III Society to review plans for the tomb. Last year plans for the tomb were put on hold after the CFCE objected to some of the proposed renovations to the cathedral to accommodate the tomb including plans to change a 1920s wooden rood screen designed by Sir Charles Nicholson.

The CFCE declined to give its assent to the million pound project until legal challenges mounted by members of the Plantagenet Society – who wish to see the king buried in York – were resolved by the High Court review into the Ministry of Justice exhumation licence.

Details of the meeting were not released, but a member of the chapter said that while more work needs to be done, the meeting had been productive.

On 13 March the High Court in London will hold a hearing to review the Ministry of Justice’s licence to rebury Richard in Leicester. Should the cathedral prevail in court, it must then secure approval from the CFCE. The Mayor Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, told the Leicester Mercury that should the CFCE give its approval to the revised design plans it will be “at least six months” before Richard will be reinterned in the cathedral.

Concerns over archbishop’s accolades for Katharine Jefferts Schori: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has applauded the news that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, is to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Oxford.

However, the fulsome praise offered by the archbishop has pained conservatives, who see his commendation of her “intellect and compassion” to be a slap in the face to traditionalists.

On 6 Feb 2014 the University announced that Bishop Jefferts Schori would be one of six people awarded an honorary degree at Encaenia, the University’s annual honorary degree ceremony, on 25 June 2014.

In a statement from Lambeth Palace released later that day, Archbishop Welby said he was “delighted” by the news.

He went on to say: “This award, richly deserved, reaffirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ. Prior to becoming ordained, Bishop Katharine pursued a career in oceanography, and her enduring deep commitment to the environment has evolved into a profound dedication to stewardship of our planet and humankind, especially in relieving poverty and extending the love and hospitality of Christ to those on the edges of society. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said of Bishop Katharine, “In her version of reality, everything is sacred except sin.” It must be noted, too, that Bishop Katharine’s achievements serve – and will continue to serve – as a powerful model for women seeking to pursue their vocations in the church.”

Commentators questioned the wisdom of the archbishop’s penning such a statement, fearing it would alienate the overseas church and conservatives in the UK and US. However, in a post on Facebook defending Archbishop Welby’s actions, Bishop Pete Broadbent dismissed concerns that the statement reflected a shift in favor of the revisionist wing of the church by the archbishop.

“Lots of us here think that [Katharine Jefferts Schori] is thoroughly bad news for the gospel, but you’re not going to get the ABC to slag her off in a press release. It just ain’t that simple. You can’t really stick out a release saying “Congrats, but…” Most congratulatory things smarm it up a bit. You might think ABC shouldn’t have said congrats at all (knowing that Oxford have been put up to this), but once you go down the line of doing official congrats, you have to be nice. Cos that’s how Brits do it,” he explained.

Ethical investing monitor hired for Church of England: The Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2014 February 17, 2014

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The Church of England has engaged an American firm to help monitor its investments to ensure it conforms to church policies on ethical investment.

The Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the CBF Church of England signed the deal with MSCI ESG Research to identify within their £8 billion of assets firms engaged in the tobacco, pornography, gambling, armaments, coal extraction and pay-day lending industries.

Companies that have breached standards set by the UN Global Compact – a set of 10 principles covering human rights, the environment and anti-corruption – will also be identified from the over 9000 firms in which the church holds direct or indirect investments.

Last month’s agreement follows revelations last year the church had indirectly invested in pay-day lender Wonga. While the £75,000 investment represented 0.3 per cent of the pooled fund in question, the Archbishop of Canterbury was ridiculed in the press as he had previously denounced pay-day lending as predatory and unethical.

Edward Mason, Secretary to the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group, said “The Church of England national investing bodies have a very broad suite of ethical investment policies. We are delighted by the commitment that MSCI ESG Research has shown to meeting our changing needs as we continue to seek to reflect the Church’s values in an ever more complex investment environment.”

No charges for Bishop Ball: The Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2014 February 17, 2014

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The former Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt. Rev. Peter Ball, who was arrested in November 2012 on suspicion of child abuse, has not been charged following an 18 month investigation by detectives from Sussex Police.

On 28 Jan 2014, the Crown Prosecution Service said it was still considering the case against Bishop Ball, who was arrested in his Somerset home in November 2012 as part of Operation Dunhill. The bishop was reported to have been taken ill following his arrest.

Sussex Police had initiated an investigation after the Church of England turned over the results of its internal review of Bishop Ball.

In 1993 Bishop Ball resigned after he was cautioned by the police for having committed an act of gross indecency against a teenager. The now 81 year old bishop was licenced to officiate at church services following his resignation, but has not had the licence renewed since 2010.

In 2012 a Sussex Police spokesman it had “received from Lambeth Palace two reports from a Church safeguarding consultant, which contain reviews of Church safeguarding files relating to historic issues in the Chichester Diocese. We have also received the files themselves.

“The reports and files relate to matters more than 20 years ago and we will review the contents in order to establish whether any police investigation of possible criminal offences would be merited.”

The late Bishop of Chichester, the Rt. Rev. Eric Kemp, was skeptical of the veracity of the charges brought against Bishop Ball. In his 2006 memoirs, Shy But Not Retiring, Bishop Kemp stated: “Although it was not realized at the time, the circumstances which led to his early resignation were the work of mischief makers.”

Chichester priest arrested for abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2014 February 17, 2014

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A retired Diocese of Chichester priest has been charged by police with a host of sex crimes dating back almost 40 years.

On 28 Jan 2014, the Sussex Police released a statement saying the Rev. Vickery House (68) had been charged with 8 counts of sexual assault “on the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service following an investigation by detectives from Sussex Police over the past 18 months”.

Mr. House of Handcross, West Sussex was arrested in November 2012 and has been on bail pending the outcome of the investigation.  He faces two charges of molesting a 15 year old boy in Devon between 1970 and 1971, two charges relating to a man in East Sussex between 1976 and 1978, and 1983 and 1985, one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1978 and 1980, one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1981 and 1984, one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1984 and 1986 and one charge relating to a man in East Sussex between 1984 and 1986.

The Diocese of Chichester released a statement last week saying it was “aware that a retired priest, previously arrested as part of Operation Dunhill in November 2012, has been charged today with eight counts of indecent assault.”

“As this case is under investigation no further comment will be made. The Diocese of Chichester has been assisting Sussex Police with the inquiries and continues to do so,” it reported.

Mr. House has been granted bail and is charged to appear before the Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 27 Feb 2014.

No action on fracking church lands: The Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2014 February 17, 2014

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The Church of England has not yet entered the fracking fray, the Second Church Estates Commissioner told Parliament last week.

In response to a question from the member for Thirsk and Malton, Ann McIntosh (Cons.) who asked if the Church Estates Commissioners had granted licences to oil exploration companies to drill on church lands, Sir Tony Baldry stated the church had received no applications to drill.

“The Church Commissioners believe that the Government has awarded a number of Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDL) which cover wide geographical areas and these include some interests held by the Commissioners. To date no approaches have been made to the Commissioners and no applications have been received from any potential Licensors,” the Second Church Estate Commissioner said. (HC Deb, 27 January 2014, c382W)

Fracking, the common term for induced hydraulic fracturing, is a mining technique where water is mixed with sand and chemicals and injected at high pressure into a wellbore. The mixture creates small fractures in the rock allowing natural and gas and oil to migrate to the well shaft, allowing its commercial extraction.

Fracking has proven successful in the United States in developing shale fields for oil and gas production and has led to the creation of over one million jobs, the Society of Petroleum Engineers reports.

However, critics of the process fear it will contaminate ground water and despoil land, leading to protests by British land owners, who must give their permission for firms to exercise the PEDLs granted to exploration companies by the government.

Prime Minister David Cameron has criticized opponents of the government’s fracking policies as hysterical and ill informed. Speaking to a Commons liaison committee on 14 Jan 2014, he stated opponents “simply can’t bear the thought of another carbon-based fuel being used in our energy mix and I think that is irrational … .”

Archbishop says “no” to Hagia Sophia mosque plan: The Church of England Newspaper, February 7, 2014 February 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has lent his support to the Ecumenical Patriarch in the battle with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over plans to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Following the conquest of Constantinople the Ottoman Turks turned the ancient church into a mosque. However members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ruling party have called upon the government to overturn the decision made in the 1930s by Kemal Ataturk to turn the cathedral into a museum.

Archon news reports that during his visit with Patriarch Bartholomew I last month the Archbishop of Canterbury said Hagia Sophia “should not become a mosque.”

“That would be another loss, in which a great symbol of civilization throughout the world was transformed into a particular symbol of exclusivism,” the archbishop was quoted as saying.

No mention of Hagia Sophia was made, however, in the formal press statement released after the 13-14 January 2014 meeting in Istanbul between the Anglican and Orthodox leaders, and the archbishop’s comments could not be confirmed by his staff.

According to the Lambeth Palace Press Office, Archbishop Welby said that Patriarch Bartholomew had been “an example of peace and reconciliation, politically, with the natural world, and in your historic visit to the installation of His Holiness Pope Francis I.”

“Such reconciliation [is] very dear to my heart and is one of my key priorities. It is the call of Christ that all may be one so that the world may see. I will therefore be taking back with me the warmth of your hospitality and also, after our discussions today and tomorrow, a renewed and refreshed focus for greater unity and closer fellowship. We want to carry the cross of our divisions, but be filled with the hope and joy that comes from the grace and the love of Jesus,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop of West Africa dead: The Church of England Newspaper, January 31, 2014 February 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa.
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The Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa, Archbishop Tilewa Johnson, died last week of an apparent heart attack yesterday whilst playing tennis. He was 59.

The Most Rev Solomon Tilewa Johnson (27 Feb 1954 – 21 Jan 2014) was born in Bathurst in the Gambia and educated in Nigeria and at the University of Durham. Ordained deacon in 1979 and priest in 1980, in 1990 he was elected the sixth Bishop of the Gambia, the first Gambian elected to the post.

An avid sportsman, Archbishop Johnson was a member of the Gambia national basketball team from 1970 to 1977.

Archbishop Johnson attended the 2013 Gafcon conference in Nairobi, but had not joined the organization’s primates’ council as of the time of his death. In November 2013 he was elected to the central committee of the World Council of Churches at the group’s 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea.

In a letter of condolence, Archbishop Justin Welby wrote Archbishop Johnson’s “gifts were not confined exclusively to the Church, and he had an active role within the national life of Gambia.”

“I know that all my colleagues, the people of the Church of England, and especially those in the Diocese of Chichester with which the Diocese of the Gambia is linked, as well as your brothers and sisters across the Communion, will be holding [the church in the Gambia] in prayer and love at this time,” Archbishop Welby wrote.

St James Piccadily “Wall” not anti-Semitic, Parliament told: The Church of England Newspaper, January 31, 2014 February 17, 2014

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The construction of a mock “Wall” outside St James, Piccadilly, was not an anti-Semitic act, the Second Church Estates Commissioner told Parliament, but a condemnation of Israeli government policies.

Discussion of the London replica of the separation barrier constructed by the Israeli government to keep terrorist attacks at bay arose during Oral Answers to Questions asked of Sir Tony Baldry on 9 January.

The member for Harlow, Robert Halfon (Cons.) asked Sir Tony about the Church Commissioners’ discussion with government on the “promotion of religious tolerance.”

Sir Tony responded that in “this country, we have learned through the Reformation and the counter-Reformation and beyond the essential need for religious tolerance in our nation,” which prompted Mr Halfon to ask if the Church Commissioners would discuss “religious intolerance” with “St James’ church, which has held a shockingly anti-Israel exhibition over the past couple of weeks? Far from promoting religious tolerance, it did much to undermine it.”

Sir Tony responded that this question “raises a conundrum: to what extent should the tolerant tolerate the intolerant? The demonstration at St James, Piccadilly, was not against Judaism or Jews but against the illegal occupation under international law in the west bank and some of the settlements. In this House, we must be careful about what is seen as religious tolerance and about not tolerating intolerance or breaches of international law.”

The Speaker, John Bercow encouraged Sir Tony to “prepare a detailed paper on the matter and to lodge it in the Library of the House where I feel confident it will be a well-thumbed tome.”

Parliament told BBC provides adequate Christian programming: The Church of England Newspaper, January 31, 2014 February 17, 2014

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The Second Church Estates Commissioner has assured Parliament there is an adequate amount of Christian programming on radio and television.

During Oral Answers to Questions of the Church Commissioners on 9 January, the member for Strangford, Jim Shannon (DUP) asked Sir Tony Baldry “what discussions has the Commissioner had with media outlets such as TV and radio with regard to Christian programming? Does he agree that it is important to retain a level of programming that reflects the Christian status of this nation? What can be done to promote such programming?”

Sir Tony stated he did not believe there was a problem as if one looked, one could find religious programmes.

“To be honest, I do not think that Christians do too badly. If one gets up early enough, one can find a perfectly good programme between 7 and 8 o’clock on BBC Radio 4 every Sunday. I do not think we can feel that we are in some way discriminated against by the broadcasters.”

Joy and democracy in Egypt: The Church of England Newspaper, January 24, 2014 February 3, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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Last week’s referendum on a new constitution was marked by joy and dancing in the street, the Bishop of Egypt reports, as the country showed its support for the ousting of former President Mohammad Mursi.

“I can see my beloved country standing on the doorstep of a new day,” Dr Mouneer Anis said on 15 January 2014.

Approximately 39 per cent of Egypt’s 53 million eligible voters turned out to vote on 15-16 January 2014, the country’s election committee reported, with the new constitution receiving 98.1 per cent approval.

Dr Anis reported the Muslim Brotherhood has urged its followers to boycott the referendum. “Going to the polls was risky because of those who were trying to use violence to scare people from voting, but the army and the police exerted a great effort to protect the polls and to give assurance to the people who would like to vote,” the Bishop said.

“The new Constitution affirms equality and the rights of women within Egyptian society,” the Bishop said, and was the product of a popular front government that included “representatives of all sectors of the society” including Christians.

“It was a phenomenon to see crowds of women at each poll, many of whom queued for hours to vote. Some of them were singing and rejoicing, and even dancing, before and after they cast their vote. There was a general spirit of joy among the people of Egypt who voted, in a way that never happened before,” Dr Anis said.

Under the draft constitution, Islam remains the state religion, but freedom of belief is absolute. The state guarantees “equality between men and women” and forbids political parties based on “religion, race, gender or geography”.

Final arguments presented in San Joaquin case: The Church of England Newspaper, January 24, 2014 February 3, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, San Joaquin, The Episcopal Church.
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The legality of the secession of a California diocese from the from the Episcopal Church is in the hands of California Judge Donald Black following  the closing arguments presented to the Fresno Superior Court last week.

On 13 Jan 2014 the videotaped testimony of the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield who presided over the 2007 vote by the diocesan synod to quit the Episcopal Church was presented to the court.  Bishop Schofield, who died in October 2013, testified in the 2011 recording to his actions surrounding the diocesan vote to amend its amend its constitution and canons to replace language acceding to the Episcopal Church’s constitution with language that affiliated the Diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

In 2008 the national church and loyalists members of the diocese brought suit against Bishop Schofield and various parishes, seeking to acquire control of all church properties. The breakaway diocese has argued that the diocese’s actions conformed to secular and ecclesiastical law.  Attorneys for the national church have argued that while the church’s constitution does not forbid the secession of dioceses, a ban on quitting is implied in the church’s governing documents.

Judge Black ordered the parties to file their final briefs on 24 Feb 2014, and their reply briefs on 17 March 2014. A decision is expected from the court by late summer.

ACNA priest appointed Six Preacher at Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, January 24, 2014 February 3, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed a priest of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to serve as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral.

The appointment of Dr. Tory Baucum, rector of Truro Parish in the ACNA’s Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic marks the first official recognition or honor by Canterbury of an ACNA priest. Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA noted the appointment was “historically significant.”

Dr. Baucum “is known to be a gifted teacher and preacher who is committed to the present day reformation out of which the Anglican Church in North America was born,” he said.

In the statement released on 16 Jan 2014, the Lambeth Palace press office noted the political symbolism of the appointment.

“While Dr Baucum has extensive experience of preaching, evangelism and peace-making, his appointment is also recognition of his commitment to reconciliation, which is one of Archbishop Justin’s ministry priorities. Truro Church seceded from the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church in 2006 and subsequently became part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). When Dr Baucum became Rector in 2007, the church and the diocese were involved in litigation over property rights. Dr Baucum, a priest in ACNA, developed a close friendship with the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, the Rt Revd Shannon Johnston, and a settlement was subsequently reached.”

Archbishop Welby stated: “The close friendship [Baucum] has forged with Bishop Shannon Johnston, despite their immensely different views, sets a pattern of reconciliation based on integrity and transparency. Such patterns of life are essential to the future of the Communion. I hope and pray that Tory’s presence as one of the Six Preachers will play a part in promoting reconciliation and unity amongst us.”

New leaders for the Church of South India: The Church of England Newspaper, January 24, 2014 February 3, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India.
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The Rt Rev Govada Dyvasirwadam

A new moderator, deputy moderator and general secretary have been elected by the 34th meeting of the Church of South India’s (CSI) General Synod.

Meeting from 11-14 January 2014 in Vijayawada, Andrah Pradesh the 22 bishops from the four South Indian states and Jaffna in Sri Lanka, 135 presbyters and 275 lay members elected new the Bishop in the Diocese of Krishna-Godavari, the Rt. Rev. Govada Dyvasirvadam, to a two year term as moderator.

The Bishop in Madhya Kerala Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen was elected Deputy Moderator and Dr. Rathnakara Sadananda, Professor of Theology at the Karnataka Theological College, was elected general secretary.

Sources in the Church of South India tell CEN the election marks a change in the church’s political power structure, with an “insider” elected moderator and “outsiders” untainted by the church’s past corruption scandals elected as deputy moderator and general secretary.

Ordained in 1978, the new moderator Bishop Dyvasirvadam was a lecturer then warden of Andrah Pradesh Theological College. From 1998 to 2001 he served as General Secretary of the CSI before his election as Bishop of Krishna-Godavari. At the 2012 meeting of synod he was elected deputy moderator of the CSI.

Bishop Oommen was elected Bishop in Madhya Kerala Diocese in 2011, and has gained the support of lay activists and reformers within the church.

Lord Lyon King of Arms appointed: The Church of England Newspaper, January 31, 2014 February 3, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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A priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Rev. Canon Joseph Morrow, has been appointed by the Queen as the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

An office created in the 14th century, the Lord Lyon King of Arms is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility for regulating heraldry.  He is also responsible for Scottish state ceremonies, akin to the Earl Marshal in England, and his duties include the granting of armorial bearings and judicial rulings on who has the right to bear an existing coat of arms

The appointment was made by the Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister. Under section 3 of the Lyon King of Arms (Scotland) Act 1867, the part-time appointment is based at Edinburgh’s New Register House.

Dr. Morrow serves as Chancellor of the Diocese of Brechin, is an Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee and Chaplain, Glamis Castle. At present, he is the President of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, and President of the Additional Support Needs Tribunals and a First-Tier Tribunal Judge dealing with asylum and immigration issues.

Dr Morrow has a special interest in ecclesiastical history and 35 years’ experience of the practical application of ceremonial within a variety of settings including State, Civil, Military and Ecclesiastical areas of Scottish life.

Church of Norway clergy union backs gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, January 24, 2014 January 27, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Norway, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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The executive council of the Church of Norway’s clerical union has given its support to church gay marriage. At its December meeting, the union’s central board, the Presteforeningen, unanimously voted to ask the Church of Norway to prepare a rite for the blessing of gay marriages.

Founded in 1900, the Presteforeningen, or Priestly Union counts 2500 clergy and candidates for Holy Orders among its members. It serves as a trade union for the clergy in negotiating wages, conditions of work and other professional concerns.

In 2008 the Norwegian parliament was the first among the Scandinavian countries to revise revised its marriage laws to permit same-sex or gender neutral marriage, followed by Sweden 2008, Iceland 2010, and Denmark 2012.  While the Church of Sweden in 2009 authorized its clergy to perform same-sex the Church of Norway has so far declined to follow the government’s lead.

The executive committee’s vote has sparked dissent among clergy ranks, however. NTB reports that 50 clergy have quit the union in protest since the vote, including the former Bishop of Agder and Telemark, the Rt. Rev. Olav Skjevesland.

Central Africa says no to women priests: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Women Priests.
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The General Synod of the Church of the Province of Central Africa has voted down a proposal by the Diocese of Harare at their 27 November to 1 December 2013 meeting in Lusaka to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Bishop Fanuel Magangani of Northern Malawi told The Church of England Newspaper the motion had been put forward by Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Diocese of Harare in response to motions adopted and put forward by a number of diocesan synods.

Bishop Magangani said he voted against the motion because it was contrary to tradition. “Some of us are happy to maintain our roots without the idea of thinking that we know better than those who have gone before us over the years of the Christian faith. I believe that the Church fathers down to the Apostles taught and reserved the faith I would like to uphold. I feel satisfied with the way I received the teaching of the Church and that there is everything I need for my salvation without diluting it with my ideas.”

The motion fell short of the necessary two-thirds vote in the House of Laity with 14 yes and 10 no votes, but was defeated in the House of Clergy, seven yes to 21 no, and in the House of Bishops six yes and nine no.

Schism warning from Uganda over the Pilling Report: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda.
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The Primate of Uganda has denounced the recommendations of the Pilling Report, calling upon the Church of England to pull back from the apostasy of solemnizing same-sex relations. .

In his Christmas letter to the Ugandan Church, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali warned the African Church would break relations with the Church of England should it permit its clergy to perform liturgical blessings marking same-sex unions.

“We are very concerned that our mother Church of England is moving in a very dangerous direction,” he said, adding that it seemed determined to follow “the path the Americans in the Episcopal Church took that caused us to break communion with them ten years ago.”

“The Church of England is now recommending that same-sex relationships be blessed in the church. Even though they are our mother, I want you to know that we cannot and we will not go in that direction. We will resist them and, with our other GAFCON brothers and sisters, will stand with those in the Church of England who continue to uphold the Bible as the Word of God and promote Biblical faith and morality,” he said.

Plea to hold bishop liable for secession from the Episcopal Church dismissed: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
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A South Carolina court has dismissed a motion brought by the national Episcopal Church to add in his personal capacity, Bishop Mark Lawrence, and three diocesan officials to the lawsuit over the Diocese of South Carolina’s properties.

On 30 December 2013, Judge Diane Goodstein dismissed the Episcopal Church in South Carolina’s argument that Bishop Lawrence and the other church leaders should be made personally responsible for the secession of the diocese from the national Church. The court found there was no reason to single out specific members of the clergy for a vote taken by the diocese as a whole.

The court also dismissed a request by the national Church for an order barring loyalists in the diocese from saying they were the true Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. The matter has been set down for trial in July.

Diocesan spokesman Canon Jim Lewis said: “We are grateful that Judge Goodstein dismissed this most recent effort to harass our people with time-consuming, expensive litigation,” adding the “the judge’s decision ends the legal fishing expedition and forces all to focus on the only issue that matters: whether our religious freedom is protected.”

Chester priest pleads guilty to child porn charges: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

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A Merseyside vicar has plead guilty in the Liverpool Crown Court to 16 counts of possessing child pornography.

On 3 Jan 2014 the Rev. Ian Hughes, (46) former priest in charge of St. Luke’s Poulton and St. Paul’s Seacombe in Wirral in the Diocese of Chester admitted to possessing over 8000 images and films  depicting child pornography and bestiality. Following his arrest on 22 May 2013 the Diocese of Chester suspended Hughes from his benefice and he was stood down as governor of the Wallasey School Park Primary.

Judge David Aubrey QC adjourned sentencing until 28 January 2014 pending the submission of a pre-sentencing report. However he told Hughes he could face imprisonment as “all sentencing options were open to the court.”

Eastbourne priest arrested on child abuse charges: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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A priest of the Diocese of Chichester was arrested by police last month on suspicion of having sexually abused a 12 year old boy in 1988. On 3 Dec 2013 the 56 year old man, identified as the Rev. Jonathan Graves by the BBC ,was arrested at his home in Eastbourne by Sussex Police and held on “suspicion of acts of indecency, indecent assault and cruelty against a boy known to him”.

Mr. Graves, who currently does not have permission to officiate in the diocese, was released on bail and ordered to appear before a magistrate in April.

The allegations of abuse were referred to detectives following the 2011 review of diocesan records conducted by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss. Sussex Police stated the Diocese of Chichester were “co-operating fully” with the investigations, and further noted there were “currently no allegations of recent or current offending.”

Trinidad building appeal launched: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies.
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The Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago has launched a fundraising drive to restore one of the architectural landmarks of the Caribbean – Hayes Court, the historic episcopal residence of the island’s Anglican bishop.

On 3 Jan 2014 the Rt. Rev. Claude Berkley convened the Hayes Court Restoration Committee to lead a TT $24.1 million (£2.1 million) fundraising campaign to restore the colonial mansion. Listed on the Register of Monuments of the Greater Caribbean by the Organization of American States, Hayes Court stands along the western edge of Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain. Built in 1910 the great house stands in disrepair, riddled by termites, a leaking roof, crumbling stucco walls and pealing and cracked paint.

“It is our vision to restore Hayes Court to its former splendour as a centre of Anglican excellence while preserving a heritage site that we feel can serve to inspire pride and appreciation for our rich cultural legacy,” Bishop Berkley said.


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