Gov-Gen backs gay marriage/republic for Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, November 29, 2013 November 28, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Marriage.
Tags: gay marriage, monarchy, Quentin Bryce
add a comment
Governor-General Quentin Bryce has endorsed gay marriage and a republican form of government for Australia.
Appointed Australia’s first female governor-general in 2008 by then Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Mrs. Bryce, the former governor of Queensland, stated on 22 November 2013 in a lecture delivered in Sydney that she hoped Australia would become a nation were “people are free to love and marry whom they choose”.
“And where perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation’s first head of state.”
The governor-general’s comments prompted some political leaders to call for her dismissal, while others endorsed her views.
NSW state MP David Elliott, who in 1999 led the “no republic” coalition that fought attempts to make Australia a republic and remove the Queen as head of state said: “If Quentin Bryce wants to debate policy and legislation she should run for parliament, not use her vice-regal position to pursue her own political agenda.”
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young told the Associated Press she was pleased the governor general had spoken out. “To have the governor-general step forward and say this is something Australians care about, and as the governor-general, she believes that marriage equality is a human right … it’s hugely influential across all voter groups.”
However, Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott – a staunch opponent of gay marriage a supporter of the monarchy — said he was not perturbed. “It’s more than appropriate for the governor-general approaching the end of her term to express a personal view.”
Mrs. Bryce is expected to step down in March, 2014.
“Cross does not save” says Australia’s first diocesan woman bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, November 29, 2013 November 28, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Women Priests.
Tags: Diocese of Grafton, Sara Macneil
1 comment so far
The Diocese of Grafton has appointed Australia’s first diocesan woman bishop.
On 17 November 2013 a twelve member Nomination Board appointed by the diocesan synod selected the Rev. Dr. Sara Macneil to be the 11th bishop of the New South Wales diocese.
In a statement released on the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn website, Dr Macneil, the Senior Associate Priest at Holy Covenant in Jamison, ACT, said she was “surprised, overwhelmed, humbled” to be appointed Australia’s first female diocesan bishop.
“I am awed by the confidence placed in me by the [Grafton Diocese] appointment board and by their willingness to be trailblazers,” she said.
She told the ABC: “There’ll be lots of people for whom it’s unexpected that a woman has been elected. For some people for whom it will be unwelcome, I think there’ll be some scrutiny but there’ll also be, for a lot of people, a lot of excitement and joy.”
While women have been appointed assistant bishops in Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane, none have been elected to the episcopate. While serving as Archdeacon of Canberra in 2008 she stood for election as bishop in that diocese, but was not elected.
In 2011 Dr. Macneil abruptly quit as Dean of Adelaide, telling the congregation of St. Peter’s Cathedral she was resigning as she could “no longer work with integrity at diocesan level.”A member of the liberal wing of the Australian church, Dr. Macneil rejects the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, journalist the Rev. David Ould reports, and has argued the “cross does not save” but it is “Jesus’ presence among us” that saves. The bishop-elect also has gone on record endorsing the ordination to the priesthood of candidates who are in same-sex relationships — a stance at odds with the church’s teachings.
A onetime member of the Australian diplomatic corps, Dr. Macneil declined to elaborate on the reason she was resigning less than two years after her appointment as South Australia’s first female Dean – and the first woman to be appointed to the post in an Australian capital city.
Unlike other Australian dioceses, where the choice of bishop is made by the synod, in the diocese of Grafton a 12 member committee composed of six clergy and six lay members is elected by the synod to select and then appoint the bishop.
The choice of a new bishop for Grafton fell to a 12 member committee Other women have been consecrated as assistant bishops within Australian Anglican dioceses and, overseas, women have been made diocesan bishops but this is a national first for Australia.
Dr. Macneil’s election comes at a difficult time for the diocese. Her predecessor, the Rt. Rev. Keith Slater, resigned in May 2013 in the wake of an abuse scandal involving the Church of England North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore.
On 18 November 2013 a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began hearings on the diocese’s conduct in the North Coast Children’s Home affair.
However, Bishop-elect Macneil stated: “In recent times the Diocese of Grafton has faced financial difficulties and is now appearing before the Royal Commission… There is a determination among the people of the diocese to understand what has gone wrong in the past, to ensure that it does not happen again and to embrace the future with hope, trusting in God.”
Tags: Australia, Roy Morgan Research Ltd
add a comment
Islam is not a religion of peace in the minds of the majority of Australians, a survey conducted on behalf of the Q Society of Australia reports. The survey undertaken by Roy Morgan Research Ltd shows indicates a majority of Australians believe the assimilation of Muslim immigrants is not working as 70 per cent believe the country is not a better place because of Islam.
The survey, completed in late October, found a majority (53 per cent) of Australians want full face coverings banned from public spaces and 50.2 per cent want Islamic sharia law banned all together.
Older Australians and those who voted for the governing Liberal/National parties coalition were helding harsher views of Islam than did Green party supporters or younger voters. However, only 15 per cent of Australians think Islam and terrorism are not related, while proposals by secularist and multi-cultural advocates to cancel state Christmas, Easter or ANZAC Day celebrations in order not to offend non-Christians is endorsed by only 3.5 per cent of those surveyed.
Q Society spokesman Andrew Horwood said the poll results validate in their opinion the need for “new strategies and policies. While followers of most religions seem to get along well, Australian politicians must acknowledge Islam is not just another religion and the growing concern is not a fringe issue,” he said.
The Q Society of Australia is a civil rights advocacy group founded in 2010 whose members are “concerned about the socio-political problems associated with the rise of Islam and sharia law in Australia; as well as religiously-motivated human rights abuses against religious minorities in many OIC-member countries,” its website states.
Oxfordshire priest imprisoned for child abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, November 29, 2013 November 28, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Christopher Tadman-Robins
add a comment
A NSM priest in the Diocese of Oxford and former magistrate has been sentenced to prison for child abuse.
On 22 Nov 2013 the Rev. Christopher Tadman-Robins (66) was sentenced to two and half years imprisonment by the Luton Crown Court after having been convicted last month of five counts of sexually abusing a ten year old girl.
Ordained in 1989 Dr. Tadman-Robins had sat as a magistrate in Witney, and had taught music. He was also the former musical director of the Northern Ballet.
While his barrister pleaded with the court for his client to be spared a term of imprisonment as no other complaints of abuse had been made, Judge Philip Bartle QC said his past good deeds would not spare him.
“Your victim was aged from 10 to 12 and you were in your 50s. The impact on her of these offences has been devastating. She has suffered untold stress and has self-harmed.”
“Your actions took away her innocence which is something from which she will never recover,” the judge said as he handed down sentence.
Following his conviction last month, the Bishop of Dorchester noted Dr Tadman-Robins had served as a non-stipendiary curate in the Burford Benefice from 1989-1992. “Since then he has held no ecclesiastical office in the Diocese of Oxford, but used to take occasional services at the invitation of the parish clergy in West Oxfordshire. His permission to officiate was withdrawn as soon as he was arrested last year.”
“Any case like this is a matter of sorrow and regret for the Church of England. We recognise that the suffering of survivors of sexual abuse is profound and long lasting. The Church of England will not tolerate abusive behaviour in its clergy or anyone else for whom we have responsibility. We take allegations of offences such as these extremely seriously and always work closely with the statutory authorities to ensure abusers are brought to justice.”
“We would expect Dr Tadman-Robins to be referred for barring and prohibited from ever holding office in the Church of England again as a result of his conviction,” Bishop Colin Fletcher said.
Peer’s objections to central heating overruled by church court: The Church of England Newspaper, November 22, 2013 November 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in Canon Law, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Chichester, Lady Margaret Baldwin, Re Burwash Weald St. Philip  Chichester Const Ct
add a comment
The Consistory Court of the Diocese of Chichester has overruled objections to the installation of a heating system for St. Philip’s Church in Burwash, holding the objections made by a nonegarian peer, while no doubt well intentioned, had “served in this instance only to obfuscate and delay the carrying out of the now long-overdue process of renewing the heating system”.
In Re Burwash Weald St. Philip  Chichester Const Ct, Chancellor Mark Hill QC, noted Lady Margaret Baldwin, a prominent member of the congregation, had made formal objections to the installation of a natural gas boiler and radiators to heat the church.
The chancellor wrote he had had “some difficulty in comprehending the nature of the objection advanced by Lady Baldwin,” which had been made in a “good number” of letters written in “dense text in a small font.”
“Their content strays considerably from relevant material – they are at times contradictory and at others repetitive.
“Lady Baldwin expresses herself to be animated by ‘habitual concern for the congregation’ – a worthy objective, but an intrusive and debilitating one if the concern is misplaced or rooted in a flawed understanding of the proposals.”
Chancellor Hill said the objections by Lady Baldwin, who was well into her 90’s, centered round fears the installation of central heating would damage the organ, which had been accidentally damaged during renovations in 1962.
The parochial council had engaged an “eminently qualified” architect to oversee the project had had raised the £51,000 necessary to undertake the project through a public appeal and a loan facilitated by the Diocesan Board of Finance.
He added: “As a dispassionate observer, I am saddened that Lady Baldwin’s ‘habitual concern for the congregation’ seems to have served in this instance only to obfuscate and delay the carrying out of the now long-overdue process of renewing the heating system.
“It has led to further faculty fees and may have increased the overall cost for the parish. That is much to be regretted,” the judge ruled in granting the faculty.
Westminster Hall debate highlights persecution of Christians in the Middle East: The Church of England Newspaper, November 22, 2013 November 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
1 comment so far
Christians are in danger of being driven out of the Middle East, MP Fiona Bruce warned last week, urging the British government to aid the victims of the campaign of terror waged by militant Islamists.
In remarks made at a Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Mrs. Bruce, the member for Congleton (Cons.) highlighted findings of a newly released report prepared by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The report, “Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2011-2013”, found that intolerance had grown in 20 of the 30 countries surveyed.
“In virtually every country in and around the [Middle East], Christians report suffering either high, high to extreme, or extreme persecution,” she said.
Christians “have suffered from a domino effect of violence that began in Iraq, spread to Syria and overshadows Egypt, leaving the survival of the Church in jeopardy.”
“We should be crying out with the same abhorrence and horror that we feel about the atrocities towards Jews on Kristallnacht and on other occasions during the Second World War,” she said.
The member for Upper Bann, David Simpson (DUP) told the gathering ““Every hour, a Christian is tortured and murdered somewhere in the world.”
“Surely, in this day and age, something more can be done to protect people and their faith,” he said.
David Burrowes MP said: “The term ‘Christian persecution’ is sometimes bandied about carelessly… if there is Christian persecution in this country then at worst its victim is likely to be sued, but in the Middle East the victim will be killed. That is the stark reality that we are facing…”
The member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Tom Geatrex (Lab.) warned of problems facing Christians in Malaysia, where a court “has effectively outlawed the Bible, particularly in the eastern states of Malaysia”, after ruling that the word “Allah” may only be used in the context of the Muslim faith.
Other members of Parliament spoke of the persecution Christians faced in Iran, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. Mrs. Bruce observed the problem of militant Islam was not confined to the Middle East. “Western Muslims are going to fight alongside jihadists in Syria… returning home to become potential jihadists themselves.”
“Western countries are not fully grappling with this problem,” she said.
Foreign Office Minister, Hugo Swire MP, said the government was aware of the problem and noted that “protecting human rights, including religious freedom, is an important part of British foreign policy.”
Ban on divorced/remarried Catholics from receiving Communion reaffirmed: The Church of England Newspaper, November 22, 2013 November 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Marriage, Roman Catholic Church.
Tags: Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Robert Zollitsch
1 comment so far
Divorced and remarried Roman Catholics may not receive Holy Communion, the Vatican has told the German Catholic church.
In letter dated Oct 21, 2013, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller directed the Archdiocese of Freiburg im Breisgau to retract its pastoral guidelines that permitted priests to “respect” the wishes of divorced and remarried Catholics who chose to receive the Sacraments.
The new policy introduced following the retirement of Archbishop Robert Zollitsch on 17 September 2013, said if divorced and remarried Catholics had made a “responsible moral decision” to receive Communion, their consciences should be respected.
The new policy was contrary to church teaching and “would cause confusion among the faithful about the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage,” Archbishop Müller wrote in his letter, published in the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost on Nov 11, 2013.
However, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, told Die Tagespost Archbishop Müller’s letter was not the final word.
“The prefect of the Congregation cannot end the discussion,” Cardinal Marx said. “We will see that this is discussed further, but with what result, I do not know.”
Typhoon Haiyan rocks the Philippines: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2013 November 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, Episcopal Church of the Philippines.
Tags: Typhoon Haiyan
add a comment
Church aid agencies have issue a call for help following the landfall of Typhoon Haiyan in the Central Philippines.
At least 10,000 people are feared dead around the city of Tacloban, 375 miles south-east of Manila and the death toll is expected to mount sharply after communications are restored to the south-eastern province of Leyte.
The head of the Philippines Red Cross described the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, renamed Yolanda in the Philippines, as “absolute pandemonium” while Philippine Consul General in London said “the world has never seen a storm like this before”. The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council stated that approximately 4.28 million people have been affected by the storm, while UNICEF reports 405,000 children are in immediate need of food and shelter.
Oenone Chadburn, Tearfund’s Head of Disaster Management, reported: ‘We’ve been in emergency communication with our partners and their networks of churches, across the Philippines, all weekend.
“Together we’re initiating emergency food distributions and our church networks are planning emergency shelter-and-blanket distributions, as well as child-focused protection work. What we need now is the money to run these,” she said.
On 11 November 2013 the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said his “heart goes out to the people there. We are all deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of thousands of lives and of the suffering of millions as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.”
“Our prayers are with all who have lost loved ones and all those who are traumatised by the disaster and in desperate need of food, water, shelter and medical attention. We pray for those who are most vulnerable in this crisis: children separated from their parents, the sick and injured, the disabled and the elderly.”
“As a Church, we will stand beside the people of the Philippines at this devastating time, offering all we can in practical and spiritual support as the scale of the disaster unfolds,” the archbishop said.
“May the victims of this terrible storm know God’s comfort and derive strength from their faith.”
Bishop of Wakefield to lead city church: The Church of England Newspaper, November 23, 2013 November 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: St Michael's Cornhill, Stephen Platten
add a comment
The Bishop of London has appointed the Rt. Rev. Stephen Platten to be rector of the medieval church of St. Michael’s Cornhill in the City of London. Bishop Platten will take up his appointment following the merger of the Diocese of Wakefield into the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales on Easter Sunday 2014.
Bishop Platten said: “Eleven years is the longest I have ever served in one place and one puts down real roots so I shall be sad to say farewell to so many people and friendships in and well beyond the Church of England.
“I shall also miss all those familiar and beautiful views in the landscape of such a fascinating diocese – thanks to all who have given me so much!”
In addition to his parish post, Bishop Platten will serve as an honorary assistant Bishop in the Diocese of London. In January 2014 he will also assume the chairmanship of the Hymns Ancient and Modern charitable trust. He will also continue in his post as chairman of the governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
Born in London and educated at the Stationers’ Company’s School in Hornsey and the University of London, Bishop Platten trained for the ministry at Cuddesdon Theological College and Trinity College, Oxford.
He served as a priest in Oxford, Lincoln and Portsmouth dioceses and as Tutor of Ethics and Chaplain at Lincoln Theological College, before becoming the then Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Ecumenical Affairs in 1990. In 1995, he became Dean of Norwich and was enthroned as the Bishop of Wakefield in July 2003.
Rochester vicar suspended for 8 years for sexual misconduct: The Church of England Newspaper, November 22, 2013 November 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Rochester, Paul Meier
add a comment
A disciplinary tribunal has banned a Diocese of Rochester vicar from serving in the ministry of the Church of England for eight years.
In a decision handed down last week, the Rev. Paul Meier vicar of St Margaret’s Church in Horsmonden and youth missioner for the Storrington deanery in West Sussex for the Diocese of Rochester, had engaged in gross misconduct for having had an affair with an 18-year old girl.
Mr. Meier had been suspended in October 2012 from his benefice after a complaint was made that he had engaged in a sexual affair with an 18 year old girl who had attended his youth group.
The tribunal learned the 47-year old married father of two whom he had known the girl and her family for at least six years prior to the incident and that the girl was “unbalanced”.
The relationship began in 2007, the tribunal learned, and in 2008 Mr. Meier invited the girl, then 18, to move in to his family home.
Mr. Meier had “hoped for further sexual intimacy” with the girl, Judge John Lodge, the chairman of the tribunal, observed. However, in 2008 the girl’s parents had their daughter admitted to a psychiatric unit for evaluation and treatment.
Judge Lodge held: ”The complainant became mentally disturbed, as evidenced by attempts to self-harm, and she acted bizarrely.
“Mr Meier admits the complainant self-harmed and that she told him about it. Rather than cease his misconduct and provide her with the support she needed and deserved, he allowed things to continue unchanged.”
Mr. Meier’s actions were “inappropriate to the work of a clerk in Holy Orders,” the tribunal ruled, and suspended him from the ministry for eight years.
St Peter’s relics to be placed on public display by the Vatican: Church of England Newspapaer, November 15, 2013 November 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Roman Catholic Church.
Tags: St Peter, Year of Faith
The Vatican will mark the conclusion of the “Year of Faith” with the first public exhibition of the the relics of St. Peter, the Apostle and first Bishop of Rome.
On 8 November 2013 Msgr. Rino Fisichella, president for the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, announced in an editorial published in the semi-official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano St. Peter’s relics will be removed from their grotto and placed on display to mark the close of the Year of Faith on 24 November.
The editorial did not offer further details, but announced the Year of Faith – a major evangelization initiative for the Roman Catholic Church – will conclude on Sunday the 24th with Pope Francis celebrating the Eucharist in St Peter’s Square.
Pensions Board asks for fossil fuels review: Church of England Newspaper, November 15, 2013 November 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Church of England Pensions Board
The Church of England Pensions Board has lent it support to a request by 70 global pension funds to the world’s major energy companies, asking them to investigate how the push to combat man-made climate change will impact the profitability of their businesses.
On 24 October 2013 the 70 pension funds published an open letter to the top 45 oil, gas, coal and electric companies asking them to complete the study by the end of the first quarter of 2014. Because the capital investments required to extract gas, oil and coal take years to recoup, the pension funds stated the risk of future regulations that would limit production or impose expensive pollution-control requirements could reduce the industry’s profitability.
The letter signed by the Church of England Pensions Board, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, Rockefeller & Co., and the treasurers of half a dozen U.S. states, represents almost $3 trillion in investments.
“The underlying question here is the billions of dollars that are being invested” is prudent in light of the changing regulatory environment, the head of the California’s State Teachers’ Retirement System, Jack Ehnes, told the Associated Press.
Kenyan Anglican elected WCC moderator: Church of England Newspaper, November 15, 2013 November 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, WCC.
Tags: Agnes Aboum
A lay woman from the Anglican Church of Kenya, Dr. Agnes Aboum, has been elected moderator of the World Council of Churches.
The 150-member Central Committee of the Christian ecumenical organization elected Dr. Abuom last week at its 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea held from 30 October to 8 November 2013. She will be the first woman and first African to hold the post.
As moderator Dr. Abuom will lead the WCC’s highest government body. The administrative head of the WCC is its general secretary the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit of Norway.
“My open prayer is that we shall move forward together, in the next years, despite our diversities that have the potential to divide us,” Dr. Abuom said shortly after her election, “…and that the WCC will continue to remain an instrument for providing a safe space for all who can come and share their hopes, aspirations and visions, and prophetic voice.”
According to a press hand out from the WCC, Dr. Aboum said the prophetic voice is vital for “ecumenism in the 21st century and the church in our world today.”
As the first woman moderator of the worldwide body, Aboum says the model of consensus discernment “resonates very well with femine decision-making processes,” consultative and careful listening and seeking to understand the other person’s perspective.
Dr. Abuom has served on the WCC Executive Committee, representing the Anglican Church of Kenya. She is also a development consultant serving both Kenyan and international organizations coordinating social action programmes for religious and civil society across Africa.
Dr. Abuom was the Africa regional president for the WCC from 1999 to 2006. She has been associated with the All Africa Conference of Churches and WCC member churches in Africa. She is a co-president of the Religions for Peace and the National Council of Churches of Kenya.
Nigerian plea to keep politics out of church: Church of England Newspaper, November 15, 2013 November 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Politics.
Tags: Emmanuel Chukwuma, Holy Ghost Adoration Camp Ground
A stampede that killed 28 people at the close of a vigil at a Catholic festival in South Eastern Nigeria has led to calls from church leaders to ban politicians from canvassing voters at church services.
Details as to the cause of the sudden rush of the crowd at the Holy Ghost Adoration Camp Ground in Anambra State remain unclear. But at approximately 6:00 am on Saturday 2 November 2013 the crowd of 100,000 began to rush towards the exits, trampling scores of worshippers and killing 28.
The National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor , urged the Anambra governor Peter Obi to launch an inquiry into the tragedy. However, the chairman of CAN in South East Nigeria, the Anglican Bishop of Enugu,the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, said the federal government should investigate the disaster.
Leaders of the governor’s political party have called for the arrest of opposition candidate in the forthcoming gubernatorial election, Senator Chris Ngigie saying his comments to the crowd had caused the stampede – a charge the senator has denied.
Speaking to reporters after the disaster, Bishop Chukwuma said: “It is my own duty as CAN chairman, South East to ban all politicians from attending our churches with their teams for campaigns. The church should also steer clear of partisan politics because there are different kinds of people in the church that belong to different political parties.”
“So it is wrong to come into the church and begin to talk about manifestos. It is not going to be acceptable any more because it causes commotion and disrespect for one another.
“We appeal to bishops, priests, pastors and clergymen to please avoid politicians coming to use churches as campaign arena. This does not augur well for our spiritual growth.
“We therefore urge the Federal Government to set up a probe panel to find out what actually happened because we feel very much worried. Since the state government is involved, I think there should be a neutral body for the investigation,” Bishop Chukwuma said on behalf of CAN.
Tutu calls for boycott of Commonwealth summit: Church of England Newspaper, November 15, 2013 November 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of Ceylon, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Desmond Tutu, Sri Lanka
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has lent his support to the call by Tamil leaders for a boycott of next week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
On 7 November 2013 the South African Nobel Laureate urged Commonwealth heads of government to skip the meeting in protest over “war crimes” committed by the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse.
Approximately 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the Sri Lanka’s civil war, a 2009 U.N. report claimed, as government troops shelled rebel held territories in the north of the island. The U.N. report also accused the rebel Tamil Tigers of shooting civilians who attempted to flee the war zone. In the war’s aftermath the government has been accused of using violence to suppress political dissent and has jailed journalists for voicing critical views.
On 11 November the Indian government announced that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would honor the boycott and skip the meeting, while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week said he would stay away in protest to Colombo’s treatment of the Tamils. Both governments will send lower level delegations to the 51-nation summit.
Prime Minister David Cameron stated he would attend, but will ask “serious questions” of Mr. Rajapakse after having viewed a “chilling documentary” detailing the closing months of the war.
“I will raise my concerns when I see president Rajapakse next week in Colombo,” Mr. Cameron said, “and I will tell him that if Sri Lanka doesn’t deliver an independent investigation, the world will need to ensure an international investigation is carried out instead.”
“If there are enough reasons to suggest that the Sri Lanka government have not been doing things with integrity, I think the world has to apply all the screws that it can,” Archbishop Tutu said. “And a boycott of the CHOGM could be one of them.”
Australian diocese warns it may opt out of marriage: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013 November 11, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of North West Australia, Gary Nelson, gay marriage
The Bishop of North West Australia has warned that if the state or federal governments legalize same-sex marriage, Anglican clergy in his diocese would no longer serve as marriage registrars.
The statement by the Rt. Rev. Gary Nelson follows the decision last month by the Australian Capital Territory to legalize same-sex marriage – a move that has been challenged by the federal government as being unconstitutional.
Bishop Nelson told The Western Australian “If we were compelled as marriage celebrants to marry same-sex couples then, as far as this diocese is concerned, I would be withdrawing my approval for ministers to act as marriage celebrants.
The bishop said his clergy would be permitted to perform marriage services according to the rites of the Church, but couples married in the church would need to go to a civil registrar to have their marriage recognized by the state.
Australia was in the midst of a culture war between those holding a traditional Christian worldview and post-modernists.
“The post-war rise of deconstructionism impacted ethical thinking, suggesting that humans are free to create their own natures and decide upon their own purposes — so marriage could be regarded as one social construct among many,” he said.
“But in forming an ethical position, you have to decide if you are committed to a relative or absolute set of values. For us as Anglicans and Christians, we ask what is the Bible, as God’s disclosed word, saying on any issue.”
Bishop Nelson told The Western Australian he would be voting “no” at the 14 November 2013 provincial council meeting when the Diocese of Perth motion on same-sex marriage is reviewed.
The bishop said the Perth motion “seems benign, but the underlying perspective is not consistent with the official view of the Anglican Church held recently and historically.”
Keep guns out of church, pleads Kenya’s archbishop: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013 November 11, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Eliud Wabukala, gun control
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya has denounced a call by Mombasa clergy that they be given guns to protect themselves from the depredations of criminals and Islamist militants.
“As church leaders, we should be on the forefront preaching for peace and reconciliation. Churches are places of worship and not a battlefield,” Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said on 1 November 2013.
On 20 October 2013 a pastor at a Pentecostal church in Mombasa was shot to death in his church’s sanctuary. At his funeral church leaders called upon the government to protect ministers – or give them the means to do so.
The call to arms received the cautious support of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), which last week issued a statement saying it supported the right of clergy to bear arms, if they complied with civil laws concerning the registration and use of guns.
However, Archbishop Wabukala told the congregation gathered at Bishop Hannington’s Teachers College in Mumias, guns were no guarantee of safety.
“AK47 rifle will never secure anyone’s security. I beg to differ with my fellow pastors because even if they are issued with guns, how will they protect themselves from a mob. They should ask Kenyans to repent and live in peace,” the archbishop said.
It was the responsibility of “government to provide security to all. No single person can protect himself. We need everyone to be protected regardless of their position in society.”
“The murder of the pastor was wrong; the attacks on churches should be stopped. All places of worship should be respected whether it’s a church, a mosque, a temple or even a traditional shrine. We should be tolerant with those who don’t believe in our religion because we are all Kenyans,” the archbishop said according to an account of his sermon printed in The Standard.
Episcopal Church sees 24% decline in 10 years: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013 November 11, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
The number of Episcopalians at worship on Sundays in the United States has declined by 24 per cent over the last ten years, statistics released last week by the church’s national office in New York reveal.
The church’s Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) in 2012 for domestic and overseas dioceses was 679,923 – a decline of 2.6 per cent from 2011.
In 2002 the ASA for the domestic dioceses of the Episcopal Church was 846,640. In 2012 the domestic ASA was 640,142; a decline of 206,498 or 24 per cent over ten years. The secession of the Diocese of South Carolina last year is not reflected in these figures.
Baptized membership declined by 29,679 in 2012 to 2,066,710, the Episcopal Church reported on 31 October 2013, with growth in baptized membership reported in only 33 domestic dioceses. Twelve dioceses saw growth in their ASA in 2012. The Diocese of Nevada saw the greatest percentage and numeric growth in attendance of any diocese, 6.9 per cent or 165 people, while the Diocese of Ohio had the steepest decline: 1,150 or 14.4 per cent.
Perth archbishop vetoes same-sex marriage motion: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013 November 11, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Perth, gay marriage, Roger Herft
The Archbishop of Perth has withheld his consent to a synod motion affirming same-sex marriage.
On 28 October 2013, the Most. Rev. Roger Herft vetoed a motion put forward by the Rev. Chris Bedding that “acknowledge[s] that legal recognition of same-sex relationships may co-exist with legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman.”
Mr. Bedding had brought the motion to the 2012 meeting of synod, where it passed on a majority vote. However, Archbishop Herft withheld his consent saying the motion could be construed as being contrary to church teaching on marriage.
Mr. Bedding brought the motion a second time to the 2013 Perth synod last month, where it received a two thirds majority from the clergy and laity. He told the AAP the motion sought to counteract negative comments on same-sex marriage voiced by some Christian groups.
“When they come out and say things like ‘it’s unnatural to be gay’ or ‘it’s against the bible’ or ‘all Christians reject homosexual behaviour’ … we want to say ‘that’s not the case’,” he said.
“And if the government … goes ahead with any kind of recognition, whether that’s something as simple as changes to superannuation laws or marriage equality, we’re comfortable with that,” Mr. Beddings said.
In his letter explaining his reasons for vetoing the motion, the archbishop stated the word “recognition” connotes “formal acceptance. The Church cannot formally accept certain behaviors. “
Archbishop Herft, who comes from the liberal Catholic tradition, noted the theology behind the motion was faulty. The first part of the motion which recognizes sexual diversity and differing theologies on sexuality in the diocese “gives our sexual identity and theology on sexuality a place of prominence that is not theologically sound.”
The motion could be construed as being a statement in support of same-sex marriage, he added, and this violated the Book of Common Prayer’s teaching on marriage. “The members of synod who passed the motion may not have intended to depart from the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of the Anglican Church of Australia,” but that is the “effect of the motion.”
Archbishop Herft stated that he had referred to the matter to a special meeting of the Western Australia Provincial Council on 14 November 2013 for adjudication of the dispute between bishop and synod.
Gafcon fears a fire over England: The Church of England Newspaper, November 1, 2013 November 5, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, GAFCON.
Tags: Anglican Mission in England, Gavin Ashenden, John Guernsey, Pilling Report, Rod Thomas
The fear of fragmentation over the Pilling report and women bishops has led the 2nd Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) to adopt a statement pledging its members support to traditionalist evangelical and Anglo-Catholic members of the Church of England.
The Nairobi statement was adopted by the meeting on 26 October 2013 by acclamation, with only slight — but significant “no” voices raised. The Rev. Rod Thomas, vicar of St Matthew’s Elburton, Plymouth and chairman of Reform told The Church of England Newspaper he was very pleased. Mr. Thomas, a member of the writing committee that produced the document said “it sets a clear Gospel priority for Gafcon. It is designed to cary forward the work of encouragement and faithfulness … I’m delighted.”
The Rev. Dr. Gavin Ashenden,Vicar of St Martin de Gouray on Jersey, cautioned the document should not be read as a “Mosaic tablet. It is a fluid document” he explained that it was a multi-layered document written by committee for different audiences. However, the core principles enunciated were a reaffirmation for the 2008 Jerusalem Declaration and a shift of focus away from America to the U.K, he explained.
The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic of the Anglican Church in North America and chairman of the writing team, told delegates the text was not written before the meeting, but arose from its proceedings. After the opening plenary sessions, conference participants broke into “mini-conferences” that addressed topical issues facing Anglicans. Gafcon 2 boasted no invited speakers, with all of the presentations and mini-conferences presented by delegates.
Each delegate participated in a single session over the course of the conference, choosing in his registration his group: The Challenge of Islam, The Work of the Holy Spirit, Marriage and Family, Children and Youth, Gospel and Culture, Being Women of God, Aid and Development, Theological Education, and Episcopal Ministry. Over the 11 hours of sessions, that were structured as seminars to allow each participant voice in the deliberations, the mini-conferences produced several hundred recommendations for issues and items to be included in a final statement.
A draft document was presented to a plenary session of the conference on 25 October 2013. Gafcon general secretary Dr. Peter Jensen and Bishop Guernsey asked the conference to break into national or regional groups to offer substantive corrections and criticisms for review by the writing committee, which was composed of delegates from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, the Southern Cone of South America, US/Canada and England. Eight drafts were needed to produce the final document from the several hundred submissions, and the final four page document was presented in the closing session of the meeting.
Divided into two sections — an extended preamble and the Nairobi Commitment — the document began with a recital of the highlights of the conference and a history of the formation of the Gafcon movement, now identified as the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA). The document thanked the Archbishop of Canterbury as “he gave us the assurance of his prayers, and we likewise pray for him.’
It reaffirmed the GFCA’s evangelical theological principles and restated its denunciation of homosexual practices, affirmed the principle movements within the GFCA: Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and Charismatics, and recounted its support for the formation of the Anglican Church in North America.
The document went on to reaffirm its self-understanding as a fellowship of Anglicans, but noted at this stage in its life it needed to create institutional structures to support its work, asking delegates to provide funds for a staff and central/regional offices.
In the section entitled “Our Priorities” the document spoke to the core issues facing Gafcon and announced that it would provide support for embattled Anglicans whose provinces or dioceses had disowned them, or made their lives intolerable. Yet, the willy-nilly cross-border interventions of the past ten-years, which had been condemned in the Windsor Report, were ruled out. Future crossings of ecclesiastical boundaries by the Gafcon members would be taken only after the Gafcon Primates council came to a consensus on the need.
“Supporting genuine gospel initiatives, recognising that there are times when the maintenance of structures can constrain the proclamation of the gospel. In line with The Jerusalem Statement’s expectation that the Primates’ Council would intervene to provide ‘orthodox oversight to churches under false leadership’, the Primates’ Council will carefully consider working beyond existing structures as an obedient response to Jesus’ commission to take the gospel to all nations.”
Other priorities enunciated by the document included deepening “discipleship” as Christians, to the exclusion of “national, ethnic or tribal attachments.” Combatting the pernicious influence of secularism on the doctrines and discipline of the church, responding to the challenges of militant Islam and “work for the protection of the environment and the economic empowerment of those who are deprived of resources.”
These principles were then enunciated in the Nairobi Commitment, which included a specific pledge of support to traditionalists in the Church of England. “We commit ourselves to the support and defence of those who in standing for apostolic truth are marginalized or excluded from formal communion with other Anglicans in their dioceses. We have therefore recognized the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) as an expression of authentic Anglicanism both for those within and outside the Church of England, and welcomed their intention to appoint a General Secretary of AMiE.”
It was his hope that Gafcon would become a “non-geographic province”, Canon Ashenden said. “Not legally, but spirituality, psychologically” supporting clergy and laity marginalized by the existing order, he said.
Steps had to be taken now, he explained, so that if there was a crack up within the church over recommendations from the Pilling Report to provide pastoral rites for the blessing of gay civil partnerships, and when Synod endorsed the appointment of women bishops but declined to offer enforceable safeguards to those who could not accept this innovation, there would be one place to gather the diaspora.
While covering a vast amount of ground, the Nairobi Commitment was a clear call to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops of the General Synod of the Church of England. “Bishops have to decide,” Canon Ashenden said.between “Biblical orthodoxy” and the spirit of the age. “You must choose,” he said.
Makgoba urges Africa to end gay bashing: The Church of England Newspaper, November 1, 2013 November 5, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: gay bashing, Thabo Makgoba
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has lent his support to a campaign launched by the British NGO Human Rights Watch to combat gay bashing.
In a video released last week Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said “Don’t fear … you’ve been given this task of helping the rest of humanity to realize that we are called to respect and we are called to honor each other. People may come and say this is un-African, and I’m saying love cuts across culture.”
The Human Rights Watch campaign seeks to push back against statements and policies put forward by African governments and leaders that it considers homophobic. ”When you violate somebody on the basis of difference you’re not only violating them but you are demeaning yourself,” Makgoba says in the video. He exhorts leaders to take up their “moral responsibility to stop the violence against people who are different.”
“Archbishop Makgoba’s statement should serve as a call to national, religious, and cultural leaders across Africa who support the rights of LGBTI people to speak out publicly,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT Rights director for Human Rights Watch. “And the archbishop’s message of respect for everyone’s rights should challenge leaders who have opposed the rights of LGBTI people to reconsider their positions.”
West Indian economic crash prompts episcopal calls for thrift: The Church of England Newspaper, November 1, 2013 November 5, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
Tags: Diocese of Barbados, John Holder
An economic downturn and political turmoil in Barbados has prompted the Archbishop of the West Indies to challenge his countrymen to practice thrift and self-reliance. The Most Rev. John Holder has also tasked political leaders to set aside their political wrangling and work together to pull Barbados and the West Indies out of a protracted economic slump.
Last week the island’s Central Bank reported sharply lower foreign exchange reserves and a down turn in overseas investment, while economic growth was projected to be less than 1 per cent for the coming fiscal year. Last month the IMF forecast no grown for 2013 and 2014 for Barbados — marking it as one of the most sluggish economies in the hemisphere.
On 23 October 2013 Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler survived a no-confidence motion by a vote of 15-14. The Barbados Labour Party had charged the government with incompetence in managing the country’s fiscal affairs.
In response, Archbishop John Holder, the Bishop of Barbados, released a statement on 26 October with the church’s Advocacy and Social Justice Commission urging Barbadians to “use the coping and creative skills we have to ride out the recession and lay the groundwork for an economic rebound.”
“Barbadians of earlier times fought against the odds and laid the foundation for the quality of life we now enjoy,” the archbishop said, adding: “We are proud inheritors of such a spirit of fortitude and resilience, and we must show that we are capable of peacefully getting past the present economic setbacks and building a more prosperous and just nation.”
“We do have some control over our destiny. What we must not do is to throw up our hands in despair and just wait for the IMF’s dire forecast to be realised. Rather, we should use the unfavourable assessment as motivation to redouble our efforts to prove the predictions wrong.”
While crying up thrift for the people, the archbishop also challenged the government to institute social and economic reforms. “We must re-examine our systems and structures, and work to ensure that those Barbadians who consider themselves to be marginalised are given the opportunity to enjoy some of the benefits of a prosperous Barbados,” the statement said.
Politicians needed to do their part as well. “Leaders need to tone down the rhetoric and refrain from saying or doing anything which creates anxiety and despair. Instead, they should work together to find solutions to the problems which our nation faces. One up-manship and selfish actions will only serve to fracture the society at a time when unity is required,” the paper said.
Tags: Diocese of Qu’Appelle
Thieves have stolen the bishop of Qu’Appelle’s crozier from St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Regina.
The Diocese of Qu’Appelle reports that sometime in the last three weeks the antique bishop’s staff disappeared from the Saskatchewan cathedral. The police have been notified and local pawns shops informed of the theft.
The five and a half foot long staff was made in the 1880′s in London for the first bishop of the Canadian diocese and has a silver head encrusted with semi-precious stones. The Very Rev. Mike Sinclair, Dean of Qu’Appelle told the Regina Leader-Post the insurance value of the crozier was approximately C$15,000, but it was historical value made it irreplaciable for the diocese.
“It’s nearly impossible to sell,” he said, encouraging the thief to return the crozier.
“We’d love to have it back; it’s part of our family history, but at the same time we’re concerned for who has stolen it, that they don’t end up with more trouble than they need, when it would just be easy to return it.,” the dean said.
Arctic Cathedral in financial crunch: The Church of England Newspaper, October 24, 2013 October 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: David Parsons, Diocese of the Arctic, St Jude's Cathedral Iqaluit
The financial collapse of a builder may leave the Diocese of the Arctic without a cathedral.
In May the Canadian building firm Dowland Contracting Ltd went into receivership and filed for bankruptcy protection in July. One of the construction giant’s projects had been the rebuilding of St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral in Iqaluit, Nunavut [Baffin Island].
Last week the Rt. Rev. David Parsons, Bishop of the Arctic reported that Dowland’s receivers were demanding immediate payment of C$3 million plus $30,000 per month in interest. “This is a request that the diocese cannot meet without closure of the Cathedral and an end to the church’s ministry of compassion, hope and presence in the Arctic,” he said.
“We have always remained committed to paying the balance owing on the construction costs to date. But these new demands now threaten our very existence.”
In 2005 the igloo-shaped cathedral was destroyed when a young man set the building ablaze. The fire left the church unusable, while insurance proceeds were insufficient to cover the cost of a replacement. A nationwide fundraising campaign enable the diocese to begin rebuilding the cathedral and more than $7.5 million of the costs have been paid so far.
Bishop Parsons told The Church of England Newspaper the diocese was appealing for help and reaching “out across the Arctic and across Canada to ask people for their support and contributions toward paying off the Cathedral.”
“What I am doing is asking God to pay” the bill, he said. “I don’t know how God will work but let all know this, I, and I hope we, are looking to God for help and direction. We know that God often works through people and our plan is let our people and all else know that we need as many as possible to respond to our ongoing fundraising, so that our Cathedral will become debt free and we may have a service to consecrate it. Until it is paid off we cannot.”
The diocese will not lay off any of its employees, he said. “We actually wish to be able to expand our ministries and we are seeking God’s direction and our people’s help for this and the cooperation of the receiver. Until the receiver decides how he will respond to our situation, nothing will change,” he said.
“We have always been faithful stewards who have not gone back on our word. As we promised Dowland, we will pay our bills when the money comes in. Until it does, we cannot. Everyone, including the receiver for Dowland needs to know this,” the bishop said.
Teachers’ union denounces church reform plea: The Church of England Newspaper, October 24, 2013 October 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: South African Democratic Teachers Union
South Africa’s Teacher’s Union has denounced a plea from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to devote itself to teaching and eschew politics, saying the church had become a tool of “imperialist” parasites and an ally of reactionary politicians.
Secular and religious education was among the chief topics of debate at the ACSA synod last week. Delegates gathered in Benoni, a suburb of Johannesburg, urged Anglican members of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) to “either to transform the trade union into a body that truly serves the cause of education, or resign from Sadtu,” a church press release stated.
With 260,000 members the SADTU represents approximately 70 per cent of the country’s state school teachers. A political ally of the ruling African National Congress, the union has been criticized by education reformers for its frequent strikes, poor teaching standards and alleged corruption.
The synod denounced teacher “corruption and laziness which deprives our children of the education they deserve” and called upon the union to “refrain from destructive stay-aways.”
In a statement released last week, Sadtu responded the church’s complaints about the country’s poor state schools were misplaced. “We maintain that the majority of our members are dedicated to the profession but are frustrated by the fact that they are not receiving sufficient support like resources to teach in schools and are not sufficiently developed in order to teach the new curriculum.”
The church should stay out of politics, the union said. Its condemnation was an “opportunist”, “antagonistic” and “reactionary resolution”.
“We reject the synod’s call with the contempt it deserves and its attempt to interfere in labour issues and the rights that we fought for.”
Allah ban upheld by Malaysian court: The Church of England Newspaper, October 24, 2013 October 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of South East Asia.
Tags: al-Kitab, Bolly Lapk, Malaysia
A Malaysian Court of Appeal has forbidden a Catholic newspaper from using the word “Allah” to refer to God, ruling the use of the Arabic word for God was not a central tenet of the Christian faith.
On 14 October 2013 the three judge court of appeal overturned a 2009 Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling which rejected the Malaysian government’s ban against using the word “Allah” by the Herald, a Catholic newspaper published in Malay.
“Our common finding is that the usage of Allah is not an integral part of the Christian faith. We cannot find why the parties are so adamant on the usage of the word,” the court wrote last week.
Using “Allah” in a Malay language newspaper would confuse Muslims, the court said, and in the interest of public safety it granted the government’s appeal. “The welfare of an individual or group must yield to the interest of society at large,” wrote Justice Mohamed Apandi in his ruling.
Christian leaders reacted strongly to the verdict. The Primate of the Church of the Province of South East Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, Bishop of Sarawak said Anglicans would continue to use the word “Allah”.
“For an outsider to say that the use of the word Allah is ‘not integral to the Christian faith’ is excessive, utterly irresponsible and grossly demeaning, to say the least. The Church does not need an apologist from outside to decree what is integral or not regarding her faith,” he said in a statement released after the decision was published.
“In fact, the ruling has far-reaching implications. It is not only insensitive to Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, but it is an insidious aberration to the spirit of Muhibbah (harmony), which the government has been so desperately trying to promote among all Malaysians. It is repugnant to the universal common sense.”
The government, however, was quick to assure Christians that the Allah ban applied only to the Herald and not to other Christian publications. The ban on the use of the word Allah only applies to the Catholic weekly, Herald, and not other Christian publications or the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia bible which is widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, said Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
First woman archbishop for Sweden elected: The Church of England Newspaper, October 24, 2014 October 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Central Florida Episcopalian, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Sweden.
Tags: Antje Jackelén
The Church of Sweden has elected the Rt. Rev. Antje Jackelén, Bishop of Lund as Archbishop of Uppsala and primate of the Church of Sweden. The 15 October 2013 vote by the Swedish synod makes Dr. Jackelén the church’s first woman archbishop.
Dr. Jackelén is the second Archbishop of Uppsala to be elected by popular vote following the disestablishment of the Church of Sweden on 1 January 2000, and she succeeds Archbishop Anders Wejryd who was elected in 2006.
A native of Germany, Bishop Jackelén was ordained a priest in 1980 and served parishes in the dioceses of Stockholm and Lund from 1981 to 1996. In 1999 she earned a doctor of theology degree at Lund University, with a doctoral dissertation Zeit und Ewigkeit: die Frage der Zeit in Kirche, Naturwissenschaft und Theologie was published in English in 2005 as: Time & eternity: the question of time in church, science, and theology. She taught at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago from 2001 to 2006, when she was elected Bishop of Lund.
A member of the liberal wing of the Swedish Church, Bishop Jackelén is a prolific social commentator and was Sweden’s first twitter bishop and publishes a micro blog about her work and beliefs. In an interview published in the Swedish church newspaper Kyrkans Tidning, Bishop Jackelén defended herself against charges she was cold and aloof. “I think I have many warm and close relationships,” she said, but in her job as bishop she came in contact with “an incredible number of people, I cannot be everything to everyone.”
She also objected to making belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ a benchmark of the Christian faith. “It is strange that the question of the virgin birth has become something of a faith test,” she told Kyrkans Tidning, adding the Bible had been interpreted in different ways across time and cultures and that many different cultures had made use of a virgin birth as a way to show a particular person’s self-importance.
“I am more afraid of those who claim to know everything, than anyone who claims to wrestle with the Bible,” she said.
Tags: Diocese of Bathurst, Ian Palmer
The Bishop of Bathurst in New South Wales reports the Commonwealth Bank has frozen diocesan bank accounts in an attempt to recoup A$36 million debt.
In a letter to his diocese read to churches on 6 Oct 2013, the Rt. Rev. Ian Palmer reported the garnishment would not touch parish accounts or diocesan payroll accounts. “At the moment there are some accounts that are frozen, these are affecting myself ,“ he wrote, adding “it’s affecting things like being able to use a credit card, but it’s not affecting wages.”
“I am unable to see clearly what the diocese may look like in the future,” he said, as the debt “is large and we cannot repay the bank in full.”
Last year, Bishop Palmer’s predecessor, the Rt. Rev. Richard Hurford told the diocese it was a guarantor of $38 million in debts incurred by the Orange and Dubbo Anglican Grammar Schools and All Saints’ College in Bathurst. The diocese was unable to make a balloon payment of $8 million due in September 2012 prompting its creditors to push the diocese to liquidate properties to raise cash.
The September sale of the two grammar schools had “crystallised” the diocese’s debt leaving it in a “very difficult place” Bishop Palmer said. The diocese was in “intense” negotiation with the bank, he said and “we’re still doing our sums”
But “it’s a fairly urgent situation,” he reported, however, “the important thing is the parishes are continuing to operate as normal.”
“We will need to give financially and sacrificially for the work of the church in this diocese” to continue Bishop Palmer wrote, noting the November meeting of synod would be asked to review a variety of options to pay off the loans.
With little fanfare, and no debate, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted the Anglican Covenant.
Meeting in Benoni, a town outside Johannesburg, the synod adopted a second reading of the covenant, which it had affirmed in 2010.
The motion was introduced by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba of South Africa and seconded by the Dean of the Province, the Rt. Rev. Rubin Philip, Bishop of Natal.
Bishop Philip told the synod the covenant would not change the existing synodical structures of the communion, but quoting from the document said “we recognise the importance of renewing in a solemn way our commitment to one another, and to the common understanding of faith and order we have received, so that the bonds of affection which hold us together may be re-affirmed and intensified. We do this in order to reflect, in our relations with one another, God’s own faithfulness and promises towards us in Christ.”
The proposed motion asked the synod to note its adoption of the covenant in 2010 and to “confirm” it. It recommitted the ACSA “to playing the fullest possible role at the heart of the Anglican Communion, working to promote its unity in diversity and strengthening of bonds of affection, in a life of mutuality and interdependence, shared between autonomous churches, acting each as we are called in our own particular contexts and according to our own ordering, in response to this common gift and calling we have received in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And reaffirmed the synod’s “belief that this ordering of shared Communion life may be furthered as set out in the Preamble to the Covenant” which called upon the communion “to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God’s people to attain the full stature of Christ.”
The motion was adopted without dissent.
Tags: Christ Church Cathedral Stone Town, Zanzibar
Christ Church Cathedral in Zanzibar has been awarded a grant by the EU to build a heritage and education centre on the cathedral’s precincts to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
Construction on the coral stone Gothic cathedral began in 1873 on the site of Zanzibar’s old slave market, with the altar located on the spot of the slave market’s whipping post. Consecrated in 1903 the church has a barrel vault cement roof and incorporates perpendicular Gothic and Islamic architectural details.
Funds from the EU grant, supported by the U.S. State Department and the Governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar, will also go towards the material upkeep and repair of the cathedral.. The project will also provide heritage management training to the Wakf commission, which administers Islamic institutions on the island and is responsible for over 50 per cent of the historic housing stock in Stone Town, the island’s capital.
The project will be implemented by World Monuments Fund and its partners, the Anglican Church of Tanzania, the Zanzibar Stone Town Heritage Society and the UK charity Christian Engineers in Development.
“Our hope is that the preservation and promotion of this historical site in Zanzibar will fuel a sense of common belonging for the Zanzibari people and of ownership of their cultural heritage; it should contribute to building national identity in the diversity, tolerance and solidarity between faiths, communities and peoples.” said the EU Ambassador to Tanzania, Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi.
Billy Graham’s warning to America: The Church of England Newspaper, October 18, 2013 October 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Billy Graham, Newsmax
President Barack Obama’s slogan of “hope and change” was a cliché that ignored the unprecedented moral and economic decline for America, the Rev. Billy Graham declared. In an interview published 6 Oct 2013 the renowned evangelist also offered a scathing critique of the U.S. government’s domestic and foreign personal data collection programmes, calling them an attack on liberty.
“Americans have always fought for freedom. This is why America was founded — to worship the one true God openly with no fear of tyranny. Our early fathers led our nation according to Biblical principles. Hope and change has become a cliché in our nation and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed.”
America was “turning away from what has made it so great, but far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly is to know that God knows our every thought,” he said.
The government was incapable of changing the human heart. “Hope is certain only through His Son Jesus Christ — not in the change agents of the world, and when the end of the world as we know it takes place at Christ’s return, no government can prevent it and no individual can escape it. Those who hope for it will welcome it; those who refuse to embrace its reality will never change its certainty,” he said.
In a discussion of his latest book, “The Reason for My Hope: Salvation,” Dr. Graham told Newsmax he also believed the signs of the times pointed to the imminent return of Jesus.
“While we are told not to speculate about dates, God keeps His promises and this is why we can be sure that the return of Christ is near,” Dr. Graham said.
“Scripture tells us that there will be signs pointing toward the return of the Lord. I believe all of these signs are evident today,” he said, adding “we cannot go on much longer in the sea of immorality without judgment coming. We are at a crossroads, and there are profound moral issues at stake. It is time to return to biblical truth. The warning is clear; prepare to meet thy God—followed by the voice of the gentle Shepherd—the Lord Jesus—saying, ‘Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ A new world is coming” the 94 year old evangelist said.
Since his first crusade in 1947 Billy Graham has preached to millions of people around the world. He told Newsmax that while he was no longer able to travel due to his physical infirmities, he hoped to record a television programme in November to encourage the “people of the world to turn to God.”
Tags: Diocese of Ballarat, Gary Weatherill
The Ballarat diocesan synod has voted to allow the ordination of women to the priesthood.
On 18 October 2013 the synod voted by over two thirds margins in the clergy and lay orders to permit women priests. The vote by the conservative Anglo-Catholic diocese means that only three Australian dioceses: the Anglo-Catholic diocese of The Murray and the conservative Evangelical dioceses of Northwest Australia and Sydney do not permit women priests.
In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after the vote, the Rt. Rev. Gary Weatherill noted the vote was highly symbolic. Ballarat had been one of the most conservative Australian dioceses on the issue of women’s orders. “Tt’s really a very significant change at that Australian level”.
“For ordinary people, there’s not going to be hundreds of women priests suddenly running into the diocese, it’ll just mean women can be ordained,” he said.
“I think there’s a changed understanding amongst many people that ministry is something that women can do well and the priestly ministry probably ought not to be exclusively for men,” the bishop said.
Reports from the synod proceedings stated the debate was unexceptional and that no new arguments had been put forward. Supporters argued it was a matter of justice for women to be allowed to be priests. One speaker stated that if women could be baptized then they should be able to be ordained.
Other supporters spoke of the pastoral skills women clergy would bring, and argued the question of women clergy was a second order issue that should not divide the diocese.
Opponents cited the example of the church’s traditions, Scripture and the ecumenical implications of the move. Support for the legislation was found among younger clergy and lay delegates, and age and retirements appeared to weaken the strength of the “no” lobby. Bishop Weatherill said he supported the decision and will give his assent to the legislation.
“Change is always tough. I feel a great weight for the people who are not happy for this to happen,” the bishop said.
Women were first ordained as deacons in the Anglican Church of Australia in 1986 and as priests in 1992.
No right to ordination, tribunal rules: The Church of England Newspaper, October 25, 2013 October 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Auckland, Eugene Sisneros, New Zealand Human Rights Tribunal, Ross Bay
The Anglican Church of New Zealand is exempt from laws banning discrimination against homosexuals, the Human Rights Review Tribunal ruled last week.
On 18 October 2013 the tribunal ruled the Bishop of Auckland, the Rt. Rev. Ross Bay, had not violated the country’s Human Rights laws by refusing to allow Eugene Sisneros to begin the ordination process.
Bishop Bay had declined to permit Mr. Sisneros from entering the process because he was in a same-sex partnership, and as such, did not meet the church’s requirement that aspirants be chaste.
Mr. Sisneros, a lay employee of St. Matthews-in-the-City in Auckland, responded by filing a complaint stating he “felt totally humiliated that I had spent six years of my life in study, for a process that I was not permitted to enter because I was a gay man and in a relationship.”
New Zealand’s Human Rights Act 1993 forbids discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation. However Part 2 Section 28 of the Act permits “exceptions for purposes of religion” and allows “different treatment based on religious or ethical belief” by churches in the employment of clergy.
In its decision, the tribunal held the church did not breach the Human Rights Act because it was complying with its own exceptions, and its denial of Mr. Sisnernos’ candidacy was allowed under Section 28 of the Act. “The Human Rights Act 1993 allows exceptions to some discrimination laws, including where organised religions are following their doctrine.”
“The Tribunal is not asked to deliberate on what the rules, doctrines or established customs within the Anglican Church are, or ought to be,” it held.
Bishop Bay welcomed the ruling, telling Radio New Zealand the decision balanced individual human rights with the autonomous nature of the Church, in a way that ensures freedom of religion.
Mr. Sisneros has a right to appeal the ruling.
Encouragement for Gafcon from Archbishop Welby: The Church of England Newspaper, October 25, 2013 October 25, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, GAFCON.
Tags: Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury offered his encouragement to the Gafcon conference in Nairobi this week, but stopped short of offering the endorsement of his office to the global Anglican renewal movement.
Speaking at two services on 20 October 2013 at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, the Most Rev. Justin Welby offered his vision of a “Biblically-centered, practically loving” Anglican Communion that pursued a deliberate programme of “witness, worship, evangelism, and a passion for the Holy Spirit.”
He also stated the “colonial structures” of the past that comprised the communion’s Instrument’s of Unity were no longer fit for purpose.
The archbishop’s multi-layered sermon evolved over its two presentations – after being all but silent about Gafcon in his first sermon, in its second reading the archbishop spoke five times about the forthcoming Gafcon conference, set for 21-26 October 2013, at All Saints Cathedral. While the Lambeth Palace Press Office had released a statement saying Archbishop Welby was visiting Kenya to stand in solidarity with its people in the wake of the Westgate Mall terror attack, he made no mention of terrorism in his sermons and his time in Nairobi was spent exclusively on Gafcon.
The sermons sparked mixed responses. Archbishop Welby’s sermon was “outrageous”, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria said after the first presentation. The archbishop’s “softly softly” approach in seeking to reconcile the Episcopal Church with the Global South churches implied a degree of moral equivalence that the retired Nigerian archbishop found disheartening.
However, in his second presentation Archbishop Welby walked back his moral equivalency comments. The former Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen welcomed Archbishop Welby’s admission the Communion was not work. Archbishop Welby’s statement “the old ways are no longer appropriate, the old structures no longer work, given on the eve of Gafcon, give us hope,” he said.
The archbishop spent only 18 hours in Kenya, arriving in the early hours of Sunday. Travelling without his minders, the archbishop stayed at the home of Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya, before preaching before the 9:30 and 11:30 congregations at the Cathedral. Following his sermons he went into a closed door meeting with the primates’ council, before leaving for Ireland to attend the Porvoo Primates meeting that evening.
Participants at the luncheon described the atmosphere as being cordial, noting Archbishop Welby was seated next to Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA and Archbishop Wabukala. But the strength of the sentiments made in the presentations made by the Gafcon archbishops appeared to have stunned Archbishop Welby, who spoke for five minutes to the group.
One primate told the Church of England Newspaper no formal agreements were reached at the meeting, but he welcomed the start of a conversation with the English church leader.
In his sermons, the archbishop spoke of the centrality of Scripture in the life of the church, the “Bible must be at the heart of our study, our life, our walk with Jesus” he said, but a “church that only reads but does not act, disgraces the Bible.”
“There is a need for new structures in the Anglican Communion, “the archbishop said, adding the issues that divide us are “simple and complicated.”
To address them “we need a new way of being in communion, not the colonial structures” of the past, he said. But it was unclear as to what the solution was as each province offered its own solution to the problem, yet “we must find a way to live together, so the world will see” Jesus is Lord.
The Anglican world must be a sign to the world of the power of Christ and must engage in a deliberate program of “witness, worship, evangelism, and a passion for the Holy Spirit.”
“The more seriously we take the Bible” the more effectively we will be able to deal with our divisions, he said.
The archbishop also hinted the Communion may not be able to count upon the Church of England to hold the line on issues close to the heart of the Gafcon movement. Archbishop Welby recounted his strong public opposition to the British government’s same-sex marriage bill. “In England, we in the church disagree with same-sex marriage because we honor marriage, not out of hate, or fear or anger.”
“I spoke at great personal cost” against the bill and received opprobrium and “hatred” from those who supported changing marriage. But as the Letter to the Hebrews said we must keep “the marriage bed undefiled”, the church could not support this change, just as it could not support “adultery or pornography.”
A “church that flourishes” is a church that is “based on the Bible” he said. “We all fail,” he said, because “we all sin,” but a “Biblically-centered, practically loving” church is what God wants Anglicans to be.
Anglicans must be bridge-builders, Archbishop Welby tells Toronto conference: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 1 October 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Justin Welby, Wycliffe College Toronto
Toronto: The Anglican Communion must not lose its vocation as a bridge-building church, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last week in an address delivered at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Toronto pan-Anglican Congress.
In an address via Skype to the “Back to the Anglican Future: The Toronto Congress 1963 and the Future of Global Communion” Conference organized by Wycliffe College of the University of Toronto on 18 September 2013 Archbishop Welby stated his vision for the future of the church drew inspiration from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ideal of the Church as “Christ existing as community”.
Archbishop Welby observed that “there never was a generation in the Church that does not see a truck coming at great speed to run it over.”
The 1963 Congress sought to reshape the church to address a rapidly changing world. Then, as now, “do we need to rethink” the ways we are approaching “the problems,” he asked.
The way forward, the archbishop said, is “to start not with what is around us” but examine the issues through the lens of “theology, anthropology and ecclesiology. Who is the God we serve? Who are we? What is the Church for?”
Approaching the divisions within the church today in this way “changes the way we see the Communion,” he said.
He stated he had recently read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s doctoral thesis “Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church” and his views of the problems facing Anglicanism as well as the wider Christian world were informed by Bonhoeffer’s understanding of Luther’s dictum “simul iustus et peccator” – “simultaneously justified and sinful.”
“We focus over and over on the massive damage in our culture over changes in sexuality”, yet in “other parts of the world it is corruption, persecution, complacency or poverty. In many places it is all of these. What is the context the church is facing,” he asked.
“Financial corruption: the church is full of people who are financially corrupt” while in “places sexually corrupt,” he said. “We need to look at our context. We need to look at the Communion in light of our vocation” to change the world.
Greeting the Bishop of Egypt, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis who sat in the front row of the audience gathered at St Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto, Archbishop Welby spoke of his visit to Egypt and Jerusalem in the company of Dr. Anis. There he “saw a small church. A minority of a minority, but one that has extraordinary influence, partly due to its bishop” he said with a nod to Dr. Annis, “but also because it is a bridge-builder.”
Anglicans are “being attacked where we are strongest,” he said. “We have a vocation to bring people together” and that is why we are being attacked by Satan.
“I am optimistic about the Anglican Communion,” he concluded, calling upon Anglicans to “seek the purpose of the church … [to ensure a] future of growth” through “reconciliation” and in this way harness the “energy” given to Anglicans by God to bring humanity into relationship with the living God.
The suffragan Bishop of Toronto, the Rt. Rev. Patrick Yu said he was he was encouraged by the archbishop’s words, and noted that when he had dined with the archbishop earlier this year, the archbishop said his priorities were “reconciliation and evangelism”.
Bishop Yu urged conference participants to “deeply embrace” these words, and by doing so, bring about the reform and renewal of the Anglican world.
Archbishop Welby to attend Gafcon primates’ meeting: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 1. October 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, GAFCON.
Tags: Justin Welby
The Archbishop of Canterbury has accepted an invitation to attend a meeting of the primates’ council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans of the Gafcon movement.
The Most Rev. Justin Welby will attend part of the two-day gathering of archbishops at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, held immediately before the 21-26 October 2013 Gafcon Conference.
The general secretary of the FCA, Dr Peter Jensen, stated Archbishop Welby’s “decision to come to the Primates meeting is a recognition of the importance of such a large and significant gathering of Anglicans from around the world and he will be made very welcome.”
The FCA movement was birthed by the 2008 Gafcon conference in Jerusalem. It has since grown into a global reform movement within the Anglican Communion that seeks to strengthen the church by affirming the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Leaders of the movement have also called for the reform of the current structures of the communion, expressing disappointment with what they believe to be the failures of the London-based institutions.
GAFCON Chairman the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya, had invited Archbishop Welby to address the 1200 delegates from around the Anglican world. However, the archbishop stated he was unable to attend as he had two prior engagements: a meeting of the Porvoo archbishops in Iceland, and the christening of Prince George of Cambridge at the Chapel Royal at St James’ Palace on 23 Oct.
The archbishop’s decision not to attend the meeting – made public last week – had disappointed conservatives. But writing in the current issue of the Churchman, Dr. Gerald Bray observed the archbishop had been placed in a difficult political position.
He noted that “although there will be a sizable contingent from England at GAFCON II, what authority will they have and who will they represent? It is a virtual certainty that none of the English diocesan bishops will be there, which will make it very difficult for the archbishop of Canterbury to attend on his own, even if he is invited. This is ironic, because the new archbishop is far more sympathetic to GAFCON than his predecessor was, and more in tune with it than most of his episcopal colleagues are.”
Dr. Bray observed that this “of course, is a large part of his problem. Even if he wanted to, Justin Welby cannot dismiss the bench of bishops and appoint men more in tune with his own way of thinking, and everyone knows that his eventual successor is almost certain to be of a very different persuasion. Banking on Canterbury’s support is therefore not a good long-term strategy for GAFCON, even if the present incumbent of the see is essentially on its side.”
Conservative TEC leader concedes defeat in America’s sex wars: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 5. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Anglican Communion Institute, Christopher Seitz, Wycliffe College
One of the leaders of the conservative remnant within the Episcopal Church has called upon traditionalists to acknowledge their defeat in the church’s wars over sexuality and seek a negotiated peace.
In a powerful address given last month to a conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Toronto Pan-Anglican conference, the Rev. Canon Christopher Seitz, Senior Research Professor at Wycliffe College in the University of Toronto and a scholar with the Anglican Communion Institute said “the question for conservatives [now] is about encouragement. Will we be allowed to walk the well-worn paths of the faith,” he asked “or must we follow the trailblazers”, the advocates of change.
The culture and the majority faction within the Episcopal Church held a different moral worldview. It was “no longer a matter of saying the new ways are wrong. That point has passed. “
“We are in a new time. It is now here. We can see a before or after” in the Episcopal Church since the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003 and in the rise to power of Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2006. “Traditional Anglicans have lost a battle.”
There is now “no single understanding” of the faith. New Prayer Books will emerge that will solemnize gay marriage. Prof. Seitz noted the question for conservatives is not whether they can stop this but if the majority will allow “two rites [to] exist side by side.”
Encouragement for the conservative remnant “would be allowing the status quo ante. Not a new church allowing traditional Anglicans” a home, but the existing churches giving conservatives “the moral space and right to exist.”
“Will dioceses and parishes be permitted to do what has been done before,” he asked. Will we be given the “moral space to conserve our traditions? Can bishops let go of parishes? Can dioceses choose to say no? Can we [as Episcopalians] remain a valued and trustworthy expression of the church catholic?”
To do this “it may be necessary to change the office of Presiding Bishop, reform the General Convention, rewrite the Book of Common Prayer” or enact other “constitutional reforms”, he said.
But “if reforms are not enacted it would end the conservative presence” in the Episcopal Church, he said.
Perth endorses civil same sex unions: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 5. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Perth, gay marriage, Roger Herft
The Perth Diocesan synod has endorsed a resolution affirming civil same sex unions. The motion received a two-thirds majority from the lay and clergy delegates attending the 5 Oct 2013 meeting, but is unlikely to receive the assent of the Most Rev. Roger Herft, Archbishop of Perth, as he rejected a similar resolution endorsed by the 2012 meeting of synod.
The sponsor of the resolution, the Rev. Chris Bedding, rector of Darlington-Bellevue Anglican parish, said the motion did not seek to authorize church blessings for same-sex couples, but was a symbolic gesture to affirm members of the gay community.
“As a church, we are not ready to have marriage-like ceremonies for same-sex couples in our churches yet, but we wanted to say that if the government has civil recognition of unions or equality, than we are comfortable with that,” he told AAP.
Mr. Bedding said the motion sought to offer another perspective from Christians that would counter comments made by traditional groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby. “When they come out and say things like ‘it’s unnatural to be gay’ or ‘it’s against the bible’ or ‘all Christians reject homosexual behaviour’ … we want to say ‘that’s not the case’,” he said.
Archbishop Herft withheld his consent from resolution 58.12 from the 2012 meeting of synod – a near identical motion. It stated in part the synod “acknowledges that legal recognition of committed same-sex relationships may co-exist with legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman.”
In withholding his assent last year, the archbishop stated that the resolution “as worded” could be construed as being contrary to the church’s marriage canons. Endorsement of a “legislative framework that does not currently exist” he wrote, “could be construed as having its real purpose as conveying the recognition of and call for same-sex marriage.”
The archbishop has thirty days to respond in which to withhold or give his assent to the new motion.
Govt amends Listed Places of Worship scheme: The Church of England Newspaper, October 4, 2013 p 4. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Listed Places of Worship
The Government has changed the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme enabling parishes to claim VAT back on repairs and alterations to bells and bell ropes, pipe organs and turret clocks. . Professional services such as architect fees that are related to eligible building work will also become eligible when the changes come into effect on 1 October 2013.
The new regulations are also supposed to simplify the claims process and shorten the time it takes for the government to disburse funds. In any twelve month period, each place of worship may submit one claim with a value of less than £1000, but more than £500, excluding the VAT paid. This is in addition to an unlimited number of claims where the value of eligible work carried out is £1000 or greater.
Eve van der Steen, acting Church Buildings Adviser and DAC Secretary for the Diocese of Exeter welcomed the news, noting the items now covered had historically been “very expensive items to repair or restore and this is likely to make a huge difference to PCC’s trying to maintain them for future generations.”
Full details of all these changes, how they will apply and new application forms will be available on the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme website from 1 October 2013. http://www.lpwscheme.org.uk
First woman bishop for India consecrated: The Church of England Newspaper, October 4, 2013 p 44. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Women Priests.
Tags: Diocese of Nandyal, Pushpa Lalitha
The Church of South India has consecrated its first woman bishop. On 29 Sept 2013 the Rev. E. Pushpa Lalitha was consecrated Bishop in Nandyal in the Southern Indian state of Andhra Predesh.
On 25 Sept the CSI’s Synod Executive selected Bishop-elect Lalitha from among four candidates short listed by the diocese to succeed the Rt. Rev. P.J. Lawrence.
Bishop-elect Lalitha (57) was born in Diguvappad village in the Kurnool district of Andhra Predesh in Southern India. Educated at Andhra Christian Theological College, she was ordained a priest in 1984. A Telugu speaker, she ministered in several villages before serving as the director of Vishranthi Nilayam in Bangalore and as the administrative head of the CSI’s women fellowship.
In a statement released on her behalf by the CSI, Bishop-elect Lalitha said: “My parents had decided to dedicate me to the lord even before I was born, as they had already lost two sons. My life has been God’s mercy, and I wish to be his servant for life.”
Among her priorities is the empowerment of women. “Be it any institution, women are always given second-rung treatment. We need to change that by promoting values that teach us to not to discriminate and treat all humans the same.”
“I hail from a village and my parents sold their land to educate me. I want every girl from such a background to get the best education possible. Only education can change lives,” she said.
“As a priest, my primary responsibility was towards my congregation. As a bishop, the responsibilities are much more,” she said.
Women were first ordained for the Church of South India – a united church formed from the merger of the Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist and other Protestant denominations in 1947. The church at present has 110 women clergy.
Bishop of Swindon reports on his chemotherapy treatments: The Church of England Newspaper, October 4, 2013 p 4. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: chemotherapy, Lee Rayfield
In a letter to the Diocese of Bristol posted on his blog on 26 September 2013, the Bishop of Swindon, the Rt. Rev. Lee Rayfield has described the physic al and spiritual highs and lows of undergoing chemotherapy.
On 2 Sept Dr. Rayfield reported that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, and would undergo a course of four cycles of chemotherapy in the Great Western Hospital in Swindon followed by a short course of radiotherapy in Oxford.
He noted that “although this is highly effective the drugs used have a number of side effects, with weakening of the immune system holding the most potential danger.”
In his 2 Sept letter, Dr. Rayfield noted he had “no idea” how the treatment “will leave me feeling as people respond differently. Fatigue is an obvious side effect and the risk of infection makes it necessary to absent myself from public ministry. The plan is to engage as much as I can from home and the office, following medical advice and ensuring I have plenty of rest and appropriate levels of exercise. As the treatment and its impact unfold I will be better placed to know what is wise, desirable and sustainable.”
In his letter of last week, the bishop reported the start of side effects. “One of my teeth has come loose and I have had to start some antibiotics. Also the vein in which the first two slugs of chemotherapy were delivered has become inflamed. Fortunately I have plenty of other good vessels so we can avoid using that one again.”
His illness had also given him an appreciation of Psalm 139:14. “I praise you because I am wonderfully and fearfully made”
“It may sound strange but illness is increasing my appreciation of the psalmist’s words,” he said.
“The human body is a marvel of homeostasis with a myriad of regulatory feedback mechanisms ensuring that everything works in harmony; any imbalance is corrected and stabilised. The cocktail of cytotoxic drugs used to blast my Lymphoma has been the equivalent of a tsunami hitting Littlehampton beach and the physicians have had to step in to try and dampen down the shock waves. They are doing brilliantly but having to take manual control reveals just how beautifully tuned the normal systems is.”
The bishop also offered thanks for the cards and notes of prayer and support he had received as “people have said some things to me which have helped me to see how much I am loved and appreciated and this has been both humbling and uplifting.”
Scottish census shows decline in number of Christians: The Church of England Newspaper, October 4, 2013 p 4. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
Tags: 2011 Scottish Census, David Chillingworth
The 2011 census for Scotland sounds a wake-up call for churches, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church said last week.
In a statement released on 27 September 2013 in response to the publication of the 2011 Census returns in Scotland, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane warned the “figures for religious affiliation in Scotland are a significant challenge for churches. Nominal membership of traditional churches is swiftly changing into ‘no religion’.”
Ninety-three per cent of those responding to the census answered the question on religion. Of these the largest single category were those who stated they were non-religious: 37 per cent. The non-religious group also had the highest rise, with those of no-faith growing from 28 per cent in 2001 to 37 per cent in 2011.
Approximately 32 per cent stated they were members of the Church of Scotland, a decrease of 10 per cent from 2011 and 16 per cent were identified as Roman Catholics –unchanged from 2011. Other Christians including the Scottish Episcopal Church comprised 6 per cent of the population in 2011, compared with 7 per cent in 2001.
Other faiths included 77,000 Muslims, or 1.4 per cent of the population, 16,000 Hindus, 13,000 Buddhists, 9,000 Sikhs and 6000 Jews.
The reasons for the decline in the number of professed Christians was “clear”, Bishop Chillingworth said.
“Traditional patterns of church life have difficulty attracting people in a mobile, fast-changing and increasingly sophisticated society. Congregations are communities of affection which gather in time-hallowed buildings and they find change challenging. “
However, “all is far from lost. A majority of people in this society still identify themselves as Christian. Their faith, their hopes and their interest are a mission opportunity for open and attractive faith communities which are creatively led.”
He added that the “rising levels of interest in spirituality – evidenced by growing interest in pilgrimage, prayer and other faith-related activity – show that many people are searching for depth and meaning in their lives. Many are open to exploring discipleship even if they are unlikely to become church members in the traditional sense.”
However, churches “need to change and I welcome that. We need to become more creative and flexible. We need to think less about surviving and more about thriving. We need to help people to develop their experience of the spiritual. And we need to learn to work together in mission to this new kind of society,” the primus said.
Catholic call to support the ordinariate: The Church of England Newspaper, September 27, 2013 October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Roman Catholic Church.
Tags: Keith Newton, Vincent Nichols
The Archbishop of Westminster has written a pastoral letter to English and Welsh Roman Catholics celebrating the “beauty” of Britain’s Anglican heritage and urging their support for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
In his letter of 22 September 2013, Archbishop Vincent Nichols stated: “The ordinariate is the canonical structure set up in 2011 as the result of a generous initiative of Pope Benedict XVI. Under this structure, Anglicans who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them some of the traditions and beauty of the Anglican heritage in which they were nurtured, may do so.”
He urged Catholics to “welcome and support the clergy and faithful” of the Ordinariate “both for the part they play in the life and mission of the Catholic Church in this country and for the particular gifts they bring which add to our rich diversity.”
He also commended a second letter prepared by former Anglican bishop, Mgr. Keith Newton, the head of the ordinariate in England and Wales. It was “a small step towards healing one of the most damaging wounds of our history: the dividing of Christ’s Body, the Church in this land.”
The ordinariate had been an answer to prayer for some former Anglicans, but it had had a rough start.
“The ordinariate was a personal fulfilment of those prayers. It has been an incredible and uplifting journey for us all, full of grace, joy and blessings. Of course, we have experienced hardship and sacrifice as well. For many, especially those of our priests who are married with families, there has been great financial uncertainty; for us all it has meant leaving friends and familiar places of worship in the Church of England. We ask for your encouragement, your support and your prayers.”
Taliban church attack leaves 100 dead: The Church of England Newspaper, September 27, 2013 p 6. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Terrorism.
Tags: Peshawar, Taliban, Titus Pressler
The Church of Pakistan has called for three days of mourning and solidarity in the wake of a suicide bombing at All Saints’ Church, Kohati Gate in Peshawar.
As approximately 600 worshippers filed out of the church in Peshawar’s old city following the principle morning service two men wearing explosive vests holding ball bearings and other pieces of shrapnel detonated their charges. The police reported at least 78 people, including 37 children, were killed. Church of Pakistan leaders estimate the death toll to be at least 150 with hundreds more wounded.
The explosion at All Saints Church, built in 1883 by the CMS and unique among Peshawar’s churches as it was designed to resemble a mosque, comes a year and a day after a mob set fire to a church in the nearby town of Mardan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they will continue to attack non-Sunni Muslims until the coalition forces end their drone attacks against terrorists in Waziristan.
In a letter to students and faculty, the Dean of Edwardes College in Peshawar, the Rev. Dr. Titus Pressler said the “scale of the atrocity is terrible. News is still coming in, but it is said that about 150 people or more were killed and 200 or more were injured. The news has gone around the world.”
“Information is emerging,” he wrote, “but a number of our current students were killed as were a number of Edwardes College alumni. The same is true of Edwardes College School and, of course, other church institutions throughout the city.”
The attack on Peshawar’s Christians follows upon attacks by the Taliban against Shia Muslims in Quetta this past February which killed 200, and on-going attacks against members of the Ahmadiyya community.
Dr. Pressler reported that members of the Muslim community were quick to reach out to Christians with offers of prayer and support. “Such ecumenical spirit is crucial in any place and time, but especially so in Peshawar and in Pakistan today,” he wrote. “So I thank God for such compassion and generosity of spirit between people of different religions.”
In a letter to the Church of Pakistan, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was “appalled” by the news.
“My heart goes out to all those bereaved and injured by this terrible attack. I pray for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people. With the people of Peshawar I join in calling for the Pakistan Government and all people of good will to ensure that communities may go about their daily lives in safety, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
In a Twitter message released on 22 September 2013 the archbishop said: “Peshawar bomb reveals depths of human evil, yet those suffering speak of forgiveness as well as justice. That is the love of Jesus shown.”
First woman bishop for Ireland: The Church of England Newspaper, September 27, 2013 p 1 October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Women Priests.
Tags: Patricia Storey
The House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland has appointed the first Anglican woman bishop for the British Isles.
On 19 September 2013 the bishops appointed the Rev. Patricia Storey to be the Bishop of Meath and Kildare in succession to the Most Rev Richard Clarke, who was translated to Armagh last year.
Bishop-elect Storey becomes the first women Anglican bishop in Europe. Last week the Church in Wales’ governing body gave approval to women bishops while the Scottish Episcopal Church also allows women bishops. Irish bishops are usually elected by a special meeting of the diocesan synod. However, the 28 May 2013 electoral synod meeting was unable to agree upon a bishop, giving the choice to the House of Bishops.
Mrs. Storey (53) presently serves as rector of St Augustine’s Parish Church, Londonderry in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. Married to the Rev Earl Storey, she has two children. Reared in Belfast, she was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and trained for the ministry at the Church of Ireland Theological College. Ordained deacon in 1997 and priest in 1998, she served her curacy in Ballymena in the Diocese of Connor and was Team Vicar in Glenavy in the same diocese before movi9ng to Londonderry in 2004. She is also a member of the Standing Committee of the General Synod.
Announcing the appointment Dr Clarke said: “Having known Pat Storey since she was an undergraduate and I was Chaplain at Trinity College, Dublin, I very much welcome her as a new bishop. She is a person of great warmth, intelligence and spiritual depth and I am certain that her ministry in the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare and the wider Church will be a blessing to many. We remember her and her family in our prayers.”
The Rt Rev Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, welcomed the appointment as “great news indeed.”
“We know well how gifted the Rev Pat Storey is and how effective her ministry is not only in a parish setting but also far beyond the local church. Her warmth, her deep personal faith and her natural ability to relate to people have enabled her to make a significant impact throughout the city, the diocese and the wider community,” he said.
Mrs. Storey said: ‘I am both excited and daunted by this new adventure,” adding “I count it an enormous privilege to begin a new phase of my ministry with the people of Meath and Kildare, and I look forward to working with the team of clergy who are already there. I would sincerely ask for your prayers for myself and my family, who are the best family in the world!”
Church calls for prayer and restraint in wake of Nairobi massacre: The Church of England Newspaper, September 27, 2013 p 7. October 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Terrorism.
Tags: al Shabaab, Eliud Wabukala, Nairobi
Kenya’s Christian and Muslim leaders have issued a united statement condemning the terror attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, which has left at least sixty people dead including five Britons and a dozen other ex-pats.
Police report that approximately 15 terrorists of the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab attacked the upscale shopping mall in suburban Nairobi on 21 September 2013, spraying shoppers with automatic rifle fire. Some shoppers were taken hostage, eyewitness reported, and were released if they could recite the Shahada, the Islamic basic profession of belief, or if they converted to Islam. Those who could or would not were executed.
The Shabelle Media Network in Mogadishu reports that al-Shabaab has identified the names and nationalities of the killers. Three are listed as Americans, one Briton and a Finn amongst the Somali and Kenyan terrorists. Those who could or would not were executed.
Kenya’s inter-religious council responded to the attack by saying they would not let the massacre divide the country along sectarian lines, but would stand united against terrorism.
Reading the statement on behalf of the religious leaders, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Secretary General Adan Wachu said:m “We, the religious leaders, are engaged in robust dialogue to ensure that these relations are not just maintained but also made stronger. We are convinced beyond doubt that the attempt to sow seeds of discord between Muslims and Christians will fail miserably and that we shall remain united,.”
The Rt. Rev. Joel Waweru, Anglican Bishop of Nairobi urged Christians not to seek revenge. “We are so disheartened with whatever happened, but we would want to call upon our Christian brothers and sisters to keep peace and to maintain peace,” said Waweru.
The religious leaders statement said that one of the motives behind the attack was to destabilize the economy by driving away tourists. On Sunday the general secretary of the Gafcon movement, the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney released a video saying he was flying to Nairobi this week to review security arrangements for next month’s Gafcon Conference at All Saints Cathedral.
Dr. Jensen said it was his “desire” to “stand with our Kenyan brothers and sisters” in the face of terrorism, but he would nonetheless meet with local organizers to review security details and report back within the week.
Church leaders from around the world have offered their prayers and condolences to the families of the dead and injured and to the people of Kenya. In a note to the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town wrote “to express not only that the Anglican Church of Southern Africa stands in solidarity with you at this time, but that we too share in the grief that this senseless attack has brought.”
“As you speak and act in response to these terrible events, may you be a channel of God’s grace: to comfort the bereaved, bind up the broken hearted, and proclaim the triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ over both evil and death,” Dr. Makgoba said.
Ceylonese bishop defends govt against UN criticism: The Church of England Newspaper, September 13, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of Ceylon, Church of England Newspaper, UN.
Tags: Shantha Francis
The Church of Ceylon’s Bishop of Kurunegala, the Rt. Rev. Shantha Francis has chastised critics of administration of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, saying Tamil and Sinhalese citizens of the island nation enjoyed full and equal civil rights.
The bishop’s comments as reported by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) on 26 August 2013 came at the start of a six day visit by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay to the country.
Speaking at a 31 August press conference Ms. Pillay stated that democracy activists lived in a climate of fear. Some who who met or wanted to meet her during the visit had been threatened by security forces, she said, and critical voices in Sri Lanka are “quite often attacked or even permanently silenced”.
Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director endorsed Ms. Pillay’s findings. Her “take on the human rights situation during her visit very much echoes our own findings. Being critical of government policy in Sri Lanka is highly risky, and the extent to which people are being harassed into silence is shocking.”
However, the SLBC said Bishop Francis had likened the president to King Dutugemunu, a second Century BC Sinhalese king who drove out Tamil invaders.
The bishop rejected claims there was no freedom in Sri Lanka, saying the government’s economic development programme benefited Sinhalese and Tamils, while “freedom of democracy is now prevailing in the country.”
Sri Lanka was “fortunate” to have a president who treated all ethnic groups equally, the bishop is claimed to have said. However Amnesty International’s Polly Truscott declared: “The UN and Commonwealth must respond effectively to these latest concerns raised by Pillay.”
American centrist mission to Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, September 13, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Communion Parters, Justin Welby, Michael Smith
Six bishops represent the Communion Partners Group – a conservative centrist coalition of clergy in the Episcopal Church – have met with the Archbishop of Canterbury to brief him on the state of the American church.
On 26 August 2013 the bishops released a statement, under the signature of the Rt. Rev. Michael Smith, Bishop of North Dakota, saying they had “prayed together” with Archbishop Justin Welby at the Old Palace in Canterbury and had “discussed a range of issues concerning the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church.”
Bishop Smith’s letter did not give details of the meeting but explained “our vocation as Communion Partners” was “to navigate” the “dangerous extremes” dividing the Communion – a reference to Archbishop Welby’s Monterrey sermon of 13 August 2013.
In his Mexico sermon Archbishop Welby likened the Anglican Communion to a “drunk man walking near the edge of a cliff, we trip and totter and slip and wander, ever nearer to the edge of the precipice.”
Anglicans were treading a “narrow path” between “an absence of any core beliefs, a chasm where we lose touch with God, and thus we rely only on ourselves and our own message. On the other side there is a vast fall into a ravine of intolerance and cruel exclusion. It is for those who claim all truth, and exclude any who question.”
Archbishop Welby’s words were heard in the United States by some commentators to describe Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her liberal camp and Archbishop Robert Duncan and his conservative followers. The Communion Partners’ mission, sources tell CEN was an attempt to inform Archbishop Welby the American scene was more complex – with many seeking to walk the same path as the archbishop.
English female priest elected bishop in New Zealand: The Church of England Newspaper, September 13, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper, Women Priests.
Tags: Diocese of Waikato, Helen-Ann Hartley
An English female priest has been elected Bishop of Waikato in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
The Rev. Dr. Helen-Ann Hartley will become the first woman priest ordained in the Church of England to become a bishop in the Anglican Communion. Bishop-elect Hartley will join the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch, as one of two women bishops in New Zealand, and the provinces third female bishop. In 1990 the Rt. Rev. Penelope Jamieson became the Communion’s first female bishop when she was elected Bishop of Dunedin.
At her election, Dr. Hartley (40) was the dean of students at St John’s College in Auckland. Ordained in 2005 in the Diocese of Oxford, she served her curacy as part of a team ministry in the diocese, before being appointed Director of Biblical Studies and a lecturer in New Testament at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. In 2010, Dr. Hartley moved to St John’s College in Auckland to conduct research and was appointed dean in 2013.
As Bishop of Waikato, she will be one of two co-equal bishops in the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki – sharing episcopal jurisdiction over the diocese with the Bishop of Taranaki, the Most Rev. Philip Richardson – who also serves as Archbishop of New Zealand and co-Primate of the province.
The New Zealand church’s provincial news website quoted the new bishop as saying “I am greatly looking forward to putting on my tramping shoes and gumboots, and getting to know people where they are, finding out more about the landscapes and industries that are integral to life and ministry in the diocese.