Prison for Sussex priest convicted of abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 6. May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Chichester, Wilkie Denford
add a comment
A retired Sussex clergyman has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by the Hove Crown Court for sexually abusing two teenage boys.
The Rev. Keith Wilkie Denford (78) will also undergo two years supervision and he added added to the registry of sex offenders. His co-defendant church organist Michael Mytton (69) was given a suspended nine-month jail term by Judge Paul Tain for indecently assaulting a third boy.
“There can be no greater breach of trust than a man playing the role of a man of God, and as the spiritual adviser to the family concerned, to take advantage of that position to abuse small children,” Judge Tain told Mr. Denford at his sentencing.
In a 9 May 2013 statement released after the sentence was handed down the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said the “sentencing is an indication of the seriousness of their crimes and the importance of bringing their actions to light and to justice.”
“We would like to place on record our thanks to the police for the way in which they conducted this investigation and supported survivors and their families in the pursuit of truth.
He noted the crimes “were not reported to the Diocese of Chichester prior to 2011. Notification of the serious allegations against these two men we had formerly trusted was the result of our working relationship with Sussex Police and the local authority.”
The Bishop added that he hoped ” today will mark a milestone for the survivors who have had to live through this trial. To them we offer an unreserved apology and an assurance that we have heard and we believe the terrible story they have had to tell.”
Church of Scotland pulls anti-Israel report from its website: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 7. May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Israel, Presbyterian/Church of Scotland.
add a comment
The Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council has withdrawn a report that claimed Scripture provided no warrant for Jewish claims to the land of Israel.
Prepared for the 18 May meeting of the church’s General Assembly the ten-page report entitled “The Inheritance of Abraham” urged the Church of Scotland to join the boycott and divestment movement against Israel. It also said “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory” were unfounded.
Scripture based claims raised “an increasing number of difficulties and current Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians have sharpened this questioning,” the document said, adding that it believed Jews felt they had a right to take Palestinian land “as compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust”.
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Anti-Defamation League and the Israeli ambassador denounced the report and urged it be withdrawn. “This report not only plays into extremist political positions, but negates and belittles the deeply held Jewish attachment to the land of Israel in a way which is truly hurtful,” Ambassador Daniel Taub said.
The report did draw support however from Palestinian activists. The Rev. Stephen Sizer, rector of Christ Church Virginia Water said “Church of Scotland is to be commended for their report.”
He defended the report from its detractors saying “in no sense does the report disenfranchise anyone from legitimate rights to citizenship in Israel and Palestine, merely the claim made by some Zionists that the Bible mandates an exclusive right to the land for the Jewish people alone.”
“On the contrary the Hebrew Scriptures repeatedly insist that the land belongs to God and that residence was always conditional,” Mr. Sizer said on 8 May.
However on 9 May 2013 the report was removed from the Church of Scotland’s website and a statement posted in its place saying the Church and Society Council had agreed to rewrite the report with a “new introduction to set the context for the report and give clarity about some of the language used.”
Same-sex blessing protocol adopted in Winnipeg: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 7. May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Rupert's Land, gay marriage
add a comment
The Winnipeg-based Diocese of Rupert’s Land has released a protocol for the “pastoral practice of blessing same-sex unions”. The May issue of the diocesan newspaper reports the protocol was prepared by Bishop Donald Phillips and the Dean, archdeacons and rural deans of the diocese in response to a 2012 request by synod to allow same-sex blessings.
Clergy opposed to gay blessings will not be compelled to perform the rite, but must refer a couple to the Bishop so that another priest may perform the ceremony. However, a summary of the protocol prepared by the diocesan newspaper said that in Rupert’s Land “diversity of views is honored and appreciated.”
The ceremony will not be a marriage. “In order be clearly distinguished from a marriage liturgy, the rite of blessing for same-sex unions will not include an exchange of legal consents, an opportunity for objections, a declaration of union, a writ of civil marriage, the signing of the parish marriage register or a nuptial blessing.”
The national church’s call to dialogue about homosexuality and its decision not forbid the practice opened the doors to pastoral gay blessings, supporters have argued. In his address to the 2012 Québec Synod Bishop Dennis Drainville said the General Synod had “affirmed the place and the welcome that this church offers to all people—including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ—while also recognizing that in the Church, both locally and globally there is no common mind about how to respond to their committed partnerships.”
Other Canadian dioceses that have approved same-sex blessings include: British Columbia, New Westminster, Edmonton, Niagara, Huron, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Québec and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (APCI) also passed a motion asking its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits” to bless same-sex unions.
Police seize bishop’s home/cars in corruption crackdown: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 7. May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Corruption.
Tags: Ethiopian Episcopal Church, Order of Ethiopia, Samuel Banzana
add a comment
Anti-corruption authorities in South Africa have seized the assets of Bishop Samuel Banzana, charging the leader of Umzi Wase Topiya (the Ethiopian Episcopal Church) with taking kick-backs from a construction company in return for awarding building contracts.
On 8 May 2013 agents of the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions seized the bishop’s home, three automobiles and bank accounts as part of an investigation into corruption and money laundering. Tsepo Ndwalaza, the National Prosecuting Authority’s regional spokesman, told the SABC “this will show communities that the government and law enforcement agencies of this country are working hard to root out corruption”.
An African Independent Church, the Ethiopian Episcopal Church was part of the Anglican church of southern Africa for most of the 20th century. Formed by ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1900 the group entered into communion with the Anglican church of southern Africa and was known as the Ibandla laseTiyopia (Order of Ethiopia). Its polity and doctrine were based upon traditional Anglican formularies, but it placed special emphasis on the African experience – seeing in Psalm 68:31: “Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth its hands unto God” a mandate to evangelize Africa by Africans.
In July 1999 the South African Provincial Synod rescinded Canon 48, severing relations with the Order. On 27 August 1999 the bishop and clergy reformed the Order as the Ethiopian Episcopal Church.
Contradictory rulings in US Episcopal property cases: The Church of England Newspaper, May 21, 2013 May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
1 comment so far
The Episcopal Church’s legal battles over property spawned a number of contradictory rulings and judgments over the past few weeks.
A Superior Court in Southern California has ordered a breakaway parish to turn over its property to the diocese of Los Angeles; the Virginia Supreme Court handed down a mixed ruling allowing a breakaway parish to keep its cash but not its property; while the Northern California Superior Court has rejected the claim that as a matter of law a diocese may not withdraw from the Episcopal Church without permission of the General Convention.
A decision is also expected shortly in the Fort Worth case from the Texas Supreme Court. The justices are expected to rule this month whether the Diocese of Fort Worth under Bishop Jack Iker may withdraw from the Episcopal Church.
Following three weeks of court proceedings in Illinois, the case of the Diocese of Quincy v the Episcopal Church has been placed before a judge for adjudication. A decision is expected this summer.
A decision is also expected in federal court in South Carolina on the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. After suffering a major setback in the state court, attorneys for the national Church filed a motion to remove the case to the federal courts, arguing that issues of trademark law and church/state law should be litigated in that venue.
On 25 April the Fresno Superior Court in California affirmed its 6 March ruling denying summary judgment to the Episcopal Church in its lawsuit against the diocese of San Joaquin. Judge Jeffrey Hamilton said there were disputed issues of fact to be resolved in deciding whether the diocese acted lawfully when its Synod voted in December 2007 to withdraw from the Episcopal Church.
Relying upon the neutral principles of law doctrine to adjudicate the issue judge Hamilton held the Episcopal Church had failed to show that is a matter of law the Constitution and canons of the national Episcopal Church forbad the unilateral withdrawal of the diocese from the national church.
On 1 May 2013 Judge Kim Dunning of the Orange County Superior Court in Southern California held that the Bishop of Los Angeles had no authority to give the parish of St James in Newport Beach a written waiver exempting the congregation’s property from the reach of the Dennis Canon.
She ordered the parish to hand over its $17 million property to the diocese, finding the national Church’s rules governing parish property took precedence over civil property and trust laws.
She dismissed as non-binding a 1991 letter signed by the then Canon to the Ordinary D Bruce MacPherson, later to become the Bishop of Western Louisiana, on behalf of Bishop Frederick Borsch that released the diocese’s claim to the property.
However, this waiver did not amend the parish bylaws and diocesan canons and even if it did, “the Bishop of the Diocese did not, and does not, have authority to amend any of these instruments,” the judge ruled.
The St James Newport Beach case has been in the California courts since 2004 and has twice been to the Supreme Court in Sacramento. A decision on whether to appeal this ruling has not yet been made by the parish leadership.
The Virginia Supreme Court in The Falls Church v. Protestant Episcopal Church (USA), affirmed a lower court ruling awarding all of the real and personal property of what had been the largest parish in the Diocese of Virginia to the diocese. However it ordered that funds raised by the parish after it had broken with the diocese belong to the parish.
In her decision Justice Cleo Powell held that a “fiduciary relationship” existed between The Falls Church and the national Church. The parish could not acquire an interest in its own property that was adverse to the national Church, she argued, even though the title deeds did not reflect any trust relationship between the parties.
Last week The Falls Church stated they would request a rehearing of their case, noting Judge Powell had erred in deciding the case on the basis of a fiduciary relationship, noting the issue had not been before the court.
Harvard study finds belief in God leads to improved outcomes in treatment of psychiatric illness: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 May 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: David Rosmarin, Harvard Medical School, healing, McLean Hospital, psychiatric illnesses
Belief in God significantly improves the outcome of those receiving short-term treatment for psychiatric illness, a recent study conducted by the Harvard Medical School researchers has concluded.
In the study, published in the current issue of Journal of Affective Disorders, Dr. David Rosmarin, a clinician at McLean Hospital and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, examined individuals at the hospital’s Behavioral Health Partial Hospital programme to investigate the relationship between patients’ level of belief in God, expectations for treatment and actual treatment outcomes.
“Our work suggests that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affiliation. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological wellbeing, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm,” Dr. Rosmarin reported.
The study looked at 159 patients, recruited over a one-year period. Each participant was asked to gauge their belief in God as well as their expectations for treatment outcome and emotion regulation, each on a five-point scale. Levels of depression, wellbeing, and self-harm were assessed at the beginning and end of their treatment program.
Of the patients sampled, more than 30 per cent claimed no specific religious affiliation yet still saw the same benefits in treatment if their belief in a higher power was rated as moderately or very high. Patients with “no” or only “slight” belief in God were twice as likely not to respond to treatment than patients with higher levels of belief.
The study concludes: “… belief in God is associated with improved treatment outcomes in psychiatric care. More centrally, our results suggest that belief in the credibility of psychiatric treatment and increased expectations to gain from treatment might be mechanisms by which belief in God can impact treatment outcomes.”
Dr. Rosmarin commented, “Given the prevalence of religious belief in the United States — over 90 per cent of the population — these findings are important in that they highlight the clinical implications of spiritual life.”
Canterbury calls for peace in Korea: The Church of England Newspaper, May 12, 2013 p 7. May 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Korea, Archbishop of Canterbury, Arms Control/Defense/Peace Issues, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Nippon Sei Ko Kai.
Tags: John Holbrook, Second Worldwide Anglican Peace Conference
add a comment
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has added its voice to the call for peace in Korea. In a message read to the Second Worldwide Anglican Peace Conference held in Okinawa from 16 – 22 April 2013 Archbishop Welby lauded the work of the Korean and Japanese churches to foster peace in Northeast Asia.
“Your gathering has come at the most needful time,” Archbishop Welby wrote, in a statement read by his representative to the conference Bishop John Holbrook of Brixworth in the diocese of Peterborough.
“We stand with you in solidarity with the people of Korea at this time of heightened tension. I applaud the commitment of the Anglican Communion to work with the Anglican Church of Korea in its dedicated mission towards peace in Korea. May the initiatives you pursue contribute to the breaking down of enmities and to the establishment of a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Recent developments have shown how urgent this remains. I pray that the Lord may grant you the courage to keep faithful to this calling.”
Approximately 80 delegates attended the conference convened jointly by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai and the Anglican church committee. In his opening address Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu of Japan said peace will come to the region by a call for relinquishing “our own rights … And trying to protect the rights of others, or those who lack even basic rights.”
In the closing communiqué the delegates said East Asia was “hounded by the alarming threat of military escalation, the proliferation of destructive nuclear weapons, and the deadly effects of nuclear power generation.”
“We noted the danger signs are governments moving toward a war footing, they said, adding they feared the “possible revision of Japan’s skis Constitution would undermine stability in the region.”
The conference declared its “unequivocal opposition to war as a means of resolving disputes” and pledged “never again to war!”
1 comment so far
The Second Global Anglican Future Conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, 21-26 October 2013, the General Secretary of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, Dr. Peter Jensen the Archbishop of Sydney announced last week.
“God is establishing new churches creating new believers and transforming lives. Our hope for the future is in him. Our aim is to move forward confidently, to plan and experience in fellowship a future for Anglicans in which his Word is honoured and our witness is clear,” Dr. Jensen said
“We are looking forward with great expectation to seeing God at work as we meet in Nairobi. The focus will be on our shared Anglican future, as we engage with the missionary theme, ‘Making Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ’,” he added.
Lay, clergy and episcopal delegates will be invited to attend the gathering at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi to “proclaim and defend the apostolic gospel within and beyond the Anglican Communion and to recognise and share fellowship with orthodox Anglicans globally, especially those who have been disaffiliated by false teaching and behaviour.”
The conference organizers said the Christian world faces the “triple challenge of sceptical secularism, militant religion and compromised Christianity. GAFCON 2013 has been summoned so that GFCA can help both plan for and experience the future of the Communion of which we, with many others, are part.”
Fake resume lands diocesan official in court: The Church of England Newspaper, May 12, 2013 p 7. May 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Crime.
Tags: Diocese of Lincoln, Max Manin
add a comment
The former chief executive officer of the Diocese of Lincoln has appeared in court to answer charges that he falsified his resume to secure the top administrative post in the diocese.
Maximilian Manin (54) is accused of making the false claim that he held a first class honours degree in English Literature and Art History from the University of Sheffield when he was appointed to the £45,000 a year job. Lincoln magistrates heard the first class degree was an essential requirement for the post.
Mr. Manin has also been charged with fraud over the improper use of a car loan. In May 2012 he left the position after a diocesan review committee recommended his post be eliminated. On 14 June 2012, the Bishop Christopher Lawson of Lincoln released a statement saying that after Mr. Manin’s resignation “new information has come to light which today has been handed to the Police.
“This information was acted on as soon as it came to light after consultation with the Chair of the Lincoln Diocesan Trust and Board of Finance and our auditors,” the bishop said, adding that “I am determined that this process should be dealt with fairly and in the correct manner, and therefore it would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this stage.”
NZ human rights tribunal to review Anglican ban on gay clergy: The Church of England Newspaper, May 12, 2013 p 6 May 14, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Auckland, Eugene Sisneros, Human Rights Review Tribunal, Ross Bay
And unsuccessful aspirant for holy orders has filed a complaint with the New Zealand Human Rights Review Tribunal accusing the Bishop of Auckland of discrimination against homosexuals. Eugene Sisneros, an employee of St Matthew in the City in Auckland, has alleged that Bishop Ross Bay violated the country’s Human Rights laws by refusing to allow him to begin the ordination process because he is in a same-sex partnership.
In his Statement of Claim, plaintiff said 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” noting: “My humiliation and disappointment continue to this day.”
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.
Bishop Bay told One News on 5 May 2013 the man had been turned away from the ordination process
“by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church.” The New Zealand church follows the guidelines reiterated by Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10 and understands the chaste relationship to be marriage between a man and a woman or celibacy in singleness.
In a comment posted on twitter New Zealand Anglican blogger the Rev Peter Carrell argued were the plaintiff successful in his lawsuit he had overcome the problem that “there is no mechanism to force a Bishop to ordain” someone “if the bishop does not want to do that” under the church’s canons.
Decisions reached by human rights review tribunal can be appealed to higher tribunals, but their decisions are legally enforceable.
Irish bishops deny pressing bishop-elect to step aside: The Church of England Newspaper, May 12, 2013 p 6. May 13, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland.
Tags: Diocese of Meath & Kildare, Leslie Stevenson, Michael Jackson, Richard Clarke
add a comment
The Ven. Leslie Stevenson was not pressured to decline consecration as Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Archbishop of Dublin said last week.
Dr. Michael Jackson released a statement saying the three bishops who visited the Archdeacon’s home the night before he announced he would not go forward with the ceremony had visited him “in a pastoral capacity, without the expectation of a predetermined outcome to the conversation.”
On 29 April 2013 — three days before he was set to be consecrated — Archdeacon Stevenson announced that he was declining the post in light of public turmoil over allegations of his alleged personal misconduct. The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Richard Clarke, on 3 May 2013 responded by releasing a statement denouncing “incorrect statements of fact and unfounded allegations [that] have caused much hurt and distress.”
The House of Bishops had been “informed of circumstances in 1998 which led to the Archdeacon, then incumbent of the Parish of Donaghadee in the Diocese of Down, resigning his office. The Archdeacon has publicly referred to his relationship with a female parishioner, which he acknowledged, both by his resignation, and in recent statements, he should not have allowed.”
He added that: “Following his resignation, the Archdeacon undertook a period of personal discipline, during which he did not exercise parochial ministry. At the end of a period agreed within the House of Bishops, and following discussions both within the House of Bishops and between the Bishop of Down and Dromore and myself (then Bishop of Meath and Kildare), I subsequently instituted Mr Stevenson as incumbent of the Parish of Portarlington in the Diocese of Kildare, and some ten years later as archdeacon.”
Dr. Jackson explained that the bishops’ visit to the Portarlington Rectory was undertaken to express “their personal concern for Leslie”.
“The bishops were not representing the House of Bishops, nor were they seeking to revoke the decision of the House of Bishops who had previously confirmed his election,” he said, adding that “Archdeacon Stevenson, by his own decision, withdrew from the forthcoming consecration.”
Tags: Anglican Samizdat, David Jenkins, Diocese of Niagara, Michael Bird
add a comment
The Bishop of the Diocese of Niagara in the Anglican Church of Canada has filed a lawsuit against conservative blogger claiming “defamation of character”.
On 19 Feb 2013 David Jenkins, author of the Anglican Samizdat blog received notice that Bishop Bird had asked a court to shut down his blog, ban him from making further comments about him and to pay him $400,000 in damages.
Mr Jenkins stated that he had been surprised by the lawsuit. “Contrary to what one might expect in such circumstances, I did not receive a cease and desist letter in advance of the suit.”
The Statement of Claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court Justice alleged Mr. Jenkins maliciously and falsely stated Bishop Bird was a “ weak and ineffectual leader and that his actions were motivated by avarice or financial gain”. That the bishop was a “thief” and had a “sexual fetish”, and that he was an “atheist and heretic bent upon the destruction of Christianity.”he will
Among the examples of malicious and defamatory utterances alleged to have been made by the defendant were a photo of the bishop altered so that he appeared to be wearing a mitre made of underpants, that the bishop’s call to engage in “prophetic social justice” ministries meant “closing churches” and that the clergy of the diocese were not “authentic Christians”.
The 31 posts cited in the complaint were subsequently removed from his website. At the bishop’s request other posts were also taking down, Mr. Jenkins noted, “as a gesture of good faith.”
“I have made offers to settle and meet/talk, but they have been rejected,” he added.
Tags: David Moxon
The third session of the third round of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) meets this week in Rio de Janeiro to continue its work on the relationship between local and universal Church and common ethics and morals between the two churches.
In an interview with Vatican radio, the Catholic co-secretary of ARCIC III, Msgr. Mark Langham of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said this meeting would be “reflective”.
We will not be “diving into the particular problems” that divide the churches but will look at “our common origins and the common tradition we share.”
Established in 1966 in response to the Second Vatican Council and as a result of the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey to Pope Paul VI in Rome, the original ecumenical imperative behind ARCIC has faded, with the two churches increasingly diverging on questions of ethics, order and morals.
Tensions over the ordination of women and homosexuals and the inability of the Anglican team to honour the accords reached by past meetings along with the establishment by Benedict in 2009 of the Anglican Ordinariate have strained relations.
Conservative and Global South Anglicans have viewed the ARCIC process with suspicion. The appointment of members of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada to the team by the secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council violated assurances made by Dr. Rowan Williams to the communion. Positions put forward by some members of the Anglican team as “Anglican” beliefs have also been disavowed.
Speaking to the press after the 2012 ARCIC meeting in Hong Kong, the Anglican co-chair Archbishop David Moxon stated homosexuality was an ethical area where Anglicans and Roman Catholics diverged. He told ENI that it is easier for the two churches to have a common understanding on social ethics, but not sexual ethics and homosexuality.
But the archbishop stressed that the study of some “first principles” from the two churches, like the study of the Bible, may help find common ground. Drawing upon Scripture, tradition and reason, ARCIC III will also “elucidate how our two Communions approach moral decision making, and how areas of tension for Anglicans and Roman Catholics might be resolved by learning from the other.”
Church construction banned in the Sudan: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 p 7. May 7, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Persecution.
Tags: Al-Fatih Taj al-Sir, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Sudan’s Minister of Guidance and Endowments, Al-Fatih Taj al-Sir, has told the country’s Parliament the government will not permit the construction of new Christian churches in the country, but said that freedom of religion would be protected under the country’s Islamic Constitution.
On 17 April 2013 the government minister said that no new churches had been built since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011 due to lack of worshipers and the growing number of abandoned churches..
In a briefing published this month, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) stated that since December 2012, there had been “an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians and of those suspected of having links to them, particularly in Khartoum and Omodorum, Sudan’s largest cities. There has also been a systematic targeting of members of African ethnic groups, particularly the Nuba, lending apparent credence to the notion of the resurgence of an official agenda of Islamisation and Arabisation.”
“The campaign of repression [has] continued into 2013, with foreign Christians being arrested and deported at short notice, and those from Sudan facing arrest, detention and questioning by the security services,” the report said.
CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “The recent spike in religious repression in Sudan is deeply worrying. The Minister’s claims of guaranteeing freedom to worship are at odds with regular reports of Christians being harassed arrested and in some cases expelled from the country at short notice. We urge the Sudanese government to end its campaign of harassment against the Christian community and respect the right of all of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief.”
West Indian bishops call for push back against Cameron’s gay agenda: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 p 7. May 7, 2013Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies.
Tags: gay marriage
The House of Bishops of the Church the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) has urged Caribbean political leaders to reject demands of the government of Prime Minister David Cameron and the Obama administration that it legalize gay rights and gay marriage.
In a statement released on 25 April 2013 at the close of the meeting in Barbados, the bishops said “the dangling of a carrot of economic assistance to faltering economies” in return for supporting the gay agenda “should be seen for what it is worth and should be resisted by people and government alike.”
At the October 2011 Commonwealth heads of Government meeting in Australia Mr. Cameron threatened countries that did not conform to his government’s views on homosexuality with losing aid payments. On 6 Dec 2011 Pres. Obama directed US government agencies working with overseas governments and organizations to push the administration’s support for the gay agenda.
The West Indian bishops reiterated their belief in marriage “defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman” and said same-sex marriage was “totally unacceptable on theological and cultural grounds.”
“Matters related to human sexuality have been elevated to the level of human rights” by the US and Britain “and are being promulgated as positions which must be accepted globally.”
Britain could no longer dictate its morality to the people Caribbean. “The threat and use of economic sanctions are not new experiences for us, neither is the claim to a superior morality convincing for peoples who have known the experience of chattel slavery in our past. While claiming to invoke human rights as the basis for such imposition, we submit that the same principle must allow us the right to affirm our cultural and religious convictions regarding our definitions of that most basic of social institutions, marriage,” the bishops said.
Bangladesh factory collapse kills 377: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 p 7. May 7, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of Bangladesh, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Paul Sarker
A nine-story garment factory in Dhaka collapsed on 24 April 2013, the Church of Bangladesh reports, killing hundreds of workers.
In a statement released via the Anglican Alliance, the Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh the Rt Rev Paul Sarker reports the church has rushed emergency assistance to the site, distributing water bottles, blankets and tents and assisting with the rescue operation. As of 29 April 2,436 people were rescued, but 377 bodies have been recovered from the collapsed building. The owner of the building, Sohel Rana, was arrested near the Indian border.
A fire broke out at the site five days after the collapse as rescuers sought to extract a woman pinned in the rubble, making it unlikely any more survivors will be found.
The Anglican Alliance, a church-affiliated aid organization, said last week’s tragedy was the “worst ever industrial accident in Bangladesh and comes only months after more than one hundred garments workers died of fire in two factories.” It called upon government and Western importers to push for fair wages and decent working conditions for labourers in the textile industry and safety regulations to prevent future tragedies.
“No amnesty for Boko Haram” says the Church of Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 p 6. May 5, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria.
Tags: Boko Haram, Nicholas Okoh
The Archbishop of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh has warned that a blanket amnesty for the terror group Boko Haram would see Christians driven from Northern Nigeria. In a position paper prepared by the church in response to the creation of an amnesty commission by President Goodluck Jonathan, the archbishop warned that amnesty without reconciliation would not solve the problem.
“If the Federal Government goes ahead through the amnesty committee to make peace on BH’s terms, it would have inadvertently and effectively banned Christians and Christianity from the North. In the amnesty committee, who will speak for the right of the church, not to be tolerated, but as Nigerian Christians to exist side by side with Islam and Muslims, build churches, worship freely, move about freely without being hunted down with all sorts of weapons?,” said the document entitled “’The rough edges of the amnesty proposition”.
According to extracts published by the Vanguard newspaper on 29 April 2013 the Archbishop asked: “Will the amnesty committee ensure that Christians are not merely tolerated in the north but are allowed to live abundant life as Muslims as Christians do in other parts of the country?”
In the most recent clash between the Army and Boko Haram, aid agencies report 187 people were killed after two days of fighting in the town of Baga near the border with Chad.
Tags: Diocese of Meath and Kildare, Leslie Stevenson
The Archdeacon of Meath and Kildare has declined the appointment as bishop of the border diocese after concerns over his suitability were raised – three days before his consecration.
On 28 Jan 2013 the Ven. Leslie Stevenson was selected by the Episcopal Electoral College for Meath and Kildare to succeed Archbishop Richard Clarke as bishop. Questions over his suitability for the episcopate were soon raised as in 1999 Mr. Stevenson — who would have become Ireland’s first divorced and remarried bishop — resigned from his parish post under a cloud. The bishop-elect’s past became the topic of newspaper scrutiny and speculation on the internet about his moral integrity made his position untenable, sources tell CEN.
Married in 1984 while serving as a curate in East Belfast, Archdeacon Stevenson was divorced in 1992. In 1998 he married a second time while serving as rector of Donaghadee in the Diocese of Down and Dromore. While he was away on his honeymoon, revelations of a “relationship” with a female parishioner were made public – leading to his resignation from the parish and a six month period of “personal discipline” where he left the parish ministry. In 1999 Mr. Stevenson was subsequently appointed rector of Portarlington in the Diocese of Meath and Kildare and archdeacon in 2009.
On 28 April 2013 he released a statement saying:
“I am honoured to have been elected Bishop of Meath and Kildare and appreciate the support and goodwill offered to me by many people from the dioceses and the wider Church of Ireland over recent months. My positive concern for the Church, to which I remain loyal, now leads me to decline the appointment. I wish to broaden and deepen my ministry in the parish and diocese in which I have been called to serve.”
Bishop Harold Miller of Down and Dromore was not able to attend the January election meeting, but subsequently wrote to the bishops expressing his concern. The fracas will likely have wider implications sources tell CEN and may haunt the archbishop, Dr. Clarke, who had full knowledge of the archdeacon’s past.
Tags: Diocese of Newcastle, Kay Goldsworthy
The Assistant Bishop of Perth’s bid to become the first woman elected to the episcopate in the Anglican Church of Australia has fallen short as the Diocese of Newcastle failed to elect a new bishop at its 12-14 April 2013 meeting of synod.
The Rt. Rev. Kay Goldsworthy was among five nominees that included two local clergy and the Assistant Bishop of Canberra & Goulburn Dr Stephen Pickard and Dr Peter Stuart Assistant Bishop of Newcastle to succeed Bishop Brian Farran. Four women priests have been appointed assistant bishops in Australia—Perth, Melbourne, Canberra & Goulburn and Brisbane – but none have been elected.
In a note to the diocese after the election, Dr. Stuart said: “sometimes the Synod elects quickly and sometimes the process takes time. Synod elected Bishops Farran (2005) and Holland (1977) in one sitting. Synod elected Bishop Herft (1992) over two Synod sessions and refereed the decision to elect a bishop in 1972 to the Diocesan Council which elected Bishop Shevill.”
The Synod “resolved to begin the process afresh” he said, though the candidates may place their names in nomination a second time.
Prayers for the release of kidnapped Syrian bishops: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 p 6. May 5, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
Tags: Boulos Yaziji, Justin Welby, Syria, Vincent Nichols, Yohanna Ibrahim
The Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster have issued a call to prayer for peace in Syria.
On 25 April 2013 Archbishop Justin Welby and Vincent Nichols issued a joint statement in response to the kidnapping of Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim, the Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo and Boulos Yaziji, the Greek Orthodox archbishop of the city. The two clerics were abducted on 22 April in Kafr Dael near the Turkish border. Their driver, a Syriac Orthodox deacon, was killed.
Mgr. Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Greek Melkite bishop of Aleppo, told AsiaNews. “The Catholic and Orthodox Churches are doing their best to mediate with the kidnappers,” but “at present no one understands the reasons for this act and who is behind these criminals.”
The English Archbishop said their prayers “go with the ancient communities of our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria. The kidnapping” was “another telling sign of the terrible circumstances that continue to engulf all Syrians.”
“We both continue to pray for a political solution to this tragic conflict that would stem the terrible violence and also empower all Syrians with their fundamental and inalienable freedoms,” The Anglican and Catholic archbishops said. “We also call for urgent humanitarian aid to reach all who are suffering. We pray that Syria can recapture its tradition of tolerance, rooted in faith and respect for faiths living side by side.”
Melbourne archbishop testifies before Parliamentary commission on abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2013, p 6. May 2, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Melbourne, Philip Freier
A culture of denial had hindered the Church’s handling of child sex abuse cases, the Archbishop of Melbourne told a parliamentary committee last week. On 22 April Dr Philip Freier said that “as you look backwards you can see broadly as a culture we’ve not readily listened to children when they’ve made complaints.
“There have been opportunities for people who wanted to breach the trust of children to do that, and often for children’s accounts of that trust being broken, being disbelieved,” he said adding that some victims were “even punished for having raised a question about the conduct of an adult.”
The diocese had received 46 complaints of child sex abuse since the 1950s, the Archbishop said, and had paid out $268,000 in compensation to 10 victims since 2003, but only reported 12 of the 46 complaints to police.
Dr Freier told the committee of the reforms instituted by the Church since the implementation of a professional standards practices regime in 1994. In his concluding remarks he spoke of the church’s abhorrence for abuse and its zero-tolerance about the issue. The archbishop apologized for the pain and misery that such abuse has caused both victims and the broader community and welcomed the Inquiry as a way in which that confidence might begin to be restored in the church.
Tags: FRELIMO, Mark van Koevering, Mozambique, RENAMO
Political violence could see a return to civil war in Mozambique, the Bishop of Niassa has warned following clashes between police and members of the ex-guerrilla group RENAMO.
Last week Bishop Mark van Koevering wrote: “We are all saddened by the deaths of innocent people during the recent violence that took place in Muxungue,” adding that: “We call on all to follow in the way of peace, creating space and opportunity for all voices to be heard in a transparent process that renounces violence and serves the common good.”
Over 1 million people died and 5 million were driven from their homes in the 16 year long civil war between the FRELIMO-party government communist and RENAMO guerrillas which ended in 1992. In the worst outbreak of political violence in a decade one woman and four police officers were killed in a police raid on RENAMO meeting, prompting suspected RENAMO gunmen to attack a police post killing five policemen.
Political violence, church leaders note, could destabilize the massive gains made in the past few years in promoting democracy and civil rights. Unrest could also derail the country’s natural resources-based economic boom. Western mining companies, Vale and Rio Tinto, have invested nearly $10 billion in mines in Tete province, home to some of the world’s largest untapped coal deposits — and a RENAMO stronghold.
Sudan Archbishop to broker peace talks: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2013, p 6. May 2, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
Tags: Daniel Deng, David Yau Yau
The Archbishop of the Sudan, Daniel Deng, has offered to negotiate between the South Sudan government and rebel leader David Yau Yau to end the fighting in Jonglei state
A former Anglican seminarian, David Yau Yau has emerged as the head of rebel militia at war with South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM]. Earlier this month the government accused Yau Yau of having attacked UN peacekeepers in Pibor county. However the rebel leader denied responsibility and said he was ready to talk.
On 10 April Archbishop Deng said he was ready to talk to Yau Yau, “if I know where he is. It pains me when I see our people killing themselves.”
For the past three years the Archbishop has helped broker deals between rebel leaders and the government in South Sudan. In May 2012 the chiefs representing the six tribes in Bor were brought to church-sponsored roundtable talks to help resolve their differences with the state. A treaty was signed to end the fighting and disarm tribes.
Tags: Diocese of Derry & Raphoe, Ken Good
SOME 40,000 copies of Luke’s Gospel are to be hand–delivered to every home in Londonderry as part of part of “A Free Gift For All” — an ecumenical initiative of the city’s Protestant and Catholic churches.
On 15 April 2013 Mayor Kevin Campbell was given the first commemorative copy by the Catholic Bishop of Derry Mgr Eamon Martin, the superintendent of the Methodist City Mission the Rev Peter Murray, the clerk of the Derry Presbytery the Rev Dr. Robert Buick and the Church of Ireland’s Bishop of Derry & Raphoe Ken Good.
A spokesperson for the project organisers said: “A Free Gift For All brings together so many strands of good news for out city. We are delighted to present the Mayor with a free gift of the Gospel of Luke. This is the first step in the distribution to all 40,000 households in our city”.
He continued: “It is a unique coming together of the church community in our city to give a gift to our fellow citizens, as a celebration of our designation as the UK City of Culture in 2013”.
Portsmouth pays £200,000 to compensate abuse victim: The Church of England Newspaper, April 29, 2013 May 2, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Portsmouth, Maxwell Halahan
The Diocese of Portsmouth has agreed to pay compensation of £200,000 to cover the cost of psychological treatment and loss of earnings to the victim of clergy sexual abuse.
The victim, now in his 40s, was abused by the Rev. Maxwell Halahan, vicar of at St Faith’s Church in Cowes, Isle of Wight, in the 1970s. After joining the choir at the age of eight the victim, who was granted anonymity by the courts, was abused by Mr. Halahan for five years. In 2011 Mr. Halahan, then aged 81, was jailed for three years by the Portsmouth Crown Court after being found guilty of four counts of indecent assault.
In a statement released on behalf of the victim by Irwin Mitchell, the victim recounted the emotional, psychological and spiritual toll the abuse had taken on his life. “In 2010 I plucked up the courage to go to the police because I realised he could still be out there putting other children through the same horrendous ordeal,” he said adding that “although nothing can make up for the horror of what that vile man put me through and the effects it has had on my life, the settlement does finally give me some closure and I can concentrate on getting the best possible psychological support to try and rebuild my life.”
Stephanie Pelling from Irwin Mitchell solicitors said: “The settlement agreed will provide the necessary therapies which we hope will help [the victim] to come to terms with what happened and allow him to move forward with his life.”
South Carolina clergy threatened with deposition: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2013, p 6. May 1, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Abraham Nhial, Charles vonRosenberg
The Episcopal Church has written to 140 active and retired priests and deacons asking them to affirm their loyalty to New York-based national church and foreswear allegiance to Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.
Bishop Charles vonRosenberg, the provisional bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, — the loyalist organization in the diocese backed by the national church – last week wrote: “I invite you to make known your allegiance to [The Episcopal Church] and, if you wish, to request a time to speak with me about this matter … You face a very serious decision, with significant consequences for you and for the church, and I encourage your careful and prayerful consideration.”
The bishop has given the clergy two weeks to respond and if no response is forthcoming he would begin the process to depose in the ordained ministry. The legality of the bishop’s letter has not been clarified as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina is not a member of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church and its Bishop would appear to lack authority to make such demands. The letter also follows a pattern of action taken by the national church in the disputes with breakaway dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy, San Joaquin, and Fort Worth. Diocesan officials note that apart from concerns over the distress the letter has given to retired clergy who had not been involved in the dispute, the letter will most likely be ignored.
The letter came the same day as four East African bishops on a visit to Charleston affirmed Bishop Lawrence and his diocese’s place in the wider Anglican Communion. Bishop Abraham Nhial of the Diocese of Aweil in the Sudan told reporters “We love Mark [Lawrence].”
Along with Bishops Robert Martin of Marsabit, Kenya, Elias Mazi Chakupewa of Tabora, Tanzania, and Nathan Gasatura of Butare, Rwanda, Bishop Nhial said: “We came to encourage Bishop Mark Lawrence to stand firm in the faith.”
“The people of South Sudan have suffered for 50 years. We’ve died because of our belief in Christ, our identity as Christians. I want to assure my brother Mark that suffering is part of our belief in Christ. We came here tonight not only to discuss what we’re doing in Christ, but also to encourage you to stand up and stand firm in your own faith.”
Tags: Bashar al-Assad, Syria
Six days of fighting in Damascus’s Jdaidet Artouz and Jdaidet Al-Fadel suburbs have killed several hundred civilians, anti-regime activists have claimed. The deaths follow an offensive by troops and irregular militias loyal to President Bashar al-Assad to secure the capital and open the roads south to the city of Dara’a.
On 22 April 2013 the Foreign Secretary said the reports of the massacre underscored the urgent need to bring the conflict in Syria to an end.
“I am appalled by the reports of the killing by Syrian Government forces of dozens of people, including women and children, in the town of Jdaidet Al-Fadl, a suburb of Damascus. This is yet another reminder of the callous brutality of the Assad regime and the terrible climate of impunity inside Syria,” said William Hague.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 80 had died, but said the death toll could be as high as 250. Another activist group put the number at 483.
On 17 April 2013 a meeting of Christian NGOs in Istanbul called the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) released a statement urging the U.N. Special Envoy for Syria to pay particular attention to the country’s “vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities”.
“Religious liberty organisations are united in their concern for the plight of Christians and other minorities in Syria,” said Paul Robinson, the chief executive of Release International. “We believe the international community must act now to protect them. And we are calling on Christian leaders around the world to unite in calling for prayer for peace for this troubled nation.”
Tags: Boston Marathon bmbing
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to a congregation of over 2000 last week at Boston’s Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross to commemorate those killed and wounded in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Boston “will run again” the president said on 18 April 2013. “If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us … It should be pretty clear right now that they picked the wrong city … .”
On 15 April – celebrated as Patriots’ Day in Boston — two explosions ripped through a crowd near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing three and injuring more than 170. “We may be momentarily knocked off our feet,” the president said. “But we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.”
President Obama called the then as yet unidentified terrorists “small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build, and think somehow that makes them important.”
“Yes, we will find you. And, yes, you will face justice. We will find you. We will hold you accountable,” the president said.
That evening one of the suspected bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, (26) was killed in a shootout with police in Watertown a western suburb of Boston. Earlier that night Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (19) shot and killed a policeman. During the firefight that later ensued a second policeman was shot and gravely wounded.
Dzhokhar fled the scene of the shootout and Gov. Deval Patrick ordered a curfew for Watertown as police began a house to house search. Dzhokhar was captured the next day after a man found the fugitive hiding in a boat parked on the trailer behind his home.
The two bombers have been identified as Chechen immigrants to the United States and initial reports indicate that they had become radicalized Islamists in the past few years. The Tsarnaev brothers attended prayer services at the Islamic Society of Boston Cambridge Masjid, a small mosque near their apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“In their visits, they never exhibited any violent sentiments or behavior,” said a statement from the masjid. “Otherwise they would have been immediately reported to the FBI. After we learned of their identities, we encouraged anyone who knew them in our congregation to immediately report to law enforcement, which has taken place.”
Trinity Church Copley Square, an Episcopal Church 300 yards from the Boston Marathon’s finish line, had been closed for the race and remains closed as police investigate the crime scene. The church’s rector, the Rev. Patrick Ward, told Episcopal News Service he was “hugely relieved” to learn the church’s team of runners was safe.
The Archdiocese of Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley sent a message from Israel following the attacks saying he would be returning to join the city’s faith community “to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.” The Vatican sent a telegram to the archdiocese, saying Pope Francis “prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good.”
Following the blast the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori offered a prayer for those killed and injured as did the Anglican Church in North America. “As we pray for those affected by the bombings in Boston, MA, it seems appropriate to pray for the reign of Christ in this situation. May the Lord pour out His Spirit of peace during this time of chaos and violence.”
Tags: Egypt, Mouneer Anis
The Anglican Bishop of Egypt has warned that the sectarian battle outside St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo between Copts and Islamists could take the country into civil war. “Such attacks could lead the country into the abyss of sectarian sedition and deteriorate the social, economic and political conditions of the country. These actions could worsen the image of Egypt in front of the international community, “said Dr. Mouneer Anis, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Two men were killed and 89 injured on 7 April 2013 outside the cathedral as mourners left the church following the funeral of four Christians killed in the northern town of Khusus over the weekend.
Human Right’s Watch’s Middle East and North Africa deputy, Nadim Houry, called on President Mohamed Mursi to “break the cycle of impunity” that allowed Muslim hardliner to attack Christians.
“Egyptian law discriminates against Christians by prohibiting the renovation or construction of churches without a presidential decree, a requirement which is not applied to other religions and their places of worship,” she said. The NGO also accused Pres. Mursi of not taking serious steps towards investigating and halting anti-Christian violence.
Rebuilding options for Christchurch Cathedral unveiled:The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 6. April 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Christchurch
A straw poll of delegates to the 13 April 2013 meeting of Christchurch diocesan Synod has voted to support a proposal to rebuild the city’s earthquake ravaged Cathedral using a contemporary design.
Last week the Diocese of Christchurch and its Church Property Trustees unveiled three designs: a full restoration of the original Nineteenth century gothic cathedral, rebuilding the Cathedral according to its original specifications but using modern construction materials, or a contemporary new design.
A show of hands from the approximately 200 members of the synod presence showed overwhelming support the contemporary design due to its cheaper cost, modern look, and the symbolism of a re-born diocese.
The diocese reports the “praying hands” style Cathedral would feature a restored rose window on the western glass wall, and a glass and steel bell tower. Estimated to cost between NZ $56 million to NZ $74 million the rebuilding project is expected to take from 5 to 10 years. Earthquake insurance payments will contribute NZ $30 million towards the cost of rebuilding.
Christchurch’s Church Property Trustees will make a final decision as to the form the new Cathedral will take. It has launched a website www.cathedralconversations.org.nz to solicit feedback and community on its wishes as well. A series of public forums led by Bishop Victoria Matthews is scheduled for the coming weeks to present options to the wider community. Comments posted at the website indicated majority of the public like the contemporary design also.
Barbados clergyman elected suffragan bishop of Toronto: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 7. April 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Toronto, Peter Fenty
A Barbados native has been elected suffragan Bishop of the diocese of Toronto. On 6 April 2013, the Ven. Peter Fenty, archdeacon of York and the executive officer to the Bishop of Toronto, was elected on the seventh ballot. Bishop-elect Fenty, (61) who was born and raised in Barbados and came to Canada in 1992, will be the first person of African descent to be a bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.
“This is a historic moment in the life of the Anglican Church in Canada, but I want to make it very clear that I will be a bishop for all of God’s people,” he said in an interview with the diocesan newspaper after the election at St. James Cathedral in Toronto. Ordained a priest in Barbados in 1975, he served three parishes there before taking a parish in the diocese of Montréal in 1992. In 1997 he became the incumbent of St. Joseph of Nazareth in Brampton in the Diocese of Toronto and was appointed archdeacon in 2004.
Archbishop Colin Johnson said he is looking forward to working with Bishop-elect Fenty. “Peter has a vast range of knowledge of the diocese. He brings good organizational skills and he is a compelling preacher and interpreter of scripture. He has a deep faith and is theologically articulate. He has sensitivity not just to the Caribbean community but to a wide range of communities, including some minority communities in the life of the church who are not otherwise well represented. I think he has wonderful gifts that he is bringing.”
£25 million raised for church youth work: Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 7. April 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Youth/Children.
Tags: Arthur Eze, fundraising, philanthropy
A fund-raising dinner in Nigeria last month has raised over £25 million (Nairas 6 billion) for the St. Stephen’s Anglican Deanery and Youth Development Centre in Otuoke, in Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta region. Leading the list of donors was philanthropist and oilman Arthur Eze, who donated £7.8 million (1.8 billion Nairas) to fund the construction of the Anglican training institute, Forbes magazine reported.
Nigerian Pres. Goodluck Jonathan, whose hometown is Otuoke, told those attending the dinner that he was grateful for the gifts given by wealthy Nigerians to support the development of impoverished communities in their own country. Private philanthropy strengthened the nation and empower individuals. This will create an “opportunity for the younger ones to grow. Even if we die in the next 100 years, people will remember that those before them have something for them,” the president said.
Huegenots commemorated at Christ Church Spitalfields: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 6. April 24, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of London, Huguenots
The Bishop of London was joined last week by over 350 worshippers at Christ Church Spitalfields for a thanksgiving service marking the 415th anniversary of the Edict of Nantes granting French Protestants freedom of worship. When the Edict was revoked in 1685 over 20,000 Huguenots settled in Spitalfields, where their skills in weaving and working with silk left an indelible mark on the area.
At the 23 April 2013 service the Dean of Rochester contributed a reading while Giles De La Mare read the poem ‘All that’s past’ by his grandfather, poet and novelist, Walter De La Mare. The service is part of the wider festival being held to celebrate the contribution of the Huguenots to Spitalfields and to raise funds for a permanent memorial commemorating their life and work.
The Rev. Andy Rider Rector at Christ Church Spitalfields commented: “It was a privilege to host this special service of thanksgiving to commemorate the Huguenots of Spitalfields. We celebrate not just their impact on this area but to London and the many places that the Huguenot community settled following their times of trial and persecution. We celebrate not just their business endeavours, their art and culture but principally we remember them as a people of deep biblical Christian faith.”
Tags: Barry Morgan, gay marriage
The coalition government’s push to introduce same-sex marriage in England and Wales necessitates a review of the Church in Wales thinking on marriage, the Archbishop of Wales Dr. Barry Morgan said last week.
In his presidential address to the 10 – 11 April 2013 meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Lampeter, Dr. Morgan said the church needed to consider the issue of same-sex relationships. “There has been a growth in understanding of same sex relationships in wider society in recent years and a more comprehensive understanding of human sexuality in general,” he said.
“Within the Church in Wales, as the bishops have pointed out, there are a variety of views about the ethics of same sex relationships. There is a new appreciation of the value of any faithful committed life-long relationship. The new Archbishop of Canterbury observed recently that, ‘It would be completely absurd to suggest that the love expressed in gay relationships was less than the love that there is between straight couples’. The bishops have, therefore, asked the Doctrinal Commission to examine the whole issue of same sex relationships, and once it has produced its report, we will need to have a general discussion, perhaps in groups in the first instance, in this Governing Body to map out the way ahead for us as a Church.”
The doctrinal commission will also examine the Church in Wales’ relationship to the state. The coalition government had not consulted the Church in Wales when it said it would be banned in law from offering same sex marriages. The church in Wales should make up its own mind on this issue he declared, and it must decide whether it would keep its quasi-established position under Welsh law words clergy had a duty to solemnise marriages.
“If marriage were ever to become a devolved issue, I cannot see a devolved Welsh government allowing a disestablished church to hang on to this vestige of establishment,” he added, but “in any case, we ourselves might want to change the present arrangements.”
Dr. Morgan also discussed revisiting the issue of women bishops which was turned back by the governing body in 2008 by 3 votes after the bishops refused to give assurances or protections to those opposed to the innovation. In 2012 the Bishop’s bench released a discussion paper stating their unanimous support the ordination of women bishops.
The Archbishop also spoke to the challenges of the paper presented by Lord Harries last year on reorganizing structures of the church. “Churches with ordained clergy have been tempted to assume that all ministry is vested in an omnicompetent, all-singing, all-dancing professional minister and that the task of ministry belongs to him or her and then when he/she is a bit hard pressed, he or she may delegate some of the tasks to other people but really essentially it is her/her ministry. That is to start in the wrong place,” he argued.
The church must use “all the resources that we have been given, and the gifts that all of us have, more creatively and imaginatively. It means laity and clergy together, having a shared vision of the work of the Church,” Dr. Morgan said.
Synod brawl leads to bishop’s suspension: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 6. April 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India.
Tags: J.A.D. Jebachandran
The Bishop in Thoothukudi-Nazareth of the Church of South India has been suspended for assaulting the CSI’s General Secretary during the 25 Feb 2013 meeting in Chennai of the Synod Executive Council.
Spokesmen for the Bishop and the executive Council did not respond to requests for clarification but the anti-corruption lay group Youth4CSI reports the spat between the bishop and the Synod’s Executive Council is politically and financially motivated.
The altercation between Bishop J.A.D. Jebachandran and General Secretary M.M. Philip began when the bishop objected to the minutes of the Council’s January meeting that discussed the affairs of his diocese. After the general secretary declined to strike that portion of the minutes, Bishop Jebachandran allegedly rose from his chair, grabbed Mr. Philip by his collar, took away his microphone, and shoved him away from the podium.
Uproar ensued, and a vote was taken by the Council to suspend the bishop. A formal notice of suspension was subsequently served upon Bishop Jebachandran on 3 April 2013.
Sussex clergyman found guilty of child abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 6. April 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Diocese of Chichester, Wilkie Denford
A Sussex clergyman has been found guilty of sexually abusing two boys. On 5 April 2013 the Rev. Keith Wilkie Denford, (78) and his codefendant, church organist Michael Mytton (69), were found guilty following a three-week trial at Hove Crown Court of molesting boys under the age of 16.
While serving as vicar of St John the Evangelist Church in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, Mr. Denford committed and indecent assaults on two boys between June 1987 and January 1990. He was found not guilty of a third charge of indecent assault against the first boy. Mr. Mytton was convicted of three counts of indecently assaulting a boy under 16 in the Newick area between 1990 and 1994. He was found not guilty of one count of aiding and abetting Mr. Denford.
After the verdict was handed the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, stated: “I note the verdict reached by the Court today and we will now move swiftly to implement our own disciplinary procedures following this verdict in the case of Mr Denford.
“The Diocese fully acknowledges the suffering caused both to survivors of abuse and their families. We deeply regret the betrayal of trust in the context of public pastoral ministry and we extend our prayers and support to those caught up in the events highlighted by this case.
“The Diocese has learned many lessons from past cases and continues to do so. Our safeguarding procedures have been revised and updated and I am committed to ensuring that every person is safe in our church communities.”
The case has been adjourned for sentencing to 2 May 2013 and the defendants remain on bail meanwhile.
Bishop to the Forces for Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 7. April 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Ian Lambert
The Assistant Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Ian Lambert has been appointed as the next Bishop to the Australian Defence Force effective 1 July 2013. “I am thrilled to receive the invitation to serve both the Church and the Military in the capacity of the Anglican Bishop to the Defence Force. I am confident in Christ, that this is God’s call, and I pray that the grace of God will enable us all to work and minister together for His glory,” he said.
Educated at the Royal Military College Duntroon, Bishop Lambert was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Corps of Transport – and in 1984 while attending a character leadership course led by an army chaplain accepted Christ. Leaving the army with the rank of major, Bishop Lambert was ordained in 1995 and served as a parish priest until his consecration last year as assistant for the region of the South Coast, Monaro and Snowy Regions in the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
Tags: Noah Njegovan
A Canadian archdeacon appeared before a Manitoba court last week to answer charges that he had embezzled approximately $190,000 from diocesan coffers. The Ven. Noah Njegovan (30) is alleged to have used a diocesan credit card to embezzle funds sent by congregations to the diocese last year while serving as executive archdeacon of the diocese and assistant to his father, Bishop James Njegovan of Brandon. Mr. Njegovan was released on bail and is set to return to court on 9 May 2013 to answer charges.
Bishop’s plea for peace in Sri Lanka: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013 p 6. April 19, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of Ceylon, Church of England Newspaper, Persecution.
Tags: Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Diocese of Colombo
The Bishop of Colombo has called upon India to protect its Sinhalese visitors following a series of high profile assaults on Buddhist monks.
While the April 1 letter of Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey is addressed to the Indian government and leads with the condemnation of last month’s attack on two Buddhist monks in Tamil Nadu, sources in the Church of Ceylon tell the Church of England Newspaper the true audience is the government of Sri Lankan Pres. Mahinda Rajapaksa and its subject the sharp increase in sectarian violence targeting Ceylon’s Christians and Muslims
Bishop Canagasabey wrote “several incidents of intimidation and violence against Sri Lankans have been reported recently from within and outside the Sri Lanka,” adding the “most serious” had been the attack on Buddhists monks in Tamil Nadu state.
“In the first incident in Tamil Nadu, a group of post graduate archaeology students had been attacked during a study tour to a temple site in Thanjavoor. In the second a group of Buddhist pilgrims who had arrived in Chennai from a visit to sacred sites in North India had been attacked at the Chennai Railway Station. In both instances the monks had been singled out for abuse and physical violence, possibly due to their distinctive dress. Several extremists Tamil groups have been identified as perpetrators of these attacks in India. I appeal to the Central Government of India, and the State Government of Tamil Nadu to stop this act of violence immediately,” the bishop said.
The Bishop added that “within Sri Lanka, attacks in the form of intimidation and violence especially on Christians and Muslims have been too many to list out.”
The Church “views with grave concern and denounces this growing and very dangerous trend of sectarian violence. These incidents are yet another manifestation of the fast spreading intolerance and fundamentalist extremism which is engulfing many societies today,” the bishops said.
It was a “reflection of the refusal to listen to people who think believe and act differently from us and to accept their freedom and right to do so. From here it is but a short step to blind and mindless violence against the group or groups we choose to demonize,” he said.
He stated that “while we very rightly condemn such acts by others, we also need to turn the spotlight inwards and reflect on and examine our own failings in this regard. It may be that unconsciously in the practice of our own beliefs and religion we have caused avoidable irritation and offence to those of sister faiths,” he said, adding “we can hardly demonstrate against and condemn such acts by others against us, if we ourselves condone or participate in similar behaviour against those who are different from us.”
It was the duty of state to guarantee the protection “of all groups in society,” the bishop said, warning the Buddhist nationalist government “during the past decades we have witnessed in this country the tragedy, huge damage and destruction brought about by the negligence of this primary duty. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
Tags: Diocese of Uruguay, Michael Pollesel
The House of Bishops of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (de América) has upheld the appeal of the Diocese of Uruguay and ratified the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel.
A statement released during holy week by the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Tito Zavala of Chile said the bishops and provincial Executive Council had “with joy and thankfulness to God” ratified Archdeacon Pollesel election after consideration of the appeal and the presentation of new background material.
At the close of their 21 – 25 May 2012 meeting in Montevideo the bishops released a statement saying that “after discussion and prayer and in accord with its canons the Provincial Executive of the Cono Sur together with its College of Bishops did not ratify the election of the Ven. Dr. Michael Pollesel as bishop-coadjutor for Uruguay”
The Cono Sur did not state why Dr. Pollesel’s election was rejected, but noted the province “promised its close cooperation with the diocese in its future decisions.”
The December 2011 election of Dr. Pollesel by the Uruguay synod to succeed Bishop Miguel Tamayo had raised questions from conservative activists. The former general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada and interim priest-in-charge of St Nicholas Church, Birch Cliff in Toronto was credited with crafting the “non-confrontational” approach to the debate over same sex blessings taken at the last General Synod.
Conservatives claimed that by making the issue of homosexuality value neutral, it privileged gay supporters in the General Synod and allowed Canada to also claim it had not violated the Anglican Communion’s strictures against gay marriage.
No explanation as to the reasons for the 2012 rejection and 2013 ratification of the election has been released by the province. However it is understood Dr. Pollesel — who has served as vicar general of the diocese since his election — persuaded the bishops that he did not share and what not propagate the Canadian church’s doctrines in Uruguay.
The small South American diocese has been an outlier within the wider Cono Sur in recent years, focusing its energies on “social gospel” issues. On 12 Nov 2010 the diocese voted to secede from the Cono Sur after the provincial synod declined to authorize the ordination of women priests. Uruguay had proposed the women priest resolution, which was passed by the lay and episcopal orders, but defeated in the clergy order at the provincial synod in Buenos Aires.
The 12 – 15 November 2011 meeting in Asunción, Paraguay of the provincial synod rejected Uruguay’s requested to secede, but adopted a motion requesting a study in the feasibility of dividing the province into Atlantic and Pacific halves with Peru, Bolivia and two dioceses in Chile comprising one province and Argentina, Northern Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay comprising the second. The New Zealand meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council declined to endorse the diocese’s request to secede.
Crime concerns dominate Jamaican synod: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013, p 7. April 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Corruption, Crime, Gambling.
Tags: Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Howard Gregory
The Bishop of Jamaica has denounced his government’s slow response to a lottery scam that has defrauded thousands of elderly Americans, saying it was symptomatic of the breakdown of law and order in the West Indies.
In his presidential address to the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands at the 143rd annual meeting of Synod held at St Ann’s Bay parish church, Bishop Howard Gregory said the “system of justice needs to become a primary focus of attention.”
“As a nation we are being called to repentance with a consequent change of action in relation to the blood of our young men and our women and children which is being shed daily in our country by criminal elements, but just as significant in the resolution of domestic disputes.”
The Bishop condemned the government for permitting the sale of lottery tickets on Sunday. He noted that the legislation passed during holy week led him to ask “whether this is an expression of gross insensitivity or a statement concerning the way forward for the relationship between church and society”.
He also took the government to task for not moving to stop the “Jamaican lottery scam” until the U.S. Senate began hearings on the crimes.
A report by CBS reported that in 2012 over 29,000 lottery scam complaints were filed with American police agencies. Posing as representatives of Publishers Clearinghouse and other lottery and sweepstakes firms, the scammers would tell elderly Americans that they had won a cash prize but first needed to make a tax payment before the money would be released. The Jamaican-based fraud had taken in tens of millions of dollars, prosecutors have alleged.
“After seven years of public awareness of the lottery scam, our Government has only managed to table anti-scamming legislation and talk tough at the very moment when the United States Senate was holding a [Senate] hearing on the scam in Jamaica,” Bishop Gregory said.
The government’s failure to act did nothing to combat Jamaica’s reputation as a den of crime and corruption. “The way we are presenting ourselves to the world in terms of our moral values as a nation calls for serious repentance on the part of citizens and political leaders as a whole,” he said.
The willingness also of ordinary Jamaicans to countenance the lottery scam told the world “we have some very skewed moral values.”
Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy freed: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013 p 7. April 16, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Persecution.
Tags: Blasphemy Laws, Release International, Younis Masih
Seven years after being sentenced to death for blasphemy a Pakistani Christian has been set free.
On 3 April 2013 Lahore High Court justices Khaja Amtiaz Ahmed and Khalid Mehmood Khan overturned the conviction of Younis Masih and ordered his immediate release from prison.
On 10 September 2005 Masih was arrested after he had asked a party of Muslim men the night before if they would lower the volume of their singing. The men responded by attacking Masih and beat him unconscious. Islamic leaders then incited a mob to burn Christians’ homes, saying Masih had committed blasphemy. More than 100 Christian families were forced to flee.
His lawyers alleged that to placate the mob the police arrested Masih. A Lahore Court sentenced him to death on 30 May 2007. In overturning his conviction the appeals court held there was no proof of blasphemy.
In a statement released last week Release International, which had been working with lawyers from the Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement society in Pakistan, welcomed the news.
Release chief executive Paul Robinson said: “We are celebrating with Younis, his family and our partners who have supported them for all these years. We hope this sets a precedent for other victims of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws who should now be released.”
Release commended the “bravery of High Court judges” who released Masih, “despite intense pressure from Muslim hardliners who filled earlier court hearings, apparently trying to intimidate the judges.”
Release partners were now making arrangements for the “safe transfer of Younis from jail to an unspecified location,” it reported.
Hong Kong push for gay civil rights: The Church of England Newspaper, April 14, 2013 p 7. April 13, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Civil Rights, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Marriage.
Tags: Hong Kong, Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance, York Chow Yat-ngok
Church leaders in Hong Kong have welcomed the proposal for public consultations on a Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance (SODO) that would protect the civil rights of the homosexual community. While declining to speak to the merits of any particular bill, Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders have voiced their general approval of civil rights legislation.
On 1 April 2013 Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, a leading Anglican layman and the former secretary for food and health, took office as chairman of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunity Commission.
Last month gay activists attacked the appointment of Dr. Chow arguing that his religious principle would prejudice the debate. However Dr. Chow told the South China Morning Post he was a “liberal-minded” Christian and not prejudiced against gay people.
The issue should be handled discreetly. “In the process of legislation, there should be more discussion. Because not everyone would be courageous enough or would choose to disclose their own sexual orientation,” Dr. Chow told Radio Television Hong Kong.
“My religious background is relatively conservative, but even the Anglican Church in England is discussing this issue now,” he said adding that “regardless of what my religious background is or my personal view… these people should not be discriminated against.”
In November 2012 a proposal was put forward in the Legislative Council to launch a public consultation to gauge potential support for SODO. After vigorous debate the motion was defeated and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying dismissed calls for a consultation in a policy address in January.
Evangelical leaders had voiced concern that SODO would lead to gay marriage. Choi Chi-sum, secretary-general of the Society for Truth and Light, said they were “disappointed” that Dr. Chow had now offered his public support for the ordinance before consulting groups who opposed the legislation.
Created in 1996 the equal opportunities commission has a mandate to work towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, disability, family status and race. This brief should be extended to sexual orientation Dr. Chow said.
Tags: Lanham Act
The national Episcopal Church has taken the offensive in South Carolina filing lawsuits in federal court and a counterclaim in state court against the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, its Bishop, clergy and lay leaders.
On Maundy Thursday the national church filed an answer to the diocese’s 4 Jan 2013 lawsuit seeking a ban on the use of its name and seal by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her allies, and asking the civil courts to confirm that it had lawfully withdrawn from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
The national church and its allies in South Carolina denied the diocesan claims and in their counterclaim asserted that all diocesan and parish property in South Carolina belonged to them. It also brought suit against the parish officers and diocesan leaders in their personal capacities alleging they had engaged in a civil conspiracy to defraud the national Episcopal Church.
In a statement given to the Church of England Newspaper on Good Friday, Canon Jim Lewis of the diocese of South Carolina wrote there was “little to say about the counterclaims.”
“We are saddened they filed their suits on Maundy Thursday in the middle of Holy Week and that they have made the lawsuit personal by suing individuals who make up the leadership of our parishes. However we are not surprised that TEC’s filing now makes clear its intention to seize all the properties of the Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes. The court filings are consistent with the scores of lawsuits The Episcopal Church has filed against dioceses and parishes across the United States,” he said.
On 7 March 2013 the national church asked the US District Court in South Carolina to grant a preliminary injunction to Bishop Lawrence and his allies from using the name and trademarks of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and from representing that his activities were associated with the diocese.
In a suit akin to one filed with the federal courts in Texas, attorneys for the national church argued Bishop Lawrence and his allies had violated the Lanham Act and violated federal trademark law. The federal court in Texas has held it will not hear that case until the state court proceedings are concluded. Lawyers for the diocese of South Carolina tell CEN they expect the federal court in their state to make a similar decision.
On 31 Jan 2013 attorneys representing the national church agreed to the entry of an order in state court that forbade the national church and its surrogates from claiming to act on behalf of the diocese. The new lawsuit in federal court seeks to undo this legal defeat and move the case to a different court.
Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Nigeria, Church of the Province of Uganda, Church of the Province of West Africa, Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Barry Morgan, David Chillingworth, Eliud Wabukala, Fred Hiltz, Katharine Jefferts Schori, Nicholas Okoh, Peter Jensen, Philip Richardson, Richard Clarke, Robert Duncan, Stanley Ntagali, Thabo Makgoba, Tilewa Johnson
Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.
The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”
He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”
The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth. It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”
When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”
The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”
“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.
The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”
The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”
“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.
Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.
“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”
But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” – “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.
“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.
“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.
In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”
But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.
“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.
Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”
The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”
“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.
In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death. God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones. We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”
At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts. We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”
The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”
“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it. The tomb is empty. The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated. Jesus is alive. In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life. This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.
The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”
Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business. That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”
“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat. When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast. Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter. We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.
“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection. We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people. We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others. We have a passion for justice. We are also people of hope. Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”
Tags: Philip Richardson
The Anglican Church of New Zealand has elected the Rt Rev Philip Richardson, Bishop of Taranaki, as its new Archbishop. On 23 March 2013 representatives of the church’s seven dioceses affirmed the choice of the House of Bishops made last week
Archbishop Richardson (55) will continue as Bishop of Taranaki and take office as archbishop on 1 May 2013 and will be one of three co-primates of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, welcomed the news. In 2012 Dr. Sentamu helped consecrate St. Mary’s Cathedral in New Plymouth. He applauded the Diocese of Taranaki’s ministry “in which the breath of life from God is shared, and our common humanity is affirmed.”
“Bishop Philip’s ministry is built on this same understanding, that we are all equally valued and loved in the eyes of God,” he said.
In a statement released after selection the new archbishop said his top priorities would be to help the church work together for the common good, to advocate for people on the margins, and to help the church “deepen its discipleship”. Citing Archbishop William Temple, Archbishop Richardson said: “The church really does exist for those who are outside itself.”
“We’re not a club. We are people who are committed to building communities which are healthy. Life giving, just communities where everyone has a place, where every individual has the ability to live full and meaningful lives.”
Philip Richardson was born in Devonport, New Zealand in 1958, and was educated at Rangitoto College. He earned a BA and B.Theol from Otago University and undertook additional studies at Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary in South India and at St John’s College in Auckland.
Ordained a priest in 1982, he served as a parish priest before he was appointed warden of Selwyn College at the University of Otago in 1992. In 1999, at the age of 40, he was elected as Bishop of Taranaki.
Member of the church’s liberal wing told the National they hope the new archbishop will back gay marriage the Anglican Church in New Zealand. While Archbishop Richardson has not taken a public stand on the legalization of gay marriage, the Rev Glynn Cardy, vicar of St Matthews-in-the-City church in Auckland, said: “Knowing his position on other issues in the church, which is quite broad-minded, I would expect Bishop Philip would go with the majority on this issue in New Zealand. :
“My own feeling is that he will not try to block change in this area but he doesn’t have the power to make it happen tomorrow,” Mr. Cardy said.
Prayer Book reform slated for South Africa: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p. 4 April 9, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Hymnody/Liturgy.
Tags: Book of common prayer
Prayer Book reform, theological education, corruption and crime were the focus of last month’s meeting of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
While the church has seen rapid growth in northern Mozambique — leading to a call for the creation of a new episcopal area Diocese of Niassa — as well as Africa’s first Anglican women bishops, Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland and Margaret Vertue of False Bay, the statement released a close of the 5 – 8 March 2013 meeting in Modderpoort in the Diocese of the Free State acknowledged that “our hearts are deeply troubled as we gather.”
“We have noted with sadness the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor. Many of our people are trapped in the ever deepening spiral of abject poverty. We note the evidence for a close correlation between corruption and poverty. We, as a church, strongly condemn all forms of corruption, whether it is in the church or in civil society or in government or in business.”
“We call upon all of us to strive for a corruption free society and to challenge the governments and businesses in our region to do the same.”
The bishops also said an “area of particular concern is the escalating violence in South African society.” Citing a series of high-profile rapes and murders the bishops said they “condemn any form of violence, whether it is civil or state violence, domestic or public violence. We call upon all our people to strive for a violence-free society and, by so doing, to allow the light of Christ to permeate our society.”
Within the church the Bishop noted that 2013 would be a year dedicated to theological education and would also see the beginnings of liturgical reform.
There was an “inseparable link between the reform of liturgy and spiritual renewal,” the bishops said, adding: “There is a great sense of excitement as we embark on this process, as the Province, of revising the Anglican Prayer Book 1989. We realise that this will not be a hasty process, especially since we want to ensure that it will be a dynamic tool for mission and ministry, which will give expression to our distinctive identity and spirituality.”
“Through our sharing and praying” the bishops said they had become “deeply aware of the hard realities” of South Africa and had heard “the cries of God’s people”.
“We pray that we as the Church will listen intelligently to what God is saying to us at this time; observe diligently the signs of God’s restorative grace that is breaking through in places where our people are struggling; teach faithfully what God commands us to do; and continue to be God’s Good-news people wherever we live and work,” the statement said.
Tags: .Abune Mathias
The general Synod of the Ethiopian Tewahdo Orthodox Church has elected a new patriarch. On 28 February 2013 the Synod elected Abune Matthias as its sixth leader since the church received its autonomy from the Coptic Patriarch in Alexandria..
Abune Matthias, 71, served as the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem at the time of his election. In 1980 Matthias denounced the Communist regime of President Mengistu Haile Mariam and went into exile in Washington, D.C. Following the collapse of the communist government he returned Ethiopia in 1992 was appointed Archbishop of North America. In 2009, he was appointed Archbishop of Jerusalem for the Ethiopian church.
The new patriarch received 500 of the 806 ballots cast by members of the General Synod and was enthroned as His Holiness, Abune Mathias, Sixth Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot and Archbishop of Axum at a ceremony held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Abba on 3 March 2013.
Tags: Glauco Soares de Lima, Roger Bird, St. Paul's Cathedral São Paulo
The largest Anglican congregation in South America has quit the diocese of São Paulo and the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB). On 17 March 2013 parish council of St. Paul’s Cathedral in São Paulo stated that while they remained in the Anglican Communion they were reverting to their pre-1975 status as a chaplaincy.
The Church of England was the first non-Roman Catholic Church established in Brazil with chaplaincies and Rio de Janeiro, Santos and São Paulo beginning in 1810. The São Paulo Anglican chaplaincy was registered with the government and legally incorporated in 1873, the parochial council statement said– 17 years before the Episcopal Church of the USA founded the IEAB. “Therefore, the English chaplaincies have 80 more years of life and their assets are untouchable, according to the treaty of 1810, and this agreement has always been respected by the IEAB.”
The parish council stated that in 1975 Saint Paul’s had “spiritually” joined the diocese of São Paulo but it’s assets remained independent of diocesan control. “This agreement was formalized by the Parochial Board, emphasizing the existence of spiritual bonds but not property.”
The congregation also announced that it would remain under the spiritual oversight of Bishop Roger Bird of São Paulo and retired Archbishop Glauco Soares de Lima. The primate of Brazil and general secretary of the IEAB have not responded to queries as to the status of Bishop Bird and Archbishop Soares de Lima within the church’s House of Bishops, nor has Bishop Berger responded to queries as to whether he too has left the IEAB.
However the IEAB website as deleted Bishop Bird’s name from its list of diocesan bishops stating São Paulo was under temporary primatial oversight.
Two other congregations have joined the Cathedral in quitting the IEAB– all Saints in São Paulo and Goiânia Anglican Church.
The reasons the schism are unclear but is not linked to the secession of the diocese of Recife. The Cathedral worships the liberal Catholic tradition and welcomes “all Brazilians who enjoy the inclusive way, didactic, therapeutic and caring way of proclaiming the Good News of God’s Kingdom … We are and will always be, respectful of the inclusive of tradition our Mother Church – the Church of England – who founded us and of which we are proud to belong.”
The Cathedral has provided the bulk of the income for the diocese of São Paulo and its withdrawal is likely to have financial consequences as it was the” largest Anglican community in Latin America, larger even than the vast majority of Episcopal Dioceses of Brazil.”