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Bishop of Liverpool to step down in August: The Church of England Newspaper, January 28, 2013 February 1, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Queen has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Liverpool. In a 28 Jan 2013 letter to his diocese, Bishop James Jones reported that he will retire from office on his 65th birthday this coming August.

While he was sad to leave the diocese after 15 years of service as bishop, it was with a “prayerful sense of rightness” that he step down Bishop Jones wrote.

“Throughout my time in Liverpool I have found the willingness of the parishes in the Diocese to rethink and to reshape our common life for the service of others has been inspiring. Our Diocese is growing and there is still huge opportunity locally to make a difference to our communities with the Gospel of Christ.”

“It has been a privilege as Bishop to serve the wider community not least in chairing the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The Diocese has recognised the rightness of me doing this which has given me great strength. The way the families and survivors have received the Panel’s report and the way truth is now opening up the path to justice affirms the worth of the Panel’s work,” the bishop wrote.

The Bishop of Warrington, the Rt. Rev. Richard Blackburn, will lead the diocese pending the appointment of a new bishop, he said. Bishop Blackburn stated the diocese had been “enormously blessed by his gifts and energy. I shall miss him as a wise colleague and a true Father in God”

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool Patrick Kelly praised Bishop Jones’ ecumenical and pastoral work. “James was for me a Father in God, priest through, with and in Our Lord, and a bearer of the consolation who is the Holy Spirit,” the archbishop wrote following the announcement.

Bishop Jones will move to Yorkshire in his retirement, but will remain as adviser to the Home Secretary on Hillsborough, continue to write and broadcast and will be involved in a number of other national projects, the diocesan announcement said.

Alabama immigration law blocked: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 7, 2011 p 7. October 11, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Immigration.
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Henry Parsley

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Alabama have hailed a federal court blocking implementation of part of the state’s new immigration law.

The Sept 28 ruling by Judge Sharon Blackburn “is good news,” Alabama Episcopal Bishop Henry Parsley and Methodist Bishop William Willimon said in a joint statement.

The ruling “protects our churches’ ministries from prosecution under this overreaching law, and substantially protects our religious liberties,” they said.

On Aug 1, the two along with the Roman Catholic bishops of Mobile and Birmingham filed suit to overturn the state’s new immigration law, arguing they had “reason to fear that administering of religious sacraments, which are central to the Christian faith, to known undocumented persons may be criminalized under this law.”

The Alabama law sought to forbid illegal aliens from residing in Alabama or holding employment in the state.  It also forbad residents from providing shelter or services to illegal aliens and requires schools to report on the residency status of its students.

The bishops’ lawsuit argued that “if enforced, Alabama’s Anti-Immigration Law will make it a crime to follow God’s command to be Good Samaritans.”

Judge Blackburn last week upheld the requirement that state schools report the residency status of students and permitted local police to question those whom they suspected were in the country illegally.

However the judged blocked sections of the law that would have made it a crime for an illegal alien to solicit work.  She also struck down a regulation that would have criminalized the transportation or harbouring of illegal aliens.  The bishops’ lawsuit argued this provision would have placed them in the “untenable position of verifying individuals’ immigration documentation” before providing aid to the needy.

Following the ruling, the bishops said their churches would “continue to provide food, shelter, transportation, housing, and the church’s sacraments to all of God’s people, regardless of race, class, or citizenship status.”

Last year, the US House of Bishops released a pastoral letter calling for a halt in the enforcement of US immigration laws and demanded a halt to “practices that treat undocumented workers as criminals.” At its July 2009 General Convention, the Episcopal Church called for the “millions of undocumented immigrants who have established roots in the United States” to have “a pathway to legalization.”

However, surveys of the US electorate have consistently shown the church’s leadership to be out of touch with its members over immigration. A Nov 2009 poll conducted by Zogby International found that 69 per cent of Roman Catholics, 72 per cent of main-line Protestants, and 78 of evangelical Protestants believed the current level of immigration was too high.

Asked to choose between stricter enforcement to encourage illegal immigrants to return home versus allowing them to find pathways towards legalization in the US, overwhelming majorities favored sending illegal aliens home: Roman Catholics 64 to 23 per cent; main-line Protestants 64 to 24 per cent; and evangelicals 76 to 12 per cent.

Alabama immigration laws spark church ire: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 12, 2011 p 7. August 15, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Immigration.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Alabama have filed suit in a federal court in a bid to block the implementation of the state’s new immigration law.

On 1 August, the Episcopal Bishop of Alabama, the Rt Rev Henry N Parsley, Jr, along with the Roman Catholic Bishops of Mobile and Birmingham, and the Methodist Bishop of Northern Alabama asked the courts to throw out the new law. “The bishops have reason to fear that administering of religious sacraments, which are central to the Christian faith, to known undocumented persons may be criminalized under this law,” the lawsuit said.

The US Justice Department has also filed suit to block the implementation of the law, which is slated to go into effect on 1 September. “Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility that cannot be addressed through a patchwork of state immigration laws,” said US Attorney General Eric Holder in a press statement.

“To the extent we find state laws that interfere with the federal government’s enforcement of immigration law, we are prepared to bring suit, as we did in Arizona,” the attorney general said.

The Obama Administration’s policy of not enforcing rigorously American immigration laws has prompted a number of states to set their own immigration policies. The Alabama law forbids illegal aliens from residing in Alabama or holding employment in the state. It also forbids residents from providing shelter or services to illegal aliens and requires schools to report on the residency status of its students.

The bishops’ lawsuit stated that “if enforced, Alabama’s Anti-Immigration Law will make it a crime to follow God’s command to be Good Samaritans.”

It would place churches in the “untenable position of verifying individuals’ immigration documentation” before being able to provide things such as food, clothing, shelter and transportation to those in need,” the lawsuit said.

House Majority Leader Micky Hammon, a co-sponsor of the bill, told reporters, “I am disappointed that these church leaders would seek to shield those who, by their very presence, break our laws.”

“It is important to remember that the operative word in the phrase illegal immigrant is illegal,” Mr Hammon said.

A preliminary hearing on the suit has been set for 24 August before the Federal District Court for Northern Alabama.

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