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Ulster bishop to lead SAMS-Ireland: The Church of England Newspaper, February 16, 2012 February 23, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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Bishop Ken Clarke

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A leading Evangelical bishop of the Church of Ireland will leave office to serve as president of a mission society. On 10 February 2012 the Church of Ireland Press Office announced that the Rt. Rev. Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh had been appointed Mission Director of SAMS-Ireland (South American Mission Society.)

Elected in 2000 as bishop of the Northwestern Irish diocese that straddles the border between Ulster and the Republic, Bishop Clarke will take up his new post following the appointment of a successor later this year.  The bishop has been involved with the work of SAMS Ireland for over 40 years.  The bishop and his wife served as SAMS missionaries in Chile from 1979 to 1981 and has been the society’s chairman since 1993.

Following the announcement of his appointment, Bishop Clarke said he had been “immensely privileged to serve in this Diocese. I have found many wonderful people who love their Church. We have a great team of clergy, Diocesan staff and hard-working volunteers. With my wife Helen, I have experienced love and loyalty in Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh.”

The bishop explained his decision to devote himself to the mission field as a calling from God.  “I am keen to develop and deepen links with Anglicans in South America and in other parts of the Anglican Communion. The development of leaders and the facilitation of missional opportunities will be amongst my priorities.”

Bishop Clarke added that as the theme this year of the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh was mission, he was “looking forward to helping in many of the planned initiatives. For that reason I will not be leaving the Diocese until later this year in the Autumn.”


Natal nuns arrested for abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2011, p 6. November 23, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Three sisters of the Community of Jesus’ Compassion (CJC) – an Anglican religious order based in Natal, South Africa – have been arrested for child abuse and assault charges.

On 9 Nov 2011 Mother Dumazile Manqele, Sister Thokozile Zondo and Sister Thelma Ngobese were arraigned before the New Hanover Magistrates Court after five children in their care lodged complaints with the social services department that they had been beaten by the nuns.

The religious order, which operates an orphanage and has a convent in New Hanover near Pietermaritzburg in Natal, has been closed by the government while an investigation is under way into charges the nuns abused the 27 children, aged between 9 and 15, in their care.

The KwaZulu-Natal social services department has removed the children from the home and suspended the convent’s licence.  A member of the Natal executive council, Dr. Meshack Radebe visited the convent after the arrests and told a local radio station he was shocked by the conditions in the home.

“When we checked inside, we discovered that there are no bedrooms, there is no kitchen, and you don’t even have a dining hall. When you look at the size of the rooms, you’ll find they can’t even house 10 children, but there are 27 here. I can imagine, if it was my child, or your child …  to find them living in this state is shocking,” Dr. Radebe said.

Founded in 1993, the CJC is a religious order recognized by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.  According to the Anglican religious orders yearbook, the CJC has a mission to educate and support children.  The Episcopal Visitor for the order, Bishop Rubin Philip of Natal, did not respond to questions about the oversight of the facility.

The sisters have been cautioned and ordered to appear before the court on 23 November 2011 to answer the charges.

Archbishop calls for government to return nationalised schools: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 28, 2011 p 7. October 30, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church News, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Church of England Newspaper, Education, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa has urged a leading candidate for president to promise to return to the church mission schools nationalized by the government.

Speaking at a school fundraising event on 24 Oct 2011 in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Mokiwa asked Edward Lowassa MP to return the schools if he wins the presidency.  Elections are scheduled in the east African nation in 2015 to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete.  While Mr. Lowassa has not formally announced his candidacy, he is considered a front runner for the post.

Following independence in 1961, church schools received financials support from the government as long as they followed the Department of Education’s national curriculum.  Government policies changed, however, following the promulgation of the Arusha Declaration on 5 Feb 1967 by President Julius Nyerere.  The Arusha Declaration outlined the principles of Ujamaa — African socialism — and called for the overhaul of the economic system and self-reliance in locally administered villages through a villagization programme.

The villagization programme, implemented between 1973 and 1976, created a collective farming system through the resettlement of peasants who lived and worked their own land onto new villages that could provide economies of scale.  The programme also saw a push towards self-reliance in industry and education.  In 1974 the government nationalized private primary schools established by the Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran churches, and forced many missionary school teachers to leave the country.

African socialism proved to be an economic and education catastrophe for Tanzania, and in the 1980’s the government permitted new private schools to be opened.  The government’s failure to maintain the confiscated schools and its disinclination to invest in education has led to a boom in private school enrollment, according to a UN report, such that over half of all students in Tanzania are now privately educated.

In his speech to kick off the fundraising drive for the Bishop John Sepeku School in the Yombo Buza district of Dar es Salaam, Archbishop Mokiwa asked the political leader to pledge to return the schools.  “If you are blessed to win the presidency, please make sure that you return former church-owned schools to us… there are many properties belonging to the churches that were taken over by the government,” said Dr Mokiwa according to local press reports.

The Anglican Church in Tanzania has urged the government to return its confiscated schools, arguing that it is able to educate more children at a higher standard for less cost than the government.

The nationalization campaign had scarred many people, Dr. Mokiwa said, and it was now time to set politics aside for the good of the nation and support the best interests of children.

Harare Mothers’ Union ordered to sign pro-Mugabe petition: The Church of England Newspaper, April 8, 2011 p 8. April 12, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Zimbabwe.
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Mothers Union members in Zimbabwe

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Mothering Sunday took on political overtones this week in Central Africa, with church leaders marking the 4th Sunday of Lent with spirited addresses to diocesan chapters of the Mothers’ Union.

On March 26, Agatha Kunonga, wife of Dr. Nolbert Kunonga—the breakaway Bishop of Harare—instructed members of the Mothers’ Union loyal to her husband to sign a petition prepared by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU(PF) party protesting sanctions imposed by the international community against the Zimbabwe strongman.

But across the Zambezi, the Bishop of Lusaka marked April 3, Mothering Sunday, with a call for all Zambians to register and vote in this year’s general elections.

In an address to the Zambian Mothers’ Union at St Peter’s Church in Lusaka, Bishop David Njovu urged all Zambians to exercise their right to vote, and to do so in a peaceful and orderly fashion.

The bishop said the Anglican Church would not take sides nor endorse candidates in this year’s election, which will pit incumbent President Rubiah Banda of the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) against his 2008 challenger, Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) party.

Bishop Njovu urged partisans of both parties to be careful in their language, and urged those who will be disappointed by the outcome of the vote not to resort to violence.

An implicit threat of violence for those who opposed President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU(PF) party in Zimbabwe was given in an address to the Mothers Union at St Mary’s Cathedral in Harare the prior Sunday.

In Harare two groups claim the mantle of Mothers Union: a faction led by Mrs. Kunonga and the larger group recognized by the worldwide Mothers Union and is led by Mrs. Faith Gandiya–wife of Bishop Chad Gandiya.  In an address to her faction, Mrs. Agatha Kunonga marked the annual Zuva raAmai Maria ( Lady Day) ceremony at the cathedral with a fierce denunciation of Britain and the West for its sanctions against President Mugabe and his allies.

“The sanctions have affected every Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation. They have also hit hard on all sectors of the economy, ranging from agriculture, industry, tourism and even sport; so this calls for collective denouncement of the sanctions,” Mrs. Kunonga said, according to a report broadcast by the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Mrs. Kunonga, whose husband is among those banned from entering the EU or US, and whose assets in the West have been frozen due to his complicity in the crimes of the Mugabe regime, led the blue and white clad members of the Mothers Union in hymn singing and ZANU(PF) party songs.

Each member of the Mothers Union in Harare was directed to sign the anti-sanctions petition launched on March  2 by President Mugabe.  The government is seeking to gathering over 2 million signatures, and has allegedly arrested political opponents who have bowed out of the campaign.

On March 29 The Zimbabwean reported that an MDC activist was arrested by the secret police for refusing to sign the petition.  Opposition leaders have rejected the national petition campaign, claiming it is an attempt by the government to shift the blame for its failed economic policies which have rendered Zimbabwe destitute.

Army families counselling offered by the MU: The Church of England Newspaper, April 1, 2011 p 7. April 6, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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Lord & Lady Dannatt with the Lord Lieutenant of Kent at Canterbury Cathedral

The Mothers’ Union (MU) in the Diocese of Winchester in conjunction with the Armed Forces Christian Union has launched a pilot programme to provide family counseling services to active duty members of the armed forces.

Using a group of qualified therapists, the MU will fund up to six sessions with a counselor for couples where at least one spouse is currently serving in the military.  “At present, we are only able to make the offer to couples with some connection with the Winchester Diocesan area (covering parts of Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire),” the MU reported, but the “connection can be that of birth, residence, posting or family residing within the Diocese.”

The need for support services for military families “came about through the awareness of members in this Diocese of the number of military bases in our region, and contact with some forces families” through MU projects, the organization said.

One member, supported by the Mothers’ Union Trustees of this diocese, has worked closely with the Armed Forces Christian Union and senior chaplaincy staff, with the support of the former chief of the general staff and his wife, Lord and Lady Dannett.

General Lord Dannatt and Lady Dannatt have expressed their “absolute delight at the launch of this pilot scheme” to provide funding for relationship counselling to armed forces personnel, and “wish it every success,” the MU said.

Lady Dannatt’s own experiences as a counsellor and army wife have encouraged her to draw attention to the difficulties facing the families of soldiers and the lack of support currently available to them. Making available professional relationship counselling is one of the ways in which the MU and Armed Forces Christian Union can help those in need, she said.

Mothers’ Union presents petition to 10 Downing Street: The Church of England Newspaper, March 25, 2011. March 30, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Popular Culture, Youth/Children.
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MU Worldwide President Rosemary Kempsell presenting a petition to the Prime Minister

The Mothers’ Union (MU) has delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street calling upon the government of Prime Minister David Cameron to ban sexually explicit advertising directed towards children.

On March 14, a delegation led by MU President Rosemary Kempsell, supporters, and a cross party group of MPs: Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland, Lab), David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale, Cons.), Fiona Bruce (Congleton, Cons.) and Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton, Lab.), presented the petition of 18,500 names.

Mrs. Kempsell said she was “delighted” the government was taking “action to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood through the Bailey Review. We would like to see this Review make strong recommendations to Government to ensure childhood can remain a precious time free from commercialisation.”

In February, the government asked Reg Bailey, MU Chief Executive, to undertake a review that looked at the pressures on children to grow up too quickly.

The Department for Education asked Mr. Bailey to submit his findings to the government in May, and focus on four issues.

“Whether and to what extent sexualised imagery now forms a universal background or ‘wallpaper’ to children’s lives; whether some products are inappropriate for children, and others in dubious taste: parents are anxious about what is appropriate; whether businesses sometimes treat children too much as consumers and forget that they are children too, with particular concerns about the kinds of marketing techniques associated with digital media; how parents can tell advertisers, broadcasters and retailers about the things they are unhappy about and how they can make an effective complaint.”

The Bailey Review will also incorporate research conducted by Prof. David Buckingham on the impact of the commercial world on children’s wellbeing, by Dr Linda Papadopoulos on the sexualisation of young people, and by Professor Tanya Byron on child safety in a digital world.

The March 14 petition is part of the MU’s Bye Bye Childhood campaign to “hold the UK government accountable” to its pledge to fight the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.

Speaking after the event Helen Goodman MP said “Once again Mothers Union is at the forefront of a really important campaign to support families. I’m giving the Bye Buy Childhood campaign my total support.”

Paul Avis to kick off JCMS anniversary celebration in Kingston: The Church of England Newspaper, March 18, 2011 March 18, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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Dr. Paul Avis

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A service marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Jamaica Church Missionary Society (JCMS) will be marked this week by a memorial service at Spanish Town Cathedral in Kingston.  The March 20 service will kick off a year-long series of programmes focusing on mission and ministry for the Church in the West Indies.

Canon Paul Avis, the general secretary of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, and Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the former Archbishop of the West Indies will open the series, joining Jamaican church leaders next week in a symposium on mission in the Caribbean amidst a changing social order.

The chairman of the JCMS, Bishop Harold Daniel of Mandeville explained the meeting will look at new ways of being and doing church.   “You are not Church just by keeping church.”

The symposium, he said, was designed to change the mindset of the whole Church and re-awaken commitment to Christian service.  Archbishop Gomez will give the keynote address and will engage in a dialogue on what works in mission with four Jamaican church leaders: Roman Catholic Archbishop Donald Reece of Kingston, Dr. Marjorie Lewis, President of the United Theological College of the West Indies, Dr Garnett Roper, President of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, and the Rev. Kenute Francis of St John’s Church, Ocho Rios.

Canon Avis will offer his insights on mission and ecumenism, drawing upon his 2005 publication entitled, A Ministry Shaped by Mission, and his most recent book, Reshaping Ecumenical Theology.

Arrests made in CMJ murder in Jerusalem: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 4, 2011 p 8. February 5, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Terrorism.
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Kristine Luken

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kristine Luken, the CMJ staffer stabbed to death while hiking in a forest outside Jerusalem, was murdered because her attackers thought she was a Jew, Israeli police report.

Last week the Israeli police announced that two Palestinian men had confessed to the Dec 18 stabbing of Ms. Luken and her friend and fellow CMJ staffer, Kay Wilson.  Four other Palestinians from the West Bank also have been arrested, accused of providing logistical support to the killers.

According to indictment, the alleged killers, Kifah Ghneimat and Iyad Fatafa, were part of a gang responsible for a series of violent crimes committed over the past two years.  Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told ABC News the gang’s “activity had an initial criminal orientation,” but took a political turn following the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

On Jan 19, 2010 al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander reputed to be a liaison between Hamas and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was killed in his hotel room at the five-star al-Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai.  Suspicion initially fell on Israel, and Hamas claimed the killing was an Israeli government sanctioned assassination.  However, at the time of his death, al-Mabhouh was wanted by the Israeli, Egyptian and Jordanian governments and the murder remains unsolved.

The murder of Kistine Luken was in “revenge” for the al-Mabhouh assassination, Mr. Rosenfeld said.

According to the indictment, the two Palestinians “decided to enter Israel illegally in order to kill Jews.”

They chanced upon Luken and Wilson, who were hiking through a forest southwest of Jerusalem, and attacked them.  Wilson “tried to convince them they were not Jewish, in order to convince them not to hurt them,” the indictment read, but one of the attackers grabbed a Star of David necklace worn by Wilson, shouting in Arabic, “What’s this?” and proceeded to stab the two women.

Stabbed 12 times, Kaye Wilson feigned death.  After her attackers fled, she was able to make her way to a parking lot where a passerby found her and alerted the police.  Kristine Luken, however, bled to death.

The alleged killers were arrested within 48 hours of the attack, the police spokesman said, but held in secret while other members of the gang were sought.

The rector of Christ Church, Jerusalem, the Rev. David Pileggi, said the Anglican community was “relieved at the capture” of the alleged killers.

However the arrests do not “end our grief, nor does it bring healing,” he said.  “We look for that consolation in God’s presence amongst us and in the hope of the resurrection,” Mr. Pileggi said.

CMJ staffer murdered in Israel: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 7, 2011 p 6. January 12, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Israel, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Terrorism.
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Kristine Luken

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

An American staff member with the CMJ UK, the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people, has been murdered while on vacation in Israel.

Kristine Luken (44) an administrator with the CMJ in Nottingham was hiking in a forest southwest of Jerusalem on Dec 18 with fellow CJM staffer, Kay Wilson, a British-born Israeli, when they were approached by two Arab men asking for water.  The men attacked the two women, stabbing each repeatedly.  Ms. Wilson feigned death and survived the attack, but Ms. Luken bled to death.

“They came to kill,” Ms. Wilson said, telling the Israeli media that one of the attackers ripped a Star of David from around her neck and stabbed her where in the place where the star had lain.

“I saw that the stab had not penetrated my heart, and I played dead. While I lay there, I could hear my friend dying. Her breath sounded like bubbles,” Ms. Wilson told Haaretz.

“I waited two minutes, we lay in the corridor. Our hands tied behind our backs and something was covering my mouth,” she said. “It was terribly hard for me to get up, but I managed to go. I saw that we were in a bush area and I did not know then that they had fled. I felt myself getting tired, all I wanted to do was sleep but I knew I could not.”

Ms. Wilson, bleeding from 12 stab wounds, was able to make her way to a parking lot near the popular recreation area, where a passerby found her and alerted the police.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place near the border with the West Bank, nor have any suspects been detained.  Israeli police are treating the attack as a political crime, though they have not ruled out sexual assault as a motive.  Ms. Luken’s body was returned to her family last week and was buried near her home in West Virginia.

The murder has been “an incredible shock,” said Rev. David Pileggi, the vicar of Christ Church Jerusalem said. “We were just weeping. I would describe it as one wave of sadness after another. We still have not recovered from this by any means,” he told an Israeli newspaper.

The CEO of the CMJ, Robin Aldridge, stated the organization was “deeply shocked” by the murder of their “much loved administrator Kristine Luken.  Kristine had worked for the ministry for one year having previously worked for the American government.”

Ms Luken had “just taken on responsibility for Shoresh Tours, a CMJ company that organizes tours to Israel” and was out hiking with her close personal friend, Kay Wilson, Shoresh’s senior tour guide, when they were attacked, he said.

The murder of Ms. Luken was a “tragedy,” and the staff of the CMJ was “praying for her friends and family at this tragic time.  However, CMJ will continue to share the gospel with the Jewish people and to work for forgiveness and reconciliation in Israel.  This is a mandate that God gave us 201 years ago and we are confident that the best epitaph we could give Kristine is to continue to that to which she was totally committed to supporting,” Mr. Aldridge said.

YMCA adopts new name and logo in the US: The Church of England Newspaper, July 23, 2010 July 27, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Y.M.C.A has adopted a new name and logo in the United States in a bid to reinvigorate flagging membership and to be more inviting to a changing cultural base.

Following two years of market research the Chicago-based organization has renamed itself “the Y” and will adopt a threefold corporate mission to “reach into communities to nurture the potential of youth and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to support neighbors.”

Founded in England in 1844 as the Young Men’s Christian Association, in 1967 its name was changed in the US to the Y.M.C.A.  The new change of name, however, does not reflect an abandonment of its Christian principals its officers told a July 12 press conference in Washington, but speaks to the organization’s mission in the 21st century.

“Our mission remains the same – to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We are changing how we talk about ourselves so that people better understand the benefits of engaging with the Y,” the organization said in a press handout.

“This is a very important, exciting time for the Y,” said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of the Y.M.C.A. of the USA.  “For 160 years, we’ve focused on changing lives for the better.  Our commitment to building greater awareness for the important work we do will enable us to expand our efforts and further strengthen communities across the country” he said.

The American branch of the Y.M.C.A. serves 21 million members in 2,687 branches across the country.  Its membership has been flat since 2007, and the new name, logo and corporate focus seek to boost the charity’s name awareness.

“We are changing how we talk about ourselves so that people better understand the benefits of engaging with the Y,” said Kate Coleman, chief marketing officer of YMCA of the USA.  “We are simplifying how we describe the programs we offer so that it is immediately apparent that everything we do is designed to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve health and well-being and support our neighbors and the larger community.”

Convent for sale: The Church of England Newspaper March 14, 2010 March 19, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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Rempstone Hall

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Benedictine sisters of the Holy Cross are selling up, and have listed their convent near Loughborough for sale with an estate agent.

Rempstone Hall, the nuns’ home since 1979, is being placed on the market for £2.5 million, and the proceeds from the sale will allow the order to move to a purpose-built home nearby in the village of Costock. A classical Georgian red-brick house, originally built in 1792 for a local landowner, the sisters purchased the property in 1979 for £110,000.

When the order acquired the 20 bedroom, 21,000 sq foot home Grade II-listed hall, there were 20 sisters in residence. Their numbers have fallen to nine, and a purpose built convent suitable for their smaller size and aging population was felt necessary.

The Rev. Mother Mary Luke told the Leicester Mercury she was sad to leave the 22-acre estate and it “is the most wonderful building and it has served us very well.”

However, the “hall was not built as a convent. It was built as a large private residence and we will be moving to a new home which we hope will be ready by May next year,” she said.

A description of the property in Country Life notes the Hall can be turned back into a private residence at a cost of approximately £500,000. The prospectus states the “property, which has been carefully maintained throughout, comprises the hall with four reception rooms, a drawing room/chapel, a library, 10 main bedrooms, 10 secondary bedrooms, and six bathrooms, plus two lodges, a flat, an impressive stable courtyard, and a walled kitchen garden.”

Mother Mary Luke said she was hoping for a quick sale. “People who have millions are still able to afford property and we have a very nice one,” she said.

Bishop to be chaplain to the Mothers’ Union: CEN 2.05.10 p 8. February 13, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed the Church of Ireland’s Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh as chaplain to the Mothers’ Union. Bishop Ken Clarke succeeds the Bishop of Bedford, the Rt. Rev. Richard Inwood, and will serve as the central chaplain to the 3.6 million-member worldwide Anglican’s women group.

As the Mothers’ Union central chaplain, the evangelical Irish bishop will work with the organization’s leadership team as a link to the wider Anglican Communion, reflecting the churches’ thinking to the charity and representing the Mothers’ Union to the wider church, President Rosemary Kempsell said.

“I have much to learn and I aim to give my best. I believe Mothers Union has a vital contribution to make in the transformation of relationships in the church, in marriages, in families and in communities,” Bishop Clarke said.

The Mothers’ Union’s “aim of demonstrating the Christian faith in action is a personal passion,” he said.

“I come from a part of the world where we have seen the emptiness of just words. Jesus both taught and modelled the dynamic partnership of Gospel words and loving actions. I look forward to serving as Chaplain in a worldwide fellowship which has a Christian foundation, a clear purpose, and transformation in its veins.” Bishop Clarke said.

He will be installed in office on Feb 12 at the close of the worldwide council meeting in Derbyshire.

Nuns on the run from Episcopal Church liberalism: CEN 6.26.09 p 7. June 29, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Mission Societies/Religious Orders, The Episcopal Church.
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CEN Logo

The American branch of the Anglican women’s religious order, the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, has announced that all but one of its members have quit the Episcopal Church and on Sept 3 will be received into the Roman Catholic by the Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore.

Founded in 1851 in London, the mother house of the English order is located in Oxford. However in the Nineteenth century the order had over 400 members spread across houses in India, South Africa, Scotland and the United States. In 1872 the Sisters were invited by the rector of Mount Calvary Episcopal Church in Baltimore to open a house in Catonsville, Maryland to work with the poor.

According to its website, the All Saints Sisters of the Poor are a “traditional religious community, living under the evangelical vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.” Speaking to the Living Church magazine, the superior of the order Mother Christina said the 12 sisters in the US had come to believe that this discipline was not welcome in the Episcopal Church.

“We tried to be faithful in The Episcopal Church as we understand scriptures, but we seem to be drifting farther and farther apart,” she said. “For the past two years in particular we felt as if we were no longer making a difference in this church. We felt as if we no longer belong.”

Mother Christina added that the order had found it hard to attract new members as many of those drawn to lives of religious devotion and service to the poor within the discipline of the order were dissuaded from joining due to the reputation of the national Episcopal Church.

Religious orders in the Episcopal Church are free from diocesan ecclesial supervision and hold their property independent of the national church, the Episcopal Church’s canons state, making it unlikely the national church will try to seize the nuns’ 80-acre convent.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

CMS merger with SAMS given the go ahead: CEN 1.30.09 p 6. January 31, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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A Special General Meeting of the Church Mission Society (CMS) has endorsed plans for the merger of the venerable mission agency with the South American Mission Society (SAMS).

Meeting at the CMS’ mission centre in Oxford on Jan 20, the merger was endorsed by a vote of 99 percent in favour. A result the CMS trustee chairman, the Rt. Rev. Paul Butler of Southampton called “hugely encouraging” for the society’s coming work in Latin America and Spain.

Messages from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams and the Primate of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables were read out to the meeting, supporting the work of the two societies.

On Nov 29 the General Council of SAMS (GB) voted “to approve in principle” the merger by an 80 to 20 percent margin to approve the concordat. The former Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh and Suffragan Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven took up the combined work of the two agencies on Jan 1. The vote comes after two years of discernment by the two mission agencies.

Former evangelists Church Army post: CEN 12.05.08 p 5. December 8, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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A former Church Army evangelist in Jamaica, the Rt. Rev. Harold Daniel has been appointed chairman of the Council of Church Army International.

A native of Montserrat, Bishop Daniel emigrated to Britain as a young man and trained at the Church Army’s college in London. Upon commissioning, Bishop Daniel was sent to Jamaica where he served as an evangelist for 18 years before being ordained and entering the parish ministry. In 2000 he was elected suffragan Bishop of Mandeville in the Diocese of Jamaica.

Philip Johanson, the International Secretary of Church Army said “Bishop Daniel is well placed to take on this responsibility, bringing as he does to the task firsthand experience both of Church Army and a commitment to evangelistic mission.”

The appointment of Bishop Daniel as Chairman of the International Council came during the recent Church Army International Leaders Conference held in Montego Bay, which also marked the 50th anniversary of Church Army Jamaica.

Mr. Johanson challenged the leaders of the mission and evangelism organization to dedicate their efforts towards finding “new and appropriate ways of reaching out to young people,” the majority of whom he said had little or no active contact with their local church.

South American Mission Society agrees in principal to merge with CMS: CEN 12.05.08 p 7. December 8, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The General Council of the South American Mission Society (SAMS) has voted “to approve in principle” the merger of SAMS with the Church Mission Society (CMS). At its Nov 29 board meeting, the SAMS General Council voted by an 80 to 20 percent margin to approve the concordat. CMS will vote on the merger on Jan 20.

The former Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh and Suffragan Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven will take head up the combined work of the two agencies in South America and Spain on Jan 1. The vote comes after two years of discernment by the two mission agencies.

In other action, the SAMS board of trustees gave its “agreement with the Jerusalem Declaration made on 29 June 2008 by those attending the GAFCON meeting. We stand with those in our partner dioceses in South America who have spoken out for the truths of the gospel and have at considerable cost accepted orthodox dioceses and churches into the Province of the Southern Cone.”

The SAMS General Council also learned that one of their members, the Rev. Nick Drayson, assistant minister at Beverly Minster, had been appointed Assistant Bishop of Northern Argentina. A former SAMS missionary in Spain and South America, Mr. Drayson will be consecrated in early 2009 and given charge of the diocese’s Indian work.

US Religious Order Contracts: CEN 10.24.08 p 6. October 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The American religious community, the Order of Saint Helena (OSH) has announced that it will close two of its three convents. The progressive order of Episcopal nuns announced on Oct 6 that it would close its houses in New York City and Vails Gate, NY, consolidating operations at its house in Augusta, Georgia.

The order plans on closing its Augusta house also and is in the process of “refounding itself for new ministry opportunities in a new location, but with the same mission of prayer and service to God’s world.”

“We feel that the Holy Spirit is moving us to relocate to a new area and to re-found our community and mission,” said Sister Cintra Pemberton OSH. The closings bring “us much pain,” she said, “but we recognize that we can no longer afford to operate and staff three convents.”

Sr. Cintra stated the order had written to the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops seeking a diocese that would “welcome us and for a location that is close enough to a major metropolitan area for sisters who are called to urban ministry. We are also interested in finding a sufficiently natural setting to encourage a contemplative lifestyle.”

The order would sell its Manhattan house and would explore income possibilities for its second New York house. Declining numbers and finances had taken a toll on the order, she explained, “draining us of the energy we need to do ministry, both to the church and to our own sisters, some of whom are aging and in need of special assistance.”

However, she added the order was “growing in numbers, and want to provide new ministry and educational opportunities for the women who come to test their vocation with us.”

Founded in 1945 in Kentucky as a teaching order, the 22 nuns of the OSH today focuses on providing “spiritual direction, psychotherapy, urban ministry, parish ministry, writing, retreat and pilgrimage leading, icon writing, peacemaking, [and] community organizing, ” Sr. Cintra said.

Nuns threaten to quit island home over expansion row: CEN 8.29.08 p 6. September 4, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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Government ‘red tape’ may force a community of Anglican nuns to quit their convent in the Shetland Islands. The Society of Our Lady of the Isles (SOLI) on Fetlar has threatened to move after plans for a new convent were blocked by local government officials.

The only religious community founded in Scotland during the 20th Century, SOLI began in 1982 when Sister Mary Agnes, a Franciscan nun from England, moved to the Shetlands and lived as a solitary for five years. In 1988 she founded the Society, which now has four members.

In recent years SOLI has flourished and has run a successful retreat programme, and the nuns have sought to expand their convent and build a larger chapel. Planning permission for the expansion has not been granted, forcing the nuns to contemplate closing their convent.

From a peak of a 1000 in the mid-Nineteenth century, Fetlar’s population has declined to 86 as of the 2001 census. The threat to close the convent would pose a economic challenge to the island’s already depressed economy, local leaders said.

Writing to the Shetland News, the former community council chairman John Coutts stated the government’s decision was inexplicable. “The project will be funded on donations, and will take nothing from Shetland’s public funds, yet SOLI has encountered multiple problems through the planning part of the process over the last three to four years.”

SOLI had “quietly attracted a sizeable number of visitors to Fetlar over the years. These visitors stay for some time, use local facilities, and contribute considerably to the local economy. SOLI has been both efficient and successful in what it has done, and attracts ever more visitors seeking a genuine retreat from an ever more stressful world outside,” he said.

Mr. Coutts noted that “until the Shetland authorities can produce an integrated and flexible approach to help projects such as this instead of placing almost insurmountable obstacles in their way, these same authorities must stop reacting with surprise when development projects become unsustainable or never get off the ground.”

US Bishop to be SAMS/CMS South American director: CEN 8.22.08 p 5. August 25, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Pittsburgh.
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The Church Mission Society (CMS) and the South American Missionary Society (SAMS) have called the Assistant Bishop of Pittsburgh to be is Mission Director for South America.

Bishop Henry Scriven will join CMS/SAMS on January 1 to oversee its South American work. Bishop Scriven a former SAMS missionary in Argentina and Spain and the former Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe will return to England after six years in Pittsburgh.

Writing to the diocese on Aug 15, Bishop Scriven said he and his wife had “enjoyed living and working [in Pittsburgh] more than any of the other 12 places we have lived in the last 33 years of marriage. We have incredibly gifted clergy and lay leaders and I know realignment will bring fresh incentive for mission, both local and worldwide.”

He added that his decision to return to England was not related to Pittsburgh’s political battles with the American church. “My decision does not reflect any change of heart regarding realignment or my confidence in the vision and leadership of the diocese,” Bishop Scriven wrote.

In addition to the opportunity of guiding SAMS at this new stage of its corporate life, Bishop Scriven noted the “major pull” of being “nearer the family.” The bishop’s children and grandchildren reside in the UK.

CMS and SAMS are working towards a merger by January, subject to final negotiations and decisions by their respective governing bodies. Bishop Scriven will initially work in a leadership role within SAMS but it is planned that he will ultimately become the Mission Director for South America in the Oxford office of the new mission agency.

Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan stated he was sad to see Bishop Scriven go. “We will miss Henry’s grace and humor, his international insights, his leadership of our diocesan networks, and his pastoral caring,” he said.

Kenyan primate to lead Church Army Africa: CEN 8.22.08 p 5. August 25, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The Primate of Kenya has been appointed president of the Church Army Africa. On July 30 at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi and 19 other candidates were commissioned as captains in the Church Army and the archbishop inducted as the president of the largest Anglican mission society in the world.

In his sermon to the newly commissioned officers, the assistant bishop of Kampala, Dr. Zac Niringiye said the commissioning of the primate of the 4 million member Anglican Church of Kenya as an evangelist to the poor and marginalized demonstrated the centrality of mission work to the church.

Dr. Niringiye urged the newly commissioned officers to be faithful to the vision of Church Army founder Wilson Carlile to reach out to the “least, last and lost.” He noted the Church in Africa faced many of the same problems as those in the West: corruption, hypocrisy, and sexual immorality. Yet the failure of the church lay not in the “people in the streets rejecting Christ” but in the decadence of its leaders, who had become captives to modern culture.

In his address to the newly commissioned officers, Dr. Nzimbi stated that the very nature of mission work was in flux. For much of modern history “missions were the domain of the western world.”

However, the “time had come for Africans” to “go forth with the Gospel and be at the forefront of missions and evangelism,” he said. While Africa faced the threats of war, urbanization, environmental decay, unemployment, corruption, and disease, “the world is desperately in need of good news’.

“This is the mission and calling of the Church Army Africa to send out evangelists proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in both word and deed,” the archbishop said.

USPG links with Army to help Belize: CEN 6.13.08 p 7. June 17, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Disaster Relief, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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THE USPG has joined the British Army and relief agencies in rushing support to Belize in the wake of wide-spread flooding caused by Tropical Storm Arthur.

Arthur, the first storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, made landfall on May 31 and dropped 15 inches of rain on Belize for four days, with flooding affecting over 80 per cent of the nation’s residents. Rivers along the coast of the former British Honduras crested their banks, creating flash floods in low-lying and coastal areas.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Mission agencies link with Army to combat flooding

Missionary killed in Kenyan robbery: CEN 4.18.08 p 7. April 19, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Crime, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Roman Catholic Church.
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An English Roman Catholic missionary has been killed during a robbery in Kenya, the Catholic Information Service of Africa reports.

Brother Brian Thorp (77), a Mill Hill Missionary was found dead on April 10 in his rectory in Lamu Island in the diocese of Mombasa.

Born in Bamford, Derbyshire, Br. Thorp went out to Basankusu in the Congo in 1973, and served in Kenya and Uganda before his appointment to Lamu Island in 1999. Fr Francis Schouten, the parish priest of Lamu said the Kenyan police services were investigating the killing.

Bishops demand to know litigation costs: CEN 3.28.08 p 7. March 31, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Property Litigation.
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Two retired American bishops have called upon the national church in New York to disclose the amount of money the Episcopal Church is spending on litigation with breakaway congregations.

The call for financial accountability from retired Bishops Williams Wantland of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Bishop Maurice Benitez of Texas comes amidst tightening finances for the Episcopal Church, which has also announced it would no longer pay the stipends of overseas missionaries.

On March 7, the Episcopal Church’s mission personnel officer announced that missionaries sponsored by the national church would no longer receive stipends or reimbursement for travel expenses.

Lay missionaries would now receive the same pension benefits as ordained missionaries. However, this rise in costs plus increased health and conference fees coupled with a “reduction in our overall budget of 5 percent in 2008 due to budget constraints” had forced the church to cut off missionary stipends.

The cuts will take immediate effect for new missionaries, while those on current assignment will see the change when their “Letters of Understanding” are renewed.

The suspension of the stipendiary missionary programme follows a Feb 29 open letter from the two retired bishops seeking an accounting for the estimated several million dollars spent on litigation by the national church offices. The two bishops wrote their latest request was their third attempt to get an answer.

The first answer the bishops received, they said, was that the money spent on lawyers to fight the church’s property battles was “a secret.” A second request elicited the response that “no funds for litigation have come from either the Pension Fund or Trust Funds. However, [the national church] refused to disclose the amounts being expended on litigation.”

In their Feb 29 letter, the bishops stated the national church had no legal right to withhold financial information. Saying “it’s a secret” was “not acceptable. If there is nothing wrong with these expenditures, then why do you refuse to reveal the amount?” Bishops Wantland and Benitez asked.

Somerset vicar to be Kenyan bishop: CEN 2.01.08 p 8. February 2, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The Vicar of Frome has been named Suffragan Bishop of Marsabit in the Anglican Church of Kenya’s Diocese of Kirinyaga.

The Rev. Rob Martin will be consecrated next month by the Archbishop of Kenya Benjamin Nzimbi and will take up his post in October.

Bishop-elect Martin is being sent out to Kenya by Crosslinks, the Anglican Mission agency, but will be self-supporting in his ministry. Mr. Martin read languages at Cambridge and is fluent in Swahili and speaks some Kikuyu.

Trained as a chartered accountant, Mr. Frome went out to Africa in 1978 and served as the administrator of the Diocese of Mount Kenya East for ten years before returning to train for the ministry at Trinity College, Bristol.

Ordained deacon in 1991 and priest in 1992, he served his curacy in the Kingswood Team Ministry and has been Vicar of Holy Trinity, Frome for 13 years. He has also been Rural Dean of Frome for the last four years.

Mr. Martin will assist the Bishop of Kirinyaga, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Munene Ngoru oversee a diocese of five Archdeaconries, 221 congregations, 213 priests and 70,000 communicants. The Diocese of Kirinyaga was created in July, 1990 following the sub-division of the former Diocese of Mt. Kenya East. It was divided again in 1997, with the southern half forming the Diocese of Meru.

The new bishop’s episcopal area will be along Kenya’s northern border with Somalia, and centered in the town of Marabit. He will be one of three Suffragan Bishops in Kirinyaga and oversee an area the size of England.

“It’s about 400 miles from one end to the other,” he said in a press release issued by the Diocese of Bath & Wells, “with no tarmac. The only way to get around is either by flying, which I will do with the Mission Aviation Fellowship, or Land Rover. ”

“I love the country and its people,” he said. “This is a new and challenging opportunity to serve them.”

“My job will be to listen and to learn what are the Church’s and the people’s needs, find out what are their hopes and dreams and help them achieve them,” he said.

First UK Christian skate conference held: CEN 11.27.07 November 28, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Youth/Children.
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BRITAIN’S first conference dedicated to Christian outreach to the skate community was held last week in Scotland.

‘Skate ministry’ leaders from the US, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Jamaica, Ireland and the UK met at Dundee’s Factory Skatepark from Nov 9-11 and explored ways of using the sport of skateboarding to reach young people with the Gospel. Speakers at the Conference spoke of how God was changing the lives of young people through skating. At the close of the gathering participants resolved to form a skate ministry for the UK.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

First UK Christian skate conference held

Knights Templar “Rehabilitated”: CEN 10.19.07 p 9. October 19, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Roman Catholic Church.
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The Knights Templar, the Christian medieval military order that figured prominently in the Da Vinci Code, is to be “partly” rehabilitated by the Vatican.

On Oct 25 the Vatican will published a reproduction of the minutes of the Fourteenth century heresy trials of the Templars,” Processus Contra Templarios — Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars. However the new book is not likely to rival the sales of Dan Brown’s bestseller as only 800 copies will be printed by Vatican publisher Editrice Scrinium with a price tag of €5,900 (£4,100).

Legends of the Templar’s hidden treasures, including the “Holy Grail”, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, have fired imaginations for centuries and have figured in recent popular novels and movies ranging from the Da Vinci Code to Monty Python.

In 2001 Barbara Frale, an archivist at the Vatican’s Secret Archives, stumbled upon the trial transcripts which had been misfiled for over 700 years. This is the “first time that these documents are being released by the Vatican, which gives a stamp of authority to the entire project,” she said.

Frale told Reuters the Knights Templar will be “partly rehabilitated” in the eyes of history by the facts laid out in the newly published documents.

Founded in 1119 by French nobleman Hugues de Payns and nine companions, the order dedicated itself to protecting Christians on pilgrimages to Jerusalem. While adopting the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, it also took the vows of knightly chivalry and waged war against Islam.

Housed by the King of Jerusalem on the Temple Mount in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the order came to be known as the Military Order of Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or the Templars.

To fund their military adventures against the Saracens, the Templars expanded into commerce and developed the field of international finance, pioneering the field of deposit banking. After the fall of the last Christian kingdom in the Holy Land in 1291, the Templars’ reputation declined.

On Oct 13, 1307, 700 years ago this month, King Philip IV of France turned upon the order, jailing its members and seizing its wealth. He accused its members of denying Christ, worshiping idols and practicing sodomy.

After a five year trial, the Templars were found guilty of apostasy and in 1314 Philip had the order’s grand master, Jacques de Molay, burned at the stake.

The Templars’ wealth and secrecy have excited imaginations for generations. An initiate was told that “of our Order you only see the surface which is the outside.”

The newly published transcripts show Pope Clement V absolved the Templars of heresy. “Simply put, the pope recognized that they were not heretics but guilty of many other minor crimes-such as abuses, violence and sinful acts within the order,” Frale said. “But that is not the same as heresy.”

CMS to back African Provinces: CEN 10.05.07 p 9. October 3, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Rwanda, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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cms-logo.gifThe Church Mission Society (CMS) will not abandon its friends in Africa over the the conflicts of doctrine and discipline traumatizing the Anglican Communion, the Society’s Mid Africa Region chief Stephen Burgess told a gathering of church leaders in Rwanda.

The Episcopal Church of Rwanda reported that on Sept 11, Mr. Burgess said the CMS did not support the American Church’s actions on gay bishops and blessings and breach of traditional Biblical norms.

“I want you to know that CMS has adhered to high-quality traditional norms of the Bible for the good of the people,” he said, adding that “people should therefore act as ambassadors of Christ for the good of their lives” according to a report released by the Rwandan Church. 

God’s word was constant and moral truths were unchanging, he said, noting he was disheartened by the US Episcopal Church’s breach of traditional Biblical norms.

Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini pledged Rwanda’s support for the work of CMS in Mid Africa, promising closer cooperation and coordination of mission and evangelism work.


Aid Agencies Rush to Help After Peruvian Earthquake: CEN 8.31.07 p 6. September 3, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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hugo-chavez.jpgAid agencies from across the Anglican Communion have come to the assistance of the Diocese of Peru following the Aug 15 earthquake that struck off the coast near Pisco.

Canadian, American, British and Australian church aid agencies have responded to the devastation wrought by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake by sending aid to groups working in the afflicted regions. Several hundred have been reported killed by the quake, including 150 people killed by the collapse of the roof of a Roman Catholic Church in Pisco.

The Bishop of Peru, the Rt. Rev. William Godfrey reports the diocese has opened soup kitchens in the towns of Guadalupe and San Juan Bautista, each feeding 5000 people a day. “Food, water and medicine continue to be the priority as well as tending to the injured,” Bishop Godfrey wrote on his diocesan website.

The diocese was also supporting “the injured who have been brought from the South to Lima’s hospitals. Many of them were brought in on stretchers with no personal belongings. We are providing food, clothing, medicines, prayer and counsel, and when the time comes transport back to their families,” he wrote.

The Roman Catholic charity Caritas, the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the USPG, Episcopal Relief and Development, Anglican Relief and Development, the Primates Fund for World Relief and other church agencies have responded to the quake with financial support and relief assistance. “We are working in conjunction with other churches and aid agencies, adding whatever we can to what God gives us,” he said.

Bishop Godfrey reported the Peruvian Civil Defence force’s “professionalism and organisation has been remarkable” in the aftermath of the quake. However, relief efforts had been “complicated by disorder, robbery and looting. There is great nervousness about the presence of unidentified strangers and the transportation of goods is almost impossible without army escort. Darkness is giving cover to gangs who loot houses and rob families of the little they still have,” he said.

Political machinations by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez in quake’s aftermath have also been reported. Peru’s Expreso newspaper published photographs of cans of tinned tuna distributed to quake victims that sported a label with photos of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and left wing Peruvian opposition leader Ollanta Humala.

According to a report printed in the Los Angeles Times, the labels stated, “The Peruvian government acts in an inefficient, slow and heartless manner, notwithstanding the pain of the victims, leaving them to the mercy of hunger, thirst and delinquency.”

Popular outrage over the tuna tins has prompted the Venezuelan ambassador to deny responsibility, saying it was a plot to discredit Chavez and Humala. However, Expreso reported the tins were distributed from trucks owned by Humala’s Nationalist Party.

Mothers Union Helps its Baghdad Chapter: CEN 8.10.07 August 9, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Iraq, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The Mothers’ Union has sent a grant of £5,000 to its Iraqi chapter to support the work of St. George’s Memorial Church, Baghdad in providing food, shelter and clothing to refugees and the needy in the strife-torn city.


The Emergency Relief Fund grant was made on Aug 1, the Mothers’ Union announced and will assist the 400-member chapter in its on-going relief work. The Mothers’ Union at St. George’s has been raising funds and producing crafts to purchase food, bedding and school supplies for orphanages in the city, a local home for disabled children, and to support Christian families displaced by violence.


The vicar of Baghad, Canon Andrew White, who is Chair of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle-East (FRRME) said he was impressed with the way the chapter had “co-coordinated and distributed the emergency relief aid. They’ve been fantastic.”


“Aid is not just going to Christians but to Muslims too, and to members who are themselves in need. All receive help equally. We have been so impressed with how these volunteers have coordinated the relief work, that I hope that not just this funding, but humanitarian projects funded by FRRME will be handled by the Mothers’ Union,” he said.

Mothers’ Union chief executive, Reg Bailey said “It is a hallmark of the Mothers’ Union that it is a grassroots membership which volunteers assistance at the local level as and when it is needed.”


However the difficult situation in Iraq cannot be met solely by local voluntary organizations. The Mothers’ Union supports the “call for the international community to do all it can to encourage governments to bring urgent assistance to people of all faiths and none, within Iraq,” he said.

NGO Gets New Leader: CEN 8.03.07 p 7. August 2, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, NGOs.
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Five Talents International, the Anglican micro-credit NGO, has elected a former World Bank executive as chairman of its board of trustees. Frederick Kalema-Musoke will succeed CANA Bishop the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns as chairman, the July 25 announcement from the Washington-based NGO said.

A Ugandan national, Mr. Kalema-Musoke recently retired as a financial management consultant with The World Bank Group. “After more than 25 years in development finance at the World Bank, I see that God has been preparing me for this new role as chairman through a variety of experiences in developing countries and in my own spiritual journey,” he said.

The new chairman will oversee the Anglican NGO’s expanding micro-credit operations, while maintaining a focus on mission and partnership with the Church in the developing world.

Bishop Minns, who co-founded the organization in 1999, stated the “most important accomplishment” of Five Talents was that it had “transformed lives and changed communities.”

“I don’t think we ever dreamed of the worldwide impact we are making,” he said.

China Expels Missionaries: CEN 7.27.07 p 6. July 26, 2007

Posted by geoconger in China, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The Chinese government has begun its largest expulsion campaign of foreign Christian missionaries since 1954, the China Aid Association reports, with over 100 Christian missionaries forced to leave the country since April.

The campaign, code named Typhoon No 5, “is part of cleaning house effort before the [2008] Beijing Olympics”, CAA president Bob Fu told The Church of England Newspaper. “Unfortunately it picks up the wrong target by expelling foreign Christian workers.”

On July 10, CAA reported that Christian missionaries from the US, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Israel working in Xinjiang, Beijing, Tibet and the Shandong province had been expelled, with over 60 forced to leave Xinjiang and 30 from Beijing.

On July 1, three Americans were detained for three days by the security services in Beijing and expelled from the country. The jailed missionaries were forbidden contact with the US embassy, the CAA reported, and were banned from entering China for five years upon their release.

Anti-foreign agitation does not appear to extend beyond missionaries. Gary Lausch of the English Language Institute/China which sends English teachers to China reported that none of their workers had been expelled. When I traveled to China in March I didn’t sense any special political ‘pressure’ but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” he told the CEN.

“Given the significant contribution to the Chinese people made by those expelled foreigners, this campaign is certainly misguided and counter-productive,” Bob Fu said. The CAA called upon the Chinese government “to correct this wrong course by allowing these selfless good-hearted people of faith back into China.”


Sr Andrea Jaeger, OP July 10, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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Published in the 2.09.07 issue of The Church of England Newspaper with the story Tennis Star Dons the Habit

Tennis Star Dons the Habit: CEN 2.09.07 July 10, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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Professional tennis champion Andrea Jaeger has donned the habit, taking vows as a nun. On Sept 16, the former tennis child prodigy completed a six month postulancy and became a novice of the Anglican Order of Preachers, a religious community in the Dominican tradition of the US Episcopal Church comprised of lay and ordained friars and sisters.

Ranked number two in the world while still a teenager, Jaeger turned pro while only 14, and enjoyed a short but highly successful career on the women’s professional tennis circuit until she suffered a career ending injury at the 1985 French Open when she was 19. After seven surgeries, Jaeger retired from the game in 1987.

Jaeger took her tournament winnings of $1.4 million to Aspen, Colorado and with the assistance of friend Heidi Brookhart founded the Little Star Foundation in 1990, a charity that today provides programs and services for over 8,000 children a year that are seriously ill, abused or at risk. She remains president of the foundation, responsible for raising over $4.3 million a year to fund Little Star’s work, which brings children to the mountains around Aspen, Colorado for a range of outdoor activities.

The Little Star Foundation quickly became a success and drew support from sports and entertainment personalities. Successful in her second career as the director of a non-profit foundation, Sr. Andrea did not expect to hear the call towards the professed life almost a year ago.

The second daughter of German immigrants to the United States who settled in suburban Chicago, the Jaegers were not a religious family, Sr. Andrea told The Church of England Newspaper.

However, Sr. Andrea noted that from the time she was a small girl she was conscious of the presence of God, and as a young girl lived a God-drenched life. Even at the height of her tennis career, she told CEN that she believed “God had a plan” for her life beyond sport.

The call to the cloister came to her in a series of dreams and visions. In one dream, “I was getting a tour of a monastery. My tour director was Katherine of Siena, whose mission was to help the sick, the poor and the suffering.” This led her to study the life and work of the Italian nun, and led her to consider whether she too should take a vow.

However, Sr. Andrea said she was reluctant to give up the work of the Little Star Foundation, and was somewhat nonplussed at the thought of entering the religious life. “Wearing a habit and all of that” was foreign to her background, and something outside of “what I knew.”

“I thought you had to enter a convent as a child,” she said, and at first did not pursue it. “I kept asking myself, ‘is this for real?’.” “How do I fulfill this” call upon my life from God?

The call continued, she told CEN and manifested itself, in images and dreams of “waltzing with Jesus”, and enfolding “my life into his will.” Applying herself to a study of the religious life as doggedly as she did her earlier tennis career, Sr. Andrea learned of the Anglican order that would combine a strict rule of life and close confraternity, while allowing her to continue her work as president of Little Star.

At first she confided her hopes on becoming a nun to a single friend, fashion model Cindy Crawford. “Becoming a nun is pretty radical,” Crawford told People magazine, but it seemed a natural fit. “She can’t deny who she’s supposed to be.”

The decision to commit her life to God came after discernment and prayer. “Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?”, she said, and found that the answer was “Yes.” While the work of responding to the ills and hurts of children would remain her daily work, she say that the primary task of her life was to be the “salvation of souls”, by “helping the poor and needy” come to know the love of God.

Running a children’s charity, “God gave me a platform so people can be changed,” she noted, for “I am in the salvation business.”

Upon completion of her two year novitiate, Sr. Andrea will take a life vow of simplicity, purity and obedience. Professed members are required to give a portion of their income to their local church and to the Order and maintain the rule “to live simply using all things given to my charge for the building up of the Kingdom of God.”

The order’s vow of purity permits its members to marry. But if they are single they take a vow of celibacy, meaning a life lived with out “sexual acts, relationships and marriage”, while if married, they commit to chastity in “faithfulness and love towards one’s spouse.”

The final vow of obedience, the Order states is the “calling to surrender one’s entire life to God and to the service of the Church.” Members vow to observe the Rule of St Augustine and to submit to the authority of the superiors of the order and to “the leadership of the churches and ministries in which they serve.”

The members of the Order do not live in community, but are spread across the United States, working as parish priests, seminary teachers, health care workers, musicians and in a variety of secular professions. Sisters of the order wear a white habit with black cowl and hood. The episcopal visitor for the Order is the Bishop of Georgia, the Rt. Rev. Henry Louttit.

Asked if she had any regrets for trading in the racket for a wimple, Sr. Andrea says she has none. God’s plan for my life was “to do something else, and it happened to be helping children with cancer. I love what I do.”

Sr. Andrea stated she hoped other young women would consider becoming nuns. “God loves us all equally” she said, and “there can be a calling in our lives” that does not have to conform to the world. The “best choice” you can make for your life “is to come to the center of God’s will”. It is never too late to “find you way there.”

Surprise Visit for Dr. Williams: CEN 7.06.07 p 7. July 6, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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(Photo courtesy of the Carmel of St Teresa)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams has paid a surprise visit to the convent of the Anglican Communion’s sole Carmelite community during his American sabbatical. Taking a break from his researches at Georgetown University in Washington, Dr. Williams visited the Carmel of St. Teresa on June 13 in Rising Sun, Maryland.

Suppressed in the Church of England by the Crown in 1538, the last British Carmelite Friar died during the reign of Elizabeth I. While the Order remained strong on the Continent, the Roman Catholic Church did not reestablish it in Britain until 1952. Dr. Williams thanked the sisters of the Roman Catholic Carmel in Baltimore for mentoring the new foundation on “behalf of the Anglican Communion for all that it is doing,” to return bring the Carmelite life to the Church.

The Maryland House has one professed sister, 20 associates and 4 persons training to become Oblates. Dr. Williams celebrated the Eucharist for the community, staying for an early tea to celebrate his birthday.

Aboriginal Bible Translation Completed: CEN 5.18.07 May 18, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Biblical Interpretation, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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The first complete Bible translation into an Australian indigenous language has been published, the Church Missionary Society reports. Twenty-seven years in the making, the Kriol Bible, a complete Old and New Testament, was released on May 5 and will serve the 30,000 speakers of Kriol — a language spoken by aboriginal people in West Australia, the Northern Territory and Northwest Queensland.A joint project of the Bible Society, Lutheran Bible Translators, The Church Missionary Society, the Anglican Church of Australia, the Australian Society of Indigenous Languages and Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Kriol Bible is the first printed work of literature in Kriol, and as the Authorised Version of the Bible did for English, is expected to standardise the language spoken by a majority of Australia’s aboriginal people. Aboriginal Bible translation completed

Read the full article at The Church of England Newspaper

Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania Bishop to Proceed: TLC 1.26.07 January 26, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Living Church, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Pennsylvania.
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The legality of deposing clergy without a church trial through the use of the “abandonment canon” will be tested before a Pennsylvania civil court. In a ruling handed down on Jan. 25, Montgomery County Judge Thomas Branca permitted a suit for damages against the Rt. Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., Bishop of Pennsylvania, brought by the Rt. Rev. David L. Moyer to proceed to trial.

A former priest of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Bishop Moyer was inhibited and then deposed on Sept. 4, 2002. by Bishop Bennison under Title IV Canon 10 “Abandonment of Communion” for refusing Bishop Bennison permission to make a visitation at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, a Philadelphia suburb. This dispute was grounds for use of the canon, Bishop Bennison argued, as the Rosemont rector had “abandoned the Communion of this Church” by an “open renunciation of the…discipline…of this church.”

Lawyers for Bishop Bennison argued the court should dismiss the lawsuit saying the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Pennsylvania case law discouraged state interference in internal church disputes.

Bishop Moyer’s lawyers countered that equity and justice required a trial as Bishop Bennison had improperly used a canon to remove him from the ministry that did not provide for a church trial or redress. They further argued Bishop Bennison had misled the standing committee, which had affirmed the deposition, by fraudulently withholding documents necessary for their deliberations.

Bishop Bennison pioneered the use of the abandonment canon to remove clergy from office without benefit of a church trial; a tactic most recently invoked against 21 Virginia priests for their “association with a group of people that has abandoned the Communion of the Episcopal Church.”

In a 2005 interview with The Living Church the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, noted the abandonment canon has “a very specific purpose. It is for those instances when a member of the clergy leaves the Episcopal Church to become, say, a Roman Catholic or a Presbyterian, without officially renouncing his/her Episcopal orders. A bishop who says that a member of the clergy who joins the Network, or who–for conscience sake–joins the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), has ‘abandoned communion’ is simply outrageous.”

“The ‘abandonment’ canon denies the accused any due process whatsoever: there is no facing his or her accusers, no weighing of evidence, no answering of charges, no jury, no appeal. To use this canon to silence or remove a member of the clergy who does not support his or her bishop is, in my opinion, a violation of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church,” Bishop Howe said.

On Feb. 15, 2005, Bishop Moyer was consecrated a bishop of the Anglican Church of America, a continuing church body that is part of the global Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), with oversight of the ACA’s military chaplains and 25 TAC priests in England. A former president of Forward in Faith North America, Bishop Moyer has also been licensed as Assistant Bishop of the diocese of The Murray in the Anglican Church of Australia.

Bishop Moyer told The Living Church he was “thrilled” with the ruling.

“I in no way abandoned the Communion of the Church,” he said. “It has been my contention that Charles Bennison is a false teacher who separated himself from the teachings of the Church. I could not in good conscience welcome him to Good Shepherd and expose my people to false teaching.”

Bishop Bennison did not respond to TLC’s request for comment.

John Lewis, Bishop Moyer’s lawyer, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he believed the case would be “the first time that a case will go to trial which involves ecclesiastical discipline of a priest in a hierarchical church.”

First published in The Living Church.