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West Indian economic crash prompts episcopal calls for thrift: The Church of England Newspaper, November 1, 2013 November 5, 2013

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An economic downturn and political turmoil in Barbados has prompted the Archbishop of the West Indies to challenge his countrymen to practice thrift and self-reliance. The Most Rev. John Holder has also tasked political leaders to set aside their political wrangling and work together to pull Barbados and the West Indies out of a protracted economic slump.

Last week the island’s Central Bank reported sharply lower foreign exchange reserves and a down turn in overseas investment, while economic growth was projected to be less than 1 per cent for the coming fiscal year. Last month the IMF forecast no grown for 2013 and 2014 for Barbados — marking it as one of the most sluggish economies in the hemisphere.

On 23 October 2013 Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler survived a no-confidence motion by a vote of 15-14. The Barbados Labour Party had charged the government with incompetence in managing the country’s fiscal affairs.

In response, Archbishop John Holder, the Bishop of Barbados, released a statement on 26 October with the church’s Advocacy and Social Justice Commission urging Barbadians to “use the coping and creative skills we have to ride out the recession and lay the groundwork for an economic rebound.”

“Barbadians of earlier times fought against the odds and laid the foundation for the quality of life we now enjoy,” the archbishop said, adding: “We are proud inheritors of such a spirit of fortitude and resilience, and we must show that we are capable of peacefully getting past the present economic setbacks and building a more prosperous and just nation.”

“We do have some control over our destiny. What we must not do is to throw up our hands in despair and just wait for the IMF’s dire forecast to be realised. Rather, we should use the unfavourable assessment as motivation to redouble our efforts to prove the predictions wrong.”

While crying up thrift for the people, the archbishop also challenged the government to institute social and economic reforms. “We must re-examine our systems and structures, and work to ensure that those Barbadians who consider themselves to be marginalised are given the opportunity to enjoy some of the benefits of a prosperous Barbados,” the statement said.

Politicians needed to do their part as well.  “Leaders need to tone down the rhetoric and refrain from saying or doing anything which creates anxiety and despair. Instead, they should work together to find solutions to the problems which our nation faces. One up-manship and selfish actions will only serve to fracture the society at a time when unity is required,” the paper said.

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Youth unemployment is killing Europe, Irish bishops warn: The Church of England Newspaper, June 23, 2013 p 6. June 20, 2013

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High rates of unemployment are damaging the character of the next generation of Europeans, the bishops of the Church of Ireland said on 5 June 2013 in a statement released ahead of the G8 Summit in Co. Fermanagh.

Prime Minister David Cameron will host the prime ministers, chancellors and presidents of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United States and the European Commission at the 39th G8 summit at the Lough Erne Golf Resort in Enniskillen on 17- 18  June 2013.

The agenda of the annual gathering of world leaders is set by the host country. In her speech at the state opening of Parliament in 2012, The Queen stated “my government will use this opportunity to promote international security and prosperity.” Other items on the agenda include food security, nutrition, and sexual violence in armed conflict.

In their letter the Archbishop touched upon the interrelation of economics and human flourishing — and the church’s failure to speak out. “We acknowledge also with penitence that as believers we have often sidelined consideration of economic affairs as of little relevance to our vocation. This has led not only to apathy about economic debate, but also to a refusal to face up to our economic responsibilities as individuals.”

“From our perspective as religious leaders, the work of civil government is a holy task and a calling of the most sacred kind. The equitable management of economic affairs has the potential to bring many benefits to a de–moralised world. As a subject for academic study, economics was first considered as a branch of ethics – the right ordering of human relationships – and we earnestly hope that something of that spirit can re–invigorate national and international discussion of our fiscal and economic affairs.”

The Archbishops and Bishops called for a dynamic focus on providing special measures to remedy youth unemployment. “The levels of youth unemployment in wealthy countries is not only an economic disaster, it is also a moral tragedy. Useful work is a God–given means to develop both the good of society and the capacity of the individual. Not to have useful paid work is to be deprived of one of the means of developing great virtues.”

“It is through the world of work that most of us learn the habits of regularity, team working, application, balanced judgement, reliability and toleration. For millions of young people to be deprived of the opportunity to acquire and deepen these virtues, which are as necessary for economic development as much as personal well–being, is to store up enormous personal and societal problems for decades to come.”

“The pace of economic recovery is so slow that, unless some special measures are made to cater for this generation, they may well be doomed to spending the most creative and productive years of their lives in a sterile no man’s land of economic inactivity,” the bishops said.

Bishop weeps for Kingston: The Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2012 p 7. November 13, 2012

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The Bishop of Jamaica has called upon the government to take action to halt the physical and social decay of Kingston.

In a 28 Oct 2012 service marking the 140th anniversary of the city’s being made capital of the island, the Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory said the “decay of Kingston is in evidence all around and is reflected both in the physical environment as well as in the social life of many of its residents. Every time I travel to cities abroad and see what the renewal of cities can look like, I weep over my city.”

The city had been built on a “well-laid out” grid with “good infrastructure” that had been allowed to slide into decay he said.  Founded in 1692, Kingston is the commercial hub and capital of Jamaica and has an estimated population of almost 1 million.  In recent years the city has been the scene of widespread gang violence that has led to a flight to the suburbs of the professional and middle classes.

“The lack of adequate planning for the city is obvious for all to see,” the bishop said, noting that zoning laws were not enforced, garbage not collected, and the roads not maintained.

He denounced the indifference the government displayed towards the provision of basic public services.  “In our city, a garage can begin operation on your street, and there is no agent of state, which will respond with any measure of effectiveness. And the sad thing about it all is that the residents can complain from now to eternity and they are not receiving a response from those individuals and institutions charged with governance that would allow people to foster a sense of ownership of their communities, and partnership with municipal authorities.”

State neglect combined with a lack of civic pride meant that “all the older residential communities falling to pieces,” he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

“Don’t print money, fix the economy” Archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, October 6, 2012, p 6. October 10, 2012

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The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria has criticized his government for seeking to address the country’s fiscal crisis by printing higher denomination bank notes.

Speaking after the consecration of the new Bishop of Ifo the Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Oladejo Ogundipe, on 8 Sept 2012, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said he was unpersuaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) assurances the new notes would not spark inflation.

“We don’t need N5000 notes,” he said, saying most Nigerians do not have any money anyway. “I think if we have something else we can do with money, let us do it, not printing N5000 notes.”

While the CBN believes it will not cause inflation, “the ones they introduced before actually caused problems. And it has reduced our lower denominations to nothing. For me, I don’t think higher denomination of money is our problem today. Nigeria has many other problems to face” first, he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church VAT meeting with George Osborne: The Church of England Newspaper, May 6, 2012 p 6. May 11, 2012

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The Second Church Estates Commissioner and the Bishop of London have asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. George Osborne, for a “full exemption” for churches on the government’s plans to impose VAT on church alterations.

Speaking to the House of Commons on 26 April 2012, Mr. Tony Baldry said the meeting with the chancellor had been “helpful and constructive.”

The chancellor had given a “commitment to ensuring that listed places of worship would not be adversely affected by the Budget proposal, and I am sure that he will do everything he can to deliver on that commitment,” Mr. Baldry said.

The Church Commissioners were “pushing for full exemption. The listed places of worship scheme is welcome, but it is very volatile and uncertain at the moment because people are never quite clear how much they will receive back under the scheme, he said.

Mr. Baldry and Bishop Richard Chartres “made it clear why we believed it to be in the best interests of the community to continue to exempt alterations to listed places of worship from VAT. We gave the Chancellor a full written submission” and he “undertook to consider our submission carefully and made clear the Government’s commitment to ensuring that listed places of worship are not adversely affected by the Budget proposal. I anticipate a further meeting with the Chancellor and the Exchequer Secretary in due course,” the Second Church Estates Commissioner said.

The member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Simon Hughes (LD) asked if Mr. Baldry would “apply pressure” on the Government so that it understands “that simply extending the scheme’s remit to give money, when the budget has been cut, does not solve the problem, unless the rules are changed.”

Mr. Baldry concurred, saying “we are keen that the Chancellor maintains the VAT exemption for church alterations is the certainty it brings. However much money is put into the listed places of worship scheme, it has its own inherent volatility and uncertainty, and no one is sure until after the event how much the refund will be. In the last quarter, for example, only just over half of the money for the listed places of worship scheme was refunded.”

The member for Congleton, Fiona Bruce (Con.) questioned the feasibility of the government’s plans. “The Treasury has said that there will be an exemption from the new rules for contracts that have already been signed, but many churches have already undertaken ongoing works. Could there be some flexibility in that respect? Secondly, if the grant scheme is to be reviewed, could it be so over a period of several years, not just one or two years, so that there can be certainty? Works often take many years.”

Mr. Baldry stated that he agreed that it was “important to get the transitional relief right. We made it clear” to Mr. Osborne “that if he was not minded to follow us on continuing the exemption, but wanted to increase the grant under the listed places of worship scheme, we would want to see certainty over the sum, not just for this year but for a whole number of years to come.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Treasury to reimburse Church on new VAT: The Church of England Newspaper, May 4, 2012 May 11, 2012

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised to reimburse listed churches for the costs of VAT for church improvements.

Speaking in the House of Lords on 24 April 2012, Treasury minister Lord Sassoon confirmed that an agreement had been reached the previous day by the Bishop of London, the Second Church Estates Commissioner and the Chancellor, Mr. George Osborne.

“The Government are fully compensating churches for the changes in VAT,” Lord Sassoon told the Lords.  Asked how the Treasury would mitigate the £20 million in additional cost to churches in its budget proposals, Lord Sassoon said the Chancellor “made it clear” in his meeting with Bishop Richard Chartres and Tony Baldy MP “that the £5 million which the Government have committed to the listed places of worship grant scheme in the Budget is on top of the £12 million which the scheme already had.”

“We accept, having seen the churches’ numbers, that the VAT change will indeed be more than £5 million and that we need to commit more money, and discussions will continue next week to look at what the projected numbers and our commitment should be,” the minister said.

Lord Sassoon further stated that projects already underway would not be subject to the tax.

“Contracts in place on [Budget day] will retain the zero rate if the work is performed by 20 March 2013.”

In last month’s Budget, Mr Osborne announced a 20 per cent tax on alteration work on listed buildings.  The Treasury said the new tax would be imposed to remove a “glaring anomaly”, where alterations to listed building were exempt from VAT, but repair and maintenance work was not.  It was also couched in terms of fairness, with Coalition spokesmen saying it would prevent the owners of listed mansions avoiding paying VAT if they added a swimming pool.

However, the plan would also tax churches. The Bishop of Bath & Wells asked Lord Sassoon whether the government had thought through the implications of its decision, suggesting that it was at odds with its Big Society agenda.  “Of the 563 churches in my diocese, 503 are listed-some 89 per cent. Their upkeep relies almost entirely on voluntary fundraising and support from their congregations. In promoting the big society, many wish to open those buildings to wider community use. What incentive does the minister believe is being created for congregations to do so by making them pay VAT up front only to claim it back through a scheme that is not adequately funded,” the bishop asked.

Lord Sassoon responded the government did not “want to see anything that incentivises people against repairing and maintaining and therefore preserving the core heritage features of the property, so we think that it is right to put alterations, repairs and maintenance on an even basis.”

However, a spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council told ThirdSector the reimbursement scheme was not ideal. “As a sort of concession it seems the Chancellor has said expenditure on alterations, as well as repairs, will now be eligible for this scheme, and it will have some extra money,” he said.

“But it’s pretty easy for the government to get rid of public expenditure. This scheme has already got less generous since it was introduced. It’s already being used pretty much at capacity,” the spokesman said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

CoE facing £20 million VAT bill: The Church of England Newspaper, April 29, 2012, p 6. May 6, 2012

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Tony Baldry MP

The Government’s plan to end the VAT exemption for listed building alterations will cost the Church of England an additional £20 million per year, the Second Church Estates Commissioner told Parliament last week.

On 18 April 2012 Mr. Tony Baldry responded to a written question from the member for The Wrekin, Mr. Mark Pritchard (Cons.) asking whether the Church Commissioners would speak to the Chancellor about the financial effects “of VAT changes to repairs for listed church buildings in the diocese of Hereford and Lichfield.”

Mr. Baldry stated that he wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 22 March and intended to “follow this up with discussions soon.”

Ending the VAT exemption was likely to cost the Church of England £20 million per year as it had “responsibility for the care and upkeep of 12,500 listed churches and cathedrals across England.”

There repairs were “largely met by the voluntary giving and activity of its congregations,” he said, noting the “large majority of alterations” took place “order to improve access to them and to broaden their use by the wider community.”

The cost to Hereford under the proposed VAT changes would cost the cathedral “an extra estimated £160,000 to complete its existing plans to improve its sound, lighting and heating systems.”

Mr. Baldry said that of the Hereford’s 423 buildings, 360 were listed churches. He cited the case of St John the Evangelist in Shobdon, which was “currently completing a £900,000 restoration project of which only 10% has been completed. The application of VAT to the total cost is likely to prove a significant setback.”

In the Diocese of Lichfield the proposed changes would add a further £240,000 to its costs of adding “toilets and facilities for the disabled” and renovations to the Close.  Of Lichfield’s 450 buildings, 315 were churches who would be affected by the changes.  “No specific figures are available for projects in 2012, but across the diocese a conservative estimate of over £300,000 was spent on alterations to parish churches in 2011,” he said.

The Second Church Estates Commission noted that “though proposals in the Budget impact mostly on alterations to listed church buildings—as distinct from repairs—in that they remove the zero VAT rating for all listed building alteration works, the Church of England is concerned that the money available to reimburse churches for VAT charged for repair work will also be affected as a consequence of the extra demands placed on the Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme, which is to have eligibility widened to include alterations.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

 

Anglican Unscripted Episode 28: February 13, 2012 February 13, 2012

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This week Kevin and George take on the year 1662 and the missing 2500 Anglican Clergy. Also, your hosts talk about CAPA and DEPO and how they are relevant or no longer relevant today. Peter Ould covers last weeks events in the Church of England. AS Haley and Kevin discuss Obamacare and the 13th Chime of the Clock. Oh… and how many AMiA parishes are moving to PEAR or ACNA?

Govt backs down in face of Nigeria’s general strike: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2012 p 6. January 25, 2012

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Bishop Peter Adebiyi

First printed in the Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Lagos has called upon the President of Nigeria to convene an all-party, all-ethnic congress to negotiate the future of the West African nation in the wake of a week-long general strike that followed the government’s lifting of price controls on fuel.

On 16 January 2012 President Goodluck Jonathan capitulated to union demands and partially restored the state-subsidy on fuel.  The week of civil strike saw the military deployed in the streets of Lagos and most major cities.

President Jonathan conceded that the “government appreciates that the implementation of the deregulation policy would cause initial hardships” and agreed to subsidize the price of fuel.

Under a deal brokered with union leaders, the price of gasoline in Nigeria will drop from £.60 per litre to £.39, or from $3.50 to $2.27 per gallon.  Before the government lifted price controls fuel prices averaged £.29 per litre or $1.70 gallon.

The International Monetary Fund and the country’s economic advisers had pressed the government to eliminate the fuel subsidy.  While Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer, the country’s four refineries are incapable of meeting consumer demand.

Approximately 85 per cent of Nigeria’s refined petroleum must be imported from abroad, with the federal government spending an estimated £4.5 billion to subsidize fuel purchases.

Successive Nigerian governments have kept diesel prices low as most small businesses and many private homes rely on generators to provide electricity as the national power grid is antiquated and unreliable.  For the vast majority of Nigerians subsidized fuel prices were one of the few benefits they received from the country’s oil wealth.

Church and union leaders had urged the government not to life the fuel subsidies, and when the government refused to compromise a national strike was staged that led to mass protests, riots and outbreaks of communal violence across the country.

The Bishop of Lagos West, the Rt. Rev. Peter Adebiyi said it made no sense for President Jonathan to send the army into the streets of Lagos in response to the strike.

Lagos State had “recorded an unprecedented number of votes during the last presidential elections [for President Jonathan], despite the fact that the state is being governed by one of the opposition parties.  It is instructive that from the pattern of voting in other elections, the people of Lagos State voted the President as a person and not the political party he represents”

The bishop was amazed that the candidate “Lagosians voted massively for, turned around to militarize the state in the face of simple and peaceful demonstration against government policies that affected citizens of Nigeria.  Are we at a war,” the bishop asked.

“It is rather shameful and unbelievable seeing military personnel brandishing guns and armour tanks in the early hours of Monday 16th of January, 2012 as if we are at a way”, the bishop said, whereas “simple dialogue and sense of reasoning would have prevailed instead of the military option.”

Christians and Muslims, Yoruba and Hausa were united in opposing the fuel increases, the bishop said.  “Going by the overwhelming presences of dignitaries that attended the rallies in Lagos against the removal of fuel subsidy, despite their differences in party and religion affiliations, attests to the fact that government must always do what pleases the people,” he said.

Bishop Adebiyi called upon the government go convene an all-party Sovereign National Conference “where different ethnic groups in the country will come together in a round table and decide how they should be governed.” For as it stands now, Nigeria is not working, the bishop said.

Bishop defends intervention in benefits debate: The Church of England Newspaper, December 11, 2011 p 7. December 13, 2011

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Bishop John Packer

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds and a Conservative MP have exchanged sharp words over a letter criticizing the government’s welfare reforms.

The member for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith, told the Ripon Gazette that Bishop John Packer was ignorant of economic reality and out of touch with ordinary people. Bishops should stay out of politics, Mr Smith said, and focus on topics with which they were familiar.

On 20 November 2011 the Observerprinted a letter signed by Bishop Packer and 17 other bishops calling for amendments to the welfare reform bill before Parliament that would cut aid to families with children.

The bishops said they were “compelled to speak for children” in response to a planned £500-a-week benefits cap for families. Such a reduction was “profoundly unjust” and would result in children facing “severe poverty and potentially homelessness.”

Mr Smith said he was “stunned” by the bishops’ intervention into the welfare reform debate. “It shows a complete disconnection with the reality of how hard people and businesses are having to work at the moment to pay the taxes that fund the benefit system and how popular the Government’s decision to cap benefits has been amongst the majority of voters,” he said.

A £2,000 a month cap on benefits was “not only reasonable but generous,” he argued, adding that this was the “third high-profile interference by the Church of England into politics in the past year. It is time democratically elected Government Ministers are left to run the country and church bishops stop these political forays which just don’t represent the facts on the ground.”

Criticism of government policy was well within the Church’s competence, Bishop Packer said. “Politics is concerned with the welfare of people, and the Church is concerned with the welfare of people. So it is important the Church is involved in political debates that could affect the welfare of thousands of children in this country.

“It is the care of children which is particularly important to me in this whole debate about welfare and the way in which people are treated in our society,” the Bishop said, adding: “we hope the Government will listen to the concerns that we, and indeed many others, are voicing, and act for the sake of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has added his voice to the chorus of criticism of the proposed benefit cap. “I hope the Government will listen to the concerns that are being raised regarding the Welfare Reform Bill,” Dr Sentamu tweeted last week.

“The Government must ensure that children, especially the most vulnerable, are protected from cuts to family benefits,” the Archbishop said.

Cutting fuel subsidies will devastate Nigeria warns bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2011 p 7. November 22, 2011

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Nigeria have urged the government to cancel plans to cut the country’s national fuel subsidy, warning it will cause massive social unrest.  However, the government’s proposal to remove price controls on refined petroleum products has won the backing of anti-corruption activists and foreign aid donors, who say the policy serves to distort the economy and enrich corrupt officials.

While Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer, the country’s four refineries are incapable of meeting consumer demand.  Approximately 85 per cent of Nigeria’s refined petroleum must be imported from abroad, with the federal government spending an estimated £4.5 billion to subsidize fuel purchases.

Successive Nigerian governments have kept diesel prices low as most small businesses and many private homes rely on generators to provide electricity as the national power grid is antiquated and unreliable.

In a paper released last week, Chatham House stated the “idea behind the subsidy – to keep fuel cheap at the point of sale to the ordinary consumer, regardless of location in the country – makes sense” politically, but it encourages corruption as “much of the money” spent by the government on fuel subsidies “does not benefit ordinary Nigerians, and is instead funneled off during the lengthy import process.”

“Former President Yar’Adua was candid about the long-term impacts of the subsidy: ‘There is a very strong cartel in this country that is benefiting from the issue of subsidies and it has introduced colossal corruption within the system’,” Chatham House said.

However, church leaders have urged the government not to cut the subsidies.  In a speech given on 26 October 2011, Anglican Bishop Ephraim Ikeakor of Amichi stated “in Nigeria we do not create the enabling environment before we bring in new policies. Fuel subsidy should be removed when certain measures have been put in place to cushion the effects.”

According to an account of his speech published in the Vanguard newspaper, Bishop Ikeakor said Nigeria “cannot boast of functional refineries … we have great problems of insecurity, terrible dilapidation of our infrastructures, collapse of education, industry, teachers and civil servants not properly remunerated” and the failure of the government to enforce minimum wage laws, “yet some people want to remove the fuel subsidy.”

“The timing for removing fuel subsidy is very wrong,” the bishop said.  “Removing it is a time bomb that is waiting to explode,” he warned.

Chatham House noted that Nigerians did not trust their government to “fully and successfully deregulate the downstream sector and reinvest money saved in infrastructure development.”

The future may see “major protests across the country if people do not feel any sense of participation in this process and see a damaging increase in the cost of their diesel,” Chatham House said.

Bishop Ikeakor offered a blunt message to the government.  While the elites in Abuja were “living flamboyantly” the “poor masses are suffering” … “yet they want to add to their suffering. Mr. President, no removal of fuel subsidy for now, as it will be counterproductive and do more harm than good.”

Parliamentary committee urges govt to rethink aid cuts to Burundi: The Church of England Newspaper, November 4, 2011 November 9, 2011

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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The House of Commons International Development Committee has urged the Department for International Development (DfID) to reverse its decision to eliminate direct financial aid to Burundi.

On 5 July 2011, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi testified before the committee that cutting support to Burundi would make it an “aid orphan.” Burundi was one of the “poorest countries” in East Africa the Archbishop said and was “also coming out of a 15-year [civil] war.” In 2005, the country emerged from a tribal civil war that killed 300,000 people.

The conflict left the country devastated, with the lowest recorded GDP per capita in the world, at $150 in 2008. Burundi ranks 166th of 169 countries in the UN’s human development index with 81 per cent of the population living below the poverty line.

“I am worried,” the Archbishop said, as there were signs the conflict could reignite. “The people are not at peace. The signs that we see show that, if we are not careful, there might be another war in Burundi, because most of the young people who were demobilised do not have jobs.

In its report, the committee stated: “We strongly question the strategic coherence of greatly increasing UK aid to the whole region while closing DfID’s bilateral programme in Burundi.

“The money for an effective and efficient bilateral programme in Burundi could be found by very small reductions in the increases in funding of the other countries in the region,” it said.

In 2010 Britain gave £13.7m to Burundi, supporting education, health, access to justice, and regional economic integration programmes. The decision to cut support followed a review of aid programmes instituted by Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary.

In March DfID announced it would reduce the number of bilateral aid programmes from 43 to 27. Burundi was dropped, even though DfID said it had “a compelling case for aid”.

“The government has been clear from day one that our priority is to ensure that every penny of taxpayers’ assistance is directed where it has the most impact for poor people and offers best value for money,” the minister said in March when the cuts were announced.

“As part of a set of detailed reviews, we took the tough but responsible decision that Britain is best placed to help Burundi through other routes to tap into the economic growth in the region and to boost trade with its neighbours. A country-to-country programme is not always the most effective way of providing support,” Mr Mitchell said.

The director of the Anglican Alliance, Sally Keeble urged the government to accept the recommendations of the parliamentary committee.

“The Anglican Church in Burundi acted as a powerful advocate for the people, and the Select Committee has taken on board the Church’s proposals. This report makes the clear case to reinstate the programme in the interests of the people of Burundi and their security. I hope that the Government will listen to the compassionate voice of the Select Committee, and reinstate the programme.”

‘Don’t make Burundi an aid orphan’, archbishop tells Parliament: The Church of England Newspaper, July 29, 2011 August 3, 2011

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Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi appeared before the House of Commons’ International Development Committee urging a rethink of the Department for International Development’s (DfID) closure of its aid programme in Burundi.

Cutting support to Burundi would make it an “aid orphan,” the Archbishop said on 5 July, as Western support for Africa has been cut sharply in the wake of the global economic downturn.

Committee chairman, the Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce, the member for Gordon (Lib-Dem) opened the meeting asking if the Archbishop could explain why the British government would end support for Burundi’s poor. “Given the fact that Burundi has absolutely clear developmental needs, right across the spectrum by almost any criteria you care to select, why do you think the UK Government decided that it should bring the programme in Burundi to a close and, at the same time, increase the contribution it is making to all the neighbouring countries?,” Mr Bruce asked.

Archbishop Ntahoturi responded that this “question actually is at the core purpose of our visit.”

The DfID has proposed ending its £12 million in aid to the East African nation. Archbishop Ntahoturi noted that “in Burundi is a lot of money” even though the total “given to Burundi by UK standards was relatively small.” It was nonetheless a necessary component in the democratic and economic redevelopment of the country.

Burundi was one of the “poorest countries” in the East African Community the Archbishop said and was “also coming out of a 15 year war.” “We are still suffering from the impact and consequences of war” that ended two years ago, the Archbishop said.

However the peace was fragile. “I am worried,” the Archbishop said, by what he was hearing from the poor that “people are not at peace. The signs that we see show that, if we are not careful, there might be another war in Burundi, because most of the young people who were demobilised do not have jobs.”

Patrick Watt of Save the Children testified before the committee that Burundi made good use of the funds given by the DfID. “Burundi has scored fairly highly” and its programmes provided “value for money” based upon DfID criteria for aid, Mr Watt said. “It was difficult to see why Burundi was having British aid withdrawn.”

Ending British aid will mean “almost 70,000 students-children who will not be able to go to school. That would mean almost 45,000 women who were helped by the maternity services, who will not be assisted. That will mean that justice, in a country that has been at war, the police and others will not be accompanied and not be helped.”

The member for Watford, Mr Richard Harrington (Cons.) questioned the Archbishop’s figures, asking how the withdrawal of £12 million would cause such chaos. The Archbishop responded that “the World Bank, the UN, the EU, the French, the Belgians and the Luxembourgers have never decided, have not told us, that they will take over from what DfID was doing.”

Sweden has “also withdrawn its aid, and other donors are thinking” of pulling out, the Archbishop said. “When the programmes are cut off, there is a void. That void will affect the wellbeing of the people,” Archbishop Ntahoturi said.

Moral failings fuelled the Irish bank crisis, Archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, Dec 9, 2010 December 16, 2010

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Dr. John Neill

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The EU’s bailout is a moral as well as financial failure for Ireland, the Archbishop of Dublin said.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Archbishop John Neill stated an Irish debt default “would be seen as lacking in moral rectitude. There is something definitely unethical about borrowing and not repaying.”

On Nov 21, Prime Minister Brian Cowen announced that the Republic of Ireland had requested emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the EU to stave off a collapse of the Irish economy.

The European Union offered an €85 billion rescue package on Nov 28, with €50 billion to be used to finance the Irish state budget, €10 billion for bank recapitalization and €25 billion for banking contingencies, RTE reported.

However, the financial markets have reacted poorly to the deal.  “The smart choice [for Ireland] is to default inside the euro zone,” Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Münchau, said last week, as an Irish default on its bank and sovereign debt “is going to happen, sooner or later.”

While the banking industry’s policies were one factor in the collapse, “lending recklessly” did not “mean people had to borrow,” Dr. Neill said.

The financial crisis had shown Europe the Irish were “not good with individual responsibility, basically.”

The Church of Ireland shared the blame for this as “we stopped propagating” the Protestant work ethic of thrift, hard work and economy and were content on “keeping our heads down.”

On Dec 7 the Irish parliament is expected to approve a package of tax hikes on income, alcohol, cigarettes and gasoline, an increase in university tuition fees and cuts to welfare and unemployment programmes, designed to cut €30 billion from the government’s budget over the next five years.

The Irish churches have been largely silent so far, Dr. Neill said, as it was “particularly hard to comment on it at the moment because it is so party-political sensitive”. Mr. Cowen is expected to dissolve the government in the coming weeks, with elections expected no later than March.

Call for prayer for Ireland’s economic meltdown: The Church of England Newspaper, Dec 3, 2010 p 6. December 8, 2010

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Bishop Ken Clarke

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Church of Ireland has issued a call for prayer and contrition in the face of the country’s economic meltdown.  On Nov 28, the Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, the Rt. Rev. Ken Clarke urged his diocese to meet the financial crisis with increased prayer and committed Christian service.

“Be there!”  “Show Care!”  Take “decisive action!” And be in “urgent prayer!” for Ireland, Bishop Clarke urged his diocese.

His plea comes amidst widespread economic and political unrest as the government of Prime Minister Brian Cowen appears ready to fall in the face of public anger over the country’s economic collapse.  Last week Mr. Cowen announced he would dissolve the government after it passes the 2011 budget in December.  The government’s junior coalition partner, the Green Party, has announced it would withdraw its support once the budget was in place.

“There are occasions when the imperative of serving the national interest transcends other concerns, including party political and personal concerns,’’ Mr. Cowen said in a statement. “This is one such occasion.’’

Ireland has been in an economic recession since 2008.  Banking has been particularly hard hit, and on Sept 30 Ireland’s central bank said the cost of rescuing the banks would push the public deficit to 32 per cent of gross domestic product in 2010, from its present 11.6 per cent rate.

A four year austerity plan was proposed by the government to bring the deficit down to three per cent by 2014, and last week European finance ministers and the IMF agreed to loan Ireland €85 billion.  But on Nov 27, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to denounce the austerity measures and the bailout.

“We are in uncharted waters in Ireland,” Bishop Clarke said as the country faces a “time of extreme cutbacks, stringent measures and financial restraints.”

“Urgent prayer” is needed for Ireland’s “politicians, national leaders, financiers and decision makers. They need our prayers and this country needs a praying people,” the bishop said.

He offered as a model prayer: “God bless our leaders. God bless our country. God bless the church. Forgive our sins of greed and selfishness. Forgive our arrogance and pride. Move among us by Your Holy Spirit bringing hope and healing, progress and employment. Help us to care for one another as You care for us. Thank you for hearing our prayer. In the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord,  Amen.”

Greed has destroyed British banking, Irish archbishop tells General Synod: The Church of England Newspaper, May 14, 2010 May 19, 2010

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The Archbishops of Dublin and Armagh

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Banks that abuse the social contact and put short term greed above long term social and economic stability should lose their licences, the Archbishop of Armagh told the opening session of the Church of Ireland’s General Synod last week.

Meeting at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin on May 6, Dr. Alan Harper called for stricter regulation and supervision of the financial industry and for a return to probity and morality and banking.  He warned that Britain and Ireland’s high street banks had become “morally compromised by association with the culture of investment banking”.

Dr. Harper told the General Synod that banks were a vital sector of the economy. “We need them to act morally, consistently and responsibly for the greater good of society. We need to be able to trust them, including trusting in their objectivity and reliability.”

If they abuse that trust and “do not perform in a socially responsible fashion” their “banking licenses should be revoked,” the archbishop said.

“We cannot allow hard working people to be driven to the point of suicide by institutions parts of which those same desperate and distraught people actually own,” he said.

What was now required was “a reassertion of the key understanding that the first obligation of the retail banks is to the customer and that the true interests of shareholders are best-served by implementing customer satisfaction”, he said. “Part of that banking obligation to the customer involves ensuring that credit is available to keep business alive for, without business, wealth-creation ceases and employment collapses.”

The effects of the restriction in bank lending had been “disastrous” for small businesses bringing many close to collapse.   “Punitive rates of interest” were being “demanded; banks are reducing overdraft facilities; asset-rich but cash-poor businesses are being starved of the cash required to enable them to trade, yet these same small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of the local economy,” he said.

It might have been expected that with “liquidity having been pumped into the banks to enable them to begin lending again in the real economy, viable business and industry would have found their liquidity requirements readily met by banks anxious to ensure the future for their clients.”

This had not been the case, Dr. Harper said, as the banking industry appeared not to have learned anything from the near collapse of the financial markets last year.

To bring sanity to the financial system, “we require a completely new banking morality that takes full account of the social obligations of financial institutions and that insulates ordinary people and businesses from exposure to the risks of investment banking,” Dr. Harper said.

Church of England backs hedge fund managers: CEN 10.07.09 October 7, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of York, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper

The Church Commissioners have come to the aid of hedge fund managers, telling a parliamentary commission that “onerous” regulations proposed by the European Union to govern the financial services industry would harm British charities.

In a submission to the House of Lord’s EU Economic and Financial Affairs and International Trade Committee, the Church Commissioners along with five other charities argued that the proposed directive regulating hedge funds would “significantly restrict our ability to generate funds to pursue our charitable missions and thus reduce our impact for public good.”

Church of England backs hedge fund managers

The statement follows last September’s charge by the Archbishop of York that hedge funds that bet on the decline of mortgage lender HBOS Plc were “bank robbers” and “asset strippers.”

The September submission by the Church Commissioners supports greater transparency and accountability for the financial services industry, but the proposed EU regulations would “limit the scope and potential return of our investment portfolio and hence reduce our charitable spend.”

To maximize its financial returns, “we must have freedom to select the best investment managers and funds,” they said.

The proposed EU rules would bar non-EU firms from marketing investment services to EU area investors. EU-based fund managers would also be barred from marketing their services in the EU until they complied with proposed rules that would require providing data to EU regulators, maintaining government selected leverage caps, and using EU approved banks as their depository institutions. The Church Commissioners’ statement said that 95 per cent of hedge funds are domiciled outside the EU or have non-EU managers. “We believe there is a significant risk that many of the best will stop raising capital in Europe rather than attempting to comply with onerous EU regulations.”

The six trusts have £19.5 billion in assets and spend £900 million each year. “To a bystander like me, those who made £190 million deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS, in spite of its very strong capital base, and drove it into the bosom of Lloyds TSB Bank , are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers,” Sentamu told an audience of bankers at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London on Sept 24, 2008.

Dr Sentamu’s followed a call by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the government to adopt stringent regulations on the financial services industry and to ban short selling.

“The question is not how to choose between total control and total deregulation, but how to identify the points and practices where social risk becomes unacceptably high,” Dr Williams wrote in the Spectator on Sept 27, 2008.

“The banning of short-selling is an example of just such a judgment. Governments should not lose their nerve as they look to identify a few more targets.”

Marx was right, Dr Williams observed. “Marx long ago observed the way in which unbridled capitalism became a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that had no life in themselves,” the archbishop wrote. “He was right about that, if about little else.”

Sydney’s investments plummet in recession: CEN 6.12.09 p 5. June 13, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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The value of the Diocese of Sydney’s investments have fallen by more than half this past year due to the collapse of the global financial markets, Archbishop Peter Jensen reports in a parochial letter distributed to the diocese on June 7.

The global financial crisis has taken a heavy toll across the communion, with many dioceses in the United States, Canada, and Australia reporting significant declines in investment and parochial income.

“We have suffered very significant losses to our diocesan capital,” Dr. Jensen reported due to the leveraged investment strategy used by the diocese. “For several years now we have borrowed money to increase the amount invested,” he said, noting this had realized high returns in past years, and had permitted a “special” £10 million “distribution to help purchase land and build new churches” in 2007.

However, when the market moved against the diocese, by year’s end the leveraged strategy had “accentuated our losses. As a result, our investments have fallen by more than half and the distribution of money from our investments has been cut by 50%. Ministries which depend on this funding will be severely impacted.”

Diocesan finances were now “stable,” with no debt and much of the diocese investment funds now held as cash. “But the losses remain,” he said, and would result in a restructuring of operations.

Last week the Episcopal Diocese of Washington also reported that it would be cutting its £2.4 million budget by £250,000 due to a projected shortfall of contributions from its 93 congregations. A spokesman stated the diocese would begin staff cuts to cover the shortfall as well as reduce its contribution to the national church’s coffers by £80,000.

Declining revenues and an aging church membership have strained most of the Episcopal Church’s dioceses. A March report released by the State of the Church committee for July’s General Convention estimated that 68 percent of the church’s dioceses were experiencing financial difficulties.

Banking bailout will lead to 1980s inflation levels, says Church Commissioner: CEN 5.15.09 May 16, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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The British government’s decision to bail out the banking industry will likely lead to levels of inflation not seen in Britain since the 1980s, First Church Estates Commissioner Andreas Whittam Smith (pictured) stated in the Church Commissioners 2008 annual report released on May 12.

Inflation is the “most likely consequence of the Government’s decision to bail out the banks and pump billions of pounds into stimulating economic activity,” he said, and was not very “different from printing money.”

Inflation fears follow a slump in property values and the sharp downturn in the global equity markets that shaved £1.3 billion pounds from the value of the Church of England’s investment funds in 2008.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Banking bailout will lead to 1980s inflation levels, says Church Commissioner

G20 must take quick action says Archbishop Makgoba: CEN 3.26.09 March 27, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Environment.
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Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has called upon the leaders of the G20 group of nations to take “swift and decisive action” on global warming, saying that recent deadly floods in South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique were evidence of a changing climate.

In a March 24 statement issued a week before the meeting of world leaders in London, Archbishop Makgoba said “we have had enough of talking. The international community cannot continue to prevaricate while countries like ours are increasingly suffering inestimable human cost, in deaths, displacement, and the destruction of livelihoods.”

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

G20 must take quick action says Archbishop Makgoba

Blame the recession on the government, says Archbishop: CEN 3.20.09 p 8 March 21, 2009

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Flawed government policies, not greedy bankers, was the cause of the global economic crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last week at a lecture entitled: “Ethics, Economics and Global Justice.”

Speaking in Cardiff on March 7, Dr. Rowan Williams offered an overview of the ethical challenges that governments faced in rebuilding the global capital system, and urged them to adopt free trade policies that would not freeze the developing world out of the recovery through protectionist trade policies.

“It is a little too easy to blame the present situation on an accumulation of individual greed, exemplified by bankers or brokers, and to lose sight of the fact that governments committed to deregulation and to the encouragement of speculation and high personal borrowing were elected repeatedly in Britain and the United States for a crucial couple of decades,” he said.

“Warnings went unheeded” that the economy was in danger Dr Williams said. “People’s rational capacities, it seems, were blunted, and unregulated global capitalism was assumed to be the natural way of doing things, based on a set of rational market processes that would deliver results in everyone’s interest.”

The pursuit of short term electoral success had also led to the failure of governments to govern. “A badly or inadequately regulated market is one in which no-one is properly monitoring the scarcity of credit, and this absence of monitoring is especially attractive when governments depend for their electability on a steady expansion of spending power for their citizens.”

He warned: “If an economy resting on financial services rather than material production offers more choice, a government will lean in this direction for electoral advantage, since its claim to be taken seriously is now grounded in its ability to enlarge the market in which individuals operate to purchase the raw materials for constructing their identities and projects.”

At its heart, “the origin of economic dysfunction and injustice” was “pride – a pride that is manifest in the reluctance to let go of systems and projects that promise more and more secure control, and so has a bad effect on our reasoning powers,” Dr. Williams said.

The way forward was to cultivate an ethic of patience and fiscal prudence, and rebuild trust within the capital markets. “We need to…try to restore an acknowledgement of the role of trust as something which needs time to develop; and so also to move away from an idea of wealth or profit which imagines that they can be achieved without risk, and to return to the primitive capitalist idea of risk sharing as an essential element in the equitable securing of wealth for all”

Short term solutions, such as the adoption of protectionist policies to shelter domestic markets and industry was immoral, Dr. Williams said.

“Morally, protectionism implicitly accepts that wealth maintained at the cost of the neighbour’s disadvantage or worse is a tolerable situation – which is a denial of the belief that what is good for humanity is ultimately coherent or convergent. Such a denial is a sinister thing, since it undermines the logic of assuming that what the other finds painful I should find painful too – a basic element of what we generally consider maturely or sanely ethical behaviour. Practically, protectionism is another instance of short-term vision, securing prosperity here by making prosperity impossible somewhere else; in a global context, this is inexorably a factor in ultimately shrinking potential markets.”

South Africa reeling from global economic crash: CEN 2.06.09 p 9 February 7, 2009

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Affordable and secure housing has been one of the first victims in South Africa of the global economic crash, the Bishop of Pretoria reports.

In a letter to the USPG, Bishop Joe Seoka wrote the effects of the international financial collapse had been “dire” and reached into “every sphere of our lives: socially, politically and economically.”

The whole of Southern Africa was caught in the grip of the financial meltdown, causing many to flee “their countries in search of employment and security.” The influx of economic refugees had led to “incidents of xenophobia” and contributed to the country’s rise in violent crime.

Recent job cuts added to South Africa’s already high rate of unemployment have “forced breadwinners to move closer to places of work, placing an enormous strain on families, who have been split apart by hundreds or thousands of kilometers,” he said.

The unstable financial markets had led to a spike in interest rates causing many families to struggle “to meet monthly payments.” The church had noted “with concern” the rise in foreclosures and the “loss of security felt by many people. This has placed an enormous strain on family relationships, with many reports of family violence, abuse and even famicide.”

The diocese had responded with an affordable housing initiative and was “attempting to address the crisis in a multi-dimensional way. We have taken as our theme: Equipping and Strengthening Families: Turning Houses into Homes.”

He added that the diocese “recognised the importance of forming partnerships with the banking sector, in particular, and we have initiated dialogue to share views on ethical and social responsibility and corporate governance matters relating to investment.

However without “regional renewal and development” the aftershocks of the financial earthquake would ripple across Africa. The Diocese of Pretoria was commited to speaking out for those caught up in the crisis and was pressing the government, international NGOs and “regional forums to seek to translate the Millennium Development Goals into meaningful and tangible action plans, which will improve access to basic human rights and commodities.”

Bishop calls for mixed-economy approach:CEN 11.21.08 November 21, 2008

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The British economy should balance a free market approach to private enterprise with state control of the production of goods and services, the Bishop of Liverpool told the BCSC conference.

The “market is not God” Bishop James Jones told the 2,800 delegates attending the commercial property association meeting at the Liverpool Arena on Nov 11. “A balance between laissez-faire capitalism and the rule of the state is needed,” he said.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Bishop calls for mixed-economy approach

Global credit crunch is opportunity for Christian witness, says Anglican Primate: CEN 11.19.08 November 19, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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The global financial crash is an opportunity for Christian witness in a fallen world, the Primate of the West Indies has said. Speaking to the 108th synod of the Diocese of the Bahamas on Oct 26 at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau, Archbishop Drexel Gomez said “the short-term difficulties that now confront us may be God’s means of illuminating the silver lining which is now ours to grasp.”

The senior primate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Gomez steps down from office on Dec 31. In his final diocesan synod address he called upon lawmakers to forge a common front against the economic slump.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Global credit crunch is opportunity for Christian witness, says Anglican Primate

Tanzania churches criticise mining mismanagement: CEN 10.24.08 p 6. October 26, 2008

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Government mismanagement of Tanzania’s mining industry has led the despoliation of the land and a loss of £150 million in potential tax revenues, a report released by Tanzanian churches has charged.

A report entitled “A Golden Opportunity? How Tanzania is failing to benefit from gold mining” released last week in Dar es Salaam, charged that tax concessions given to international mining conglomerates had cheated the people of Tanzania. The £150 million in lost revenues was a “very conservative estimate,” the report said, as it did not cover all gold mining concessions as well as the intangible costs of granting overseas mining concerns preferential tax treatment.

While large-scale gold mining employed 7,135 miners and had led to lower production costs, it had come at the “expense of small-scale artisan miners, around 400,000 of whom have been put out to work,” the report said.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Tanzania churches criticise mining mismanagement

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.”

Campaign to stop Nile Dam: CEN 3.18.08 March 18, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Civil Rights, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
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SUDANESE democracy advocates have launched a campaign in Washington to generate pressure upon the National Islamic Front government in Khartoum to stop construction of the Merowe dam at the fourth cataract of the Nile.

“After attacking Christians in Southern Sudan and their fellow Muslims in Darfur, the Khartoum government is continuing its ceaseless campaign of arabization, this time against the Nubians,” Faith McDonnell, the director of the Religious Liberty Program at Washington’s Institute on Religion and Democracy, said on March 7.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper’s Religious Intelligence section.

Campaign to stop Nile Dam

Jamaica to target religious travellers: CEN 2.08.08 p 6. February 9, 2008

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The Jamaica Tourist Board has announced plans to make the Caribbean island nation a religious tourism destination.

At a meeting with church leaders on Jan 28, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett unveiled a building programme that includes a 5000-seat convention centre to attract religious groups to the island.

Religious travel and tourism was one of the fastest growing segments of the holiday industry Bartlett said, and was an untapped market for the island.

Of America’s 450,000 churches, over 50,000 ran church travel programmes he said. Church youth, missionary and fellowship groups were the most frequent flyers.

“The destinations range from Israel, which has the highest incidence of tourism travel, to the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and others. Missionary work is a big area of travel in the religious fraternity, with Africa and India being the largest recipient countries,” he said.

Youth groups usually visited countries where they could participate in charitable community based projects—which would be an added benefit for the Jamaican economy, he said.

Faith-based travel and tourism sector will require larger convention centre facilities, the minister said, noting the island did not lack for infrastructure, but “we do lack space.”

The Anglican Church in Jamaica has applauded the drive to attract religious groups to the island and pledged its cooperation to the initiative. The 2009 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council is already scheduled for Montego Bay and may be one of the first beneficiaries of Jamaica’s expanded tourist infrastructure.

Now the MDG liturgy: CEN 1.25.08 p 7. January 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Hymnody/Liturgy, The Episcopal Church.
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The Episcopal Church’s charitable arm, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has released a liturgy to encourage American Anglicans to focus their Lenten devotions upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The liturgy “Stations of the MDGs” is “designed to be used during Lent in lieu of the traditional Stations of the Cross service,” Luke Fodor, the Network Coordinator at the Office of Church Relations at ERD said in an email.

Adapted from a template prepared by Mike Angell of the Office of Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center in New York, the liturgy takes the worshipper through eight stations of the MDGs, each signifying one of the goals of the 2000 UN programme to eradicate poverty in the developing world.

The service begins with an explanation of the meaning of the MDGs and the statement that “Today, we will pray and experience the MDGs as Stations as we commit ourselves to living out the Baptismal Covenant by working to achieve the MDGs. We see ourselves and the Church as on a pilgrimage in the world, journeying with each other toward the justice of the Reign of God as manifest in the goals.”

Pilgrims then recite the Baptismal covenant found in the American Book of Common Prayer and then move through each of the eight stations as leaders give reflections how the worshipper might help: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and create a global partnership for development.

After the worshippers have passed through each of the stations of the MDGs, they are gathered together by the celebrant who then says, “Let us repeat together and commit ourselves to the Millennium Development Goals.” To which the congregations replies, “As Christians we commit ourselves to God’s Mission as we work to” bring about the eight goals.

In 2003 the Episcopal Church endorsed the MDGs and at its General Convention in 2006 voted to make the MDGs a mission priority for the church.

Government challenged over MDG implementation: CEN 12.21.07 p 4. December 23, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, House of Lords.
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The Bishop of Liverpool questioned the government last week on its efforts to implement provisions of the Millennium Development Goals, and asked if it would support international treaties to manage fresh water resources.

On Dec 11, Bishop James Jones tabled a question in the House of Lords asking what progress had been made in implementing the UN’s Convention on the Law of Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses “which seeks to alleviate tensions between nations with shared water resources.”

The Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the UN at the Foreign Office, Lord Malloch-Brown responded the government had “no immediate plans to accede” to the treaty as only 16 nations had so far endorsed it.

“With 35 countries required, there is little prospect of the convention entering into force,” he said.

Notwithstanding its failure to garner support, Lord Malloch-Brown said “its principles are widely applied.” The government had implemented water-sharing processes in the Middle East and Africa and would pursue this work independently of the UN convention.

Bishop Jones expressed his disappointment at the failure of the treaty to move forward and questioned the minister about the consequences. “Given the warnings about the impact of climate change on fresh water resources, and given the millennium development goal that hopes to reduce by half the number of people without access to fresh water, will the United Kingdom ensure at the Bali conference that priority is given to the allocation of funding for the management of fresh water resources?”

Lord Malloch-Brown agreed that Bishop Jones had raised “an important point” and assured him the government would draw the attention of the Bali conference on the environment to this issue.

“Africa is the region that is most vulnerable to climate change,” he said. “It is projected that by 2020 between 75 million and 250 million people will be exposed to an increase in water stress due to climate change, and that agricultural productivity will have been severely compromised by at least a 10 per cent decline in rainfall.”

Britain would press this point at the Bali conference and at other international gatherings seek “to secure more resources to redress the matter.”

Bishop’s plea to protect Northern Rock: CEN 12.14.07 p 4. December 16, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, House of Lords.
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martin-wharton.gifThe Bishop of Newcastle has urged the Treasury not to break up the Northern Rock, but to find a single buyer to take over the ailing financial institution.

Speaking in the House of Lords Dec 3 debate on the global credit crunch, Bishop Martin Wharton asked the Government if it would commit to keeping Northern Rock “intact and hence safeguard the jobs of 6,000 people? Does he agree that if the Rock were to be sold off piecemeal, it would cause incalculable damage to the north-east?”

Deputy Chief Whip Lord Davies responded that the government sought to save Northern Rock and to “ensure that it gets back on to a stable basis with exactly the significant advantages that the right reverend Prelate identified.”

However, there were larger issues at play, Lord Davies, said: “namely, the stability of the financial system and confidence in the banks. That is why it was necessary for the Bank of England to act as it did, while at the same time guaranteeing as far as possible the security of public moneys in Northern Rock.”

Speculation as to the fate of the ailing bank is rife, with the Bank of England on Monday denying it favored nationalization and a Treasury spokesman saying the government’s preferred option was a sale of the entire institution. However, “As the Chancellor said, we are looking at all options.”

The Newcastle-based bank has been forced to borrow £25 billion from the Bank of England over the past two months to stave off insolvency. Northern Rock is weighing rival bids from a consortium led by the Virgin Group and the investment firm Olivant for its assets. A final deal is unlikely before the New Year, Northern Rock Chairman Bryan Sanderson said.

Chocolate move concern: CEN 12.14.07 p 4. December 16, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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crunchie.jpgMoving British jobs overseas “flies in the face” of the Christian principles of the founders of Cadbury Schweppes, the Bishop of Bath and Wells said on Monday.

Bishop Peter Price has joined union leaders and local politicians in protesting plans to close the chocolate factory in Keynsham and move its operations to Poland.

“Decisions made on the basis of seeing human beings simply as units of production is destructive to the human condition, and flies in the face of the Quaker principles of the founders of the Cadbury Schweppes empire,” Dr. Price said.

peter-price.jpg“I believe that the destruction of the fabric of community life is inevitable once a significant employer closes a factory such as Somerdale. I have expressed my opposition to this closure in the strongest possible terms.”

On Dec 8, workers staged a protest march through Keynsham, angered by plans to phase out production of Crunchie, Fudge and Turkish Delight at the factory by 2010.

Cadbury and the Unite union are in talks over future plans. However, union organizer Brian Revell charged the decision to shift production overseas was “driven by short-term profit gain.

“Not only is it environmentally-unsound and commercially questionable, but it will devastate the local community,” he told Saturday’s rally.

Local Labour MP Dan Norris released a statement saying “nobody should consider throwing in the towel while a glimmer of hope remains. I’ve pledged to fight hard to reverse the closure decision.”

However, “those made redundant stand an excellent chance of finding high quality jobs elsewhere. Sadly, while a strong economy can never stop companies making redundancies in a competitive global market, a strong economy does give people the best possible chance of finding new work,” he said.

New Zealand Minister moves to help mission trust: CEN 12.11.07 December 11, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Melanesia, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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THE DEFENCE Minister of New Zealand has introduced a private member’s bill in that country’s parliament to grant permanent tax exempt status to the Melanesian Mission Trust.

Chartered in 1862 by Bishop George Selwyn of New Zealand and Bishop John Coleridge Patteson of Melanesia, the trust’s original endowment of a 150 acre farm has grown in value to £80 million. Approximately £2.5 million is generated by the trust each year and provides almost all of the income of the Church of the Province of Melanesia in the Solomon Islands.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

New Zealand Minister moves to help mission trust

Church welcome for Rwanda’s accession to EAC: CEN 12.14.07 p 6. December 11, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Rwanda, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Lambeth 2008.
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ARCHBISHOP Emmanuel Kolini has welcomed Rwanda’s accession to the East African Community (EAC) treaty, saying the free movement of goods, capital and people across national borders will be a social and economic boon to the region.

Speaking at the start of a three-day peace crusade for Anglicans from the EAC countries at St Peter’s Church in Remera on Dec 2, Archbishop Kolini said the removal of boundaries between communities was of paramount importance in building up the people of God. The EAC was a ‘blessing,’ he said, lauding the Rwandan government’s success in gaining access to the community.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper

kolini.jpg

Northern Rock queried: CEN 11.23.07 p 4. November 24, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, House of Lords.
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christopher-herbert-of-st-albans.jpgImmoral banking practices lay behind the credit crunch confronting Britain, the Bishop of St Albans told the House of Lords on Nov 14.

Speaking in response to the Northern Rock banking crisis, Bishop Christopher Herbert called for a fresh approach to restoring damaged trust in the banking industry. Lending money to customers who “are not really aware of the risks they are taking,” was financially and morally unsound, he said.

“Woe to you who join house to house, field to field, until there is room for no one but you,” Bishop Herbert reminded the Lords, citing Isaiah 5:8.

The Bible spoke cogently and repeatedly about the “relationship between social morality and economic affairs,” he said.  Then as now “greed began to prevail over justice, oppression was rife and mercy was no longer part of the social or political vocabulary.”

Press and political comments about the Northern Rock crisis had missed the “much bigger issues concerned with the probity of institutions. It misses those situations that are about the moral relationship that exists between trust and risk and reward; about the moral accountability of those who have financial control over the most vulnerable; and about the morality of a society in which the gap between rich and poor remains achingly large,” he said.

“In a democratic society, banking necessarily depends on trust,” Bishop Herbert said.  If “moral trust” is absent the “banking system will collapse.”

“The current failures in the system are as much to do with morality as with economic mechanics,” he said, urging the Treasury to rethink its response to the credit crisis.  The government should “call together senior bankers with ethicists, philosophers, theologians and academics to reflect on the moral values which underline banking practice in our country to see whether there is any room for improvement.”

While such an approach may appear “a touch academic and self indulgent” it would go a long way towards restoring confidence in the “financial rectitude” and moral probity of the banking system, Bishop Herbert said.

Ceylon to follow socialism: CEN 11.02.7 p 5. November 2, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of Ceylon, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Politics.
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THE SYNOD of the Diocese of Colombo has pledged itself to follow the path of Christian Socialism and create ‘a synthesis between the teachings of Jesus and Karl Marx’(pictured) in its mission and ministry.

Meeting on Oct 19 in Colombo, the diocese’s annual council endorsed a resolution put forward by the Rev SDP Selvan of St. Matthias Church in Thanneerootu and backed by the Bishop, the Rt Rev Duleep de Chickera that called for a ‘paradigm shift’ in mission and ministry.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Ceylon to follow Socialism

Bishop asks for more support for credit unions: CEN 10.26.07 p 4. October 28, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, House of Lords.
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The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt. Rev. Colin Bennetts has urged the government to support credit unions as a tool to promote thrift and broaden the access of low income wage earners to banking services. 

 

Following upon a 2006 Treasure Select Committee report which suggested a free financial advice service be introduced to support the 8 million people who earn £10,000 to £20,000 per year in Britain, on Oct 15 Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott asked the government what work was being done to support low and middle income wage earners to find “debt and pensions advice.”

 

“The queues outside Northern Rock hammered what is left of the savings culture in this country” Lord Oakeshott said, noting the one remaining trusted advisor, Citizens Advice, was being starved for resources by the government.  He urged the government to reverse course saying “surely it should be made the key to giving advice to the many people with deepening financial problems in this country.”

 

Bishop Bennetts asked the government whether it agreed that “credit unions are an excellent way of helping those on low incomes to manage their finances, in contrast to some of the unregulated savings schemes that have proved so disastrous?”

 

Gospel has ‘economic role,’ say Ghana leaders: CEN 10.05.07 p 8. October 6, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Global South.
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The Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks not only of personal transformation, but of economic empowerment and community development, a gathering of Church leaders in Ghana stated last week.

Representatives from nine Provinces gathered in Accra from Sept 19-22 for the second Global South Economic Empowerment Consultation. Delegates from the Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Nigeria, South East Asia, Uganda, Papua New Guinea and West Africa along with speakers from the UK, US, Tanzania and Kenya, and conference secretary Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA released a statement calling for the Church to develop the human capital found in the developing world.

Beginning their work with an examination of Scripture, the consultation observed Jesus “speaks more often about money and the right use of financial resources than he does about prayer.”

By building upon a Scriptural and moral foundation that honors God, the Churches in the developing world could develop their greatest resource: “the men and women, young and old, who make up its active membership and are the primary source of income for our churches.”

Business education and managerial training were essential tools for the transformation of the developing world, they argued. The consultation “developed specific action plans for Economic Empowerment for each Province represented” and called for the creation of “Peer Review Teams” to bolster oversight of the church’s economic redevelopment programs.

“We have gathered in Ghana, formerly the Gold Coast, as this nation celebrates fifty years of independence as a sovereign state after its years as a colonial territory of Great Britain,” the consultation stated. “At the time of independence there were high hopes for freedom and prosperity that are only now beginning to be realized,” they added, commending market-driven models of economic development that break with the failed policies of the last century that had squandered much of the continent’s resources.

Rwanda unveils a new ‘Goats for God’ agriculture programme: CEN 9.21.07 p 8. September 23, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Rwanda, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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The Bishop of Byumba in rural northeast Rwanda, reports his diocese has begun a goats for God programme, donating over 1000 goats and 200 dairy cows to rural communities to help them become economically self-sufficient.

Bishop Onesphore Rwaje, Bishop of Byumba and Dean of the Province of Rwanda stated “our church as a vision for holistic development,” and had purchased the livestock “to stamp out hunger” and ensure “food security.”  The church was also engaged in teaching rural villagers about scientific farming, to help improve crop yields and reduce soil erosion and deforestation.

The Rwandan project is modeled upon the work of western charities such as Heifer International of the United States, and Send a Cow in Britain.

Chartered in 1998 by West Country farmers, Send a Cow is a Christian charity that gives African farming families agricultural implements and livestock: cattle, goats, sheep, bees, rabbits, and donkeys.

In return, the farm families promise to give the first female calf to another poor family.  The cow and other livestock provide milk and other products to consume and sell, as well as manure to fertilize the soil.

In the 19 years since it started, ‘Send a Cow’ has helped thousands of people across Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania and Lesotho and has grown from an annual turnover of £500,000 to £5.4 million.

Send a Cow’s is “focused on the essence of its Christian motivation,” the chairman of its board of trustees Philip Poulsom said, “that of offering a neighbourly hand to those trapped in poverty, especially widows, orphans, people living with HIV/AIDS and those with disabilities.”

“By giving them the start in life they need, they have access to a healthy diet and the ability to generate an income to pay for such essentials as better housing, education for children and healthcare,” he said.

EU Urged to Keep its Promise on MDGs: CEN 8.17.07 p 5. August 18, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, EU, NGOs.
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THE PRIMATE of Southern Africa has called upon the European Union to live up to its promises of support for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane also urged Africa to honour its commitment to tackle poverty and called upon the continent’s political leaders to make good their pledges of support for the poorest of the poor.

Chairman of the African Monitor, an NGO that monitors relief and development work across Africa, Archbishop Ndungane told SABC, “African countries have said they want to designate 15 per cent of their budgets to health and 10 per cent for agriculture and they are falling short of these targets.”

EU urged to honour MDG commitment

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper

Churches Welcome Poverty Campaign: CEN 8.10.07 p 4. August 9, 2007

Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Scottish Episcopal Church has joined the Archbishop of York and other church leaders in applauding Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s call for greater international efforts to combat global poverty.

 

The Church in Society Committee of the SEC applauded the Prime Minister’s July 31 speech to the UN in an Aug 3 statement.

 

“As a Christian community, we are committed to a Gospel message of care and support for the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters,” the committee said.

 

“We believe that the quality of a society can be measured by the respect shown to its weakest members. As members of a global society, we have an obligation to do whatever is in our power to ensure that significant progress is made towards meeting the MDG’s at least by 2015, and earlier if at all possible.”

 

“The Anglican Communion has made achievement of the goals a priority,” the SEC said, pledging that it would do “its part in this important work.”

 

While on a tour of Western Australia, Dr. Sentamu commended the Prime Minister’s UN speech as a “sign of hope” that action on global poverty was “imminent.”

 

Mr. Brown told the UN the Millennium Development Goals were a century away from being achieved. This was a “global emergency,” he argued that called for a “coalition of conscience” and a “coalition of justice” which would lead to globalization becoming “a force for justice on a global scale.”

Bishop calls for fidelity to the Commonwealth over the EU: CEN 7.27.07 p6. July 26, 2007

Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, EU, House of Lords.
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The Bishop of Norwich has urged the government not to abandon its obligations to the Commonwealth by subordinating British trade policy to the EU.

Speaking during a Lords debate on the Commonwealth on July 18, Bishop Graham James argued EU trade negotiations with the developing nations of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) were skewed in favor of the West.

“I know well that the teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is that the poor are blessed, but we do not increase their blessing by making them poorer,” he said. Keeping a “high doctrine of the Commonwealth” could prevent impoverishing its members during the current round of trade talks.

Harkening to the 1926 Imperial Conference which stated the Commonwealth countries were those “autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs,” Bishop James stated this was the “spirit” which continued to animate the Commonwealth.

“It is an extraordinary ideal to live up to, one that is not exactly easy when member states vary so much in economic power, resources and wealth,” he said.

Current trade negotiations between the EU and the ACP countries threatened the economic integrity of some Commonwealth nations. “Many Commonwealth countries” believe the will be “worse off”, he said and “fear” that “EU aid will be dangled as a carrot and waved as a stick if African countries, in particular, do not open up their markets to European companies in the area of service provision and government procurement.”

“How does our part in this EU process reflect our Commonwealth aspiration[s],” Bishop James asked the government.

Last month the Anglican Church of Kenya called upon its government to reject an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and Kenya, saying free trade with Europe would not be fair trade.

“Trade should be at the service of people and not for profit,” the Kenyan church said.

“Hence trade policies should enhance people’s livelihoods through the protection of human rights. It is for this reason that we the church representatives affirm the principles of justice, equity and protection of human rights. These principles should guide any trade policy making and agreements,” they said.

 

Uncertain Future for Solomon Islands: CEN 6.29.07 p 6. June 29, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Melanesia, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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THE SOLOMON Islands face an uncertain future in the wake of recent political unrest and April’s Tsunami, the Anglican Bishop of Malaita, Dr Terry Brown told the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland last month.

Churches and a small but growing civil society can help the country mature into a stable self-sufficient democracy, Dr Brown (pictured) said, but it first had to overcome a number of formidable obstacles.

Uncertain future for Solomon Islands

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Kenyan Church in EU Rejection: CEN 6.01.07 p 7 May 31, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, EU.
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The Anglican Church of Kenya has called upon its government to reject an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and Kenya, saying free trade with Europe would not be fair trade.

Representatives of Kenya’s Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Reformed, Independent and Pentecostal churches urged the government to rethink the trade treaties brokered under the 2000 Contonou Partnership between the EU and the less developed nations of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

 

“EPAs have turned out to be free trade agreements, which can have a detrimental effect on the Kenyan economy,” the Churches warned. Free Trade with the EU would undercut Kenya’s exports to other African nations, and would “undermine our government’s national development plans” by weakening Kenya agriculture.

 

Over 77 percent of Kenya’s work force is employed in agriculture, the churches said. The removal of price controls and trade barriers would devastate Kenyan farming, which would “be under serious threats from the subsidised products of the EU.”

 

Government tax revenues would also be threatened by the removal of import tariffs on EU goods, as well as reduced tariff collections on domestic agricultural production.

 

The churches urged the Kenyan government to study the social and economic consequences of an EU free trade agreement, and its potential impact upon Kenyan society.

 

“Trade should be at the service of people and not for profit. Hence trade policies should enhance people’s livelihoods through the protection of human rights. It is for this reason that we the church representatives affirm the principles of justice, equity and protection of human rights. These principles should guide any trade policy making and agreements,” they said.

Details for Pan-Anglican Congress Announced: TLC 2.02.06 February 2, 2006

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Living Church.
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The pan-Anglican congress of lay and ordained leaders from across the Anglican Communion will take place in March 2007 outside Johannesburg, South Africa, the Primate of Southern Africa, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, told a Feb. 2 news conference in Cape Town.

Lay and ordained leaders from across the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion will be invited to participate in the gathering, titled “Towards Effective Anglican Mission: An International Conference on Prophetic Witness, Social Development and HIV/AIDS,” or TEAM.

Speakers at the Cape Town press conference said they hope to redirect the Anglican Communion’s energies away from the debates on human sexuality toward “things that really matter.” Organizers for the pan-Anglican congress also hope the Archbishop of Canterbury will attend and that lessons learned at TEAM will provide background material and information for the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

“What has happened in our Communion is that some people, who happen to be few in number, make the loudest noise,” Archbishop Ndungane said, as reported by Reuters. “In my travels around the Communion, I would like to think that the majority of Anglicans want to get on with the business of the Church.”

Seven objectives were set by the TEAM steering committee at their organizational meeting in Cape Town. They expect to encourage a “prophetic articulation for an Anglican theology which supports witness and action for social justice”; share the African experience of HIV/AIDS with the rest of the Communion; review the Communion’s response to the Millennium Development Goals; design new models of “relevant and sustainable development”; encourage “transformation through dialogue among peoples with diverse experiences and perspectives”; explore “resource mobilization”; and foster “mutual commitments and partnerships within the Anglican Communion.”

Although not “an Anglican Communion event,” the mandate to hold the congress, which had been cancelled by Archbishop Rowan Williams in 2004, had been given to Archbishop Ndungane at the 2001 primates meeting at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, N.C., a statement released by the steering committee said. “Archbishop Ndungane was entrusted with the responsibility of moving the Anglican Communion forward by addressing the vital social issues of poverty, trade, debt and HIV/AIDS.”

The Rev Canon Gregory Cameron, deputy general secretary for the Anglican Consultative Council, told The Living Church last month his office had been “offering advice and suggestions,” but the ACC was not involved in any official capacity with the TEAM congress.

The members of the TEAM Steering Committee include: The Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town; the Rev. Canon George Brandt, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, New York City; Jean Duff, managing director, Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation at Washington National Cathedral; the Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, staff director for peace and justice ministries at the Episcopal Church Center; the Rev. Canon Desmond Lambrechts, director of programmes, Church in the Province of Southern Africa HIV and AIDS office; the Rev. Canon Harold T. Lewis, rector of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Delene Mark, CEO of H.O.P.E. Africa; Lyndon Metembo, projects facilitator, H.O.P.E. Africa; Esther Mombo, academic dean, St. Paul’s Theological College, Limeru, Kenya; the Rt. Rev. Trevor Mwamba, Bishop of Botswana; the Very Rev. June Osborne, dean of Salisbury Cathedral, England; Jenny Te Paa, dean of St. John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand; the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, director, Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation at Washington National Cathedral; Canon Diane Porter, deputy for episcopal administration, Diocese of Long Island; the Rt. Rev. Johannes Seoka, Bishop of Pretoria; the Very Rev. Colin Slee, dean of Southwark Cathedral, England; Sizakele Shongwe, orphans and vulnerable children programme, Diocese of the Highveld, South Africa; and the Rt. Rev. Orris G. Walker, Bishop of Long Island.

First published in The Living Church.

Cape Town Pan-Anglican Congress Plan Revived: TLC 1.06.06 January 6, 2006

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Living Church.
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A group that includes bishops, rectors and canons from the Episcopal Church has agreed to work in a partnership to organize and secure funding for a pan-Anglican congress in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2007.

Sponsored by the Primate of Southern Africa, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, the 2007 gathering is modeled on a proposal developed by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) for a meeting that was to have been held concurrently with the 2008 Lambeth Conference. That gathering, also scheduled to be held in Cape Town, was cancelled due to lack of funds.

In an address to the annual convention of the Diocese of Long Island, Bishop Orris G. Walker, Jr., said the gathering will be “for all orders of ministry” and “will focus on the mission and ministry of the whole church.”

Bishop Walker said that Archbishop Ndungane had also invited the Bishop of Washington, the Rt. Rev. John B. Chane; the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, former ACC secretary general and now canon for global justice and reconciliation at Washington National Cathedral; the Rev. Canon George W. Brandt, Jr., rector of St. Michael’s, New York City; the Rev. James Cooper, rector of Trinity Church Wall Street; the Rev Canon Harold T. Lewis, rector of Calvary Church, Pittsburgh; the Rev. Canon Frederick Boyd Williams, rector of the Church of the Intercession, New York City; and Canon Diane M. Porter, deputy for Episcopal administration in the Diocese of Long Island.

The “scope, attendance, venue” and dates of the pan-Anglican Congress will be determined at a planning committee meeting in Cape Town at the end of January, said Canon Lewis. Funding issues also remained to be finalized, according to another member of the team.

The Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, ACC deputy general secretary, said staff from the ACC and Lambeth Palace have been assisting the planning committee, “offering advice and suggestions,” but the 2007 congress was “not an Anglican Communion event.”

The 2007 Cape Town congress would become the fourth Communion-wide assembly of lay and ordained leaders. Previous Anglican Communion events occurred in London in 1908, Minneapolis in 1954 and Toronto in 1963.

Discussion about holding a congress organized by the ACC began in 1993 at ACC-9 in Cape Town. Work on the Congress continued in 1999 at ACC-11 in Dundee, Scotland, and in 2002 at ACC-12 in Hong Kong, which requested “the Archbishop of Canterbury to give consideration to ways in which such a congress might be held in association with the next Lambeth Conference in Cape Town in 2008.”

However, in December 2004, a “Lambeth Conference Design Group” appointed by Archbishop Rowan Williams recommended canceling the congress, and holding the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. “Funding constraints” prevented a 2008 gathering according to the Rev. Ian Douglas, who is professor of mission and world Christianity at the Episcopal Divinity School and a member of the design group.

Prof. Douglas told The Living Church he welcomed the news of the 2007 Congress, saying he was in favor “of as many opportunities as possible for Anglicans from across the Communion to come together, as it builds understanding and a common commitment to God’s mission for the Church in the world.”

First published in The Living Church.

ACC Lauds Church’s Ethical Investment Program: TLC 6.24.05 June 24, 2005

Posted by geoconger in ACC 13, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Living Church.
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Two days after the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) rebuked the Episcopal Church, suspending its delegates from the ACC and its key interim bodies, delegates applauded the Episcopal Church’s ethical investment program during its Friday morning session.Anti-American animus, which reached a high-water mark following the Tuesday afternoon presentations and Wednesday afternoon votes, has receded. Delegates today endorsed a resolution that “commends the resolve of the Episcopal Church (USA) to take appropriate action where it finds that its corporate investments support the occupation of Palestinian lands or violence against innocent Israelis.”

The resolution commended the work of Episcopal Church’s Social Responsibility in Investments (SRI) Committee, a part of Peace and Justice Ministries program, for study and review by the wider Communion. A motion to strip “the Episcopal Church” from the resolution, replacing it with a generic phrase commending the work of all churches in this area, failed to attract a seconder.

The softening line towards the Episcopal Church by the ACC delegates represents a general belief among Global South delegates that the “North American issue” has been settled and it is time to move on.

Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria distributed a letter on Wednesday afternoon stating “now that we have considered the position of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada and made our decision I hope we can turn to the consideration of the many other pressing issues before our worldwide Communion with new energy and commitment.”

The Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, director of Peace and Justice Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center, told The Living Church, “I certainly welcome the affirmation of the Episcopal Church’s process. Now we must continue the work and discern what actions will be appropriate.”

After the vote, the Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam, the Suffragan Bishop of New York and one of three unofficial observers to ACC-13 from the Episcopal Church said she was pleased the delegates were able to put aside partisan bickering and work on issues important to the whole Communion.

First published in The Living Church.