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Wabukala shames bishops who put dialogue above doctrine: Church of England Newspaper, December 5, 2014 December 5, 2014

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The chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans has urged Africa’s bishops to repudiate a dialogue initiated by the Anglican Church of Canada and backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In an Advent letter dated 27 Nov 2014 Archbishop Eliud Wabukala rejected the work of Bishops in Consultation initiative which has brought American, Canadian and African bishops together to discus ways of promoting institutional unity while permitting a degree of latitude of doctrinal positions on issues ranging from sexual ethics, Christology, universalism and soteriology. Archbishop Wabukala wrote: the dialogue “claimed that we must maintain visible unity despite everything because ‘now we see through a glass, darkly’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). In other words, things will only become clear in heaven. This is a bad mistake. It is true that there is much about our future state that we do not yet understand, but God has given us the inspired Scriptures as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps.119:105). Our future hope cannot be turned into an excuse for compromise or silence when Scripture is clear. For Anglicans the collegial mind of the Communion on sexuality and Scripture remains the orthodox position as strongly reaffirmed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference which continues to call us to obedience and pastoral responsibility. Dialogue is no substitute for doctrine.”

Illinois Supreme Court rules against TEC: Church of England Newspaper, December 5, 2014 December 5, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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The Illinois Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of the Episcopal Church in its lawsuit with the Diocese of Quincy, upholding a lower court ruling that found the diocese may secede from the national church. The 26 Nov 2014 decision affirms the Fourth District Appellate Court’s finding the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church of the USA do not forbid dioceses from withdrawing from the national church. The national church may appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the Illinois Supreme Court for reconsideration. The Illinois ruling is likely to influence other state courts, said canon lawyer Allan Haley – an advisor to the Diocese of Quincy. “The decision will come as a very useful precedent for the courts in the other pending diocesan withdrawal cases — which present a unique question that the Illinois court is now the first to have definitively decided. Watch for the withdrawing dioceses to cite the case to the courts in Texas (Ft. Worth), California (San Joaquin) and South Carolina,” he said.

Welby makes 37th provincial visit to Scotland: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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Nicola Sturgeon with David Chillingworth and Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury has concluded his 18-month round the Communion tour this week with a visit to the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Most Rev. Justin Welby began his visit on 24 November 2014 with a meeting at Bute House with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. He spoke with representatives from other Scottish Churches, “before meeting with the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to discuss the Church’s role in society and a range of matters within the world-wide Anglican Communion,” a statement from the SEC press office said. The following day the archbishop toured a new Church Army project in Dundee, met with local clergy and concluded the day with worship at St Columba’s Church, Aberdour. The Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth said the SEC was “delighted to welcome Archbishop Justin Welby and his wife Caroline to Scotland.” He added that Archbishop Welby “has established reconciliation as one of his priorities in ministry. He is seeking ways in which churches which live in an extraordinary diversity of contexts – geographical, economic, social and cultural – can express visible unity in Christ. We look forward to sharing with Archbishop Justin some of the vitality and distinctiveness of the Scottish Episcopal Church in its ministry in Scotland today.”

Christian Aid reaches out to Ebola survivors: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

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Christian Aid has joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to distribute  essential household items to Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone. “Solidarity kits” consisting of food, household items and hygiene supplies were distributed to households in the Bo and Western Area districts to help survivors rebuild their lives. The NGO reported that some survivors returning home from treatment centres have found their homes burned to the ground or doused with chlorine by neighbors or government officials, fearful their huts and property were sources of infection. Jeanne Kamara, Christian Aid Country Manager for Sierra Leone, said: “Those fortunate enough to have survived the Ebola virus are left with next to nothing. The joy of surviving the devastating virus is quickly overshadowed by the pain of having everything they own destroyed during the decontamination process.” She added that “those living hand–to–mouth simply cannot afford to replace all their belongings – particularly in homes where the main breadwinner has died from the virus. That’s why Christian Aid is pleased to partner with UNDP on this initiative, so that together we can ensure that Ebola survivors, who have already suffered so much, can start afresh without the added anxiety of having no clothes, bedding, cooking utensils or food.”

Anglican Diocese of Quebec on verge of extinction: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper.
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St Paul's Cumberland QuebecSecularism combined with rural flight may lead to the extinction of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Quebec with 64 per cent of congregations closing or amalgamating with other parishes in the next five years. In a reflection recently published on the diocese’s website, Nancy Clark writes the demographic sustainability of the province’s English-speaking communities are in doubt, and with it the future of the diocese. “Like the exodus of English-speaking youth from rural villages, youth are moving away from religion, feeding their needs and emotions with the dream of material things, things only cities and stuff can give you.  These are looming facts, and we can’t deny them.” Statistics published in a report released earlier this year by the Task Force on Mission Ministry and Management reports the diocese has 3000 members in 52 parishes with 87 congregations. The report stated “42% of congregations have fewer than 10 regular services a year and 76% have fewer than 25 participants at services. In 31% of the congregations the age range begins at 50 and in 13% at 70.” The report further reported that a “staggering 83%” reported minimal or no activity outside of worship. The collapse of institutional Anglicanism in Quebec may be inevitable, Ms. Clark wrote, but it also represented an opportunity. “Let’s imagine starting with a clean slate. … This is our chance to let go, stop struggling, and focus on what is important: living in a way that Christians are meant to and sharing that with the next generations,” she said.

Court action promised in Pakistani blasphemy murders: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take immediate steps to investigate the 4 Nov 2014 murders of a Christian couple, Shahzad and Shama Masih, who were burnt alive by a Muslim mob for allegedly desecrating a page from the Koran. The Court further asked the government to enumerate the actions it had taken in response to a June 2014 Supreme Court order directing the state to establish a National Council for the Rights of Minorities and a task force to protect Christian places of worship. Church of Pakistan leaders have welcomed the court action, telling the Church of England NeShahzad_Masih_Shama_Bibiwspaper they hoped government pressure would end local persecution and discrimination of Christians. However, the Fides News Agency reports the family of the murdered Christian couple — whose death the Church of Pakistan reports, was orchestrated by an unscrupulous debt collector who used religious fervor to exact revenge — are under severe pressure from local Muslim leaders to abandon their campaign for justice. Fides reported: “ Even the Christians of surrounding villages are under threat. A Christian from the village of Bhail said that the tension in the area is strong and great hostility of Muslims towards Christians has developed after the raid and arrests carried out by the police in Muslim houses.”

Al-Shabaab kill 28 Christians in Kenya bus massacre: Church of England Newspaper, November, 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

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The Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the murder of 28 Christians in Kenya last Saturday, saying the killings were payback for police raids on four mosques in Mombasa.  On the morning of 22 Nov 2014, a bus carrying 60 passengers to Nairobi was ambushed by gunmen approximately 31 miles south of the town of Mandera near Kenya’s border with Somalia. “They asked how many times I pray in a day, asked me to recite a Qur’an verse and also greeted one in Islamic,” a survivor told the Daily Nation. “If one failed to answer these questions, then you’d be asked to lie on a muddy patch of the road facing down.” Christian primary school teacher Douglas Ochwodo survived the attack. He told Reuters two killers went along the line of bodies, beginning at each end moving towards the middle, shooting their prone victims in the head. Ochwodo lay in the center and covered with blood from other victims, was overlooked by the killers. Nineteen men and nine women, identified as Christians, were shot dead. In September 2013 al-Shabaab terrorists assaulted Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, killing 67 people. The Islamist terror group has claimed responsibility for other attacks that have have left 90 dead this year. including the assault on Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Mall in September 2013 in which 67 people were killed. Al-Shabaab said it was responsible for other attacks on Kenya’s coast earlier this year which killed at least 90 people. Earlier this month Kenyan police closed four mosques in Mombasa after police raids discovered weapons and explosives caches in the buildings.Speaking to reporters after services at an Anglican Church outside of Nairobi on Sunday Deputy President William Ruto told reporters on Sunday that security force jets and helicopters had attacked a camp in Somalia linked to the perpetrators of the bus massacre, killing as many as 100 terrorists. “We shall continue to deal with all the terrorists and bandits in the same way because it is the only language they understand,” he said. “If you kill any Kenyan you will also be killed.”

New leader for German protestants elected: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

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Heinrich Bedford-StrohmThe Rt. Rev. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria has been elected head of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD). On 11 Nov 2014 the EKD council meeting in Dresden elected Bishop Bedford-Strohm on the first ballot. The Bavarian bishop received 106 of the 125 votes cast. He succeeds Nikolaus Schneider, president of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (EKiR), who served as acting president following the resignation of Bishop Margot Käßmann in 2010 following her arrest for driving while intoxicated. The President of the EKD Synod, Irmgard Schwaetzer, welcomed the election stating the new bishop would unite the church in the face of challenges from Germany’s growing secular culture. “Heinrich Bedford-Strohm now has a clear mandate to bring the remaining tasks of this council term to their conclusion.” She added the council can give now give its full attention to “the preparations for the 2017 Reformation anniversary”. Born in Memmingen in 1960,  Bedford-Strohm  has been the Lutheran bishop of Bavaria since 2011 and previously served as Professor for Systematic Theology and Contemporary Theological Issues at the University of Bamberg, following positions in pastoral and diaconal work.

Archbishop Beach urges caution on taking the marriage pledge: The Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

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Two leading American clergy, the Rev. Prof. Ephraim Radner and the Rev. Prof. Christopher Seitz have released a manifesto published on the website of First Things magazine, urging clergy to refuse to perform civil marriages in light of the changing definitions of marriage made by the federal and state government. The Marriage Pledge states: “The new definition of marriage no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and woman. Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.” It encourages clergy to sign the pledge and “commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.” The call for clergy to stand aside as agents of the state has not received universal support from conservatives. The Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach, urged restraint, writing: “It would be best for us to take counsel together before taking further action. Therefore I ask that you do not sign this pledge until as bishops, clergy, and lay leaders we have had more opportunities to pray about and discuss the legal, theological, and sociological ramifications of signing such a statement.”

Presiding Bishop backs Obama immigration plan: Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

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The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, has applauded President Barak Obama’s executive order giving amnesty to over 5 million illegal aliens in the United States, but warns the president’s actions are not enough to resolve the problem. “Too many families have lived for too long continually worried about parents being separated from children, wage-earners and caregivers from those who depend on them, and unable to participate fully in their communities and the nation’s economy,” she wrote, adding that “Permanent and comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system through congressional action is still urgently needed, but the President’s action is a constructive step toward a system that honors the dignity and intrinsic value of every human being.” She said she will use her office to work with the government to  “press for implementation of the President’s plan as quickly, fairly, and inclusively as possible.  The President’s plan is not perfect.  Some deserving persons and families are excluded, meaning that additional work lies ahead.,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said. The amnesty announced by the president will not take effect until next year. Republicans in Congress have vowed to stop the order, stating they will block funding for its implementation.

Gay marriage comments spark exodus from Church of Finland: Church of England Newspaper, November 21, 2014 November 21, 2014

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A potential vote on gay marriage in future sessions of the General Synod of the Church of Finland has enlivened elections for trustees and parish councillors held on 9 Nov 2014 for the state Lutheran Church with approximately 19,300 candidates contested 9,300 seats for election. Parish councillors and trustees have powers to set church tax rates, which vary between one and two percent, as well as dictate parish financial matters, and decide on construction projects and humanitarian activities. Parish councillors also elect delegates to the church’s general synod and should a law permitting homosexual marriage be adopted by parliament during the next term, synod members will decide whether to allow church unions between same-sex couples. In 2010 17 per cent of the church’s 3.5 million registered members turned out to vote, the highest turnout in almost 30 years. Conservative groups have sought to mobilize lay members of the church to block calls made by some bishops to support gay marriage, and hope to achieve a majority to block proposals to follow the Church of Sweden in solemnizing gay marriages.

Problem of crime is a problem of morals, says West Indian bishop: Church of England Newspaper, November 21, 2014 November 21, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Crime.
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Claude BerkleyA return to “old-fashioned” moral values is the only lasting solution to the Caribbean’s epidemic of crime, the Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago said last week. In an interview with the Trinidad Express published on 17 Nov 2014, the Rt. Rev. Claude Berkley said society must not rely solely on the police. Individuals had to take responsibility for their culture. His comments came in the wake of a string of highly publicized murders in the West Indian nation, including the abduction and murder of an 18-month old child. The bishop told the Express the murders “brings us back to the need for communities to take responsibility for its members. The community has to be responsible for its members. … We have to return to looking after the health and well-being of family members.” He added: “It is frightening. We can’t expect the police to do everything. We have to organise ourselves and try to manage our lives.”

Poverty no explanation for Boko Haram, archbishop writes: Church of England Newspaper, November 21, 2014 November 21, 2014

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The Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev. Benjamin Kwashi has written to The Times stating that claims the insurgency in Northern Nigeria “ is fueled more by poverty than by Islamic extremism” were naive. Those who peddle this myth, the archbishop wrote were blinded by political correctness that was “unwilling to face the connected and organized global jihadist network we face today. “Poverty does not explain the death by suicide bomb of 40 school children- Muslim children- in Potiksum yesterday,” he said nor does it explain “the abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage of some 200 girls in Chibok. To say that this is the result of poverty and corruption is to play down the evil of Boko Haram, and their form of Islam.” Archbishop Kwashi acknowledged the “poverty and corruption” plaguing was “real”, “[b]ut so is the global terror ideology of which Boko Haram is a practitioner, and the global terror network of which it is a part. It is both untrue and unhelpful to conflate and confuse these issues.”

Washington National Cathedral hosts Jumu’ah: Church of England Newspaper, November 21, 2014 November 21, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Islam, The Episcopal Church, Washington.
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Washington’s National Cathedral played host to a media event last week, holding its first Islamic prayer service in cooperation with Washington-area Muslim groups. The invitation only Friday prayer service was held in the Cathedral’s north transept, a part of the cathedral where there are no Christian symbols. Following the recitation of the prayers, the audience, segregated into areas for men and women listed to Ebrahim Rasool, a Muslim who serves as South Africa’s ambassador to the United States. Rasool stated Muslims “come to this cathedral with sensitivity and humility but keenly aware that it is not a time for platitudes, because mischief is threatening the world. The challenge for us today is to reconstitute a middle ground of good people . . . whose very existence threatens extremism.” The cathedral was closed to visitors on Friday morning save for the press and Muslim invitees, but one woman stood during the service and objected to the proceedings, stating “America was founded on Christian principles. . . . Leave our church alone!” She was escorted from the building and the service continued. Since 1980 the cathedral has played host to inter-faith services, but Friday’s 11:30 service was the first Muslim ceremony held in the cathedral, which prides itself on its avant garde approach to religious and social issues.

Sultan returns confiscated Bibles to Archbishop Lapok: Church of England Newspaper, November 21, 2014 November 21, 2014

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Bolly LapokThe Sultan of Selangor has returned Bibles and religious literature confiscated by the State Islamic Affairs Department on 2 Jan 2014 for using the world “Allah” in Malay and Iban language versions of Scripture to the Archbishop of South East Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, Bishop of Kuching. On 14 Nov 2014, on behalf of the government the Sultan returned the Bibles to Archbishop Lapok, who is also chairman of the Christian Association of Sarawak, on the condition that they be distributed in Borneo, not in Malaya. A statement released by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council said the Sultan had ordered the Bibles be returned after state prosecutors declined to Bible Society officials arrested in the January raid on charges of proselytizing Muslims. Archbishop Lapok thanked the Sultan for his intervention in the dispute. “It would not have been proper to allow these Bibles to be stored indefinitely or destroyed. In this manner, the Bibles are being delivered to the ACS for distribution in Sarawak,” he said.

Australian bishop to the forces arrested on abuse charges: The Church of England Newspaper, July 4, 2014 July 22, 2014

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The Roman Catholic Bishop to the Forces in Australia has been arrested for child abuse. The Rt. Rev. Max Davis, bishop of the diocese for the armed forces, is accused of abusing a student at St Benedict’s College near Perth in 1969. The Catholic Military Ordinariate of Australia said in a statement: “An allegation has been made to the police that in 1969 Bishop Max Davis abused a student at St. Benedict’s College in New Norcia,” adding that “at that time ― 45 years ago ― the bishop was not ordained. The bishop emphatically denies the allegation and the charge will be defended.” The Australian Defence Force: “Bishop Davis has stood aside from his office as Catholic bishop of the ADF and Catholic member of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services.”

Primus urges caution in Scottish independence vote: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. David Chillingworth has urged Scotland to consider issues beyond the economic viability of an independent Scotland when considering the forthcoming referendum.  There was more to national identity than wealth, he argued. “Clearly there has to be an economic dimension to it, would an independent Scotland be viable, but I think what I expected was that the debate would be about whether people who live in Scotland feel a shared sense of being Scottish, whatever that means, to justify independent constitutional arrangements and independent governance, it hasn’t really been about those kind of identity questions.” The Primus noted that he was Irish by birth and was “very aware that the debate about identity often becomes negative imaging of the others, so I do absolutely understand that. But on the other hand, I’ve found the debate limited in its scope. It’s been about these economic issues, it’s been about the advantage of decisions made in Scotland over against them being made as part of a larger unit. I think the average person finds it hard to make a judgement about the force of those arguments either way. I certainly do.”

Bernard Mizeki festival draws 30,000 pilgrims: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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Over 30,000 Anglican pilgrims gathered in Marondera outside of Harare last weekend to commemorate the feast day of Bernard Mizeki, missionary, catechist and martyr. Born in Portuguese East Africa around 1861, as a young man Mizeki traveled to Cape Town to take service as a servant with a European family. There he attended an Anglican mission school and was baptized taking the name Bernard. After training as a catechist, he volunteered in 1891 to serve as a missionary in Mashonaland, in present day Zimbabwe. During the 1896 Mashona rebellion, Mizeki was singled out for death in reprisal for his mission work.  On June 17, Mizeki was attacked and left for dead. He crawled to a nearby hillside and after bandaging him, his wife sought aid. Returning with another woman they reported being frightened by an unearthly sound, “like many wings of great birds”, and by a dazzling light that moved toward the spot where Bernard lay. When they summoned the courage to go to the place where Bernard lay, his body had disappeared. His body was never found, and the exact site of his burial is unknown. The martyr’s feast, held on the Saturday closest to June 18, draws pilgrims from across Central and Southern Africa. The bishops of Central Zimbabwe, Masvingo, Manicaland, Northern Zambia, Eastern Zambia, Bulawayo and Harare were joined by pilgrims from South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, along with a delegation from the Diocese of Rochester in the day long services.

World Cup adds anger archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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Church leaders have denounced the use of images of Rio de Janeiro’s Cristo Redentor statue to promote betting on the World Cup. Last week the ad agency McCann Copenhagen pulled a commercial entitled “Iconic Celebration” created for Ladbrokes after the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro threatened legal action. The ad featured the Cristo Redentor statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro wearing a red Ladbrokes football shirt over its head as if celebrating a goal. The archbishop has also filed suit against the Italian broadcaster RAI for a similar ad, claiming violation of copyright. The Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Rev Jeffrey Driver last week told The Australian newspaper that the use of a 46m high Cristo Redentor balloon with Christ wearing a green and gold Austrian soccer jersey emblazoned with the slogan “Keep the Faith” that floated above the skies of Adelaide was troubling. The use of the image was a question of taste, but “much more offensive is that it’s being used to promote betting and I think that’s deeply worrying because Australia does have a problem with gambling,” Dr. Driver said.

Malaysia on the edge warns archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of South East Asia.
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The Primate of the Church of the Province of Southeast Asia, the Most Rev. Bolly Lapok, has criticized the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, for his silence over the government’s seizure of Malay language Bibles for using the word “Allah” for God. “I am inclined to think that he is conveying that the whole charade is not worthy of his comment. To do otherwise is to dignify what is plainly wicked,” Archbishop Lapok told reporters in Kuching on 20 June 2014. The prime minister’s refusal to speak out in support of the rights of Christians to practice their faith and condemn militant Islam was “poisoning inter-religious tolerance.” Last week Malaysia’s Attorney General ordered Bibles seized by the government’s Islamic Religious Department in Selangor (JAIS) to be returned to the Bible Society of Malaysia. However, JAIS has refused to comply with the Attorney-General’s order saying the use of the word “Allah” in Malay language Bibles violates the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Act 1988. “Unless nipped in the bud, we have a perfect recipe that can cause Malaysia to descend into anarchy,” the archbishop said, bemoaning the spirit of tolerance that had “traditionally characterized Malay society.” Archbisohop Lapok warned:  “When unscrupulous individuals are allowed to behave and make reckless utterances with impunity for the sake of political exigency, I dread to think of the consequences on the minds of Malaysia’s plural society.”

Allah ban upheld: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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The Federal Court of Malaysia has upheld a ban on the use of the word “Allah” by a Catholic newspaper, the Herald. The Christian Federation of Malaysia voiced disappointment at the ruling, but noted the decision “relates solely to the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Herald newspaper. Therefore we ask the government and the judiciary to publicly remember that the decision of the Federal Court is limited to the specific circumstances of the case and for Malaysian Christians to continue to have the right to use the word ‘Allah’ in the Bible, in religious functions and gatherings.” In 2009 the Ministry of the Interior banned the Catholic newspaper from using “Allah” stating the word could only be used in connection to Islam. The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur filed a lawsuit challenging the ruling, and prevailed at trial. However the Court of Appeal reversed the decision in October 2013, and by a vote of 4 to 3 the Federal Court last week upheld the Appeal Court decision.”We continue to support that the decision of the Court of Appeal, upheld by the Federal Court, is seriously flawed in many respects. According to Justice, many erroneous and inaccurate observations had to be corrected. Now there will be serious negative consequences for the religious freedom of Christians in Malaysia,” the statement said.

ACNA grows 13%: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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Statistics released before the start of the Anglican Church in North America’s synod this week report the breakaway Anglican group has grown by 13 per cent to 112,504 members since 2009, while its average Sunday attendance has grown by 16 per cent to 80,471 during the same period. Membership in the Episcopal Church of the USA declined between 2009 and 2012 – the most recent year of published statistics. Membership for its domestic dioceses fell from 2,006,343 to 1,894,181 while Sunday attendance declined from 682,963 to 640,142. The Anglican Church of Canada does not publish its membership statistics.

In releasing statistics, the ACNA officials note that 74 percent of congregations completed reports. In an attempt to provide a complete picture, the denomination provides two statistical totals: “reported” figures and “projected” figures that substitute median averages for congregations that did not report. In the Episcopal Church, officials roll over previously reported statistics for non-reporting parishes until new ones are received. In the case of both the “reported” and “projected” figures, ACNA posts growth, which is strongest with the “reported” figures.

Foley Beach elected ACNA Archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has elected the Rt. Rev. Foley Beach as its second archbishop in succession to the Most Rev. Robert Duncan. Meeting in a private conclave at St Vincent College in LaTrobe, Pennsylvania on 22 June 2014 ACNA’s elected Bishop Beach to a five year term of office after three days of deliberations. A native of Atlanta, Dr. Beach was educated at Georgia State University, trained for the ministry at the University of the South and earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He served in the Diocese of Atlanta from 1992 to 2004, when he withdrew from the Episcopal Church following the consecration of V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. In 2004 Bishop Beach founded Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville, Georgia and on 9 October 2010 he was consecrated as the first Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the South. The Archbishop of Sydney, who had participated in the ACNA’s conclave, welcomed the news of Dr. Beach’s election. The Most Rev. Glenn Davies wrote: “Bishop Foley will be a strong conservative voice within this newly formed province, among the GAFCON Primates and throughout the Anglican Communion. He is a man who has stood firm for the gospel in difficult circumstances, and has not been afraid to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.”

Parliamentary service a “sacred legacy” archbishop tells MPs: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Primate of the Church of the Province of the West Indies, the Most Rev. John Holder, Bishop of Barbados, called upon members his nation’s parliament to put aside party differences and work for the good of the country. On 15 June 2014 Barbados celebrated the 375th anniversary of the creation of its Parliament, the oldest continuous Parliament of an independent Commonwealth country outside the British Isles, with a memorial service at St Mary’s Anglican Church in Bridgetown. In his sermon, Dr. Holder urged MPs “to move beyond the restrictions of party and take necessary political risks for the sake of country. You need sometimes to put the next elections out of your mind for a while, and think country instead of party. Just remember that this country is far bigger than all of the parliamentarians and all the members of the political parties together.” He told MPs they had “inherited what others have laboured and have died for. You have stepped into a stream that goes back some 375 years. There is a sacred legacy,” and as such they must put country before party. The thirty-member House of Assembly is divided 16 to 14 between the Democratic Labour Party and the Barbados Labour Party.

Londonderry peace plea: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Catholic and Anglican bishops of Londonderry have released a joint appeal for Ulster to set aside its sectarian divisions and suspicions and work towards a united socity. On 16 June 2014 the Rt. Rev. Ken Good, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and the Most Rev. Donal McKeown, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry, marked Community Relations Week with call to the community to “strive tirelessly to heal the wounds caused by our violent conflict. It is also to ensure that such conflict never happens again. We can best do this by journeying towards reconciliation, so that a cycle of historic division is broken once and for all in this land.” The bishops wrote: “Differences whether of history, race, religion or politics do not define who our neighbour is. Christ teaches us that every person is our ‘neighbour’ and that we are to find practical ways to ‘love’ them. We renew our Christian commitment to loving our neighbour in this city, whoever that neighbour may be,” they said.

Aspinall to step down as primate: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Most Rev. Phillip Aspinall, has announced that it is his intention to step down from his post this month before the church’s 16th General Synod set for 29 June to 4 July 2014 at St Peter’s College in Adelaide. Dr. Aspinall (54) will remain Archbishop of Brisbane and Metropolitan of the Province of Queensland, but announced he was resigning now in order for a new primate to be elected by the August visit to Australia of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Chosen by a Panel of Electors, comprised of 12 clergy and 12 lay members chosen by General Synod, and the members of the House of Bishops, the primate of the ACA is selected from among the church’s diocesan bishops by a simple majority vote. Traditionally, the office has fallen to one of the five metropolitan archbishops in Australia. The office of primate in Australia does not confer metropolitan powers over the church on its office holder and is largely a ceremonial position.

Church peace plan for South Sudan: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, the Most Rev. Daniel Deng of Juba, has published an open letter on behalf of the church and the leading civic groups detailing the steps needed towards reaching a last peace in South Sudan. What began in December as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar has evolved into a tribal war between the Nuer and Dinka that has left several thousand dead and driven over one million people from their homes.  Meeting in talks brokered by Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister of Ethiopia, on 10 June 2014 the two sides agreed to a cease fire and pledged to form a unity government within sixty days. However, past deals to end the violence have been not held. In his 6 June 2014 Open Letter, Archbishop Deng stated it was essential that there be an “independent voice for peace and reconciliation” within the country independent of tribe, urging the warring parties to lay down their arms and “listen”. “We have to show we have a common goal no matter what tribe we belong to, what part of the country we come from or what position we have in society. Our independent actions must find unity in our collective aspiration to end war, heal our nation and build momentum for peace, security and development,” the archbishop said.

Apostolic succession extended to Methodist Church: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Methodism.
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The Church of Ireland has extended apostolic succession of the episcopal ministry to the Methodist Church of Ireland. On 11 June 2014 the Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Down and Dromore took part in the installation of the new President of the Methodist Church of Ireland, the Rev. Peter Murray, the superintendent of the North West Methodist circuit in Londonderry. Last month the Church of Ireland’s General Synod approved an agreement signed with the Methodist Church that provided for the interchangeability of clergy, allowing an ordained minister of either church to come under the discipline and oversight of the other. Methodist ministers may henceforth be considered for clerical positions within the Church of Ireland and the church’s presidents will be eligible for election as Church of Ireland bishops. The agreement states that the Methodist president, who is elected to an annual term, is recognised as an “episcopal minister” in the Church of Ireland. The agreement further recognizes past holders of the office as episcopal ministers also. In future, Church of Ireland bishops will take part in the installation ceremony of a Methodist president, and the Methodist president will take part in the consecration of a Church of Ireland bishop. The Irish Times reports there are an estimated 38,000 Methodists in Northern Ireland and 12,000 in the Republic of Ireland.

Church of England calls for the release of Meriam Ibrahim : The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Second Church Estates Commissioner has assured Parliament that the Church of England supports the international call for clemency for Meriam Ibrahim. Sentenced to death for apostasy from Islam by a civil court in Khartoum last month, Mrs. Ibrahim has refused to recant her Christian faith despite assurances that she will be freed from prison if she accepts Islam. On 12 June 2014 the members for Bury North, David Nuttall (Cons.) and Pendle, Andrew Stephenson (Cons.) asked Sir Tony Baldry what “representations the Church of England” had made on behalf of Mrs. Ibrahim. Sir Tony responded the “Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England wholeheartedly supported the call from the Christian Muslim Forum for the death sentence against Meriam Ibrahim to be dropped. The Church of England will continue to support the Archbishop of Sudan on this issue.” He urged MPs to support “early-day motion 71, tabled in my name, which has support from Members in all parts of the House,” calling for her release. Sudan’s apostasy laws were “clearly incompatible” with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he said, adding that “In international law, fundamental universal UN human rights must prevail.”

SEC says no to assisted suicide: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Faith and Order Board of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has voiced its opposition to the Assisted Suicide Bill pending before the Scottish Parliament. In a submission dated 6 June 2014, the board stated that while there were a range of views about assisted suicide held by its members, the Scottish Episcopal Church upheld “the sanctity of human life, and this, alongside compassion, are our primary considerations when thinking about Assisted Suicide.” The SEC had “sympathy” with arguments that “compassion is in some circumstances a higher good than the preservation of life.” However, the church was concerned with the application of the law as well as issues of compassion, dignity and the spiritual and moral issues these entailed had so far not been addressed by the bill’s supporters.  From a medical perspective the “art of dying” dealt with “pain relief”. But the “art of dying is a spiritual art, learned emotionally and communally, and found in all religions and traditions. … We want to explore compassion beyond the giving of drugs and legality of choosing death” the board said.

Vicar of Baghdad cries for help: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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The “Vicar of Baghdad”, the Rev. Canon Andrew White, has issued a plea for Anglicans to come to the aid of the people of Iraq, after Sunni Muslim extremists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized control large swathes of the country. “Things are so bad now in Iraq, the worst they have ever been. The Islamic terrorists have taken control of the whole of Mosul which is Nineveh the main Christian stronghold. The army have even fled. We urgently need help and support,” Canon White wrote. “Iraq is now in its worst crisis since the 2003 war. ISIS, a group that does not even see Al Qaida as extreme enough, has moved into Mosul, which is Nineveh. It has totally taken control, destroyed all government departments. Allowed all prisoners out of the prisons. Killed countless numbers of people. There are bodies over the streets. The army and police have fled, so many of the military resources have been captured. Tankers, armed vehicles and even helicopters are now in the hands of ISIS. The area is the heartland of the Christian community. Most of our people come from Nineveh and still see that as their home. It is there that they return to regularly. Many Christian’s fled from back to Nineveh from Baghdad, as things got so bad there. Now the Christian centre of Iraq has been totally ransacked. The tanks are moving into the Christian villages destroying them and causing total carnage. The ISIS militants are now moving towards Kirkuk, major areas to the Oil fields that provide the lifeblood of Iraq. We are faced with total war that all the Iraqi military have now retreated from. People have fled in their hundreds of thousands to Kurdistan still in Iraq for safety. The Kurds have even closed the border, preventing entry of the masses. The crisis is so huge it is almost impossible to consider what is really happening.” Money was needed to care for refugees streaming into Baghdad, Canon White said. “We need your help.” http://frrme.org/canon-andrews-blog/

Welby pays pastoral call in Lagos: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby paid a pastoral call on President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja to “express his personal pain and condolence about the ongoing terrorism affecting parts of North Nigeria,” the Lambeth Palace press office reports. On 4 June 2014, Archbishop Welby, President Jonathan and the Primate of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, discussed the terror campaign waged by Boko Haram and “then prayed privately together,” the statement said. Along with other church and political leaders, Archbishop Welby has condemned the kidnapping of over 200 school girls by Boko Haram, calling it an “atrocious and inexcusable act.” Speaking to reporters outside the Presidential Villa, the archbishop condemned the recent terror bombings in Jos saying “I came to pray with His Excellency and express our condolence for the losses. God is faithful. In one of the letters that Paul wrote to the church, he talked about the sufferings they were going through being known throughout the world and that is certainly true here because the suffering in Nigeria is known throughout the world … And like many, I am deeply grieved by what is happening but God is faithful. He is always faithful to us and as Christians, in Jesus Christ we believe in His faithfulness and we can trust Him for the future.”

Bishop of Gippsland dies suddenly: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Bishop of Gippsland of the Anglican Church of Australia has died following a brief illness. The Rt. Rev. John McIntyre died on 6 June 2014 at Monash Hospital in Clayton of a respiratory infection. He was 62. Ordained the 11th Bishop of Gippsland in February 2006, Bishop McIntyre gained an international reputation within Anglican circles as an outspoken maverick, calling for a coal mining ban in Australia due to its safety and environmental hazards as well as his support for changing the church’s teachings on homosexuality. In 2012 the bishop said he would not conform to the Australian House of Bishops protocol banning the licencing or ordination of gay clergy, arguing that science had shown the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality to be wrong-headed. At the 2014 House of Bishop’s meeting Bishop McIntyre’s motion to change church discipline on gay clergy was rejected and a new protocol introduced that reaffirmed the church’s traditional teachings on sexual conduct of the clergy.

Place for Christians in the new Egypt: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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The new president of Egypt Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi was has reaffirmed the equal place of Christians in society, lauding their contributions to the country’s culture and national unity. In his inauguration speech broadcast to the nation on 8 June 2014 from the el-Quba Palace, al-Sisi laid out an ambitious plan of economic and social renewal promising to build 26 new tourist resorts, eight new airports and 22 industrial estates.  And he promised “there will no exclusion of any Egyptian from our march.” Egypt’s Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II, the Anglican Bishop of Egypt the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis and other Christian leaders have given the new president their wholehearted support. The president responded in his speech by singling out the contributions of Christians to the life of the country, and added that he would not tolerate their oppression. “As for those who shed the blood of the innocents, there will be no place for them in this path,” al-Sisi said in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. “And I say it loud and clear, there will be no soft stand with anyone who resorts to violence or whoever wants to delay our march towards the future that we want for our children.”

Plea for help from Sri Lanka: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Bishop in Jaffna, the Rt. Rev. Daniel S. Thiagarajah has called upon the Indian government to come to the aid of Tamils left destitute by the civil war in Sri Lanka. Speaking to the Times of India last week, Bishop Thiagarajah said the Church of South India has set up a relief centre in Jaffna to assist in the resettlement of refugees and to support widows and orphans, but private NGOs could not shoulder the entire burden. The Christian churches in Sri Lanka sought to foster ethnic reconciliation, reuniting Tamils and Sinhalese into a single nation.  “We are all one people. Ahead of us is a challenging task of rehabilitation of our people who have gone through the darkest period in our history,” the bishop said.

Pakistani priest assaulted: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan.
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A legal aid society in Pakistan reports that on 3 June 2014 five suspected members of the Pakistani Taliban ransacked the home of the Rev. David Hanook, pastor of the Church of Pakistan congregation in a majority Christian village near Okara in the Diocese of Lahore, holding the priest and his family hostage for four hours. LEAD (Legal Evangelical Association Development) director Sardar Mushtaq Gill reports a watchman heard the cries of the family and roused the village to defend their pastor. Five men were taken into custody by police. However, relatives of the arrested men have threatened to burn down the village unless Mr. Hanook withdraws the charges. “My family is not safe now in that village and I have requested the Rt. Rev. Irfan Jamil Bishop of Lahore to transfer me some other Church congregation” Mr Hanook said. “We have seen death very near to us because the robbers opened firing at us but Our Lord Jesus saved us,” he said. The former pastor of the church, the Rev. Azmat Nadeem explained “this is a Christian village and other Muslim villages are very jealous and prejudice with this village, that’s why they often attack on Church and Priest and on other Christian villagers.”

Franklin Huntress abuse charges reinstated: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Massachusetts, The Episcopal Church.
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The Supreme Court of New Hampshire has reinstated criminal charges brought against an Episcopal priest for child abuse. On 30 May 2014 the Supreme Court ruled the trial court did not have the authority to dismiss charges against the Rev. Franklin L. Huntress and ordered the matter for trial. First arrested by Lincolnshire Police in 1994 for child abuse, Huntress was arrested in July 2011 following a grand jury indictment for having sexually assaulted a child under the age of 13 in January 1984 and April 1985. Claims the then 77-year-old priest molested a child in 1974 prompted an investigation by the Diocese of Massachusetts that revealed Huntress had been arrested by police for abusing a child in 1994 while service as vicar of St Matthew’s Church in Skegness. However, the Diocese of Massachusetts said it had not been “contacted by either civil or Church authorities in England regarding the 1994 charges there.” The Diocese of Lincoln confirmed Huntress had been arrested, but the “charges were dropped and the detail and the circumstances were unclear.” Huntress’ file “had been destroyed as part of a previous archive policy” at the time Massachusetts had requested “further information”, a spokesman said. Ordained in 1962, Huntress served parishes in the US and from 1965 to 1967 at St Mary’s, Chester, from 1967-1971 at Waltham Abbey in Essex, from 1975 to 1979 at St Gabriel’s Abbey in Leicester, and from 1991 to 1994 at St Matthew’s in Skegness.

New Primate for the Philippines: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

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Bishop Renato Abibico of Northern Luzon has been elected the 5th Prime Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines at the 9th meeting of the Regular Synod of the ECP held at Trinity University of Asia in Quezon City on 14 May 2014. Educated at Trinity College in Quezon City and the University of Edinburgh, Bishop Abibico trained for the ministry at St Andrews Theological Seminary in the Philippines and succeeds the Most Rev. Edward Malacdon as primate.

Sudanese Christians plea for release of Meriam Ibrahim: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
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The Sudanese Council of Churches has called for the immediate release of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the Christian woman sentenced to death last month for apostasy from Islam by a Khartoum court. In a 1 June 2014 statement given to the media, the SCC said the death sentence for apostasy and sentence of 100 lashes for adultery for having married a Christian is a “clear and direct persecution of Christians in Sudan”. The statement from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Reformed, Orthodox and Independent Christian churches further charged her conviction Articles 31 and 38 of the Sudanese Constitution and contravened the International Charter of Human Rights which provides for freedom of religion and conscience. Sudan is a signatory to the Human Rights convention. Press reports from Sudan have quoted an unnamed senior government leader as having said Mrs. Ibrahim will be released from prison, however she remains in prison. Last week she gave birth to a daughter, but remained shackled during her delivery her husband reported. Under her current sentence of death, Mrs. Ibrahim will be allowed to look after her child for two years before the sentence is carried out.

Church plea to save India’s forests: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India.
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A pastoral letter issued by the Church of South India’s Bishop in Central Kerala has called for Christians to support a government plan to curtail development of the Western Ghats. A UNESCO recognised natural heritage site comprising a contiguous forested mountain range stretching from Kerala to southern Gujarat, the Western Ghats were the subject of a 2011 government report that recommended a halt to mining, deforestation and a strict limit on building. The Kerala and Goa state governments had fought implementation of the conservancy initiative as had the Catholic and Syro-Malabar Orthodox Church. However the pastoral letter read in churches on 1 June 2014 from the Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, Bishop in Central Kerala said conservation would benefit farmers.  Bishop Oomen’s letter, entitled “Let us raise our voice for the sustenance of life” said: ”Those who are against the Gadgil report have vested interests and there is nothing that is detrimental to the interests of the farmers.” The new BJP federal Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar is expected to approve the conservation report as it had campaigned in favor of the reforms.

Christchurch Cathedral coming down: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.
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A New Zealand High Court judge has lifted his ban on the demolition of Christchurch Cathedral, allowing the diocese to deconstruct the earthquake ravaged gothic cathedral. On 30 May 2014 Justice Graham Panckhurst lifted the 2012 order halting the deconstruction allowing the diocese to begin construction of a new cathedral on the site of the old. In March 2012 the Diocese of Christchurch’s Church Property Trustees voted to level the ruins of the cathedral, damaged in the February 2011 earthquake. A legal challenge was mounted and in November 2012, the High Court halted the planned demolition after the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) – a preservationist group — sought a binding ruling on whether diocese’s plans breached an act of Parliament protecting church buildings. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision and in December 2013, the Supreme Court declined to hear GCBT’s appeal. In his ruling, Justice Panckhurst said he was lifting the stay as the diocese had complied with all court decisions concerning the demolition and rebuilding, further adding that it was not up to the court to dictate to the diocese the design of the new cathedral. Construction on the new cathedral is expected to take up to ten years.

NZ vicar quits church over gay blessings: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

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An Evangelical Anglican vicar in the Diocese of Auckland has quit the Anglican Church of Aoteara, New Zealand and Polynesia in protest over last month’s vote by General Synod to begin the process towards regularizing gay blessings. In an interview published on 29 May 2014, the Rev. Charlie Hughes, vicar of St Michael’s Anglican Church in Herndon said he and half of his staff along with two thirds of the church wardens had quit the diocese in protest over synod’s vote to bless same-sex relationships. “There is a large body of Anglican clergy who are convinced this is the wrong way to go,” he said, adding that a legal challenge would be brought to uphold the New Zealand Church’s constitutional provision that it is “not lawful to ordain anything contrary to God’s word written.” He added that this “isn’t an anti-gay issue. This is a pro-Bible issue. There are seven completely clear statements in the Bible about same sex acts which are all disapproving.” The Bishop of Auckland the Rt Rev Ross Bay told the congregation that he was aware that there was “confusion and even anger” over the synod vote, but he respected Mr. Hughes’ “decision and so have accepted the inevitable consequence that his licence as vicar must lapse as a result.”

Argentine bishop beaten/robbed: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6 2014 June 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.
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The Bishop of Argentina and his wife were the victims of a home invasion last month, with the Rt. Rev. Greg Venables beaten, and his wife Sylvia bound by thieves who ransacked their home. On 25 May 2015 Bishop Venables, the former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone  reported that “we arrived home from church on Sunday afternoon and disturbed thieves in the house. They beat and tied me up but didn’t hurt Sylvia. Having spent an hour ransacking the house and removing everything of value they left. It could have been much worse and God’s presence was unmistakable and tangible to us, to them and to the multitude of police who came afterwards. Sylvia was magnificent as those who know her can imagine. Thanks for your prayers.” Argentina has the highest rate of theft in South America the Organization of American States reports, with a robbery rate of 973 per 100,000, while the average for the continent was 456 per 100,000. In a note to friends published on 28 May 2014, Bishop Venables, noted their spirits remained strong. “Sylvia is fine, I am bruised, battered but better than ever. God is good.”

Welby headed to Rome: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

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Lambeth Palace has announced that the Archbishop of Canterbury will travel to Rome to meet with Pope Francis on 16 June 2014 to discuss their slavery and human trafficking initiative launched earlier this year. The two day trip will also encompass visits to the Anglican Centre in Rome, the Sant’Egidio community and to “meet members of the international ecumenical Catholic foundation Chemin Neuf, four of whose members took up residence at Lambeth Palace earlier this year,” the archbishop’s press office reported.

Christians under siege in Pakistan, warns Canterbury: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the Christians of Pakistan are under siege, and has urged the country’s government to protect the rights of its minorities. The comments came at the start of a week-long tour of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – part of the archbishop’s initiative to meet with all of the primates of the Communion during his first 18 months in office. Speaking to reporters after church services in Lahore on 28 May 2014, Archbishop Welby said there was a “considerable sense of anxiety, of being under siege” felt by Christian in Pakistan. “There was a very clear sense that people were nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a sort of a tool of politics, a way of gaining attention, or as a mob thing,” he said. Archbishop Welby urged the Pakistani government to reform its blasphemy laws, saying they have been abused to persecute the poor, Christians and other religious minorities. “I pray for their blessing and for the government to be favourable to seeing that this is not a group that are seeking undue advantage but are only seeking to do good,” he said.

Egyptian church lauds elections: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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The Anglican Bishop of Egypt, the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, has released a statement applauding the freedom and fairness of Egypt’s presidential elections. In a letter released on 30 May 2014, Dr. Anis said that “as soon as the people heard even the initial results being announced, they gathered in squares in cities throughout Egypt, especially in Cairo and Alexandria. The results indicated that Field Marshal Abdul Fatah Al Sisi has won the elections, receiving more than 23 million votes out of 25 million people who voted. His opponent, Mr. Hamdine Sabahi, received just less than one million votes, with another million votes for neither of the two candidates.” Dr. Anis, who is also the Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East noted “many people held peaceful celebrations throughout the night in Tahrir square. They danced and carried the flag of Egypt and posters of Al Sisi.” He added that “I personally think that President Al Sisi is the right choice at this time because Egypt needs a president who can reestablish the security of the country. Without security, tourism and the economic situation will not improve. The new president has to work hard in order to meet the many challenges that are facing Egypt, including the financial situation and the concerns of those who think that Egypt will be ruled in a military-like way.”

Groundbreaking for Uganda Martyrs Museum: The Church of England Newspaper, June 6, 2014 June 17, 2014

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The Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali with his Roman Catholic counterpart the Most Rev. Cyprian Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala, on 28 May 2014 broke ground for an ecumenical museum honoring the Martyrs of Uganda. Celebrated in Uganda each June 3rd, Martyrs Day recounts the martyrdom of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts between November 1885 and January 1887 by Mwanga II, the King of Buganda. In 1964 Pope Paul VI canonized the Catholic martyrs while the story of the faith of Anglican martyrs has played a central role in the identity of the Church of Uganda. Anglican and a Roman Catholic shrines have long stood in Namugongo, but the building of a joint museum marks a significant ecumenical turn for the country’s two dominant churches. In services marking the event, Archbishop Ntagali was invited to lead worship at the Catholic shrine, while Archbishop Lwanga led services at the Anglican church. Speaking to reporters Archbishop Ntagali said the “martyrs are our symbol of faith. They made Uganda proud by sacrificing their lives for what they believed in,” adding that “as Christians, we should emulate them, and love God, and preach love, hate hatred, jealousy and other habits that make us unclean in the eyes of God.”

Sudan’s prisoner of conscience gives birth to baby girl in prison: The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2014 June 17, 2014

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Lawyers for a Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy by a civil court in Khartoum have filed an appeal seeking to overturn her conviction. On 11 May 2014 Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a 27 year old mother of a 20 month old child who is eight months pregnant, was given three to repudiate her Christian faith and become a Muslim. If she refused, she would be executed for apostasy. Born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother, Mrs. Ibrahim was reared as a Christian after her father abandoned the family when she was six. However, under Shariah Law a child of a Muslim father is considered a Muslim. Mrs. Ibrahim, who married a South Sudanese Christian, was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to receive 100 lashes for the crime of marrying a Christian. Under the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence followed in Sudan, apostates are divided into two categories: parental and innate. Innate apostates were those whose parents were Muslim, made a profession of Islam—the Shahada-as an adult and then left the faith, while parental apostates were those born in non-Muslim families and converted to Islam as an adult, and then left the faith. Punishment for an innate apostate is death under Sudanese law, while a parental apostate is given three days to recant their apostasy.  The case has prompted an international outcry with Western governments, NGOs and church leaders calling for her release. Sudanese opposition leaders have also denounced the decision saying it violates the country’s constitutional right to freedom of religion. Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas stated Mrs. Ibrahim’s “continued imprisonment violates international statutes to which Sudan is a signatory as well as article 38 of the country’s interim constitution which guarantees freedom of religion or belief for all and in particular states that ‘no person shall be coerced to adopt such faith that he/she does not believe in, nor to practice rites or services to which he/she does not voluntarily consent.’ CSW calls on the international community to hold Sudan to its international obligations and to provisions contained within its constitution.”

Kidnapped Ugandan children freed: The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2014 June 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda.
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African Union peacekeeping troops in the Sudan have freed 132 children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army. According to a 22 May 2014 report from Sudan’s Catholic Radio Network, the commander of the AU Regional Taskforce last week briefed civic and military leaders in Yambio in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State, stating the children had been freed, 196 LRA soldiers capture and over 502 killed in a recent push against the guerrilla group. Operating from bases in Northern Uganda, Southern Sudan and the south-eastern Central African Republic, the LRA has waged a campaign of terror for over two decades across the region. The specter of an alliance between the LRA and Sudanese rebels led by former Vice-President Riek Machar to topple the government of Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has been raised by Uganda. A spokesman for the Ugandan People’s Defence Force last week told reporters that they believed the LRA and the Sudanese rebels were engaged in secret talks. However, this accusation was “wild propaganda. This is another desperate attempt by the invading UPDF to try to justify and prolong their colonization of some parts of South Sudan,” a spokesman for Machar told the Sudan Tribune.

Vicar of Baghdad honored: The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2014 June 17, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East.
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The “Vicar of Baghdad” the Rev. Canon Andrew White has been given the 2014 William Wilberforce Award by an American evangelical think-tank, the Chuck Colson Center. On 3 May 2014, Canon White, who serves as vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad was honored for “his extraordinary strides in reconciliation and restoration in the face of overwhelming challenges.” The Colson Center singled out Canon White’s work in building a “positive relationship with the government and people of Iraq on every level, from grassroots to the business community to the military. Located in the city’s Red Zone, his church serves 6,000 Iraqi citizens each week — a stunning number for a country with a 97% Muslim population.” The Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, the Rt. Rev. Michael Lewis offered his congratulations ot Canon White, noting that not only had he worked towards building peace within the caldron of Iraq, “he has also helped to bring together various groups in Israel and Palestine for many years.”

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