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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

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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

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda.
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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

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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.”

British bishop for New Brunswick: The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2014 June 17, 2014

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A Church Army Captain and former clergyman of the Church of England has been elected Bishop of the Diocese of Fredericton in the Anglican Church of Canada. On 10 May 2014 a special session of the diocesan synod elected the Ven. David Edwards, Archdeacon of St Andrews and the diocesan Parish Development Officer as 10th bishop of the diocese that serves the Province of New Brunswick. Born in 1960 in England, Archdeacon Edwards was ordained to the diaconate in 1995 and priesthood in 1996 in the Diocese of Chelmsford, where he served his curacy and as incumbent at St. Mary High Ongar with Norton Mandeville. His also served as Bishop’s Adviser in Evangelism, and Mission and Education Minister for Ongar Deanery. In 1998 he was appointed principal of the Church Army’s Taylor College of Evangelism in St John, New Brunswick. In 2002 he was appointed rector at Stone Church in St John and in 2010 appointed Archdeacon of Saint John. In 2011 he became development officer for the Diocese of Fredericton and later acting Archdeacon of St Andrews.

ARCIC III meets in Durban: The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2014 June 17, 2014

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The fourth meeting of the third session of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) concluded last week in Durban, releasing a communique affirming the need for further talks between the two churches. According to a press released distrusted at the close of the 12-20 May 2014 meeting in Durban, South Africa: “A wide range of papers was prepared for the meeting and discussed, taking the Commission further towards its goal of producing an agreed statement. The mandate for this third phase of ARCIC is to explore: the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church come to discern right ethical teaching.” Following the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey’s 1966 meeting with Pope Paul VI, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission was established to find ways of achieving a reunion of the churches. Beginning in 1970 the first round of talks focused on the authority of Scripture, producing in 1981 the report “Elucidations on Authority in the Church.” A second round of talks was held between 1983 and 2004, producing an agreed statement on Marian theology in 2004. Pope John Paul II terminated talks in the wake of the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. In 2011 Archbishop Rowan Williams and Pope Benedict XVI initiated a third round of talks designed to find common ground on moral teachings.

Prayers for Nigeria’s bombing victims: The Church of England Newspaper, May 30, 2014 June 17, 2014

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The Church of Nigeria’s Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev Ben Kwashi, has released a call to prayer for peace and urged forbearance following an attack on the central market of the city on 22 May 2014. Twin bomb blasts killed 118 and wounded 45 people. The first explosion was detonated at 3:00 pm and the second at 3:30, a move police say was designed to kill those helping the victims of the first blast. No group has so far claimed responsibility, but the attack bears the hallmark of Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram security experts report. The attack on Jos marks the group’s continued drive south from their strongholds in the Northeast and may exacerbate tensions in the region, which has witnessed sectarian violence between Christian Berom farmers and Muslim Fulani cattle herders over the past decade. President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the blasts, calling the perpetrators “cruel and evil,” adding the government “remains fully committed to winning the war against terror, and this administration will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilization.”

Probation for parish treasurer guilty of stealing £60,000: Church of England Newspaper, May 23, 2014 June 3, 2014

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The treasurer of a Londonderry parish has been given a suspended sentence after having pled guilty to 19 counts of theft. On 30 April 2014 the Londonderry Crown Court handed down an 18 month sentence suspended for three years to Lyndsey Bredin (27) who pled guilty 19 counts of theft from Christ Church, Culmore, Muff and St Peter’s in the city. Bredin admitted to stealing the funds between March 2010 and October 2011. A statement from the Diocese of Derry & Raphoe reported that the judge told the Bredin, “It is extremely disappointing that not a penny has been repaid,” and noted the “offending has adversely affected the financial future of the churches for a very long time into the future.”  A spokesman for the parish said, “the theft has been traumatic and painful for church members and we are continuing to work together to face both the financial loss and pastoral consequences of our former treasurer’s breach of trust. Jesus’ call to forgive and pray for those who have wronged us is difficult and challenging. We can only continue to pray for the strength to behave, as God would have us,” adding that “we look forward to reading the judge’s full ruling to understand the appropriateness of a suspended sentence for a theft of some £60,000.”

New Zealand church backs gay blessings: The Church of England Newspaper, May 23, 2014 June 3, 2014

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The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has voted to uphold “the traditional doctrine of marriage” by creating a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions. A statement released by the church’s news service on 14 May 2014 reported “General Synod today passed a resolution that will create a pathway towards the blessing of same-gender relationships – while upholding the traditional doctrine of marriage.” A commission has also been created to find a “process and structure” that would permit clergy to bless gay unions. They are to report their findings to the 2016 session of synod. In their pastoral letter to the church, the three archbishops of the province wrote the church was “both affirming the traditional doctrine of marriage, exploring the recognition of those presently in life-long monogamous same-gender relationships, and seeking a process and structure to enable the possibility of a rite for blessing life-long monogamous same-gender relationships for those who wish to offer this rite.” However members of the synod tell The Church of England Newspaper the motion was an uneasy compromise. The motion does not yet permit gay blessings, angering liberals, while the claim of upholding tradition by creating gay blessings was seen as nonsensical by conservatives.

Pro-gay bias alleged in church marriage commission: The Church of England Newspaper, May 23, 2014 June 3, 2014

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Objections of pro-gay bias in the composition of the commission charged with investigation the issue of gay marriage by the Anglican Church of Canada were raised last week at the meeting of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) in Mississauga, Ont., the Anglican Journal reports. The 2013 session of General Synod passed a resolution directing the drafting of a motion “to change Canon XXI on marriage to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples.” The motion further called for a “broad consultation” and charged a Commission on the Marriage Canon with soliciting the views of church members. On 3 May 2014 the Bishop of Yukon, the Rt. Rev. Larry Robertson told CoGS that traditionalists believed the commission membership had been stacked with pro-gay supporters. The Rt. Rev. Lydia Mamakwa of the Northern Ontario mission also objected that there were no First Nations members on the committee. “Keep this in mind that the church and the Bible teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman…Our elders are very strong in that belief and they would like to see that continue,” she said, stating it was important that the voices of First Nations people not be shut out of the conversation. The chairman of the commission, Canon Robert Falby responded that he was disappointed by the charge of bias. In appointing the members we “were looking for people who occupied the middle road, with perhaps opinions previously expressed on one side or the other, but not anyone who had taken on an advocacy role for one side or the other,” he told CoGS. The Commission will present its findings to the 2016 meeting of General Synod.

Miners strike leads archbishop to issue call to prayer: The Church of England Newspaper, May 23, 2014 June 3, 2014

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The Archbishop of Cape Town has issued a call to prayer to for platinum miners, asking for a just and peaceful solution to the strike in South Africa’s North West Province. Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Implats, and Amplats in Rustenburg and at Northam in Limpopo downed tools on 23 Jan 2014 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500 (£700). The strike has cost the companies over R17.8 billion in revenue and workers have lost more than R7.9bn in earnings. In 2012 47 miners and police were killed in clashes at the Marikana platinum mines in a labour dispute. “Lord, there is something amiss in this economic system and we know it,” the archbishop wrote. “Help us to uphold the dignity of all involved in the current dispute, Give us the courage to stand for all, especially for the miners, Let us hold before us a vision of fairness and accountability as we pursue what makes for peace.”

No negotiations with Boko Haram says Okoh: The Church of England Newspaper, May 23, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Primate of All-Nigeria has urged Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan not to negotiate a prisoner swap with the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh told reporters that Boko Haram had rejected all offers of negotiation, and that its proposal to exchange over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped last month for its members held in custody was a mistake. The captured gunmen were “criminals” the archbishop said, and should be treated as such. Speaking to reporters during the Diocese of Abuja synod on 18 May 2014, the Archbishop said he supported the government’s imposition of martial law in three states affected by the insurgency. “As long as the problem has not been resolved, we can’t get a normal situation … then it would not be wrong to extend it,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria. The Archbishop of Lagos, the Most Rev. Adebayo Akinde told members of the Synod to hold fast in their faith in the face of the challenges facing Nigeria. “These are not times for Christians to solely depend on the cover, care and protection of human efforts and ingenuity,” Archbishop Akinde said, adding, “I do not know what the solution is to solve the Boko Haram issue, I also do not know how it will come but I want government to take seriously the option of a divine intervention.”

Bishop of Cork backs gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, May 23, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Church of Ireland’s Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross has broken ranks with his colleagues and come out in favor of gay marriage. On 18 May 2014 the Rt. Rev. Paul Colton told the BBC Northern Ireland’s ‘Sunday Sequence’ that “I certainly support civil same-sex marriage” and hoped the Church of Ireland would revise its marriage canons to permit gay church weddings. Shortly before last month’s unsuccessful vote to permit gay marriage by the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly the CoI’s Church and Society Commission released a statement affirming its teaching that marriage can only be between one man and one woman. Dr. Colton told the BBC that he would “adhere to that discipline but that is not to say that everyone must be required to take the Church of Ireland’s view of marriage.” While the Church of Ireland in the Republic of Ireland often supports a more liberal theological agenda, the larger evangelically inclined dioceses of Ulster strongly oppose the innovation.

Overseas church pleas to free Boko Haram captives: The Church of England Newspaper, May 16, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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Overseas church leaders have joined the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev. Justin Welby in calling for the release of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. On 7 May 2014 Archbishop Welby denounced the kidnapping as an “atrocious and inexcusable act” and appealed to Boko Haram to “release them immediately and unharmed.” In a sermon given on 5 May 2014 the Archbishop of Cape Town the Most. Rev. Thabo Makgoba called for “all of Africa, and especially South Africa” to rise up and demand their release.  “We are one continent and these girls are our children,” he said. The Archbishop of Canada the Most Rev. Fred Hiltz said the “declared intention” of Boko Haram “to sell them in the market is appalling. It is an abomination against internationally held human rights, and an absolute affront to the efforts of many nations to honour the Millennium Development Goals to empower women and young girls through a good education.” On 8 May 2014 the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori said her church was “horrified at the violence perpetrated against innocent schoolgirls in Nigeria, and the willingness of those who should be addressing this to look the other way.  The unfortunate truth is that girls and women are still deemed dispensable in much of the world, or at least of lesser value than members of the other sex.” Bishop Jefferts Schori said the “necessary response” to the kidnappings was “education – of girls and boys, in equal numbers and to an equal degree, that all might take their rightful place in societies that serve all their citizens with equal respect and dignity.”

Court orders police to finish church fraud investigation: The Church of England Newspaper, May 16, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Bombay High Court has directed police to complete their fraud investigation of four Church of North India Bishops accused of selling church lands for their personal profit. In an order handed down last Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai complained that the initial complaint had been filed in 2008 and that it was “high time” for the “investigation officer completes the probe.” In 2012 the former Bishop in Pune, the Rt Rev Vijay Sathe was arrested on charges of fraud, forgery and breach of trust for allegedly seeking to sell the Afghan Memorial Church in Bombay to property developers and pocketing the proceeds. The former bishops of Bombay, Pune and Gujarat were also ordered arrested by the court. All have since been released on bail. In a report dated 18 April 2009, VR Patil, the Maharashtra State law and judiciary department’s legal adviser, found that a “bogus” corporation entitled the Bombay Diocesan Trust Association Private Limited had been created to “grab the properties of genuine Christian trusts” — the Bombay Diocesan Trust Association Limited (BDTA) and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) in the Diocese of Bombay. “The bogus trustees indulged in many illegal activities to grab the property of BDTA Ltd and SPG by taking advantage of the similarity in the name of the bogus trust with the complainant’s trust,” the Patil report said. In 2004 the fake trust sought to redevelop the Afghan Memorial Church – a former Church of Scotland church built to honour the dead of the First Afghan War – prompting lay members of the congregation to go to the police.

Ceasefire signed in South Sudan: The Church of England Newspaper, May 16, 2014 June 2, 2014

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar have signed an agreement to end the civil war in South Sudan.  On 9 May 2014 a cease fire agreement was signed in Addis Ababa to end the tribal conflict that has left thousands dead and driven almost a half million people from their homes. The Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan the Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul accompanied by his Roman Catholic counterpart Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, the Rt. Rev. Peter Gai Lual Marrow joined the talks brokered by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the African Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and the US and British governments. Mark Simmonds, British foreign minister for Africa, welcomed the accord as “long overdue” but added it was “essential that both sides ensure its immediate implementation and take full responsibility for the forces under their control. Only with continued engagement and the genuine commitment of both sides will South Sudan be able to pull back from catastrophe,” he said. “This conflict has caused innumerable deaths, forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, and brought the country to the brink of famine.” While on a visit to Juba last week the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, stated: “Churches in South Sudan have a significant role in national dialogue, affirming unity and a sense of nation-building by strengthening a process of reconciliation.”

Respect minorities demands Malaysian Church: The Church of England Newspaper, May 16, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Malaysian Government’s silence in the face of Islamist extremism could destroy the harmony of the country’s multi-racial society. Speaking to reporters following his election last week as President of the Bible Society of Malaysia, the Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia, the Rt. Rev. Ng Moon Hing said that he was “really worried for the nation in the next 10 years, if nothing is done to stop” anti-Christian and anti-Chinese provocations. In January the government raided the warehouses of the Bible Society confiscating Iban and Malay language Bibles on the grounds that their use of the word Allah for God was an affront to Islam and a violation of civil law. On 6 May 2014 the president of the Islamic Society of Malaysia Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman said allowing Chinese migration to Malaya was “a mistake” that must be rectified. He added that the Chinese were intruders who had been brought to Malaya by the British to oppress Malays. Bishop Ng warned “If the fabric (of society) is torn to a position that it cannot be mended, I feel very sad for the next generation. My generation is retiring, your generation will be very difficult to mend… trust is difficult to mend.” He added religious faiths must promote the community. “It must promote harmonious living, living together and sharing, then only the religion can survive and the nation will have parallel benefits from it,” he said.

Church of Norway rejects gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, May 16, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The General Synod of the Church of Norway, the Kirkemøtet, has rejected a motion that would have permitted same-sex church weddings or the blessing by clergy of same-sex civil unions. However, the 8 April 2014 meeting in Kristiansand also voted not to affirm the church’s traditional stance that marriage is between one man and one woman. The vote against gay marriage was 64 votes to 51, while the vote rejecting the church’s traditional stance on marriage was 62 to 54. In 1993 Norway introduced same-sex civil partnerships and in 2008 amended its marriage laws to make them gender-neutral. Church of Norway priest, the Rev. Dr. Arne H. Fjelstad – director of The Media Project in Washington – told The Church of England Newspaper the defeat of the gay marriage motion was “really a Pyrrhic victory for the more moderate/conservative group within the church.” He noted that some pro-gay marriage bishops after the vote urged patience saying: “With such a close race there is now much more liberty/freedom for us to conduct ceremonies for gays and lesbians. Stay in the church – don’t leave, we have more freedom now, and the situation is doomed to change within a few years.”

No one above the law, Church of Ireland states: The Church of England Newspaper, May 16, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland.
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Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was arrested last week and held for question for four days by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972. Mrs. McConville was allegedly murdered by the IRA for being an informer. Mr. Adams has denied any involvement in the murder or that he was a member of the IRA. Upon his release he told reporters the allegations against him came from “enemies of the peace process.” In a statement given to the Church of England Newspaper, the Church of Ireland’s Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt. Rev. Harold Miller, who serves as the chairman of the CoI’s Northern Ireland Community Relations Working Group, responded to Mr. Adams arrest by referring to the continued use week by week in many Church of Ireland parishes of the ‘Prayer of the Church Militant’ at Holy Communion, with the words that “those in authority ‘may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice,’ as a reflection of the Church’s stance.”

Gene Robinson to divorce: The Church of England Newspaper, May 16, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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Bishop Gene Robinson has announced that he is divorcing his spouse Mark Andrew. In a column printed in the Daily Beast on 3 Mary 2014, Bishop Robinson stated: “Recently, my partner and husband of 25-plus years and I decided to get divorced. While the details of our situation will remain appropriately private, I am seeking to be as open and honest in the midst of this decision as I have been in other dramatic moments of my life—coming out in 1986, falling in love, and accepting the challenge of becoming Christendom’s first openly gay priest to be elected a Bishop in the historic succession of bishops stretching back to the apostles.” The Episcopal Church’s first “out” gay bishop, in 1986 Bishop Robinson divorced his wife and made public his sexual orientation. His election as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 precipitated the crack up of the Anglican Communion, leading to a majority of the church’s provinces to break or qualify their relationship with the Episcopal Church.  The bishop noted that there was “at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples. All of us sincerely intend, when we take our wedding vows, to live up to the ideal of “til death do us part.” But not all of us are able to see this through until death indeed parts us.”

Episcopal Church’s ecclesiology incoherent, report finds: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in ARCIC, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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The lack of an authoritative universal magisterium for Anglicans prevents Catholics and the Episcopal Church of the USA from holding a common moral theology and ecclesiology, a document prepared by the US Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue commission has concluded. Released on 22 April 2014 “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness, represented “the latest landmark in our journey together as churches, and is a valuable contribution to an important topic,” commission co-chairman Bishop John  Bauerschmidt said. However, the document concluded that future ecumenical progress was unlikely as the “absence of an authoritative universal magisterium among the churches of the Anglican Communion marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority. … Without such a universal teaching authority it is difficult to state definitively the teaching Anglicans hold on many specific matters, beyond the governing documents and prayer book of each particular church. This fact marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority from the Roman Catholic Church and helps to explain a significant tension in the relationship between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.” In their conclusion the commission stated: “It is hard to see how our differences in moral theology and ecclesiology will be resolved, and it is not clear to many whether they should be.”

Church of Ireland rejects gay marriage bill: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland.
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The Church of Ireland’s Church and Society Commission has reaffirmed the church’s opposition to gay marriage. In a statement distributed to Members of the Legislative Assembly prior to the 29 April 2014 voted on the motion put forward by Sinn Féin, the commission stated the church’s teaching was that “marriage is part of God’s creation and a holy mystery in which one man and one woman become one flesh … The Church of Ireland affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching that marriage is in its purpose a union permanent and life–long, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side … The Church of Ireland recognises for itself and of itself, no other understanding of marriage.” The Roman Catholic Church also opposed the bill, telling MLAs their opposition to the bill was based on “religious conviction” and “human reason”. The bill was defeated after the Democratic Unionist party and the Ulster Unionist party joined by some Catholic MLAs blocked the bill.

Episcopal approval for contraception law: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Philippines.
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The Supreme Court of the Philippines has struck down portions of the country’s new contraception law, reaffirming the ban on abortion, and introducing safeguards to protect the rights of parents and of health workers. The Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008 was passed by Congress in 2012 over the vociferous opposition of the Roman Catholic Church, which objected to government sponsored birth control programs and sex education programs. However, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) gave its support to the law. On 1 April 2011 the Prime Bishop of the ECP, the Most Rev. Edward Malecdan stated the 1958 Lambeth Conference affirmed the morality of contraception and stated that family planning was among the prudential choices given by God to man. The bill was pro-life, pro-women, pro-child, he argued, stating the state should “uphold and promote responsible parenthood. In its 25 April 2014 decision the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the law that defined the beginning of human life as the moment an embryo implants in the uterus—rather than the moment the ovum is fertilized. The Court also annulled rules requiring Catholic hospitals and health workers to endorse contraceptives with their patients and gave minors access to sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent.

Mission consultation for Myanmar: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

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Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo of the Church of the Province of Myanmar (CPM) reports that 70 representatives from church aid agencies met in Yangon (Rangoon) on 25-26 February 2014 for a Development Partners Roundtable meeting.  The gathering discussed opportunities for local development in Myanmar following the relaxation of martial law last year and the country’s opening to overseas aid. Representatives from the American-based Anglican Relief and Development Fund noted the CPM had a “long history of sponsoring creative community development projects in areas such as education, economic empowerment, healthcare, and agriculture. Through organizations such as the Mother’s Union and the Development Desk, CPM has already improved the lives of thousands of everyday people in numerous cities and villages.” The goal set by the meeting, ARDF reported, was for the province to expand its “community development work and achieving financial self-sufficiency at every level.”

Archdeacon sued for fraud: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper, Crime.
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The Diocese of Brandon in the Anglican Church of Canada last month filed suit against its former archdeacon seeking to recover C$350,000 embezzled by the Ven. Noah Njegovan, (30). In May 2013 Mr. Njegovan was arrested on charges of having committed a fraud while serving as executive archdeacon of the diocese and assistant to his father, Bishop James Njegovan. Prosecutors allege that between March and September 2012 Mr. Njegovan used a diocesan credit card and made online transfers of funds sent by congregations to the diocese for his personal use. In his address to the October 2012 meeting diocesan Synod Bishop Njegovan stated that his son had resigned in September 2012 as executive archdeacon and was moving to Winnipeg to pursue other opportunities. A forensic audit of diocesan accounts uncovered the fraud in December 2012, which led to the archdeacon’s arrest.

Georgia gun ban misfires: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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An American bishop has banned the possession of firearms on all church properties following the enactment of a state law permitting churches to regulate handguns in churches. On 28 April 2014 the Bishop of Atlanta, the Rt. Rev. Robert Wright issued a pastoral directive to the diocese stating: “My judgment, charge and directive – as the ecclesiastical or governing authority, of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, is that with the exception of on-duty law enforcement officers, firearms are not permitted in church buildings or on church property.” Issued in response to a Georgia law which permits licensed gun owners to bring firearms into the state’s churches, provided that an individual place of worship allows it, the bishop’s letter extends the ban to all church property – including rectories.  Canon lawyers believe the bishop’s letter oversteps his authority. Allan Haley noted the statute makes the “governing authority of the place of worship the entity to decide whether guns shall be allowed.” However, the “governing authority of a parish is it’s rector and vestry, not the bishop. Even the cathedral is governed by its dean and not the bishop” under canon law, he noted. What the bishop has done here is assume authority that he does not have under the national canons, and which the statute does not grant him,” Mr. Haley said.

Politicians must share the pain, bishop declares: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies.
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The Jamaican government’s call for the country to make sacrifices to see the nation through the economic depression that has gripped the Caribbean, must also be borne by the nation’s leaders, the Bishop of the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands told the 144th meeting of the diocese’s synod on 22 April 2014. The Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory welcomed the recent statement by the Governor General, Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition that the country was in need of a moral reawakening, but Jamaica’s leaders must set an example. The situation facing the country was analogous to that Israeli faced with during the time of the Prophet Nehemiah, the bishop said.  “Nehemiah, having challenged the people to make sacrifices for the common good by redeeming their debt, recognised that he, too, had to send a positive signal as to what he was prepared to do on his part,” he said. “It was not enough for him to be the leader of this mission. So Nehemiah took the decision to forgo his allowance as governor because of the heavy tax burden which the people were already being asked to bear,” Dr. Gregory said, adding Jamaica’s “need to send a signal which says that they, too, are part of the sacrifice, part of the project – not from somewhere up there, but on the ground where it hurts.”

Gafcon call for moral clarity from the C of E: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Archbishops of the GAFCON movement have urged the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev. Justin Welby to clarify the “moral confussion” that has possessed the Church of England over gay marriage. In a statement released at the close of the 24-26 April 2014 meeting in London, the 11 archbishops – representing more than two thirds of the Anglican Communion’s active members — highlighted the problems facing their particular churches, but also spoke to recent actions taken by the Church of England’s House of Bishops. “Meeting shortly after the recognition in English law of same sex marriage, which we cannot recognise as compatible with the law of God, we look to the Church of England to give clear leadership as moral confusion about the status of marriage in this country deepens. The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly noted that the decisions of the Church of England have a global impact and we urge that as a matter of simple integrity, its historic and biblical teaching should be articulated clearly.” The GAFCON primates council also expressed concern over the “state of lay and clerical discipline” in the Church of England, noting the pastoral guidelines adopted by the bishops were being flouted with impunity. “We pray for the recovery of a sense of confidence in the whole of the truth Anglicans are called to proclaim, including that compassionate call for repentance to which we all need to respond in our different ways,” the statement said.

Archbishop’s kidnappers arraigned: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Crime.
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Three men have been arraigned before a magistrate in Port Harcourt, charged with 17 counts of kidnapping, including the number two man in theChurch of Nigeria. In a statement released by the Department of State Security (DSS) Chibueze Nwaogba, Onyedikachi Emmanuel Okoro and Philip Chikaodiri Ogbuewu were charged with the Sept 2013 abduction of the Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, Bishop of Niger Delta North, Archbishop of the Province of the Niger Delta and Dean of the Church of Nigeria and 20 other victims. The Niger Delta State Director of the DSS, Mr. Apok Nyam, said on 17 April 2014 the three have been bound over for trial and will appear before the courts on 1 September 2014. On 6 Sept 2013 while driving to Port Harcourt to attend a meeting of the Church of Nigeria’s Standing Committee, the archbishop’s car was stopped at a roadblock. The gang seized the archbishop and held him for a week.  The complaint filed against the gang said a ransom of N10 million (£35,000) was paid to the kidnappers for the release of the archbishop.

Fort Worth court win: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Fort Worth, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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The Texas courts have handed the Episcopal Church of the USA a loss in its dispute with the Diocese of Fort Worth, rejecting its plea for a rehearing of its case that the diocese should not be allowed to quit the national church and returning a $100,000 bond to the diocese and lifting the requirement that it provide a monthly accounting to the national church. On 24 April 2014 the 141st District Court in Fort Worth agreed to move forward with a new trial in the property suit brought five years ago by the national church against the diocese five years ago. The attorney for Fort Worth Scott Brister, a retired Texas Supreme Court judge, noted, “The judge ruled with us. It’s time to move forward and finish this suit.” The Rt. Rev.  Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth commented that this as a “great encouragement to us, and we look forward to the day when all these legal proceedings are behind us and we can get on with the mission of the Church without the distraction of litigation.” In August the court will likely consider motions for summary judgment, which if granted, would resolve the dispute in favor of the diocese.

Archbishop urges Christians to see the Bible through a skeptical eye: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Archbishop of Wales has urged the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to cast a skeptical eye on the Biblical prohibitions, saying the authors of Scripture were ignorant of modern committed same-sex relationships. In his 23 April 2014 Presidential Address Dr. Barry Morgan stated the “few texts we have in the Bible about same-sex relationships are very negative. Yet, it can be argued that homosexual relationships as we understand them in terms of committed, faithful, monogamous, long lasting relationships, were unknown in biblical times and what the texts rail against is sexual promiscuity and experimentation.” Jesus did not speak to the issue of same-sex relationships the archbishop averred, adding that it was not impossible for the church’s teaching on gay marriage to evolve as it had on divorce and remarriage. “Will we, as a Church, eventually adopt the same approach as far as same-sex relationships are concerned, as we have done about re-marriage after divorce, or is gay marriage in a different category from the re-marriage of divorced people,” Dr. Morgan asked. The archbishop’s address kicks off a formal round of debate on gay marriage within the Church of Wales. No decisions were taken at the meeting, but Dr. Morgan asked the debate be respectful. “Whatever our viewpoints, I hope that our discussions can be charitable.”

Call to fasting and prayer for Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for a nationwide day of fasting and prayer in response to the escalating war with the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. On 25 April 2014 the national president of the country’s pan-Christian association, the Rev. Ayo Oristsejafor said that Nigeria’s hope lay in the Lord. Last week the militant group detonated a bomb at an Abuja commuter bus station killing and wounding several hundred people. In the Northeastern state of Borno near the border with Cameroon the group kidnapped 230 girls from a state boarding school and has fled into the bush with their hostages. Last year, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, but martial law has not halted attacks. Amnesty International estimates that at least 1,500 people — more than half of them civilians — died in the first three months of 2014. “The escalation of violence in northeastern Nigeria in 2014 has developed into a situation of non-international armed conflict in which all parties are violating international humanitarian law,” said Netsanet Belay, an official with that rights group. “Civilians are paying a heavy price as the cycle of violations and reprisals gather momentum.”

Personal holiness tops agenda of Ghana clergy conference: The Church of England Newspaper, May 2, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of West Africa.
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Over 400 members of the Ghana Anglican Clergy Association have gathered at the Ofoase- Kokoben Pope John Paul II Formative and Retreat Centre in Bekwai Municipality to discuss the role of the church in Ghanian society. In his presidential address to the “Anglican Priests in the 21st century, Challenges and Prospects” conference on 25 April 2014 the Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa, the Most Rev. Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, Archbishop of Ghana, urged priests to identify more closely with their people, by joining in their sorrows and joys. He urged priests to lives of personal holiness, and urged them to respond to the challenges of Pentecostalism by making worship innovative and alive. The five day gathering will examine clergy welfare and pension programmes, the health and future of Ghana’s 10 dioceses, and church-state cooperation in secondary education.

Anglican Ordinariate falling short: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Anglican Ordinariate has failed to live up to its expectations for growth, Mgr Keith Newton, the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham said on 14 April 2014 at a Chrism Mass held at its central church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London. Joined by over 70 clergy and the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop, Antonio Mennini, told the congregation of that “the Ordinariate has not grown as much as we hoped it might. The vision has not been caught.” He urged its members to “communicate more widely and with more vigour and enthusiasm” its vision adding: “We cannot be mediocre or lukewarm in our response to God’s overflowing grace if we are going to be missionary disciples.” With 85 priests and approximately 1500 lay members the Anglican Ordinariate in England and Wales was created by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 to allow former Anglicans to enter en masse the Catholic Church.

Supreme Court denies leave to appeal to St Aidan’s: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of North America, Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation.
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The Supreme Court of Canada has denied leave to appeal requested by the congregation of St. Aidan’s Anglican Church in Windsor in its dispute with the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Huron over the ownership of the church’s building and assets. The decision lets stand a September 2013 decision b the Court of Appeal which upheld the ruling of the trial court granting ownership to the diocese and awarding the diocese C$100,000 in costs. Writing in the Anglican Network in Canada’s Newsletter, St Aidan’s rector the Rev.  Canon Tom Carman noted: “Yes, sadly the Supreme Court has decided not to grant us leave to appeal.  It’s not really surprising – not from a human standpoint – but we were hoping for a miracle.  Sometimes, though, God simply calls us to bear reproach for his name’s sake.  And we know that in the end our reward is with Him and in Him.  He will see us through this. Please do continue to keep us in your prayers.”

Lawsuit demands bishop release spending figures: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Corruption.
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The parish council of St Andrews Vicarage Church, Ngangelizwe has filed a complaint in the Eastern Cape High Court seeking an order requiring the Rt. Rev. Sitembele Mzamane, Bishop of Mthatha in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to release the diocese’s income statements. The 1 April 2014 lawsuit further asks that the bishop’s salary and benefits be made public, along with the salaries of all other diocesan employees. Parish Council president Humphrey Lusu stated that although canon law requires the church’s financial statements be made public, the bishop had declined to do so. On 15 September 2009 the 49th session of the synod for the diocese, which had formerly been known as the Diocese of St John’s Kaffraria until 2006, saw protests from the clergy over alleged misconduct by Bishop Mzamane. A petition was circulated calling for his resignation and formal charges were laid before Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba for review. No action was taken, however. The bishop must file an answer to the lawsuit by 15 April 2014.

Edinburgh parishes quit Church of Scotland over gay ministers: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2014 June 2, 2014

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Two evangelical congregations have quit the Church of Scotland this week in protest to last year’s vote by the General Assembly permitting the ordination of gay clergy. The departure of St Catherine’s Argyle and New Restalrig, both in Edinburgh, will cost the Presbytery of Edinburgh over £315,000 in lost contributions. The minister of New Restalrig along with the majority of his 2000 member congregation have joined the Free Church of Scotland while the 700 member St Catherine’s and its clergy are currently in talks negotiating their withdrawal. The minister of St Catherine’s Argyle, the Rev. Robin Sydserff told The Herald “both our internal consultation over the past year and the Presbytery’s formal consultation have indicated that our decision has the backing of the vast majority of the active congregation.” The minister of New Restalrig, the Rev. David Court added “There is of course a real materialistic challenge leaving the Church of Scotland with the stipend and the manse, but I don’t regret my decision for a moment. … I am free to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is a wonderful experience to be supported both by my congregation and my colleagues in the Free Church.”

Lord Williams applauds Iran outreach to Baha’is: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Bahá’í, Church of England Newspaper, Persecution.
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The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams of Oystermouth has lauded the call by a leading Iranian Shiite ayatollah for peaceful co-existence between Muslims and the Baha’is of Iran. On 7 April 2014 Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani Ayatollah Tehrani posted to his website the announcement that he was creating an illuminated calligraphic rendering of several verses from Baha’u’llah’s Kitab-i-Aqdas, the “Most Holy Book” of the Baha’is. “I present this precious symbol – an expression of sympathy and care from me and on behalf of all my open-minded fellow citizens who respect others for their humanity and not for their religion or way of worship – to all the Baha’is of the world, particularly to the Baha’is of Iran who have suffered in manifold ways as a result of blind religious prejudice,” the ayatollah said. The gift was of “immense significance” Lord Williams noted as it “represents not only a personally gracious gesture but also a strand within the Islamic world at its best and most creative which is deeply appreciative of all that helps human beings to respond to God’s will for peace and understanding.” The Baha’i World News Service reported the lead bishop in the Lords on foreign policy the Bishop of Coventry the Rt. Rev. Christopher Cocksworth had also applauded the gesture. “Given the systemic and long standing suffering experienced by the Baha’i community in Iran, this is an imaginatively courageous step by a senior Iranian Islamic scholar,” said Dr. Cocksworth on 9 April.

Sudan archbishop elected: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Sudan.
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The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan (ECSSS) has elected the Rt. Rev. Ezekiel Kondo, Bishop of Khartoum as Archbishop for Sudan (north). On 4 April 2014 the church’s bishops elected Bishop Kondo to serve as the first archbishop for the newly created northern province of the ECSSS. At the November 2013 meeting of general synod, the ECSSS voted not to split the church into two national provinces in light of the independence of South Sudan, but two create two internal provinces: one for the Republic of South Sudan and one for the Islamic Republic of Sudan that would consist of the dioceses of Khartoum, Port Sudan, Wad Medani, Kadugli, and El Obeid. A native of the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, Bishop Kondo was elected Bishop of Khartoum in 2003 and has led the church through recurring bouts of persecution by the Islamist government in Khartoum.

Bishops’ plea to vote against the BJP: The Church of England Newspaper, April 25, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Politics.
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The Moderator of the Church of South India has endorsed a joint pastoral letter with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Hyderabad calling upon Christians in Andhra Pradesh not to cast their votes in support of sectarian political parties in the forthcoming elections for the state assembly and India’s federal parliament, the Lok Sabha. In a letter read in the states’ churches on 13 April 2013, Bishop Govada Dyvasirvadam and Archbishop Thumma Bala asked Christians to “elect leaders who are close to people and their needs, and only vote for those who uphold secular character and promote communal harmony.” Bishop Dyvasirvadam told the Times of India he had taken the unprecedented step of offering political advice to protect Christians. “We are worried about the communal carnage that happened in Kandhamal, Orrisa and what is happening now. There could be a repeat in the state, if the voters do not take an anti-communal stand. We need a strong government to protect us,” Bishop Dyvasirvadam said.

Stockport vicar arrested for rape: The Church of England Newspaper, April 18, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Diocese of Chester has confirmed that the vicar of St Michael and All Angels Church Bramhall in Stockport, the Rev. Simon March (54) has been arrested by the Greater Manchester Police on suspicion of rape.

A spokesman for the diocese told CEN: “We are shocked and surprised at the arrest of the Vicar of Bramhall and the allegations he faces. We will cooperate fully with police enquiries. Simon Marsh will be suspended from his parish duties. A senior priest will be asked to stand in and provide pastoral and church services support.”

A GMP spokesman said: “Police are investigating a report of historic sexual abuse in Bramhall. The offences occurred between 2011 and 2013 when the woman was aged between 16 and 19-years-old. A 54-year-old man from Bramhall has been arrested on suspicion of rape. He has now been bailed pending further enquiries. Enquiries are ongoing.”

Canterbury clarifies gay marriage remarks: The Church of England Newspaper, April 18, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, has clarified remarks made last week to a radio audience linking gay marriage in the West to the murders of Christians in Africa. In an interview with Canada’s Anglican Journal given during a visit to Toronto last week the archbishop said his words had been misconstrued. There would be consequences to actions taken by the Church of England over gay marriage, but he declined to say whether this was reason enough not to act. “What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world…And, this is not mere consequentialism; I’m not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn’t take action.” The archbishop added: “What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak the essential point that, as a church, we never speak only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world. Now that will be more true in some places than in others. It depends on your links. We need to learn to live as a global church in a local context and never to imagine that we’re just a local church. There is no such thing.”

Boko Haram forces closure of Nigerian diocese: The Church of England Newspaper, April 18, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria.
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The Church of Nigeria has temporarily closed the Diocese of Damatura in Northeastern Nigeria’s Yobe State due to the terror campaign waged against Christians by Boko Haram. The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh reports the Rt. Rev. Abiodun Ogunyemi has been evacuated to Jos and the “clergy are just being paid to keep it on.” The Islamist terror group has sought to drive Christians out of Northern Nigeria and in recent months has moved the war south. On 14 April 2014 over 200 people were killed when a bomb detonated at a commuter bus station outside Abuja. The previous day approximately 60 Christians were murdered in the Northeastern State of Borno. However “our church in Maiduguri is miraculously on but the churches are being attacked here and there,” Archbishop Okoh said. “The Bishop has escaped so many attacks, but he is still there; so what we are doing is to find a way to support the Bishop to support his members. The Bishop is there to ensure that the church does not die.” “Let me say that evil will not win this battle no matter how long it takes,” Archbishop Okoh said.

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