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The News Centre
Archived News for Jan/Feb/Mar 1999

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31 MARCH 1999: Bishop Jim Ottley has resigned from his position as Anglican Communion observer at the United Nations. The story was broken by Canada's Anglican Journal, and was also listed, briefly, by the Episcopal News Service. Bishop Ottley is the second person to hold this position since it was created eight years ago, and he has done a lot more than "observe."

31 MARCH 1999: The April issue of Anglican Journal is posted, and you should have a look. This is one of the premier online religious publications in the world, and carries stories of worldwide interest as well as Canadian stories.

30 MARCH 1999: The Episcopal Election Committee of the Diocese of Northern Indiana will soon be ready to receive the names of those who might be discerning a call to be their next bishop. Their Episcopal election web page has useful information on process, timelines, diocesan profile, and other notes. They apologize for all the GeoCities advertising, but the site was free and available when they needed it. In a generation or two, all election of bishops will use a process like this one.

27 MARCH 1999: Everything happens faster on the Internet. Whether this is good or bad is interesting, but the Internet is inevitable and things are just going to happen faster. Specifically what this means for the News Centre is that the start, course, and end of a good story all took place inside one week, and the News Centre is published weekly. Tuesday the Ottawa Citizen reported some controversy in the use of the Internet in the electoral process. The Canadian national church website covered the story, and, of course, the Diocese of Ottawa covered the story. Ottawa is one of the most technologically advanced dioceses in the Anglican Communion. St John's Church (mentioned in the news stories) has a web site on which the questions to the nominees were posted, and their answers. Today the diocese announced the election of a Coadjutor, The Very Rev. Peter R. Coffin. We note that he is one of the several candidates who refused to participate in the Internet aspects of the election. Also the Ottawa Citizen reported on the newly-elected bishop.

27 MARCH 1999: Buckingham Palace has announced that next week the Queen of England will distribute the Royal Maundy money at Bristol Cathedral. Nigel McCulloch writes about it in The Times (London). In the Faith section (part of Weekend) for 27 March. Follow our instructions to find it.

27 MARCH 1999: We wish that The Times were more accessible on the Internet, because so many of the articles that Ruth Gledhill writes for the Religion section are worth reading. Try not to fall victim to the Times' triumph of content over form: follow our instructions to find it in the At Your Service section (part of Weekend) in The Times for 27 March.

26 MARCH 1999: Whether or not wars must be fought, it is imperative that they be thought through. It is absolutely the duty of all world religious leaders to force people to think about war and wars. That is much easier to do when there actually is a war, and Anglican church leaders are doing a good job of discussing the issues. Reports in every major newspaper. Church Times covered a speech by the Bishop of Oxford. The Anglican Communion News Service carried a short statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the matter. The U.S. Episcopal News Service carries the statement by the US Presiding Bishop. The Vatican News Service carried a statement by the Pope. The US National Council of Churches issued a statement. The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada sent money to Kosovo. Throughout most of history, most people did not have the opportunity and ability to receive and read statements by world leaders while they are still warm. You do, and you should take advantage of it by reading them.

25 MARCH 1999: Stories about bishops aren't always Anglican news; sometimes they are British political news using bishops as props. An opinion column today in The Independent is rather like that, but if you are even remotely aware of English politics you will probably find amusing this comment on the escapades of the Bishop of Liverpool in a strip club. We reported the event itself on March 14.

25 MARCH 1999: In England, the biggest story about the Millennium has to do with a large dome in Greenwich. In Australia, the populace seems to be much more sensible about the Millennium and isn't building much of anything. But today a small Australian religious magazine named Market-Place carried the story of an ecumenical pilgrimage to a place in the middle of the Australian desert that most residents of Greenwich would probably think was not a place at all. Since Market-Place does not have a web version, we have published a copy of the article for you. On Wednesday 31 March we added two photographs to this story.

21 MARCH 1999: According to The Times (London), the Scottish Episcopal Church will withdraw its money from the Bank of Scotland if that bank does not end its controversial joint banking link with the right-wing American evangelist Pat Robertson. The Most Rev. Richard Holloway, Primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church, instigated this action. Follow our instructions for finding articles in The Times, and look in the Scotland section for March 21.

16 MARCH 1999: Usually when you see news about news coverage you assume that there was nothing else to write about. But Doug LeBlanc, the soft-spoken editor of Anglican Voice, has accomplished something with his writing that is itself newsworthy. He has written a substantive analysis of a proposed breakaway movement that is not infused with the smug gloating that so often infects stories about groups proposing to splinter. Regardless of how you feel about the issues that are motivating some Anglicans to talk about breaking away, you should read Doug's analysis to see that it is indeed possible to write dispassionately about a passionate subject.

16 MARCH 1999: The Times (London) today broke the story, reported by Ruth Gledhill, that the head of visitor services at Salisbury Cathedral has been sacked for "gross misconduct" in a dispute about fundraising plans. To an Anglican public who spent months following the story of the sacking of the organist at Westminster Abbey, this rather reminds us of Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's daughter. Even when you follow our instructions for finding articles in the Times it is tedious to find this article in the Britain section for 16th March, but the Church Times covered it too.

15 MARCH 1999: The ECUSA House of Bishops concluded a six-day retreat Tuesday, agreeing to avoid votes on controversial gay rights issues such as the blessing of same-sex unions during the General Convention in 2000. The ECUSA press office has issued a report on the meeting and the Houston Chronicle ran a story on Wednesday 10 March. Their web site is structured so that we can't link to the article, but you can go to the "Archive" section and search for "Episcopal bishops". Doug LeBlanc wrote an analysis of it for Anglican Voice; so has Integrity.

15 MARCH 1999: In Brockton, Massachusetts, USA, in the Diocese of Massachusetts, there is awful squabbling between two factions in the congregation as to which one of them is entitled to the use of the church building. A member of the congregation has told us that the Rt Rev Edward MacBurney, Retired Bishop of Quincy, came to town to preside over a eucharist on the sidewalk outside the church. Friends in the Diocese of Massachusetts report to us that from their perspective, this feud has been simmering for 15 years. Several years ago Boston newspapers carried the story that when the Bishop of Massachusetts visited this parish he was verbally abused by several members of the parish.

Stories like this always involve a mixture of fact and feeling, and the feelings are always explosive. The record shows that the previous rector of that church was found by a civil court to be guilty of crimes and was "defrocked", making him no longer a priest in ECUSA. The parish continued to employ him as their rector, and stopped paying their diocesan assessment. At the 1998 Diocesan convention, St Paul's was reclassified as a mission rather than a parish church. And today a civil court held that this was not a religious issue but a legal one, and required the congregation to turn over control of the building to the bishop. The Episcopal Synod of America has published two news stories on this topic, one from the Boston Globe and also one written by their own correspondent. The Diocese of Massachusetts also weighs in with its account of the story.

14 MARCH 1999: The lead story in the online version of today's Telegraph (a London newspaper) is that the Archbishop of York has threatened to quit if the church promotes women priests. No other newspaper carries this story. We are intrigued to note that every recent religious article by this author (Jonathan Petre) contains a link to a book by a well-known Seventh-Day Adventist writer whose books argue against the ordination of women and also against what he calls "Sundaykeeping", the attendance of church on Sunday.

14 MARCH 1999: Continuing its streak of reporting stories not noted elsewhere, The Telegraph reported a visit by the Rt Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, to a London night club called "Stringfellows". When last I was in London, I saw posters advertising Stringfellows, and the people in those posters who were wearing only strings were not fellows.

13 MARCH 1999: The Diocese of Chicago has joyously reported, and beautifully recorded, the consecration of the Rt. Rev. William D. Persell as 11th Bishop of Chicago. Not only is the web page coverage quick and professional, but it's so beautiful it brings me to the brink of tears. The Diocese of Chicago is one of those few around the world that set the benchmark for how effectively web pages can be used in our church.

13 MARCH 1999: The Washington Post today reported the publication of a book of Anglican liturgy for animals. While the book's contents have not been approved by the Church of England, there is, according to the author, The Rev. Andrew Linzey, professor of theology at Oxford University's Mansfield College, a great demand for the book. "Animal Rites: Liturgies of Animal Care" (paperback, $18.50 including shipping) is being distributed in the United States by Trinity Press in Harrisburg, Pa. (800-877-0012). To order from the publisher in Great Britain, send an e-mail with credit card information to A U.S. priest has commented, presumably in support of this book, "My dogs were terribly concerned if I said words like vouchsafe and inestimable. I could even say things like 'rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same,' as long as I scratch their itchy places and kept their food and water dishes full."

12 MARCH 1999: I live in California, thousands of miles from New Jersey, but I have heard for several years now a lot of what the Old Testament calls "rending of garments" about the Diocese of New Jersey. Whenever I have met people from that diocese recently, I have asked them "what ever is going on there in the Diocese of New Jersey?" The answers that came back were complex and unsatisfying, but painted a picture that said "many of us don't like our Bishop." The Diocese of New Jersey seems to be accustomed to conflict with its bishop; members of that diocese were, in the middle 19th century, in terrible conflict with their second bishop, George Washington Doane. In any event the answer to "who shall rid me of this turbulent Bishop?" in 1999 was provided by Bishop Joe Morris Doss himself, in his address to the 215th Diocesan Convention. The Trenton Times has written an article about it, and so has the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Anglicans Online has an exclusive: the Bishop of New Jersey writes about the charges against him. We have appended a brief summary of the relevant canon law, and also a short biography of the bishop.

10 MARCH 1999: On 1 March we reported that a public warning letter was sent to the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, Frank Griswold on the subject of liberalism in the US Episcopal church. Today he issued a reply. You can read the official news release about his reply, or you can read the reply letter itself. Since this issue is so intensely political we will refrain from offering any commentary on it at all; there is certainly no shortage of commentary about it elsewhere.

8 MARCH 1999: The Reverend Canon Philip Richardson, B.A., B.Theol., was appointed the first Bishop in the Taranaki Region for the Anglican Diocese of Waikato (New Zealand). Canon Richardson's election was announced in churches on 8 March, in a message sent by the Bishop of Waikato, the Right Reverend David Moxon, following an electoral synod held at Stratford last month. Born in Auckland in 1958, Canon Richardson studied at St John's College (Auckland), Knox College (Dunedin), and the University of Otago. The Warden of Selwyn College, Dunedin, since 1992, he previously served as curate assistants at St Heliers Bay, Whangarei, and Roslyn, and vicar of Holy Cross, St Kilda. The Bishop of Waikato says the idea of a Bishop in Taranaki was thought necessary as long ago as the 1850's, but the diocesan boundaries had made the idea impossible until now. On 1 January this year, says Bishop Moxon, the Waikato diocese expanded to include the southern Taranaki parishes. The diocese now includes people living in the Waikato, King Country, Piako, parts of the Bay of Penty and Thames Valley, as well as Taranaki.


6 MARCH 1999: Andrew Brown has written a piece in The Independent about Faith and Reason in the Anglican church. It is worth reading. We are hard pressed to categorize it as news.

3 MARCH 1999: While exploring the web looking for comments from signers of the public letter to Bishop Griswold (see below) we discovered a nice news story about the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Syria and Lebanon. This is the same visit that was covered in the press a month ago, but you might enjoy reading the story written by people at All Saints Church in Beirut.

1 MARCH 1999: One of the outcomes of the visit earlier this year of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Pope was an agreement to revive and repopulate the Anglican Centre in Rome. According to the Diocese of Ottawa, Bishop John Baycroft will be the Anglican Communion's next ambassador to the Vatican. Bishop Baycroft created a stir in January when he resigned his post in Ottawa (to better enable a search for his replacement) while the Anglican Centre plans were still quite secret.

1 MARCH 1999: Somehow we missed last week the funeral of The Rev. Walter Lini, an Anglican Priest who was the founding prime minister of the country of Vanuatu, which he guided to independence from its former status as the colony "New Hebrides." The Sydney Morning Herald covered his funeral.

1 MARCH 1999: A public warning has been given to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) by seven serving Primates of the Anglican Communion who believe that his Church's liberal tendencies have gone too far. The full text of the letter can be found on Anglican Voice web site. The Church Times has a news story about this event, and a brief editorial. The American Anglican Council (AAC) has issued a statement that, were they a newspaper, would be called an editorial. Anglican Voice has published an analysis of the AAC statement, and the Prayer Book Society of Canada has republished that analysis. Anglican Media Sydney has published the Archbishop of Sydney's comments on this letter (he is one of the signers). (Anglican Media Sydney people: if you are reading this, the "home" button at the bottom of that page doesn't work.)

28 FEBRUARY 1999: The Independent columnist A.N. Wilson lobs a grenade at the Archbishop of Canterbury on the continuing topic of the Millennium Dome and its religious meaning, if any. News Centre readers who do not live in the UK and who are interested in learning more about this controversial dome might want to look at the official British Government web page about the millennium project. And while the details are almost entirely a British domestic issue, the struggle for religious content in a secular world is universal: an article by Victoria Combe in The Telegraph details the struggle for prayer space in the Dome. It notes that "the Prayer Space is expected to be a sparse, silent area with subdued lighting, some seating and walls free of religious symbols or pictures. A Crucifix and a Bible may appear temporarily during Christian worship."

27 FEBRUARY 1999: There is really only one story in the British press this week. A source in England comments "this is the biggest media blitz on one topic we have had here in quite some time." Oddly enough, that story was barely mentioned in the United States press. The best place to which we can refer you for an overview is the BBC Special Report on the Lawrence Inquiry. Though it is an English legal issue, it involves moral behavior and is thus the domain of the church. There are hundreds of articles published this week about the Lawrence Inquiry; we will tell you of the ones that we think have Anglican content. The editor of the Church Times, Paul Handley, wrote an opinion piece in The Independent. That newspaper also talks about the Church of England in its "Just how guilty is your employer?" article. The Archbishop of Canterbury has weighed in briefly on the topic in a statement on the Anglican Communion's web site (rather than the Church of England's site, where we would have expected to find it). We have not found anyone who has actually published the ABC's statement, so we are linking directly to the press release.

An aside: your News Centre editor grew up listening to the BBC World Service on his shortwave radio in the U.S., as the best source of international news. He is fascinated that, several years into the growth of the Internet as an information source, the BBC is again the most reliable British source both for world news and for British news. The British newspapers' web sites are evolving in a direction that makes them much less useful as a world service than they were a year ago. It is also, in general, impossible to make hyperlinks to articles in the British press.

27 FEBRUARY 1999: The Baltimore Sun (Maryland, USA) has published a review of an art exhibit that is attracting attention in the Diocese of Maryland. Painter Edward Knippers has painted Biblical scenes in which most of the subjects are unclothed, including Jesus being crucified. We love the description quoted by one anonymous observer that "this rendition of Christ is quite gender specific." The newspaper's review says "Even in the spacious Mill River Gallery, on Oella Avenue in Ellicott City, the paintings seem to demand more room. They push and pull against each other and even jostle the viewer. They command your attention."

The work of Edward Knippers was reviewed by religious art scholar Theodore Prescott in the Spring 1993 issue of Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion. While the publication of this review predates the existence of the World Wide Web by a few months, the good folks at Image have placed this article, along with all of their other back issues, online. Knippers is not a newcomer to the religious art scene and his work has been widely displayed around the world, but it does not seem to have attracted this sort of attention before. Knippers attends an Episcopal church in Fairfax, Virginia, USA.

27 FEBRUARY 1999: The Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg was consecrated as the third Diocesan Bishop of East Tennessee. Observers from England commented to Anglicans Online that they were very surprised that the consecration was not performed by the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA.

26 FEBRUARY 1999: The Rt. Rev. Frank J. Terry, Diocesan Bishop of Spokane, has died after a long illness. The Spokesman-Review, a newspaper in the See city of Spokane, carried this story.

26 FEBRUARY 1999: Technical problems prevented us from seeing the Church Times this week; its web site still holds last week's news. Next week in the News Centre will review a fortnight of the Church Times.

19 FEBRUARY 1999: Every week we feel joy that the Church Times exists at all. The idea that there is a commercially successful newspaper with world-class writers that is entirely devoted to the Anglican Church is really quite extraordinary in this era. We at Anglicans Online read the Church Times every week, and enjoy its sharp point of view even on those occasions when we disagree with it. Your News Centre editor, who lives in California, met Paul Handley, the editor of Church Times, after church one Sunday at St Alban's Cathedral, and found him taller, younger, more red-headed, and more all-round pleasant than we had expected.

All of us at Anglicans Online are quite sour on this whole Millennium thing. The Y2K hysteria. The dreadful Millennium Dome. The constant need to recall whether "millennium" has one n or two. We also love St Paul's Cathedral for what it is and what it stands for, and we have fun knowing that the St Paul's Cathedral web site is hosted on the very same computer that hosts Anglicans Online. The two have come jarringly together because St Paul's Cathedral sponsored a competition for a millennium hymn. We must confess that at the time it was announced, we failed to notice the announcement because we were busy with concern about the closing of Australia's national Anglican Newspaper, Church Scene.

This week St Paul's announced the winners of the hymn contest, the BBC published what St Paul's told them, and the Church Times interviewed the winners. The writer of the winning lyrics told the Church Times that she is sickened by millennium hype and believes that the Millennium Dome is pagan. Ahhh.

18 FEBRUARY 1999: Giving up your cathedra for Lent? The Right Reverend John Baycroft, Bishop of Ottawa has announced that he is resigning, and has urged the Diocese of Ottawa to accelerate its plans to find a successor.

17 FEBRUARY 1999: One of the first things to come out of the new Archbishops' Council in the Church of England is a formal recommendation that the Internet is important, and that the C of E should make more useful information available on the Internet. The Council reports that it plans to put factual details of all 16,000 English churches on the Internet by Summer 1999.

16 FEBRUARY 1999: A columnist in the Jerusalem Post has absolutely savaged the Archbishop of Canterbury for his statements (reported in Agence France Presse) that Syria is a model of ecumenical happiness. We are not regular readers of the Jerusalem Post and do not know how often columns of this intensity are published, but the the columnist, Moshe Kohn, begins his column entitled "Anglican Shenanigan" with the sentence "One may wonder about the sobriety of the suggestion by Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey that Syria is a model of peaceful coexistence between faiths from which 'the world could learn.'"

15 FEBRUARY 1999: The Archbishop of Canterbury has returned from his visit to The Pope, and newspaper coverage is coming in. The Telegraph says "Carey and Pope seek big push for union." The Church Times says that they have jointly proposed a summit meeting, in Canada, the Anglican Communion News Service has published several nice photographs, and Archbishop Carey's son Andrew has stated that the meeting will not include all Anglican Primates and Cardinals or Archbishops who head their respective Bishops' Conferences. "In fact," says Andrew Carey, "the participants will all be from countries where there are significant Anglican and Roman Catholic communities alongside each other." While we were researching this story we spent some time looking around the Vatican's web site, and we note that the Vatican Information Service is quite silent on the subject of this summit meeting. We also note with fascination that the Vatican's web site, one of the larger and more complex sites on the Internet, has absolutely no hyperlinks to anything outside itself.

15 FEBRUARY 1999: The Times (London) quotes Archbishop Carey as angrily dismissing a report published yesterday that he was overly exhausted by the pressures of his job. In the Britain section of The Times for 15 February 1999. If you are willing to accept our summary of the article, you needn't do the work of reading it. Summary: "The archbishop described the report as absolute tosh, and said: 'I am very vigorous and in very good form. People who talk like this should watch out: I am thinking of carrying on until 2005. There is a lot of life left in me yet.'" The article mentions the age of the Archbishop (63) and the Pope (78).

14 FEBRUARY 1999: Ten years is just a moment in the life of the church. Today's English press reports a new episode in the squabbling over the ordination of women in England; The Independent reports the next episode in a very public squabble between Anne Widdecombe and the Archbishop of Canterbury. And, perhaps not unrelated, The Sunday Times reports (in its Britain section for 14 February 1999) that "Church wars leave Carey 'emotionally exhausted'). See our instructions for reading stories in the #*$@# Sunday Times.

14 FEBRUARY 1999: The primates of the Province of the West Indies, the ECUSA, and the Anglican Church of Canada left today for Havana, Cuba to participate in a meeting of the Metropolitical Council for the Church in Cuba. The Council includes His Grace the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Province of the West Indies, His Grace the Most Rev. Michael Peers, Primate of Canada, The Chairman, and the Most Rev. Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop of ECUSA. The Metropolitical Council is responsible for Archepiscopal oversight of the Cuban Church, and this meeting will review, inter alia, the proposed development of a new Province of ECUSA which will comprise all Spanish- and French-speaking territories in the Caribbean Basin. The meeting ends on 16 February.

14 FEBRUARY 1999: On January 10 we announced the availability on the web of the complete text of the finding of Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle in the matter of the squabble between Westminster Abbey and its organist, and that this was the end of the story. We probably haven't heard the last from Monica L., either, even though that story is also officially over. The Evening Standard has published two stories that strain our credulity, one about a payment by the Abbey and one about a claim by Dr. Neary that the Abbey has not made good on their promise. The Evening Standard's track record at correctly predicting the outcome of Neary-related stories is very low, so we urge you for the moment to treat this article as though you read it in, say, the Weekly World News. However, The Independent, which has been right a lot more often in the Abbey Organist Affair, has published a similar story. We are about to express some opinions here even though this is the News Centre. We would like you not to judge our opinions unless you have read the text of that finding. If you'd like to read all of the peripheral material, you'll need to go to our 1998 news archive page and follow the links that you find there. Here in California at the News Centre desk, eight time zones away from all of the fuss, this looks to us as though Dr. Neary is continuing to take advantage of his good relationship with the English press.

14 FEBRUARY 1999: The Sunday Times (London) reports that the Queen of England's advisers are in talks with church leaders to end the monarch's exclusive control over Westminster Abbey, which has staged most of the coronations of the past millennium. See our instructions for how to find stories in The Sunday Times; it is in the Britain section for 14 February 1999.

11 FEBRUARY 1999: It was ten years ago today that Barbara Harris was consecrated as the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion. I was not there, but I remember the event well, because the next day my organist/choirmaster stood up in church during the Peace and announced that she was leaving to become Roman Catholic because of this consecration. The Diocese of Massachusetts, where Bishop Harris was consecrated, has quite good coverage of this event in its online diocesan newspaper. The Boston Herald also noted the event, and, of course, Barbara Harris was interviewed in The Witness this month.

7 FEBRUARY 1999: The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement held a "Derby Day" closed meeting at the University of Derby, and, as reported in The Telegraph and The Church Times, the event was very very well attended by bishops and other senior church representatives. Twelve bishops attended, and conference organizers reported to the press that a total of 32 dioceses were represented. UK news coverage of this event included mention of an event that we did not notice at the time, the resignation of the Archdeacon of York, the Ven. George Austin, because of his displeasure over the church's position on gays.

5 FEBRUARY 1999: The Church Times reports on a speech by the Rt Rev John Spong, Bishop of Newark, and also has an editorial about it. Bishop Spong polarizes people, but regardless of how you feel about him and his theology, you should probably read these. This being the web and not a traditional newspaper, you can read the entire text of his speech from his Diocesan web site and decide for yourself.

5 FEBRUARY 1999: Andrew Brown will insist that it is not news at all, but rather a feature story, but he has written a provocative essay about organized religion in today's Independent.

5 FEBRUARY 1999: The Church of England's controversial plan to mail millennium candles to every resident of Britain appears to have been foiled by the inability of the candles to fit into a letter box.

2 FEBRUARY 1999: Tourists will be able to walk on water. CNN Interactive reports that Israel's National Parks Authority is planning to build a bridge into the Sea of Galilee that is just under the surface of the water, to enable tourists to experience the sensation of walking on water. So far the majority of respondents to a CNN Interactive opinion poll are not happy with the idea. The BBC carried the story, but doesn't have much to say about it on its web site, though they have an audio clip of a feature story that was carried on some BBC television channel.

2 FEBRUARY 1999: The February issue of Southern Cross (from Anglican Media Sydney) is now online. Have a look. The story that we found to be the most interesting was a lament from one of the Australian delegates to the World Council of Churches conference that the WCC is not responding to evangelical concerns, but is rather focusing on the Northern European liberal agenda.

2 FEBRUARY 1999: The Sydney Opera House has decided to permit the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to serve as guides for two days during Mardi Gras, and all manner of bishops in Sydney are upset about it. We got this story by following our own advice and reading the Anglican Media Sydney web site mentioned just above.

2 FEBRUARY 1999: The Independent reports a squabble between the Bishop of Brechin and the Provost of St Paul's Cathedral Dundee. While squabbles in the church are frequent, this one is colourful enough to warrant a newspaper story partly because the Provost is the highest-ranking female cleric in the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Very Rev Miriam Byrne, whose enemies call her "Attila the Nun".

2 FEBRUARY 1999: The Voice, diocesan publication of the Diocese of Newark, has published a fascinating interview with the Rt. Rev. Richard Shimpfky, Bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real. At least we think it's fascinating; why don't you read it and decide for yourself. There are two dioceses in the Anglican Communion named after rivers, but we think this is the only diocese named after a road.

1 FEBRUARY 1999: 'Christianity and politics do mix', from a talk by the Bishop of Oxford to the Westminster Ethical Forum at St Matthew's Church, Westminster, reported by The Independent.

30 JANUARY 1999: The Archbishop of Canterbury warns of the dangers of demonising Islam.

30 JANUARY 1999: The Bishop of Wakefield reflects on the millennium, more meaningfully than some have done (and no Y2K mention anywhere to be found). Worth navigating The Times to read; see our page for instructions. This 'Credo' article is in the 'Faith' section, which is part of 'Weekend.'

30 JANUARY 1999: Concerning the Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker-Bowles matter: The Independent's 'Faith and Reason' columns posits that there should be nothing holy about matrimony. And, comments The Times, 'The Church of England was officially silent yesterday on the first public appearance of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles'. Whether you want to pick your way through The Times labyrinth to read this brief article depends on how you feel about this matter. (It's in the Britain section, quite naturally.) Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that the Prince is pleased with the lack of reaction from the Church, but goes on to say that the public appearance of the couple raises more questions than answers.

24 JANUARY 1999: His Grace the Most Rev'd Drexel Wellington Gomez will be installed as
Archbishop of the West Indies in a Service of Recognition scheduled for Monday 2 February 1999 (The
Feast of the Presentation of The Lord) in Christ Church Cathedral, Nassau. Bishops from the 8 Dioceses that form the Province will be in attendance, as well as the Bishops of Cuba and Haiti.
Archbishop Gomez is also Bishop of the
Diocese of Nassau and The Bahamas including the Turks and Caicos Islands. Anglicans Online will provide more information on this happy event as we receive it.

24 JANUARY 1999: The Rev. Timothy Nakayama sends two news items from Nippon Sei Ko Kai. An obituary of the priest missionary historian the Rev. Andrew Naofumi Otani, and a report on the ordinations of the first woman priests, in the Dioceses of Chubu and Tokyo.

22 JANUARY 1999: It has been a bad year for old stone churches in the Diocese of Tennessee, USA. On January 21 another tornado ripped through the Diocese of Tennessee, completely destroying Trinity Church in Clarksville. It was less than a year ago that a tornado destroyed most of St Ann's church in Nashville. The best coverage that we have found so far of the 1999 tornados and the destruction of Trinity Church has been the newspaper coverage in The Daily Tennesseean, a Nashville newspaper. WTVF television, Nashville's channel 5, has good coverage on its web site, but television station web sites are rarely archival and we don't know how long these links will continue to work. The best photograph we have found of the damage to Trinity Church is the illustration in the Daily Tennesseean's "Historic buildings shattered" article.

21 JANUARY 1999: The US Episcopal Church has passed a rigorous audit of its financial procedures, thereby providing a formal end to the unpleasant financial problems that were associated with the resignation of its former treasurer in January 1995. The new treasurer, Stephen Duggan, announced today that the New York State Attorney General's office has completed its investigation and has found no fault and made no recommendations that current (post-Cooke) procedures be changed. As you might expect, there is an official press release on this matter. The beginning of this scandal got worldwide press coverage. We wonder if we at Anglicans Online might end up being the only reporting of this quiet and satisfactory ending to it.

17 JANUARY 1999: The Church of England has proposed changes to the eventual coronation ceremony for Prince Charles, as reported in The Independent. The opening sentence says "the Prince of Wales will be crowned King in a multi-faith inauguration ceremony rather than the 1,000-year-old Christian coronation service, under plans being drawn up by Church of England leaders." While this issue may sound frivolous, it is actually quite profound, as you will see if you read the extensive background coverage in The Independent: Church and State: a split, Leader Ancient and Modern, Obliged by oath to uphold the C of E, and The end of establishment (this last column written by the Rt Rev David Jenkins, retired Bishop of Durham). This item may ultimately turn out to be the biggest Anglican news story of the century, because it could set in motion a series of events leading to absolute changes in how our church is governed. This does indeed confirm last week's story rumouring such plans.

16 JANUARY 1999: An unpleasant situation has developed in South Africa over the final resting place of the ashes of Archbishop Trevor Huddleston. Read about it in The Sunday Times, in the World News section.

16 JANUARY 1999: The Rt Rev Michael Ingham, Bishop of the mythical Diocese of Vancouver (and the very real Diocese of New Westminster) has released the results of his decision in re the policy of his diocese on the blessing of same-sex unions. We would love to tell you what decision he made, but, quite frankly, we can't figure it out from the document. Here's a sample: "I am of the view that neither a "yes" nor a "no" would be a satisfactory resolution to our discussions at this time. Even a qualified "yes" or a qualified "no" would be equally unsatisfactory because both would have the same effect, that is, to end the dialogue that has been started by Motion 9. My decision is in six parts. Each is inter-connected with the others." You can read the complete document at If you can figure out exactly what it is that he has decided, please tell us and we'll update the News Centre accordingly.

15 JANUARY 1999: The Archbishops' Council, formed last year in the Church of England, is under way. A feature article in this week's Church Times reports that it is doing well.

15 JANUARY 1999: The Church Times reports on a squabble over candles in St Oswald's church in Shropshire, England, that actually went to civil court. This article contains the sentence "Chancellor Hylton-Foster and Deputy Chancellor Wigglesworth, in Re St Mary's, Tyne Dock [1954] P. 369 and Re St Mary's, Tyne Dock (No. 2) [1954] P. 156, had held portable candle-holders used by acolytes to be unlawful. The authoritative 20th-century statement on the principle was in the Court of Arches in Rector and Churchwardens of Capel St Mary v. Packard [1927] P. 289 at 304." And many other interesting sentences.

11 JANUARY 1999: The Episcopal News Service has posted a new batch of press releases on its web site. If the Anglicans Online News Centre were a more-traditional newspaper we would rewrite these press releases into original-looking articles, taking care to spend as little time as possible on the rewrite. Here on the web we can just link you to the primary source. We draw your particular attention to NewsBriefs, as the other stories are in general more feature pieces than news. The other major online Anglican news source, ACNS, has not yet provided its monthly update. Isn't it charming to live in a world in which monthly news updates are satisfactory?

10 JANUARY 1999: Anglicans Online have acquired an online copy of the entire finding in the matter of the sacking of the organist at Westminster Abbey. If you are not familiar with this story, read below for the date 10 December 1998. This document is long, but it is fascinating and extraordinarily well written, and gives a compelling insight into the complexities of the case. The original document was a word-processor file; we have reformatted it slightly for the web, but have generally preserved as much of its look and feel as is possible. In doing this we have used the Cascading Style Sheet feature of web documents, which is only supported by version-4 browsers; if you are running a web browser older than version 4, the format that you see on your screen will be more primitive, but all of the words will be the same.

10 JANUARY 1999: The Sunday Times reports, as news in the Britain section for 10 January, that senior church figures have held a secret meeting with leaders of other Christian denominations to discuss disestablishment - a move which could eventually involve dropping the Queen as its supreme governor. The article says that the secret meeting took place on November 30. See our instructions for finding articles in The Sunday Times. We are cautious pending confirmation of this news from other sources.

8 JANUARY 1999: The Churches Advertising Network in the UK has opened an Easter advertisement campaign with an image of Christ in the style of a 1960s poster, quite famous all over the world, that featured a black woodcut of Che Guevara on a blood-red background. The UK press is mightily distressed by it. The BBC's coverage has a good image of the poster and a good summary of the public reaction. The Church Times has a level-headed discussion of it, and The Independent has rather a sassy article about it, which did not appear in their web site, but which we have boldly pulled from an Internet email (typed in by hand by a resident so that expatriates could read the article).

6 JANUARY 1999: The "Alpha" campaign in England has been very successful at bringing new people into the church. Perhaps for the same reason that fast food chains have been very successful at bringing more people into restaurants. Pete Ward, youth ministry adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, has written an article calling Alpha the McDonaldization of religion in the current issue of Anvil, which has caused a bit of a stir that; Church Times has published a story on it, as has The Independent. There is no online version of Anvil to which we could refer you.

5 JANUARY 1999: The legal dispute between PECUSA, Incorporated and the Diocese of New Jersey has been resolved. Read the response from PECUSA, Inc, or read everything you might ever want to know about this situation on Louie Crew's page devoted thereto.

5 JANUARY 1999: The Anglican Journal has good coverage of one of the major news stories to come out of the World Council of Churches meeting last month in Zimbabwe. The WCC meeting approved a plan council to create a new forum that could extend its ecumenical reach far beyond its 330-plus member churches. Read the Anglican Journal article here. If you are interested in Anglican news, the online Anglican Journal, published monthly, is a superior primary source, and you should take this opportunity to scan their January 1999 issue.

5 JANUARY 1999: The January issue of Episcopal Life is online. It has, among other things, good follow-up coverage of the ongoing struggle to recover from Hurricane Mitch. While the story of Mitch is no longer news in most of the world, its devastation and the effort to recover from it will redefine life for an entire generation in Central America, and it is good to have depth of coverage like this available online.

3 JANUARY 1999: There is so little news right now that even The Times is resorting to publishing fluff. Some of it is fun to read, though, and the piece by Christopher Morgan in the Britain section of The Times "Charles snuffs out Carey's tacky millennium candle" expresses a sentiment often heard in the Anglicans Online newsroom. While you are in struggling with The Times web site you might want to read about a catfight in the Roman Catholic arena in England; also in the Britain section, and also by Christopher Morgan, find an article "Hume in child sex clash." The "Hume" referenced here is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster. If you've actually made it into The Times' web site, go back to Saturday 2 January 1999, in the Weekend section, subsection Faith, and find a heartwarming article "Sorry, I didn't recognise you, vicar" about the experiences of a non-stipendiary minister wearing his collar in public.

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