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| 30 September
1999: Motivated no doubt by the runaway success of Anglicans Online
and its award-deserving News Centre, the Church of England is trying
an experiment with "vicars of the net." The Guardian carries
about the Parish of the Net and its launch ceremony in a football
stadium. A real one, not a virtual one. This could be the beginning
of something very revolutionary or it could be a candidate for the Fruitcake
Zone. We'll keep you posted.
27 September 1999: There was a story in the newspapers in Australia last week about a bishop caught in a sex scandal. We at Anglicans Online made the editorial decision not to run the story here because we are quite weary of news about sex and sexuality. We figured that the story would quietly go away, and that you would be none the worse for not having heard about it here. But the story did not go away, so we think we ought to tell you about it. Sex scandals seem to have the property that, given enough time or enough distance, people stop caring. No one really seems to care any more whether or not an archbishop who died in 1841 was involved in a sex scandal, but we suppose that you do need to care that a bishop who had not died yet was involved in one. So, here are the particulars. The Sydney Morning Herald carried this story on September 27; The Age also carried the story. The web page for the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn carried an official announcment.
On October 2 The Australian ran a story titled "Hushed support for bishop in exile." It says, for example, "If the three bishops who spent 18 months investigating the complaint thought their parishioners and priests were not going to contest the decision, they now know how seriously they underestimated the bishop's popularity." The Australian does not seem to keep back issues online, so we can't link you to it, and it's a Murdoch paper, so we daren't make a local copy. But, well, you get the idea.
27 September 1999: We just can't get away from these pesky sex scandals. The Pan African News Agency reported on 20 September 1999 that "The Anglican Church in South Africa has been rocked by allegations that one of its priests allegedly raped a woman at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town."
26 September 1999: The Episcopal News Service reports that the Rev. George Packard has been elected suffragan bishop for the U.S. Armed Forces.
26 September 1999: The Times has published a series of Top 20 lists in its edition of 26 September 1999. It's listed on the front page as "the 500 most powerful people in Britain;" see "Top 20 spiritual leaders." Several of the people who are mentioned regularly in the News Centre are on that list.
25 September 1999: Last year at this time, it seemed that all of the news was about sexuality. This year it seems that it's all about the Archbishop of Canterbury. At least the Archbishop isn't blending them, in the style of Bill Clinton. Victoria Combe writes in The Telegraph that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, appealed for greater power yesterday as leader of the Anglican Communion. However, sex always finds some way to get into the news; The Times reports, in the Britain section for 26 September 1999, that the Church of England is facing a new row over revelations that clergy are knowingly marrying transsexuals. That same issue reports that a leading cleric (the former Bishop of St Andrews) has called for the resignation of the Archbishop.
25 September 1999: The Times (London) reports in the Britain section of its edition for 25 September 1999 that St Paul's, Knightsbridge, is looking for a new vicar. This is international news because of the standing of that parish; it includes some 60 acres southwest of Hyde Park Corner, such as the exclusive Belgrave Square. Within its boundaries are three clubs including the Caledonian, and 14 embassies or high commissions.
24 September 1999: The Letters section of today's Telegraph has several letters in response to the marriage issue (see below for 21 September). The first letter is about missile testing, but don't let that deter you; scroll down.
22 September 1999: The Anglican Consultative Council's 11th meeting has ended, and there has been a blizzard of press releases from it. We at Anglicans Online have not yet had time to read them, digest them, and comment on them, but you can read the press releases at the source if you are in a hurry. We find ourself unable to resist forming an opinion about the ACC having issued a press release about technology. We had previously assumed that there would be a run on the world's supply of cloth ribbons for Royal typewriters in the preparation of these press releases. We presume that something like this was written when Westminster Abbey first got indoor plumbing.
22 September 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that "The Archbishop of Canterbury, famously touchy about his media profile, has taken exception to a recent attack on him by a journalist - with the unprecedentedly absurd upshot that he has cancelled his family subscription to Church Times." We at Anglicans Online don't want the Archbishop to go cancelling his subscription to our publication, but we don't think he'll mind us quoting The Telegraph here. This issue relates to the news story reported below for 9 September 1999.
21 September 1999: The Church of England is thinking about relaxing its ban on divorced people being remarried in a church. Article in The Guardian by James Meek; Article in The Telegraph by Victoria Combe. BBC News Online article by Alex Kirby; another BBC article on a similar topic, also by Alex Kirby. A BBC online survey of reader opinion on this topic is still (27 September 1999) taking votes. And The Times carries an article on this topic by Ruth Gledhill (Britain section of The Times for 21 September 1999); see our instructions for reading articles in The Times. Another article in the Guardian, published a few days later, is a profile of Andrew Spurr, a divorced and remarried priest. And Victoria Combe writes in the Telegraph that the Church of England admitted publicly yesterday that all English dioceses already allow second weddings at times.
20 September 1999: The Telegraph carries an article by Michael Paterson reporting on an essay by George Carey appearing in the same newspaper. The Most Rev George Carey is of course the Archbishop of Canterbury.
19 September 1999: The BBC reports that "Senior Anglican leaders from around the world have met behind closed doors for a discussion on human sexuality - but they left without saying a word." One of the groups that presented to this meeting, the Lesbian and Gay Christians, has said a word, they said it in a column in The Guardian.
19 September 1999: Canada's National Post reports that the Anglican Church of Canada has been held liable in court for sexual abuse at an Indian residential school. The judgment itself (a legal document, hence not easy to read) is also online. This seems to have taken place in the Diocese of Cariboo, whose web page says they have 11 full-time clergy, 13 part-time clergy, and 17 parishes. Canada's Anglican News Service also carried the story.
10 September 1999: The Jewish festival of the New Year, Rosh Hashana, started today; it is the beginning of the season of High Holy Days.
9 September 1999: Some people admire Andrew Brown and some people despise him, but nearly every person interested in church news reads what he writes. In today's Daily Mail (London), a tabloid newspaper with no web presence, Andrew Brown has written an article that is short, savage, and analytical entitled "Is he the worst Archbishop we've ever had?" Since the Daily Mail has no web page, we have taken the liberty of scanning this article in so that you can read it. Anglicans Online is not endorsing or condemning this article by republishing it; we are simply trying to widen its availability so that people can at least agree on what they were arguing about. We feel that the photograph that the Mail included with the article is needlessly unflattering and not relevant to the article itself, so we have not republished that. We note that both the left and the right like to redistribute things written by (for example) Bishop Spong; there is precedent in our church for reprinting things without endorsing them. Andrew Brown is a writer; you can form an educated opinion about him by reading what he writes, some of which is on his web page. George Carey is an Archbishop; you can form an educated opinion about him, have you not already done so, by reading his sermons and his press releases, some of which are on his web page.
9 September 1999: The Times' religion correspondent, Ruth Gledhill, covered the same radio interview mentioned in the previous paragraph; it is in the 9 September 1999 edition of The Times. She took a different approach, reporting only on his comments about the morning-after birth-control pill and associated morality issues.
4 September 1999: The Episcopal Synod of America, a large traditionalist organization in the US Episcopal church, has finished becoming the North American branch of the Forward in Faith organization. The press release announcing that this was going to happen is still the best explanation of what did happen. If you had noticed that the ESA web site had gone missing, this is why. Their new URL is http://fifamerica.faithweb.com/.
3 September 1999: The Anglican Communion News Service released a short statement by the Most Rev Richard Holloway commenting on Moses Tay's boycott of the upcoming meeting in Scotland. Archbishop Tay said that he thinks Scotland is "one of the most heretical provinces" and had previously told the Archbishop of Canterbury, by post, that he would be boycotting for that reason.
3 September 1999: A survey by Bath University of job satisfaction has revealed that clergy and "religious professionals" are second only to medical secretaries in the degree to which they enjoy their work. Full story in this week's Church Times, which reports in the same issue that you can contribute to the restoration of St George's, Bloomsbury by buying a San Giorgio pizza at Pizza Express. We enquired about delivery to our News Centre desk in northern California, but they told us it was outside their normal service area. This week's Church Times is an especially happy issue for us, because we understand the cartoon.
3 September 1999: The Diocese of Ripon has renamed itself the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds. Details on its web page, which has just been renamed http://riponleeds.anglican.org/, though the old name, http://ripon.anglican.org/, still works.
1 September 1999: The BBC reports that a leading Anglican archbishop has warned he will boycott an international conference because a controversial Scottish bishop is hosting the event.
1 September 1999: Focus, the Diocesan Newspaper of the Diocese of Brisbane, has a nice essay about the role of the Christian press. They're talking about "the printed word," but we know that the online word shares many properties with it. Even if its author doesn't.
27 August 1999: The King of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, and Sylivia Luswata Nagginda were married in St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Kampala by Archbishop Livingstone Nkoyoyo in what Ungandans are calling "the wedding of the millennium." Africa News carries the Pan African News Agency story. According to PANA, Mutebi is the oldest bachelor king in the history of Buganda's more than 500 years old monarchy. His ancestors tended to marry in the teens and had several wives. The Most Rev Livingstone Nkoyoyo is Archbishop of Kampala and Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda.
27 August 1999: Regular readers of the News Centre or of the British press will know of the Archbishops' Council, which was established last year by the Church of England as an advisory body to the church. We at Anglicans Online have just stumbled across an unpublicised online copy of the Archbishops' Council First Report to the General Synod, to which we refer you with no particular comment. To paraphrase a famous U.S. baseball player, "this is the sort of thing that will appeal to people who like things like this."
26 August 1999: The Most Rev Edin Curtis has died. He was the first Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean, and before that Bishop of Mauritius. The Telegraph has run the only obituary that we can find.
26 August 1999: The Church Times reports that Religious Education has increased sharply in its popularity among English schoolchildren.
23 August 1999: It is common for religious news stories to be about marches or pilgrimages. You know the formula well. A group of people associated with some church or faith is trying to influence public opinion, so they gather a lot of people and march. The most elaborate such pilgrimage was New Zealand's Hikoi of Hope. In this month's edition of The Witness, Bill Wylie-Kellerman writes a thoughtful piece about A politics of pilgrimage. Read it now, while there are no pilgrimages in the news, so that you can better understand the next one you read about.
21 August 1999: The World Wide Anglican Assembly is scheduled to meet in Scotland. The Anglican Communion News Service writes about it. The Most Rev Moses Tay, Archbishop of the Province of Southeast Asia and Bishop of Singapore, has announced that he would not attend, since "Scotland is a heretical province." We expected to find opinion pieces to refer you to in the major reactionary web news circles; surprisingly there is nothing as of AO press time (midnight Sunday, California time).
21 August 1999: Episcopal Life, the news magazine published by ECUSA, has run a delightful piece on St Paul's K Street, a famous high-church parish in Washington DC. If you think we're competing with catfish this week, you should see the news stories that the UK secular press ran in their weekend religion columns.
20 August 1999: Almost certainly you have heard, in the secular media, of the decision by the Kansas Board of Education (USA) to remove the teaching of evolution from Kansas public schools. Arthur Peacocke, a biochemist at Exeter College Oxford and an Anglican priest, writes about it in The Tablet.
20 August 1999: After the controversy which surrounded the ordination of women as deacons and priests, the 1998 Australian General Synod called for a thorough discussion about the consecration of women bishops and forms of alternative episcopal oversight for those who oppose their consecration before any formal proposals were brought to synods. The Australian General Synod Standing Committee has released the first draft proposals, which are hosted on the web page of St Peter's Eastern Hill, a large parish church in Melbourne.
19 August 1999: The Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has passed the Concordat "Called to Common Mission" by a vote of 716 to 317. If the US Episcopal Church also passes it, a major step in ecumenism will have happened. The ECUSA Episcopal News Service carries the story in detail; coverage in most newspapers is derived from these primary sources that you can read yourself.
18 August 1999: The Most Rev Richard Holloway, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is a newsmaker. To quote The Guardian, "To conservatives, he's a serpent in the bosom of the church. Liberals wonder how such a laid-back guy ever wound up in the clergy at all." Today's Guardian has an article about him by James Meek, entitled "Turbulent priest." And Andrew Brown has written for The Independent a brilliant review of his (Holloway's) new book. The book is called "Godless Morality: Keeping Religion out of Ethics", and the review is called "God, the Pianist at a Silent Movie." The name of the song is called "Haddocks' Eyes."
17 August 1999: The Most Rev David Gitari, Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, has warned Kenyans not to spend so much time talking about devil worship lest they end up glorifying the vice. Coverage in The Nation, a Nairobi newspaper, redistributed from a bigger server by Africa News Online.
15 August 1999: There is an important series of articles in The Tablet that you should read. The Tablet is an English Roman Catholic weekly, but it has lately been discussing the Church of England, specifically the political issues surrounding the ordination of women. Most of what is written about the ordination of women is either full of hate or full of hot air, but these three articles, each taking a different point of view, are worth reading. Since The Tablet's web site does not keep archives, and since 2 of the 3 pieces never made it to their web site in the first place, we have made local copies on our server.
It began with an essay by Geoffrey Kirk, secretary of the Forward in Faith organisation, published on 30 July. Titled "My wounded Church", it asserts that the ordination of women, and especially the legislative process that enabled same, has cut four wounds in the church. The following week there was a response by Aidan Nichols, prior of the Cambridge Dominicans, entitled "Homeless Anglicans". This week there is another reply by Jane Shaw, dean of Regent's Park College, Oxford, "Whose wounds count most?"
8 August 1999: A stir in North Yorkshire. A novel by the Revd David Wilbourne, an Anglican vicar in Helmsley, wrote a novel about the Virgin Mary in the style of novelist Sue Townsend. The Telegraph talks about the raised eyebrows.
7 August 1999: Separation of church and state continues to be a major issue in Britain. The Guardian reported today that the Church of England's privileged position seems sure to be maintained with little or no meaningful challenge, despite the evidence of empty pews and increasing apathy.
7 August 1999: The possibility of a concordat between Episcopalians and Lutherans looms particularly large in the American Midwest, a stronghold of Lutherans. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, comparing the historic episcopate to a wad of chewing gum on a Lutheran sole (it's the silly season, even in the sensible Midwest) reports on just why that denomination will probably reject the Concordat this summer.
6 August 1999: Remember last week's story (see below for 2 August) that the Archbishop of Canterbury didn't believe in the resurrection? As you can probably guess, it's not true. It's not quite accurate to say that the story was fabricated. The Archbishop issued an official denial, for which both ECUSA and Church of England press offices broke all speed records in getting copied onto their sites. The Church Times carried an eerily metaphoric leader on this topic, and Cole Moreton wrote about it in "The Press" column of the dead-tree edition of Church Times, which did not appear on the CT web site and which therefore we at Anglicans Online have transcribed for you. We think it's important that in the era of Matt Drudge and Christopher Leake, you get a chance to read about the press reflecting on itself.
6 August 1999: The Revd Dr Stephen Woods, of Jacksonville Florida USA, has been appointed Dean of St George's College, Jerusalem, by the Bishop of Jerusalem. Press release on ACNS.
4 August 1999: The BBC reports that the Church of England has moved to prohibit the use of church farmlands for testing genetically modified crops.
4 August 1999: This month's edition of Southern Cross, from the Diocese of Sydney, carries a story providing details and a refutation of the "revolution in the church" issue, claimed by some members of the Australian church. Other stories, too. As always, Southern Cross is worth your attention.
4 August 1999: In North America we have the concept of the "volunteer fire department." These are people who have other jobs, but who train as fire fighters and who drop what they are doing to rush to a fire when there is an emergency. The Fire Fighters Association of Ontario, perhaps worried about the burning bush and tongues of flame causing problems at the Millennium, have elected an Anglican priest as their 100th-anniversary president. The Rev Bryan Girling is the Rector of St James Church in Brantford, Ontario, in the Diocese of Huron. Fr Girling sounds completely sincere when he says "May God be with us as we face Y2K in the fire service." We note that heat in various forms plays a big part in his life right now; not only is he a fire fighter, but his parish web page begins with the words "we have air conditioning." One more thing: normally we in the News Centre think rather negatively of animated gifs, but we laughed out loud at the animated image at the top of the FFAO Convention page.
3 August 1999: Last week The Tablet, a Roman Catholic weekly, published a major piece carrying the point of view of the Forward in Faith movement, which opposes the ordination of women. The Tablet's website was offline for several days, so we could not get to the story to link it for you. Now we can, and did.
2 August 1999: As expected, the British press is all over the story mentioned two paragraphs below. The Telegraph says "Archbishop says his Church has let down Jesus". The Independent says "Carey: Miracle is hard to swallow." The Times probably says something, but their ISP is misbehaving and we can't reach their web site. You possbly can, in which case you could read what they had to say.
1 August 1999: Russia didn't switch to the Gregorian calendar until the 20th century. It may well be that a future writer can say "Great Britain didn't switch to the real date of Easter until the 21st century." The Telegraph reports on an exotic story about the calculation of the date of Easter.
1 August 1999: Wire services are reporting that "Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, leader of the world's 70 million Anglican faithful, has triggered a religious storm after questioning the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a report in the Mail Sunday said." As Anglicans Online goes to press this week, the English newspapers do not seem to have picked up this story yet. We trust that they will; tune in next week.
31 July 1999: Paul Handley, editor of The Church Times, has written an opinion piece for The Independent on the subject of miracles. And gold fillings. And James Meek, Relgiious Affairs editor for The Guardian, has written an opinion piece for his newspaper called "Morality tales." Both make interesting reading. We always enjoy Paul Handley's writing, but we are assuming that he found the time to write this by borrowing from the time used for oversight of his production staff: for the third week in a row, the Church Times web site has an unviewable photograph on the front page (you can only see it if you use Microsoft Internet Explorer on a PC platform). As usual, we have fixed the problem in our copy of the Church Times.
31 July 1999: Most of the core audience for the Spice Girls has graduated and gone to high school, and their younger sisters are buying tickets to see B'Witched instead. But when Victoria Adams, Posh Spice, got married last month in Ireland, it was one of the most extravagant weddings seen there in a long time. The groom was a famous football player, David Beckham, and the Bishop of Cork is a fan of Manchester United, his team. Now the Church of Ireland Gazette has published an article that is rather negative of Bishop Colton for having participated in this event. The Telegraph covers the story.
30 July 1999: The Seattle Times reports that St Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, in the Diocese of Olympia, has elected as its sixth dean a South Africa native whose ideas of what it means to be Christian were first formed in the fight against apartheid. The Rev. Robert Vincent Taylor is also the first openly gay man to be chosen as dean of an Episcopal cathedral in the United States.
30 July 1999: So often these days we read stories of Anglican churches closing, consolidating, or shrinking. So we are always delighted to find about the opening of a new church. The Illawarra Mercury reported today on the opening of Fairy Meadow Anglican Church, presided over by Sydney Archbishop Harry Goodhew. Well, it may be consolidation: the parish sold 3 church properties to get the funds to buy this one. Illawarra is an hour's drive south of Sydney, in New South Wales. As far as we can tell from studying the maps, it's in the Wollongong deanery of the Diocese of Sydney.
30 July 1999: The Church of England has released a report on how churches can play a role in integrating sex offenders back into society after they are released from prison. The UK press has of course jumped on the story, writing headlines like "Church of England welcomes sex offenders" (BBC), "Abusers target church youth" (Independent), "Churches told to welcome paedophiles" (Telegraph). Only The Guardian seems to have written about this in a non-sensationalist fashion: "Anglicans curb child abusers." And of course the Church Times got it right: "Report tells churches how to cope with sex offenders." We also recommend that you read the Church Times editorial statement about dealing with sex offenders.
30 July 1999: The Telegraph reports that the Children's Society has "further distanced itself from its traditional Church roots by lifting the ban on gays adopting and fostering children in its care." Stories about sexuality do seem to sell newspapers; we are surprised that none of the other UK papers has picked up on this story. The Church Times also covered the story, as did the BBC.
29 July 1999: 25 years ago this day, the US Episcopal Church ordained 11 women in Philadelphia, breaking new ground and opening new battlegrounds. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote this 25th-anniversary news story about it. There have been various remembrances of it, with those who are glad it happened and those who are angry that it happened using the event to reflect on past and future. Oddly enough, both sides are using the same material to emphasize their point of view. Those in favor of the ordination of women and those opposed to it are both distributing the text of a sermon by Barbara Harris, Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts. Clearly, whether your love her or hate her, Bishop Harris can evoke a reaction in people.
29 July 1999: Animal Rights campaigners and Diocese of St Edmundsbury fundraisers are feuding; The Guardian carries the story. Note that the cathedral organist has participated neither in the hunt nor the protest, which probably explains why this was covered only in one English newspaper.
28 July 1999: A popular English bishop, the Rt Rev Gordon Roe, retired suffragan Bishop of Huntingdon, has died. The Guardian carries his obituary.
27 July 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald reported this morning that the manufacturer of Vegemite did not know if the product contained genetically modified ingredients.
27 July 1999: There is so much conflict over sex and sexuality in the church that we are surprised it took us a week to find this story. The new CEO of the Mother's Union is a man. Story by the Anglican Communion News Service; the story will tell you what the Mothers' Union is if you don't already know.
26 July 1999: Technically the "genetically modified food" story is not an Anglican story but an English story. The English are all a-dither about it. But see the story below about debates in Parliament regarding genetically modified food crops on church-owned land. So we're not ignoring this story. If you've ever lived with an Australian, as a flatmate or such, you will understand the depth of meaning that Vegemite has for Australians. Today's Sydney Morning Herald has a Page One story that Vegemite, the defining national food of Australia, may well come from genetically modified yeast. The headline screams "Vegemite's genetic make-up a dark secret."
24 July 1999: Two items of note about women in the church. The BBC reports on the first UK Ecumenical Women's Synod, modelled on a similar event held three years ago in Austria. And the Church Times reports that it is costing the Church of England £23 million (perhaps US$35 million) to compensate priests who have left over the issue of the ordination of women. The cover photograph on the Church Times is bungled again this week, but we have made it right in our copy of this week's issue, if you'd like to see what you're missing. Meanwhile, across the ocean, the Episcopal News Service reports that on July 29 the Diocese of Pennsylvania will host an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first "irregular" ordinations of women to the priesthood and how it has affected the church.
24 July 1999: Nearly every week there is something worth reading in The Times. Yes, we know that in the old days there was something worth reading on every page, every day, but that was then; this is now. We cannot link to articles in The Times, but if you turn to the issue of 24 July 1999, and go to Faith, in Weekend, you should read Ruth Gledhill's "At your service" column. Then read "Credo" by Nigel McCulloch, also in Faith, on the 450th anniversary of the prayer book. Then turn to the Britain section, and read "Promiscuity may not be immoral, says bishop." July 25, in News Review, "Straight talking from brother Widdecombe" about a priest who says that the debate over sexuality is getting tiresome. July 22, in the Britain section, read "Christ stirs passion in Trafalgar Square" about a new statue of Jesus that some people are not pleased with.
24 July 1999: As promised, Anglicans Online reporter Simon Sarmiento has written a short article about the Church of England Synod's decision on heresy and heresy trials. He is worried that it is too dry and factual. If you want sensationalistic coverage you can always turn to the UK newspapers.
23 July 1999: The Independent reports that 1300 members of the Church of Scotland have signed a petition accusing the BBC of insulting God.
22 July 1999: The Telegraph reports that "Church traditionalists condemned the appointment of a supporter of women priests as bishop to the Exeter diocese as 'an act of deliberate aggression' yesterday."
21 July 1999: The Anglican Church of Australia today officially released the new edition of its Australian Hymn Book. It's called Together in Song. Anglican Media Brisbane reports the story.
21 July 1999: Episcopal Life reports on the Zacchaeus Survey, which took an in-depth census of the membership of the US Episcopal church. Called the Zacchaeus Project, in recognition of the tax collector who climbed a sycamore tree to get a better look at Jesus, the report's 60 pages of findings and conclusions offer the church an insight into its membership and what matters to it.
21 July 1899: Don't miss the snippet from the Church Times' "100 years ago" column, in which they publish each week an excerpt from their issue of 100 years ago. "Churchmen, and in particular the clergy, would do well to cultivate friendly relations with the gentlemen of the press."
20 July 1999: The English are in a dither over the issue of genetically modified food crops. What this has to do with Anglican news is that most churches in England are Anglican and the English Government (which is still very much related to the English Church, disestablishment not having reached the mother country) is debating in Parliament about activities suitable for church-owned lands. You can read coverage in The Times in the Politics and Government section for 20 July 1999 ("Prescott looks ropey as MPs beat Church's Bell"), or you can read transcripts of the debate itself in the Parliament web site; click here for part I and here for part II.
19 July 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Anglican Church of Australia is being criticised for concentrating fundraising efforts on its AUS$25 million Brisbane cathedral restoration fund, rather than on outreach. The article "Mammon mortar" questions whether that money could have better been spent elsewhere.
19 July 1999: One of the most widely-known stories of early Anglican martyrs is the story of the martyrdom of St Alban. The Times published a story "Skull throws doubt on St Alban's martyrdom" (The Times, "Britain" section, 19 July 1999) revealing that excavations led by Rosalind Niblett of St Albans City Council between 1991 and 1994 and financed by the developers of the Oysterfields estate, social housing which stands on the site of the ancient head cult, have uncovered strong evidence which suggests that the cult of St Alban could have been grafted on to the earlier pagan head cult.
18 July 1999: Anglican Media Melbourne reports on the installation of a new Dean of Melbourne. It's a sweet article. There are several other stories worth your attention in this edition of The Melbourne Anglican, including "A need for Christian erotica?" and "Christians urged to reject 'McWorld'."
17 July 1999: The Church of England is having a Synod this week. If you've ever had a Synod, you know that there is no real cure; you just have to wait for it to end. While this one progressed, there was a torrent of news stories:
And of course there is coverage in The Times: Future of C of E in the balance as attendance falls (11 July, Britain). Church of England has ended its ban on investing in the brewing industry (13 July, Britain). Church to bring back trials for heresy (13 July, Britain). Church accused of racism (14 July, Britain).
17 July 1999: The Church of the Province of Southern Africa is having a Synod this week too, and they are doing a much better job than the English of keeping the public informed through official channels. We suppose that if the South African press paid as much attention to the CPSA as the British press pays to the C of E, that perhaps the South Africans wouldn't do such a good job. But they are. Remember that the CPSA web server is physically in southern Africa, and there is not a lot of communication capacity in and out of that region of the world, so be patient.
17 July 1999: The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Keith Rayner, has made his first public comment on "The Gift of Authority," which document was released on 12 May 1999. The Sydney Morning Herald had this to say about it. This is the sort of document that one would expect to find on the Anglican Church of Australia web site, but we couldn't find it. If you can't get to the SMH web site, the article begins "Anglicans may be prepared to accept the authority of the pope to teach infallibly on matters of faith and morals, but not without changes in the style of papacy. If Papal authority is a gift to be shared, the idea poses as many challenges for Catholics as it does for Anglicans."
17 July 1999: Make sure you read the article by Ruth Gledhill in The Times entitled "Stirring the lion in all of us." It's in the Faith section (part of Weekend) for 17 July. It begins "The image of a lion waking from a long sleep is one that could be applied not just to the Church of England, but to the Archbishop of Canterbury himself" and notes that the Most Revd George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, has begun using some of the power that comes with the role he assumed eight years ago.
17 July 1999: The "news" section of the Church of England web site hasn't been updated since June 26. No wonder you've turned to Anglicans Online for your news.
17 July 1999: Alastair Campbell, press secretary to the British Prime Minister, has written a short letter to the editor of the Church Times insisting that some of the facts were wrong in an article in The Times to which we referred you on 4 July and from which the Church Times repeated some statements. We sincerely doubt that anybody who didn't already know who Alastair Campbell was would have any interest in this topic, but we include this item in the interests of fairness.
16 July 1999: Peter Owen reports for Anglicans Online on the new Church-Search service launched by the Church of England.
16 July 1999: The Church Times reports that the new Archbishops' Council has published the first results of its public surveys, and that the results are, on the surface, quite negative. Make sure you read the Church Times' leader story about this, too.
13 July 1999: Two of the biggest stories to come out of the Church of England Synod (see above) are the dispute over the reference to the Virgin Mary in the Nicene Creed, and the assertion that the C of E plans to bring back heresy trials. Besides the news stories linked above, The Guardian has a commentary: Heresy trials for sceptic priests could split the Church. The BBC has a depth piece "The vicars who don't believe in God". The odd problem with all of this is that Anglicans Online had a reporter on the scene at the Synod, and what he saw taking place was somewhat unrelated to the contents of these news reports. It is useful that we don't pay our reporter, so he doesn't have to worry about writing to sell more newspapers. He filed this story on the Nicene Creed issue and will file one next week on the issue of the heresy trials. While you are waiting for next week's Anglicans Online story, you might read Ruth Gledhill's report in The Times (17 July, Britain section) that "One third of clergy do not believe in the Virgin Birth."
13 July 1999: The Archbishop of Canterbury has delivered his response to the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry. In February 1999 a UK commission released a report about the handling of the murder case of a victim named Stephen Lawrence; this story consumed the British press for two weeks. The BBC's coverage of it was and is the broadest. Coverage by the Church Times and the BBC merits your attention.
13 July 1999: The Rt Revd John Hind, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe and diocesan Bishop of Europe, and the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, went to Kosovo and towards Belgrade. Bishop Hind filed this report. They were not allowed into Belgrade.
13 July 1999: The retired bishop who involved himself in the parish dispute in Brockton, Massachusetts was once the Bishop of South Carolina. His hometown newspaper, the Charleston Post and Courier, sent a reporter to Brockton to see if he could figure out what was going on, and he filed this report. We believe that this is the same reporter who wrote the article that was reprinted two weeks ago in the Charlotte Observer that has since been found to have demonstrable errors of fact, but it may be that, having gone to the scene in person, he was better equipped this time. Decide for yourself. If you are convinced that the Brockton issue is about sexuality, then you will probably enjoy reading the reports of combat over sexuality that are reported by the Prayer Book Society of Canada.
12 July 1999: Steel yourself to enter The Times' web site, then, having done so, there are some articles you should read. In the Britain section (12 July) read the article by Ruth Gledhill entitled "Church seeks young recruits." Then click on its "next article" link to read "Bishops to gain new power over churchwardens," then click again for "Synod divided over Virgin's role." Ruth must not have had any time at all for dancing this week. Then back up to Saturday 10 July; you can do this easily by going to the bottom of that article and clicking on the tiny little words "Weekend (Sat)", scroll down to the "Faith" section, and read "Credo: Private treasures are often the greatest" by Geoffrey Rowell. It's about the anniversary of the Oxford Movement in 1833. Then click on the link to "Next: At Your Service - No ordinary ordination". But of course there is no such thing as an ordinary ordination. Little in life is more extraordinary.
12 July 1999: The Guardian covers the abovementioned story of the C of E's advertising campaign aimed at young people. James Meek writes about what seems to be a drive to recruit new clergy.
12 July 1999: The ever-reliable BBC writes about the upcoming Church of England synod, and even quotes its Mission Statement. We here at Anglicans Online do not have a Mission Statement. Maybe we should have one. I'll check eBay. Nope; none for sale. One of the many things that is really nice about the BBC web site is that they do a good job of giving you links to background material and relevant previous articles. You should follow those links if you have the time and didn't read these stories before.
11 July 1999: The Letters section of The Sunday Times for 11 July contains several letters on the topic of separation of church and state in Great Britain.
11 July 1999: Just in case you still have any doubt as to whether or not England's Millennium Dome has anything to do with the event from which that Millennium was measured, read the story in today's Telegraph saying that the Dome managers are asking the Church of England to buy the right to be the Preferred Religious Partner for the dome. We knew there was a reason why they shouldn't let people emigrate from Los Angeles to England.
11 July 1999: We aren't entirely sure of the meaning of the artlcle published in The Sunday Independent entitled "Academics turn to angels and eroticism" but we think you ought to read it anyhow. By Jane Hughes.
9 July 1999: The Church of England is about to gather for its Synod. The BBC has written a short article about this, and coverage elsewhere is spotty. The Synod will consider revisions to the English-language phrasing of the Lord's Prayer, revisions of marriage and funeral services, and issues of the separation of church and state. We do not expect major protests from the antidisestablishmentarianism movement.
9 July 1999: The Church of England has released some of the membership statistics that it has been gathering; a good summary of these new numbers can be found on the C of E web site. These statistics make one optimistic, but also make one wish that they were published not by the Church of England, but perhaps by some independent agency. The study of churchgoing habits in Australia, announced earlier this year, was done on a much larger scale and was not done by the churches themselves. But any data is better than the absence of data; we applaud both the collection and the publication of these numbers.
8 July 1999: Parish members at St Paul's in Brockton have told Anglicans Online that the newspaper article we referenced last week contained serious factual errors. They request that you read their parish web site before you form any opinions about this issue.
5 July 1999: The Sunday Age, a Fairfax Group newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, has published a story about a high-profile feud between the Vatican and a well-known Roman Catholic priest. What makes this Anglican news is that the feud centers on relations between the Catholic church and others, including Anglicans. Father Paul Collins vs. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
4 July 1999: Today is a U.S. holiday, Independence Day. It is also, arguably, the most important day in the formative history of the Anglican church, for it was on that day that the governance model of the church was forced, if not formed. It was 4 July, 1776, when 56 English subjects signed a petition of independence from their government. Most of them were members of the Church of England. In the ensuing warfare, five were captured and executed as traitors, nine died soldiering, three had children killed in the war, and twelve were bankrupted. They were not predisposed to have warm thoughts about England. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are universal and transcend countries and wars, but the church and its governance are of people. The intertwinement of the English church with its government created a rule of law against an English bishop consecrating anyone who would not swear an oath of allegiance to the British Crown, so there were no bishops in the newly-independent United States. For eight years there were no bishops in the United States; ordinations requried a sea journey. The requirement that the Church in the United States be free from control by the Church of England forced the creation of a governance model in which there is no central control. If you link in to the Anglican Timeline in 1776, The Origin of ECUSA, you can find more to read about what happened next.
4 July 1999: Two articles in The Sunday Times about separation of church and state. One in the Britain Section, by Christopher Morgan (a journalist at The Times) and another, in the News Review section, is by The Rt Revd Colin Buchanan, Bishop of Woolwich. Bishop Buchanan urges the church to shed the godless machinery of politics. Mr. Morgan reports on this continuing push for disestablishment. Your News Centre editor, after several months of reporting the arguments for separation of church and state in the UK, has just this moment realized that he may get a chance, for the first time in his life, to use the word "antidisestablishmentarianism" in a sentence and actually mean it. His elementary-school teachers would be so proud.
4 July 1999: "Dead men tell no tales" was one of the catch-phrases of the Wild West. In today's Sunday Telegraph, Jonathan Petre (in no way a dead man) tells the amazing tale of "Hume attacks Vatican from beyond grave." In a video recording for American bishops, not screened until the day after his death, the Cardinal expressed concern over many Vatican policies and actions. There have been few people in the world with the stature to attack the Vatican without being ignored as a lunatic, and Hume was one of them. Our coverage of his death and many obituaries is in our News Archives. This is definitely going to be interesting. We remain certain that if Cardinal Hume had had his way, he would not have died before releasing this opinion; this was not at all a sniper attack.
3 July 1999: The Rev Canon H. Boone Porter, noted liturgist, educator, author and former editor of The Living Church, died June 5 in Southport, Connecticut USA, where he had lived since his retirement in 1990. He was 76. Canon Porter was one of the primary architects of the ECUSA 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The publication that he edited for nearly a quarter of a century, The Living Church, has published a fitting obituary.
2 July 1999: The Charlotte Observer, of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, reports that the Rt Revd Christopher FitzSimons Allison (retired Bishop of South Carolina) is dismayed that no disciplinary action will be taken against him for joining the fray in a dispute between the Diocese of Massachusetts and one of its parishes. This dispute is so contentious that the two sides even disagree about what they are arguing about; the very act of explaining the feud requires one to take a stand for one side or the other.
1 July 1999: The Rt Revd Christopher Herbert, Bishop of St Albans, has written an interesting piece on clergy salaries in England.
30 June 1999: The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Alwyn Rice Jones, has been the primate of The Church in Wales for eight years. He retired today. The retirement was covered by the BBC, but we can't find any coverage of it on the Church in Wales' web site.
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