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31 December 1999: There have been various news stories recently
about polling the public in Britain and Australia about the nature and depth of their religious beliefs. The Telegraph (London)
today carries a good analysis of the state
of Christianity in Britain. 'bearing in mind the overwhelmingly secular nature of the celebrations - how many people have
really grasped what they are celebrating?' 31 December 1999: The Independent (London)
reports that one of Britain's most mysterious churches, Rosslyn chapel, which is said to house the Holy Grail, has become the
focus of speculation about the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ. Update on 1 January: no appearance at the end of THAT millennium. 30 December 1999: The Australian national government has awarded
about AUS$700 million to four church-based charities for the purpose of finding jobs for the unemployed. One of these is part
of the Anglican Church of Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald
is dubious about this mixing of church and state. And The Age (Melbourne) reports
that gays are very unhappy about this, given the anti-gay stance of many churches. An op-ed
piece in Saturday's SMH reflects further on what happened. 30 December 1999: The Telegraph (London)
that the plan by the Church of England to distribute a Millennium candle to every home in England for New Year's Eve was abandoned
yesterday when authorities learned that only 10% of the houses had received a candle. The Times also
reports this story in its Britain section. While this may make New Year's Eve less solemn, it is certain to reduce the burden
on the Fire Service. 30 December 1999: According to The
Times (London) reporting in its Britain section, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders apologised yesterday
for wars, racism and other sins committed in the name of Christianity. The statement is also signed by authorities in other major
British churches. We expect soon to find a transcript of this message on the ACNS web site, but it's not there yet (2 January
2000). 29 December 1999: The majority of leading public figures including
church leaders and politicians do not believe in the Biblical version of the Creation, according
to a BBC survey. The Telegraph also comments
on this story. 29 December 1999: The
Guardian (Lagos, Nigeria) reports the celebration marking
the retirement of the Most Revd Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, Anglican Primate of the Church of Nigeria. Bishop Adetiloye has been
a controversial figure outisde Nigeria for his articulate expressions of conservative positions, but in his native country his
is just "our archbishop." 28 December 1999: By the time you read this, it will be in
the past and not the future. The Telegraph (London) reports
that Britain's heaviest church bells will remain silent on Millennium night after a freak accident nearly cost a ringer his
arm. 28 December 1999: By next autumn, the oldest cathedral church
in London, founded by St Swithun 1,000 years ago, and the place where Chaucer's Canterbury Tales begins, will once again be a
prominent sight. Heartwarming story
by Victoria Combe in The Telegraph. 28 December 1999: The Nation (Nairobi) reports
that retired Archbishop Manassess Kuria told Kenyans that they must change their sexual behaviour or face extinction through
the HIV/Aids virus in the new millennium. Speaking during the 75th anniversary of mission work by the Anglican church in Kenya,
at St John's church in Kangemi, he cautioned Christians against immoral sexual behaviour that had led to the spread of diseases.
27 December 1999: Ruth Gledhill writes in The Times (Britain
section) that the Prince of Wales talks about his faith on BBC Radio 4 on January 1, and that he 'makes one of his strongest
statements of faith to date'. 27 December 1999: Finally a sensible Y2K activity. No domes
or parties here. The Times (London) reports on a small parish in Yorkshire making a simple cross-shaped pin badge to mark the
2,000th birthday of Christ. In the Britain section. 27 December 1999: The Telegraph reports its
version of the Archbishop of York coming out in favour of changing the Act of Settlement. If you don't live in Britain and
don't understand what a big deal this is, then this article will help you understand just how earth-shaking this is. And since
people in England manage to view The Times and The Sunday Times as separate papers, The Times covered today this story that The
Sunday Times covered yesterday. As always, follow our instructions for reading articles in
The Times and look in the Britain section. And while you're in the Times' web site, do read the leading article, which asserts
that 'Modest reform does not require disestablishment'. 27 December 1999: The Internet bridges global boundaries. A
delicious example of this is reported
today in The Telegraph and also
in The Guardian. An Australian priest sent email to a vicar in England asking to see the original of an artifact; this triggered
a series of events that led to the finding of a long-lost stash of church valuables in a bank vault. The Times covers it too (Britain
31 December 1999: There have been various news stories recently about polling the public in Britain and Australia about the nature and depth of their religious beliefs. The Telegraph (London) today carries a good analysis of the state of Christianity in Britain. 'bearing in mind the overwhelmingly secular nature of the celebrations - how many people have really grasped what they are celebrating?'
31 December 1999: The Independent (London) reports that one of Britain's most mysterious churches, Rosslyn chapel, which is said to house the Holy Grail, has become the focus of speculation about the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ. Update on 1 January: no appearance at the end of THAT millennium.
30 December 1999: The Australian national government has awarded about AUS$700 million to four church-based charities for the purpose of finding jobs for the unemployed. One of these is part of the Anglican Church of Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald is dubious about this mixing of church and state. And The Age (Melbourne) reports that gays are very unhappy about this, given the anti-gay stance of many churches. An op-ed piece in Saturday's SMH reflects further on what happened.
30 December 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that the plan by the Church of England to distribute a Millennium candle to every home in England for New Year's Eve was abandoned yesterday when authorities learned that only 10% of the houses had received a candle. The Times also reports this story in its Britain section. While this may make New Year's Eve less solemn, it is certain to reduce the burden on the Fire Service.
30 December 1999: According to The Times (London) reporting in its Britain section, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders apologised yesterday for wars, racism and other sins committed in the name of Christianity. The statement is also signed by authorities in other major British churches. We expect soon to find a transcript of this message on the ACNS web site, but it's not there yet (2 January 2000).
29 December 1999: The majority of leading public figures including church leaders and politicians do not believe in the Biblical version of the Creation, according to a BBC survey. The Telegraph also comments on this story.
29 December 1999: The Guardian (Lagos, Nigeria) reports the celebration marking the retirement of the Most Revd Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, Anglican Primate of the Church of Nigeria. Bishop Adetiloye has been a controversial figure outisde Nigeria for his articulate expressions of conservative positions, but in his native country his is just "our archbishop."
28 December 1999: By the time you read this, it will be in the past and not the future. The Telegraph (London) reports that Britain's heaviest church bells will remain silent on Millennium night after a freak accident nearly cost a ringer his arm.
28 December 1999: By next autumn, the oldest cathedral church in London, founded by St Swithun 1,000 years ago, and the place where Chaucer's Canterbury Tales begins, will once again be a prominent sight. Heartwarming story by Victoria Combe in The Telegraph.
28 December 1999: The Nation (Nairobi) reports that retired Archbishop Manassess Kuria told Kenyans that they must change their sexual behaviour or face extinction through the HIV/Aids virus in the new millennium. Speaking during the 75th anniversary of mission work by the Anglican church in Kenya, at St John's church in Kangemi, he cautioned Christians against immoral sexual behaviour that had led to the spread of diseases.
27 December 1999: Ruth Gledhill writes in The Times (Britain section) that the Prince of Wales talks about his faith on BBC Radio 4 on January 1, and that he 'makes one of his strongest statements of faith to date'.
27 December 1999: Finally a sensible Y2K activity. No domes or parties here. The Times (London) reports on a small parish in Yorkshire making a simple cross-shaped pin badge to mark the 2,000th birthday of Christ. In the Britain section.
27 December 1999: The Telegraph reports its version of the Archbishop of York coming out in favour of changing the Act of Settlement. If you don't live in Britain and don't understand what a big deal this is, then this article will help you understand just how earth-shaking this is. And since people in England manage to view The Times and The Sunday Times as separate papers, The Times covered today this story that The Sunday Times covered yesterday. As always, follow our instructions for reading articles in The Times and look in the Britain section. And while you're in the Times' web site, do read the leading article, which asserts that 'Modest reform does not require disestablishment'.
27 December 1999: The Internet bridges global boundaries. A delicious example of this is reported today in The Telegraph and also in The Guardian. An Australian priest sent email to a vicar in England asking to see the original of an artifact; this triggered a series of events that led to the finding of a long-lost stash of church valuables in a bank vault. The Times covers it too (Britain section).26 December 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that an international endurance competition in which several thousand contestants will carry heavy wooden crosses to "commemorate" Christ's crucifixion has been attacked as "exploitative and tasteless" by Church of England and English Roman Catholic leaders.
26 December 1999: The Sunday Times (London) reports in an article by Christopher Morgan that the Archbishop of York has come out in favour of changing the Act of Settlement, calling for a change to the coronation oath in which the monarch promises to uphold the Protestant religion. Follow our instructions for reading articles in The Sunday Times, then look in the Britain section. This endorsement is so significant that The Times ran an editorial about it, which begins 'When the Archbishop of York agrees with Scotland's Cardinal Thomas Winning that it is time to allow a Roman Catholic to sit on the throne of England, something momentous is happening in the way Britain's Christians think about themselves and their relationship to the state.' Look in the Editorial section to find this.
26 December 1999: The BBC reports that the other English Archbishop, he of Canterbury, has not been ignoring his press contacts. 'The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined a tabloid newspaper to spread his millennium message, saying he wants to reach as many people as possible.' The English newspaper News of the World, an Australian-owned tabloid, is better known for its scandalmongering and show-business gossip than for its news or religious reporting. However, there seem to be more people in England interested in scandalmongering than in philosophical essays, because News of the World has a huge number of readers.
25 December 1999: The BBC reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, has used his Christmas sermon to attack the view that there is a scientific explanation for the entire natural world. We are fascinated that their three "Internet links" published alongside this article are to the ABC's home page, the Church of England, and Ship of Fools.
25 December 1999: It's hard to fill a newspaper on December 25, but today the Telegraph (London) struck gold with an essay by A.N. Wilson entitled 'Who was the real Jesus?'
24 December 1999: The Guardian carries an article by James Meek asking, in essence, 'now that people don't go to church any more, who is going to pay to maintain these pretty old buildings?'
24 December 1999: The Times (London) has as its leading article for this date an unsigned piece "Out of the Darkness" that is quite worth reading. It also carries an article by Celia Brayfield in its Features section about the enduring appeal of Midnight Mass. Also an interview with Jerry Hall by Amadea West, also in the Features section, in which the famed supermodel says that she believes her own brand of faith helped to save her twin sister's life. Follow our instructions for finding articles in The Times.
24 December 1999: Victoria Combe, Religion Correspondent for The Telegraph, has a nice interview with the Rt Rev Michael Turnbull, Bishop of Durham.
24 December 1999: The Washington Post (USA) reports that St Alban's Cathedral, in England, has a girl choir for the first time in its thousand-year history. 'After centuries of all-male choirs, St Albans has created a new female ensemble to share the choral duties of the cathedral'. Anglicans Online's correspondent in England reports that this girls' choir has existed for a couple of years, but news of it has only now reached the colonies.
24 December 1999: Don't miss the article that Church Times reprinted from its issue of 100 years ago, November 1899, about the calendar and the end of the nineteenth century. This week's leader is on the topic of whether this is the end of the millennium. (It isn't, but people don't care and aren't going to miss a good party). And there's a nice feature article by Tom Wright about the reckoning of time in general. Also don't miss its article by Gareth Sturdy about a preview tour of the Millennium Dome. Its title is 'Gradually, I felt more and more cheated'.
23 December 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald published the Millennium message from the Archbishop of Sydney, Harry Goodhew. Australia's newspapers, at least as we see them online, are fairly secular, and it's nice to see this attention paid to our faith. And the Sydney Morning Herald's Religious Affairs Editor, Chris McGillion, has written a thoughtful piece in the same edition, entitled 'A century of humanity's darker side'.
21 December 1999: The Times (London) reports in its Politics and Government section today that Britain's parliament urged Church of England leaders to mark the millennium by redistributing wealth instead of "keeping themselves in finery". Follow our instructions for finding articles in The Times.
21 December 1999: Clare Garner, religion correspondent for The Independent, writes that a mini religious revival is occurring on the BBC this Christmas. Not only is a live midnight Eucharist service being broadcast on Christmas Eve, but an hour-long Christmas Day service too. However, Clare and her employer may have noticed that many fewer people are going to church these days. The paper edition of Church Times reported last week that Clare has resigned as the Independent's religion correspondent and that that paper has no plans to hire a replacement.
20 December 1999: An American rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, won the British Preacher of the Year award sponsored by The Times (London). Reported by the Associated Press. The competition originally was open only to Christians, but Jewish entrants were invited for the first time last year.
19 December 1999: The Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg, South Africa) reports that the Anglican Church in Caledon, South Africa is a partner in a bid for a casino licence.
19 December 1999: Columnist Nick Cohen claims in The Observer that 'The faith zone of the Millennium Dome is both a perfunctory excuse for holding a trade fair to mark the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth and a joyous affirmation of the affinity between global commerce and sectarian sentimentality.' And The Telegraph (London) reports that 6 out of 10 people do not regard the Millennium Dome as an 'appropriate symbol' for Britain. Recall that last year the Archbishop of York denounced the Dome as 'a monument to human arrogance which contrasts starkly with the true meaning of the birth of Christ.' He said it again this year, but we can't find coverage in any online newspaper to link you to.
18 December 1999: Getting in to The Times (London) web site is tedious, but worth it. In the Faith section, in Weekend, is an essay by the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Wakefield, "We will all be present on the day of judgment". And while you're in there, read Ruth Gledhill's report in "At your service" on a visit to the Church of St Bartholomew the Great.
17 December 1999: The Church Times reports that the conservative English group 'Reform' has asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to sack the Rt Revd Peter Selby, Bishop of Worcester, because he refuses to condemn homosexuality. Bishop Selby writes about this issue, also in the Church Times.
17 December 1999: Blame it on the Archbishop. The Archbishop of Canterbury asked everyone in the British Isles to "light a candle for the Millennium", and there have been some silly stories about getting these candles to the people. But now the British government has cancelled leave for all firemen across the country because they expect this to burn down more than a few houses. Article in The Telegraph.
17 December 1999: England's Prime Minister rejected a unanimous demand from Scotland over the issue of repealing the Act of Settlement. England and Scotland are both part of the United Kingdom. The Act of Settlement, enacted in 1701, excludes anyone who is, or who marries, a Roman Catholic, from becoming a monarch.
16 December 1999: The Archbishop of Canterbury released his annual Christmas Message to the Anglican Communion. And the Canterbury Cathedral bookshop releases a teddy bear modelled on the good Archbishop, for £59.95.
16 December 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that less than half the population of Britain believes in Jesus and that about one sixth of the population claim not to know who he is.
16 December 1999: The Anglican Communion News Service reprints an article from the magazine of the Diocese in Europe, which says that the impact on the church of new technology is growing all the time, especially in the area of telecommunications.
15 December 1999: ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank T Griswold met with Pope John Paul II recently. The Episcopal News Service has a story about it. Their discussions included lay presidency, among other topics. The meeting took place at the new Anglican Centre in Rome.
15 December 1999: A Church of England vicar opens a charismatic parish, and The Telegraph writes about it. Be careful about asking for a demon to be banished or you might lose your ISP.
15 December 1999: The ECUSA Episcopal News Service reports on a meeting at the Kanuga Conference Center to discuss 'models and resources for developing and nourishing black congregations in the Episcopal Church.'
14 December 1999: Scotland's most senior woman priest, nicknamed "Attila the Nun", was under increasing pressure to resign after it emerged that she had lost the support of bishops in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Story in The Telegraph.
12 December 1999: The Roman Catholic Church in Australia has announced a plan to provide computers and internet access for parish members in Sydney. The Sydney Morning Herald covers the story.
11 December 1999: The Guardian (London) reports that a leading church charity for the homeless is facing accusations of openly discriminating against gays and lesbians.
11 December 1999: Follow our instructions for getting into The Times (London) for 11 December 1999. Then look in Fath, which is in the Weekend section. An article by Ruth Gledhill about the dedication of a chapel onboard the HMS Ocean. Also a lovely report by Ruth about the Advent carol service at King's College, London. Then read her article 'British among least religious in the world.', and do follow the link to the Gallup Poll that shows the raw data about which she writes.
10 December 1999: The Church Times reports that the Bishop of Monmouth, Dr Rowan Williams, has been elected Archbishop of Wales. 'Dr Williams knows he is inheriting a Church with a declining population and low morale. One of its biggest problems, he said on Wednesday.'
10 December 1999: The Independent (London) has a fascinating article about the Star of Bethlehem and recent attempts by astronomers to identify it.
10 December 1999: The Synod of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn (Australia) asked Bishop George Browning to withdraw his resignation. He agreed, and sent this letter to the churches in his diocese. The Church Times quickly reported the story, as did the Sydney Morning Herald in a story with a link to what we consider to be an excellent photograph of this suffering bishop.
9 December 1999: Reuters reports that Britain's most senior woman priest said on Thursday a bishop had offered her 85,000 pounds ($138,100) to resign to placate disgruntled parishioners.
9 December 1999: Victoria Combe reports in The Telegraph (London) that English clergy are being abused and bullied more than ever by members of their congregations, according to a union representing church workers.
7 December 1999: This sounds like the sort of story that would come out of the US, but it's actually from England. The Telegraph (London) reports on a nativity play featuring armed angels who gun down anyone opposed to spreading the word of Christ's birth. A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said: 'It is, without doubt, the most unusual nativity play I think that has ever been staged anywhere.'
7 December 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports on a national poster campaign intended to stir the dormant faith of Britons with the slogan "Religion is Dead. God isn't religious - why should you be?" The Church Times accurately points out that this is utter nonsense. The poster campaign is being run by a wealthy English pop musician who has been very successful at getting media attention.
6 December 1999: Crimes of violence are rarely international news, unless the victim was famous. From time to time a crime brings up a moral issue, in which the church (nominally the leader in moral issues) tries to lead the public and the government to a deeper understanding of morality. However, our own church seems to be tied up in knots in issues involving sexuality; we don't seem to be able to decide where the moral boundaries are. Integrity USA has just published a long, hard-to-read editorial by a friend of the victim in a recent US murder, in which he points out that the church is utterly failing to take any moral stand. This isn't really a news story, but it is a church story, and it derives from the news.
5 December 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that at Britain's Millennium Dome (which played a starring role in the opening credits of the latest James Bond film), the Faith Zone has been renamed because its title was "too Christian" and risked offending other religions. This sort of story makes your news centre editor remember why it is that his grandparents emigrated. And while we're talking about the Dome and its associated silliness, we should also draw your attention to an article, also in The Telegraph, noting that the architect hired to create the Millennium Dome's Spirit Zone believes the Christian Cross was a symbol of human misery and that God is irrelevant to the Millennium celebrations.
5 December 1999: Yasser Arafat opened yesterday the millennium celebrations in the town where Jesus was born. Discussion of that event and others like it is part of Peter Stanford's 'Spiritual quest for the millennial messiah' in The Observer today, part of its Religion in the UK series. Also in today's edition of that series is an odd but interesting 'Visions of Christ'.
4 December 1999: Cardinal Hume, The leader of England's Roman Catholic church died recently. Obviously there is a search for his replacement. There is considerable discussion around the selection of his replacement, made more important by news last week that there are more Roman Catholics than Anglicans actually going to church in England. This week Ruth Gledhill published in The Times an interview with Eamon Duffy, a fellow and tutor of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and a lecturer in divinity at the university. 1 December 1999, in the Britain section. Several days later Andrew Brown published in The Guardian an interview with the same person, in which he said that he was furious when a journalist this week represented his comments on the corruption of the renaissance papacy as an attack on the present regime. We don't know which journalist he means. Maybe some odd editorial mishap pasted the head-line of one journalist onto the body-text of another. See also an older published interview with Duffy, published by Worth School.
If you go to the trouble of entering The Times for 1 December 1999 in the Britain section, you should also read the article by Ruth Gledhill about the Bishop of London. It features a photograph of him modeling a new style of mitre that probably won't generate a £26 a year cleaning bill.
1 December 1999: The Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars has released its position paper 'A Response to the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops'. The position paper derives from that Association's annual meeting held in late October of this year.
29 November 1999: The Church has been quite involved in the dither over genetically modified food crops, but we have seen very little involvement in, other genetic issues. The UK Department of Health has released a reasonably complex but probably important paper on 'preimplantation genetic diagnosis' of human embryos. The web site says that the Church of England's Board of Social Responsibility was involved.
28 November 1999: The international edition of US-based Time magazine has published an article about the Alpha program that originated at Holy Trinity Brompton. The cover story this week in the US edition of Time is 'Jesus at 2000: A great novelist and biblical scholar examines what faith and historical research tell us after 2,000 years and emerges with his own apocryphal Gospel.'
28 November 1999: The Pope has given his blessing to genetically modified food in a move that will reignite the controversy over the ethics of genetic engineering. Article in The Observer (London). We have failed to find any complaint about genetically-modified foods in African newspapers.
26 November 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that in England, for the first time since the Reformation, there are more Roman Catholics than Anglicans going to church on Sundays. And in an unrelated event, a nude swordsman attacked a Roman Catholic mass the following day. We dearly hope that his mad goal was not one of reducing attendance. Australia found a less-violent way to use nude people to reduce church attendance on Sunday. Telegraph religion correspondent Jonathan Petre has written an analysis of this English Church Attendance Survey. Particularly galling for Church of England leaders, who launched the "decade of evangelism" in 1991 to boost church numbers, is the finding that the proportion of those aged under 15 attending church has dropped from 25 per cent in 1989 to 19 per cent last year.
26 November 1999: Anglican Media Sydney's news page is more or less filled with stories about the issues that came up at Sydney's synod, and the politics around them. Rather than list these stories individually we'll just direct you to their news page. It actually has a couple of stories that are not about the conflicts resulting from the 1999 synod. That diocese's monthly magazine, Southern Cross, also has its December/January issue online. Southern Cross is always worth reading. There are other dioceses in Australia, though none with so lush a web site. Look at, say, the online bits of The Melbourne Anglican,
24 November 1999: There have been two deadly earthquakes in Turkey in the last couple of months. The Diocese in Europe of the Church of England has posted an appeal on behalf of the Anglican Chaplaincy in Istanbul. This chaplaincy is the presence of the Anglican Communion in that area, and would benefit greatly from our contributions.
22 November 1999: The Nation (Nairobi, Kenya) reports on a fistfight between Anglicans and devil worshippers in a prayer room in Mumias, in the Diocese of Butere. It would appear that no one was badly hurt, and that no one was converted. This sort of Outreach program is new for our church.
22 November 1999: Though it has been known for some time tht the Anglican Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Keith Rayner, was going to retire today, the event is still momentous. Anglican Media Melbourne has a press release on the event. There's a comment on this retirement on the Sydney web site, but we're going to make you work to find it instead of linking to it.
21 November 1999: We failed to notice this article when it first came out, perhaps because we were out shopping for a new cybernaut's helmet, but The Independent (London) reported on 28 October 1999 that the Church of England's first live wedding on the Internet was an instant success – with 460 "hits" from around the world. For some reason this report of success reminds us of a local election in California, in which a woman running unsuccessfully for political office told the newspapers she felt successful (even though she received 15% fewer votes than a candidate who had died weeks before the election.)
21 November 1999: The BBC reports that thousands of Christians are expected to join a 2,300-mile pilgrimage across Britain to celebrate the millennium. This Iona-to-Canterbury walk is 'not a charity walk but a "simple act of homage to Jesus Christ for the new millennium"'.
21 November 1999: The Telegraph reports in an article by Jonathan Petre that a report paving the way for the remarriage of divorcees in church has been stalled by the Archbishop of Canterbury amid fears that its publication will provoke unwelcome publicity in the run-up to the Millennium.
21 November 1999: The consequences of a close relationship between church and state become ever more complex. The Telegraph reports today that the UK government is ready to allow clerics the same recourse as secular employees if they get into a dispute with their bishop.
20 November 1999: The Letters to the Editor column in The Times (London) carries today two extraordinary letters on the topic of the Church of England's Synod. The second letter proves to us that there is absolutely no substitute for a good classical education; no search engine will ever be able to provide information like that so perfectly used here by the Ven George Austin, Archdeacon Emeritus of York. Follow our instructions for getting into The Times' web site, then read "Synod reaction to earthy language" in the Letters section. If you read nothing else in the News Centre this week, read this.
20 November 1999: The Guardian has a delightful profile of retired Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu, 'God's showman'.
20 November 1999: The BBC reports that there are no plans to end the Act of Settlement, about which see an earlier analysis in The Guardian (London) by Gerard Seenan that 'The act of settlement is a "continuing insult to the Roman Catholic community" yet its repeal would disestablish the Church of England.' The Telegraph reports otherwise.
20 November 1999: Do the work needed to get into The Times for 20 November 1999, Faith, in Weekend. Ruth Gledhill talks to traditionalists whose world will be damaged by revisions under discussion in the Synod. Then read what Martin Neary (surely you remember this name; think 'Ex Abbey Organist') has to say about church music. Now rewind your Times to the previous day, and in the Britain section you can read the Times coverage of the things to which there are actual hyperlinks in the next paragraph. We are astounded by the difference in coverage of the new Lord's Prayer issue between The Times (here) and the Telegraph and the Independent (next paragraph). There are also Synod stories in The Times on 18 November 1999, also in the Britain section.
18 November 1999: The Church of England is having a Synod this week. Ahh. Lest this event dominate the News Centre, we will give you a blizzard of links right here. Debate over the role of the Virgin Mary; some background on that issue. Assertion that English Bishops are a bargain at the current price. Arguing about the wording of the Creed; aren't there more important things to argue about? Agreement to reject new wording of the Lord's Prayer despite temptation. Church census to include ethnic origins; Stephen Lawrence did not die in vain. But how will it work? Repeating the call for more monks and nuns in the modern church. Snideness about the new Eucharist service. Church members who have children urged to spend more time in pubs.
17 November 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that 'A secret meeting on homosexuality was held in New York last week at which 10 bishops from all over the world tried to avoid a schism in the Anglican Communion.'
17 November 1999: At the 1998 Lambeth conference it was said frequently but documented rarely that cultural conflict between Islamic and Christian groups in Africa was a major factor in shaping the opinions and policies of some African bishops in attendance. We have no data as to whether this is true or not, but it has sensitized us to look for stories about the relationship between Islam and Christianity in Africa. Today the Nigerian newspaper Tempo published a feature article on 'Islamic and Western Values' in its 'Education and Religion Section'.
14 November 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that Church of England authorities have warned clergy planning to circulate secret details of bishops' expenses that they will face prosecution under the Data Protection Act. The background on this little squabble is written up on the Trushare bulletin board, a traditionalist web site.
13 November 1999: It happened a month ago, but the news only reached us today. The Mombasa Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya yesterday overwhelmingly voted to ordain women as priests. During elections in a full synod meeting, 69 members voted for the ordination of women as priests while 22 others voted against it. Story in The Nation (Nairobi).
13 November 1999: The Diocese of Los Angeles reported today that it has elected as its next bishop the Very Revd J. Jon Bruno, currently provost of the Cathedral Centre of St Paul. This is one of the biggest dioceses in the Anglican Communion and this is an important election. There is an article about it in the Los Angeles Times.
13 November 1999: James Meek reports in The Guardian and Victoria Combe reports in The Telegraph that the number of people attending Church of England services on an average Sunday has, for the first time in centuries, fallen below 1 million.
10 November 1999: Last month the Diocese of Sydney passed a resolution at its Synod that would have permitted people who were not ordained to preside over a eucharist. This concept is called "lay presidency". You can read our news report about it. Today the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Harry Goodhew, said "Having carefully and prayerfully weighed these matters I have decided to withhold my assent to the Ordinance." You can read on the Anglican Media Sydney web site his statement, the press release about it (which was also issued by the Anglican Communion News Service) and a number of responses to this decision, both from the Bishop of Wollongong and various Anglicans around Sydney. You can read on the Anglican Media Melbourne site the comments of Dr Keith Rayner, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia and Archbishop of Melbourne.
10 November 1999: A flurry of non-news releases from the Anglican Communion News Service. Sermon by Secretary General, St John's Wood. Southern Africa: Debate about violence against women. Melbourne: English Organ finds new home in Australia. Moscow: New Life at St Andrew's Anglican Church, Moscow. Middle East: Millennium Celebrations Launched. India: Bhopal - 15 Years after the Tragedy. Lambeth: Archbishop of Canterbury's Millennium Lecture at Blackheath Concert Halls
8 November 1999: The Independent (London) reports that a Church of England congregation has been meeting in a pub because their church is too cold.
8 November 1999: It's not Anglican news or even church news, but it will have an effect on our church. The vote in Australia went 54.7 percent against the formation of a republic, voting instead to keep the current constitutional monarchy with the Queen of England as its symbolic head. Best coverage we have found is in the Sydney Morning Herald.
8 November 1999: The Diocese of the Arctic is looking for some English priests. A fascinating article in The Guardian. "The first qualification is that you very strongly believe God wants you to be there," said the bishop.
7 November 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports in an article by Jonathan Petre that breakaway-minded groups in the Church of England are planning confidential talks with one of the Pope's top advisers to explore links with Rome. This group objects to women bishops, and is reportedly seeking ties with the Roman Catholic church because it currently shares that objection.
6 November 1999: Sir William van Straubenzee has died. He was a Tory MP who broke with Margaret Thatcher and then devoted his energies to the Church of England. Obituary in The Telegraph.
6 November 1999: Speaking of obituaries, an English priest in Liverpool has suggested that genetic engineering could be used to eradicate homosexuality. Story in the Telegraph (London). We in the Anglicans Online News Centre look forward to the news stories that will derive from other applications of this idea, such as genetic engineering to produce people with specific opinions on, say, the ordination of women or the culinary worth of Marmite. If you've seen the film "Cabaret", do remember the scene in which some nice-looking boys sang the song "Tomorrow belongs to me."
6 November 1999: With all of the blather about cyberchurches and cyberspace somehow replacing church services, we can't help but enjoy what Ruth Gledhill has written about her visit to St Mary Magdalene-in-Paddington, Delamere Terrace, London. This church was in the England's Thousand Best Churches book by Simon Jenkins (no relation). Follow our instructions for finding articles in The Times, and look in Faith, in Weekend, in The Times for 6 November 1999.
5 November 1999: The Diocese of Northern Indiana elected the Very Reverend Edward Little, Rector of All Saints, Bakersfield, CA as its seventh Bishop. He won a majority of the lay & clerical votes on the first ballot. Coverage in the South Bend Tribune, a newspaper in the see city.
5 November 1999: The 63rd Synod of the Diocese of Calgary has elected The Venerable Barry Hollowell as the 7th Bishop of Calgary. Archdeacon Hollowell is currently the Rector of St George's, St Catherines Ontario, and Archdeacon of Lincoln, Diocese of Niagara.
4 November 1999: The November edition of Canada's Anglican Journal is out. It is always worth reading. We particularly draw your attention to the article "Baptists, Anglicans to begin talks in earnest". We don't know where Earnest is, but surprisingly it is nowhere near Sydney. Oscar Wilde was born there, though. If you are following the story about the lawsuit against the Diocese of Cariboo, there is an article "Church may appeal share of damages" by Kathy Blair. And Michael Ingham has asked Moses Tay to stay away from his diocese.
4 November 1999: The November edition of Southern Cross is online. This is the newspaper of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, and it contains a significant amount of information about the recent Synod in Sydney and the controversial decisions that came out of it. Southern Cross doesn't seem to put its current issues into its archive until they are no longer current, which means that we can't give you a hyperlink that will always work. We'll try to come back to this story next month and edit the hyperlink so that it points to their archive instead of their current issue.
3 November 1999: The Telegraph reports that "More monks and nuns sought for parishes". Anglican religious communities have shrunk in size and profile since the 1960s and have gradually been edged out of parish life in many dioceses. The Church has been enjoying a surge in ordinations for the past three years and hopes to spread some of this new interest to monasteries and convents.
3 November 1999: The Church of England has issued a press release trumpeting the announcement of a document called "Cybernauts Awake!" It is Anglicans Online policy to avoid negative commentary whenever we can; there is almost always something positive to say even about things that we disagree with. But this document, this "Cybernauts Awake!", is so idiotic that we have been forced to violate that policy. We think that Ship of Fools is going to be your best source of an even-tempered review; Private Eye would have the right viewpoint but is not itself particularly Internet-aware. There is probably, somewhere in this wretched document, some content that is worth your attention, but we haven't found it yet.
The main message that is communicated to us by this press release is that the Church of England is entirely ignorant of the Internet. We don't think that was the message that they intended. As a simple example of this ignorance, they forgot to put into their press release any hyperlinks to the document that it is announcing, though they did mention part of its URL. They want you to buy the book, even though entire text of the book is online, and the book's premise is that online communication is important. Possibly the worst part of this book is that its authors are quite serious in their use of the word "cybernaut". They think of you and me as cybernauts. Yes indeed, cybernauts. Like argonauts or astronauts. There's a special helmet and uniform that I wear whenever I send email to my mother. I strap on my pentacorder belt and tighten my cybershoes before looking on the web to find out when a movie starts at the cineplex. And since you asked, the colour scheme of the web site is memorably ghastly. Deep purple and accounting-sheet green, with sky blue lettering on the purple.
You should read this quickly if you are going to read it at all. You don't want to pay money for it, and it can't stay on the web for long. Sooner or later the mother of one of the authors is going to see it on the web and send her child some email saying that he is embarrassing the family, and would he please either delete it or remove his surname. Though, come to think of it, one of the things that the report says is that not all of its authors are email users, so those mothers would have to use the telephone. We are given to understand that the Church of England published a similar document in 1957, alerting the public that telephones were important and people should really think about using them.
2 November 1999: Egypt's electoral synod has just concluded. The Rev Dr Mouneer Anis was elected as bishop to succeed the Most Rev Ghais Abdul Malek as bishop of Egypt upon Bishop Ghais' retirement in May 2000. The election must still be ratified by the Provincial Synod of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.
2 November 1999: The Bishop of Liverpool asks in today's Independent why the Church is so kind to the press. The headline says "Newspapers often attack the Church of England. So why doesn't it retaliate, asks James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool".
2 November 1999: It's frightening, but it's true. The Church of England is going to have another Synod. The purpose of Synods is not, in truth, to give the press more raw material to criticise the church, but they always seem to turn out that way. The British press is warming up by publishing pre-synod articles. Clare Garner writes in The Independent that "Word of God need no longer be English". Victoria Combe writes in The Telegraph that "Anglican priests to speak in many tongues." One of the things that newspapers often do when publishing pre-synod articles is to focus on one small topic, like this one. Of course, most of what happens at Synods is deadly boring, and a newspaper's first duty is to make sure that people don't cancel their subscriptions.
The official announcement that there is going to be a Synod can be found in a press release on the Church of England web site. No, that press release is not dated February 11. It's just that the Church of England press office thinks that only British people will be looking at their press release, and so they use a style of writing dates that means different things in different countries. Anglicans Online tries to remain international; this is why we always write dates the way we do.
2 November 1999: In California where Anglicans Online is published, the phrase "let's do lunch" means "please go away and leave me alone". In England it may mean something different. This story is really just a British story, and Anglicans Online tries as best it can to focus on international news, but there's so much gossip fodder in here that we can't resist. The Independent is obeying the above-mentioned first duty of newspapers by publishing a warm-up on the "Lunch of the century" for British notables. The only Anglican connection that we can find is that the Bishop of London was one of the gatekeepers, deciding who gets to do lunch and who doesn't.
1 November 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald carried online a story published only in the dead-tree edition of The Telegraph. The Ship of Fools' "Mystery Worshipper" department is getting media attention. We like this.
31 October 1999: The Telegraph reports today that the Church of England will lose more than a third of its seats in the House of Lords when the current round of reforms are completed. If you really care about the House of Lords there's a deeper and more British article here. We assume that it is just a matter of time until there's a street gang or a rock group named "House of Lords".
31 October 1999: Sometimes we try to be slightly droll when we report a news story, but we think we have to play this one completely straight. Christopher Morgan, religious affairs correspondent for The Times (London) reports in the Britain section for 31 October 1999 that the Archbishop of Canterbury has made a private appeal to Jack Straw, Britain's home secretary, to free Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator. Oddly enough for a story of this magnitude, there is no mention of this in any other newspaper or news service, nor in any of the usual religious wire services (WFN, ENI, ACNS, ENS). Is this something that slipped by the Times' fact checkers?
31 October 1999: If the name "Bono" or "Bono of U2" means nothing to you, then you may yet be mildly interested in what he wrote in today's Observer about the psalms. Your News Centre editor has at least one copy of all of U2's published music and is listening to The Joshua Tree as he writes this. He is thus absolutely delighted to read what this legendary Irish popular musician has to say about King David and the psalms.
30 October 1999: We believe that there is no connection whatsoever between the recent press revelations of lavish expenditures in the upper reaches of the Church of England and today's story by Victoria Combe in The Telegraph that the Archbishop of Canterbury plans to sell tours of Lambeth Palace for £6 beginning next year. If that connection existed, we could imagine a publicity flyer saying "Take a family of four to tour Lambeth Palace and a mitre can be repaired for one year. Take a 30-student school field trip to Lambeth Palace and a diocesan bishop can talk on a cell phone for one month."
28 October 1999: The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Dr George Carey, delivered a speech to the "Sacred Synod" today. The name "Sacred Synod" is the name applied by the "Forward in Faith" organisation to its largest meeting. That organization was founded to oppose the ordination of women priests, so talking to their biggest meeting and saying what he said is a brave act. The Reuters news wire carried a story summarising the speech as "The leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans appealed for unity in the Church of England in the face of deep divisions over women priests." The text of Dr. Carey's speech is online at the Anglican Communion News Service, so you can see for yourself what he said.
27 October 1999: Pillar saints to the contrary, a living church is difficult to separate from the society it is in. While the church may view decisions about the role of women to be purely an internal issue, the people who would attend that church often see it differently. Today's Sydney Morning Herald carries a literate reflection by a young female college student on the role of women in the church. While you're poking around the Sydney Morning Herald, you can read 3 letters to the editor that they chose to publish on this topic. It's the second topic in the day's letters page. The Sydney Morning Herald is published by the Fairfax Group, and seems to us from years of reading it to have a bit of a Roman Catholic point of view.
27 October 1999: The Anglican Communion News Service has published a letter from Canon John Peterson to Edward Cardinal Cassidy and the Revd Dr Ishmael Noko on the subject of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. The background needed to explain this letter and its context is so enormous that we won't even try, but if you enjoy reading primary sources for history in the making, here is one. Neither we nor those involved in writing this letter spotted an outrageous error in the first sentence of the second paragraph; an alert Anglicans Online reader brought this to our attention. At least we hope it's an error.
26 October 1999: In 1998 there was a ruckus in Arkansas when an ECUSA Episcopal church made itself part of the Diocese of Shyira, in Rwanda, rather than remaining affiliated with its geographic diocese. The ruckus was heard elsewhere; this was fundamentally the event that caused Resolution V.13 to be submittted to the 1998 Lambeth conference. We reported this event in April 1998, and published some more information about it in July 1998. Today the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Bishop of Shyira has visited his congregation in America.
26 October 1999: The Right Reverend Robert B Appleyard, retired Bishop of Pittsburgh, has died at age 81. Obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Your News Centre editor adds this personal comment:
25 October 1999: The Anglican Communion News Service has published a 2-sentence letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury in which he says that he does not like the idea of lay presidency. See our news item of 23 October 1999 if you don't know what lay presidency is.
24 October 1999: The BBC reports that the leader of the Scottish Episcopal Church has announced that he will retire in two years. The Most Revd Richard Holloway has been one of the more controversial figures in the Anglican Communion, most recently inspiring the Most Rev Moses Tay, Archbishop of South East Asia, to boycott a church meeting because the Most Revd Richard Holloway was the host.
24 October 1999: The U.S. News and World Report, a weekly magazine not noted for its religious coverage, has run a cover story "Is the Bible true?" . This is a brief summary of a book by the same name, which you might or might not want to read after scanning this article. The magazine put a picture of naked people on the cover in order to attract the attention of would-be buyers. We have no such technique for attracting new readers, alas.
24 October 1999: We reported previously on a story in the British press revealing expenditures for bishops that the newspaper called "lavish". Today in The Telegraph (London) there is a follow-up story saying that bishops and senior clergy will soon receive more from the Church Commissioners in salaries and expenses than all the parishes in England put together. By US standards the amount of money involved isn't enormous; we wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the operating budget of, say, The First Baptist Church of Dallas was bigger than that of the entire Church of England. But we're just guessing at that.
24 October 1999: The Sunday Times reports in the Britain section for 24 October that "Eight years of hostile press coverage culminating in a spate of deeply critical reports have led George Carey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to seek advice from Lord Bell, Baroness Thatcher's principal election strategist in the 1980s." To read articles in The Sunday Times, you can follow our instructions.
23 October 1999: The loud news this week all comes from the Synod in the Diocese of Sydney. The synod voted to allow people who are not priests (lay people) to preside over communion. This is usually referred to as "lay presidency" and has nothing whatsoever to do with Bill Clinton. Anglican Media Sydney has the official stories and reports on its synod web page. The Sydney web site has the full text of the speech to the Synod by the man who proposed the motion, Dr. John Woodhouse, a text of the speech to the Synod by Bishop Barnett, who opposed it, and also the response by Australia's primate, Archbishop Keith Rayner. The Anglican Communion News Service, which normally takes several weeks to get a story out, had its coverage of this story online within a few minutes, and links to other coverage on its home page. The text of the ordinance passed is here.
Some newspapers have covered the Sydney stories. The Telegraph (London) said "Diocese breaks tradition of Communion." The Sydney Morning Herald says "Synod 'on brink of new church'" and quote Archbishop Rayner as saying "At the Reformation in the 16th century, the Anglican reformers made it clear that they were not starting a new church. The Sydney vote represents a fundamental break with the principles of the Anglican reformers." The Church Times just reported what happened.
The dither over this lay presidency issue has been so large that there hasn't been much publicity over the other things passed by the Sydney synod. Or maybe nobody cares; after all, there are 567 other dioceses in the Anglican Communion, many of which also held synods in the last month. At one level we're delighted to see folks getting their knickers in a twist about an issue unrelated to sexuality. At another level we wonder why so many people who don't live in Sydney are so worked up over this issue. We at Anglicans Online are in more of a dither over reports from a priest in the Diocese of Sydney that there is no chrism in Sydney, and that they have to import consecrated oils from a neighboring diocese. The excitement of smuggling oils across a diocesan boundary (probably wrapped in forbidden vestments) seems more literary.
We believe that this is the first time, ever, that the Anglican Communion News Service got a story out before we did. Good going, Jim!
23 October 1999: The Rev Robert Trache was elected the Ninth Bishop of Atlanta. Details and other candidates' names at http://atlanta.anglican.org/nomination/ballot5.htm.
23 October 1999: Anglicans Online has no paid reporters. We locate and read news reported by commercial newspapers, and we provide you with links to it, so you don't have to hunt it down as we did. Sometimes we get press passes and attend events to write about them for you, and sometimes we ask our friends to do the same. But mostly our News Centre is a hand-selected pick from the torrent of global news. We add a sentence or two of guidance and commentary, which we make sure you understand is our opinion and not actual news. We are dependent on high-quality web sources of paid commercial news.
To that end, we are delighted to see that The Independent, one of the UK's most respected newspapers, has launched an utterly new web site at the same old location. The biggest problem with their old web site was that stories vanished from it after a day or two, making it impossible for a weekly publication like ours to link to that site. We congratulate The Independent on their new site, and we hope to be able to link you to Anglican news stories in it, as soon as we see any. We're not sure what to think; we tested their new search engine by searching on the word "archbishop" and got this response. At least it's free. We pay AUS$2.00 per query to use the search engine in Australia's newspapers. As with any new high-tech endeavour, expect problems at first.
21 October 1999: One of the outcomes of Lambeth 1998 was a polarisation of the world's Anglicans over the issue of homosexuality. Many bishops condemned many people and many places. Unhappiness was everywhere. One outcome was that the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, Frank Griswold, invited nine other bishops from around the world to visit the US and see first-hand that which they were condemning. This has happened, and the Episcopal News Service has written about it.
21 October 1999: Every few weeks ECUSA releases some "news briefs". This batch is out. Nothing to make you jump out of your chair and read in amazement, but some things worth your attention.
21 October 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that "Vatican heals rift with the Lutheran Church." The article begins "One of the principal causes of the Reformation, which divided the Christian Church, has been resolved in a historic statement to be signed by church leaders this month." It's amazing how much language affects our thinking. If you rewrite that sentence to say "the black plague" instead of "the Reformation" it actually makes more sense. Like most web sites, we at Anglicans Online also prefer ragged right to justification.
20 October 1999: Anglicans Online is edited in London and New York, but published from a computer in the Diocese of California. The Bishop of California, the Rt Revd William Swing, has spent most of his energy over the last few years traveling around the world drumming up support for a "United Religions Initiative." We have read about it in our diocesan newspaper; today we read about it in the Church Times.
18 October 1999: The Telegraph (London) reports that more than a thousand people have withdrawn their financial support from the Church of England's leading children's charity as a result of its recent decision to stop analysing the sexual orientation of potential foster parents.
17 October 1999: The Anglican Communion News Service published the text of a speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury to Britain's House of Lords "to call attention to the role of religions in promoting international order and preventing international disorder." We can't help but note that this language about order and disorder is identical to the language used by General Pervaiz Musharraf to explain to the world press why he needed to overthrow the elected government of Pakistan last week. We note also that the Church Times is not entirely opposed to that coup. The House of Lords went on to debate this issue, which debate is duly recorded on The Stationery Office web page.
17 October 1999: A column in The Observer by Nigella Lawson begins "It is appropriate that an Archbishop of Canterbury should live in a fools paradise: that, after all, is part of the job description. But it exceeds even the normal delusional demands of clericalism for George Carey to announce, as he did last week, that the Church of England should build more schools just because parents appreciate schools that stand for the Christian values which they believe belong to our heritage." It goes on from there. Update on 24 October: don't miss the gaggle of Letters to the Editor in response to that column; they are at the bottom of this page. We notice also that in this year's list of the 300 most powerful people in the UK, the good Archbishop does not make it, but Bill Gates, the Pope, and Tim Berners-Lee are all on the list.
17 October 1999: You can follow the Sydney Synod nearly live at the Sydney Synod 1999 web site. The big debates (lay presidency and women priests) are yet to come as of our publication date, so you haven't missed any action yet.
16 October 1999: The Guardian has a story about Eric Kemp, the last bishop appointed directly by a Prime Minister: "When dinosaurs roamed the Church".
16 October 1999: Speaking of dinosaurs roaming the church, the Guardian also has a story today, by James Meek, that the Vatican is going to substitute English for Latin as the lingua franca for international meetings. "Abbot Carlo Egger, senior Latinist at the Vatican, told the Catholic Herald: "Latin now stands little chance of survival in the Catholic church. The simple truth is that many, too many, bishops no longer know how to speak it." Dude! Does this rock?
16 October 1999: It's probably safe to say that if you omit Japan, the majority of the citizens in countries with Anglican churches have never ridden a train. So it's a little hard for us colonists to fathom just how important trains are to life in the Mother Country, and how devastating is a train wreck. Most of us have experienced train wrecks in the movies, where they always seem occur in slow motion. But last week there was an awful train crash near Paddington Station in London. Ruth Gledhill has written a story about the Eucharist offered for the victims of this crash. In The Times for 16 October, in Faith, which is in Weekend.
16 October 1999: Were it not for the existence of the Internet, we would never have known that the Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr. Keith Rayner, was sour on the Internet. The Melbourne newspaper The Age carried a short interview with Dr. Rayner in its dead-tree edition that didn't make it to its online edition, but we managed to find with help from some Australian cyberfriends. We've put a copy here so that you can read it over the Internet. If you live in Melbourne and subscribe to The Age, turn to page 15 in the News section for Saturday 16 October 1999. He mentions in this interview that "the Church is not drawing young people as it should be." The Internet is, O episcopus reverendissimus.
16 October 1999: The Church of England Newspaper has published an interview with Alexander Solzenhitsyn that is quite worth reading. The web site says that it is an expanded version of what they published in their dead-tree edition. Note to North American readers: the Church of England Newspaper is not an official publication of the Church of England; it is a private enterprise.
15 October 1999: We commented last week that we had heard opinions from some number of Australians that the situation in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn was not quite what it appeared, and that extra-diocesan church politics might be involved. The responsible adults who run the Anglican Church of Australia were displeased with our saying this, suggesting that we had been mongering rumours. We prefer to think of it as having repeated the Prayers of the People into the microphone. Much official apologia has ensued, and we'd like to make sure you have access to all of it.
The Diocese of Sydney, via Anglican Media Sydney, has released a statement by Dr Harry Goodhew, Archbishop of Sydney, on the subject of the resignation of George Browning. Today we found on the National Church Office (Australia) web site a statement that "the only official statements made by the principals involved in the Special Tribunal Case are as follows". The last one seems to be the best reading unless you are fixated on this issue; see Circulated Statement by the Primate, Archbishop Keith Rayner 6 October, 1999.
We don't know why we are so reminded of Queen Gertrude's answer to Hamlet's question. Maybe it's just that it's presidential election season in the USA and we are listening with election-year ears. From our vantage point here in the Northern Hemisphere we aren't quite sure what is going on, but we can say with certainty that we see conflict between the Diocese of Sydney and other parts of the Anglican Church of Australia. We've gotten more "email to the editor" on this topic than any other topic in the history of Anglicans Online's News Centre.
14 October 1999: One of the staff members of Anglicans Online knows as much Latin as any living person. It is not your News Centre editor, who manages somehow to know what "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" means. Recall the (past) ridiculous situation with the Bank of Scotland and the American television evangelist Pat Robertson. Using that Latin rule of logic, we know what caused the Church of England to set rules for the behaviour of evangelists, as reported in The Telegraph.
13 October 1999: The Nigerian Newspaper Tempo, published in the capital city of Lagos, has a story today about a celebration at St Paul's Anglican Church in Odogbulu. The celebration was in thanksgiving for the health and safety of General Oladipo Diya. Our attention was drawn to this sentence: "Diya, dressed in a white brocade agbada (flowing gown) with his two wives next to him, had barely sat down when ..." We had just finished reading the Charleston Accord, and were trying to do some arithmetic based on population sex ratios, but it became time for tea, and so we didn't.
13 October 1999: Most of our modern world is in such a hurry that if you don't report a news story within hours, it's "old news" and no longer interesting. One of the pleasures of editing the Anglicans Online News Centre is that decades can go by and a story is still worthy of attention, even if it no longer deserves to be called "news". So we aren't begging your forgiveness for having missed a story last week; instead, we are telling you now that you should go read the delightful feature story about Desmond Tutu, retired Archbishop of the Diocese of Cape Town, and his weariness at fighting. Bishop Tutu is living in the USA now, but he was interviewed by the English newspaper "The Telegraph".
10 October 1999: We are delighted to be able to report that, at last, there is a scandal in the church that is about money and not about sex. No, it doesn't involve musicians. Today's Telegraph (London) has reported a story saying that, for example, some Church of England bishops spend more on their chauffeurs than the average vicar earns in a year. In every organization, figures about money are kept secret, and we can't imagine that the people at Church House are pleased with this leak. Our favourite item from this news story is that a typical suffragan bishop spends £26 each year on mitre repairs. Those hats have always looked rather fragile to us. Do read this article. Your Anglicans Online co-editors, who live thousands of kilometers apart, are going to stop what they are doing right now and call one another on their mobile phones; our monthly bills are disgracefully small in comparison. Maybe we'll read Compline together over cell phones.
9 October 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald writes about the women who are deacons in the Diocese of Sydney, which that newspaper says is the only "metropolitan diocese" in the Anglican Church of Australia that does not allow women to be priests. This comes up because the Diocese of Sydney, like many Australian dioceses, is having a Synod this month. The stakes are high. The Archbishop of the Diocese of Sydney, Harry Goodhew, will retire in March 2001, so this is almost his last chance to approve the ordination of women in the only big-city Australian diocese that does not currently permit that. The web site of the Diocese of Sydney is dry and boring in its coverage of their Synod; you'll have to read the newspapers to get the good stuff. We've been hearing persistent rumors that there is some sort of connection between the Sydney synod and the forced resignation of the Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, but we have no facts yet so can't actually say anything.
7 October 1999: The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that the head of the Uniting Church in New South Wales has called on church members to resolve conflicts within their ranks, including the divisive issue of homosexuality.
6 October 1999: Aquila Books, a small English publishing house, has published a book criticizing the 1998 Church of England Psalter. It's by John Emerton, David Frost, and Andrew Macintosh. It appears that you need to buy the book in order to learn what it says, but on the Aquila Books web site they say "the authors produce evidence that it is both an incompetent translation of the Hebrew and in mediocre English." However, Aquila Books does provide a page that lets you do side-by-side comparison of the Psalter 1998 with the current Psalter. The new text is on the left, and words that differ are highlighted in red. Somebody put a lot of work into making this comparison and this web site; you should read it.
3 October 1999: The General Synod Working Group on Women Bishops (Australia) published their Interim Report in August, but only now is it available online. The National Church Office has a summary of its contents; the Diocese of Brisbane has an article about it in its monthly newsletter.
2 October 1999: The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, President and Dean of Episcopal Divinity School, published the "Cambridge Accord." The Accord is intended as an international response to increased violence against homosexual persons around the world. The Episcopal Divinity School's announcement includes a link to the text of the Accord. Bishop Charleston was previously the Bishop of Alaska.
2 October 1999: Anglicans Online is a venture into the use of a new medium, the Internet, for religious communication. Today in The Telegraph there was an obituary of a priest who achieved major success with the use of an earlier high-tech medium, broadcast radio, for religious communication. Canon William Purcell, BBC religious broadcasting organiser and past Canon Residentiary of Worcester Cathedral, died at age 90.
2 October 1999: The Diocese of Michigan has elected the Rev. Wendell Gibbs as bishop coadjustor. Coverage in the Diocese's online publication, The Record.
1 October 1999: Focus, the monthly publication of the Diocese of Brisbane, carries a fascinating story about the identity of the coin held by Jesus in the "render unto Caesar" episode. It doesn't look like Brisbane archives back stories,
1 October 1999: We reported on 19 September about a news story in Canada about the Anglican Church of Canada being held liable by the courts for abuse of students by employees of the schools. The October issue of the Anglican Journal is out, and has major coverage of this situation, both in news and editorial. This is not a pretty story, but it is an important one, even if you are not Canadian. We should point out (as many of our Canadian readers did) that we failed to mention another story that is important and not about sex, which was featured in the September issue of the Anglican Journal: that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada approved, almost unanimously, the principle of full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada. By the way: every time we go to a major Lutheran web site we like what we see; if you are a connoisseur of web site design, you should definitely have a look at ELCIC.
Canada's Anglican Journal is a truly great publication; you should read it every month. We do. Sometimes we get so captivated in reading it we forget to do our duty of referring you to stories in it. Maybe we should just, on the first of every month here in the News Centre, include a reminder for you to look at a few "always read these" publications.
1 October 1999: We told you last week that after we had read the avalanche of press releases from the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Scotland we would report on what they said. After a week of study we think that they haven't said anything, but maybe the 13-word summary in this week's Church Times is best: "the usual mixture of housekeeping and conscience-salving (urging governments to act, mainly)"
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