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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for January / February / March 2000

Link to main News Archives page

The earliest stories are at the bottom of this page. If you are having trouble finding something, don't forget to try AO Search. 
Note: The Singapore/ECUSA story is listed under 29 January.

31 March 2000: Lambeth Palace open to the public
The Guardian reports that 'It has taken 800 years but the Church of England is tomorrow following the trail blazed by Buckingham Palace and stately homes across the country in opening the doors of Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to the public for the first time.' The BBC also reports the story, with some pictures.

30 March 2000: Pastoral letter on 'Stolen Children' in Australia
The Rt Rev Philip Freier, Bishop of the Northern Territory, Australia, issued a pastoral letter for the clergy, pastoral workers and the people of the Diocese of the Northern Territory. The pastoral letter concerns the 'stolen generation' issue in the Australian community, for in past decades Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children were separated from their families, following Australian Government policies of forced separation.

29 March 2000: WWJLL
We haven't seen the US custom of "bumper stickers" so universally in other countries. A bumper sticker that we see a lot of in California is "WWJD". What Would Jesus Do?. Britain's National Gallery is running an exhibition that traces the evolution of images of Jesus, helping answer people's longing to know what Jesus looked like. Story in The Telegraph (London).

28 March 2000: Used cars and holy orders
The Telegraph (London) reports on a company that buys and sells cars for clergy of all denominations. A cute story.

27 March 2000: Archbishop Crawley speaks out about the Canadian church lawsuits
The Anglican News Service (Canada) reports that 'The [Canadian] government is acting in a shortsighted and counterproductive manner in its approach to residential schools lawsuits, and its lawyers are behaving in an aggressive and uncoordinated fashion, a senior bishop of the Anglican Church has charged.'

27 March 2000: Top English theologian revises Biblical prohibitions
The Times (London) reports that a leading Church of England theologian has called for a revision of the Christian stance against homosexuality, prostitution and drugs.

26 March 2000: ECUSA leaders welcome settlement in hotel discrimination lawsuit
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the US Justice Department announced recently that the Adam's Mark hotel chain, the originally-planned hotel for ECUSA's General Convention this year, has agreed to pay $8 million, revise its policies, and seek minority customers in order to settle racial discrimination lawsuits.

26 March 2000: The Very Revd Peter Baelz
The Very Revd Peter Baelz, dead at age 76, was the Dean of Durham Cathedral. He was widely considered to be one of the Church of England's best and most creative thinkers. Obituary in The Telegraph. Another obituary in The Guardian. And another in The Times.


26 March 2000: More Lutheran opposition to the Concordat
A month ago there was a news item about organized opposition among Lutherans to the proposed Concordat with ECUSA. The earlier opposition was focused on contemporary political issues such as sexuality and homosexuality. Today the Associated Press carried a story that the opposition continues, this time focusing on the historic episcopate and apostolic succession as being in conflict with the principle of the priesthood of all believers.

25 March 2000: Death of a good bishop in the Torres Strait
The Anglican Communion News Service reported today that Bishop Ted Mosby, a Torres Strait Islander who was Assistant Bishop of North Queensland responsible for the Torres Strait region, died suddenly from a heart attack on Friday 17 March. His death has brought great sadness to the Torres Strait people and tributes are flowing from many people who appreciated his ministry and gifts. Though we never had the pleasure of meeting this man, we find that by all reports he was an exemplary human being and even those who disagreed with his positions on controversial issues are mourning his passing. Another bishop in his church wrote this reflection on his life.

25 March 2000: No news from Portugal, but the writers are keeping busy
The meeting in Oporto, Portugal of the Primates of the Anglican Communion is closed to reporters, so by definition there is no news coming out of it. However, it seems that there are a lot of people there prepared to deal with news when it arrives, and they are keeping busy by writing stories and putting those stories into the news channels of the Anglican world. The Anglican Communion News Service has transmitted four press releases about the meeting in Portugal, and none of them is what would conventionally be called 'news'. They have included several photographs; the news would be about what the people shown in those photographs might be saying or doing to one another. You might wish to read them anyhow. We did. 'Primates gather in Portugal: Holiness and Hope', 'Roman Catholic Bishops attend lunch with Primates', 'Street procession to mark Anglican Church celebration', and 'Archbishop of Canterbury's Sermon, Sunday 26th March 2000'.

25 March 2000: Are the English optimistic about resolution in Scotland?
The conflict in Scotland surrounding the first woman provost there continues. In a story that cannot possibly be unrelated, the Church of England today announced that the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, has appointed the first woman Provost in the Church of England.

24 March 2000: Another interview with the new Bishop of Ely
There are just under a thousand bishops in the Anglican Communion, and maybe a few dozen more if you count all of the not-in-communion Anglican churches. Very few of them seem to make the news, except by transitions like dying or becoming a bishop. This is as it should be: the job of a bishop is not normally to make news, though it is important that some bishops speak out. The new Bishop of Ely seems to us to be a fellow who is going to show up in the news a lot. He has been interviewed in this week's Church Times, though the interview did not make the CT web edition. The Church Times gave the Diocese of Ely permission to put the story online, which they have done, and you can read it here.

22 March 2000: Christian Science Monitor (!!) on remarriage in England
The Christian Science Monior has recently joined the online world; its web site continues to amuse us. Today it published a top-quality feature article about remarriage in England.

21 March 2000: English bishop argues against bank closures
In contemporary society, many journalists have claimed many times that the church is obsolete, the church is an artifact of bygone days, or some such nonsense. We faithful people are convinced that our faith, and the church that keeps it alive, is at the center of life and not off at the edge somewhere, but sometimes the going gets tough in such a secular world. Today's Times (London) reports that the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, shows us one of the ways that the church, and its bishops, can make a difference even for people who haven't been in a church since they were married.

20 March 2000: Dearth of salesmen?
Victoria Combe, the talented religion writer for The Telegraph (London), reports today that a 'thousand churches of all denominations have agreed to start door-to-door evangelism this year in a style similar to that used by Jehovah's Witnesses.' Note: Anglicans Online is completely dependent on people like Ms Combe to locate and write the news stories that we link you to. Our online publication could not exist without something to link to, and we are always grateful for the good work by her and her colleagues.

20 March 2000: Prince Harry confirmed
The Times (London) reports that England's Prince Harry, heir to the throne of the United Kingdom, was confirmed in the Church of England today. The Telegraph (London) reports that this was not an entirely ordinary event.


19 March 2000: Lindisfarne Gospels move closer to home
In the 16th century, England's King Henry VIII was applying pressure to the administrative structure of his church, and one of the things he did was take the Lindisfarne Gospels, a 7th-century manuscript, to London. Today the British Library announced that, while they weren't moving back to Durham, the library would loan this booty to an art gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne. Story in The Telegraph and The Times.

19 March 2000: +Canterbury preaches in Ireland
The Most Revd Dr George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, is in Ireland this week, and preached three sermons that were transcribed by the Anglican Communion News Service. They are all worth reading. St Patrick's Day in Armagh Cathedral, then 18th March at the New Millennium conference, and 19th March in Belfast Cathedral.

19 March 2000: Boston Globe reports on how Bishop Shaw is doing in Washington
The Rt Revd Thomas Shaw, Bishop of Massachusetts, is serving as a legislative intern in the US Congress. His hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe, has this to say about it as his term there comes to an end and he returns to his diocese.

18 March 2000: Progress on Third-world debt issue
One of the phenomena of Lambeth 98 was that the squabbling about sex and sexuality kept some of the other issues out of the limelight. One of those other issues was debts owed by third-world countries to rich countries, and one of the major players was the World Bank. See, for example, Simon Sarmiento's report of 28 July 1998. Today the World Bank and a group of 150 Senior Christian leaders from 20 African nations announced that the Church and Bank plan to work more closely together to fight poverty and spur economic and social development in Africa.

18 March 2000: +Spong speaks out on the Singapore consecrations
The Rt Revd John Shelby Spong, retired Bishop of Newark, has always been controversial. He has just published an opinion on the Singapore consecrations that will sharply reduce the number of people who aren't sure whether he is a visionary or a lunatic.

18 March 2000: At your Service visits The Visit
Ruth Gledhill's weekly column 'At your Service' in The Times has the same fundamental purpose as the Ship of Fools' Mystery Worshipper column, but always has a perspective very different from that of the Ship. Ruth's columns are more insightful; the Ship's columns are sharp and funny. This week Ruth visited the production of a play on what happens when Jesus turns up unexpectedly as a member of an average Church of England congregation.

18 March 2000: British church news tied up in Section 28
In the psychedelic 1960's, one of the musical acts that defined the word 'psychedelic' was a group from San Francisco called 'Country Joe and the Fish'. Their signature work, an album called Electric Music for the Mind and Body, included a piece called 'Section 43', which probably was played during the smoking of more marijuana in the 1960s than any other piece of music. While the issues involved in Britain's Section 28 dispute are worthy and deep, the nature of the conflict there is absolutely baffling to those of us who are not British, and your News Centre editor has more than once wondered how much Section 43 (or Area 51) there is in Section 28. The British press is cranking out stories about it, though: Tory peers to oppose Blair compromise on Section 28, Bishop 'should quit over Section 28 sell-out', Section 28 delayed while Labour boosts its Lords numbers, Sex education will emphasise marriage, and Pupils will be told to delay sex. 'Gimme an F!!!'

18 March 2000: Credo: +Basingstoke writes about Sydney Smith
The Times (London) has a weekly column in which people not associated with that newspaper write a short meditation called 'Credo'. We find these columns to be fun to read. This week Geoffrey Rowell reflects on Sydney Smith.

18 March 2000: +Birmingham has little good to say about BMW
The unpleasantness between BMW and Rover has made international news, but you can read that news in your local newspaper. Today we mention it because The Times reports that the Rt Revd Mark Santer, Bishop of Birmingham, has launched a major attack on BMW. Article by Ruth Gledhill.

18 March 2000: Colonial ideas make racism rife in church
The Times reports that a Church of England report on racism says that institutional racism is rife within that institution.

18 March 2000: +Edinburgh supports spare-part cloning
The Telegraph (London) reports that one of Britain's leading clergymen spoke out last night in favour of therapeutic cloning, which would involve the use of human embryos to create "spare parts". We trust that there will be no genetic modification of those parts?

17 March 2000: Review of Bishop of Jerusalem's new book
Caught in Between: The Story of an Arab Palestinian Christian Israeli is a new book by Riah Abu El-Assal (Bishop of Jerusalem). Reviewed by Merle Harton, Jr.

17 March 2000: US National Cathedral gets huge bequest
The Associated Press reports that The Washington National Cathedral on Friday received a bequest of about $15 million, the largest in its 92-year history. It was willed by Katherine Thomas, who came from Emlenton, Pa., and lived in suburban Rockville, Md. Born Katherine Gregory, she died in 1994 at age 96. The money came from the sale of her family's dairy farm in what has become an urban area.

17 March 2000: Kenneth Leech writes on bishops who break away
In a feature article in the Church Times, The Revd Dr Kenneth Leech (community theologian at St Botolph's, Aldgate, in east London) writes on the historical tendencies of bishops to break away from the church.

17 March 2000: A US parish church splits away
The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina, USA) reports that the vestry of a US church has voted to leave the Diocese of East Carolina to join the Diocese of Shyira, in Rwanda. The event was reported in the online newsletter of the Diocese of East Carolina, which also includes a response from the Bishop of East Carolina. If this news shocks you, then perhaps you need to read our archive of coverage of the Singapore consecrations.

17 March 2000: The Pope's pilgrimage
The Associated Press has written a sweet article about Pope John Paul II and his frenzy of activity in recent days. We link the version in the Star Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) because we are so fond of that newspaper's excellent religion coverage, incontrovertibly the best in the United States.

17 March 2000: News from the mother country
The Anglicans Online News Centre strives to be international and nonpartisan. Sometimes we fail at both of those goals, but we do our best. Here are two stories that are strictly English. Your News Centre editor, who lives in California, understands one of them perfectly and is quite baffled by the other. The Telegraph reports that 'Vicar's wife passes on sex tips to couples' and the Church of England newspaper printed a feature by Michael Brown, Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Yorkshire Post, titled 'When will Tony get to work on the Year Book?'. Our English colleagues assure us that this latter is quite hilarious, and also say that they have no idea what we are talking about in our references in the Section 28 story, above.

14 March 2000: Anthony Russell is new Bishop of Ely
The Diocese of Ely reports that HM the Queen has approved the nomination of the Rt Revd Dr Anthony Russell as the 68th Bishop of Ely. Dr Russell is currently the Area Bishop of Dorchester. Some newspapers picked up this story too, but in general what they did is rewrite the material that you can read on the Ely web site. Ruth Gledhill talked to him and reports, among other things, that he supports genetically modified crops trials.

14 March 2000: Church of England review of +Canterbury's powers
Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury launched a review by Lord Hurd of his job description, that may increase his powers as the head of the Church of England. Coverage in The Times (Ruth Gledhill), The Telegraph (Victoria Combe), and The Independent.

13 March 2000: Finally a photograph of Singapore
This month's Episcopal Life includes the only photograph that we've seen thus far of the Singapore consecrations. It shows the Most Revd Moses Tay flanked by others.

13 March 2000: More on the retirement of +Edinburgh
The Telegraph (London) reports that the Bishop of Edinburgh was looking forward to being "plain Dick Holloway".


13 March 2000: Pope Visits Israel
The Associated Press reports, on the eve of Pope John Paul II's visit to Jerusalem, that the last pope to visit Jerusalem refused to say the word 'Israel' in public. We hope that his advance people have cleared the area of vegetarians.

12 March 2000: Missionary from Rwanda ready to launch new churches in US
The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC, USA) reported today that Chuck Murphy, one of the two men consecrated in Singapore to be bishops of Rwanda for missionary work in the USA, plans to launch a new network of churches in the USA.

11 March 2000: Bishop Holloway announces his retirement
The Most Revd Richard Holloway, Bishop of Edinburgh and primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church, will retire at the end of October of this year. Coverage by the BBC, The Times, and the Telegraph.

11 March 2000: Another Credo by June Osborne
The Times (London) has a weekly column in which people not associated with that newspaper write a short meditation called 'Credo'. June Osborne, Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, has now done it twice in four weeks. Her column today says that 'Admitting guilt is cheap, but repentance has value'.

10 March 2000: John Polkinghorne asks 'So just exactly what is a person?'
The Church of England Newspaper has published an interesting feature by John Polkinghorne with the abovementioned title. Since it's in a newspaper, we see it as fair game for listing in the News Centre.

10 March 2000: Dead Sea Scrolls on exhibit in Chicago
Anglicans Online's News Centre has always tried to give its readers, whenever possible, direct access to primary sources. Rather than tell you what somebody said, we like to link you to their own document. Sometimes we also link you to other people's analyses of these primary sources. In the world of religion, the sources don't get much more primary than the Dead Sea Scrolls, which, after half a century of being hidden away in darkest academia, are open to the public in Chicago's Field Museum. Article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which is becoming one our favourite newspapers for the quality of its religion coverage.

10 March 2000: Bishop of New Westminster warns against conservative split
The National Post (Toronto) reports that Michael Ingham, the Anglican bishop for Vancouver, has issued a warning to conservative clergy in his diocese believed to be making plans to bring their parishes under the authority of an alternative bishop.

9 March 2000: His parish is 100 miles long and 200 feet wide
The Philadelphia Daily News has published a profile of the Revd James Von Dreele, executive director of the Seamen's Church Institute.

9 March 2000: Michael Peers interviewed by Margaret Rodgers
Michael Peers, the genial Primate of Canada, recently visited the offices of Anglican Media while in Sydney. While there, he was interviewed by the talented Margaret Rodgers, who wrote this report. In the discussion at Anglican Media the Archbishop addressed additional issues such as lay presidency, and the forthcoming Primates' meeting in Oporto, Portugal to be held from 22nd to 28th March.

8 March 2000: Bishop of Rochester writes about marriage and family
There are two dioceses in the Anglican Communion called the Diocese of Rochester. The older of the two, by about a thousand years, is the one in England, and its diocesan bishop is the Rt Revd Dr Michael Nazir-Ali. Bishop Nazir-Ali is a very literate and highly-educated man, and much of what he writes is worth reading. In this month's diocesan newspaper, +Rochester has written a column on Marriage, Family, and the Church. This has created quite an uproar in Britain. The BBC said 'Childless couples "self-indulgent"'. The Church Times said 'Children not "optional extra" for couples' and ran this opinion column. The Independent said 'Bishop hits at couples who opt not to have children.' and The Telegraph said 'Bishop criticises couples who have no children'. The Times said 'Bishop damns childfree couples as selfish' and later 'Experts condemn "cruel" bishop.' Letter-writers to The Times weighed in, Then, five days later in the Sunday Times, the Bishop replied to all of this, in an interview with Cosmo Landesman.

8 March 2000: Picture the power and the glory
Anglicans Online scours the world's newspapers and information sources looking for news about the Anglican world. Sometimes we miss things. Last week we didn't notice this article in the Visual Art section of The Times (London) for 1 March 2000, which is relevant to the things that all Anglicans have in common, rather than focusing on those usually-newsworthy things that they do not have in common. 'Seeing Salvation is ... a welcome and indispensable event. By looking at the development of Christ's image in Western art, the National Gallery's new show helps non-believing visitors to arrive at a fuller understanding of the momentous narrative depicted here. Christian viewers will also find themselves exploring, all over again, the richness of meaning in pictures they might previously have regarded as overfamiliar.'

7 March 2000: Cardinal Biffi says that the Antichrist is a vegetarian
Last May (1999) one of the biggest news stories in the late Spring was the release by ARCIC of a document called 'The Gift of Authority'. It concerned the potential acceptance by Anglicans of Roman Catholic authority. Today the BBC published a story saying that Cardinal Giacomo Biffi said that the modern Antichrist, identified in the Book of Revelation as a seven-headed beast, was most likely now disguised as a philanthropist supporting creeds like vegetarianism, animal rights or pacifism, or advocating dialogue with Orthodox or Anglican believers. Cardinal Biffi is considered one of the people likely to be elected the next Pope. Your News Centre editor wants to assure you that he enjoys his position in the food chain and eats meat regularly. (But your managing editor is rather worried about her standing in this matter, since she is both Anglican and a vegetarian. Oh dear.)

7 March 2000: Prince of Wales agrees to become patron of the Prayer Book Society
The Telegraph (London) reports that 'The Prince of Wales has emphasised his support for the traditional Anglican liturgy by agreeing to become patron of The Prayer Book Society, which champions the Book of Common Prayer.'

6 March 2000: Many women priests in England are giving up
The Times (London) reports that women who entered the priesthood in the early 1990s are leaving the Church, fed up with having to be both the vicar and the vicar's wife. The same newspaper also has a short piece about a woman who does not plan to give up. The BBC also had something to say; it says that 'Women priests in the UK feel they are discriminated against, bullied and intimidated.' The Telegraph reported that 'Church is accused of "sexual apartheid"'; in that report it links to two additional stories providing more depth and background.

6 March 2000: Synod of SE Asia passes a resolution on the Singapore consecrations
The Synod of the Province of South East Asia, meeting in Malaysia, passed a resolution on the topic of the consecrations in Singapore on 29 January.

5 March 2000: Hundreds gather for ordination of Barry Hollowell in Calgary
We at Anglicans Online are always delighted to learn about celebrations of new bishops. But we are especially delighted to learn about them from the bishops themselves. We are grateful to the Rt Revd Barry Hollowell for drawing our attention to an article in the Calgary Herald, a newspaper that we do not search regularly.

5 March 2000: Former ABC attacks ignorant critics
The Telegraph (London) reports that 'Robert Runcie, the former amateur pig breeder and professional Archbishop of Canterbury, has set aside ecclesiastical cares to speak up for Britain's hard-pressed pig farmers.' The newspaper also printed verbatim Lord Runcie's comments about pigs.


5 March 2000: 'What the ek?', Part III
Anglicans Online's own Simon Sarmiento has written a very detailed analysis of the issue involving the English translation of the creed. This 3-part series began with Part I in July 1999, Part II in December 1999, and Part III, presumably the last part, today.

5 March 2000: English clergy have high AIDS death rate
The Sunday Times (London) reports that the AIDS-related death rate is about 10 times higher than in the general population.

5 March 2000: Almost a coverup, 65 years ago
In a presumably unrelated story, The Observer (London) reports that more than 50 years ago, the Bishop of Salisbury complained about sexual imagery in a giant prehistoric art work, causing the exasperated civil servant who received the complaint to exclaim 'What does the complainant want us to do? Plant a small grove of fig trees in a strategic position?'

4 March 2000: Bishop sought in Barbados
The Diocese of Barbados reports that 'The present Bishop of Barbados will retire on January 31st 2000. In many ways the Anglican church and Barbados are at the crossroads and there is a general feeling that this event at this juncture in our history is most timely. What is also unique is the fact that the Dean of St. Michael's Cathedral and the Archdeacon will also retire this year in January and July respectively. This means that the new Bishop will have to make some vital appointments which will no doubt impact on the identity of the church as a new brigade takes over the reins. This site seeks to raise the public awareness and impact on the process since as the largest single religious denomination on the Island (app 80,000) the final outcome will have some implications for all Barbados. In any event the Barbadian public has as much claim to the church and its survival as the church's claim to Barbados - the office is titled "The Bishop of Barbados"'

4 March 2000: Bishop elected in Nassau
The Diocese of Nassau and the Bahamas happily reported today that, on the very first ballot, they elected the Ven Gilbert Arthur Thompson as Bishop Suffragan of New Providence. Coverage on the web site of St George's Church in Nassau.

4 March 2000: Bishop not elected in Panama
On February 24, the Episcopal Diocese of Panama failed to elect a bishop to succeed Bishop Wallace Hayes who is due to retire. One ballot was annulled when a member of the clergy placed his vote in the lay box by mistake. During the five ballots the 21 members of the clergy maintained at 10 for each of the two candidates and 1 ballot in blank. Eleven votes were needed to elect. Julio Murray had the majority of the 87 lay votes. The other candidate was Manning Suarez.It was evident to one observer that the clergy was voting along racial lines, that is, Latino vs. Panamanian of West Indian descent. This information arrived by email to Anglicans Online staff from a US bishop, so we find it credible even though we have not cross-checked it against the diocesan web site.

4 March 2000: Bishop not consecrated in Atlanta
Today at 10:00 a.m. there was to have been a joyful consecration of the Revd Robert Trache as the new Bishop of Atlanta. Instead there was a mournful prayer vigil at St Philip's Cathedral. The diocese and the former candidate's former parish have both successfully respected Fr Trache's privacy with respect to the reasons for the cancellation. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an excellent story about Frank Allan, the soon-to-be-former Bishop of Atlanta. The Washington Post ran a mournful story about Fr Trache, 'The Bishop Who Wasn't'.

4 March 2000: Weekend religious reading in The Times
The Times (London) has a 'Faith' section every saturday, as do many newspapers, but for some reason The Times' stories much more frequently meet the joint criteria of being worth reading and having Anglican content. Ruth Gledhill writes about 'New prayers in old places' and Nigel McCulloch (Bishop of Wakefield) writes that 'To have life in focus, we must remember death'.

4 March 2000: Bishop Holloway bails Afghan hostages
The BBC reported today that Richard Holloway, Bishop of Edinburgh and Primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said he was approached by an organisation that helps asylum seekers and asked to pledge about 300 as a surety for 13 of the hostages from the recent Afghan hijack. According to the BBC, he said 'yes'.

4 March 2000: Virginia parish resigns from ECUSA
The Roanoke Times (Virginia USA) reports that a conservative Virginia church that has for some time been feuding with ECUSA has chosen to leave ECUSA and become part of the Diocese of Rwanda, in Africa.

3 March 2000: 'Time to break the silence of the Sydney lambs'
The Sydney Morning Herald published a story today about Peter Watson, newly-selected archbishop of Melbourne. 'The most fascinating thing about his election is not what an evangelical Sydney bishop may do or say in the diverse Melbourne diocese, but what a Sydney bishop has not been able to do or say in Sydney.'

1 March 2000: The Church of England is having a Synod this week
One of the properties of Synods is that churches spin out an amazing amount of news releases that, if you go back and read them a year later, will put you right to sleep. News stories for your current attention include 'Hands off' safety code for clergy, Clergy in fear of 'stalking' by needy flock, Section 28 must go, says bishop, Hope tells Church to avoid the 'sin of spin', Bishop has pig of a day, Frocks cost vicars image battle, Dress code divides men of the cloth, Dressing up the Church's image [letter to the editor], and The last word on new creed (all in The Times); Bishops urged by laity to defend Section 28, Code to save clergy from charges of sexual abuse, Roots of Synod's debate lie in the Council of Nicaea of AD325, Synod backs Creed change despite fears among laity, Wayward vicars may be tried by bishop's tribunal, and Church watchdog to monitor TV's religious shows (all in The Telegraph); Focus group tells church about the root of its ills, Synod decides to monitor broadcasters, Church split over section 28 repeal (all in The Guardian).

1 March 2000: What changes to BBC religion coverage?
In response to recent ruckus about BBC religious coverage, the Guardian (London) reports that a comparison of this week's BBC religious broadcasting schedules and those of 10 years ago show remarkable similarities.

29 February 2000: Rowan Williams enthroned as Primate of Church in Wales
On Saturday, 26 February 2000, The Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, formerly Bishop of Monmouth, was enthroned as Archbishop and Primate of the Church in Wales. He replaces Alwyn Rice Jones, who retired last year. The ceremony was at St Woolos Cathedral in Newport, and was attended by about 500 people. The Rt Revd Barry Morgan, Bishop of Llandaff, officiated. He delivered this sermon, an extract of which was published in this week's Church Times. The 'Total Wales' news reported this story and also this one just before the enthronement; they talk a bit about who he is and what he is expected to do. After the enthronement, Total Wales had this to say. No sooner was he enthroned than he made a political statement about the Welsh National Assembly: 'grow up'. Details in Total Wales. Anglicans Online is grateful to Mr Barry Thieman of Vancouver for researching this story for us.

29 February 2000: Sydney standing committee calls for intolerance of gays
Anglican Media Sydney released a statement that does not name any of its authors; it just says 'the Standing committee'. It seems to us to be focused on not tolerating homosexuality. This being the web, you can read it and decide what you think it says. Then read our next item, which is about a person who was until quite recently a bishop in that diocese.


29 February 2000: New Melbourne archbishop calls for tolerance of gays
The Age (Melbourne) reports that 'Melbourne's next archbishop began his tenure yesterday with a controversial call for greater church tolerance of homosexuals.' This is interesting, coming only a few days after an attack last week on the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras by his former boss, the Archbishop of Sydney.

27 February 2000: BBC surveys upcoming C of E synod
The BBC summarises the expectations for this week's General Synod of the Church of England, in London. We are amused that one of their background links is to Ship of Fools.

27 February 2000: Rebuttal to last week's Observer story
The press secretary at Lambeth Palace has written a letter to The Observer that rebuts its story last week that had claimed the Archbishop of Canterbury had asked newspapers to tattle on politicians.

27 February 2000: Sam Allis asks 'where do sermons come from?'
It's in a newspaper, so it must be news. And it's Anglican news because Anglican churches have sermons. OK, now that we've justified it, let's link to it. The religion writer of the Boston Globe has written an intriguing article about the process by which sermons are composed.

26 February 2000: Melbourne elects Peter Watson as Archbishop
The Rt Revd Peter Watson, Bishop of South Sydney, was today elected Archbishop of Melbourne on the 9th ballot. He will be Archbishop for about six years. Anglican Media Sydney said this. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) published this story.

26 February 2000: Mississippi elects Duncan Gray as Bishop
The Diocese of Mississippi elected the Revd Duncan M Gray III as bishop coadjutor on the third ballot today. His grandfather, Duncan M Gray, was 5th bishop of Mississippi, and his father, Duncan M Gray Jr, was 7th bishop of Mississippi. Story on the Diocese of Mississippi web site.

26 February 2000: Sydney cathedral reopens
St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney has reopened after a long renovation. Story in Southern Cross. Alas, no pictures.

26 February 2000: Andrew Brown on Christina Rees
'I wondered what someone so abundantly sane is doing in church politics.' A profile in The Guardian (London) of an influential member of England's General Synod and the Archbishops' Council.

26 February 2000: Pope in Egypt
Pope John Paul II visited Mt Sinai today; the story made world headlines that have surely made your local newspaper so we needn't be verbose about it. The Associated Press report is a good summary.

25 February 2000: Atlanta Consecration Canceled
The Diocese of Atlanta in the United States has issued a press release that begins 'The consecration of the Rev. Robert G. Trache as ninth Bishop of Atlanta, scheduled for March 4, 2000, has been canceled. The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Atlanta, by unanimous decision, has withdrawn its consent to the consecration.' Details of the reasoning behind this decision are not surfacing quickly, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that there may be personal financial issues that had not been disclosed. There seem to be no actual facts forthcoming from the Diocese of Atlanta, which is leading to a hurricane of uninformed speculation on the Internet. The current Bishop of Atlanta, Frank Allan, has written this letter to the members of the diocese.

25 February 2000: Finally Jesus faces England
It has been fairly common in recent years to read a news story saying that the face of Jesus has appeared on an olive tree or on a root vegetable or on the side of a building. The stories are formulaic: the face was first seen by person A, verified by authority B, and is now being heavily visited by pilgrims. Finally Jesus has made such an appearance in England. Story by Ruth Gledhill in The Times (London).

25 February 2000: Robert Milburn, Dean of Worcester, is dead at 92
The Times (London) published this obituary of The Very Revd Robert Milburn, Dean of Worcester, 1957-68, and Master of the Temple, 1968-80.

24 February 2000: Pioneering priest leaving New Jersey for Cleveland
The Revd Tracy Lind is leaving her position as rector of St Paul's in New Jersey to become the first female dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland. Story in The Record (New Jersey).

24 February 2000: God at 2000 seminar packs them in
The Christian Science Monitor's odd but intellectual web site carries a report of the 'God at 2000' seminar held this week at Oregon State University. Participants included Desmond Tutu, Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong, Joan Chittister, Diana Eck, Harold Kushner and Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

24 February 2000: Internet is Dangerous, says Archbishop of Canterbury
The Guardian (London) reports that George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, gave a speech last night in Liverpool in which he warned that 'the internet is in danger of becoming a substitute for real relationships'. The BBC had this to say about his speech. We wonder if perhaps the real danger of the internet is that it allows ordinary people to discover that, for example, a speech the good Archbishop gave in Chelmsford last weekend is largely a duplicate of one that he gave on 13 October 1997 in Ashby de la Zouch. With several errors intact, e.g. Samuel Butler for Joseph Butler or Johnston for Johnson. The danger probably doesn't include the Anglican Vigils and Lundi-Lambeth Prayers being organised via the Internet to pray for, among other things, his upcoming primates meeting.

24 February 2000: Ernest Lough, famous boy chorister, dead at 88
Obituary in The Times (London). 'Ernest Lough's solo recording of Mendelssohn's aria O, For the Wings of a Dove, made in 1927 when he was a 15-year-old choirboy at the Temple Church in London, was not only an unexpected success at the time but has never left the catalogue.'

24 February 2000: Ecumenical condemnation of Australian Mardi Gras
The Roman Catholic Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney have joined to denounce the annual 'Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras' in Sydney. They issued this press release, the Sydney Morning Herald ran this story, and the Associated Press ran this wire story.

24 February 2000: Why God isn't primetime
The Church of England and the BBC are in a ferocious squabble. This column in The Guardian (London) will probably make sense to you if you live in the UK. This would not appear to be a 'Church vs BBC' issue, but a 'Church of England vs BBC' issue. We have heard from GRF Christian Radio, in Scotland, that they do not agree with the C of E position. Their rebuttal is long, and is only in A4 PDF format, but here it is. The Times (London) had this to say about the whole issue, and the Church Times offered this comment.

23 February 2000: Openly-gay cathedral dean installed in Seattle; protests elsewhere
The Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) reports that the Very Revd Robert Taylor was installed Saturday as Dean of St Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, Diocese of Olympia. It also reports that, simultaneously, 'a group of conservative Episcopalians is huddling this week in South Carolina to plan ways to block church blessings for same-sex couples and gay or lesbian priests.' This is a reprint from the original in the Seattle Times, but since newspaper online archives don't last very long, we are linking the Texas version first.

22 February 2000: Andrew Brown criticises George Carey
The Guardian (London) has published an essay by Andrew Brown that is sharply critical of he Archbishop of Canterbury. 'People are leaving the Church of England in droves. Who is to blame? Step forward George Carey, the dithering cleric whose public pronouncements manage both to be bland and to offend. In the wake of the news that the Queen wants him to stay on, Andrew Brown examines how the Archbishop of Canterbury lost the plot.

21 February 2000: Queen Elizabeth retains George Carey
Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II has asked the Most Revd Dr George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, to stay on several more years so that he can be with her at her golden jubilee celebrations in 2002. Story in The Times (London).

21 February 2000: Great Plains Lutherans oppose Concordat with Episcopal Church
The Grand Forks Herald (North Dakota, USA) reports that members of the ELCA -- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- are organizing a rebellion against the Concordat of Agreement with the Episcopal Church.


20 February 2000: Observer quotes ABC: 'Newspapers should tattle on politicians'
The Observer (London) reported today that Archbishop of Canterbury will say later this day that newspapers should delve into the private lives of politicians to expose extramarital affairs, sexual high-jinks and homosexuality. The Observer also carried this editorial comment. The story in the Observer appeared, in its print edition, adjacent to this one about a man fighting the legal system to recognise his three wives as legal. To save some time and trouble for the church, The Observer ended the article with a short summary of the private lives of all members of the British cabinet.

19 February 2000: Church of Ireland priests emigrate to resume their marriage
Two Church of Ireland priests are leaving Ireland so they can resume their married life. The Irish Times reports that they have been married 30 years, but have lived apart for 9 years because Irish law requires a priest to live in the parish he or she serves. They are emigrating to the US because ECUSA does not require this.

19 February 2000: More 'church and state' issues in England, this time it's money
The Telegraph (London) reported today that a couple who own a timbered farmhouse on the edge of a historic village have been told that they are bound by an ancient law to meet the 95,000 cost of repairs to the local medieval church. Maybe King Henry knew what he was doing when he smashed down those abbeys all these years ago.

19 February 2000: ABC asks English clergy to be more hip
The Telegraph (London) reported today that the Most Revd Dr George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, has told his clergy to 'stop preaching in "ecclesiastical code" and instead should communicate the Gospel using pop music and poetry'. We wonder if phrases like 'holy spirit' or 'redemption of sin' are ecclesiastical code.

18 February 2000: Tasmania elects a bishop, Bunbury does not.
Two dioceses in Australia were to choose new bishops this weekend. Sources in the Diocese of Tasmania, which has no web site, tell us: 'The small island diocese of Tasmania in Australia has elected a new Bishop. At a synod marking the end of a long nomination, interview and presentation process, the clergy and laity voted in excess of a 60% majority to elect John Douglas Harrower, an Archdeacon from the Diocese of Melbourne and former CMS Missionary to Argentina (where he was ordained priest). John Harrower proved popular as a conservative evangelical with a vision for mission. His consecration and commissioning dates have yet to be set. Archdeacon Harrower will succeed Bishop Phillip Newell, who became known worldwide through his eloquent ministry during the time of the shootings at Port Arthur.'
      The Diocese of Bunbury failed to elect a new bishop to replace Hamish Jamieson, who is retiring. Its Synod will meet again on 20 March 2000. We're afraid that if we give you a link to the Bunbury web site, it will melt down; it is not on a high-speed network connection.

17 February 2000: BBC files breathless report about 'gay sex row'
The letters "BBC" once evoked images of literate news reports read on the radio by men wearing formal attire even though they could not be seen by their listeners. Read the article 'Church gay sex row erupts' and see if you can still manage to conjure in your mind that image of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Web sites don't have a 'page 3', else we would be looking.

17 February 2000: Tutu brokers peace in saga of Scottish provost
The Church Times reports that Desmond Tutu has received a visit from Miriam Byrne, the embattled former nun who is provost of St Paul's Cathedral in Dundee, Scotland, and from Neville Chamberlain, the bishop of Brechin. The Church Times may well have read about this in The Scotsman, but its web site seems so slow that we daren't link you to it just now. For some reason this event reminds us of the Marshall McLuhan scene in the film Annie Hall.

16 February 2000: English Roman Catholics get new Archbishops
The Rt Revd Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was named by the Vatican yesterday as the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, and the Rt Revd Vincent Nichols was named as as Archbishop of Birmingham. The Archbishop of Westminster is the leader of the Roman Catholic church in England. Mr Murphy-O'Connor is the replacement for Cardinal Basil Hume, who died in June 1999. He immediately attacked what he called the 'culture of consumerism'. Story and explanation in The Times (London); story in The Guardian. Wire story from the Associated Press. Comment issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

15 February 2000: C of E Synod unhappy with BBC
The Guardian (London) reports that The BBC faces criticism from the Church of England for its religious broadcasting, which the church describes as "trite drivel". This criticism comes during a general reexamining of the role that the BBC plays in English life.

15 February 2000: English Bishops urged to learn bungee jumping
The National Organisation for Adult Learning and the Church of England Board of Education have issued a press release urging bishops to learn something new such as bungee jumping or race car driving. In the light of the following item, we note that both of these are activities to which it makes sense to charge spectators an admission fee.

15 February 2000: Church of England looking for money to train clergy
The Times (London) reports that the Church of England is so short of money for training new clergy that it may have to ask for corporate sponsorship of students training to be priests. The Guardian also reported the story, and two days later published a reflection on the situation by David McKie.

15 February 2000: Southern Cross writes about biblical illiteracy
Southern Cross is a magazine published by Anglican Media Sydney; it has both a paper edition and an online edition. The February issue carries an article 'Biblical illiteracy rife in Sydney and abroad'. This article makes some fascinating assertions about the church in Singapore.

15 February 2000: The 'what the ek?' issue reaches its conclusion
The Times (London) reports that 'bishops in the Church of England have rejected the traditional version of the Creed - the basic statement of Christian belief - for their new prayerbook.' Anglicans Online published a detailed report on this issue in July 1999 and another in December 1999.

15 February 2000: Diocese of Liverpool calls for consistency in baptism
The Times (London) reports that 'potential churchgoers are being put off because of the way that clergy approach baptisms, according to a motion to be debated at the General Synod.'

15 February 2000: Sudan elects new Archbishop
The General Synod of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) elected Bishop Joseph Marona as the third Archbishop of the ECS. ACNS report and a second report with similar content.

15 February 2000: George Packard consecrated bishop of US Armed Services
'Fifteen bishops crowded around Packard as he kneeled before Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, having answered that he felt persuaded that God had called him to the office of bishop, and that he would fulfill the trust, be faithful in prayer, "boldly proclaim and interpret the Gospel of Christ," and encourage baptized people "in their gifts and ministries."' Story by Episcopal News Service. There does not seem to be any dispute here about how many bishop placed hands on the consecrand.

15 February 2000: About church and state issues in England
The British Government has changed the way that cathedrals are to be operated, and the first two English cathedrals that come under this new law are Blackburn and Chelmsford. Church of England press release.


13 February 2000: ECUSA declines to take a stand on same-sex unions
The Associated Press reported today that an ECUSA commission declined to take a position on same-sex unions. If church leaders follow the report's recommendations, they would leave in place an unofficial policy that lets individual dioceses decide for themselves how to handle this. Update 15 February: ECUSA releases its press release saying this.

13 February 2000: South African church dealing with priest with devil's tail
The Sunday Times (South Africa's largest newspaper) reports that the fate of a homosexual clergyman who posed as a devil in priest's clothing is to be decided at a meeting between the head of the Anglican Church and the wardens of Cape Town's St George's Cathedral this week. The story made the newspaper in England, with this coverage in The Telegraph.

13 February 2000: Desmond Tutu at 'God at 2000' seminar
Desmond Tutu, retired Primate of the Anglican Province of Southern Africa was the wrap-up speaker at the 'God at 2000' symposium held this week at Oregon State University. The Oregonian, local newspaper to Oregon State, had this to say about it.

12 February 2000: North Carolina elects Michael Curry as Bishop
The Diocese of North Carolina reports that the Revd Michael B Curry was elected Bishop of North Carolina on the 11th ballot. The Associated Press took note of the event.

12 February 2000: Michael Ingham in National Post about ECUSA rift
Michael Ingham, the Bishop of New Westminster (Vancouver, Canada), says the current crisis in the worldwide church over homosexual rights is the work of wealthy conservatives in the United States, who are using slick, American-style lobbying to turn church leaders from Africa and Asia into anti-gay activists. Story in the National Post.

12 February 2000: Telegraph: please restore old rectory to its original purpose
Ecton hall, formerly a vicarage, now a conference centre, is for sale, and Matthew Sturgis is begging somebody to buy it and turn it back into a home where people live or stay.

12 February 2000: Religious Affairs correspondent leaves his job at the Guardian
James Meek, the religious affairs editor of the Guardian, writes about why he is leaving that job for a different assignment at the same newspaper. He ends with this sentence: 'What these people have in common is something the leadership of the established British religions have largely lost: a disregard for what society as a whole thinks of them. Today's British religious heirarchs want too much to be liked. But the more frantic their efforts to make themselves heard by everyone, the less anyone will listen.'

12 February 2000: Bishop of Basingstoke writes a Credo
'Credo' is a weekly column in The Times (London) in which guest authors write about their faith. This week's Credo is by the Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Basingstoke. Don't worry if you haven't heard of the Diocese of Basingstoke; there is no such thing. Basingstoke is part of the Diocese of Winchester.

11 February 2000: Seattle cathedral to install first US openly-gay dean
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the Revd Robert Taylor is to be installed as dean of St Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, the see of the Diocese of Olympia. We expect more news about this event to arrive next week.

8 February 2000: Photographs available of Gibbs consecration
The Diocese of Michigan has put online photographs of the consecration of the Rt Revd Wendell N Gibbs. Don't mind the huge font sizes on the web site; if you back farther from your computer you can read everything.

8 February 2000: Chris McGillion writes about the Anglican Church of Australia
The religious affairs columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald writes about the state of politics in the ACA. One gets the impression from reading his column that he is not fond of his church's new Primate. He begins 'Had there been a way to extend the tenure of the Archbishop of Sydney beyond his compulsory retirement date of March next year, Harry Goodhew would now be the Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia.'

7 February 2000: Archbishop Ndungane of South Africa talks about homosexuality
More than any other issue of our time, homosexuality illustrates differences within the Anglican Church worldwide, according to Southern Africa's Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. A report by ACNS about an event at a conference in California in January. The ACNS also published the text of his speech. Your News Centre editor spent an hour reading this speech and was just transfixed; it is compelling, literate, evenhanded, educated, and wise. We have no idea how to pronounce this man's name, but we'll get back to you right after we get his autograph.

7 February 2000: Anglican Primates meeting in Portugal next month
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the regularly scheduled meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion will be 22 to 29 March 2000 in Oporto, Portugal.

6 February 2000: New Australian Primate speaks about Sydney
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 'the newly elected Primate of Australia said yesterday he hoped the Sydney diocese, which opposes his support for women's ordination, would not become more isolationist as a result of his election.'

6 February 2000: Sydney Morning Herald profile of new Australian Primate
The SMH reports that 'the Anglican Church in Australia has signaled its commitment to progressive thought with the election of the Archbishop of Perth, the Most Rev Dr Peter Carnley, as Primate.'

6 February 2000: Diocese of Virginia Diocesan Council
We report this item because it is an example of one way we think the Web ought to be used in the church. The Diocese of Virginia published a good summary of its 205th Annual Council. If you are part of that diocese, you should read this. Others might enjoy it.


6 February 2000: A woman is made provost of Leicester cathedral
The Sunday Times reports today on the elevation of the Rev Canon Vivienne Faull to be provost of Leicester Cathedral. A correspondent in England tells us that 'provost' is another term for a cathedral dean; all cathedral provosts - whose cathedrals are modern foundations which were formerly parish churches - are becoming deans as part of the revision of cathedral structures.

6 February 2000: House of Lords talks about sex
If we were following the British 'Section 28' story, which we aren't, we would draw your attention to this article by Jonathan Petre in The Telegraph about political wrangling in the House of Lords.

6 February 2000: Financial crisis in the Church of England?
The Sunday Times (London) reports today that the Church of England is facing a severe financial crisis caused by shrinking congregations and (allegedly) bad investments by church commissioners. Reading the article perhaps more carefully than did the headline writer, we note that this leaked material and budget problem is actually just for the Diocese of Canterbury and not for the whole church or province. Budget problems in that diocese are not news.

5 February 2000: Ruth Gledhill attends Millennium Dome service
Every Saturday in The Times (London), Ruth Gledhill writes a column called "At your service" for which she attends a service at some church and then writes about her experience. These essays do not have the sharp edge of the Ship of Fools "Mystery worshipper" series; Ruth rarely says anything negative. Today's column is about her experience attending a Christian worship service in the Millennium Dome.

5 February 2000: Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral on Three Wise Men
June Osborne, Canon Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, has this week's 'Credo' column in The Times (London) and writes about just what it is that the Wise Men brought.

5 February 2000: Diocese of Michigan consecrates Bishop Wendell Gibbs
The Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. was consecrated as the bishop coadjutor in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan today. A 'bishop coadjutor' is the assistant bishop who will succeed the present diocesan bishop when he retires. The diocesan press release and the newspaper coverage both predate the actual event.

4 February 2000: Promise Keepers cutting back operations
The Associated Press reports that 'Promise Keepers', the Evangelical group that stages mass revival meetings for men, has closed all eight of its U.S. regional offices and consolidated field work at headquarters. (This is the second story in the linked article). Here is the announcement from Promise Keepers, and here is the coverage by 'Promise Keepers Watch', an organisation whose stated purpose is 'monitoring the Promise Keepers Movement'.

3 February 2000: Canada reflects on possible church bankruptcy
The Anglican Church of Canada faces huge potential liabilities in a large number of lawsuits brought by former students in residential schools it helped to operate for the Government of Canada. The church has formed a group to reflect on possibilities for the future of the national church, of which bankruptcy is one. Feature article by Kathy Blair in this month's Anglican Journal.

3 February 2000: Bishop of the Arctic reflects on recruiting from England
In November 1999 we reported that the Diocese of the Arctic (Canada) was recruiting priests with adverts in England. In this month's Anglican Journal, the Bishop of the Arctic reflects on that recruiting campaign. They're still looking for clergy, by the way.

3 February 2000: Australia elects a primate
The Archbishop of Perth, the Most Revd Dr Peter Carnley, was elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia today. Here is the official announcement from the National Church Office (Australia). It includes a very nice photograph of him. The web site for the Diocese of Perth can show you a bit about the world in which he is a archbishop and let you get a small glimpse of what sort of person he is. As of Anglicans Online press deadline there is not yet any mention of this election on the Perth web site, but Anglican Media Sydney's Margaret Rodgers has written a very human profile of him, which seems to have a second part that is not mentioned anywhere in the first part. Dr Paul Barnett, Bishop of North Sydney, has already written a critical rebuttal of some of the things that Archbishop Carnley said in those interviews. Reading these documents in sequence certainly gives one the strong impression that Bishop Barnett does not have much respect for Archbishop Carnley.

3 February 2000: English Churches issue sex education guidelines
The Guardian and the Telegraph, both London newspapers, reported that The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church yesterday issued a statement listing demands for teaching traditional Christian views about sex and marriage in English schools. The Telegraph also published the text of the statement.

3 February 2000: Headlines in the News Centre
Motivated by strong demand to find a particular story this week, and several correspondents' inability to do so, the News Centre has started adding headlines to stories. We hope that you will find this useful enough to offset the extra space it uses.

2 February 2000: Essay: why humanism is not growing as Christian congregations shrink
James Meek, writing in The Guardian, asks 'With congregations continuing to shrink, organised religion has never been in such bad shape. So why are the 'godless' freethinkers of humanism now reluctant to stand up and be counted?' A feature article on social change and the church.

2 February 2000: Bishop Charleston (EDS president) on CNN on spirituality
The Rt Revd Stephen Charleston is president and dean of the Episcopal Divinity School. Some time last year he was interviewed by CNN, the US Cable News Network, on the subject of faith. Just this week we came across a transcript of the interview, which is compelling. Bp Charleston paints a hopeful, optimistic picture of the years ahead for faith and spirituality. For the near term, he predicts a "second reformation" of Christianity. He also envisions new alignments between the major world faiths, and that such social conflicts as racism and religious tensions will become "historical artifacts."



30 January 2000: Australia to elect Primate
The Primatial Election Board of the Anglican Church of Australia will gather in Sydney on Thursday February 3 to elect a new Primate. The former Primate Archbishop Keith Rayner of Melbourne retired on November 29 last year. Details available from Anglican Media Sydney.

30 January 2000: Britain embroiled in sex-law dispute
The religious world in Britain is embroiled in two major stories this week, one of which we are covering (the recent decision of the Church of England to allow remarriage in church) and the other of which we are not (some modifications to British law concerning homosexuality).
      We are positively delighted at the speed with which the Church of England's web site got a copy of the Divorce report online. Since we sometimes chide them when they are slow, we think it's only fair to congratulate them when they are fast, which they were. A tip of the AO biretta to the good people at Church House.
      One of the tasks facing the News Centre every week is to separate global church issues from local and national political issues. In every country but Great Britain this separation is fairly easy, but from time to time actual thought is required to discern British stories. Having read dozens of emotional newspaper items about the homosexuality law (referred to as "Section 28" in press coverage) we have chosen to classify this as national politics and not as a church issue, even though some of the people expressing public opinions represent various churches. Perhaps in an attempt to distract the media from this topic. If you wish to read about Section 28, we recommend the online coverage in The Observer.

30 January 2000: Church of England weighs in on fox hunting
The Board of Social Responsibility of the Church of England has released a position paper on fox hunting. Article in The Telegraph by Jonathan Petre.

29 January 2000: Surprise consecration of US Bishops in Singapore
This material is archived twice. The original chronological report, cut directly from the News Centre files, is here. A summary report by News Centre editor Brian Reid is here. For most purposes you should start with the summary report.

29 January 2000: More on the Free Church of Scotland
The Times (London) reports on the issues that have plunged the uncompromising Sabbatarians of the Free Church of Scotland ('Wee Frees') into schism. This is not an Anglican issue, of course, but it is an opportunity for us to see what happens in a church when schism strikes.

29 January 2000: "We must read signposts towards hope and faith"
The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Wakefield, wrote this week's 'Credo' piece in The Times, in Faith, in Weekend.

29 January 2000: The Homeless and the Church of England
A British church news item unrelated to sex. We are pleased. The British government's official newly appointed to address the problem of homelessness, Louise Casey, has suggested that the church could do more to help.

29 January 2000: A step back in time
Ruth Gledhill writes about the restoration and blessing of the 14th-century clock at St Alban's Abbey in England. 'The service had taken two hours, but seemed to have passed in a second.'

29 January 2000: Beowulf on CD Rom
One of the things that has historically identified our Anglican church is our common British heritage, if not biologically then culturally. Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian about a new edition of Beowulf on CD Rom. 'All our knowledge of [Beowulf] descends from one manuscript currently in the British Library, which was burnt in a fire in a manuscript collection in 1736; so to establish the best text involved photographing every single page in exotic lightings to bring out obscured or damaged characters.'

26 January 2000: More on remarriage in the Church of England
The Guardian (London) first reports on and then opines on the British divorce situation, and print letters in response in the next day's edition, and the day after that. We have more coverage of this issue in the News Centre for 23 January. The Times also published a thoughtful essay by Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester about divorce, and a news report by Ruth Gledhill.

24 January 2000: New book evaluates state of Church of England
A new book by Monica Furlong, Church of England: The State It's In, has been published by Hodder and Stoughton for release on 17 February 2000. The Times published an excerpt on 24 January and another on 25 January. Also on 25 January The Times published a feature article by Ms. Furlong entitled "Why gays must be recognised".



23 January 2000: The Independent (London) reports that the Church of England will take the first step towards letting divorced couples remarry in church with the publication next week of a controversial report which recommends relaxing the centuries-old ban. We expect that this is not the last we'll hear of this topic.

23 January 2000: The Sunday Times reports that the British police performed a "stop and search" of the Rt Revd John Sentamu, Bishop of Stepney, who is black. In the Britain section for 23 January, with commentary on the episode in the Comment section of the same edition. This is of course really a story about British politics and not about the Anglican church, but we're noting it here in the News Centre because it may become a well-known reference in the discussion of church politics, and we like to think of our readers as well-informed. Stepney is an Epsicopal Area of the Diocese of London.

22 January 2000: Schism in the Free Church of Scotland, often called the Wee Frees, reported by The Observer, which also offered some commentary on this event. Sometimes it is easier to understand phenomena like schism when you see it happening in somebody else's church. It's covered in The Times today in the Britain section.

22 January 2000: The Times (London) reports that its readers have raised more than 80,000 towards the Millennium Appeal for the St Ethelburga Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. In the Britain section for 22 January.

22 January 2000: The Guardian interviews Richard Kirker, Deacon, gay activist and enemy of conservative Christians.

22 January 2000: Ruth Gledhill writes about St Peter's Vere Street, home of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. At your Service, in Faith, in Weekend, for 22 January.

22 January 2000: The Guardian (London) published an intriguing essay by the Rev Canon Dr Martyn Percy, director of the Lincoln Theological Institute, about the use of religious themes in commercial advertising, and its effect on the church.

21 January 2000: Great Britain, that bastion of nationalised religion, is changing the structure of its government, which is having an effect on the structure of its church. If Britain's church and state were separate, this wouldn't be an Anglican news item, but they are not separate, so it is. The official report on the proposed new structure of Britain's House of Lords has been released. The Telegraph reviews it. The Independent reviews it. The Associated Press writes about it. The Church Times talks about its effect on C of E bishops and also offers some commentary. Victoria Combe of The Telegraph has written a crisp essay on the need for religious representation in government. You can find the report itself on the British Government's web site. Start with the Executive Summary, Chapter 1, and Chapter 15 if you won't want to spend the whole day reading.

21 January 2000: An odd spin on the separation of church and state: the Boston Globe reports that The Rt Revd M. Thomas Shaw, who as bishop of Massachusetts heads ECUSA's largest diocese, next month will settle into a cramped US House of Representatives office and wear the orange badge of a congressional intern.

21 January 2000: SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Educational Council of the United States, has issued its Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. The Associated Press carried this story about it.

20 January 2000: Britain's only Christian radio station launched an "online confession box" today. Read a report about it in The Guardian, or go directly to "The Confessor". It is an unusual web site and requires some patience on your part.

19 January 2000: Every church's fundraising schemes should work this well. A painting that sat for decades in a church attic has been identified as a 16th-century Italian masterpiece expected to fetch more than US$1 million at auction. All Saints Episcopal Church in West Newbury, Massachusetts, USA is the benefactor. We encourage them to spend some small amount of that money to make a homepage for the parish.

19 January 2000: The Archbishop of Canterbury, along with Metropolitan Athanasios of the Orthodox Church, appeared in Rome with the Pope, and was covered by The Telegraph and by the Associated Press. Something big seems to be happening in Rome. The Italian press is carrying rumours that his holiness will resign next year. While the Archbishop was in Rome, he attended All Saints' Anglican Church in Rome, where he preached this sermon.

19 January 2000: After months of inactivity, the Church of England News Service has issued some news releases. This is news about news, and not just news: none of them is a story that we would normally list, as these stories are primarily about internal British or English issues.

19 January 2000: The Anglican Communion News Service issued a press release that, as far as we can tell, indicates that the Anglican Communion Office are happy with the Millennium Dome. It is good to be happy.

18 January 2000: The Executive council of ECUSA voted not to use the Adam's Mark hotel for ECUSA's General Convention this year. Full story from Episcopal News Service, and a Statement from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. According to the Rocky Mountain News, other organisations have canceled their use of that same hotel, displeasing its employees and management.

16 January 2000: The Independent (London) reports that declining church attendance figures are masking a boom in cathedral and abbey congregations as believers abandon their parishes for up-market music and liturgy. "Worshippers crowd back to cathedrals," they say. Didn't this same thing happen to retail markets a generation ago?

16 January 2000: The Independent (London) reports that the ruins of Whitby Abbey, founded in the seventh century AD and one of the oldest extant Christian church ruins in the world, is in danger of falling into the sea.


16 January 2000: God Channel fined for frightening the public
The Telegraph reports, in an article by Jonathan Petre, that a British religious broadcaster has been fined 20,000 after screening an advertisement for an evangelical conference which said that evil forces had seized political power in Europe and controlled the media and education.

15 January 2000: But the Millennium hasn't started yet
Two terse and delightful letters to the editor of The Observer on the issue of when, exactly, the Millennium did start or will start.

15 January 2000: More on the Millennium Dome
Speaking of Millennia, that pesky British Millennium Dome is in the news again. The Times (London) reports that 'Organisers of the Millennium Dome need to do more to attract visitors, says the head of the Asian family who stepped in to underwrite the Dome's troubled Faith Zone' (Faith, in Weekend, for 15 January). Ruth Gledhill writes (Britain section, 15 January) that cathedrals bring better value for money than domes do. And Prince Charles, ever the wordsmith, said it is a "monstrous blancmange" (Britain section, 16 January). It does rather look like the Monty Python version of a blancmange, which dessert is utterly unknown here in California where the News Centre is edited.

15 January 2000: The language of liturgy matters
William Oddie, editor of the Catholic Herald, writes in The Times (London) that it is time to put poetry back into God's language. In Faith, part of Weekend, for 15 January 2000.

13 January 2000: ECUSA to boycott hotel involved in discrimination suit
The ECUSA holds its General Convention every 3 years, and the next one is set for Denver (Colorado) in July in the Adam's Mark hotel. Episcopal News Service reports that The US Department of Justice filed an extensive racial discrimination suit against that hotel chain in late December, which may require ECUSA management to rethink the details of the plans for the GC. The hotel chain has posted this response, and an article in the Denver Post suggests that the hotel will not let this go lightly. We at Anglicans Online think that the best course here is just to cancel the General Convention; it is an outmoded extravaganza that wastes a lot of the church's money and doesn't accomplish very much. Let's just skip this one.

13 January 2000: Primates write to ECUSA Presiding Bishop
An international delegation of church leaders, who have expressed deep concerns about developments in the Episcopal Church and accepted an invitation from Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold to visit, has issued a report outlining the leaders' observations. This report, sharply critical of ECUSA, was issued by Archbishop Harry Goodhew of Sydney. The report is on the Diocese of Sydney's web site, and the ECUSA News Service commentary is here.

13 January 2000: Lutheran concerns over Concordat
Lutheran opponents to a proposal for full communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church have organized and demanded that church leaders address their concerns. Episcopal News Service report by James Solheim.

13 January 2000: Bishop Tutu preaches a zinger
Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, is almost always worth your attention. Today the Episcopal News Service reports on a sermon he preached in late December at the former church of Martin Luther King Jr.

13 January 2000: Episcopal Life profiles John Spong
The US publication Episcopal Life comments that whether your love or hate Bishop Spong, you aren't likely to forget him even after he retires in a few weeks.

12 January 2000: UK Cathedral attendance figures increasing
English churches, facing a decline in the number of worshippers, were offered a crumb of comfort yesterday with figures showing that as many as 8m people go to church at least once a year. Story by James Meek in The Guardian.

12 January 2000: More church schools in England
If you don't have them, make them? The Guardian reports today that The Church of England yesterday announced plans to expand its role in education which could see the number of church secondary schools double in the next 10 years.

12 January 2000: Passing noted, two bishops
The Rt Revd Leslie Brown, CBE, Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, 1961-65, and Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, 1966-78, died on December 27 aged 87. Obituary in The Times.

12 January 2000: Parliament for the World's Religions
The Parliament for the World's Religions met recently in Cape Town, South Africa and was thoroughly reported by Canada's Anglican Journal (by David Harris) and ECUSA News Service (by James Solheim.) One item to surface in this Parliament was that the United Nations will host its first-ever "spiritual summit" in 2001. The ECUSA report includes a photograph of the jail cell where Nelson Mandela lived for 27 years.

11 January 2000: French-speaking Anglican parish in Diocese of Quebec
The Anglican Journal (Canada) reports that the Diocese of Quebec has created the first French-speaking ("Francophone") Anglican parish in that overwhelmingly French-speaking province. Read this article to see why this is such an important event in softening the historical division between speakers of those two languages in Quebec. People who live in places where many people speak both French and English use the word "Francophone" to mean people whose first-choice language is French, even if they can and do speak English. The word is largely unknown elsewhere, which is why we are explaining it.

10 January 2000: Beleaguered Scottish nun takes communion, reporters observe it
The Telegraph (London) reports that the Scottish Episcopal Church's most senior woman priest yesterday attended communion as a member of the congregation for the first time since her bishop suspended her last week on unspecified charges. There's a feature article about this case in The Guardian for January 13.

10 January 2000: Church of England angered by BBC programme cuts
The BBC has cut back on its religious programming, and almost half the leadership of the Church of England has condemned this act. Story in The Sunday Times in the Britain Section.


9 January 2000: Interview with Eileen Barker
This isn't really a news story, but it's in a newspaper, so we might as well tell you about it. Andrew Brown has written a fascinating interview with Eileen Barker, a professor of sociology of religion at the London School of Economics, and The Guardian has published this interview.

9 January 2000: New parish in Diocese of the Arctic
We hope that the Anglican Communion doesn't ever get to the point at which the opening of a new church is international news, but we can't help but be delighted at the story in the CBC News about a new Anglican church in Inuvik, in the Diocese of the Arctic.

8 January 2000: +Basingstoke on 'What is water?'
Another item that is not news but is worth reading. The Suffragan Bishop of Basingstoke (part of the Diocese of Winchester in the UK), The Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell, has written a riveting essay on the spirituality of water, which is published in The Times. You can find it in the Faith section, in Weekend, for 8 January 2000. While you're in The Times' web site, keep reading: Equally riveting though less deep is the upbeat story by Ruth Gledhill in which she describes her night of church-hopping with Victoria Combe in London on New Year's Eve. Your Anglicans Online News Centre editor is disappointed that there is no photograph of his two favourite news reporters together on that memorable evening.

8 January 2000: Trial set for Scottish nun
The Independent reports that 'Britain's most senior Anglican clergywoman is to stand trial before an ecclesiastical court after being charged with bringing the church into disrepute.'

8 January 2000: Rave reviews of Tutu sermon
The Washington Post has published a stirring article about the New Year's Eve sermon delivered by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, retired primate of the Anglican Church in South Africa and 1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. They report that the crowd utterly loved what he said. We've been watching the news wires for a complete transcript of his sermon, but haven't seen one yet. The Washington Post article has an edited transcript, which might be good enough, but we won't know until we've seen the whole thing.

7 January 2000: Virtual cemetery
The BBC reports on a virtual cemetery website in the UK, and a spokesman for the Diocese of Birmingham demonstrated its misunderstanding of the Internet in commenting on it. Makes us wonder what church leaders said about the value of the telephone in discussing your grief with your family. Stone seems to rot away in a thousand years, but bits last forever if you treat them properly; this is probably the first mortal opportunity for a permanent memorial.

7 January 2000: More Canadians are religious
The Ottawa Citizen published the results of a survey revealing an increased interest in religion or spirituality that crosses all age and income groups but was slightly more likely among the youngest baby boomers, aged 35 to 44. Comparing this to the next story tempts one to believe that Christians are emigrating.

7 January 2000: Roman Catholic church no better off in England
The BBC reports that the Anglican church is not the only one losing people to secular activities. The Roman Catholic church has the same problem. 'More than six months after the death of the UK best-loved Catholic leader, Cardinal Basil Hume, the Vatican has still not named the man to succeed him as Archbishop of Westminster.'

7 January 2000: Kenyan Archbishop speaks out for justice
The Nation (Kenya) reports that Archbishop David Gitari of the Anglican Church of Kenya has ruffled feathers in Kenya by demanding that the results of autopsies of prominent people who die in mysterious circumstances be made public.

7 January 2000: Ugandan bishop says morals matter more than money
The Rt Revd Evans Kisekka, a bishop in Luweero, Uganda, has made the papers (New Vision, Kampala) by thundering that religious education is more important than foreign aid in his impoverished country. He's probably right, given last week's story about the AIDS death rate in Africa.

3 January 2000: Ship of Fools and Church Times review the same service
St Paul's Cathedral had an invitation-only Millennium Church Service yesterday. The Archbishop of Canterbury was there and delivered this sermon; Ship of Fools was there and wrote this report. The Church Times reported on it also (click here and scroll down) but seemed to enjoy it rather less.

3 January 2000: Well, one computer did have a Y2K problem
We are aware of only one major computer that failed due to Y2K, that being the ECUNET server. We would have reported this last week, but obviously we couldn't get mail from ECUNET users.


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