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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for Jan/Feb/Mar 2001

Link to main News Archives page

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31 March 2001: England is too busy for news
British news is dominated by foot-and-mouth disease, about which there is not much to say that hasn't already been said. A time for weeping. Major news sources are reporting that English bishops are urging the government not to hold elections while the livestock disease is ravaging the country (BBC, Times, Independent). Meanwhile the Telegraph reports that English churches are being forced to cancel services. There is also a great fuss in the British press about the involvement of God and religion in the upcoming national election. We don't report election news, but if you want to read about it, you'll find the story in every British newspaper.

31 March 2001: Bishop isn't sure he meant to say that
The Archbishop of York seems not to have intended to say the things that caused the British national press to treat him as front-page news (see above). Story in The Guardian and another story in that same newspaper that includes a link to an audio clip of the Archbishop explaining himself. Although the Archbishop was probably not referring to this incident, The Telegraph reports that he said that disasters can revive one's faith.

31 March 2001: BBC otherworld service
If you have some time on your hands, many of the radio programmes listed on this BBC radio web page are interesting.

31 March 2001: This is not a cigar
The Telegraph reports that the Church of England is planning to raise more than £10 million by selling old master paintings that have hung for centuries in Auckland Castle, the residence of the Bishop of Durham.

31 March 2001: Reflecting on church unity
The New York Times' religion writer, Gustav Niebuhr, reflects on unity in Protestant churches.

31 March 2001: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
The weekly meditation column in The Telegraph is by the Rev Dr Denis Duncan.

31 March 2001: A pilgrim in the Holy Land seeks truth, not reassurance
The Credo column in The Times is this week by William Oddie, editor of the Catholic Herald.

31 March 2001: New bishops elected
The Diocese of West Tennessee has elected a bishop, the Revd Don E Johnson, currently Rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Nashville. The Diocese of Atlanta has elected a bishop, the Revd Canon J Neil Alexander, currently professor of divinity at the University of the South School of Theology. The Diocese of Edinburgh has elected a bishop, the Rt Revd Brian Smith, currently Bishop of Tonbridge, which is a suffragan see in the Diocese of Rochester, in England.

31 March 2001: +Rochester on women as bishops
The Guardian has published an essay by the Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, in which he explains why the issue of women bishops is vexing to him.

31 March 2001: At your service
Ruth Gledhill attended the chaplains' conference at Oxford and wrote about it.

30 March 2001: English priest says divorce is child abuse
The Telegraph and The Times both report that a priest in the Church of England has attracted some attention by saying that parents who divorce are child abusers.

29 March 2001: The ethics of cloning
Jeremy Rifkin has written an intriguing essay in The Guardian about the ethics of cloning. Reading it makes us see the chilling reality that if cloning becomes too commonplace, the world will be increasingly populated by people who wanted to preserve their genetic makeup for posterity. Ouch. Who ever would invite them to dinner?

29 March 2001: No ghost, alas
The Independent (London) reports that British scientists have shown that the reports of the ghost of Catherine Howard at Hampton Court Palace can be explained by freak cold patches in the corridors. The ghost was reportedly giving people the chills, but scientists have discovered that the corridors were just chilly. Spoilsports.

29 March 2001: Communiqué from Anglican-Lutheran working group
The Anglican-Lutheran working group has been meeting in Iceland, and they released this communiqué. As you read it (if you read it?) you will have no trouble remembering that it is the product of a committee.

28 March 2001: More on intercommunion
Letters to The Times about intercommunion. An editorial in The Independent mentions it. Christopher Howse uses his weekly meditation column in The Telegraph to talk about it.

27 March 2001: Is this the face of Jesus?
A BBC television special 'Son of God' included a forensic reconstruction of what the face of Jesus probably looked like. We find the picture appealing, but it does not much resemble the usual portraits of Jesus from European art. Reported in The Times and The Telegraph and The Independent and The Guardian and, of course, the BBC. The Times published this short essay about how artists have portrayed Jesus. The Independent ran this opinion piece about the story; The Guardian ran this sour opinion. Despite all of the gloom and doom about the decline of religion, we note that there is tremendous public interest in this, and that the BBC produced this show to make money, not to preach. The Church Times reports that Canon Tom Wright reminds us that it doesn't matter at all what Jesus looked like, and The Telegraph reports that he is downright unhappy with the BBC's work.

26 March 2001: More to bishops' AIDS campaign than testing
The Bishop of Johannesburg has issued a statement reminding the world that there is more to the bishops' AIDS campaign than the actual test.


25 March 2001: Don't zap your foes. Convert them.
The Sunday Telegraph reviews today the computer game 'Catechumen', which casts the player as a persecuted Christian acolyte whose fellow devotees have been captured by soldiers in first-century Rome.

25 March 2001: One third of English dioceses reject services for divorcees
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Church of England proposals to permit divorcees to remarry in church have so far been rejected by a third of the dioceses.

25 March 2001: Churches called on to resurrect plague hymn
The Sunday Telegraph reports that a forgotten hymn written during the Great Cattle Plague of 1866 has been found by the Royal School of Church Music, which is encouraging churches to sing it during the foot and mouth crisis.

25 March 2001: Ecumenical service threatens price stability of melatonin
His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, preached tonight at an ecumenical service in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban. He made no reference to this week's statement from the Church of England on sharing communion, or to any other newsworthy topic. A Coptic bishop read the first lesson. The anthem was Mendelssohn's 'Hear my prayer' and the St Albans Head Chorister did a smashing job of the solo treble.

24 March 2001: Mothers' pain
Today's meditation column in The Telegraph (London) is by the Revd Dr Denis Duncan.

24 March 2001: Our suffering joins us to the community of sufferers
This week's Credo column in The Times is by Jonathan Sacks.

24 March 2001: At your service
The Times' Ruth Gledhill writes a weekly column 'At your service'. Today she writes about her visit to St Martin-in-the-Fields, which of course has not been in the fields in many centuries. The topic, of course, is the only topic in Britain these days: foot-and-mouth disease.

24 March 2001: There's no place like Rome
In The Guardian (London), correspondent Robert Nowell writes about the Roman Catholic church. He begins 'In a recent Guardian profile, the novelist David Lodge described himself as an agnostic Catholic, hanging on by his fingernails. He is hardly the only one. I know many loyal Catholics who are, at best, disillusioned, at worst more or less alienated. Why? The answer, I suspect, lies in the steady extinction of the hope, engendered by the second Vatican council, that at last we might have a church we no longer had to apologise for.'

23 March 2001: Church in Wales cancels meeting of Governing Body
The Church in Wales reports that it has decided to cancel its next meeting of the Governing Body, which had been scheduled to take place on the 18th and 19th of April in Lampeter. This decision has been taken in response to the ongoing foot and mouth disease outbreak.

23 March 2001: St James' skirmish is pure Trollope
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) reports on the skirmish about construction at St James' Cathedral in Toronto. The article begins 'Anglicans in a high tizzy always make for good copy, although any English grad who has digested the required five pounds of Trollope will find most of the controversies familiar. Whether they concern stained glass, incense or surplices, the abuse of ancient sinecures or the sad lot of superannuated vergers, they blend together in the mind. So it is with the nasty dispute consuming St. James' Cathedral.' The Globe and Mail only keeps articles online a week, so this one will expire on 30 March. Read it soon.

23 March 2001: Spencer's holy vision in the high street
In The Times (London), Simon Jenkins wants you to see the Stanley Spencer art show in London. There are two notable Anglican writers named Simon Jenkins; this one is not the humorist. Michael Strutt suggests that we visit the Museum of Garden History on Lambeth Palace Road.

22 March 2001: ECUSA leader says 'no flying bishops'
The Associated Press reports (see second story in this batch) that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church denies that a closed-door meeting of world Anglican church leaders this month endorsed the idea of sending special visiting bishops to serve US congregations that oppose their regular bishops' liberal policies on homosexuality.

22 March 2001: Women bishops
The Telegraph (London) has a number of letters to the editor on the topic of women bishops and reports that 'Church prepares the way for women bishops'. The Times has a letter here and reports that 'Church of England is expected to ordain women bishops within seven years'. The Independent reports that the Church of England is to set up a working party on the issue of female bishops. The Church agrees, having issued this press release.

22 March 2001: Church of England unhappy with Rome over sharing sacraments
The Telegraph's Victoria Combe reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury accused the Roman Catholic Church yesterday of being "hurtful and unhelpful" in its attitude to sharing the sacraments with the Church of England. The Times' Ruth Gledhill reports that the Church of England condemned the Roman Catholic Church yesterday for holding out against shared Communion between the two churches. The Church of England issued this press release, which references this document. The Church Times published this detailed article and offered this opinion leader. The Sunday Telegraph published this opinion column by Kevin Myers, which ends 'The Church which gave you the Inquisition, the Counter Reformation and, by God, the Jesuits, is not going to abandon its central creed in exchange for some Songs of Praise mumbo jumbo, or affectionate letters from the Archbishop of Canterbury, no matter how ardently written or lovingly sealed.'

21 March 2001: Church of Nigeria frowns at political process
The Vanguard Daily (Lagos) reports that 'The Church of Nigeria has kicked against calls by some Nigerians for current political office holders at the federal, state and local government levels to be given automatic second term in office.' This Day (Lagos) reports the Church of Nigeria's condemnation of the ongoing campaign for second term in office for President Olusegun Obasanjo.

21 March 2001: Ninian Comper, nearly-unknown church architect
The Telegraph today published an essay by Simon O'Corra about non-famous church architect Ninian Comper.

21 March 2001: Vatican 'knew of widespread abuse'
The BBC reports that the Vatican has accepted allegations that nuns suffer sexual abuse by priests, but says the problem is a limited one. It also reports that the Roman Catholic Aid Agency, Cafod, has confirmed that it showed the Vatican the report seven years ago.

20 March 2001: 'My brother was a good man. Why was he killed?'
In The Guardian (London), Hugh Wagner writes about the murder of his brother, an Anglican archdeacon in Zimbabwe.

20 March 2001: Half a congregation
A correspondent tells The Times that its maths don't work out.

20 March 2001: Roman Catholic church plans legal action against Sharia
The Panafrican News Agency reports that the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria plans a legal challenge to the Islamic law 'Sharia' introduced by some states in the north of the country.

19 March 2001: Donate windfalls, says bishop
The Times' Ruth Gledhill reports that a senior Church of England bishop called yesterday for the public to donate savings made through the Budget to help farming communities.

19 March 2001: Uganda bishop clashes with 'traditional healers'
The Monitor (Kampala) reports that the Bishop of Namirembe, the Rt Revd Samuel Balagadde Sekadde is trading hot words with 'traditional healers' over the ownership of a park in the diocese. A few days later the Panafrican news agency reported from Swaziland that that country has plans under way to criminalise operations of traditional healers.


18 March 2001: C of E to ask Roman Catholics to end communion ban
The Roman Catholic Church in Britain has a policy forbidding Anglicans from taking communion in a Roman church. The Sunday Times reports that bishops in the Church of England are expected to call on the Roman Catholic Church to relax those rules. We are fascinated that the very title of the RC document—'One Bread One Body'—emphasizes the universality that its contents forbid.

18 March 2001: English church school debate continues
More banter in letters to the editor.

17 March 2001: Sydney bids farewell to archbishop
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that hundreds of people gathered at St Andrew's Cathedral in George Street Sunday to hear the Most Revd Harry Goodhew give his final sermon. The popular archbishop is due to retire Tuesday, on his 70th birthday. He has been a priest for 43 years.

17 March 2001: Organist settles for £7,500
The Telegraph (London) and The Times (ditto) report that a choirmaster who lost his job because he was "living in sin" has been paid a settlement of £7,500 by the church where he worked for 34 years.

17 March 2001: Window on history
The Guardian (London) reports that two stained glass windows at Canterbury Cathedral dating from shortly after the death of Thomas Becket have been returned to their former glory following three years of restoration work.

17 March 2001: Statue smashing is actually a European sport
In this week's Credo column in The Times, Geoffrey Rowell notes that the English and Swiss smashed many graven images during the Reformation.

17 March 2001: Big growth for small parishes
The Times (London) reports that small country churches with congregations of eight to ten are the fastest growing, according to new research by the Church of England. And The Times printed Joel Edwards' ten commandments for church growth.

16 March 2001: Kanuga wrap-up
We suppose that conservative groups got so wound up about Kanuga because they hoped that it would, as a body, smite their enemies. It didn't, and it also kept reporters and writers away. The Church Times published this thoughtful summary of it all, but didn't dispatch a reporter to the scene. The Associated Press published this detailed evaluation, which discusses other churches besides the Episcopal church.

16 March 2001: More on foot and mouth disease
The epizootic of foot and mouth disease continues to ravage Britain, in what will surely be the biggest blow to British economy and culture since World War II. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have called for prayers to be said in churches across the country on Sunday for farmers, their families and other communities affected by the foot and mouth outbreak. The Telegraph reports that church bells will toll across the country at midday Sunday in a show of solidarity with farmers hit by the foot and mouth outbreak. The Church Times notes that the Bishop of Hereford is calling for national elections to be postponed because of the outbreak. The BBC interviews a rural priest about whether there is anything else that the church can do to help.

15 March 2001: Lutherans having misgivings
The Los Angeles Times reports that the plan to share clergy with Episcopalians is opposed by a growing number of Lutherans.

15 March 2001: South African bishop volunteers for AIDS test
The Panafrican News Agency (Dakar) reports that the Bishop of Johannesburg, Brian Germond, and 30 other people, on Thursday underwent voluntary testing for the HIV as part of a campaign to promote Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) among South Africans.

15 March 2001: A 'Sordid tale of lies, deceit in Anglican Church'
The Financial Gazette (Harare, Zimbabwe) has published a report by the Revd Canon Tim Neill, former vicar-general of the Diocese of Harare but who was dismissed after a conflict over the confirmation of a diocesan bishop. In a presumably unrelated incident, the BBC reports that the Revd Peter Wagner was found murdered at his church in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.

15 March 2001: Pastoral letter to the US Episcopal Church
The Presiding Bishop of ECUSA has released a Pastoral Letter to be read in church on 1 April. We can't find any two people who agree on what it says.

15 March 2001: Mad cows and madder Afghans
The Hindustan Times (New Delhi) reports that the leader of the Taliban group in Afghanistan has ordered the slaughter of 100 cows as a sacrifice to atone for the group's delay in vandalizing Buddhist statues. Meanwhile, The Scotsman (Glasgow) reports that the Free Presbyterian church of Scotland, often called the 'Wee Frees', have announced that the current foot-and-mouth problem in Britain was caused by the Queen visiting the Pope. Although they have called for atonement, it is not clear to us that there are 100 cows left in Britain that can be sacrificed. The Telegraph (London) reports that Greek Orthodox clerics, in a move presumably calculated to protect Greek livestock, voted overwhelmingly yesterday to boycott the Pope when he visits the country during a pilgrimage to retrace the steps of the Apostle Paul. We figure it's just a matter of time until someone reports that homosexual cattle were the real cause of the outbreak.

15 March 2001: English church official resigns
The church and the government have each announced the resignation of the person who manages money and land for the Church of England. Ruth Gledhill made this interpretation of his resignation. It sounds like a terrible mess.

14 March 2001: Bishop accused of arms smuggling
The BBC reports that police in Ecuador say they have arrested a man, posing as an Anglican bishop, on charges of arms smuggling. We think this story would be more newsworthy if it were a woman posing as an Anglican bishop for the purpose of smuggling weapons, but we report it nonetheless. After a certain amount of exploring, we believe that there is a good chance that this person was indeed consecrated as a bishop in one of the Anglican-heritage churches, and we believe furthermore that there is a good chance that the arrest is not based entirely on, um, evidence.

14 March 2001: Canadian church unveils ambitious new plan
The Anglican News Service (Canada) reports that the Anglican Church of Canada has unveiled a multi-part plan intended to help the church continue working towards healing with indigenous peoples.

14 March 2001: Obituary of the Rt Revd Leonard Ashton
The Times (London) published today an obituary of Leonard Ashton, once Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf.

14 March 2001: Major- and minor-league arguments about radio masts in churches
The British continue their minor-league dickering about phone masts on churches. Meanwhile, the Italians are showing us what a real church/mast feud looks like (reported, as is so frequently the case, by the British Broadcasting Corporation). The Times meanwhile reports that an Italian attempt to charge three Vatican Radio officials with 'polluting Italy’s air with electromagnetic waves' foundered yesterday because court officials were unable to serve them with papers. The Telegraph reports that the Vatican denounced as "unacceptable" a threat by Italy's Environment Minister to cut off electricity to Vatican Radio. This article carried what may have been the only photograph in the British press in 3 weeks to show livestock that are not on fire.

14 March 2001: Young Christians back unmarried sex
The Telegraph (London) reports that young Christians disagree with their Churches' moral teachings and believe sex outside wedlock is morally acceptable. The Independent says that the established church is disturbed by this survey. The Church Times, reporting from the same source, points out that its results suggest that nearly half of young Christians do not believe in God. BBC Radio lists a 6-minute audio clip of a report on this survey and its results.

14 March 2001: About unsingable hymns
The Letters column in The Times (London) had this exchange (part 1, part 2) about unsingable hymns.

13 March 2001: Obituary of the Ven Wallis Thomas
The Telegraph (London) published today an obituary of Archdeacon Wallis Thomas, noting that he was the oldest working priest in Britain. The Times (London) published its obituary two days later. He is certainly the only person ever reported to have a cat named Yassir Arafat.

13 March 2001: Sweeping study of religion in America
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that 'Episcopalians participated in a massive study of religious life in America and, like the other groups included in the study, learned a few things that might help plans for the future.' The report itself is online at the Hartford Institute.

12 March 2001: Priest ordered to leave Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe Standard (Harare) reports that the government has ordered the priest who presided over the funeral of Gloria Olds—murdered at her farm last week—to leave the country today, amid reports that controversial Roman Catholic archbishop, Pius Ncube, has fled the country for Germany.

12 March 2001: Shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, Catholics and kings
The Guardian (London) reports that the senior law official of the British government gave his backing at the weekend to that newspaper's campaign to end the ban on Roman Catholics succeeding to the throne.


11 March 2001: More about the value of church schools in Britain
The Sunday Times (London) continues the argument about the value of church schools. Alison Brace offers these facts, and Anthony Grayling explains why he doesn't like religious schools.

10 March 2001: Diocesan support for UK foot-and-mouth outbreak
The Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in Wales, has launched a web page with information, prayers, and support for those affected by the terrible outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain. The Times reports that an Irish bishop has told Roman Catholics to sprinkle holy water over their farms to prevent the spread of the disease, and that the Irish Farmers' Association declined to comment on his instructions.

10 March 2001: Obituary of Tom French, scholar of stained glass
The Times (London) published today an obituary of Tom French, the architectural scholar who catalogued the structure, glass and heraldry of York Minster.

10 March 2001: Medieval morality carvings restored on Lincoln Cathedral
The Telegraph (London) and The Times (London) reported today the unveiling of the recarved version of a Romanesque frieze on the west front of Lincoln Cathedral, depicting two men committing sodomy surrounded by writhing serpents and beasts. A not entirely unrelated news story comes from The Telegraph the next day: it reports that the Rt Rev Paul Richardson, the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, has said that he supports foxhunting because 'The Church used to support hunting and oppose buggery, [but] the reverse now seemed to be true.'

10 March 2001: Patience, calm and introspection are the keys to faith
This week's Credo column in The Times is by Bruce Dear, a lawyer in the City of London.

10 March 2001: The greater glory
This week's meditation column in The Telegraph (London) is by the Revd Dr Denis Duncan.

10 March 2001: Disestablishment news
More reports in the British press on the quest to change British law so that a monarch can be or be married to a Roman Catholic. Coverage in The Telegraph and The Guardian.

10 March 2001: Irrelevance musing
In The Guardian (London), Anglican priest Nigel Hawley reflects on the role of churches in modern life.

10 March 2001: At your service in Derby
The Times' Ruth Gledhill reported this week in her 'At your service' column on her visit to Derby Cathedral. If anybody from the diocesan staff is reading this, can someone tell us what has happened to the diocesan web page?

9 March 2001: Melbourne writer explains why being too busy is a sin
The Age (Melbourne) reports that a prominent Anglican layman, Emeritus Professor Hedley Beare, has boldly tackled overwork as a spiritual issue. 'Being too busy is a sin,' he writes in last month's edition of The Melbourne Anglican, 'because it affronts those who need our attention, it drains our energy, often unproductively, and kills time for reflection and for the inner life of the spirit'. After a certain amount of hunting, we found the original article. We suggest that you read it as part of your Lenten discipline.

9 March 2001: Belgian policeman claims to have found stolen Van Eyck panel
The Telegraph reports that a Belgian policeman claims to have solved one of the most enduring mysteries in the history of art. He is convinced he knows where to find the stolen 'Just Judges' panel, painted by Hubert and Jan van Eyck for their Adoration of the Lamb altarpiece (1426-32) in St Bavon's Cathedral in Ghent. The Telegraph says that the altarpiece is considered to be one of the most important works in Western painting and that it has the reputation of being the world's most stolen masterpiece.

9 March 2001: Templeton prize goes to British priest
In a rare occurrence of Anglican news in a U.S. newspaper, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post and the New York Times report that the Revd Canon Arthur Peacocke, a British physical biochemist and Anglican priest whose pioneering research into DNA and other scientific issues led him to call for a new theology for a technological age, has won the 2001 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. The award was also noted in The Times (London), but we've come to expect the British secular press to write about the church. When we checked Australian newspapers for coverage, we found the front page featuring 'a lingerie showdown between Kylie Minogue and Elle Macpherson'.

9 March 2001: Seeking salvation in the world's major museums
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that for the first time in six years, no Impressionist exhibition featured among the top 20 shows in the world last year, and that Christian art exhibitions made 2 of the top 10.

9 March 2001: Atheist to judge 'preacher of the year'
The Times (London) reports that one of Britain’s best known atheists, Professor Lewis Wolpert, has agreed to be a judge for The Times Preacher of the Year Award 2001.

9 March 2001: Pro-gay Ugandan bishop evicted
The Church Times (London) reports that Ugandan bishops are reported this week to have evicted the retired Bishop Christopher Senyonjo from his home, and cancelled his pension. This follows Bishop Senyonjo’s outspoken criticism of the bishops’ statement against Integrity-Uganda, the organisation campaigning for an “inclusive” Church.

9 March 2001: Heart of darkness
The Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg) reports on a situation in South Africa in which a pastor claims his miracle prayers rid the community of Satanism. While this article has nothing directly to do with the Anglican church, religion in Africa is having a profound effect on that church, and this article gives an insight into an aspect of African religious life that rarely makes the newspapers.

8 March 2001: Kanuga news wrap-up
The meeting of the Anglican primates is not supposed to be a news event, but somehow it has turned into one. The Associated Press reports that 'Anglican Christian leaders declined to take action Thursday against segments of the faith that disregard the traditional Anglican position that homosexual relationships are sinful.' The Anglican Communion News Service issued 13 press releases as a result of this meeting; best you should go read them there. The US Episcopal News Service released this report and this commentary. The Church Times published this article about it, saying 'Primates retreat from press to talk business'.

8 March 2001: Sometimes a dome is not enough
A rector in England built a millennium belltower without having money to pay for it, and now the construction company wants to be paid. An interview with said rector in The Times, a picture of it in the Church Times report, and a report on how foolish it was, also in The Times.

8 March 2001: School told to reinstate religion
The Telegraph (London) reports that a school that substituted 'Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish' and 'The Wump World' for religious worship in its daily assemblies has been told it is breaking the law.

8 March 2001: Other bishops at inter-Anglican meeting
The Melbourne Anglican reports that the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (IASCER) foundation meeting held at Nassau in the Bahamas, saw for the first time ever the attendance of the churches of South India and the Lutheran bishops.

7 March 2001: Arguing about mobile-phone masts in church steeples
Letters churning the issue of churches asking for mobile-phone masts in their steeples. In The Times today and Saturday.

7 March 2001: Obituary of Peter Boydell, chancellor of three dioceses
The Times published today an obituary of Peter Boydell, who spent some 40 years as Chancellor of three dioceses: Truro, Oxford and Worcester. He was still hard at work as Chancellor of Oxford at the end of his life.

6 March 2001: Archbishop reports on his trip to Nigeria
The Anglican Communion News Service has released a report on the recent visit by the Most Revd Dr George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury to Nigeria.

6 March 2001: British remarriage ban lifted
The Telegraph (London) reports that the ban on divorced people marrying in church has been lifted for the first time, in the Diocese of Chester.

5 March 2001: More on PD James' new murder mystery
The articles about PD James and her newest book Death in Holy Orders just keep on coming. Here's a feature on the author in The Telegraph, another in The Guardian.

5 March 2001: Lord Chancellor's report on Royal Peculiars
The Lord Chancellor's department has issued its report reviewing the status of Royal Peculiars. Here is the cover letter detailing just what has been released to whom by whom. Westminster Abbey issued this response. The list of recommendations includes preserving the independence of Royal Peculiars, preservation of most status quo at Westminster Abbey, and various details at the Chapels Royal. The British press is, understandably, all over this story. The Times said 'Queen to loosen grip on Abbey'. The Telegraph said 'Queen could lose direct control of Westminster Abbey'. The Guardian said 'Royal control of strife-hit abbey could end'. The Times' Ruth Gledhill wrote this history of Royal Peculiars. The Church Times said 'Royal Peculiars face new reforms'. The author of this report, Professor Averil Cameron CBE, Warden of Keble College, Oxford, is quite interesting in her own right; here is her web site.


4 March 2001: Anglican church rising in Ireland
Scotland on Sunday (Glasgow) reported so breathlessly that they forgot to finish their headline that for the first time since the Great Famine, more Church of Ireland students than Roman Catholics entered seminaries to prepare for the priesthood last year.

3 March 2001: Britain is closed
In this modern era of medicine and travel it is hard to imagine the impact of foot-and-mouth disease on a country and a culture. We have suspected for a long time that the ability to travel so freely has had a powerful effect on the church. We note with sadness that it also makes the age-old hoof-and-mouth virus disease even more disastrous. The Times reports that church services have been cancelled because of this latest outbreak. The Church Times reports on the isolation and disruption in British communities. Absent the freedom to go anywhere, the British are quickly devolving into arguing about the plot lines of radio soap operas or about removing trees.
The Diocese of Ely has published an audio clip of a radio interview with the Rt Revd Dr Anthony Russell, Bishop of Ely, about this dreadful situation. Every newspaper in the world seems to have published an article or two about the foot-and-mouth outbreak, so we shan't link any general news stories here.

3 March 2001: Bishop for a time
We note with amusement the title used by the US National Cathedral and by the Diocese of Washington for the Rt Revd Jane Holmes Dixon, who is, we presume, serving temporarily as Bishop of Washington. We know about bishops suffragan and coadjutor, about bishops arch and presiding, but we have never heard of a suffragan suddenly becoming a pro tempore upon the vacancy of the diocesan bishopric. Washington DC has always had its own language. We are reminded of the following story told to us by an academic living on a land mass near the Irish Sea:

'______ college does not have a concept of a Professor "Emeritus", so when you retire, you become just Mr, Dr, Ms, whatever. One rather pompous retired professor has taken to calling himself (on his letterhead, for example) the "Quondam Professor of ______". He was apparently asked at a party recently whether his post was endowed by the Quondam Corporation'.

3 March 2001: Flippin' wonderful
The Herts Advertiser (Hertfordshire, England) reports that the Very Revd Christopher Lewis, Dean of St Albans, did not win the Shrove Tuesday pancake race at St Albans.

3 March 2001: Religion and politics in Britain
The Times (London) reports on the 'God list' created by eight religion experts, identifying people whose religious beliefs have most affected the nation. The Prime Minister rated higher than the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Pope. And The Telegraph reports that, in a recent survey in Europe, the public 'have more faith in police than the Church'.

3 March 2001: Lent is not a punishment, but a time of looking forward to new life
This week's Credo column in The Times is by Janet Martin Soskice, lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University.

3 March 2001: Sacred mysteries
The weekly meditation column in The Telegraph is, as usual, by Christopher Howse.

3 March 2001: Alpha in prison
In her weekly 'At your service' column in The Times (London), Ruth Gledhill reports on a church service at Highpoint men's prison in Suffolk. Your News Centre editor is nearly done reading a book about the building of the US Railroads and hasn't yet seen mention of the use of convict labour as Ms Gledhill mentions. Perhaps it's in the last chapter.

2 March 2001: Cathedral organ badly damaged in Seattle Earthquake
The Diocese of Olympia reports that the famous Flentrop organ at St Mark's Cathedral in Seattle was torn from the wall during this week's powerful earthquake. The Cathedral issued a press release in PDF format, which includes the sentence 'According to the Canon Dr Mel Butler, "As we climbed to the organ loft we were expecting the worst. Sadly that is exactly what we found."'

2 March 2001: Retirement of Archbishop Goodhew
Anglican Media Sydney announced the retirement March 19 of the Most Rev Harry Goodhew, Archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of New South Wales. The ACNS also distributed the news release. We know perfectly well that we haven't heard the last of him just because he is retiring.

2 March 2001: Parishes say yes to masts
The Church Times (London) reports that more than 4000 parishes have registered an interest in having mobile-phone aerials on their churches. However, the Guardian reports that the Roman Catholic church in Italy has forbidden the practice there.

2 March 2001: Letters to the church
The Letters column in The Times (London) is one of the great national institutions. Today's column has two letters about the Church of England.

2 March 2001: Primates meeting in Kanuga, North Carolina, USA
In past years the meetings of the Anglican primates have not attracted much attention. Because of the political nature of this year's meeting in Kanuga, many different factions have treated this meeting as important. Perhaps that will make it important; perhaps not. The Anglican Communion News Service reissued a media advisory, distributed a backgrounder in both English and Spanish, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon. The Church Times (London) has what we consider to be the best coverage of the Primates' meeting. US National Public Radio aired a five-minute broadcast reporting on the difficulties faced by conservative parishes of Episcopal and Anglican Churches. The New York Times filed this report. The San Francisco Chronicle filed this report. ABC News (American, not Australian) filed this report.

One of the amazing skills found often in church media relations officers is that of providing a great deal of news material without actually saying anything. We can't quite think of why this reminds us, just now, that there is a web site devoted to news of the Primates' meeting.

2 March 2001: You can't fire me: I quit
Last week the Sunday Times (London) reported that the headmaster of Westminster Abbey's choir school had been sacked; a day or two later The Telegraph reported the same. Then The Guardian reported that he had been asked to quit. Today The Times reported that he has resigned. The Telegraph carried an article by Benedict King, once a Westminster choir boy, extolling the virtues of lenient supervision. While this event may not by itself be significant, The Telegraph reports that the Queen is to lose her exclusive control over Westminster Abbey and a clutch of royal chapels - a privilege enjoyed by monarchs for centuries - after a report found fault in the way they are run. We wonder how long it will be before there are advertising banners hung on the walls of the Abbey.

1 March 2001: Canadian national church hires indigenous healing co-ordinator
The Anglican Church of Canada reports that it has hired Esther Wesley, a well-known member of national church and diocesan committees and networks, as its new indigenous healing coordinator. If you don't know what an 'indigenous healing coordinator' is, then you haven't read enough news about the Anglican Church of Canada. If you would like to learn about this, use AO Search with the search term 'residential'.

1 March 2001: Kirk is urged to devolve powers
The Times (London) reports that the Church of Scotland is considering a proposal to abandon the traditional role of the presbytery around which it has been organised for more than 400 years. Note that the Church of Scotland is not Anglican; the Anglican church in Scotland is called the Scottish Episcopal Church.

1 March 2001: More about the value of church schools in Britain
The Independent (London) continues the argument about the value of church schools. There is an argument for by the Bishop of Oxford, and argument against by an Oxford professor. Columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown argues against religious schools, while columnist Howard Jacobson argues for them.

1 March 2001: Deposed Montana bishop resigns
The Episcopal News Service reports that Charles I. "Ci" Jones III, Episcopal bishop of Montana since 1986, submitted his resignation to the diocesan council on February 26. The resignation, effective Ash Wednesday, February 28, followed a February 14 decision by the Court for the Trial of a Bishop deposing Jones for sexual misconduct. Whatever Mr Jones might or might not have done, Anglicans Online notes that he was the first diocesan bishop to produce his own diocese's web page.

28 February 2001: Fire in Coventry Cathedral crypt
The Telegraph reports that the tapestry of Christ by Graham Sutherland may have been damaged by smoke after fire broke out in the crypt of Coventry Cathedral yesterday. The report in The Independent left out the 'may have' while the BBC's report focused on the work by the firefighters to protect it from further damage.

28 February 2001: Harare priest survives road-ramming
The Times (London) reports that Canon Tim Neill of Zimbabwe survived what he believes was a government attempt to kill him in a car crash. The Church Times reports on the background of this story, including the reasons why the government might want him out of the way.

28 February 2001: Financial management in a New York church
The New York Times reports that a Manhattan parish has hired a financial professional to manage its money. Remember that bit about rendering unto Caesar?

27 February 2001: Nigerian governors to challenge Sharia in Supreme Court
The Post Express (Lagos, Nigeria) reports that the South-South governors may drag their Northern counterparts to the Supreme Court over the Sharia legal code introduced last year. South-South is the name of a heavily-Anglican geographic region in Nigeria.

27 February 2001: Kano bans women from sports
The Post Express (Lagos) reports that the newly-created Islamic government in the Nigerian state of Kano has banned female athletes from competing in any sporting events because it violates Islamic law. Nigeria has more Anglicans than any other country, and is suffering the growth of Sharia, Islamic law, in many of its northern states.

27 February 2001: Obituary of the Revd James Bentley
The Times (London) published today an obituary of the Reverend James Bentley, a good man whose life was too complicated for us to summarise here in one sentence.

26 February 2001: Buddha falls in Kabul, Christ to rise in Dublin
Surely you have seen the news stories about the Taliban, Afghanistan's Islamic would-be government, taking a page from the book of Cromwell and destroying all of the religious statues in Afghanistan. Today the Irish Times (Dublin) reports that there is a strong lobby in favour of erecting a statue of Christ in Dublin's O'Connell Street.

26 February 2001: Cockney bible
Books on contemporary British slang tend to devote about half of their space to Cockney rhyming slang, but it's the sort of thing that, until you've heard it, you just have to take on faith. Yes, we believe that people really talk this way. We have never seen formal writing in rhyming slang, and it's hard enough for outsiders to understand that it is not heavily used even as dialogue in novels. So we were intrigued to see Victoria Combe, religion writer of The Telegraph, report that the first cockney Bible, with Jesus speaking in rhyming slang, will be published in May with the endorsement of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The BBC noticed also, publishing a long article with an utterly irrelevant photograph. We recall once hearing someone refer to the 'muvver tongue'. This must be it.

26 February 2001: Hie thee from a nunnery?
The Times (London) reports that two elderly Anglican nuns who have spent most of their lives in a convent are retiring as the convent closes, but will keep up their vocations. The Church Times reports the story with somewhat more clarity. And the Sunday Times reports, in its Property section, on the sort of thing that one does with old convent buildings.

25 February 2001: Big task for new Bishop of Nevada
You may have noticed that most of the news stories here in the News Centre come from British newspapers. This is because they publish Anglican news, and, in general, newspapers in other countries do not. We always sit up and take notice when, for example, the Las Vegas Sun reports on the Rt Revd Katherine Jefferts Schori, new bishop of Nevada.


25 February 2001: Westminster Abbey sacks Choir School headmaster
The Sunday Times reports that the headmaster of Westminster Abbey Choir School, Britain's most prestigious school for choristers, has been told to resign by the abbey's dean and chapter following months of acrimony in which some parents have accused him of "psychological bullying".

24 February 2001: Kerfuffle over intercommunion
There's a big argument in Ireland right now over intercommunion. The Irish Archbishop Desmond Connell has said it is wrong for the Church of Ireland to offer communion to Roman Catholics. The BBC reports. The Telegraph reports, and its columnist Christopher Howse asserts that 'it seems unrealistic to expect Anglicans to police Catholics' rules for them.' The Church Times reports. The Irish Times says that Dr Connell stands by his statement despite the controversy, and reports on his defence of his remarks. The Irish Times published an editorial: 'Why cardinal cannot win in communion row'. The Sunday Times (London) published an opinion piece by David Quinn asserting 'Church to blame for the corruption of Catholicism'. The Sunday Business Post (Dublin) reported on the original statements and printed an interview with Archbishop Connell. The Church of Ireland has issued a short press release responding to Dr Connell's comments.

24 February 2001: Kerfuffle over religious schools
The recent announcement by the British government of plans for a large investment in religion-based schools has brought out the standard arguments. AC Grayling grouses in The Guardian. The Independent editorialises against it, and reports on a campaign against church schools by eminent scientist Richard Dawkins. Meanwhile, a writer to The Times asserts that 'The declining popularity of the Church of England is a direct result of people’s need for magic and mysticism.'

24 February 2001: Kerfuffle in Essex with Bishop Michael Reid
The Independent reports on goings-on at the Peniel Pentecostal Church. Ruth Gledhill wrote her weekly 'At your service' column about it. Presumably this attention is because (as reported in The Telegraph), six members of the Essex-based Peniel Pentecostal Church have won libel damages from a Brentwood councillor who wrongly described the Church as a 'cult' and danger to local people.

24 February 2001: The Simpsons in search of Jesus
In The Guardian (London), The Revd Don Cupitt tells us why Lisa Simpson is theologically sophisticated. We're not entirely sure what this piece is about, but it is interesting and well-written. It does mention a soon-to-be-published book by Mr Cupitt.

23 February 2001: Waiting for Kanuga
The Episcopal News Service has released a feature story about the gathering of the Anglican Primates at Kanuga next month. It has also released a background essay by Jan Nunley on the issues of authority vs autonomy that are raised in the book To Mend The Net, whose authors are listed as two of those Primates. Last week a British woman went home penniless from the TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire because she confused Primates with marsupials. We talk more about this issue later.

23 February 2001: Christian missionaries in China 1300 years ago?
The Times reports today that a British conservationist has discovered ancient artworks that raise the possibility of a significant Christian influence on Chinese civilisation more than 1,300 years ago.

22 February 2001: New doctrinal commission appointed
The Anglican Communion News Service today reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon George Carey, and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Revd Canon John L Peterson, announced the setting up of a new Inter Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission. This international body is comprised of prominent theologians from around the Anglican Communion. The chairman of the Commission is the Rt Revd Professor Stephen Sykes, Principal of St John's College, Durham, England.

22 February 2001: Religious Studies at Lancaster
The Independent (London) has a regular column in which it reviews various educational programs. Today it reviewed the Biblical Studies and Divinity programmes at Lancaster. The Times ran, the next day, an obituary of the star professor, Ninian Smart, so we presume he is no longer actively teaching there.

22 February 2001: New Dean of Canterbury
The British Government, which controls such things, today reported that it had appointed the Very Revd Robert Andrew Willis as the new Dean of Canterbury Cathedral. They graciously allowed the Church to report the same news. We presume that one of his duties will be continuing to keep the Harry Potter filmmakers from using Canterbury Cathedral to represent Hogwart's.

21 February 2001: Ruth Gledhill on loss of faith
The Times today published an edited version of a lecture to be delivered next month by Ruth Gledhill. It is hard not to notice that, in addition to being a fine religion writer, Ruth Gledhill is also very attractive. But today's picture will be quite a setback to her reputation for dazzling good looks.

21 February 2001: Derek Draper finds God
The Times today published an assertion by Derek Draper, an advertising executive, that 'I used to live a shallow life'. It's in the Religion section of The Times, so it must be an Anglican story.

21 February 2001: One step closer to sainthood for John Henry Newman
The Telegraph reports that Cardinal John Henry Newman may be a step closer to sainthood today on the 200th anniversary of his birth. The Vatican is investigating claims that a Mexican woman was cured of a painful illness after praying to the cardinal. The Telegraph's Christopher Howse writes about 'How Newman escaped the dead ends of Victorian religion'.

20 February 2001: Spare the steel-toed shoes, spoil the child
We don't think this is an Anglican story but the UK press is all over it, so we'll at least tell you about it. A vicar who bullied, kicked and even used a fork to stab his two teenage daughters yesterday received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. Reports in The Guardian, The Independent, and The Telegraph. Probably also The Times, but its search engine is subtly broken.

19 February 2001: Why God needs good PR
In The Guardian, reporter Stephen Bates complains that 'Once the churches could rock the nation's breakfast tables. Yet today their news is reduced to whispers and "no comment".' The Revd Dr William Beaver of the Archbishops' Council replied three days later saying that it's not true, and that the Church of England has issued 15 press releases this year. We can only find 6 of them online. None of the other newspapers reported on the dispute, but a press search for 'beaver' turned up this report that asserts, among other things, that it is OK to eat beavers during Lent. We aren't sure if this is because someone thought that a beaver was a fish, or because someone recognized that dinner during a penitential season should taste bad. A beaver is neither a Primate nor a marsupial, but a rodent. Church Times columnist Andrew Brown has suggested that perhaps a solution is to rename the Primates after marsupials, as in 'The Marsupial of the Province of the Southern Cone'.

19 February 2001: Christian matchmaking
The Guardian (London) reports on an online matchmaking and dating service designed to introduce Christian singles to one another.

18 February 2001: Anger in the Cathedral
St James Cathedral in Toronto has raised eyebrows by announcing a proposal to sell some of its land for a real estate development. The Star (Toronto) reports on unhappiness within the Cathedral parish and has written an editorial about the redevelopment. The Star reports also that the hiring of a well-known lobbying firm by St James Cathedral has come under fire from parishioners, and that the Cathedral archivist says church officials are attempting to silence him. But the Dean of the Cathedral is digging in, and says that he was willing to engage in civil debate with those opposed to very preliminary discussions officials had with a developer about building a high-rise on the historic church grounds.


18 February 2001: End of the Archbishop's visit to Nigeria
As we noted in previous weeks, the Most Revd Dr George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, has been on a trip to Nigeria. He has returned to England. Herewith some more news coverage of that visit. The P.M. News (Lagos) reports that he has expressed satisfaction at the level of religious tolerance in Lagos State. This Day (Lagos) reports that Dr Carey has called on Nigerian leaders to trust God in their quest to govern the country. A newspaper in Lagos has opined that Dr Carey was kept away from the state of Edo lest he encounter the sort of foolishness described in this article. The Church Times reports that he apologised to Nigerian religious leaders for past behaviour of Christian missionaries in Africa, and reports that he said a 'gentle touch' worked. The Vanguard Daily (Lagos) reports on 'The day Agbarha stood still for Carey'. Should the Archbishop's own news service or the Anglican Communion News Service report any news of his visit, we will certainly let you know.

18 February 2001: Death in Holy Orders
The Sunday Times (London) reviews the new book by P D James, a murder mystery set at St Anselm's, a theological college on the East Anglian coast. The Independent also reviewed this book. Your News Centre editor is a great fan of Ms James' novels, but usually waits for them to come out in paperback, which A Certain Justice did most recently.

18 February 2001: We reflect on BBC Religion news
Recently the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) launched a web site devoted to Religion and Ethics. We have been reading that web site ever since, and we have a couple of comments. We are delighted that an organisation like the BBC is now gathering religious news from the world's online news sources. We suspect that the existence of this site will, in time, reduce our need to scour those same sources for Anglican news, as we can just sift through the BBC's findings. But what prompts us to write this comment is that we have noticed that most of the world's religious news is about Islam. Perhaps this is skewed because we Anglicans consider Sharia justice such as the amputation of hands to be horrifyingly newsworthy while Islamic cultures consider it business as usual. But whatever it is that constitutes being 'newsworthy', the Muslims of the world are doing a lot more of it than the Anglicans.

17 February 2001: Five in running for bishop post
The Scotsman (Edinburgh) reports that 'the race to succeed one of the most controversial figures in the Scottish churches will begin today with the announcement of a shortlist of candidates for the Bishop of Edinburgh.'

17 February 2001: At your service in Wootton Wawen
In The Times (London) Ruth Gledhill writes a weekly 'At your service' column reporting on worship services in churches that she visits. Today she writes about St Peter's in Wootton Wawen, in Warwickshire. (Now we know what happened to all of the keys gone missing from keyboards in the White House.)

17 February 2001: The battles Newman fought still need fighting today
The Credo column in The Times (London) is this week by William Oddie, editor of the Catholic Herald. The next day's Sunday Times carried a retrospective on University Church in Dublin, which Newman built.

17 February 2001: Patron saint of the internet?
The Guardian (London) reports on the plan for the Vatican to name St Isidore of Seville as the patron saint of the Internet. We Anglicans know that that honour more properly belongs to Samuel Schereschewsky, late Bishop of Shanghai, who didn't stop typing for 20 years.

16 February 2001: African Primate calls for cheaper AIDS drugs
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, has challenged companies to cut the price of drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and has called on South Africans to stop being judgemental about those who are infected.

16 February 2001: Black church in crusade to woo whites
The Telegraph (London) reports that the pastor of Britain's biggest black church begins a "crusade" tomorrow to recruit white people to join his congregation of 7,000 in east London. This is Anglican news because he is also suggesting that failing Anglican churches should die gracefully and their buildings be used by young black churches.

16 February 2001: Deficit fear for dioceses
The Church Times has discovered that nearly three quarters of the Church of England’s dioceses expect their latest accounts (for the year 2000) to be in the red. The Times commented briefly on this story. In light of the previous news item (above), perhaps there is some money to be made in real estate transactions.

15 February 2001: Court deposes Montana bishop
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the Rt Revd Charles I Jones III, Bishop of Montana, was given a sentence of deposition by the Ecclesiastical Trial Court. This is the most severe punishment that the court could have given. The Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) carried the news story.

15 February 2001: Britain to get interfaith prison chaplain
It is probably a good thing that the number of Anglicans in British prisons is declining, but we suspect that this decline is caused by statistical factors, rather than by improved behaviour. In any event, the Prison Service will advertise today for a new chaplain general, its most senior religious post, who for the first time will have a specific remit to help jails "better meet the needs of a multi-faith community". It is also building a series of mosques inside prisons and converting chapels into "multi-faith rooms". Reported by The Independent and The Times.

15 February 2001: If you can baptise your ancestors, you can psychoanalyse them
A University of California scientist has asserted that Samson (Judges 14ff) suffered from the earliest recorded case of antisocial personality disorder. Reported in The Telegraph (London), The Independent (London), and the BBC. Since this is the web, we can link you also to the original article on which the newspapers based their stories.

15 February 2001: Obituary of Canon Dr Susan Cole-King
The Times (London) writes that 'Susan Cole-King was a medical and spiritual pioneer who gave devoted service to several international bodies: the World Health Organisation, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the Anglican Communion.' The Church Times ran an obituary. Two weeks later, so did The Guardian.

15 February 2001: Religious schools in England
The Times (London) is abuzz over plans for changes in England's school system. The newspaper ran a letter to the editor that succinctly summarises the issue, a Q&A by its Education Editor, and an opinion piece by Patience Wheatcroft about the role of religion in education. It reports the opinion of the Education Secretary and reports on the government's press campaign about new church schools. The Church Times has a good article explaining what is going on.

14 February 2001: Wither or whither Sharia?
We aren't sure if the headline has a spelling error or not; it makes sense to us both ways. The Post Express (Lagos) asks 'Wither the gains of Sharia?' Meanwhile This Day (Lagos) reports that a Sharia court in Katsina State has found two men guilty of stealing nine donkeys and decreed the amputation of their hands.

13 February 2001: Westminster dean talks about Parkinson's
The Telegraph (London) today published an interview with Wesley Carr, dean of Westminster, in which he talks about Parkinson's disease.

12 February 2001: New Bishop of Bathurst
Anglican Media Sydney reports on, and has nice pictures of, the consecration of the Rt Revd Richard Hurford as the new Bishop of Bathurst.

12 February 2001: Tribalism in Anglican Benin
Newswatch (Lagos) asserts that tribalism is tearing apart the Anglican diocese of Benin. (There is also a country named Benin, but this diocese is in Nigeria.) And This Day (Lagos) reports on several tumultuous episodes including a fistfight in the cathedral and rejection of a newly-named bishop.

11 February 2001: Withdrawing from withdrawing from Westminster Abbey?
Last week we drew your attention to a story in the Sunday Times suggesting that the Queen had withdrawn various functions from Westminster Abbey. Today we heard from a source close to the Abbey that
'St. Paul's has been the traditional location of Jubilee Thanksgiving services for over a century—Victoria (1887 and 1897), George V (1935) and Elizabeth II (1977) were all held at St. Paul's. Services of thanksgiving for the life of HM The Queen Mother were held at St. Paul's in 1980 and 2000, but some members of the Royal Family seem to prefer the quieter precincts of Windsor Castle for their festivities.'

11 February 2001: ECUSA Executive Council sends greetings to Primates Meeting
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that members of the ECUSA Executive Council have sent carefully worded greetings to the primates of the Anglican Communion, who are scheduled to gather in North Carolina March 2-9.

11 February 2001: Throne Altar and the TV
The Tablet, a British Roman Catholic weekly, published last month an interesting essay by Clifford Longley, but did not put the essay on their web site. The article has shown up on Mr Longley's web site, so we can now refer you to it.


11 February 2001: Archbishop of Canterbury in Nigeria
The Archbishop of Canterbury continues his visit to Nigeria. The Vanguard Daily (Lagos) reports that he has spoken out against Sharia punishments in Zamfara state, and that he arrived in Lagos on Wednesday. The Panafrican News Agency reports that he has described the HIV/AIDS scourge as the greatest enemy of humanity. The Guardian (Lagos) reports that he said that religious freedom should be at the heart of the fledgling democracy in Nigeria. The weekly Church Times has good summary coverage of the trip, with photographs. The Guardian (Lagos) reported Monday that 'Carey stresses preservation of culture despite Christianity'.

11 February 2001: Faithful pray for new boss of BBC God slot
The Independent reports on the issues surrounding the choice of the new head of religious broadcasting for the BBC.

11 February 2001: Priest in fight for sex change
The Sunday Times reports that the Church of England faces a test case over a demand from a priest in one of its most conservative dioceses to be allowed to change sex and work as a woman.

11 February 2001: As a matter of fact, I like beer
The Telegraph reports that British churches are very happy with a new formulation of confetti made from the petals of hops that were grown to brew beer.

11 February 2001: Withdrawing from Westminster Abbey
The Sunday Times (London) reports that the Queen of England has decided to schedule major royal events somewhere other than Westminster Abbey, presumably because she is not amused by the behaviour of its management.

10 February 2001: A pilgrimage to Barnsley
Recall the report two weeks ago that the ancient St Helen's Well was discovered in Barnsley. Today in The Independent, Paul Vallely writes an amusing piece about a pilgrimage to that ancient place.

10 February 2001: A martyred nation's challenge is to seek resurrection not revenge
This week's Credo column in The Times (London) is by the Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Basingstoke. Basingstoke is a suffragan see in Winchester, in England.

10 February 2001: A Muslim in Britain
The Guardian (London) published an essay by Faisal Bodi about Muslims in a Christian country.

10 February 2001: Sacred mysteries: sheep kills man
Christopher Howse writes the weekly meditation column in The Telegraph (London).

10 February 2001: Student soul brings $400
The Telegraph reports that an American university student sold his soul for $400. We assume that he received payment before delivering it. We have no evidence that he was Anglican, but we list it here because the retail prices for souls are rarely disclosed in public, and this will help set the market price.

9 February 2001: Q and A with the Times' religion writer
Periodically Ruth Gledhill, religion writer for The Times (London) publishes a Q and A column.

9 February 2001: The Vatican on genetic engineering in medicine
The Times (London) reports that a leading bioethics adviser to the Vatican said that Roman Catholics should have no religious objections to the use of human genes in medical therapies.

9 February 2001: The West is failing us, says Bishop Riah
The Church Times (London) reports that the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal, has complained that Western Christians are failing to show solidarity with the Christian community in the Middle East. Bishop Riah is in Britain this week.

9 February 2001: Churches lose out for being Christian
The Telegraph (London) reports that in England, one church in five claims to have suffered discrimination by local or national government for being Christian.

8 February 2001: Why churches should beware of deals with Caesar
The Sydney Morning Herald has run an opinion piece warning of the danger of religion in becoming an extension of the government power structure.

8 February 2001: Islamic court in Nigeria hands down first conviction against Christian
Agence France Presse reports that an Islamic court in Nigeria on Wednesday handed down the first-ever conviction against a Christian, who was flogged in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

8 February 2001: Movie stars separate for religious reasons
We have never before mentioned in the News Centre the marriages of film stars, but we think that it is worth drawing your attention to this article in The Times (London), which reports that the Cruise/Kidman divorce is rooted in his being a Scientologist and her being a Roman Catholic. The Times says that Scientologists believe that in the past billions of surplus beings from other planets were herded to earth and slaughtered by an evil alien called Xenu. These dead beings are supposed to haunt us and are the cause of all ills.

7 February 2001: Another Nigerian state to introduce Islamic law
The Panafrican News Agency (Dakar) reports that Nigeria's northern state of Borno has set up a 25-member committee to plan the introduction of Sharia, or Islamic law.

7 February 2001: Christian spiritual leader rejects court rulings over fatal clashes
The Independent (London) reports that Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority, has rejected court rulings convicting only four of 96 defendants in this week's trial over deadly Muslim–Christian clashes one year ago.

7 February 2001: Kenyans say feminists using Bible for sinister ideologies
The East African Standard (Nairobi, Kenya) offers sharp commentary against feminists, claiming that "the Bible was reportedly attacked for being an oppressive anti-woman tool."

7 February 2001: So many obituaries this week
The Rt Revd Simon Phipps, once Bishop of Lincoln, in The Telegraph and The Times and The Guardian. The Rt Revd Philip Pasterfield, once Bishop of Crediton, in The Telegraph. Sir Richard Southern, historian, in The Times and The Telegraph. Kathleen Major, archivist and college head, in The Times.

6 February 2001: Uganda bishops lobby against Anglican group
Yahoo News (California) reports that Uganda's House of Bishops has urged the government to deny official registration to a new chapter there of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Anglican group 'Integrity'.

5 February 2001: BBC Religion and Ethics page
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) have launched a new 'Religion and Ethics' web site, gathering all of their religious coverage in one place. The Times (London) had this to say about it, noting that this is the BBC's first foray into online religion coverage. This is certainly convenient for us at Anglicans Online.

5 February 2001: Church is told it is failing surf generation
The Times (London) reports that the Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, condemned the 'top down'management structures of the Church of England yesterday and gave a warning that the spiritual health of the nation was in jeopardy. The Church Times reported what we believe to be the same speech.


4 February 2001: Big response to Queen's TV 'faith' broadcast
The Telegraph (London) reports that the Queen's decision to disclose her personal beliefs during her last Christmas Day message has produced an unprecedented response.

4 February 2001: Not dinosaurs, but Jesus
The Telegraph reports that the Palestine that Jesus would have known has been re-created for a lavish new BBC documentary called Son of God, using the computer technology made famous by Walking with Dinosaurs.

4 February 2001: Sunday Times and Westminster Abbey
The Sunday Times (London) reports that there are troubles in the choir at Westminster Abbey. Perhaps next week some other newspaper can give us a second opinion on this story.

4 February 2001: Apocalypse found in Coventry
The Independent reports that one of the finest medieval works of art ever found in Britain has been discovered by archaeologists, preserved in an air pocket 13 feet beneath Coventry. The masterpiece is only the second painting discovered in England portraying one of the medieval world's most politically controversial subjects – the Apocalypse.

3 February 2001: Spat in the Diocese of Southwark
The Independent (London) reports that 'an adviser to the Bishop of Southwark has resigned in protest at an "uncompromising" management style she claims is damaging one of Britain's most liberal dioceses.' The Church Times reports the story in much more depth. It is interesting to compare the Southwark story with this item about the Diocese of Caledonia, which says that Bishop John Hannen is stepping down as bishop of Caledonia to pursue parish ministry.

3 February 2001: Freedom to move forward
This week's meditation column in The Telegraph is by the Revd Dr Denis Duncan.

3 February 2001: Revival of stained-glass activity in York
The Telegraph (London) reports that there is a 'revolutionary revival' in stained glass, with York as its centre of excellence. They are restoring old stained glass, not producing new, but it's revolutionary all the same.

2 February 2001: Archbishop of Canterbury in Nigeria
The P.M. News (Lagos, Nigeria) reports that The Most Revd George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, today began a 2-week visit to Nigeria. The BBC filed a brief report on his arrival in Africa and this report on his visit to Zamfara, the first state to adopt Islamic law. The Panafrican News Agency also reports on the visit from Lagos. The Panafrican News Agency (Dakar) reports that in his first speech he called for a "deeper relationship" between Christians and Muslims. The British press has so far only reported advance stories; the Anglican Communion News Service released this backgrounder on the visit and the weekly Church Times published this report. The Telegraph reported the story like this, and found good links to background stories. The Observer noted (second item from the bottom) that part of his luggage was stolen on arrival in Nigeria; so did the Times.

2 February 2001: Anglican violence in Nigeria
The Vanguard Daily (Lagos, Nigeria) reports a complex situation of violence against an Anglican priest in Benin. The Republic of Benin is just west of Nigeria, but the city of Edo in Nigeria is called Benin City by people who don't live there. This 'Benin City' or 'Edo' is in Nigeria and is thus part of the Anglican Province of Nigeria.

2 February 2001: Another 'morality' squabble in Britain's House of Lords
The Church Times (London) reports that the British House of Lords has rejected a proposal to stop emergency contraception being sold over the counter by pharmacists. Baroness Young instigated a debate on Monday about the availability of the “morning-after” pill, but was defeated by 177 votes to 95. Major testimony by the Bishop of Southwark and the Bishop of St Albans figured into the final vote.

2 February 2001: Kenya religious leaders blame themselves for AIDS spread
The East African Standard (Nairobi, Kenya) reports that bishops and pastors from various churches yesterday said their fellow religious leaders should be held responsible for the alarming spread of AIDS in the country.

1 February 2001: Death of a good bishop
The Times (London) ran this obituary of the Rt Revd John Taylor, once Bishop of Winchester and The Telegraph ran this obituary of him. A week later the Guardian ran this obituary.

1 February 2001: The cost of advertising
The Guardian (London) reports that a church near Manchester has been socked with an outdoor advertising fee for putting a lighted cross on its church. Compare the fate of that church with this one in South Carolina USA.

30 January 2001: Godparents in Australian internet link
The Telegraph (London) reports that a couple in Australia made their vows by internet as godparents at a Norfolk church christening.

30 January 2001: Britain comments on US church policy move
This week the new president of the USA announced, in one of his earliest actions as president, that the US government will involve religious groups in the provision of social services. The British press is responding, and doesn't much care for the idea. The Independent ran this editorial. The Guardian offered this comment.

29 January 2001: Death of a good bishop
The Telegraph (London) ran this obituary of the Rt Revd Philip Goodrich, former Bishop of Worcester.


28 January 2001: Church architecture in Ireland
The Sunday Times (London) reviews today an exhibition in Dublin called 'Sacred Places: the Story of Christian Architecture in Ireland' and doesn't think that the exhibition does justice to the topic.

28 January 2001: One year of Islamic law in Nigeria
The Panafrican News Agency reported today on celebrations of the first anniversary of the adoption of Islamic law, or Sharia, in the Nigerian state of Zamfara. Pressure to compete with Islam is almost certainly affecting policy and thinking of Anglican leaders in Africa, and the competition is nowhere more fierce than in Nigeria.

27 January 2001: Queen Victoria's church
Christopher Howse writes the weekly 'Sacred Mysteries' column for The Telegraph. This week he discusses Victoria's relationship to her church.

27 January 2001: Repairing under-used cathedrals
The British government and the organisation 'English Heritage' are squabbling about paying for the maintenance of cathedrals. The Telegraph reports on a speech at Hereford Cathedral; The Times focuses more on the money donated by English Heritage, in an article with an absolutely delightful photograph.

27 January 2001: Holocaust Memorial day
Today is Holocaust Memorial day in Britain. The Times' religion writer, Ruth Gledhill, visited the Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre for her 'At your service' column, and today's Credo column in The Times is by Hedwig Wahle, a member of the Study Centre for Christian-Jewish Relations.

27 January 2001: Official announcement of the 2001 Primates meeting
The ACNS today released the official announcement of the 2001 meeting in Kanuga, North Carolina of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. We see no mention of the issue surrounding 'Mending the Net' on the agenda.

27 January 2001: Anglican Communion News Service flurry
The Anglican Communion News Service in London is the press arm of the Anglican Communion Office. Even if we do not understand exactly what the word 'official' means in the Anglican world, we know that these releases are in some way 'official'. In the last week there has been a torrent of news releases, so many that we will not list most of them individually, suggesting instead that you have a look at their web site.

26 January 2001: Australian archbishops honoured
Anglican Media Sydney reports that, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Australia as a country, that two Anglican archbishops made the Honours List.

26 January 2001: 13th-century pilgrimage site found
In Barnsley, South Yorkshire, archaeologists have found a well known as St Helena's Well, believed since medieval times to have healing powers. The Telegraph notes also that John Wesley once used a nearby location to deliver a well-known public speech. The Times additionally mentioned that pilgrims are already making plans to go there.

25 January 2001: AMiA meeting in South Carolina
The Associated Press reports that 'Dissident Episcopalians convene first conference of Anglican Mission in America'. The Episcopal News Service, which is the press arm of the organisation that AMiA is challenging, released this note about it. The AMiA web site does not yet, as of 23h00 GMT on 28 January 2001, mention this conference.

25 January 2001: The passing of another good bishop
The Times published today an obituary of the Rt Revd Philip Goodrich, retired Bishop of Worcester.

24 January 2001: More on 'To mend the net'
Anglican Media Sydney has reproduced the text of 'To mend the net', with permission from its publisher. Meanwhile we noted, while reading Classical Anglican Net News, that Dr Peter Toon of the Prayer Book Society has written that 'To mend the net' was written by Canon Bill Atwood of Texas rather than by the two primates whose names are on it as 'editors'. We should mention here that, regardless of your political leanings, you should follow CaNN. It is by no means evenhanded or unbiased, but it is exceedingly thorough. And with the collapse of official news sources in Canada, it's really the only online source for information about the Anglican Church of Canada.

24 January 2001: Reflection on Sharia by major Nigerian newspaper
The Vanguard Daily (Lagos) published today an editorial reflection on Sharia (Islamic law) in that country. Six states in the predominantly-Muslim north of Nigeria have adopted an Islamic legal code in the last year.

24 January 2001: Criticism of Nigerian legal action
The P.M. News (Lagos, Nigeria) reports that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has condemned the flogging of a teenage Nigerian mother for having had premarital sex, saying it violated a key international treaty that the federal government signed. The Panafrican News Agency (Dakar) reports that the organisation Human Rights Watch also denounced the flogging. This is Anglican news because Nigeria has more Anglicans than any other country, and it is being converted state-by-state into Islamic government, known as 'Sharia'. According to a UN press release, the Nigerian Muslim rulers have responded by banishing human-rights observers from at least one Islamic-ruled state.

24 January 2001: Building new churches on the cheap
The Guardian (London) reports on a new church in a garden shed in the Diocese of Blackburn.

23 January 2001: Update on the Residential Schools issue in Canada
CBC Radio reported today that Canadian Federal officials are expected to meet this week to plot their next moves in dealing with the residential school crisis.

23 January 2001: Cathedral police force
The Telegraph (London) reports that Exeter Cathedral, plagued with crime, now has its own police officer. Come to think of it, there was an English king who used to vandalize cathedrals, so it's not so very far-fetched to think that the citizenry would join in.

22 January 2001: Cloning debate in Britain
The British House of Lords this week has been debating the issue of human embryo cloning, and the British press has been consumed with writing about the Lords, about the issue, about the validity of the Lords debating the issue, and so forth. If you want to dive in and become an expert on this issue, you can read 'Peers to challenge embryo cloning' and 'Peers vote for cloning of embryos' in The Telegraph, 'Voting record of Lords Spiritual' and 'Enlightenment comes to those who prate' and 'This constitutional cloud-cuckoo-land' and 'Peers divided by tests on embryos' in The Times. If for some reason you are writing a research paper on this topic and have stumbled across Anglicans Online in your quest for information, let us guide you to the Anglican-related portions of the the primary source, the official Parliament transcripts of testimony by various people, including the Bishop of Oxford and the Bishop of St Albans.


21 January 2001: English divorce ban to be lifted
The Sunday Times reports that the Church of England could permit divorcees to remarry in church as early as next year, having learnt that a large majority of its members are in favour of change.

20 January 2001: A century without Queen Victoria
This week is the centenary of the death of Queen Victoria, and the British press is all over it. The Times is showing off how well-organised are its archives by republishing this story, first printed by that newspaper on 23 January 1901. The Telegraph noted the occasion.

20 January 2001: Sacred mysteries
Christopher Howse writes this week's meditation column in The Telegraph (London) about the contribution of Queen Victoria to Anglican liturgy and style. The Guardian published an article on a similar topic the day before.

20 January 2001: Credo
This week's Credo column in The Times is by William Oddie, editor of the Catholic Herald. We usually use, as our headline for these Credo pieces, the headline written by The Times' editor, but he couldn't figure out what it was about, either.

20 January 2001: New burial grounds
This isn't really an Anglican story, but it's about Britain and it's about graveyards. The Telegraph reports that a trend is developing in Britain to bury people in the forest rather than in graveyards. The last time your News Centre editor visited England he is fairly certain that he saw many more graveyards than forests, even around Nottingham, but perhaps the graveyards are all full.

20 January 2001: The Church's purpose
An intriguing letter to the editor of The Times (London), on the topic of 'the purpose of the Church' by a man who has been a priest for 45 years.

19 January 2001: Internationale
Anglican Media Sydney (Australia) notes that the Archbishop of Rwanda (Africa) has attended a meeting of the Anglican Mission in America.

19 January 2001: An Anglican looks at Kumbh Mela on the Ganges
Simon Jenkins (the architect, not the editor) writes about the Hindu pilgrimage to Allahabad to bathe in the Ganges while Jupiter is in Aries.

18 January 2001: Missionaries from Africa to England?
One simplistic view of European colonialism during the last quarter of the second millennium was that it was energised, if not dominated, by European missionaries going to less-developed countries. We've never completely understood the US colloquialism 'what goes around comes around', but we think that today's report in The Telegraph has something to do with it. Victoria Combe reports that missionaries from Africa, Asia and the Americas are flocking to Britain in their hundreds to convert a nation that they believe has slipped into godless secularism. Maybe they saw the article in the Church Times reporting that a recent survey of the British revealed that they think that Margaret Thatcher and Richard Branson are more inspirational than Jesus.

17 January 2001: Pastoral Synod in Cuba
Siphiwe Sithole, an intern at Anglican Communion Communications in London, has written a nice article about a Pastoral Synod recently convened by the Episcopal Church of Cuba.

16 January 2001: Tories and voting and churches, oh my!
The British press is chock-a-block this week with stories about voting, churches, Christianity, Prime Ministers, elections, and all that. We at Anglicans Online don't understand it at all, and we don't think it's of global interest, but if this sentence interests you ('The Conservatives are to make a direct pitch for the religious vote by distributing half a million free newspapers outlining the party’s policies and activities to churchgoers') you should check your favourite British newspaper this week. You can start with these links to The Times or The Guardian.

15 January 2001: Faith leaders join forces to oppose human cloning law
Telegraph religion writer Victoria Combe reports that 'eleven religious leaders of different faiths have joined forces in an unprecedented campaign to halt the legalisation of human cloning by the House of Lords next week.' Do not forget this article in The Telegraph last year in which the Church of England was reported to have no moral objection to human cloning. The Telegraph noted two days later that the British Prime Minister is ignoring them. The Sunday Independent has a political analysis of this issue by Colin Brown.


21 January 2001: English divorce ban to be lifted
The Sunday Times reports that the Church of England could permit divorcees to remarry in church as early as next year, having learnt that a large majority of its members are in favour of change.

20 January 2001: A century without Queen Victoria
This week is the centenary of the death of Queen Victoria, and the British press is all over it. The Times is showing off how well-organised are its archives by republishing this story, first printed by that newspaper on 23 January 1901. The Telegraph noted the occasion.

20 January 2001: Sacred mysteries
Christopher Howse writes this week's meditation column in The Telegraph (London) about the contribution of Queen Victoria to Anglican liturgy and style. The Guardian published an article on a similar topic the day before.

20 January 2001: Credo
This week's Credo column in The Times is by William Oddie, editor of the Catholic Herald. We usually use, as our headline for these Credo pieces, the headline written by The Times' editor, but he couldn't figure out what it was about, either.

20 January 2001: New burial grounds
This isn't really an Anglican story, but it's about Britain and it's about graveyards. The Telegraph reports that a trend is developing in Britain to bury people in the forest rather than in graveyards. The last time your News Centre editor visited England he is fairly certain that he saw many more graveyards than forests, even around Nottingham, but perhaps the graveyards are all full.

20 January 2001: The Church's purpose
An intriguing letter to the editor of The Times (London), on the topic of 'the purpose of the Church' by a man who has been a priest for 45 years.

19 January 2001: Internationale
Anglican Media Sydney (Australia) notes that the Archbishop of Rwanda (Africa) has attended a meeting of the Anglican Mission in America.

19 January 2001: An Anglican looks at Kumbh Mela on the Ganges
Simon Jenkins (the architect, not the editor) writes about the Hindu pilgrimage to Allahabad to bathe in the Ganges while Jupiter is in Aries.

18 January 2001: Missionaries from Africa to England?
One simplistic view of European colonialism during the last quarter of the second millennium was that it was energised, if not dominated, by European missionaries going to less-developed countries. We've never completely understood the US colloquialism 'what goes around comes around', but we think that today's report in The Telegraph has something to do with it. Victoria Combe reports that missionaries from Africa, Asia and the Americas are flocking to Britain in their hundreds to convert a nation that they believe has slipped into godless secularism. Maybe they saw the article in the Church Times reporting that a recent survey of the British revealed that they think that Margaret Thatcher and Richard Branson are more inspirational than Jesus.

17 January 2001: Pastoral Synod in Cuba
Siphiwe Sithole, an intern at Anglican Communion Communications in London, has written a nice article about a Pastoral Synod recently convened by the Episcopal Church of Cuba.

16 January 2001: Tories and voting and churches, oh my!
The British press is chock-a-block this week with stories about voting, churches, Christianity, Prime Ministers, elections, and all that. We at Anglicans Online don't understand it at all, and we don't think it's of global interest, but if this sentence interests you ('The Conservatives are to make a direct pitch for the religious vote by distributing half a million free newspapers outlining the party’s policies and activities to churchgoers') you should check your favourite British newspaper this week. You can start with these links to The Times or The Guardian.

15 January 2001: Faith leaders join forces to oppose human cloning law
Telegraph religion writer Victoria Combe reports that 'eleven religious leaders of different faiths have joined forces in an unprecedented campaign to halt the legalisation of human cloning by the House of Lords next week.' Do not forget this article in The Telegraph last year in which the Church of England was reported to have no moral objection to human cloning. The Telegraph noted two days later that the British Prime Minister is ignoring them. The Sunday Independent has a political analysis of this issue by Colin Brown.


14 January 2001: Britain's RC's running out of priests
The Independent (London) reports that Britain's four million Roman Catholics have been warned that they are running out of priests, and that weekly Mass will soon become a rarity in hundreds of churches.

14 January 2001: Kenya police need to change their attitude
The East African Standard (Nairobi, Kenya) reports that the Most Revd David Gitari, primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, has asserted that the police have abandoned the poor and were concentrating their efforts on protecting a few and those in authority.

13 January 2001: Evangelists or evangelicals?
The Telegraph (London) reports that 'Evangelists seek sex-change ban'. We think that the headline writer meant 'Evangelicals'. In any event, the article by Victoria Combe says that the Evangelical Alliance has asked that sex-change operations be stopped.

13 January 2001: Ulster's 'Black Santa' dies
The Irish Times reports that Dean Jack Shearer, better known as Belfast's Black Santa, died last night. He was 74 and was due to retire from his position in May of this year. The Times (London) also carried the story. Note that The Times' page includes an advertisement for BMW motorcars that is coded in Flash 5, which can send older browsers skidding off the road. We find that we must reboot our Windows 98SE computer whenever we look at this page in The Times, so you might wish to be careful.

13 January 2001: Science and religion must work together in the search for truth
The Credo column this week in The Times is written by Alan Webster, Dean Emeritus of St Paul's, London.

12 January 2001: Lutheran-Episcopal committee outlines tasks
The Episcopal News Service reports on the formation of a committee to work out the nuts and bolts of full communion between Lutherans and Episcopalians. Meanwhile the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation made these comments about the intercommunion between ECUSA and ELCA.

12 January 2001: Kneel!
The Guardian reports that the Rt Rev Stephen Pedley, bishop of Lancaster, has attacked parishioners for not doing enough kneeling in church. But they have hit back by claiming there is no longer enough legroom. It would seem to us that if British churches are really as empty as press reports have said, that legroom should not be a problem.

11 January 2001: Archbishops Gomez and Sinclair on ECUSA
The Church Times reports that two conservative Primates have published their proposals for toughening up the Anglican Communion. These include a requirement that “the authorisation of significant innovations in doctrine, discipline or ethics, even on an experimental basis,” in any province of the Communion, be first agreed at an annual meeting of the Primates. The Church Times has published the text of this proposal. The Associated Press filed this story about it.

11 January 2001: Survey says Americans want religion in public life
The Episcopal News Service reports that a recent survey shows that Americans hold a high opinion of the role of religion in general in promoting a healthy public sphere, but are wary of public policy which favours one religious faith over another.

11 January 2001: Marriage both civil and uncivil
The British press has published a burst of stories about weddings that are not in church. The Independent says that weddings are now 'more civil'. The Guardian says that nearly two-thirds of all weddings now take place without a religious ceremony. The Times notes that couples are increasingly turning their backs on church weddings in favour of more exotic surroundings.

11 January 2001: The country churchyard in which an elegy was written
The Times reports on a brief search for the grave of Thomas Gray.

10 January 2001: Telephone aerials in church steeples
The Telegraph reports that authorities have been accused of putting money before the health of parishioners after agreeing to install eight mobile phone aerials in a church tower.

10 January 2001: First Napoleon, then Stalin, and now William Booth
The Independent (London) reports that officials in Moscow are seeking to close down the city's Salvation Army because it is a subversive paramilitary group dedicated to the violent overthrow of the Russian government. Um, comrade, that's Hymn 47, not AK 47.

8 January 2001: Archbishop of Canterbury due in Nigeria Jan 31
The Vanguard Daily (Lagos, Nigeria) reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury will come to Nigeria at the end of the month and visit one of the states that has adopted Sharia, the Islamic legal system.

8 January 2001: Pope calls for a more open Church
The Times reports that the Pope, noted for his conservative views on doctrine and social issues, made a surprise call yesterday for greater democracy in the Roman Catholic Church.

8 January 2001: Britain's growing band of religious hermits
The Guardian reports that British church attendance may be declining, but increasing numbers of people are opting for a regime of spiritual contemplation in solitude.

7 January 2001: At the bar or at the rail?
The Independent (London) reports that twice as many British people think their local pub rather than the church is the hub of community activity. We don't see any mention of the study's methodology; perhaps they gave out a survey form with each pint of Boddington's.


7 January 2001: A N Wilson on the funeral of Roderick Gradidge
Roderick Gradidge was an architect, though most of the space in his obituaries was devoted to his conspicuous eccentricities. A N Wilson attended his funeral and wrote this report.

7 January 2001: Atheists to the back of the bus to Red Square
The Observer reports that Russia's beleaguered atheists have formed a new society to campaign against the growing power of the Church in government and what they perceive as the 'threatening clericalisation' of society. Maybe they've seen the Christian Guide to Small Arms and are scared.

6 January 2001: Full communion with ELCA
Today is the day that the Episcopal Church in the USA begins full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Here is the press release from ECUSA and here is the sermon preached by Frank Griswold. Here is an article about it from the Religion News Service. Here is a background reflection on the ecumenical process, by Randall Balmer in KTB. Beliefnet columnist Gregg Easterbrook has concisely demonstrated his lack of understanding of the issue. The occasion was reported by the New York Times, UPI, and MSNBC.

6 January 2001: The Epiphany is a sign of the universality of Christian faith
This week's Credo column in The Times is by Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Basingstoke. Basingstoke is a suffragan see in Winchester, in England.

6 January 2001: Taizé celebration in Barcelona
Ruth Gledhill of The Times writes her weekly 'At your service' column about a visit to the 60th-anniversary celebration of France's Taiz community, held not in France but in Spain.

6 January 2001: Causeway to Heaven
The Guardian (London) reports on high volumes of visitors to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

5 January 2001: Crime doesn't pay?
The Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg) has published an editorial sharply critical of an Anglican archbishop in a nearby country. We see no point in naming the country or the archbishop, anyone with a knowledge of African geography and modern African history will recognise it.

5 January 2001: Afterlife likely for Faith Zone
The Church Times (London) reports that the contents of the Millennium Dome’s Faith Zone are almost certain to be resurrected in the form of religious-education material for schools.

5 January 2001: Gosh, it's hard to fire a vicar
The Telegraph reports on the Church of England suffocating in its own paperwork as it tries to remove from its payroll a priest in prison for a crime against the church. We wonder who will get the book rights...

5 January 2001: Log it before you lose it
The Times (London) reports on an ambitious survey of the contents of churches by volunteer members of Britain's National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies.

4 January 2001: On the meaning of Christmas in Nigeria
The Vanguard Daily (Lagos, Nigeria) published today an editorial about the coincidence of Christmas and Eid-el-Fitri.

3 January 2001: Gosh, it's hard to fire a vicar
The Independent (London) reports on the fairly complex case of a Yorkshire parish ousting its Vicar because of philosophical differences.

3 January 2001: More grumpy letters about church bureaucracy
In British culture, the forum of the Letters page of The Times is quite important. Yet another letter today on the topic of the proposed Third Archbishop.

2 January 2001: English clergy want it to be harder to fire them
The Guardian (London) reports that 'Church of England clergy may petition the government to alter their legal status to establish that they are employed by man not God, and protect them from unfair dismissal by bishops.'

2 January 2001: School prayer in Britain
The Telegraph (London) reports that the British are grappling with the elimination of school prayer. Britain's current law about school prayer says this.

2 January 2001: Archbishop Ademowo preaches national unity in Nigeria
Nigeria is being torn apart along religious lines by the adoption of Islamic law in the north. Today the Vanguard Daily (Lagos) reports that the Most Revd Ephraim Ademowo has called on Nigerians to focus on what unites them and not what separates them.

2 January 2001: New Year's Message from the Archbishop of Canterbury
The ACNS has published the text of the New Year's Message from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

2 January 2001: Margaret Rodgers interviews Bill Atwood
Anglican Media Sydney has published an interview by Margaret Rodgers of Canon Bill Atwood, General Secretary of the Ekklesia Society.

1 January 2001: The new millennium, as seen from South Carolina
Dave Munday is the religion writer for the Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. In our opinion he is one of the premier religious writers in the USA, and we always read his articles. Since his newspaper's readership is much more diverse than just Anglicans, the articles are not always appropriate for us to reference here. Today he has written a reflection on the end of the millennium that is worth your attention.

1 January 2001: Disagreeing with Simon Jenkins
The Canon Precentor of Guildford Cathedral has written a letter to the editor of The Times disagreeing with assertions by Simon Jenkins that were reported last week here at Anglicans Online.

1 January 2001: Obituary of the Cellar Vicar
The Times (London) published today an obituary of Canon Miles Thomson, who had a lovely habit of excavating underneath old churches to make space.

1 January 2001: Episcopalians to ring bells on execution days
MSNBC reports that the Bishop of Oklahoma has asked churches in that state to ring their church bells on execution days.

1 January 2001: Lost bishop found, quite dead
MSNBC reports that the remains of John Ravenscroft, first bishop of North Carolina, have probably been found underneath Christ Church in Raleigh. That church's web site has the story in vastly more detail, complete with photographs.


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