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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for Jul/Aug/Sep 2003

Link to main News Archives page

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28 September 2003: Oxford bishop compares hatred of homosexuality with approval of slavery
The Telegraph (London) reports that in an interview with that newspaper, the Rt Revd Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford, has compared opponents of the ordination of homosexuals with supporters of slavery.

28 September 2003: Pittsburgh bishop leads vote to repudiate national church
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a meeting of clergy in the Diocese of Pittsburgh resulted in a vote in support of the bishop's resolutions.

28 September 2003: Fort Worth special convention votes to repudiate national church
The Dallas Morning News reports that a meeting of clergy in the Diocese of Fort Worth resulted in a vote in support of the bishop's resolutions.

27 September 2003: Australia loses a national hero
Australian singer Slim Dusty died this week; his funeral service in Sydney Cathedral included the entire congregation singing 'A pub with no beer' and knowing all the words. Reports on his funeral in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Herald Sun, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and The Age.

26 September 2003: Imams join plea for gay tolerance
The Guardian (London) reports that British Muslim religious leaders have joined Christian and Jewish leaders for the first time in issuing a joint plea for tolerance for gay people.

26 September 2003: African Anglican council elects anti-gay leader
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa has elected the Most Revd Peter Akinola as its leader. Bishop Akinola is well known for his strong public attacks on homosexuality. Shortly thereafter, as reported in The Guardian, Bishop Akinola struck back fiercely at recent criticism by the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town.

26 September 2003: NEAC conference was low-key
The Church Times reports on the Fourth Congress of Britain's National Evangelical Anglican Conference. There was not a great deal of summary coverage in commercial news media, but The Telegraph published this report. The Anglican Communion News Service released this article. And, of course, the NEAC website has various reports that we cannot link directly because of the way that that website is structured.

25 September 2003: Florida diocesan official resigns over gay vote
The Associated Press reports that the second-highest ranking official in the Diocese of Central Florida has resigned over a rift developing between the local diocese and the national church over the ordination of gays.

23 September 2003: Letters to the editor in Britain
The Guardian has published these letters to the editor about the squabbling about sex taking place in the Church of England.

23 September 2003: US continuing church names Northeast cathedral
The Portland Press Herald reports that the Anglican Church in America's Diocese of the Northeast has named Old St Paul in Portland, Maine to be its cathedral.

22 September 2003: Church report reinforces gay policy
The Guardian reports that the Church of England looks set to reinforce its policy on homosexuality by ruling out recognition of gay partnerships.


21 September 2003: Financial roots of conservative movement said to be in Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that 'The current canonical battles being fought for the future of the Episcopal Church USA have deep financial roots in Western Pennsylvania and ties to some of the country's most conservative Christians.'

21 September 2003: Diocese of Central Florida takes stand against homosexuality
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Diocese of Central Florida has officially rejected the national denomination's policies on homosexuality. The Washington Post carried the Associated Press version of the story.

21 September 2003: Australia's Anglicans at odds on sex protocol
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia's Anglican bishops are at odds over a national sexual abuse protocol, with the bishops of Melbourne and Bendigo preferring to keep their present system.

21 September 2003: Church wedding for Australia Prime Minister's daughter
The Australian reports that Prime Minister John Howard will walk his only daughter Melanie down the aisle in a traditional Anglican wedding this week. The article mentions that the diocese in which they are to marry permits couples to write their own vows, but that this couple chose not to.

21 September 2003: Archbishop tells evangelicals to pipe down and listen
The Guardian reports that the Most Revd David Hope, Archbishop of York, told Church of England evangelicals to pipe down and listen to other sections of Anglicanism. They should chatter less and contemplate more, he said. The Telegraph reported that infighting is hurting the church's image.

20 September 2003: Who represents UK evangelicals?
The Church Times reports that another evangelical group, Fulcrum, has been formed to represent underrepresented evangelicals in Great Britain. The article discusses its relationship to other evangelical groups.

20 September 2003: Bishop burns old statements
The Church Times reports that the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, ceremonially destroyed 'sentences of exclusion' uttered by past Anglican Bishops, which were directed at quashing the Methodist revival.

19 September 2003: Slain Melanesian Brothers remembered
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the memorial service in London for the six Melanesian Brothers slain in the Solomon Islands earlier this year.

19 September 2003: NEAC conference starts in Blackpool
Britain's National Evangelical Anglican Congress is meeting this weekend in Blackpool, England. The Guardian reports on the decision about whether or not to invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to the meeting, and the BBC reports on the conflict that he faced in addressing that conference. We expect some news coverage once the NEAC is ended. The Anglican Communion News Service issued this report.

18 September 2003: Church in Wales to debate gay clergy
Well, not debate them, but debate with one another the issue of the existence of gay clergy. The BBC reports that the Church in Wales has said it will openly debate the issue of sexuality. We've not found any newspaper coverage, but Thinking Anglicans has this additional information.

15 September 2003: Three Australian dioceses to merge
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (and, surprisingly, almost no one else) reported that the dioceses of Riverina, Bathurst, and Canberra and Goulburn plan to merge. The Bathurst website has this to say, and the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn has the text of the covenant here.


14 September 2003: Church and state in Britain
The Telegraph reports that Churches call for Christianity to be part of the national syllabus.

14 September 2003: Sex, church, and politics in Britain
The Observer reports (in its social affairs section) that 'conservative US bishops prepare to take on liberal British wing in bitter struggle for Church's soul'.

13 September 2003: Sex, church, and politics in Manchester
The Manchester Evening News reports that two vicars have quit their positions on the Bishop of Manchester's staff in protest at a decision to cancel a gay and lesbian service at the city's cathedral. The Telegraph reported this story the previous day.

13 September 2003: Australian bishop speaks out on politics
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Rt Revd George Browning, Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, warned that international politics was being driven by Christian, Jewish and Muslim extremism.

13 September 2003: Muslims boycott ABC
The Telegraph (London) reports that two Muslim academics withdrew from a two-day meeting with Anglican delegates in New York in protest at the appointment of the worldwide Church's first actively homosexual bishop.

13 September 2003: Resurgence of Anglican rosary
The Naples Daily News (Naples, Florida) reports on the resurgence of the Anglican rosary. Anglicans Online's Liturgical Resources page lists several sources for Anglican rosaries.

11 September 2003: State Court of Appeals hears arguments over Episcopal property
The State (Charleston, South Carolina) reports that lawyers for the Diocese of South Carolina and a dissident parish went before South Carolina's Court of Appeals to argue who owns the property at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pawleys Island.

11 September 2003: Nigerian parents prefer illiteracy to witchcraft
The BBC reports on cultural struggles against cults and witchcraft in Nigeria, quoting one parent that it is 'safer to have an illiterate child than one deeply engrossed in witchcraft.' The previous day a Nigerian Anglican leader was quoted in This Day (Lagos) that the Anglican Church in Nigeria was against cultism and homosexualism.

10 September 2003: Bishop speaks out before he's actually a bishop
The Diocese of New Jersey had a painful separation from its previous bishop; no one seemed to be happy with his being in that role. The Atlantic County News reports on a happy public meeting with the Bishop-elect of New Jersey, the Revd George Councell. The episcopal visitor to Anglicans Online is interred in New Jersey, so we've sometimes considered ourselves canonically resident in that diocese even though we live elsewhere.

10 September 2003: Former Bond girl leads clergy on catwalk
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that Shannon Ledbetter, former James Bond girl who is now a deacon in the Diocese of Liverpool, will be among a dozen church ministers taking part in Clergy on the Catwalk, a clerical fashion show at the Christian Resources Exhibition, GMex, Manchester. A few newspapers picked up this story, but only one of them, the Liverpool Echo, had the good sense to publish a photograph of her.

10 September 2003: Church of Ireland letter on human sexuality
The Church of Ireland has released this pastoral letter on human sexuality. It was reviewed in Irish newsmedia, including the Belfast Telegraph and The News Letter.

9 September 2003: Turning over tradition in the boys' choir
The Guardian, the Independent, the Church Times, and the Telegraph (all of London) report that a recent scientific study shows that girls singing in cathedral choirs sound the same as boys. For centuries tradition held that only boys' voices sound right in cathedrals.

9 September 2003: African bishop urges flock to stay and fight
The East African Standard (Nairobi) reports that Julius Kalu, Bishop of Mombasa, has urged Christians not to leave the church over the US gay bishop controversy, because quitting the church does not solve the issue. Rather, they should stay on and fight the move to allow homosexuals in the church.

9 September 2003: African bishop breaks ranks on gay issue
The Guardian reports that the Archbishop of Cape Town broke ranks with fellow African and developing world archbishops yesterday to denounce their arrogance and intolerance over homosexuality. The Church Times also reported the interview.

8 September 2003: Bishop speaks out in Kenya
The Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation reports that the Most Revd Benjamin Nzimbi, Archbishop of Kenya, has urged Kenyans to accept whoever the president, Mwai Kibaki, will appoint as the country's next vice president.


7 September 2003: Pope to meet with ABC before primates meeting
The Catholic Herald reports that the Pope is to meet the leader of the Church of England just weeks before a short-notice primates meeting will take place in London.

7 September 2003: 350 doors barred against the ABC
Ecclesia summarise a story in The Times (London), which reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be prohibited from celebrating the Eucharist in a number of parishes in England because of his support for the ordination of women. (We do not link to The Times, readers outside England and the Republic of Ireland cannot access the stories without taking out an online subscription to the paper.)

6 September 2003: Ghana bishop condemns gay priests
GhanaWeb (Accra) reports that The Rt Revd Robert G A Okine, Archbishop and Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa, has said that the action of the Episcopal Anglican Church of USA in endorsing the election of a gay priest as bishop contravenes traditional Anglican norms and practice.

5 September 2003: British evangelicals to demonstrate strength
The Telegraph and the Church Times report that Church of England evangelicals will demonstrate their growing influence during a conference to be opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

5 September 2003: Bishops announce retirement
The Tallahassee Democrat (Florida) reports that the Rt Revd Stephen Jecko, Bishop of Florida, has announced his intention to retire. This would make the Rt Revd Samuel Johnson Howard, currently bishop coadjutor, the diocesan bishop. The Diocese of San Diego announces that the Rt Revd Gethin Hughes has announced plans to retire by the end of 2004 and has called for the election of a new bishop.

4 September 2003: Manchester Cathedral withdraws service permission
The BBC and the Church Times report that a lesbian and gay Christian group has been told that it cannot hold a planned service at Manchester Cathedral. The Cathedral staff issued this statement. The Independent reports that a protest was organised.

4 September 2003: Building up to the 'emergency' primates meeting
The Church Times reports on the posturing and planning in preparation for the Primates meeting at Lambeth Palace on 15 October 2003. The Guardian reports 'Anglican evangelicals in crisis meeting'.

2 September 2003: Robbery in the Cathedral
The East African Standard (Nairobi) reports that armed gunmen spent two hours raiding the Cathedral of All Saints in Nairobi, taking money and valuables. The reported 700,000 Kenya shillings are worth about €8200.

1 September 2003: Southern African bishops to meet on sex issue
iafrica.com (Johannesburg) reports that Anglican bishops from southern Africa are to meet in Johannesburg in two weeks to debate the tensions in the worldwide church over gay clergy.

1 September 2003: Williams says Church faces disintegration
The Telegraph (London) reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, admits today that the Anglican Church faces a "messy" future with the danger of disintegration into rival factions. Dr Williams has written an article for New Directions, Britain's evangelical publication, which is the basis for these news reports. Here is the announcement and explanation of that article by Forward in Faith.


31 August 2003: Webcast Sunday service in Britain
The Independent reports that an additional 500 people attended a webcast Sunday service from the church of St Philip and St James in Bath, England. This practice, common in the US, is new to Britain.

31 August 2003: Priest resigns over gay bishop
The Baltimore Sun reports that the rector of St. Timothy's Church in Catonsville, Maryland, USA is resigning and says he expects to take much of his congregation with him. No newspaper reported the intentions of the many thousands of rectors who will stay.

31 August 2003: Anglo-Catholic unity disrupted
The Associated Press reports that the homosexuality issue will join the ordination of women in the collection of contentious topics keeping the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church separated. Your News Centre editor isn't convinced there was much unity to disrupt.

29 August 2003: Attempt to expel US Anglicans at summit
The Telegraph (London) reports that conservative archbishops are increasingly confident that they can force the expulsion of the American Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion over its liberal line on homosexuality.

29 August 2003: ABC will be Greenbelt patron
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury has agreed to become the patron of the Greenbelt festival.

28 August 2003: Australia's Foreign Minister chides church leaders
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has called some Australian church leaders headline seekers who were ignoring their pastoral obligations.

27 August 2003: Pittsburgh proposes a divorce
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Bishop of Pittsburgh has proposed six 'radical' resolutions to clear the way for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to separate from the national church.

25 August 2003: Evangelical takeover
The Telegraph reports that 'Evangelicals, dismissed as a vociferous minority by senior liberals during the Jeffrey John affair, are now poised to take over the Church of England.' The Church Times reports that Christians in the UK are the most Evangelical in Europe, and their numbers seem likely to grow.

25 August 2003: Billions at stake
The Associated Press reports that the 7,364 congregations of the Episcopal Church receive $2.14 billion in offerings a year, and that their buildings and liquid assets are worth untold billions.


24 August 2003: Voices of bishops
Jason Green has gathered statements and pastoral letters from all ECUSA bishops who have issued one, and put them on this webpage. Well worth your attention.

24 August 2003: Virtual congregation
The BBC reports that a vicar in Bath, England, will webcast his Sunday sermons in an attempt to reach younger churchgoers.

23 August 2003: Denying the alligator
The old remark 'Not only do I deny the allegation, I defy the alligator' seems to be coming into play in Australia, where The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald report that political and religious leaders have rallied behind Brisbane Anglican Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, who denied sex abuse allegations. (Some folks transcribe the remark as 'allegator' and not 'alligator'.)

22 August 2003: Harare bishop reaches for more power
The Church Times reports that 'there is fury and disbelief in the diocese of Harare over new powers being sought by the Bishop, the Rt Revd Nolbert Kunonga'.

22 August 2003: Kenya's churches called to resist Western influences
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the controversy in the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality has led to a call for Kenya's Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican churches to merge to better resist Western influences.

21 August 2003: New leader for Liberia is Episcopal leader
The New York Times and The Guardian report that Charles Gyude Bryant, chairman of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, has been named interim leader of that war-torn country. The Episcopal Church of Liberia is the Diocese of Liberia in the Anglican Province of West Africa.

20 August 2003: Murdered Melanesian Brothers were not spies
The Church of England Newspaper reports that the Archbishop of Melanesia released a statement to clear up rumours and suspicion that the six Melanesian Brothers recently killed on the Solomon Islands had acted as spies for the government.

17 August 2003: New cathedral for Sunyani
The Los Angeles Times reports on a 5-year fundraising effort by an Anglican church in Claremont, California to construct a cathedral for the Diocese of Sunyani, in Ghana.


17 August 2003: Stopping to think
Most of the world's Anglican newsmakers seem to be thinking and reflecting this week. We have gathered some reflections and commentary in our Worth Noting section. We suspect that the northern-hemisphere summer will produce very little actual news until the Primates' meeting in October. More news does not make the world a better place.

16 August 2003: Church urges rejection of homosexuals
The New Vision (Kampala) reports that the Church of Uganda has asked Ugandans to condemn homosexuality and lesbianism, which are 'slowly taking root in the country'.

16 August 2003: Lutherans vote not to break ties
The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) reports that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted decisively not to break ties with the US Episcopal Church.

16 August 2003: Church and popular culture
The Church Times reports that a new advertisement in and for the London underground system depicts four bishops, in mitres, riding the underground. We note that all four of them found a seat, which makes us wonder what line they are on.

11 August 2003: Inclusive church petition in the UK
A UK organisation called 'Inclusive Church' is circulating an online petition calling for churches to be inclusive.


10 August 2003: Missing Melanesian Brothers are dead
The Sydney Morning Herald confirms that the six missionaries from the Melanesian Brotherhood, taken hostage by, Solomon Islands warlord Harold Keke, are dead. Brother Richard Carter, the Brotherhood's chaplain, has written these obituaries of the murdered Anglican missionaries.

8 August 2003: ABC to convene primates meeting
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will convene a meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion this autumn. The meeting will take place in London in mid-October.

8 August 2003: USA General Convention ends
The General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA ended today. While sex dominated the news, there were hundreds of other topics debated and decided. Whether or not the sex issue will in the long run turn out to be as important as the passions of the moment would indicate, only time will tell. You can read online all of the resolutions considered by General Convention, and information about what happened to them. You probably don't need any help finding reports in the secular press, but if you do, try the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Miami Herald, the Globe and Mail (Toronto), the Independent (London), the Telegraph (London), the Sydney Morning Herald, or the Arab News.

8 August 2003: Fewer tourists visit cathedrals
The Church Times (London) reports that there has been a significant fall in visitor numbers at cathedrals and churches, while numbers at other tourist attractions in the UK rose by an average of eight per cent.

5 August 2003: USA House of Bishops votes to approve election of Gene Robinson
Today 62 of 105 bishops voted to approve the election of the Revd Canon V Gene Robinson to be Bishop of New Hampshire. Before the bishops left for the day, they sang Ubi Caritas, deus ibi est. Here is the official Episcopal News Service report on the vote, and here is a longer and more detailed ENS article about the voting and its aftermath. Various conservative groups have made threats as to actions they would take were he approved, but we expect that to be on a scale of months or years, and not hours. Should you need help finding this story in the online press, you can look on Google News.


3 August 2003: USA House of Deputies votes to approve election of Gene Robinson
Nobody seems to care about any other news from the ECUSA General Convention except this one. The Episcopal News Service reports that the House of Deputies has approved the election of Gene Robinson to be Bishop of New Hampshire. So do many newspapers worldwide.

3 August 2003: Sexuality still an issue in Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 'the battle between pro and anti-gay forces in the Uniting Church intensified over the weekend, with conservatives rallying across the country to protest the recent approval of homosexual clergy.'

1 August 2003: ECUSA General Convention is underway
We have a separate page of links to news sources for the US General Convention 2003. Pretty much all of the world press attention being paid to the Anglican church is focused on one issue at GC 2003, namely homosexuality. There are actually other topics being discussed there, many of them quite important.

31 July 2003: Vatican document on homosexual unions
The Vatican today released a document expressing a position on unions between homosexual persons.

31 July 2003: Refugees 'hold human race to account'
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, visiting West Africa, has spoken both of the beauty and hope of Africans, and also strongly about the suffering of refugees, and the legacy of slavery.

31 July 2003: Growth in Church of Ireland
The Church Times reports that the Church of Ireland, which experienced almost continuous decline throughout much of the past century, is now growing faster than at any time since it was disestablished in the 19th century.

30 July 2003: Friend against friend
The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) reports that two old friends, both former rectors at the same parish, will debate at General Convention whether the Episcopal Church should develop a blessing for same-sex couples.


27 July 2003: Report on Church of England General Synod
AO correspondent Peter Owen has filed his report on the July 2003 General Synod of the Church of England.

27 July 2003: Church and state in Zambia
The Mail and Guardian (Harare) reports that 'Zimbabwe's main alliance of civic organisations expressed cautious optimism after a meeting between President Robert Mugabe and leaders of the country's major churches on Friday.'

27 July 2003: US Episcopal Church General Convention
The General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) will be held in Minneapolis from 30 July to 8 August. We are collecting links to news sources on this page. Meanwhile, the non-US press is having its say about this huge event. The Guardian reports 'Anti-gay Anglicans turn their fire on US', The Independent notes 'Anglican Church facing new crisis over gay US bishop', and The Telegraph asserts 'American gay bishop "would shatter Church"'. In South Africa, the Mail and Guardian reports 'SA archbishop challenges anti-gay Anglicans', and in Australia the Sydney Morning Herald reports 'Jensen warns US church over gays'. The Church Times reports 'Griswold letter eases way for gay bishop'.

25 July 2003: Financial problems in the Church of England
The Church Times reports that the Church of England needs to save millions of pounds if it is to break even over the next few years.

24 July 2003: ABC in Africa
The BBC, noting Rowan Williams' current tour of Africa, reports that 'as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, tours West Africa he will find a region where the Christian church has never been so dynamic.' The Independent, never a newspaper to let go of a hot topic, reports that 'Williams ventures to Africa and the heart of gay bishops row'.

24 July 2003: Opposition to 'gay marriage' is declining
The New York Times reports that 'Opposition to gay marriage has dropped significantly among Americans in recent years, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.'

23 July 2003: Threat of a schism if the vote doesn't go their way
The New York Times reports that five Anglican archbishops from Africa, Asia and Australia met here today with more than 50 conservative American Episcopalians to convey a warning that if the Episcopal Church USA votes at its convention to accept a gay bishop or to bless same-sex unions, it would 'precipitate a dramatic realignment of the church.'

23 July 2003: Bishop walkabout in Birmingham
The BBC reports that the Bishop for Birmingham has walked the streets of an inner-city suburb plagued by gun crime to show solidarity with the local community.

22 July 2003: Proud to be an Anglican
The Anglican Journal (Toronto) reports on a young Canadian woman who has had the logo of the Anglican Church of Canada tattooed onto her shoulder. We wonder if it's a dye-transfer tattoo or the real thing.


20 July 2003: Sex scandal in church, but between adult men and adult women
The Observer (London) reports that British church authorities stand accused of covering up a catalogue of sexual assaults on women by clergymen. A companion article, providing background, asserts that after a four-month investigation, the Anglican Church is to be hit by a new scandal, as women tell of rape and abuse by priests who practised 'sexual healing'. The Observer also published an opinion column by Margaret Kennedy, that churches must stop sweeping exploitation under the carpet. The newspaper finished the series with a brief editorial ending 'It is time for liberals and conservatives within the Anglican Communion to go their separate ways.'

20 July 2003: God wants gay priests
The Telegraph, interviewing Canon Gene Robinson (bishop-elect of the Diocese of New Hampshire), quotes him as saying that God wants gay priests in the Church of England. The BBC reports that Canon Robinson has called on the Church of England to bless his appointment.

20 July 2003: US Episcopal Church General Convention
The General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) will be held in Minneapolis from 30 July to 8 August. In past years, Anglicans Online has worked long hours to take the old-fashioned news coverage from General Convention and make it available in real time online. This year we don't have the human resources to do that. We don't think that this is much of a loss, as past years' daily coverage ended up being more voyeuristic than substantive. We think there's a pretty good chance that the Episcopal News Service coverage this year will be suitable for internet use, and we'll gather links to websites that try to provide live coverage. Last week AO Columnist Br Thomas Bushnell told us why he'll be camping during GC.

18 July 2003: Zimbabwean churches regret 'lack of action'
The Toronto Star reports that Zimbabwe's Christian churches have apologized for not doing enough to stop political violence, hunger and the economic collapse of the nation. Voice of America news carries a similar story.

18 July 2003: Building a strategy for the Solomon Islands
The Australian Financial Review has published a thoughtful article by the Rt Revd Terry Brown, Bishop of Malaita, on the situation in the Solomon Islands.

18 July 2003: First summary report on Church of England Synod
The Church Times offers this summary of what happened at this week's General Synod of the Church of England.

18 July 2003: Silliness in Worcester
The Church Times reports that a church in Worcester, England, is the first to boast a five-foot-long knitted scene from the Last Supper.

17 July 2003: Iraqi Orthodox archbishop says Church of England helped Iraqi Christians
The BBC reports that Severius Hawa, Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Baghdad and Basra, said the anti-war stance of the Church of England had prevented a Muslim backlash against Iraqi Christians.

17 July 2003: Sydney Anglicans criticize Uniting Church
The Australian reports that the Diocese of Sydney today 'expressed grave concern' over the Uniting Church's vote to allow homosexuals to be ordained as priests. Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Uniting Church is sending letters to its congregations explaining its decision.

17 July 2003: Jeffrey John writes to his local newspaper
The Reading Chronicle published this letter from Canon Jeffrey John, who had been named Bishop of Reading but was forced to withdraw because of his sexuality. It's not every day that one newspaper reports as news a letter written to another, but The Telegraph and the Church Times reported on Dr John's letter. The Guardian, rather than reporting the event, offered this editorial about the entire soap opera.

16 July 2003: Australian churches move closer to uniting
The Age (Melbourne) reports that more than 200 years after the Methodists split from the Anglican Church, the churches yesterday took the first step towards a possible union in Australia.

15 July 2003: Radical governance changes proposed in England
The BBC reports that a year-long inquiry into the future of the monarchy proposes that the Queen should no longer be Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The Guardian had this longer article on the same report by the Fabian Society.

15 July 2003: Stress over a draft document on sexuality
The Telegraph reports that a fresh row over homosexuality broke out yesterday when evangelicals said that a new document intended to inform debate on the issue would encourage liberal reform by stealth.

15 July 2003: Dr Williams must battle for his beliefs
The Guardian offered this editorial after Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, delivered his presidential address to the Church of England's General Synod. The Telegraph offered this report, but no editorial that we were able to find. The Times ran this editorial, which we know that not all of you will be able to read.

14 July 2003: New Primate in Uganda
The African Church Information Service reports that the Anglican Church of Uganda has a new leader. He is Archbishop Henry Orombi, formerly Bishop of Nebbi.


13 July 2003: Church of England Synod
The Church of England General Synod is underway in York. The best coverage online is in the Church Times, which updates its report at least once per day. News highlights so far include the Anglican-Methodist covenant, which passed by a 10:1 margin. Unlike much of the blog and blather of the last month, Dr Williams' Presidential address seems memorable and important. Other random press coverage of the General Synod includes 'Top clerics attack evangelicals as gay bishop row reignites' in The Observer, and this from Garry Trudeau. The Guardian reports that the Jeffrey John topic was off-limits.

13 July 2003: ABC sermon in York Minster
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached, and the Archbishop of York presided. The Anglican Communion News Service reports the event, but neither offers the text of the sermon nor mentions that there was a policeman on the pulpit steps during the sermon. We've had fun speculating just who the policeman was there to stop; reports from Kanuga in 2001 give one suggestion; we've heard many rumours. It was probably just to keep out Peter Tatchell, which makes us yawn.

13 July 2003: US General Convention coming
The every-three-years General Convention of the US Episcopal Church is coming soon. We recommend the approach to General Convention news taken by new AO columnist Thomas Bushnell, BSG. You'll live longer.

13 July 2003: Church of England tolerance document leaked
The BBC reports that an official report on the status of homosexuals in the Anglican Church outlines the case for greater tolerance, according to reports.

12 July 2003: Church in Wales enthrones new archbishop
The BBC reports that the Church in Wales has inaugurated its new archbishop, the Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, who was previously Bishop of Llandaff. icWales had a longer report.

12 July 2003: Australian church poised for gay clergy
The Age (Melbourne) reports that the Uniting Church, Australia's third largest denomination, is poised to become the first mainstream church to allow homosexuals to be ordained.

12 July 2003: African leaders told that only gays get AIDS
The Associated Press reports that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi told a conference of African leaders that Africans who are not gay need not fear AIDS.

11 July 2003: Wrap-up on the Jeffrey John episode
Various after-the-fact statements relevant to the Jeffrey John case were made this week. The Church Times reports some comments, some postmortem, and some aftermath. The Reading Evening Post reports on a backlash against those who forced out Dr John. The East African Standard and the Daily Nation (both of Nairobi) report the most-commonly-held African view. The Guardian offers this commentary, then wraps it up with an editorial that 'Evangelicals have become this century's witch burners'.

10 July 2003: Australian code on sex and conduct
The Age (Melbourne) reports that the Anglican Church of Australia has released a draft code of ethics giving detailed guidelines on sexual and other behaviour.

10 July 2003: Tell us about sex and money before you can be married, please
The Australian reports that St Augustine's church in Palmwoods is insisting that couples divulge sensitive sexual and financial information before they can be married. Palmwoods is in the Northern Region of the Diocese of Brisbane. The couple's response: 'I really wanted a church wedding. Now we're getting married in a gazebo at the back of a restaurant, which is not the same.'


6 July 2003: Lions and Christians
The Revd Dr Jeffrey John has asked that his nomination to the See of Reading be withdrawn; it appears that he may have done so at the behest of Lambeth Palace: see 'Church sacrifices gay bishop' in The Times and 'Gay bishop forced out by Lambeth Palace' in The Guardian. We suppose that this moots all of the angry conflict and rhetoric raised in response to his nomination. 'The bigots win' is a sobering leader in The Guardian about the situation. The Telegraph's leader strikes a different tone: 'Putting the Church first'.

We still do not consider the endless filing of threats and position statements to be news, and are hence reluctant to post it here. This search will produce hundreds of news stories about the arguments; highlights include coverage by The New York Times, the Glasgow Herald, the Straits Times, CBC News (Canada), and The Age (Melbourne). The Archbishop of Canterbury released this statement, and you can hear him reading it on the BBC.

No doubt this situation will occupy the attention of General Synod, which meets later this week in York from 11 to 15 July. We'll provide updates during the week with breaking news, as appropriate. This overview of the likely business to come before the Synod was written before Dr John's request that his name be withdrawn.

4 July 2003: Australia moves closer to having women bishops
The Age (Melbourne) reports that the Anglican Church in Australia has moved a significant step closer to having its first woman bishop. The Sydney Morning Herald published a shortened version of the same article. Perhaps this is why an Australian newspaper, The Age, was the first to print the Agence France Presse story that former James Bond girl Shannon Ledbetter has been ordained a priest in the Church of England. We don't see her name in the list of credits for that film, so it may have been a minor part. We have no quarrel whatsoever with the concept of clergy being attractive people.

4 July 2003: Rowan Williams and the song of the hedgehog
The Church Times reports that the cult ’60s music group the Incredible String Band has invited the Archbishop of Canterbury to hear them play in Canterbury in August. The Archbishop is known to be a fan of their music and has agreed to write an introduction to a book about the band.

4 July 2003: Lord, give me a sign!
The BBC reports that a congregation in the United States was left stunned when lightning struck a church moments after a visiting preacher asked God for a sign. Whether or not it was a sign, the lightning set the church afire.

1 July 2003: Methodists vote to enter into Anglican-Methodist Covenant
The Methodist Church News reports that the Methodist Conference in Britain has voted to enter into an Anglican-Methodist Covenant. The Church Times reports and comments.


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