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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for Oct/Nov/Dec 2006

Link to main News Archives page

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31 December 2006: At year's end
We don't participate in the Battles of Press Releases from the factions using sexuality to fight about power and control in the church. And in a year when Advent IV fell on Sunday, nearly everyone we know was off duty with their family or too busy to do anything else newsworthy. This is good. Christmas is not a time for newsmaking. We recommend that you read the Christmas sermon delivered at Canterbury Cathedral by the Rt Hon and Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and then do something contemplative on New Year's Day.


22 December 2006: ABC visits Bethlehem
The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Bethlehem and did not at all like what he saw. His press release is relatively dry. The Telegraph reported his shock at the security wall around the city and the BBC noted that he was 'saddened' by it. The Anglican Communion News Service filed this report on his visit. Dr Williams wrote an article 'Pray for the little town of Bethlehem' for The Times (London).

22 December 2006: Proposed 'covenant' dismissed
The Church Times reports that the bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, has dismissed the 'covenant' presented by a group of conservative Evangelical leaders last week as 'a slipshod piece of work'.

18 December 2006: Leaked letter to primates?
Text of a letter allegedly written by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the various Anglican primates has been circulating in the rumour mill all week. Its authenticity is uncertain, but rumours do have a way of propagating whether they are true or not.


17 December 2006 : New archbishop in Melbourne
The Age (Melbourne) reports on the installation of the Most Revd Dr Philip Freier as the new Archbishop of Melbourne. 'Colour, pomp, didgeridoo and a new archbishop.'

17 December 2006: Several parishes vote to leave US Episcopal Church, join Nigeria
The Washington Post reports that seven Virginia parishes, including two that worship in valuable old buildings, have voted to break from the US Episcopal Church and join the Church of Nigeria via its North American mission. The Archbishop of Canterbury issued this statement, presumably to make sure that no one thought that the Nigerian mission had international standing beyond that of its parent province.

15 December 2006: Canadian church welcomes court decisions
The Anglican Church of Canada announced that it 'welcomes the court decisions released today in seven of the nine jurisdictions which approved the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.'

15 December 2006: No fire worship in Chelmsford
The Church Times reports that Chelmsford Cathedral will use chemoluminescent glowsticks instead of candles during its Christingle service, candles being considered too dangerous.

15 December 2006: Church of England conservatives issue draft covenant
The Church Times reports that 'A coalition of Evangelical and Charismatic Anglicans this week produced a covenant promoting “new, informal networks” among churches that are unable to maintain fellowship with Anglicans with whom they disagree.' Thinking Anglicans has gathered links to various responses to it, some of which we find surprising.


10 December 2006: PR wars continue in US Episcopal Church
The battle of press releases and open letters, fought between conservative splinter groups and the US Episcopal Church infrastructure, continues. As you knew it would. We believe that further distribution of all of these combative press releases serves no one. If you want to read this week's collection of tactical details in this struggle for control of the church, you can find most of it with Google News, or find links to it in Thinking Anglicans.

9 December 2006: Sydney priest worries that his diocese is becoming a cult
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a priest in the Diocese of Sydney said that that diocese 'is in danger of acting more like a cult than a church in its attempts to suppress dissent and diversity'.

8 December 2006: Anglican Church of Australia starts selling assets
The Courier Mail (Brisbane) reports that the Bishopsbourne mansion in Brisbane, currently home to the Archbishop of Brisbane, is being vacated for sale.

7 December 2006: Bishop of California arrested in anti-war protest
The Episcopal News Service reports that Marc Andrus, Bishop of California, was arrested in a San Francisco protest against the war in Iraq. Coverage by the Diocese of California and the San Francisco Chronicle gives more details.

5 December 2006: ABC's Christmas message to Anglicans worldwide
The Anglican Communion News Service has published the annual Christmas message from the delightfully-literate Archbishop of Canterbury. It's short and to the point, and you should read it. There are official translations into Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Arabic.


3 December 2006: Diocese of San Joaquin votes to be ready to secede
The New York Times reports that the Diocese of San Joaquin 'overwhelmingly passed a series of resolutions yesterday that position it to secede from the Episcopal Church and affiliate with conservatives in the global Anglican Communion'. The article contains a good analysis of the strategy that went into this decision and its potential consequences.

1 December 2006: ABC finishes his trip to Rome: 'it went well'
The Church Times reports in depth on the recent visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury to Rome and the Pope.

1 December 2006: Church and State in Oxford
The Church Times reports that the Diocese of Oxford is running out of patience waiting for the British government to appoint a new bishop for that venerable see.

1 December 2006: Anglican Book Centre will indeed close
The Anglican Journal reports that 'The fate of the 106-year-old Anglican Book Centre (ABC), the oldest bookstore in Toronto, was sealed by the Council of General Synod (CoGS), which approved a recommendation during its fall meeting to shut down the storefront operation and move to an Internet- and telephone-based operation.' This companion article gives insight into the forces acting upon that decision.

30 November 2006: Proposal developed in response to requests for 'APO'
The Episcopal News Service reports that a group of bishops has developed a proposal responding to "An Appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury" addressing what other petitioning bishops and dioceses have termed "alternative primatial oversight" or "alternative primatial relationship." We remain unhappy with the results of our city's mayoral election and are still waiting for results from our demand for Alternative Mayoral Oversight.


26 November 2006: Church needs women priests
The BBC reports that a recent university study indicates that without women priests, pulpits would become 'depopulated'. The press association filed a somewhat more dramatic report on the same study.

24 November 2006: ABC warns of new Dark Ages
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, while visiting Rome, said in a public lecture that 'Western civilisation may be entering an era as “brutally anti-humanist” as the Dark Ages.'

24 November 2006: The Archbishop visits Rome
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been in Rome this week; his trip culminated with a visit to Pope Benedict, which according to the BBC had rather the expected outcome. Thinking Anglicans has gathered a vast trove of press coverage of this visit. The ever-literate Archbishop of Canterbury delivered this address to a patient Pope.

20 November 2006: US Task Force on Property Disputes
The Living Church reports on the recent statement from the US Episcopal Church's Task Force on Property Disputes about the seven problem dioceses in the US. We suspect that more than one of the bishops of those problem dioceses harbours a desire to be the primate of a different US Episcopal Church.

20 November 2006: New US Presiding Bishop lands her first punch
The Episcopal News Service has released the text of a blunt letter sent from the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church to the Bishop of San Joaquin, suggesting that if he can no longer be Episcopalian he should just renounce his orders instead of leading a schism.


19 November 2006: Pope plans recruitment drive among disaffected Anglicans
The Sunday Times (London) reports that Pope Benedict is drawing up plans to welcome disaffected Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church. To the best of our knowledge, disaffected Roman Catholics have always been welcome in the Anglican church.

17 November 2006: Church Times interview with Archbishop of Canterbury
The Church Times assigned the catchy headline 'Less a Roman holiday, more an Italian job' to its interview by Paul Handley of Rowan Williams. You should also read the Church Times news report about the ABC's upcoming visit to Rome, much of which is derived from that interview.

16 November 2006: Archbishop of Canterbury decries 'wilful misinterpretation' by British magazine
The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a press release dismissing as 'wilfully misleading' newspaper reports that he is doubtful over the ordination of women to the priesthood, has ever felt that the ordination of women priests had been 'wrong' or believes that a revisiting of the question is likely, necessary or desirable. Thinking Anglicans has collected all of the fallout from this little spat.


11 November 2006: New bishops elected in USA
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the Revd Thomas Breidenthal was elected as the 9th bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio and that the Revd Larry Benfield was elected as the 13th bishop of the Diocese of Arkansas.

11 November 2006: Church arson in Topeka
The Wichita Eagle and the Capital Journal (Topeka) report that an arsonist caused extensive damage to St David's Church in Topeka, starting a fire that gutted the interior of the church and did millions of dollars of damage. The Diocese of Kansas has a detailed report, with photographs. The parish itself has issued a statement on its website, with pictures, but unfortunately the pictures were not resized before they were added to the website so the page is impossibly slow to load.

11 November 2006: More about past sex abuse in Brisbane
The Australian reports on continuing complaints about past Anglican handling of sex-abuse cases. We're told that in this case the complainant's wife is an employee of that newspaper. Another related article in that newspaper was entitled 'Priest forgiven, boy forgotten after sex abuse'. The Courier Mail (Brisbane) reported on the Brisbane archbishop's rebuttal to those complaints.

11 November 2006: Extensive press coverage of new US Presiding Bishop
More than a thousand news sources worldwide this week published stories of one kind or another about the new Primate of the US Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

10 November 2006: Pennsylvania Standing Committee files complaint against its bishop
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Pennsylvania 'is alleging that its bishop, Charles E. Bennison Jr, "has repeatedly usurped" its "canonical prerogatives and authority" and has filed a verified complaint with the US Presiding Bishop. The Living Church reports that a motion to reprimand the bishop failed at the diocesan convention.

10 November 2006: Joint Anglican/RC Think Tank launched in UK
Christian Today reports that 'The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, have jointly backed a new religious think-tank in an effort to change the climate of opinion about the importance of faith in society.' We did not see in that article any mention of that new organisation's website, the best place for you to learn more about it.

9 November 2006: ABC to visit Rome
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury will visit Rome and will have an audience with the Pope.

8 November 2006: Joint Anglican/RC work on women priests
Thinking Anglicans has assembled a report on recent Anglican/RC joint efforts to further the cause of women's ordination in England and Wales.

7 November 2006: Church and State in Australia
The Age (Melbourne) reports that Andrew Cameron of the Diocese of Sydney has (in the words of that newspaper's headline writer) told the Prime Minister to 'shut up and listen' on the issue of censuring or removing a controversial imam.

6 November 2006: Pittsburgh diocesan convention votes in favour of secession
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the diocesan convention in Pittsburgh voted to support earlier requests by the bishop for so-called 'alternative primatial oversight' and to withdraw from membership in Province III of the US Episcopal Church.


4 November 2006: US Episcopal Church gets a new primate
The US Episcopal Church installed the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori as its new Presiding Bishop in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. We watched online from far away, and found it to be an incredible service. The vestments were, well, unorthodox, but we suspect that was intentional. The Cathedral's coverage is here; the core Episcopal News Service coverage is here (but see here for other stories and photographs). Bishop Jefferts Schori preached this sermon. We enjoyed the service so much we actually watched it twice. The Anglican Communion News Service (London) issued this report on her visit last week to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

4 November 2006: Australia poised to sell valuable properties
The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) reports that the Anglican Church of Australia is considering selling some of its prime real estate in southeast Queensland, starting with one of Brisbane's most prized properties.

3 November 2006: Church Times gets a proper website
After at least a decade of mucking about with rubbish websites, the Church Times has launched what looks to us like a real and professional website that meets the needs of its readers. We welcome the Church Times, at long last, to the internet era. We've always found the CT's writing and reporting to be compelling, and would just put a clothespin on our nose when we dealt with the website. We've returned the clothespins to their proper role of sealing unfinished bags of biscuits and crisps. Yes, we know that it doesn't entirely work yet, but our professional opinion is that the problems are quite fixable.

3 November 2006: Battling archbishops in Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Archbishop of Perth has compared the Diocese of Sydney's refusal to ordain women with some Islam thinking that repressed women and gave them status as second-class citizens.

3 November 2006: ABC to meet with Pope
The Associated Press reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury will meet with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican later this month. ANSA (Rome) reports the same event from the Pope's home grounds.

2 November 2006: New US Presiding Bishop invites Global South primates to talk
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that on her first day in office, Bishop Jefferts Schori invited four conservative primates to meet with her when they are next in the USA. They are coming to the USA to coordinate with US dioceses that are unhappy with her being Presiding Bishop.

1 November 2006: More sex scandal in Australia
The Australian reports on further Diocese of Brisbane coverups in past decades of clergy pedophilia.

31 October 2006: US Episcopal chancellor writes to traditionalist dioceses asking for compliance
The Living Church reports that the chancellor of the US Episcopal Church, David Booth Beers, has written identical letters to the chancellors of two traditionalist dioceses demanding that they change language “that can be read as cutting against an ‘unqualified accession’ to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. We find that Jim Naughton (Diocese of Washington) has gathered good coverage of this act and its consequences.


29 October 2006: Pittsburgh and APO
Thinking Anglicans reports on the state of Pittsburgh's request for 'Alternative Primatial Oversight'. Meanwhile, the Episcopal News Service reports that the Diocese of Dallas has withdrawn its request for same.

28 October 2006: Tennessee elects a bishop
The Episcopal News Service reports that the Diocese of Tennessee, after months of trying and three failed elections, has elected the Revd John L Bauerschmidt as its 11th bishop.

27 October 2006: China more churchly than Western Europe
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that churchgoers are now more numerous in parts of China than in parts of Western Europe.

27 October 2006: US PB and PB-elect visit Canterbury
The Episcopal News Service reports on, and shows a photograph of, a visit by the current and future Presiding Bishops of the US Episcopal Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

27 October 2006: Adelaide synod begins
The Advertiser (Adelaide) reports that the opening address at the synod of the Diocese of Adelaide noted morale and clergy counseling as important issues in that diocese. In another article, The Advertiser reports that the diocese has apologized to priests 'silenced, bullied or threatened' when they tried to report child sex abuse.

27 October 2006: ABC supports right of Muslim women to wear veil
Writing in The Times (London), the Archbishop of Canterbury asserted that a society that does not allow crosses or veils in public is a dangerous one.

25 October 2006: Diocese of Sydney ruling on ordination of women: 'no'
(But you knew that.) The Anglican Communion News Service has republished a report by the Diocese of Sydney on the vote at its General Synod. The Sydney Morning Herald (presumably after interviews in Stepford) reported the event, and also reports that, as a result, women are expected to leave the Anglican Church for the Uniting Church.

24 October 2006: Australian competition for Nigerian Communion?
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Diocese of Sydney has received requests from 'at least two' overseas churches wanting to affiliate with it, presumably as an alternative to Canterbury or Abuja.


22 October 2006: More on the ABC in China
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been in China for two weeks. Reuters filed this report on his activities in Peking.

21 October 2006: Bishop elected in Hawaii
The Episcopal News Service reports that the Revd Canon Robert Fitzpatrick was elected Bishop of Hawaii. The Diocese's press release is here.

20 October 2006: Via Media asks standing committees to refuse consent in South Carolina
The Episcopal News Service reports that Via Media USA has sent letters to everyone whose approval is required for the bishop-elect of South Carolina, urging them to vote to refuse. This is the letter sent to bishops, and this is the letter sent to standing committees (both PDF). The essay that inspired the letter is here.

19 October 2006: Anglican Church of Burundi issues a statement
The Anglican Communion News Service has distributed this statement from the Anglican Church of Burundi announcing their support for some of the resolutions of the most recent Lambeth conference and for various conservative platforms issued since. We predict that Burundi will end up joining the Nigerian Communion once its membership details are defined.

19 October 2006: Private benefactor offers to rescue Australian girls' school
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a white-knight offer that would save the New England Girls' School in the Diocese of Armidale without selling it either to the Presbyterians or to a corporation whose board includes the Bishop of Sydney (who is considered by many supporters of that school to be essentially a Presbyterian).

19 October 2006: Sydney changes its mind about church property sales
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Diocese of Sydney has decided not to sell inner-city church properties to pay for expansion into the suburbs. In that same article, the newspaper reports that the Diocese of Sydney is at its synod considering the requirement that all school board members sign an evangelical covenant. We expect a barrage of news stories once the Sydney synod finishes on 23 October; until then news coverage focuses on what the synod is discussing and not on what it has decided.


15 October 2006: Canada's Anglican Book Centre might close
The Toronto Sun reports that a committee studying the budget of the Anglican Church of Canada's national office wants to close the Anglican Book Centre retail store by next July and move it to a web and phone-based operation. The Anglican Book Centre is more than a century old, and is one of the world's largest Anglican book stores. It is also run by very kind and helpful people. Alas, kindness and helpfulness do not, it seems, pay the rent.

15 October 2006: Tokyo Anglican church celebrates 50 years
The Anglican/Episcopal church of St Alban in Tokyo, the only English-speaking parish in the Diocese of Tokyo, will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary later this month. It is Tokyo's only remaining wooden church, and is widely considered to be an architectural masterpiece.

15 October 2006: Sydney seeks greater influence in schools
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Diocese of Sydney 'plans to provide teacher training and recruit more Christians from next year in a bid to become a stronger force in the provision of faith-based school education'. An Australian friend of ours wondered aloud about the covenant perhaps to be signed by physical education teachers.

15 October 2006: Illinois parish asks for oversight from less-conservative bishop
The St Louis Post-Dispatch and the Chicago Tribune report that St Andrew in Edwardsville, Illinois has asked for alternate episcopal oversight because they find their diocesan bishop too conservative.

13 October 2006: Milwaukee canonical trial underway
The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin, USA) reports that the canon-law trial of the Revd Martha Ann Englert has begun on charges presented by her bishop. We are delighted to see due process in what had earlier been kangaroo proceedings.

13 October 2006: Panel of Reference releases report on New Westminster
Dissidents in the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada had filed with the Archbishop of Canterbury's Panel of Reference to have certain changes made in the authority structure of that diocese. The Panel of Reference released this report, about which the Diocese of New Westminster said 'Diocese welcomes report by Panel of Reference' and the Anglican Church of Canada said 'Primate welcomes Panel of Reference Report'. The circumstances surrounding this appeal to the Panel of Reference are quite contentious, and Thinking Anglicans has done their usual good job of gathering information about contentious issues. The summary of what Thinking Anglicans has gathered is that conservatives are not happy with the report and that inclusivists are happy with it.

12 October 2006: Canada's primate urges 'reimagining' of Anglican Church
The London Free Press (Ontario) reports that Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said that his church 'must come out of the 19th century and be "reimagined" for the 21st'.

12 October 2006: Williams in China
With John Adams nowhere in sight, Archbishop Rowan Williams is in China on an extended visit. The Anglican Communion News Service has published what he said at a recent reception. It is Anglican news only because of who said it, and not because of what it says.

8 October 2006: Diocese of Massachusetts may stop performing marriages
The Boston Globe reports that the Diocese of Massachusetts will consider getting out of the marriage business to avoid being part of the conflict over same-sex marriages. While radical for the United States, this situation is said by that newspaper to be widespread in Europe.


7 October 2006: Church and sex in Australia
The Australian reports that the Archbishop of Perth has asserted that the Anglican Church is preoccupied with sex and in need of 'spiritual therapy' to restore its sense of priorities. The Diocese of Perth has published the Archbishop's comments as a PDF file.

6 October 2006: ABC to visit China
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury will spent 2 weeks visiting China. The Archbishop's website offers these details.

6 October 2006: Religious leaders join calls for a UN arms-control treaty
The Church Times reports that religious leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, have called on world governments, which are meeting at the UN this month, to control the global arms trade.

6 October 2006: Australian churches wrestle with funding issues
The Sydney Morning Herald reflects on the uproar over the planned sale by the Diocese of Armidale of the New England Girls School to the Presbyterian Property Trust.

5 October 2006: Global fundraising campaign to save Canterbury Cathedral
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the launch of a major fundraising campaign by Canterbury Cathedral.

5 October 2006: Challenge to Sydney ban on ordination of women
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a movement to introduce into Sydney's upcoming synod a measure that would overturn that diocese's ban on the ordination of women. If we recall correctly, the vast majority of the people who will be voting on that synod measure will be men.

3 October 2006: Bishop murdered in Philippines
The Episcopal News Service reports that Bishop Alberto Ramento, former Prime Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church, was found stabbed to death at his rectory.

2 October 2006: Diocese of Adelaide turns to parishes to help fund sexual-misconduct reparations
The Advertiser (Adelaide) reports that the Anglican Church of Australia wants its Adelaide parishes to pay a special levy to help fund child sexual abuse compensation claims. A friend in Australia comments: 'Adelaide, and indeed all of South Australia is a bit of a worry. Their industrial base is winding down and the drought is hitting hard. It's no wonder some want uranium mining to recommence. Support for the Diocese seems to have been grudging from what I hear from the parishes. These proposals will not go down well.'

2 October 2006: Diocese of San Joaquin contemplates leaving Episcopal Church
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the Diocese of San Joaquin will at its next diocesan convention vote on a set of resolutions that would enable it to jump provinces should a new Anglican province be created in the USA. The Living Church published this report on the diocese's plans.

2 October 2006: Virginia offers Nigerian bishop permission to be a priest in Virginia
The Diocese of Virginia released this letter from its bishop, announcing that the Bishop of Virginia will permit Martyn Minns to perform priestly duties provided that he agrees to certain terms.

1 October 2006: Church and state in Australia
The Australian reports that Kevin Rudd, the Opposition foreign affairs spokesman, has published an essay urging Australia's Christians to get more involved in politics. The Sydney Morning Herald reported it thus. There has been a lot of commentary about this essay, including this from Peter Jensen and this analysis in The Australian.


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