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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for Jan/Feb/Mar 2007

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30 March 2007: Bishop Pierre Whalon reports on the US House of Bishops meeting
Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, has published a report on the recent meeting of the US House of Bishops and on the circumstances surrounding that meeting. Bishop Whalon's report is long and detailed, but well worth reading. The previous day, Thinking Anglicans had published a report by Jim Kelsey, Bishop of Northern Michigan which is certainly reducing the number of admirers of Rowan Williams.

30 March 2007: Conservatives grumble about US Episcopal Church actions
The Church Times has a roundup of reactions to last week's rejection by the US Episcopal Church of an ultimatum issued to it by a group of church leaders meeting in Tanzania.

29 March 2007: Retired bishop returns to his Roman Catholic roots
The Times Union (Albany, New York) reports that retired Albany Episcopal Bishop Daniel Herzog has resigned his Anglican orders to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church, of which he had been a member until after his college graduation.


25 March 2007: US Episcopal Church bishops reject African ultimatum
The big Anglican news story this week is that the House of Bishops of the US Episcopal Church, having gathered at their regularly scheduled meeting at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas, have rejected the demands made by the Anglican Primates that were issued at the end of the Primates' meeting in Tanzania in February. The House of Bishops released several 'Mind of the House' resolutions and have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Primates' Standing Committee to come to the USA and meet with them. One of those resolutions included the sentence 'Although we are unable to accept the proposed Pastoral Scheme, we declare our passionate desire to remain in full constituent membership in both the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church.' The bishops held a press conference at the end of the meeting. Press reports include the Church Times, the BBC, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the New York Times. Thinking Anglicans quotes Rowan Williams' sour response to the US Bishops.

24 March 2007: Australian archbishop asks PM for justice
The Age (Melbourne) reports that Archbishop Philip Freier has written to Prime Minister John Howard on behalf of David Hicks, who is being held in Guantánamo. A sign 'Justice for David Hicks' hangs from the side of St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne.

22 March 2007: US 'Episcopal Life' publication now online
The newspaper 'Episcopal Life' has been delivered to thousands of US Episcopalians for decades. Many of them have even read it. It is now available also as an online publication, which also subsumes the Episcopal News Service URL; ENS content is now available as part of Episcopal Life Online. Given the enormous costs of physical distribution of this publication, we expect that it won't be long before the paper edition is curtailed or phased out, but for now the paper edition will be published as usual.


16 March 2007: 8-day TEAM conference ends in Angola
The Church Times reports that the TEAM conference (Towards Effective Anglican Mission) conference in Angola ended with a set of guidelines on ways to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The US Episcopal Church delegation to that conference issued a letter to church members; the Episcopal News Service (USA) has dozens of press releases about that conference.

15 March 2007: South Carolina bishop-elect fails to win required approval
The Episcopal News Service has issued a report that 'South Carolina election voided due to canonical deficiencies in responses'. If you don't understand what that means, then read the report; it's very well written. The next day the ENS released 'Reactions to Lawrence announcement note "sorrow"'. Press reports include the Washington Post and the Associated Press. The Diocese of South Carolina has published a comment on the front page of the diocesan website.

15 March 2007: Widespread grief at murder of Welsh priest
The BBC reports on the stabbing murder of Fr Paul Bennett, Vicar of St Fagan in Trecynon in the Diocese of Llandaff. This crime has received widespread news coverage because of its savagery and pointlessness.

14 March 2007: Loyalty pledge document in Pittsburgh
The legal process invoked by the court struggle between Calvary Church and its diocese has uncovered an interesting document. Thinking Anglicans has the best report on it with links to various explanations of its meaning.

14 March 2007: English archbishops post on YouTube
The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced that he has joined with the Archbishop of York to publish on YouTube a video reflection on the nature of the historic slave trade. The Times (London) published this report on Lambeth Palace's video debut. The Church Times reports that those archbishops will be joined by numerous other people in a 'Walk of Witness' in London to mark the bicentenary of the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

13 March 2007: Anglican Church of Canada makes a decision about approval process for same-sex blessings
The Anglican Journal reports that Canada's Council of General Synod has voted that sexuality issues in Canada will be decided by General Synod through resolutions requiring the approval of a 60 per cent majority. Reuters Canada reported it as 'Canadian Anglican leaders promote same-sex blessings'.

12 March 2007: Archbishop of Mexico becomes Patron of Inclusive Church
Thinking Anglicans reports that the Archbishop of Mexico, the Most Revd. Carlos Touché-Porter, has agreed to be Patron of the UK-based organization Inclusive Church.


11 March 2007: Close consent vote for South Carolina bishop
In the US Episcopal Church, bishops are elected by the diocese but must be approved by bishops and standing committees of other dioceses in that Church. The Diocese of South Carolina elected the Revd Mark Lawrence to be its next bishop, but fear that Fr Lawrence might try to lead his diocese out of the US Episcopal Church has limited the number of "yes" votes consenting to his election. This process expires March 13, after which a new election will need to be held. Press reports on this situation include the Charleston Post and Courier (South Carolina) and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

11 March 2007: Canadian priest to lose licence to officiate
The Anglican Journal (Canada) reports that the Bishop of Saskatoon has told one of his priests that he would have his marriage licence suspended if he did not reconsider his declaration that he intends to marry gay couples.

11 March 2007: Express aisle in Sydney parish
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the offering by an urban parish in the Diocese of Sydney of a high-speed (10 minutes beginning to end) worship service on workday mornings.

9 March 2007: ABC asserts that world needs unite the church
The Church Times reports that at a recent conference in South Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that the charge to feed the hungry and heal the sick might help us remember that 'we’re all called by the same Jesus Christ to the same mission in the world'.

9 March 2007: Nigeria consecrates 20 bishops
The Tide (Abuja) reports that the Church of Nigeria recently consecrated 20 new bishops to oversee missionary dioceses and fill one vacancy. The newspaper reports that the sermon 'cautioned against excessive usage of their powers as Bishops on members of their congregation'.

7 March 2007: Archbishops pressure Mugabe apologist
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury has joined with Central African Primate Archbishop Bernard Malango to talk to Bishop Nolbert Kunonga about Kunonga's relentless support for the human-rights violations by Zimbabwe's president. News coverage of this long-overdue meeting include Reuters, the Cape Argus (South Africa), and ChristianToday.

7 March 2007: UK government publishes draft text of Equality Act
Thinking Anglicans, which has intensive coverage of UK Anglican politics, reports on the release by the Communities and Local Government office of the draft text of 'The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007'.


4 March 2007: Executive Council of US Episcopal Church writes to its members
The Executive Council of the US Episcopal Church has finished its scheduled meeting in Portland, Oregon. Within minutes of the end of the meeting, the Executive Council released this letter.

3 March 2007: Disgraced Australian bishop forced to return OBE
The Australian reports that former Australian bishop Donald Shearman handed back his Order of the British Empire following intervention by NSW Premier Morris Iemma and Buckingham Palace. Mr Shearman was at the centre of the child sex abuse scandal that toppled former governor-general Peter Hollingworth. In a related event, that newspaper reports that the primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, has censured a leading church academic for his 'spirited defence' of Mr Shearman.

2 March 2007: No retreat and no agreement
The Church Times reports that in the Presidential Address to the General Synod of the Church of England, Archbishop Rowan Williams said that there can be no retreat from the sexuality debate. In a separate article, the Church Times also noted that two debates 'exposed deep divisions in the General Synod over sexuality'.

2 March 2007: General Synod in the Church of England
The Church of England General Synod met this week. The Church Times published daily round-ups of what happened, and published detailed reports later in the week.

28 February 2007: US Presiding Bishop holds live webcast for churchmembers
The Episcopal News Service reports on the one-hour live webcast held by US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during which she talked about the recent meeting in Tanzania of Anglican primates and the demands they are making on the US Episcopal Church. The ENS has published this transcript of Dr Jefferts Schori's opening remarks and this review of the event.


23 February 2007: IARCCUM report issued, immediately misunderstood
The Church Times reports that 'Press speculation had, “sadly, much exaggerated” the significance of a report from the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), its co-chairmen said this week.' The coverage in UK newspapers was so garbled that the Anglican Communion News Service issued this clarification.

20 February 2007: Primates' Meeting concludes with a formal Communiqué, draft Covenant
The meeting of Anglican Primates in Dar es Salaam ended with a Communiqué, a draft of a proposed Anglican Covenant, and a press conference. The only actions taken so far as a result of the meeting are the avalanche of analyses, including those in the Church Times, The Tablet, The Guardian's Stephen Bates, Inclusive Church, Episcopal Majority, CANA, Anglican Mainstream, American Anglican Council, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the US Presiding Bishop, and various bishops in the US Episcopal Church. The US Episcopal Church has publicised the report given by its Presiding Bishop to its employees.


18 February 2007: Primates' Meeting continues in Tanzania
The world's Anglican primates are still meeting in Tanzania. Very little actual news has escaped the closely-guarded compound, though angry subgroups are issuing statements of what they wish would happen. We find the best coverage thus far to be this page in the Cartoon Blog from Dave Walker. Reuters offered this brief note about the goings-on, and Thinking Anglicans has British-Museum coverage. The US Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have done a stellar job of even-handed reporting of events during this primates' meeting. Next week, after the Primates' Meeting is over and we have seen what actually happened and read the formal statements, we will report on it all. Depending on which hemisphere you live in, we recommend that instead of reading all of the angry reports and statements and accusations, you go swimming or ice skating or go for a nice walk. We'd suggest that the members of the angriest group ought to find themselves a compound in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but (alas) it's full up these days.

16 February 2007: Trinity Episcopal to present Lenten concert series
In our quest to find Anglican news that was outside the gravitational field of the Primates' Meeting, we discovered that Trinity Episcopal Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi USA is hosting an excellent Lenten Concert Series at noon on Tuesdays during Lent. That parish looks like a fascinating place, and (like most parishes around the world) its members are probably not terribly concerned about the outcome of the Primates' Meeting.

15 February 2007: Augsburg Fortress Canada might take over Anglican Book Centre
The Anglican Journal (Canada) reports that Augsburg Fortress Canada is negotiating to take over the operations of the Anglican Book Centre, a move that would allow the Anglican retailer’s storefront operation in Toronto to remain open. We consider the Anglican Book Centre to be an international treasure, and welcome any reasonable means of keeping it open.


9 February 2007: London bishop takes green pledge
The Church Times reports that the Bishop of London has pledged not to fly for one year, because of the contribution of passenger airplanes to global warming.

9 February 2007: Primates meeting in Tanzania sure to quarrel
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the 38 Primates of the Anglican Communion will meet in Tanzania near Dar es Salaam from 14 to 19 February. The Church Times comments that the primates are 'heading into a storm'. We've discovered that few people we talk to can place Tanzania on a map. It contains Mt Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, part of Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika (the setting for The African Queen), is a native habitat of both Gray Parrots and Hoopoes, and is about 30% Christian. The New York Times published this interview with Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Primate of Southern Africa. The New York Times wrote an article about the new Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who seems to be the touchstone of the angry conflict. She, in turn, wrote this reflection about the upcoming meeting. There is a vast amount of speculative writing by various pressure groups about what might happen at this meeting. We'll report none of it, but if something does happen, we'll tell you.

9 February 2007: New Primates elected in Hong Kong and Middle East
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports on the election of new Primates in Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui and the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.


4 February 2007: Conservatives challenge authority of ABC to invite to African summit
The Telegraph (London) reports that senior conservative leaders have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury warning that he had no right to invite Bishop Jefferts Schori to the summit without their consent, and asserting that she will not be welcome there. We're thinking that the primates ought to consider singing 'sous [sic] le pont d'Avignon L'on y danse, l'on y danse' at their meeting should they manage to find time not needed to fight about sex and power.

4 February 2007: Anglican University for Ghana
The Statesman (Ghana) reports that the Anglican Church of Ghana has announced plans to open an Anglican University in that country.

3 February 2007: Ugandan archbishop says that Militant Islam is century’s key challenge
Le Journal Chrétien (Paris) reports (in English) that Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of Uganda said that much of the church is asleep or in 'deep, dark denial' about Islam.

2 February 2007: Summary of the situation in Virginia
The editor of the London-based Church Times recently visited Virginia to explore the secession of some parishes from the Diocese of Virginia, and filed this excellent report.

2 February 2007: Furor over Australian sign
The Herald Sun (Melbourne) reports that many churches in Victoria are posting "Jesus loves Osama" signs amid outrage from terror victims. At that sermon on the Mount, didn't Jesus say 'Blessed are the cheese makers'? It was awfully hard to hear him; did he really say 'love your enemies'?

1 February 2007: PEP reveals what it calls 'Coup plans against Episcopal Church'
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh issued this statement entitled 'Revised Appeal Reveals Coup Plans against Episcopal Church'.

31 January 2007: Anglican Communion Office announces Tanzania meeting
The Anglican Communion News Service has released this statement from the Anglican Communion Office about the upcoming Primates meeting in Tanzania.


29 January 2007: Sydney church to rebuild after fire
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on plans to rebuild the 150-year-old St Barnabas church in Sydney, which was destroyed by fire in May 2006. 'We want it to look like a church, not an office block, and it won't be bright pink or yellow.'

27 January 2007: ABC invites primate wannabes to Primates' meeting
The Christian Post reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, presumably buckling to pressure from neo-puritans, has invited to the February meeting of Anglican primates the man who most desperately wants to become one, but isn't: Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh. We think that the ABC should probably pay more attention to his dietary calcium intake. A British commentator, writing in The Guardian, observed that 'It is impossible not to pity him but difficult not to be shocked at his cowardice.'

27 January 2007: ABC enters British government row over adoption rules
Britain's Equality Act 2006 goes into effect soon, obliging British institutions to refrain from sexual orientation discrimination in providing goods and services to the public. This overview is the best we were able to find. The Roman Catholic church lobbied for an exemption (see this report from the BBC). The archbishops of Canterbury and York entered the fray, and by some reports the result was to offend nearly everyone.

26 January 2007: Church of England publishes 2005 attendance figures
The Church Times reports that attendance in the Church of England was down about 2% between 2004 and 2005, but that in 15 dioceses the attendance was up.

26 January 2007: Design Group produces first draft proposal for Anglican Covenant
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the Covenant Design Group will provide a draft to the February primates' meeting. Oddly enough, the draft has not been leaked to any pressure group, and is expected to be kept confidential until that meeting.

23 January 2007: Virginia inhibits renegade clergy
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports that the Bishop of Virginia inhibited 21 diocesan clergy and rescinded the licenses of 6 others, after those clergy led their parishes out of the Episcopal Church. Virginia's press release was brief and to the point.


21 January 2007: New Irish primate favours disestablishment
Ekklesia (UK) reports that the new primate of the Church of Ireland has said that the 1701 Act of Settlement should be abolished.

19 January 2007: US bishop lashes out at ABC
The Church Times reports that Paul Marshall, the Bishop of Bethlehem (USA), has written and circulated a letter that is strongly critical of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. The letter, entitled 'If the Pope can go to Turkey, Can the ABC go to Texas?', is posted on Bethlehem's website.

19 January 2007: African bishop lashes out at bigotry
The Independent Online (South Africa) reports that Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged the Anglican church to concentrate on the the continent's grim problems rather than on the row over gay clergy, and said persecuting gays was akin to racism.

18 January 2007: Church property in Virginia
The Virginia parishes that left the US Episcopal Church generated a lot of publicity, probably because some of the parishioners were good public relations specialists. Previous cases of parishes quitting did not garner nearly as much attention. The Bishop of Virginia has just announced that he considers the Virginia church propeties abandoned, and the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church has said that she agrees with him. Bishop Lee of Virginia wrote this letter to the members of his diocese.


14 January 2007: South African archbishop decries squabbling
The Archbishop of Cape Town, who is the Primate of the Church of South Africa, has issued a brief statement expressing his distress at African church leaders continuing focus on power and sex over the needs of African people. Ekklesia (UK) had this coverage.

12 January 2007: UK anti-discrimination statute upheld
The UK some time ago passed the Equality Act, including Sexual Orientation Regulations (SOR) prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A measure was introduced into the House of Lords that would have gutted those regulations in Northern Ireland; that measure was defeated despite support by various religious groups.

10 January 2007: New Primate for Ireland
The Rt Revd Alan Harper, Bishop of Connor, has been elected Primate of All Ireland. The Anglican Communion News Service issued this press release. News coverage includes the Church Times, the Belfast Telegraph, and the BBC.

9 January 2007: ABC announces members of Covenant Design Group
The Archbishop of Canterbury announced the members of the Covenant Design Group that he has appointed in response to a request of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates’ Meeting and of the Anglican Consultative Council.


7 January 2007: Marriage in the cathedral
The Providence Journal (Rhode Island, USA) reports that the Rt Revd Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island, has announced her engagement to a businessman from New York. It is unusual, but not unprecedented, for a sitting bishop to be married. She has announced her intention to wear a dress and not a cassock for the ceremony.

5 January 2007: Guess who's coming to dinner?
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury has sent letters to the various primates of the Anglican provinces informing them that he has invited the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church to the next primates' meeting.

4 January 2007: First National bishop in Anglican Church of Canada
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) reports that the Anglican Church of Canada has appointed the Rt Revd Mark MacDonald as a national bishop for indigenous peoples. He was previously the Bishop of Alaska in the US Episcopal Church.


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