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The News Centre

Archived News Headlines for Jul/Aug/Sep 2009

Link to main News Archives page

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30 September 2009: Church growing fast in Mozambique
Speaking in London to the Mozambique and Angola Anglican Association (MANNA), the bishop of Niassa, Mark van Koevering, described how the Anglican church is growing fast among some of the poorest people in the world. Anglican Media (Melbourne) reports that he told of the role of the Anglican church in establishing peace in the country, and told of the lively worship of the people: 'We can't sit still. We have to get up and sing and dance.'

30 September 2009: Canadian red tape interferes with Burmese visitors
Anglican Journal reports on the decision by the Canadian government to deny vistor visas to eleven Burmese participants in an annual Anglican faith exchange despite the commitment of the Diocese of British Columbia and a 12-year record of all participants returning home without incident. The South Asian Observer (Mississauga, Ontario) reports on this as well.

30 September 2009: New archbishop for Province of British Columbia and Yukon
We should have reported last week (but didn't know about it until after our publication deadline) that the Rt Revd John Privett, Bishop of Kootenay, was elected Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and Yukon replacing the Most Reverend Terrence O. Buckle who resigned as Metropolitan and will shortly retire as Bishop of Yukon. Joyful details in Canada's Anglican Journal.

28 September 2009: Couple sell farm to pay church bill
When Adrian and Gail Wallbank inherited Glebe Farm, they became lay rectors of St John the Baptist, Aston Cantlow in Warwickshire. The Guardian reports that they were surprised to discover that they also were responsible for part of the upkeep of the church where Shakespeare's parents are thought to have been married. The churchwardens presented them with a £230,000 repair bill, and an 18-year legal fight ended when the House of Lords decided in favour of the church. Some 5,200 parishes can demand money from owners of particular properties on former monastery lands to fund chancel repairs.

28 September 2009: Welsh priest and martial arts instructor investigates ghosts
Lionel Fanthorpe is a 74-year old Anglican priest and martial arts instructor from Cardiff. Sky News tells of his researches into the paranormal.


27 September 2009: Parish building vandalized by diocese in Australia
The Brisbane Times reports that "Stunned parishioners opened the doors of their heritage-listed church to find the fittings, pews and even the stained-glass windows gone", only to learn that the deed was done by the Diocese of Bathurst.

27 September 2009: Church and state in Uganda
The Provincial Secretary of the Church of Uganda has written this op-ed piece in The Monitor (Kampala). We can't quite figure out what it says. It's title is 'We can answer questions about whether Ugandans must unite'.

27 September 2009: Powerhouse post-Katrina priest gives up, for now
The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) reports that 'The Rev. Jerry Kramer, a hyper-energetic Episcopal priest who transformed a small neighborhood church into a powerhouse that helped drive the post-Katrina recovery of the entire Broadmoor neighborhood, stunned his parishioners last week with news that, sick and exhausted, he has resigned.'

26 September 2009: New archbishop for Province of Canada
For the 13 people not part of it who actually know what the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada is, we are delighted to tell you that CBC News reports that the Bishop of Fredericton, Claude Miller, has been named Metropolitan of Canada. Note that the Metropolitan of Canada is not the metropolitan of Canada. Ah, names.

26 September 2009: New Bishop of Carlisle cannot move to Rose Castle
Rose Castle has long been the seat of the Bishops of Carlisle, but the Church Commissioners have announced that it is no longer suitable as the bishop's home because of the amount of money which must be spent on it. The News and Star (Carlisle) notes that the new bishop has been told he cannot move in.

25 September 2009: Bishops invite commuters to church
The Toronto Star was one of many newspapers to cover the greeting given by the bishops of Toronto to commuters arriving at Union Station. The diocesan site has these pictures.

24 September 2009: Singapore dean issues statement about last week's news report
The Very Revd Kuan Kim Seng, Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore, has issued this press release about this article in last week's Straits Times, which we reported in the News Centre.

24 September 2009: Injunction delays consecration of Lake Malawi bishop
The Diocese of Lake Malawi has a history of contentious and unsuccessful episcopal elections. The US Episcopal News Service tells of the latest episode, in which that country's high court has issued an injunction to put on hold the consecration of the Venerable Francis Kaulanda.The Anglican Communion News Service has published this official statement from the Church of the Province of Central Africa. Malawi's largest newspaper (The Nation) filed this report.

24 September 2009: Church and state in Honduras
As the ousted President of Honduras seeks asylum in the Brazilian embassy, Religious Intelligence notes that the former Anglican Bishop of Honduras has been supporting the change of regime.


20 September 2009: Obituary
The Sudan Tribune has published this obituary of Joseph Biringi Marona, the 'fearless Anglican Archbishop'.

19 September 2009: Singapore Anglican cathedral held liable for injury
The Straits Times reports that St Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore has changed its mind and will compensate a badly-injured woman for injuries sustained because of inadequate maintenance of the grounds. The Cathedral's management had first refused to compensate her, claiming that the injury was an 'act of God'.

19 September 2009: Manx distress over changing parish boundaries
The Isle of Man Portal reports that some residents (presumably the half dozen who know what the term 'parish boundaries' means) are distressed by plans by the bishop to adjust those boundaries.

18 September 2009: ABC tells of muted anger at bonus bankers
The Archbishop of Canterbury has told the BBC that he fears financiers feel no repentance for the excesses which led to the economic collapse, and that the widening gap between rich and poor will lead to an increasingly dysfunctional society. You can watch the interview here, and read the Church Times report on the interview here.

18 September 2009: Border Authority raids vicarage
The Church Times has an article about a raid by the Border Service on a vicarage in Darlington (in the North East of England, a bit south of Newcastle), where a Ugandan mother and her two children were seeking asylum. They have since been deported to Uganda.

17 September 2009: Diocesan Synod in South Africa erupts in angry chaos
The Dispatch (East London, South Africa) reports that chaos erupted during the Synod of the Diocese of Mthatha when Bishop Mzamane took to the podium to give the Bishop’s Charge.

17 September 2009: Open Churches Day in Wales
Wales Online reports that 'Scores of churches in Wales will be opening the doors on their architectural and cultural riches on Saturday.' We hadn't realized that the churches weren't open every day.

17 September 2009: Bishops lobby US Congress members on social justice issue
The US Episcopal News Service reports that US Bishops have met with members of Congress to make the case for health care, immigration reform and stricter environmental protection.

17 September 2009: First Anglican priest ordained from Slavey people
Georgina Bassett has been ordained deacon, to serve at Hay River in the North West Territories of Canada. The Anglican Journal notes that she is the first person to be ordained from the Slavey people.

16 September 2009: New Nigerian Primate
The Guardian (Lagos) announced the 'election' of Nicholas Okoh, Bishop of Asaba, as Primate-elect of Nigeria. He will take office when Archbishop Akinola retires next March. Okoh was ordained after he retired from the army as a lieutenant-colonel. He was at the founding meeting of GAFCON, and his sympathies tend to be similar to those of his predecessor. The Guardian also published a long profile, an extensive news report on the new archbishop, and cheers from other clergy in the Church of Nigeria.

15 September 2009: Blackburn Cathedral revises policy on communion with wafers consecrated by women
The Diocese of Blackburn has issued a press release announcing that they will discontinue the practice of offering wafers blessed by a male priest when a female priest is presiding.


13 September 2009: New bishop elected for Diocese of Georgia
(That's in the USA, not central Asia). The Associated Press reports that the Diocese of Georgia has elected its 10th bishop. The US Episcopal News Service carries a similar report with a photograph.

12 September 2009: Canterbury Cathedral repaired with duct tape
Parts of Canterbury Cathedral are falling down, and a fifth of its internal marble pillars are held together by duct tape. The Telegraph highlights the plight of the building, which has been designated as a World Heritage Site.

12 September 2009: Bishop's father kidnapped, then released, in Nigeria
The Vanguard (Lagos) has published an interview with David O.C. Onuoha, Bishop of Okigwe South, in which he tells the story of his father being kidnapped for ransom. The article is worth reading if only for the account of the conversation between the bishop and the kidnappers after the victim had been returned safely.

11 September 2009: ABC laments cultural loss of Christian knowlege
The Church Times and The Times (London) report on an interview with Private Eye editor Ian Hislop in which Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, lamented that his native country has 'lost a large amount of cultural awareness of Christianity because of shifting patterns of education and society'.


6 September 2009: Church and state in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean (Kampala) reports that leaders of the Anglican Church in the Province of Central Africa have written to the Zimbabwean High Court arguing that former bishop Nolbert Kunonga must return property to that Province. We all know that this is not going to happen as long as Robert Mugabe remains as dictator.

5 September 2009: Anglican choir in Angola raises funds for Congo prison
The Angola Press Society reports that a choir group in Angola is evangelizing in Congo prisons by delivering badly-needed supplies such as soap and mosquito netting to prisoners in the Uíge Province of Congo. The ANGOP also reported that the deputy governor offered official thanks.

4 September 2009: Church, state, sex, and violence in the Bahamas
The Nassau Guardian and the Bahama Journal report that Archdeacon James Palacious spoke out in support of a proposed amendment to the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act that would ban marital rape in The Bahamas."I believe that the law seeks to discourage men who are in very strained relationships with their wives even if they are still living together from forcing their wives to have sex...In other words, such relationships are already dead and they only need a formal burial to be performed by the courts."

4 September 2009: Church and state in the UK
In an interview in the Telegraph, the British Justice Secretary, Jack Straw (a committed Anglican), remarked that there would be no place for the 29 bishops who now sit in the House of Lords if and when it is totally elected. Straw suggested bishops might decide to bow out on their own accord, but a spokesman for the Church told politics.co.uk there was no such view at the present.

4 September 2009: The perils of living in a war zone
The Church Times reports that a church in County Durham received a donation to its thrift shop that included a live grenade, probably of World War II vintage.

4 September 2009: Capital ringers at Trinity Church Wall Street
There are only about 45 functioning bell towers in Canada and the United States. The New York Times reports on the meeting of the North American Guild of Change Ringers at Trinity Church, Wall Street. The church has posted a video documentary on its new set of 12 bells - the largest in the country. Clearly that is not just change ringing or spare change ringing, it is major capital ringing.

1 September 2009: Sudanese archdeacon killed in attack
The Archdeacon of Wernyol was shot at the altar during a service of Morning Prayer, one of over 40 people killed in a well-organized attack. The Archbishop of Sudan has appealed to the government and the international community for help to guard the country's Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Church Times provides this background.

1 September 2009: Kilkenny Cathedral and Obama's Irish roots
Researchers for a documentary on President Obama's Irish roots have discovered that his sixth generation grand uncle was the Bishop of Ossory. Kilkenny People recounts how they identified the bishop's resting place inside Kilkenny Cathedral.


29 August 2009: Let's go fly a kite
The Daily Dispatch (South Africa) tells how a priest's passion for kites turns into a kite festival in East London.

29 August 2009: Canadian political leader plans to become an Anglican priest
The Canadian Press reports that the leader of Canada's Green Party has announced that 'When I finish being prime minister, I'm going to be ordained.' She's a part-time student in Anglican Studies at an Ottawa university.

28 August 2009: Church and state in Ghana
Web Ghana reports that church-and-state politics is at the forefront of the Synod of the Diocese of Koforidua, with a government minister addressing the group about good and evil and the bishop urging politicians to 'stop the glorification of poverty'.

26 August 2009: Obituary
Christian Today Australia has published the diocesan obituary of Sydney's Christian cartoonist, Graham Wade.

24 August 2009: Kidnapping in Nigerian cathedral
This Day (Lagos) reports that a group of 12 armed men stormed the Anglican Cathedral (Diocese on the Niger) in Onitsha and abducted a wealthy businessman.

23 August 2009: Anglican memorial service for a valiant dog
The Diocese of Pittsburgh noted the memorial service, as did the local newspaper, for a police dog in Ligonier, a town not terribly far from Pittsburgh.


22 August 2009: The apostle of the apostrophe
Stefan Gatward, accountant and Anglican day chaplain, has become known as the Apostrophe Man of Royal Tunbridge Wells, with his campaign to correct the missing or misplaced apostrophe. The Telegraph notes that it is daunting task, with street signs that proclaim All Saint's Road, and even a sign at his own church that reads St Lukes church. He feels that the Catholic Church is more rigorous in these matters than the more liberal Church of England.

22 August 2009: Church and state in Zimbabwe
Chris Chivers, canon chancellor at Blackburn Cathedral, has written for The Guardian about church life in Zimbabwe.

21 August 2009: Enthusiasts turn up to honour clergy twister
Members of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts will gather in Bow Church, east London, to honour the Revd Sameul Henshall, rector for 1802-1807, and inventor of the corkscrew. The Church Times notes that a plaque will commemorate the former rector.

21 August 2009: Singapore archbishop re-elected Primate
Religious Intelligence reports that the Archbishop of Singapore has been re-elected as Primate of the Anglican Church of the Province of South East Asia.

20 August 2009: New bishops in Central Africa
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the election of new bishops in two Malawi dioceses.


15 August 2009: Church and state in the Philippines
As President Arroyo's allies seek a constitutional change that would allow her to remain in power after her term ends in 2010, Bulatlat (Quezon City) reports the bishops of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines have joined the opposition to the change. The President had recently been criticized by church leaders for the $20,000 bill for a lavish dinner in New York during a visit to the United States.

14 August 2009: Toronto star, not chambered
The Anglican Communion Office has announced the appointment of Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan as Director for Unity, Faith and Order. Canada's Anglican Journal filed this more-detailed report on the appointment and on Dr Barnett-Cowan. (Comments in Thinking Anglicans note that the acronym for the new office would be UFO, worry whether the intention of the office is to impose unity, and celebrate that the the appointment is a woman priest of Canadian provenance.)

14 August 2009: New bishop in Sabah
The Daily Express (Sabah) reports on the consecration of the Rt Revd Melter Jiki Tais in the Diocese of Sabah (Church of the Province of South East Asia). He is the first Kadazandusun to become bishop.

13 August 2009: Mothers Union conference meets in Lusaka
The Lusaka Times (Zambia) has a report on a Mothers Union conference attended by over 600 women from the Dioceses of Lusaka and Southern Malawi. At the conference, it was announced that a girls' boarding school will be constructed in Lusaka West.

13 August 2009: Another US diocese talks about withdrawing
The Living Church News Service reports that the new Bishop of South Carolina has told its clergy that South Carolina needs to distance itself from the governing bodies of the US Episcopal Church.

12 August 2009: Non-aboriginals should leave Australia?
The Age (Melbourne) reports that the principal of Ridley College, Peter Adam, has suggested that all non-aboriginal Australians should be prepared to leave the country if the indigenous people want that. 'The prosperity of our churches,' he affirmed, 'has come from the proceeds of crime.' At least, the churches should lead in providing significant recompense.

12 August 2009: Obituaries
The death of the Right Reverend John Coburn, quondam Bishop of Massachusetts and many other things, was noted in this obituary in the New York Times. Christianity Today published this obituary of Geoffrey W. Bromiley, church historian and historical theologian. He was a professor emeritus at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California, USA, which published this obituary.

10 August 2009: What have the noughties done for God?
Last year the parish church in Thwaite in Suffolk was one of 200 Anglican churches declared redundant. Trends such as that, and the more strident secularism of people like Richard Dawkins have prompted the BBC to reflect on whether God's new millennium has got off to a bad start. Meanwhile, down on the Isle of Man, there is cautious jubilation over statements from an architectural historian and the bishop that the Manx churches will not be closed.

10 August 2009: People turning to religious books in economic downturn
Ecumenical News International reports that organizers of a recent book fair in Hong Kong have observed that people turn to religious books during hard economic times.


9 August 2009: RIP Marion Hatchett
American liturgist Marion Hatchett died today. It will be a few days before obituaries appear, but Bosco Peters' New Zealand Liturgy website has a fond remembrance of the influential liturgical author, Marion Hatchett. You can read the reflections Hatchett made about his own life, when last year he was made Alumnus of the Year by General Theological Seminary.

8 August 2009: Maori leaders mourn activist
Political activist, film actor and dean of theology at the Maori Anglican Theological College, the Revd Eru Potaka-Dewes has died. The New Zealand Herald profiles the Maori religious leader.

6 August 2009: The controversial new cannon canon of Kinkizi
Jacqueline Mbabazi, the wife of the Ugandan Minister for Security, has been appointed a canon in the Diocese of Kinkizi . Before this could happen, she had to have a church wedding (she had married her husband 35 years before in a civil service). She was installed by Archbishop Orombi, and The Observer (Kampala) reported allegations that her own bishop, John Wilson Ntegyereize, had urged worshippers to vote only for Anglican candidates. The same paper notes that the new canon heads a factory producing bullets and repairing weapons. This situation is intimately related to the next story:

6 August 2009: Of bishops and politicians (Ugandan edition)
The Observer reports on a dispute involving cows, bibles, canons, bishops, and government ministers. Unknotting the tangle, as the article reports, is difficult. The key question seems to be: Is the NRM secretary general simply generous or he is indeed fortifying his political base? The answers to that question vary depending on whom one speaks to'.

5 August 2009: Bishop speaks (Welsh edition)
In a response to a heated row in the Swansea Council over allegations that two councillors asserted some parents of youngsters in care should be prevented from having more children, the Bishop of Swansea firmly repudiated the idea of coerced contraception and sterilisation.

5 August 2009: Kenya: Keep public schools secular
The Bishop of Mombasa expressed his concern over a proposal to allow schools with a majority Muslim population to be 'repossessed' by the Muslim establishment.

4 August 2009: Liberal backlash against Church of England conservatives
The Times (London) reports 'Liberal Anglicans declare war on conservatives in the Church' in response to what they consider to be the Archbishop of Canterbury's 'deeply flawed' declaration of a two-track Anglican communion. This article, and many like it, were triggered by this joint statement from 13 groups working together in the Church of England.

4 August 2009: 'God meets Joy' says Financial Times
Financial woes of the Church of England may endure for the proverbial night, but Joy cometh in the morning. And Joy was selected from 'a  very strong field of more than 70 applicants'.

4 August 2009: Bishops speak (Rwandan edition)
The New Times summarizes a four-day convention of Anglicans in Rwanda. Archbishop Henry Oromobi, of the Anglican Church of Uganda, called for a transformation of hearts to inspire greater development of the country.

4 August 2009: Saint Paul's Cathedral unbowed and unblocked, for now
Architecture can inspire nearly as much strong emotion as matters of sexuality. Really. Norman Foster's planned 'encroachment' on Saint Paul's Cathedral in London has provoked a hue and a cry and much aesthetic outrage. But finances, rather than letters to the editor, seem to have cast doubt on the erection of the four-building, 22-storey project, despite planning consent from a key committee in the City of London.

3-6 August 2009: Episcopal nominees attract same-sex attention
The Diocese of Minnesota selected a long-partnered priest, who happens to be a lesbian, as one of three nominees for its next bishop, followed shortly by the Diocese of Los Angeles, which included two nominees, who are gay, amongst its slate of six for two positions of bishop suffragan. Not surprisingly, these actions produced a wealth of ink, both actual and cyber, from a quick overview in USA Today to the odd and wrong-headed headline in The Telegraph (London) 'US Episcopal Church nominates gay and lesbian bishops'. Other articles worth at least a glance are Minnesota Episcopal Diocese considering lesbian for bishop and L.A. Episcopal leaders nominate 2 openly gay, lesbian priests as bishops, in the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times respectively.


2 August 2009: Feisty aide of Florida tribes named a saint
Deaconess Harriet Bedell wore a habit and boots, and worked with the Seminoles and Miccosukee of southwest Florida, from 1933 till 1960. The News-Press (Fort Myers) seems pleased that she is to be commemorated in the US Episcopal Church.

1 August 2009: C of E revival in France
The Times (London) reports on Church of England chaplaincies in France which are seeing an increase in worshippers and are holding services in borrowed RC churches.

1 August 2009: Religious violence in Pakistan burns churches
The Spero News and CNN report on incited violence against members of the Church of Pakistan and other Christians. As Muslim and Christian elders in the village of Kolyat settled a dispute between boys of their respective communities, rumours spread that a Christian had burned pages of the Koran. Imams in the area denounced Christians, and mobs gathered and burned two churches - one belonging to the Church of Pakistan - and homes. The government and local Interfaith League have condemned the actions.

31 July 2009: More church and state in Zimbabwe
Last week we drew your attention to a report from Nigeria's Nehanda Radio saying that former bishop Nolbert Kunonga had blocked the consecration of the legitimate bishop of Harare. This week the Church Times (London) reports that Kunonga and his thugs failed to prevent the consecration. Ecumenical News International reports that 'Zimbabwean Anglicans are urging their new leader to reconcile the embattled Diocese of Harare'.

31 July 2009: To the back of the bus, please
The Church Times reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said that the proposed '2-track communion' would not exclude. This statement did not seem to change the number of people who believe him. There has been a phenomenal amount of comment and analysis of the Archbishop's 'reflections', including that of the US Episcopal Church and Ecumenical News International. Thinking Anglicans has gathered a large number of these reports.

30 July 2009: Bishop speaks in Nigeria
The Sun (Ikeja) has published excerpts of an interview with the Rt Revd John G Danbinta (Gusau Diocese). The bishop spoke on the church, its relevancy and challenges.

29 July 2009: Nigerian Diocesan Synod issues communiqué
The Vanguard (Lagos) reports on the communiqué issued by the Synod of the Diocese of Sabongidda-Ora (Bendel Province). In addition to calling on the government to improve security and reform social ills, the report states the Synod resolved that 'only those who were committed to the church in the past five years of their lives would be qualified to be given Anglican burial at death'.

29 July 2009: Reclaiming the meaning of 'liberal'
The Witness (Pietermaritzburg) has a report on Jameson Maluleke's paper, 'The Need for Liberalism', presented at the Alan Paton 20th Anniversary Conference. Maluleke says, '...our [liberals'] meekness—shall I say, timidity—has made us an easy target for our adversaries' and 'We in South Africa need a liberal conscience, which Paton and his ilk strove and prayed for—a racism-free liberalism with the capacity to meet our people’s socioeconomic expectations'.

28 July 2009: Waterford Cathedral damaged by vandals
Rubble clogged several of the 25,000 pipes of the historic organ in Christ Church Cathedral, and holes were poked through the 18th century ceiling, plastered with horsehair and stucco, when thieves broke in. The Irish Times reports that there was more than €200,000 damage. You can watch a news clip on RTÉ but you have to endure an advertisement first.

27 July 2009: Church of England and combined wedding/baptism services
The Church of England issued a press release last week that caused numerous reports to be written saying 'Church of England to offer combined marriage and baptism', such as this one from ENI. For its report, the Church Times got a Church of England spokesman to admit that 'weddings at which the couple’s children are also baptised have been legal for years'. This was not the announcement of a new rite, just publicity for one that already exists.


27 July 2009: Reach out to the bald and bulging
The Age (Melbourne) reports that a Church of England book published this week asserts that bald and overweight people need to be made to feel welcome, and should be regarded as special-needs worshippers alongside the blind, the deaf, and so on.

26 July 2009: Zimbabwe government blocks consecration of new bishop of Harare
Anglicans in Zimbabwe received a double shock when a judge gave control of church property to ousted former Bishop Nolbert Kunonga (a Mugabe supporter), and blocked the consecration of the new bishop of Harare, saying the church could only replace Kunonga after trying him. Nehanda Radio suggests the move should not be a surprise, since most of the judges have been given farms as bribes by the regime.

25 July 2009: Mombasa clerics clash over Kadhi courts
Kenya has long had Kadhi's (an arabic word for judge) courts but a proposal to entrench them in the new constitution has sparked controversy, and a half-hour shouting match at a public meeting on the idea. The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reports the Bishop of Mombasa Julius Kalu as saying that such a move would make Islam superior to other religions.

25 July 2009: Untouched by sub-human hands?
The Times (London) reports that at Blackburn Cathedral, there is now a separate communion line offering wafers 'untainted' by women priests. Blackburn is in Lancashire, in the northwest corner of England. The nearest city that you've heard of is probably Manchester.

24 July 2009: More aftermath of the US General Convention
The Church Times noted 'US decision triggers postal activity', by which they mean that lots of pressure groups wrote letters to lots of newspapers urging some form of change. It sure is a good thing that newspapers still exist; it just seems peculiar to write a letter to a blog. Anglicans Online columnist Bishop Pierre Whalon writes this week about 'What didn't happen at General Convention 2009—and what did'. As Rebecca Wilson (writing for the Church Times) so aptly noted in her guest column about the General Convention, 'Getting these learned souls to talk in simple declarative sentences is a steep climb even in the most relaxed circumstances, and we were working with an eight-hour time difference between Anaheim and London, and a chasm of understanding about how the Episcopal Church does business.' She is referring to the 'theologians and institutional leaders' available to talk to the press.

24 July 2009: English bishops 'hold their nerve as reform of Lords looms again'
The Church Times reports that Church of England bishops 'continue to be hopeful about their future in the House of Lords' as the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill moves through the UK legislative process.

24 July 2009: Detailed reports of Church of England General Synod now available
Thinking Anglicans has collected links to the detailed reports of this month’s General Synod published and now available to non-subscribers in last week’s Church Times.

23 July 2009: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition
Or Irish. Last December, when Ireland voted against a proposal at the UN to make defamation of religion a crime, the Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed that the concept was 'not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights'. Now the Irish government has passed a defamation law that would impose a fine of up to €25,000 for saying anything that is grossly abusive or insulting to religion. Though an article in Ekklesia suggests that the Dáil may have acted under pressure from Catholic bishops, the Irish Times reports that the Catholic bishops and the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin say the churches were not consulted. Nor have they been prominent among the human rights advocates who have opposed the law, though the Bishop of Cork, Paul Colton, has tweeted (oh, dear, we can't believe we actually said that) urging removal of blasphemy from the Irish constitution, and Senator David Norris, who belongs to the Church of Ireland, has argued against the move.

23 July 2009: Archbishops recommend suspending sharing of communion chalice
As the spread of swine flu continues, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have recommended the suspension of the practice of sharing the chalice at communion, reports the Independent.

22 July 2009: A matter of loaf and death
No, wait. 'A matter of Loaf and Death' is the new Wallace and Gromit movie. This news story is about a choice between Life and Death, which former Episcopal Church bishop Robert Duncan says that Anglicans are facing now.

20 July 2009: Where the bishop gets the stink?
Fans of Wallace and Gromit know that Stinking Bishop cheese is the best, but no one has ever explained whence comes the stink. We don't think it involves the stinks that Bishop Bob Evens dealt with in Devon in this report from The Times.


19 July 2009: Reflecting on the Americans' General Convention
The US Episcopal Church is ultimately governed by a convention of bishops and deputies that meets every 3 years.
The 2009 meeting has ended, and what's done is done. Trying to figure out what actually happened will require, as it always does, the perspective of time. We recommend that you begin by reading the 19 July sermon preached by the Revd Sean Mullen, the current rector of the church noted on our front page today for a 19th-century lawsuit against its ringing church bells. The official 'what happened at General Convention' wrapup reports don't say much. The Church Times and the Associated Press have thus far covered only the sex. The New York Times' wrap up report pretty much ignored what had happened and looked to what might happen. Thinking Anglicans has collected statements from most of the pressure groups, and various opinion pieces from world media. Our suspicion is that most of what will happen as a result of the 2009 General Convention already has.

18 July 2009: Bermuda approves women's ordination
Joanna Hollis felt called to the priesthood, but there was no likelihood of a woman being ordained in Bermuda when Ewen Ratteray was bishop (1996-2008), so she went to study in California. Four days after she was ordained deacon in The Episcopal Church, the synod in Bermuda approved the ordination of women. The Royal Gazette notes that breaking barriers is a tradition in the family - half a century ago her father was the first black Anglican priest on the island.

17 July 2009: Australian PM visits Anglican Centre in Rome
Anglican Media Melbourne reports on the visit of Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, to the Anglican Centre in Rome.

17 July 2009: Marcus Borg installed as canon theologian at cathedral in Oregon
The Diocese of Oregon reports that Marcus Borg has been installed as the first canon theologian at Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, USA.

16 July 2009: New Primate for Kenya
Dr Eliud Wabukala was enthroned, in a five hour service, as the fifth leader of the Anglican Church in Kenya. The Daily Nation's headline was 'Fanfare at Wabukala takeover'. The Anglican Journal (Canada) noted his call for Anglican unity. Some Anglicans had been frustrated by the lack of any action to bring those who had fostered post-election violence to justice, and supported the attempt to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court, but, according to the East African Standard, the Archbishop expects little from the Hague. You can see the NTV Kenya news video here.

16 July 2009: Australian archbishop (no, not that one) speaks out against 'reality TV'
The Herald Sun (Melbourne) reports that Dr Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, has said that reality TV contestants were contributing to children's growing confusion about life.

16 July 2009: Australian bishop speaks out about mining vs farming in his region
Queensland Country Life reports that the Bishop of the Western Region of the Diocese of Brisbane has joined with a Uniting Church minister to express concern about the inroads of mining activities into agricultural life in Queensland.

16 July 2009: Walsingham preparing for Youth Pilgrimage
The Fakenham & Wells Times reports that 'Walsingham will be thronging with young people from all over the country when the 2009 Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage starts next month.'

15 July 2009: Who gets the money to rebuild Australian churches?
The Herald Sun (Melbourne) reports that 'Churches destroyed on Black Saturday have not received a cent of the $350m relief fund and are divided over who needs the money most.'

15 July 2009: After the USA's General Convention
Ruth Gledhill invited the bishop of Durham (Dr Tom Wright) to reflect in The Times on the American church's action, and was 'a bit stunned' by his vehemence. One blogger has suggested that Wright was wrong. It takes some mental dexterity to figure out what the American church did, but one blogger noted, 'It's classical Anglicanism - both/and not either/or and that drives some people crazy!'

15 July 2009: Church of England takes a potshot at Church of Sweden about sex
Radio Sweden International reports that 'The Church of Sweden has fallen out of favor with the Anglican Church because of its recent decision to sanction same-sex marriage.' The Church Times reports 'English bishops say Swedish proposal redefines marriage'.

14 July 2009: Lemon aid for church bells
The Independent and Free Press (Georgetown, Ontario) reports that a children's lemonade stand was successful (albeit indirectly) at raising enough money to restore the bells of St George in Georgetown.

13 July 2009: Church aid for Tanzanian farmers
The Citizen (Dar Es Salaam) reports that 'About 20,000 residents of eight villages in Iringa district will benefit from the Pawaga Sustainable Development Program conducted by the Ruaha Diocese of the Anglican Church.'


12 July 2009: US General Convention and Church of England General Synod are in session
As always, we don't consider the hour-to-hour events to be news. If you do, there are numerous sources for breathless and reasonable reportage about both.
The Church of England RSS feed and Thinking Anglicans will keep you up to date on the goings-on in York. The US Episcopal News Service and various partisan blogs will give you more information than you want about the US General Convention. If you really want to drink from a fire hose, the US church is operating a 'media hub' with moment-by-moment updates, some of which we do find intelligible.

10 July 2007: 25th anniversary of York Minster fire
The Church Times reports in passing, as part of its coverage of the public service of thanksgiving for the survival and restoration of York Minster after a terrible fire in 1988, that the blaze was 'variously attributed to the appointment of Dr David Jenkins as Bishop of Durham, the General Synod’s first step towards women priests, taken the previous day, a UFO, and even divine retribution for the massacre of Jews in medieval York'.

10 July 2009: Niagara to offer same-sex blessings
The Anglican Journal tells of the process which led the diocese of Niagara to become the second Canadian diocese to allow priests to bless same-sex couples who have been civilly married. The diocese has posted a Rite of Blessing (PDF) and the theological background paper (also PDF) which informed the decision.

9 July 2009: 'Holy Women, Holy Men' commemorated in The Episcopal Church
The American Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music committees have added 100 names to be commemorated, on a trial basis, for the next few years. Episcopal Life Online identifies some of the additions, and the limited success of the effort to reflect in its diversity a broader representation of the church.

5 July 2009: A bishop for planting
We know of bishops suffragan and bishops coadjutor, of assisting bishops and area bishops and retired bishops. When we saw this announcement from the Diocese of Sydney about the appointment of a bishop to manage church planting, we couldn't help but wonder if he ought to be called a bishop gardener.


5 July 2009: 'Bullying' bishop to cost church
The Age (Melbourne) reports that the Bishop of Ballarat, Michael Hough, is being investigated for bullying and harassment against clergy and lay people in his diocese.

5 July 2009: US Episcopal Church triennial General Convention begins
Speaking of bullying, the every-three-years General Convention of the US Episcopal Church begins this week in Anaheim, California. This event seems to generate more news than do the synods and conventions of other Anglican churches, possibly because it happens less frequently or possibly because the Americans issue more press releases. While coverage of General Convention is not going to be of the same magnitude as, say, coverage of Michael Jackson's death, we suspect that by the time it is over you will have reached your fill of raw news from and about General Convention.

4 July 2009: Woman at centre of Fethard-on-Sea boycott dies
Sheila Cloney was a member of the Church of Ireland when, 52 years ago, she fled her Catholic husband and the state, resisting the pressure from the Catholic curate to have her children to be educated at the local Catholic national school. In response, the curate called for a boycott of Protestant-owned businesses. The Irish Times recalls the notoriety of the case.

3 July 2009: Weakness in the Church of England pension fund
The Church Times reports that the Pensions Board task group in the Church of England 'suggests that clergy will have to work to the age of 68 in order to qualify for the full pension'.

3 July 2009: Modest expectations for the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
In the Church Times, Pat Ashworth tells of the suspicions that the new Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans is likely to be divisive, and that it does not seem to have the support its advocates claim for it.

2 July 2009: New Anglican group split on women
The Anglican Church in North America, born last week in Texas, allows women priests and deacons, but not bishops (and 22 of its 28 dioceses do not allow women priests). The retired bishop of Eau Claire explained it to a reporter from the Washington Times, adding, 'Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. The priest at the altar is an icon of Christ. What image is that if the person at the altar is a woman? It's a lesbian relationship.'

1 July 2009: Vicar in sham marriages arrested
Speaking of accusations of sham marriage, the Revd Alex Brown of St Leonards in Sussex has been arrested by the UK Border Agency for performing nearly 180 sham marriages. The BBC reports that the bogus marriages allowed non-EU nationals to remain within the UK.

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