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The News Centre

Archived News Headlines for October/November/December 2011

Link to main News Archives page

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25 December 2011: The priest who thought Stalin was a saint
In the Telegraph, Charles Moore reviews a biography of the 'Red Dean' of Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson. He came to the post in 1931 when he was getting on for 60, and clung to it, despite numerous attempts to get him out, until 1964.

25 December 2011: Islamists kill dozens of Christians in Nigeria bombings
Reuters reports that Boko Haram 'Islamist militants set off bombs across Nigeria on Christmas Day - three targeting churches including one that killed at least 27 people - raising fears that they are trying to ignite sectarian civil war.' The Church Times filed this report. The Nation (Abuja) quotes the Bishop of Enugu as saying that the people of the South-East will declare war again if the Federal Government fails to address the issue of Boko Haram. Church bombings in Nigeria are very important global Anglican news, because the war of both bombs and words between Islam and Christianity in Nigeria is the primary influence on Anglican politics in Nigeria, which in turn has great influence on the rest of the world.

23 December 2011: More earthquakes in New Zealand
Anglican Taonga (Auckland) reports that new earthquakes in that country have further damaged Christchurch Cathedral. Bishop Victoria Matthews has instructed that all Christmas weekend church services in the greater Christchurch area be held outdoors. Luckily, it's summer there.

17 December 2011: Arrests as Occupy protest turns to church
The New York Times reported on the arrest of a number of demonstrators, including Bishop George Packard in a purple robe, who sought to establish a tent site on land owned by Trinity Church, Wall Street. The Episcopal News Service has this account.

17 December 2011: Auckland's provocative church comes through again
The Huffington Post reports on this year's Christmas billboard at St Matthew-in-the-City, which has once again gathered attention and outrage. The church's Facebook page carries discussion at the level one expects of online discussions.

16 December 2011: Kunonga thugs target schools helping evicted Anglicans
SW Radio Africa reports that armed government thugs are harassing the school authorities that have offered their premises to Anglican parishioners who were evicted from their own church buildings by Mugabe stooge Nolbert Kunonga. Usually here in the News Centre we feel an obligation to avoid use of words like 'thug' and 'stooge', but who doesn't disrespect Nolbert Kunonga?

16 December 2011: Zurbarán paitings at risk in Durham
The Church Times reports that 'Church officials are working des­perately to revive a £15-million deal to safeguard the future of the 12 Zur­barán paintings at Auckland Castle' and that the would-have-been donor 'blamed "insurmountable" conditions that had been placed on the deal by the Church Commissioners'.

15 December 2011: Two Canadians sent abroad
The Anglican Journal has announced that the Revd Dr Grant LeMarquand has been appointed assistant bishop for the Horn of Africa, in the Diocese of Egypt, and that Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, who recently retired as General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada to become priest-in-charge of St Nicholas Church, Birch Cliff, has been elected bishop of the Diocese of Uruguay.

11 December 2011: Hang the archangels
Anglican Taonga (NZ) reports that the three archangels that once were hung inside the Christchurch cathedral at Christmastide will this year be hung more or less in the same space, but from construction cranes instead of vaulted arches.

8 December 2011: AMiA lets go of Rwanda
The Anglican Mission in the Americas has announced that it has withdrawn from the pastoral oversight of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, and that several of its member bishops have resigned their positions. Another press release the next day suggests that this is about misuse of money; so do these various letters and memos made public by the AMiA. Christianity Today filed this news report.

7 December 2011: St Hilda's Church beats bats in time for Christmas
After a thousand years of worship, the church of St Hilda, Ellerburn had to close in August because of an infestation of bats. Because the bats are a protected species, the church was not allowed to disturb their roost. But, according to the Gazette & Herald (York) the church can now reopen for Advent and Christmas. There are reports in the Harrogate News and the Scarborough Evening News (which notes that it cost £10,000 to build alternative accommodation in a nearby barn, £1,000 for a bat consultant, £2,000 for cleaning - and £2 to seal up the hole where the bats were getting in).

2 December 2011: Anglican/Lutheran consultation on marriage
The Church of Ireland Gazette, which despite its name is not an official publication of the Church of Ireland, reports 'The Porvoo Communion (Anglican-Lutheran), of which the Church of Ireland has been a member since 1995, last month held a high-level consultation in Turku, Finland, on the theme of marriage.' You needn't inquire just what aspects of the various doctrines of marriage were being discussed.

5 December 2011: First female bishop in New South Wales
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation announces the appointment of the Venerable Genieve [sic] Blackwell as a bishop in Wagga Wagga. This happy event is also reported in the Daily Advertiser. Neither news report explicitly names the diocese in which she will be bishop, but we note that the consecration will be in Goulburn so this must be a bishopric in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

2 December 2011: ABC uses Advent message to lobby for the Anglican Covenant
The Church Times reports that 'Archbishop of Canterbury, in his Advent letter to Anglican Primates, ... has commended the Anglican Covenant — "as strongly as I can"'. He insists that 'The Communion is a gift not a problem'. Anglicans Online remains convinced that the proposed Covenant is a bad idea; if you missed our letter explaining why we so believe, you can read it here.

1 December 2011: Bishop in Papua New Guinea robbed at gunpoint after conseration
The Anglican Communion News Service (quoting the Papua New Guinea Post Courier) reports that less than 24 hours after being consecrated Bishop of Popondota, the Rt Revd Lindsay Ihove was robbed at gunpoint at his new home. The diocese spells its name 'Popondota' but its see city spells the name 'Popondetta'. As with many dual spellings, this situation is a consequence of past colonization; the name of the diocese matches the area's pronunciation in the indigenous language of the region and the name of the city matches the colonists' pronunciation.

30 November 2011: Bishop of South Carolina cleared of charges
Reuters and the Diocese of South Carolina report that the US Episcopal Church has cleared Mark J Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, of charges that he has abandoned church doctrine. The short statement by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops is here.

29 November 2011: Anglican Church of Australia enters water debate
The Anglican Church of Australia has released a discussion paper as part of the ongoing debate in that country over the management of water resources in the Murray Darling Basin. There is not a lot of water in Australia, so the arguments about its management can get very heated and partisan.

29 November 2011: New bishop in Haiti
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the election of the Revd Canon Ogé Beauvoir as the first suffragan in the Diocese of Haiti.

27 November 2011: Obituary: Canon John Bennett, Arawak lexicographer
Stabroek News (Georgetown, Guyana) reports that John Bennett has died. He was born in 1914, and was ordained as Guyana's first Arawak Anglican priest. He wrote about the role of the Arawak language in Guyanese culture, compiled an Arawak/English dictionary, and worried that the language would die out before it had been properly studied. (Note: This site requires a login to read the entire story.)

25 November 2011: Occupy London update
Church Times reports on the proposed idea of taking the Occupy movement on tour to different cathedrals and on the continuing impact of the movement on the Cathedral of St Paul.

25 November 2011: Motorcycles and cement in Nigeria
Vanguard (Lagos) reports a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Kingsley Ebenyi, has donated motorcycles and building materials worth millions of naira to churches in the Isi-Uzor Local Government Area of Enugu State. Ebenyi noted that the role of churches in nation building could not be over-emphasized.

24 November 2011: Pupils revolt at Kunonga school
News Day (Harare) reports girls at the Bonda Mission in Mutare were protesting 'plummeting standards' since Kunonga forcibly took over the school. Their grievances included alleged poor quality of food, sexual harassment and interference by Kunonga's faction in the school's affairs.

23 November 2011: 'Use us or lose us' say vicars
The Dudley News (UK) reports none of the seven churches in the Dudley Team Ministry of the Diocese of Worcester are financially viable and with repair costs estimated at around £1.2 million, difficult decisions need to be made and closing buildings and merging buildings could be the only option. The three vicars for the team have issued a challenge to the community to 'step up to the plate' and help keep their neighbourhood church open. We are intrigued to see an idiomatic reference to American baseball used in informal speech in the UK. That darn internet again, messing with our regional language variations.

22 November 2011: Christian leaders call for release of Kashmiri priest
Asia News reports on the latest developments in the arrest and imprisonment of the pastor of All Saints in Kashmir. After baptising seven young Muslims, the Revd Manni Khanna was falsely accused of performing forced baptisms. Khanna was arrested on November 19 for this; Asia News' third report on this situation states Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state of India and has no anti-conversion laws.

21 November 2011: Church prays and fasts for Nigeria
PM News (Lagos) reports the primate of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, has declared a seven-day period of fasting and prayer. Okoh said the forces of evil had taken over some parts of the country could only be defeated through prayers to God.

19 November 2011: New bishops
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reports on the elections of the Revd Canon Andrew M L Dietsche as bishop coadjutor in the Diocese of New York and the Revd Gregory O Brewer as the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida. The Northern Daily Leader (New South Wales) reports that the Revd Rick Lewers was elected Bishop of Armidale. Adelaide Now reports that the Ven Tim Harris was consecrated Bishop in Adelaide and appointed Assistant Bishop for Mission and Evangelism in that Diocese.

14 November 2011: Swazi bishop calls on king to give up power
The BBC reports that the Archbishop of Swaziland, Meshack Mabuza, has called on King Mswati III to give up political power.

13 November 2011: Ruins of oldest US protestant church may be at Jamestown
The New York Times reports on the excavation of the ruins of the church at Jamestown, Virginia, the early British 'lost colony' founded in 1607. GetReligion posted a follow-up commentary about the use of 'Protestant' vs 'Church of England' that is a good read.

11 November 2011: Church abuse biggest stumbling block for Australian believers
The Diocese of Melbourne (whose domain '' makes us giggle every time we see it) reports that a national survey shows that 'Church abuse is the chief obstacle to Australians believing in Christianity'.

11 November 2011: New dean for St John's College
Anglican Taonga reports the appointment of the Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, currently Director of Biblical Studies and lecturer in the New Testament at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, near Oxford in the UK, to succeed the Revd Canon (now Bishop) Jim White as Dean of Tikanga Pakeha at St John's College, the residential Theological College of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

11 November 2011: Interview with the next Bishop of Washington
The Washington Post has published an interview with Mariann Budde, who was consecrated recently as 9th Bishop of Washington. We got a smile out of this article in the National [Roman] Catholic Reporter.

9 November 2011: Updates on Kunonga thuggery
Nehanda Radio published the response of Nolbert Kunonga to the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Mugabe. It was posted with the clear statement that 'Nehanda in no way endorses the above statement and has only published it in the interest of affording Kunonga an opportunity to respond to allegations levelled against him and his supporters.' Newsday (Harare) reported 'Kunonga rubbishes murder accusations' as well as other accusations in the file submitted by Rowan Williams. The Zimbabwean published a report where Kunonga said he will continue to close the church doors to bona fide Anglican members unless they respect his illegitimate position. Two days later, the paper filed a report on the huge rental payments Kunonga is charging a school which was opened by unemployed university students in a church which was not able to pay its assessment to Kunonga.

9 November 2011: Christchurch Cathedral deconsecration
Radio New Zealand filed a sad report on the deconsecration of Christchurch Cathedral so that demolition work can proceed. TV New Zealand and 3 News also reported on the outdoor service of deconsecration.

8 November 2011: Nassau celebrates 150th anniversary
The Tribune and the Nassau Gardian report on the joint celebration of their shared 150th anniversary by the City of Nassau and the Diocese of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands. The Rt Revd Laish Boyd spoke on history as a 'book of lessons' from which to gather insights to be more effective in mission and ministry.

6 November 2011: New bishop in Ballarat
The Courier (Victoria) reports on the joyful enthronement of the Rt Revd Garry John Weatherill as 10th Bishop of Ballarat. He replaces Michael Hough, who resigned in December after various misconduct allegations were raised. The diocese issued this press release when he was elected.

6 November 2011: St Paul's and Occupy London
There has been frenetic activity in the saga of St Paul's Cathedral vs the Occupy London protesters. The Cathedral Dean resigned. Public opinion came to a boil. The Cathedral Chapter suspended its legal action against the protesters. City government suspended its legal action. Rowan Williams weighed in. Public reflection and discussion became Topic A in London. You can read all of the details over at Thinking Anglicans. There's no easy way to extract for you just the St Paul's articles at TA, but if you click here and then scroll down, you'll see them all (interspersed with other stuff).

5 November 2011: Proposed Anglican covenant dead in the land of the long white cloud
Anglican Taonga reports on the fate of the proposed Anglican Covenant in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia. The US Episcopal News Service interpreted that report to enable wider understanding of what happened.

4 November 2011: Church of England continues to forbid civil partnership ceremonies in its churches
The Church Times reports that the Church of England 'will continue to block civil-partnership registration ceremonies in its churches'. The British government had recently announced that same-sex couples would be permitted to hold commitment ceremonies in churches; the C of E responded by saying effectively 'perhaps, but not in our churches.' This report by the BBC is a good overall summary of what's going on.

4 November 2011: ABC says British heirs to throne must be raised in the Church of England
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that there needed to be a clear understanding that a future heir to the British throne should be brought up in an Anglican environment. The Church Times reported the story, as did The Telegraph.

2 November 2011: One Year Since Baghdad cathedral attack
A year after an attack on the largest church in Baghdad, Bishop Pierre Whalon writes in the Huffington Post of the efforts to provide medical care for the survivors and assist candidates for refuge under the Geneva Convention.

30 October 2011: St Paul's and Occupy London
Our friends at Thinking Anglicans are monitoring and updating their site with compilations of the latest news and opinions about Occupy London and St Paul's Cathedral. There are multiple entries all categorised under 'Church of England'. Church Times (UK) has updated the article on its website to include information on the resignation of the Revd Dr Giles Fraser.

30 October 2011: Communications direct seeks to connect Anglicans everywhere
The Anglican Journal (Toronto) writes the 'new-ish director of communications for the Anglican Communion Office is working diligently to share the good news. Part of this involves helping Anglicans and Episcopalians realize that they need to learn to tell their own stories better.'

29 October 2011: How the church lost a fine chance to redeem itself
The Guardian has a commentary by Peter Stanford on St Paul's: 'By taking the wrong side at St Paul's, Anglican leaders abandoned the moral high ground'.

28 October 2011: Christchurch cathedral deconsecration plans
Ecumenical News International (Geneva) reports on the plans to deconsecrate and deconstruct the New Zealand cathedral damaged in earthquakes earlier this year. Auckland's Newstalk radio reports that special guests will be able to enter the red zone (restricted area) and be close to the Cathedral during the deconsecration.

26 October 2011: Navigating traditional boundaries in new social media world
The Episcopal News Service (ENS) writes on the challenges of developing policies for appropriate use of social media by the clergy. One of the links is to the recently published guidelines from the ECUSA Province III Youth Ministry Network. Does your Province or Diocese have published guidelines for the use of the Internet and social media? We would like to add links to them on our resources page. Please send us a note with the link to guidelines from your corner of the Anglican world.

26 October 2011: Launch of the Urdu version of Generous Love
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports on the joint venture by the Church of Pakistan and Church of England: the Urdu version of Generous Love, a document of the Anglican Communion concerned with the theology underpinning interfaith conversation and dialogue.

23 October 2011: St Paul's may seek injunction to move Occupy London activists
The Guardian reports officials from St Paul's Cathedral and the wider City district are considering legal action to force protesters to remove a camp set up outside the church more than a week ago, following an impasse between the two sides. To read more background on this story, visit the site of our good friends at Thinking Anglicans.

22 October 2011: Nashotah House to get new president
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (US) reported that the retired bishop of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Edward Salmon, is to be installed as the new dean and president this week.

19 October 2011: What Steve Jobs can teach the church
The Anglican Journal has published a reflection on the late leader of Apple: 'Steve Jobs understood the paradox that disruptive innovation is essential to any healthy, growing organization...So, what might churches learn from Steve Jobs at this moment in history as we struggle to do ministry in a rapidly changing world? Here are six insights to reflect upon.'

18 October 2011: Want to buy an Anglican church?
The Times Colonist (Western Canada) reports that seven Anglican church properties are for sale in the Diocese of British Columbia. The prices are good, but you might have problems with land use permits if you wish to use them for some purpose other than worship.

17 October 2011: Good news for Zimbabwe tempered by reports of orphan abuse
Episcopal News Service (ENS) published the report by the Anglican Communion News Service of stories of child abuse and neglect at an orphanage during the time it was taken over by Kunonga supporters. "It has been brought to the attention of the Anglican Diocese of Harare (CPCA) that orphaned children at Shearly Cripps are being ill-treated, under-fed and have become exposed to all forms of threats."

16 October 2011: Zimbabwe weekly roundup
The Church Times has a good summary of the events during and after the Archbishop of Canterbury's visit to Zimbabwe. The Telegraph (UK) reported on a 'rare victory' in the high court that reinstated the staff of the Darmombe Mission School. Newsday (Harare) reported on the provisional order 'to restore possession and control and use of the All Saints Zimunya Church to the Chad Gandiya-led Anglican Church'. The Zimbabwean reports on the losses suffered by the Diocese of Harare due to Kunonga: 90 churches, 70 houses, and the schools which were at one point a main source of revenue for the Diocese.

16 October 2011: School demolishes chapel in favor of science labs
The Telegraph (London) reports that the 500 year-old St Paul's School demolished its chapel to make room for new science classrooms. In doing so, it has become the first of the country's leading public schools to do without a place of worship. The decision has upset the Church of England and brought complaints that the institution is turning its back on its Christian heritage in favour of a more secular approach to education. The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, has expressed his dismay in a private letter to the school.

15 October 2011: New Bishop of Salisbury calls for celebration of diversity
The Diocese of Salisbury (UK) website has published a press release and the text of the sermon preached by the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam as he commenced his public ministry in the Diocese. 'Pointing to the change brought to the Church when the first non-Jews were converted, he added that this is a warning to us in our day about the ways in which the outsider and the social outcast can make God known to us: "We are the guardians of the truth but we are not its sole possessor."'

10 October 2011: New Bishop of Brechin installed
Pipes and drums led a procession through the centre of Dundee to the Cathedral Church of St Paul, where Nigel Peyton was installed as the 54th Bishop of Brechin. There is a notice in the Dundee Courier and on the website of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Anglican Communion News Service has a biography, and notes that his interests 'include grand-parenting, writing, eclectic reading, music, gardening, supporting Nottingham Forest FC and enjoying real ale!'

9 October 2011: Archbishop of Canterbury to Zimbabwe
The Church Times reports on the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Africa, especially Zimbabwe. That country's government has seized property of the Anglican Church there and given it over to a despotic and deposed former bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, who has been forcibly evicting Anglicans from the properties. On 9 October the Archbishop preached to a huge and enthusiastic crowd in a sports stadium. Just a few days earlier, Kunonga evicted all of the teachers from a school just one week before exams.

A report in The Telegraph (London) shows the former bishop to be his usual narcissistic self. However, the Archbishop is not known for having much of a backbone, so we suspect that the best we can hope for is him getting out of the country alive. Here is the sermon he preached in Harare. The Zim Guardian, a day before the big meeting, headlined 'Mugabe, Archbishop of Canterbury Set for Fiery Meeting'. The Zim Eye suggests Mugabe may refuse to meet with the Archbishop. It does seem rather a lopsided conflict. A cerebral bishop whose most powerful weapon is the metaphor is taking on a despot who has arranged for the killing of many people, including priests.

8 October 2011: Church of Ireland House of Bishops
The Belfast Telegraph published this rather breezy but complex description of a recent secret meeting by the bishops of the Church of Ireland, the purpose of which was to discuss that Church's stance on homosexuality. The Irish Times reported that 'a major conference on sexuality is being planned by the Church of Ireland for next spring and a pastoral letter will be issued by its archbishops and bishops in the next few days'. One would presume that the secret meeting of bishops was part of the preparation for the larger conference.

7 October 2011: Pressure for religious e-Books
The Church Times notes that 'publishers of religious books are facing increasing demands from customers to make books available on electronic devices'.

5 October 2011: South Carolina bishop being investigated
The US Episcopal News Service reports that 'South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence told his diocese Oct. 5 that "serious charges" have been made that he has abandoned the Episcopal Church.' We note that Fort Sumter is in South Carolina.

4 October 2011: Japanese architect completes design for cardboard cathedral in Christchurch
The Herald Sun (Melbourne) reports that Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and the Christchurch Cathedral have produced a design for a 700-seat replacement for the 147-year-old bluestone Anglican cathedral damaged in the February quake.The structural elements of the building will be made of cardboard, and the roof will be made of plastic-coated cardboard. There are several photographs of a small-scale model of the cathedral on the architectural website We think it will be beautiful.

3 October 2011: Let there be Wi-Fi
The Wispire project planned to attach Wi-Fi kit to Norfolk churches to provide wireless broadband to rural communities. After some objected because of possible health hazards, the chancellor of the ecclesiastical court ruled the application could go ahead, according to The Register.

2 October 2011: British army padre wins gallantry award in Afghanistan
The Telegraph (London) reports that a chaplain in the British army has won the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in Afghanistan. The Guardian has a bit of the backstory.

2 October 2011: Women bishops law makes progress in UK
The BBC reports on the progress of the campaign to allow women bishops in the Church of England. This topic is covered extensively in Thinking Anglicans, should you want more detail and up-to-the-moment reports.

1 October 2011: Bishop blather in Zimbabwe
The Standard (Harare) reports on the latest blatherings by excommunicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who has used military force and his relationship with that country's dictator to seize Anglican properties. New Zimbabwe reports that pseudo-bishop Kunonga is scornful of the upcoming visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It's very clear that as long as Zimbabwe's dictator remains in power, there will be no proper Anglican church in that beleaguered country. The Zimbabwean notes that a hymn in that country's Shona language has become a global prayer of support for the persecuted Anglicans there. The Anglican Communion News Service tells us that other bishops in Southern Africa have reaffirmed their support of the real bishop, but doesn't note that Kunonga has the support of automatic weapons and government storm troopers.

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