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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for April/May/June 2012

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30 June 2012: New Jersey church destroyed by fire
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the destruction by fire of Church of the Redeemer in Longport, New Jersey, USA. The fire apears to have been started by lightning in a ferocious thunderstorm.

29 June 2012: UK Ordinariate repays a million pounds
The Church Times reports that the Ordinariate has paid back a very controversial £1-million grant it received from the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament after the Charity Commission ruled that the payment was 'unauthorised'.

29 June 2012: Women bishops legislation controversy in run-up to Church of England General Synod
It was still possible to spend 1-shilling coins when the arguments over women bishops began in the Church of England. Now, umpteen years later, the General Synod is preparing to give final approval to the Consecration and Ordination of Women Measure. The Women and the Church organization (WATCH) wants an amendment withdrawn. If you want to understand the complex politics of this issue, start by reading this leader in the Church Times. Then read this item in Thinking Anglicans, perhaps reading the various pages to which it links you. We venture a guess that many of the players in this drama still have large stocks of shilling and florin coins that they'd like to be able to spend.

29 June 2012: Church in Japan statement on nuclear power
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) has printed the statement of the General Synod of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai which calls for nuclear power to be abolished and alternative energy pursued.

26 June 2012: Alarm over demolition of church in Sudan
In about 1987, Christians from South Sudan were settled in the desert area of Haj Yousif by the Sudanese government. After living some years in cardboard shacks, they were allotted land for more permanent structures, and they saved the money to build St John's church. But the Ministry of Planning and Housing recently sent in a bulldozer to demolish the church, (and police to arrest the young people who took pictures of the demolition). The Bishop of Khartoum, Ezekiel Kondo, says that the government feels that since the Southerners have gained independence, they should no longer be there. Christian Today has this report, while Radio Tamazuj and the Free South Sudan Media Center provide further detail. The World Council of Churches has condemned the action.

26 June 2012: USPG to change its name
ACNS reported that the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) has decided to change its name to Us (United Society). From the Notes for Editors: "The new name, Us, is derived from USPG. However, Us is always written as one word (upper case 'U', lower case 's'). It is never written as an abbreviation, US."

24 & 30 June 2012: Consecrations in Accra and Wellington
ACNS reported on the consecration of the Rt Revd Dr Daniel Silvanus Mensah Torto as the ninth Bishop of Accra. In New Zealand, the Dominion Post reported on the consecration of the eleventh Bishop of Wellington, the Rt Revd Justin Duckworth.

22 June 2012: Stanley Ntagali is the new Ugandan Archbishop
New Vision (Kampala) announced that the Ugandan House of Bishops has chosen the Rt Revd Stanley Ntagli to succeed Henry Luke Orombi as Archbishop. The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) has a profile of the new bishop, and New Vision outlined the challenges Ntagali will face and published an interview with him.

22 June 2012: Calgary elects new bishop
The Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) reported on the election of the Rt Revd Greg Kerr-Wilson as the ninth Bishop in the Diocese of Calgary.

20 June 2012: Bishop claims African clergy being denied entry to the UK because of their sacrificial stipends
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports on the statements by the Rt Revd Nigel Stock (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) speaking in the House of Lords. "It seems that a new economic test is being applied... Able, well qualified Africans are being invited to conferences in this country and endorsed even by bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury, but are being turned down because their personal income is low. As most African clergy live on sacrificial stipends that are intermittently paid, we are wondering whether we can ever invite anyone again from Tanzania."

20 June 2012: USPG and church tackle HIV stigma in Zimbabwe
ACNS reported that USPG is partnering with the church in Zimbabwe to drive forward an initiative - working with a coalition of organisations and church-related groups, operating at national level - aimed at reducing the stigma experienced by people living with HIV.

19 June 2012: The blessing of the bees
It has been an unusually busy swarm season in New York City, and last month a hive of about 15,000 honeybees took up residence on the grounds of the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine. The New York Times reports that the Bishop of New York recently blessed the bees, who had been sedated by puffs of pine smoke.

17 June 2012: New Dean for Melbourne cathedral
Australian News 9 reported the Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, senior chaplain at the University of Melbourne, will be installed as Dean of St Paul's Cathedral. Dr Loewe, 39, succeeds Bishop Mark Burton, and will be the 15th Dean of Melbourne since 1847, and the second youngest in the Diocese of Melbourne's 165-year history.

15 June 2012: Church vs State: Marriage controversy continueth in UK
The Church Times and Thinking Anglicans provide good coverage of the latest neo-Victorian obsessions over who-marries-whom currently underway in the UK. This time around, a response unfavourable to the government's plan to legalise same-sex marriage, purportedly from the C of E, although unattributed, has raised responses on both sides of the argument. The response had a covering letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Read this leader in the Church Times to understand more of the confusion.

13 June 2012: ABC's representative to Holy See to retire
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the Very Reverend Canon David Richardson, the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, intends to retire at Easter 2013.

12 June 2012: Church tunnels waypoint on Underground Railroad
The Maryland (US) militia built narrow tunnels as part of Fort Cumberland (where George Washington began his military career) during the French and Indian war. Later, Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Cumberland, Maryland) was erected on its foundations. In the mid-1800s, an abolitionist rector and a sexton who was an escaped slave helped other fleeing slaves take cover in the tunnels beneath the church. The Cumberland Times-News reports that the tunnels were a highlight of recent local heritage days.

11 June 2012: Another tactic in Zimbabwe
The Standard reported on a pastoral letter from Archbishop Chad Gandiya. "...Some aspiring politicians are telling some of our people that they can help us because they have access to the State President. We would like you all to know that our case is pending in the Supreme Court and that if we need to have an audience with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, we know the acceptable channels to follow. Don't fall prey to those who want to gain political mileage out of our suffering." Gandiya's letter also said there were threats to harm some of his church's rural clergy and local rural church leadership, urging parishioners not to take the threats lightly.

8 June 2012: No covenant deadline
Last week we said that we didn't think there was any actual information in the reports of the meeting of the Anglican Standing Committee. The folks at the Church Times are clearly more observant than us, because they found something and reported it this week: the Standing Committee decided that there would be no deadline for the adoption of the Anglican Covenant.

8 June 2012: Scottish Episcopal Church rejects Covenant
The Scottish Episcopal Church announced that its General Synod voted against the adoption of the Anglican Covenant. The Scotsman (Edinburgh) had this to say about that vote.

7 June 2012: Church of Ireland Archbishop to retire
The Church of Ireland has announced that its Primate, the Most Revd Alan Harper, OBE, will retire effective 1 October 2012. The Belfast News Letter pointed out that his tenure as archbishop was largely defined by the issue of homosexuality.

6 June 2012: New spiritual leader in the north of North America
Last week we noted the election of a suffragan bishop of the Arctic. At the same time, David Parsons was elected co-adjutor, reports the Anglican Journal. Parsons was commissioned in 1989 as an evangelist in the Church Army (now Threshold Ministries) which has this report. Nunatsiaq Online has photos of the dedication of the restored cathedral.

5 June 2012: US Episcopal News Service looking for volunteer reporters
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the US Episcopal Church's online news service is 'inviting people to grab their pen and reporter's notepad and help share news and information about the life and work of the church where they are'. Here is the US ENS description of what it is looking for. US-ENS is evolving into a sort of Hufflepuff Post, we gather.

4 June 2012: Diocese of Niagara reclaims churches
After four years of court challenges, a negotiated settlement with three churches that joined the Anglican Network in Canada has returned full ownership to the diocese of Niagara, according to the Anglican Journal.

3 June 2012: Numerous bishops elected in USA
In elections held yesterday, four men were elected to various bishoprics in the US Episcopal Church. Western Massachusetts elected the Revd Dr Douglas John Fisher as diocesan bishop, Atlanta elected the Very Revd Robert C Wright as diocesan bishop, Rhode Island elected the Very Revd Nicholas Knisely as diocesan bishop, and Texas elected the Revd Jeff Fisher as suffragan. These elections will need to be approved by vote at the US Episcopal Church's General Convention in July, but as we read over the biographies of these men, we don't see anything very controversial.

3 June 2012: Igloo cathedral reopens
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tells that today's worship service wais the first use of the rebuilt Cathedral of St Jude in Iqaluit, which was lovingly rebuilt after destruction by an arson fire some years ago. Although filled with grace, this cathedral is also still filled with debt; if you are interested in making a contribution towards its reconstruction fund, this page tells you how to post your cheque.

2 June 2012: Church of England wars continue over women bishops
The Church Times has the latest news. Thinking Anglicans has almost all of the news. English archdeacon Janet Henderson has written in her blog the opinion piece that we like best.

1 June 2012: From Knocknamuckley to Iqaluit
BBC Northern Ireland reports that the Revd Darren McCartney was rector of St Matthias' Church, Knocknamuckley in the Diocese of Dromore when he was elected as suffragan bishop of the Arctic. He will be consecrated in the cathedral in Iqaluit on Trinity Sunday. CBC News notes that Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk, the first Inuk to serve as bishop of the diocese, will retire at the end of the year.

1 June 2012: ABC on the Diamond Jubilee celebrations
Lambeth Palace released a short video of the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the significance of her sixty year reign 'in which nationally and internationally so much has shifted'.

30 May 2012: Anglican Standing Committee meets; most delegates remain conscious
The Anglican Communion News Service dutifully published daily reports of each of the three meeting days of the Standing Committee, which met in London last week. Please believe us when we tell you that there is absolutely nothing that you need to know in any of those reports, and you probably don't even need to know of their existence. If it is late at night and you are having trouble falling asleep you can go look at the reports from Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

27 May 2012: NZ cathedral restoration: the fight goes on
A report in tells us that the citizenry of Christchurch are continuing to protest the removal of unsafe portions of that city's earthquake-destroyed Anglican cathedral.

26 May 2012: Ratification of Canadian bishop for Uruguay fails
The Anglican Journal reports that the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone has voted not to ratify the election of Archdeacon Michael Pollesel as bishop co-adjutor of the diocese of Uruguay. No reason was given. The diocese has female deacons, and wants to move ahead with the ordination of female priests, while the rest of the dioceses in the province are against it. In 2010, the diocese explored the possibility of realigning with another province.

25 May 2012: Ogé Beauvoir becomes Haiti's bishop suffragan
The Anglican Journal reports on the installation of the Rt Revd Ogé Beauvoir, dean of the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Port-au-Prince, as the Diocese of Haiti's first bishop suffragan May 22 during a service in the diocese's open-air cathedral.

25 May 2012: All-day Pentecost service celebrates the continuing native ministry
The Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner reports on today's festivities where Bella Jean Savino (second Gwitch'in female) and Shirley Lee (first Inupiaq female) are being ordained to the priesthood.

20 May 2012: New bishop of New Hampshire
The Concord Monitor reports the results of the election (on the first ballot) of a new bishop in the Diocese of New Hampshire.

20 May 2012: Outside politicking banned from Kenya churches
The Standard (Nairobi) reports that the Anglican Church in Kenya has banned politicians from taking political campaigns to its places of worship. There is no word as to whether it will continue to allow clergy to make political speeches in those same places of worship.

18 May 2012: Connecticut names first 'Diocesan Poet'
The diocesan website announced Dr. Barbara Campbell has been invited to be the first Diocesan Poet in the Diocese of Connecticut (US). "We invited Barbara to tap into our inner poet and claim a creative expression of our faith," said Bishop Laura J. Ahrens, who took the lead on this effort. "By calling her 'Diocesan Poet' we hope she'll help all of us, as a diocese, to claim our collective poetic voices."

17 May 2012: Outside politicians not banned from NZ cathedral
Anglican Taonga (NZ) tells us that 'The Christchurch City Council has asked for an "immediate pause" in the demolition of Christ Church Cathedral.' That cathedral was destroyed by earthquake last year, and the 'demolition' referred to is primarily removing pieces that are likely to fall over and hurt someone.

16 May 2012; Anglicans build first university in the Solomon Islands
The Anglican Journal reports that The Anglican Church of Melanesia has taken on the enormous project of building the John Coleridge Patteson University, which will be the nation's first.

13 May 2012: Church shows its feminine face as dog collars go floral
The Telegraph reports on the fashion industry's response to women priests.

13 May 2012: New bishop of Singapore
The Straits Times reports that the assistant bishop, and vicar of St John's-St Margaret's church, Rennis Ponniah, has been chosen as the ninth bishop of Singapore. The Singapore Christian Post has this report.

12 May 2012: Deranged Harare ex-bishop gets even more extreme
The Standard (Zimbabwe) reported today that the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has started buying land to build new churches to replace those seized by government troops in the name of deposed ex-bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who believes that he owns all Anglican churches in Harare. The report quotes Kunonga as having said '[These churches are] built for me as the law gave me custody of the church and all its properties.'

12 May 2012: Church of Ireland vote on sexuality
The Church of Ireland has been going through a long drawn-out process of debating 'Human sexuality in the context of Christian belief'. Thinking Anglicans has a complete roundup of what happened but not much interpretation of what it means. The vote is (at our time of publication) too recent for any of the usual columnists or pundits to analyze it, so we'll just quote one of the effectively anonymous commenters who attached their comments to the Thinking Anglicans article:

"The statement from the Church of Ireland would have been unthinkable in the '70s, groundbreaking in the '80s, progressive in the '90s, contemporary in the '00s, but by now so much of society has moved on that it feels a bit stale. Which makes me sad - I think Jesus would have us lead society rather than mopping up after the parade passes by."

11 May 2012: Seeing eye dog retires
The Anglican Journal reports that part of the service at the Church of the Ascension in Port Perry, Ontario was dedicated to honouring Imus, the seeing eye dog of one Sean Madsen. After years of service, Imus is retiring.

10 May 2012: Communiqué from the meeting of ARCIC III in Hong Kong
When was the last time you read a Communiqué from a group meeting and got a glimmer of benefit from it? Yeah, us too. If you know what ARCIC III is and why they met in Hong Kong and you are a skilled reader of communiqués there is a slight chance that you might find this one interesting. We love this phrase from the ARCIC website: 'The first phase of work was completed with the publication of the Final Report in 1981' and remain in awe of the ARCIC travel budget. The [Roman] Catholic Herald (London) sniffed 'ARCIC III sounds like a lot of hot air' and noted that 'After the creation of the Personal Ordinariate there's not much left to talk about.'

6 May 2012: Life imitates telly at the London Olympics
The Telegraph (UK) reported on the design of lapel badges for chaplains at the upcoming summer Olympics. When, in March and April, a BBC sitcom about the Olympics featured a clash of religious faiths, no one thought that life was about to imitate art — but it has. Religious symbols have been banned from a 'faith' badge designed for chaplains at the London Games lest they cause offence.

4 May 2012: New Bishop for Chichester
Church Times (UK) reported the appointment of Dr Martin Warner, seen as a 'traditionalist', as the next Bishop of Chichester.

2 May 2012: Canada considers Maritime amalgamation
CBC News reported Church officials discussed combining some of the seven eastern dioceses, from Quebec to Newfoundland, in an effort to save on administrative costs. The discussion took place at a meeting of the seven eastern dioceses, the purpose of which is to give members the chance to prepare to debate issues at the upcoming Provincial Synod scheduled for September.

2 May 2012: Inuktitut Bible completed and dedication scheduled
The Washington Post (US) reported on the completion of the translation of the Bible into Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit people and most widely spoken aboriginal tongue in Canada's Arctic. Begun in 1978, the massive task marks the first time in Canada that a translation of the whole Bible was accomplished entirely by native speakers of the language rather than by missionaries. The newly-completed Old Testament joins the already completed New Testament to create the first complete Bible in Inuktitut. The dedication is scheduled for 3 June at the igloo-shaped Nunavut cathedral. We also recommend you take a gander at the Canadian Bible Society release here.

1 May 2012: Celebrating 350 years for 1662 Book of Common Prayer
Ecumenical News (Geneva) reported on celebrations surrounding the 350th anniversary of the BCP. London SE1 reported the Prince of Wales opened a public exhibit at Lambeth Palace, Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer, which runs through 14 July 2012. Please note the list of lectures accompanying the exhibition can be found as a link on the Lambeth Palace library site or directly here.

1 May 2012: Church online archive of sermons needs tagging. Want to help?
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported All Souls Church, Langham Place in London, England, has appealed through Social Media and its website for volunteers to help 'tag' 3,600 free sermons and talks. 'Tagging' provides key words or descriptors to make searching by topic possible. The parish hopes to harness the interest and support of the many subscribers to their podcasts and recordings through crowd-sourcing. Interested? Learn more here.

30 April 2012: Communion life 'impeded' by insufficient communicators, says working group
ACNS reports on the meeting of the Communications Working Group in London. It doesn't surprise us that the group sees a shortage of 'qualified communicators' and posits 'Communion life [is] at risk of being detrimentally affected by some Provinces' inability to source and share their news and stories widely.'

29 April 2012: New Bishop of Wellington: a 'dreadlocked pioneer'
Anglican Taonga, the media arm for the Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, reports on the appointment of Justin Duckworth as the next Bishop of Wellington.

27 April 2012: Chair of Canterbury Crown Nominations appointed
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports the Prime Minister (UK) has appoint the Rt Hon the Lord Luce KG, GCVO to be Chairman of the Crown Nominations Commission for its selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury. If you prefer to read the Church of England posting, it is here. The official announcement from the Prime Minister can be found here.

27 April 2012: Progress towards creation of Nigerian Communion
The Church Times (London) reports on the suggestion from Nigeria and Kenya that the Archbishop of Canterbury no longer be the chair of the Primates' Meeting. No amount of spin doctoring conceals the core notion that this is another step towards wresting control of the Anglican Communion from Anglia.

27 April 2012: Art treasures found in Taranaki church
The Taranaki Daily News (NZ) reports on the uncovering of historic artwork in Holy Trinity, the first church built in Taranaki in 1845.

22 April 2012: The smallest church in Britain
About 70 people attend the annual rogation service at the tiny church in the abandoned village of Bremillham, in Wiltshire, but only the vicar and the organist fit inside. The Church Times notes that its claim to be the smallest church in Britain has been challenged by St Trillo's, in Rhos on Sea, North Wales, which holds services each Friday night for eight to ten persons. The priest who cares for Bremilham would be content to claim it as the smallest church in England.


21 April 2012: Diocese of Pittsburgh elects Dorsey W. McConnell as 8th bishop
The Episcopal News Service reports that the rector of the Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts,
has been elected Bishop of Pittsburgh. The Post Gazette in that city suggests that the election of this one-time horse wrangler, Fulbright scholar and former agnostic has been welcomed by conservatives and liberals alike.

20 April 2012: A female priest gives a new definition to 'Sunday best'
Dr Amy Richter is rector of St Anne's parish in Annapolis, Maryand. One of her sermons is about to be published in the Expository Times. But her other claim to fame is that, some time ago, she came in second at a physique competition at the Wisconsin State Fair. An article in the New York Times tells about her hesitations about wearing a red bikini instead of a black clergy shirt, and taking part in the contest.

16 April 2012: St Cuthbert Gospel
The BBC reports that the British Library, in partnership with Durham University and Durham Cathedral, has acquired Europe's oldest intact book dating from the seventh century AD: the St Cuthbert Gospel. A digitized version of the manuscript is available here.

15 April 2012: Easter Sunday in Tripoli
Forty parishioners — mostly Indian, with some Africans and westerners amongst them — celebrated Easter at the Church of Christ the King in Tripoli. The Toronto Star reports on the delicate balance between Christian and Muslim in that city.

15 April 2012: Moving ahead with a cardboard cathedral for Christchurch
The New Zealand Herald reports that the Anglican Church in that country (whose formal name is so long we'll not use it) has revealed plans for a 'transitional' cathedral in the city of Christchurch, made mostly of cardboard, with wood and steel where needed to make it safe. There has been discussion of a cardboard cathedral for some time, but today's announcement is the first official statement that it's really going to happen.

10 April 2012: Church finds multifaith homes in the wilderness
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reports on the moveable nature of worship at a church in Charleston, South Carolina (US). Grace Church was deemed structurally unsound following an earthquake in August 2011. Since that time, the parish has been welcomed to use the worship spaces of a number of different congregations from different denominations and faiths - including a local synagogue. "We've certainly learned a great deal about the kindness of people whose beliefs are different than ours... We are worshipping the same God and we've come to know that in a deep sense. I think none of us in our wildest dreams could imagine that we would find so many friends in Charleston."

8 April 2012: New holy thorn tree planted at Glastonbury
The Glastonbury thorn was planted, according to legend, by Joseph of Arimathea, was burned as a relic of superstition by Cromwell's roundheads, and was hacked down by vandals in 2010. But on Palm Sunday, according to Glastonbury People, a new thorn was planted, at a service presided over by the vicar of St John.

8 April 2012: He is risen!
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) has compiled a number of Easter reflections and messages from around the Communion. The text of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter sermon can be found on the ACNS website here.

5 April 2012: Does your child know the Lord's Prayer?
The Church Times (UK) reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury said the Lord's Prayer should be taught more diligently in schools. He was responding to a survey conducted by the BBC programme Newsround, which found that only 55 per cent of children aged between six and 12 knew the prayer. The majority (92 per cent) of adults who were in that age group 40 years ago said that they knew the prayer as a child. The research was conducted with 1000 children and 1000 adults to mark the 40th anniversary of the programme.

2 April 2012: Commission to Communion: "Tell us your views on next Archbishop of Canterbury's Ministry"
ACNS reports the Crown Nominations Commission has an online comment form where all members in the Communion are invited to share their views on the ministry of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

1 April 2012: Two new bishops in New South Wales, and an absentee archbishop
ABC News covers the consecration of Bishops Genieve Blackwell and Ian Lambert at St Saviour's cathedral in Goulburn. The Goulburn Post notes the absence of the Metropolitan of New South Wales, Archbishop Peter Jensen, who is opposed to the ordination of women priests, let alone the consecration of female bishops.

1 April 2012: NZ church known for provocative billboards is at it again
Stuff (Auckland) reports that St Matthew's-in-the-City has unveiled its new billboard for Easter. Its previous billboards have typically survived only a few days before being vandalized by people offended by them. This one depicts a Facebook photo album with Jesus on the cross as the main image. Directly below, the image is "liked" by Judas Iscariot.


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