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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for October/November/December 2012

Link to main News Archives page

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30 December 2012: A bleak midwinter for reading of the banns
Vicki Woods writes in the Telegraph (UK) on the end for using the traditional banns in her diocese of the Church of England. 'As another church tradition is threatened, does anyone have a just cause to object?' Let anyone who objects to the end of this tradition speak now, or forever hold his peace.

30 December 2012: Plan to sell church buildings in Australian diocese
The Newcastle Herald has revealed a plan by the Diocese of Newcastle to sell 9 of its 63 parish church buildings.

26 December 2012: Peerage for the retiring ABC
The website for the British Prime Minister has announced that the Queen has conferred a peerage of the United Kingdom for life on the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams upon his retirement. He will be known as 'Baron Williams of Oystermouth in the City and County of Swansea'.

22 December 2012: ABC: 'If all you have is a gun, everything is a target'
In his final Thought for the Day this morning on BBC Radio 4 (audio file), the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about the recent killings in Connecticut and discounts the argument often put forward that "it's not guns that kill, it's people". The text of his message can be found here.

21 December 2012: Feeling the rough edge of his tongue
The most popular piece on the Church Times (UK) website is about Lawrence Edmonds, who, at the beginning of December, had licked every Anglican cathedral in the UK. A joke bet with a friend inspired Mr Edmonds to raise awareness of the cathedrals, and financial support for them. He recounted his adventure in his blog, and he confided to the Church Times that Lichfield is the tastiest cathedral in the land.

17 December: Priest refuses bishopric in protest
The Guardian (UK) reported that the Revd Philip North, who was due to become bishop of Whitby, has announced he was not taking up his post as a bishop following protests over his opposition to women in the ministry. 'In the light of the recent vote in the General Synod and having listened to the views of people in the archdeaconry of Cleveland, I have concluded that it is not possible for me, at this difficult time for our church, to be a focus for unity. I have therefore decided that it is better to step aside at this stage.' (Church Times also reported on this in their 21 December issue)

16 December 2012: Richard Clarke enthroned as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke has been installed as Primate of All Ireland at St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh. In his address, Archbishop Clarke referred to Saint Augustine's daunting advice to bishops 'to rebuke agitators, to comfort the faint-hearted, to take care of the weak, to confute enemies, to take heed of snares, to teach the uneducated, to waken the sluggish, to hold back the quarrelsome, to put the conceited in their place, to appease the militant, to give help to the poor, to liberate the oppressed, to encourage the good, to endure the evil, and to love them all.'

16 December 2012: Church cleansing ceremony in Zimbabwe
Nehanda Radio (Zimbabwe) and the Washington Post (USA) report on the cleansing ceremony in the Anglican Cathedral in Zimbabwe when it was restored to the Diocese of Harare after five years in the hands of government thugs.

13 December 2012: Pasadena church attacked for hosting Muslim group
When the Muslim Public Affairs Council arranged to hold its annual convention at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, both groups thought it would demonstrate progress in interfaith relations. But they had to call in the local police and private security guards, after a conservative Christian group accused the church of harbouring extremists, and the church received a barrage of hate mail. The Los Angeles Times has published an editorial supporting the church's welcome.

12 December 2012: UK Parliament debates women bishops in Church of England
Rather than try to tell you about the debate, we think it's easiest for you just to read the official transcript to see what people said. A lot of it is very literate and all of it is easily readable. If you are confused by the debate and the debaters, you can benefit from reading this essay, which we are grateful to Thinking Anglicans for bringing to our attention.

12 December 2012: Kunonga draws ire of Deputy Minister of Justice
Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette reported that Kunonga's latest legal antics have drawn the ire of the Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Orbert Gutu. There have been 'revelations of a planned Supreme Court appeal after [Kunonga's] High Court application seeking control of Anglican Church properties was dismissed with costs. Gutu, a senior lawyer who is not a member of the Anglican Church, charged that if Kunonga's lawyers proceeded to file a Supreme Court appeal, it was 'tantamount to abuse of court processes.' The Zimbabwe Daily News carried a more vindictive telling, whose publication tells us that government support for former bishop Kunonga has run out.

12 December 2012: It's a good thing nobody told Nolbert Kunonga this was possible
The US Episcopal News Service reports on the removal of a century-old church to a new location 200 km from where it had been. It was judged to be cheaper than building a new church.

8 December 2012: Top English bishops to transmit sermons via Twitter
In what a cynic could construe as a desperate grasp for increased relevance, we learn from the BBC that various senior Church of England bishops and clergy plan to send various Twitter messages using the hashtag #ChristmasStartsWithChrist (which uses 27 of Twitter's allotted 140 characters). Some of the publicity is encouraging churchgoers to tweet during their Christmas worship services; we're not thrilled at the idea of mobile phones in use in church.

7 December 2012: Marriage equality in the UK simmers on
Thinking Anglicans has collected the back-and-forth between Britain's Prime Minister and England's church. See this page and then this sequence (which is in reverse time order).

7 December 2012: Don't fix just some of York Minster's problems, fix olive them
The Church Times tells us that York Minster is in the middle of a 23 million restoration programme, which has included replacing large quantities of stonework. Some of the attempted restoration efforts of the past have accelerated the decay, but there is hope that a dressing made from olive oil could save limestone fabric from eroding. The cartoon that accompanies the article ponders whether Jamie Oliver might be taken on as a consultant.

4 December 2012: New bishop in Rhode Island
The Diocese of Rhode Island consecrated the Rt Revd W. Nicholas Knisely as its 13th bishop. Full coverage can be found on the diocese's blog. Press coverage included the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal. Bishop Knisely has always been a technology leader. He's the first person we knew who bought a Kindle, and was a pioneering user of numerous internet services such as Twitter, digg, and (some of which still exist).

4 December 2012: New Anglican representative to the Vatican
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that New Zealand's Archbishop David Moxon is heading to Rome as the Anglican Communion's chief representative to the Roman Catholic Church. He will be both the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, and also the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

2 December 2012: Fisher consecrated in Western Massachusetts
The Worcester (US) Telegram reported on the consecration of the Rt Revd Douglas J Fisher, once a Roman Catholic priest, as the ninth bishop of the diocese of Western Massachusetts.

2 December 2012: Brisbane to have first woman bishop
The Brisbane Times published an article introducing the new bishop of the Southern Region of the Diocese of Brisbane: the Ven Alison Taylor. She will succeed the Rt Revd Geoffrey Martyn Smith.

30 November 2012: Zimbabwe update
The Church Times reported on the forcible eviction of Kunonga from diocesan offices after he failed to comply with a court order. On 1 December, the Herald (Harare) reported on the varying amounts of resistance encountered during the evictions of Kunonga's supporters from Anglican properties. In one case, a Kunonga-camp priest seriously injured a priest aligned with the Rt Revd Chad Gandiya. Two editorials were posted on 2 December: 'Comrade Kunonga May Need Urgent Psychiatric Evaluation' (ZimEye) and the 'Kunonga must make peace with Gandiya' (The Standard). The 3 December edition of the Herald reports 'No violence at Anglican services'. Our favorite comment posted in response to this article: 'the kunongicans are dwindling'.

30 November 2012: ABC message for World AIDS Day
December first is the annual observance of World AIDS Day. The ABC recorded a video message for this year's observance while in Papua New Guinea. His message highlights that 'nearly 2 million women, every year, die as a result of this condition', a fact which underlines that the 'HIV/AIDS challenge is about women's empowerment and women's liberty'.

26 November 2012: Obituary: Bishop K H Ting
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported the death of Bishop K H Ting, a retired bishop in China. While the ENS article calls the bishop a 'great visionary', the article on Ting published by World magazine (US) calls him a 'controversial leader of China's state-controlled church'.

23 November 2012: Church of England General Synod round-up
The Church Times (UK) reported on the Church of England General Synod that concluded this week. We fear that any 'good works' considered by the Synod have been and will be overlooked in the debacle over the outcome of the measure concerning women bishops. The ABC admonition can be found here. We suggest Thinking Anglicans as a good source for a variety of links to articles and editorials on the Synod and the fall-out over the failed measure.

23 November 2012: Zimbabwe's Supreme Court ruling handed down
The Zimbabwean reported that on 19 November the Supreme Court decided two appeals in favour of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa ['the Church'] and against Nolbert Kunonga and his faction. The Church has at last, after a five-year legal battle, obtained a final court order confirming its legal right to possession and control of the Church's property in Zimbabwe and putting an end to the claims of Kunonga and his adherents to Church property. (You can also read the Church Times report here.) Since this is Zimbabwe, there is still a good possibility of armed government action against the legitimate Anglicans. Newsday reports that Kunonga's priests are not going to let go without more fighting, and Kunonga has sold a number of the properties that the court has ruled didn't belong to him.

22 November 2012: ACC turns down Uruguay's request to change provinces
The Anglican Journal (Toronto) reported the diocese of Uruguay says it feels 'abandoned and unsupported' after the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) turned down its request to change provinces. The diocese, which is part of the province of the Southern Cone, has asked that it be transferred to the province of Brasil, which it says is 'more compatible' in terms of theology, mission and philosophy.

21 November 2012: ABC-to-be acceptance speech for 'Peer of the Year'
The Rt Revd Justin Welby, the nominated Archbishop of Canterbury, accepted his Spectator award for Peer of the Year (in recognition of his work on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards) by conceding that, after the General Synod rejected women bishops the day before, he has achieved the rare distinction of losing a vote of confidence without having assumed office. The Spectator report includes the audio of Welby's delightfully short and entertaining speech.

17 November 2012: Swaziland consecrates new bishop
Religion Dispatches reported on 16 November that the Church of Southern Africa was to consecrate the first woman bishop in any of the twelve Anglican provinces on the continent. On 17 November, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba posted an entry on his blog about the joyful consecration of the Rt Revd Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya.

16 November 2012: New ABC appointment roundup in Church Times
Doesn't it figure that the week when AO production was interrupted by a hurricane would be the week of the announcement of the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, as the next Archbishop of Canterbury? The latest edition of Church Times has an editorial, a report, and Bishop Welby's statement. Voice of America published 'Tough Path Ahead for New Anglican Leader' on 15 November.

14 November 2012: Obituary: The Rt Revd Kenneth Cragg
The Telegraph (UK) published an obituary for the Rt Revd Kenneth Cragg, 'a distinguished scholar [whose work] helped Christians to a deeper understanding of, and a wider sympathy for, the religious faiths of Muslims and Jews'.

13 November 2012: Retired Church of England bishop arrested on child sex charges
The Guardian and The Mail (both London) report on the arrest of retired bishop Peter Ball, charged with sexual assault on children in the diocese of Chichester. He is the highest-ranking member of UK clergy to have been arrested in connection with a sex abuse investigation.

12 November 2012: Accra consecrates ninth bishop
The Ghana Business News reported on the consecration of the ninth bishop of Accra, the Rt Revd Dr Danial Sylvanus Mensah Torto.

11 November 2012: New bishop elected in Eau Claire
Episcopal News Service reported on the 10 November election of the Revd William Jay Lambert as bishop of the Wisconsin diocese of Eau Claire.

5 November 2012: Sudan's archbishop calls for dispossessed people to return
The Taranaki daily News (NZ) reports on the visit to New Zealand by the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul Yak of South Sudan. The Archbishop of the world's newest country has issued a call to dispossessed South Sudanese people to come home. He made his plea yesterday while visiting the Taranaki Cathedral in New Plymouth.

4 November 2012: Churches are invoking a hire power for weddings
Because we have never been able to resist a potent pun, we include this item from the Sunday Telegraph (Sydney). It concerns the practice of charging different fees to active parishioners (lower) as opposed to those outside a parish (hefty). Although this provides a much needed revenue stream for some parishes, the eye-catching quote of a local wedding planner includes the statement 'people avoid church because of religion'.

2 November 2012: Church of the Holy Sepulchre in row over water bill
Reuters reported that the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which maintains a headquarters in the ancient church, had its bank account frozen by the water company Hagihon for non-payment of a bill covering many years with interest. There had been a tacit agreement in place for decades to exempt the Patriarchate from paying for water piped to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which the current company apparently does not choose to honor. Ria Novosti (Moscow) reported on 4 November that the Russian presidential administration will thoroughly study a request for help from Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

1 November 2012: Join Nigeria in prayer and fast to end violence against Christians
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported on the request by Nigerian members of the Anglican Consultive Council (ACC) for the Communion to join in prayer and fasting the week of 12 November to act in support of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria facing violence and death. This request is in response to a similar appeal to Nigerian Anglicans by their Primate the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh.

1 November 2012: Bishops speak: Environmental change a moral issue
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported bishops fronting a public forum on environmental change called on Anglicans everywhere to show moral courage in tackling its cause and impacts. Environmental change is not 'a secular fuss imported into the church' but a moral issue. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Southern Africa, as well as Fiji's Bishop Apimeleki Qiliho challenged listeners to consider addressing environmental damage as part of their Christian duty.

31 October 2012: Church 'losing trust' over 'cloak and dagger' ABC selection process
The Telegraph (UK) reported some clergy have warned that the Church of England is in danger of losing the trust of millions of worshippers because of 'ridiculous' secrecy over the choice of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

30 October 2012: ACC urges adoption of safe church charter
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported that the ACC voted unanimously to call on their Churches to adopt and implement a charter protecting vulnerable people. The report lists the full text of the charter entitled, 'Charter for the Safety of People within the Churches of the Anglican Communion'.

27 October 2012: Anglican Consultative Council begins meeting in Auckland
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Anglican Consultative Council has begun its meeting in Auckland. The US Episcopal News Service reported that the Council was given 'a challenging welcome'. If you're trying to understand what the ACC might be, you're probably better off reading its Wikipedia entry instead of what it has written about itself.

26 October 2012: Move aside, Mr John Cage
The Church Times reports that members of St Peter East Blatchington in Sussex have produced 'a CD recording of the silence that can be experienced in the 12th-century church'. The St Peter recording has 28 minutes of silence. John Cage's infamous 1952 composition 'Four minutes, thirty-three seconds' contained only 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. One of your News Centre editors is proud to have a cousin who has recorded an album jointly with John Cage (produced by Brian Eno) so we fancy ourselves experts on recordings of silence.

26 October 2012: Lobbying General Synod via YouTube
The Church Times reports that Lambeth Palace has 'stepped up its campaign to persuade the Church of England General Synod to approve the draft women-bishops Measure this week, amid signs of growing opposition among some Evangelicals'. Part of that campaign is the relase of this YouTube video, which at our press time has been viewed 1229 times, no threat to Gangnam Style. The vote on women bishops will be taken at the Church of England General Synod on 20 November 2012.

23 October 2012: Update on church corruption in Zimbabwe
The Herald (Harare) tells us that Zimbabwe's Supreme Court threw out 5 of 7 appeals filed by despotic former bishop Nolbert Kunonga. The court has agreed to rule on the remaining two. Kunonga has taken advantage of his personal relationship with Zimbabwe's dictator to seize control of the properties belonging to the church province that defrocked him. The report in ZimEye offers some interpretation of just how extraordinary is this ruling against the ruthless former bishop. We fully expect Kunonga to ignore these rulings because he knows he can count on the national police to support him in his rampages. There's also a report by the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, but in order to link you to it we'd have to use their idiotic new name, which we can't bear to do.

22 October 2012: Healing a diocese after turbulence surrounding sexual abuse accusations
The Bishop of Newcastle (Australia) recently defrocked three priests and sanctioned a fourth, all for sexual abuse. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC, reports on efforts at recovery and healing.

21 October 2012: Thoroughly modern marriages?
The Telegraph (London) reports that 'The Church of England is revolutionising the way it offers weddings, in an attempt to attract more worshippers.' This has recently included motorcycle weddings, underwater weddings, weddings in which the bride entered the church on horseback, and the use of a trained owl to fly down the center aisle and deliver the rings to the best man.

21 October 2012: New bishop in Singapore
The Straits Times reports on the installation of the Rt Revd Rennis Ponniah as the 9th Bishop of Singapore.

19 October 2012: ABC says, 'Women Bishops: Enough Waiting'
The Archbishop of Canterbury has begun a campaign to persuade General Synod members to back the new women bishops legislation when it returns to debate next month. His article was also published in the Church Times.

19 October 2012: Bishop of South Carolina separates that diocese from US Episcopal Church
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Diocese of South Carolina has 'disaffiliated' itself from the US Episcopal Church as a response to the recent action by the Disciplinary Board for Bishops to declare that its bishop, Mark Lawrence, has abandoned the Episcopal Church. Given that Bishop Lawrence appears to have been recruited and elected entirely for this purpose, this 'you cannot fire me because I quit' episode has been expected for years. The Church Times has a good summary of the entire situation.

19 October 2012: On the role played by cathedrals in English life
The Church Times has a good summary of a recently-published report 'Spiritual Capital: the Present and Future of English Cathedrals'. One key finding is that cathedrals 'give non-religious people a "powerful sense of the sacred" which they do not experience elsewhere'.

17 October 2012: New Zealand / Aotearoa takes on the Anglican Consultative Council
We consider it impossible to summarize the mixed English/Maori prose used in most articles by and about the church down there in the land of the long white cloud. So you'll need to read it. The topic is the relationship and responsibility of that province to the Anglican Consultative Council.

17 October 2012: Anglican Bishop Towers in Ghana
The Ghana News Agency has announced the sod-cutting by the Diocese of Accra for the construction of the US$40M 11-storey building in the heart of the central business district. The diocese will use one floor and lease the remaining space to interested businesses. We seriously doubt that there is actually any sod to cut in Accra's central business district.

15 October 2012: Pastoral first-aid kit from the Church of England
The Church of England has produced and published a little pocket book Common Worship: A Pastoral Ministry Companion that includes material for emergency baptism, prayers for the sick, home Communion, prayers with the dying, and so forth. There's even an e-book edition for the Kindle. We're not clergy, but we're certainly going to buy this. We wonder if it uses sticking plasters instead of coloured ribbons as markers.

13 October 2012: Robert Wright ordained tenth bishop of Atlanta
The Diocese of Atlanta has thorough and lively coverage of the ordination.

13 October 2011; Old church records tell historic tale - with rum
The New Jersey Herald reported on documents found in Christ Church, Newton (Newark), that include minutes of the first fundraising meeting to form a parish — in 1769. The first purchases the committee made were to print up lottery tickets and '£1, 3 shillings paid to Henry Hairlocker for entertainment for a "frolic," the Colonial equivalent of a party. The notation doesn't specify what the entertainment was to be except to note "including one gallon and a half of rum."'

12 October 2012: Straw bale cathedral to celebrate ploughing championships
The Lichfield Gazette reported that the 'Caring for Creation' festival at Lichfield Cathedral and the British National Ploughing Championships at nearby Whittington inspired a team, working over two weeks, to construct a one-fifth size replica of the cathedral made from straw bales. They hope the project will raise some funds for St Giles church, Whittington. The Daily Mail Online has these photos.

12 October 2012: Archbishop refuses to allow services in former church
The Toronto Star reported on an edict from the Most Revd Robert Johnson, Archbishop of the Diocese of Toronto, forbidding ministers and laypersons from conducting services in a quaint (now) non-denominational church in the historic hamlet of Irondale in the Haliburton Highlands. The building used to belong to the diocese. After a two-year legal challenge, the Bark Lake Aboriginal Tribe this past summer purchased the church from the Diocese, and it reopened as the Irondale Community Church. The diocesan statement includes the following: "The purchasers continue to hold services in the church, which is entirely appropriate. However, Anglican clergy are not permitted to conduct services at St. John's as it is no longer under Anglican authority. Anglican clergy are only permitted to function in Anglican ministries." Local feelings have not been assuaged.

10 October 2012: Tithing with trash
When Andrew Lane returned from a deployment in Afghanistan, he launched a Tithing with Trash program at St Gregory the Great Episcopal Church in Athens, Georgia. The Episcopal News Service reported the congregation has earned nearly $4,800 collecting hard-to-recycle items. The congregation is used to green initiatives: it composts food and paper waste, and the energy saving of its solar panels is regularly tracked.

8 October 2012: And now for something lighter: Clergy on the catwalk
The Telegraph (UK) reported on the event where vicars have taken to the catwalk to model the latest fashions in clergy robes. Said one of the vicars taking part,"I have always longed to be a model cleric but I guess I'll just have to settle for being a clerical model."

5 October 2012: Second female bishop elected in Southern Africa
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported Canon Margaret Vertue was elected bishop of the Diocese of False Bay on Wednesday (3 October). She is the second female to be elected to the episcopacy in Africa. Vertue was one of the first two female priests to be ordained in Cape Town 20 years ago by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

3 October 2012: New Primate for Ireland
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and Kildare, has been elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland by the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland, following the retirement of Archbishop Alan Harper on 30 September.

2 October 2012: Wanted: volunteers for online course 'Agents of Change'
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the Anglican Alliance is calling for volunteers to take part in a distance learning course in community development skills. The course called "Agents of Change" has been developed especially for the Anglican Alliance by Open University, the world famous distance learning university based in the UK. The course will soon be ready for use worldwide, and the Anglican Alliance is looking for some small groups of up to 10 people to try it out. The course is free of charge to Anglicans or people studying in Anglican academic institutions.

2 October 2012: Home, Sweet Homecoming in Charleston
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported on the end of the diaspora for the congregation of Grace Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The sanctuary had been damaged in an earthquake in August 2011, and the congregation was displaced. During its time in the wilderness, communities of all faiths offered their churches, chapels and synagogues to Grace's grateful congregation for services, baptisms, funerals, festivals and weddings.

1 October 2012: Zimbabwe update: Court date set in property disputes
The Herald (Harare) reported that a date of October 22 has been set for the Supreme Court to decide on all the seven outstanding appeals. The appeals were grouped following a directive by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku last year in a bid to finalise the dispute. The cases will be heard one after the other. The Zimbabwean report can be found here.

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