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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for January/February/March 2014

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30 March 2014: Philippines: Eco bricks
The Philippine Information Agency reported Bishop Renato Abibco (Diocese of Northern Luzon) has directed parishioners to collect non-biodegradable wastes to make Eco bricks in 1.5 liter fruit juice plastic containers and then submit them to their respective parishes for the construction of a church. This project is one of the agreements reached during a recent convention expanding the role of the Church not just of promoting the spiritual well being and the salvation of the soul of its faithful but to rid their physical bodies from waste hazard.

29 March 2014: Climate Change - former ABC speaks
The Telegraph (UK) posted an essay by Dr Rowan Williams (wearing his hat as head of Christian Aid) on climate change in which he points out industrialised economies have created climate change, but the poorest are paying the price for it. The Telegraph also published a summary here.

29 March 2014: Update from Sarawak
The Malaysian Insider reported the Most Revd Bolly Lapok's latest comments on the still simmering row over the use by Christians of 'Allah' in worship. The Chief Minister of Sarawak has assured the large Christian population of Sarawak that his government will not follow the states in the peninsula by trying to curb them from using the word 'Allah' to refer to God. The Malaysian Digest report is here.

29 March 2014: Trinity College Dublin crest loses its bible
The Irish Times reports that as a result of a €100,000 branding initiative, Trinity is removing the bible from its crest and replacing it with an open book. Irish Central notes that the consultants recommended that the number of colours be reduced from five to two, but rejected blue and gold because the blue and yellow combination is commonly used for brands like Ryanair, Ikea and Walmart, associated with value or convenience rather than quality and sophistication. Ferdinand von Prondzynski reflects on the change here.

28 March 2014: RIP: Bishop Godfrey Mdimi Mhogolo
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported on the death of the Rt Revd Godfrey Mdimi Mhogolo of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika in the Curch of Tanzania.

27 March 2014: Climate Change - Australian perspectives
Sight, an Australian interdenominational publication, reported on an open letter from religious leaders for Australia to do its fair share to address climate change. 'We hold therefore that climate change is a moral issue. Australia's addiction to fossil fuels, both for domestic consumption and export earnings, is no longer morally justified and must be wound back as soon as possible. It makes no ethical, or even economic, sense to move only if others do.'

25 March 2014: Architect of Christchurch's Cardboard Cathedral wins Pritzker prize
The Sydney Morning Herald (West Island, NZ) tells us that Shigeru Ban has won the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize. His design for the Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch, whose purpose is to provide worship space while the 'real' cathedral is being built or rebuilt or argued about (and which is universally referred to as the Cardboard Cathedral). Whenever we read about the nasty squabbling in Christchurch about building and rebuilding temporary and permanent cathedrals, we go back and read about the nasty squabbling in late 19th-century Paris about the design and construction of the Eiffel Tower.

21 March 2014: Mozambique: the bishop who smashed guns at the altar
The Rt Revd Dinis Sengulane was consecrated as a bishop soon after Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975, and is the longest-serving Anglican bishop in the world. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa announced that he is to retire. In a long interview at the 2013 Provincial Synod, the bishop tells how he worked to lessen the tensions between the factions in the country by having people bring their guns to church, and cutting them up to be recycled into an instrument of production or a work of art. Many became pectoral crosses around the necks of bishops around the world.

21 March 2014: Holy cows
Thirteen years ago, Cumbria's agricultural economy was devastated by foot and mouth disease. Now Newton Rigg College has opened a state-of-the-art dairy unit. The Westmorland Gazette (UK) reports that the bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, blessed the 158-strong herd of Holsteins that will serve the unit.

19 March 2014: Alban Institute closes
Religion News Service reported the US Alban Institute, founded by an Episcopal priest, is ending its 40-year existence as a resource for continuing education and leadership development for priests, congregations, and mainline denominations. In a statement, the Institute says it will 'pass the torch to new established partners'. One example: the Institute is in talks with Duke Divinity School.

17 March 2014: Historic multi-faith agreement to combat human trafficking
The Anglican Communion News Service reported on the launch of the Global Freedom Network, a newly-formed organisation whose mission 'to join the struggle against modern slavery and human trafficking from a faith base, so that we might witness to God's compassion and act for the benefit of those who are abducted,  enslaved and abused in this terrible crime' is supported by Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Muslims.

15 March 2014: The hot cross bun and St Albans cathedral
There is a story that a monk of the refectory at St Alban's monastery developed the recipe for the hot cross bun, and distributed it to the poor on Good Friday, 1381. St Albans cathedral has continued the tradition with the 'Alban bun'. The BBC explores the lore of hot cross buns here.

16 March 2014: Christchurch Anglicans tell politician to butt out
MSN NZ reports that 'The Anglican Church is dismayed that the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral may feature in talks to form a government this year.' Winston Peters, leader of the political party NZ First, has put government control of the rebuilding of Christchurch Cathedral onto his political agenda.

14 March 2014: Firm seeks yews to treat cancer
The chemotherapy drug paclitaxel can be made from yew clippings, and the Church Times reports that one firm is appealing for churches with yew trees or hedges to come forward. St Mary's, Painswick has 123 yews in the churchyard, which produce two and a half tonnes of clippings each year, and selling the clippings offsets the cost of maintaining the churchyard. Because yew trees are evergreen, they do not produce much new growth, which is where the chemical is found. The UK is said to have the world's largest collection of ancient yews, and some eight thousand young trees were planted at churches and cathedrals to celebrate the millennium.

14 March 2014: First canal chaplain in Wales
The Church Times reports that the Revd John Collier, curate-in-charge of St Illtud, Mamhilad, has been appointed the first chaplain to canals in Wales. He hopes to promote interest in the ancient churches of the area (St Illtud has a 2000 year old yew) and the visitors to the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny canals.

14 March 2014: Last rail chaplain in London
The Church Times reports 'The full-time railway-station chaplain at St Pancras in London has been made redundant.'

12 March 2014: Georgia's bishops oppose guns in church bill
The Republican-led state house in the US state Georgia has passed a bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in churches, bars and schools. University campuses would have been included, but the Georgia university system threatened to kill the bill. The state federation of teachers has opposed the bill, and the Raw Story reports that the Episcopal bishops of Atlanta and Georgia have urged the legislature to abandon its push to allow guns in churches. Their letter can be found here.

10 March 2014: US Supreme Court refuses to review Falls Church Anglican case
The US Episcopal News Service reports that the US Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the last Virginia congregation still fighting with the national church. Under US law, this means that the earlier dicision of the Virginia Supreme Court will stand. That court ruled that the disputed property belongs to the Diocese of Virginia and the US Episcopal Church. The Washington Post published a longer report.

9 March 2014: English woman ordained bishop in Aotearoa New Zealand
This happened several weeks ago, but we were very distracted by the death and funeral of our managing editor and forgot to include it. Anglican Taonga tells us about the ordination of the Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley as the 7th Bishop of Waikato. The delightful reportage includes 'a requiem mass sung by a choir of cicadas'. This makes the Rt Revd Dr Hartley the first woman ordained priest in the Church of England to be made a bishop.

7 March 2014: Tohoku cathedral, twice destroyed, is reborn
In 1945 the Anglican cathedral in Sendai City was destroyed during an air raid. After it was rebuilt, it was damaged beyond repair in the 2011 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear fallout disaster. The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports that a new cathedral has been consecrated and dedicated. We also note ACNS posted prayers provided by the Anglican Church in Japan (Nippon Sei Ko Kai) to commemorate the third anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

7 March 2014: New bishop of Banks and Torres in Vanuatu
The Solomon Star reports that Fr Patteson Worek has been consecrated at the new bishop of Banks and Torres in the Anglican Church of Melanesia. There had been objections to his choice, and we understand that a reconciliation process is now underway between Bishop Worek and those who objected. ACNS also reported on this and included a photo of the newly consecrated bishop.

7 March 2014: Thirteenth bishop of British Columbia consecrated
The Anglican Journal reports that many musical traditions came together at the consecration of the Rt Revd Dr Logan McMenamie as Bishop of British Columbia: brass, fiddlers, bagpipes, liturgical dancing, First Nations drumming and contemporary hymns.

5 March 2014: New Zealand cathedral update
The New Zealand news site,, reported on the latest twist in the saga of the Christchurch cathedral. British philanthropist Hamish Ogston came to New Zealand to make a media announcement that he would fund an independent survey to find out what residents wanted to see happen to the cathedral. Shortly after the February 2011 earthquake Ogston pledged $4 million to kickstart the restoration of the building and said he wanted to reiterate his pledge. However, for this visit and media event, he did not notify or include the diocese and its bishop the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews. Anglican Taonga's account is posted on ACNS here.

28 February 2014: Tenth Primate named for West Africa
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the Most Revd Dr Daniel Sarfo has been elevated to be the next Primate for the Province of West Africa. The ninth Primate, the late Most Revd Dr S Tilewa Johnson, died in January, and the constitution of the Province automatically elevates Archbishop Sarfo to Primate and Metropolitan Archbishop.

25 February 2014: Zanzibar: Bombs explode near cathedral
ACNS published the press release from the Diocese of Zanzibar on the bombs that exploded near the Cathedral and Former Slave Market. The Daily Mail reported on the incident as well and noted 'The semi-autonomous and mainly Muslim Zanzibar islands are popular with holidaymakers combining a safari with a beach break, but sectarian tensions have been mounting in recent months.'

23 February 2013: Old St James of Quop Hill
St James church on Quop Hill, in the Diocese of Kuching, was the site of the first successful mission to the Bidayuhs, or Land Dayaks, and was consecrated in 1865. It has been replaced by a newer church, built next door, to serve a parish of 3,000 members with ten outstations. The old church is still important to the people, and has been declared a heritage building, But it is in poor shape. Built of Belian, or Borneo ironwood, now an endangered tree, it will be difficult and expensive to find the material to repair it. Borneo Post online reports that the parish priest, Archdeacon Andrew Stephen Pahah, is looking for the miracle that will restore his church.

16 February 2014: Update from Malaysia
The Malaysian Insider reported on efforts to promote inter-religious tolerance in Penang. The Ven Charles Samuel lauded those participating in a rally: 'We are all called here to live life and we should do it with humility and gentleness. Let us make every effort to keep the bond of peace among us.' The Borneo Post reported (12 February) the Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia, the Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok has commended Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud for his 'bold and unambiguous stand' on the 'Allah' controversy.

13 February 2014: Arctic Anglicans seek fresh new recruits in England
CBC News reported on the need for ministers in the Anglican Church of Canada's largest diocese: the Diocese of the Arctic. Interested? The Rt Revd David Parsons, Bishop of the Diocese, is based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories' capital.

13 February 2014: Give us your poor, your rejected...pineapples
The Primate's World Relief & Development Fund (PWRDF) posted an article that was picked up by the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) about its efforts in the Phillipines after Typhoon Haiyan. The Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) and PWRDF have shifted the focus of their efforts from immediate essentials to rebuilding communities and livelihoods. As part of this, the ECP has purchased a truck load of undersized pineapples from farmers in the typhoon-affected region to process into pineapple jam.

10 February 2014: Violence in South Sudan
World Watch Monitor reported scores of female church workers were massacred last month as they sought refuge at a church in the central South Sudanese town of Bor. The women, several of whom were elderly, had fled rebel attacks to hide in St. Andrew's church compound, when rebels descended on them, raping several of them before shooting them at close range. ACNS also reported on this. Earlier this month, the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church and other religious leaders called for a Day of Prayer for South Sudan on February 16.

10 February 2014: Live stream to be available for West Africa Primate's funeral
Anglican Communion News Services reported the 21 February funeral and requiem mass of Archbishop S. Tilewa Johnson, Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa, will be broadcast via live internet streaming. Details of when and how to connect to the stream are contained in the report. The Archbishop was a 'huge fan of digital technology and social media'.

26 January 2014: Solomon Islands and climate change
A member of Australia's Anglican Overseas Aid recently traveled on an annual trip led by the Anglican Church of Malaita to visit Ontong Java, the most northerly part of the Solomon Islands. She writes in the Solomon Star, 'After 2000 years of settlement, it is increasingly likely that Ontong Java's 2000 inhabitants will be its last, and bear the unenviable label of being one of the first communities in the world to be completely resettled as a result of climate change. My aim [for participating in the trip] was to see if my organisation...could do anything to support the people of these islands. I quickly discovered that very little can be done apart from ongoing talks about resettlement between the island communities, the Anglican Church and the Solomon Islands Government.'

26 January 2014: Update from Malaysia
The Maylaysian Digest reported on remarks by the Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok, Primate of the Church in South East Asia and chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak. He berated government leaders for shying away from the 10-point deal they had mooted previously to solve an interfaith stalemate over use of the word 'Allah'. (Please refer to our reporting on this topic from earlier this month.

23 January 2014: New glass to conserve York Minster's historic window
Christian Today reported York Minster's stunning Great East Window will be preserved for many generations to come thanks to a revolutionary new glass being utilised to protect it. The article has good photos showing the window in situ and the new UV-resistant glass being used in the project.

23 January 2014: Priest bullied out of his Merseyside church
The Liverpool Echo reported that an episcopal visitation of St Faith's church in Crosby, Liverpool after the abrupt departure of its priest-in-charge found serious failings in some church-goers. The tensions seem to have focussed on alcohol consumption after church and the dismissal of a Sunday school teacher. The parochial church council felt that the visitor's report was one-sided, and made sparse reference to the council's careful presentation to the enquiry.

22 January 2014: Obit: The Most Revd Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the sudden death of the Primate & Archbishop of the Province of West Africa, the Most Revd Dr Solomon Tilewa Johnson. Archbishop Johnson was also the Bishop of Gambia. On 23 January, ACNS published a follow-up report on more the tributes pouring in for the late Archbishop.

22 January 2014: Diocesan guidelines dubbed 'Twitter Commandments'
The BBC reported on the guidelines issued by the Diocese of Bath and Wells regarding the use of social media and Twitter in particular.

18 January 2014: Egypt's Anglicans hopeful despite tough times
Al Jazeera (yes, that Al Jazeera) has reported on the plight and status of Egypt's beleaguered Anglicans.

17 January 2014: Women bishops possible in England in 2014
The Guardian reports the statement by the Secretary General of the Church of England that 'The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be appointed by Christmas.' He said nothing about why it is necessary to wait that long.

16 January 2014: Growth in the Church of England?
The Church of England has issued this report on 'growth' in church attendance, and Andrew Brown has issued this critique of their report. Read Brown's critique first.

15 January 2014: First Anglican nuns in Namibia
The Anglican Communion News Service has told us about the first admission of nuns in the Diocese of Namibia in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

14 January 2014: On Nigeria's new Anglican-supported anti-gay law
Every Western news agency reported recently on Nigeria's draconian new anti-gay legislation, which was championed by and lobbied for by the now-retired previous leader of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. This article in Business Insider explains why it has happened and why petitions of protest like this one are doomed to fail.

12 January 2014: Anglican Church of Canada announces membership of the 'Marriage canon commission'
The Anglican Journal (Canada) carries the announcement of the membership of the commission that has been created to look at rewriting the marriage canons of the Anglican Church of Canada, persumably to make them more permissive.

11 January 2014: Church welcomes unusual visitors
NewsOK (Oklahoma City) reported on the Epiphany service at St Augustine of Canterbury. As part of the service, several colourful characters made their way through the sanctuary - including two live camels.

10 January 2013: Floods in UK and Brazil
Church Times reported on the effects recent flooding in the UK has had on churches: more than 130 churches have filed claims for wind- and rain-damage to the tune of more than £500,000. Meanwhile, in Brazil, the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) posted the message from the Primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, the Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, in the wake of torrential rains in southeastern Brazil that have left more the 40 people dead and some 70,000 homeless.

9 January 2014: Canterbury Cathedral to welcome schoolgirl choristers
The Guardian reported that Canterbury Cathedral is 'taking steps towards gender equality' (more than 20 years after Salisbury Cathedral set up a girls' choir) by inaugurating a voluntary girls' choir to sing at services in the Cathedral - initially while the boy choristers are on break.

7 January 2014: Church bell returned
During a recent blizzard in Newfoundland, thieves stole a 600 pound bell from Holy Innocents church in Paradise. CBC news reports that the bell has been recovered, when staff at a scrapyard realized it had been stolen.

3 January 2014: Obits: Bishops Robert C Johnson, E Otis Charles, and Franklin D Turner
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported the recent deaths of three retired bishops. The Rt Revd Robert C Johnson was the tenth bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina. The Rt Revd E Otis Charles was the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Utah, and its first bishop after it transitioned from being a Missionary District in 1971. The Rt Revd Franklin D Turner, retired Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, was that diocese's first black bishop. He also founded the Organization of Black Episcopal Seminarians and served on the US Episcopal Church's Executive Council.

5 January 2014: Malaysia: Sarawak Christians pray for their brethren in Selangor
On 2 January, The Malaysian Insider reported the Selangor Islamic Regious Department (Jais) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia and and confiscated over 300 Bibles in Malay and Iban. The Star reported on this as well as reporting 'Selangor Islamic Affairs Exco "unaware" of Jais Bible Society raid' on the same date. On 3 January, the Chronicle printed a summary of the problem including comments from Archbishop Bolly Lapok: 'As we enter the new year, the 'Allah' problem threatens to escalate further into a crisis beyond repair unless the government acts firmly once and for all to resolve the decades old thorn-in-the-flesh for Muslims as well as non-Muslims.' The Malay Mail reported on remarks by a Sarawak lawmaker to the government 'to uphold the "religious freedom" as enshrined in the Federal Constitution'. The Malaysia Chronicle reported today that nearly all churches in Sarawak today, and at yesterday's sunset mass, offered special prayers for fellow Christians in Selangor in view of the threat by some Muslim groups to hold rallies outside churches to protest the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.

3 January 2014: Stating the obvious
The Church Times reported on an interview on BBC's Today programme with the Most Revd Justin Welby in which the ABC said, '...the reality is that where you have a good vicar you will find growing churches.' The Telegraph also reported on the ABC's remarks.

3 January 2014: Thousands visit Piccadilly separation wall
The Church Times reported on the unveiling at St James Piccadilyof a replica of the separation barrier constructed in Bethlehem. The installation was part of a 12-day festival at St James Piccadilly, - Bethlehem Unwrapped - designed to celebrate Bethlehem through art, music, food, and debate. The Jerusalem Post published an Op-Ed describing the festival as a 'barrier to peace'. The Embassy of Israel declared 'We have closely followed the unfolding of the Bethlehem Unwrapped event this past week, and have been brought to the inescapable conclusion that this is not an event which is intended to deepen understanding or promote reconciliation but rather is a transparent attempt to incite against Israel and Israelis.'

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