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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for January/February/March 2016

Link to main News Archives page

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28 March 2016: Hong Kong’s Primate rejects calls to give up Christian seats on body electing city’s chief executive
The South China Morning Post reports on the refusal by Paul Kwong, Archbishop and Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui and Bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong Island, to relinquish the 10 seats held by Christians on the Election Committee that will elect the next Prime Minister there.

25 March 2016: Easter messages from Anglican primates
The Anglican Communion News Service has assembled a collection of Easter messages from Anglican Primates.

24 March 2016: Trump/Jesus billboard stolen from Anglican church in New Zealand
The New Zealand Herald reported the theft of a billboard from St Luke's Church in Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand. It depicted US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Jesus on the cross.

24 March 2016: ABC's chaplain appointed as suffragan Bishop of Dorking
The Archbishop of Canterbury has reported the appointment of his chaplain, the Revd Canon Dr Jo Wells, as the next Bishop of Dorking. Dorking is the only suffragan see in the Diocese of Guildford, whose website has details of this appointment.

22 March 2016: Vast and sparse Australian Diocese explores 'self-service ministry'
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports on experiments by the Bishop of Rockhampton to 'train locals how to minister to themselves'. The Diocese of Rockhampton is very large and mostly empty.

20 March 2016: Group challenges naming of Bishop George Bell as a paedophile
Thinking Anglicans reports on the efforts by a group calling itself 'The George Bell Group' to clear the name of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell, who was posthumously declared by Church of England authorities to have been a child molester.


18 March 2016: Reformation Bible yields hidden notes
The Church Times reported researchers have used complex image-software analysis to uncover annotations that had been hidden for nearly 500 years between pages of England's first printed Latin Bible. The texts, copied from Thomas Cromwell's 'Great Bible', were written between 1539 and 1549, and then covered and disguised with thick paper in 1600. The discovery may support the idea that the Reformation was a gradual process rather than a single, transformative event.

16 March 2016: A Word to the Church
At their spring retreat, the Episcopal Church (US) House of Bishops unanimously approved a statement concerning the 'violent forces being released' in the US presidential campaigns' political rhetoric. 'We reject the idolatrous notion that we can ensure the safety of of some by sacrificing the hopes of others.' The Living Church reported leaders of the United Church of Christ have 'signed on' in support of the statement.

14-18 March 2016: UN Commission on the Status of Women
Episcopal News Service (ENS) provides a number of reports from the UNCSW meeting held in New York this past week. One includes video of the sermon given by the Most Revd Michael Curry in honor of Episcopal and Anglican women gathered in New York City for the 60th annual international gathering.

14 March 2016: Gutierrez elected bishop for Pennsylvania
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported the Revd Canon Daniel Gutierrez has been elected the next Bishop of Pennsylvania.

12 March 2016: Pakistan metro plans impact cathedral
Premier (UK) reported plans for a new metro line in Lahore would result in the demolition of the Anglican Cathedral, damage to St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, and important heritage sites including the Shalimar Gardens which is a world heritage site. The item was reported in The Church Times on 18 March 2016.


11 March 2016: Archbishop of Congo steps down
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the Archbishop of Congo, the Most Revd Henri Isingoma, has stepped down three years before the completion of his second five-year term of office and seven years before the usual retirement age. Archbishop Henri who is also Bishop of Kinshasa, has taken the decision to have a health improvement break and return to theological academia.

10 March 2016: Welby on the EU debate in the UK
The House, a political journal in the UK, featured an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Topics covered included the upcoming referendum on the UK's participation in the European Union, refugees and religious violence. Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported on the interview here; Religion News Service (RNS) summarized it here; The Church Times reported this story here.

8 March 2016: We refer to the refugees as 'guests'
The United Society (formerly known as USPG) published a report by Max McClellan, the United Society's co-ordinator in Greece, on how church groups and charities are supporting refugees following their arrival on the Greek islands.

7 March 2016: Canadian Military Ordinariate's first episcopal election
In the past, Anglicans and Anglican chaplains serving in the Canadian forces have had a bishop appointed by the Primate of the Canadian church. Anglican News has announced that the next bishop has been elected. He is Colonel the Venerable Nigel Shaw, who has served thirty years in the Anglican Military Ordinariate.


4 March 2016: Cathedral roof collapses in Mexico
The Telegraph (London) reports the collapse of the roof of the under-construction Roman Catholic cathedral in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.

4 March 2016: Virtual views of St Paul's Cathedral
The Church Times reports that archivists at St Paul's Cathedral have teamed up with the Google Cultural Institute to make the cathedral's architecture, artwork and history available on the internet. You can see the online exhibit here.

2 March 2016: New bishop named for Diocese of Lichfield
The Diocese of Lichfield has announced the appointment of the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, currently Bishop of Woolwich in the Diocese of Southwark, as its 99th diocesan bishop.

1 March 2016: New Director of Communication for Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion News Service has announced the appointment of former BBC journalist Adrian Butcher as its new director for communications. He will begin immediately after Easter.

1 March 2016: Abduction and rescure of female students from Nigerian seminary
The Nation (Nigeria) reported the abduction of three students from the Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Ikorodu, Nigeria. Naija247news reported the students were rescued in an overnight operation by police.

29 February 2016: Canadian Order of Bishops unable to reach consensus on same-sex marriage
The Anglican Journal (Canada) reports that the draft resolution that will be presented to Canada's General Synod this summer changing the Anglican Church of Canada’s marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage is 'not likely' to get the number of votes it needs from bishops.


28 February 2016: Obituary: Malcolm Boyd
The Los Angeles Times has published an obituary of the Revd Malcolm Boyd, who brought energy and informality to worship inside and outside Episcopal churches.

26 February 2016: Ramsey Prize finalists announced
The Church Times reported the shortlist of finalists for the 2016 Michael Ramsey prize along with the names of the judges for this year's competition. The Ramsey prize for theological writing is awarded every three years. We look forward to reading the six shortlisted titles.

26 February 2016: Yorkshire church's medieval wall paintings
The Church Times reported on the launch of an appeal by the parish of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering, North Yorkshire, to conserve medieval wall paintings that are rated among the finest in northern Europe. The paintings in the nave date from about 1450 and depict St George, St Christopher, St John the Baptist, the coronation of the Virgin, St Edmund, St Thomas Becket, St Catherine of Alexandria, the Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy, the passion of Christ, the Harrowing of Hell, and the resurrection.

25 February 2016: Prayers and money needed for Church's Fiji cyclone response
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the chief executive of the Anglican Missions Board (the relief and development agency of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) has called on international Anglicans to assist with prayers and funds as it responds to the recent cyclone that caused devastation in Fiji and its surrounding islands.

24 February 2016: Canada: the Blanket Exercise
The Anglican Journal reported the province's Church House staff participated in a workshop using an interactive learning tool to learn and better understand the historical plight of Indigenous people in Canada. The description of the Blanket Exercise and its impact on participants is powerful.

22 February 2016: Installation of new primate in Southeast Asia
The Malay Mail reported on the installation of the new Primate of the Anglican Church of Southeast Asia, the Most Revd Datuk Ng Moon Hing. The report includes video of the service. Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) posted an extract from his sermon at the installation service.


19 February 2016: Church of England General Synod wraps up
The General Synod of the Church of England, which was held from 15 to 19 February in London, was typically scattered in terms of topics, but the topic that got everyone's attention (including Thinking Anglicans and the BBC) was the move towards a closer relationship with the Church of Scotland while more or less ignoring the Scottish Episcopal Church.

16 February 2016: ACC chairman dismisses concept of 'kicking out the Episcopal Church'
The publication Anglican Ink has a report by George Conger saying 'The Episcopal Church "cannot be kicked out of the Anglican Communion and will never be kicked out of the Anglican Communion," the chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council told a seminary audience last week.'

15 February 2016: Research shines light on Beothuk-Anglican relations
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on new research into the efforts of the Revd John Leigh to construct a Beothuk vocabulary. The Beothuk were the indigenous people of Newfoundland. Their numbers diminished through starvation, disease and violent encounters, and by 1829 they were extinct. One of the last survivors was Demasduit, the wife of a man killed in a skirmish in 1819. She was placed in the care of Leigh, who was the SPG missionary at Twillingate. She learned English quickly, and together they built a list of words that is one of the few records of the Beothuk language.

15 February 2016: Proposed cancellation of Easter services due to 1916 centenary parade
The Irish Times reports the proposed cancellation of Easter Sunday services at Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral and six Church of Ireland parishes in Dublin city centre due to traffic restrictions for the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising. A few days later, that same newspaper quoted former minister for justice Alan Shatter as saying it would be entirely wrong to do that. The Church Times had this to say. We proposed a compromise: that the centenary of the 1916 Rising be calculated according to the civil calendar and not the lunar Easter calendar, which would make the centenary be some time the latter part of April, but no one took us seriously. We have somewhat raised eyebrows over the juxtaposition of the events of Easter (though that particular Rising was 40 days later) with the repopularization of physical force republicanism as claimed by the Wikipedia article.

15 February 2016: Attempt at solution to Ripon Cathedral arrow-slot mystery just deepens it
Ripon Cathedral launched a project to solve the mystery of the cross-shaped arrow slits in its ancient battlements, though it is in no way 'solved'. The report notes that the slits would not be useful for shooting arrows without endangering the archer's life, but found no alternative explanation.


12 February 2016: New Archbishop of Melanesia
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the Rt Revd George Takeli, currently Bishop of Temotu, is the new Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Melanesia. He will be enthroned on 17 April and will also become Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia.

12 February 2016: Historic ecumenical happenings
This last week saw the meeting of Pope Francis with the Metropolitan Kiril of the Russian Orthodox Church resulting in a plea to world leaders to protect persecuted Christians. Much was made in reports of the historic nature of this meeting, the first between a pope and a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the more balanced reports is this one from CNN. On another front, The Church Times reported on the recent Latin solemn vespers at Hampton Court Palace chapel led by the RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, with a homily by the C of E Bishop of London and Dean of the Chapels Royal, the Rt Revd Richard Chartes. The last time RC worship is thought to have been held in this chapel was during the reign of Mary Tudor in the 16th century.

11 February 2016: Sacred Journeys: Teaching children about world religions
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly included a segment on a National Geographic exhibition currently at the Indianapolis Children's Museum which teaches children about world religions. 'The US is one of the most religiously diverse nations in history, and many experts believe it is important that children learn about world religions, even at an early age. But there are not many public forums where they can learn about faith traditions other than their own.'


7 February 2016: New Dean of Sydney
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the installation at St Andrew's Cathedral of the Very Revd Kanishka Raffel as the new Dean. He is the first person from a non-European background to hold the role in the church's history in Australia. 'I think it's important for the church to reflect the society that it is seeking to serve and so Sydney has become a very multicultural city and it would be strange, I think, if the church didn't reflect that because we have a message of God's love for all.'

6 February 2016: Sparks elected in N Indiana
The Living Church reports the Diocese of Northern Indiana has elected the Revd Douglas E Sparks as its eighth bishop.

5 February 2016: Ash Wednesday on the go and 'Live from Lambeth'
In recent years, we have read of 'Ashes to Go' where priests provide the imposition of ashes to commuters on railway platforms and on street corners. This year we can add a report of the imposition of ashes at a ferry embarkation point in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports there will be a live stream of an Ash Wednesday service from the 800-year old chapel at Lambeth Palace which will include a homily by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The streaming will be done via Facebook. Details are provided in the ACNS report.

4 February 2016: New church building consecrated after 84 years
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported a new church building has been consecrated for an Anglican worshipping community in Bermejas, Cuba, some 84 years after it was founded as an organised mission of the Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba.

2 February 2016: A school for bishops
Anglican Communion News Service reported on the recent gathering of recently consecrated bishops from across the Communion for the annual New Bishops' Course at Canterbury.

1 February 2016: UK survey shows surge in churchgoing
Christian Today reported on the results of a survey commissioned by the National Churches Trust. According to the survey, as many as six in 10 British adults visited a church, chapel or religious meeting house in the last 12 months. The survey results counter the more usual narrative of perpetual decline that has dominated surveys in recent years. An additional nugget from the results: more than four in 10 said a friendly welcome would encourage them to visit. Provision of toilets, a café or refreshment were also important in encouraging visits, along with comfortable seats, useful visitor information and, especially for younger adults, wi-fi.

29 January 2016: Church for sale with occupied crypt
The Twin Cities Pioneer Press (Minnesota) reported St Paul church, a 103-year old church on the historic register, was closed last year due to a dwindling and aging congregation. The property is for sale, and the gothic revival building comes with 33 stained glass windows, some statuary, wonderful acoustics, and the remains of the rector during the time of its construction: the Revd John Wright is buried in a crypt under sanctuary. This makes the crawl space under the altar a 'historic non-operating cemetery'.


31 January 2016: Cash concerns for England's cathedrals
The BBC reported on results of a survey they posed to England's Anglican cathedrals. Almost two-thirds of those running the cathedrals are concerned about their finances. Three-quarters of those running cathedrals agree that turning their buildings into multiple use venues is 'essential' and say they should be 'open to non-faith based and commercial organisations'.

30 January 2016: Jamaican church celebrates 350 years
The Jamaica Gleaner reported on the commemorative service and celebration of St Paul's in Chapelton, Clarendon, Jamaica, which is celebrating its 350th anniversary.

29 January 2016: Welby condemns 'cancer' of extremism
The Church Times reported on remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Welby was speaking about religious extremism which is present in every world faith, including Christianity.

28 January 2016: Unexpected blessing
Catholic Culture reported on the recent Vespers service that marked the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. At the end of the ecumenical service, Pope Francis asked an Orthodox and Anglican prelate to join him in conferring the final blessing. While this report includes some quotes from the Most Revd David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) posted Archbishop Moxon's reflection in full on 26 January.

28 January 2016: Priest, 71, rescued after being lost in -43° C storm
The National Post reported the successful rescue of the Revd Moses Kakekaspan, priest at St Peter's in Fort Severn, Ontario. Kakekaspan, who was returning home after a pastoral call, was caught in a winter storm with wind chill temperatures of -43° C. He was found the next morning, and, amazingly, suffered only mild hypothermia.

25 January 2016: Historical hypocrisy?
The Huffington Post published a piece entitled, The Historical Hypocrisy of the Anglican-Episcopal Split.


24 January 2016: Tensions among global Orthodox leaders
The Economist reported on the 'tense, top-level' meeting in Geneva between Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch who is considered 'first among equals' in the Orthodox hierarchy and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow about this summer's planned 'Great and Holy Synod'. The article is quite informative about the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. 'In that country the two biggest Orthodox institutions are the globally recognised Ukrainian Orthodox Church, ultimately under the Moscow Patriarchate, and the 25-year-old Kiev Patriarchate which strongly supports Ukrainian independence and the government's battle against Russophile rebels in east. These two bodies have identical services; the main difference is that they pray for, and obey, different bishops. Many a confused believer could hardly tell the difference.'

22 January 2016: The gravitas of the beard
The Church Times published a feature by the Rt Revd Richard Chartes with the charming title, 'And Esau was an hairy man' , in which he traces the theological history and significance of beards. He also praises two priests who have grown 'opulent' beards in the Tower Hamlets section of London. The photo used in the article is of footballer David Beckham. The bishop calls Beckham 'the nearest we have to a popular secular saint'. The Express (London) picked up the story with the headline, Vicars bizarrely urged to grow beards in an effort to reach British Muslims. The lead photo used here is of former ABC Rowan Williams.

22 January 2016: Archbishop of Southeast Asia counters politician's remarks on missionaries
The Malaysian Insider reported on the response by the Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok, Archbishop of Southeast Asia and Bishop of Kuching, to offensive remarks made by the leader of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) concerning Christian missionaries. The Archbishop learned of the remarks upon his return from the Primates Meeting, and his response is cogent and forthright.

20 January 2016: RIP: The Rt Revd Donald Parsons
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported the death of the Rt Revd Donald Parsons, former Bishop of Quincy (US) and 13th dean and president of Nashotah House Theological Seminary.


15-17 January 2016: Primates Meeting and Communiqué
The best source for a comprehensive roundup of links, responses, and reactions is at Thinking Anglicans. This week's issue of The Church Times includes a number of reports as well including one The Church Times subtitled, 'What Justin Welby told the Primates'.

16 January 2016: Rare Puritan manuscripts available online
The Christian Post reported the John Richard Allison Library in Vancouver has made available its entire rare Puritan collection for online reading. The core of the collection is from the personal libraries of Drs James I Packer and James M Houston.

15 January 2016: A fixed date for Easter?
The BBC reported the Archbishop of Canterbury announced he was in talks with Pope Francis, Coptic leader Pope Tawadros, and the leader of the Orthodox church Patriarch Bartholomew to agree upon a fixed date for Easter. The report also appeared at Christianity Today along with a link to an explanation of the maths used in setting the date for Easter.

14 January 2016: Bishop urges prayer after Polio clinic bomb
ACNS reported on a bombing of a Polio clinic in south west Pakistan and an interview with the Bishop of Karachi, the Rt Revd Sadiq Daniel by Premier Christian Radio. Polio vaccination clinics in Pakistan are regularly targeted by terrorists who claim that they are a front for American spies or a Western plot to sterilise Pakistani children. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries where Poliomyelitis is still endemic. The bishop described the effects of the bombing and appealed for people to pray for Pakistan.

13 January 2016: Week of Prayer 'Bible App'
This coming week (17 - 23 January) is the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity sponsored in part by the World Council of Churches. Material for this year's event will be available for the first time on smart phones, computers, and tablets. The 'app' can be found here. The report by the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) is here.

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10 January 2016: Primates meeting underway in Canterbury
The special meeting of Anglican primates called by the Archbishop of Canterbury has begun. The US Episcopal Church's News Service offers this non-combative report and explanation. The meeting has its own website at http://primates2016.org that includes a good explanation of just what this meeting is about. The Anglican Communion Office provides this list of the member churches of the Anglican Communion. British journalist Andrew Brown has written for The Guardian (London) this pessimistic and sour analysis of the past and future of the Anglican Communion. Nearly everything we've ever read from Mr Brown has been on the sour side, but he's often spot-on. The Vatican has loaned the crozier of St Gregory, an ancient English relic, and the vestment (still stained with thousand-year-old blood) that was worn by Thomas Becket when he was beheaded in 1170.

7 January 2016: Global prayer for Primates Meeting
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported on calls for prayer and published prayers, litanies, and collects for this month's Primates Meeting. 'The Primates Meeting is one of the Anglican Communion's four Instruments of Unity and provides an opportunity for the leaders of the independent but interdependent Anglican Churches to gather for "leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation."'

6 January 2016: Vatican relics to Canterbury
Religion News Service reported relics of British Christianity now in the hands of the Vatican will be flown to England, where they will be displayed at Canterbury Cathedral just ahead of the Primates Meeting this month. The first item to arrive is an ivory handle of a staff, or crozier, used by St. Gregory, the pope who helped establish Christianity in England in the sixth century. The idea of the two Christian churches temporarily exchanging relics came after a cricket match between Catholic and Anglican priests in 2014. The Church Times also has an article about this.

5 January 2016: Deadline approaches for hiring ACO Director of Communications
The Anglican Communion News Service has pointed out that the deadline for applications to the post of director of communications for the Anglican Communion is 15 January. ( Note that by the rules of US style guides, that would be Director of Communications for the Anglican Communion.) The job posting itself says 'Director for Communications'. Perhaps the new person can sort this out and strengthen the ACNS style guide.

4 January 2016: Canadian Anglican college prepares students for Orthodox ministry
The diocese of Toronto highlights a new Master of Divinity program at Trinity College, to prepare students for ordained or lay ministry in the Orthodox church. The post-graduate degree, the only one of its kind in Canada, is often a requirement for those seeking ordination in the Orthodox church. Previously, students who wanted the degree had to travel to seminaries in the United States.


3 January 2016: RIP: Bishop John Reid
The Anglican League reported the passing of the Rt Revd John Reid, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Sydney, 19721993.

2 January 2016: GAFCON leaders up the ante
The Daily Mail (London) reported GAFCON leaders from Africa and Asia are threatening to walk out of a crucial meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury unless American bishops drop their support for gay marriage. Unlike the paper's inflammatory headline which begins 'Repent or we quit...', Thinking Anglicans brings a sense of propriety to the issue: 'GAFCON prepares for the gathering of Primates'.

1 January 2016: David Suchet describes audio Bible as 'biggest role'
The Church Times published an interview with David Suchet, the narrator in the first full-length audio version of the Bible (spoken by a single British actor). Suchet, best-known for playing Agatha Christie's fictional detective Hercule Poirot, was speaking last month at an event celebrating the launch of the NIV Audio Bible App by Hodder & Stoughton.

1 January 2016: Pact between Churches of England and Scotland criticised
The Church Times reported on remarks by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), the Most Revd David Chillingworth, who has said the Columba Declaration may cause 'real difficulty' in the relationship between the SEC and the Church of England. The SEC is the Anglican Communion partner church in Scotland, and the Declaration is between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. In his blog posts, the Primus questioned whether it was 'proper' for the C of E to enter an agreement about 'ministry and ecclesiastical order' in a country where it had no jurisdiction. 'The Anglican way is to recognise the territorial integrity of each province — they are autonomous, but inter-dependent.' Thinking Anglicans provides a summary.

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