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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for April/May/June 2016

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30 June 2016: Washington church’s largest congregation is Muslim
Eight years ago, the Church of the Epiphany in downtown Washington, DC opened the church to the Muslim community, who were in need of a place to worship. CBS News reports that the three hundred men who come there for Friday prayers now outnumber the church’s Christian congregation. Farooq Syed, who organizes the prayers, said it starts with people understanding each other, and then grows into religions understanding each other.

29 June 2016: Land mines and booby traps to be removed from site of Jesus' baptism
The Anglican Communion News Service tells us a mine clearance charity has secured permission to de-mine the area around the West Bank of the River Jordan on the approach to the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism.

29 June 2016: ’Not my choice to leave'
A retired Anglican priest reflects on 60 years in the Arctic. CBC News tells the story of Fr Mike Gardener putting his wife's medical needs in front of his love for his church.

27 June 2016: Britain's earliest Christians reburied
The Anglican Communion News Service tells the story of the reburial of the remains of what are said to be some of Britain’s earliest converts to Christianity, which were excavated from sand dunes near Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland between 1998 and 2007.

27 June 2016: Anglican Church of Canada General Synod
Next week more than 250 Anglicans from across Canada will gather for the 41st General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. Canada's Anglican Journal offers this explanation and background.

26 June 2016: Holy and Great Council of Orthodox Churches concludes in Crete
The Holy and Great Council, the first global meeting of Orthodox churches since the Great Schism in 1054 has ended. The Orthodox Christian Laity website has excellent coverage of the event. The official website is somewhat more difficult for non-members to understand, but it is available in Greek, Russian, and French.

24 June 2016: Church responds to the EU Referendum
In a referedum, British citizens have voted to leave the European Union. Church leaders from around the United Kindom have responded. Thinking Anglicans has the best covereage of this.

24 June 2016: Canon Andrew White suspended in dispute over alleged payments to rescue ISIS sex slaves
Hailed as 'the Vicar of Baghdad', the Revd Andrew White has served in Iraq when most others left for safety. Ruth Gledhill, writing for Christian Today, reports that Canon White has been suspended and the Charity Commission launched an investigation into the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East regarding alleged payments used to rescue Islamic State sex slaves.

23 June 2016: Witchcraft concerns Uganda’s Anglican archbishop
A rise in reports of Christians visiting shrines and witch doctors in Uganda, as well as a rise in the murder of albinos in the region has concerned church leaders. The Religion News Service reports Archbishop Ntagali is reminding Christians to worship only the one god.

22 June 2016: Episcopal Digital Network launches French language news service
The Episcopal Digital Network (previously Episcopal News Service) (USA) launched a new Francophone news service called Actualités this week. The new service's objective is offer news and information to Francophone readers in the Episcopal Church and broader Communion.

19 June 2016: Build-up to Church of England July synod
See Thinking Anglicans for up-to-date reports on the C of E General Synod.

18 June 2016: Leading C of E evangelical bishops call for Church to change on gays
Christian Today reports 'Two prominent bishops have called for evangelicals in the Church of England to cease their fighting over homosexuality and accept other evangelicals as such, even when they take a pro-gay stance.'

17 June 2016: Keep pushing on Rome
The Church Times quotes the Archbishop of Canterbury: 'The purpose of dialogue with other Churches is to rub salt into the wounds caused by our division. I pray for disruption.'

16 June 2016: Great Council of the Orthodox churches first meeting in 1000 years
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the first global meeting of Orthodox churches since the Great Schism in 1054.

16 June 2016: Diocese of Missouri appoints Deputy for Gun Violence Prevention
The Diocese of Missouri has announced the appointment of the Revd Dr Marc D Smith as Bishop’s Deputy for Gun Violence Prevention. We believe that this is the first such post in the Anglican world.

15 June 2016: Archbishop of York clashes with UK talk-show host over gay marriage
The Archbishop of York became embroiled in a live TV argument over same-sex marriage on Wednesday morning as ITV presenter Piers Morgan accused him of homophobia. Christian Today reported on it.

15 June 2016: Three indigenous bishops ordained in Argentina
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that three indigenous Anglican priests were ordained as bishops in Argentina, joining the a very small number of indigenous Anglicans to have become bishops in that province.

11 June 2016: Scotish Episcopal Church Synod
The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church met in Edinburgh this week. The best coverage is by Thinking Anglicans.

11 June 2016: New bishop for Easton
The Diocese of Easton reports its election of the Rt Revd Santosh Marray as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Easton. Bishop Santosh has been assisting in the Diocese of Alabama, where he is well liked and will surely be missed.

10 June 2016: Nigerian primate is new head of GAFCON
Nigeria Today reports the election of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh as Chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Primates Council. The Telegraph (London) notes that this portends poorly for worldwide Anglican unity.

10 June 2016: Latvian Lutheran Church rescinds ordination of women
The National Catholic Reporter (USA) reports on the action by the synod of the Lutheran Church of Latvia has gone back on its 40-year-old decision by officially ruling that women cannot be ordained priests.

10 June 2016: Women are becoming cathedral stonecutters
The Church Times tells us that many of the stonecutters involved in recent cathedral restoration are women, and that a goodly percentage of newly-trained stonecutters are women.

7 June 2016: Last Anglican friary in NZ to close
Anglican Taonga reports the closing of the last Anglican friary in New Zealand. Anglican Franciscan brothers have maintained a friary in that country for about 50 years.

5 June 2016: Growing flock of Muslim refugees are converting
The Guardian reports that churches throughout Europe are reporting many Muslim converts. The curate at Liverpool cathedral, the Revd Mohammed Eghtedarian, conducts a weekly Persian service that attracts between 100 and 140 people. One in four confirmations conducted over the past year by the bishop of Bradford, Toby Howarth, were of converts from Islam.

3 June 2016: Well-attended pilgrimage in Uganda
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the participation in Uganda's annual pilgrimage to Namugongo, site of the martyring of Christians in the 19th century. The king of Buganda, Kabaka Mwanga ordered the execution of all converted Christians in his kingdom. The king's soldiers killed 45 Christians as a result of that order. There are separate Anglican and RC shrines, but they are near one another and the massacre site. Christianity Today also reported on the turnout.

3 June 2016: English clergy are older, and fewer are stipendiary
The Church Times reports on a report released by the Church of England Archbishops’ Council, which says that on average, clergy are older and fewer clergy are being paid a salary.

2 June 2016: Anglicanism fading in its country of origin
The New York Times reports on the continuing decrease in the size and influence of the Church of England, which has been steadily losing members for a long time.

2 June 2016: Church and State in Malawi
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the delivery by the president of Malawi of 100 bags of cement to St Mark in Mzuzu, for its ongoing construction of a new church.

30 May 2016: Annual tradition of grass-strewing at Shenington church
In the middle ages, the earthen floors of some churches would have been covered with rushes, which would have been changed in the spring. Banburyshireinfo reports that the annual grass-stewing at Holy Trinity church, Shenington is perhaps unique now. At Whitsun and the following two Sundays, Christopher Hawtin lays grass on the aisles and around the font. His family have been doing this since the 1800s. Some couples ask to get married when the grass is laid, but others ask for it to be removed because they have hay fever.

27 May 2016: Thomas Becket’s elbow to return to site of his murder in Canterbury
When the remains of Archbishop Thomas Becket were reburied in 1220, fragments of bone were dispersed across Europe,with a shard of his elbow ending up in Esztergom, which was then the capital of Hungary. The Guardian reports that the relic has been briefly returned to England, accompanied by Hungary’s president. It has been blessed by both Becket’s successor, Justin Welby, and the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols. The pilgrimage will end at Canterbury cathedral, where Becket was murdered in 1170.

27 May 2016: Church contains hardly any converts, report suggests
The Church Times reports that only two per cent of Anglicans in England and Wales are converts. Though the survey, conducted by Dr Stephen Bullivant of the Benedict XVI Centre at St Mary’s University, Twickenham looks primarily at the Roman Catholic church, other denominations are compared.

25 May 2016: Iona Christian community in 'serious jeopardy'
The Guardian reports of the difficulties facing the popular Scottish pilgrimage destination. The community is looking to raise £1.5m to redevelop the monastery buildings which could be 'unfit for purpose' within a few years.

25 May 2016: Confirmation stays under review
Anglican Taonga (New Zeland) reports that a proposal to remove and replace the rite of confirmation with a the rite of The Laying on of Hands for Affirmation, Renewal and Reception has sparked a debate on Christian initiation in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia.

24 May 2016: Desmond Tutu's daughter gives up Church ministry after same-sex marriage
Christian Today writes of the Revd Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Furth giving up her preaching license following her marriage to another woman. Though same-sex marriage is allowed under South African law, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa does not. Tutu-Van Furth says "The bishop of the diocese was instructed to revoke my licence. I decided that I would give it to him rather than have him take it."

23 May 2016: Needing to raise ten of millions, Washington National Cathedral picks a fundraiser for its new dean
The Washington Post (USA) profiles the recently appointed dean of the National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church, USA in Washington, DC. The Revd Randy Hollerith follows Gary Hall, known for his activism in the church. Hollerith, who currently serves at a parish in Richmond, Virginia, is the brother of the Rt. Rev. Herman "Hollie" Hollerith of Southern Virginia.

21 May 2016: Melbourne church offers space to Muslims for prayer after mosque fire
ABC News reports that since last October there have been five church fires in Geelong, Australia. The most recent fire destroyed the main mosque in that city. The building was previously a Uniting Church, and police do not believe the attack was targeting Islam. The Bishop of Melbourne, Philip Huggins, has offered the use of the parish hall of All Saints Church, Newtown for Friday prayers.

20 May 2016: New Primate for Kenya
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports on the election of the Bishop of Kericho, the Rt Revd Jackson Ole Sapit, as sixth Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Bishop of the Diocese of All Saints Cathedral.

19 May 2016: Bishop of Dunedin announces retirement, wonders if diocese can afford a bishop
The Otago Daily Times reports the Bishop of Dunedin has announced his intention to retire at Easter next year, and raised questions about whether the Dunedin diocese can afford to replace him. The next day, that newspaper published an editorial 'Churches in modern times', lamenting the state of New Zealand's churches and noting 'Many young New Zealanders these days have never attended a church service, not even at Christmas or Easter and not for weddings or baptisms.'

19 May 2016: Thousands join ABC for online Bible study
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) tells us the Archbishop of Canterbury was joined by thousands around the world today for his first live Bible study on Facebook.

17 May 2016: Church of Scotland to introduce online baptism
The Telegraph (London) reports a policy being considered by the Church of Scotland to allow online administration of the sacrament of baptism. Do remember that the Church of Scotland is not Anglican; that would be the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Church of Scotland has already issued a denial.

16 May 2016: Altar cloth in Herefordshire church linked to Elizabeth I
The people of St Faith in Bacton (UK) suspected that the altar cloth they had on display had links to Queen Elizabeth I. It had been donated to the church by Blanche Parry, who was the queen’s personal attendant, and whose effigy is in the church. The Hereford Times reports that the connection has been confirmed, and that it was a unique piece of Elizabethan dress. The confirmation increased its value; it is now thought to be worth millions of pounds. It will now be conserved at Hampton Court, and a facsimile will be produced for display at St Faith.

13 May 2016: Zimbabwe's Kunonga files appeal against court order
Remember Nolbert Kunonga, the excommunicated former bishop of Harare, called 'the Bishop from Hell' by Zimbabwe's Nehanda Radio? NewsDay (Harare) notes Kunonga's filing of an appeal against a court order that he re-pay certain stolen monies.

13 May 2016: NZ Synod puts same-sex blessings on 'hold'
Anglican Taonga (NZ), reporting on the recent General Synod, notes the decision on same-sex blessings in NZ has been postponed until General Synod 2018. Radio New Zealand reported on the division of opinion among Anglicans in that province.

12 May 2016: Empty pews in NZ churches
The Northern Advocate (NZ), reporting on a recent attendance survey, noted that four churches in one district had only 28 regular worshipers, two of whom were actually Methodists.

12 May 2016: Pope considering the ordination of women as deacons
The Guardian (UK) reports the Pope's new plan to appoint an official commission to study the issue of ordaining women as deacons.

9 May 2016: ACC-16 has ended, but the arguments continue
The US Episcopal News Service has published a summary review of the disputes about what exactly happened on the last full day of last month's ACC-16 meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.

8 May 2016: Stone running out at Lincoln Cathedral quarry
Each year masons use more than 100 tonnes of stone to maintain and repair Lincoln Cathedral. The BBC reports that the present quarry will last about five years, but that the city is so developed the best quarry sites have been built upon. The Lincolnshire Echo reports that Lincolnshire County Council has identified eleven sites to be guarded from development, to protect the remaining sources of limestone.

8 May 2016: Pomp and colour as Archbishop Wabukala exits helm of Anglican Church
The Star, Kenya (Nairobi) writes of the retirement of Eliud Wabukala as Archbishop of Kenya. Though he will officially retire on 26 June, his last official mass as primate was 8 May. There is currently a slate of six being considered for the province's next primate.

8 May 2016: First bishop for Maseno East in Kenya
The HiviSasa Kisumu County News (Nairobi) reports that the Diocese of Maseno East has elected the Revd Arnold Owiti Joshua as its first bishop.

6 May 2016: Hong Kong Anglican province distances itself from local divinity school
The South China Morning Post reports the withdrawal of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui from the group of Christian denominations in that city that support the Divinity School at Chinese University, raising concerns over whether the move was politically motivated.

6 May 2016: ACC-16 members issue Statement of Clarification
Thinking Anglicans tells us a statement has been issued by the outgoing members of the ACC standing committee. This statement is in response to various published statements about the meaning or consequences of the ACC-16 meeting in Lusaka. The Thinking Anglicans notice of the reflection on ACC-16 by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Journal leader on the event are also worth your attention. The Anglican Communion News Service states 'The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has rejected criticism from six former members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s standing committee of statements made during and after ACC-16.'

4 May 2016: Anglicans reach out to victims of Fort McMurray wildfire
'We have had offers of prayers and support from across the country,' said Bishop Fraser Lawton, of the diocese of Athabasca, in a report by Canada's Anglican Journal. There is also currently an emergency appeal by the The Primates’ World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) which is coordinating the wider church response and has launched across Canada to support the response by local churches. The Alberta-based fire, which has spread to over 2000sq km, has so far taken no lives.
Actual words.

2 May 2016: Three Malaysian bishops seek fraud prosecution of Muslim preacher
The Herald Malaysia tells us that three of Malaysia’s most senior Anglican clergymen want the authorities to act against award-winning Islamic scholar Ayub Abdul Rahman who, they allege, has been speaking in public under the fraudulent guise of a former Christian cleric with their church. His claims of being a former Anglican priest have been investigated and found to be false.

1 May 2016: Buddhist militants erect a pagoda by Anglican church
Asia News (which is based in Italy) reports that U Thuzana, a 73-year-old Buddhist monk and leader of an ethnic armed group (the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army) led hundreds to seize land owned by St Mark’s Anglican church in Hlaingbwe Township, in Myanmar. The Anglican bishop, Saw Stylo, urged his followers to practice benevolence, compassion and detachment rather than harbour grudges. The article notes that most Christians in Myanmar belong to ethnic minorities.

1 May 2016:'a receive Anglican apology for residential schools
The Terrace Standard (British Columbia) reported on an apology by the Primate of Canada to residential school survivors in the Nass Valley for its role in the federal government’s aboriginal residential school program. Church leaders were unaware that the 1993 blanket apology to aboriginal peoples did not include (or was unknown to) many in Nass Valley.

1 May 2016: Christchurch Cathedral's future remains uncertain
Radio New Zealand covered another setback in the rebuilding of Christchurch Cathedral. A working group of both government and Church interests which had been tasked with 'investigaing whether the two parties could work together on meeting the cost and safety requirements of reinstating the cathedral' with a tentative report date of the end of April has not reported any update.

29 April 2016: President Dilma Rousseff retains the support of Brazilian Anglicans
Following the vote in favor of impeachment in the lower house of Brazil's Parliament, the Anglican Communion News Service reports that Brazilian Anglicans stand by President Dilma Rouseff on financial corruption charges. The upper house will vote next month on what the Archbishop claims stems from 'a political alliance between Brazil’s wealthy elite and Christian conservatives in an attempt to stop social advances for the poor'.

27 April 2016: Another downtown neighbourhood - this one driven by churches - looks for revitalisation
The Florida Times-Union described a new outreach of St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida, USA to revitalize its neighbourhood by forming a for-profit corporation aimed at 'creating a community advocacy association and bring together a unified voice for the churches, non-profits, businesses and residents'.

20 April 2016: ACC-16 summaries
The Anglican Communion News Service has posted the list of resolutions adopted at the sixteenth Anglican Consultative Council meeting just concluded in Lusaka, Zambia. The Church Times published a final report by Madeleine Davies on the gathering. Christian Today published a report by Ruth Gledhill on the meeting.

20 April 2016: Religious leaders express support for UN climate agreement
Voice of America reported on the gathering of more than 200 religious leaders from around the world at the United Nations to show support for the COP21 agreement and to urge countries to quickly sign, approve, and enforce the Paris Climate Agreement.

20 April 2016: Remembering the Revd John Beck
Vatican Radio posted a lovely piece on the late Revd John Beck, 'a great musician and Anglican priest who, for the past fifty years, had put his immeasurable talent, and profound faith, at the service of ecumenism and evangelization'.

18 April 2016: ABC in Zimbabwe
The Herald (Harare) reported on a meeting between Archbishop Welby and President Mugabe that was described as pastoral, not political. The Sunday Mail (Harare) reported on remarks the ABC made upon landing in the country where he called the growing number of people preaching the 'prosperity gospel' deceitful. Anglican Communion News Service posted two reports on the visit. One reported on the discussions Welby had with Mugabe and the other on the celebratory Eucharist attended by more than six thousand people from across the country.

17 April 2016: Diocese nixes Thomas the Tank Engine on gravestone, upsets family
Max Gainard was a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, whose adventures were chronicled by the Revd Wilbert Awdry. When Max died at the age of three, his parents wanted to put a small engraved picture of his hero on his headstone, and their parish priest supported the idea. The Western Times reports that the Chancellor of the Diocese of Bristol denied the request, despite another headstone in the churchyard being engraved with a teddy bear. It noted that Thomas the Tank Engine is depicted in a stained glass window in Rodborough church, where Mr Awdry lived.

17 April 2016: Anglican Consultative Council
The 16th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) is well underway in Zambia. By far the best coverage of ACC-16 is in Thinking Anglicans. We refer you to that, but single out this statement from the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, which was published in response to criticisms from groups that hoped that the USA and Canada would be forbidden to attend.

13 April 2016: Diocese in Church of England will revert to its official name
When several English dioceses were merged in 2014 to produce the Diocese of Leeds, there was much popular sentiment supporting use of the nickname 'West Yorkshire and the Dales'. Two years on, the diocese has decided to use only the official name 'Diocese of Leeds', and the Bishop of Leeds has issued this statement about the decision.

12 April 2016: New Bishop of Oxford
The Prime Minister's office of the UK (known widely as '10 Downing Street') has announced 'The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft, MA, PhD, Lord Bishop of Sheffield, in the Diocese of Sheffield for election as Bishop of Oxford....' The See of Oxford has been vacant for 18 months.

10 April 2016: Archbishop of Adelaide announces retirement
The Advertiser (Adelaide) reports the announcement by Jeffrey Driver, Archbishop of Adelaide, that he will retire this year. He wrote this letter to the members of his diocese.

9 April 2016: All things ACC
The Anglican Communion News Service has devoted a section of their site to reporting on the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting now underway in Lusaka, Zambia.

8 April 2016: Welby's 'personal story of courage better than a thousand sermons'
The Telegraph (UK) reported the Archbishop of Canterbury is the illegitimate son of Sir Winston Churchill's last private secretary after Welby took a DNA test to prove his paternity. The paper also published an opinion piece in the same issue with the title, 'Justin Welby's personal story of courage is better than a thousand sermons'. ACNS summarized the story and subsequent support for the ABC here. In The Church Times report, Welby describes the revelation about the identity of his true father as a story of redemption and hope.

4 April 2016: Presiding Bishop updates staff on investigation
Episcopal News Service (ENS) published the Church's press release which provides an update on the progress and findings of an independent investigation into formal complaints and allegations of potential violations of personnel policies of the DFMS (Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society). The Religion News Service report is here.

2 April 2016: The ring that Rome gave to Canterbury
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about the 1966 gift of a ring to Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey by Pope Paul VI.

1 April 2016: Aleppo congregation celebrates Easter
The Syrian city of Aleppo is one of the most dangerous places in the world. The Church Times paid a visit recently and describes Aleppo's Easter celebration.

1 April 2016: Three African Primates announce boycott of ACC meeting
The Church Times reports the announcement by the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda that they will not be represented at the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka, which begins next Friday.

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