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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for July/August/September 2016

Link to main News Archives page

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30 September 2016: Anglican Church of Southern Africa rejects blessing of same-sex civil unions
The US Episcopal News Service reports on the decision by the ACSA to reject a proposal to allow 'prayers of blessing' to be offered for people in same-sex civil unions under South African law. The ACSA includes Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and the island of St Helena. Same-sex marriage is allowed only under South African civil law. Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba spoke out on Saturday about his anguish over the debate and its outcome.

29 September 2016: New Anglican resources to promote the Bible in the life of the Church
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the publication of the new Deeper Engagement collection of educational resources for use by Anglican churches.

28 September 2016: ACK refuses to reinstate priests found innocent of being gay
The Daily Nation (Nairobi) reports the refusal by the Anglican Church of Kenya to welcome back three priests who were cleared by a civil court of allegations that they were homosexuals.

26 September 2016: Standing Rock oil pipe protest 'may become the new Selma'
The Anglican Communion News Service quotes the Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church in an impassioned speech in support of the Standing Rock Sioux community. Bishop Michael Curry told them that their stand against a controversial oil pipeline could become as important in US history as the 1965 civil rights stand in Selma, Alabama.

23 September 2016: Anglican mission to rival C of E plans to evangelise the UK
Christian Today reports on new plans by the AMiE (Anglican Mission in England) to evangelise the entire UK. The plan is sponsored and managed by the Church of Nigeria. The Church Times quotes one of the leaders of this movement as having said 'The Church of England should not have a monopoly on Anglicanism in England.'

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23 September 2016: Declining Welsh attendance figures noted 'with a heavy heart'
According to the Church Times, average Sunday attendance in the Church in Wales has fallen to below one per cent of the population, the Membership and Finance Report said. And the Governing Body was in no mood simply to “receive” the report, as the motion on the order paper asked it to do.

23 September 2016: Bear necessities in bid for teddy record
The Grimsby Telegraph reports that a small group were knitting teddy bears to go in Christmas shoeboxes for needy children across the world. But the 15,687 bears they have knitted has broken the previous record, and they are striving to reach 16,000 by the end of the week. The bears are currently residing in St Mary’s parish church, Barton-on-Humber. The BBC noted that bears had been received from Spain, Italy, Turkey and Australia.

23 September 2016: English cathedral statistics 2015 show continued growth
Thinking Anglicans reported on the release by the Church of England of its Cathedral statistics for 2015.

22 September 2016: Drama as Anglican church bishops flee Anambra
The Daily Post reports that 170 bishops of the Church of Nigeria at a five-day meeting in Awka cut short their deliberations on Wednesday. The Indigenous People of Biafra had urged people to stay at home on September 23rd, in protest against the continued incarceration of their leader, despite court rulings for his release. The bishops feared that the Niger bridge, the only exit from the state, would be blocked and they would be trapped.

20 September 2016: Church of England needs 50 per cent increase in ordinands
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the C of E is seeking to increase the number of candidates for ordained ministry from around 500 each year to 750. And they are targeting a 'substantial increase' in the number of young, and black and minority ethnic ordinands.


17 September 2016: Holy Communion in the Church in Wales to be open to all the baptised
Thinking Anglicans tells us the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales has announced that, with effect from Advent Sunday, everyone who has been baptised can participate fully in Holy Communion, regardless of their age or whether they have been confirmed.

16 September 2016: Anglican priest is first patient of robotic eye surgery
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the successful outcome of the world's first robotic eye surgery. The patient, the Revd Dr Bill Beaver, is a priest in the Church of England and was formerly the director of communications for the Church of England and introduced corporate branding to it, including the now-iconic 'e' symbol.

16 September 2016: The ABC makes a plea on social media
The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked for prayers 'for wisdom, for patience, and for courage' on both Facebook and Twitter.

12 September 2016: Australia's Anglican hierarchy divided over marriage equality plebiscite
The Guardian (London), in its Australia News section, reports divisions in the Anglican Church of Australia on whether to back or oppose the federal government’s planned marriage equality plebiscite.

11 September 2016: Steampunk Bible game from NZ takes hold worldwide
The Bible Society of New Zealand announces the success of their online Bible game designed to bring the Scriptures alive. Called The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance, it claims more than 15,000 players mainly from New Zealand, Australia and the United States, with 400 kids playing the game every day.


8 September 2016: Australian primate says church will accept plebiscite results
The Guardian (London) reports that Archbishop Philip Freier, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, has said that his church must accept a change in the definition of marriage if the upcoming plebiscite in that country approves marriage equality. He also said it is unlikely the church's doctrine will change. In his statement, Archbishop Freier welcomes the referendum but expresses concern about the 'tenor of the debate.'

8 September 2016: Church of England 2014 parish finance results released
The Church of England published this press release, which summarizes aggregated parish finance figures for 2014. It reports a 'record level of giving' to parishes. The Church Times notes that although the level of giving has increased, it is not enough.

5 September 2016: Church in north London applies for permit as live music venue
The Telegraph (London) reports on the application by the vicar of St Michael in the Parish of Old St Pancras, Camden, to serve alcohol at evening musical events, a necessary step in enabling it to be a paid concert venue.

3 September 2016: Much to-do about gender issues in the Church of England
The LGBTI Mission has issued this statement about the recent statement by the Bishop of Grantham. Thinking Anglicans has reproduced a letter to the Sunday Times by various married lesbian and gay members of the Church of England. 138 members of General Synod have published an open letter to the C of E College of Bishops.

2 September 2016: Christians experiencing supernatural phenomena
The Church Times, reporting on a survey by Christian Research in a recently published book, tells us two-thirds of the Christians surveyed had had a personal supernatural experience at some point in their lives.

2 September 2016: Dodransbicentennial for Diocese of North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba
The Anglican Communion News Service, demonstrating its ownership of good dictionaries and style guide, announced the celebration of the 175th anniversary of DNECA (Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba) in the Province of the West Indies. Our style guide notes that 'dodransbicentennial' is preferred over 'dodrabicentennial', 'dequasbicentennial', 'demisemiseptcentennial', or 'septaquintaquinquecentennial'. A previous employer of ours celebrated in 2007 its purported terquasquicentennial, but we think they invented the word and fibbed about the date of its founding, and they have since then gone out of business.


2 September 2016: Security guard dies foiling terrorists in Diocese of Peshawar
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the story of an attack on the Church of Pakistan by suicide bombers that was thwarted by a brave security guard who died defending the church.

2 September 2016: Anglican women's ministry centre opens in Seoul
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the long-awaited opening of the Women’s Mission Centre in Seoul, Korea. The project was launched in 1995.

2 September 2016: First C of E bishop declares he is in gay relationship
The Guardian (London) reports the announcement by the Bishop of Grantham that he is gay and in a relationship. Columnist Andrew Brown notes the hypocrisy of the Church of England's official stance on clergy sexuality. The Guardian also reports 'Fourteen gay Anglican priests urge bishops to take lead on inclusion'. Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over sexuality issues, and The Guardian has published an ominous-sounding prediction of schism.

31 August 2016: Shadow Synod to meet in Tunbridge Wells
The Church Times reports on the upcoming 'shadow synod' with representatives of 11 congregations in three dioceses (Rochester, Canterbury, and Chichester) are meeting on Thursday at St Mark's, Tunbridge Wells to express disgust at the state of the Church of England.

29 August 2016: Australian archbishop expresses remorse for non-support of sex abuse victims
Perth Now reports that Anglican Archbishop of Perth says he badly let down child sexual abuse survivors in his former diocese and hopes the church has been 'woken up' by the Royal Commission. Archbishop Roger Herft has been giving evidence at hearings into how the Diocese of Newcastle, which he headed between 1993-2005, handled (or mishandled) allegations of abuse.

28 August 2016: Britain's Ordinariate is in peril
Damien Thompson, who had championed the Ordinariate, writes in the Catholic Herald that it seems doomed. It has about a thousand lay members scatted about the country in tiny communities and eighty ex-Anglican priests to support. The bishops have not encouraged it, and there seems little enthusiasm amongst its members. Mr Thompson, however, hopes for signs of new life.

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27 August 2016: ABC interviewed at Britain's Greenbelt Festival
Christian Today reports on and quotes from an interview with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, by British television star Kate Bottley. One notable quote: 'I am constantly consumed with horror at the way the Church has treated gay people.'

27 August 2016: New testimony in Diocese of Newcastle sex abuse hearings
The Australian reports that the child abuse royal commission released a slew of exhibits about the Anglican diocese. On Monday it begins a third week of hearings, when the Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, is due to be the first facing cross-examination. One revelation is that the former dean of Newcastle’s Anglican cathedral wrote a character reference for a priest he knew to be a pedophile.

26 August 2016: Bid to install padded chairs squashed by Court
The parishioners at the 12th century Church of the Holy Trinity in Long Itchington, Warwickshire, had to move their Victorian pews whenever they held Messy Church, or hosted village events. Despite concerns from the Victorian Society, they were permitted to remove the pews. The Church Times reports. However, the Chancellor of the diocese of Coventry has ruled that they must be replaced with un-upholstered wooden chairs. He suggested that wine-coloured padding might be off-putting to newcomers, and that an ‘overly casual appearance can be incompatible with a house of God’. One of the wardens told the Telegraph that she felt the court's decision would hinder the mission of the parish. The Telegraph has the best headline: ‘Not the comfy chair! Parishioners given Spanish Inquisition’, but the article is behind a paywall.

23 August 2016: Maori Archbishop to retire in March 2017
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the announcement by Archbishop William Brown Turei of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, that he will retire at the end of March 2017 at the age of 92. He is the oldest Primate in the Anglican Communion.


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21 August 2016: The Revd Roly Bain
The Guardian reports the death of the 'Holy Roly', whose clown ministry took him around the world. He felt himself in the old tradition of jesters in church, who symbolize the comedy and tragedy of life. During his career, he had custard-pied ten bishops, 'and most were grateful'. 

21 August 2016: Anglican church commences construction of trauma centre for Boko Haram victims
The Diocese of Maiduguri has laid the cornerstone on this trauma centre according to the Premium Times (Nigeria). Though 'the centre belongs to the Anglican communion, its services will cut across all religions and denominations' and is expected to cost N15 million (£33,220).

21 August 2016: City square shut down, fears for Cathedral under Melbourne Metro rail tunnel drilling plans
Fears have raised about the stability of the ground beneath the 125 year-old St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne once drilling starts in 2018. The Herald Sun (Melbourne) also reports of concerns that the project could 'represent a major threat to the practical functioning of the Cathedral'.

19 August 2016: Interreligious Summit for Peace set for September
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will join Pope Francis and other prominent Christian and Muslim leaders for a peace summit in Assisi this September. Writes the Catholic News Agency, the meeting is '"a necessary encounter," especially given the current global climate of conflict.'

19 August 2016: Brazil’s Anglicans protest destruction of Indigenous land
Anglican Journal reports Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) has joined a coallition of churches protesting the removal of indigious peoples from their land to make way for agro-business, which has led to nearly 400 murders and over 500 suicides over the last 12 years. The group has led demonstrations and met with legislators, with support from USPG.


13 August 2016: Top cleric says C of E risks becoming a 'suburban sect'
Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, Oxford has warned that the Church of England is in danger of becoming a narrow sect 'driven by mission-minded middle managers' who are alienating clergy, congregations and the general public.

12 August 2016: ABC says silencing of abuse victims is itself a form of abuse
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that in the foreword to the current issue of Crucible, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the silencing of abuse victims is itself a form of abuse 'as bad if not worse than the first betrayal.'

10 August 2016: More from Australia's Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
The Guardian (London) maintains a good synopsis of activity and findings of the Royal commission. This week's reports include testimony from a former police officer that after being brought in to clean up the Anglican church in Newcastle, he was subjected to personal harassment and attacks on his home. The commission's Newcastle case study is examining the way the local Anglican diocese responded to allegations of child sexual abuse made against clergy and lay members of the church.

10 August 2016: Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa elects new chair and vice-chair
The Anglican Communion News Service has announced the election of Albert Chama, Archbishop of Central Africa, as chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). The newly-elected vice-chair is Archbishop Stanley Ntagali from Uganda. CAPA is an organization formed to work with, rather than be antagonistic to, other parts of the Anglican Communion.

9 August 2016: ABC announces that C of E will block protests
Christian Today reports that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has announced that the Church of England will ban protests at the consecration of female bishops. The report adds 'The mechanism for banning protests is not clear and the Archbishop of Canterbury's office declined to comment further for Christian Today.'


5 August 2016: WATCH urges Archbishop and Deans to take steps against serial interruptor
The Church Times (London) reports that the British campaign group WATCH (Women and the Church) has urged the Archbishop of Canterbury and cathedral deans to ensure that a man opposed to women bishops is not allowed to interrupt any more consecrations. 'Such interruptions create the perception that the Church is willing to allow a woman who has been called by God and the Church, and appointed by the Crown, to be publicly insulted and undermined,' WATCH’s statement said.

4 August 2016: Church of England clergyman found guilty of past sex crimes
The Guardian (London) reports that a British jury found George Granville Gibson, 80, the former archdeacon of Auckland, guilty of two counts of indecent assault. He was found not guilty of five other charges. Earlier, two charges were dropped.

3 August 2016: Archbishop of York repeats call for Mugabe resignation
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports on the renewed call by Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu for the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe.

3 August 2016: C of E issues guidelines for use of social media
The headline in The Telegraph (London) says, somewhat frivolously, 'The Gif of God: Church of England issues eight social media commandments'. The article is not much in keeping with that headline, but it does include a list of eight smartphone apps recommended by the C of E for use by church staff. Mostly the article is about a series of steps taken by the Church of England to encourage and promote the use of social media by parishes.

2 August 2016: Refugees turn C of E into fastest growing religious group in Finland
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) notes that The Church of England is the fastest growing religious group in Finland, growing by 20 per cent over the past year. This is due not to evangelism but to immigration: much of the growth is because arriving refugees are Anglican, from Sudan and South Sudan.

1 August 2016: Australia's Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
The Guardian (London) maintains a good synopsis of activity and findings of Australia's ongoing Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. Some recent reports ('Anglican bishop Roger Herft "berated" mother over priest abuse' and 'Anglican priest accuses Church of failing to act after her son was abused') haven't yet made its way into that synopsis.

29 July 2016: 4 injured as Sapele Anglican church factions clash
The Vanguard (Lagos) reports that protesters gathered at the synod meeting of the Diocese of Sapele alleging financial mismanagement by Bishop Blessed Erifeta. A group of soldiers were called to keep the peace, but beat the protesters, injuring four women and a youth. This was the latest of a series of protests. Last fall a group led by a churchwarden of the cathedral sought a police investigation into the finances of the diocese, and the bishop sued them for defamation of character. The Sapele High Court dismissed the suit when the bishop failed to show up. Leadership (Abuja) outlines some of the charges and the bishop’s reaction, which was to dismiss all charges against himself. Christian Today noted that the four victims were hospitalised.


28 July 2016: Belfast RC priest named canon of Anglican cathedral
Catholic World News (Virginia, USA) reports that a Roman Catholic parish priest in Belfast has been named an 'ecumenical canon' of the city’s Anglican cathedral, St Anne. Belfast is in the Diocese of Connor.

27 July 2016: Attacks on churches 'very likely'
The Telegraph (London) reports British security services have reported that terrorist attacks on churches in the UK are 'highly likely'.

26 July 2016: Senior Church of England clergy accused of failing to act on rape allegations
The Guardian (London) reports as-yet unproven accusations against bishops for failing to act when sexual violence was reported to them. The Church Times (London) has a succinct report on the 'Goddard Inquiry', also known as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

23 July 2016: Westminster council turns away homeless Jesus
OK, so we couldn't resist the headline in The Guardian (London). And this actually happened and was reported months ago. But we didn't notice it then, and it is rather timeless. The Guardian reported on the action by Westminster city council rejecting an application to install a sculpture of Jesus sleeping on a park bench.


22 July 2016: USPG backs off on cringe-worthy name change
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the United Society [once 'for the Propagation of the Gospel'] is renouncing the silly name 'Us' and returning to 'USPG', but going forward the acronym will stand for United Society Partners in Gospel. It is once again safe to refer to this organization in conversation without saying something like 'The society formerly known as USPG'. Even its web address (weareus.org.uk) was cringe-worthy, and we trust it will also change.

22 July 2016: Cumbrian church is site of Britain’s first African settlement
St Michael’s Church in Burgh-by-Sands, near Carlisle, was built on the site of a third century Roman for of Aballava, where North African troops provided part of the garrison. The Anglican Communion News Service reports that a plaque commemorating that first African community in Britain has been unveiled there, in conjunction with the BBC filming a segment of a programme on the black history of Britain.

22 July 2016: Pokémon in your parish
The Church Times noted 'PokéStops allow churches to catch gamers'. So did Anglicans Online, of course.

21 July 2016: Episcopal Divinity School to 'cease granting degrees'
The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA has announced it will 'cease to grant degrees at the end of the upcoming academic year'. We're confident that there's more to this story than has been announced, but we have no idea what it might be.

20 July 2016: Paedophile ring inside Diocese of Newcastle (Australia) exposed by whistle-blowers
Do note that there are two dioceses of Newcastle, one in Australia and one in the UK. This report is about the Australian Diocese of Newcastle. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC, reports the Diocese of Newcastle for years buried complaints about sex abusers, including reports of a senior priest who was part of a paedophile ring that involved priests and lay people. Huffington Post Australia claims that the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, knew about this abuse and took no action.

19 July 2016: Evidence of New World religious dialogue found in Caribbean cave
The Guardian (London) reports that a team led by the British Museum and the University of Leicester have found evidence of an early religious dialogue between Europeans and Native Americans.

19 July 2016: Bishop of London to retire
The Diocese of London has announced the upcoming retirement of the Rt Revd Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of London.


14 July 2016: Edmond L. Browning, an Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop, Dies at 87
The New York Times' coverage of the life and death of retired US Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev'd Ed Browning.

13 July 2016: Gotta catch ‘em all (in the Anglican Communion)
The world-wide craze of Pokémon Go has become a surprising source of evangelism in the past week. The Washington Post has coverage and, for those needing an explanation, the Forward Movement has resources.

13 July 2016: Vicar’s daughter brings quiet Anglican faith to Prime Minister’s post
Crux explores the faith of regular church-goer Theresa May and how her active faith influences her politics.

12 July 2016: Anglican church of Canada backs same-sex marriage, a day after rejecting it
The Guardian reports same-sex marriage received the necessary two-thirds votes in each order at the Anglican Church of Canada's Synod in Toronto which concluded on 12 July. Though initally the vote appeared to have failed by one clergy vote, it was later revealed that a clergy vote had been misfiled and several others were not counted. The resolution will require passage of a second reading to become active. Anglican Journal describes seven bishops' 'public dissent' from the decision.

12 July 2016: Cathedral provides sanctuary as thousands flee Juba violence
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals are among the many places of worship providing sanctuary for over 15,000 displaced persons.

12 July 2016: Church of England finishes Shared Conversations on LGBT issues
The C of E has completed a series of ‘shared conversations’ to address the experience of LGBT persons in the church. Thinking Anglicans has coverage, which includes a response from the LGBTI Mission.


10 July 2016: Archbishop Tutu celebrates 40 years as a bishop
The Associated Press (USA) and Africa News both reported on the celebration of four decades of service as a bishop at a mass at St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg

9 July 2016: General Synod of the Church of England is underway
The best coverage of The C of E General Synod is Thinking Anglicans. The C of E has several such meetings per year, so any particular meeting tends to be less momentous than (say) the meetings in Canada or the USA, which are held every three years.

9 July 2016: General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is underway
Canada's Anglican Journal provides excellent (but lengthy) coverage of Canada's General Synod, which is held every three years.

9 July 2016: Episcopal Church in Cuba is reanimating
Canada's Anglican Journal notes 'Despite the fact that the Episcopal diocese of Cuba has been in limbo for half a century, new signs of growth are sprouting up across the island nation...'


5 August 2016: WATCH urges Archbishop and Deans to take steps against serial interruptor
The Church Times (London) reports that the British campaign group WATCH (Women and the Church) has urged the Archbishop of Canterbury and cathedral deans to ensure that a man opposed to women bishops is not allowed to interrupt any more consecrations. 'Such interruptions create the perception that the Church is willing to allow a woman who has been called by God and the Church, and appointed by the Crown, to be publicly insulted and undermined,' WATCH’s statement said.

4 August 2016: Church of England clergyman found guilty of past sex crimes
The Guardian (London) reports that a British jury found George Granville Gibson, 80, the former archdeacon of Auckland, guilty of two counts of indecent assault. He was found not guilty of five other charges. Earlier, two charges were dropped

3 August 2016: Archbishop of York repeats call for Mugabe resignation
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports on the renewed call by Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu for the resignation of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe.

3 August 2016: C of E issues guidelines for use of social media
The headline in The Telegraph (London) says, somewhat frivolously, 'The Gif of God: Church of England issues eight social media commandments'. The article is not much in keeping with that headline, but it does include a list of eight smartphone apps recommended by the C of E for use by church staff. Mostly the article is about a series of steps taken by the Church of England to encourage and promote the use of social media by parishes.

2 August 2016: Refugees turn C of E into fastest growing religious group in Finland
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) notes that The Church of England is the fastest growing religious group in Finland, growing by 20 per cent over the past year. This is due not to evangelism but to immigration: much of the growth is because arriving refugees are Anglican, from Sudan and South Sudan.

1 August 2016: Australia's Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
The Guardian (London) maintains a good synopsis of activity and findings of Australia's ongoing Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. Some recent reports ('Anglican bishop Roger Herft "berated" mother over priest abuse' and 'Anglican priest accuses Church of failing to act after her son was abused') haven't yet made its way into that synopsis.


PRIOR TO 9 July 2016: Older news stories are headlined in our Archive Pages.

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