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The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for October/November/December 2016

Link to main News Archives page

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31 December 2016: Egyptian Archbishop rebuts claims against Archbishop of Canterbury
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt, has issued a statement to refute allegations made in a blog post by an American priest, the Revd George Conger.

25 December 2016: On the Queen's Christmas message
Queen Elizabeth II broadcast her annual Christmas message on British television. The video itself is on YouTube. The Church Times has reported on what she had to say. Her Christmas messages are always worth your time, and this year's is no exception.

24 December 2016: Assyrian Christians in Iraq reclaim church from Islamic State
The Los Angeles Times reports on the impromptu and dangerous pilgrimage of Iraqi Assyrians from Irbil to their former home in Bartella to spend Christmas Eve in their Mar Shimoni church, heavily guarded by soldiers.

23 December 2016: First nonwhite bishop for Church of England in 20 years
The Church Times reports on the first black or minority-ethnic episcopal appointment in the Church of England for 20 years. The Revd Prebendary Dr Woyin Karowei Dorgu has been appointed to the suffragan see of Woolwich. His appointment might or might not be a consequence of a letter of complaint sent to the editor of the Church Times last month.

23 December 2016: Nativity scene with baby Jesus in an igloo in caribou fur
Canada's National Post reports on the stained-glass nativity scene in a window of St George in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Mary and Joseph are in parkas. The Baby Jesus is swaddled head to toe in caribou furs. And the trio are observing the First Noel in an igloo while the Star of Bethlehem illuminates the Arctic sky overhead.

23 December 2016: Obituary: Reginald Stackhouse
Reginald Stackhouse was a passionate advocate from many pulpits. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) remembers Stackhouse, a former principal of Wycliffe College in Toronto, Conservative Member of Parliament, journalist, and potato grower. He was a persuasive advocate for progressive policies in both church and government.

22 December 2016: Bells ring for Christmas at York Minster
The Guardian (London) reports that a volunteer team stepped in for carol service after a dispute with the Chapter left that ancient cathedral in danger of falling silent over Christmas.

21 December 2016: O click, all ye faithful
The Guardian (London) reports on the growth of online religious activity in the Church of England.

18 December 2016: A bleak Christmas in Bethlehem
Haaretz (Tel aviv) reports that the illusion of normalcy in Jesus' birthplace is shattered at the sight of the wall that chokes the city.

16 December 2016: US Anglicans accused of meddling in Africa
The Church Times reports on an interview with the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, in which he said the importance African church leaders attach to the question of same-sex relationships is the result of interference by conservatives in the United States. Dr Idowu-Fearon said that Anglican leaders in Africa seemed 'to be so much taken in' by the issue, not because of concerns about the impact on relations with Muslims, but as a result of 'very strong minority conservatives' in the US.

16 December 2016: Update on York Minster's conflict with its (now former) bell ringers
Thinking Anglicans has gathered and summarised reports on the continuing standoff between York Minster and the people who rang its bells until they were sacked. There are links to longer statements by both sides in the dispute, and to the delightfully titled posting 'Peace on earth and good will to all men – except the sacked bell-ringers of York Minster' in the blog called Archbishop Cranmer.

15 December 2016: Perth Archbishop resigns after admitting to let down of sex abuse survivors
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported the resignation of Perth Archbishop Roger Herft after admitting he let down survivors of sexual abuse. He had been Archbishop of Perth since 2005. The announcement of his resignation on the diocesan website offers no reason for his decision. Archbishop Herft actually stood down some three months ago; today's statement is that his departure is permanent.

11 December 2016: UK nurse fired from job after offering to pray for patients
The Telegraph (London) tells of a surgical nurse with 15 years' experience who offered to pray for patients waiting for surgery who was sacked from her job for gross misconduct. Sister Sarah Kuteh was accused of holding 'unwanted discussions' which allegedly upset patients, and of ignoring conduct guidelines on discussing personal beliefs.

9 December 2016: Oldest bell foundry in UK to close
The Church Times reports that after 278 years, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in the east end of London will be closing its doors. It cast the Liberty Bell for the colonial legislature in Philadelphia in 1752, and Big Ben for the Palace of Westminster in 1858. 

9 December 2016: Closed Anglican church in Montreal reopens as St Jax
The Montreal Gazette reports that a new congregation called St Jax has opened in the building formerly housing St James the Apostle. St Jax is part of the Diocese of Montreal, and is authentically Anglican, but is trying many new things.

9 December 2016: Crowd-funding campaign to save fire-damaged historic Anglican school in Madagascar
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the creation of a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to save St Lawrence College in Ambohimanoro, Madagascar, 145 years old. Anglicans Online made a small donation. Will you?

4 December 2016: New world record for Nativity play
The Telegraph (London) reports on the setting of a new world record for the size of a Nativity play, by 1,254 residents of the English town of Calne in Wiltshire. Wikipedia reports the population of Calne as upwards of 18,000 so there is good headroom to try again if some other town challenges their record. A correspondent has told us that in order to be eligible to participate, a person needed to be a resident of the SN11 postcode, which includes Heddington and Hilmarton as well as Calne.

4 December 2016: New bishop for Los Angeles
The US Episcopal News Service has announced the election of the Revd John Taylor as coadjutor of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Fr Taylor is currently the Rector of St John Chrysostom in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

4 December 2016: New bishop for Bunyoro Kitara
The Sunday Vision (Kampala) has announced the ordination and installation of the Revd Canon Sam Nkrumah as the next Bishop of Bunyoro Kitara in the Anglican Church of Uganda. That newspaper also published these photographs of the ceremony.

3 December 2016: New archbishop for Adelaide
The Australian Associated Press has announced the election of the Rt Revd Geoffrey Smith as the new Archbishop of Adelaide. Bishop Smith is currently the assistant bishop, general manager and registrar of the Diocese of Brisbane. We found this brief announcement on the website of the Diocese of Adelaide. Not that it's relevant to today's news, but we note that the Diocese of Adelaide is one of the few dioceses in the world still to have a local name in dot-com:

3 December 2016: Kansas bishop to become New York rector
St Bartholomew, a major parish church in New York City, has announced that the Rt Revd Dean Wolfe will not be in Kansas any more, beginning in February 2017. He is currently Bishop of Kansas.

3 December 2016: Non-denominational evangelical minister and Episcopal priest
Conservative parishioners left the former St Timothy’s church in Catonsville, and two congregations now worship there, both led by the same minister. The Revd Jason Poling celebrates the Eucharist in alb and chasuble at the newly-formed St Hilda's Episcopal church. Then, like a clerical Clark Kent, he exchanges his vestments for a black Joe Flacco jersey to lead the evangelical New Hope Community Church. The Baltimore Sun reports that the Bishop of Maryland, Eugene Taylor Sutton, hopes people on both sides of the theological spectrum can work together. Fr Poling says it’s too early to tell whether the experiment will thrive, 'or whether God wants me to be a cautionary tale.'

2 December 2016: Anglican Church of Canada supporting Standing Rock protesters
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports the Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod (COGS) passed a resolution by consensus in which they expressed their support for those protesting against the oil and gas pipeline proposed to be run through lands belonging to indigenous peoples.

1 December 2016: Vicar steps in to let Post Office open branch in his church
In 2015 the Post Office in Whitstable, Kent was closed so it could be redeveloped into flats. After a sit-in protest, an office was re-opened in a portable container in a car park, but customers had to queue outside in the freezing weather. SWNS reports that the congregation of St Peter's church has given the Post Office a new home beside the chairs at the back of the church. Both parties are happy with the arrangement. In an earlier edition of our News Centre we had described the Post Office as being next to the pews, but Fr Vannerley (The Revd Dr David van Krieken Vannerley, to be precise) contacted us to say that St Peter's had only ever had chairs.

28 November 2016: Uruguay bishop demands more engagement with evangelism
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports the Bishop of Uruguay has delivered a critical presidential address to his diocesan synod, in which he said that parishes had failed to engage with 'the basics' of mission and evangelism.

25 November 2016: IARCCUM statement admits failure to protect vulnerable
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on a statement issued by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) following the group's recent historic meeting in Canterbury and Rome. 'We lament our failures and share the brokenness of our church communities. We failed to protect vulnerable people: children from sexual abuse, women from violence, and indigenous peoples from exploitation.'

25 November 2016: Independent reviewer for Church of England's handling of George Bell case
The Church Times (London) has announced and commented on the appointment of Lord Carlile as the leader of a formal review of the child-abuse charges filed against the late George Bell, one-time Bishop of Chichester.

25 November 2016: Archbishops' Council Secretary General rebukes GAFCON
The Church Times reports on a letter from the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye to the chairman of GAFCON UK Task Force, Canon Andrew Lines, calling the GAFCON briefing paper 'significantly misleading'. Thinking Anglicans reported GAFCON's response.

24 November 2016: 'Anglican house is burning', bishop tells abuse inquiry
The Guardian (London), reporting on the continuing progress of Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, quotes an Anglican bishop who says he received warnings from parishioners that he is not safe in his own diocese after he revealed claims of his abuse as a young man by senior church clerics. As bishop of a community plagued by systematic child sexual abuse over decades, he says a national church response is needed, as the 'Anglican house is burning'. The Australian Broadcasting Company has reported the statement by the former dean of Newcastle 'vehemently denying' his participation.

22 November 2016: Chester Cathedral Zumbathon
The Revd Helena Roulston is the curate at St Chad’s church, Winsford, and she is also a Zumba instructor. She organized a two hour Zumbathon in Chester Cathedral that attracted more than 500 people in brightly coloured clothes. The Chester Chronicle reports that the event raised £6,000 for children’s charities.

21 November 2016: New offices for the Diocese of Christchurch
Anglican Life, the diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of Christchurch in New Zealand, has announced the opening of new offices after years of temporary accommodations after their offices were destroyed in New Zealand's 2011 earthquake. The new offices are about 11km north-west of Cathedral Square.

21 November 2016: 'In biblical lands of Iraq, Christianity in peril after ISIS'
The US-based Cable News Network reports on the pessimism and gloom in Iraq after the aggressive destruction by ISIS of so many Christian churches and communities (a number of which were Anglican).

21 November 2016: Diocese of Huron cathedral closed over structural concerns
The London Free Press (Ontario) reports the closure of the Cathedral of St Paul 'until further notice' because the main part of the 170-year-old building is unsafe.

20 November 2016: Anglican church seeks 'reconciliation animator'
Anglican Journal reports the Anglican Church of Canada is seeking to fill this positions to 'help continue its work on reconciliation and justice with Indigenous peoples, and to support the work of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice.'

18 November 2016: Justin Welby: It's time to stop saying Isil has 'nothing to do with Islam'
The Telegraph (London) summarizes Archbishop Justin Welby's lecture at the Catholic Institute of Paris which included the above quote as well further theological critiques of international and economic issues.

17 November 2016: Caring for a 154-year-old matriarch
Asia One reports on the structural working being done on St Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore and some of those involved in the restoration.

16 November 2016: Millions face starvation as famine hits southern Africa
Anglican News (London) discusses the food shortages facing the people of Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe and invites readers to participate in USPG's emergency appeal.

14 November 2016: Row Over Release Of Gay Clergy List
Earlier this week Christian Today reported on the release of a partial list of clergy known to be in same-sex relationships or who have officiated over gay unions last Sunday by GAFCON UK. Following this release a new website was started to be 'A Proud List of Violators and Supporters'. In the Church Times, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam is quoted as calling the original list 'outrageous.' Continuing 'to name individuals in this statement is wrong, creates a climate of fear, and opens them to personal abuse.'

12 November 2016: Former Anglican bishop sues church
Julius Makoni had taken a break from his banking career to study theology at Westcott House in Cambridge, and two weeks after he was ordained priest, he was appointed bishop of Manicaland. In 2014 the Church Times reported that he ignored an order by his archbishop to reinstate two priests who complained about his behaviour. His predecessor had lost a protracted legal battle with the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), and Bishop Makoni may have lent the Province funds to cover its legal costs. He has since resigned, but now, Newsday (Zimbabwe) reports, he is suing CPCA to recover the money he allegedly paid in legal fees on behalf of the diocese.

11 November 2016: I’m in charge, says Ntagali as Christians apologize
The Daily Monitor (Kampala) reports that the High Court of Uganda has ruled that the archbishop had the right to appoint commissaries in the diocese of West Ankole after the retirement of the bishop. Though leaders of the diocese have apologized, some of the lay canons who launched the suit remain unsatisfied.

6 November 2016: Mosques and churches bathed in yellow paint
Muslims and Christians came together to paint the Jeddah Mosque in the Kibera slum of Nairobi yellow, to denote light and neutrality. When they finished, World Bulletin (Istanbul) reports, they went to the neighbouring Anglican church, Holy Trinity, to give it a fresh coat of paint, which you can see in this post on Mikke Zeyya (Nairobi). The organizers wanted to express solidarity between Muslims and Christians, after a series of attacks by Al-Shabaab militants drove a wedge between the two groups.

6 November 2016: ABC says Christianity in Middle East under threat as never before
The Ecumenical News reports a speech given by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in which he says that Christianity has never felt as threatened as it does in its historic birthplace, the Middle East.

5 November 2016: Half century of sexual abuse at elite Anglican school in Brisbane
The Courier Mail (Brisbane) reports one of Queensland’s most prestigious private schools has had at least one paedophile on staff at any given time over the past six decades.

4 November 2016: New bishop for Algoma
The Manitoulin Expositor (Northern Ontario) reports that the Diocese of Algoma (Canada) has elected the Revd Anne Germond as its next bishop.

3 November 2016: New bishop for Indianapolis
Anglican News (London) reports that the Diocese of Indianapolis has elected the Revd Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows as its next bishop.

2 November 2016: New bishop for St Davids
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports that the Diocese of St Davids has elected the Revd Canon Joanna Penberthy as its next bishop.

1 November 2016: Recovering the autonomy of the Anglican Church in Egypt
Christian Today reports on the continuing struggle in Egypt to reverse the decision by a civil court to subsume the Anglican Church in Egypt into the Central Office of Protestant Churches (COPC) in Egypt. The Anglican Communion News Service reports that a court in Egypt has postponed a hearing to determine whether the province can regain its independence.

30 October 2016: Debate continues on rebuilding of Christchurch Cathedral in NZ
The Press (Auckland) today has published yet another proposal for rebuilding the earthquake-destroyed cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand. This proposal, by prominent historian Dr Geoffrey Rice, is to attach a tall 'tourist tower' to the minimally-restored remains of the old cathedral. As the arguments drag on (it has been more than five years), the transitional cathedral (which almost everyone calls the 'cardboard cathedral') continues to serve well as the diocesan see.

29 October 2016: Iraqi Christians face uphill battle to rebuild
France 24 (Paris) reports 'As the coalition battling the Islamic State pushes towards Mosul, Christian towns and villages in the surrounding region are being liberated. But the future is still unclear for those returning to Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian town.'

28 October 2016: Britain becoming a nation of Christmas-only churchgoers
The Telegraph (London) reports that a new survey shows a boom in attendance at festive services while Sunday congregations slump to an all-time low.

28 October 2016: Optimism in the face of falling attendance in C of E
The Church Times (London), reporting the results of the most recent survey, tells us attendance at C of E churches, including at Sunday services and on major festivals, continues to decline steadily by as much as 1.4 per cent a year. Their headline says 'Church has ‘a strong base to work from’ despite further fall in numbers'.

28 October 2016: Bishop Cameron's design minted as UK Christmas symbol
The Church Times reports that the Royal Mint will strike the first-ever Christmas coin in a design produced by the Bishop of St Asaph, in Wales. The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron is an avid coin collector and is obviously also an artist.

27 October 2016: Bishop of Egypt calls for prayer and advocacy after 'hostile takeover'
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Bishop of Egypt, Dr Mouneer Anis, has called on Anglicans to pray and advocate with their local Egyptian consulates and embassies after a court ruling effectively subsumed the diocese into a separate denominational body. The Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile) began as an American Presbyterian mission in the nineteenth century, but became independent in 1958. Anglican Ink explains that following the Suez Crisis in 1956 the Nasser regime declared the Diocese of Egypt to be a sect of the Evangelical Church. The court rejected an appeal launched by the diocese in 2007 that it be granted separate legal existence. Archbishop Mouneer Anis warns that the ECA can now claim all Anglican properties as their own, and needs to approve any document the Anglican church submits to the government.

24 October 2016: 2016 Advent devotions by leaders of Anglican and Lutheran churches available soon
Canada's Anglican Journal reports 'Four Advent devotions, written by four heads of Anglican and Lutheran churches in North America, will soon be available for members of all four churches.' They are referring to Canada's Anglican Archbishop Fred Hiltz and Lutheran Bishop Susan Johnson and to the USA's Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Lutheran Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.

23 October 2016: Lord Carey 'may face explicit criticism' from UK abuse inquiry
The Church Times reports that the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has been granted core-participant status at the UK's Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) after Professor Alexis Jay, who chairs it, ruled that he 'may be subject to explicit criticism by the Inquiry in due course'.

23 October 2016: Dreadlocked bishop uses the bible in iPhone app
Stuff (New Zealnd) quotes the Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth: 'It's not hard to go and meet your neighbour'.

19 October 2016: Russian patriarch concerned about Anglican developments
Catholic Culture reports that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow 'drew Archbishop Justin Welby’s attention to the Russian Orthodox Church’s concern over the liberalization of the Church of England’s teaching on church order, particularly, the ordination of women as priests and bishops and on the family and morality'. 'His Holiness Kirill expressed hope that the Church of England will oppose [the] challenges of the modern world and seek to preserve the Gospel’s teaching', the patriarchate added.

19 October 2016: ANC accuses South African bishop of encouraging violence
News 24 (Cape Town) reports the African National Congress has slammed Bishop of Pretoria Jo Seoka, accusing him of encouraging violence during the crisis gripping tertiary institutions over fees. The party has called on students to distance themselves from Seoka and the violence, saying it is delegitimising their 'genuine' protest.

17 Oct 2016: Anglican church advocates true federalism as solution to Nigeria's problems
The Anglican Diocese of Calabar on Monday argued that the practice of true federalism in Nigeria is the only cure for Nigeria’s many problems. The Bishop of the Diocese, the Rt Revd Tunde Adeleye, who stated this at a press briefing to mark the 2nd session of 9th Synod of the Diocese in Calabar, averred that states should be given more powers to manage pressing local affairs, while the Federal Government should maintain its roles on national security and diplomatic matters.

14 October 2016: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral donates £910 to RC Cathedral after break-in
The Liverpool Echo reports that the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool has received a donation from its neighbour across the street, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

14 October 2016: Shake-up in lay ministry in the Church of England
The Church Times (London) reports on the contents of an unreleased report by the Lay Leadership Task Group of the Church of England. It will report that the laity in the Church of England must be treated as equal with the clergy if the Church is to grow.

12 October 2016: York Minster axes renowned team of 30 bellringers
The Press (York) reports that the dean and chapter of York Minster told its volunteer bell ringers that their access to the bell tower would be blocked. The head ringer acknowledged that there had been grievances between themselves and chapter, and expressed dismay that the dean had rejected offers to meet to resolve the problems. The Minster suggested that safety was a concern, but when one ringer pointed out that the bells were left in the up position when the volunteers were dismissed, and offered to lower them to a safe position, a canon said he did not have the power to permit it. York Mix reports that the Lord Mayor of York called the chapter’s action 'a spectacular piece of foot-shooting'. The York Minster Society of Change Ringers had this to say.

12 October 2016: Evangelical leaders write to C of E bishops, warn of 'fundamental disunity'
Christian Today reports on a letter from 'nearly a hundred evangelical leaders' to bishops of the Church of England warning that any change in teaching or practice over same-sex relationships would cause 'fundamental disunity'.

10 October 2016: Can forgotten liturgies help dementia sufferers to remember?
Christian Today reports that the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission is planning for dementia-friendly services, where familiar prayers and hymns may unlock the gates of memory. A church blog tells how St Andrew’s church, Aston held a dementia-friendly main Sunday service.

10 October 2016: Consistory Court bans Freemason headstone engraving in Cumbrian churchyard
William Wilson had been a mason for over forty years, and when he died, he was buried in the churchyard at St Oswald’s church, Dean, Cumbria. His niece wanted to put the Freemason’s square and compass on his tombstone, and the parochial church council had no objections. The Times and Star (Cumbria) reports, however, that the chancellor of the diocese of Carlisle has ruled against it, saying it would be detrimental to allow it.

8 October 2016: 6th Global South Conference publishes a communiqué
The Sixth Global South Anglican Conference took place in Cairo, Egypt from 3 through 8 October, 2016. At the end, it issued this communiqué. The Anglican Communion News Service published this report on the meeting.

7 October 2016: Communiqué from IARCCUM Summit
We often poke fun at church-related summit meetings and their subsequent formal communiqués, thinking of them as being primarily a source of frequent-flier miles and résumé lines. The recent IARCCUM summit feels different. Its identity and mission are sufficiently intricate that we shan't try to summarize it here. Go look at, or read the communiqué. It begins 'IARCCUM 2016 has been an extraordinary, historic summit, rich in symbolism and significance for the Anglican Communion and Catholic Church. It brought together 36 bishops from around the world for a week in Canterbury and Rome to celebrate the deepening relationship between the two traditions over the past 50 years – and to find practical ways to work together to demonstrate that unity to the world and address its social and pastoral issues.'

7 October 2016: Dean of Peterborough resigns with sharp criticism for the administrators of the Church of England
The Church Times reports on the fiery resignation sermon delivered by the Very Revd Charles Taylor, who has been the Dean of Peterborough Cathedral.

6 October 2016: Canada primate calls for national Native gathering
The Anglican Journal (Canada) reports that Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has called for a nationwide meeting to assess the progress made since Indigenous Anglicans first declared their intention to work toward self-determination in the 1994 Covenant.

4 October 2016: ABC appoints Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs
The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a press release announcing the appointment of the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, Bishop of Kajo-Keji in South Sudan, as his new Adviser for Anglican Communion Affairs.

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