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This page last updated 12 November 2017  

The News Centre
Archived News Headlines for Jul/Aug/Sep 2017

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30 September 2017: Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors
The Guardian (London) reports that survivors of sexual abuse by Church of England figures have accused Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby of 'breathtaking hypocrisy' after he criticised the BBC for the way it handled abuse by Jimmy Savile.

28 September 2017: New management of London 'Musician's Church' won't budge on music ban
The Guardian (London) reports on the lack of progress in getting the new masters of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London's Holborn district to reconsider their 'no more concerts' policy. The bishop has issued this statement.

28 September 2017: Church and state in the UK
The Guardian (London) reports that the National Secular Society has written to that country's lord chancellor calling for the annual Anglican service at Westminster Abbey (marking the official opening of the legal year) to be cancelled on the grounds that it perpetuates the medieval belief that church and state are closely intertwined. Attendance at the Westminster Abbey service is not compulsory for judges. 

27 September 2017: Missionary bishop to the UK consecrated by US breakaway sect
Christian Today (London) reports the consecration by the Christian Episcopal Church of Gavin Ashenden, who was once the Queen's Chaplain, as a missionary bishop to the UK. The appointment is part of the ongoing worldwide conflicts in many denominations about sex and gender.

25 September 2017: Church and state in Kansas, USA
The Washington Post reports on a lawsuit filed by a prisoner at the Women's Prison in Topeka, Kansas, USA, who alleges that the prison 'force-fed Christianity to prisoners'.

25 September 2017: Prayer Book Society publishes glossary for classic prayer books
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports on the publication by the UK Prayer Book Society of a short glossary of words used in prayer materials in the Church of England (and elsewhere). Described as 'A partial list of some potentially confusing words from regularly-used services in the Book of Common Prayer', it is also available as a PDF that can be printed and used as a bookmark. We expect soon to see a Facebook click-bait quiz based on these words.

25 September 2017: Life imitates art in Saskatchewan: little mosque on the prairie
Maclean's (Toronto) reports the story of a small Muslim congregation in Saskatchewan renting worship space from an Anglican church. A Canadian situation comedy television programme was based on a similar (but imaginary) situation.

24 September 2017: 110 Anglican churches closed in Wales in ten years
BBC reports that more than ten churches a year are closing in Wales, and that there are currently eleven properties for sale on the church's website. One of those featured in the BBC report, the Church of Saint Thomas a Becket in Haverfordwest, is a listed building with a fifteenth century tower, many stained glass windows, (and an adjacent cemetery). It had a low asking price, and the estate agent's website indicates it has already been sold. But other bargains remain.

24 September 2017: Church and state in Nigeria
The Daily Post (Lagos) reports that the Most Revd Emmanuel Chukwuma, Archbishop of Enugu, has endorsed (in the name of the Church) one of the candidates for Governor of Enugu State. Enugu State is in the centre of southern Nigeria and has a population of 3.2 million.

21 September 2017: Primate of Canada says indigenous church possible 'by 2019'
The Anglican Journal (Canada) reports the statement by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, that 'The changes to church law needed to create a self-determining spiritual community for Indigenous Canadian Anglicans could conceivably be made as early as 2019.'

21 September 2017: Nigeria's General Synod convenes with theme 'Thou shalt not steal'
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports that the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria has convened in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, with a theme of 'Thou shalt not steal'.

21 September 2017: New energy and tough questions expected at Primates' Meeting in Canterbury
The Church Times (London) reports on the expectations developing for the Anglican Primates' Meeting in Canterbury the first week of October.

19 September 2019: Celebration at consecration of Tonga's first bishop
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports on the consecration and installation of the Most Revd Dr 'Afa Vaka as the first Bishop of Tonga. For those of you who are not conversant in the Tongan language, the leading quote mark on his given name ('Afa) is called a fakau'a, and is a consonant. It is pronounced as a glottal stop and is an example of an 'okina, common in Polynesian languages.

16 September 2017: Nigerian bishop complains that 'prosperity preaching' is killing the Bible
The Nation (Lagos) reports on an address by the Rt Revd Festus Davies, Bishop of Ogori-Magongo, blaming the travails of the Church of Nigeria on the penchant for materialism by gospel preachers.

14 September 2017: Most Church of England members never read the Bible
The Telegraph (London) reports on a study by the Church of England revealing that most of its members do not ever read the Bible.

13 September 2017: After Montana church vandalized with swastika, parish responds with pink hearts
The sign in front of St James Episcopal church in Bozeman, Montana was recently defaced with a swastika, and 666 written on the sign post. One of the neighbours who saw the graffiti put a a pink heart on it, which bore the word 'Unafraid'. The idea caught on. The US Episcopal News Service reports that some members brought pink hearts and markers to the church service and reclaimed their sign with messages of love. The congregation intend to remove the offensive symbols soon. We note without comment that the swastika shown in the ENS photograph is backward.

12 September 2017: Self-immolation by English vicar accused of sex crimes
The BBC reports that a Church of England vicar doused himself in petrol and burned to death after being questioned by police over allegations of historical sexual abuse. The remains of Father Martyn Neale were found in the garden of his vicarage.

11 September 2017: Bones attributed to St Peter found by chance in ancient church in Rome
The Telegraph (London) reports on the discovery during routine restoration work at Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cappella in Rome of bones and other relics believed to be from St Peter and other early Popes.

9 September 2017: Christchurch moves quickly after synod vote to rebuild stone cathedral
Stuff (NZ) reports that (planning) work has already started for rebuilding the earthquake-destroyed Christchurch Cathedral. Anglican Taonga has full details on the problem and the process leading up to this beginning.

9 September 2017: NZ Anglicans discuss, vote on Cathedral rebuild
The Diocesan Synod of Christchurch met earlier this week to discuss and vote on whether to rebuild the crumbling structure, damaged in the 2011 earthquake. Voices from around the diocese, community, and beyond were heard as part of the discussion. Of the 220 member body, 54 per cent voted to restore at a cost of $104 million (NZD). No work on the building will begin until all funds have been secured.

6 September 2017: Controversial windows removed from US Cathedral
National Public Radio (Washington, DC) reports two controversial stained-glass windows have been removed from the National Cathedral of the U. S. Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. The windows, installed in the 1950s, featuring Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson will be stored for the time being. Last year a window featuring the Confederate battle flag was removed. The cathedral has had ongoing conversations about race.

6 September 2017: ACNA not a province of Anglican Communion
Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion clarified the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is not a province of the Anglican Communion to the Standing Committee of the ACC according to Anglican Journal. He further explained that while ACNA has an 'ecumenical relationship with many of our provinces' it is not within the See of Canterbury.

6 September 2017: Bishop John Davies chosen as new Archbishop of Wales
The BBC reports John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon was appointed Archbishop of Wales following a vote of laity and clerics.

1 September 2017: Canadian Anglicans take part in Season of Creation
The Anglican Journal (Canada) reports on the Season of Creation, a recently-evolved observance meant to encourage prayer and care for the Earth, began 1 September. The Anglican Church of Canada has prepared a special web page of links relevant to the observance.

1 September 2017: Bishops taken to church court of appeal in Australian feud
Actual Christian Today reports on the status of the legal dispute surrounding the church's response to gay marriage. Archbishop Philip Frier has asked the church's Appellate Tribunal to rule on the dispute. The Guardian reports that the newly-elected Archbishop of Perth has said she supports marriage equality but will not challenge the church. Thinking Anglicans continues to report this entire episode under the admirable headline 'Australian bishops complain about other Australian bishops'.

29 August 2017: More on the hijacking of England's 'Musician's Church'
Thinking Anglicans links the latest reports on the revised anti-musician policies at St Sepulchre in London. After we read the linked article by Andrew Earis, the actions taken by Holy Trinity Brompton strongly remind us of the actions of the Chinese government in its campaign to assimilate Tibet.

29 August 2017: New Primate for Province of the Indian Ocean
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports the election of Bishop James Wong of the Diocese of the Seychelles as the new Archbishop and Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles News Agency has a more detailed report.

29 August 2017: PETA asks Episcopal church to consider vegan bake sales
St Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Greenville, North Carolina, is one of many churches that rely on the annual church dinner to support its outreach. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) think St Timothy should find a less cruel way to raise money. The Washington Post reports that PETA has written a letter to the presiding bishop, asking him to end the practice of lobster dinners in favor of something more vegetarian. One minister said he had shared the letter with his church board, in an effort to bring forth 'our awareness and sensitivity to how we interact with God’s creatures.'

27 August 2017: Christchurch NZ mayor claims cathedral more important to city than to Church
The Press (Christchurch, NZ) quotes Lianne Dalziel, the city's mayor, as saying Christ Church Cathedral means more to the city than it does to the Anglican church. She made the comment in Christchurch's Cathedral Square during Sunday's launch of an 8.4 metre-tall model of a proposed People's Steeple, built by an American carpenter. As we listen to this squabble and admire the interim 'Cardboard Cathedral' built for worship while fights continue over this old building, we are reminded of the 'Cathedral of Learning' at the University of Pittsburgh in the USA. That is a successful secular cathedral, but it was purpose-built and not cobbled together from the ruins of a hallowed place.

27 August 2017: Australia elects its first female archbishop
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported the election of Australia's first female archbishop, the Rt Revd Kay Goldsworthy, who will lead the Diocese of Perth.

27 August 2017: English pagans demand return of church buildings 'stolen' 1,300 years ago
The Telegraph (London) reports that a group of pagans in England has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury demanding that it be given two churches to make amends for those it says were stolen 1,300 years ago. The group has asked for one church from the diocese of York and one from the diocese of Canterbury. 

23 August 2017: Robot priest launched to undercut human-led rites
The Guardian (London) reports on the creation in Japan of a robot 'priest' to preside over funeral services.

23 August 2017: UK's leading musicians fight church's ban on secular bookings
The Guardian (London) reports on the efforts in the UK to convince St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in Holborn to reverse its policy that now forbids use of its space as a venue for classical music. That church has been used as a performance space for more than 70 years, and has been referred to as 'the musicians' church'. Famed curmudgeon Andrew Brown has written this insightful piece for the Church Times about the situation.

22 August 2017: York Minster bells to chime again next month after year's silence
The Guardian reports that the Chapter of York Minster has re-established a bellringers group and that regular ringing will resume soon. The article includes some backstory about why the ringing stopped.

20 August 2017: Proposal in NZ to keep the ruined cathedral as a ruin
The Press (NZ) reports that a team of architects has submitted an 'adventurous plan [that] would keep Christ Church Cathedral a ruin surrounded by [a] reflective pool.' Their suggestion is 'Do not rebuild it or repair the Christ Church Cathedral – keep it as a precious ruin surrounded by reflective pool.' New Zealand isn't old enough to have very many precious ruins, in which category we put the Colosseum in Rome and Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

18 August 2017: Sharp drop reported in English church and cathedral visits
The Church Times (London) reports on a recent study that shows a significant decline in the number of visitors to churches and cathedrals in the Church of England.

17 August 2017: Small Episcopal church’s welcome to refugees becomes a motion picture
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the production and upcoming release of the movie All Saints, about a group of refugees from Burma who joined a struggling church in the USA and helped restore its former vitality.

15 August 2017: Musicians feel betrayed as St Sepulchre ceases as a concert venue
St Sepulchre church is the largest parish church in the City of London, and its size and good acoustics have made it a popular concert site. It is known as the National Musicians’ Church, and proclaims, 'music and musicians are at the heart of our ministry.' But that has changed, and the Church Times reports that the church has indicated it will no longer make its space available for concerts and rehearsals. In 2013 St Sepulchre’s became part of a network of church plants from Holy Trinity Brompton, known for its rock-band style worship. The priest-in-charge wrote that using space dedicated to worship for non-religious purposes has been challenging. The composer John Rutter said, 'He didn't have to take the job at the musicians' church if he doesn't like musicians.'

14 August 2017: Diocese of Los Angeles legally obligated to sell disputed property
The US Episcopal News Service reports that the Diocese of Los Angeles has determined that the contract to sell the St James is legally binding on the diocese even though the bishop was disciplined for signing it.

13 August 2017: New bishop for Kuching
The Borneo Post reports on the consecration of the Rt Revd Danald Jute as the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of Kuching, which is the Anglican Church in Sarawak and Brunei.

10 August 2017: New IT manager for Anglican Communion Office
The Anglican Communion News Service tells us that the ACO has hired a new IT manager, presumably with the goal of bringing ACO systems forward into the current century. There are not very many steam-powered computers left at the ACO, but Stephanie Taylor still has her work cut out for her.

9 August 2017: Algoma returns traditional burial ground
Canada's Anglican Journal reports on the return by the Diocese of Algoma of a traditional burial ground to Métis Nation of Ontario. When the Anglican church bought a property in Sault Ste Marie to build a church on, at the start of the 20th century, they may not have been aware that it was the site of an old Métis burial ground. But now that St John has been closed and the congregation has become part of the new Emmaus church, the diocese of Algoma has transferred the land and buildings. The Anglican Journal reports that the building will not be deconsecrated, since the Métis owners have asked the diocese to continue offering occasional services for their community. The rector of Emmaus, the Revd Pamela Rayment, and several parishioners are themselves Métis, and hope to see the relationship develop.

8 August 2017: Norwich church buys a pub to better spread the Word
The Telegraph (London) tells us about the new venture by St Thomas in Norwich, which bought the pub next door as a means of reaching out to the neighbourhood.

7 August 2017: Reactions to USA State court ruling against breakaway group in South Carolina
It is often said that a church is not the building, it's the people who worship in that building. That didn't prevent the breakaway group that still calls itself the Diocese of South Carolina wanting to take the church buildings along with people and titles. That group, whatever it might be called, was formerly part of the US Episcopal Church and is now part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The split decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned a previous lower court ruling in favour of the conservatives. The broken-away bishop has expressed his displeasure.

4 August 2017: First same-sex wedding in Scotland
The Guardian reports the Scottish Episcopal Church held its first same-sex wedding last week for a couple whose names are reported only as ‘Mark and Rick’. The article also quotes Thinking Anglicans’ Simon Sarmiento, who said that this brings ‘the issue much closer’ to the Church of England. This has caused considerable consternation among conservative Anglicans both in England and particularly in Africa. We suspect the couple, who have been together 24 years, are simply happy to have their love acknowledged by the rites of the church.

4 August 2017: Bishop calls for stronger rape laws in sexual offences consultation
In an article in Newsweek, two weeks ago, a coalition of church groups in Jamaica called for a stronger definition of rape in marriages. Last week Bishop Howard Gregory of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands agreed with this position, in the Anglican Communion News Service, calling for stronger definitions of rape in all cases as well as gender equality, without go as far as to condone same-sex relationships.

3 August 2017:
First woman ordained a Deacon in the Church of Ireland celebrates her 30th anniversary

The Revd Katherine Poulton, Dean of Kilkenny Cathedral in the Diocese of Cashel and Ossory, celebrated the 30th anniversary of her ordination to the diaconate in a service last week according to the diocese.

2 August 2017: Episcopal parishes that split with church can’t take property
The Associated Press (among many other outlets) reports that the South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church on claims to the property held by breakaway parishes. The Diocese of South Carolina, which in this same ruling retained the intellectual property rights to the diocesan seal, split from the national church in 2012. The breakaway diocese sued to retain the property of its parishes and a judge ruled in their favor in 2014. The SC Supreme Court has reversed that decision, and ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Both parties have fifteen days to request a rehearing.

30 July 2017: Anglican Church of Sudan formally opened
In a ceremony in Khartoum led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Anglican Church of Sudan became the 39th province of the Anglican Communion. The Middle East Monitor (London) featured a photograph of Archbishop Welby in its news coverage; the eNews Channel Africa (Cape Town) featured a photograph of celebrating Sudanese in its news coverage.

27 July 2017: Legal loophole reinstates controversial clergymen
The Northern Star (Brisbane) reports that a legal loophole within the laws of the Anglican Church has allowed a bishop and a priest to be reinstated two years after being deposed. Needless to say, their victims are angry. The Daily Examiner (Grafton) reports that they are unlikely to be licensed again by the diocese.

27 July 2017: Joint Statement by C of E archbishops on 50th anniversary of decriminalisation
The Archbishops of York and Canterbury have released this joint statement on the event of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Act of Parliament which decriminalised homosexuality in Britain.

26 July 2017: Ontario church opens doors to Muslim worshipper
Leamington is a small farming community in Ontario, and members of the church of St John the Evangelist invited Syrian refugees there to its annual church picnic. When the rector learned that the space that the Muslim community used for prayers was too small, he offered the use of the parish hall. CBC News reports that the arrangement has brought them all closer. People naturally notice the similarities to CBC comedy series, Little Mosque on the Prairie.

26 July 2017: First archbishop for South Sudan enthroned
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Anglican church in South Sudan has enthroned its first Archbishop for one of its eight internal provinces created in Nov 2013. An 'internal province' is something along the lines of York and Canterbury in the Church of England or Province VIII in the US Episcopal Church.

25 July 2017: C of E Conservative Evangelicals speak of 'alternative structures' after synod
The Church Times reports that a group of disaffected conservative Evangelicals has expressed a wish for an alternative Anglican structure. In a statement issued last week, the group — which contains members who no longer belong to the C of E — expresses dismay at recent decisions by the General Synod.

24 July 2017: New bishop for Llandaff
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the enthronement of the Rt Revd June Osborne as 72nd Bishop of Llandaff.

22 July 2017: Bishop of Los Angeles faces 3-year suspension
The Los Angeles Times, reporting the recent announcement of results of a disciplinary hearing held in March, tells us a 3-year suspension has been recommended. We find this article in The Living Church to be the best in-depth coverage available, including an explanation of why the hearing was even controversial.

21 July 2017: Cambridge dean to lead USPG
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports the announcement that the Revd Duncan Dormor, Dean of St John's College, Cambridge, has been appointed as the next CEO (General Secretary) of USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel). As we see it, USPG took leave of its senses in 2012, and in that altered state might well have appointed Woody Woodpecker as General Secretary. We are relieved that in 2016 the (presumably drug-induced) name change was undone; this appointment is further evidence of USPG's health.

21 July 2017: New edition of NIV has more beer and no more aliens
The Church Times (London), reporting on the recent meeting of the NIV's Committee on Bible Translations, notes that the next edition of this top-selling Bible translation will have 'a lot more beer' and will use the word 'foreigner' instead of 'alien'.

20 July 2017: Professor says Australian churches risk becoming 'haven' for abusers
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports on the assertion by an Australian woman who is now a seminary professor in the ISA that she is concerned about the response of some of the Australian church hierarchy to reports of domestic abuse and that if, unchecked, Australia could become a haven for abusers. A recent ABC News investigation found churches failing to sufficiently address domestic violence. ABC News also published a research report showing that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically. The Herald Sun (Melbourne) reported the ABC News reports as news in its own right, with the headline 'ABC attacks Christians as wife beaters'.

17 July 2017: First-ever meeting of Mexico's ordained women
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on a recent meeting, in Cuernavaca, of about three fourths of the women priests and deacons in the Anglican Church of Mexico.

17 July 2017: Official launch of Oxford History of Anglicanism
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) notes the official launch of the first ever multi-volume history of worldwide Anglicanism to be published by a major university press. Three of the proposed five volumes are already in print; the rest are expected this year. Any or all of the volumes can be purchased from Oxford University Press.

16 July 2017: New bishop for North Carolina
The Diocese of North Carolina has consecrated the Rt Revd Samuel Rodman as its next bishop. Details are here on the diocesan website, and here in a report by the Charlotte Observer.

16 July 2017: New bishop elected in Delaware
The Living Church reports on the election of the Revd Kevin S Brown as the next Bishop of Delaware. He will be consecrated on 9 December.

14 July 2017: Carbon dating test supports identity of St Columba's cell
The Church Times reports on the results of an archaeological study that supports the belief that a 20th-century dig did indeed uncover the cell in which St Columba did his writing. The BBC report on that study has more depth and more pictures.

11 July 2017: New suffragan bishop for Loughborough in the Diocese of Peterborough
Number 10 Downing Street has announced the appointment of the Revd Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani, a native of Iran, as the first bishop of the suffragan see of Loughborough.

10 July 2017: C of E clergy have looser dress code
The Telegraph (London) reports on a vote at the most recent General Synod of the Church of England, which permits clergy to wear less formal clothing in many circumstances. No longer will it be necessary to wear a cassock while skateboarding. 'Priests should be allowed flexibility to wear what they want to make the church more accessible and relevant to the modern world, members said.' In ChristianToday, Ruth Gledhill wonders if this means that bishops' mitres will go the way of gaiters.

9 July 2017: Anglican Church of Trinidad and Tobago wants out
Following years of management issues and now legal battles, the Anglican Church of Trinidad and Tobago hopes to opt out of the care of the St. Michael's Home for Boys, according to the Trinidad and Tobago News. The diocese, which is part of the Province of the West Indies, established the home as a 'humanitarian gesture'. Bishop Berkley and the Prime Minister met to discuss these (and other) issues.

8 July 2017: Church of England demands ban on conversion therapy
The Guardian reports the Church of England has called for a ban on conversion therapy and 'has condemned the practice, which aims to change sexual orientation, as unethical and potentially harmful.' Major medical and psychiatric organisations throughout the UK have discredited the process which aims at changing sexual orientation or identities of those in the LGBTI communities. Synod also decided to explicitly welcome transgendered people.

7 July 2017: Archaeologists' dig reveals ancient Lindisfarne church
The Church Times reports that archaeologists excavating the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast, have discovered what may be one of the oldest churches in Britain. The site is on an exposed rocky promontory, often buffeted by storms and high winds. It faced Bamburgh, the palace of St Oswald of Northumbria, a significant early Christian king, who gave the island of Lindisfarne to St Aidan as his episcopal see. 

7 July 2017: Synod members threaten to walk out if Scottish pro-gay marriage bishop present at York meeting
The Church Times reports that some members of the Church of England's General Synod have said they will walk out if the Rt Revd John Armes, the Bishop of Edinburgh, attends the body's meeting in York. The group, headed by Susie Leafe (Truro) and 14 other members stated in a letter appearing in Friday's Church Times that they are considering withdrawing because the 'entirely wrong' invitation appears to be an endorsement of the Scottish Episcopal Church's recent canonical change to allow same-sex marriage. Bp Armes was jointly invited by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

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