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Archived News Headlines for Jan/Feb/Mar 2018

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28 March 2018: Convicted abuser in Australia blames church
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that after a disciplinary board recommended a priest found guilty of paedophilia be defrocked, he complained that this dredging up of the past deprived him of the opportunity for 'a fresh start'.

27 March 2018: Further analysis of C of E IICSA hearings
Thinking Anglicans has collected a few links to responses to and commentary on the just-completed IICSA hearings.

27 March 2018: Trinity Wall Street installs metal detectors
Trinity Church Wall Street, which might well be the wealthiest parish church in the world, has installed metal detectors on its doors. Story from Episcopal Café.

24 March 2018: Serving vicar named secularist of the year
The Argus (Brighton) reports that the National Secular Society has awarded its Secularist of the Year award jointly to the Revd Graham Sawyer and Phil Johnson. Both are survivors of abuse by clergy, and have worked to expose the church's resistance to dealing with the actions of some of its clergy. Mr Sawyer is the vicar of St James church in Burnley.

23 March 2018: End of the IICSA in England and Wales
The Archbishops of York and Canterbury have written a joint Pastoral Letter for wide circulation following the end of the hearing that took place over the last three weeks as part of England's Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). That letter is published on the website of the Diocese of York. We expect Thinking Anglicans to publish an effective summary of IICSA, but they can't do it overnight.

21 March 2018: US Episcopal Church found not to be dealing with clergy alcoholism
The Baltimore Brew (USA) reports on the 'Report of the Commission on Impairment and Leadership' released recently by the US House of Deputies. That Commission was formed in response to the drunk-driving conviction and imprisonment of a US bishop. The Baltimore Brew is a well-staffed independent daily news website.

21 March 2018: ABC admits to being 'ashamed of the Church'
The Church Times (London) reports that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby testified to an IICSA hearing that he considered the failure of senior clergy to take responsibility for crimes committed by their underlings is a 'failure of human duty'.

20 March 2018: Church of England now accepts cashless point-of-sale donations
The Guardian (London) reports that the Church of England has started a programme to install point-of-sale terminals in 16,000 churches around the country, intended to make it easier to make donations. The church is said to have begun investigating cashless payments since fewer people carry cash now.

19 March 2018: Two bishops to step down
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Bishop of Christchurch (New Zealand), Victoria Matthews, and the Bishop suffragan of Shrewsbury (Diocese of Lichfield, England), Mark Rylands, have announced they are stepping down. Episcopal Café reports in more depth on the resignation of Victoria Matthews.

19 March 2018: New cathedral in Rwanda
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports on the 'inauguration' of a new cathedral in Gasabo, which will be the seat of the next Archbishop of Rwanda. The report provides a link to the an editorial on the website of the Rwandan newspaper New Times, which is sometimes online and sometimes not.

17 March 2018: Christians and Muslims join forces to feed homeless in downtown Montreal
Once a month, members of the St George Anglican church in downtown Montreal and the Imani Community Centre in Little Burgundy come together to fill brown paper bags with homemade shawarma, oranges and bottles of water, then hand out those meals to the city's homeless. CBC reports that the joint outreach has celebrated its first anniversary. It grew out of a shared desire to do something good and foster an interfaith connection.

16 March 2018: The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) continues in England and Wales
The IICSA is a multi-week inquiry, examining not just churches but civil authorities, police, the BBC, and many other institutions. It continues. Thinking Anglicans has good ongoing coverage. We will wait until IICSA has published its findings before reporting in detail, but we cannot resist drawing your attention to this report in the Church Times about the former Bishop of Lewes trying to wriggle out of responsibility for abuse that happened on his watch.

15 March 2018: Lambeth Conference 2020 plans announced
The Anglican Communion News Service has published the first set of details about the 2020 Lambeth Conference. It will take place from 24 July to 3 August in 2020. Usually Lambeth Conferences have been held every 10 years, but military wars and ideological wars have sometimes caused delays. The most recent Lambeth Conference was in 2008.

14 March 2018: US bishops organize against gun violence
The US Episcopal News Service reports on a coordinated set of anti-gun protests organized by Episcopal bishops and timed to accompany the widely-reported student school-walkout protests. The bishops' Day of Lamentation focused on gun manufacturing companies located in their and nearby dioceses and joined with students from Episcopal schools. Last week, the entire House of Bishops of the US Episcopal Church, meeting at Camp Allen in Texas, unanimously accepted a statement on gun violence. The Public Affairs office of the US Episcopal Church issued a summary of what took place at last week's meeting of the House of Bishops; an important achievement was unanimous passage of the resolution shown at the bottom of this page. The strong participation and unanimous support for protests against this uniquely American nightmare is a great credit to Episcopal bishops, who haven't always been first in initiating social action.

13 March 2018: South Africa archbishop begs forgiveness as more abuse is reported
The Times Live (South Africa) reports Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said that he took responsibility for cases of abuse within the Anglican Church‚ even when it happened under the watch of his predecessors. He was speaking after award-winning author Ishtiyaq Shukri issued a statement earlier this month that detailed years of abuse at the hands of Anglican priests. Shortly thereafter, another South African reported past abuse that Archbishop Makgoba is said to be taking seriously. In news from another continent that sounds disturbingly similar and familiar, the present Bishop of Chichester testified 'It is clear to me there had been a historic bias in the diocese in favour of adults in positions of power and authority.' 'This has led to an unwillingness to take allegations of sexual abuse made by children or by adults sufficiently seriously.'

13 March 2018: Sculpture of crucified Star Wars stormtrooper creates dissent in London parish church
The Telegraph reports on the controversy that arose when St Stephen Walbrook in central London included as part of its Stations of the Cross a sculpture depicting the crucifixion of a Star Wars stormtrooper. The parish website has this brief note about the exhibit and the stormtrooper. The article in The Telegraph offers a brief explanation of the meaning of the sculpture.

9 March 2018: US Episcopal Women's Caucus to dissolve itself
The Episcopal Café (USA) reports that the Episcopal Women's Caucus, confident that it has achieved the goals for which it was created, will dissolve itself 'so that justice for women – lay and ordained – can continue to be pursued in the Church in new ways with new goals.'

9 March 2018: Calcutta priest named area bishop in Diocese of Bradford
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports that the newly-selected area bishop for Bradwell in the Diocese of Bradford was formerly a priest in the Diocese of Calcutta, part of the Church of North India.

9 March 2018: Australian church stays alive by unaffiliating with Anglican Church
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that St Aidan in Black Springs, closed and sold by the Diocese of Bathurst, has been privately purchased and has reopened as an independent village church having roughly the same congregation. The Diocese of Bathurst sold 12 small parish churches to raise funds for victims of child abuse.

8 March 2018: Saudi crown prince visits Lambeth Palace
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the recent meeting at Lambeth Palace between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Saudi Crown Prince. A major topic was said to be religious freedom for Christians in Saudi.

7 March 2018: New primate elected for Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia
The Province of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has three primates, one for each of the Tikangas (cultural and geographic sections) making up that province. The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports that Don Tamihere, currently Bishop of Tairawhiti, will become the leader of the Maori Anglican Church.

7 March 2018: Former Chichester bishop apologizes to IICSA hearing
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is in full swing in England and Wales. The Church Times reports that former Bishop of Chichester John Hind has apologised for not giving the diocesan safeguarding officers full access to the files containing safeguarding concerns about individual clerics in the diocese.

2 March 2018: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Thinking Anglicans (UK) reports on the upcoming Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which will start three weeks of hearings into the Church of England and the Church In Wales. The Church Times reports that the C of E's National Safeguarding Team has said the IICSA hearings are likely to prompt more disclosures of abuse.

1 March 2018: Facebook to target people with adverts based on their religion
The Telegraph (London) reports on Facebook's plans to allow advertisers to target users based on their religious (or political) views.

28 February 2018: Diocese of Pittsburgh reaches settlement with breakaway parishes
The Diocese of Pittsburgh reports it has reached a settlement with nine parishes that broke away and joined ACNA a decade ago. The bishop sent this letter to members of the diocese. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published this upbeat editorial, and the Anglican Communion News Service filed this report. In a partially related story, John Chilton comments in the Episcopal Café on turmoil within said ACNA over the consecration of a female bishop by one of its members.

23 February 2018: New book by ABC Justin Welby
The Telegraph (London) reports on the upcoming book Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury. As the title might imply, the book is about what he thinks Britain will be like after Brexit.

23 February 2018: Roman Catholic weddings could take place in Church of England buildings
Christian Today (London) reports on a bill in Parliament that would allow other denominations to hold their own wedding services in CofE churches, meaning Roman Catholic vows could be heard in C of E parish buildings for the first time since the Reformation.

22 February 2018: Bishop of Egypt receives ABC's award for peace and reconciliation
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the awarding of the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Inter Faith co-operation to the Rt Revd Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt. The award was presented by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Josiah Idowu-Fearon.

21 February 2018: US church to celebrate with blessing of assault rifles
The Herald (Auckland) reports on a church in Pennsylvania, USA that is encouraging couples to bring their AR-15 assault rifles with them to a commitment ceremony next month. That newspaper reports this church to be an 'offshoot of the Unification Church'. Update 28 February: the BBC reported on the ceremony, with astounding photographs

20 February 2018: Church of Nigeria defends election of Bishop of Lagos
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the provincial secretary of the Church of Nigeria has hit back at accusations of corruption in the selection of the next Bishop of Lagos.

19 February 2018: Conservative Anglican groups in England to merge
Christian Today (London) reports that three of the most prominent conservative groups in the UK are merging, in what will be a major change to the conservative opposition-group situation in Britain.

17 February 2018: Spreading the Word (and everything else) at 5.56 gigahertz
The Guardian (London) reports an ambitious plan to increase internet connectivity in under-served areas of Britain by leveraging the location and height of ancient village churches and their steeples.

17 February 2018: Allegations of bribing bishops in Nigeria
The Sundiata Post (Abuja) reports that the selection of the new Bishop of Lagos has come under fierce criticism because of allegations of significant corruption and bribery of synod members during the election. Given that Nigeria is usually found near the top of lists of 'most corrupt countries', we are assuming that something referred to as 'significant corruption' in Nigeria must be corrupt indeed.

16 February 2018: ACNA defends Gafcon decision not to reveal existence of female bishop
The Episcopal Café (USA) reports on the ACNA's defence of Gafcon's decision to conceal the existence of a female bishop in South Sudan.

16 February 2018: New primate for Tanzania
The Anglican Communion News Service reports the election of the Rt Revd Maimbo Mndolwa, Bishop of Tanga, as the next Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.

15 February 2018: Western Australia bishop refuses to accept authority of female archbishop
The West Australian (Perth) reports that the bishop of North West Australia in the Province of Western Australia has announced that the Most Revd Kay Goldsworthy, new Archbishop of Perth, would not be accepted or recognised as a bishop were she to visit his episcopal area. ABC News reported that when Kay Goldsworthy was installed as Archbishop of Perth, she became the first female archbishop in the Anglican communion. She is used to being a pioneer, and was the first woman in Australia to be ordained deacon (1986, the service was interrupted by a bomb scare), priest (1992) and bishop (2008).

14 February 2018: US Supreme Court asked to review South Carolina property decision
The US Episcopal News Service reports leaders of a group that broke away from the US Episcopal Church in South Carolina have asked the United States Supreme Court to review a state court ruling that property, assets and most parishes must remain with the Episcopal Church.

9 February 2018: C of E General Synod welcomes move towards Methodist Church
The Church of England reports that its General Synod has given its welcome to a report containing proposals which could bring the Church of England and the Methodist Church in Great Britain into communion with each other.

9 February 2018: Religious school in Texas argues courts can't intervene in discipline case
A teenage student and his family have sued a religious private school in Texas after the teen experienced racist bullying. The student claims the school did little to stop the bullying. But the school says its religious doctrine makes it immune from legal repercussions. The Huffington Post reports.

9 February 2018: A USA town where only Christians are allowed to own houses
The Guardian (London) reports on a town in Michigan USA whose laws prohibit non-Christians from owning a house. Prospective homeowners are required to produce evidence of their faith by providing (among other things) a letter from a Christian minister testifying to their active participation in a church.

8 February 2018: ABC and ABY launch new websites
The Church Times (London) reports the announcement from the Church of England that its two archbishops, of Canterbury and York, have new websites. (A historical note: the very first website for the Archbishop of Canterbury was produced by Anglicans Online, a long time ago.)

8 February 2018: ABC calls for greater Anglican Communion voice in selection of successor
The Anglican Communion News Service reports on the address by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to the Church of England General Synod, in which he asserted that the selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury should not be done entirely by and within the Church of England, as it has been for centuries.

8 February 2018: Alumni tell Anglican Church to hand over control of schools in southern Queensland
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports on a demand by a group of influential alumni that the Diocese of Brisbane hand over control of its schools in southern Queensland amid concern over the handling of child sexual abuse cases and its dated school governance practices.

4 February 2018: English and US Churches call for mental health care
A survey of over 1,000 Church of England priests has revealed a severe concern over the mental health of those in their communities, according to a press release issued Sunday morning. The prevalent issue of mental health issues leading to violence in America has led churches there to call for Mental Health Crisis training for clergy, laity, and law enforcement, according to the US Episcopal News Service.

4 February 2018: ABC said to have blocked payments to abused students
The Times (London) reports that a victim of child sex abuse has written to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury accusing him of 'personally' blocking extra compensation payments.

2 February 2018: USA Diocese votes to avoid using 'gendered pronouns' for God in BCP
The Christian News Network reports that the US Episcopal Diocese of Washington (DC) has voted to 'stop using "gendered pronouns" for God in future revisions of its Book of Common Prayer and to “remove all obstacles” for "c" participation in church life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities accessible to those who identify as the opposite sex' at their annual convention. The full text of the resolution is available here.

31 January 2018: 'We want a local bishop' say Ethiopian Anglicans
Following decades of bishops from Egypt or the West, Anglicans in the fast-growing Gambella district of Ethiopia hope their next bishop to be local, reports the Anglican News Service. The region, which is part of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, is part of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

27 January 2018: Bishop of London criticised for high church comments
The Telegraph (London) reports that the (acting) Bishop of London, Pete Broadbent, has been criticised by senior clergy for describing the High Church tradition as 'faffy ceremonial' and suggesting it lacks 'deep faith'. We recall the era, more than a century ago, when English clergy could be jailed for lighting candles on an altar.

26 January 2018: Revived plan to unite C of E and Methodists to receive General Synod scrutiny
The Church Times reports that next month's General Synod will include a debate on the report proposing unification of the Church of England and the Methodist Church. Christian Today (London) offers this report on it all.

24 January 2018: Brazil elects its first female bishop
In 1983 the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil decided that all three orders of ministry would be open to women. Now, 34 years later, the Diocese of the Amazon has elected the first female bishop in the province. The Anglican Communion News Service reports that Canon Marinez Santos Bassotto was chosen at a meeting in Belém. She sees a number of challenges as she helps her church proclaim and live the gospel in a way that is missionary, embedded in the local culture and prophetic.

23 January 2018: New archbishop for South Sudan
Africa News (Johannesburg) reports that the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) elected a new primate and Archbishop. He is the Rt Revd Justin Badi Arama, bishop of the Diocese of Maridi.

22 January 2018: ABC won't retract statement about George Bell
The Guardian (London) reports that the 'archbishop of Canterbury has refused to retract a statement saying that a leading church figure of the 20th century had a "significant cloud" over his name because of allegations of child abuse, despite mounting pressure from historians who believe the claims are untrue.' The archbishop released this statement.

20 January 2018: African-American deaconess honoured at church she founded
Anna E.B. Alexander was born to recently emancipated slaves on the Butler Plantation in Georgia (in her later years, she never acknowledged the date of her birth, lest she be forced to retire). An Episcopal church for the former slaves was started in Darien, dedicated to St Cyprian of Carthage, an African saint. Anna taught at the school there, and started a mission in Pennick, where her parents had settled. In 1907 she became the only African-American to be ordained a deaconess in the Episcopal Church (the same year the diocese removed representation of African-American congregations in its convention). For decades her efforts sustained the school and church she founded. The Florida Times-Union reports that the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, celebrated her life, as the church considers her feast in the calendar.

20 January 2018: C of E bishops refuse to work on new transgender liturgy
The Daily Mail (London) reports 'Church of England bishops throw out Synod demand for prayer celebrating a transgender person's change of sex'.

20 January 2018: Church of England braced for 'controversial' vote on using Methodist ministers
The Telegraph (London) reports on the conflict brewing in the Church of England for a vote at its upcoming General Synod on whether it should share ministers with the Methodists as part of plans set to boost rural churches. Ekklesia reports that the papers for that General Synod have been released.

18 January 2018: Proposed law change to improve governance of English Cathedrals
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports that a review of the governance of the 42 cathedrals in England has recommended a change in UK law to improve it. 

17 January 2018: New primate for Rwanda
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reports the election of the Rt Revd Dr Laurent Mbanda, Bishop of Shyira, as the next Primate of Archbishop and Primate of la Province de l’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda.

16 January 2018: C of E clergy exploring trade union membership
Religion News Service (Missouri, USA) reports on the rapid increase in Church of England priests joining trade unions for support.

16 January 2018: Internet use may prompt religious 'tinkering' instead of belief
Science X (Isle of Man) reports a study at Baylor University discovered Internet use may decrease the likelihood of a person affiliating with a religious tradition or believing that only one religion is true. Baylor University is affiliated with and has in the past been funded by the Southern Baptist Convention.

16 January 2016: UAE Minister of Tolerance hosts Christian leaders as 'welcome guests'
The Gulf Today (Abu Dhabi) reports that the Minister of Tolerance of the United Arab Emirates welcomed a delegation of senior Christian church leaders at his palace in Abu Dhabi. The report quotes members of the delegation as congratulating him for his leadership in promoting tolerance, respect and mutual understanding of Christians, who are welcome guests in the UAE. 

12 January 2018: Church of England to develop new apps
The Anglican Communion News Service tells us the Church of England is gathering 'digital creatives' to develop new apps and social media campaigns. The Church of England’s online Advent and Christmas campaign had a reach of some 6.8 million people. It is looking to improve on this with new apps, websites and social media campaigns.

11 January 2018: Churches in Lusaka cancel services to help halt cholera outbreak
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reported that church leaders in Zambia have asked for services in parts of that country's capital to be cancelled to help halt the spread of cholera.

9 January 2018: Former Archbishop of Church of Uganda buried at Martyrs' site
The New Vision (Kampala) reports that Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, former Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, was laid to rest at the Namugongo Martyrs Anglican Shrine.

9 January 2018: Canada primate announces retirement schedule
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, announced that he has submitted his notice of intention to resign at the conclusion of the 42nd General Synod next year.

8 January 2018: Church of England convicts priest of 'spiritual abuse' of teenager
The Guardian (London) reports that the Church of England has found a vicar guilty of spiritually abusing a teenage boy, after putting him under 'unacceptable pressure' during intensive prayer and Bible-study sessions in the boy’s bedroom. The bishops' disciplinary tribunal for the Diocese of Oxford said that Davis was guilty of 'conduct unbecoming to the office and work of a clerk of holy orders'.

8 January 2018: Scottish Primus hits back at critics
The Anglican Communion News Service reported 'Primus hits back after open letter criticises the appointment of Scotland’s first female bishop'. A group of clergy in the Diocese of Aberdeen had criticised the appointment of that province's first female bishop.

5 January 2018: Church of England cathedrals found to be 'vibrant'
The Church Times (London) reports on a recent study of all 42 of the Church England's cathedrals, which found them to be doing well.

4 January 2018: Government of Burundi praises Anglican Church for tree-planting campaign
According to the Anglican Communion News Service, 'the Anglican Church of Burundi (EAB) has been awarded a Certificate of Merit from the government’s environment ministry for its ongoing tree-planting campaign. Over the past ten years, more than 12 million trees have been planted as part of EAB’s commitment to preserve the environment. In December 2016, the EAB revealed it had set a “One Person, One Tree” goal – a five-year commitment to plant a tree for each one of Burundi’s 10 million-strong population.'

4 January 2018: Church of England unveils £24 million national investment in new churches and evangelism
The Church of England has announced grants of £24.4 million in the latest tranche of its Renewal and Reform programme funding, according to the Anglican Communion News Service. "The money is being provided by the C of E’s Strategic Investment Board, which was created as part of a change in the way national funding from the Church Commissioners is provided to diocese and parishes."

2 January 2018: Stone by stone, repairs gain steam at Washington National Cathedral 6 years after earthquake
The Episcopal News Service (USA) reports the repairs to the National Cathedral could take another decade.

1 January 2018: England's Anglican cathedrals play a 'key role' in bringing communities together, report finds
Sight Magazine (UK) explains the role of Cathedrals in communities in the Church of England, according of a government study.

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