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This page last updated 14 April 2014
Anglicans Online last updated 13 April 2014

The News Centre
Editors: Brian Reid and Helen Gordon
Contributors: Richard Ruggle

IN THE NEWS CENTRE we report news of global interest that relates to the Anglican Communion. Sometimes we write news articles ourselves. More frequently, we refer you to some article we have found elsewhere in the world. We focus more on news reported about the church than by the church. New articles are also referenced in our Noted This Week section. We depend on you to tell us about news where you live; here's how to contribute. It is unusual for us to mention news items that contain phrases such as 'youth gather', 'bishop calls for', 'releases report on', 're-envisions', or 'synod debate'.

Simon Sarmiento, our UK correspondent, maintains a list of more specific UK-oriented news articles as part of the Thinking Anglicans site. There you can find items we might not normally link at Anglicans Online.

Other News Centre resource pages: Newspapers Online, Official Church Publications, and Online News Sources. And of course, our News Centre Archives. If you are having trouble finding something, don't forget our search engine.

News Stories

13 April 2014: Further discussion on last week's radio interview with the ABC
Last week we reported the aftermath of a radio interview by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which he warned that actions taken in England could lead to murders in Africa. In the intervening week he has been roundly criticized for those remarks. Retired US bishop Gene Robinson published this critique in The Daily Beast, and these Letters to the Editor of The Guardian (London) are worth your attention. Meanwhile, The Telegraph (London) and the BBC report the event of the first same-sex marriage of clergy in Britain, in violation of Church of England rules.

13 April 2014: Service marks the end of the Diocese of Wakefield
The BBC reports on the Service of Thanksgiving held in Wakefield Cathedral to celebrate the Diocese of Wakefield, which will cease to exist on 20 April when it merges with the dioceses of Bradford and Ripon and Leeds to form the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

11 April 2014: ABC urges US Episcopal Church to stand against gun violence
The Church Times, reporting on a speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury to a peace conference in Oklahoma USA, has urged the US Episcopal Church to challenge that country's culture of violence.

11 April 2014: Nunavut cathedral update
Nunatsiaq Online reported the Diocese of the Arctic (Canada) has offered to pay CA$2.65 million to receivers for the bulk of the debt owed from rebuilding St Jude's Cathedral in Iqaluit.

9 April 2014: Flash floods in the Solomon Islands
Anglican Alliance reports on the coordination of churches and agencies responding to flash floods that have left more than 20 people dead and over 12,000 homeless in the Solomon Islands.


5 April 2014: New bishop for Massachusetts
The Boston Globe reported the Revd Alan Gates was elected from a field of seven candidates to be the next bishop for the Diocese of Massachusetts. He will succeed the Rt Revd Thomas Shaw.

5 April 2014: Diocese of New York plans to build apartment towers on church grounds
The Daily News (New York) reports on protests against a plan to build two apartment towers on the grounds of the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, who say that they need the money.

4 April 2014: New bishop for Riverina
Sydney Anglicans has announced the election of the Revd Alan Robert Gillion as bishop of Riverina. The Diocese of Riverina covers more than one-third of rural New South Wales, including centres such as Griffith, Broken Hill, and Deniliquin.

4 April 2014: Plan advances for new Anglican university in Zimbabwe
The Herald (Zimbabwe) reported the announcement by the Church of the Province of Central Africa to build a US$120M university in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. The Bishop of Harare said that this university woujld accommodate 8000 students and would be built in phases over a 25-year period. The Diocese of Harare suffered huge setbacks during the time that it was forcibly occupied by excommunicated former bishop Nolbert Kunonga, and sees the creation of this university as a symbol of recovery.

4 April 2014: ABC warns about African backlash from overseas church sexuality decisions
The Anglican Communion News Service (London) reported on what Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said this week on a British radio program. He said that Westerners must understand that Christians in parts of Africa face abuse, violence and even death because of decisions on sexual equality made by Anglican Churches in the West. If this issue matters to you, please read the entire ACNS article and perhaps even watch the video linked at its end. Renowned British columnist Andrew Brown argues in The Guardian that the Archbishop is yielding to blackmail. Andrew Goddard, writing in Fulcrum, has a fairly complete commentary.


30 March 2014: Philippines: Eco bricks
The Philippine Information Agency reported Bishop Renato Abibco (Diocese of Northern Luzon) has directed parishioners to collect non-biodegradable wastes to make Eco bricks in 1.5 liter fruit juice plastic containers and then submit them to their respective parishes for the construction of a church. This project is one of the agreements reached during a recent convention expanding the role of the Church not just of promoting the spiritual well being and the salvation of the soul of its faithful but to rid their physical bodies from waste hazard.

29 March 2014: Climate Change - former ABC speaks
The Telegraph (UK) posted an essay by Dr Rowan Williams (wearing his hat as head of Christian Aid) on climate change in which he points out industrialised economies have created climate change, but the poorest are paying the price for it. The Telegraph also published a summary here.

29 March 2014: Update from Sarawak
The Malaysian Insider reported the Most Revd Bolly Lapok's latest comments on the still simmering row over the use by Christians of 'Allah' in worship. The Chief Minister of Sarawak has assured the large Christian population of Sarawak that his government will not follow the states in the peninsula by trying to curb them from using the word 'Allah' to refer to God. The Malaysian Digest report is here.

29 March 2014: Trinity College Dublin crest loses its bible
The Irish Times reports that as a result of a €100,000 branding initiative, Trinity is removing the bible from its crest and replacing it with an open book. Irish Central notes that the consultants recommended that the number of colours be reduced from five to two, but rejected blue and gold because the blue and yellow combination is commonly used for brands like Ryanair, Ikea and Walmart, associated with value or convenience rather than quality and sophistication. Ferdinand von Prondzynski reflects on the change here.

28 March 2014: RIP: Bishop Godfrey Mdimi Mhogolo
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported on the death of the Rt Revd Godfrey Mdimi Mhogolo of the Diocese of Central Tanganyika in the Curch of Tanzania.

27 March 2014: Climate Change - Australian perspectives
Sight, an Australian interdenominational publication, reported on an open letter from religious leaders for Australia to do its fair share to address climate change. 'We hold therefore that climate change is a moral issue. Australia's addiction to fossil fuels, both for domestic consumption and export earnings, is no longer morally justified and must be wound back as soon as possible. It makes no ethical, or even economic, sense to move only if others do.'

25 March 2014: Architect of Christchurch's Cardboard Cathedral wins Pritzker prize
The Sydney Morning Herald (West Island, NZ) tells us that Shigeru Ban has won the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize. His design for the Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch, whose purpose is to provide worship space while the 'real' cathedral is being built or rebuilt or argued about (and which is universally referred to as the Cardboard Cathedral). Whenever we read about the nasty squabbling in Christchurch about building and rebuilding temporary and permanent cathedrals, we go back and read about the nasty squabbling in late 19th-century Paris about the design and construction of the Eiffel Tower.


21 March 2014: Mozambique: the bishop who smashed guns at the altar
The Rt Revd Dinis Sengulane was consecrated as a bishop soon after Mozambique became independent from Portugal in 1975, and is the longest-serving Anglican bishop in the world. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa announced that he is to retire. In a long interview at the 2013 Provincial Synod, the bishop tells how he worked to lessen the tensions between the factions in the country by having people bring their guns to church, and cutting them up to be recycled into an instrument of production or a work of art. Many became pectoral crosses around the necks of bishops around the world.

21 March 2014: Holy cows
Thirteen years ago, Cumbria's agricultural economy was devastated by foot and mouth disease. Now Newton Rigg College has opened a state-of-the-art dairy unit. The Westmorland Gazette (UK) reports that the bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, blessed the 158-strong herd of Holsteins that will serve the unit.

19 March 2014: Alban Institute closes
Religion News Service reported the US Alban Institute, founded by an Episcopal priest, is ending its 40-year existence as a resource for continuing education and leadership development for priests, congregations, and mainline denominations. In a statement, the Institute says it will 'pass the torch to new established partners'. One example: the Institute is in talks with Duke Divinity School.

17 March 2014: Historic multi-faith agreement to combat human trafficking
The Anglican Communion News Service reported on the launch of the Global Freedom Network, a newly-formed organisation whose mission 'to join the struggle against modern slavery and human trafficking from a faith base, so that we might witness to God's compassion and act for the benefit of those who are abducted,  enslaved and abused in this terrible crime' is supported by Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Muslims.

15 March 2014: The hot cross bun and St Albans cathedral
There is a story that a monk of the refectory at St Alban's monastery developed the recipe for the hot cross bun, and distributed it to the poor on Good Friday, 1381. St Albans cathedral has continued the tradition with the 'Alban bun'. The BBC explores the lore of hot cross buns here.


16 March 2014: Christchurch Anglicans tell politician to butt out
MSN NZ reports that 'The Anglican Church is dismayed that the rebuilding of earthquake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral may feature in talks to form a government this year.' Winston Peters, leader of the political party NZ First, has put government control of the rebuilding of Christchurch Cathedral onto his political agenda.

14 March 2014: Firm seeks yews to treat cancer
The chemotherapy drug paclitaxel can be made from yew clippings, and the Church Times reports that one firm is appealing for churches with yew trees or hedges to come forward. St Mary's, Painswick has 123 yews in the churchyard, which produce two and a half tonnes of clippings each year, and selling the clippings offsets the cost of maintaining the churchyard. Because yew trees are evergreen, they do not produce much new growth, which is where the chemical is found. The UK is said to have the world's largest collection of ancient yews, and some eight thousand young trees were planted at churches and cathedrals to celebrate the millennium.

14 March 2014: First canal chaplain in Wales
The Church Times reports that the Revd John Collier, curate-in-charge of St Illtud, Mamhilad, has been appointed the first chaplain to canals in Wales. He hopes to promote interest in the ancient churches of the area (St Illtud has a 2000 year old yew) and the visitors to the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny canals.

14 March 2014: Last rail chaplain in London
The Church Times reports 'The full-time railway-station chaplain at St Pancras in London has been made redundant.'

12 March 2014: Georgia's bishops oppose guns in church bill
The Republican-led state house in the US state Georgia has passed a bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in churches, bars and schools. University campuses would have been included, but the Georgia university system threatened to kill the bill. The state federation of teachers has opposed the bill, and the Raw Story reports that the Episcopal bishops of Atlanta and Georgia have urged the legislature to abandon its push to allow guns in churches. Their letter can be found here.

10 March 2014: US Supreme Court refuses to review Falls Church Anglican case
The US Episcopal News Service reports that the US Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the last Virginia congregation still fighting with the national church. Under US law, this means that the earlier dicision of the Virginia Supreme Court will stand. That court ruled that the disputed property belongs to the Diocese of Virginia and the US Episcopal Church. The Washington Post published a longer report.

9 March 2014: English woman ordained bishop in Aotearoa New Zealand
This happened several weeks ago, but we were very distracted by the death and funeral of our managing editor and forgot to include it. Anglican Taonga tells us about the ordination of the Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley as the 7th Bishop of Waikato. The delightful reportage includes 'a requiem mass sung by a choir of cicadas'. This makes the Rt Revd Dr Hartley the first woman ordained priest in the Church of England to be made a bishop.


7 March 2014: Tohoku cathedral, twice destroyed, is reborn
In 1945 the Anglican cathedral in Sendai City was destroyed during an air raid. After it was rebuilt, it was damaged beyond repair in the 2011 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear fallout disaster. The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports that a new cathedral has been consecrated and dedicated. We also note ACNS posted prayers provided by the Anglican Church in Japan (Nippon Sei Ko Kai) to commemorate the third anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

7 March 2014: New bishop of Banks and Torres in Vanuatu
The Solomon Star reports that Fr Patteson Worek has been consecrated at the new bishop of Banks and Torres in the Anglican Church of Melanesia. There had been objections to his choice, and we understand that a reconciliation process is now underway between Bishop Worek and those who objected. ACNS also reported on this and included a photo of the newly consecrated bishop.

7 March 2014: Thirteenth bishop of British Columbia consecrated
The Anglican Journal reports that many musical traditions came together at the consecration of the Rt Revd Dr Logan McMenamie as Bishop of British Columbia: brass, fiddlers, bagpipes, liturgical dancing, First Nations drumming and contemporary hymns.

5 March 2014: New Zealand cathedral update
The New Zealand news site,, reported on the latest twist in the saga of the Christchurch cathedral. British philanthropist Hamish Ogston came to New Zealand to make a media announcement that he would fund an independent survey to find out what residents wanted to see happen to the cathedral. Shortly after the February 2011 earthquake Ogston pledged $4 million to kickstart the restoration of the building and said he wanted to reiterate his pledge. However, for this visit and media event, he did not notify or include the diocese and its bishop the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews. Anglican Taonga's account is posted on ACNS here.


28 February 2014: Tenth Primate named for West Africa
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported the Most Revd Dr Daniel Sarfo has been elevated to be the next Primate for the Province of West Africa. The ninth Primate, the late Most Revd Dr S Tilewa Johnson, died in January, and the constitution of the Province automatically elevates Archbishop Sarfo to Primate and Metropolitan Archbishop.

25 February 2014: Zanzibar: Bombs explode near cathedral
ACNS published the press release from the Diocese of Zanzibar on the bombs that exploded near the Cathedral and Former Slave Market. The Daily Mail reported on the incident as well and noted 'The semi-autonomous and mainly Muslim Zanzibar islands are popular with holidaymakers combining a safari with a beach break, but sectarian tensions have been mounting in recent months.'

23 February 2013: Old St James of Quop Hill
St James church on Quop Hill, in the Diocese of Kuching, was the site of the first successful mission to the Bidayuhs, or Land Dayaks, and was consecrated in 1865. It has been replaced by a newer church, built next door, to serve a parish of 3,000 members with ten outstations. The old church is still important to the people, and has been declared a heritage building, But it is in poor shape. Built of Belian, or Borneo ironwood, now an endangered tree, it will be difficult and expensive to find the material to repair it. Borneo Post online reports that the parish priest, Archdeacon Andrew Stephen Pahah, is looking for the miracle that will restore his church.


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