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This page last updated 31 January 2016
Anglicans Online last updated 31 January 2016

The News Centre
Editors: Helen Gordon and Brian Reid
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

31 January 2016: Cash concerns for England's cathedrals
The BBC reported on results of a survey they posed to England's Anglican cathedrals. Almost two-thirds of those running the cathedrals are concerned about their finances. Three-quarters of those running cathedrals agree that turning their buildings into multiple use venues is 'essential' and say they should be 'open to non-faith based and commercial organisations'.

30 January 2016: Jamaican church celebrates 350 years
The Jamaica Gleaner reported on the commemorative service and celebration of St Paul's in Chapelton, Clarendon, Jamaica, which is celebrating its 350th anniversary.

29 January 2016: Welby condemns 'cancer' of extremism
The Church Times reported on remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Welby was speaking about religious extremism which is present in every world faith, including Christianity.

28 January 2016: Unexpected blessing
Catholic Culture reported on the recent Vespers service that marked the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. At the end of the ecumenical service, Pope Francis asked an Orthodox and Anglican prelate to join him in conferring the final blessing. While this report includes some quotes from the Most Revd David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) posted Archbishop Moxon's reflection in full on 26 January.

28 January 2016: Priest, 71, rescued after being lost in -43° C storm
The National Post reported the successful rescue of the Revd Moses Kakekaspan, priest at St Peter's in Fort Severn, Ontario. Kakekaspan, who was returning home after a pastoral call, was caught in a winter storm with wind chill temperatures of -43° C. He was found the next morning, and, amazingly, suffered only mild hypothermia.

25 January 2016: Historical hypocrisy?
The Huffington Post published a piece entitled, The Historical Hypocrisy of the Anglican-Episcopal Split.


24 January 2016: Tensions among global Orthodox leaders
The Economist reported on the 'tense, top-level' meeting in Geneva between Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch who is considered 'first among equals' in the Orthodox hierarchy and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow about this summer's planned 'Great and Holy Synod'. The article is quite informative about the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. 'In that country the two biggest Orthodox institutions are the globally recognised Ukrainian Orthodox Church, ultimately under the Moscow Patriarchate, and the 25-year-old Kiev Patriarchate which strongly supports Ukrainian independence and the government's battle against Russophile rebels in east. These two bodies have identical services; the main difference is that they pray for, and obey, different bishops. Many a confused believer could hardly tell the difference.'

22 January 2016: The gravitas of the beard
The Church Times published a feature by the Rt Revd Richard Chartes with the charming title, 'And Esau was an hairy man' , in which he traces the theological history and significance of beards. He also praises two priests who have grown 'opulent' beards in the Tower Hamlets section of London. The photo used in the article is of footballer David Beckham. The bishop calls Beckham 'the nearest we have to a popular secular saint'. The Express (London) picked up the story with the headline, Vicars bizarrely urged to grow beards in an effort to reach British Muslims. The lead photo used here is of former ABC Rowan Williams.

22 January 2016: Archbishop of Southeast Asia counters politician's remarks on missionaries
The Malaysian Insider reported on the response by the Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok, Archbishop of Southeast Asia and Bishop of Kuching, to offensive remarks made by the leader of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) concerning Christian missionaries. The Archbishop learned of the remarks upon his return from the Primates Meeting, and his response is cogent and forthright.

January 2016: RIP: The Rt Revd Donald Parsons
Episcopal News Service (ENS) reported the death of the Rt Revd Donald Parsons, former Bishop of Quincy (US) and 13th dean and president of Nashotah House Theological Seminary.


15-17 January 2016: Primates Meeting and Communiqué
The best source for a comprehensive roundup of links, responses, and reactions is at Thinking Anglicans. This week's issue of The Church Times includes a number of reports as well including one The Church Times subtitled, 'What Justin Welby told the Primates'.

16 January 2016: Rare Puritan manuscripts available online
The Christian Post reported the John Richard Allison Library in Vancouver has made available its entire rare Puritan collection for online reading. The core of the collection is from the personal libraries of Drs James I Packer and James M Houston.

15 January 2016: A fixed date for Easter?
The BBC reported the Archbishop of Canterbury announced he was in talks with Pope Francis, Coptic leader Pope Tawadros, and the leader of the Orthodox church Patriarch Bartholomew to agree upon a fixed date for Easter. The report also appeared at Christianity Today along with a link to an explanation of the maths used in setting the date for Easter.

14 January 2016: Bishop urges prayer after Polio clinic bomb
ACNS reported on a bombing of a Polio clinic in south west Pakistan and an interview with the Bishop of Karachi, the Rt Revd Sadiq Daniel by Premier Christian Radio. Polio vaccination clinics in Pakistan are regularly targeted by terrorists who claim that they are a front for American spies or a Western plot to sterilise Pakistani children. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries where Poliomyelitis is still endemic. The bishop described the effects of the bombing and appealed for people to pray for Pakistan.

13 January 2016: Week of Prayer 'Bible App'
This coming week (17 - 23 January) is the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity sponsored in part by the World Council of Churches. Material for this year's event will be available for the first time on smart phones, computers, and tablets. The 'app' can be found here. The report by the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) is here.


10 January 2016: Primates meeting underway in Canterbury
The special meeting of Anglican primates called by the Archbishop of Canterbury has begun. The US Episcopal Church's News Service offers this non-combative report and explanation. The meeting has its own website at that includes a good explanation of just what this meeting is about. The Anglican Communion Office provides this list of the member churches of the Anglican Communion. British journalist Andrew Brown has written for The Guardian (London) this pessimistic and sour analysis of the past and future of the Anglican Communion. Nearly everything we've ever read from Mr Brown has been on the sour side, but he's often spot-on. The Vatican has loaned the crozier of St Gregory, an ancient English relic, and the vestment (still stained with thousand-year-old blood) that was worn by Thomas Becket when he was beheaded in 1170.

7 January 2016: Global prayer for Primates Meeting
Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reported on calls for prayer and published prayers, litanies, and collects for this month's Primates Meeting. 'The Primates Meeting is one of the Anglican Communion's four Instruments of Unity and provides an opportunity for the leaders of the independent but interdependent Anglican Churches to gather for "leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation."'

6 January 2016: Vatican relics to Canterbury
Religion News Service reported relics of British Christianity now in the hands of the Vatican will be flown to England, where they will be displayed at Canterbury Cathedral just ahead of the Primates Meeting this month. The first item to arrive is an ivory handle of a staff, or crozier, used by St. Gregory, the pope who helped establish Christianity in England in the sixth century. The idea of the two Christian churches temporarily exchanging relics came after a cricket match between Catholic and Anglican priests in 2014. The Church Times also has an article about this.

5 January 2016: Deadline approaches for hiring ACO Director of Communications
The Anglican Communion News Service has pointed out that the deadline for applications to the post of director of communications for the Anglican Communion is 15 January. ( Note that by the rules of US style guides, that would be Director of Communications for the Anglican Communion.) The job posting itself says 'Director for Communications'. Perhaps the new person can sort this out and strengthen the ACNS style guide.

4 January 2016: Canadian Anglican college prepares students for Orthodox ministry
The diocese of Toronto highlights a new Master of Divinity program at Trinity College, to prepare students for ordained or lay ministry in the Orthodox church. The post-graduate degree, the only one of its kind in Canada, is often a requirement for those seeking ordination in the Orthodox church. Previously, students who wanted the degree had to travel to seminaries in the United States.


3 January 2016: RIP: Bishop John Reid
The Anglican League reported the passing of the Rt Revd John Reid, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Sydney, 1972–1993.

2 January 2016: GAFCON leaders up the ante
The Daily Mail (London) reported GAFCON leaders from Africa and Asia are threatening to walk out of a crucial meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury unless American bishops drop their support for gay marriage. Unlike the paper's inflammatory headline which begins 'Repent or we quit...', Thinking Anglicans brings a sense of propriety to the issue: 'GAFCON prepares for the gathering of Primates'.

1 January 2016: David Suchet describes audio Bible as 'biggest role'
The Church Times published an interview with David Suchet, the narrator in the first full-length audio version of the Bible (spoken by a single British actor). Suchet, best-known for playing Agatha Christie's fictional detective Hercule Poirot, was speaking last month at an event celebrating the launch of the NIV Audio Bible App by Hodder & Stoughton.

1 January 2016: Pact between Churches of England and Scotland criticised
The Church Times reported on remarks by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), the Most Revd David Chillingworth, who has said the Columba Declaration may cause 'real difficulty' in the relationship between the SEC and the Church of England. The SEC is the Anglican Communion partner church in Scotland, and the Declaration is between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. In his blog posts, the Primus questioned whether it was 'proper' for the C of E to enter an agreement about 'ministry and ecclesiastical order' in a country where it had no jurisdiction. 'The Anglican way is to recognise the territorial integrity of each province — they are autonomous, but inter-dependent.' Thinking Anglicans provides a summary.

30 December 2015: Praise and reproaches as northern England endures deluge
The Church Times reports that thousands of people have been forced from their homes in northern England because of flooding. Some churches, like St Barnabas, Littleborough, have been providing shelter for residents, and others that had intended to do the same have become victims of the water themselves. The Catholic Register has noted the practical ecumenism that has led to Anglican churches being made available for RC masses, and to co-operation in relief efforts.


26 December 2015: C of E to fast-track minority ethnic clergy promotions
The Guardian (London) reports a new policy under which the Church of England plans to fast-track black and ethnic minority clergy into senior positions, amid (and presumably in response to) accusations of institutional racism.

26 December 2015: Hundreds die at St James Anglican Church on Christmas
The headline actually said that for about 2 hours before someone noticed the error and revised it to 'Hundreds dine', referring to the Christmas Dinner at St James in Orillia, Diocese of Toronto. We're very happy to learn that it was a small typo and not a large disaster.

25 December 2015: ISIS is the new Herod, says ABC
Al Arabia (Dubai) reports that Archbishop Justin Welby on Christmas Day said Christians faced 'elimination' in the Middle East by ISIS, labelling the group a modern-day version of the tyrannical biblical king Herod.

24 December 2015: The Church of Scotland and the Church of England reach an historic agreement
The churches of England and Scotland have issued press releases announcing they have reached an historic agreement, called the Columba Declaration, that recognises their longstanding ecumenical partnership and lays the groundwork for future joint projects.

23 December 2015: Diocese of Christchurch agrees to consider reinstatement (restoration) of damaged cathedral
New Zealand City reports an agreement between heritage campaigners and Diocesan leaders to 'investigate reinstating the ChristChurch Cathedral'. Anglican Taonga reported it in more detail. Fundraising has already begun.


PRIOR TO 23 December 2015: Older news stories are headlined in our Archive Pages.

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