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Pope Francis Kisses the Feet of South Sudan’s Leaders at Conclusion of Ecumenical Retreat

An ecumenical spiritual retreat led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis at the Vatican ended yesterday with Pope Francis kissing the feet of South Sudan’s political leaders. The unprecedented two day retreat was organised in an effort to support the country’s fragile peace deal. The political leaders present at the retreat included South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition leader Vice President Riek Machar. The two are expected to form a national unity government under a fragile peace deal designed to end six years of civil war in the world’s newest country.

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Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury to Lead Spiritual Retreat for South Sudan’s Leaders

Political and Christian leaders from South Sudan will gather in the Vatican this week for an unprecedented spiritual retreat led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Pope Francis. The retreat was described by Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti as a “propitious occasion for reflection and prayer, as well as an occasion for encounter and reconciliation, in a spirit of respect and trust, to those who in this moment have the mission and the responsibility to work for a future of peace and prosperity for the South Sudanese people.”

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Anglican Church in Indian Ocean Calls for Chagossians’ Right of Return to Diego Garcia

The Standing Committee of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean has expressed its solidarity with the Chagossian people in their fight to return to their island homelands. The UK government retained controls of islands in the Chagos Archipelago when it granted Mauritius independence in 1968. A number of them were evacuated through forced displacement. One of them, Diego Garcia, is home to a US military base. In February, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an advisory opinion to the UN General Assembly in which it said that “the United Kingdom is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible.”

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Anglican-Jewish Commission Holds Latest Round of Talks in Manchester, England

Senior Anglican and Jewish leaders met this week for the latest meeting of the Anglican-Jewish Commission. The Commission is the vehicle for the official dialogue between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The annual meetings usually alternate between Lambeth Palace and Jerusalem; but this week’s meeting took place in Manchester, England. “There is a strong Jewish population here and there is a vibrant Anglican Diocese”, the Anglican Co-Chair of the Commission, Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said.

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Theologians Compile Resource to Help Ordinands and Seminarians Learn About Gender Justice

A new educational resource to help Anglican theological colleges, seminaries and training programmes teach about just relationships between males and females is being developed by the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN). An international theological working group, drawing members from across the Communion, met in Limuru, Kenya, last week, to work on the study materials, “God’s Justice: Just relationships between women and men, girls and boys.”

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Archbishop of Cape Town honoured for work combating poverty and promoting education

The British international affairs organisation FIRST has given its 2019 Responsible Capitalism Advocacy Award to Archbishop Thabo Makgoba for his work in establishing a trust to combat poverty and promote educational skills. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, collected the award on Archbishop Thabo’s behalf from the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, during a reception in the historic Lancaster House in London, a former royal palace.

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Environment Network Calls on Anglicans Around the World to Use Less Plastic

The Anglican Communion’s Environment Network (ACEN) is encouraging Anglicans to reduce their use of plastic in Lent. Organisers hope that those taking part in the “plastic fast” will learn to use less plastic in the longer term in order to protect the earth’s environment. The Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Canon Rachel Mash, said that that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. “Plastic is already entering into our drinking water”, she said. “Plastic clogs our rivers, leaches into our soil and is one of the greatest challenges the planet faces.”

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Female Anglican voices to be heard at United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

The Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations is taking a delegation of seven women to New York next month for the 63rd annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). Eight women were chosen, but one member of the delegation was denied a visa by the US authorities. This year, the 45 UN Member States who are members of the Commission will discuss “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” – this includes issues such as access to health and education systems. As in recent years, the US-based Episcopal Church will also have an official delegation at the event. The Anglican mission agencies Mothers’ Union and USPG will also be present.

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Janani Luwum’s family and Idi Amin’s kinsmen reconcile on 42nd anniversary of martyrdom

The family of Archbishop Janani Luwum, the former Primate of what was then the Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire, have reconciled with kinsmen of the former Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, who ordered his killing. Uganda’s Black Star News website reports that Canon Stephen Gelenga, from the same Kakwa tribe of Amin, delivered an emotional apology to Luwum’s family and the people of Acholi tribe during commemoration events over the past weekend.

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Bishop’s 8,000 Mile Trip for Confirmation in World’s Most Southerly Anglican Cathedral

Three people were confirmed this week in the most southerly cathedral in the Anglican Communion – but the cathedral’s bishop, Tim Thornton, had to travel some 8,000 miles from his office in London, England, for the service. The Falkland Islands are not within an Anglican Communion province but is an Extra Provincial area under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Bishop to the Falklands is a post held by the Bishop at Lambeth – the senior episcopal assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.

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Lambeth Conference: Archbishop of Cape Town Calls on Bishops to “Express Your Difference”

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has called on Anglican bishops to attend the next Lambeth Conference despite differences within the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Thabo chairs the international Design Group, brought together by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to plan the once-in-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops, which will take place in Canterbury, Kent, in 2020. “I know people talk about the fabric of the communion as torn”, he said, “but we are all fallible human beings in need of God’s love and grace, and we need each other.”

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Trinidadian Priest in Serious Condition After Being Shot by Gunman in Port of Spain

A priest in the Diocese of Trinidad & Tobago, Gerald Hendrickson, is in a serious condition in hospital after being shot as he left a cafe. CCTV footage shows the gunman running after another man, shooting at him as he ran into a store. He continued firing indiscriminately, hitting the priest twice in the stomach as he left the Big George foodstore as the shooting took place. Reports say that police found 15 rounds of ammunition at the scene – one of them was still live.

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Anglican Church of Chile Trains Young People to Exercise Leadership in Local Churches

Fifty young people from the Anglican Church of Chile (Iglesia Anglicana de Chile – IACH) have attended a training camp this month to learn how to make disciples in their local churches. This year’s El Campamento de Formación (Formation Camp – CDF) was organised by the Province’s Centro de Estudios Pastorales (Centre for Pastoral Studies – CEP) as part of a scheme that is now in its 14th year. Pastor Cristóbal Cerón, the Rector of the CEP, said that the aim of CDF is for each young person to see the camp as part of a process in his life, where they are trained to serve in their local churches and train disciples; and to teach the Word of God in an appropriate way.

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Terror Attack Leaves “Trail of Pain and Untold Suffering,” Anglican Church of Kenya Says

This week’s terror attack in Nairobi has “left behind a trail of pain and untold suffering among innocent and hardworking citizens”, the Anglican Church of Kenya said in a statement. At least 21 people are known to have been killed after militants from al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate, attacked the DusitD2 hotel and business complex in Nairobi on Tuesday. A further 19 people are still unaccounted for. The terror group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Cautions Against Political Mood Over UK’s Brexit Debate

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has spoken out against an increase in personal attacks and threats in the midst of the UK’s debate about its withdrawal from the European Union (EU). On 23 June 2017, voters in the UK and the island of Gibraltar voted in a referendum to leave the EU. Members of Parliament are in the middle of a heated debate over UK-EU exit deal. The deal has split political opinion in the country and if Parliament rejects it when they vote next week, there is little time for a new deal to be negotiated before the UK is due to leave the EU at midnight CET (11pm GMT) on Friday 29 March 2019.

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Bishop of Ahoada, Clement Ekpeye, Freed by Kidnappers After Five Days in Captivity

The Bishop of Ahoada, Clement Ekpeye, has been released, five days after unknown gunmen abducted him from his home in Nigeria’s Rivers State. Bishop Ekpeye was abducted on Tuesday night. The identity of his abductors is not known. Media reports from Nigeria say it is not clear whether Bishop Clement was released voluntarily or whether a ransom had been paid.

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