From the US to the Philippines: Anglicans Respond to Severe Weather Crises
Officials in the Philippines said today (Tuesday) that the death toll from Typhoon Mangkhut has risen to 74 – but they warn that the final figure could be much higher. While in the US, authorities say that 31 people have died as a result of Hurricane Florence. In addition to the deaths, some five million people are said to have been displaced in central Philippines; while in Hong Kong and South China, where four people were killed in Guangdong province, some 2.4 million people were evacuated.
Zimbabwean Churches urged to join fight against Cholera pandemic
Churches in Zimbabwe have been urged to take steps to help curb the cholera outbreak in the country. Yesterday (Thursday), the country’s Health Minister, Obadiah Moyo, told journalists that there were 3,766 cases of cholera in the outbreak; whuch had claimed 25 lives. The World Health Organisation (WHI) said the disease was spreading rapidly in the capital Harare.
Welsh Bishops to Explore “Formal Provision” for Same-Sex Couples
The Bishops of the Church in Wales (CiW) will explore formal provision for same-sex couples in church after a debate yesterday in the Province’s Governing Body. Members of the Governing Body – the Church in Wales’ synod – agreed that “it is pastorally unsustainable for the Church to make no formal provision for those in same-gender relationships.” Following the vote, a CiW spokeswoman said that bishops will now consider “new approaches which could be brought back to the Governing Body for approval at a later date.”
Anglican Communion Standing Committee affirms Chilean provincial aspiration
The Anglican Diocese of Chile, which is currently part of the Province of the Anglican Church of South America, should become a Province in its own right, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has decided. Before the change can be made formally, the ACC’s constitution requires the assent of two thirds of Anglican Primates. David White, the Chief Operating Officer at the Anglican Communion Office, told the Standing Committee members that a quarter of Primates had responded positively so far, and more notifications are expected in the coming weeks.
Episcopal Church of South Sudan’s National Youth Coordinator Killed in Gun Attack
The national youth coordinator for the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) has died after being shot while travelling to Yei. Thousands of young people gathered at the house of Joseph Kiri yesterday (Monday) to pay their respects for the youth worker and evangelist, who was killed just days after the Primate of South Sudan, Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, said more needed to be done to turn a peace deal on paper into peace on the ground.
Mothers’ Union Women Inspired to Change Their Communities
More than 2,000 women are returning home from a Mothers’ Union provincial conference in Kenya inspired to take a lead in their communities. On Monday, 20 August, they arrived at Kabarak University in the Rift Valley for a week of celebration of each other’s ministry and renewal of their service to the marginalized. They also took time to worship together and minister to each other.
Indian Ocean Anglicans’ Prayer of Unity for Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles
The Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean has designated September as a month of prayers of intercession, dedicated to the national unity of the three countries that constitute the Province. Members of the Standing Committee met at Antananarivo, Madagascar, last month, under the presidency of the Church’s Primate, Bishop James Wong Yin Song. “We . . . wish to reaffirm the prophetic role of the Church who is called to be an instrument of peace and justice,” they said in a communiqué at the end of their meeting. “We wish to express our will to work so that the Church can awaken more the consciousness of the people of the Indian Ocean islands which is constantly agitated by winds of insecurity, instability, the degradation of morals and the political, economic, environmental, social and family corruption.”
Anglicans Join Other Christians in Assisi for Two-Day Ecumenical Prayer for Creation
For the past few years, the Anglican Communion Environmental Network as teamed up with the Global Catholic Climate Movement and other agencies to provide a range of resources to help Christians around the world make the most of the season. This year’s theme, “Walking Together” has inspired the first Ecumenical Care for Creation event in the Italian town of Assisi. On the afternoon of Friday 31 August, Christians will gather in Assisi’s Vescovado Plaza, where Saint Francis publicly renounced his father’s wealth, for the start of two-days of prayer. Between 5 pm on 31 August and 11 am on Saturday 1 September, prayer will take place there, at the Room of Reunification, the Chapel of Saint Damian in the Basilica of Saint Clare, and at the Upper Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.
First Students Graduate From St Frumentius’ Theological College in Gambella, Ethiopa
An Anglican theological college established in the Gambella region of Ethiopia is celebrating after its first group of students completed the three-year course and collected their qualifications. Two of the seven graduates of the St Frumentius’ Anglican Theological College are refugees and the others are from two different ethnic groups that have a history of conflict. At several points over the past three years, high levels of ethnic tensions in the Gambella region made it unsafe for students to meet on campus together.
Opened in November 2015, St Frumentius is the first Anglican theological training college in Ethiopia. It was started in response to a great need for theological training in the area: the church is growing rapidly in Ethiopia, largely through the migration of South Sudanese Christian refugees to the area.
Church of South India Appeals for Help as Flood Waters “Wreak Havoc” in Kerala
At least 39 people are now known to have died as unprecedented torrential rains causes severe flooding in parts of Kerala, India. In addition to the high death toll, there are many more people who are suffering from flood-related injuries. The six dioceses of the united Church of South India (CSI) are already active in relief work. The CSI is urging “all the Christian organizations in India [and] sister churches to express their solidarity and proactively engage in the relief work, which will be a great support they can extend to the Keralites in this time of calamity.” The Anglican Alliance, which helps to co-ordinate the work of Anglican relief agencies around the world, is planning a conference call to organize international support.
Church in Wales Highlights “Poor Upbringing” of Welsh Children During Eisteddfod Event
Church volunteers are stepping in to provide food and support for struggling families as cuts to public spending impact on child poverty, the Church in Wales said this week during an event at The Eisteddfod, the annual cultural festival. The audience at the event heard stories of children struggling to keep up with school homework because their families couldn’t afford a computer or internet access, going hungry in holidays and parents not being able to afford school uniforms. The also heard that funding cuts were threatening Church-run family centres in some of the most deprived areas of the country.
Estimates suggest that some 200,000 children in Wales are living in poverty, with cutbacks in benefits and public funding for family services significantly adding to the problem. The Welsh Government recently said it would not be able to reach its target of ending child poverty by 2020.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Set to Address UN Security Council
Archbishop Justin Welby will become the first Archbishop of Canterbury to address the UN Security Council when he takes part in an open debate later this month. The Archbishop has been invited to brief an open debate on “mediation and its role in conflict prevention” by the UK’s Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce. The event, on 29 August, is one two big “discretionary events” being organised by the UK during their rolling presidency of the UN in August.
Bishop Cycles Across Canada
Diocese of Qu’Appelle Bishop Rob Hardwick has reached Ottawa on his mammoth cycle journey across Canada to raise funds supporting indigenous ministries within the Anglican Church of Canada, and to promote healing and reconciliation. His journey, beginning in May in Victoria, British Colombia, will take him through the summer to St. John’s, Newfoundland, a distance of over 4300 miles.
Church Leaders Unite Behind Vision for “One People, One Nation, and One South Sudan”
Church leaders in South Sudan, including the Anglican Primate Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, have issued a joint statement calling on political leaders in the war-torn country to pursue peace. After a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the heads of Churches in membership of the South Sudan Council of Churches issued a joint statement lamenting the violence and suffering of the nation’s people. “We as the shepherds of the people of South Sudan continue to mourn and grieve for our country”, they say. “Our hearts pain for the suffering, tired, hungry flock and for our leaders with all their fears, anger and trauma as they struggle both across our nation, the region and the world.”
Bishops Speak out on Resumption of Death Penalty for Drugs Offenders in Sri Lanka
The bishops of the Church of Ceylon have spoken out after reports that Sri Lanka’s President and Cabinet have moved to reinstate the death penalty for prisoners convicted of drugs offences. There has been a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the country since 1976, with sentences of death commuted to life imprisonment. But now President Maithripala Sirisena has said that he will sign execution orders for people convicted of drug trafficking who are said to be continued to be involved in offences despite being in prison. The move has been opposed groups as diverse as the Human Rights Commission, the European Union, Amnesty International and the country’s Anglican Church.
Young Pakistani Christians Hold Discussion on the Role of Youth in Nation-Building
A group of 40 young Christians from the united Church of Pakistan, the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, and the Roman Catholic Church have met to discuss the country’s forthcoming general elections. The event, on the role of young people in nation building in Pakistan, was organized by the National Council of Churches in Pakistan and the Christian Conference of Asia with the Centre for Social Justice. Organizers say it was designed to build awareness among young Christians and encourage them “to exercise their democratic rights to choose the future leaders of the country.”
Bishops Act Following “Dramatic and Profoundly Uncomfortable” #MeToo Listening Exercise
Bishops in the US-based Episcopal Church (TEC) have adopted a covenant committing them to seek change after hearing personal stories of abuse, harassment and exploitation. Ahead of the Church’s General Convention – the triennial governing synod of the province currently taking place in Austin, Texas – the bishops took part in a “special listening liturgy” to acknowledge the #MeToo movement. They then adopted “A Working Covenant for the Practice of Equity and Justice for All in The Episcopal Church” which commits them to seeking change.
Regional Conference Equips Christians for Mission and Evangelism in South India
One hundred delegates from six dioceses in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have attended a regional missionary conference. During the event, hosted by Dornakal Diocese, the delegates discussed how “to spread and propagate the unconditional love and compassion of Christ through our deeds and words to all,” the Church of South India’s Mission and Evangelism Director, Maxcin John, said. “We are never ever for any religious fundamentalism or extremism. On the other hand, we should stand together for religious harmony, peace, justice and reconciliation in our living context”.
Church of English Bishops in Nationwide Evangelism and Church Planting Drive
Nearly half of C of E churches have fewer than five under 16-year olds, a report to next month’s General Synod says. But the Church is seeking to change this through a new Youth Evangelism Task Group chaired by the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Paul Williams; who has also become the lead bishop on youth evangelism. The Church has also appointed a national Youth Evangelism Officer, Jimmy Dale, as part of “structural change” designed to tackle “the challenge the Church of England faces in reaching and discipling young people.”
Swaziland Diocese Holds on to National Environmental Awards
The Diocese of Swaziland has held on to two national environmental awards. The diocese itself retained its title as the best Environmentally Active Faith Based Organization in the Kingdom; while young Green Anglican Mncedisi Masuku retained the title of Young Eco-Hero. Both recipients were awarded the awards when they were first granted in 2016; and retained them when this year’s Temvelo Awards were presented in Swaziland’s Royal Convention Centree.
Archbishop in Jerusalem Urges Anglicans to Work for Reconciliation
The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, has stressed the need for reconciliation amongst Anglicans. Speaking to delegates at the Gafcon event being held in the city, Archbishop Suheil spoke of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem’s work of reconciliation in the Holy Land, and emphasized the importance of the Church being one. This message featured in a homily delivered at an evensong in St George’s Cathedral on Sunday attended by some 200 of the Gafcon participants, including more than 70 bishops; and repeated in a welcome message to the Gafcon event being held in Jerusalem’s International Convention Centre.
Across the World, Anglicans are Working to Provide Support and Care for Refugees
Today – 20 June – is World Refugee Day, when the world is called to remember the millions of individuals fleeing their countries as refugees; and the millions more internally displaced people stranded within their country with no home to go to. In the middle of this crisis, across the Communion, Anglicans are responding.
In a statement released today, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called on the Church to lift up these millions of people in their prayers, and reflected on ministry to refugees that he had seen on his travels.
“Day of Jubilation” as New Primate Enthroned for Province de L’Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda
Thousands of people from across Rwanda – including the Prime Minister – and scores of guests from overseas packed into a stadium in the capital, Kigali, for the enthronement of the new Primate of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, Archbishop Laurent Mbanda.
In his charge, the Archbishop thanked his House of Bishops for doing him the honour of electing him to be their leader. He pledged to work hard for the Province and to maintain the team spirit and unity among the bishops. A former vice president of Compassion International, he said his experience would help him to build the Church. He also spoke of the Church being a blessing to the Anglican Communion.
Church of South India Looks to Establish “Child-Friendly Churches” in Karnataka North
Sunday school teachers and Christian educators from the Diocese of Karnataka North in the united Church of South India have received training to develop child-friendly churches. They gathered at the CSI Synod Centre in Chennai for three days of training, sponsored by Evangelical Mission in Solidarity, a German-based mission agency. The training was organized as part of a challenge “to reach out to children with a commitment to establish God’s reign in this present world.”
“Our Faith, Our Way”: 8,000 gather to mark two decades of Hong Kong’s Anglican province
Celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (HKSKH), the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, have got underway with a gathering of 8,000 people at AsiaWorld-Expo. The large gathering of teachers, social-workers, priests and parishioners was a celebration of the evangelism, education, social service ministries of the Church.
Archbishop of Canterbury says a Reconciled Church can Dispel the “Fear of the ‘Other’”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of the danger that “fear of the other” poses to “Christian witness and presence”. Speaking to the General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, meeting in Novi Sad, Serbia, he said that churches working together can help to break down the walls that others seek to build. “The Church breaks across boundaries and frontiers as if they did not exist,” he said. “By being in Christ, I am made one by God in a family that stretches around the world and crosses cultural, linguistic and ecumenical frontiers, driven by the Spirit who breaks down all the walls that we seek to erect.”
Korean Churches Plan Prayer Vigil as US – North Korean Diplomacy Heats Up
A planned summit between the US and North Korea next month looks increasingly to be in doubt, as rhetoric between the two nations increase. But churches on the peninsula are continuing their plans for a prayer vigil outside the US embassy in Seoul ahead of the scheduled 12 June meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. The regional ecumenical group the National Council of Churches in Korea has planned the prayer vigil to express its hope for lasting peace on the peninsula.
Diocese of Tasmania to Sell Churches to Fund Redress to Victims of Abuse
The Bishop of Tasmania has published a list of 78 parish properties that could be sold to fund redress to victims of abuse. The majority of the properties in the provisional list are churches, but it also includes rectories, rental properties and vacant land. In a pastoral letter to the people of the diocese last month, Bishop Richard Condie revealed that the diocese is liable for around $8 million AUD (approximately £4.5 million GBP). The proposals will be debated by the diocesan Synod meeting in Launceston on Saturday.
“Redress is so important,” Bishop Richard said. “It’s a vital step in providing restorative justice, recognition and support to survivors of sexual abuse. The Prophet Isaiah teaches that God loves justice and calls us to make recompense for those who have been wronged. As people committed to God’s restoration of the world, we have an obligation to provide this.”
Bishop of Hawaii “Marvels at God’s Creation” as Kilauea’s Volcanic Eruption Continues
No churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii are in the path of the lava flow emanating from the Kilauea volcanic eruption, diocesan bishop Robert Fitzpatrick said. The volcano on Hawaii’s “Big Island” – the island of Hawai’i – has been continuously erupting since 1983; but on 3 May, several new lava vents opened up in the lower Puna area following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. On 17 May, the volcano erupted explosively, throwing 30,000 feet of ash into the air. As the lava reaches sea water, it is being turned into dangerous clouds of hydrochloric gas containing tiny particles of glass.
Bishop Robert said, “As we say our prayers those most impacted and as we do what we can to help, we still marvel at God’s creation.”