[Anglican Church of Canada] Introduced by the Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante as an ecumenical contribution from the Methodist Church of Ghana, the Akan concept of sankofa served as a guiding framework for the Seventh Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, which took place from May 25-29 in Accra, Ghana. The gathering brought together bishops from Canada, Ghana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Burundi, Zambia, England, and the United States.
Sankofa — literally, “It is not a taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind” — refers broadly to the unity of past and present, where the narrative of the past is a dynamic reality that cannot be separated from consideration of the present and future.
The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue emerged after the 2008 Lambeth Conference as a way for bishops from different backgrounds to continue an ongoing, respectful dialogue in the midst of significant disagreements, primarily over the issues of human sexuality and same-sex marriage.
The document that emerged from the latest meeting, A Testimony of Unity in Diversity, highlights the growing sense of understanding among the bishops of each other’s experiences. Referring to the self-examination and presence of the past inherent to sankofa, the testimony notes: “It is this sense of history and tradition that informs and guides us … In our Anglican tradition this means unity but not uniformity. Unity in diversity is a distinctive feature of Anglicanism throughout the Christian world. Such unity always brings about dialogue and self-examination.”
Among the members of the Anglican Church of Canada in attendance for the seventh consultation were Archbishop and Primate Fred Hiltz; the Rev. Canon Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, African Relations Coordinator for Global Relations (who also works jointly for the U.S.-based Episcopal Church), who has coordinated and staffed each of the consultations since 2010; Bishop Michael Bird of the Diocese of Niagara; Bishop Jane Alexander of the Diocese of Edmonton; and Bishop Michael Ingham (ret’d), formerly of the Diocese of New Westminster.
Ingham, who has attended all six of the previous consultations, described the Accra gathering as “very much a continuation of what we have experienced before,” which allowed the bishops to build on trust and friendships they had established and model a way of active listening and respectful exchange of views.
Throughout all seven gatherings, he noted, there has been one constant: “The fact that we are united by mission more than we are divided by controversy.”
With more bishops attending the consultation than ever before, this year’s gathering was the first at which the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, was present. Both Curry and Hiltz, who was present for approximately one and a half days, spoke about recent developments in the U.S. and Canadian churches on the question of same-sex marriage.
“The value in having the two of us there, I think, was that the issue that originally brought people together — that is, our challenges and our differences over matters of human sexuality — was actually put right on the table,” Hiltz said.
Ingham noted that despite the bishops present holding many different theologies on marriage, sexuality and biblical interpretation, “we’re not divided by these differences. Rather, we’re spurred to be curious with each other and to hear how these matters play out in our different parts of the world.”
“We’re all very aware that mission is contextual,” he added. “And I think most of the African bishops who attend understand that social and legislative challenges have taken place around homosexuality in Western countries.
“That doesn’t mean that they agree with it, but they understand that we are placed in that situation and must respond to it. And I think by the same token, the Western bishops … have a deep sense of respect for the way African churches are trying to deal with this, because all of the Africans know that they have to deal with it. It’s not an issue just for the West.”
Global and historical contexts for mission
The major focus of the meeting was on bishops sharing their stories and experiences with each other, reflecting the wide variety of contexts for mission around the world.
“There is a growing awareness of the different missional demands of the participants’ contexts and greater recognition of one another’s faithfulness in addressing the particular demands of their mission fields,” Mukasa said. “There is no agreement on issues of human sexuality. But there is a greater willingness to listen and learn from one another’s testimonies.”
In the case of the diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania, as well as the church in Zanzibar, bishops learned about the difficulties of Christian mission and evangelism in a context where the vast majority of the population is Muslim.
Illustrating the continued impact of the past on the present, speakers from the diocese of Oklahoma in the Episcopal Church described the effects of the forced relocation and disenfranchisement of Indigenous people during the formation of the United States. The Diocese of Liverpool — a major hub for the transatlantic slave trade from the 16th to the 19th century, from which the city derived much of its wealth — described its efforts to promote social justice through the establishment of food banks and by providing advice for getting out of debt and poverty.
The legacy of the slave trade — also visible at last year’s consultation in Richmond, Virginia — has impacted much of West Africa, including Ghana. During the consultation, the bishops journeyed to the Diocese of Cape Coast to visit one of forty “slave castles,” large commercial forts built by European slave traders.
“It was a particularly solemn moment to walk through the ‘gate of no return’ that was the portal through which the slaves were led out to the ships that carried them to North America and to other parts of the world,” Bird said.
“I believe that this experience reinforced in all of us the importance of the work that we have been engaged in that has focused on reconciliation, and the gift we have been given in our common life together.”
[Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina] The Rev. Canon José A. McLoughlin was elected as the seventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.
The election was held during a special Electing Convention June 25 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Asheville, North Carolina.
McLoughlin was chosen from among four final candidates to lead the Episcopal Church in Western North Carolina, representing 15,000 members in 63 year-round congregations, six summer chapels and two conference centers.
The other nominees were:
- The Rev. Thomas Brown, rector, Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester, Diocese of Massachusetts;
- The Rev. Cynthia Banks, rector, St. Luke’s, Boone, Diocese of Western North Carolina; and
- The Rev. Hannah E. Atkins, rector, Trinity, Houston, Diocese of Texas.
McLoughlin will join the diocese in September and will be consecrated as bishop on Oct. 1. He will replace the Rt. Rev. G. Porter Taylor, the sixth bishop of the diocese, who was consecrated as bishop in 2004.
Ordained in 2005, McLoughlin earned his Masters in Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Florida. Prior to his call to the priesthood, McLoughlin worked in the criminal justice field serving in the State of Florida as a police officer and in the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. in various capacities, most recently as the special assistant/senior advisor to the assistant attorney general.
McLoughlin and his wife Laurel have been married for 23 years, and together have two children, Alexander, 17, and Alyson, 14. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, McLoughlin is bilingual, enjoys music, playing the drums, and studying 18th century American history.
In his nomination profile, McLoughlin wrote, “I think the church today longs for a new type of bishop. A bishop who is truly engaged in the ministry and lives of people within the diocese; engaged in mission and evangelism; a bishop willing to sit with the people of the diocese and explore new ways to be disciples of Christ.”
[Episcopal News Service – Guayaquil, Ecuador] Like all relationships, companion diocese and parish-to-parish relationships ebb and flow, but for the parishes in the dioceses of Tennessee and Ecuador Litoral, their long-standing relationships have stayed the course and have continued to evolve.
Openness to change and deep listening characterized the Diocese of Tennessee’s most recent visit to the Diocese of Ecuador Litoral, an annual pre-planned visit that took a change of course after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the central coast, killing hundreds of people, injuring thousands and displacing tens of thousands from their homes north of Guayaquil.
Tennessee companions have made yearly visits to Ecuador since 1998. Over the years they’ve engaged in construction projects, renovations, new buildings and enclosures; facilitated workshops and medical clinics; worshiped and gathered together in fellowship; and have practiced a ministry of presence, particularly during their most recent visit when they heard the stories of earthquake survivors and their families.
Originally, the group of 11 was meant to be twice its size, with some members operating a medical clinic. Instead, the Tennessee companions focused on a ministry of presence, visiting churches in Guayaquil and in Manabí Province, one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake, a three-and-a-half-hour drive north on the central coast.
To address some of the peoples’ needs, a group of medical professionals from the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico, which operates a health system on the island, joined with local doctors to offer a medical clinic June 15-18 to provide obstetrical and gynecological care, general medicine, pediatrics and psychological care to people in Manabí.
Having the medical needs met by partners from Puerto Rico, which also has a companion relationship with Ecuador Litoral, allowed the companions from Tennessee to sit and listen to people’s stories and their concerns.
“We’re at a crossroads … is there a better way to do things?” said Paul Wholley, a longtime companion and a member of Church of the Good Shepherd in Brentwood, Tennessee, who helps coordinate the three-day mission his church sponsors. “If the earthquake has a silver lining it was that we were able to do a listening tour.”
The dioceses of Tennessee and Ecuador Litoral had an official companionship relationship from 1998 to 2010; now the relationship continues on a parish-to-parish basis, coordinated by a companion committee headed by George Kurz, a member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Nashville.
Two critical things are happening in the Diocese of Ecuador Litoral. It’s developing a long-term plan to respond to the needs of people affected by the earthquake, their physical, emotional wellbeing, rebuilding housing and assisting people to find jobs. The other main focus, which has been ongoing, but is picking up steam, is the diocese’s journey toward self-sustainability for their mission and ministry.
When asked about what his wants, needs and expectations are for companion relationships, Ecuador Litoral Bishop Alfredo Morante said they are many, but that the No. 1 priority is to find partners and companions that can accompany the diocese on its journey to self-sustainability.
Each of the seven dioceses that make up the Episcopal Church’s Province IX – Ecuador Litoral, Ecuador Central, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic – are required to adopt a plan to self-sustainability.
In May, the Province IX bishops formed a province-wide development group during a synod meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The development group’s purpose is to assist with the development and self-sustainability of the diocese through the promotion of sustainable development, the solicitation of resources and the strengthening of companion relationships.
The development group is modeled after the Dominican Development Group, which has helped the Diocese of the Dominican Republic establish an endowment that — along with assistance from the Episcopal Church — has helped secure its future mission and ministry. Much of what the DDG has been able to do has been with the assistance of companions, facilitating more than 50 mission trips annually.
The bishop has long talked about the diocese’s need to become self-sustainable, said Kurz.
“This is not ‘Ecuador Land,’ this is not a theme park,” said Kurz, during an interview in Guayaquil. “I do feel called to be here … and I want to do the best that I can do to be a companion.”
What the long-term companions have noticed in Ecuador mirrors what happens in the United States: Parishes that have strong leadership become the strongest parishes, and strong leaders in the United States partnering with strong leaders in Ecuador have the capacity to produce sustainable results.
The deacons and the priests in the diocese, Morante said, want the same things he wants, companion relationships that can help to carry them on their journey to self-sustainability and that help them serve their parishes and the surrounding communities.
Self-sustainability is something St. Joseph of Arimathea in Hendersonville, Tennessee, is working on with Jesus the Lord, its partner in a working-class area of Guayaquil led by the Rev. Mariana Loor.
“At Jesus el Señor, they have a real talent for empanadas,” said Sarena Pettit, a member of St. Joseph of Arimathea and the Tennessee group’s Spanish-language interpreter, herself a longtime companion.
The church has a window facing the street, which will make window sales easy; the plan is to start small with empanadas and later to expand the operation to include a bakery. With locally raised money and support from the diocese and the Tennessee companions, the church has the seed money to get started, she said.
Over the years Pettit and Loor have become friends: they keep in touch via email and know that they are praying for one another.
“(Our) principal relationship is one of prayer,” said Loor, during a visit to Jesus the Lord, although she also has made a visit to Tennessee. “We have a beautiful relationship and we stay united in the Holy Spirit.”
– Lynette Wilson is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service.
[Anglican Church of Chile] In recent days, the Chilean Government has led a citizen consultation process towards drawing up a new constitution. Given the relevance of this step for the country, the Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Church of Chile (IACH) and Primate of the Province of South America, Héctor Zavala, made a call to church members to participate and actively be involved in this period of discussion and socialization.
Through an open letter and a media shared video, Zavala encouraged both laity and clergy of the IACH to join in this constitutional process, either by generating information and discussion spaces within their churches or getting involved in some of the consultation bodies promoted by the government.
“As Christians and as citizens, we are called to be part of the processes of social and cultural changes of our nation, and at the same time, to be agents of light and influence in all spheres of our society. Therefore, our role is important in this instance of participation,” he said.
Moreover, the bishop stressed out that although within the church not everybody share the same stance on the mechanisms for consultation, and our participation and involvement can be done from different positions, the whole church unites in the same desire that this new constitution may uphold the Christian heritage maintained since the founding of the Chilean Republic.
“As a church we want our most important legal rule to preserve the values and republican principles which are based in a biblical world-view. This can only be achieved with faith expressing itself through love (Gal 5:6),” Zavala said in his letter.
The right to life and human dignity from the moment of conception; freedom of education and religion; justice and equality for all citizens before the law, among other values, emphasized the bishop, are important to preserve in the new Constitution.
Under the drafting initiative for the new constitution, the Government of Chile gave a deadline of June 28 to collect ideas from the citizenship, either through individual input on the website, or through self-convened meetings.
In response to the bishop’s call, to this date several IACH members have participated in these self-convened discussion meetings to raise the principles that as Christians they want to see included in the new constitution.
The Bishops of the Church in Wales have responded to yesterday’s EU referendum in the U.K. with the following joint statement.
In facing the outcome of the EU referendum, we commend a period of calm and reflection as the UK seeks to find its way forward in this new situation.
As Christians we hold to the Gospel values of truthfulness, inclusion, and respect; and so after the passionate debate, we pray for reconciliation amongst the divided factions in our nations, communities and families.
We pray for the United Kingdom and for our partners in Europe and the rest of the world at this time of uncertainty, as we continue to work together to build a just and peaceful future in which all people can flourish.
Dr Barry Morgan, The Archbishop of Wales
John Davies, The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon
Wyn Evans, The Bishop of St Davids
Andy John, The Bishop of Bangor
Gregory Cameron, The Bishop of St Asaph
Richard Pain, The Bishop of Monmouth
David Wilbourne, The Assistant Bishop of Llandaff
Responding to the U.K.’s EU referendum, the Primate of the Southern Province of the Church of Ireland, the Most Rev. Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough, issued the following statement.
At this time of considerable uncertainty for the people of Ireland following the outcome of the referendum on continuing EU membership in the United Kingdom, our hopes and prayers are for stability and clarity in finding the best path forward.
Many people in Ireland fear the impact that this momentous decision will have on their lives in ways that are still incalculable and unknown. We pray for wisdom and foresight on the part of those who lead us politically, socially and economically and for those who will negotiate on our behalf on how best to express and fulfil our role in Ireland within the European Union.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME), Canon Andrew White, has been suspended by the charity’s trustees. And the charity itself is the subject of a statutory inquiry by the official regulator of charities in England and Wales, the Charity Commission.
Canon White, the FRRME, and the Charity Commission have all refrained from stating explicitly what the inquiry and suspension relates to; but it is understood to relate to concerns over alleged ransom payments to secure the release of young girls held as sex-slaves by Daesh. If any such payment had been made to Daesh, it would be unlawful in English law.
In a statement, the trustees of FRRME confirmed that Canon White had been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the Charity Commission inquiry. “It would be inappropriate to comment further on an active investigation other than to say that the Foundation believe at this stage that the alleged incident stemmed from a genuine desire by Canon White to help others,” they said, as they confirmed that they were “cooperating fully” with the authorities.
The Charity Commission confirmed that they had launched a statutory inquiry, but said they could not comment further on what was a “live investigation.” They said that once their inquiry is concluded, they would “publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were.”
Canon White himself said that the inquiry was launched “in response to some inaccurate statements I made about our work with and funding for the former slave girls taken by [Daesh]. What is clear is that at no time did we pay money to any terrorists.”
He asked his supporters to “please pray for us at this very difficult time.”
Andrew White, a former Canon for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, served as the Vicar of Baghdad until he was encouraged to leave the country following advances made by Daesh. He now spends his time travelling between his home in England and bases in Amman and Jerusalem.
In Amman, he works as pastor to a number of Christian families who sought refuge in Jordan after fleeing Daesh’s advances in Iraq. And in Jerusalem he works on reconciliation initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians.
His suspension by FRRME will not affect his preaching and teaching ministry.
The primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. David Chillingworth, bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, has responded to yesterday’s EU referendum in the U.K. with the following statement.
The decision of the people of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is one of the most significant political events of our generation. It turns away from the long term project of building a new Europe following the devastation of two World Wars. It aspires to reclaim national sovereignty and to establish Britain as a major independent world trading nation.
The people have spoken and the will of the people must be respected.
In a hard-fought and at times bruising campaign, it has been clear that debate about Europe has allowed a number of difficult issues to come to the surface. The debate and the patterns of voting suggest that our politicians in recent years may not have paid sufficient attention to some of the deeper issues which are present in our life. The inevitable and necessary period of reflection which must now follow will allow space for questions of poverty and immigration to be explored.
Those of us who live in Scotland are aware that the outcome of the Referendum is potentially of great significance. We hope that our politicians on all sides will take time for careful reflection and consultation.
This a time when we should hold all of our political leaders in our prayers.
Chillingworth also spoke on BBC Scotland this morning with the following Thought for the Day.
So now we know. There is some sense of an end point. But this leave result really marks the beginning of a long period – a time for working out of the implications of the choice which the people have made. That will occupy us for years to come.
It’s another beginning too – the beginning of the process by which we find healing after a bruising Referendum Campaign. It’s part of the way we do things that there are some issues so important that we should ‘let the people decide’. But as the campaign has run its course over the past weeks and months, there has been growing concern about whether that has led to a tendency to over-simplify complex issues and to political debate which has at times been fractious and angry. We may regret this – but it also shows how important this choice has been.
So now we have to put it all together again.
Faith can be about many things. I believe that it’s particularly about how we deal the painful past and find healing – in less religious language it how we let go and make a new start. You can probably hear in my accent a bit of Northern Ireland – where I was one of many who worked to lay to rest the legacy – not just of a short and bruising Referendum campaign – but of hundreds of years of bad history.
To say that ‘that was then and now is now’ isn’t enough. You have be able again to recognise the ‘other’ person as somebody of integrity – that person whom you may have thought and maybe said was lying or scaremongering or bringing in issues which were nothing to do with the matter in hand.
That means relationship – lots of coffee and talking which is serious and quiet. It means that, in the period of difficulty and uncertainty into which we are entering, our elected representatives express clarity but have the courage to be flexible.
To fight the political battles with passion – that’s what politicians are for. But they must also build the agreements which bring measured and ordered movement. That’s what the people who have voted now need.
[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu have issued the following joint statement this morning after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.
On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the Referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union.
The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.
The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.
As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.
The referendum campaign has been vigorous and at times has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.
As those who hope and trust in the living God, let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] On Thursday, June 23, Thursdays at 2 features the Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers discussing Missional Voices in The Episcopal Church.
Produced by the Episcopal Church Office of Communications, other videos featured on Thursdays at 2 include:
– Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on World Refugee Day
– Church on the Square, Baltimore, MD
– Episcopal Church Advocacy
– Missional Communities
– Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a food truck ministry in the Diocese of Rhode Island.
– Re-membering and Re- Imagining, a report from the House of Bishops.
– Double Down on Love, an original song from the Thad’s Band in Santa Monica, CA, Diocese of Los Angeles
– The Slate Project, an Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian congregation that exists online and in person.
– The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Reconciliation and Evangelism, providing an update on recent church planting meetings.
– The Rev. Scott Claasan of St Michael’s University Church reflecting on how music and surfing led him back to church.
For more information contact Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The chaplain of the Anglican Church in Greater Athens, the Rev. Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, was presented with one of the U.K.’s civil honors by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, during a June 22 ceremony at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Family’s London home.
Bradshaw was awarded the MBE – a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – in the Queen’s annual New Year’s Honors list in December following his work with the thousands of refugees arriving in Athens from North Africa, Syria and Afghanistan in search of sanctuary in Greece.
With the congregation of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Athens, Bradshaw has worked with agencies such as the Anglican mission agency the United Society and other denominations such as the Salvation Army to provide supplies of food and water, clothing and advice to young and old who have arrived and are bewildered about where to go.
Bradshaw’s MBE was also in recognition of his work “as a powerful ambassador for relief work,” the Diocese in Europe said. He has spoken on this topic to the Church of England’s General Synod and at the U.K.’s Christian arts festival Greenbelt.
“We rejoice with Malcolm on this happy day for him and his family,” the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rt. Rev. Robert Innes, said. “Many of our congregations across Europe know of Malcolm’s tireless work with refugees and his organizational skills in working with other agencies in Athens.
“I am also impressed by his quiet determination and humility in ministry to people in need of food and shelter. It demonstrates the Gospel in action. Today’s award is richly deserved.”
When the award was announced in December, the Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt. Rev. David Hamid, said, “It is a most fitting award recognizing Father Malcolm’s outstanding achievements and extraordinary service particularly during this time of financial hardship facing the Greek people and the huge numbers of refugees arriving in Greece and transiting through the country.
“Father Malcolm has been instrumental in bringing together Churches and other groups to work together to address these challenges.
“When I spoke to him on the telephone to congratulate him, Father Malcolm said, humbly, ‘but none of this could have been achieved without the collaboration and cooperation of others.’ That is true, of course, but it was Malcolm’s drive, passion and vision that harnessed this collaboration. For that, this honor is most fitting.
“The members of the diocese as well as ecumenical partners I am sure will join me in sending our congratulations to Malcolm and expressing our joy at this recognition by HM Government.”
[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of Ceylon has launched an emergency response to devastating floods in Sri Lanka that have claimed more than 100 lives and left thousands homeless and without resources. As floodwaters recede, agencies are taking stock. Communities require emergency assistance, and there is an urgent need to prevent the spread of disease through environmental clean-up and waste management.
At least 104 people are known to have died. This number could rise as 99 people are still missing – the majority following a landslide in the western region of Kegalle, in the Sabaragamuwa Province, which destroyed three villages.
The Anglican mission agency United Society (formerly USPG) are assisting the Church of Ceylon’s response. They say that more than 128,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed, and that this number is likely to rise because of a continuing threat of further landslides. The island’s government has estimated that up to 30,000 businesses may have been affected.
“Those who have been displaced are living in temporary camps, schools, religious buildings, community centers, and with friends and relatives,” a spokesman for the United Society said. “The government and other organizations are providing food, water and healthcare. Where there is overcrowding, water and sanitation are particular concerns.”
The worst affected area is the district of Colombo, where a large number of people live on reclaimed marshland that is highly susceptible to flooding.
As part of its response, the Church of Ceylon’s Board of Social Responsibility provided 30 boats during the initial emergency rescue operations. It is now focused on supporting families in the villages of Puttalam, Chilaw, Urubokke and Dandugama.
“Families have received food, toiletries, boots, medicines, cooking utensils, bedding, water purification tablets, chlorine and cleaning materials,” the United Society said. “The church is also helping with house repairs and providing schools books and supplies so the children can continue in education.”
On its website, the Diocese of Colombo reported that “The flooding and landslides have wreaked havoc across the country. Many casualties have been reported and dozens are missing under the mud of a landslide at Aranayake.
“We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed generously in cash or kind or by volunteering their time.”
The Church is now planning for the next phase of its response, which will include assisting with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of communities as they rebuild livelihood activities.
The Church of Ceylon’s work supporting vulnerable tea plantation communities will be supported by the United Society’s Harvest Appeal.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK), the Anglican Church in Japan, is offering young Anglican academics the opportunity to undertake a fully funded 18-month research fellowship in Tokyo. Applications are particularly sought from Anglicans in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The Bishop Williams Memorial Fund – named after the Rt. Rev. Channing Moore Williams, a missionary of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church who made a substantial contribution to the establishment of the Church in Japan – was established by the NSKK’s General Synod in 1977. It funds both a visiting lecture program and a visiting research scheme.
It is currently inviting applications for the research program from graduates under the age of 35. Applicants need to be a member of a Christian church and have the endorsement of an Anglican bishop.
The successful applicant will be given airfare to and from Japan at the beginning and end of the program; and for a return journey home midway through the 18-month term. They will also be provided with single-person living quarters and a monthly stipend of ¥100,000 (JPY, approximately £640 GBP). Tuition fees will be waived and the researcher will be also be given an allowance of ¥700,000 (JPY, approximately £4,500 GBP) for field study and research.
In creating the Bishop Williams Memorial Fund, the NSKK was mindful of the educational establishments he created, based firmly on Christian values and principles.
“More than 135 years have passed since these schools were founded by Williams, and today they occupy prominent positions among the thousands of educational institutions in Japan. Indeed, they have produced some of Japan’s most respected leaders in various fields of endeavor,” the NSKK says. “Yet when we view the overall situation of our Japanese society and education, we are made aware of the continuing need to exert every effort to carry out the mission entrusted to us by Bishop Williams: to undergird the education and research conducted at our educational institutions with the precepts of Christianity and the spirit of Christian faith.”
The program envisages that the visiting researcher will undertake their research at the Rikkyo University or another of the NSKK’s educational institutions. But if the required facilities are unavailable at NSKK centers, arrangements will be made to use facilities at other institutions.
The researcher may be asked to give informal lectures on their research field to faculty and students in those institutions, so that “in the environment of an educational institution, there will be a meaningful interchange of thought and values in some depth,” the NSKK say.
Applicants need to be proficient in English. The program will begin in October with a six-month intensive course in the Japanese language ahead of the beginning of the research program at the start of Japan’s academic year in April.
- Further details and an application form can be downloaded from the NSKK website (pdf).
[Anglican Communion News Service] Bishop of Makamba Martin Blaise Nyaboho has been elected as the fourth archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi. When he is installed on Aug. 21, Nyaboho will succeed Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who has led the church since 2005.
The 61-year-old bishop, a former member of the Anglican Consultative Council (2005 to 2009), was baptized in 1965 and confirmed in July 1969. He was ordained a deacon in 1985 and a priest four years later. He was consecrated in 1997, becoming the first bishop of Makamba.
His theological education began at the Mweya Bible Institute and Matana Theological School in Burundi and continued at the Kenya Highlands Bible College (now known as the Kenya Highlands Evangelical University) and the Asbury University College in Wilmore, Kentucky, in the U.S. He has also studied at the Haggai Institute Leadership Training in Singapore and the Panzi Development Training Centre in what was Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Before becoming a bishop, Nyaboho served in a variety of roles, including as a teacher at Matana Bible School, and as a Christian literature and Bible translator for Scripture Union and the Bible Society.
He has participated in a number of local and international conferences on social transformation, leadership, peace-building and reconciliation, and on sustainability of the Anglican Church.
He has contributed to good governance in Burundi serving as vice president and then president of the Provincial Electoral Independent Commission for the national elections in 2010 and 2015.
Nyaboho and his wife Emilienne have eight children: six girls and two boys.
Ntahoturi said: “The Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi appreciates all the prayers and support from partners, friends and family.”
[Anglican Communion News Service] An assassination attempt on Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Karim of the Syriac Orthodox Church has been condemned by the former bishop of the Church of England’s Diocese of Guildford, the Rt. Rev. Christopher Hill.
Three members of the security forces were killed and another five injured when a suicide bomber detonated his bomb outside St. Gabriel’s Church in the al-Wusta district of Qamishli in north-east Syria. The bomber, disguised as a priest, had tried to enter the church as the congregation commemorated the Assyrian genocide on the Orthodox Pentecost Sunday at the weekend; but he was stopped by the security personnel when he detonated his bomb. It was the fourth attack against Assyrian Christians in the city in the past six months.
“I am shocked and horrified to learn of the assassination attempt,” Hill, president of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), said. “CEC grieves the loss of life and prays for the recovery of the wounded. We extend our prayers and support for the church and all Christians in threatened positions in the Middle East.”
The CEC general secretary, Fr. Heikki Huttunen, said: “Despite killing other people, the assassin could not achieve their goal. We thank God that the patriarch is able to continue in his apostolic and pastoral mission. May he be guided, strengthened, and consoled by the Spirit of Pentecost.”
In a statement, CEC said that “along with Armenians, Greeks, and other ethnic groups in the region, Syriac Christians have survived genocide and oppression over the course of centuries. We are now witnessing yet another wave of persecution and murder against these Christians and other indigenous religious and ethnic communities in the Middle East.
“As Europeans we must learn more about these events and work to protect people from persecution, murder, and genocide. We must contribute to the building of peace and justice for all religious and ethnic communities of Syria, Iraq, and the entire Middle East. Our hearts, our homes, our societies must be open to all those who flee violence and persecution.”
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, broke away from its executive committee meeting in Trondheim, Norway, to give his reaction to the assassination attempt. “We are shocked by the news of this attack, apparently targeting the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the church’s own homeland,” he said.
“It was an action of terror and violence to Christian communities. I condemn the ideology and intentions behind this attack, and call for prayer and support for the members and leaders of all religious minority communities in the region who are increasingly threatened and attacked,” he added. “While we thank God that Patriarch Aphrem was not harmed in this attack, our thoughts and prayers are especially for the families of those who lost their lives while protecting others from harm, and for the healing and recovery and healing of those who were wounded.”
The attack was also condemned by the Christian Conference of Asia. Its general secretary, Mathews George Chunakara, said that “the CCA is deeply saddened by this unfortunate event and we share the concern of all those peace loving people and communities in Asia and around the world as we pray for the blessed life and continued leadership of the Patriarch who works for sustained peace in the Middle East region.
“The ongoing violence by terrorist groups against the minority Christian communities in Syria and other parts of the Middle East is a serious concern. It is unfortunate that a series of five suicide bomber attacks against the Assyrian minorities in Syria took place in the past six months. The terrorist attack against any religious and cultural minority is deplorable and the international community should act collectively to stop the ongoing terrorist attacks in the Middle East.
“It is unfortunate that a large number of Christians in the homelands where Christianity was born and rooted have already left their ancestral homes and lands as they are unable to survive because of their faith and religious identity” he added.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The only secondary school Umdorain County, in Sudan’s South Kordofan state, has been destroyed in ongoing fighting between government forces and the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the Nuba Mountains. Grace Secondary School, built by the Diocese of Kadugli in 2008, is one of a number of casualties of the ongoing conflict.
The state was due to hold “popular consultations” on its future following the peace deal which saw the creation of an independent South Sudan in January 2011. But the state’s governor Ahmed Haroun (who, along with the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes against civilians and crimes against humanity, cancelled the consultations, leading to ongoing violence.
Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of Kadugli, in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, is asking Anglicans to pray for the people of the Nuba Mountains as they face ongoing violence with the continuing warfare between the two sides.
“In grief, I am writing to bring to your attention the tragedy that our people in the Nuba Mountains are experiencing since mid-March up to the present,” he said in a letter published in the diocesan newsletter Tabaldi.
“People in the Nuba Mountains are experiencing brutal ground attacks and aerial bombardment on a daily basis from the Sudan Armed Forces . . . who have been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Army . . . since the year 2011; causing a loss of many lives and destruction of property.
“The situation of the people has become more difficult with the recent intensification of aggression on the civilian population that started since mid-March 2016 to this month of April. This scale of the war has spread all over the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile Regions. . . As a result, our Diocese of Kadugli is divided into two parts: some of its churches fall in the area controlled by the Government of Sudan, and others in the SPLA controlled areas.”
Three thousand government troops were sent to the Karakaria area and the surrounding villages, including Ekwartang, the village where Andudu was born and raised. “They killed and drove people away [and] occupied the villages for six days before the Sudan Liberation troops defeated them and drove them out of the villages,” he said. “But the Sudan Armed Forces left nothing in the villages.”
The bishop said that more than 22 civilians were killed during the attacks around Karakaria; many people are still missing. The troops burnt almost all the houses and two churches in the area. Another one was shot at from the inside, and all the iron sheets on the roof were destroyed.
The troops destroyed Grace Secondary School with bulldozers. Sorghum crops, sesame, and ground nuts harvested over the last year were burnt. Civilians are currently left in open spaces, rivers, valleys and in caves on the mountains; and facing challenges to cope with the situation. Their plight is expected to deteriorate as the rainy season is expected to begin soon.
“At the moment there is no humanitarian assistance by international NGOs or the UN agencies to assist the people in need [because] the government of Sudan . . . expelled and banned all humanitarian agencies,” the bishop said.
Andudu, who says he is receiving bad news almost every day, is calling for prayers for the people in the Nuba Mountains and other places experiencing war.
“Pray for peace, that God stops the bloodshed of innocent people. I still believe in prayers and good negotiation strategies, peace will prevail,” he said. The bishop also asked for prayers for financial support so that they can buy food for “the people who lost everything and are already experiencing hunger, especially families with children and elderly people.”
[Episcopal News Service – Stone Town, Zanzibar] Christ Church Anglican Cathedral stands here as a symbol of remembrance to the men, women and children taken from East Africa and sold into slavery. A massive stone structure just outside the historic city’s narrow streets and corridors, the cathedral also serves as a reminder of the Anglican Church’s role in abolishing the slave trade, and its contribution to the spread of Christianity in Africa.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Stone Town receives more than 100,000 visitors annually, with many of them visiting the cathedral, where guides offer tours of the property built on a former slave market.
In the fall of 2013, the Anglican Diocese of Zanzibar – part of the Anglican Church in Tanzania – in partnership with the World Monuments Fund-Britain began a project to preserve the cathedral and to create a heritage center to commemorate the abolition of slavery and to educate people about slavery in its modern forms.
“The project will preserve a highly significant monument, and promote access to one of the most important heritage places in East Africa,” said Bishop of Zanzibar Michael Hafidh, in an email message. “Telling the story of this dark chapter in the region’s history in an open and factual way will help bridge social and ethnic divides and promote tolerance, reconciliation and an inclusive society.”
The heritage center will tell the story of the slave trade in East Africa, both in English and Swahili, to promote interfaith dialogue, educate tourists, bridge social and ethnic divides, and teach children about tolerance and reconciliation to promote an inclusive society.
“The process of creating the heritage center … and making it accessible to school children, who are the country’s future leaders, will promote interfaith and intercommunal dialogue and understanding,” wrote Hafidh, whose mother was a Christian and whose father was a Muslim.
The European Union and the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, among other donors large and small, provided financial support for the cathedral restoration project. Except for the spire, restoration is complete.
On June 15, the heritage center opened. Featuring an East African Slave Trade Exhibit, it tells the story of slavery and the slave trade beginning with capture in places like Congo, Kenya, Tanganyika, through transport, buyers and sellers, from working the spice plantations and the journey abroad, to freedom and the legacy slavery imparted on Zanzibar, an island archipelago with 1.3 million people, the majority of them Muslim.
“Zanzibar was an important trans-shipment point for slaves coming from the mainland who were either sold on Zanzibar’s slave market to Arab or Swahili plantation owners to work on the spice plantations of the island of Zanzibar or the island next door, Pemba,” said Derek Peterson, a professor of history and African studies at the University of Michigan and a member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor. “Or sometimes they were also sold in great numbers to dealers who took them around the Cape of Good Hope bound for Brazil.”
The slave trade shifted to East Africa after the British parliament voted to end the West African slave trade and later positioned navy squadrons off the coast to intercept slaving vessels headed for the New World, driving up the price for slaves, said Peterson, who previously taught at Cambridge University in England. The demand for slave labor was high in the Caribbean and Brazil; the latter country didn’t abolish slavery until the late 19th century.
In addition to serving as a memorial to the slaves who were brought to the market, the cathedral also commemorates the work of Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone and his efforts to abolish the slave trade.
“The cathedral itself stands as a monument to the abolishment of slavery; however, the Anglican Church in Zanzibar grew out of a long campaign against the slave trade in East Africa inspired by the rhetoric of David Livingstone,” said Peterson.
The dominant Anglican Mission in Zanzibar Island was called the Universities Mission to Central Africa, due in part to abolitionist William Wilberforce and his anti-slavery rhetoric, which he offered repeatedly at Oxford and Cambridge following a trip to Central Africa in the 1850s, inspiring Livingstone.
“He [Livingstone] goes to Cambridge and makes a famous speech at Regent House in which he calls on a generation of British youth to go off to Central Africa and save Africans from the degradations of Arab and Swahili slave traders,” said Peterson.
“Livingstone’s idealistic speech gives rise to a whole mission in UMCA which is populated by enterprising high-minded Anglican students from Oxford and Cambridge and other British universities who sign on and create this Universities Mission to Central Africa whose chief vocation is to create paths for Christianity and commerce, which is what Livingstone wanted to promote.”
Following Livingstone’s speech in the 1870s, the UMCA mission was launched in Zanzibar and inland in what is today Malawi, where missionaries opened up stations to accommodate freed slaves, some of whom they purchased and others whom they rescued.
“They become the first congregations for Anglican missionaries to preach to and later they become important emissaries of Christianity to other parts of East Africa, and agents of the Anglican mission who preach and translate and work alongside British missionaries in the work of evangelism,” he said.
Today’s Anglicans in Zanzibar trace their roots to these freed and emancipated slaves, said James Kaleza, assistant diocesan secretary, during an interview in Stone Town in April.
“Most of the Anglicans in Africa are descendants of slaves because their ancestors were those who were brought here to be sold and ended up at the mission,” said Kaleza. “They became the first Anglicans; most are natives (with roots) that go back to the slave trade.”
The Anglican missionaries not only brought the Gospel in Zanzibar and the mainland, where it began to grow more quickly, but they built hospitals and schools where they trained doctors, nurses, teachers and priests, he added.
Anglicanism continued to grow slowly in Zanzibar until the revolution in 1964 when the sultan of Zanzibar was removed from power and the new government took over the schools and the hospital and the headquarters. It was at that time that the church moved its headquarters to the mainland, closing down its schools and hospitals. The church’s presence on the island weakened and its buildings, including the cathedral, fell into disrepair, said Kaleza.
“It stayed that way until the 1990s; then the government changed the policy that the private sector could continue schooling,” he said, adding that Diocese of Zanzibar returned its authority to the island. “The diocese was reinaugurated in 2001.”
A rededication of the restored Christ Church Anglican Cathedral will take place later this year or in early 2017.
Today, more than 95 percent of the people who live in Zanzibar are Muslim. Religious minorities include pagans; Hindus; and Christians, 2.5 to 3 percent, including Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and Pentecostals. And despite the prevailing narrative, Arabs were not the only slave owners. It was possible for black Africans to rise in class ranks and they themselves owned slaves.
Slavery in East Africa didn’t mirror the kind of large-scale plantation slavery in the United States, where people were bound and obliged to work in inhuman conditions, said Peterson.
“In East Africa slaves could also be artisans, they could be businessmen, they could go into jobs of their own and remit a portion of their profits to their owner. But they could be very enterprising in their work,” he said, adding that that kind of slavery continued to exist through the 19th century.
The British Parliament passed the Abolition of Slavery Act in 1833, abolishing the practice of slavery in all British territories; Zanzibar remained a British protectorate ruled by an Omani sultanate until more than a century later. In 1963, Britain granted Zanzibar its freedom, and a revolution occurred in January of 1964. (Later that year, Tanganyika, a former British and Germany colony, and Zanzibar united to form Tanzania.)
“In 1964 that sultanate is overthrown by a group of populist political campaigners who call themselves ‘black Africans,’ … and they say they are fighting a race war, that they are overthrowing an unelected Islamic Arab aristocracy that has oppressed black Africans,” said Peterson. “And so the terms of the 1964 revolution were fought pretty much on terms of race … that is why today when you ask about the slave trade, it’s always – in Zanzibar – defined as a racial problem.”
“Black Africans could and did become slave owners themselves by becoming Muslims, by associating themselves with the sides of civilization and hierarchy on the coast and would climb a social ladder that was not assigned by race but rather by civilizational attainment,” said Peterson.
“The ability to speak Swahili, to command the signs of civilization, to dress the appropriate way … East Africa’s slave economy was a very complicated place in which there wasn’t a clearly defined slave-owning class and neither was there a clearly defined class of who were slaves. It was a much more open economy and negotiation in which everybody involved was engaged in a dynamic social group.”
The heritage center, in some ways, seeks also to set straight the record and propagate reconciliation.
The history of the slave trade has been taught in Zanzibar in a way that blames Arabs, and by association, Islam, said the Rev. Nuhu Sallanya, director for Cultural Heritage Centre, in an email message.
“The truth is the slave trade in East Africa involved Arabs, Indians, Africans, and local leaders like chiefs,” he added. “So telling the story of this dark chapter in the region’s history in an open and factual way … will help bridge social and ethnic divides and promote tolerance, reconciliation and an inclusive society.”
– Lynette Wilson is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service.
[Episcopal Diocese of Kansas] Episcopal Diocese of Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe and Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas Bishop Michael Milliken June 20 issued a pastoral directive banning firearms from Episcopal churches in the state, effective Aug. 1, unless they are carried by designated law enforcement officials in the line of duty.
In a letter sent to all churches, the bishops said changes to state law in recent years “has led to permission being given to carry firearms, openly or concealed, into churches and other houses of worship. These changes reverse long-standing law and practice regarding firearms in our state.”
The bishops concluded that the changes allowing anyone to bring guns into a church “unnecessarily endanger the citizens of our state and the members of our parishes.”
They took this action through a provision in state gun laws that allows them as ecclesiastical authorities to prohibit firearms in their jurisdiction, so long as the required signage is in place to notify the public.
Each bishop made available a quantity of the sign that is required by the Kansas Attorney General, operating under state law, to be posted on all public and non-public entrances to church facilities. It features a black handgun surrounded by a red circle, with a red line through it.
The bishops’ statement said that while the directive was designed to meet the requirements of state law, they hoped it served a greater purpose. “…we hope all the more it will serve as a testament to the promised future reign of Christ in which ‘no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love.’”
[Le 22 juin 2016] L’Episcopal Digital Network vient de lancer la page Actualités conçue pour offrir des actualités et des informations aux lecteurs francophones.
La page Actualités, qui signifie « nouvelles » en français, a été conçue pour être au service des Épiscopaliens et des Anglicans francophones de toute l’Église épiscopale et la Communion anglicane. La page Actualités se trouve ici :
« L’Église épiscopale comporte plusieurs diocèses où l’anglais n’est pas la première langue, il est donc essentiel que nous offrions des actualités et des ressources dont tous les Épiscopaliens puissent profiter » nous dit Matthew Davies, rédacteur/journaliste pour Episcopal News Service. « Nous offrons les actualités en espagnol depuis plusieurs années, tant comme ressource pour les diocèses hispanophones de la Province IX que pour les dynamiques communautés latino-américaines des États-Unis. Avec le lancement d’Actualités, nous sommes heureux d’étendre notre service aux Épiscopaliens d’Haïti, de la Convocation des Églises épiscopales d’Europe et des quelque 4 millions d’Anglicans francophones de par le monde ».
Actualités présente des articles d’actualité de l’Episcopal News Service et des communiqués de presse du Bureau des relations publiques de l’Église épiscopale ainsi que des liens vers des ressources utiles telles que le programme mensuel de radio « Le Magazine anglican ». Figurent déjà sur Actualités la déclaration de l’Évêque Président Michael Curry pour la Journée mondiale des réfugiés.
Actualités rejoint les actualités en espagnol Noticias disponibles ici :
L’Episcopal Digital Network est un réseau média financé par la publicité qui diffuse des actualités, des informations et des ressources aux dirigeants de l’Église, à ses membres et au grand public par l’entremise des sites Web « Episcopal News Service », « Sermons That Work » et « Lesson Plans That Work ».
Abonnez-vous à notre bulletin
Pour plus amples informations, veuillez contacter Matthew Davies à l’adresse suivante : email@example.com.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Digital Network has launched Actualités, designed to provide news and information for French-speaking readers.
Actualités, which means “news” in French, was designed to provide services for French-speaking Episcopalians and Anglicans throughout The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Actualités is available here.
“The Episcopal Church includes several dioceses where English is not the primary language, so it’s vital that we offer news and resources so that all Episcopalians may benefit from them,” said Matthew Davies, an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service. “We have been providing news in Spanish for several years, both as a resource to the Province IX Spanish-speaking dioceses and for the thriving Latino communities in the U.S. With the launch of Actualités, we are delighted to expand our service to Episcopalians in places such as Haiti, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and the approximately 4 million French-speaking Anglicans around the world.”
Actualités features news articles by Episcopal News Service as well as press releases from the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs and links to useful resources, such as the monthly radio program, Le Magazine Anglican. Already featured on Actualités is Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s World Refugee Day statement.
Actualités joins the Spanish news area Noticias, available here.
The Episcopal Digital Network is an ad-supported media network that delivers news, information and resources to church leaders, members and general audiences through the Episcopal News Service, Sermons That Work and Lesson Plans That Work websites.
For more information contact Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org.