From the Worldwide Faith News archives

News Briefs

Date 01 Feb 2001 09:05:46for <,>; Thu, 1 Feb 2001 09:17:18 -0800 (PST)


News Briefs

Historic covenant signed

     (Jerusalem Post) Representatives of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and 
the Anglican Church in the United Kingdom and Nigeria signed a history-making covenant 
between the three dioceses.

     According to the Rev. Petra Heldt of the Ecumenical Theological Research 
Fraternity in Israel, which was instrumental forging the link between the churches, 
this is the first official link between the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Anglican 

     "Ecumenism isn't just a matter of contacts between the Vatican and the World 
Council of Churches, it is also a matter of cooperation between churches on a local 
level," Heldt said.

     The agreement was signed this month by Bishop Colin Bennetts of the Church of 
England, Bishop Josiah Fearon of Kaduna, Nigeria, and Archbishop Mar Swerios of the 
Syrian-Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.

     Bennetts said that he saw the agreement as a step toward furthering peace. "I am 
very excited by this new three-way partnership. Jerusalem, with all its historic 
connections to the Christian faith, is the ideal place for us to sign a covenant of 
friendship and cooperation. I pray that in some small way we may play our part in 
bringing peace to that troubled land."

     Heldt added that on a practical level, the agreement will mean financial support 
for the new Syrian Orthodox school in Jerusalem.


ELCA offering two new videos

     (ENS) MOSAIC, the video magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America 
(ELCA), is introducing two new videos about Martin Luther

     "Opening the Door to Luther" is a 30-minute video documentary about the life of 
Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. It is hosted by public television travel 
expert and author Rick Steves, and was recorded on location in Wittenberg, Eisleben, 
Worms, Marburg, Coburg and Erfurt. The video and user guide were designed for use in 
confirmation and new member classes.

     It was produced by the ELCA department of communication and will be distributed 
free of charge to every ELCA congregation on March 1, courtesy of a grant from Aid 
Association for Lutherans. Additional copies are available for $12.50 from

     The second video, "The Morning Star of Wittenberg: The Life of Katie Luther," 
provides an intimate look at Katharina von Bora, former nun, 16th Century entrepreneur 
and wife of Martin Luther.


El Salvador earthquake update

     (ENS) Bishop Martin Barahona, of the Diocese of El Salvador, reports that 
Salvadorans are now "waking up" from the effects of a January 13 earthquake. He said 
that 98 municipalities of the national territory are practically destroyed, and that 
current data reports 726 deaths, 4, 440 wounded, 111,401 are homeless and 118,157 homes 

     Barahona expressed gratitude for the Episcopal Church of the United States and the 
Anglican Communion for all their prayers and financial assistance. He said that on a 
daily basis the Episcopal Church of El Salvador prepares and shares 2,000 meals along 
with packages of food and water which are given to the homeless. But he says they are 
"getting ready for the restoration stage."

     According to Sandra Swan, executive director of Episcopal Relief and Development 
(ERD), this means through continued support from Episcopalians across the United 
States, an extensive program of reconstruction similar to what was done in Honduras 
will take place.

     Barahona said this process will also include pastoral and psychological attention. 

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