From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopal News Service Briefs
02 Feb 2001 13:19:16
Anglican bishops continue their discussions on issue of sexuality
(ACNS) At the invitation of Archbishop of Canterbury George L. Carey, a
dozen Anglican bishops, representing a wide range of backgrounds and
perspectives, met at Alton Abbey in Hampshire, England, in mid-December 2000 to
continue conversations on sexuality. A similar group met in a New York monastery
in November 1999. The December meeting noted events in the Anglican Communion in
the year between conversations, including consecration of two "missionary"
bishops in Singapore, the meeting of Anglican Primates in Portugal and the
General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the USA. According to a communiqué
released by the Anglican Communion Office in London on January 30, "Trust and
respect continued to grow as the group practiced the disciplines of 'interpretive
charity.' The bishops also recognized the priority of maintaining and deepening
the unity of the Anglican Communion in the truth and love of Jesus Christ as a
witness to him."
The communiqué said that the conversations dealt with specific biblical
texts and that "a variety of understandings emerged which brought differences
into focus. It also revealed each person's profound commitment to seeking God's
will as discerned in the Scriptures."
(Text of communiqué and list of participants available at
Washington host to ecumenical service of prayer for Holy Land Christians
(ENS) Christians in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area are being invited
to a service of prayer for Christian communities in the Holy Land, for all who
are suffering in the area, and for peace in the Middle East. The service is
scheduled at Church of the Pilgrims on Thursday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Prayers will be led by Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America and other church leaders. Father Thomas Keating will
offer reflections at the service. He is a member of the International Committee
for Peace Council, which fosters dialogue and cooperation among the religions of
The ecumenical service is the second of monthly gatherings in Washington.
Churches in the District and Maryland will continue to hold special services for
peace on the 22nd of each month until the violence ends and a just and lasting
peace agreement is reached between Israelis and Palestinians. The services are
part of prayer vigils taking place across the country, with each area centering
on a specific date. For details about the Prayer Vigil visit www.loga.com.
Crime against clergy and church workers in the UK on the rise
(ENI) Instances of violence against church workers and clergy in England and
Wales have climbed to more than one assault every day of the year.
A 1999 survey reported 462 attacks but the British government has said this
is greatly understated because many attacks go unreported. A sample survey by
researchers at London University found that 12% of Anglican clergy in England--
1,300 priests--were attacked in 2000.
Vandalism of churches, including arson and theft, are also increasing,
averaging 10 Anglican churches targeted every day.
Information from Churchwatch, security specialists, and Ecclesiastical, a
church insurance group, point to Britain's growing problem of drug abuse as a
major contributor to the rise in crime, with addicts seeing clergy as easy
targets to help fund their habit.
"Many clergy find the hardest thing is to shut the front door. Our advice is
never give money. But also never just say no. Provide alternatives, like giving
food from the house," said Nick Tolson, national coordinator of Churchwatch.
Tolson, a former police officer, travels around the United Kingdom teaching
security courses for clergy and church workers that explains ways to prevent
encounters before they reach the stage of physical violence. More than 100 people
attended his January 11 course in Bournemouth, England after hearing of an attack
three months earlier on a Church of England priest.
Toby Barker, of Ecclesiastical, said the reason for the increase in church
crime is unknown, but "we're putting a lot of effort into raising security
consciousness in churches."
El Salvador government criticized for relief effort
(ENI) Relief agencies, including some linked to churches, have criticized
the El Salvador government's response to the January 13 earthquake that
devastated the Central American nation.
In a January 22 update on the effects of the disaster, the Lutheran World
Federation's (LWF) office in El Salvador criticized the "inefficient, publicity-
oriented, preferential and political manner in which bilateral government [aid]
has been received, coordinated and distributed."
"While seismic aftershocks following the earthquake of January 13 have
become less frequent, the political aftershocks promise to increase in intensity
for some time to come," the report said.
"The situation here is one of polarization," said Rudelmar Bueno de Faria,
LWF's representative in El Salvador. Because of understaffing and an inability to
reach some communities, the government was relying on help from aid agencies.
Bueno said that despite "good intentions," the government had poor disaster-
response systems in place. A week and a half after the earthquake, some
communities had not received any assistance. This prompted the National Emergency
Committee (COEN) to change distribution systems and begin channeling aid through
local government bodies. "The government cannot respond to a disaster of this
magnitude," said Bueno.
The government has also been sharply criticized for its failure to implement
a national emergency plan before the earthquake. The region is particularly
susceptible to natural disasters.
Jose Rodriguez, of the Anglican-based ecumenical group CREDHO, pointed out
that widespread poverty made a country much more susceptible to the effects of a
natural disaster. "The challenge is: how do we make sense out of it and how do we
now focus attention on the issue of poverty?" He added, "Unfortunately, natural
disasters are one of the few times that any attention is paid to the poor."
Latin American council elects a new president
(ENI) The Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) has elected Bishop Julio
Holguin of the Episcopal Church's Diocese of the Dominican Republic (Iglesia
Episcopal Dominicana) as its president for the next six years.
Although Holguin's January 17 election means that control of CLAI remains in
the hands of the region's historic Protestant churches, he supports opening the
ecumenical group further to bring in the region's swiftly growing Pentecostal
"We Anglicans are ecumenical by vocation," Holguin said. "We've often been a
bridge allowing other groups to come together. I'd like to help close the gaps,
build mutual understanding, and work for a unity of the churches that empowers
them to serve their communities in a more adequate fashion."
Holguin said he hoped CLAI could "become a meeting place for the churches in
Latin America." The organization has already succeeded in bringing together
people not only from different denominations, but from different corners of the
House of Lords legalizes human embryo cloning
(ENI) The British parliament voted on January 22 to allow the cloning of
human embryos, despite a united appeal by the country's religious leaders urging
The move will allow the "therapeutic cloning" of embryos up to 14 days old.
The technique involves creating genetically identical embryos from which will be
taken stem cells for research into diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's,
diabetes and cancer.
The technique is similar to that used in 1997 by the Roslin Institute in
Scotland to create Dolly, the world's first cloned mammal.
In a letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, the two most senior
Roman Catholic archbishops, an Orthodox archbishop, Protestant officials and
leaders of the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish communities in the UK, warned that the
issue of cloning had not been fully addressed and that "one slight
miscalculation" could lead to irreversible implications for future generations.
According to the Catholic Herald newspaper, the religious leaders wrote
their letter "after Prime Minister Tony Blair refused four separate requests to
meet them to discuss the moral implications of human cloning." Blair said that
"diary commitments" made a meeting impossible.
The House of Lords approved the measure to allow human cloning by 212 to 92,
a majority of 120. It was a "free vote"--peers were not compelled to vote along
party lines--but the government had made it clear that in its view Britain's
world leadership in the field of embryo research depended on the measure being
Female Episcopal theologian at Catholic university may not lose teaching position
(ENS) The Rev. Moni McIntyre, a former nun and tenured professor at Roman
Catholic Duquesne University, lost her teaching position when it was learned that she
had recently been ordained an Episcopal priest. But now it looks as though officials
at the university in Pittsburgh might reassign her to teach in other departments. The
Catholic Church does not ordain women and President John Murray said that the
ordination constituted a public repudiation of Catholic doctrine--also making it impossible
for her to teach doctrine.
"She is now a publicly proclaimed, official teacher of Anglican doctrine, which differs
from Roman Catholic doctrine in very important areas," Murray said. McIntyre's lawyer
had argued that her client believed her membership in a different denomination would not
preclude her from being able to teach Catholic beliefs.
The president disagreed. "To present her as a teacher of Roman Catholic theology
under these circumstances is a contradiction which is not in keeping with the mission of
the department of theology, the university or the Roman Catholic Church," Murray said.
He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he hoped "we can put something together
The action comes as American bishops are preparing to implement a Vatican call for
Catholic schools to strengthen their religious identity, including certification or licensing by
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