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Episcopalians: News Briefs

Date Tue, 26 Mar 2002 13:35:11 -0500 (EST)

March 26, 2002


Episcopalians: News Briefs

Tutu assails South African government for accepting Zimbabwe's 

(ENI) Desmond Tutu, the former South African Anglican 
archbishop, on March 24 condemned his government for endorsing 
controversial presidential elections in neighboring Zimbabwe 
which extended incumbent Robert Mugabe's rule of 22 years for a 
new six-year term.  

"I am deeply, deeply, deeply distressed that our country could 
be among those that said the election was legitimate or free and 
fair," Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in Newsmaker, a 
current affairs program on South African public television.  

South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Nigeria were among those 
countries that accepted as "legitimate" Mugabe's victory in the 
March elections.  

The elections were found to be flawed by several international 
groups, including an international team of observers from the 
World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of 
Churches, and another team from the Commonwealth, which groups 
54 states, many of them, like Zimbabwe, former British colonies. 

The Commonwealth last week suspended Zimbabwe for a year over 
the election, saying that it was fraught with violence.  

Tutu said during the program broadcast from Johannesburg, "When 
democracy is not being upheld, we ought, for our own sake, say 
it is not so. We do ourselves a very bad turn to claim that we 
uphold the ideals of democracy, freedom, freedom of speech and 
then endorse, as seems to have been done, something that was so 
clearly flawed."  

In Zimbabwe, the country's council of churches lamented the 
continuing violence in the aftermath of the election.  

"The government and other political leaders must speak the 
language of peace, tolerance and unity," Densen Mafinyane, 
general secretary of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, told 
Ecumenical News International. 

Sounds of violence echo at Jerusalem meeting of religious 

(ENI) A Palestinian suicide bombing in the heart of Jerusalem 
resounded at a reception for Christian, Jewish and Muslim 
leaders, intended to reaffirm their commitment to ending 
bloodshed in the Holy Land.  

At least three Israelis, including a man and his pregnant wife, 
died in the explosion, which also killed the bomber.  

The reception had been intended to mark the Jerusalem launch of 
an interfaith declaration aimed at promoting peace in the Middle 
East. However, the Muslim contingent failed to turn up for the 
gathering, amid speculation that they had been frightened away 
by the bomb.  

Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, who heads what some refer 
to as the Alexandria group of religious leaders, said the attack 
on March 21 had only served to reinforce the urgency of the 
group's mission.  

Speaking at the Vatican's Notre Dame Centre in Jerusalem, Carey 
said, "We have to think of two echoes going on at the moment, 
the echo of an explosion out there and the echo of peace in this 

"Now, what are we going to listen to, are we going to allow the 
spiral of violence to continue - and it could continue for many, 
many years to come - or should we not listen to the strength of 
faith and say enough is enough?"  

The group, comprising 18 leaders of the three great monotheistic 
faiths--Judaism, Christianity and Islam--was founded earlier 
this year in Alexandria, Egypt. The aim of the initiative is to 
find ways to end the Israeli-Palestinian violence that has raged 
since September 2000, and bring lasting peace to the region.  

But despite calls for unity, the Alexandria group was showing 
signs of strain.  

On March 21, Sheikh Mohammad Tantawi of Cairo's Al-Azhar 
University, who had co-hosted with Carey the conference in 
Alexandria, was quoted by the Middle East News Agency as calling 
suicide bombers "martyrs" for a just cause.  

According to the agency's report, Tantawi said that "whoever 
blows himself up among aggressors" was a "martyr," although he 
added that bombers should not intentionally target "the weak," 
such as innocent men, women and children, since this was against 
Islamic law.  

The statement by one of the leading experts of the dominant 
Sunni branch of Islam greatly angered Israeli Deputy Foreign 
Minister Michael Melchior, a rabbi who had helped foster the 
Alexandria declaration.  

Carey said, "I hope that the words of Sheikh Tantawi were not 
correctly quoted."  

He said that the Israelis and the Palestinians were two great 
peoples who had the right to live side-by-side, but added a note 
of caution.  

"The big question that Islam has to face since September 11 is 
to find the theology of peace which we know is part of Islam," 
he said.  

Although Muslim religious representatives were not present at 
the meeting at the Notre Dame Centre, Sheikh Taysir Tamimi, 
chief justice of the Palestinian Authority's religious courts, 
and Sheikh Talal Sidr, a Palestinian cabinet minister, met with 
other members of the Alexandria group earlier in the day.  

Archbishop Carey suggested that the Muslim clerics had been 
frightened away by the bomb en route to the reception.  

But that did not mean the religious leaders should give up their 
efforts. On a positive note, he said the Alexandria declaration 
had recently gained the personal endorsement of Pope John Paul 
II and the UN general secretary, Kofi Annan. 

Consortium elects new officers and members

(ACNS) Katherine Tyler Scott, president of Trustee Leadership 
Development Inc. and noted author and leadership educator, has 
been elected president of the board of the Consortium of Endowed 
Episcopal Parishes, headquartered at

Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. The 
election took place in New Orleans on March 2 during the 17th 
annual meeting of the membership.

Scott is an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church in 
Indianapolis, one of the founding parishes of the consortium. 
The organization was incorporated in 1985 with 11 parishes and 
assistance from the Lilly Endowment. It now includes 92 parishes 
throughout the country.

Consortium members believe that endowments are held in trust for 
Christian witness, and seek to be catalysts for evangelism and 

Scott will serve as president of the board of the Consortium for 
a two-year term. Other newly elected officers include: vice 
president, the Rev. James G. Callaway Jr., Trinity, New York; 
treasurer, Ernest Q. Petrey, St. Paul's, Cleveland Heights, 
Ohio; secretary, Jean H. White, St Paul's, Richmond, Virginia. 

Tutu is keynote speaker at conference on the Middle East

(ENS) Retired South African archbishop and 1984 Nobel Prize 
laureate Desmond Tutu will be the keynote speaker at an April 
12-13 conference on ending the Israeli military occupation of 
the West Bank and Gaza and an end to the violence in the region. 

The conference is sponsored by Friends of Sabeel North America 
and will be held at Old South Church in Boston. Sabeel is an 
ecumenical Palestinian center for liberation theology in 

Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize when he was general 
secretary of the South African Council of Churches and a 
tireless opponent of apartheid. After apartheid was dismantled, 
he was asked to chair the countrys Truth and Reconciliation 
Commission, which heard testimony from both perpetrators and 
victims of apartheid.

The event will begin with an address by Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of 
the Diocese of Massachusetts on "Witnessing for Truth and 
Justice." Also on the program are Dr. Sara Roy of the Center for 
Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard who will speak about the 
failure of the Oslo Peace Progress; Phyliss Bennis of the 
Institute for Policy Studies in Washington who writes on Middle 
East issues and the United Nations; the Rev. Naim Ateek, 
director of Sabeel; and the Rev. Richard Toll, who chairs 
Friends of Sabeel, speaking in response to Tutus address on 
"Occupation is Oppression."

For further information, contact Toll at 503-653-5880 or or Issa Azar of Friends of Sabeel-New 
England at 617-489-5247 or 

Clergy reporting rules considered  

(AP) The child-molestation scandal that has rocked the Roman 
Catholic Church has led to a push in some states for laws adding 
the clergy to the list of professionals such as doctors and 
teachers who are required to report abuse. 

Over the years, many states, wary of invading the privacy that 
protects confessions and spiritual counseling, have placed no 
legal obligation on the clergy to report suspicions of child 

Massachusetts, where the Boston Archdiocese is at the very 
center of the scandal, is considering legislation to require 
clergy to report abuse. So are New York and Wisconsin. New 
Hampshire added such a provision last year.  

In all states, the law requires professionals who work with 
children--such as doctors, teachers and social workers--to 
report abuse. Twelve states specifically require clergy to 
report suspected abuse, according to the National Clearinghouse 
on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, a federal agency. 
Several of those states exempt information learned during 
confession or spiritual counseling. An additional 16 states have 
laws saying in broad terms that anyone with knowledge of abuse 
should report it. 

In Massachusetts, the House and Senate have each passed bills 
but have yet to agree on how to exempt the various types of 
conversations considered sacred by different denominations. 

The majority of child abuse reports are filed by those required 
under law to do so. In Connecticut, for example, 62 percent of 
the 28,304 child abuse reports received by the Department of 
Children and Families in 2001 came from people obligated to 
report such allegations. The penalty under the various 
mandatory-reporting laws is usually a fine, and prosecutors 
rarely go after those who fail to report abuse. 

In addition, states whose reporting laws extend to the clergy 
have limited definitions of the abuse they must divulge. For 
example, clergy in Connecticut do not necessarily have to report 
colleagues they suspect of abuse. They simply must report 
allegations that involve a teacher, guardian or caregiver.

St. Paul's relief operation to continue

(Trinity News) The Parish of Trinity Church has decided to 
continue its relief operation for recovery workers at St. Pauls 
Chapel on Broadway in New York City. 

The vicar of the parish, the Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, 
announced in a statement: 

"The Parish has taken this step in response to an urgent appeal 
from the City of New York, conveyed by Commissioner Kenneth R. 
Holden of the Citys Department of Design and Construction, who 
is responsible for overall cleanup work at the World Trade 
Center site." 

Howard added: "Trinity Parish resolved three weeks ago to close 
St. Pauls for cleaning, in response to a notice received from 
the Citys Department of Environmental Protection requiring that 
it clean the residues left on the building exterior after the 
attack of last September 11. 

"However, Commissioner Holden requested that the Parish consider 
continuing to provide services to construction workers, 
firefighters and police officers until the citys work at the 
site is completed. We will defer our closing and cleanup until 
the end of May at the request of the commissioner. 

"In his request to the leadership of Trinity Parish, 
Commissioner Holden noted that the relief facility operated by 
the Salvation Army and the Federal EPA is closing at the end of 

The Rev. Lyndon Harris, associate responsible for ministry at 
St. Pauls, said: "We are delighted that we are able to respond 
to the request of the City of New York to keep the doors of St. 
Pauls open to the police officers, fire fighters and rescue 
workers as they complete their tasks at the site."


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