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Episcopalians: News Briefs
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
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
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
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
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
Carey said, "I hope that the words of Sheikh Tantawi were not
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
"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,"
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or Issa Azar of Friends of Sabeel-New
England at 617-489-5247 or email@example.com.
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
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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