From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: News Briefs

Date Tue, 18 Jun 2002 18:03:27 -0400

June 18, 2002


Episcopalians: News Briefs

Scottish church opening way for women in the episcopate

(ENS) The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has 
overwhelmingly supported a motion that would clear the way for 
women to be elected to the episcopate. After a passionate 
debate, members of the synod supported the first reading of a 
motion that would change the language of the church's rulebook 
to enable the historic change. Churches now have a year to 
discuss the issue in their dioceses. If the motion is supported 
by two-thirds of members next year the canon law would be 

All seven of the church's bishops supported the motion. The 
vote among clergy was 64 in favor and eight against. For the 
laity it was 64 in favor and seven against. "I passionately 
believe that it is right, both in terms of time and substance, 
to proceed with this legislation," said Bishop Bruce Cameron, 
primus of the church in his introduction of the motion. "It is 
also important that we use the time in the next 12 months to 
listen to each other, and to understand the differences that 
exist within our own church."

Canon Ruth Edwards said that "people outside the church find 
it almost inconceivable that we put men and women through the 
same training programs, let them work in the same churches, but 
still do not allow women to be bishops. I also believe that it 
is theologically right. God created man and woman equal, in his 
own image."

There were also passionate speeches against the motion. "A 
vote in favor today would change the teaching and practice of 
2,000 years," said Gabrielle Robertson of St. Andrews. "Are we 
prepared to sweep all this away with a show of hands? What is to 
happen to the people who, like me, will not be able to accept 
the sacramental ministry of women bishops?" she asked.

Churches in the United States, Canada and New Zealand have 
women bishops. The Anglican Church in Ireland has voted in favor 
but has yet to appoint a woman to the episcopate.

Canadian Anglicans launch fundraising initiative to stabilize 
the church

(Anglican Journal) The Council of the Anglican Church of 
Canada's General Synod has endorsed a new fundraising initiative 
that will stabilize its work at the national and international 
level and nail down a financial contribution to help settle 
lawsuits filed in the wake of revelations of abuse in 
residential schools run by the church for the government.

The goal of the initiative is to support the church's social 
justice ministries, overseas partnerships, the Council of the 
North, new partnerships with indigenous Anglicans, 
congregational development and support for dioceses and 

"Our goal is to establish an adequate foundation of financial 
and non-financial resources for both diocesan and national 
church ministry and mission," said the Rev. Philip Poole of 
Ontario. Uncertainty about the financial situation of the church 
stalled a proposal for a similar initiative a year ago.

"Dioceses are suffering from litigation costs, but not just 
those costs," said Geoff Jackson, executive officer of the 
Diocese of Ontario and an author of the initiative. "They need 
renewal and refreshment to go forward."

Church leaders stressed that a settlement with the government 
over how to handle the residential schools lawsuits was crucial. 
Archbishop David Crawley of British Columbia, a member of the 
church's negotiating team, said that the team "needs some kind 
of indication of what figure we can table with the government." 
Bishop Ann Tottenham of Toronto suggested that the proposal was 
"wildly unrealistic without a residential schools settlement."

Report says worldwide AIDS crisis is getting worse

(Boston Globe) An arm of the Central Intelligence Agency has 
reported that the AIDS pandemic will rapidly worsen, with the 
number of cases possibly doubling in sub-Saharan Africa in the 
next five years.

The National Intelligence Council, which studies issues of 
long-term strategic interest to the U.S. government, based its 
conclusion on figures in Nigeria and Ethiopia. Together they 
account for nearly a third of the population in the region, with 
200 million people.

The analysts at the agency are particularly concerned about 
sharp increases in HIV and AIDS in India, the second most 
populous nation on earth, where a large percentage of uneducated 
people and political leadership hasn't begun to destigmatize the 
disease that now affects an estimated three million people. The 
same mix of factors was deadly in the first wave of the crisis 
in Africa. The pandemic is now entering a "stage of substantial 
increases in size and scope," according to a senior official.

About 40 million people are infected with HIV or AIDS. It is 
already the deadliest disease in human history. About 23 million 
people have died from the disease, far more than in the 14th 
century European plague known as the Black Death. Those who are 
dying are often people in the prime of their lives, so it is 
having a disastrous impact on economic growth, education and 
health systems.

The council has considerable credibility among the world's 
leading health officials for projecting trends in the disease. 
It was the lone voice in the U.S. government a decade ago, for 
example, in predicting 45 million HIV infections by the year 

German church leaders intervene in row over anti-Semitism

(ENI) The leaders of Germany's main churches have intervened in 
a bitter public controversy over anti-Semitism. Protestant 
church leader Manfred Kock and Roman Catholic Cardinal Karl 
Lehmann called for an end to what each described as a "harmful" 
debate that has pitted a senior politician against the Central 
Council of Jews in Germany (ZJD).

The controversy has centered on Jurgen Mollemann, vice chair 
of Germany's small Free Democratic Party (FDP), who last month 
accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the ZJD, and its 
vice president Michael Friedmann, of being partly to blame for 
anti-Semitism. Mollemann claimed that anti-Semitism was on the 
increase because the prime minister, the ZJD and Friedmann were 
unwilling to tolerate any criticism of Israeli military actions 
in the Middle East, least of all from Germans--a charge 
Friedmann rejected.

Spiegel responded by saying that blaming anti-Semitism on 
Jews, a common practice by the Nazis during the Third Reich, was 
"the biggest insult uttered by a party in the Federal Republic 
of Germany since the Holocaust." Mollemann eventually apologize 
"if I have injured the sensitivities of the Jewish people" but 
later he told journalists that he was excluding Friedmann from 
the apology.

The intervention by the church leaders followed a demand by 
ZJD's president Paul Spiegel for a public statement from them. 
He said that the churches were not doing enough to combat 

Sudanese archbishop makes dangerous pastoral visit to the 

(ENS) Sudanese Anglican archbishop Joseph Marona made a 
dangerous two-week pastoral visit to remote churches in the Nuba 
Mountains, crossing military lines under the terms of a local 
cease-fire established earlier this year. 

The archbishop met with government officials on both sides 
and conducted confirmations and ordinations that have not had 
pastoral support for years. It is the first time in the history 
of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan that an archbishop has 
visited churches in the mountains. He held out a wider vision 
offered by the Gospel. "Christ wants to be our way, our truth, 
our life, but we also have to allow him to enter," Marona said. 
"This means sharing his vision of the entire world reconciled to 
the Father. That is why it is my task to travel across the 
entire province, bringing words of justice, peace and 
reconciliation--bringing words of hope and healing to the 

He said, "God has not given you these mountains in vain. The 
main aim is to serve him upon these mountains." The church has 
an estimated five million members and has been involved in 
educational work in the mountains since 1935. Contact with the 
outside world was completely lost for 10 years after the civil 
war came to the area in 1985.

Philippine and US churches will discuss war on terrorism

(ENI) The death of American missionary Martin Burnham, caught 
in the crossfire between Philippine security forces and a Muslim 
rebel group, may make a planned meeting by US and Philippine 
church leaders to discuss the "war on terrorism" even more 

"This could strengthen the resolve of church communities in 
the Philippines to pursue peace," said David Wildman, who heads 
the human rights division of the United Methodist Board of 
Global Ministries. He is among participants in an ecumenical 
conference being planned to examine the issue of terrorism and 
the new world economy, scheduled for September 23-26. Its goal 
is "to draw international attention to the US-declared war on 
terror as it is played out in the Philippines and Asia," 
according to Carmencita Karagdag, a representative of the 
National Council of Churches in the Philippines and a member of 
the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.

Karagdag is a critic of what she calls the "increasingly 
aggressive role of the US in the Philippines" in the wake of the 
September 11 terrorist attacks. "It is clear that ultimately 
decisions affecting the Philippines and Asia as a whole are made 
by American policy makers," she said at a public forum in New 
York. "The American public and especially the churches are in a 
position to influence or help shape official policies, including 
foreign policy--and hopefully be able to make a difference."

The ecumenical conference will be held in Manila, convened by 
the NCCP, the WCC and the Christian Conference of Asia.


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