From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Tue, 25 Jun 2002 15:01:06 -0400
June 25, 2002
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Church leaders welcome American role in Mideast peace
(ENS) American church leaders representing the nation's mainline
Protestant churches, as well as Catholic groups, welcomed the
renewed U.S. involvement in Mideast peace efforts as reflected
in President George W. Bush's June 24 address.
While most of the media focused on the president's call for
new Palestinian leadership, "in reality he made significant
demands of Israel, too," said the Rev. Daryl Byler, director of
the Mennonite Central Committee's Washington office. The
president challenged Israel "to take concrete steps to support
the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state," steps
that "would lead to an end of Israel's occupation of Palestinian
territory," he added. "I am pleased that the president
recognizes that both parties must work hard to reestablish the
peace process," he said in a release from Churches for Middle
East Peace (CMEP), a coalition of denominational offices and
agencies responsible for monitoring peace efforts.
Byler and other church leaders praised the president for
committing himself to a process that could end Israeli
occupation and reach a negotiated settlement based on U.N.
Resolutions 242 and 338.
"President Bush showed the American people an understanding
of 'the deep anger and despair' felt not only by the Israeli
people but also by the Palestinian people," said CMEP director
Corinne Whitlatch. "In that context, and with the long history
of this conflict, it makes sense that both Palestinians and
Israelis could use more forward-looking leadership--persons who
would show increased willingness to implement this far-ranging
vision for peace."
The Rev. San DeBoe of the Catholic Conference of Major
Superiors of Men's Institutes, chair of the CMEP board, said
that he hopes the president enables Secretary of State Colin
Powell to follow through with the peace process. "President Bush
showed that he understands the need for international
involvement to move the process forward and demonstrated his
trust in Secretary Powell to do that on behalf of the United
"Palestinian reform cannot take place within the existing
situation of curfews, closures, demolitions, assassinations, and
military actions," DeBoe added. "Israel must guarantee freedom
of movement within the West Bank and Gaza so that positive
reform can happen and popular support for terrorist acts can
end." Byler said that the president "was most eloquent in
reminding us that the time has arrived for everyone in this
conflict to choose peace, hope and life."
Jesse Jackson advocating non-violent solution to Mideast
(ENI) Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, speaking to reporters
after meeting with leaders at the Geneva headquarters of the
World Council of Churches, said that neither Israelis or
Palestinians have "the courage to overcome the deadlock" and
find non-violent solutions to the Mideast crisis.
"We need a third force to reconcile the sides; we must build
a bridge and heal a breach, reach out to civil society within
Israel and among the Palestinians," said Jackson, who is
planning to take an inter-faith delegation to the region to help
promote a "third force" for non-violent reconciliation. In
preparation for the trip, he visited the WCC to seek the
organization's "moral authority and credibility to convene a
body of world religious leaders" who might take part in the
trip. The WCC has "a huge role to lay as the convener of the
family" of churches, he said.
Warning that "time is running out," Jackson said that he
feared the violence would spread and "redefine the world as we
know it overnight," with suicide bombers attacking Europe or the
U.S. "unless we are able to break the cycle of occupation and
the cycle of bombing." He said that American policy was
"muddled," split between strong support for Israel and an
attempt to play a mediating role.
"Maybe the U.S. cannot be the substantial supporter of one
side and then be the referee for both," Jackson said. "That's
why the WCC, the European Union, the U.N. and perhaps Egypt must
play a more decisive role as a third force." Recently he issued
an open letter to Palestinian chairman Yasser Arafat, urging him
"to call not simply for the end to terrorist bombings, but for a
new commitment to non-violence as the means to achieve
Canadian Anglicans elect Inuit bishop to serve Arctic region
(ENI) Canadian Anglicans have elected the first Inuk to serve as
a diocesan bishop. In September the Rev. Andrew Atagotaaluk will
become bishop of the Arctic, a vast territory of 3.9 million
square kilometers, reaching from Labrador in the east to the
Yukon border in western Canada, accounting for almost 40 percent
of the nation. Yet the region has a population of only 53,000,
including 18,000 Anglicans.
Isolation is a major cause of "burn-out" of clergy who serve
the sparsely populated region. "They need someone to talk to who
would understand the kind of pressures they experience," said
Atagotaaluk. Transportation around the diocese is also a problem
since few roads link settlements. Travel between parishes is
almost exclusively by air, an expensive option for the diocese,
one subject to the vagaries of the weather.
Another challenge facing the diocese is a severe shortage of
clergy. "We need clergy badly," said Atagotaaluk, who served as
suffragan bishop in Nunavik, the Inuit part of northern Quebec.
"We rely heavily on trained catechists and lay leaders to keep
our parishes going." Appeals to other parts of the church for
clergy to come north have received little response.
He said that the region has experienced rapid change since
the exploration for oil and minerals began in the 1960s. The
social fabric was disrupted, unemployment and suicide rates are
considerably higher than the rest of Canada. Many young people
are addicted to drugs and alcohol and the Inuit are "in danger
of losing their language and culture," he said.
The Canadian Bible Society has recently completed a
translation of the bible into Inuktutut, an Inuit language, a
project that took 24 years. The Inuit speak several dialogues at
home and in their communities and the language is used in
Moravian Church approves Interim Eucharistic Sharing with
(ENS) The Episcopal Church's five-year dialogue with the
Moravian Church in America has taken several significant steps
forward in recent months, including approval of sharing the
At an April meeting in Sewanee, Tennessee, the churches
discussed a draft resolution on Interim Eucharistic Sharing and
the possibilities for a shared ministry of bishops, presbyters
and deacons in the future. (The Moravians trace their history to
the Czech Hussite reform movement that separated from the Roman
Catholic Church in 1457 but they have preserved the three-fold
order of ministry.)
The April meeting of the Southern Province of the Moravian
Church in America passed a resolution that endorsed the plan to
share the Eucharist with Episcopalians. The Northern Province
meeting in mid-June also unanimously passed a resolution on the
proposal. Dr. Thomas Ferguson, associate deputy for ecumenical
relations and an Episcopal participant in the dialogue, said
that is "a very important and exciting time in our Moravian
dialogue. Building on previous Anglican-Moravian dialogues, we
have found enough common agreement on matters of faith and
practice to be able to stand together at the eucharistic table."
Ferguson said that future dialogues will deal with areas of
common mission, "with the hope of further theological dialogue
to allow for a possible full communion proposal in 2006 or
2009." The Episcopal Church and the Lutherans established a
similar sharing of the Eucharist in 1982 as a major step in
moving to "full communion" in 2000.
In his greetings, Ferguson noted that "historically the
Moravian Church has been one of the Anglican Communion's oldest
dialogue partners. Although small in number, you have had an
influence on the Christian world out of proportion to your size.
We your Episcopal brothers and sisters have been enriched by
your contributions to Christian spirituality, world missions,
hymnody, and passion for following Jesus Christ."
The Moravian Church in America is part of the worldwide Unity
of the Brethren, consisting of 20 autonomous provinces with
about 750,000 members. The U.S. and Canada are divided into two
provinces that are in communion with each other but operate
separately. They are both governed by synods that meet once
every four years.
Fate of valuable paintings at British bishop's palace still
(ENI) The fate of valuable 17th century Spanish paintings that
have been hanging in Auckland Castle in Durham, seat of the
Church of England's diocesan bishop, is still uncertain. Plans
to sell the historic paintings were blocked by a vigorous
campaign by those who regard them as part of the region's
The church's commissioners, responsible for investments, said
that the paintings could not justify "keeping these non-income
producing assets." The commission's responsibilities range from
paying salaries for the bishops and some clergy pensions to
supporting ministry in impoverished areas and settling the
future of redundant churches. Since the church was caught in the
financial troubles of the world's largest cell phone operator,
Vodafone, it looked as though the paintings, valued at $15
million, might be rushed to market.
Vodafone has reported an annual loss of over $20 billion, the
largest in British corporate history. The church's investment
was only a small part of its $6 billion portfolio. A church
spokesman, Arun Kataria, said that it was not necessary to sell
the paintings" to "meet current expenditure." If the paintings
were sold, he said that the proceeds "would become capital, and
the income from this would be used to support poorer parishes."
Paul Judson, a spokesman for the diocese, said that the
paintings "are earning money where they are because they are an
attraction at Auckland Castle for tourists, conference
participants and wedding groups."
President of Integrity USA visits counterparts in Uganda
(ENS) The Rev. Michael Hopkins, president of Integrity USA,
spent two weeks in early June visiting his counterparts in
Uganda. He reported on his return June 19 that Integrity Uganda
has built a community center in a village near the capital city
of Kampala. "The center serves not only as the headquarters of
Integrity but also as a place of worship for all and a center
for ministry to the surrounding community," he said in a June 21
Hopkins preached and concelebrated the Eucharist at the
community with Bishop Christopher Senyonjo. "The congregation
was a mix of lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual Ugandans,
young and old," said Hopkins. "Together they are deliberately
creating a community that welcomes all, unlike the overwhelming
majority of institutional churches in Uganda, including the
Anglican Church of Uganda."
The church in Uganda has inhibited Senyonjo and threatened
him with "ecclesiastical trial and defrocking," reported
Hopkins. The bishop was severely criticized by his colleagues
for his involvement in the creation of Integrity Uganda. Hopkins
said that the Rev. Erich Kasirye, founder of Integrity Uganda,
"has also been prohibited from the exercise of his ministry. I
was honored to be a guest of these two courageous men, both of
them heterosexual persons who are committed to the equality of
their homosexual and bisexual fellow Christians."
"I was also pleased to meet my counterpart, Mr. Denis
Iraguha, the new president of Integrity Uganda, and his partner,
Mr. Henry Irankunda," Hopkins said in his statement. "Sharing
our stories and our faith, in spite of the opposition of many
Christians and the society at large, is an experience I will
never forget. Both Henry and Denis have in the past been arrest
for 'homosexual offenses' and imprisoned without right of
visitors, subjected to repeating canings. These young men, both
22 years old, showed a profoundly tenacious faith."
Hopkins said that he was "saddened that this community must
live cut off from the fellowship of the Church of Uganda." He
said that the Diocese of Namirembe, where both Senyonjo and
Kasirye were active clergy until their suspensions, passed a
resolution in May 2001 that effectively lunched "a vigorous
crusade against all forms of homosexuality."
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