From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Mon, 2 Dec 2002 16:37:40 -0500
December 2, 2002
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Violence breaks out between Muslims and Christians in northern
(ENS) Dozens of Christians have been killed and hundreds injured
by Muslim youth during a fresh outbreak of violence in the city
of Kaduna in heavily Islamic northern Nigeria--and Muslims were
killed when Christians retaliated.
The violence began November 20 as a reaction to a Nigerian
newspaper article that said the Prophet Muhammad might have
considered marrying one of the contestants in the Miss Word
contest that was supposed to be held in Abuja. Muslim rioters
burned down the offices of This Day, barricaded the streets with
burning tires, and began to loot homes and businesses.
According to reports, the rioters then turned on the local
Christians. "Our people had nothing whatsoever to do with either
the article or this contest but we have been victimised by
Muslim rioters for political ends," said Anglican Bishop Josiah
Fearon of Kaduna. Over 20 churches were desecrated, looted,
vandalised and burned and Christians have been stabbed and some
beaten to death. Reports also said that Muslim youths operated
roadblocks, checking the religious identity of motorists and
As Christian youths began to fight back, Muslims were killed
and some mosques were destroyed. Estimates say over 400 have
died and more than 1,200 have been injured with about 12,000
driven from their homes.
"The violence has nothing to do with religion--it is entirely
political," said Bishop Fearon in a release distributed by the
Barnabas Fund, a British-based organization that monitors human
rights in the Islamic world.
One of the underlying causes for the tension is the
implementation of Islamic law (Shari'ah) in many of the northern
states of Nigeria in the last three years, pressuring the
Christian minorities in those states. In Kaduna, however, where
Christians and Muslims are equal, the governor has resisted
demands for full implementation, limiting it to Muslims.
"Religious leaders in the city, both Muslim and Christian,
have appealed for calm," Bishop Josiah said. But he added that
"the same Islamic religious leaders have been deeply implicated
in instigating the violence in the first place."
Earlier this year religious leaders from both sides signed an
agreement committing them to work for peace and reconciliation
between Muslims and Christians.
FBI says anti-Muslim hate crimes are up in the U.S.
(ENI) Despite on-going calls for tolerance from church leaders,
hate crimes against Muslims or those thought to be of Middle
Eastern descent rose dramatically in the United States in 2001,
according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The
report said that the number of cases rose from 28 in 2000 to 481
in 2001 but the report did not indicate how many incidents
occurred after the September 11 terrorist attacks against the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Almost 10,000 allegations of hate crimes were reported with
Muslims trailing behind African Americans, homosexuals and Jews
in the number of cases reported. Hate crimes can range from
verbal abuse to assault or murder.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR), a civil rights and advocacy group, welcomed the report
but said that the figures did not present the whole picture
since many Muslims did not report the crimes to authorities.
"They swallow the incident and move on," said Ibrahim Hooper.
"People have a natural reluctance to report these to the FBI,"
due largely to s feeling shared by Muslims that in the
post-September 11 climate "Muslims are guilty until proven
CAIR said that Muslims in the country had reported more than
1,700 incidents to the council following the terrorist attacks.
Referring to anti-Islam comments by evangelicals like Franklin
Graham, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, Hooper said,
"Unfortunately, the population that is hostile to Islam in the
United States is increasing, parroting the line of Graham,
Falwell and Robertson."
New archbishop of Canterbury says Anglicans too interested in
(The Independent) During an interview on the British
Broadcasting Corporation, the new archbishop of Canterbury,
Rowan Williams of Wales, took a swipe at the church's
"anti-Christian" obsession with the trappings of power and
In the BBC documentary, "An Archbishop Like This," Williams
was asked about the Anglican hierarchy and he responded that it
had "bought very deeply" into a cult of status. "It's one of the
most ambiguous things in the whole of that culture--the concern
with titles, the concern with little differentiations, the
different coloured buttons."
He added, "There's something profoundly--I'll say
it--anti-Christian in all of that. It's about guarding position,
about fencing yourself in. And that is not quite what the Gospel
Describing himself in the interview as a "gloomy Celt,"
Williams acknowledged the possibility of schism because of
persistent disagreements over issues. He said that the Bible,
for example, is very clear in condemning a heterosexual who
indulged in homosexual acts for gratification but he added,
"Does that automatically say that that is the only sort of
homosexuality activity there could ever be? What about those
people who 'with prayer and thought and seriousness and
adulthood say I've never known anything different? What are we
to say to them?"
While clearly not ready to endorse the concept of gay
marriages, calling that language "not appropriate," Williams
said, "I can see a case for acknowledging faithful same-sex
relationships." He added, "It seems to me rather sad, and rather
revealing, that when it comes to sex we suddenly become much
less intelligent about our reading of the Bible."
Williams was officially confirmed at a December 1 ceremony in
St. Paul's Cathedral in London, taking an oath of allegiance to
the Queen and declaring his assent to the historic "formularies"
of the Church of England. He asked for "God's guidance as I seek
to meet this new challenge--a challenge I face with a sense of
inadequacy but also with hope, with joy and enthusiasm." He will
not assume his public duties until after his enthronement in
Affirming Catholicism sets day of prayer and thanksgiving for
new archbishop of Canterbury
(ENS) Affirming Catholicism--a renewal and spirituality movement
in the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Church of
Ireland and the Scottish Episcopal Church as well as the wider
Anglican Communion--has called for a day of prayer and
thanksgiving December 6 for Archbishop Rowan Williams, the new
archbishop of Canterbury.
"We are increasingly aware of the vast ministry portfolio
that the archbishop carries on behalf of Anglicans and
Episcopalians around the world," said the Rev. Stephen Conway,
chair of the organization. "If we take our faith and practice
seriously we need to give thanks for those called to such an
important office and to keep them in our prayers."
December 6 is the feast day for the third century bishop, St.
Nicholas of Myra, "traditionally a time of gifts, which makes it
an excellent day to celebrate what a gift from God Rowan is to
the whole church," Conway said.
"Such a day of prayer and thanksgiving for one of its
founding members is a most appropriate thing for the movement
known as Affirming Catholicism to encourage," said Bishop
Christopher Epting, deputy for ecumenical and interfaith
relations. He noted that Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold is
American Patron of the organization and he is a co-patron. "We
strive to live disciplined lives of prayer, worship and study
and this will be an opportunity to be bound together in that
Affirming Catholicism offers sample prayers on its web site
Anglican-Roman Catholic consultation continues discussion of
(ENS) At its mid-September meeting, the official theological
consultation in the United States between Roman Catholics and
Anglicans concluded an in-depth discussion of "The Gift of
Authority," the third major agreed statement on authority in the
church released by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International
Commission. The statement suggests 11 points on which agreement
has been deepened or extended, naming a number of specific
issues related to authority facing the two churches and
recommending ways for them to make more visible the communion
they already share.
The Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the United States
(ARC-USA) began a paragraph by paragraph review of "The Gift of
Authority" at its March meeting and members spent a day at their
September meeting summarizing their views and making plans for a
draft response by the Rev. Robert Imbelli and Dr. William
Franklin to be discussed at its meeting next March.
ARC-USA is also conducting its own study and in 1999 released
an "Agreed Report on the Local/Universal Church," taking a look
at how authority is used in the independent provinces of the
Anglican Communion and the role of episcopal conferences in the
Roman Catholic Church.
Two members of the consultation, the Rev. Ruth Meyers and
Professor Joanne Pierce, are drafting a study guide on the
agreements on Eucharist and ministry that have already been
received by the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic
German bishops suggest Protestants form global alliance
(ENI) Two leading German Protestant bishops are proposing the
creation of a global alliance that they believe would strengthen
the voice of worldwide Protestantism.
Bishop Margot Kaessmann of Hanover and Bishop Wolfgang-Huber
of Berlin made the call at a meeting of the synod of the
Evangelical Church in Germany in November. At present the
world's Protestant churches do not have their own umbrella body
to represent their views, although many belong to the World
Council of Churches (WCC) that has Protestant, Orthodox,
Anglican and independent member churches.
Kaessmann resigned from the WCC Central Committee in
September to protest key proposals intended to help
participation by Orthodox churches which have been highly
critical of the organization and what they perceive as a
political agenda. "I want the WCC to continue to be the
locomotive of the ecumenical train rather than pulling on the
brakes so that the wagons fall off the track," she said after
the synod meeting.
She said that if the WCC ended up as "a forum for the various
confessions to talk about their differences," then she is
convinced that "a world alliance of Reformation churches would
make more sense."
In response, WCC General Secretary Konrad Raiser said that
"it is not a case of the WCC bowing to Orthodox pressure, nor
has it accepted a compromise in order to smooth over the
difficulties. "Never before have the WCC and its member churches
faced up to the fundamental issues in their relations with the
Orthodox so honestly and seriously."
The alliance Kaessmann envisions would allow Protestant
churches in the Lutheran, Reformed and United churches that
trace their roots back to the 16th century Reformation "to
represent common positions in dialogues with the Orthodox and
Roman Catholic churches as well as to be able to speak in common
in a world that is becoming globalised."
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