From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Wed, 8 Jan 2003 17:06:25 -0500
January 8, 2003
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Australian law restricts use of names on prayer lists
(Daily Telegraph) A Privacy Act that took effect December 21,
2002, in Australia restricts churches from placing names on
prayer lists in bulletins unless they are given specific
permission. Clergy are also finding it increasingly difficult to
visit patients in hospitals because of privacy legislation
"If there is any doubt about what the individual's reasonable
expectations are, it is good privacy practice to check with them
first, especially where sensitive matters such as health or
personal troubles are involved," said deputy privacy
commissioner Timothy Pilgrim.
According to Anglican Bishop Roger Herft of Newcastle, the act
detracts from the spontaneity of comfort a person derives when
they unexpectedly hear their name read aloud on the prayer list.
He said that, while he understands an individual's legal rights
must be respected, people also were part of the human family and
should be able to care for each other without restrictions. "It
would seem to me that the Privacy Act, if it is not used
sensibly, can contribute to the biggest disease of mankind and
that is loneliness. People can feel completely left out of the
loop if we are not careful."
Some clergy complained about getting access to sick people in
hospitals because hospitals now cannot release that information.
Patients must sign a permission form before they go to the
Schools help impart religious knowledge, British survey
(ENI) When researchers at Exeter University surveyed more than
500 youngsters about their religious knowledge, they received
some surprising but also reassuring answers. More than half (54
percent) did not know that Easter celebrates the resurrection of
Jesus but three-quarters of them (77 percent) knew that,
according to the gospels, he was raised from the dead.
The survey, sponsored by the Jerusalem Trust, an organization
supporting Christian education, found that 44 percent of the
children could name a specific biblical parable, with the story
of the Good Samaritan by far the best known. Just over half were
able to cite one of the Bible's miracle stories.
In Britain, schools are required by law to teach religion which
must "reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great
Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the
teachings and practices of other principal religions
represented." According to Terence Copley of Exeter, principal
author of the survey, "the common idea among Christian groups
that schools are failing to deliver on religion is not borne out
by the survey. Jesus, however, often comes across as just a good
man in a secular, 21st-century sense."
Copley said that one of the surprises, however, was that
children were getting most of their religious education from
school, even if they came from religious families. Some schools
do not give Jesus any particular prominence. One school in
Brighton has banned the use of the terms BC, "before Christ," or
AD, "anno domini" or "year of the Lord."
"It is not the job of the school to lead a pupil towards a
particular faith," said John Thorne, a school official. "We
teach about religion, not just one religion."
Virginia Seminary's library chosen as archive for African
(ENS) Under an agreement between Virginia Theological Seminary
and the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church, the
seminary's library in Alexandria, Virginia as been designated as
the home for the documents illustrating the history of the
church's African Americans.
In the new archival project, the African American Episcopal
Collection will include a variety of media--oral histories,
institutional records and other documents, as well as
photographs--chronicling the lives and experiences of blacks in
the church. The agreement also includes a plan to expand the
collection, obtain additional funding and materials, and improve
its accessibility. This summer the library will construct
additional archival space to accommodate the collection.
The seminary library is named in honor of the Bishop Payne
Divinity School, a seminary for the education of African and
African American Episcopalians that merged with Virginia
Seminary in 1953. The primary goal of the new collection is to
make its materials available for both scholarly research and
education of the wider church.
The seminary is asking that prospective donors to the collection
or those who want additional information about the collection
contact head librarian Mitzi Budde or archivist Julia Randle at
Tutu slams U.S., Britain over Iraq action
(SAPA-AFP) Retired South African archbishop Desmond Tutu
criticized the U.S. as an arrogant superpower bent on unilateral
action in an interview on the Iraq crisis telecast in Britain on
"I'm shocked to see a powerful country use its power frequently,
unilaterally," said Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984
for opposing apartheid in South Africa. "The U.S. says: 'You do
this' to the world. 'If you don't do it, we will do it.' That's
Tutu said it is "mind-boggling" that British prime minister Tony
Blair is strongly backing President George W. Bush in the
showdown with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. "Many, many of us are
deeply saddened to see a great country such as the U.S. aided
and abetted extraordinarily by Britain," the archbishop said.
Tutu also questioned why Iraq is being singled out when India
and Pakistan are confirmed nuclear powers. "What do you do with
weapons of mass destruction in Europe? What do you do with them
in India? What do you do with them in Pakistan?" he asked.
"Where do you stop?
"America should remember they supported some of the most
repressive governments," he said. "Let's hear what [UN weapons]
inspectors get to see. But if you are going to apply UN
resolutions there, you ask why there and not in other places.
Why not in Palestine?"
Tutu was interviewed for the Jonathan Dimbleby Newsmakers
program for the commercial ITV television network.
Tutu joins University of North Florida faculty
(South Florida Sun-Sentinel) In 1984, Archbishop Desmond Tutu
helped a young friend named Oupa Seane flee from South Africa.
The teenager had come of age under apartheid and later was
jailed for fighting it. Almost two decades later, Seane, an
adjunct political science professor at the University of North
Florida, brought Tutu to North Florida for a lecture in 1999 and
persuaded his old friend to return this spring for a semester as
a scholar in residence.
"I've been here before and was thrilled by my engagement with
the students. And there was a young South African on the faculty
who twisted my arm a little bit," said Tutu, now retired, who
will be paid $76,000 for his work.
With 13,000 students, North Florida is hardly small, billing
itself one of the 100 Best College Buys in America. But it does
not have the prestige of a University of Florida or a Florida
State, much less Harvard--an institution that granted Tutu an
honorary doctorate in 1979.
David Kline, the university's interim president, hopes Tutu's
name will help with fund raising and faculty and student
recruitment by "raising the intellectual environment."
At North Florida, Tutu will teach a one-semester class focusing
on his time heading South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, a body that investigated the abuses of apartheid in
the mid-1990s, and three mini courses.
Australian author takes on "suicidal church"
(The Age) Is the Anglican church in Melbourne committing
suicide? Art historian Dr. Caroline Miley thinks so--and the
Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Watson, is inclined to agree.
Miley is the author of a new book, The Suicidal Church: Can the
Anglican Church be Saved?, that Watson is recommending to the
church's leaders. It says the church is timid,
institutionalized, racist, sexist, homophobic, and impedes the
message of the Gospel. The book argues that the church has to
take risks, be willing to offend, offer unconditional love and
acceptance and, above all, strip away the institutional
trappings that allow timid Christians to shelter inside and
avoid their biblical responsibilities.
"In business you'd talk about your core business, but church
people don't like that kind of talk. She calls it religion. I'd
say our core business is God, or the message about God, about
Jesus Christ. When the institutional forms stop us doing what we
are here to do, we have to change," said Watson.
Watson's approval was a pleasant surprise for Miley, who had a
sharp divergence of views with Sydney's conservative Anglican
archbishop, Peter Jensen, in a radio interview.
"The discrepancy between what the church is like and what the
gospels are like is really the cause of the book. The gospels
are about empowerment, and the church is frightfully
disempowering; the gospels are about love and acceptance, and
the church is not accepting. It's mediocre and drab. I realized
it was the culture of the church--it was basically English 19th
century middle-class culture. You know, don't talk about sex,
it's not nice."
Another barrier, she says, is the lack of diversity. "There's
terrible snobbism. Someone said to me once at an upmarket church
when I complained they had no women serving, 'If you want that
sort of thing, you should go somewhere else.' And I felt like
saying, 'It's not your church, actually; it's God's. You're a
guest here as well.'" Miley is also scathing about Anglican
attitudes to women. She says the wider church shamefully
discriminates against women, and has done for 2000 years.
She believes the church need not continue its steady decline.
The way ahead is backwards: back to biblical basics, modeling
Christ, evangelism. And this means taking risks, offending
people, accepting setbacks, which a crippling culture of
timidity doesn't allow, she said.
UK evangelical groups threaten to look abroad for leadership
(AP) Evangelical groups in the Church of England, angered by the
new archbishop of Canterbury's view on homosexuality, said that
they would consider looking abroad for alternative spiritual
leadership. Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen is one of the
contenders being considered.
The Rev. George Curry, chairman of the conservative Church
Society, said there might be a "breaking point" if divisions
between the traditionalists and Archbishop Rowan Williams were
not resolved. "We hope that things don't go from bad to worse,
but if they don't get better all options will be considered,"
Curry said. "That's not because we want to be awkward customers
or have a sideswipe at the liberal establishment. When you have
leaders teaching error you must do something about it."
The Rev. David Banting, Reform's chairman, said arguments over
homosexuality were part of a much wider split between
traditionalists and liberals among the world's 70 million
Anglicans. "In 10 years' time there will be a realignment
between orthodox Christians and those who want a much more
culturally based Christianity who will only pay lip service to
the historic foundations of the Bible," he said.
Pittsburgh bishop removes himself from Philadelphia row
(ENS) Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan has removed himself from
an ongoing feud between Bishop Charles E. Bennison of
Pennsylvania and the Rev. David Moyer. Moyer, for 13 years the
rector of Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, a
Philadelphia suburb, was deposed in September by Bennison after
repeatedly refusing to allow Bennison and two of his
predecessors to make formal visitations to the church.
Moyer, president of the North American chapter of the
traditionalist group Forward in Faith, was nominated by the
group at its annual meeting last summer to be consecrated as a
bishop outside the Episcopal Church's canonical structures.
According to the diocesan standing committee, Moyer had
"abandoned" his ministry in the Episcopal Church, and they voted
to have Moyer deposed.
Following notice of the deposition, it was announced that Moyer
had been accepted by Archbishop Bernard Malango of the Province
of Central Africa as a priest of the diocese of the Upper Shire.
One day later, Duncan accepted Moyer as a priest in the
Pittsburgh diocese, later saying that he had "purposely
occasioned a constitutional crisis " to open a discussion about
"limiting episcopal power." Moyer did not move to Pittsburgh and
continues to live in the Rosemont parish rectory.
Bennison then sent Duncan a letter asking him to remove Moyer,
according to Ronda Carman, a spokeswoman for the diocese. Duncan
didn't want to defy the canons by refusing the request and
didn't want to remove Moyer, she said, so in a December 16
letter, Duncan transferred Moyer back to the African diocese.
"Father Moyer is still welcome to function in Pittsburgh,"
Duncan said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"He's just no longer (canonically) under me." Carman said Duncan
transferred Moyer to remove himself from the controversy, which
includes a lawsuit by Moyer accusing Bennison of fraud,
misrepresentation, collusion and denial of due process. "To some
extent it is more of a battle than Bishop Duncan wants to be
in," Carman said. Members of Duncan's immediate family are part
of the Rosemont congregation.
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