From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Wed, 15 Jan 2003 16:57:12 -0500
January 15, 2003
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Church of England bishops warn against war in Iraq
(ACNS) Last October the bishops of the Church of England told a
government committee that, while military action can sometimes
be justified as a last resort to enforce United Nations
resolutions, to undertake a preventative war against Iraq at
this juncture would be to lower the threshold for war
At its recent meeting in Leeds, the bishops issued a statement
January 14 that said, "We believe that the Government's stated
policy of disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction is
best pursued by facilitating and strengthening the work of UN
weapons inspectors. It is crucial that this process be allowed
to run its course. To launch military action while there remains
the potential to secure a peaceful resolution would be
ill-judged and premature."
The bishops also said that they were not yet convinced that "a
conclusive case" has been made in favor of military action. "We
do not believe the evidence presented to date suggests a clear
link exists between Iraq and Al Qaeda or that Iraq poses an
imminent threat to international security" and therefore
"military action could not be morally justified."
The statement called on Iraq to "present credible evidence to
support its claim that it does not possess weapons of mass
destruction." It also called on the international community "to
provide the basis for a lasting and just peace in the region by
taking all necessary steps to revitalise the Middle East Peace
Process, based on the twin principles of a secure Israel and a
viable Palestinian state."
The bishops urged the government and media "to avoid the use of
language or rhetoric which might cast this crisis in religious
terms or contribute to extremist and exclusivist attitudes."
(Full text of the statement is available on the Anglican
Communion News Service Web site.)
Danforth returning to the Sudan to resume peace talks
(ENS) The US State Department has announced that former senator
John Danforth, an ordained Episcopal priest, is returning to the
Sudan as the Khartoum government and the southern rebels prepare
to resume peace talks.
Danforth will also visit Egypt, Kenya and Eritrea for talks on
the peace process as follow-up to discussions with both sides in
the Sudan in Washington last month. According to the State
Department, the talks were supposed to resume January 15 but
Khartoum said that it hadn't received its invitation yet. The
rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) said the new round
of talks, aimed at ending two decades of civil war, should begin
soon in Kenya.
The talks will focus on three main issues, including the status
of sharia or Islamic law in Khartoum. Previous talks led to what
many regarded as ground-breaking protocol agreements last July
that granted a six-year period of self rule in the south,
composed mainly of Christians and animists. A referendum would
then decide whether the region would secede or remain part of
the Sudan. A second round of talks started in August to finalize
that agreement was suspended by Khartoum in the face of a rebel
victory in the south.
German church Web site aimed trying to reach working mothers
(ENI) The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has opened a Web
site designed to reach mothers who work outside the home. "Women
feel responsible for the religious life of the family," said
Manfred Kock, head of the EKD, at a press conference to announce
the launch. "They bring the children to the parish kindergarten
or discuss whether to baptize them. They ask all the relevant
The church hopes to help equip women to fulfill their dual daily
role and to improve their performance both at work and at home.
A study conducted by Germany's two main television stations
concluded that more and more women are using the Internet,
rising from just over a million to over 12 million in the last
The study found that women and men under the age of 50 were
using the Internet in equal numbers. "Men and women use the net
much moreto get things done at work and at home," the study
concluded. "This includes using it for faith and church
The site presents 10 stages of life, including birth, schooling,
partnership, work, retirement and death. It portrays the life of
10 women, using short articles and videos to depict their daily
life. "The site answers the questions we frequently receive in
e-mails or in chat rooms at other church Web sites," said EKD
webmaster Tom Brok. It deals with themes such as how to pray
with children, helping children make the most of their
confirmation classes, or being a single parent. Links connect
users to other sites for additional information on topics such
as baptism or marriage.
Scottish Episcopal Church produces communion coloring book
(ACNS) The Scottish Episcopal Church has launched the country's
first coloring book specially designed for use by restless
children during communion.
"My Holy Communion Book" takes children through the words of a
normal Sunday morning service, illustrating key moments in the
ceremony with bright, multi-colored illustrations. In addition
to coloring the pictures in the book, children can participate
in the service by writing special notes after prayers and the
"As soon as we started using the books, I knew they were working
because the noise levels dropped right down," said the Rev.
Steve Butler of Leith who commissioned the book. "They run for
the books now at the start of a service. They really engage with
the service. The books become theirs because they have written
and drawn in them."
During the sermon the book advises young worshipers to listen
closely if the preacher is addressing them specifically. But if
the sermon is aimed at adults, it gives a list of other things
they might do, including drawing a picture of that day's Bible
story. Each page is printed on special paper that can be wiped
clean to allow the children to erase their work and start fresh
After the congregation sings the Gloria, children are invited to
"draw or write something I have seen or heard this week that
makes me want to praise and thank God." During the regular
prayers, they are asked to "write down the names of people who
need your prayers. If you can help them during the week, write
what you can do for them." While people move forward for
communion, the book suggests that the children "draw a picture
of people in the church and ask Jesus to bless them."
"People often say that church is boring for children," said
Rosemary Gallagher, editorial director at Redemptorist
Publications that produced the book. "We thought there was a
need for something that related to children and looked like the
sort of books that they were used to. The whole thing becomes
more immediate when they can fill in their own prayer requests
for friends or even for a loved pet."
Episcopal Society for Ministry on Aging will dissolve in
(ENS) The board for the Episcopal Society for Ministry on Aging
(ESMA), which for nearly four decades has served as the official
agency dealing with aging issues at the national level, has
voted to dissolve on February 28, 2003.
ESMA was formed in 1964 in response to the first National
Conference on Aging and was designated at that year's General
Convention as the agency to assist parishes and dioceses in
establishing housing for the elderly.
In 1977 the focus was broadened to include a wider ministry.
Representatives were appointed in every diocese and in 1979 the
office was moved from New Jersey to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and
the executive director became a full-time position.
In 1991 the General Convention voted to phase out funding for
ESMA and it operated without national support since 1994. A
directory of housing programs for the elderly related to the
Episcopal Church was published in 1995 and was rated highly by
"Consumer Reports." By 1999, however, support from parishes and
dioceses had decreased and ESMA had used its reserve funds,
leading to the decision to close the office.
A resolution presented to the 2000 General Convention, calling
for a national consultation to consider the church's response to
the needs of an aging society, passed unanimously and the
consultation met in Florida in the fall of 2001. The
consultation recommended that a full-time national office of
ministry with the aging be established but the Executive Council
meeting in June 2002 did not respond positively. The Executive
Council later passed a motion that will ask the 2003 General
Convention to appoint a six-member task force to assess ministry
with the aging.
Finnish film wins Templeton European Film of the Year Prize
(ENI) A Finnish film, "The Man without a Past," has won the
Templeton European Film of the Year award, it was announced
January 13 by the Conference of European Churches in Geneva. The
award is presented by the Templeton Foundation, the inter-church
film organization Interfilm, and the CEC for artistic merit and
a point of view in keeping with the message of the Scriptures.
In the film urban violence opens the way to tell the story of a
survivor, the man without a past. The film also won the
Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival
Judges look for films that stimulate debate about spiritual and
social issues. They said that the film written, directed and
produced by Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki was a parable told
with tenderness and moments of humor. It is the story of a
community inspired by a man almost totally deprived of his
memory after being mugged. The film features Finnish actor
Markku Peltola as the victim and Kati Outinen as a Salvation
Army worker who encourages the victim to find himself again.
The prize will be awarded during this year's Berlin Film
Festival on February 9.
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