From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Fri, 24 Jan 2003 11:39:26 -0500
January 23, 2003
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Anglicans set day of prayer for Archbishop of Canterbury
(ACNS) The official Anglican Cycle of Prayer has designated
Sunday, January 26, 2003 as a day of prayer for the Archbishop
of Canterbury. Coming just one month before the 104th Archbishop
of Canterbury will be seated in the historic Chair of St.
Augustine in the Cathedral Church of Christ, Canterbury, the
intention of the prayer is one of thanksgiving for the ministry
of Archbishop Rowan Williams and for the office and unique role
of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the worldwide Communion.
Other organizations have also observed special days of prayer,
with Affirming Catholicism being first on December 6.
The ancient enthronement service will be held in Canterbury
Cathedral on Thursday, February 27, 2003, the day the church
commemorates George Herbert, priest and poet. Requests for seats
by people from around the Communion have far outnumbered the
2,500-seat capacity of the cathedral. The service will be
broadcast on BBC TV and heard on BBC Radio 4. ACNS will link to
the BBC webcast and the availability of a commercial video for
purchase will be announced in due course. A special edition of
Anglican World magazine will also be published in early March.
The following prayer may be used on January 26 and at any other
"Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of
your faithful people is governed and sanctified; Receive our
supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all
members of your holy Church, and especially at this time for
your servant Rowan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, that in their
vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you;
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for
Anglican Communion Sunday is now set for May 25, 2003. The 12th
Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council passed a resolution
last September on observing such a day, and asking in the future
that a special offering be taken for the work of the ACC.
NCC General Secretary calls for fasting, peace prayers
(NCC News) Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National
Council of Churches, called on people of faith to fast and pray
for peace on January 27--"the first of three days of events that
will help determine history," he said.
On that date, the United Nations Security Council is to receive
a progress report on weapons inspections in Iraq. The next day,
President Bush delivers the annual State of the Union address.
On January 29, Win Without War and other national coalitions are
calling for a day of local actions against military intervention
"I am calling on all people of faith to observe Monday, January
27, 2003, as a national day of prayer and fasting for a peaceful
resolution of the Iraq crisis," the declaration said. "This day
is the first of three days of events that will help determine
"The United Nations Security Council is scheduled on January 27
to receive a progress report from chief UN weapons inspector
Hans Blix. On Tuesday, January 28, President George W. Bush will
stand before the assembled leaders of the United States Congress
in Washington, D.C., and deliver the annual State of the Union
address. The following day, Wednesday, January 29, Win Without
War and other national coalitions are calling for a unified day
of local actions to protest military intervention in Iraq.
"As this nation edges ever closer to armed conflict, let us
fast, pray for peace, and search for alternatives to war. I urge
people of faith to pray for President Bush, for all our nation's
leaders, and for our military mpersonnel, their families and
friends. Let us pray for the suffering people of Iraq and all
others in the region and around the world who may be affected by
war. And, believing that no one stands outside of prayer, let us
pray also for Iraq's leaders, including its president, Saddam
"Together, on January 27, let our hearts, our minds and our
prayers be as one, witnessing to the ways of peace; witnessing
to the fact that war is not the answer. Together, on January 27,
let all people of faith join in a national day of prayer and
fasting as we seek peace in our day."
English priest believes knowledge of witchcraft can be
(ENI) For Richard Thomas, a priest on the Anglican bishop of
Oxford's staff, witchcraft is not to be feared or hated but to
be understood as "an emerging faith community."
Thomas, who is the Oxford diocese's director of communication,
has spent three months meeting practitioners of Wicca, or modern
pagan witchcraft, and attending their rituals.
Christians may be alarmed by the sound of groups with names like
the Children of Artemis, but Thomas stressed that Wiccans had a
"deep sense of spirituality and care for the sacredness of
creation." He said in an interview with ENI: "They are 150 per
cent committed to how they live their lives."
The project is part of Thomas's work for a master's degree under
an award by the archbishop of Canterbury, known as the Lambeth
Rod Thomas (no relation), spokesman for the Church of England
evangelical movement Reform, told ENI: "Richard Thomas's studies
may well be of wider use if they enable Christians to relate to
those who hold pagan beliefs in a more informed way. We hope the
outcome of his studies will enable us to be more effective in
conveying the good news of Christ to those who hold pagan
beliefs. If, on the other hand they do not do so, or worse, seek
to compromise the exclusive claims of Christ, then they will
have been counter-productive and the time and money will have
been badly spent."
Support for the study project came from the bishop of Oxford,
Richard Harries, the Church of England press office said.
Richard Thomas said Christians often made assumptions about
pagan rituals, and this led to a clouded picture. "For dialogue
to take place it is necessary to proceed from a position of
humility and understanding rather than from a position of
arrogance or fear." Wicca was partly to be understood, he
suggested, as an alternative to what its followers saw as "the
imperialism of organized religion."
Thomas was keen to dispel several myths about paganism in
Britain: he said it was not a middle-class movement, or a
reaction against Christianity or a form of New Age beliefs. He
added that Wicca "is about the invocation of spirits and
affecting others through magic and ritual." But he stressed that
"Wiccans are required to do no harm" and that the effect of
their actions "must be at least morally neutral." He pointed out
that Christian prayers were another way of trying to produce a
benign effect on other people.
Asked whether formally studying Wicca amounted to treating it as
equivalent to world faith systems like Islam, Buddhism and
Hinduism, Thomas said: "I make no judgement on the objectivity
of its claims, but I could make a strong case for Wicca as an
emerging faith community." He saw no conflict between his
ministry and his chosen area of study: "I feel this is something
that God has called me to do." The church would benefit through
his being a link with the pagan community, he added.
According to the Children of Artemis's statement of beliefs,
magic is "an intrinsic part of this world, a completely natural
and neutral force." Its Web site, www.witchcraft.org, quotes the
Wiccan saying: "An [if] it harm none, do what you will."
Thomas's research was supported by a 1000 pounds sterling
(US$1600) bursary from Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc, a
company with strong Anglican connections. Maggie Vinson,
Ecclesiastical spokeswoman, said the churches needed to "listen
and learn" from other cultures. Bursaries were offered to help
Nonprofit utility announcing renewable energy option
(AP) A nonprofit organization called Interfaith Power and Light
unveiled plans to offer Maine consumers the chance to buy their
electricity from clean, renewable sources. The so-called "green
power" plan was put together by the Brunswick-based group, which
was founded three years ago with a grant from the Maine Council
of Churches. Other religious groups have also been working on
The announcement reflects a growing trend nationwide that links
religion and environmental awareness. The model for the Maine
program is Episcopal Power and Light of San Francisco, which
started in 1995.
The clean energy option is being offered to Maine households,
churches and small businesses. To residential customers who use
500 kilowatt hours a month, the added cost would amount to $7.50
a month. Organizers hope to get at least 1,000 Mainers to sign
Baxter plans to step down as dean of National Cathedral
(Washington Post) The Very Rev. Nathan D. Baxter announced his
resignation January 22 as dean of Washington National Cathedral,
one of the country's most influential churches, effective June
Baxter made the surprise announcement at a scheduled meeting of
the cathedral's senior staff, said the Rev. Alan Geyer, canon
for ethics and public policy, who attended the meeting.
"This is an ideal time for me to conclude my deanship," Baxter
read from a letter addressed to "Dear Friends." "Together we
have accomplished much of what I had set out to do, and I now
want to explore new opportunities and challenges."
Baxter, selected as the cathedral's chief administrator in 1991,
said in the letter that a new capital campaign, as yet
unscheduled, and a centennial celebration in 2007 make this an
appropriate time to find a new dean. He did not elaborate on his
plans or reasons for resigning, and a cathedral spokesman said
Baxter was not available for an interview.
John Shenefield, chair of the cathedral's governing board, said
a search committee will be appointed to provide Washington
bishop John Bryson Chane with a list of candidates to replace
Baxter. The bishop will submit his choice to the Protestant
Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, the congressionally chartered
body that operates the cathedral and four schools on its
grounds, which will vote on the candidate. Chane is president of
the foundation. The search process will begin soon, Shenefield
said. "It would be great" to have a new dean by the beginning of
Advent, he said.
Since Baxter's arrival in fall 1991 as the seventh dean, the
cathedral has planned and conducted its largest capital
campaign, created a Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage,
established a resident girls' choir and started a scholars
program to benefit public high school students in the District.
His tenure was distinguished by a number of major national
services held at the cathedral, including the funerals of
Thurgood Marshall and J. William Fulbright; visits from a
variety of world leaders, including the Dalai Lama and Desmond
Tutu; and the nationally televised Service of Prayer and
Remembrance after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Maine diocese establishes fund for community affected by
(ENS) In the wake of the recent bankruptcy announcement by Great
Northern Paper of Millinocket, Maine, the 67 congregations that
comprise the Episcopal Diocese of Maine have made a decisive
effort to support residents of the affected community. St.
Andrew's Episcopal Church, in cooperation with Bishop Chilton R.
Knudsen of Maine and the diocese's Commission on Outreach and
Services, have established a fund called Millinocket Emergency
The fund will provide vouchers for fuel oil, groceries, and
prescription drugs for all affected by the plant closure as well
as others who find their families in need as a result of the
economic downturn. The Rev. Lance Almeida of St. Andrew's, along
with an Emergency Outreach Committee, will issue the vouchers,
redeemable at six local businesses which will, in turn, bill the
Financial Office of the Diocese of Maine.
In addition to the voucher program, Maine's Episcopal
congregations are being asked to set aside Sunday, February 2,
as a day to donate non-perishable food items and essentials such
as diapers and laundry and dish detergent. On February 4,
volunteers will pick up donations at stops in Kennebunk,
Portland, Augusta, Brewer, and Houlton, before making their way
to St. Andrew's in Millinocket. Both the voucher program and the
food pantry will be fully operational beginning in February.
Details on how to access both programs will be publicized as
soon as they are worked out.
"We are overwhelmed that the people in the Diocese of Maine are
willing to give of their resources and that the diocesan office
is willing to take on the administrative work," said Almeida.
"That will take a tremendous burden off of our shoulders and
allow us to focus on being a pastoral, supporting presence to
the people in our community."
Donations to the Millinocket Emergency Outreach Fund may be made
payable to the "Diocese of Maine-Millinocket Outreach" and sent
to the Bishop's Office, 143 State Street, Portland, Maine 04101.
For more information about the Fund and the food donation
effort, visit www.diomaine.org.
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