From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Tue, 11 Feb 2003 15:14:57 -0500
February 11, 2003
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Williams' Canterbury enthronement first to be webcast
(ACNS) The enthronement of the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury,
Rowan Williams, at Canterbury Cathedral, England, on February 27
at 3 p.m. GMT will be "webcast" worldwide by the BBC.
The BBC is negotiating to archive the webcast and keep it online
so that viewers can view the service at their convenience,
especially if they cannot watch it during the live event.
As of February 14, the BBC reports that the service will not be
broadcast in the USA. However, there is a possibility that
C-Span may carry the program. Check your local C-Span schedule.
A video of the service can be reserved by sending an email
request to Jim Rosenthal at email@example.com.
Credit card payment of $25 for each video will be accepted when
the videos are shipped.
Check these two web addresses for updated information about the
Kenya's churches hope new commission will shed truth on past
(ENI) At the urging of Kenya's churches, the government is
establishing a truth commission to deal with alleged corruption
and human rights abuses committed under the previous government,
voted out of office in December last year. Church leaders said
the commission, prompted by a similar commission in South
Africa, was long overdue.
"Kenyans ... are anxious to know the truth," said Canon Peter
Machira of St Mark's Anglican Church, Nairobi. Church leaders
want the commission to address past tribal clashes, illegal land
allocations, unresolved deaths of clergy and politicians, and
general corruption, which a government report last week said had
cost the country US$1.6 billion between 1990 and 1999.
The setting-up of the commission was announced by Kiraitu
Murungi, the new justice and constitutional affairs minister, at
the swearing-in of the new cabinet after the elections in
December. "We have learned a lot from the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission of South Africa and other commissions
in Latin America," Murungi said in announcing the commission.
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired
by the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu,
spent almost three years examining gross human rights violations
committed in the apartheid era. It was empowered to grant
amnesty to those who admitted their crimes.
Murungi said last week that Kenya's commission would hear
testimony from victims of abuse and perpetrators.
Archbishop's remarks on asylum spark controversy
(ENI) The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has
surprised both his supporters and his critics by calling it
"perfectly reasonable" to put asylum seekers in secure units
while their cases are evaluated.
In an interview with the London's Sunday Times newspaper, the
Anglican leader said he was concerned about people's safety.
"There's got to be a security agenda," said Williams. "It's a
very unsafe world and there is no way around that. The challenge
for any responsible government is to be absolutely serious about
security." But he insisted that asylum claims must be processed
quickly so that people were "not locked up in hermetically
sealed compartments for an indefinite period".
Williams has been viewed as a liberal on issues such as Iraq and
homosexuality but his comments were seen by some groups to put
him in the conservative camp on asylum seekers.
Security has in recent weeks become a front-page issue after a
police detective, Stephen Oake, an active Baptist, was fatally
stabbed in January during a police raid on a flat in Manchester.
Four men reported to be Algerian asylum seekers were arrested.
Responding to Williams's remarks, the Refugee Council, a
non-government organization, said there were "real fears about
security that need to be addressed" but "a policy of detaining
all asylum seekers on arrival will do little to improve our
Jonathan Jennings, Williams's press spokesman, told ENI: "The
archbishop was not advocating detention of asylum seekers, but
saying it was reasonable to raise the question. The security
question is not a trivial one, but one would also need to solve
other issues like speed of processing applications and equity
for asylum seekers."
At the same time, the Churches' Commission for Racial
Justice--part of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland--has
spoken out on behalf of asylum seekers who will be denied
financial and other support if they do not register at their
port of entry into Britain. The commission described the new
measure as "draconian" and highly unlikely to stop people
seeking asylum in Britain.
Shadowy Mungiki is feared by Kenyan churches and government
(ENI) Kenyan church leaders, the media and legislators have
joined forces in calling for the government to halt the violent
actions of Mungiki, a shadowy outlawed group said to have links
to traditional faiths. The group has been blamed for at least 20
killings in Kenya since the beginning of the year, all in brutal
attacks at taxi ranks and bus terminals. The latest was the
slaying and burning of a police officer in Nairobi's Dandora
Mungiki supports female circumcision, a practice of mutilation
abhorred by churches and humanitarian groups. Kenyan media
reports say Mungiki recruits members from Christian churches and
that some of its leaders have converted to Islam, although
Muslim leaders have also condemned the group's violence.
In March last year churches in Kenya were incensed by the
slaying of 24 people, attributed to Mungiki, and carried out in
a Nairobi slum area. People were hacked to death apparently
indiscriminately in bars, streets and homes.
The Anglican archbishop of Kenya, the Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, told
ENI the latest killings attributed to Mungiki "means the
government has a duty to stop the taking of innocent lives."
Mungiki claims a membership of around 2 million. The National
Council of Churches of Kenya and a number of human rights
agencies say its membership comprises mainly unemployed young
people living on the fringes of society.
Nzimbi told ENI that more than two years ago the churches had
commissioned a study to find out the origin, aims, and purposes
of the organization. But the churches found the study
inconclusive, Nzimbi said, explaining that more work was needed
on it. "We expect something very soon," he said.
The formation of Mungiki, which some people see as a sect,
remains a mystery to many Kenyans, and statements made about it
are often contradictory. Some reports say the group may have
started in 1988 with the aim of toppling the government of the
then president, Daniel arap Moi, who was on 27 December voted
out of power along with his Kenya African National Union party.
Other analysts have said that some young Kenyans who cannot find
a secure place in present-day society see Mungiki actions as
akin to the bloody Mau Mau rebellion that fought British
colonial rule, used ritualistic secret oaths and often engaged
in brutal actions against outsiders.
Jerusalem's Anglican bishop threatens to sue Israelis over
(ENI) The top ranking Anglican cleric in Jerusalem is
threatening to sue the Israeli government if it refuses to pay
compensation for the bombing of a church in Gaza City last
Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal said he would have no choice but to
take legal action if Israel did not fund the costs of repairing
St. Philip's Episcopal Church, located within the Ahli Arab
"I am going to put a claim into the Israeli government and I
hope that they will come to terms with compensating the church
so that we will rebuild, renovate, repair the damage that was
done," he told ENI. "But if they don't apologize and pay for the
damage they have done, I will have to take them to court."
Riah was reacting to the strike against the church and the
hospital on 24 January. Israeli Brigadier-General Tzvika Fogel
claimed that Israeli helicopters had fired five missiles at a
suspected Palestinian weapons factory but that two of the
projectiles had malfunctioned, one of them landing in the
"vicinity" of St. Philip's.
Riah, however, took a different view of the events. "Well,
certainly I was shocked, not because the missile missed its
target and hit our church, but because we were targeted as a
church," he said. He estimated the damages to be in the hundreds
of thousands of dollars, including damages to the hospital.
"The roof will have to be changed, the walls will have to be
rebuilt," he said. "And with the [recent winter] rains and no
roof, the damage will be far greater than when it was hit on
Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance receives $1 million from Gates
(GAIA) The San Francisco-based Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance
(GAIA) announced today that it has received a $1 million grant
from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight HIV/AIDS in
The grant enables GAIA (www.thegaia.org) to launch the Malawi
Women's Empowerment Project to train a network of women in rural
Malawi villages in HIV/AIDS prevention and care. These women
then would be deployed throughout southern Malawi to provide
counseling and medical referrals to those living with HIV/AIDS.
The GAIA Malawi initiative is based partly on research from the
2002 International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, which found
that empowering women in developing countries is a key to
reducing the number of new HIV infections. The organization was
founded by the Rev. William Rankin, former president and dean of
the Episcopal Divinity School in Massachusetts, in June 2000 in
the wake of the Durban AIDS Conference.
GAIA has effectively trained nearly 500 health and religious
workers in Africa in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, working
successfully in Tanzania, the Rift Valley of Kenya, Mozambique,
and more recently, Malawi.
GAIA, established in 2000, is a non profit organization
dedicated to slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS in African and other
developing countries. GAIA's programs involve training health
and religious leaders of all faiths for HIV prevention and care,
and supporting village level projects through grants.
"GAIA is profoundly grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation for its support in allowing us to expand our work in
Africa in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and care," said Dr.
Charles Wilson, chair of the GAIA Board of Trustees and emeritus
chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of
California Medical Center in San Francisco (UCSF). "Empowering
women continues to be a major barrier to health education and
treatment. This grant will help to empower women and reduce HIV
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