From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Thu, 20 Feb 2003 17:38:23 -0500
February 20, 2003
Episcopalians: News Briefs
Episcopal Divinity School offering peace pins with names of
(EDS) Bishop Steven Charleston, president and dean of the
Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has
announced a "call to conscience" action in response to the
growing crisis between the United States and Iraq.
EDS has created a series of peace pins that include the name of
an Iraqi child and a dove to serve as a visible reminder of the
human cost of armed conflict. "As a Christian community of faith
with a long tradition of serving both the church and the world
through the ministries of justice and reconciliation, the
Episcopal Divinity School offers this call to conscience in
response to the current crisis between the United States and
Iraq," said Charleston. "We invite all persons who share our
commitment to peace to join us in wearing the name of an Iraqi
child next to their heart."
The genesis of the peace pin came at a staff meeting earlier
this month. Seeking to do more than issue a statement of
opposition to war with Iraq, Charleston envisioned the peace pin
as a more interactive way for members of the EDS community to
express their feelings. Recognizing that Iraqi children will be
at grave risk during a war between the United States and Iraq,
the school obtained the names and ages of children who could
serve as living symbols of a common humanity.
"These children are a constant reminder of the inhumanity of
war. By naming them aloud, we seek to name the truth of
senseless conflict," Charleston said. "We seek to put a face to
helpless victims at risk of being dehumanized as enemies' who
suffer only collateral damage.' We seek to hold ourselves
accountable for the pain and suffering we will cause in the
lives of innocent children. By wearing their names next to our
hearts, we keep them in a state of constant prayer, asking
God/Allah to protect them from harm. We also wear their names as
a pledge of our resistance to war and a visible sign of our
dedication to peace. Will you join us?"
(If interested, contact the Episcopal Divinity School at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-868-3450, ext. 377. You
will receive a small pin with a child's name on it and a card
with this brief prayer: "Oh God, Oh Allah, in your great mercy
protect this child from all harm and grant to children
everywhere the blessings of peace now and forever more. Amen.")
Armed Forces bishop profiled on PBS show
(ENS) A PBS profile of the Rt. Rev. George Packard, the
Episcopal Church's bishop suffragan for the armed forces, is now
available both as a transcript and streaming video from the
website of Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. The profile, which ran
on PBS stations on February 14, highlights Packard's experiences
as a highly decorated second lieutenant in the US Army during
the Vietnam conflict.
Packard was interviewed by the show's correspondent, Phil Jones,
who also spoke to members of Packard's platoon.
Following his tour of duty in Vietnam, Packard went to seminary
and served in parish ministry for more than 20 years before his
appointment as bishop for the armed services. Asked whether he
would be serving in that position if he had not been in Vietnam,
Packard told Jones, "I think that was a part of the reason I was
chosen." Packard has also been a chaplain in the Army Reserves
for more than 20 years and was called to active duty and
assigned to the Pentagon during the Gulf War.
"I don't think you go through these kinds of powerfully
traumatic experiences and then just kind of live carefree and
disconnected. When I'm in a room with people in the church, I'll
look around and say, 'I'm the only person that has ever done
this,'" Packard said.
The web site includes further excerpts of Jones' entire
interview with Packard, as well as the shorter profile which
aired on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.
Audio of the entire show is also available at:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/. The Packard profile
can be accessed at
and the interview with Bishop Packard is available at
Training session reveals new look of Episcopal missionaries
(ETSS) If the recent training session for new missionaries at
the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, is any
indication, there is a new look to the type of people who are
accepting the call to serve abroad.
Among the 19 newly commissioned missionaries who attended the
two-week orientation are Bruce and Helen Dolph of California, a
retired couple in their 60s who are going to Kenya to apply
their management and computer skills, and Samuel Dargon from the
Diocese of Upper South Carolina, a college student who is taking
a break from his studies to help install a computer system and
rehabilitate a rural hospital in Rwanda.
Who is called to be a missionary? "Someone with a capacity to
listen and wait, who feels drawn by the simple curiosity about
the world, who wonders what God is up to in the world and wishes
to experience the reality of God through other people," said the
Rev. Jane Butterfield, mission personnel officer for the
Episcopal Church. "To be a missionary is to be caught up in
Departing from the tradition of training with other Protestant
denominations, this year's orientation program focused on
"cultivating a deeper understanding of the roots of Anglicanism
and fostering a sense of pride in being part of the Episcopal
heritage of mission," said Butterfield. "We created a new
community identity that's difficult to sustain when you're in a
multi-denominational setting," she said, adding that using a
seminary setting signaled that "the whole church is taking a
hand in forming its missionaries."
The teaching staff included current and former missionaries,
seminary faculty and national staff, such as Archdeacon
Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Matalavea, Anglican observer
at the United Nations; Prof. Christopher Duraisingh, a priest of
the Church of South India who teaches mission at Episcopal
Divinity School in Massachusetts; and Dr. Pumla
Gobodo-Madikizela, an Anglican South African psychologist who
was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission chaired
by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
"As a church, we want to be more involved with the rest of the
world," said Butterfield, who with her husband Titus Presler,
now dean and president of the seminary, served as missionaries
in Zimbabwe in the mid-1980s. She said that the new missionaries
"illustrate that mark of Anglican identity--unity in the midst
of diversity," because they were "energized by the complexity of
our faith and the rich diversity of God's creation."
Ugandan government apologizes for martyrdom of Archbishop
(ACNS) For the first time since Archbishop Janani Luwum was
martyred 26 years ago, the Ugandan government has apologized to
the Anglican Church and the entire global community. A
scholarship fund in his honor has been established at Kitemu
Secondary School for students who want to enroll in theological
studies after graduation.
Speaking for the government, Zamzam Kasujja, deputy for legal
affairs, apologized for "the sins of our predecessors," adding
that the murder of the archbishop by Idi Amin, the dictator
ruling the country at the time, "not only robbed the church of
a courageous and committed leader but also plunged our country
into economic, political and religious lows never seen before."
Luwum was murdered February 16, along with two outspoken
"But perhaps more importantly, the martyrdom of the archbishop
epitomizes a spirit of resilience which we celebrate this
morning," said Kasujja during a memorial service hosted by
Luwum has been honored as a 20th century martyr with a statue on
the west front of Westminster Abbey in London.
"Archbishop Luwum's commitment to the Gospel, even in the face
of death, reminds us to go out and renew our lives and the world
around us," said the Most Rev. Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo,
primate of the Church of Uganda. "To make our journey in life
shine with a star's delight; and the God of our pilgrimage will
be with us throughout life and death."
The primate thanked the leadership of the current government for
trying to make up for the mistakes of the past by restoring
sanity and a strong working relationship with the church.
Book examines statistics for Roman Catholic priesthood
(NY Review of Books) In a review of "Goodbye Father: the
Celibate Male Priesthood and the Future of the Catholic Church,"
(Oxford Press) by Thomas Schoenherr, noted Roman Catholic author
Garry Wills notes some of the difficulty in dependable
statistics. "In the United States, the number of priests per
10,000 faithful declined from 12.9 in 1965 to 9.8 in 1990. In
the same period, the priests per 10,000 in Africa declined from
5.4 to 2.3, and in Latin America from 2.3 to 1.4," Wills said.
"Any gains made in recent years do not come even remotely close
to closing that gap," Wills adds. "No wonder Schoenherr can
report that bishops in Africa and Latin America have requested
Rome's permission to ordain married men in order to fill their
imperative need for more priests."
According to Wills, "World figures for the priesthood are clear.
The Catholic Almanac of 2001 gives the Vatican's own figure of
404,620 priests in 1998. In 1977, the year before John Paul II
became pope, the figure was 410,030. Priests have not increased
in number, though they have increased dramatically in age, as
one would expect where the total was not growing."
Even as the total number of priests was declining, "300 million
new Catholics came into the world during this pontiff's reign,
making the priest-to-faithful disparity ever more serious,"
Wills said. The situation may be better in America than Africa
and Latin America but, Wills observes, "lay Catholic ministers
outnumber priests here, and most of these are women and
permanent deacons (male) now number one for every 1.6 parishes,"
most of them necessary because parishes are understaffed or have
no staff at all. "Despite these statistics, some bishops
continue to deny that the priest shortage is more than a
temporary dip in the demographics. Some dip."
Submission on humanitarian consequences of war against Iraq
(Church of England) Military action against Iraq has the
potential to lead to a serious worsening of the humanitarian
situation demanding more extensive collaboration between
military and humanitarian planners than was experienced during
the war in Afghanistan, according to the Church of England's
Community and Public Affairs Unit(formerly the Board for Social
In its submission to the House of Commons International
Development Committee's inquiry into potential humanitarian
consequences of war against Iraq, the CPAU said, "Sanctions and
ration systems have already created huge humanitarian problems.
The initial impact of any military action is likely to aggravate
Christian Aid will take the lead in humanitarian efforts on
behalf of its sponsoring churches, while the Church of England
has also encouraged mission agencies with a presence in the
region to be ready to provide emergency assistance.
The submission also called for attention to be paid to the
minority Christian churches and their communities inside Iraq.
"Their situation could worsen severely if they are seen by those
of the majority faith to be agents of a Western Christian
assault on an Islamic people."
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