From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Episcopalians: News Briefs

Date Thu, 20 Feb 2003 17:38:23 -0500

February 20, 2003


Episcopalians: News Briefs

Episcopal Divinity School offering peace pins with names of 
Iraqi children

(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 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: 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 
God's mission."

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 
government ministers.

"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 
Kitemu school.

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 
these problems."

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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