A weekly roundup of Anglican Communion news plus opinion, reviews, photos, profiles and other things of interest from across the Anglican/Episcopal world.
This edition includes...
Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Okoh pulls no punches when delivering address to the nation's media.
"Gentlemen of the Press.
It is with gratitude to God for His grace and mercies that we address the Press today as part of the events lined up to mark this year's Carnival for Christ of the Diocese of Abuja, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
This year's Carnival is unique in a number of ways. It is holding in the year of Nigeria's 50th Independence Anniversary. Its theme: “The Acceptable Year of the Lord” which is taken from 2 Corinthians 6:2 highlights the true sense of Jubilee.
Jubilee celebration has two cardinal points, namely, restoration of what has been lost; and freedom from all forms of human captivity. In Nigeria today, there is no gain saying the fact that corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation. There is also the grave need for total emancipation from all forms of neo-colonial manipulations resulting in economic, spiritual, social and political enslavement. Until this need is truly met, Nigeria may not live up to the aspiration for freedom as captured in our National Anthem.
The Nazareth manifesto in Luke 4:18-19 cf. Isaiah 61:1-2, tells of Christ's ministry of preaching and healing – to meet every human need. In this sense, 'the year of the Lord's favour' refers to the period when salvation would be proclaimed. This alludes to the Year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8-55), when once every 50 years slaves were freed, debts were cancelled and ancestral property was returned to the original owner. Thus Jesus proclaimed liberation from sin and all its consequences.
As we celebrate Jubilee and our Carnival this year, it is clear that salvation in the spirit of shalom is far from the land – enslavement and oppression still hold sway in Nigeria. Nigerians are eager to travel abroad at any slightest opportunity in search of 'greener pastures'. Most of such immigrants do dehumanizing jobs such as washing of corpses, dishes and prostitution. Thousands are in prison in South Africa, countries of North Africa, Europe, USA, etc. It is against this background that we urge the Nigerian Government at all levels to pay attention to the physical needs of the citizenry so as to check the exodus of our people abroad, even to less endowed countries.
The NLC and TUC recently embarked on a warning strike to press for the payment of a new living wage of N18,000. We commend the Federal Government under the able leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR for the quick response that brought the warning strike to a quick end. However, we wish to further appeal to the Government at all levels to do all in its powers to accede to the workers' demand in view of the problem of inflation in the country.
For instance, it is obvious that the cost of living in Abuja, the Nation's capital is very high, as the city appears to have been built without the interest of the low-income earner. The city appears to be 'unfriendly' with people of the lower class particularly in the area of accommodation. Most people in this class live outside the city as outcasts. Efforts of Government in the past to provide accommodation for low-income earners had been sabotaged by some people who buy over such houses and sell them at exorbitant prices. The Government should look into this by way of making provisions for the poor and low-income earners in the FCT, as no city can really thrive with only a class of people – the rich or the poor alone.
Today NITEL lie prostrate. Cell phone alone cannot meet our telecommunication need. Hence we also call on the Federal Government to give attention to the issue of NITEL, so as to enable the affected workers to know their fate and stand.
The lingering lecturers' strike that had paralysed State-owned universities in the South East region demands immediate attention. The State Governments in the South East should do their best to reach a compromise with the striking lecturers with a view of getting our youths back to school. This is in the interest of the students, their families, the States and the Nation at large. Similarly, the incessant Medical Doctors' work-to-rule actions are of very serious concern.
As we look forward to the 2011 general elections, we appeal to all and sundry, especially politicians and political parties to ensure that there is a Nigeria which they aspire to govern. We equally call on INEC, Security agents and all Nigerians to be ready to conduct and discharge their civic responsibilities effectively to ensure free and fair credible elections nationwide.
For us in the Diocese of Abuja, 2010 is to us 'the acceptable year of the Lord' (2Cor. 6:2). It is the time of the Lord's favour on us, as well as the period of our salvation. This is an affirmation of God's saving acts in the history of his people in this present age of grace. Therefore, we sincerely pray that God's grace and salvation may continue to be upon the Church, the State and people of Nigeria.
Finally, we call on all leaders and the led in Nigeria to join hands to move the nation forward. I thank you all immensely for coming and for your patience. May we not receive God's grace in vain. God bless Nigeria!
The Most Revd Nicholas D. Okoh"
Anglican hospitals expand rapidly in South Kerala
"Stepping over steel rods and bags of cement, I picked my way through to the hospital administration entrance. A mere 15 km north of Trivandrum, Kazhakottam Rural Health Training Centre is already kitted out with 100 beds. The latest building project will double that. The medical director explained how this burgeoning hospital serves a mixed community of local middle class workers as well as many nearby coastal fishing villages. The designation ‘rural health training centre’ hardly seems appropriate now with such a large facility planned. Such is the growth of population and economy in India that the local health systems can barely keep up. With the support of the Diocese of South Kerala and substantial bank loans, the expansion at Kazhakottam will relieve some of this pressure. It seems the demand for these high quality yet affordable health services will continue apace.
Bishop Gladstone and his medical director, Dr. Bennet Abraham, are boldly constructing a diocesan health system that is fit for purpose in 21st Century India. Kazhakottam is one of 3 existing mission hospitals in the diocese that have benefitted from extensive investment. In just 20 years, the small 6 bed clinic in a tumble-down colonial building in Karakonam has been transformed into a 550 bed teaching hospital, the Dr. Somervell Memorial C.S.I. Medical College and Hospital (SMCSI). From its opening, the college swiftly gained a top regional reputation, yet it serves some of the poorest communities in Kerala State. SMCSI also works extensively in North West Tamil Nadhu, particularly amongst those fishing villages that were decimated by the tsunami in 2004. Its targeted approach to providing high quality low cost health services makes it the medical facility of choice for most people in the district."
For more on this story download the latest newsletter of the Anglican Health Network containing stories about health in Uganda, Tanzania, and Yemen click here
Building on Mothers' Union links with Nigeria
[Together newsletter] Mothers' Union members in the diocese of Ripon and Leeds, England, have been busy making aprons, shopping bags and items to sell to support the work of Mary Lambido, wife of the Bishop of Wusasa and Gwagwalada in Nigeria.
As part of a diocesan link, Mary visited Ripon and Leeds last month and is trying to build a craft centre which can enable local women back home to earn money and receive training in maternal and child health. Mary has been visiting villages throughout her diocese, taking with her health professionals to teach and give medical advice in the villages.
Her visit follows a visit to the Diocese of Wusasa in June by Barbara Packer and MU President Carolyn Peuleve. "The rapport was immediate," said Barbara, "and we enjoyed an action-packed time in each diocese, seeing their way of life, the vibrancy of their worship and the extreme problems they face i the two very rural dioceses."
Youth, Women and Mission conferences held as part of Church of North India celebrations
As part of its celebration of 40 years of unity, witness and service, the Church of North India (CNI) held a host of gatherings bringing Christians from across north India for meetings, conference and even a youth Olympic games! The conferences included ones for women, pastors, lay leaders and youth. To learn more about these events read the daily newsletters by clicking here or by copying this link into your browser http://www.cnisynod.org/1009/cni40years.htm
Episcopal Church conference, Times Square ad speak to Hispanic ministry
[Episcopal News Service] The hills of North Carolina and the streets of Times Square both were recently the focus of the Episcopal Church's on-going commitment to Latino/Hispanic ministry.
Clergy, diocesan missioners, parish staff, church planters and lay leaders met Nov. 15-17 at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, for "Nuestra Vision: Nuestra Mision en Accion/Our Vision: Our Mission In Action." The conference was meant to help participants expand their knowledge by sharing best practices and exploring new methods of stewardship, church growth and evangelism. They learned strategies and ideas for starting and strengthening Latino/Hispanic congregations.
"There is much excitement among our leaders, as we experience the implementation of the Episcopal Church's Strategic Vision for Reaching Latinos/Hispanics," explained the Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén, Episcopal Church missioner for Latino/Hispanic ministry.
Keynote speakers included the Rev. Alberto Cutié, a best-selling author/columnist/TV personality who is internationally known as Padre Alberto and is priest-in-charge of Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park, Florida, and the Rev. Miguelina Espinal, priest-in-charge of Church of the Epiphany, Orange, New Jersey, who served in the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic in various capacities for several years and has been the Episcopal Church associate program officer for young adult ministries and leadership recruitment.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 17 a Hispanic mother and father who attend Todos los Santos Episcopal Church in Highland Park, California, were featured on an advertisement that was broadcast a number of times on the Reuters digital billboard in New York City's Times Square. The image, projected at 35 feet wide and 32.5 feet high, included the words "La Iglesia Episcopal les da la bienvenida" ("The Episcopal Church Welcomes You").
The image, photographed by Marie Oviedo of Ventura, California, is also available here for Episcopal congregations and ministries to download for their use.
Guillén said many Latinos in the United States are seeking a home church. "This ad features a young Latino Episcopalian family which conveys the message to Latinos that they are genuinely welcome," he said. "La familia [the family] is a very close-knit social unit that is very important in the Latino culture and the ad affirms this."
The spark for the Times Square advertisement came from Isela Gonzalez, of St.Margaret's & San Francisco de Asis Episcopal Church in Miami Lakes, Florida, who won the spot at the recent Hispanic PR & Social Media Marketing Conference in Dallas, Texas.
A new Disestablishment?
By Canon Stephen Neill, Church of Ireland
[Church of Ireland Gazette] I am a news junkie! First thing in the morning, I turn on the radio to hear the latest news and when out and about in the car, I will almost without fail tune into the headlines 'on the hour' for fear of missing something. However--and, I suspect, like many--my news craving is weakening steadily. The relentless and escalating economic bad news is too much even for me. It casts its long shadow over every aspect of life and seems to have a paralyzing effect on even the most dynamic of inidividuals. It is entirely hopeless and depressing.
Even among clergy colleagues meeting formally and informally, our conversations quickly become ensnared in economic woes: a group of women and men who, supposedly, have committed their lives to the One who proclaimed hope in the darkest of situations are, like the rest of society, embracing the darkness! So why is this? Why are we, Christian priests, not able to rise above what is admittedly a very difficult situation, but hardly doomsday?
I had an encounter in the last few days which, perhaps, provides a clue. I walked into a shop in my local town and was exchanging a bit of friendly banter with the shop owner. He said to me: "It looks like you guys owned the AIB [Allied Irish Banks]." He was referring to a newspaper article which revealed that the Church of Ireland on a central, diocesan and parish level was one of the biggest losers in the collapse of AIB bank shares. He followed this observation up by asking me why we were sitting on top of such vast reserves in the first place.
I tried to explain a little of the history of the Representative Body and made the point that these investments were largely for the purpose of facilitating the ministry of the Church and the support of those who provided that ministry, including myself. Sympathetic though he was, he couldn't comprehend how it could cost so much to maintain the Church's ministry. I went on to explain that some of these funds were bequests set aside for specific purposes, including, among other things, the upkeep of churches and cathedrals. This was when his eyes began to glaze over and I realised I was pursuing a lost cause. At a time when so many people were living in real fear for their economic security, I realise that my arguments sounded hollow: I was arguing for the preservation of an institution.
I am no Philistine and I treasure the wonderful heritage to which we in the Church of Ireland can lay claim, but the economic collapse poses, I think, two very serious questions. First, can we afford the upkeep of this legacy? Second, is it beneficial to our mission? I am aware that these are simplistic questions and I know that, whatever the answers, the solution is far from straightforward, but the are, nevertheless, questions with which we must engage.
One of the most attractive images to me of Jesus Christ has always been the Latin American Liberation Theology model of 'Christ the Liberator', the One who sets us free from all kinds of bondage and capitivity. Yet, I am concscious that one direct result of the economic crash is that our Church will be forced to lean more heavily than ever before on the people in the pew who are already, in so many cases, under severe and often unbearable pressure. At a time when people are hurting, the Church as an institution will be adding to the burden that people have to bear! That surely cannot be right.
If we are to be evangelical Christians in the broadest and truest sense of the word, then we are severely hampered if we are perceived to be institutionally centred. The best thing that ever happened to the Church of Ireland from a missional point of view was its Disestablishment from the State. Perhaps it now needs to become disestablished from itself? As N. T. Wright puts it so well in critiquing the institutional focus of so many Churches: "Jesus was inaugurating a way of life that had no further need of the Temple".
How much of our energy and resources are burned up for the sake of the Temple at the expense of those we are called to serve?
PUBLICATION OF THE WEEK
This new blog includes stories directly from countries around the Communion and aims to deepen the organisation's relationships with its supporters and partners worldwide. "What we want to do with the blog," said President of Episcopal Relief & Development, Rob Radtke, "is make it possible for our staff to post stories and the impressions directly from the field, wherever they are. We are a living organisation, working every day to support our partners as they build up their communities and help people improve their lives. This blog will be a celebration of our commitment to the work we are supporting, and a big 'thank you' to everyone whose efforts and contributions are making such a difference." [Episcopal News Service] Recent blogs are from staff in Sudan and Haiti.
Click here or paste address into your browser to visit the site: http://blog.er-d.org/blog/episcopal-relief-and-development
Anglican Consultative Council 14 Bible studies available
As well as the report One Love on the 2009 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Bible Studies given at the ACC meeting have been published separately. Called Marking the Way, the Bible studies focus on Mark’s Gospel, and encourage readers to take a journey through the Gospel, joining Jesus and the first disciples on the ‘way’ that leads towards Jerusalem and the Cross. Each of the eight studies was originally given at the ACC meeting, and includes questions (which have been adapted to suit a wider audience). Marking the Way is available via the Anglican Communion online shop at a cost of £4.00.
THE COMING WEEK’S ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER (click the link for the full details of the ACP)
Psalm: 47 Isa 56:1-8
Keewatin - (Rupert's Land, Canada) The Rt Revd David Ashdown
Psalm: 48 Isa 57:14-21
Kentucky - (Province IV, USA) The Rt Revd Edwin Funsten Gulick
Sunday 21-Nov-2010 Pentecost 26
Psalm: 49 Jn 15:1-11
PRAY for Bermuda (Extra Provincial to Canterbury) Bermuda - (Bermuda) The Rt Revd Patrick White
Psalm: 50:1-15 Jn 15:12-17
Khartoum - (Sudan) The Rt Revd Ezekiel Kondo
Psalm: 51 Jn 15:18-25
Kibungo - (Rwanda) The Rt Revd Josias Sendegeya
Psalm: 52 Isa 58:1-12
Kigezi - (Uganda) The Rt Revd George Katwesigye
Psalm: 54 Isa 59:9-16
Kigeme - (Rwanda) The Rt Revd Augustin Mvunabandi
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Disclaimer: The Weekly Review is a summary of news, information and resources gathered from around the Anglican Communion over the past week. The views expressed in Weekly Review do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Anglican Communion Office.