A weekly roundup of Anglican Communion news plus opinion, reviews, photos, profiles and other things of interest from across the Anglican/Episcopal world.
A big welcome to the first Weekly Review of the year! Thanks for your encouraging feedback so far about the stories we find to fill the review. Please let us have any news or information you have that you think would interest the rest of the Communion. Send them to email@example.com.
This edition includes...
Church CB radio service broadcasts success for housebound parishioners
By Ken Quinn, Church of Ireland Gazette
In 2004, Ofcom, the regulator for the UK Communications Industries, began an experimental trial for Northern Ireland churches to relay service to housebound members of their congregations. Ofcom licensed a number of local churches to operate within the UK Citizen Band, thus enabling them to transmit services through a new system called Community Audio Distributions System (CADS), which constituted a simple, short-range and inexpensive wireless public address system.
Following the experimental trial piloted by 100 churches of all denominations through Northern Ireland and Yorkshire, Ofcom deregulated church radio broadcasts in December 2006. This made CADS exempt from licensing and removed all regulatory requirements on churches using the system. The only restrictions for CADS broadcasts were that they could not carry commercial messages of any kind; were for intermittent use (church services); were only available to broadcast to the public in a geographically local area; and had to be turned off when not in use.
Seapatrick parish, Banbridge, Diocese of Dromore, was one of the first to engage in the initial trials and has now been operating the system successfully for five years, with some 50 parishoners tuning in each week to Sunday services. The main function of the system is to serve people who, for one reason or another, cannot get to church, including the housebound and those recovering from illness. These parishioners can tune in every Sunday to morning and evening services and, indeed, to any special services held during the week.
This not only gives them the opportunity to share in live workship but also enables them to keep in touch with parish affairs on a weekly basis and feel more included in parish life.
A Time of Celebration in Irbid - A new church in Jordan
The people of Irbid, a major city in the north of Jordan, have a new church! It was dedicated by Bishop Suheil Dawani in the presence of priests and lay people from the Diocese of Jerusalem, ecumenical and political dignitaries and church representatives. The service was attended by the architect and the project manager whose achievements were being celebrated. Out of respect for all the Abrahimic Muslim brothers and sisters of the region and knowing their regard for the Virgin Mary, the church was consecrated in the name of St Mary, the Virgin.
Fr Samir Esaid is the Pastor of the congregation of St Mary’s, coupling it with his duties in the Arab Episcopal School. Both the school and the church are a continuing witness to the local community and will, with this new facility, expand the Christian presence and ministry in the area. Above the Sanctuary is a verse from the Magnificat. “My soul doth magnify the Lord” expressing the desire of every Christian and the focus of worship in this new church.
The building is made of local stone with marble flooring. It has wooden pews, altar and pulpit. An outstanding feature is the wooden cross above the altar which draws the eye into the Sanctuary. The furniture was made by students and staff of the Theodore Schneller School, an institution of the diocese which provides educational and vocational training for boys who have learning challenges or who have been marginalised or orphaned in the many conflicts of the land. Their workmanship in the church truly reflects the skill and creative design of those who are trained at the School. The Schneller School has a long connection with the churches of Germany and it was good that they were well represented at the ceremony. The occasion was a wonderful reward for the hard work, the fund-raising and the prayerful support of so many faithful people.
For a picture of the new church click here
Sudan referendum: Beds and wheelbarrows - everyone wants to vote
By Trisha Wick, a CMS mission partner working with the local church in discipleship training in South Sudan.
Day 5 of voting--Sick people are being carried from hospitals on beds to Polling Centres, others come in wheelbarrows. Prisoners are voting too.Huge numbers of people voted on the first two days, so queues are now rare in the voting centres as numbers have reduced. The local Chiefs and some Government officials are now going house to house looking for those who have not yet voted. The carnival atmosphere continues and international observers are very impressed with the whole procedure.
It is an incredibly moving experience to witness this Referendum. There is love, unity, cooperation and laughter as we have never seen before. God is great! Local ladies are looking after polling staff and security personnel by cooking food for them. It seems many people are finding healing through the process. One man said "When I voted all my heavy burdens were lifted from me. I feel free now."
Everywhere except Abyei has remained peaceful - they are still waiting for their Referendum, to vote as to whether they will be part of North or South Sudan, as their area straddles the border. Voting concludes on the 15th. Results will then be announced in stages. On the 16th we will get results from each Polling Centre. These are then forwarded to County level, then State, then to Referendum Headquarters in Juba in South Sudan. These are all provisional results.
The final official result will be announced from Khartoum by 14 February.
Mothers' Union is an international Christian charity that seeks to support families worldwide. Its history stretches back to 1876 and now, in 81 countries, our members share one heartfelt vision - to bring about a world where God's love is shown through loving, respectful and flourishing relationships. This is not a vague hope, but a goal we actively pursue through prayer, programmes, policy work and community relationships. By supporting marriage and family life, especially through times of adversity, we tackle the most urgent needs challenging relationships and communities.
Our members are not all mothers, or even all women. Single, married, parents, grandparents, or young adults just beginning to express their social conscience. For all 4 million members what Mothers' Union provides is a network through which they can serve Christ in their own community - through prayer, financial support and actively working at the grassroots level in programmes that meet local needs. We lobby local and national governments on issues affecting family life and campaign to challenge legislation that neglects the vulnerable and marginalised. We are also represented at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Learn more about this crucial and influential Anglican agency at its international website http://www.themothersunion.org/
PUBLICATION OF THE WEEK
Stories showing how people in the global Anglican Communion are working together for the kingdom of God.
Absence of Mind - by Marilynne Robinson - Yale University Press, 2010
Rob Forsyth in The Link (magazine of the Australian diocese of Armidale), courtesy of Southern Cross.
Thank God for the new atheists. Why? Because increasingly we are seeing excellent responses to them that otherwise might not have been written. I have been deeply impressed by Marilynne Robinson's Absence of Mind. Robinson is best known as the author of Gilead, the 2005 Pulitzer prize-winning novel about a Christian minister. Here she turns to issues of science and religion.The book is a gentle, subtle and rapier-like riposte to the those philosophers, scientists and psychologists who present what is thought to be a new and radical understanding of the human mind based entirely upon science, but which in reality diminishes the human experience of the self once thought to be at the very centre of who we are.
For example, because every human quality has to be explained as in our genetic self interest it cannot be that we are ever really altruistic. We are only ever moved by hidden self interest that masquerades as something else. Our true self is hidden from us. Does this matter? Robinson thinks so, "Whoever controls the definition of the mind controls the definition of humankind itself, and culture, and history." (p32)
Robinson works not in generalities but by picking particular elements of different writers, showing narrowness and condescension about the past and a lack of genuine scientific rigour, a phenomenon which she characterises as 'parascience'. She writes, "One of the characterising traits of this large and burgeoning literature is its confidence that science has given us knowledge sufficient to allow us to answer certain essential questions about the nature of reality, if only by dismissing them." (p33)
This brief review cannot do justice to this short but profound book. It requires patience and care from the reader, but is well worth the effort. (I had to read it at least twice.) The fundamental issue at stake caught in this summary statement from towards the end of the second chapter. "Why is the human brain the most complex object known to exist in the universe? Because the elaborations of the mammalian brain overshot the mark? Or because it is intrinsic to our role in the universe as thinkers and perceivers, participants in a singular capacity for wonder as well as comprehension. The anomalies that plague accident as an explanatory model - the human mind - and how else to describe the mind that makes us aware and capable?" (p72)
Although the book doesn't prove any straightforward way that God exists, by refusing to allow the mystery of what it is to be human, to be simply explained away,Absence of Mind shows the inadequacy and shallowness of 'parascientifc' New Atheism.
THE COMING WEEK’S ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER (click the link for the full details of the ACP)
Psalm: 119: 41-48 Isa. 45: 1-8
Limerick & Killaloe - (Dublin, Ireland) The Rt Revd Trevor Williams
Psalm: 139: 1-10 Eph. 4: 25-32
Lincoln - (Canterbury, England) The Rt Revd John Charles Saxbee
Lincoln - Grantham - (Canterbury, England) The Rt Revd Timothy William Ellis
Lincoln - Grimsby - (Canterbury, England) The Rt Revd David Douglas James Rossdale
Sunday 16-Jan-2011 The Epiphany 2
Psalm: 1 Eph. 5: 1-5
The Most Rt Revd Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja
Suffragan Bishop of Abuja - (Province of Abuja, Nigeria) Vacant
Psalm: 33: 1-6,12 Eph. 5: 6-14
Litoral Ecuador - (Province IX, USA) The Rt Revd Alfredo Morante
Tuesday 18-Jan-2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Psalm: 8 Eph. 5: 15-20
Liverpool - (York, England) The Rt Revd James Stuart Jones
Liverpool - Warrington - (York, England) The Rt Revd David Wilfred Michael Jennings
Psalm: 100 Eph. 5: 21-33
Lokoja - (Province of Abuja, Nigeria) The Rt Revd Emmanuel Sokowamju Egbunu
Psalm: 85: 7-end Eph. 6: 1-9
London - (Canterbury, England) The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard John Carew Chartres
London - Edmonton - (Canterbury, England) The Rt Revd Peter William Wheatley
London - Kensington - (Canterbury, England) The Rt Revd Paul Gavin Williams
London - Willesden - (Canterbury, England) The Rt Revd Peter Allan Broadbent