A weekly roundup of Anglican Communion news plus opinion, reviews, photos, profiles and other things of interest from across the Anglican/Episcopal world.
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ANGLICAN COMMUNION NEWS
Prayers requested for church near Osama bin Laden’s hideout
A Pakistan bishop has called for prayer following bombings and bomb threats in the region where Osama bin Laden was hiding.
The Rt Revd Humphrey Peters, of Peshawar Diocese, has been visiting the injured in hospital after suicide bombers targeted army recruits in Shabqadar, last Friday, killing more than 90 and injuring 115.
The next day, a man tried to force a 10-year-old boy to take a bomb into a church school and throw it at pupils.
Bishop Humphrey visited injured soldiers and civilians in Lady Reading Hospital following the suicide bombings. He said: ‘Three Christians are among the seriously injured, all three from the Parish of Shabqadar. I specially went to see them.’
The Pakistan Taliban are reported as claiming responsibility for the attacks in revenge for the US strike that killed Osama bin Laden – however, it is also noted that the Taliban has previously claimed credit for attacks it had nothing to do with.
The suicide bombers, wearing explosive vests, rode motorcycles into a crowd of army recruits as they boarded buses at a training centre.
Christians in Pakistan are concerned that attacks on them might increase as a result of the assassination of bin Laden.
Bomb attempt on church school
Following the suicide attack, there has been a bombing attempt at a church school.
Bishop Humphrey said: ‘A bomb was found in a 10-year-old student‘s bag at the diocesan school at Nowshera. The little boy told staff and the authorities that, while coming to school, a bearded man put a packet in his bag and asked him to throw it in the school into the crowd. Thank God the boy informed the school authorities.’
The bishop is particularly concerned for St Luke’s Anglican Church, in Peshawar Diocese, which is just 2km from Osama bin Laden’s hiding place. Up to 300 people attend regularly on Sundays. Church leaders have asked for extra security.
Speaking about the dangers faced by Christians, the bishop said: ‘This is our everyday life now. Do uphold the Diocese of Peshawar and the Church of Pakistan in your prayers.’
Christians in Pakistan are often seen as having a western faith and therefore become the target of revenge attacks from Islamic extremists who are angry about American’s perceived targeting of Muslims.
Last March, at a press conference organised by the Pakistan Council of World Religion – with Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus in attendance – Bishop Humphrey condemned the burning of the Holy Quran by Terry Johns, the pastor of a small church in Florida.
Bishop Humphrey criticised Johns for trying to incite the feelings of Muslim communities, adding: ‘The Holy Quran has a reverence for Christians because it mentions Jesus and Mary.’
Find out how you can support the work of the Church of Pakistan through USPG. See full list of Projects on this page.
Strengthen families, strengthen society
National Families’ Week runs from 30th May-5th June and there are plenty of activities for families to enjoy – go to National Family Week
So what better time to reflect on how Mothers’ Union supports and promotes family life through its faith and policy work. In a world where relationships and their definitions are changing rapidly, what are the principles which guide Mothers’ Union’s engagement in the faith and political debates affecting families?
Read more about Mothers' Union's beliefs about families at http://www.themothersunion.org/national_parents_week_2011.aspx
Bishop of Wad Medani, Sudan visits Bradford diocese
From the Diocese of Bradford website
On Sunday 15th Bishop Saman, the new Bishop of Wad Medani, one of our link dioceses in Sudan visited St Augustine's in Bradford.
The young people at St Augustine's had arranged a service for Wheels for Sudan During the service Bishop Saman was interviewed and a collection was taken for the project which is raising funds for the provision of motorcyclesto help hard-pressed pastors to travel around their widely dispersed parishes.
Already, two motorbikes have been provided for pastors in the Diocese of El Obeid where they are being used among the people of Darfur. Each bike (a rugged Suzuki bike, made in China and assembled locally in Sudan) costs about £800 and young people in Bradford Diocese are being encouraged to raise funds for more bikes.
At the service at St Augustine's, the collection raised £450 - and more has been promised! That represents over half a bike in one single effort. Well done to the youth of St Augustines!
Bishop Saman has already attended a wedding at Cowling church, where he also baptised a baby, attended a Civic Service at Holy Trinity in Skipton, visited schools in Buttershaw and Skipton and attended a Police Chaplains conference in York, where he met the Archbishop. On Wednesday evening he'll be at a meeting in the Cathedral and will take part in the enthronement on Saturday before travelling up to Thornton in Lonsdale. A busy time!
Christian School attacked over desecration incident
From the Frontier News, newsletter of the Diocese of Peshawar
(May 1) Gujranwala: Police on Saturday arrested several stone-wielding demonstrators who smashed up a Christian school and attempted to attack a church following protests against the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Gujranwala.
A crowd of around 500 gathered after two burnt pages of the Holy Quran were recovered from a Christian graveyard in Gujranwala, police said. At least 10 persons, including police officials, were injured in the police-protesters clashes. Police arrested 25 people for involvement in the disturbances. Among those arrested were three Christians, including a priest. Moreover, police are now patrolling the area.
People accused Farrukh, son of Mushtaq, a B.Com student to be behind the act of desecration. Police arrested the accused and his father for questioning.
Local clerics blamed the Christian community for the incident and used speeches at mosques on Saturday morning to inform others and call a protest against the alleged blasphemy.
In the afternoon, more than 500 rock and stone carrying demonstrators marched towards a church and attempted to attack it after smashing a Christian missionary school, police said. “They entered the school and broke the furniture there. They tried to march towards a Church but we have dispersed them,” Ghulam Mubashir Mekan, senior police officer in Gujranwala told AFP by telephone. “We have arrested several protesters, the situation is still tense,” he said.
Nadeem Anthony, a social activist who visited the area, confirmed the incident. “Several Christian families have left the area,” he told AFP. Residents said around 2,500 Christians are living there.
Meanwhile, Central Executive Committee of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) strongly condemned attacks on the Church and school. All Christians respect all the Prophets, Holy Books and scriptures.
In a meeting in Islamabad, the committee said such types of incidents are just a conspiracy to destabilize the country. Such elements are great threat to inter-faith harmony and should be countered.
Uganda's President hails Chinese on Africa
From New Vision website
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has hailed the Chinese people under the leadership of Mao tse Tung for their contribution to Africa’s independence struggle.
In a meeting with a delegation of Chinese religious leaders that met him at State House, Entebbe early this week, Museveni said the Chinese government provided material assistance to Africans who were fighting against imperialists.
He commended the Chinese people for championing African development efforts in the 1960s and paid special tribute to Mao tse Tung.
Museveni said Mao tse Tung was not a Christian, but loved humanity and moral virtues.
The Archbishop of Singapore, the Most Rev. John Chew who lead the visiting delegation, said his team was in Uganda to analyse the economic, social and spiritual welfare of the Church in Africa and the continent’s development in relation to the Chinese situation.
The visitors were accompanied to State House by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi.
Building confidence is a priority
The Church of England's new Bishop of Bradford the Rt Revd Nick Baines talks about the importance of building confident Christians, confidence in the Church, and confidence in our context
Watch the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3m-hVXA68jU
PUBLICATION OF THE WEEK
Enjoy a peek at church life in Singapore by visiting http://www.anglican.org.sg/index.php/archives/category/diocesan_digest and downloading the latest (and previous) PDF editions of the full colour Diocesan Digest magazine.
On Capitol Hill and beyond: Bear witness to the poor and vulnerable
By Bonnie Anderson, writing for Episcopal News Service
I went to Capitol Hill to talk with legislators last week, and came away with the first two lines of William Cowper's famous hymn running through my mind: "God moves in a mysterious way; His wonders to perform."
The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations scheduled seven meetings for me with legislators and legislative staff. I wanted to talk about poverty and women's issues, but found that all that the legislators and their staffs wanted to talk about was the 2012 federal budget. As it turned out, however, our interests were one and the same; many of the programs that affect the most vulnerable Americans -- the poor, women, children, and the elderly -- are encompassed in approximately $3 trillion worth of cuts that the House of Representatives proposes to make over the next 10 years in programs that help low-income individuals and their families.
In February, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church passed a resolution that "urges all Episcopalians in the United States to engage in advocacy for a responsible federal budget that expresses the shared moral priorities of the nation." After my visits on Capitol Hill, I am more committed to this work than ever, and hope you will consider joining me. We have a significant moral priority as Episcopalians, as Christians, to bear witness on behalf of the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized. The baptismal promise to strive for justice and peace among all people makes the choice between cutting programs for the poor and elderly or raising taxes an easy one.
Consider that the House Budget Committee's Fiscal Year 2012 budget resolution would make at least two-thirds of its cuts from low-income programs, including a 20 percent reduction in Medicaid, a nearly 19 percent reduction in education programs, and devastating reductions in food stamps and housing assistance. It would also eliminate funding for health-care reform provisions, thereby keeping health insurance out of reach for millions of people.
It is tempting to believe that a church with our membership cannot influence the course of legislation. Those who disagree with our political choices say so all of the time. But last week a legislative assistant told me that he loves it when faith-based organizations come to Capitol Hill. "It brings us good luck," he said.
Well, I don't think it is luck. I think that what the Episcopal Church and other faith-based organizations bring is moral courage. We reinforce the notion that it is essential to speak up with passion and commitment for all of those neighbors whom we, as followers of Jesus, promise to love as deeply as we love ourselves. Three of the people I met with on the Hill spoke to me about their faith, and one was a preacher's son.
I saw a lot of people with heart in those Capitol Hill offices, but they need encouragement. I met people who are bringing all that they are, and giving everything they've got, to the task at hand. They need to see the rest of us doing the same. The soul of America is at stake in this budget. The people of God need to speak up, now.
The Episcopal Church gives us a way to lift our voices on Capitol Hill. The Episcopal Public Policy Network, a program of the church's Office of Government Relations, will connect you via e-mail to your legislators in Washington and keep you updated on the federal budget and other issues on which our General Convention and Executive Council have taken a stand. You can take action on the budget by visiting EPPN here. You will find a sample letter and an "action page" that make it easy to contact your legislators. EPPN also has compiled additional resources about the budget and Episcopal Church policies. Please join me in this advocacy.
While I was in Washington, I visited my own congressional representative from Michigan's ninth district. He told me that the budget is the most important concern on the Hill right now, and that all of the other issues in which I am interested, like the education and women's issues, are "somewhat on hold." Some of those issues hang in the budget balance, and others won't see the light of a legislative day until Congress has resolved the budget and moves on to other matters.
We have, in this budget debate, a huge dilemma, and one that in which I believe God is mysteriously moving. Right now, a big dose of God's wonder is just what Capitol Hill needs, and our prayers and voices can help deliver it.
-- Bonnie Anderson is president of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church.
The Faith of the English - Integrating Christ and Culture by Nigel Rooms
'Blurb' from SPCK website:
What does it mean to be an English Christian? Many Christians are aware of the need to adapt the presentation of the gospel to different cultures (’inculturation’) in their overseas mission activity, but how can the gospel best be presented to those at home? What happens when the principles of inculturation are applied to English culture? This book encourages people to think more deeply about the relationship between faith and culture, and to see how the good news can most effectively be brought to the English.
Learn more about the book and the accompanying Bible study here
ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER Click here for the full ACP
Psalm: 16 Exod. 16:1-21
North Queensland - (Queensland, Australia) The Rt Revd William J Ray
1.Suffragan Bishop of North Queensland - (Queensland, Australia) The Rt Revd Saibo Mabo
2.Suffragan Bishop of North Queensland - (Queensland, Australia) The Rt Revd James Randolph Leftwich
Psalm: 81:1-7 Exod.16:22-36
North West Australia - (Western Australia, Australia) The Rt Revd David Mulready
Psalm: 100 Rev. 2:18-29
Northern California - (Province VIII, USA) The Rt Revd Barry Beisner
Psalm: 18:13-19 Rev. 6:1-6
Northern Indiana - (Province V, USA) The Rt Revd Edward Stuart Little
Psalm: 106:1-5 Exod. 18:1-12
Northern Izon - (Province of Niger Delta, Nigeria) The Rt Revd A Fred Nyanabo
Thursday 26-May-2011 Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Psalm: 106:6-12 Exod. 18:13-27
Northern Luzon - (Philippines) The Rt Revd Renato M Abibico
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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.