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...
Church holds debate on presumed consent
A public debate on the morality of presumed consent of organ donation will take place in Cardiff in January.
Organised by the Church in Wales it aims to explore the issues from a Christian standpoint and will include contributions from the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan; Roy Thomas, Executive Chair of Kidney Wales Foundation; and Dr Chris Jones, Medical Director of NHS Wales.
Revd Carol Wardman, church and society adviser, said, “Most people would be only too happy for their organs to be used for the benefit of someone else after their death; but sadly, only about 30% of us join the organ donor register. This is why the Welsh Government wants to bring forward legislation to allow organs to be used for transplant unless the deceased has registered an objection.
“The Government’s current consultation process focuses on the practicalities of the proposed system. The Church in Wales is inviting people to think about the moral and ethical questions too – questions like:
The debate takes place on Saturday January 21, at 2pm in St John’s Church, Cardiff. No booking is required.
Statement on the report of the Commission for Assisted Dying
A response by the Church of England to a report that can be found here
The 'Commission on Assisted Dying' is a self-appointed group that excluded from its membership anyone with a known objection to assisted suicide. In contrast, the majority of commissioners, appointed personally by Lord Falconer, were already in favour of changing the law to legitimise assisted suicide. Lord Falconer has, himself, been a leading proponent for legitimising assisted suicide, for some years.
The commission undertook a quest to find effective safeguards that could be put in place to avoid abuse of any new law legitimising assisted suicide. Unsurprisingly, given the commission's composition, it has claimed to have found such safeguards.
Unlike the commissioners, we are unconvinced that the commission has been successful in its quest. It has singularly failed to demonstrate that vulnerable people are not placed at greater risk under its proposals than is currently the case under present legislation. In spite of the findings of research that it commissioned, it has failed adequately to take into account the fact that in all jurisdictions where assisted suicide or euthanasia is permitted, there are breaches of safeguards as well as notable failures in monitoring and reporting.
The present law strikes an excellent balance between safeguarding hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people and treating with fairness and compassion those few people who, acting out of selfless motives, have assisted a loved one to die.
Put simply, the most effective safeguard against abuse is to leave the law as it is. What Lord Falconer has done is to argue that it is morally acceptable to put many vulnerable people at increased risk so that the aspirations of a small number of individuals, to control the time, place and means of their deaths, might be met. Such a calculus of risk is unnecessary and wholly unacceptable.
Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
(Lead Bishop for Healthcare Issues)
Heads of Churches in Jerusalem exchange Christmas Greetings
His grace the Rt. Revd Suheil Dawani and the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, together with many clergy from the different Christian traditions, gathered on Monday, December 27, 2011, at the Latin Patriarchate to exchange the Christmas greetings, which was hosted by His Beatitude Patriarch Fuad Twaal. Bishop Suheil was accompanied by his new Chaplain, the Revd John Organ and the Revd Canon Hosam Naoum, Pastor to the Arabic and English Speaking Congregations at St. George’s Cathedral, and Secretary to the Meetings of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem.
The same day His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, made a courtesy visit to Bishop Suheil Dawani to wish him and the Anglican Church in this region a blessed and holy Christmas. Bishop Suhail and his Beatitude reaffirmed the warm and strong ties between the two churches, especially the tradition that allows the Anglican Church to use the Church of the Nativity (St. George’s Chapel) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (The Abraham Chapel) for its worship services, particularly on Christmas Eve.
Also, a delegation from the Palestinian National Authority made a courtesy visit to Bishop Dawani at the Bishop’s Residential Hall. The delegation was led by Dr. Hussein Alaa’raj, the Chief of Staff of the President’s Office, Mr. Adnan Alhusseini, the Governor of Jerusalem, Mr. Ziad Albandak, the President’s Advisor of the Christian Affairs, and Mr. Essa Kassisia, member of the presidential committee for Christian Affairs. Dr. Alaa’rj and his party conveyed warm wishes and greetings from His Excellency President Abbas “Abu Mazen” and the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people at this holy season of Christmas and the New Year.
Bishop Suheil in return thanked the delegation for their kind visit and good wishes and praised His Excellency President Abu-Mazen for his continuous support for the Palestinian people. Bishop Dawani valued the president’s presence among those who celebrated the Feast of the Nativity on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, together with His Excellency the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salaam Fayad, and the Jordanian Foreign Minister, His Eminence Mr.Naser Joudeh.
Dr. Alaa’raj congratulated Bishop Dawani for his Christmas message given at the Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve, and the moral support of the Church to his Excellency President Abbas and His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein II for their commitment for peace and justice.
Share your two-minute Mission Moment
Ali Symons, General Synod Web Writer, Anglican Church of Canada
God's mission is at work in your life. Will you share your story with the rest of the church?
You are invited to make a two-minute video for the Mission Moments website and talk about how God is working where you are. This is the latest-and most interactive-element in the Anglican Church of Canada's promotion of the Marks of Mission, five priorities used throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion. They are
Making a video is easy. You can record directly on to the website with your web cam, or you can upload a video that you have already recorded.
Stories don't have to explicitly reference the Marks of Mission.
They can be general or specific stories of how God's mission is at work in your life.
Already the site is hosting videos made by people across the Anglican Church of Canada. An intern from the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund talks about how God has guided her in her life choices. A young priest in Montreal explains what ministry looks like in a shopping mall. A bishop shares what it was like to find God among some especially generous children.
This Mission Moments website is one way Canadian Anglicans can learn about the Marks of Mission. Already the initiative has included two contests: one on Sunday School curriculum and the other a song contest. The winners of the curriculum contest are currently developing their final product and the winning song was chosen in December 2011, with a release planned for later in 2012.
A third contest, focusing on art, will launch closer to the next national meeting, General Synod 2013.
As word gets out about the Marks of Mission, dioceses and parishes are using this framework to describe what God is doing in their area. If your church is using the Marks of Mission for resources, programs, or in any other way, please share this with the Marks of Mission team at General Synod.
[Ed. - Anglicans from around the Communion are also invited to share their two-minute Mission Moment]
Vandalised billboard to stay
From Anglican Taonga
St Matthew-in-the-City will not replace its vandalised billboard which portrays Jesus’ mother, Mary, looking at a home pregnancy test kit revealing that she is pregnant.
The billboard was ripped in half by a Whangarei man leading a Catholic Action Group protest group.Over 100 Catholics marched through Auckland protesting at the billboard, but the church says it has had positive feedback from around the world.
In a press release today, priest associate Clay Nelson said: "Our billboard ... pointed to the social circumstances of a young, poor, unmarried mother in first-century Palestine. It would have taken tremendous faith and courage to withstand the prejudice of her critics.
"We hoped that people would think of those in similar circumstances, and respond with kindness.Our billboard was ripped on Saturday evening by a group intolerant of any views on Mary except their own. Further, they made statements that this is the ‘devil’s work’.
"There is a sad and sick history in Christianity of demonising those you disagree with. It is of concern that such prejudice is present in New Zealand.We have decided not to replace the original billboard but let the current ripped one remain as a reminder of both the intolerance in Mary’s society and in our own."
Earlier, Mr Nelson said the original purpose behind the billboard was to spark conversation about Mary's possible response to the fact that she was pregnant.
"That discovery would have been shocking," Mr Nelson said. "Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. This pregnancy would shape her future. She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last." Vicar Glynn Cardy added: “Christmas is real. It’s about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It’s about real anxiety, courage and hope.
“Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable – with tinsel, Santa, reindeer, and carols – there are also some realities. Many in our society are suffering: some through the lack of money, some through poor health, some through violence, and some through other hardships. The joy of Christmas is muted by anxiety. In this season we encourage one another to be generous to those who suffer, to give to strangers, and to care for all – especially those who have the least. Like the first Santa, St Nicholas did. We invite all who celebrate the season to hold these different strands of a real Christmas together: anxiety and joy, suffering and compassion, Santa and Jesus.”
Awarweness campaign launched against the Dengue virus
From the Frontier News, the Diocese of Peshawar, Pakistan, newsletter
The Dengue virus is being spread all over Pakistan, whereas, Lahore and the whole of Punjab province is among the worst affected areas. A few cases have also been recorded in various hospitals of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Keeping in view the consequences of this disease, the
Diocesan Development & Relief sector has started an awareness campaign regarding the Dengue virus. The development secretary, Mrs. Bimla Yousaf along with her staff visited different compounds and colonies of Christian community to create awareness, and educated the public about preventive measures to reduce the impact of the Dengue virus.
Youth Group of the St. John’s Cathedral also initiated an awareness campaign regarding the Dengue virus. The youth members in different areas and residential compounds of the Christian community distributed pamphlets, and other printed material regarding preventive measures against the virus. Their efforts were appreciated by the community and the Diocesan Leadership.
The Mission Hospital, Peshawar has also volunteered to perform free tests and medical check-up for the Dengue virus. All these efforts are aimed to prevent spread of the disease.
To the Laos – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Epiphany Reflection, Prayers for Madiba and the New Year
Dear People of God
As 2012 begins, let me share some reflections with you, and invite you to join in praying for all that the year ahead may bring us, and the nations to which we belong.
Today, 6 January, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. It is a wonderful occasion within the Church calendar, which often passes without us truly grasping its glorious message. Also known as the Manifestation of Christ, it marks how Jesus is revealed to the world as the Messiah – that is, God taking human form, as the promised Saviour of all. In the Western tradition, this is associated with the visit of the Magi, the Wise Men, who came from afar bearing gifts to the infant Jesus, acknowledging his kingship beyond the ancient Hebrew people. Older tradition, still observed in the Eastern churches, focuses on Jesus’ baptism as an adult in the river Jordan, at which the voice of God the Father is heard saying ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’, while the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, is seen to rest upon him. Both reflect the fullness of the mystery of the incarnation, which is at the heart of Christmas, whose ’12 days’ we have just celebrated: that God is ‘made flesh’ in Jesus Christ, to give his life to redeem all of creation, and humanity within it
Salvation and redemption are not words we use every day, but actually they do describe God’s ever-present – and very necessary – loving care at work in our world, and in our lives, if we are prepared to accept it. God comes to us because he knows we need help. We need help to ‘do the right thing’, and we need help to rescue the mess we make of our own lives, and the lives of others and of society, when we fail (as we so often, inevitably do) to do the right thing. God also comes to us to encourage and strengthen us when life is hard and we find ourselves battling, surrounding us with his love, his compassion, his tender healing touch wherever we find ourselves hurting and sore. And God also comes to us with hope and promise – to be with us throughout our life’s journey, and to bring us safely to his eternal home, if we trust him and his immeasurable love.
All this is true for us as individuals, in our families, and even across our nations. The best New Year’s resolutions we can make are not those which are about trying to convince ourselves to make more of an effort through our own will power, for we know that, far more often than not, we are likely to fail. Instead, the most important decision we can make is to go forward with our hand in the hand of Jesus Christ, acknowledging that we cannot manage on our own, but that we need his guidance and his help, so that we can discover what is the right way to live, and receive the encouragement we need.
I felt I was experiencing very vividly God’s promises to be ‘with us always, to the end of time’ (Matthew 28:20) when I, with my wife Lungi and children Nyaki and Pabi, were invited to visit Madiba and Mrs Graça Machel, just after Christmas. With generous hospitality, we were treated to not just a warm welcome, but a delicious meal, over which we shared great company. I am glad to say both are in good health, and Madiba’s humour and ready wit are as sharp as ever.
Below I share with you the special prayer written for our visit, which you might also like to use. More than this, I invite you to pray for the nations of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, especially your own – that our leaders too may go forward into the year ahead trusting in God to guide and direct them in the paths that bring abundant life to all. And may I also ask your prayers for other nations around us that are in special need at this time, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo, following contested election results, and for Zimbabwe, where Anglicans continue to suffer political persecution (you may have seen my press statements on this).
And may Jesus, the living Word made Flesh, who is Emmanuel, God with us, grant you a blessed and holy year ahead, as you follow his call to discipleship.
Yours in the service of Christ
+Thabo Cape Town
Prayer for Madiba*
The angel host that appeared to the shepherds
sang ‘Glory to God in the Highest’.
Lord God, heavenly king, yet born a tiny baby
We too sing your glory as we celebrate your coming as Emmanuel,
God with us, our Friend and Saviour and Prince of Peace, in all that life brings our way.
As we give thanks at Christmas for all the rich gifts you shower on our lives.
we thank you for the gift of Madiba himself,
and all that you have helped him be and do, in his years on earth,
and for the health and strength he continues to enjoy.
As we remember how, in Jesus, God was born into a human home
we thank you for the gift of this home,
for the loving marriage shared with Graça,
for the joys of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, of friends and family
with whom we enjoy the love you pour upon us.
As, today, we remember St Stephen, the first Martyr,
we thank you that you also inspired Madiba to devote his life
to striving for all that is good and true, for all that is right and just,
and to be a living sacrifice, and a bright shining example for others to follow.
As we look to the year ahead, we remember the words of Gabriel to Mary,
and the Angels to the Shepherds - ‘Do not be afraid!’,
and so we trust ourselves to you for all that is ahead,
committing ourselves to keep on walking your ways,
with our hand in yours, until that day you lead us safely home.
So today we ask your blessing on Madiba, and those he loves, and those who love him: May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Mary and Joseph, and the peace of the Christ child be theirs, this Christmas;
And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but upon you, and remain with you always. Amen.
Released by the office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town at Bishopscourt.
[*In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba, his Xhosa clan name]
The Diocese of Jerusalem have posted two new videos to their website. For a look at what goes on in this diocese why not take a look?
New websites for the Episcopal Church and Mission to Seafarers
Have a look at the MtS website at http://www.missiontoseafarers.org/ Tell us what you think…
The Mission to Seafarers has a new-look, fresher, brighter website – just in time for Christmas!
For the next few weeks we will be piloting this refreshed design and taking in people’s comments and feedback to help make the site as good as it can be. We want to make it best possible platform for supporting seafarers, for telling people what the MtS does and for raising the funds needed to sustain the Mission’s all-important work.
We would love to hear what you think of the site. Is it interesting, engaging, informative? Is it easy to find the information you need? Do you have suggestions for other areas we could include to make it better? If you have any feedback you’d like to share, please do email us.
With thanks and best wishes for a joyful Christmas – in the UK, around the world and in cyberspace!
The MtS Communications Team
New features, new opportunities abound in experiential Episcopal Church website www.EpiscopalChurch.org
The Episcopal Church, Office of Public Affairs
The Episcopal Church website – www.episcopalchurch.org – has undergone a complete transformation and redesign into a welcoming, eye-appealing, easy-to-navigate, experiential site.
Launched on December 28, the new website features a motif of stained glass windows, each of which holds a small piece of our contemporary church. Taking direction from newcomer research, the design is steeped, but not mired, in tradition. The beloved shield and words, The Episcopal Church Welcomes You, have an updated look as well.
The new website provides many avenues to experience the Episcopal Church, its beliefs and its many ministries.
“We are offering many new features, many new opportunities to be in community,” noted Anne Rudig, Director of Communication. “Newcomers to the Episcopal Church as well as all our members will enjoy experiencing the Episcopal Church on the new site.”
Key to the new website is the many opportunities for dioceses, congregations, provinces and Episcopalians to post videos and photos of local mission in action. “The new website enables sharing and conversation,” Rudig added. “It has an open source content management system and very powerful search function.”
And, the website is available in Spanish and English.
Sections to scan
To begin, a click on each stained glass window opens a video, photo, multimedia offering, artwork and more from across the Church.
The site contains five main areas:
“There are so many new features in the website – I invite everyone to join us as we embark on a new era in evangelism,” Rudig said.
40 Days of Peace
This Lent, join USPG on a 40-day journey of peace, and help to support the work of Anglican Churches around world.
In this section, you will find a five-week Lent study course, daily meditations for every day of Lent, and a poster and PowerPoint to download.
You can also order printed copies of our Lent study courseand our Daily Meditations for Lent in our shop.
Theological Education - The Bible in the Life of the Church
And it was good …… is a five-session course designed for use during Lent 2012. It arose out of the Bible in the Life of the Church project details of which can be seen on the other web pages in this section. The material can be used both by groups or individuals, though it has primarily been designed for use by groups.
The themes of the five sessions are:
Each session contains:
The course will be available in two forms:
ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER Click here for the full ACP
Friday 06-Jan-2012 The Epiphany
Psalm: 72: 1-8 Eph. 3: 1-6
O God, who revealed your only Son to the Gentiles by the leading of a star, mercifully grant theat we, who know you now by faith, may after this life enjoy the splendour of your gracious Godhead, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Psalm: 72: 1,10-14 Eph. 3: 7-13
Adelaide - (South Australia, Australia) The Most Revd Jeffrey William Driver
Sunday 08-Jan-2012 Epiphany 1
Psalm: 111: 1-6 Gal. 1: 11-24
PRAY for The Anglican Church of Australia The Most Revd Dr Phillip John Aspinall Archbishop of Brisbane & Primate of Australia
Psalm: 117 Gal. 2: 1-10
Afikpo - (Enugu, Nigeria) The Rt Revd Paul Uduogu
Psalm: 111: 4-10 Gal. 2: 11-21
Agra - (North India) The Rt Revd Samuel Cutting
Psalm: 105: 1-7 Gal. 3: 1-14
Aguata - (Niger, Nigeria) The Most Revd Christian Efobi
Psalm: 113 Isa. 46
Ahoada - (Niger Delta, Nigeria) The Rt Revd Clement Ekpeye
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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.