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...
Archbishop Calls For Fairtrade Mark For British Produce
From the Office of the Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York today called for British farmers to be paid a fair wage for their produce, saying that supermarkets were not valuing the contribution the agricultural sector makes to national life.
Dr John Sentamu said British consumers, aided and abetted by supermarkets, were paying too little for their food and claimed that cheap imports are making it difficult for the country’s farmers to earn a decent living.
The Archbishop, an impassioned advocate of British farming, said he regularly visited farms and found he was often being told the same thing – that prices are too low.
He also maintained that Britain’s uplands communities, such as the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, would fall into ruin without the presence of farmers. But he said upland farmers were often the most economically disadvantaged.
Dr Sentamu said: "The economic climate has made it very difficult for many British farmers, with dairy producers in particular bearing the brunt of poor prices. I regularly meet local producers across Yorkshire and I know they are going through really tough times right now.
“As consumers, we have got to be prepared to pay a fairer price for what we are getting. I know everyone is feeling the pinch in their pocket during this long recession, but really how can we expect to pay less for our milk than say a bottle of mineral water or cola? How can we expect farmers to go on producing the best produce in the world – tasty and nutritional home grown produce – when we are paying them below the going rate for their labours? We should be concerned about food security: Fairer prices should be the bench mark of our concern.
“Yes, the supermarkets have got to pay farmers the right price, particularly when it comes to milk. Absolutely. What they pay now is derisory. But as customers we should not collude with this – it simply isn’t a fair situation at the moment.
“I would love to see a Fairtrade mark for British goods. Cheap foreign imports are flooding the market and British farmers are not getting a fair deal. We should demand fairness not just for workers overseas, but also at home too. Why not buy British farm produce and take less in imports? It would be encouraging to look at the shelves of our supermarkets and know that the producer has been paid a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.
“What we have in the UK is often better quality farm produce and if we have to pay a bit more and give British farmers a higher price, then we should do that.”
“I have long supported a ‘buy British’ and ‘buy local’ approach where possible, as it is necessary to benefit the rural economy and make our supply of food more sustainable and secure.”
Baptism before communion is still church’s norm
Convention debate shows practice doesn't always follow canons
By Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service
The seeming disconnect in some parts of the Episcopal Church between the theology and practice of admission to communion became newly apparent to the Rev. Canon Beth Wickenberg Ely on a recent Sunday morning.
Ely, canon for regional ministry in North Carolina, who was presiding at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, had to consult her notes to remind herself exactly how to describe who was welcome to receive communion.
“I didn’t know whether they say ‘everybody come’ or ‘baptized Christians’,” she recalled during a July 23 interview with Episcopal News Service. “I go with what the church does, and it varies.”
For Ely, who chaired the diocesan deputation to the recently concluded 77th General Convention, that moment at St. Martin’s epitomizes why her diocese proposed (via Resolution C029) that the Episcopal Church spend the next three years studying its theology that underlies access to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
Convention rejected both that suggestion and one from the Diocese of Eastern Oregon (Resolution C040) that would have allowed the church’s congregations to “invite all, regardless of age, denomination, or baptism to the altar for Holy Communion” by eliminating Canon 1.17.7, which says “no unbaptized person shall be eligible to receive Holy Communion in this Church.”
Instead, the convention passed a substitute for C029 in which the Episcopal Church “reaffirm[ed] that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and baptize all peoples.”
The substitute resolution came out of the convention’s legislative committee on evangelism to which C029 and C040 were assigned.
Archbishop of Wales enters row over milk prices
By Martin Hickman in the Independent newspaper
A church leader has entered the row over milk prices by saying that shoppers should be prepared to pay more to support struggling dairy farmers.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, insisted everyone was responsible for ensuring farmers got a “fair price” for their milk, not just the dairies and major supermarkets.
He said: “It is astounding people will pay £1.98 for a two-litre bottle of Coke and think they've got a good deal while squabbling over the cost of milk which at £1 for 2.27 litres is half the price of Coke.
To read the rest of the article visit http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/archbishop-of-wales-enters-row-over-milk-prices-7976570.html
Indian churches call for end to anti-Christian violence
By Anto Akkara, ENInews
The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has expressed "deep concern" about increasing incidents of attacks on Christian churches and property across the country by anti-Christian groups.
"Worship places are being vandalized, pastors and evangelists attacked, false allegations of forceful conversion are leveled against them, Christian believers are threatened, authorities of Christian service institutions are forced to follow dictates, burial right is denied," noted an NCCI press statement issued on 18 July.
"Such incidents are reported in different parts of India especially in the states of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa and Assam," according to the NCCI, which includes 30 Orthodox and Protestant churches, 17 regional Christian councils, and over two dozen national organizations.
"The attacks are increasing and it is becoming a major concern for us," Rev. Roger Gaikwad, NCCI general secretary, told ENInews.
Gaikwad said the NCCI forwarded the statement to the federal home (interior) minister and has urged the government "not to allow fascist and fundamentalist forces."
While reiterating the NCCI is "opposed to forced conversions," the statement blamed "the nexus of economic, social, and political forces (Hindu nationalists) for the attacks on Christians," saying such acts had increased its members' commitment to social justice and equality.
"The principles of freedom, justice, equality, peace, and love are being eroded in our society. We therefore call upon mature citizens of the country to stand firm against forces which politicize religion and criminalize politics," said the statement.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba - To the Laos
From the Website of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Dear People of God
Many of us have enjoyed time with our children during the school holidays, despite the cold and wintry weather! Talking with my own children, and listening to their hopes and aspirations, has again underlined for me the importance of education – both in schools, colleges and university, and nurturing within the family of the church. We are called to be trained in living the Christian life, in following Jesus’ call and example in faithful obedience, in ‘growing in knowledge and love of God and of his Son’, and in reflecting all that God is in Christ for us by his Spirit, in the totality of our lives. In Jesus, the Teacher, we see how we too should teach and mentor those who are young in years or young in the faith: listening to their concerns, carefully explaining, and also giving them ‘parables’ to prompt them to learn for themselves how to apply the principles of faith to the many and varied circumstances of life that come our way.
One of the NGOs with which I am proud to be associated is ‘Equal Education’, which works for quality education to be made available to every South African child. They are one of many bodies working across our Province in this important area. Earlier in July I was privileged to speak at EE’s first ‘Congress’, which marked a new phase as those who launched the NGO bring those whom it is designed to help into consultations about how to focus its work, and into its leadership structures. A wide range of people, including educators and learners, were at this energy-filled gathering.
We should always go forward with hope, despite the many problems within our education systems. It is tragic that there are still schools without adequate buildings or other facilities, and scandals like the delivery of Limpopo’s textbooks. It is also shocking to hear of teachers who turn up late or drunk, or fail their learners in other ways – and then even boast of being protected by their unions against any form of discipline for their inadequacies. But instead of getting downhearted, we should roll up our sleeves and do what we can to make a change for the better. Most of all, we should not lose the vision of educational excellence for every child of our Province. This must be our goal, and we should encourage our societies to insist that we will not settle for anything less.
In all life, if we keep our vision at the heart of our thinking, talking, planning, it will be the magnet that draws us in the direction in which we want and need to go. Behavioural scientists today tell us that to focus on our goals is far more effective than letting what is holding us back dominate our lives and drag us down. This should come as no surprise: St Paul said much the same, in his letter to the Philippians, writing: ‘Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things’ (Phil 4:8).
To read more visit here http://bit.ly/N5aKU3
With Nairobi’s slum population growing by six per cent a year, and currently standing at 55 per cent of the city's population, the Church in Kenya is calling for a year of jubilee to break the cycles of poverty.
In 2013, Kenya marks 50 years of independence and support is gathering among Kenyan Christians to make the focus of the celebrations a biblical jubilee with positive results for the poor.
A general election is also due in March 2013, and there is much concern to avoid a repeat of the post-election violence of 2007 that left 1,300 dead.
The Kenya Jubilee movement is inspired by the biblical vision of a "year set apart as holy, a time to proclaim liberty throughout the land for all who live there" (Leviticus 25:10). CMS mission partner Colin Smith, who has worked for many years in Kibera, one of Nairobi's largest slums, has been a key facilitator of the movement.
One hundred delegates met to galvanise the movement at a seminar sponsored by CMS in May. They included professors, church leaders, lawyers and residents of informal settlements. A steadily growing team is now working hard to bring others on board, with a key focus on land rights and securing tenure on property for residents of the informal settlements.
The National Council of Churches in Kenya has now taken up the process and co-sponsored a workshop – with Colin and others – aimed at training 70 facilitators to carry the vision of this jubilee and inspire others to take action.
"One Specific, aim is to press for a bill on evictions and release of land to ensure secure safe and affordable housing for people living in slums," says Colin.
Living in houses made of mud, cardboard and iron sheets, slum dwellers are crammed into settlements, typically of more than 1,500 people per acre. They also often face the constant fear of forced eviction, where land has been appropriated by the wealthy and powerful.
"Fifty-seven per cent of all structure owners in slums were found to be either ministers, civil servants, government officials or politically connected businessmen who are the biggest beneficiaries of the continued existence of slums according to UN Habitat," said a report from the workshop.
In one Nairobi constituency alone, five mass violent evictions were carried out between September 2011 and January 2012, says the report, with the result that, "Thousands of families were displaced, innocent people killed and property worth millions destroyed during the demolitions."
Among the efforts going on is a mapping exercise to determine who owns what in the informal settlements. This is being done by Akiba Mashinani Trust who have been consistently pressing for a Jubilee celebration that addresses the needs of the urban poor. The Jubilee campaign will need to take in awareness raising, community education and high level political and legal work.
"We still have a long way to go but the church is increasingly coming on board and it would now seem that the churches’ united contribution to Kenya’s national Jubilee celebrations will include the proposals outlined by the Kenya Jubilee group," said a statement from Kenya Jubilee.
The Jubilee group is now preparing training materials "to enable churches and local communities to think through what it would mean to apply Jubilee principles to their own context."
Religion has played role at Olympics since days of ancient Greece
By Chris Lisee, ENINews
Washington, D.C., 26 July (ENInews)--A 600-foot footrace was the only athletic event at the first Olympics, a festival held in 776 B.C. and dedicated to Zeus, the chief Greek god.
For the next millennium, reports Religion News Service, Greeks gathered every four years in Olympia to honor Zeus through sports, sacrifices and hymns. The five-day festival brought the Greek world together in devotion to one deity.
What began in ancient Greece as a festival to honor a single god, Zeus, has now become an almost Olympian task, as organizers of the games navigate dozens of sacred fasts, religious rituals and holy days.
The London Olympics will try to accommodate religious athletes with 193 chaplains, a prayer room in every venue and a multi-faith center in the Olympic Village.
Athletes at the ancient Olympics believed their training honored the gods, and victory was a sign of favor from a deity. As contests like wrestling, boxing, and horse racing were added to the Olympic roster, they supplemented devotional sacrifices, hymns, and ceremonies.
"The idea was that you were training to please Zeus. But part of the festival would be to visit the temple, visit the cult statues, making offerings, celebrating and seeing your family," said David Gilman Romano, a professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona.
The combination of Greek sport and worship led the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, to ban the Olympics in 393 A.D.
The Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 after excavations at Olympia renewed public interest in the athletics and pageantry of the Olympics.
Though not sectarian, the modern games began to take on their own quasi-religious rituals.
Coubertin borrowed ceremonies, hymns, and rituals from the ancient festival to shape a transcendent "Olympism," uniting all athletes. Some scholars today refer to his creation as a "civil religion."
"The civil religion was not so much the worship or devotion to the state, as it is often now understood," explained Joseph Price, a professor of religion at Whittier College in California who researches sport and religion. Devotion "was to the civitas, the human group that transcended a particular religion."
Over the years, the International Olympic Committee and host states introduced "new" symbols to bolster Olympism, said Stephen Mosher, professor of sport management and media at Ithaca College in New York.
Still, the modern games have touches from the ancient past.
Gold medals since 1928 have been imprinted with the image of Nike, goddess of victory. And though the torch relay existed in antiquity, it was not part of the ancient Olympics. "It was 'invented' by the Nazis for the 1936 Berlin Games in an obvious attempt to connect the modern German state with the ancient Greek state," Mosher said.
Today, the IOC and host countries must tread lightly to accommodate modern religious expression in an often-hostile political climate.
Some situations present special challenges.
In 2008, Israeli President Shimon Peres received special housing accommodations at the Beijing opening ceremony so that he would not have to drive in a car on the Jewish Sabbath.
Peres will miss the opening this year, as the London Organizing Committee refused to make special accommodations.
Modern religious athletes also struggle with religious devotion and the Olympic schedule. Devout Jews and Christians must choose whether to compete on the Sabbath.
Muslim athletes face a particularly difficult choice as the Olympics fall during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during the day.
Clerics in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates extended an exemption to their athletes, allowing them to make up their fast at a later time. Some athletes will take the exemption, while others will fast.
This Olympics marks a milestone for Muslim women as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei will send female athletes to the games for the first time. They are the last Muslim countries to allow women to compete.
In this respect, the Olympics have advanced greatly since ancient times, when only male Greek citizens could watch and compete.
But Romano urges caution in comparing the ancient and modern games.
"There are many similarities, but there are also differences. And one of the biggest differences is religion."
Building church with 1's and 0's
We all know the potential for Facebook to create communities around the world, but what about it's potential to help reach out with the Gospel message and grow churches? Why not join the latest community online whose 524 members are discussing case studies and best practice: Anglican Witness at http://www.facebook.com/groups/anglicanwitness/
Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them
By Ken Howard
From the authors:
"Is conservative/liberal conflict draining your church of its vitality and distracting its people from sharing the love of Christ? Looking for third way of Christian community beyond us and them?
Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them can help your congregation transcend dead-end divisions and transform conflict into healthy diversity united by the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit
“The committee worked very hard with the two original resolutions and it was very clear that even those who would be leaning more towards the open-table idea were not ready to change the canon at this time,” the Rev. Canon Dennis Blauser, the Northwestern Pennsylvania deputation chair who also chaired the deputies’ Evangelism Committee, recalled during a July 25 interview with ENS."
From the back cover:
"Western Christianity is moving toward a religious realignment of epic proportions
How will your church navigate these changes?
This is a book for those who will lead congregations in challenging times. Paradoxy helps you understand and explain what's happening, gives everyone a chance to speak and be heard, and moves you into the future as one body, together.
"Paradoxy resonates with my own experience. When the intention of people on opposite sides is to connect, not to win, they can bring forward the best of themselves. Deep human connection takes place in the presence of profound disagreement. It is a holy mystery."
-- Mary Jacksteit, JD, MS, Project Manager, Public Conversations Project"
Find it here http://amzn.to/NL2Wdm
And on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/PracticingParadoxy
There are also free, downloadable facilitator & participant guides available at the practicingparadoxy.com site for using it for adult formation book study, member orientation & confirmation/reception, and conflict transformation dialogue.
__________________________________ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER Click here for the full ACP
Psalm: 46 1 Sam 17:1-37
Edmonton - (Rupert's Land, Canada) The Rt Revd Jane Alexander
Psalm: 47 1 Sam 17:38-55
Egba West - (Lagos, Nigeria) The Rt Revd Samuel Ajani
Sunday 29-Jul-2012 Pentecost 9
Psalm: 119:65-80 Mk 12:41-44
PRAY for The Scottish Episcopal Church The Most Revd David Chillingworth Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church & Bishop of St Andrews Dunkeld & Dunblane
Psalm: 48 Mk 13:1-13
Egbu - (Owerri, Nigeria) The Rt Revd Professor Emmanuel Iheagwam
Psalm: 49 Mk 13:14-23
The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis President Bishop, Jerusalem & the Middle East & Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Egypt - (Jerusalem & Middle East) The Rt Revd Bill Musk
Psalm: 50:1-15 Mk 13:24-31
Eha - Amufu - (Enugu, Nigeria) The Rt Revd Daniel Olinya
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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.