Tens of thousands of Zimbabwe's Anglicans are being forced to worship in pubs, tents and private schools while their churches stand empty, shuttered by a controversial bishop loyal to President Robert Mugabe.
About 40 per cent of the country's Anglican churches are now in the hands of Nolbert Kunonga, who was unfrocked as Bishop of Harare in 2007 after he split from the Anglican province of Central Africa in protest at the introduction of homosexual priests.
When worshippers chose to follow the official church's newly-appointed Bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya, they were chased out of Harare's cathedral and tear-gassed by police.
Many churches are now only unlocked for services for a handful of stalwarts of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. Followers of Mr Kunonga have torn down the cathedral's colonial artefacts, broken up pews bearing memorial plaques, taken over church buildings including a ten-storey city centre office block and rented out the Bishop's residence.
Christ Church is welcoming a new building for a new era.
The Fallbrook congregation, formerly known as St. John's Anglican Church, has been conducting services at Living Waters Christian Fellowship Assembly of God Church for the past two years. The church began sharing space with Living Waters after legal battles over property rights and organizational authority allowed the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego to take over the former church property (which is now operating as St. John's Episcopal).
The members at St. John's Anglican had previously voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, which is the North American branch of the global Anglican Union, and reaffiliated with a more theologically traditional conservative archdiocese in Africa. Disagreements regarding homosexuality and biblical authority are at the core of an ongoing dispute between the Episcopal Church and hundreds of its congregations, as well as Anglican bishops in other countries.
Ryan Fletcher was in Japan when they needed him most.
Fletcher, from the small Oklahoma town of Fletcher, has been serving as a missionary in Japan for three years. Since the tsunami, the Mustard Seed Global Fellowship (MSGF) has distributed food and supplies, as well as Bibles and outreach materials. So far, over a 100 people have been served, according to the MSGF website.
The efforts of the group have been well-received. The team has been able to obtain permits that allow their vehicles to travel on otherwise closed highways so that relief can be more efficiently distributed.
The MSGF requests that others, “Pray for more people to receive aid and for people’s hearts to be open to the gospel message. Pray for people to come to Christ and churches to be started as God redeems this tragedy.”
Tucked high in the mountains of Honduras, an hour's drive south of San Pedro Sula, a Florida couple is working with the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras to develop a self-supporting ministry aimed at helping the Central American country's vulnerable children. Mike and Kim Miller, missionaries serving with the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS) , co-founded and are working with Honduras Bishop Lloyd Allen and support from the diocese to build the Hope of Jesus Children's Home and nearby Hope Farm, which includes a coffee plantation and the beginnings of a dairy farm, to be a self-sustaining project and source of income for the children's home.
The children's home, located in La Esperanza, is run by the Millers and Vanessa Aguilar, the Honduran sub-director who will eventually take over the ministry, which provides a home for orphaned or abandoned children.
Death among priests is a common experience in any diocese, but in late 2010 the Diocese of Maine lost two active priests within two weeks of each other. The Rev. Eckart Horn, 49, died of a heart attack Nov. 17, only a day after leading portions of an annual retreat for clergy. The Rev. Canon James P. Dalton-Thompson, 60, died Dec. 1, only 13 days after learning that he had colon cancer.
“Eckart was one of the young priests, so his death affected the diocese deeply,” said the Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine since 2008.
The death of Dalton-Thompson, rector of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin Church in Falmouth since 2005, affected the bishop still more, because the priest had played an important role during the transition to Lane’s episcopacy.
The bishop was on a retreat when he learned of Dalton-Thompson’s failing health. He left the retreat immediately to visit his colleague and friend.
“You don’t get a second chance at this,” the bishop told The Living Church about that moment. “If you sense that you should go, you’d better go. The moment will pass, and the person may pass as well.
“I was with James the day before he died, and we discussed what he wanted for his funeral,” he said.
The bishop wrote about the deaths on his weblog, Round Maine with Bishop Lane.
A large number of Muslim and Christian organisations held protest rallies against the desecration of the holy Quran by US Pastor Terry Jones, across the provincial metropolis on Thursday, demanding Muslim countries to boycott the United States.
The protesters also burnt an effigy of the US pastor and urged the US authorities as well as the international community to take strict action against Jones. The participants were carrying placards, banners and posters inscribed with slogans against the pastor.
The protesting organisations included Tehreek Tahafuz Haquq Ahal-i-Sunnat Pakistan, World Peace International, Young Muslims International, Community Development Initiative, National Council for Interfaith Dialogue, United Religious Initiative, Justice and Peace Commission and others.
Prominent figures among the protesters were MNA Akram Masih Gill, Sahabzada Abdul Majeed Jan, Haji Majeed Mufti, MA Khalid, Dr Javed Farooq, Chaudhry Rehmat, Napolean Qayyum, Father Abid Habib, Pastor Shahid Mirage, Feroza Naz, Tabassam Naz, Kanwal Feroze, Khurram Shahzad Mann and Niaz Ahmad. They all condemned the desecration of the holy Quran by Jones.
THE Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Japan, the Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, has told of the frustration of not being able to reach areas devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the country two weeks ago.
In a statement released through the Anglican Communion Office, Arch bishop Uematsu said that despite the Japanese people’s being accustomed to earthquakes and tsunamis, “no one could have imagined” the massive scale of the recent disaster.
On Wednesday, the number of dead had risen to more than 9000. More than 14,700 people are missing. About 300,000 remain in evacuation centres or temporary housing.
The Archbishop said that the problems at the Fukushima nuclear power station meant that people were discovering levels of radiation in milk and vegetables available in the locality, and that “everybody is therefore concerned about the further spread of the radiation”.
He explained that because of such huge damage to basic infrastructure, the Church was unable to deliver relief to the affected areas, as only officials such as doctors and fire fighters were allowed to enter those regions.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has said that Anglicans joining the Catholic Church this Easter will be ‘warmly welcomed’ and will feel entirely at home.
Speaking before a Lenten lecture at Brentwood Cathedral, the archbishop (right) said that the Catholic Church will ‘keep open and positive our relationships with the Church of England.’
Around 900 Anglicans, including 60 clergy, are expected to join the Catholic Church at Easter and Archbishop Nichols believes that Pope Benedict XVI’s ordinariate ‘shows us not to be afraid of diversity within the Catholic Church,’ as well as adding that we can recognise that ‘the Catholic community has got many different faces in this country now.’
The Westminster Archbishop said that the possibility of more married Anglican clergy becoming Catholic priests is not a threat to existing Catholic priests who are celibate.
“We have been receiving priests from the Church of England and ordaining them into our presbyterate, now, for 15 years,” Archbishop Nichols said. “And some of those have been married and have their own families and I think it has led, on the whole, to a greater maturity about reflection on celibacy as part of the priesthood in the Catholic Church as the norm in the Latin Rite as we call it—in the Latin Church.”
Elements of Anglican and Lutheran worship will mark celebrations on 1 May of a decade of full communion relationships between the Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and, in Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
There will be simultaneous celebrations at St. Paul's Anglican Church, Fort Erie, Ontario and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Buffalo, New York, according to news releases from the Episcopal and Lutheran churches.
At St. Paul's, Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Canadian Lutheran church, will preside and Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach. At Holy Trinity in Buffalo, Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the American Lutheran church will preside and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Canadian Anglican church, will preach.
A former bookkeeper pleaded guilty Thursday in Orange County Superior Court to embezzling money from a Tustin church by writing 154 checks to herself.
Elyse Marie Kennedy, 37, of Santa Ana was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison for stealing more than $129,000 from the accounts of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the District Attorney's Office said.
After reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, Kennedy pleaded guilty to two felony counts of forgery and will face a restitution hearing June 24, the office said.
She had originally been charged with 154 felony counts of forgery with sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white-collar crime. Theoretically, Kennedy could have been sentenced to probation, prosecutors said at the time, and faced a sentence of anywhere from 16 months to 107 years in state prison if convicted.
The installation of the sixth Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Albert Chama who is also Bishop of Northern Zambia, took place on Sunday 20 March 2011. The installation service which took place at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Zambia was taken by Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda, Bishop of Central Zimbabwe. Bishop Ishmael, being the senior bishop in the Province, also gave a charge to Archbishop Albert in his homily (attached below).
The Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by the USPG General Secretary Bishop Michael Doe who delivered greetings to the Province and to Archbishop Albert. The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katherine Schori was represented by Bishop Herbert Donovan who also brought fraternal greetings from TEC and the Presiding Bishop. The Diocese of Bath and Wells which is linked to the Zambian dioceses was represented by Mrs Jenny Humphreys who is the World Mission Advisor. Other representatives came from Trinity Church Wall Street represented by Canon Benjamin Lubege-Musoke and Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa which was represented by its General Secretary Canon Grace Kaiso.
The republican President Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, the first Lady Thandiwe and some Cabinet Ministers were also in attendance. Others were ecumenical partners from the Roman Catholic Church and the Council of Churches in Zambia.
In the mid-morning Arizona sun a group of Sudanese immigrants begin to trickle into a small church yard.
Dressed in their finest, young women lead their children, while men meet and mingle on the steps of the church.
As they gather outside, songs of jubilation fill the air as the youth choir begins to practice inside. This is St. Paul the Apostle Sudanese Episcopal Church, thought to be the first Sudanese church in the United States.
Displaced from their country during its civil war, millions of Sudanese refugees struggled to survive. But for many of the displaced it was their faith that kept them going as they tried to rebuild their lives.
"I feel that I want to serve the community," said the Reverend Anderia Arok, who has led the church since 2008.
For the last four years the Peace and Justice Committee at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church has been lifting the spirits of U.S. soldiers fighting overseas by sending care packages chock full of a few of the creature comforts the troops have been forced to live without while defending the country.
Ruth Beck, a parishioner at St. Stephen's, located at 3 John St., Westborough, oversees the operation.
"I communicate directly with a U.S. Army chaplain's assistant named Courtney," Beck said. "I send the packages to him and he distributes them to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Beck said she knows Courtney's last name, but has been asked by the Army not to disclose it publicly for security reasons because Courtney is assigned to a combat team.
Parishioners at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown gathered on Friday to kick off a five-year fundraising effort focused on renovating the worship space in the centuries-old church.
The capital campaign aims to raise approximately $2 million to replace the almost 100-year-old pipe organ; renovate space around the pulpit and lectern; and tend to deferred maintenance projects at the 3240 O St. church.
“[The purpose] is to enhance our organ space and our liturgies so that our worship is so uplifting that people will be motivated by what happens in our church to go out … and do glorious things in the world,” said the Rev. Dr. Albert Scariato.
But tackling the project of renovating such an old space, once used by Thomas Jefferson and Francis Scott Key, presents design challenges. To execute the renovation, St. John’s hired Georgetown-based architecture firm Hartman Cox Architects, tasking architect Mary Kay Lanzilotta with melding the different design themes that result from more than 200 years of renovations, including the nine different types of paneling visible in the worship space. Lanzilotta will also bring in a sound system that will showcase the new pipe organ and allow Scariato to record sermons for homebound parishioners.
Rev. Steve Lawler has attracted the attention of the national media because this Episcopal priest chose a very odd way to observe Lent. He decided to “adopt the rituals of Islam” for the forty day season observed by many liturgical denominations, including the Episcopal Church.
As reported in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lawler decided to practice as a Muslim for the forty days as a part of his “Giving Up Church for Lent” emphasis at St. Stephen’s Church. The closer you look at this story, the more it appears that Rev. Lawler “gave up church” some time ago.
According to the press reports, the priest began to perform Muslim prayer rituals, facing toward Mecca and praying five times a day. He prayed to Allah, read the Qur’an, and adopted Islamic dietary restrictions.
He also got in trouble with his bishop. “He can’t be both a Christian and a Muslim,” said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. The bishop continued: “If he chooses to practice as Muslim, then he would, by default, give up his Christian identity and priesthood in the church.” The bishop also told the public that his priest had a responsibility “to exercise Christianity and to do it with clarity and not with ways that are confusing.”
It is refreshing to see that kind of conviction from a mainline Protestant church leader. But, after all, he had a priest who was practicing a different religion. Sort of.
Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, primate of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan), said March 22 that while there are no Anglican churches in most of the areas affected by the March 11 magnitude-9 earthquake, "it is the NSKK's desire to stand with all people there and to do whatever we can to support them."
Uematsu's pledge came in a statement issued by Anglican Communion News Service.
More than 9,000 people died when the quake struck on March 11 and caused a destructive tsunami that pounded the country's northeast coast. In addition, nearly 13,000 people are unaccounted for. More than 300,000 people who are enduring hardship at various evacuation centers, the archbishop said, including those evacuated from the area near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.
The earthquake -- estimated to be at least 700 times more powerful than the magnitude-7 temblor that hit Haiti in January 2010 -- caused Japan's main island to move about eight feet to the east, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
"We Japanese are accustomed to earthquakes and tsunamis, however no one could have imagined that such a major earthquake or tsunami could have happened," Uematsu said.
THE renovation of the Bunyoro Kitara Anglican Diocese church in Hoima municipality has started. The renovation of the 39-year-old St. Peter’s Cathedral, Duhaga started on Friday and is expected to last five months.
The project co-ordinator, Ronald Mwesigwa, on Saturday said the renovation would cost sh500m. So far, sh350m had been raised.
Mwesigwa said most of the money was raised from Christians and friends within and outside Uganda.
“The project will include putting up a wall fence, plastering the walls, rewiring the power system, repairing the ceiling, the floor and roof.”
Others will include erecting a staircase, working on the tower and construction of the toilets.
He added that the church had started leaking and they saw an urgent need to work on it.
“We also wanted our church to look modern,” he said.
He said the site would remain closed to the general public to avoid accidents as a result from falling debris. Prayers will in the meantime be held in Duhaga Boys Primary School main hall.
The Rev. Steve Lawler should have just given up chocolate or television for Lent.
Instead, Lawler, the part-time rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, decided to adopt the rituals of Islam for 40 days to gain a deeper understanding of the faith.
Two days after it began, he faced being defrocked if he continued in those endeavors.
“He can’t be both a Christian and a Muslim,” said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “If he chooses to practice as Muslim, then he would, by default, give up his Christian identity and priesthood in the church.”
Lawler didn’t foresee such problems when he came up with the idea. He merely wanted to learn more about Islam, he said, especially in light of the ongoing congressional hearings on the radicalization of the faith.
On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, he began performing “salah” five times a day, by facing east, toward Mecca, and praying to Allah. He also started studying the Quran and following Islamic dietary restrictions by abstaining from alcohol and pork.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Hayden Martins was consecrated March 19 as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, in what promises to be a positive new beginning for the diocese. "It was wonderful. The spirit was just very, very good and positive, and there was a strong sense of 'now we can move forward,'" said the Rev. Christopher Ashmore, president of the diocesan standing committee.
"There were many people who talked to me afterwards saying they were very excited to have Bishop Daniel consecrated as our bishop and they're very optimistic about the future. It was extremely upbeat and positive, a great day for the diocese. We were very, very pleased with how it went," added Ashmore, rector of Trinity Church in Jacksonville, Illinois.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chief consecrator at the celebration at the First United Methodist Church of Springfield, attended by about 800 well-wishers.
George Clooney’s appearance at Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills to film scenes for his movie Ides of March is having a spinoff benefit for the parish.
The film, which is being directed and starring Clooney, was filming a scene in the church that required it be full of people. Members of Christ Church Cranbrook served as extras, filling the seats.
But in order to become a church extra, donations were made to the parish to be used to support Bound Together, a tutoring program for elementary school students housed at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pontiac. Bound Together gathers volunteers from several Episcopal churches in Oakland County to tutor and feed students after school three days a week.
The proceeds from the “pew-filling extra” project raised over $20,000 to support the work of Bound Together. This amount supplements the $30,000 raised at a parish dinner dance and auction held in February. The total of $50,000 will go to underwrite the tutoring program and to help renovate the parish building intended to house community ministries.
Clergy and laity of the Esan Diocese, Anglican Communion during the weekend embarked on a procession in Uromi, over the burning of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State by suspected arsonists.
The Anglicans who were dressed in black, marched through the ever busy Ubiaja Road from Eguare Primary School to Angle 90 before returning to the burnt church.
They carried placards with various inscriptions and sang songs of lamentations as they marched through the road.
Speaking on the procession, the Archbishop of Bendel Province and Bishop of Esan Diocese, Most Rev’d Friday Imaekhai (pictured) said the exercise was designed to invoke God to forgive those behind the burning of the church, as they do not know what they have done.
Archbishop of Imaekhai said burning of God’s church was a form of gate of hell, as the consequences would always be disastrous.
He noted that they were taking advantage of the lent period , which is a time of seeking forgiveness of sin and repentance to embrace Christ.
Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral is set to host one of the most unorthodox events in its century-old history; an all-night rave, which has provoked a mixed reaction from its congregation.
The event, which has been organised by record label Dig Deeper and Liverpool club Freeze, will see 650 of the city's dance music fans have the opportunity to catch DJs Hernan Cattaneo and Danny Howells in what promises to be one of the most unusual musical performances of the year.
Taking place on Saturday 2nd April, the gig will conclude a day of workshops at the cathedral that are aimed to help provide people in the city a gateway into the music industry, with classes in DJ'ing and music production for children and the unemployed.
JMU Journalism spoke to a number of visitors to the cathedral on Sunday, and despite proving a surprise to many, the reaction varied from anger to encouragement for the plans.
Mary Casser-Hewitt, 58, from Frodsham said: “I’m quite shocked about it to be honest. I can understand, I suppose, why some people might think that it’s a good idea but it’s a holy place. It deserves better than that.”
Pastor Prudence Harris has a favorite phrase to describe her church.
"This is a church that sits between a brewery and a brook blessed by God," she often says.
The affectionate phrase literally describes St. Stephen's AME Church in Latrobe, where Harris has presided since 2008. The 40-by-20-foot yellow wood-frame church sits between the City Brewing plant and Loyalhanna Creek.
Harris, however, will soon need a new saying to describe the African Methodist Episcopal church.
City officials have given the go-ahead to City Brewing to move the 33rd Street church to a nearby parcel of land to make room for its proposed $7.5 million wastewater treatment facility. The brewery will pay for the move, which will take place in mid-April, as well as a 32-by-20-foot addition to the church that will be used for banquets and meetings.
THE Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend John Sentamu, has been in the Isle of Man this weekend to launch The Sodor Partnership, a new trust set up to work with the Island's community.
At a dinner hosted by The Sodor Partnership at St John’s Mill on Friday evening, Archbishop Sentamu and other guests of the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Right Reverend Robert Paterson, heard the Bishop describe the venture and, with the help of Scripture Union Ministries Team, Isle of Man, they were introduced to some areas of need that have been identified in the community in advance of setting up the trust.
The Sodor Partnership will give particular emphasis to projects involving young people and families and the trust has asked to be associated with the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust which operates throughout the north of England and the Island.
When Pat Phillips read a story about a church participating in the Soles4Souls program, where people donate new or lightly used shoes for those who are otherwise shoeless, it caught her attention.
"I thought it would be something we small groups could handle," says Phillips, who pitched the idea to her church, St. Luke's Episcopal in Lakeview.
The idea quickly spread. Six churches in Lakeview and Bly, along with the Lakeview Eagles Lodge, Lake District Hospital and the Forest Service-Bureau of Land Management Interagency Office in Lakeview, are now pitching in by accepting shoes until April 15 through the national Soles4Souls program.
The churches accept shoes only on Sundays but the three other Lakeview locations will take donations during weekday open hours.
Prom is right around the corner for local high school students but not every girl can afford to buy a dress. The Pretty in Pink Boutique opened at Bel Air Mall Saturday. The boutique offers area high school girls a free dress.
The Interact Club at St. Paul's Episcopal School helped the mall to collect the dresses and set up the boutique.
To get a dress, girls had to show their valid school identification or proof of enrollment.
The left over dresses will be packed up for next year.
It was a traditional ordination at St. Jerome Parish Saturday for a man with a non-traditional path to priesthood. Deacon Russell Arnett, now Father Arnett, was first ordained in the Episcopal Church where priests are allowed to marry. Now Arnett is the first priest to enter the Archdiocese of Milwaukee through what is called the "Pastoral Provision."
It is a Vatican rule started in 1980 that makes it easier for Anglican clergy to convert to Catholicism. Father Arnett is a reflection of about 100 married priests in the country who have all converted from other christian faiths.
Father Arnett's wife has also converted to the Catholic Church and is very supportive of her husband. She says it can be strange when she first tells people her husband is a priest but says people are generally receptive to the idea of a married priest.
The Rev. Chester Talton, who was born in Arkansas and moved to California as a toddler during the war years, is the new provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. He hopes to focus on spreading the good news of Jesus and doing outreach projects while continuing the legal efforts to regain property lost when Anglican Bishop John-David Schofield led the diocese away from the Episcopal Church over theological issues.
Talton replaces Bishop Jerry Lamb, who retired after a three-year tenure to his home in New Mexico.
The Bee spoke with the new bishop about his childhood, calling to the priesthood and vision for the future.