[Anglican Communion News Service] Primates from countries all over the Anglican Communion have joined the worldwide outcry the abduction of more than two hundred young girls from Chibok, Nigeria.
Over the past week church leaders on five continents have added their voices to the multitude of others calling for the safe return of the girls.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Thabo Makgoba condemned abductions of Nigerian Schoolgirls as an ‘outrage’. He called for “all of Africa, and especially South Africa” to rise up and demand the release of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted from their school three weeks ago.
Primate of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Francisco da Silva issued a lengthy statement condemning the “terrible act”.
“It was with a heavy heart that the Brazilian people, along with the rest of the world, learned of the kidnapping of over 200 young girls in Nigeria, at the hands of extremist group Boko Haram,” he wrote. “Many of us, especially in the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, have remembered the girls, their families, and the Nigerian people with prayers, tears, and compassion during this time.
“Nigeria, like so many countries, has of course had its trying and difficult times as a multi-religious society – but it is in times of difficulty like these that we set aside our differences, and stand together—in solidarity, in demanding peace, and most importantly, demanding the safe return of these young women. Not simply a return to their families – but their return to the lives they knew, their ability to go to school and be educated, to have a better future, and to be beautiful, active members of a future Nigerian society.”
Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz called the Anglican Church of Canada to pray for the situation in Nigeria, “The group behind the schoolgirl kidnappings, Boko Haram, and its declared intention ‘to sell them in the market’ is appalling. It is an abomination against internationally held human rights, and an absolute affront to the efforts of many nations to honour the Millennium Development Goals to empower women and young girls through a good education.
“I am asking Anglicans to offer prayers of special intent in the coming weeks with people of all faiths who are appalled by these crimes,” he added.
The Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of New Zealand called on people to pray for the release and protection of the 200 schoolgirls. Anglican Archbishops Philip Richardson and Brown Turei, and Roman Catholic Archbishop John Dew said this Sunday is an opportunity for churches across the country to pray for, and so stand with governments and churches across the globe, wanting a safe return of the young women.
Primate of the Episcopal Church the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a statement that the Church was “horrified” and what was taking place. “The unfortunate truth is that girls and women are still deemed dispensable in much of the world, or at least of lesser value than members of the other sex,” said the Presiding Bishop. “The necessary response is education – of girls and boys, in equal numbers and to an equal degree, that all might take their rightful place in societies that serve all their citizens with equal respect and dignity.
Calling what happened “an atrocious and inexcusable act” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “My prayers and thoughts go out to the young people and their families at this upsetting time. I appeal to those who have taken these schoolgirls to release them immediately and unharmed.
“This is in a part of Nigeria I have visited and in a country whose people are close to my heart. Let your hearts be open in compassion and mercy to those who have suffered so much.”
[Anglican Communion News Service] The day started with presentations from the Mission Cluster: the Anglican Communion Office’s (ACO) Mission Department, the Anglican Alliance, the international Networks, the ACO Women’s Desk and the Anglican presence at the UN.
The Rev. John Kafwanka stressed the holistic nature of mission in the Anglican Communion and how that is reflected in the mission work at the Anglican Communion Office. He said that two projects—a review of the companion links and a diaspora project in which they will explore how Anglicans respond to the issue of migration (people movement)—will be reported on in 2015.
He highlighted the digital presence including the one-stop-shop Resource Hub www.anglicanwitness.org where Anglicans can go to get resources on discipleship, children and young people, and general evangelistic resources. He said there had been some very encouraging responses from many places around the Communion including Lesotho, Spain, and Uruguay about the new site.
He said that three priorities for his office under Anglican Witness were discipleship; children and young people; and mobilising and sharing resources. He asked the standing committee to support a focus on discipleship for a seven year period from ACC-16, which they did. He quoted Archbishop David Vunagi who once said to him: “We have no problem filling our churches with people but they need to know what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed the focus on discipleship agreeing with Archbishop Vunagi. He said, “The church-going habit can as easily be lost as gained,” which is why people needed to have a deep relationship with Jesus Christ through God’s Holy Spirit.
To encourage support of ministry among young people across the Communion he is proposing a Youth and Children award (organised by the Core Group of Anglican Witness: Evangelism and Church Growth) to highlight and encourage good practice. He called young people a “force to be reckoned with” particularly in “the advancement of God’s kingdom and transformation of society.”
[Pesiding] Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (The Episcopal Church) encouraged the award to be for work by young people rather than for young people. The Revd Kafwanka said it would be an award for work for, by and with young people. Helen Biggin (Wales) suggested that young people ought to work with the Core Group to organise the award.
The Standing Committee endorsed the development of the proposed award project
Co-director the Rev. Rachel Carnegie began the presentation by stressing that the Anglican Alliance is all about the Communion’s family of churches and agencies working on relief, development and advocacy within the context of the Marks of Mission.
The other co-director, the Rev. Andy Bowerman, said the heart of the Anglican Alliance was about was a sense of restored relationships, of listening and interdependence. He made it clear that the Alliance is not a funding agency. It is rather about connecting our work, sharing skills and building capacity across the Communion, from the grassroots up. He reminded the Standing Committee of Anglican Alliance regional facilitators based in the Solomon Islands, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Brazil. He said the Alliance had, following regional and global consultations, adopted three global themes: youth and women’s empowerment; trafficking/slavery, migration and refugees; and climate change (including food security). In advocacy, the Alliance will focus on supporting the Communion’s voice in shaping the global post-2015 sustainable development goals.
Archbishop Daniel Deng (Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan) challenged the Alliance to play a positive role in representing majority world Churches to relief agencies to ensure contextually effective funding that supports the Church’s mission. Primate of the Church of Pakistan, Bishop Samuel Azariah, asked whether the Alliance could help his Province better communicate with donor agencies. Secretary General Canon Kenneth Kearon reminded the committee of the Alliance’s Agents of Change programme that was designed to do give Member Church staff the skills and language to work with funding agencies.
Louisa Mojela (Southern Africa) said it is important for Member Churches to remember that few churches have the proper skills to respond in an emergency situation, or accountability systems which is why funding agencies generally prefer to do the work themselves. Juanildo Burity (Brazil) said it was important for any Anglican relief goods be for anyone regardless of faith or background.
[Connecticut] Bishop Ian Douglas (The Episcopal Church) asked whether the role of the Anglican Alliance should occupy “a third space” between the relief agencies of the Church and the churches doing work on the ground. Mrs Carnegie said that the Alliance does indeed have a role as a broker between these two groups, providing a platform for communication and particularly in amplifying the local church voice.
The Rev. Terrie Robinson, Anglican Communion Networks Co-ordinator and Women’s Desk Officer, presented on the international networks of the Anglican Communion.* She explained that the Networks tell the stories of grass roots experience; share news and information; (some) undertake advocacy; provide information to the Instruments of Communion; and prayer and relationship-building.
She highlighted those that were particularly demonstrating best practice. These included the Anglican Communion Environment Network which recently used digital communications channels to promote their Lenten Fast Blog. The Lenten material generated “a vast amount of conversation and debate” explained Mrs Robinson. She also highlighted the Eco Bishops initiative led by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.
Mrs Robinson said another ‘thriving’ network is the Family network. She paid tribute to its former Chair Ian Sparks who died this year. Mrs Robinson explained that under the new Chair Bishop David Rossdale the Network continues to promote the family as the place where each member can have status and have their God-given dignity upheld and protected. One way the Network is doing this is through promoting the Church’s role in Birth Registration.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby responded to Mrs Robinson’s report on the work of the Safe Church Network by stressing how important it was to ensure Churches are places where people are safe: “There’s no point at all talking about youth ministry if churches are not safe for children.”
The presentation led to a conversation about the future of the Networks.
In discussing the issues facing women across the Anglican Communion, Mrs Robinson said that “the churches have made some progress in strengthening the arm of women but the pace has generally been slow”. She said that “the way forward is not a battle of the sexes; it’s exactly the opposite. Women and men can equally own the journey towards gender equality.
Mrs Robinson’s information resource for the 16 Days of Activism against Violence Against Women is now accessible from 130 websites of Anglican/Episcopal dioceses, agencies, and education institutions. She showed the Standing Committee images of men and women in Anglican Communion Provinces including Rwanda, the Church of North India, England and Brazil working to address violence against women and girls and said, “We can be very proud [of what Anglicans are already doing], but not complacent. There is so much more to do to bring about the transformation we long to see.”
Anglican Communion Representation at the United Nations in Geneva
The Rev. Canon Flora Winfield gave the Standing Committee an overview of her new role as Anglican Communion Representative to the United Nations institutions in Geneva, and of the current and potential relationship between the Anglican Communion and the UN institutions. She said that her role included developing UN literacy across the Communion; enabling the voices of the Communion to be heard in the processes and institutions of the UN; and facilitating partnership working to increase the impact of the Communion’s Member Churches’ work on global and local issues.
Having visited a range of representatives of organisations and Churches based in Geneva, Canon Winfield identified several areas of synergy and potential. These included the Welcoming the Stranger document which emerged from the UNHCR Dialogue on Faith and Protection from faith leaders and was signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in November last year. She explained, “This document challenges us to work for reconciliation across difference and stand with the most marginalised.”
The other priority is birth registration. Canon Winfield said, at the local level, the Church has a unique opportunity through the ministry of baptism to promote the importance of registering a child’s birth. Engaging with the issue at the UN level means the Anglican Communion can have an impact at another level: challenging national governments to do what they can to make registration universal. She added that the Anglican Communion is already doing work on this issue in several countries, not least through the Mothers’ Union.
The final presentation of the day was from Stephen Lyon updating the Standing Committee about his visit to Zambia to talk to members of the Church of the Province of Central Africa about the pending Anglican Consultative Council meeting in 2015. He said there was a real sense of pride about the event being held in Zambia with local people saying “this will be the only time in our life time that the ACC will come to us”. There was, said Mr Lyon, a great enthusiasm and a real sense of hospitality and welcome.
*These include: the Anglican Health Network, the Anglican Indigenous Network, the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, Colleges & Universities of the Anglican Communion, the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, the Anglican Communion Safe Church Network, the Anglican Refugee & Migrant Network, the International Anglican Family Network, the International Anglican Women’s Network, the International Anglican Youth Network and the Réseau Francophone de la Communion Anglicane.
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] With the reports of violence and casualties, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has called for prayers for South Sudan and Sudan.
She joins with the heads of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in issuing A Message of Solidarity with the Church in South Sudan
Here is the message:
A Message of Solidarity with the Church in South Sudan
from the heads of
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Episcopal Church
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Friday, May 9, 2014
The situation in South Sudan continues to be extremely difficult, and news of it in North American media is minimal. Violence has been fomented and stirred by political leaders for their own ends. Although the mainstream media portrays the conflict as ethnic, its roots, as with any conflict, are varied and complicated. Regardless, there can never be a rationale for the suffering that has been wrought.
Our partners in South Sudan have suffered massive casualties. Their people have been murdered, raped, tortured, and burned out of their homes. Churches and entire villages have been destroyed. In spite of extensive displacement, Anglicans/Episcopalians and Lutherans continue to be active in relief and peace-making efforts through our partners in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and the Lutheran World Federation.
We urge you to join in prayer for the people of South Sudan and Sudan, for a lasting and meaningful peace, and for immediate aid and response to the needs of the myriad of displaced persons.
As we celebrate the feast of the Resurrection, we urge you to help make the risen body of Christ evident to those who labor through the valley of the shadow of death.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Anglican Church of Canada
Bishop Susan Johnson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Episcopal Church Sudan information www.episcopalchurch.org/sudan
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Episcopal Relief & Development www.episcopalrelief.org/southsudan
[World Council of Churches press release] Church leaders from South Sudan are arriving in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, all set to take part in the start of negotiations between South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. The negotiations aim to find solutions for the world’s newest nation, reeling from violence since last year that has left thousands dead and millions homeless.
Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of the Episcopal Church of Sudan are mong these church leaders, as well as Peter Gai Lual Marrow of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, who was scheduled to arrive to Addis Ababa on 9 May.
These church leaders are accompanied by Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, former general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ecumenical special envoy for South Sudan and Sudan, who will be representing the All Africa Conference of Churches. Dr Nigussu Legesse, the WCC’s programme executive for advocacy for Africa, will also be present.
The participation of church leaders in the Addis Ababa negotiations comes after the recent visit to Juba of an ecumenical delegation which urged leaders on both sides to use the negotiations as an opportunity to agree to dialogue and implement an immediate ceasefire.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, was in Juba last week meeting with representatives of local churches. He stressed that South Sudanese churches have “rich spiritual resources to help find a way towards peace.”
“Churches in South Sudan have a significant role in national dialogue, affirming unity and a sense of nation-building by strengthening a process of reconciliation,” Tveit said. “In this process of reconciliation, youth and women must be empowered.”
“We will pray and work with the churches in South Sudan, while they continue addressing these struggles in their pilgrimage for justice and peace,” Tveit concluded.
Among other efforts by the church bodies to end conflict in South Sudan, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) along with the South Sudan’s Islamic Council will participate in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace process.
[The Church Pension Group ] The Church Pension Group (CPG) announced today that Roger A. Sayler has joined CPG to succeed William L. Cobb, Jr., as Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer on June 19, 2014. Mr. Cobb, who has so admirably served the Church and CPG with a depth of expertise, dedication and insight, is retiring after 15 faithful years of service in that capacity and will continue as an advisor.
“Roger Sayler is a recognized leader in the investment community who brings both institutional investment management experience and leadership skills,” said Mary Kate Wold, CPG’s CEO and President. “We are delighted to welcome him to the CPG team.”
Prior to joining CPG, Mr. Sayler served as Chief Operating Officer at Columbia Management Group. Before that, he spent 20 years at J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc., where, as Managing Director, he headed such areas as Structured Equity Portfolio Management and Mutual Funds and served as global head of derivatives.
“Roger and I worked closely together for many years at J.P. Morgan,” said Mr. Cobb, “and we share a common investment philosophy.”
Agraduate of Dartmouth College, Mr. Sayler received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His not-for-profit experience includes serving as trustee and chair of the Investment Committee of Portico Benefit Services (previously, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Board of Pensions). “I am honored to play a role in CPG’s important mission of service to those who serve The Episcopal Church,” he said.
Mr. Sayler is only the second Chief Investment Officer in CPG’s history. Mr. Cobb, its first, began working on the Church Pension Fund investment portfolio in 1981 while at J.P. Morgan, and joined CPG as the company’s first Chief Investment Officer when he retired as Vice Chairman of J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc. in 1999. Under Mr. Cobb’s leadership, the Church Pension Fund built a strong investment team that now includes 28 professionals, opened an office in Hong Kong in 2009, and expanded the diversification of investment programs globally.
“Bill’s contribution to the financial strength of The Church Pension Fund is immeasurable,” said Ms. Wold, “and we thank him for his long and faithful service as our first Chief Investment Officer.”
[Church of the Redeemer -- Sarasota, Florida] The Rev. Charleston David Wilson has joined the Church of the Redeemer, as a new Priest Associate with the parish. Fr. Wilson will be assisting Redeemer’s Rector, The Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson, in the areas of Evangelism and Outreach.
“Fr. Fred is a nationally — and internationally — recognized and proven leader in the Anglican Communion,” said Fr. Wilson. “To be able to sit at his feet and learn from him is a great blessing.”
Fr. Wilson was ordained at Redeemer in December, 2014. He earned a degree in Religion from Samford University and a Master of Divinity from Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin, where he also served as the Associate Dean of Institutional Advancement.
A member of the Board of Directors for SOMA, an international Anglican missionary organization, Fr. Wilson is also a member of the Board of Trustees of The Anglican Digest. He and his wife, Malacy, have two children: 5-year-old Robert Augustus and 3-year-old Mary Camille.