A weekly roundup of Anglican Communion news plus opinion, reviews, photos, profiles and other things of interest from across the Anglican/Episcopal world.
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This edition includes...
- This week's Anglican Communion news
- Anglican Life - Nigerian churches increase security for Easter weekend
- Anglican Life - Philippine church leaders say crucifixion reenactments are unnecessary
- Anglican Life - New Zealand church sets up provocative Crucifixion billboard
- Anglican Life - £26 business loans offered to youth groups
- Anglican Life - What would you pray for with Jesus in Gethsemane?
- Anglican Life - Respect the Rule of Law, ACK Leaders Urge Kenyans
- Anglican Life - CofE YouTube campaigning song
- Digital Communion - Live webcast of Good Friday, Easter from Salt Lake City cathedral
- Digital Communion - Sister Margaret's Good Friday podcast
- Digital Communion - The Easter story according to Twitter
- The coming week's Anglican Cycle of Prayer.
Nigerian churches increase security for Easter weekend
By Lekan Otufodunrin
Lagos, Nigeria, 5 April (ENInews)--Ahead of Easter celebrations, churches in Northern Nigeria have beefed up their security to avert any possible attack by radical Islamist groups.
"We are aware that they can choose to strike at a time like this, like they have done in the past. That is why churches in the North have taken the advice of the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to ensure that they are not caught unawares," Pastor Ladi Thompson, CAN special adviser on conflict resolution and terrorism, told ENInews.
Members of the Boko Haram terrorist group have repeatedly attacked churches in Northern Nigeria on worship days, leaving many dead and injured.
Residents of Kano, the commercial capital of northern Nigeria were on 4 April warned by the Army authorities to be mindful of their movement during the Easter period based on a report of a possible attack by terrorists in the state.
In Plateau State, churches are complying with the advice of the Commissioner of Police Emmanuel Ayeni to adopt new security measures to check any planned attack against churches.
"All is calm in the state for now but we are at alert and ready to prevent any terrorist attack which has led to dwindling church attendance in the state," said the Christian Association Chairman, the Rev. Philip Dafe.
The national Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Abubakar, directed Zonal and States Commands of the police to provide adequate security to all places of worship during Easter.
The IGP gave the directive in a press statement on 5 April in Abuja. It said the IGP had directed zonal Assistant Inspectors General and Police Commissioners to ensure proper coverage of all vulnerable points and highways.
Philippine church leaders say crucifixion reenactments are unnecessary
By Maurice Malanes
Baguio City, Philippines, 5 April (ENInews)--On Good Friday each year in some areas of the Philippines, Christians reenact the crucifixion as a sign of repentance or thanks. But Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders say the practice is unnecessary.
"Our identification with Christ should be internal...more about spiritual renewal," Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma of the Catholic Bishops Conference told the church-run Radio Veritas.
Palma issued the statement after reports said some 20 people would be nailed to the cross on Good Friday in the villages of Cutud, Santa Lucia and San Juan, all in the Pampanga province in northern Philippines, while another would be crucified in the village of Duljo-Fatima in Cebu City in central Philippines.
Ruben Enaje, a 51-year-old carpenter, has been leading real-life crucifixions on Good Friday for the past 26 years because survived without a scratch when he accidentally fell from the third floor of a building he and other workers were constructing.
"This is my way of showing gratitude to the Lord," he told the Business Mirror newspaper.
Palma said the Catholic Church neither judges nor condemns the practice. "But we discourage it," he said.
Bishop Marino Inong of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines said he has no quarrel with those who crucify themselves as penitence. "But I see this is as a form of fanaticism and fatalism, which blurs the essence of real Christian faithfulness," he said.
Fr. Rex Reyes, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, said the crucifixion rite should be banned.
Instead, "we must reflect on the message of the resurrection, which is one of victory over death and the forces of death, including the wanton loss of lives as only God who gives life can take away life," said Reyes.
Bishop Moises Chungalao of the Free Believers Fellowship, a Pentecostal group, said that reenacting Christ's crucifixion is a misplaced interpretation of his admonition to take up his cross and follow him. "What he meant was self-denial of our selfish desires," he said.
New Zealand church sets up provocative Crucifixion billboard
By David Crampton
5 April (ENInews)--A New Zealand church's latest provocative billboard shows a picture of a crucified Jesus on a Facebook page, with the image "liked" by Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.
"We decided to make a joke about the propensity of Christians to lay blame," said the Rev. Glynn Cardy, vicar of St. Matthew's-in-the-City Anglican church in downtown Auckland. "Who was to blame for Jesus' death?" he said in a video interview on the www.stuff.co.nz media website.
It's not the first time St. Matthew's has tried to get people talking. Last Christmas its billboard, erected on a corner of the church lawn, featured a shocked Mary holding a positive test from a home pregnancy kit.
Although a sign under the billboard lists the conventional Holy Week and Easter services, some of Cardy's theological views are as unconventional as the billboard. Regarding Easter, Cardy said Judas and the Jews were originally blamed for Jesus' death, and Christians now blame themselves because of the idea that Jesus died for our sins.
"Jesus was not a cosmic sacrifice for our sins -- I don't go with that at all," he said in an interview. "He died because he peeved a bunch of powerful people off. He lived and preached a message of radical inclusion that threatened the status quo [and] the authorities killed him for it."
Cardy said he believes "the 'dying for sins' business was a spin the Church applied at a later date."
His Easter Sunday sermon, obtained by ENInews, will discuss spiritual anarchy and the death of Jesus. "Jesus was out of control and wanted to break the control system. It was a vision that would get him killed. It was a bad Friday on that Golgotha hill," Cardy said.
In previous years, vandals have slashed the St. Matthew's billboards.
£26 business loans offered to youth groups
A new initiative for school and youth groups to set up their own small business has been launched by Christian microfinance charity, Five Talents. Capitalising on the current interest in Young Apprentice and business ideas, young people will now share their business profit with entrepreneurs in poor countries around the world.
The Five Talents ‘BizBox’ is a kit of inspiring ideas and tools that includes a voucher for a £26 startup loan - the equivalent of a microfinance loan made to small business in Tanzania. Five Talents are providing loans to the first 100 groups who submit a simple business plan online. Video Flipcams are being offered as prizes to groups who make the most money and demonstrate the most original idea.
Five Talents Development Director, Anthony McKernan said “We have made it very easy for a school or youth group to start their own business and learn about micro-enterprise in the process. The BizBox contains our top five ideas, but groups can choose their own business and compete against others”.
To get started you can visit www.fivetalents.org.uk/bizbox
Church asks ‘what would you pray for with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane?’ - as survey finds 85 per cent have things they would pray for
From the Church of England
The Church of England is asking ‘what would you pray for with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane?’ today, Maundy Thursday. It is inviting the 85 per cent of adults who, in a new survey, have expressed the things they would pray for, to add their prayers in full to the website www.prayoneforme.org .
The ICM survey discovered that the most popular responses involved praying for other people: 26% said they would pray for ‘a family member’, 25% said ‘peace in the world’, and 20% said ‘healing for another’.
Holy Week is the period in the Church calendar when we remember, amongst other key moments in the last days of His life, Jesus being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, after spending time praying for himself, His disciples and all believers (John 17), and praying in the garden about the enormous task ahead of him, while His disciples fell asleep (Matthew 26:36-46).
The Bishop of Dudley, the Rt Revd David Walker, said: “If we have something to pray for, let’s not be silent like the disciples at Gethsemane, but let’s add our prayers to the website prayoneforme.org at this special time.”
The other as yet ‘unprayed prayers’ were: ‘less stress in my life’ (17%), ‘an end to world poverty’ (16%), ‘guidance’ (15%), ‘thankfulness’ (15%), ‘my partner’ (14%), ‘prosperity’ (14%), ‘a friend’ (13%), ‘healing for myself’ (12%), ‘marriage or relationship’ (11%), ‘forgiveness’ (10%), ‘work’ (8%), ‘my spiritual life’ (7%), ‘my studies’ (4%), ‘my church’ (4%), ‘something else’ (6%), ‘don’t know’ (7%).
Only 15% said ‘I would never pray for anything’.
The prayers posted on the website www.prayoneforme.org , and its accompanying Facebook page at www.facebook.com/prayoneforme , are prayed through by church groups and prayer communities across the Church of England; the site includes guidance on how to pray, and information on the people who hold the contributions before God in prayer.
Notes to editors
- The online survey of 2,000 adults in England, Scotland and Wales was conducted between 30th March and 1st April 2012 by ICM Research.
- The question asked was: “Irrespective of whether you currently pray or not, if you were to pray for something at the moment, what would it be for?”
Respect the Rule of Law, ACK Leaders Urge Kenyans
The Archbishop, Bishops, Regional Development Coordinators and Heads of Departments & Institutions of the Anglican Church of Kenya, met at the ACK Mombasa Guest House from 20th to 22nd March 2012 and deliberated on the progress of constitutional reforms and the state of the nation.
The consultation aimed at discussing the ACK advocacy agenda in the run up to Kenya's first general elections under the new constitutional dispensation, discussed the political scenarios emerging in the nation and the role of the church in national cohesion.
The ACK leaders called upon Kenyans to respect the rule of law and support the institutions delegated to make laws regarding the disputed poll dates. “The debate regarding the date for elections must not distract Kenyans from focusing on the process that will lead to free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections. The process is more important than the date. However, elections must be held as close as possible to the end of the term of the current parliament,” said the Archbishop in statement released during a press conference held after the meeting.
Full Press Release link
Going for a song: CofE YouTube recording calls on Government to bring back zero rate introduction of VAT on alterations to listed buildings
The Dean of Wakefield’s wife Pamela Greener has written and performed a campaigning ditty in the demolished nave of Wakefield Cathedral as part of the CofE campaign to halt Government VAT plans unveiled in the budget. The YouTube recording has been sent to the Chancellor, George Osborne’s Office and HMRC.
Full details below or at: http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2012/04/going-for-a-song-cofe-youtube-recording-calls-on-government-to-bring-back-zero-rate-vat-on-alterations-to-listed-buildings.aspx
For the song go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEWgVkBKpeI
The cathedral is one of thousands of CofE buildings that will be affected if the Government goes ahead withintroducing VAT on listed building alterations. Campaigners are being urged to sign the two e-petitions to bring back zero rate VAT to alterations to the CofE's 12,500 listed churches. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32229 http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32056
After four years of fundraising in Wakefield, work finally started to renew the iconic Grade 1 listed building on March 19 – including the removal of the pews. Three days later and the Chancellor’s planned VAT increase in his March budget has put the whole project into jeopardy, with the bill increasing by £200,000.
The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener: “Music is a powerful means of communication which is why it is such an important part of Cathedral life. “So I was delighted that my wife should write this song and make this video to support us all in our campaign to stop this crippling, unfair tax.”
The Bishop of London, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry MP, and Anne Sloman, chair of the Church Buildings Council have all written letters to the Chancellor to voice serious concerns about the proposed imposition of VAT on alterations to listed buildings.
Live webcast of Good Friday, Easter from Salt Lake City cathedral
Good Friday, April 6: Noon – The Good Friday Liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer; the Very Rev. Ray Waldon, Dean, Cathedral Church of St. Mark, presiding; Bishop Scott B. Hayashi preaching.
Easter Sunday, April 8: 10:30 am – Festive Eucharist with Bishop Scott B. Hayashi presiding and the Very Rev. Ray Waldon, Cathedral Dean, preaching.
Good Friday podcast
By General Synod Communications on April 5, 2012
In this podcast for Good Friday, Sister Margaret considers the sign of Jonah and how God loves all people—even those who betray him.
The Easter story according to Twitter
ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER Click here for the full ACP
Friday 06-Apr-2012 Good Friday
Psalm: Lam 1:12-14 Gen. 22:1-14
For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation; Thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation. Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving
Saturday 07-Apr-2012 Holy Saturday
Psalm: Lam. 3:22-33 *Bar. 3:9-19
Busan - (Korea) The Rt Revd Onesimus Dongsin Park
Sunday 08-Apr-2012 Resurrection of our Lord Easter Day
Psalm: 118:1-5 Heb. 4:1-11
If ye be risen Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God
Monday 09-Apr-2012 Monday in Easter Week
Psalm: 148 Heb. 4:12-16
Bungoma - (Kenya) The Revd George Mechumo
Tuesday 10-Apr-2012 Tuesday in Easter Week
Psalm: 149 Heb. 6:1-6
Bunyoro-Kitara - (Uganda) The Rt Revd Nathan Kyamanywa
Wednesday 11-Apr-2012 Wednesday in Easter Week
Psalm: 145:13-21 Heb. 6:7-12
Busoga - (Uganda) The Rt Revd Dr Michael Kyomya
Thursday 12-Apr-2012 Thursday in Easter Week
Psalm: 146 Heb. 6:13-20
Butare - (Rwanda) The Rt Revd Nathan Gasatura
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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.