Anglican Communion furloughs a further eight staff members
The Anglican Communion Office this week announced that a further nine staff members have been, or are in the process of being, furloughed. This takes the total number of staff placed on extended leave as a result of the Covid-19 to 14. The decision has been made with the support of the UK government’s job retention scheme and will continue until the end of June. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said: “much of our programmatic activity has been temporarily suspended; and we are focused on supporting our member churches as they respond effectively to the changed world we now find ourselves in.”
Anglican Communion News Service reduces output and suspends translation
The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) is temporarily suspending its translation service and cutting back on its scheduled output. From this week it will publish a single article round-up once a week summarising developments around the Communion; and a weekly blog post giving information about the province to be featured on the following Sunday’s Anglican Cycle of Prayer. Director for Communications, Gavin Drake, said: “The take up for our French, Spanish and Portuguese services has been light and require a sustained marketing campaign to make them viable. This is not time to launch such a marketing exercise. We will review our international language service once the pandemic crisis has subsided.”
Anglican Communion joins other faith communities in Covid-19 gender justice plea
Government responses to the Covid-19 pandemic should include strategies to address and prevent sexual and gender based violence, a consortium of faith groups including the Anglican Communion said this week. The international Side-by-Side consortium is calling for governments and civil society to deploy urgent responses to protect women’s rights and achieve gender equality. The call came in a joint statement, which can be read on the Gender Justice page of the Anglican Communion website.
Anglican Alliance launches Faith in the time of Coronavirus Bible studies
A series of Bible studies, “Faith in the time of Coronavirus”, has been launched by the Anglican Alliance. The Alliance, which is also maintaining an international Covid-19 Resource Hub, says that the Bible studies have been produced “to help Christians reflect on their faith and scriptures in the midst of the pandemic.”
“The Coronavirus pandemic is now affecting every part of the world, disrupting people’s lives and creating fear, anxiety, sorrow and hardship”, an Anglican Alliance spokesperson told ACNS. “Where can we find strength and hope at this troubling time? What might faith look like in a time of Covid-19? How might God be calling us to respond to the impacts of the pandemic?”
The Anglican Alliance worked with a small group of biblical scholars, theologians and church leaders from across the world to produce the Bible studies. The foreword has been written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. They can be found here.
Mozambique Anglicans facing multiple significant humanitarian crises
Anglicans in the Diocese of Nampula are responding to multiple humanitarian crises on top of the Covid-19 pandemic. The region of northern Mozambique is still recovering from Cyclone Kenneth, which struck the region a year ago – just one month after the new missionary diocese of Nampula was inaugurated by the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba. It is also facing increasing insurgency and violence. The Interior Minister Amade Miquidade said yesterday (Tuesday) that at least 128 militants were killed by government forces in response to a massacre of 52 young people earlier this month.
In addition to Covid-19, the cyclone recovery and the insurgency, the region is also facing a wave of cholera and food insecurity.
The diocese has mobilised community health workers to educate communities on COVID-19 and preparing a humanitarian response of food, seeds and resources. The Equipas da Vida (Teams of Life) groups “!are being trained to give clear and accurate messaging on Covid-19 [and] have plans to support the vulnerable with food & resources in 98 communities reaching at least 50,000 people”, the Mozambique & Angola Anglican Association told ACNS this week as it launched a joint appeal with Anglican Overseas Aid, the development agency of the Anglican Church of Australia.
North Wales priest leading community PPE manufacturing hub
A priest from North Wales is coordinating a community Coronavirus PPE hub producing hundreds of face shields for the National Health Service, care homes, doctors and community nurses. The Revd Rebecca Sparey-Taylor, a curate at St Margaret’s Church in Garden Village and St Mark’s Church in Caia Park, Wrexham, is working with more than 20 volunteers to make and deliver the face shields across North Wales.
Her husband Graham sourced a 3D printer and their two sons, 13-year-old Joseph and 11-year-old Isaac found a plan online. The family are part of a dispersed team of people using a pool of 30 3D printers working around the clock to produce the face shields
After being made, the masks are sent to Bangor University for sterilisation before being distributed to hospital wards.
More than 100 hospital and health care staff in the UK have died from Covid-19.
Peshawar cathedral supports low-paid workers with PPE
Volunteers from St John’s Cathedral in Peshawar, Pakistan, have begun distributing face masks and sanitisers to low-paid essential workers. They say that they are doing it to serve “the most neglected section of the society who perform menial jobs such as sanitation and janitorial services for the community.” They added: “This particular group of society performs essential duties like front line workers but are not noted nor appreciated. They have no awareness regarding coronavirus nor have any protection against Covid-19.”
Church of England to lead weekly collective worship service at new national virtual school
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will lead the first school assembly tomorrow (Thursday) at a new national online school set up in response to the lockdown in the UK. It will be the start of weekly collective worship sessions provided by the Church of England.
Schoolchildren in the UK – apart from vulnerable children and children of key workers – have been at home since Friday 20 March, a few days before the national lockdown was announced on Monday 23 March. The Oak National Academy was set up in under two weeks, through a collaboration of 40 state school teachers and organisations across the education sector to support teachers and pupils across the country.
“I suspect this year 2020 will stick in the mind for many reasons and there are lots of things that you will be going through”, Archbishop Justin will say in tomorrow’s assembly. “What do we do with that? For Christians, it’s all summed up in a word ‘hope’
“Hope means the certain expectation of something you don’t have yet but you will have in the future because it’s been promised by God. Hope is hope of Life, hope of purpose, hope of peace, hope of justice, equality and a good future.”
Area Bishop for North Africa elected as Coadjutor Bishop of Egypt
Bishop Samy Fawzy, the Area Bishop of North Africa, has been elected Coadjutor Bishop of Egypt. Bishop Samy will become the diocesan bishop of Egypt following the retirement of Bishop Mouneer Anis, a former Primate of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Bishop Samy received 73.49 per cent of the votes.
“The election was done in prayerful spirit”, Bishop Mouneer said. “I am grateful to the nomination committee who worked very hard to insure a very transparent election. Please pray for Bishop Samy as he prepares to take the full responsibility of overseeing the diocese and for the coming months in which I will hand over to him.”
Later this year, the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa is set to become the 41st Province in the Anglican Communion when it leaves its current province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The new province will have four dioceses: Egypt, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Gambella. The primate will be elected from amongst the four diocesan bishops.