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Weekly News Summary on Tuesday 5 May 2020

Posted on: May 5, 2020 3:57 PM
Related Categories: Global

Archbishop Allan Migi of Papua New Guinea announces health-related resignation

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, Archbishop Allan Migi, has announced that he will step down on Monday (11 May) on health grounds. His resignation letter was sent to Senior Bishop Nathan Ingen, who will act as interim Archbishop until a new primate is elected.

In his resignation letter, Archbishop Allan said that a prolonged health condition and slow recovery had affected his episcopal roles and responsibilities within the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea over the past few months.

Announcing the news, the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, Dennis Kabekabe, thanked Archbishop Allan for his humility, leadership, obedience and commitment in serving ACPNG in 30 years of ordained ministry.

“We wish you well in recovery to good health after this resignation”, he said. “We take this time to also thank Mother Mary Migi for her support to Archbishop Allan Migi and the work she has done with the Mothers’ Union.”

Couple marry online during Abu Dhabi Covid-19 lockdown

An Anglo-French couple have married online after a lockdown in their home city Abu Dhabi prevented the planned ceremony taking place. Liam Bek, 40, and his new wife Solène Montiège, 36, had arranged a ceremony at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Abu Dhabi on 26 March; but the United Arab Emirates went on a Coronavirus lockdown on 11 March, forcing the wedding to be cancelled alongside all other public gatherings.

But Liam, a teacher from England, and Solène, a horse-riding instructor from France, were able to tie the knot when the Priest in Charge of St Andrew’s, Canon Andrew Thompson, agreed to conduct the ceremony using the Zoom video conferencing platform. The couple stayed at their home in the Abu Dhabi suburb of Mushrif, while Canon Thompson led the service from an otherwise empty church.

More than 100 guests took part in the wedding from all over the world. “We were worried that it wouldn’t have the feel of a real wedding and the technology wouldn’t work for a lot of people,” Liam Bek told The National English-language newspaper. “It hit us like a thunderbolt during the wedding that it was actually happening and we were going to become husband and wife. It was such a massive relief we were able to do it with everything going on.”

“Canada needs Guaranteed Basic Income for all” – Anglican and Lutheran bishops argue

A group of 41 bishops from the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada have issued a plea for a guaranteed basic income. In an open letter to Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau; Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland; and Finance Minister, Bill Morneau; the Church leaders say that they applaud the government’s pandemic-related programs, but say that more needs to be done.

“These programs address vital needs”, they said. “As you have seen in practice, each of these programs is based on specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, with the result that there are different entitlements for individuals in varying circumstances. Way-finding through this can be daunting and some are excluded from all programs. We aspire to share this goal: that no one should fall through the gaps, and that everyone should have straightforward access to equitable support.

“There is a way to that goal: an alternative, affordable, just, evidence-based policy option called Guaranteed Basic Income. As Pope Francis wrote last week: ‘This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage’. We would extend and amplify the Pontiff’s remarks: ‘This IS the time.’”

US-based Episcopal Church explores “what a post-pandemic church might look like”

[Episcopal News Service, by Egan Millard] At a special virtual meeting of the US-based Episcopal Church’s Executive Council on 29 April, church leaders discussed some of the possible changes in store as the church prepares to “re-tool” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The brief, previously unscheduled meeting of Executive Council – called for by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings and Council Secretary Michael Barlowe – was held on Zoom in advance of the council’s regular June meeting, which was scheduled to take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but will now be held online.

During his remarks, Curry praised the church for its swift and creative response to restrictions on in-person worship, as bishops and other church leaders navigated unprecedented legal, medical and theological dilemmas. Questions emerged about the logistics of the Eucharist – including canonical concerns about the availability of both the bread and wine and hypothetical scenarios like remote consecration – that required quick and thoughtful responses, and ministries like food pantries adapted their practices to the new reality on the fly.

“I saw this church do what I wouldn’t have dreamed of, and I thank God for that,” Curry said, praising clergy for their ingenuity in pastoral care and remote Holy Week worship.

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Nigerian Primate, Archbishop Chukwudum Ndukuba, urges Church leaders to “train and retrain”

The Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Chukwudum Ndukuba, has called on Christians, pastors and church leaders to “rethink the way we do ministry” in light of the Covid-19 lockdown, which he said had taken the Church by surprise.

“We have gotten so used to the traditional way of gathering people in large numbers in our Churches, especially during major Christian celebrations such as Christmas and Easter. But, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Churches have been advised to stop all public gatherings, and members have been instructed to stay at home, which has left many Churches empty and at a loss on what to do, and how to reach out to their congregations.

“Therefore, as Christians and Church leaders, we must rise up to the challenge and utilise every technology at our disposal, to keep on propagating the gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

“It is a learning process, because many of us are not used to online services and the likes. But, we must continue to train and retrain ourselves, as ministers of the gospel, and work together to ensure that the Church of God continues to match on.”

Publication of Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith resources delayed

The Church of England has announced that publication of its major new collection of resources to help Christians discuss and consider issues of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage has been postponed. In a statement, the Church of England said that its “House of Bishops has agreed that, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the publication of the Living in Love and Faith resources, which had been scheduled to take place in June, should be postponed.”

The statement said that work on the resources would continue, and that publication would “initiate a process of whole Church engagement, within a clear timeframe, to enable the Church to discern and decide about the way forward” on the issues.

More than two years of work has gone into the resources, and consultation has taken place across the Anglican Communion. “The vision continues to be one of enabling the whole Church to explore the resources together and so to contribute to the Church’s discernment about these matters that affect deeply our life together in love and faith,” the statement said.

Archbishop of York to lead valedictory debate in the House of Lords

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will lead a debate on poverty in the upper house of the UK Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday). Dr Sentamu, who retires on 7 June, is one of 26 Church of England bishops who sit in House of Lords. Tomorrow’s sitting of the House of Lords will take place via video conferencing – the House of Lords has moved to “Virtual Proceedings” as part of the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown. Members of the House of Lords will debate “the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.”