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Weekly News Summary on Tuesday 8 September

Posted on: September 8, 2020 7:25 PM
Related Categories: Global

We apologise that, because of operational issues, we were unable to publish a News Summary last week (1 September).

Archbishop Justin Welby: United Nations is “an icon of the hopes and dreams of a world that wants to live at peace”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has praised the work of the United Nations in a video message to mark the international body’s 75th anniversary. The video message was played during an online gathering organised by the United Nations Multi-Faith Advisory Council earlier today (Tuesday).

In his message, Archbishop Justin described the UN as “the icon of the hopes and dreams of a world that wants to live at peace.” If peace was to happen, he said, “it has to happen in partnership with faith communities around the world.”

He added: “Let’s be straight forward – many faith communities have acted badly in the past, and Christians have a pretty grim history. One of my predecessors as Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Pole, actually ensured that his predecessor, Archbishop Cranmer, was burned at the stake for what Pole considered was his heretical views.

“We have persecuted each other. We have fought each other. And it is in our capacity to change, to be new in the way we deal with each other, to disagree but to disagree well, that we can contribute to that vision of a peaceful world.

“Because if we can show that we can change. If we can show that we are deeply committed to supporting and upholding peace and reconciliation around the world, then anyone can do it. And if we can show that with more than 80 per cent of the world belonging to one faith community or another, then the world can find peace.

“That dream of peace should be our dream, and not just the dream of the UN. It should be our hope and prayer, and not just the hope and prayer of those caught up in conflict – always the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, women, children, as well as men.”

Today’s event was timed to coincide with next Tuesday’s opening of the UN’s General Assembly. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, most sessions will take place online, with world leaders using pre-recorded video messages rather than travelling in person to New York to take part.

The UN’s Secretary General, António Guterres, has called for the 75th anniversary to be marked with an extended “people’s debate” which “promises to be the largest and furthest-reaching global conversation ever on building the future we want.”

Mr Guterres will address the UN in person on 21 September to “generate renewed support for multilateralism”, the UN said, describing it as “an issue many believe has become ever more urgent as the world faces up to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Former ACC Chair John Denton – “the quintessential church administrator” – has died

[by Muriel Porter] Anglicans around Australia and the worldwide Anglican Communion are mourning the recent death of Mr John Denton, a significant senior lay church leader both in Australia and internationally. John, who has died in Bateau Bay, NSW, at the age of 91, was General Secretary of the Australian General Synod from 1970 to 1994, and served two terms in the 1980s as chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Anglican Communion’s representative “Instrument of Communion”.

John Denton was born in Melbourne and educated at Camberwell Grammar School, where he was a prefect; he is honoured in the school’s “gallery of achievement”. With his wife Shirley, he served with the Church Missionary Society in East Africa, where he was secretary of the Central Tanganyika Diocese from 1954 to 1964. Returning to Australia, he first became Sydney Diocese’s Director of Information, then Diocesan Registrar, part-time General Secretary of the General Synod and then in 1978, the first full-time General Secretary of General Synod, a position he held until his retirement in 1994.

These were turbulent years in the history of the Anglican Church of Australia, when the fierce debate over the ordination of women was at its height. John was instrumental in keeping the church on an even keel as far as possible during those difficult years. Bishop Keith Rayner, now living in retirement in Adelaide, was Primate during those later years. Paying tribute to John, he said: “however tense the atmosphere became, John remained imperturbably calm and retained the outward impartiality of the diplomatic administrator. He played no small part in maintaining the bonds that held the Church together.”

Bishop Keith added: “he was well aware of the nuances of the doctrinal stances and their associated politics that operated throughout the Church, and he was able to work with all these with sensitivity and understanding. As General Secretary he worked with four Primates – Frank Woods, Marcus Loane, John Grindrod and myself. All of us were of varied churchmanships and different personalities, but with each one there was a relationship of mutual confidence and trust.

“Behind all this lay the unshakeable Christian faith which shaped the character of the man who was so much more than just an ecclesiastical bureaucrat.”

John’s successor as General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia, Dr Bruce Kaye, described him as “wise, courteous and reliable, a true servant of the Anglican Church”.

Internationally, John was lay representative for Australia on the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) from 1976 to 1984, serving on its Standing Committee from 1979 to 1984, and was Chair from 1981 to 1984. From 1988, he also chaired the national planning committee for the World Council of Churches’ assembly held in Canberra in 1991. He was also a member of the Board of World Vision.

He received two significant honours: the Order of the British Empire in 1977, and Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 for “service to the Anglican Church of Australia and to the international community through the programs of World Vision”.

John Denton is survived by his wife Shirley, four children and 11 grandchildren.

Diocese of Wellington invests in Christian Savings organisation

[Anglican Taonga] The Diocese of Wellington in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has joined seven other Christian denominations to become a shareholder in Christian Savings, an ecumenical finance company that provides capital finance for churches’ social, service and mission developments.

The Chair of Wellington’s Diocesan Board of Trustees, John Whitehead is right behind the move, which places a $1million (NZD approximately £510,000 GBP) portion of diocesan funds (around two per cent of total capital) into Christian Savings, a non-bank deposit holder and Christian loan manager that specialises in construction finance.

“Wellington is very pleased to be taking this step, as it represents movement towards more fruitful stewardship of our assets, making them work harder for us in favour of the purpose and mission of the church”, said John Whitehead, an Anglican layman who is a former head of Treasury New Zealand.

Over the past two years, as a member of the Motion 11 Working Group on Mission Aligned Investment, John Whitehead has looked deeply into the challenges and potential of moving capital funds into mission-serving investments.

New Missionary Diocese in Rwanda

The Anglican Church of Rwanda has created a new missionary diocese in the country’s Western Province. The Missionary Diocese of Karongi – a district which borders Lake Kivu – will be led by Bishop Jean Pierre Methode Rukundo, who was consecrated on Sunday 26 July. “Praise God!”, the Province said on its Facebook page. “Please pray for God’s blessing over Bishop Methode, his family, and the new missionary diocese.”

Archbishop of Cape Town to address international HIV Interfaith Conference

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, is set to deliver a key-note speech to a major international conference on HIV and Aids later this month. Archbishop Thabo will deliver his speech on the first of three days of virtual meetings, under the heading “Resilience & Renewal: faith in the HIV response”.

The conference, from 22 to 24 September, will take place online and “provide a space for sharing, capacity building and advocacy among people of faith involved in the HIV and Aids response”, the organisers said. “It will be an opportunity to celebrate and get inspired by the many resilient people engaged in the HIV response. This will be an opportunity for faith leaders, faith-based organisations, and communities of faith to recommit to a holistic, comprehensive response to HIV that acknowledges the innate dignity of every human person.”