Anglican Archbishop despairs over infighting. Ordination of women Bishops.


“A cacophony of factions” is distracting the Church of England from its historic mission, -- this according to Dr David Hope, the retiring Archbishop of York and the second highest prelate in the Church of England.


His words come at a time of increasing tension and divide in the church over the issues of human sexuality and also the possible ordination of women bishops.  He called on Christians to be more charitable towards those with opposing points of view and to honour diversity and difference.  Dr Hope has made little secret of his frustration over the churches infighting and is retiring in February in order to spend the end of his ministry as a vicar in Ilkley, Yorkshire.


His comments come as three years of research into the idea of ordaining women bishops has been published in a report to the general synod.  The 289 page report does not make recommendations but sets out a series of options which may allow for the ordination of women bishops by 2009.  The conservative evangelical fringe group, the Church Society has already condemned the report as contrary to scripture.



European Commissioner, Rocco Buttiglione stands down over his moral stance on homosexuality and role of women.


The Italian who divided Europe over his views on women and homosexuals stepped down last weekend from the new European Commission. Rocco Buttiglione (PRON: BOOT-IG-LEO-NEE) angered MEPs by saying being gay was a sin, and women belong in the home. The row forced incoming EU President Jose Manuel Barroso to withdraw his whole cabinet. But despite the climb down, Mr Buttiglione's standing by his views:


{Actuality 384 Buttiglione}    I am championing, having been championing and will be championing human rights, and human rights that include the rights for women to become mothers and the right for men and women to form families and to grow up children.


Buttiglione’s views flow from his conservative understanding of the Catholic Faith. A BBC report stated that he is a close friend of Pope John Paul II.



Fighting for God in Secular Europe.


Meanwhile the International Edition of Newsweek Magazine claims that conservative Christians are teaming up with Moslems to “Fight for God” in secular Europe.  Despite strong lobbying, there is no mention of God or Christianity in the newly voted European Constitution.   Catholic Theologian George Weigel states, “European man has convinced himself that in order to be modern and free, he must be radically secular.” 


However, article 51 of the new constitution does allow churches an “open, transparent and regular dialogue” with the European Union.  Newsweek states that church members see this as democracy in action while some moderates and secularists fear the clause may give the church undue influence over European legislation.


Adventists plan 10,000-man march to rebuild family unity.


Adventist men in Jamaica are planning a mass march this weekend with the aim of rebuilding family unity.  The march of 10 thousand men will climax a three day summit on the island entitled “Men, agents of change.”  Eric Nathan, Family ministry director of the East Jamaican Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, hopes the march and summit will help galvanise the energy of men to enrich the lives of men and boys in the community.  Jamaica has been suffering an increase in violence across the island.  Nathan sees family unity as one of the best ways of steering Jamaica towards a more peaceful and prosperous future.



Internet Paedophiles don’t get caught.


Following our report in last weeks programme concerning the dangers of pornography in the church, children’s charities in the UK are calling for more resources to be provided to tackle internet child abuse.  They say many internet paedophiles are getting away with it.  John Carr is the online expert for the charity, Action for children:


The internet’s a great thing but its introduced new risks and new perils. British policing needs to be equipped to deal with those dangers and perils. We’re not talking about a lot of money but we are talking about a lot of people’s lives.


Last Tuesday the charities published a manifesto for child safety on line. Vince Muspratts from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC):


We need a change in the law to make it illegal to offer advice on how to abuse children.   Computer manufacturers and retailers need to preinstall internet safety software. Banks need to redesign payment cards so that they automatically alert others that they’re being used by someone under the age of 18


Pam Hibbart from the charity, Barnardos would take it further:


There are a number of things that we think could be done.  One is more resources so that the internet can be better policed.  Both by the police themselves in tracking down the providers of abusive images, but also by the internet industry.   



Centenary for Adventists in Sri Lanka.


In Sri Lanka, the 3,600 member Adventist Church celebrated its 100th birthday with a weekend of services and parades.  Adventist World Church President, Dr Jan Paulsen, joined in the celebration and reported to Adventist News Network that, "One of the striking features of the church in Sri Lanka is that it exists in a region where another religion is dominant; a religion that is embraced by two-thirds of the people and is embedded in the culture of the nation.  Yet even in this environment,” Paulsen stated, “our church--just a tiny minority--is able to give an appealing witness for Christ, last year showing a net growth of some 200 new believers."

The first Adventist to visit Sri Lanka was Abraham La Rue, who visited Colombo in 1893 and distributed literature. Then in 1904, Harry Armstrong came to Sri Lanka, settled there and laid the groundwork for the Adventist Church

Ethiopian Orthodox Church leaders on HIV/AIDS Tour.

Leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have embarked on a two-week tour of the country's southern provinces to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic – this according to the UN integrated regional information network, based in Nairobi.

The campaign is part of an inter-denominational initiative involving Protestant and Islamic religious leaders, launched earlier this year by the National Anti-AIDS Secretariat.

According to the South African Press Association (SAPA), the church leaders will be preaching fidelity, speaking out against stigma and discrimination, and encouraging people to care for and support HIV-positive people.

The latest government figures estimate that 2.6 million people in Ethiopia are living with the virus and nearly 1.25 million children have lost either one or both of their parents to the disease.

Christian Bookstores Hurt by Success

And finally,

Christianity Today reports that Christian Bookstores in the US are being hit by the success of best selling books such as The Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose-Driven Life.

As these Christian titles have become popular other mainstream retailers and shops like Wal-Mart have started selling them and other Christian media.  This is seen as good news for the church in general but bad news for Christian Booksellers who saw 271 stores closing last year.  Between 2000 and 2002, while the general Christian product market grew by $200 million, business at Christian stores shrank by $100 million.

The Christian booksellers Association is now fighting back with a TV advertising campaign and an encouragement for Christians to shop at Christian retailers.

For Network 7 News, I’m . . .