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Methodists and Anglicans ‘close enough for unity’

Madeleine Davies

by Madeleine Davies

Posted: 20 Mar 2015 @ 12:32

hippo cartoonThis report relates to only the C of E Anglicans talks with the World Methodist organization. So far as I know, no Anglican groups in North America are involved or in agreement. No idea how Methodists here in the USA feel about these talks.

Fr. Orthohippo

DIOCESE OF DOWN & DROMORE

Click to enlarge

Questions for debate: the World Methodist Vice-president, Gillian Kingston and the Archbishop of Canterbury launch the report, at Downpatrick, on Tuesday. The Archbishop was in Northern Ireland for a St Patrick’s Day pilgrimage 

ANGLICANS and Methodists know enough about each other, and need to stop timidly “watching every careful step”, seeking “impossible perfection” before agreeing to unity.

This is the message of a report by the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission (AMICUM), launched by the World Methodist Vice-President, Gillian Kingston, and the Archbishop of Canterbury on Tuesday.

Into All The World: Being and becoming Apostolic Churches, a report to the Anglican Consultative Council and the World Methodist Council, is the outcome of 20 years of work. It hints at an impatience also noted in last year’s report by the Joint Implementation Commission, which warned of “frustration and even boredom” with the Anglican-Methodist Covenant (News, 23 May 2014).

The Anglican co-chair of AMICUM, the Rt Revd Harold Miller, and the Methodist co-chair, the Revd Professor Robert Gribben, write: “We have surely reached the point where we know enough about each other. Those who know Anglicans and Methodists from the outside truly wonder what prevents us from taking the next steps. . .

“If we are honest, we are often willing to be friendly as long as nothing changes. If we do act ecumenically, we do it minimally, watching every careful step. Or, in our unity discussions we ask of each other an impossible perfection. . .

“The Churches themselves are in need of repentance and conversion, of metanoia, which means a willingness to turn from our own self-absorbing, restricting concerns, to Christ alone.”

The report argues that “there are no church-dividing differences between us in faith, in ordered ministry, in the succession of such ministries, and in the value of episcopacy.” The only remaining barrier to union is, it suggests, “for Methodists and Anglicans to come together under the sign of the historic episcopate, “for that represents the larger history of transmission of which Methodist Churches are already a part”.

Into All The World provides examples from around the globe of where unity is already a reality, including united Churches in the Indian sub-continent, and places where bilateral agreements have been developed. Union must be “full” and “visible”, the report says. It argues that there is an “inseparable biblical connection between mission and unity”, and points to missional challenges, particularly declining congregations in the West.

The Commission’s chairmen call on local churches to take on the work. “You must decide whether we have given evidence enough of our unity in Christ to enable you to move forward.”

The report’s appendix contains “toolkits” with questions for debate at national and local level; and it recommends the creation of a new committee “to oversee and foster relationships”.

It notes: “It is very important that each party in a bilateral relationship be honest with themselves, and before God, about any attitude of superiority which they may have about their Church. . . There can be factors of race, wealth, size, style, or culture which lead to a subconscious and unspoken sense of dominating or being dominated. These need to be handled sensitively.”

There is also a reference to the need to face “painful things” that have happened in the past rather than avoid them. Other matters to be explored include worship styles (“the danger, if there is no conversation about this, is that the stronger wins”), discipline and authority, and disparity of stipends.

 

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Saudi Grand Mufti: only Islam should be practiced here. Destroy all churches. Not all countries are safe for Christians to worship in.


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Destroy all churches in Gulf, says Saudi Grand Mufti

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region. (AFP/Getty Images)

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction.

Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, stressed that since the tiny Gulf state was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, it was necessary to destroy all of the churches in the country, Arabic media have reported.

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom. He is also the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.

A Kuwaiti parliamentarian said last month he wanted to ban the construction of churches and non-Islamic places of worship in the Gulf state.

MP Osama Al-Munawer announced on Twitter he planned to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country. He later clarified that existing churches should remain but the construction of new non-Islamic places of worship should be banned.

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Bombing kills 14 outside Catholic and Anglican Lahore churches


Bombing kills 14 outside Lahore churches

PA

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Under attack: Pakistani Christian women mourning in the wake of the attacks on Sunday

THE killing of 14 people in suicide-bombings outside two churches in Pakistan on Sunday is part of a campaign of persecution against Christians that “the world seeks to hide”, the Pope has said.

The attacks took place outside St John’s Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Christ Church, in Youhanabad, a Christian neighbourhood of Lahore, where morning services were under way. More than 70 people were injured.

Hours after the news broke, the Pope, speaking to an audience in St Peter’s Square, said: “Our brothers’ and sisters’ blood is shed only because they are Christians. I implore God that this persecution against Christians – that the world seeks to hide – comes to an end and that there is peace.”

The Vicar of Christ Church, the Revd Irshad Ashknaz, spoke to the Revd Rana Youab Khan, Assistant Curate of St Anselm’s, Belmont, a friend and former colleague in Lahore, on Sunday.

“He was in tears,” Mr Khan said on Monday. “He was quite depressed and desperate because of the situation. He said: ‘We are helpless  as Christians in Pakistan.’ He is really feeling that they are insecure.”

Youhanabad was “a big Christian colony” of more than 50,000, surrounded by Muslim villages, Mr Khan said. The Government needed to be “very serious and careful” to avoid a disintegration in Christian-Muslim relations in an area that had been regarded as relatively safe.

The Primate of the Church of Pakistan, the Most Revd Samuel Azariah, described the attacks as a “cowardly and inhuman act”.

He vowed: “We shall overcome through our love and kindness upon those who believe in evil and inhuman acts.”

The Bishop of Lahore, the Rt Revd Irfan Jamil, said that a joint funeral service was being planned with the Roman Catholic church for Tuesday.

The RC Archbishop of Karachi, the Most Revd Joseph Coutts, accused the Prime Minister of Pakistan of failing to implement an order from the Supreme Court to provide security in all places of worship.

“This new act of terrorism has cruelly shown how defenceless we are due to this neglect,” he said, in a message to Aid to the Church in Need. “Once again, the state has not been able to provide safety to its citizens. Millions of citizens continue to live in a state of constant tension and fear, not knowing what to expect next.”

He called on people to voice their protests in “a peaceful manner”.

Protests have taken place  in Lahore, and other cities. Demonstrators have blocked roads burned tyres, smashed shops, and attacked vehicles, Reuters reported. The BBC reported on Monday that an “angry mob” had lynched two people suspected of involvement in the attack.

A Taliban splinter group – Jamatul Ahrar –  has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

“We promise that until an Islamic system is put into place in Pakistan such attacks will continue,” Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for the Taliban faction, said in a statement emailed to reporters.

A policeman and security guard were killed in the attacks, reported the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), which works with persecuted Christians in Pakistan.

Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK, said that the attacks were part of “sustained attempts to force Christians out of Pakistan”.

He said: “Although the incident has been condemned by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, President, and the majority of politicians, and compensation has been announced for the dead and injured, this is not enough.

“Christians are constantly under attack, especially with their churches and colonies being attacked under the cover of blasphemy accusations, and sometimes by Taliban and extremists.

“This attack is a reflection of the government’s failure, and unfortunately, I fear, this is not going to be last attack against Christians. The international community must pay attention to the ongoing persecution of Christians in Pakistan.”

In September 2013, 85 people were killed in a suicide-bombing at All Saints’, Peshawar, one of the worst attacks ever on Christians in Pakistan (News, 27 September, 2013).

Mr Khan said that, after two years, no report on what had occurred had been produced: “If the government is sincere about the minorities, especially Christians, they need to prove that everything will come out in black and white.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide said on Sunday that the Government had yet to fulfil its promise to bring justice, including compensation, to the victims in Peshawar.

“Influential leaders, from grass-roots religious clerics to MPs and federal ministers, have been known openly to incite violence against non-Muslim minorities or minority Muslim sects,” its statement said. “This situation is exacerbated by a culture of impunity and the unchecked influence of extremist groups.”

The National Commission for Justice and Peace, formed in 1985 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, is demanding that “provincial and federal government take serious and effective measure to protect the minority community of Pakistan”.

Earler this month, a round-table meeting on religious freedom in Pakistan was hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s director for reconciliation, David Porter, attended by 60 clergy of Pakistani origin.

An online prayer wall where prayers for Pakistan can be posted is available here: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/community/prayer-wall.aspx

 

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HOW TO GET RID OF PROBLEM BY DESTROYING THE HIGHLY DECORATED CHAPLAIN : change in military procedure


Todd Starnes , CP Op-Ed Contributor
March 9, 2015|6:53 pm
  • Todd Starnes
    (B H Publishing Group)

A chaplain who once ministered to Navy SEALs could be thrown out of the military after he was accused of failing “to show tolerance and respect” in private counseling sessions in regards to issues pertaining to faith, marriage and sexuality, specifically homosexuality and pre-marital sex, according to documents obtained exclusively by Fox News.

Lt. Commander Wes Modder, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, has also been accused of being unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C.

“On multiple occasions he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds,” the Chaplain’s commanding Officer Capt. Jon R. Fahs wrote in a memorandum obtained by Fox News.

Modder is a highly decorated, 19-year veteran of the military. Prior to becoming a Navy chaplain, he served in the Marine Corps. His assignments included tours with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Naval Special Warfare Command – where he served as the Force Chaplain of the Navy SEALs.

His record is brimming with accolades and endorsements – including from Capt. Fahs.

In Modder’s most recent review, Fahs declared that the chaplain was “the best of the best,” and a “consummate professional leader” worthy of an early promotion.

So how did Chaplain Modder go from being the “best of the best” to being unfit for service in the U.S. military in a span of five months?

The Navy did not return my calls seeking comment – so all we can do is rely on their written accusations and evidence.

Michael Berry, a military veteran and attorney with Liberty Institute a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases is representing Modder. He accused the military of committing a gross injustice against the chaplain in a letter to the Navy. He told me they will respond forcefully and resolutely to the allegations – which they categorically deny.

“We are starting to see cases where chaplains have targets on their backs,” Berry said. “They have to ask themselves, ‘do I stay true to my faith or do I keep my job?'”

He said Modder is being punished because of his Christian faith.
“They want chaplains to be glorified summer camp counselors and not speak truth and love into people’s lives,” Berry told me. “There are some anti-religious elements in our military. Anytime somebody wants to live their faith out – there are people who say that is offensive.”

Modder told me he was devastated by the accusations. He believes charges have been trumped up.

“The military now wants a 2.0 chaplain instead of a legacy chaplain,” Modder said. “They want a chaplain to accommodate policy that contradicts Scripture.”

Modder’s troubles started on Dec. 6 when an assistant in his office showed up to work with a pair of Equal Opportunity representatives and a five-page complaint documenting grievances against the chaplain.
The lieutenant junior grade officer went on to detail concerns about Moody’s views on “same-sex relationships/marriages, homosexuality, different standards of respect for men and women, pre-marital sex and masturbation.”

Modder said the young officer had only been working with him for about a month and would constantly pepper him with questions pertaining to homosexuality. He had no idea that the officer was in fact gay – and married to another man.

“His five page letter of complaint was unconscionable,” Modder said. “He said I had a behavioral pattern of being anti-discriminatory of same sex orientation.”

The chaplain was not even given a chance to defend himself. He was immediately removed from duties and told to clean out his office.
“It was insulting and it was devastating,” Modder said. “I felt discriminated against. How could something like this happen at this stage of my career?”

Zollie Smith, the executive director for the Assemblies of God, U.S. Missions, told me they stand firmly behind the chaplain.
“We stand behind him 100 percent,” he said.

In hindsight, Berry believes the officer was setting up his client – and in doing so may have committed a crime.

“I believe some of what the lieutenant has alleged could constitute a military crime – false statements – taking what the chaplain said and twisting or misconstruing it – in an attempt to get the chaplain punished,” he said. “He abused the position he was placed in as a chaplain’s assistant.”

He believes the officer may have gained access to private counseling file.

“To be clear, Chaplain Modder does not dispute that during private, one-on-one pastoral care and counseling sessions, he expressed his sincerely held religious belief that: sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual behavior is contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual orientation or temptation, as distinct from conduct, is not sin,” Berry said.

Modder said many Americans may be shocked to discover how much military culture has changed over the past few years.

“This new generation is very secular and very open sexually,” he said.

“The values that the military once held – just like the Boy Scouts of America – are changing. The culture wants this. Culture is colliding with truth. That’s at the heart of this.”

Modder recalled an incident that occurred when he first arrived on the base. He was about to deliver the invocation at a graduation ceremony when the captain pulled him aside.

“He looked at me and said, ‘Hey chaplain – do not pray in Jesus’ name,'” he recalled.

Modder said he understands the firestorm he is about to enter – but he remains resolute.

“Every fiber in my being wants to run away from this – but if I do I’m not being obedient to the Lord,” he told me. “I need to stand up for righteousness and this is something I cannot walk away from.”

The reality is that many other chaplains could find themselves in Chaplain Modder’s shoes. The Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist convention have nearly identical positions on the issues that the Navy found problematic with Modder.

“It’s going to be a hard road for me,” he said. “But it’s what God has called me to do.”

Ultimately, it’s about leaving a legacy and setting an example for his family – his wife and four young children.

The day he was relieved of his duties, Chaplain Modder’s 14-year-old son tagged along to help pack up his dad’s office. A few senior enlisted men were there as well.

As they were driving away, the boy told his father that the enlisted men had spoken to him.

“They told my son that ‘you can be proud of your father because he’s keeping the faith,'” Modder said. “The whole command knows that Chaplain Modder is keeping the faith.”

Posted in authority, Bible, christian, Christian Ethics, gay legal action, persecution, politics, prejudice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

GERMANY (MERKEL) TELLS JAPAN TO FACE HISTORY SQUARELY


Shanghai Daily,上海日报

frame-fullimageOne constant problem with individuals, nations, corporations, organizations, etc.  is the strong desire to recount our pasts in the most favorable terms.  All of us can remember when we did this (or at least were very tempted to do it). This article is very thought provoking.  As one who grew up under the propaganda of the Allies during WWII, this story is almost unimaginable. Yet it is reality. How time changes our perceptions of what actually happened in our pasts.The very fact I regularly read Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Middle Eastern new sources tells the story.

Fr.Orthohippo

Merkel tells Japanese to face history squarely

DURING a visit to Japan yesterday, where bitter disputes mark the country’s attempts to define its wartime actions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany was able to return to a respected place in international society because it had faced up to its World War II atrocities.

Merkel said “facing history squarely” and “generous gestures” were necessary to mend ties. But in a speech in Tokyo organized by the Asahi newspaper, Merkel said she could not give any specific advice to Japan because lessons should be learned by its own people.

Her comments come as Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to deliver a statement later this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. There is speculation that Abe, seen as a revisionist hawk, may water down Japan’s 1995 landmark apology over its war crimes across Asia.

“Germany was lucky to be accepted in the community of nations after the horrible experience that the world had to meet with Germany during the period of National Socialism and the Holocaust,” Merkel said. “This was possible first because Germany did face its past squarely, but also because the Allied Powers who controlled Germany after the World War II would attach great importance to Germany coming to grips with its past.

“One of the great achievements of the time certainly was reconciliation between Germany and France… The French have given just as valuable a contribution as the Germans have,” she said.

Relations between Japan and its wartime victims, China and South Korea, are at a low point, with Beijing and Seoul both demanding Tokyo does more to atone for its war past.

There were “great minds and great personalities who said we ought to adopt a policy of rapprochement… and without these generous gestures by our neighbors this would not have been possible,” Merkel said.

“It’s difficult for me as the German chancellor to give you advice on how to deal with part of your neighborhood,” Merkel said in response to questions. “But I think history and experience tells us also that peaceful means of reconciliation have to be found.”

Merkel’s visit to Japan is part of her swing through G7 member nations before Germany hosts the group’s next summit in June.

Posted in cultural blinders, culture differences, history, politics, Uncategorized, WAR | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Present day Witch hunts increase in Tanzania as albino deaths jump


2Swns_Wlk4x6Tonny Onyulo USA Today | Mar. 2, 2015

Tabora, Tanzania

Many women are living in fear in this rural part of northwestern Tanzania because they are increasingly being targeted by witch hunts — literally.

This East African country is grappling with an upswing in vigilante justice as villagers attack women they believe are witches responsible for the murders of albinos, whose white skin some believe possess magical powers.

Last month, some 200 angry villagers — mostly youths carrying axes, machetes and knives — grabbed Jane Faidha Bakari, 58, in Tabora, hacked her with sharp weapons and burned her alive while her helpless husband watched.

“They came around midnight banging on the door,” said Moses Bakari, her husband. “They broke into the house and hacked my wife with machetes and knives. They burned the body of my wife and later set fire on my house. They claimed that my wife was practicing witchcraft and killing albinos.”

The villagers believed the woman was using body parts from albinos — people born with the absence of pigment in their skin, eyes and hair — to practice witchcraft. Bakari fled with his three children and took refuge in a neighbor’s house.

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“I neither knew nor heard that my wife was practicing witchcraft,” Bakari said. “I still don’t believe that I lost my wife to such a painful death. I will only heal if justice is done, because she was innocent.”

The murder of Bakari’s wife isn’t uncommon. Frightened neighbors-cum-vigilantes lynched, stoned or hacked more than 1,000 women to death last year, according to the Center for Advocacy in Rural Development, a Kenyan development group, and the Dar es Salaam-based Legal and Human Rights Center. The groups estimate more than 3,000 suspected witches, usually late middle-age and older women, were killed in the past six years alone.

Attacks against those with albinism also seem to be on the rise, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement last week, citing at least three incidents in the past two months. The statement was in response to the “horrific murder and mutilation” of a 1-year-old baby with albinism earlier this month.

The agency worries the killings will only rise in the run-up to October’s Tanzanian presidential elections as political campaigners seek the help of seers who use albino body parts to foretell the future.

In the past 15 years, at least 75 albinos have been killed in Tanzania, but prosecutors have convicted just 10 people in those murders, according to the U.N. Albino organs fetch hundreds of dollars in illegal trading. Around 33,000 people out of a population of about 50 million have albinism, according to the Tanzanian Albinism Society.

Older women are suffering from the backlash against witches as a result of the albino deaths, said Erick Wandera Omwami, chief executive of the Center for Advocacy in Rural Development, who is pushing the government to expand its education campaign against killing albinos to include admonitions against harming alleged witches.

“It’s unlucky for older persons to live in this region, but we should know that every older person has a right to life like anyone else,” he said. “We’ll work together to help communities understand the rights of others and avoid retrogressive and barbaric actions on other human beings.”

Tanzanian police admit witchcraft-related killings are common in the country’s northwest but say catching the culprits is difficult. The lynchings tend to occur after someone dies unexpectedly in the community or when albinos go missing, said police spokesman Ignas Mtana.

Often, he said, sorcerers identify other witches as the perpetrators of the misfortunes. Because the same people who attack witches often consult with other enchanters and potentially also deal in albino body parts, it’s hard to get to the bottom of the cases, Mtana said.

“The family members will go to soothsayers to find out the cause of death and the responsible person,” Mtana said. “The soothsayers will say the name of a witch as the cause of death.”

Mtana said police intervene in lynchings they witness and arrest anyone attacking a suspected witch on sight, but forces are spread thin throughout the region, which includes the great plains of the Serengeti.

In the meantime, women are hiding out of fear of being attacked.

“Someone dropped leaflets bearing my name” on a list of suspected sorceresses, said Rosemary Aziza, 76, who lives near Tabora. “I will hide until the things go back to normal.”

[Tonny Onyulo writes for USA Today.]
Tanzania
Albinism
Witches
Persecution of people with albinism

 

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Posted in cultural blinders, culture differences, persecution, prejudice, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment