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International briefing

[Episcopal News Service]   
  • CANADA: Bishops speak out against Nigerian laws on homosexuality
  • IRELAND: Archbishop Eames to retire
  • MIDDLE EAST: Holy Land documentation site launched by Anglican Communion Office
  • NEW ZEALAND: Anglicans elect tripartite leadership
  • SRI LANKA: Church of Ceylon faces post-tsunami challenges

CANADA: Bishops speak out against Nigerian laws on homosexuality

[Source: Anglican Journal] Canada's Anglican bishops unanimously endorsed a motion expressing "grave concern" about proposed legislation in Nigeria that "would prohibit or severely restrict the freedom of speech, association, expression and assembly of gay and lesbian persons." Their motion also called criticized the (Anglican) Church of Nigeria for its support of the legislation.

The legislation is inconsistent with the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the bishops said in their motion, which was passed at their spring meeting held April 22-27. They said they were "especially grieved" by the support for the legislation given by the Church of Nigeria, noting that the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops called upon churches to "listen to the experience of homosexual persons."

The proposed laws, said the bishops, "criminalize civil and religious same-sex marriage as well as the public and private expression of same-sex affection, all public affiliation between gay persons and even publicity, public support and media reporting of the same." The proposals "would make the very act of listening to homosexual persons impossible."

In unusually strong language, the bishops said they "disassociate" themselves from the actions of the Church of Nigeria and called upon Anglicans around the world to listen to and respect the human rights of gay people.

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IRELAND: Archbishop Eames to retire

[Source: Church of Ireland] The Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and Metropolitan, the Most Rev. Dr. Robin Eames, has announced his intention to retire later this year.

His intentions have been conveyed to the General Synod of the Church of Ireland. The decision will take effect on December 31, 2006.

Eames, 69, has been a bishop for 31 years and was appointed as Archbishop of Armagh in 1986. He is also the senior primate in the Anglican Communion.

The Church of Ireland House of Bishops will consider in due course the selection of a successor.

Eames' Statement to Synod

MIDDLE EAST: Holy Land documentation site launched by Anglican Communion Office

[Source: Anglican Communion News Service] A new section of the Anglican Communion website has been established that includes statements from a range of official Anglican bodies relating to the situation in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine). It also includes resources and documentation relating to Anglican-Jewish relations.

Clare Amos, director of Theological Studies, who has taken responsibility for collecting the material, said, "We hope that this site will enable people to see for themselves just what has formally and officially been said about these significant subjects by the Anglican Communion, and by member Anglican Churches and organizations."

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NEW ZEALAND: Anglicans elect tripartite leadership

[Source: Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has opted for a new model of shared leadership that honors its three-Tikanga structure.

The Primacy of the church will be amended constitutionally to comprise the three senior bishops, each carrying the title of Archbishop and Co-presiding Bishop.

General Synod/te Hinota Whanui, meeting in Christchurch this week, named Bishop Brown Turei (Te Pihopa o Aotearoa), Bishop Jabez Bryce (Pasefika) and Bishop David Moxon (Pakeha) to form the new-model Primacy, with the expectation that they would share the joint role fully and publicly.

Until the necessary legislative changes have been made, Brown will receive the formal title of Primate, described as "holding the taonga of leadership."

The new Archbishops will each retain their present Episcopal roles, but will be supported in their primatial duties by the other bishops and the General Synod Standing Committee.

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SRI LANKA: Church of Ceylon faces post-tsunami challenges

[Source: Church of Ceylon] In a May 9 letter, the Church of Ceylon's Relief and Rehabilitation Desk reported a "sudden upsurge in violence in many parts of the country" and outlined some of the other challenges facing Sri Lanka since the December 26, 2004 tsunami devastated the country.

Progress was reported in the diocese's development work, especially through the lens of interfaith and interethnic relationships. "Particularly, we have been able to fund advocacy and human rights ventures, which also promote cultural and religious understanding," the letter stated.

However, the Diocese continues to struggle with its housing program and although the diocese has assisted in the repair of 241 houses in the East of the country and is engaged in small housing construction programs in the South, "we have not yet been able to embark on any significant building projects in the North, South or East."

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