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[Episcopal News Service]   
  • ANGLICAN COMMUNION: Panel of Reference issues statement concerning the Diocese of Connecticut
  • ENGLAND: Bible supports homosexual partnerships, says Oxford's bishop
  • ENGLAND/ZIMBABWE: Priests to seek help from Archbishop of York
  • INDONESIA: ERD responds after earthquake

ANGLICAN COMMUNION: Panel of Reference issues statement concerning the Diocese of Connecticut

[Source: Anglican Communion News Service] The Panel of Reference, established by Archbishop Rowan Williams at the request of the Primates, has issued a statement of clarification in response to a public press release disseminated on behalf of "the Connecticut Six," six priests who refuse to acknowledge the authority of Bishop Andrew Smith because of his support of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003.

The Panel considers situations where congregations are in serious dispute and unwilling to accept the ministry of their bishop.

The statement, signed by Panel Chair Peter Carnley, noted that all procedures set out in the protocols of the Panel of Reference had been followed and that a press release issued by the American Anglican Council on behalf of "the Connecticut Six" included some inaccuracies.

The statement confirmed that the Diocese of Connecticut and Bishop Andrew Smith have "at all times in their communications with the Panel co-operated fully with its work and signified their intention to co-operate with the progress of the Reference," despite the decision of the Archbishop of Canterbury to withdraw the reference to the Panel until a matter of civil proceedings is resolved.

Full statement

Further information about the Panel of Reference

ENGLAND: Bible supports homosexual partnerships, says Oxford's bishop

[Source: The Sunday Telegraph] One of England's most senior bishops has reignited the Church's row over homosexuality by claiming that same-sex partnerships are supported by the Bible, the London-based Sunday Telegraph newspaper reports.

Bishop Richard Harries of Oxford said that traditionalists in the Church needed to be "converted" to see that homosexual unions are confirmed by the scriptures.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Harries reaffirmed his belief that an openly gay man should be allowed to become a bishop.

Harries, who retires this week, expressed his regret that Canon Jeffrey John, now dean of St. Albans Abbey, had been forced to withdraw as Bishop of Reading after it emerged that he was in a long-term homosexual relationship.

Full story by Jonathan Wynne-Jones

ENGLAND/ZIMBABWE: Priests to seek help from Archbishop of York

[Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting] A group of Zimbabwean priests are planning to ask the Anglican Archbishop of York to mediate between warring factions in a religious drama being played out around Zimbabwe's main Anglican cathedral, St Mary's and All Saints, in the capital Harare.

The ten priests, who have all in self-imposed exile after fleeing persecution by the regime of President Robert Mugabe, met recently in the English city of Chester to discuss the bizarre situation that has developed in the diocese of St Mary's and All Saints in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.

After a day of prayer, the priests unanimously agreed that Ugandan-born John Sentamu, Britain's first black archbishop, was the right man to help them solve a problem that has brought normal church life in Harare to a halt, and left many Anglicans there confused and concerned.

"We all respect Archbishop John," the Reverend Paul Gwese, who fled Zimbabwe last September, told IWPR from his new home in Bradford. "I intend asking him to help solve a difficult problem -- how to deal with the Bishop of Harare, the Right Reverend Nolbert Kunonga, who since his controversial ordination in 2001 has terrorized Christians, and who is turning his diocese into a religious branch of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party."

Full story by Trevor Grundy

INDONESIA: ERD responds after earthquake

[Source: Episcopal Relief and Development] Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is supplying emergency assistance to people in Indonesia devastated by a massive 6.3 magnitude earthquake.  The damaged region of Central Java is near the tourist site of Yogyakarta which is 250 miles southeast of Jakarta, the nation’s capital.  The quake struck at dawn on May 27, crushing homes and roads.
According to the Indonesian government, more than 5,600 people have been killed but the numbers are likely to increase as rescue and recovery efforts continue. More than 200,000 people have lost their homes and many are living in temporary shelters until rebuilding can begin. Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhhoyono, has declared a state of emergency as the amount of damage will require a long-term, multi-phase response.
ERD is working with Action by Churches Together (ACT) to provide people in affected regions with food and non-food items, such as temporary shelters, potable water, hygiene kits, mattresses, medical services and psycho-social assistance.

To make a donation to assist people affected by disasters, please donate to Emergency Relief Fund in the "Ways to Give" section online at or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Checks can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, designated for the "Emergency Relief Fund", P.O. Box 12043, Newark, NJ, 07101.

Full story