[Episcopal News Service]
Over forty university students from America, Canada, Uganda and Burundi on Saturday September 9, attended a one day Gacaca lecture at Isano Public hall in Mburabuturo, Rwanda.
- AFRICA: Churches seek strong presence at Nairobi's World Social Forum
- ANGLICAN COMMUNION: Communiqué from the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission
- EGYPT: Communiqué from the Anglican/Al-Azhar dialogue committee
- ENGLAND: Bishop challenges supermarkets to lighten up Halloween
- ENGLAND: Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on The Good Childhood Inquiry
- RWANDA: Foreign students attend lecture on Gacaca court system
- SOUTH AFRICA: Bishop calls for holistic strategy against HIV/AIDS
AFRICA: Churches seek strong presence at Nairobi's World Social Forum[Source: Ecumenical News International] Churches in Africa are planning a strong presence at the World Social Forum (WSF) set for Nairobi, Kenya, in January 2007, the first time that the continent is the sole host for the gathering directed against exploitative globalization.
By Fredrick Nzwili
"It's important because it provides a platform that helps create a worldwide social force against poverty, oppression, injustice and social exclusion," said Anglican Bishop Pie Ntukamazina of Bujumbura, Burundi, who in August attended a meeting in the Kenyan capital to prepare for the global event. "The voice of the church can be most clear in expressing solidarity with the poor." He warned it would be a waste of time if the church was not sharpening its vision to challenge the world on problems facing disadvantaged communities.
The first WSF took place in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in 2001. It was intended to offer an alternative to the World Economic Forum, the annual meeting of business and government leaders in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos.
Forum meetings now attract participants from groups as diverse as trade unions, environmental organizations and faith-based bodies, as well as development workers and academics. The official slogan of the gathering is "Another world is possible."
Church representatives say the forum will provide a space for them to boost their work against social injustice.
"There has been a perception that WSF is a group of radicals meeting, but we in the ecumenical movement feel we need a radical change in order to bring about justice," Eddie Makue, the South African Council of Churches' general secretary, told Ecumenical News International.
The forum took place in Mumbai in 2004, and early in 2006 a "polycentric" forum was held with meetings in Mali, Pakistan and Venezuela. But the Nairobi forum meeting scheduled January 20-25, 2007, will be the first time a single meeting of the gathering is held in Africa.
ANGLICAN COMMUNION: Communiqué from the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission
[Source: Anglican Communion News Service] The Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission, which met September 4-10 at St. Julian's Retreat Centre in Limuru, Kenya, focused on three areas: continuation of the work of the Communion Study on which the Commission has been working since its formation in 2001; reflection on the proposal for an Anglican Covenant; and preparation for the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
The Commission produced a paper "Responding to a Proposal for a Covenant," in which it reflected on the proposal of the Windsor Report for the establishment of an Anglican Covenant in the life of the Communion. The paper considers the biblical and ecclesiological background of the concept of covenant, and offers particular observations on how the concept of covenant might most fruitfully be employed in the development of a covenant for the Anglican Communion.
The Commission also gave attention to the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to offer theological resources to the forthcoming Lambeth Conference for the equipping of bishops for their ministry and work. Work was undertaken to formulate a number of theses in relation to the Bishops' ministry in fostering and upholding the Communion of all the baptized, and this work will be made available to the Saint Augustine's Seminars which are undertaking preparatory work in relation to the Conference.
The Commission hopes to meet again in September 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, where it will conclude its work on the Communion Study.
EGYPT: Communiqué from the Anglican/Al-Azhar dialogue committee
[Source: Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican/Al-Azhar Joint Committee, which is composed of a delegation from the Anglican Communion and the Permanent Committee of Al-Azhar al-Sharif for Dialogue with the Monotheistic Religions, held its fifth annual meeting in Al-Azhar September 2-3, which corresponds to 9-10 Sha'aban 1427.
The theme of the dialogue was 'Freedom of Religion and Respect for Sacred Religious Values.'
"We were very conscious that our meeting was being held in a time of particular political tension in the Middle East in view of the current turmoil involving the people of the region and also the tense situation in many Western countries arising out of a fear of terrorism," a communiqué released at the end of the meeting said. "This has informed our discussion at this meeting."
ENGLAND: Bishop challenges supermarkets to lighten up Halloween
[Source: Church of England] Bishop David Gillett of Bolton has published a letter sent to Britain's supermarket bosses urging them to rethink the way that their stores promote Halloween.
In the letter, which arrived on the desks of the Chief Executives of the UK's five biggest supermarkets early last week, Gillett challenged the retailers to "cross-merchandise" traditional Halloween toys and costumes with goods more suitable for those worried about the darker side of the festival.
"This year, I would like you to offer your customers a choice. Amongst your displays, I would like to see products that enable parents, teachers and children to choose a positive, alternative way to celebrate Halloween," said Gillett, suggesting that the supermarkets present a range of alternative products such as bright balloons, hair braids and colorful costumes.
Gillett shares the view of many Christians that large retailers are increasingly keen to commercialize Halloween celebrations in a way that pressurizes parents to purchase goods that promote the dark, negative side of Halloween and could encourage anti-social behavior.
"If you meet this challenge you will be making an important statement about your company's willingness to accept the responsibilities that come with being one of the biggest suppliers of Halloween merchandise in the UK," Gillett said in his letter.
Full story and text of Gillett's letter:
ENGLAND: Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on The Good Childhood Inquiry
[Source: Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today program September 18 to talk about the Children's Society's The Good Childhood Inquiry, Britain's first independent inquiry into childhood, of which Williams is a patron.
Williams called for a review of testing in schools as the survey released September 17 outlined the pressures faced by young people. He cited worrying statistics in the survey suggesting that one in 10 children were shown to have measurable mental health problems.
"The levels of testing in schools, the relentlessness of it, the fact that teenagers don't any longer even have a year that's free of some major public tests, makes the whole educational system anxiety-driven," Williams said.
He also advocated a ban on adverts aimed at children and called for greater efforts to encourage parenting skills.
Read a transcript of the interview with James Naughtie
RWANDA: Foreign students attend lecture on Gacaca court system
[Source: L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda] More than 40 university students from America, Burundi, Canada and Uganda attended a one-day lecture September 9 at Isano Public Hall in Mburabuturo, Rwanda, on the success of the Gacaca Court system that was established in 2001 in response to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
The students were in the country for a four-day study visit at the invitation of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.
Addressing the students, the legal officer for Gacaca National Service, Faisal Kanamugire, said that the achievements and progress which Gacaca has made sowed seeds of hope not only in Rwanda but the world over.
"The people of Rwanda can now live in a just society with a prerequisite of unity. Truth is disclosed and judgments rendered in Gacaca which has given confidence to the system," Kanamugire said. "Gacaca law has also boosted law educational institutions in the country to adopt it."
He noted that achievements made by Gacaca courts have revealed that Rwanda can be a model of justice not only in Africa but the world over.
"We have demonstrated that Africans can develop their own system of justice to solve their own problems in the African context," he said.
Cindy Smedley, a legal expert from America who led the team, said: "The Rwandan justice is inspirational. It's unique ... and that is why we came here to learn Gacaca. I wish all global countries applied this kind of justice; the political anarchy would end."
The Anglican Church of Rwanda has been on the forefront of building peace and conflict management throughout the region. It has invited Christian university students from around the world to equip them with peace-building skills.
Full story by Grace Mugabe:
SOUTH AFRICA: Bishop calls for holistic strategy against HIV/AIDS[Source: Church of the Province of Southern Africa]Anglican Liaison Bishop for HIV and AIDS, the Rt. Rev. David Beetge of the Diocese of the Highveld, has made an impassioned plea on behalf of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, urging all concerned with HIV and AIDS to seek a new multi-sector partnership that will address the pandemic.
Beetge, who recently attended the International AIDS Conference in Toronto on behalf of the Anglican Church, said that the figures presented to the Conference and the figures available in Southern Africa show that the AIDS pandemic has reached alarming proportions.
"No one can tackle this one single-handedly. We need a sustained and united effort to work towards a generation without AIDS," he said. "I am calling on all levels of Government -- National, Provincial and Local -- to commit themselves to working with Faith Based Organizations and NGOs in a creative partnership that will pool the capacity each one has, together with the resources available in this country and through the international community, in order to address this pandemic in the most holistic way."
The second most senior bishop in the CPSA after Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Beetge said: "I am urging the Government and NGOs, including the Treatment Action Campaign, for the sake of those who are suffering and for the sake of those whom we want to protect from this virus, to put behind them the conflict and differences between them and to seek a new multi-sector partnership that will address this pandemic urgently.
"I am convinced that the only way forward is by Government (at all levels), Academics, the Medical Profession, Pharmaceutical Industry, NGOs, Faith Based Organizations and others coming together to address this pandemic. I further call for a national consultation, which will include all sectors, to address it. I also call on SANAC to include all sectors and to meet on a regular basis so that this pandemic can be addressed by a united response within the country."