Saturday, 25 August 2007

Anglican Church of Kenya to consecrate Bishops for US next week

The Anglican Church of Kenya will ordain two bishops to serve in the United States of America.

The bishops will be ordained next week to minister to its faithful and clergy in the US in the wake of a split in the global Anglican community pitying anti-gay clergy predominantly in Africa against opponents in America.

Consecration and enthronement of Reverends Canon Dr Will Gillespie Atwood and William Leo Murdoch as Suffragan Bishops will mark ACK’s first actual steps towards reinforcing its anti-gay stance and safeguard its international interests.

According to ACK head office, the two bishops will provide care and a safe haven to ACK’s faithful and clergy living in US and Canada where church leaders have openly come out to support gay rights. Read more Requires (free) site registration

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Back to Church Sunday PowerPoint Presentation

Looking for a presentation about Back to Church Sunday? This is one I did using Open Office, but converted to PowerPoint for Microsoft slaves:

PowerPoint Presentation

It is 554kb, so not for dialup users.

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Lichfield Diocese gets behind Back to Church Sunday

Lapsed church-goers in Staffordshire, the northern half of Shropshire and most of the Black Country are being invited to come ‘back to church’ in a major evangelistic campaign.

Around 1700 churches across the UK have signed up to take part in Back to Church Sunday on 30 September.

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, said the initiative would be the biggest evangelism initiative undertaken by the Diocese of Lichfield since the Billy Graham rallies at Villa Park in 1984.

“Back to Church Sunday is a wonderfully simple idea which began three years ago in the Diocese of Manchester and has since spread to many more dioceses. This year more than 350 churches in this diocese will be joining with more than 1,500 other churches across the Church of England to invite people back to church," he said.

According to Bishop Gledhill, churches participating in the initiative over the past three years have each welcomed back on average 10 worshippers. Read more

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Friday, 24 August 2007

Church of Nigeria responds to Church Times article

It is very insulting and racist to infer that the Primate of All Nigeria is being dictated to. Is this in continuation of the ‘jamming’ of people opposing the agenda?

I would have believed the ‘computer software’ story were it not for the allegation of ‘minor amendments’ by the Canon Chris Sugden who had nothing to do with the document.

Abp. Akinola informed his senior staff and the Episcopal Secretary the need to highlight efforts at maintaining unity and the intransigence of the revisionists so that the Nigerian community is left in no doubt about who is ‘walking apart’

Along with his PA in Abuja, work started on the gathering of materials and relevant documents on 6th August, 2007. We used in addition to existing statements and my internet searches, Nigerian Episcopal meeting documents and TECUSA resolutions supplied respectively by our Episcopal Secretary, the Rt. Rev. Friday Imaekhia and a CANA priest, the Rev. Canon David Anderson. The draft of the statement was ready for correction by the primate on 9th August, 2007 who was however unable to correct it as he was about to travel.

Abp. Akinola was in the US and Bahamas between 10th and 22nd August 2007. I sent the draft to him through the Rt. Rev Minns with a request for assistance in getting some online references which I could not easily locate.

I fail to see any issue if amendments are then made on Bp. Minns’ computer. Apart from the fact that they were together during the period of the amendment, the Archbishop like many effective leaders who spend little time glued to a desk often phones me and other staffs to write certain things. Such remain his idea and anyone who knows Abp. Peter Akinola knows you can not make him say what he does not mean. Read more

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Microsoft Word may show you with your trousers down

The reference to "computer tracking software" in the Church Times article about who 'really' wrote Archbishop Akinola's letter on 'A Most Agonizing Journey' is probably to a little-known feature of Word called 'Track Changes'. Like several things Microsoft, this does more than you might realize and much more than you might want.

As one internet article puts it,

"Accidentally sending personal information about yourself or contributors can cause embarrassing—or even job-threatening—consequences."

Or in Microsoft's own words,

"When you distribute an Office document electronically, the document might contain information that you do not want to share publicly, such as information you’ve designated as “hidden” or information that allows you to collaborate on writing and editing the document with others."

To which Akinola, Minns and others can only add, "Hear, hear!"

The good news for them is that many of the Word documents floating around will suffer from the same problem. Here is an example from the UK Government, so if you've got a Word document sitting on your computer - no matter how far removed from the original author - that could show up the colour of someone's underpants, now's the time to get looking before everyone realizes what is going on.

Here, apparently, is how you get to see those embarassing details (should they exist). On the toolbar, click >View, >Toolbars, >Reviewing. This then gives you access to a "Track Changes and Comments" toolbar. However, the 'display mode' apparently matters at this point, because it may not show all the changes recorded in the document. You need to familiarize yourself with this function in order to see all the details the document contains.

The most important thing, of course, is to know how to get rid of this information (unless you want everyone to know you can't write for toffee). Fortunately this article has a link at the bottom which tells you how to do it. However, it does appear to be a bit fiddly.

Now at this point, people might have noticed I keep saying "apparently". This is because I don't use Microsoft Word, but have stuck with one of the original market leaders, namely Corel Corporation's WordPerfect. As someone whose tombstone will not read, "I wish I'd spent more time on the computer," I would state categorically that I find this a far easier and more efficient program to use than Word, which makes me spit chips every time I'm forced to work with it on someone else's machine.

To my knowledge, it is also less inclined to insert these trackable changes in your documents - unless you choose to have it do so. There is a 'Review' option, similar to Word, and you can look up document properties (which allowed me to see, for example, that a media release from the Chelmsford Diocese's Press Officer wasn't authored by him according to the document! I also know who typed it, or at least, the machine it was typed on. WordPerfect will provide the same details, though.)

So, if you are a Word user, my thoughts go out to you, especially as the Track Changes feature also applies if you publish your Word document as a web page. So, get panicking and scurrying, my little Microsoft friends.

John Richardson
24 August 2007

PS For a much more detailed analysis, and an indication of how scarey this really is, read here.

PPS You can download an 'Add In' from Microsoft which will help. However, the title, "Office 2003/XP Add-in: Remove Hidden Data", rather points up the existence of the problem, I feel!

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Software suggests Minns rewrote Akinola’s letter

A BISHOP in the United States has been revealed as the principal author of a seminal letter to the Church of Nigeria from its Archbishop, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, which was published on Sunday.

The letter includes a suggestion that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s status as a focus of unity is “highly questionable”. It also refers to a “moment of decision” for the Anglican Communion, which is on the “brink of destruction”.

The document, “A Most Agonising Journey towards Lambeth 2008”, appears to express to Nigerian synods the personal anguish of Archbishop Akinola over his attendance at the Lambeth Conference.

But computer tracking software suggests that the letter was extensively edited and revised over a four-day period by the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, who was consecrated last year by Archbishop Akinola to lead the secessionist Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) (News, 11 August 2006). Bishop Minns, along with the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, has not been invited to Lambeth (News, 25 May).

Close examination of the document, tracing the authorship, editing history, and timing of changes, reveals about 600 insertions made by Bishop Minns, including whole new sections amounting to two-thirds of the final text. There is also a sprinkling of minor amendments made by Canon Chris Sugden of the conservative group Anglican Mainstream. Read more

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Thursday, 23 August 2007

Rwanda: Liberals 'satanic' behaviour

RWANDA will not be bullied into compromising its position on gay bishops and blessings, the Bishop of Shyira, John Rucyahana, told the state radio service last week.

The Agence Rwandaise d'Information reported that the Anglican Church in that East African nation would not "be pushed into adopting the satanic behaviour of the 'whites because they are whites'," and accept the innovations of doctrine and discipline surrounding human sexuality advocated by the American Church.

It is the Americans who have "abandoned the faith, the law and doctrine of the churc h. They also do not believe in the teachings of the Bible", Bishop Rucyahana said on Aug 14 to a nationwide radio audience.

The liberal western churches 'do not conform to the religious conduct of the Anglican church' because it is they who have "ordained homosexuals as bishops not Africans." Read more

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Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Crisis may push ordinary Muslims towards terrorism

MOST Western Muslims linked to home-grown terrorist plots live unexceptional lives until a crisis opens them to becoming radicalised, a New York Police Department report has found.

The city's police commissioner, Ray Kelly, said that it was the ordinariness of the radicalised Muslims examined in the report that was most striking.

"They don't stand out because they are particularly radical in their youth. They are very ordinary people that somehow become radicalised," Mr Kelly told CNN, referring to the report on 11 plots, including Australia's Operation Pendennis.

Radicalisation often started with people who were frustrated with their lives or with the politics of their home government. The trigger that led to radicalisation could be the loss of a job, perceived discrimination, the plight of Muslims overseas or a personal loss such as a death in the family, he said. Read more

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Church of England Publishes Prayers for Princess Diana

[...] The full text of the Church of England prayers are as follows:

God our Father,
we remember before you DIANA, Princess of Wales,
and offer you our gratitude
for all the memories of her that we treasure still.
Her vulnerability
and her willingness to reach out to the excluded and forgotten
touched us all;
her generosity gave hope and joy to many.
May she rest in peace where sorrow and pain are banished,
and may the everlasting light of your merciful love shine upon her;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Read more
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Archbishop of Canterbury pens "prayer for the dead" for Diana

(Ed: Technically, it was the claim that the sacrifices of the Masses remitted pain or guilt "for the quick and the dead" that was dismissed by the Articles as "blasphemous fables", see the quote below.)

It is hard to criticise an Archbishop of Canterbury for writing prayers. Who better, after all, than the learned Primate of All England to compose a form of words to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales?

That will not stop people from voicing any criticism that comes to mind, for they tend now to regard the Church of England like any other consumer service-provider. Rare churchgoers demand customised weddings and funerals, thinking they are original in choosing Bat Out of Hell, say, as a recessional hymn.

Not many, though, will mind one aspect of Dr Rowan Williams's composition that, a generation ago, would have caused hot controversy. That is the prayer for Diana's soul: "May she rest in peace where sorrow and pain are banished."

It may sound harmless enough, but the teaching of the Church of England always prohibited prayers for the dead. They smacked of the doctrine of Purgatory, condemned by the Thirty-Nine Articles as an invention of Romish priests whose prayers for "the dead to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits". Read more

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Hope for Unity Fading in Divided Anglican Communion

Hope for the Anglican Communion is not any brighter now than it was when leaders tried to resolve divisions earlier this year or even 10 years ago, said the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria.

In his latest statement over the highly publicized rifts in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola blasted The Episcopal Church – the U.S. branch of Anglicanism – and the Anglican Church of Canada, saying they betrayed the rest of the Communion.

"Their intention is clear; they have chosen to walk away from the biblically-based path we once all walked together," said Akinola. Read more
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Provincial secretaries to meet in Hong Kong

From Aug. 23 to the 30th, the Hong Kong Anglican Church will host an informal meeting of 40 chief administrators from provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The general secretaries represent different provinces, or member churches, of the Anglican Communion, with Archdeacon Michael Pollesel representing the Anglican Church of Canada.

"The aim is to bring together as many provincial secretaries from around the world as possible," said Archdeacon Pollesel. Much like the recent consultation in El Escorial, Spain, this event focuses on fortifying cross-communion conversations. Archdeacon Pollesel said the purpose is "to get to know one another, to get to know their respective churches, where they work, to talk about the differences and the similarities." Read more
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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Episcopal Diocese Sues To Get Bristol Church

The Rev. Donald Helmandollar has become accustomed to the refrain he hears when he greets parishioners outside Trinity Episcopal Church in Bristol each Sunday: "I see we're here for another week."

Their weeks there may be numbered now that the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has sued Helmandollar and 10 members of the church's governing body, accusing them of trespassing on church property.

Helmandollar's parish voted itself out of the Episcopal Church this year, but has not left the church buildings. Helmandollar says the parish was part of the Anglican Communion long before the diocese existed and should retain the church property now that it has aligned with another Anglican group.

But the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut claims the buildings and other property - including parish records, bank accounts, furniture, and objects used in worship - as its own, and when Trinity did not vacate them by a diocese-set deadline last month, the diocese turned to legal action. Read more

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Connecticut Diocese Seeks Damages from Former Bristol Vestry

The Diocese of Connecticut has initiated legal action against the former rector and vestry of Trinity Church, Bristol, asking the court to order the 11 defendants to pay $15,000 in diocesan legal fees as well as unspecified punitive damages.

“By their actions, including their formal alignment with CANA [Convocation of Anglicans in North America] and their departure from union with the Diocese of Connecticut, defendants have relinquished all legal right to possess or control the subject real property of Trinity Episcopal Parish and the personal property of Trinity Episcopal Parish,” the diocese stated in a 35-page legal brief filed with the Superior Court in New Britain, Conn., on Aug. 7.

A spokesperson for the diocese declined to comment on pending litigation when contacted by a reporter from The Living Church. Read more

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'Wacky weddings' compete with church appeal in Britain

The distinctive peal of English churches could soon become a thing of the past as Britons turn their back on marriage and seek unconventional alternatives to traditional wedding rites.

Bungee-jumping, rides in a hot air balloon or horseback weddings have mushroomed as couples aim to combine sporting passions with plans for an unusual, yet memorable, wedding day.
Instead of walking down the isle, sky divers will hope to experience a huge rush of adrenalin from leaping out of planes in free-falling love, while scuba divers will tie the knot under the sea.

Snow addicts will get hitched on a pair of skies in a ceremony performed on top of a mountain, before skiing down the slopes where the reception party awaits. Read more

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Nigerian Anglicans mull boycott over gay bishops

The Church of Nigeria gave its strongest indication yet on Monday that it would boycott next year's conference of global Anglicans to protest against what it called "intransigence" by pro-gay U.S. and Canadian churches.

American liberals and conservatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America have been locked in a battle for the soul of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion for over a decade.

The dispute over the ordination of gay bishops and blessing of gay marriages is threatening to create a schism ahead of next year's Lambeth Conference, a meeting of more than 800 bishops which is meant to cement the global communion once a decade. Read more

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The Religious Write: Bishop for the non-religious

[...] The problem I have with Bishop Spong is not that he is an interesting and challenging thinker, the problem I have is that he is a bishop. Because I cannot see in what meaningful sense of the word he could be called a Christian. I think he is a secular humanist - an entirely respectable position but not one that should be funded by the Anglican church. And I suspect, though this may be unworthy, that he wouldn't have received the same notoriety as plain Jack Spong.

Of course, Christianity - if you'll forgive the cliche - is a broad church but it is generally thought to contain as an irreducible minimum a belief in God and commitment to Christ.

Bishop Spong, as the title of his latest book shows, isn't writing for the traditional Christian. He believes traditional Christianity is in its death-throes, and doesn't mourn its passing. "I'm not trying to convert conservative church people, but to deal with people that conservative church people have run out of church or bored out of church," he told me in 2003. His task is to "spell out a way to be Christian without checking your brains at the door of the church. You can embrace the fact that you are a citizen of the 21st century". Read more

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