World news in brief

Charity requests prayers for St George’s, Baghdad

THE charity Mosaic Middle East has requested prayers for St George’s, Baghdad, and for a peaceful resolution of the conflict that erupted in the Green Zone of safety in the city over the August bank-holiday weekend. At least 30 people were killed and 300 were wounded after a night of gunfire, and the unrest had yet to subside, its chief executive, Mike Simpson, said on Saturday. “Pray also for those that rely on St George’s: its Christian congregation of 300 along with the schoolchildren and teachers from the Kindergarten and Primary School. Please pray for the St George’s Clinic, its nurses, doctors, and the 18,500 patient cases it serves.” He also asked for prayers for the Chaplain, Canon Faez Jirjees, and for donations. “At this time of unrest and with an economic crisis brewing for this winter, the people that St George’s support need our financial help more than ever.”

Back Respect for Marriage Act, US Church is urged

THE Episcopal Public Policy Network in the United States has urged Episcopalians to encourage the US Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act — a Bill to protect the legality of same-sex marriage in all states — in November. Same-sex marriages have been authorised in the Episcopal Church since its General Convention amended the canons in 2015 (News, 10 July 2015). A news alert from the Network on Tuesday emphasised the spiritual importance of protecting same-sex marriage. An adviser in the Church’s Office of Government Relations, Rushad Thomas, told ENS: “With the Supreme Court demonstrating its willingness to roll back long-established rights, it is vital that Congress ensure marriage equality is protected from the prospect of a state-by-state free-for-all. The Episcopal Church will continue to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights at the federal level.”


Cardinal Zen’s trial to begin after Covid delay

THE criminal trial of a former RC Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, which is due to take place this week, has been delayed after the presiding judge tested positive for Covid, local media report. Cardinal Zen, with three others, was arrested on 10 May over alleged “collusion with foreign forces” relating to the operation of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, of which he is a trustee (News, 20 May). He pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the national-security law when he later appeared at a court hearing (News, 10 June). His five-day trial was due to begin on Monday, but was expected to be delayed by at least two days.


Hurricane batters Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, has called on clergy and laity to support the relief effort in Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Fiona caused “flooding, landslides, blocked roads”, as well as power outages over the weekend. This US territory was devastated five years ago by Hurricane Maria (News, 22 September 2017). Bishop Curry requested prayers for the Bishop of Puerto Rico, the Rt Revd Rafael Morales, and his clergy and laity “as they stand with their fellow Puerto Ricans”. As it moved west, the hurricane also wrought destruction in the Dominican Republic. Bishop Curry urged prayers for the Bishop, the Rt Revd Moises Quesada, his clergy and laity, and “all those impacted by this horrendous storm. And I thank God for Episcopal Relief and Development and their efficient response to this crisis.”


Bishop of Chicago finally consecrated

THE Rt Revd Paula Clark was finally consecrated as Bishop of Chicago in St James’s Cathedral on Sunday, two years after her election. Bishop Clark became the first female black Bishop-elect of the diocese in April 2021, but a few weeks later suffered from a brain bleed while exercising. Her consecration was postponed for two months, then indefinitely as she went through speech and physical therapy. Her husband was then diagnosed with multiple myeloma and died in November. The Bishop of Washington, DC, the Rt Revd Mariann Edgar Budde, preaching, said that it would have been understandable had Bishop Clark walked away during all this. “Paula never once wavered — not once,” she said. “She never let go of the call that God placed on her heart and yours.” The process had been “long, challenging, sometimes heart-breaking, but always guided by God”, Bishop Clark told the diocese in a letter.


NY Community of the Crossing inaugurated

MESSAGES of support have been sent to the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, as its new cross-denominational Community of the Crossing opened this week. A programme for young people, the Community was inaugurated this month at a service during which video messages were played from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope, and the Ecumenical Patriarch. Bishop Curry wrote that religious communities “have often been lighthouses to help human civilization find its way to a way of life grounded more deeply in the ways of compassion and the ways of justice, ways of kindness, in the way of God’s love”. “The best of what we do as a Church happens when we come together as a community of love,” Archbishop Welby said.


Priests and nun abducted in Cameroon

THE RC Bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province, north-western Cameroon, have expressed “shock and utter horror” at an arson attack on a church in the diocese of Mamfe, last Friday. Nine people, including five priests and a nun, were abducted by dozens of unknown gunmen. In a statement, the bishops called for the immediate released of the hostages. Churchpeople have increasingly been targeted in the conflict-ridden Anglophone regions, where separatists have been fighting the Francophone-controlled central government since 2017, Vatican News reports. The Bishops continue: “A wave of persecution against the hierarchy of the Church is now the new game of the ‘Struggle’, and all kinds of threat messages are sent out against Missionaries who have surrendered their lives to work for the people.”

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