Church of Norway suffers online exodus
THE Church of Norway has lost 15,000 members in the first four days of setting up a new website. The state Church launched a site last week to check who was enrolled with it. This also allowed 15,053 to unregister in a few clicks. “We will continue to be the people’s Church, open and welcoming,” a spokesman, Kristin Gunleiksrud, said in a statement. “But no one should be a member against his will and so I’m happy that this self-service option is available.” The Church, which is part of the Porvoo Communion, numbers its membership at 3.8 million (about 73 per cent of Norway’s population), although it is in the process of being partially disestablished.
Church opens centre for Boko Haram victims
IN THE Church of Nigeria, the foundation stone has been laid of a trauma centre to look after those displaced by the Islamist insurgency of Boko Haram in the north of the country. The Bishop of Maiduguri, the Rt Revd Emmanuel Mani, told reporters in Nigeria that the clinic would serve thousands of people suffering as a result of the insurgency, regardless of faith. It would include an operating theatre, labour ward, laboratory, and pharmacy. It has been designed by government engineers for free.
Stop killing indigenous Brazilians, campaign urges
THE Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil has joined an ecumenical campaign to demand an end to the violent displacement of indigenous communities in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The Indigenous Council in Brazil estimates that as many as 390 Guarani-Kaiowá and Terena people have died over the past 12 years, as powerful agricultural businesses have attempted to clear land. The Church has joined with the mission agency USPG and other Churches in demonstrations outside the state parliament, and have brought indigenous leaders to meet with the Attorney General.
UK freezes support for World Vision in Gaza
THE International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, has told Jewish leaders in a letter that the Government will not provide any funds for World Vision’s Gaza operations until the charity has fully audited its programmes there. Earlier this month, the manager of World Vision in Gaza, Mohammad El Halabi, was charged by Israel with diverting tens of millions of pounds, including funds sent from the UK, to the terrorist group that runs the Strip, Hamas (News, 12 August). World Vision has suspended its operations in Gaza while it investigates the claims. The Government does not currently fund any World Vision projects in Gaza, and would not do so while the charity was considering its position, Ms Patel wrote.