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World news in brief

20 October 2017


Aftermath: a church damaged by the Vouzela fires, in the town of Vila Nova, in Ventosa, Portugal, on Monday

Aftermath: a church damaged by the Vouzela fires, in the town of Vila Nova, in Ventosa, Portugal, on Monday

Lambeth 2020 begins to take shape

THE theme for the next Lambeth Conference in 2020 will be “God’s Church for God’s world”, it has been announced. A working group, made up of clergy and lay representatives from across the Communion, has been making plans for what will be discussed at the Conference, which due to take place in Canterbury in three years’ time. The chair, the Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, said that the theme would help the Communion to “look at something greater and bigger than ourselves, and not to quibble around the little things within the family”. The former Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, has been appointed Chaplain to the Conference.


US Episcopalians still working to get Puerto Rico back on its feet

MORE than a month after Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, the Episcopal Church in the United States is still trying to help the island recover. As well as killing 45 people, the hurricane knocked out the power and water supply, and much of the northern region is still without clean water to drink. Volunteers with Episcopal Relief and Development are organising water and other essential supplies to remote regions, and the Church’s Cathedral School in the capital San Juan has now re-opened, although it too has no electricity. On Sunday, the Bishop of Puerto Rico, the Rt Revd Rafael Morales Maldonado, was, however, able to celebrate the Eucharist. “We discovered the strength of the Lord in our new project to lift and build,” he wrote on Facebook, the Episcopal News Service reported.


Egypt’s Christians continue to gather despite terror threat

EVANGELICAL Christians in Egypt have held a series of large conferences in defiance of Islamist terrorism, which has claimed the lives of dozens of Christians in recent months. One event, the Days of Harvest festival, took place just a few miles from the site of an attack on a convoy of Coptic believers in May (News, 26 May), which left 28 people dead. Rachel Fadipe from the Christian broadcaster SAT-7, which helped organise the conferences, said that Christians’ willingness to travel despite a “wave of terrorism” showed the strength of their faith.


Chinese human rights situation ‘worst since Mao’

CHRISTIAN Solidarity Worldwide has published a commentary on China’s human rights abuses by a Christian lawyer, detained incommunicado since August, which claims that the country’s repression is now the worst since the end of Mao Zedong’s regime. The lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, became famous for defending Christians and other religious minorities against persecution by the Chinese authorities. He was “disappeared” in August and is believed to have been detained by the state. The document published by CSW was written in 2016, and claims the Chinese government has recently intensified its attempts to suppress Christianity.


Orthodox Patriarch addresses Arctic science gathering

THE Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has spoken at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland to re-affirm the call upon the Church to speak up for climate justice. The damage wrought by humanity upon the Earth was particularly visible in the Arctic, he said at the conference held over the weekend. “Spiritual leaders and ecologists cannot avoid engaging in a profound dialogue with one another. Climate change is a matter of livelihood, food, and individual and cultural survival.”

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