New Wine CEO to direct Lambeth 2020
THE executive director of New Wine, Phil George, has been named as
the CEO for the 2020 Lambeth Conference. Before his present appointment, he worked for 26 years in corporate banking. He will start in his new position in September. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said that Mr George had “an impressive CV and will bring energy, enthusiasm and considerable expertise to the role. The Lambeth Conference of 2020 comes at a significant time in the life of the Communion.” The Lambeth Design Group, chaired by the Archbishop of Capetown, Dr Thabo Makgoba, agreed this year that the conference would take place in Canterbury, in the last week of July 2020 (News, 17 March). The theme will be “God’s Church for God’s world”.
Vatican fears for bishop in Chinese custody
THE Holy See was described as “profoundly saddened” and having “grave concern” about the coadjutor bishop of Wenzhou diocese, in China, the Rt Revd Peter Shao Zhumin, had been “forcibly removed from his episcopal see” when he was due to become diocesan bishop. The statement, from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, said this week that neither the diocesan community nor his relatives had been given reasons for his removal from his office; “nor do they know where he is being held”. The Bishop has been in government custody for almost ten months, the Crux news website reports. His election was not recognised by the Chinese government.
‘United voice’ on South Sudan sought
LEADERS from the Council of Churches of South Sudan are to visit Zambia next month at the invitation of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) to discuss the situation in the war-torn country and formulate a united response. It follows a CAPA visit to camps in Uganda, which is hosting 950,000 South Sudanese refugees.
The Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Albert Chama, told the Anglican Communion News Service that the testimony heard by the delegation “really broke our hearts”. “People (in the camps) were saying to us ‘You are the only hope we have,’” he said. “If the churches are united in one voice, they can stop the war. When they work with their denominations, their pastors, things will change on the ground. That is our hope.” Last week, a “solidarity summit” for refugees in Uganda raised £280 million in pledges, the United Nations reports.
State-backed Islamic prayers televised from Hagia Sophia
THE President of the Diyanet (the state’s religious department) in Turkey, Mehmet Görmez, took part in Islamic prayers in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, broadcast on state television last week, for the night of Laylat al-Qadr. Originally the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the cathedral was turned into a mosque under Ottoman rule in the 15th century, but closed and reopened as a secular museum, on the orders of Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, in 1935. Recent campaigning for it to revert to a mosque led to the first holding of Islamic prayers there again in July 2016. The Conference of European Churches said last week that it was “alarmed by the prospect of using one of humanity’s greatest cultural and religious shrines for political purposes”.