Church leaders speak out as Kavanaugh sworn in
BISHOPS of the Episcopal Church in the United States have offered support to sexual-assault survivors affected by the stirring up of memories by the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court last week, the Episcopal News Service reports. Justice Kavanaugh was sworn in despite being accused by Dr Christine Blasey Ford of sexually assaulting her as a teenager. The National Council of Churches (NCC), of which the Episcopal Church is a member, called on President Trump to withdraw the nomination after hearings in which the judge clashed with Senators over the allegations, which he denied. The NCC declared him too partisan to be a Supreme Court Associate Justice. The Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd Mariann E. Budde, in a statement, decried the prevalence of sexual assault and offered pastoral care to survivors. “Many now feel emboldened to tell of their experiences, and thank God for that. Others do not because they know it’s not safe,” she wrote.
Supreme Court in Pakistan reserves judgment on Bibi
THE Supreme Court of Pakistan has reserved judgement on the appeal by Asia Bibi, a farm labourer who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad — which she denies — after an argument with Muslim co-workers (News, 19 November 2010). The chairman of the British-Pakistani Christian Association, Wilson Chowdry, said: “We hope this time she will be completely exonerated and that this wrongful conviction will finally be overturned as this is her last chance to be heard at court.”
REUTERS/ATHIT PERAWONGMETHAA digger removes a car from the ruins of a mosque in Palu, Indonesia, after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the island of Sulawesi this month (News, 5 October). The number who have died as a result of the disasters could climb beyond 5000, officials have warned, as thousands are still missing. The official count now stands at more than 2000. Foreign aid workers were told to leave the island by the Indonesian government this week. Tim Costello of World Vision called the decision “very odd”
Heather Cook, jailed for drink-driving, seeks release
HEATHER COOK, the former bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States who was convicted of manslaughter and drink-driving in 2015 (News, 30 October 2015), is seeking to have her prison sentence reduced. She was Suffragan Bishop of Maryland when she had a fatal collision with a cyclist, Thomas Palermo, in Baltimore, in 2014. She has asked for two of her sentences to run concurrently, which could mean that she would be released next month, the Episcopal News Service reports. Mr Palermo’s sister-in-law told local press that each of Cook’s attempts at early release traumatised their family more.
Transatlantic interfaith group launched
THE inaugural meeting of the Network of Inter Faith European and North American Concerns (NIFENAC) was held last month, chaired by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson. NIFENAC is one of the new global networks established as part of the Anglican Inter Faith Commission. The Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave, was among those who attended the meeting.