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World news in brief

by
11 October 2019

REUTERS

Papal Network: Pope Francis presides over a procession into the synod hall of the Vatican for the first session of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, on Monday. The synod, attended by about 300 people and running until 27 October, will explore threats to the ecology and indigenous peoples of the region, the ministry of women, and the ordination of married men to serve remote regions — some of which do not see a priest for a year. In the opening mass, Pope Francis said: “May God preserve us from the greed of new forms of colonialism. The fire set by interests that destroy, like the fire that recently devastated Amazonia, is not the fire of the gospel. The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity. It is fed by sharing, not by profits.” Read more on the story from Paul Vallely. See gallery for more picture stories

Papal Network: Pope Francis presides over a procession into the synod hall of the Vatican for the first session of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, on Monday. The synod, attended by about 300 people and running until 27 October, will explore threats to the ecology and indigenous peoples of the region, the ministry of women, and the ordination of married men to serve remote regions — some of which do not see a priest for a year. In the opening mass, Pope Francis said: “May God preserve us from the greed of new forms of colonialism. The fire set by interests that destroy, like the fire that recently devastated Amazonia, is not the fire of the gospel. The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity. It is fed by sharing, not by profits.” Read more on the story from Paul Vallely. See gallery for more picture stories

South American bishops call for zero deforestation

EIGHT Anglican bishops across five South American countries released a joint statement last week calling on governments to implement zero deforestation urgently. The Primate of South America, the Most Revd Gregory Venables, was among the signatories. The letter described fires in the Amazon rainforest as evidence of “human pride and disobedience against God’s command to be stewards of His creation. . . We believe that without genuine repentance on the part of all of us, we will continue to pay a huge price with greater disasters than those we have recently seen in our countries.” They noted that their province contains three of the countries worst affected by deforestation in the world. Bishops of more than one denomination have previously called for the international community to act to save the Amazon rainforest, which has been threatened by forest fires in the past year (News, 23 August). The Anglican bishops wrote that they hoped that next year’s climate change summit in Chile, COP25, would provide concrete policies on deforestation.

 

UK Government matches money given to Mercy Ships

MERCY SHIPS’ latest campaign, #ChangeTheOdds, will benefit from UK government funding of up to £2 million, it was announced last week. The charity’s ship, Africa Mercy, docked in Senegal in mid-August. It is expected that 1700 free life-changing surgical procedures will happen onboard. The International Development Secretary, Alok Sharma, said that the pledge meant that “UK Aid will help deliver life-saving and life-changing surgeries, training, and infrastructure improvement in Senegal that will allow future generations to prosper.” The Senegalese Ambassador, Cheikh Ahmadou Dieng, said at the campaign’s launch last week that it “will have served humanity”.

 

Europe diocese gains permanent chaplain-president in Belgium

BELGIUM has granted two new positions, funded by the state, to the Church of England. After a 20-year process, King Phillipe of the Belgians gave assent to a Bill that had been steered through the Belgian parliament. It gives a full-time salaried chaplain-president and a full-time salaried secretary for the Anglican Church. The Revd Jack McDonald, the president of the Anglican Central Committee in Belgium, will become chaplain-president, and has appointed the Revd Jo Jan Vandenheede as its first full-time secretary. Mr Vandenheede wrote that he was looking “forward to offering to our ten chaplaincies in Belgium a bespoke administrative service, along with full Anglican representation at the various dialogues and bodies of which Anglicans are members by virtue of our legal recognition”.

 

Algeria’s officials ordered to suppress ‘subversive’ churches

THE Algerian government has continued to “crackdown on Protestant communities”, Open Doors reports. An order was issued last month that sought to target the “destructive/subversive” activities of religious groups that “contradict national religious consistency”. A church belonging to l’Église Protestante d’Algérie was closed in Boghni, Tizi Ouzou province, bringing the total number of Protestant churches closed in the country to eight. Open Doors say that the Protestant Church in the country has also struggled to obtain licences to open further churches.

 

Pastor’s wife killed by abductors in Nigeria

ESTHER KATUNG, a pastor’s wife from Kaduna state, Nigeria, was killed after being abducted last month. Her husband, the Revd Ishiaku Katung, is the minister in charge of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Birnin Gwari local government area. The charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that Mrs Katung died after a beating by her kidnappers, before the ransom had been paid. It was part of a spate of kidnappings for ransom that have increased across Nigeria, CSW said. CSW’s chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, urged the Nigerian government to “to do everything in their power to safeguard citizens and bring perpetrators to justice”.

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