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World news in brief

20 March 2020

Matthew Cavanaugh/Diocese of Massachusetts

Bishop Barbara Harris leads hymn-singing at the 2014 electing convention of the diocese of Massachusetts

Bishop Barbara Harris leads hymn-singing at the 2014 electing convention of the diocese of Massachusetts

Anglicans’ first woman bishop dies, aged 89

THE Rt Revd Barbara C. Harris, who was first woman to be consecrated bishop in the Anglican Communion, died last Friday, aged 89. She served as the Suffragan Bishop in Massachussetts diocese, in the United States, from 1989 until her retirement in 2002. Active in the civil-rights movement of the 1960s and in lay ministry in the Episcopal Church, she was ordained priest when she was 50. She was the recipient of at least 17 honorary degrees from colleges, universities, and theological institutions. “Bishop Harris was not large of physical stature. In fact, the opposite,” the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Michael Curry, said. “But she was larger than life. She was larger than life because she lived it fully with her God and with us. . . She did it walking the lonesome valley of leadership, paving a way for so many of us whose way had been blocked.” Obituary to follow.


Nigerian churchwomen kidnapped

THE wife of the Bishop of Bari in Kano state, Nigeria, Saratu Zubairu, and the Diocesan Secretary, identified only by the name Deborah, have been kidnapped, the Secretariat of the Anglican Church of Nigeria confirmed on Tuesday of last week. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that they were taken by gunmen, who reportedly laid siege to Gidan Mato, in Bari, where the Anglican Cathedral and Bishop’s Court are situated, and looted the town and these premises. The Church’s statement said that the abductors have been in contact to demand a large ransom. The Chief Executive of CSW, Mervyn Thomas, said: “The growing trend of abductions for ransom is a highly concerning development which the Nigerian government must take immediate steps to address, protecting vulnerable communities and bringing those responsible to justice.”


Charities report more than 100 attacks on Yemeni health system

AT LEAST 120 violent attacks on health facilities and medical workers were carried out by warring parties in Yemen between March 2015 and December 2018, a report from Mwatana for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights, says. The analysis — I Ripped the IV Out and Started Running — documents attacks attributed to the Saudi-led coalition, the internationally recognised government of Yemen, and Houthi forces, and argues that they have “decimated” the country’s health system, “inflicted widespread death and suffering, and likely constitute war crimes”.


UN welcomes compromises in South Sudan

A NEW unity cabinet in South Sudan, unveiled on Thursday of last week, has been welcomed by the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, who commended the “spirit of compromise and collaboration” shown by President Salva Kiir and his deputy — and former rival — Riek Machar. The head of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer, told the Security Council last week that the two former rivals had both compromised, “moving the country further along the road to sustainable peace”.


Polish Catholics start film-streaming mission

A ROMAN CATHOLIC film-streaming service promoted as an alternative to Netflix has been launched by Studio Katolik, a media company run by the Salvatorian Congregation in Kraków, in Poland, The Daily Telegraph reports. Every week, it will offer five new features that can be shown to children “without fear”, it says, including Heidi and a documentary on the “dark side” of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code: “Our dream is to create a space, which, using the power of film, will lead you to God.”

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