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World news in brief

08 December 2023


The new Prior of the Taizé Community, Brother Matthew, is prayed for at a service on Saturday

The new Prior of the Taizé Community, Brother Matthew, is prayed for at a service on Saturday

New Prior of Taizé is welcomed

THE new Prior of the Taizé Community was announced at a service on Saturday: Brother Matthew succeeds Brother Alois. At the service, five church representatives, including the Bishops of Reading and Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Olivia Graham and the Rt Revd Smitha Prasadam, were asked to say a prayer for Brother Matthew’s start as “servant of communion” in the Community.

Bishop Curry recovering after surgery

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, is recovering after surgery carried out since he fell while visiting New York and suffered a brain bleed. A news release from the Church’s Office of Public Affairs said that the surgery was “successful”. In September, Bishop Curry, who is 71, underwent surgery to remove an adrenal gland and a non-cancerous attached mass, after treatment earlier for episodes of internal bleeding, the Episcopal News Service reports.

IS claims responsibility for bombing of mass

A BOMB attack on a Roman Catholic mass being offered in a gymnasium in Mindanao State University, in Marawi, the largest Muslim city in the Philippines, killed four people and wounded 42 others on Sunday. The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the AFP news agency. In a telegram to the Territorial Prelate of Marawi, the Most Revd Edwin Angot de la Peña, Pope Francis wrote of praying “that Christ the Prince of Peace will grant to all the strength to turn from violence and overcome every evil with good”. In 2017, the city endured a five-month siege by pro-IS militants (News, 2 June 2017). Photos released by news agencies show Filipino Muslims “gathering in solidarity with the victims of the attack, praying for them and condemning the blast”, Vatican News reported.

Donors sought as Syria faces cuts to food aid

THE World Food Programme will end its main assistance programme to Syria in January, owing to funding cuts, it announced on Monday. A press release from Refugees International said: “These cuts leave the most vulnerable with few lifelines after a year marked by deep tragedy and suffering as a result of the February earthquakes, economic deterioration, and ongoing violence in many parts of the country. Families across Syria are already making trade-offs between buying food or affording healthcare, school, or fuel. These cuts will plunge Syrians into severe hunger—and could push many to flee Syria altogether.” It is calling on donors, including USAID, to invest in the programme.

Burmese Cathedral attacked

THE Roman Catholic Christ the King Cathedral, Loikaw, in Kayah (Karenni) State, Burma, was attacked by the Burmese military on 26 November, the Bishop, Mgr Celso Ba Shwe, has reported. In a statement issued the following day, he said that 80 people had been sheltering in the compound, amid “intensifying armed conflicts”. The military had made three attempts to “take over” the compound, but had been persuaded to spare it. On the night of 26 November, however, forces had “intentionally shot” at the compound, and the ceiling had been “destroyed by the artillery shells”. The military were now occupying the building. Since a military coup in 2021, overthrowing Aung Sang Su Kyi, conflict has been waged between the military and various insurgencies, with 2.5 million people displaced and “flagrant human-rights violations” committed by the military, including entire villages set ablaze, according to the UN.

Ethiopian Churches agree to form council

DELEGATIONS from the three largest Ethiopian Churches — the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, and the Ethiopian Catholic Church — agreed last week to establish a council of Churches, the World Council of Churches reported. Minutes from the meeting, which took place at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, spoke of “responding to humanitarian needs and in promoting peace and social cohesion in Ethiopia”, amid a humanitarian crisis in which about 20 million people require food aid.

New Lent resource on modern slavery

A NEW resource to help communities to respond to modern slavery has been launched by the World Council of Churches and the C of E’s Clewer Initiative (News, 19 May 2017). Structured around Galatians, and designed to be used in Lent, the resource offers weekly explorations with Bible reflections, discussion questions, modern-slavery facts, global case-studies, and points for action which can be tailored to national and regional contexts worldwide. According to Anti-Slavery International, the number of children in modern slavery is more than 12 million. A webinar is planned for January 2024. truefreedom24.com

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