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World news in brief

14 June 2024


Devastated: firefighters work to put out a blaze at St Anne’s Anglican Church, Toronto‚ on Sunday. The deputy fire chief, Jim Jessop, reported that the building and its artefacts, including rare paintings by an acclaimed group of Canadian artists, were “completely destroyed” in the blaze

Devastated: firefighters work to put out a blaze at St Anne’s Anglican Church, Toronto‚ on Sunday. The deputy fire chief, Jim Jessop, reported that th...


No same-sex marriage for Methodists in Ireland

ELECTED representatives of the Methodist Church in Ireland, meeting in Belfast for its 2024 Conference last week, voted by 148 to 64 for a report on a decade-long review of Christian teaching on human sexuality, which maintains the doctrine that marriage is “between one man and one woman”. The report did not recommend same-sex marriages in church, which the Methodist Church in Great Britain has already voted to allow (News, 2 July 2021). The review also covered “the disciplines required in regard to sexual behaviour” of church leaders, including ministers and members of church councils (the governing bodies of individual Methodist churches). But, while it recommended that councils could decide whether people in same-sex relationships could serve in leadership positions, an amendment carried left it unclear whether councils would have the power to allow people in same-sex relationships to continue serving in these positions.


Former US Presiding Bishop to assist in Wyoming

A FORMER Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church, Dr Katharine Jefferts-Schori, is to support the diocese of Wyoming as assistant bishop, after its former Bishop, Paul-Gordon Chandler, was deposed from Holy Orders, writes Rebecca Paveley. Mr Chandler, who had been in post since 2021, agreed to a sentence of deposition in March after an “alleged indiscretion” with a member of his diocesan staff team (News, 5 April). He said at the time that his agreement to the sentence was not an admission of the allegations and charges, and that he had taken the decision in order to “stay true to myself”. Dr Jefferts-Schori, who will work pastorally with clergy, congregations, and ordinands, was appointed for “her healing presence and experience with grieving communities”, the Revd Camie Dewey, a member of the diocesan Standing Committee, said. Dr Jefferts-Schori became the first woman Presiding Bishop when she was elected in 2006. She finished her term in 2015 and has since them served in other dioceses that are in transition between leaders.


WCC meets in Columbia to discuss peace

THE governing body of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has called on the Colombian government and all armed groups “to respect international humanitarian and human rights law”, and to “ensure that the civilian population is protected from violence and harm resulting from conflict”. It warned armed groups “to desist from kidnapping, and from the recruitment of minors”. The WCC executive committee, which concluded its six-day meeting in the city of Bogotá, on Tuesday, expressed appreciation to the churches, people, and government of Colombia for the opportunity to meet there at “this pivotal moment in the search for just and sustainable peace”.


Reported arrest over Vatican manuscript

A FORMER employee of the Vatican has reportedly been arrested, awaiting formal charges of stealing a manuscript by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from the archives of St Peter’s Basilica. The person, who has not been named by Vatican News, is suspected of attempting to sell back to the Vatican the 18-page manuscript, which sets out in detail the gold-leaf designs Bernini used to decorate the 29m-tall Baldacchino canopy above the Basilica’s altar. It is reported that the administration of St Peter’s Basilica informed the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice that the manuscript had originally been part of its archives, but had disappeared, only to resurface in 2021 as a photocopy in a book.

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