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13 September - 19 September

The Anglican Board of Mission launches an emergency appeal in response to Super Typhoon Mangkhut hitting the Philippines; why Prime Minister Scott Morrison's prayer for rain is offensive; and fears the National Redress Scheme will grossly underpay survivors of child sex abuse

September 19 2018

Typhoon Mangkhut: urgent support needed for the Philippines

 The Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) has launched an emergency appeal in response to a request for assistance from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, after Super Typhoon Mangkhut struck the northern parts of Luzon on Saturday 15 September.

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines has a substantial presence in the region, with four out of the seven dioceses spread across the affected area. This includes 300 parishes and 100 other communities that the Church has engagement with, all of which have been damaged in varying degrees by the typhoon.


Faith without works: Why the Prime Minister's call to pray for rain is offensive

 Anglican minister Byron Smith writes on the “truly offensive” and “profound” disconnect between the Prime Minister’s professed prayers and the pro-coal – and thus anti-farmer – agenda of his government.

“To pray when facing a crisis like widespread drought is not the problem. But when the government Morrison leads has spent many years doing little or nothing about the root causes of the warming that is worsening such extreme weather, then inviting the nation to pray in response is somewhat galling.”


Anglican Church “horrified” over how redress scheme calculates payments to victims

The Anglican Church of Australia says it is “horrified” with the National Redress Scheme as it will grossly underpay survivors of child sex abuse, according to ABC news.

However, the Church will now have a lower liability than first anticipated.

Tasmania's Anglican Bishop, Richard Condie, said the final matrix — the framework used to determine a redress payment — wasn't as good as that recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.


Abandoning Paris Agreement may “compromise” national security: PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he sees no benefit in abandoning the Paris Agreement, following his decision to scrap the National Energy Guarantee, in an interview with Sky News.

Mr Morrison says abandoning the agreement won’t lower electricity prices and could create “serious issues” among Australia’s strategic security partners in the Pacific.


New research shows Australian teens have complex views on religion and spirituality

 According to a new national study, at least half of teens say they are “religious nones” – those who do not identify with a religion or religious group.

The study, carried out by three Australian universities, found a complicated picture of faith and spirituality among young Australians. Most Gen Z teens have little to do with organised religion in their personal lives, while a significant proportion are interested in different ways of being spiritual.


Homo sapiens? Not us, says retired Bishop

 “Homo sapiens” refers to humans who are sapient – knowing or wise. But the truth of the matter is tragically far from this, writes Bishop George Browning.

 We seek to resolve difference through violence rather than dialogue; we give greater weight to possessing rather than being (our other species name); we assume winning to be an achievement of the individual rather than the community; we constantly appoint leaders who show absolutely no aptitude for the task.


How we decide if asylum seekers lie

Lawyer Douglas McDonald-Norman, who spent five years dealing with refugees, writes about the difficulty of determining whether or not an asylum seeker is a legitimate refugee.

“Asylum seekers… will rarely have been the subject of press reports,” he says. “Their personal experiences may not have been documented. And any witnesses to what they have lived through may be unwilling or unable to testify on their behalf.”


Why Western Christianity has a death wish

 The wider US Episcopal church is facing extinction: just 500,000 attend its services on a Sunday, which an internal report calls a "profound and shocking decline". Its sister church in England isn't doing much better, writes Tim Stanley in the UK Telegraph.

“Those of us who are Christian… blame our falling numbers on everything but ourselves, from immigration to the internet. The truth is that Western Christianity isn't dying out from natural causes or murder; it's committing suicide.”


Being grateful for the seed of surprise

 Being surprised is something that should not be taken for granted, writes Catholic Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast.

“Even an unwelcome surprise shakes us out of complacency and makes us come alive. We may not like it at first, but looking back, we can always recognize it as a gift. Humdrum equals deadness; surprise equals life. In fact, my favorite name for the One I worship in wonder – the only name that does not limit God – is Surprise.”


An astronaut’s life-changing lesson from a moment in space

 Journalist Richard Schiffman recalls having dinner with the astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who travelled to the moon on Apollo 14 in 1971. An “overwhelmingly magnificent” view of the sun, moon and stars on his trip back to Earth was a near-religious experience for Mitchell.

“I realized that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spacecraft had been manufactured in an ancient generation of stars. It wasn't just intellectual knowledge – it was a subjective visceral experience accompanied by ecstasy – a transformational experience.”