Newsstand 11 - 17 February
Archbishop's Ash Wednesday message, Christian welfare agencies warning over Jobseeker cuts, Churches on collision course with Government over vaccine, Kim Jon-Il's surprising legacy of faith, why you should think about mother's ministry, and more
February 17 2021
Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne has spoken about how it has been a week of contrast for Victorians, as we today mark the last day of a snap lockodwn across the state and Ash Wednesday.
Christian organisations, including Anglicare and Mission Australia, are calling on the Federal Government to urgently raise income support payments for jobseekers on a permanent basis, warning that increasing levels of poverty will result if income support drops back to previous levels, for the 1.6 million Australians relying on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments.
Major churches are at odds with authorities over the AstraZeneca vaccine, with religious leaders telling parishioners they are entitled to request a different jab but the federal government saying most people won’t have a choice. Religious concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine arise from its use of decades-old aborted fetal cells in the development process, which is common scientific practice that some Christians find objectionable.
Episcopalian clergy have told of the fatigue they and their congregations are carrying with them into this Lenten season. They say they never expected parish life to be upended this long, now approaching a full lectionary cycle, but they also have learned much in the past year, including how technology can connect people who need to remain physically apart. With vaccination efforts ramping up, they are both hopeful for the future and humbled this year by the solemn themes of Lent.
The work to facilitate and resource Anglican Churches around the world in the fight for gender justice will continue in the new look Anglican Communion Office (ACO). Last month, the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee announced the results of a review into the operational priorities of the Anglican Communion Office and proposed that programmatic work should be carried out by the 41 member Churches (provinces), networks and agencies. Last week it was announced that, following a consultation, the work of gender justice would continue until the next full meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-18), which is due to take place in 2023.
The Anglican Communion’s Director of Unity, Faith and Order, Dr Will Adam, has been appointed Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Dr Adam will step down as ecumenical adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to take on the new role, which will see the part time Director of Unity, Faith and Order becoming full time.
The former North Korean leader, who would have turned 80 on 16 February, allowed millions of his people to starve — but he also unwittingly allowed Christianity to flourish in North Korea, writes Timothy Cho, who escaped from North Korea, is based in the UK and works for the Christian charity Open Doors.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on 14 February re-establishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, undoing former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reshape an agency that went largely unstaffed for most of his tenure.
When a parish looks to put on an extra worker, it might hire someone for music, youth, or men’s and women’s ministry. But when the Rev Jodie McNeill, the rector at Jamberoo, sought a grant from Mothers’ Union Sydney, he applied for the funds to hire a part-time mothers’ minister. Why? He has his reasons.
Evidence presented to the Aged Care Royal Commission posed a graphic reminder of the degree to which older people are frequently forgotten and the prevalence of elder abuse. But across the globe, there is also evidence that points to the healing power of United Nations’ human rights instruments. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian public should call on the government to support a Convention for the Rights of Older People.