The changing face of Africa

A professor and several students at Brown University have created an animated map of Africa from 1879 to 2002 showing armed conflicts, changing rule (colonial, monarchical, white minority, etc.) and shifting political boundaries. Access the map here. (Read about Professor Nancy Jacobs and the student research team here.)

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Nigeria proposes ban on same-sex unions

The Nigerian legislature has before it another bill to prohibit same-sex unions and make a criminal out of anyone who witnesses or formalizes such marriages.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Nigerian Bar Association Human Rights Institute (NBAHRI) and Nigerian human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are deeply concerned by the ‘Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2008’, currently before the Nigerian National Assembly. The Bill would introduce criminal penalties for marriage ceremonies between persons of the same sex as well as for persons witnessing or helping to formalize such a marriage. The groups say that this is contrary to the Nigerian Constitution and inconsistent with Nigeria’s obligations under international and regional human rights treaties which the country has ratified. They are urging the National Assembly not to pass the Bill.

Amnesty International UK's LGBT Campaigner, Kim Manning-Cooper said:

'Singling out and depriving one group of people of rights that all are entitled to enjoy according to Nigeria's Constitution is blatant discrimination. And penalising people who witness same sex marriages is also an outrageous breach of basic human rights.

'There is no way such a Bill can be passed without it being in breach of international and regional treaties which Nigeria has ratified. It would also contravene the Nigerian Constitution. We would strongly encourage the National Assembly not to pass the Bill.'

The Bill has a broad definition of same sex marriages and relationships. It is feared that, if passed, it could lead to the arbitrary arrest of people on the basis of rumors about their sexual orientation or behavior.

Kim Manning-Cooper added:

'Without the protection of fundamental freedoms, it is impossible for activists to form organizations and campaign for LGBT rights or even to meet in public. If this Bill is passed, it may be dangerous for them to meet even in private.

'The Nigerian government has a duty to promote and protect the human rights of its population without distinction of any kind, including sexual orientation or gender identity. And as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Nigeria is required to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation.

Let's hope it lives up to its obligations by not proceeding any further with this Bill.'

HT to Thinking Anglicans.

Amnesty International: Nigeria: 'Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill' violates Constitution and Nigeria: 'Same gender marriage (Prohibition) Bill' threatens imprisonment of members of the LGBT community

Anti-retroviral medication withdrawn in the Free State

ACNS:

The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, meeting at Modderpoort in the Free State from 16 to 20 February 2009, have been shocked at the news that the Provincial Department of Health in the Free State has withdrawn anti-retroviral medication from HIV positive patients because of shortage of funds.
Read it all.

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Gays? I don't see any gay people here.

The Changing Attitude blog reports that the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs reported to the UN periodic review of human rights in Geneva on February 9, 2009 that they know of no gays or lesbians in Nigeria, let alone LGBT groups, and therefore see no reason to protect their rights. Davis Mac-Iyalla and other leaders of Changing Attitude Nigeria described the statement as a lie.

The Minister, Ojo Madueke, said:

As we have indicated in our National Report, we have no record of any group of Nigerians, who have come together under the umbrella of “Lesbian, Gay and Transgender” group, let alone to start talking of their rights.

During our National Consultative Forum, we went out of our way to look for the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender group, but we could not come across Nigerians with such sexuality....

If they are an amorphous group, then the question of violence against them does not arise, let alone negotiating special rights for them.

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Anglican bishops in Africa cautiously welcome new Zimbabwe government

The bishops of Central Africa have released a statement regarding the formation of a new "Unity" government in Zimbabwe, a country whose president Robert Mugabe's rule was strongly condemned by this same group last year.

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New bill proposed to further oppress Nigerian gays

BBC:

Nigerian gay rights activists have told the country's lawmakers that a new bill to outlaw same sex marriage would lead to widespread human rights abuses. The new law would mean prison sentences for gay people who live together, and anyone who "aids and abets" them.

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South African religious leaders say let Dali Lama in

Writing as chairman of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa has asked President Kgalema Motlanthe to reconsider the decision to deny a visa to the Dali Lama:

The Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum wishes to express its serious concern over South Africa’s decision to deny a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the occasion of the proposed conference to celebrate world peace and the 2010 Football World Soccer Cup in South Africa. We raise our voice alongside the many others of our civil society expressing anger and disappointment, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s clearly stated unhappiness with the action and its underlying causes. ....

We note that speculation surrounding the motivation for this decision has provided a stark reminder of the need to separate the functions of the ruling political party from those of Government and Head of State.

More fundamental is the question of the relationship between domestic and international human rights norms and values, and policy-making.

Click Read more to see the full letter.

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The long shadow of slavery

The Executive Council's Committee on Racism reports, "Our most recent initiative, in response to Resolution A123, has been uplifting for us as we witness eight dioceses actively engaged in the process of discovering how they “were complicit in or profited from the institution of transatlantic slavery.”"

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Kenya: new archbishop elected

Eliud Wabukala is the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The 58 year old Wabukala who has been serving as the Bungoma Bishop was elected by a simple majority in the fourth round, after the contesting clerics failed to secure the compulsory two thirds majority in the first three rounds.

Dr Wabukala is due to take over from Benjamin Nzimbi who formally retires in June after attaining the maximum age limit of 65.

Read more here.

Ending aid to Africa will not help

Archbishop Ndungane has written an essay in response to voices claiming that financial aid to Africa needs to end before African nations can turn themselves around. He identifies how financial globalization combined with local issues are making the situation in Africa worse and influx of money used in ways not sensitive to the African contexts are combined to create the present situation.

He writes specifically:

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Christians spread belief in child witches

CNN reports:

"Children accused of witchcraft are often incarcerated in churches for weeks on end and beaten, starved and tortured in order to extract a confession," said Gary Foxcroft, program director of Stepping Stones Nigeria, a nonprofit that helps alleged witch children in the region. Many of those targeted have traits that make them stand out, including learning disabilities, stubbornness and ailments such as epilepsy, he added. The issue of "child witches" is soaring in Nigeria and other parts of the world, Foxcroft said.

The states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River have about 15,000 children branded as witches, and most of them end up abandoned and abused on the streets, he said.
...
Foxcroft, whose documentary, "Saving Africa's Witch Children," was broadcast last year, spoke to a U.N. panel on the issue in April.
...
"The role of the international Christian community in this cannot be underestimated," Foxcroft said. "Unfortunately, the fact remains that this belief system is being spread by so-called Christians."

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Reconciliation looks like this...

Last month Adriann Vlok repeated a simple action that he'd already done twice before. As a former minister of police under the old apartheid regime in South Africa, he demonstrated his desire to reconcile by washing the feet of those he had wronged.

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Progress in Sudan border dispute

There has been progress on settling the border between north and south Sudan, a dispute that has been amplified because significant oil revenue is in play.

From the BBC:

North and south Sudan have accepted a ruling by judges in The Hague which gives the north control of an oilfield.

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Tale of two dioceses: Harare and Malawi

A report from Anglican-Information:

Zimbabwe and Malawi are two different countries with the ecclesiastical commonality of the Church of the Province of Central African (C.P.C.A.). They also have in common a quest for justice particularly on the part of an increasingly influential lay voice.

Read the whole report below.

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A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Province of Central Africa

[via email from Anglican Information]

A voice for the voiceless in the Anglican Province of Central Africa

Saturday 1st August:

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Religious leaders offering input to G-20

Religious leaders told their input is valued
By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Standing in the lobby of a Downtown hotel, a key adviser to the U.S. delegation to the G-20 Summit promised an array of religious leaders that he would carry their concern for the poor into the economic conclave.

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NetsforLife snags $1.34 million

NetsforLife receives $1.34 million USAID grant

From Episcopal Life online

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Catholic African bishops praise Obama

The Associated Press reports:

African bishops attending a Vatican meeting are speaking about the election of Barack Obama in divine terms — putting them very much at odds with many of their U.S. counterparts.

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Denounced as witches, African children suffer mightily

AP writer Katharine Houreld finds further evidence that children in Africa are being made to atone for the "sins" of their community, and that they are bearing it in their bodies, all the name of religion. They are being denounced as witches, often with torture as a consequence.

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Episcopalians and Tanzanians partner in mission

There's been a spate of news about partnerships between Episcopal churches and dioceses in the U.S. working in concert with Tanzanians. An incomplete listing is below. We'd love to know of more.

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Rick Warren quiet on Uganda's Anti-Gay Law

There has been deafening silence from many prominent religious voices about the proposed new Ugandan Anti-Gay Law which would authorize life imprisonment and even execution for gays and lesbians. Rick Warren has worked closely with Henry Orombi, Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Uganda, and with ACNA which is recognized by the province. The Cafe reported on these relationships HERE and HERE.

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Statement from the Episcopal Church of Sudan

Citing sadness over the threat of the complete collapse of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) process, the people of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan have issued a wide ranging statement that calls for an end to inter-ethnic violence and damage done to the environment by oil companies in Sudan, alerting the world to the threat of widespread famine, and calling for free and fair elections:

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More on the Ugandan anti-gay legislation

There has been increasing coverage of the proposed legislation in Uganda that would make "repeated homosexual acts" a capital crime. The Swedish government is considering sanctions should the legislation be adopted. Integrity has called again for the Episcopal Church to speak out in opposition. And the mainstream media is starting to cover the story.

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It's only a paper lie (okugumaaza)

An independent paper in Uganda, The Daily Monitor, runs an op-ed by Augustine Ruzindana that says the real purpose of the Anti-Homosexual Bill is divert the public's attention from the real crimes public corruption and mismanagement. "The life and death sentences introduced in the new Bill are to impress an external constituency critical for regime survival.":

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Uganda bill refined?

Bloomberg (and, so far, only Bloomberg) is reporting,

Uganda will drop the death penalty and life imprisonment for gays in a refined version of an anti-gay bill expected to be ready for presentation to Parliament in two weeks, James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of ethics and integrity, said.

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Rev. Kapya Kaoma on Rachel Maddow

Rev. Kapya Kaoma, the Project Director of the progressive think tank PRA (Political Research Associates), was on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday night to discuss Uganda's anti-homosexuality legislation and the U.S. Right's involvement.

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Ugandan govt website: "we can still avoid bad press"

The link http://www.mediacentre.go.ug/details.php?catId=1&item=718 is now empty (text of taken down) and it no longer shows on the front page http://www.mediacentre.go.ug/ under the category responses/clarifications where a link to it appeared before. The cached version is below the fold.

It's back up with a new link, and it is appearing a highlighted link on the Media Centre main page, too.
_____

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Southern Sudan faces turmoil

With the expiry of the comprehensive peace agreement, Sudan faces turmoil. The worldwide church should not stand by.

ENS reports southern Sudan Bishop John Zawo of the Diocese of Ezo has been visiting the Dioceses of Rhode Island and Virginia, and with their assistance spoke with USAID and Rhode Island's senators, Reed and Whitehouse.

In the Guardian, Graham Kings writes:

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Presiding Bishop to visit Liberia

The Liberian Observer is reporting on the details of the Presiding Bishop's upcoming trip to the country and Episcopal Diocese of Liberia and its bishop Jonathan Hart.

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Revisiting the Family and Uganda

Tuesday, on NPR's Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed Bob Hunter, a member of The Family. Hunter had written Gross and an earlier guest, Jeff Sharlet. Gross writes,

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That didn't last long

Ugandans at an anti-gay protest in Kampala held up "Barack Omaba Back Off" signs.

Box Turtle Bulletin has TV news footage and reporting.

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A merrier Christmas for Ugandan gays and lesbians

Box Turtle Bulletin reports that Secretary General Chris Opoka of the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) has denounced the anti-homosexuality bill as discriminatory, saying

“the state has no business with what people do in their bedrooms. What two consenting adults do, the state has no business… absolutely! It is discriminatory. Me, I don’t understand this idea of “African values.”

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Canadian House of Bishops expresses "deep sense of alarm"

The Episcopal Church's Primate and President of the House of Deputies have been joined by the entire House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Canada (and their Lutheran colleagues) in expressing their deep concern regarding the proposed Ugandan legislation which would increase the already harsh penalties for homosexuality in that country:

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News from Africa

Sudan. Next Monday Daniel Deng, the archbishop of the Episcopal church of Sudan, and Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, will meet Gordon Brown to discuss the growing crisis in the Sudan.

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Ugandans call for reason

Two op-eds in today's The (Uganda) Independent call for reasoned thinking about homosexuality.

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More bad news from Nigeria

UPDATE: Daily Trust reports,

As reactions continue to trail a fresh crisis in parts of Jos, religious leaders have been advised to avoid preaching messages that could aggravate violence in their communities.

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Nigerian bishop abducted

The Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen, bishop of the Diocese of Benin (in Edo State) in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, has been kidnapped, different sources there are reporting.

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Prayer protest in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean reports that Anglicans will protest with prayer next Sunday to press for access to their churches:

Anglicans from Harare will next Sunday hold prayers at Africa Unity Square in central Harare to press the police to allow the church access to its halls and buildings across the capital.

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Nigerian bishop freed

The Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen, bishop of the Diocese of Benin, who was kidnapped 5 days ago has been freed. Nigerian news Vanguard reports:

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Akinola will retire in style

Upon retirement from office, priests and bishops can be given a wide range of things, from the English with their gifts of rank and title to the Americans with their cash envelopes and their penchant for naming parish halls after particularly effective (or at least well-loved) rectors.

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Reaping and sowing in Nigeria

Reuters is reporting that Al Qaeda in North Africa is offering help to Nigerian Muslims in the face of Christian-Muslim clashes:

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Southern African bishops deplore Ugandan anti-gay law

Received via e-mail from the Primate's office of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa:

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Report from Uganda

Integrity USA's website has a very alarming report on the situation today in Uganda. The outside voices that have fanned the flames of homophobia in the country have created a volatile situation that might erupt in violence with the passage of the proposed anti-gay legislation.

From the report:

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U.S. investment agency considering power of the purse in Uganda

Uganda is not a "threshold partner" of the U.S. government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and that status is unlikely to change if the government's human rights record towards gays does not improve. At stake for Uganda is the potential for infrastructure grants in the 100s of millions of dollars.

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Religious violence returns to Nigeria

Update: Although numbers are difficult to confirm the BBC now says the number killed may be closer to 500.

Much more detail is available from Monday morning's BBC World Service. Follow this link and listen to chapters 1 through 4: an on location report, interviews with local authorities, and background behind the violence.

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'Nightline' and 'World News Tonight' to examine Ugandan bill

TV Tip: Tune in tonight (or at least set your DVR) for ABC's "Nightline" (11:35 EST) and "World News Tonight," (6:30 EST), Box Turtle Bulletin reports.

It looks like it will be well worth watching (or recording, if you can’t stay up for it). Martin Ssempa is already upset that the Nightline crew didn’t fall for his easily-disproven lies.

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Tutu op-ed calls for full human rights for African LGBT people.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in the Washington Post, writes forcefully: "Hate has no place in the house of God". He takes politicians in Africa to task for fomenting hatred and fear of gay and lesbian people as a tool to gain more power for themselves.

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Zimbabwe tribes show Jewish descent

The people of Ethiopia have claimed a jewish heritage for most of their recorded history. And there's some reason to think that their memory and lore is accurate, the scientific verdict is still out.

A new group claiming Jewish descent has been found in the nation of Zimbabwe much further to the south on the African continent.

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New Nigerian Archbishop's old prejudice

Riazat Butt, writing in The Guardian

I don't know why I expected the new archbishop of Nigeria to be any different from the old one, not on the subject of sexuality anyway.

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Sudanese election raises hopes and fears

The Sudanese are voting this weekend in their first democratic elections in the past quarter century. The voters are electing their next president and the members of the National Assembly. There are elections for the regional government in southern Sudan as well. All of this is happening as a result of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

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Dismay and anger in Central Africa over cost of Global South meeting

From Anglican-Information, a network acting as a free conduit for news and information related to the Anglican Dioceses of Malawi, and the Province of Central Africa:

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Zimbabwe's divided church

Political tension has so deeply penetrated life in this southern African country that when Tendai Mahachi kneels down to receive communion he is making a partisan statement according to the Global Post:

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Is Uganda's anti-gay legislation being gutted?

There is some reason to believe that that the Ugandan government has quietly moved to kill the notorious "anti-gay" legislation that we've covered here on the Lead through the past year.

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President of Malawi pardons gay couple

The President of Malawi has intervened, pardoned and ordered the immediate release of the gay couple that were recently sentenced to 14 years of hard labor for holding a marriage commitment service in December.

The BBC reports:

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Nigerian primate wants his country out of UN

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, has called for his country to pull out of the United Nations because the organization opposes bias against gays and lesbians. Can we expect Rowan Williams to express displeasure as quickly as he condemned the election of a lesbian bishop in the Episcopal Church? No, because that deadline has already passed.

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Uganda set to pass more anti-gay laws?

Vanity Fair reports that although the section of the bill to punish gays and lesbians with the death penalty has been changed, an amended version will end health and sexualiy programs and make it illegal for gays to exist.

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Scam? Integrity Uganda youth worker murdered? Perhaps not.

We are now having second thoughts about this story based on confirmation that Bishop Christopher Senyonjo did not make the statements attributed to him. This calls the veracity of the entire story into question. More soon. 7/6/10 6:10 pm

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Archbishop Orombi on Uganda bombings

Archbishop Orombi has written to his nation following the July 11th bombings in Uganda. Anglican Communion News Service carries his letter which begins:

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Corrective rape in South Africa

Jeremy Schaap of ESPN's E:60 speaks with South African women soccer players who say they were beaten and raped because they are lesbians.

Warning - difficult subject matter to watch if you have experienced rape.

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Details of this month's All African Bishop's conference published

We reported on the second all African Bishop's Conference back in January. Now the details of the conference have been published by a Ugandan newspaper. From the report the conference will be held third week of August at a resort in Entebbe Uganda.

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Monitor profiles Bahati

If it holds true that you're not supposed to believe everything you read, we wonder about this recent feature-story profile of David Bahati (Ugandan Parliament MP and mover of the now-infamous kill-the-gays bill) appearing in Sunday Monitor.

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US exporting anti-gay hatred
#africanbishops

This article in the Advocate has a good comprehensive look at how some anti-gay American evangelicals export the culture war to Africa. This article sets the wider context surrounding our the Anglican Communion's issues.

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Whither unity? Entebbe communications reveal depth of rift

Now that the 2nd All Africa Bishops' Conference is all but ended, a flurry of communications has arrived at our electronic transom.

First up, the four hundred bishops gathered at Entebbe. [UPDATE: full statement now available] ACO's Jan Butter has it like this:

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Bishop allied with Recife hails Kunonga and Mugabe

Herald Reporter in Zimbabwe, reports on the visit of Bishop Roberto Crespo. Crespo hails former Bishop of Harare Nolbert Kunonga. Kunonga in alliance with Robert Mugabe has been instrumental in oppressing the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, locking congregations out of their churches and other acts. Crespo was arrested and charged with arms smuggling in 2001. Strangers in good company?

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Mama Caren Wabukala: wife of Kenyan Archbishop dies

The Province of Kenya reports the sad news of the death of the wife of Archbishop Wabukala

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Anglican Church in Sudan discusses independence referendum

Sudan Vision Daily News reports on the Episcopal Church of Sudan conference on the upcoming referendum on independence in Southern Sudan:

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The Café sits down with Jeff Sharlet

Last week, I was privileged to interview Jeff Sharlet, a journalist who's been working in the area of religion for some time. Author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, a major portion of Sharlet's effort has been pointed toward exposing the philosophy and methodology of a secretive, powerful, and influential fundamentalist organization, The Family, which is headquartered on C Street in Washington, D.C., and lead by a man named Doug Coe.

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Zimbabwe: Anglicans ousted from new churches

Editorial from Zimbabwe criticizing Nolbert Kunonga, former Anglican bishop, for his thuggish ways and the support for him from President Mugabe.

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The continuing damage of apartheid

During the triennial Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of South Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town spoke of the continuing damage done to both white and black South Africans by the “dehumanizing” effect of the struggle against apartheid. In particular he named the emotional and spiritual consequences for white South African men who were conscripted to fight for apartheid. An emotional debate followed.

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Ugandan newspaper targets gays and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo

The AP reports that a Ugandan newspaper has published photos, names and addresses of gay men with the headline Hang Them. Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, ally of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and who recently toured the United States is among the targeted with his photo on the front page.

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Anti-gay violence in Uganda continues

Uganda's Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Butoro says that stories of persecution of gays and lesbians in his country are lies. He also expects the infamous "kill-the-gays" bill to pass Uganda's legislature "in due course."

A tabloid newspaper called "The Rolling Stone" (not related to the US publication) has ceased publication, not because it printed a list a people they said were gay or lesbian under the banner "Hang Them High" but because the publishers did not secure the proper permits. As soon as it get those permits, the presses will roll again.

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Zimbabwe bishops possible targets of violence

News reports from Zimbabwe indicate that two Anglican bishops might be targets for assassination.

ZimOnline.com reports:

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Judge blocks Ugandan tabloid anti-gay photos

CNN reports that a Ugandan judge has "temporarily ordered a tabloid in Uganda to stop publishing lists identifying people it claims are gay after an advocacy organization filed a lawsuit."

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Kenya PM: gays should be rounded up and arrested

Box Turtle Bulletin reports

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, speaking at a political rally on Sunday, said that all gays in Kenya should be rounded up and charged with violating the nation’s anti-sodomy laws. According to the Kenyan independent newspaper Daily Nation:

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US Christians gather to pray for Sudan

As the January date of the upcoming vote on the question of partition nears, Christians across the United States are being asked to support the people of Sudan with their prayers. This focus of prayer began in earnest this week with an event at the Episcopal Church Center in NYC which brought together representatives of a number of denominations.

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Bahati will be barred from American event

MP David Bahati, the mover of Uganda's kill-the-gays bill currently under consideration, continues planning to attend a meeting of The International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management slated for this week, despite having had his registration cancelled, Box Turtle Bulletin reports.

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Homophobic violence ramps up in Africa

Violence about and toward gays in some quarters of Africa appears to be one of the ticking bombs of that continent's present reality.

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Fresh violence reported in Nigeria

A pattern of violence initiated through Christmas Eve bomb attacks that killed 32 and injured more than 70 continues to resound in Jos, capital city of Nigeria's Plateau State.

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Politicians fuel Nigeria bombings

BBC News reports that religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, are blaming politicians for the unrest and violence in the Jos area of Nigeria:

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Assorted updates from abroad

New developments in three stories we have been following:

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A special relationship: TEC and the Episcopal Church of Sudan

If you visit the Cafe often, you will have noticed that the Episcopal Church is deeply involved in working toward a peaceful conclusion to the referendum now underway in Sudan. The most recent manifestation of this relationship comes from the Diocese of Chicago, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

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Keeping Sudan in our prayers

Friends and allies of those in Sudan are keeping a close watch on the Sudanese independence vote this week; and keeping them in prayer as well:

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Sudanese Episcopalians rejoice as referendum closes

People throughout southern Sudan have been "shedding tears and shouting for joy" this week as polls opened to voters in the historic Jan. 9-15 referendum that will determine a likely future of independence for the African nation.

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Nigerian bishops on the struggle
for the soul of their nation

The Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) have issued a pastoral letter addressing the state of Nigeria economy, corruption, religious and sectarian violence, and the neglected state of the nation's infrastructure and educational services.

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Anderson names first recipient of Medallion for Exemplary Service

On a night when it seems all but certain that southern Sudan will soon become an independent country comes this news via press release:

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Anti-gay outburst marks Kato's funeral

UPDATED: see below

The BBC and Reuters are reporting that the funeral for David Kato in Nakawala, Uganda, turned chaotic after the local Anglican priest began to berate gay people and refused to bury Kato's body.

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Rewriting the past, and other impossibilities

In a written response to news of the murder of gay Ugandan activist David Kato, Scott Lively has issued a soggy volley in his defense. It's a weird and maddening attempt to set himself free from what he did in Kampala, which was to essentially pour gasoline all over an already incendiary matter and then hand the Ugandan people a lit match.

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Prayers for Nelson Mandela

AP's Jenny Gross writes that South Africans have been in prayer for former president Nelson Mandela since he was released from hospital care earlier this week.

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Uganda's highest-ranking police officer advocates for cooler heads

A statement by a Ugandan official relating to the murder of gay activist David Kato cautions against anti-gay violence, including sentiments whipped up by clergy.

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80 years old and still fighting

Newsweek's Christopher Dickey chats with the octogenarian author and activist, Nawal El-Saadawi, Egyptian novelist, essayist and physician, whose feminist works have widened the boundaries of the Arab novel. Nawal El Saadawi's central theme is the oppression of women and womens' desire for self-expression.

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Southern Sudan celebrates vote for independence

Southern Sudan celebrates its vote for independence and looks forward to the birth of a new nation:

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Economist on Kato's humanity

The Economist's obituary of Sexual Minorities Uganda activist David Kato makes the hard point that although Kato used the self-applied label "same" to describe himself as gay, it was sadly that part of his humanity - that he was made of the same stuff that we're all made of - that was easy to overlook until it was too late.

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Episcopal Church of Sudan to remain one

Sudanese bishops say that the Episcopal Church of Sudan will remain one united church regardless of political boundaries:

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Zimbabwean priest's life latest toll in Harare strife

Zimbabwean Anglicans in Harare (Church of the Province of Central Africa) could find themselves in a place of fear and intimidation depending on which side of a church-politics war they happen to be standing.

Rev. Jesca Mandeya, an 89-year-old priest, was recently murdered.

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New Archbishop for Central Africa

Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) reports:

A statement from Bishop William Mchombo, Acting Provincial Secretary of the Church of the Province of Central Africa.

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Death threats against Pretoria bishop

Episcopal News Service reports death threats have been received by the South African Council of Churches President and Anglican Bishop of Pretoria Jo Seoka, and members of his family:

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Sectarian violence afresh in Jos

Reports coming in from:

Bloomberg:

Two people were killed in a bomb blast outside the ECWA Church, Nasarawa Gwom in Jos, a city in Nigeria’s Plateau state, a region beset in recent months by sectarian violence, a government official said.

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Fighting anti-gay systems in asylum and at home

A heartbreaking story - 'Why was I born gay in Africa?' - is running at the Guardian site. In it, Elizabeth Day interviews two Ugandans - one man, one woman - who have experienced deep levels of persecution both at home in Africa and in the UK, where they sought asylum from oppression.

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Nigerian elections go smoothly but violence follows

The Christian Science Monitor provides a good analysis of the recent Nigerian presidential elections which went reasonably smoothly, and the ethnic/religious violence that has ensued nonetheless. Gubernatorial elections take place April 26th.

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Hope in Nigeria

The brave souls involved in this story reported in the Guardian need our prayers:

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Uganda may drop death penalty on anti-gay bill

AP reports that the death penalty provision in the Uganda anti-gay bill will likely be dropped:

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Despite ban in EU, Mugabe in Vatican for beatification

He's cracked down on aid organizations and has had human rights violations, torture, and killing all pegged to him. The primates of the Anglican Communion singled out his "total disregard for life" and asked him to observe 2008 election results in his own country by stepping down from office.

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BREAKING: Uganda's anti-gay bill is now ON AGENDA

Updated, 12:04pm EST...

In contradiction to our earlier post, the editors of the Episcopal Cafe have now learned that it seems the Uganda anti-gay bill IS ON the agenda for the Parliament session today. Read more about this HERE.

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Updated: Uganda's anti-gay bill on agenda for FRIDAY

Updated 12:38 EST

AP

Uganda’s parliament on Wednesday was forced to drop plans to debate a controversial bill that once proposed the death penalty for some gays and lesbians, but officials indicated lawmakers would debate it on Friday.

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Ugandan bill retains death penalty

Update / 8:15 am, Friday: Bill stalled on parliamentary technicality

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Gene Robinson on the "Kill the Gays" bill

Bishop Gene Robinson says that "Ugandan lawmakers and government leaders need to know that the world is watching, and that passage of such a bill will have political, diplomatic, and financial repercussions."

He and Andre Banks write in the Huffington Post:

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Breaking: no vote on anti-gay bill

From Twitter:

wthrockmorton (@wthrockmorton)
5/13/11 10:16 AM
http://t.co/Qemyz6l It is official: Uganda's Parliament has adjourned with no action on AHB. Check link for updates #uganda #gay

Amnesty urges Ugandan president to clean up human rights record

Amnesty International is urging Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to do something about the country's deteriorating human rights record.

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Mugabe ally escalates push to control Anglican Church

The troubling saga of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has come to the attention of The New York Times.

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ABC speaks out on Sudan

The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) has issued the Archbishop of Canterbury's statement on South Kordofan, Sudan:

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Okoh wants Nigeria out of UN

From PANA, the Panafrican News Agency: Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Anglican Communion Church in Nigeria, suggests Nigeria should withdraw from the United Nations over matters of homosexuality.

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South Sudan became a nation today

As a result of an overwhelming vote in favor of the partition of Sudan into two countries, Sudan and South Sudan, at midnight last night, a new nation was born.

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Archbishop’s urgent appeal for the Horn of Africa

Archbishop’s urgent appeal for the Horn of Africa

Thursday 28th July 2011

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Is Uganda's "Kill the Gays bill" coming back?

It seems possible that the Ugandan parliament will take up notorious anti-gay legislation when it reconvenes later this month. Box Turtle Bulletin has the story:

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Life for Zimbabwe Anglicans worsens

UPDATE: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori speaks about Zimbabwe following her visit to Anglicans there:

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Sudanese bishop appeals to world to stop genocide

Andudu Adam Elnail, the Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Kadugli, in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state appeared before congress in DC this week and appealed to the UN Security Council to investigate and intervene in wide-spread crimes against humanity by the northern Sudanese government based in Khartoum.

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High court awards church properties to excommunicated bishop

Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Zimbabwe high court has ruled in favor of excommunicated bishop Norbert Kunonga:

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Rowan Williams to visit Zimbabwe in October

The Archbishop of Canterbury is traveling to Zimbabwe in hopes of being able to stop the ongoing violence caused by renegade Anglicans under the leadership of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

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No movement on "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda

The US Embassy in Uganda reports that there is no serious move to bring up the virulently anti-gay bill in the Ugandan Parliament. The Petrelis File blog reports:

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Building churches in Africa, restricting religion at home

The Chinese may not welcome religion at home but they love to build churches in Africa.

Fredrick Nzwili writes for Ecumenical News International about how more and more church building contracts in Africa go to Chinese firms:

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Bishop of Egypt issues call for prayers

Dr. Mouneer Anis, Anglican Bishop of Egypt, has issued a call for prayer after the riots in Egypt according to Eternity Magazine.

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Where in the world is Jim Naughton?

Wondering where our Editor-in-Chief is this morning?

From the Chicago Consultation web site:

CHICAGO CONSULTATION PARTNERS WITH UJAMAA CENTRE

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Archbishop of Canterbury meets President Mugabe

Lambeth Palace has released this statement following the Archbishops of Canterbury, Central Africa and Southern African, and the President of the All Africa Conference of Churches the Archbishop of Tanzania meeting with Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe:

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Zimbabwe: not schism but thuggery

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev. Dr. Thabo Makgoba, says the dispute within the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe was “a result not of schism but of thuggery.”

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The violent gospel of Nolbert Kunonga

Zimbabwe's deposed Bishop Nolbert Kunonga is still defiant even after Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams visited his country and handed President Robert Mugabe a dossier filled with accounts of human rights abuses perpetrated by Kunonga with government help.

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A bit of good news from Zimbabwe

UPDATE: children may have been abused by Kunonga staff during occupation.

Zimbabwe's high court has ruled in favor of the Anglican Church in the case Anglican hospital staff who were evicted by deposed archbishop, Nolbert Kunonga according to the
Anglican Journal but it may be just for show:

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Letter from Cairo

The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, Rector of St. John's Church-Maadi, Cairo, Egypt and interfaith advocate writes about last week's events in Cairo with its sectarian strife and resulting deaths. Received via email.

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A bishop reflects on the consultation in South Africa

Today I hope to roll out some of the first videos, columns and sermons from participants in the recently concluded consultation in Durban, South Africa among African Anglicans, Episcopalians and some interfaith friends on issues of justice and human sexuality. First up is a video that Bishop Jeff Lee of Chicago sent home to the people of his diocese.

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Making new neighbors to love

The Rev. Bonnie Perry, co-founder of the Chicago Consultation, preached this sermon about the recently concluded consultation on justice and human sexuality to her congregation at All Saints Church in Chicago yesterday.

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Invisible children: in South Africa, and here at home

Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark attended the recent consultation in Durban, South Africa on issues of justice and sexuality. It inspired a reflection recently published on his blog that included this passage:

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Anti-Homosexuality Bill moves forward in Uganda

The parliament of Uganda has our attention again. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported last week:

Nigeria moves closer to criminalizing same sex unions

Warren Throckmorton reports on the progress of the anti-gay law in Nigeria:

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Ugandan bishop speaks out as anti-gay bill looms

Rt Rev Christopher Ssenyonjo, a church leader who campaigns for gay rights speaks out as the Ugandan anti-gay bill looms again:

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Bishop of Swaziland calls for King to step down

The small country of Swaziland in Southern Africa is the last absolute monarchy on that continent. It also has the highest rate of HIV infection (50% of young adults test positive) in the world. The Kingdom's response to this public health crisis has been hampered by a significant lack of leadership by the King according to people in the country

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Homo narrans: the art of listening each other into being

Henning Mankiel writes of learning about the importance of story in human life. Writing in The New York Times:

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Zimbabwean police break up clergy gathering; Makgoba calls for response

From the Episcopal News Service, word of a January 3rd prayer meeting in the Diocese of Harare broken up by state police under Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

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Uganda's Archbishop Orombi to retire one year early

From the Church of Uganda website come the news of the call for election of a new Archbishop by the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi:

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Nearing anniversary of activist's death, Mbeki speaks out

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the day David Kato, a gay activist in Uganda, was beaten to death in his neighborhood with a hammer after his photo appeared in a local paper under the headline "Hang Them."

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Hate reappears in Ugandan Parliament

UPDATE 2: David Bahati has talked to The Guardian, saying

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CAPA calls on Muslims and Christians to live in peace

The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa has made and urgent appeal to Muslim faith leaders to stand with them in opposition to "tragic violence that is destroying our communities" particularly in Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt.

The statement focuses on religious violence, highlights examples of Christian-Muslim dialogue and calls on governments to stop using religious rivalry, bigotry and hatred as a tool to prop up their regimes.

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Malaria twice as deadly as thought

New research from the World Health Organization is showing that number of deaths world-wide due to malaria have been significantly underestimated. Instead of the 655,000 or so thought to have died in 2010, nearly 1.22 million died. That's the bad news. The good news is that malaria deaths are preventable and are actually declining because of the work of groups like ERD with Nets For Life to provide mosquito netting for anyone who needs it.

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Uganda anti-gay bill in limbo again

Warren Throckmorton, who keeps tabs on the anti-homosexuality bills in Uganda - among other topics, reports that the bill is now in limbo once again.

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Uganda anti-gay bill again

Box Turtle Bulletin notes that the so called anti-homosexuality bill will be a regression for civil rights even if the anti-gay provisions are removed:

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In Nigeria, ethical questions about the renovation of a church

The Anglican Church of Nigeria has been caught up as a bit player in what might be evidence of government corruption, or might be an instance of a public spirited Italian construction firm doing its host country a good turn. (We aggregate. You decide. Or not.)

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Archbishop of Sudan appeals for peace

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, is appealing for peace as the Sudanese army marches into South Sudan.

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Hard news from South Sudan

The Diocese of Chicago, which has a companion relationship with the Diocese of Renk, links to difficult news this morning about the deteriorating situation along the Sudan-South Sudan border.

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Chicago Consultation, Ujamaa Centre hold African consultation on scripture, sexuality

From the Chicago Consultation:

In October, some 25 Anglican leaders from across Africa gathered with more than a dozen Episcopalians from the United States for a consultation on issues of justice and human sexuality.

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Mote Magomba: a change of heart

One of the great pleasures of working on the video we posted last week from the gathering that the Chicago Consultation held in partnership with the Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu Natal in October was the opportunity to interview several of the participants in the consultation at length. I especially enjoyed talking with the Rev. Mote Magomba, director of the Amani Christian Training Centre in Iringa, Tanzania. The story of his change of heart on LGBT issues was the highlight of the video. Here, you can hear him speak about it at greater length.

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Africa sees some of the biggest falls ever in infant mortality

The Economist:

16 of the 20 African countries which have had detailed surveys of living conditions since 2005 reported falls in their child-mortality rates (this rate is the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births).

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Ecclesia de Lange and the cost of conscience

The Rev. Ecclesia de Lange talks about being dismissed from her position as a pastor in the Methodist Church of South Africa after she married her female partner. The Rev. de Lange participated in a consultation sponsored by the Chicago Consultation and the Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in October 2011.

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Uganda continues to move against gay rights

Reuters reports:

Uganda said on Wednesday it was banning 38 non-governmental organizations it accuses of promoting homosexuality and recruiting children.

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Egypt's president to pick a woman and a Christian VPs

CNN reports that the new president of Egypt will select 2 vice presidents. One will be a woman and one will be a Christian:

Egypt's first ever democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, will make history in another way: by appointing a woman as vice president, his policy adviser told CNN.

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Kenyan bishop says "gay movement" more dangerous than terrorists

CORRECTION: SEE STORY ON 8/13 - Bishop says this is false

Despite some seemingly hopeful developments in the Anglican Communion, proponents of spiritual equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender should have no illusions about what they are up against in some quarters. Standard Media of Kenya reports:

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Americanizing African values

The Rev. Canon Kapya John Kaoma has written a study detailing the extent to which American leaders from the Christian right have influenced and distorted African politics to encourage draconian anti-homosexual laws in these countries. The report was released by Political Research Associates and can be found on their web-site PublicEye.org.

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Kenyan bishop refutes anti-gay comments attributed to him

Changing Attitude reports a correction to a statement attributed to Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa:

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Why is Africa poor?

Why? In part because its coast line half as long as Europe's and its land mass is much larger.

Two economics professors have embarked on a MOOC (massive open online course) university. Their first course is Development Economics.

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Court rejects Kunonga appeals in Anglican property row

Tererai Karimakwenda writes in allAfrica.com on the decision of Zimbabwe's Supreme Court concerning the dispute over The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) properties with ex-communicated Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga:

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First woman in Africa consecrated bishop

The Most Rev. Thabo Makoba welcomes first woman to be consecrated bishop in Southern Africa.

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'Africa for Norway' mocks international aid tactics

A group of South African students and an aid agency in Norway have created a video that's gone viral, gently poking fun at stereotypes about international aid efforts. "Africa for Norway" is funny, but, according to its creators' Web site, they mean to make a serious point.

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Feeding South Sudan

Bishop Joseph Garang Atem of the Diocese of Renk in South Sudan spoke at the convention of the Diocese of Chicago, which has a companion diocese relationship with Renk. Bishop Garang is among those wrestling with how to feed, house and provide medical care for tens of thousands of homeless people fleeing religious persecution and ethnic and political violence.

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Ugandan Archbishop enthroned

News from Uganda: Robert Duncan, former Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh and currently Archbishop of the "Anglican Church in North America" preached at the enthronement of Archbishop Stanley Ntagali as eighth Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda.

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Standing against corruption

A Zambian priest has challenged Christians across Africa to stand up and fight corrupt practices that are “soiling the fabric” of many countries on the continent.

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New archbishop for Tanzania

Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Bishop of Mpwapwa Diocese in Tanzania, Jacob Chimeledya and graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, has been elected its new Archbishop and Primate:

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Botswana celebrates 40 years

The Rt Revd Trevor Mwamba is retiring as Bishop of Botswana and moving to the UK as the Church in Botswana celebrates their 40th anniversary.

AllAfrica.com

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Episcopal archbishop to lead South Sudan reconciliation efforts

From Anglican Communion News Service:

The president of South Sudan has appointed the archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan to chair the national reconciliation committee “trying to heal the mental wounds”’ in the world’s newest nation after 40 years of war.

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Hunger for Profit

Great fortunes are being made in agriculture. But people around the world are still going hungry. This five minute video from whypoverty.net examines the issue from several points of view.

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Stealing Africa

Zambia has the 3rd largest copper reserves in the world, but 60% of the population live on less than $1 a day and 80% are unemployed. Yet the chief executive officer of many of the copper mines pays taxes not in Zambia, but in the small, wealthy Swiss village in which he lives. This hour long film from Why Poverty examines the tax structure that exacerbates inequality.

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Tutu asks prayers for ailing Mandela

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has asked for prayers for Nelson Mandela. RTE News reports:

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Amnesty: Homophobic attacks on rise in sub-Saharan Africa

From BBC News:

Homophobic attacks have reached dangerous levels in sub-Saharan Africa and must stop, Amnesty International has said in a report.

Governments are increasingly criminalising "homosexual acts" by seeking to impose new laws and draconian penalties, it adds.

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Archbishop of South Sudan says country must unite or fail

From Episcopal News Service:

The primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan has called on the people of South Sudan to be “united in order to achieve lasting national healing, peace and reconciliation.”

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ACC chair Tengatenga to become dean of US foundation

Bishop James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi, chair of the Anglican Consultative Council is stepping down from his episcopacy to become dean of a foundation at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. The chair of the ACC is also chair of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, and according to a news release from the Communion office, Tengatenga will be able to finish his term, which ends in 2016.

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Nelson Mandela's first television interview: 1961

On the occasion of Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, it is interesting to look back at his first television interview in 1961.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Mandela.

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Consultation in Kenya on sexuality and scripture

The Chicago Consultation and the Ujamaa Centre of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal met in Kenya to explore issues of sexuality in dialogue with scripture:

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A kingdom that cannot be shaken

I haven't had much opportunity to write about either the work I did or the trips I made in African this summer, but the Rev. Jon Richardson, one of my traveling companions, has made a an excellent sermon from the example of one of our hosts in the Maasai Mara. Here is an excerpt:

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Niger Delta Archbishop kidnapped

Update 10AM, Sept 8: Here's the ACNS report which includes a statement from the Church of Nigeria.

Archbishop Ignatius Kattey of Niger Delta, Nigeria, has been kidnapped. His wife was also taken but has since been let go. From the Nigerian Guardian News:

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The dangerous environment of a kidnapped archbishop

Jesse Zink's forthcoming book Backpacking through the Anglican Communion includes a section that helps provide some background on the circumstances in which Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, who was kidnapped with his wife, Beatrice, on Friday do their work. (The archbishop's wife was reportedly left behind in the archbishop's car after a police chase.)

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Did the government mastermind kidnapping of Archbishop?

Ernest Chinwo, in This Day via All Africa, reports that Mr. Emma Okah, the former Commissioner for Information in Rivers State (Nigeria) has accused the state government of masterminding the abduction of Archbishop Ignatius Kattey:

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Tutu says Francis is a "tremendous breath of fresh air"

Archbishop Desmond Tutu sat for an interview with Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Religion News Service on the occasion of the announcement that Butler University and its neighbor the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis were founding a center named in his honor. Tutu spoke about Pope Francis, among other things. An excerpt:

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Zambian First Lady calls for an end to homophobia

According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata, the wife of the President of Zambia and a medical doctor of Ob/Gyn, has called for an end to homophobia:

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On being the first female bishop in Africa

"A year after her consecration, on 17th November 2012, Africa's first female Anglican bishop, The Rt Revd Ellinah Wamukoya, Swaziland, speaks to ACNS's Bellah Zulu." From Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS):

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Pentecostal preachers push a prayer 'cure' for Africans with HIV

Some pentecostal pastors in Africa are pushing those infected with HIV to abandon drug treatment and opt for a prayer "cure" instead. From Religion News Service:

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Nelson Mandela dead at age 95

(Updated continuously with reactions from world and church leaders.)

Nelson Mandela has died. May he rest in peace. CNN reports:

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Violence in South Sudan

As we begin to turn our attention towards a poor infant born homeless in a manger, the situation in newly-formed South Sudan has taken a turn for the worse.

Reports are sketchy as to what, exactly, is going on, but a few things are clear. Hundreds of people have been killed across the country, in clashes across the country, including in the major cities of Bor and Juba, and an attack on the UN compound.

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Context on Conflict

As the world watches South Sudan, the Rev. Jesse Zink has been writing about the deeper context behind the conflict, and the church's role in the new country's history.

He writes:

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Sudanese diaspora calls for peace

Joining the voices of the Sudanese church at home, the church within the diaspora has issued a statement condemning the current outbreak of violence.

The South Sudan Coalition of Episcopal Churches, a gathering of Sudanese mission churches and congregations throughout the Episcopal Church, has also now issued a statement on the conflict in South Sudan.

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View from Nzara, South Sudan, includes prayers for Renk

The Episcopal Diocese of Iowa is a companion with the Diocese of Nzara in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. Tonight Ray Gaebler of St. Timothy's in West Des Moines sends word of his communication with Nzara's bishop, The Rt. Rev. Samuel Peni. Nzara is a good distance from Juba, where the conflict is most intensely felt; but concerns are still very real.

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Ret. Archbishop Peter Akinola Kidnapped, Rescued

There are reports coming out of Nigeria just now that retired Nigerian archbishop, the Rt. Rev. Peter Akinola, was kidnapped this afternoon while at the youth training center he founded in Abeokuta.

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News from South Sudan

Jesse Zink reports on a conversation with Bishop Ruben Akurdit Ngong in Bor, South Sudan

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Ugandan Anglican bishop praises anti-gay law

UPDATED: Gays and lesbians afraid in Uganda.

Members of Uganda's lesbian and gay community fear they'll be persecuted even more than they are, as Arwa Damon reports.

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South Sudan truce or not?

BBC is reporting that one of the rebel leaders is not agreeing to the truce offered by the government in South Sudan:

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UN: Uganda anti-gay law violates human rights

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says that Uganda's new anti-gay law violates the rights of bisexual, transgender, gay and lesbian (LGBT) persons. Ekklesia reports:

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When demons are real

Experiences in charismatic churches in Africa, where demons are regarded as real, inspired this column by Stanford anthropologist T. H. Luhrmann. The essay is concerned primarily with the widespread belief in dark spirits that characterizes much of evangelical Christianity in Africa. But Luhrmann concludes her piece by bringing the issue closer to home.

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Anglican Communion responds to conflict in South Sudan

From the Anglican Communion News Service:

Since hostilities broke out on 15 December different factions of the South Sudanese army have been fighting each other and killing civilians, says the UN. The UN believes that thousands have been killed and as many as 180,000 displaced in the violence.

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As goes Uganda, so goes Nigeria

Following the example set by Uganda, Nigeria announced today that President Goodluck Jonathan had signed a bill that would make same-gender relationships illegal. 

It is not known when, exactly, the president signed the bill.  

Al-Jazeera America reports:

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Episcopal Church writes President and Congress about South Sudan

Episcopal News Service reports on the January 10 memo on the crisis in South Sudan to the Obama Administration and Congress from the Episcopal Church's Office of Governmental Relations:

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Uganda's president blocks anti-gay bill

BREAKING: The President of Uganda has refused to approve a bill to toughen punishments for homosexuals.BBC reports:

He has written to the parliamentary speaker criticising her for passing it in December without a quorum.

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Standing with the persecuted in Uganda and Nigeria

Gay Jennings, the President of the House of Deputies, has written an op-Ed today for the Religion News Service. She argues strongly for the need for religious leaders to speak out against the harsh, anti-LGBTQ laws now taking effect in Uganda and Nigeria.

She points out that Western Christian missionaries brought biblical literalism with them as a cultural import, and so we in the West bear some responsibility for the laws now being passed in the name of this same literalism.

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South Sudan: support and prayers

Two releases yesterday on supporting the South Sudan:

Episcopal Relief and Development issued a press release "Church Agencies Unite to Support South Sudan Relief and Recovery":

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Church Workers Killed in South Sudan

Distressing news was confirmed by the Church in South Sudan today. The Anglican News Service confirmed that several female church workers, who had fled to a church in Bor for refuge during the recent violence, died during an attack. The rebels descended on St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, raped, and murdered the women, several of whom were elderly.

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At age 90, surgeon still doing God's work in Ethiopia

At age 90, surgeon Catherine Hamlin performs miracles on a daily basis. And she plans to keep doing God's work in Africa for as long as she can. Rachel Marie Stone at Religion News Service writes:

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Meaning of Peace in South Sudan

The Presiding Bishop asked that this past Sunday be dedicated to prayers for peace in South Sudan.

This took various forms in various places.  For my church of St. Paul's, Kansas City, MO, we host a South Sudanese mission congregation in our building on Sunday afternoons.  On this day, we jointly decided to worship together, as we do on Christmas and other major feasts.

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Bishop Mouneer Anis: End violence against Muslims

Bishop Mouneer Anis joins call for an end to violence by Christians against Muslims in the Central African Republic. Anglican Communion News Service has the story:

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President of Uganda signs the anti-LGTBQ legislation

As the US slept, the president of Uganda signed the pending anti-LGTBQ legislation into law.

The law, which has been denounced by everyone from President Obama to former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and which President Yoweri Museveni appeared to have been wavering on in the past few weeks, forbids the "promotion" and "recognition" of homosexuality. It punishes first time offenders with up to fourteen years in jail and allows up to lifetime sentences.

The BBC has the whole story here.

Bombs target cathedral in Zanzibar

Homemade bombs exploded next to the Anglican Cathedral in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Reuters reports:

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The Anglican priest who got inside the anti-LGBT campaign in Uganda

Here's an excellent videotaped interview with the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, a Zambian Anglican priest based in Boston. The footage is culled from the film God Loves Uganda, which explores the role of American theological conservatives in stoking anti-gay sentiment in Uganda.

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Continuing developments in Uganda, Nigeria

After the passage of the draconian anti-gay measures in Nigeria and Uganda, the Anglican churches in those countries continue to react.

Thinking Anglicans reports that the Anglican Church of Uganda has threatened to walk away from the Church of England over disagreements regarding the anti-gay legislation. The Anglican church in Uganda supported the measure, minus the death penalty; Lambeth denounced it.

Read more »

Tengatenga on homophobia, the Anglican Communion & his future

From the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News:

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In Uganda: Stealing our pride

How the photos of gays in Uganda were used in the tabloids after the draconian anti-gay laws were enacted. From the New York Times:

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Changing our view of Africa

New maps by National Geographic may change the way Africa is viewed. What occurs to you as you look at them? Just one map changes how one thinks about size of the continent:

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Nuns hold down the fort in South Sudan

As the crisis continues in South Sudan, nuns are remaining in place, and providing shelter and comfort as people flee the violence in the country.

Al-Jazeera America reports:

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Archbishop of Canterbury says African massacre sparked by gay acceptance "in America"

Updated, with this story from Anglican Communion News Service, which places the grave Archbishop Welby spoke of in South Sudan.

Archbishop Justin Welby suggested in a talk radio interview today that African Christians have been massacred due to the acceptance of homosexuality "in America", and that more may be killed if the Church of England accepts equal marriage.

Read more »

Reconciliation in Rwanda

It's been twenty years since the genocide in Rwanda that set Tutsi against Hutu and killed thousands. Since then, Rwanda has been working hard towards reconciliation, both on a personal and national level.

One group in particular--Association Modeste et Innocente-- has been giving classes about what reconciliation and restitution means. This work has been chronicled on an individual level by the photographer Pieter Hugo, who took portraits of each survivor and the perpetrator she forgave.

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ACNA Archbishop endorses Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Law

The primates of Gafcon, including Archbishop Robert Duncan of ACNA, have issued a communique in which they endorse the Ugandan law that imposes harsh sentences for homosexuality and the support of homosexuals.

Highlighting added:

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Anglican Communion network works for peace in South Sudan

Episcopal News Service reports on a "network" of dioceses, bishops, other church leaders around the Anglican Communion who are supporting and advocating for the people of South Sudan:

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Why won't ACNA say it is wrong to put gay people in prison?

Archbishop Robert Duncan was given an opportunity yesterday by Cathy Grossman of Religion News Service to say that he did not support Uganda’s harsh new anti-gay law, which not only penalizes people involved in same-sex relationships, but also people who have knowledge of same-sex relationships and do not report them to the authorities.

Read more »

An increasingly desperate situation in South Sudan

The situation in South Sudan continues to deteriorate, according to this report rom Gurtong, a Norwegian and Swiss-funded information service aimed at "removing all ethnic, political or personal obstacles on the way to unity, peace and mutual respect among South Sudanese."

Francis Apiliga Lagu writes:

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WCC encourages “swift and peaceful” action to restore Nigeria’s missing girls

Press Release

The abduction of more than 250 young women by the Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria has prompted “profound concern” from the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. In his letter to Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, Tveit encouraged a “swift and peaceful” action to restore these students back to their homes.

The letter from the WCC general secretary was issued on Monday, 5 May.

“This tragic situation is devastating not only to the immediate community, but also to all Nigerians praying and working for peace. It touches the World Council of Churches directly, as many who have lost their daughters are members of our church families in Nigeria,” said Tveit.

He added that the WCC’s concern for the abducted Nigerian students is “intensified in the face of increasing global sexual exploitation of girls and women, and the possibility that these abducted students may become victims of just such injustice and violence.”

“Following the rescue of these children for which we pray, the impact of exploitation may require long-term accompaniment of the young women and their families by the Nigerian government, faith communities and local networks of care and support,” he added.

Assuring the WCC’s support to the Nigerian government, Tveit said that the WCC is ready to assist in “mobilizing the inter-religious and international communities to seek effective and peaceful means towards safely restoring these students to their homes, loved ones and communities.”

Read full text of the WCC general secretary’s letter

/end/

Do you believe the abductions have been underreported and if so why? Is it difficult to report, is it that crashes and natural disasters are more compelling? Or is there another reason? Here's an article by Fusion about the lack of coverage the story has received.

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Credit: https://twitter.com/maryjblige/status/461557532549341185/photo/1

Praying for the kidnapped girls of Nigeria

Updated 5/8 2:20 p. m.

We had originally linked to a list of the names of the kidnapped Nigerian girls. We've since read a number of good reasons why the names should not be released. So we have removed the link.

The people of St. Clement's Episcopal Church in St. Paul are gathering tonight at 6:30 to pray, by name, for each of the kidnapped Nigerian girls. Do you know of other churches where people are gathering to pray for the girls? If so, please give us the details in the comments.

Hat tip: the Rev. Joy Caires and Elizabeth Schuster McGeveran.

Update from Anglican Communion News Service:

Leaders of the International Anglican Women's Network have called on women around the Anglican Communion to do what they can to help the 200+ girls kidnapped in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram.

IAWN Steering Group convener Ann Skamp has written to members encouraging them not to forget the girls some of whom, the media is reporting, have been forced to marry by their captors.

"Three weeks ago now, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in the northern Nigerian city of Borno. As we continue to keep the girls, their families and communities in our prayers please consider what we can do to support them," she said.

Mrs Skamp suggested that Anglican/Episcopalian women could sign an online petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/over-200-girls-are-missing-in-nigeria-so-why-doesn-t-anybody-care-234girls

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