A weekly roundup of Anglican Communion news plus opinion, reviews, photos, profiles and other things of interest from across the Anglican/Episcopal world.
This edition includes...
Breaking Korea's vicious circle
By Mark Berry, CMS
When CMS's Mark Berry met representatives from the Korean Sharing Houses movement at a CMS event last year, he was intrigued. In 2012, he got the opportunity to visit Korea for himself, and found out how the movement chose love in place of hate
Korea has a tumultuous recent history. In 1910 the kingdom fell to the Japanese empire, followed by partition after the Second World War into North and South, communist and capitalist. In the 1950s the North invaded the South and a bloody and catastrophic war ensued. People were displaced, millions killed and the land ravaged.
The two states remain officially at war. Democracy did not follow immediately for the South. In fact, after a coup in 1961 a military government ruled until the 1980s and the ordinary people of South Korea suffered many abuses of their freedom and human rights.
In this turmoil a new thinking emerged, which became known as Minjung – meaning "Mass" or "The People". Beginning as a student movement, it began to grow from the "Han" of the people. "Han," as Minjung poet Chi-Ha Kim wrote, is "…the Minjung's anger and sad sentiment turned inward, hardened and stuck to their hearts. Han is caused as one's outgoingness is blocked and pressed for an extended period of time by external oppression and exploitation."
The Korean theologian A Sung Park writes , "The Minjung are the down-trodden whose unmistakable sign is Han-brooding. Han is the compressed feeling of suffering caused by injustice and oppression, a complex feeling of resentment and helplessness, anger and lamentation.
"Han is potential energy, an active volcano of indignation and agony. Depending on how it is unravelled, Han may turn out to be creative energy for revolution or may explode destructively to seek revenge and killing.
"The Minjung Han of women is more intense than any other because of the double bind of women in patriarchal and hierarchical culture. Traditional folk songs and folk tales are full of the Minjung Han of women."
Kill hate with love
This student movement was led, amongst others, by many seminary students – priests in training. They believed that the "Han" of the people should not result in hate and destruction but that a positive transforming "Dan" needed to be born. Dan has two dimensions: at the personal level Dan means self-denial; at the social level it means to cut off the vicious circle of Minjung's Han and revenge.
The emerging Minjung theologians believed that instead of hate arising from oppression and injustice, the experience should birth a new way of life which grew from sharing and love. They believed that you cannot defeat power and abuse with more power and abuse; rather, you must kill hate by self-denying love.
It was from this Minjung theology that the Sharing Houses grew. The Mission of the Sharing Houses is described by founder the Rev Kim Hong-Il as,
What are Sharing Houses?
There are now around 70 Sharing Houses in South Korea, working with children, abused women, orphans, migrant workers, the homeless.
They teach languages and skills, start social enterprises to provide work, provide counselling, shelter and, most of all, love.
Each Sharing House is led by an Anglican priest and each leads worship for the people of the community around them. The Rev Kim says, "We are concerned with healing and releasing the poor from the instability of unemployment and irregular employment… We joined with the people who protest against forced displacement and work to build low-rent public apartments, and helped them to achieve community autonomy.
"We fought poverty with them… We participated in education through day-care centres and literacy classes and practised holistic care for the sick… Christianity is inseparable from community. Jesus' movement was directed for the community. That's why his movement began from looking for and calling up his disciples."
More than 20 years on from the beginning of the Sharing House movement there are some issues which need to be worked through, some of which will be helpful questions for us here in the UK (and for global mission), questions of leadership, of spirituality and the challenges of working with secular government agencies and money. But, I found the trip very exciting and I think there are treasures here for the wave of new missional communities in Europe in our current cultural and economic context.
It also raises questions for me: How we let go of power and anger? How do we let go of reactions against the way we (Christians) feel treated by our culture, our government and our media? How do we seek not to do mission to people but with people? And how do we shape mission for freedom and love and for transformation of culture itself – for the sake of others, not for the sake of the Church?
Becoming God's nation?
A Sung Park writes, "Minjung theology is not primarily concerned about the Korean Christians in particular, but the oppressed Korean Minjung in general."
It's about transforming the negative Han into "the power of revolution
for establishing God's nation."
On that note, it's worth saying that the Minjung-based movement in the 1980s (in the form of the June Democracy movement) resulted on 16 December 1987 in the first truly democratic presidential elections held in South Korea since the 1961 coup.
Church to focus on youth
From the Wairarapa Times-Age
More than 150 Anglican clergy from Waiouru to Wellington have been gathered at the Copthorne this week to talk about how they can better support young people.
Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth, ordained last month, said that over the three-day conference it had become clear that the clergy needed to focus on parents and families.
"As a church we need to work out how to better equip children and their families ... The young are the future of our church.
"If we're not helping young people, the church is not supporting a large percentage of our parishes," he said.
Bp. Duckworth has worked in youth development for 25 years, has three teenage children of his own with wife Jenny, and still does youth worker training despite the demands of the new role - but said the clergy had prioritised youth before he came along.
Ministry educator Tony Gerritsen said the Diocese was working in a "brave new era" and has been focusing on upskilling the clergy on skills for leading young people.
"We felt we had sort of done it at an adult level, and we thought, 'how do we do that with the youth?"' he said.
Church yet to make a stand
By Salaseini Vosamana in The Fiji Times
THE Anglican Church is at a crucial stage of understanding the issue of gay marriages in the country, says Bishop Apimeleki Qiliho.
However, he told The Fiji Times the church has yet to make a stand on the issue as discussions were continuing among the congregation.
He made the comment at the ordination of a new priest, Reverend Angela Suruj Prasad at St Thomas Church in Labasa.
"There are people who oppose gay marriages and there are others who say it's time we bring it to the limelight," Bishop Qiliho said.
"As Christians, we have the right to defend to God according to what the Bible says against homosexuality. But others think we have reached an era where we need to come to an understanding and recognise the existence of homosexuals and their rights in our society."
Bishop Qiliho said the church believed this was the appropriate time to hear out issues and concerns about gay marriages.
"We haven't considered our final decision because we are still listening to the Anglicans' views and what they think about the issue.
"We have available avenues through which people can come together to discuss the issue whether it is at parish or diocese level or even in grog sessions.
"This is an opportunity for us to listen to their views before we make any final decision because this is a very sensitive matter."
BibleQuest Gets Children Excited About God's Word
From The Christian Post
Children eager to memorise scriptures and the order of the books in the Bible.
Little ones so excited about spending time with God that they do their daily devotions and even pester their parents to have family devotions.
Kids that share the Gospel and their life testimony with their friends.
The strong interest in the Bible is due to a point-based incentive system developed by cousins-in-law the Reverend Victor Teo and Mr. Daniel Lim.
Launched two years ago, BibleQuest has seen its participation grow from 70 children to over 2,000 children from seven churches across denominational lines.
The integrated system for children's ministry arose out of the young pastor's desire to see children love the Scriptures more and the successes of a yearly children's ministry campaign run at a Pentecostal-Charismatic church.
That campaign started in 2004 when Daniel made a suggestion to his children's pastor for the children's ministry to "do something like a quest that the kids can embark on; they earn the points and then through the points they can earn badges... (which) they will be proud to pin on their shirts or... on their bags..."
The positive response led the church to conduct the campaign over three years, from 2004 to 2006.
Some time after the campaigns ended, Victor met Daniel while having dinner at his mother's place. The conversation led them to embark on developing the Bible Quest programme, adopting Daniel's idea, learning from his church's experience, and taking the concept further.
Besides organising the materials, the two men turned the concept into a system to be integrated into a church's children's ministry with the Sunday School teachers and parents taking the lead.
In addition the concept has moved from being focused on Sunday School to the daily spiritual development of children.
To promote parental involvement in the spiritual growth of children, the programme gives parents the task of holding family devotion with the child, and ensuring that the child memorises a scripture weekly and does personal quiet time and rewarding the child with bonus points.
In doing this, it promotes communication between the church and parents so both teachers and parents can have a better idea of the child's spiritual progress. For children from non-Christian homes the Sunday School teachers become more involved in monitoring their everyday spiritual progress and leading them to pray for their parents.
"In essence we want to encourage good spiritual habits among children, and children being children they like to be motivated," says Daniel, 36, who is working in the F&B industry, adding that this can be seen in schools.
Through the programme, children have learned to be punctual for church and remember to bring their Bibles. Parents themselves have also been helped.
"Some fathers have shared with me that this whole programme really benefited him... because without this they won't have the initiative to keep the family down to do a family devotion together," says Victor, 32, who is in charge of the children's, young adult's and cell ministries at Yishun Christian Church (Anglican).
An interview with Bishop Moses of Mbeere in Kenya on Continuing Indaba
"I like Indaba and the contribution is has made to my community and to my church"
So says Bishop Moses Masamba Nthuka of the Anglican Church of Kenya. In this short interview he talks about his diocese, Mbeere in the Mount Kenya Region, why the diocese are involved with Continuing Indaba and what the impact of this has been. He focuses particularly on how using Indaba principles the Church worked with the whole community to resolve a dispute that had been tearing the community apart and bring healing as an historical conflict came to an end.
Listen to the interview here http://bit.ly/OMLRm2
Bishop sides with quake-hit homeowners
Marc Greenhill for the Press featured on anglicantaonga.co.nz
Bishop Victoria Matthews has called for action for earthquake-hit homeowners, after the launch of Christchurch's central-city blueprint.
Hundreds of people protested at Monday's launch to ask for more urgency on the housing and land issues faced by more than 28,000 green-blue (technical category 3) residents.
Bishop Matthews, who attended the launch, said it was ''very disappointing'' no commitment to action was made.
''I think what should have been acknowledged is the protest was going on because there is an injustice about the people who are not getting what they deserve, which is being looked after for their homes,'' she said.
''I think it would have been a million times better if, in the midst of the launch, they also said, 'We also want to say that we promise we'll do everything possible to help the TC3, the red zone, the people whose homes are damp and cold. That will now become our No 1 priority and this is how we're going to do it'.''
Bishop Matthews said it felt as if she was ''living in a city that has two halves''.
''I wasn't very happy being with the half I was with. It begged for a promise. What were they thinking?"
She planned to work on a response from the church to recovery leaders.
''I think we now need to move to the point where there are very clear expectations and demands being made,'' she said.
''I applaud people before buildings. I've said that before about the cathedral, but what does that look like in this instance?
''I'm more than happy to speak in certain places and see where we can move this ahead. That will make me even more proud to live in Christchurch.''
Despite her launch criticisms, Bishop Matthews backed the blueprint's ideas.
The green spaces along the river were ''brilliant''.
''It is recognisable as Christchurch, yet they haven't felt the need to recreate what was. There are lots of new things in it but it's sympathetic to the old,'' Bishop Matthews said.
Shinya is staff at Nippon Sei Ko Kai - the Anglican Church in Japan. Here he writes first-hand of his experiences and thoughts about his time in Kamaishi Relief Centre
Reflection of volunteer work in Kamaishi Relief Center
By Shinya Samuel Yawata - Secretary, PIM NSKK
I spent two months in Kamaishi Relief Center of NSKK “ Issho Ni Aru Ko! Project”; in June and July, 2012.
I drove about 600 Km in one day to get from my home to Kamaishi. It was my third visit; one in late May in 2011 to bring Anglicans who are involved with relief work, i.e. personnels from Anglican Alliance, ERD and ACROSS in Singapore, second visit was in April, 2012 to observe operation of the Center, and this was third one.
One of focuses of Issho Ni Aru Ko Project ( hereafter it will be called the Project) is to look after elderly people in temporary house located throughout many locations in Tohoku area. Kamaishi is one of them.
Tsunami affected areas in Kamaishi are mostly still not completely cleared. Damaged buildings have been mostly removed but there are still few buildings not touched at all for some reason. No overall rebuilding plan has been established yet by the city government, and it is prohibited to build any new buildings in low land. Except temporary housing for either residential or commercial purpose I have not seen a new ones at all. So it is almost like a ghost town.
Temporary house has been built with public money for Tsunami affected people after they have been forced to be out of emergency shelters after several months of temporary stay. In contrast to emergency shelter which typically are large open indoor space such as city hall and gymnasium, a temporary house is an apartment unit with living room/dinning room/ bedroom combined, kitchen with dinning space, toilet and bath room. Number of units in one location varies between 6 to 200 units in the city of Kamaishi and I am sure it will be similar in different locations. Each family has been assigned to a unit at random regardless of where they come from, so that it did not help to build community within one location. Many residents are elderly and single, whether or not they lost love one due to the tsunami. So they often feel very lonely and tend to stay within their small unit
Communication with Affected People
Receiving relief goods at the Center is not necessarily their first priority, and rather purpose of their visit to the Center is to have conversation within themselves since many of them often visit the Center regularly or converse with us. First time when I tried to converse with them they tended to shy away from me. With few visits and my attempts they started talking to me about their story of survival through the Tsunami.
One woman tells me how she lost her husband; they were together while holding on to window frame with water level becoming higher, and when she turn around to him he was gone forever. I think she has overcome her trauma being able to talk about her survival while she could not talk about it almost one year after the Tsunami.
Another woman tells me her story of how she survived; she thought she would die in the water, and she wanted to die with a smile on her face while still under water, then suddenly she found to be above water, and eventually was rescued later. She tells me she was under water for many minutes.
Some of them still will not talk about how they survived. I met several elderly women who live alone but will not reveal about their partner . My job is to listen to them without asking many personal questions.
In addition to being there in the Center we make house call regularly at temporary house. Visiting them at their own unit is quite often rather hard. Some of them just do not come out to respond to our visit at their doorways. Whatever the reasons are this is rather serious problem if they want to stay away from visitors.
Programs at temporary house
The Center has regularly scheduled programs such as sawing class, cooking class, Haiku class, body stretching class, etc at recreation room which most temporary house location is equipped with. This is to create opportunity for residents to meet regularly among themselves without coming to the Center. Cooking class is the most popular program among them.
For example I cooked pizza with frying pan instead of oven since each unit is not equipped with it. Or Japanese type of pizza called “ Okonomi-yaki “. Most attendees are housewives and love to cook. So we ask them to participate in cooking. After that we enjoyed conversation and communication with each other.
We offer exercising class in recreation room. Residents are forced to live in a very small space of one’s unit and do not have an opportunity to stretch their body. This has become very popular program among many programs which we offer. We are very fortunate to find an instructor for this exercise class who is local and tsunami affected person herself.
After almost a year and half of the Tsunami I feel that most affected people are much more stable mentally whereas they were very confused, lost and disturbed shortly after the Tsunami for sometime. Yet it will take another few years to come back to mental status where they were. First they have to find place to move into after closure of temporary house. Government has extended time limit by one year to total of three years to stay in temporary house, but eventually they have to move out. Building alternative housing is coming very slowly in Kamaishi because they could not secure large enough flat land in highland to avoid another tsunami hit.
While people are in this kind of status what they need most is really comforting their mental status which church is well equipped to offer: listening to them, comforting them, talking with them, meeting their specific requirement and need, etc. The Project has been offering similar assistance in other location such as Shinchi-machi in Fukushima Prefecture, Onahama-shi in Fukushima Prefecture and also few other locations in vicinity of Sendai city. All of these are for elderly people in temporary house.
Demand and need for this is more than NSKK or the Project could handle for long term because of limited resources, so in near future we have to identify which location(s) will be supported and which one(s) we have to exit. Then we could concentrate our financial and personnel resources to a specific location(s). Once location(s) has been identified we have to have most appropriate organization within diocese of Tohoku supported by whole NSKK to carry out a specific project. It has become very clear that the Project will be completed in May 2013 as initially planned and have to be transferred to a new organization.
I have come across to two very tough questions while in Kamaishi. One is how long this Center will operate. I understand that most other relief operations have been closed and the Center is only one left to offer space to relax and have a good supply of relief goods in Kamaishi. I do hope that after the Project has been completed the center will remain open in some way. Second question is whether or not I will return here near future. Since I made so many friends here my desire is to return again to comfort them again in some capacity.
I really want to thank to all those who have expressed their desire to help NSKK, have sent donation, have come here in person, have continued to pray for us and affected people.
A spotlight on a different Anglican blogger each week. We begin with priest in the Church of Ireland, Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Patrick Comerford.
Ramadan Iftar at the Moroccan Embassy
I was invited to the Moroccan Ambassador’s Residence in Dublin last night for Ramadan Iftar to mark the Moroccan National Day.
Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during Ramadan. This is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. I have experienced this in the past in Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey, when Iftar is done right after Maghrib (sunset).
Traditionally, three dates are eaten to break the fast. Many Muslims believe that feeding someone iftar as a form of charity is very rewarding. The traditional prayer for breaking the fast at the time of Iftar is: “Oh God, it is for you that I observe fast and it is with your blessing that I break it.”
At a Moroccan iftar, dates, milk, juices, and sweets typically provide the sugar surge needed after a day of going without food. Harira, a hearty lentil and tomato soup, satisfies hunger and restores energy. Hard-boiled eggs, meat-filled or seafood-filled pastries (briouats), fried fish, and pancakes might also be served.
Large batches of sweets such as sellou and chebekiaare are traditionally prepared in advance for use throughout the month.
Eid Al Ârch or Fête du Trône (Throne Day) on 30 July is an annual celebration marking the accession to the Moroccan throne of Mohammed VI in 1999. The Moroccan royal family is descended from the Alaouite Dynasty, founded by Moulay Ali Cherif, who became Sultan of Tafilat in 1631.
Sidi Muhammad Ben Yusuf, who was Sultan of Morocco from 1927 to 1953, became a focal point of nationalist aspirations when Morocco gained independence from France and he then ruled as king from 1957 to 1961.
At last night’s reception, which began at sunset, there was plenty of traditional Moroccan iftar food. The guests included diplomats, judges, politicians, academics, charity and aid workers, and both members of the Muslim community and church leaders – a healthy and practical exercise in Christian-Muslim dialogue.
And before the evening ended, we were entertained by traditional Moroccan drummers.
This is no country for old men
Peter Matheson, reviewed on Anglicantaonga.co.nz back in 2010
Hidden Country. Having Faith in Aotearoa New Zealand by John Bluck (Pakiri, Bathgate Press, 2010; $34.95 plus p&p. Available from Epworth Books, Box 17255, Wellington 6147).
As one would expect with John Bluck, this book is a page-turner, brutally hard to put down. Its first part, the longer one, is about the stations of his own life’s pilgrimage, the second looks thematically at the challenge of finding a voice, a place, an identity, a future, a faith for Christian life and belief in New Zealand. In short it asks: what would a spirituality grounded in Aotearoa look like? Important!
He sketches his childhood in little Nuhaka in the 1950s, the place and the people, the exciting but safe adventures in bush and river, the gatherings in his dad’s garage, vintage small-town New Zealand stuff. We walk it with him. Equally vivid is the abrupt shift to the boarding school in Napier, his ‘stalag by the sea’, its emotional coldness and cultural narrowness. This time we shudder with him!
Some fine role models, though, nourished his vocation to priesthood, so off he went to College House in Canterbury, revelling in his motorbike and the dignity and freedom of a student, while doffing his hat, though not much more, to the demands of a traditionalist formation programme.
But then Harvey Cox’s Secular City had him hooked. Nothing for it, he must get to the States! Despite much opposition he eventually got permission and raised the wind to study at Episcopal Theological School, Boston. Here we begin to see the John Bluck we later came to know emerging.
He was pitched into the ferocious Vietnam controversies, learned first hand about racism and acute poverty, found a mate for life in Elizabeth, became a reporter for Cardinal Cushing’s Boston Pilot, swam in an ever-expanding world. Lapped it up. After a brief curacy in Gisborne, though, it was on to Wellington, as chaplain to the Polytech and tutor in the School of Journalism, getting the wave-length of NZ again.
Crucial was the ensuing Auckland experience – he edited the cutting-edge Methodist paper, New Citizen , and through St Matthew’s in the City became involved in ecumenism, issues around homosexuality and Maori sovereignty. Meanwhile, his young family grew up, loving the occasional excursions (as I was delighted to read) to Matheson’s Bay. Who wouldn’t?
Already we can begin to see the shape his later ministry would take as Dean at Christchurch, with the treasure trove of liturgical innovations, and as Bishop of Waiapu – those remarkable bicultural pilgrimages. But first he was to plunge into the international scene as Director of Communications of the World Council of Churches in Geneva.
He graphically portrays this amazingly exciting scene, hate-mail about the Programme to Combat Racism, meeting Desmond Tutu, travelling behind the Iron Curtain, preparing for the 1983Vancouver Assembly, perhaps the last time the WCC really impinged on the worldwide church.
But one senses a restlessness. He was too far from home. So when the invitation came out of the blue, as so often in his life, to the Pastoral Theology chair in Knox Theological Hall he jumped at it.
Culturally, this again was a different world for him, a Presbyterian one. He describes the lively mixture of students, half of them Pacific Islanders, some radical, some very conservative. What he doesn’t say is that he turned the curriculum upside down in a quite genial way, with a new focus on field experience, to the delight of candidates and colleagues.
Then came his Christchurch and Waiapu periods, no doubt much better known to Taonga readers. This is his ministry in full maturity, dynamic, effective, and – of course – much loved. What these chapters remind us, however, is how hard the struggles were. The ferocious opposition to the new Visitors’ Centre at Christchurch, for example.
Not the least of the interests in this book is to see how this quintessentially non-angular man nevertheless kept a determined eye on a few non-negotiable goals. And eventually carried the great majority with him. Fascinating!
The fragments of the mosaic are coming together now. The reflective second part of the book does not altogether forsake the narrative mode, any more than analysis had been absent from the first part. At times he takes no prisoners. The frustrations of finding a voice for the Christian faith in a country where the opinion-makers seem tone deaf to religion has seldom if ever been better delineated.
He is often, too, extremely funny. And moving, as when he speaks of “… seeing the world, lit up, alive and radiant with the presence of the holy.” ‘Finding a Future‘ is about his own retirement, but equally about the future for his beloved church. The story he is telling, we begin to see, is not his but ours. In so many ways he articulates the dilemmas, celebrates the delights, spits out the hunches of all of us.
The deceptively light touch reminds me of what, in my own Celtic tradition, we call a seannachie , a story-teller, the spinner of a web which catches us all up in its music and its musings. You put it down with a grin, and feel encouraged. A bit humbled, too.
Take his description of that first-ever No Ordinary Sunday service in ChristChurch Cathedral; midway through it plunged the 220 people there into a silence lasting for five long minutes: “The longer it went, the deeper down you went, like diving into the river at Nuhaka as a child, the hot summer sunlight cooled and filtered through the grass-green water.”
In our end, one might say, is our beginning.
Peter Matheson is a former professor at Knox.
__________________________________ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER Click here for the full ACP
Psalm: 53 1 Sam 19
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Sunday 05-Aug-2012 Pentecost 10
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