Global Briefs for Nov. 17

Archbishops on Paris Carnage: Here are statements by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York on the Paris shootings that left at least 129 dead.

Archbishop Justin Welby:

The sorrow in Paris is heartbreaking and the evil of those who planned and perpetrated the Paris atrocities is beyond measure or words. We weep with the victims and with the bereaved. France is deeply wounded but will prevail with that courage and strength she has always shown. Wherever there is such wickedness Christ suffers afresh in the suffering of every human being. In solidarity let us be the source of consolation.

The violence of this evil group brings terror to all, including in the Muslim world, where its cowardly acts are opposed by many. This is a global and generational struggle against an evil cult that chooses death and fear. We choose life and hope, to overcome their hate with the power of God’s love. In solidarity across all faiths and none, and with all human beings, rather than in the victimisation of any, we will find the way to defeat the demonic curse of terrorism. Christians are called, like Jesus, to stand with the suffering and broken and to oppose evil and fear with all their strength.

Archbishop John Sentamu:

Our shock and sadness today must lead us to pray for all those affected by this evil and senseless violence. Our hearts go out to those bereaved or injured. We must pray earnestly that God will lead us into his paths of peace, resisting evil, and looking for every opportunity to build bridges of friendship and understanding in our communities today. And we need to remember that “to respond to violence with violence increases darkness on a night already void of stars” (Martin Luther King Jr.).

Coventry Remembers: During the weekend Coventry remembered the anniversary of the deadly bombing raid that devastated its cathedral and much of its industrial heart.

The Coventry Blitz, on Nov. 14, 1940, lasted 11 hours and tons of high explosives dropped on one of the key industrial cities in the U.K. Midlands. Fire bombs ripped through the city as hundreds of bombers criss-crossed the skies, destroying factories, houses, and the city’s medieval cathedral.

Nazi aircraft targeted Coventry because it was a center for the manufacture of munitions, armaments, and aircraft. There are more than 800 names on the stone memorial marking a mass grave in the London Road Cemetery, but the death toll was much larger, as many people blown to pieces by the bombs could not be identified.

After the war, church authorities decided not to demolish the ruins of the cathedral. Standing alongside them is a building that witnesses to the spirit of reconciliation at the heart of Coventry’s ministry today.

“The ruins speak of the honesty of the truth of destruction in the world,” said the Very Rev. John Witcombe, dean of Coventry, in a BBC interview. “We have honesty about all the violence and the damage that’s around in the world, still embodied in the ruins, but in the new cathedral, this extraordinary space full of hope and beauty and healing.”

He added: “It’s an incredible space, and if it hadn’t been for the destruction, we wouldn’t have this new cathedral, so it is a message of hope.”

Pioneer Priest Dies: The Rev. Canon Nancy Charlton, the first woman ordained by the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, has died at 95. Nancy Charlton, who was ordained by the Rt. Rev. David Russell, served for many years at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Grahamstown, beginning as a Sunday-school teacher and later as a lay minister. She was ordained in 1992.

Sacked Priests Sue: Three Anglican priests from the Diocese of Mt. Kenya West, sacked after accusations of homosexual activities, are reported to be suing their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Joseph Kagunda, for defamation. The three priests (John Njogu Gachau, James Maina, and Paul Mwangi Warui) first challenged the bishop in an employment and labour relations court. They are now taking proceedings in a civil court. They allege that defamatory statements spread throughout churches and newspapers.

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