Global Briefs for Feb. 29

Uganda to Boycott ACC: The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Mtagali, has announced his church will boycott the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council to be held in April in Lusaka, Zambia.

Ntgali, who walked out of the Canterbury Primates’ meeting early, says a “spirit of defiance against biblical faith and order” has “infected the structures of the Anglican Communion.”

Ntgali says in a public letter that he feels betrayed by Anglican leaders who lack the will to follow through on discipline. His decision comes after announcements by leaders of the Episcopal Church that they will speak and vote during the ACC meeting. Their stance appears to have the support of the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, chairman of the ACC.

Ntagali said the action against the Episcopal Church at the Canterbury Primates’ meeting was not substantive and that recent statements from Episcopal Church and other leaders in the Anglican Communion have since made this clear.

Bishops Unite in Singapore: Both the Roman Catholic and Anglican archbishops of Singapore urged Christians in the city-state not to attend Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” concert on Feb. 28.

The Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah, the Anglican archbishop, said the advice he offered with the Most Rev. William Goh applied to Christians and was not an effort to impose any views on non-Christians.

“The Church is not simply anti-this or anti-that,” Ponniah said on the Diocese of Singapore’s website. “Rather, we have a God-given role to bear witness to the values that make for life — values that undergird peoples’ choices.”

Archbishop Goh earlier reminded his flock of the moral obligation “not to support those who denigrate and insult religions.” Goh’s statement said he had informed various government departments and boards of the “Catholic Church’s grave concerns” about the concert.

Bishop Ponniah acknowledged that many want to promote artistic license but said the Church was concerned about self-indulgent values that are “contrary to the well-being and future of our nation.”

Polynesia Appeals for Help: The Fiji-based Diocese of Polynesia is appealing for help for its members affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston. The Category 5 storm left a death toll of 42 and serious damage to homes, businesses, and public buildings.

Official estimates say 13,000 people were made homeless as wind gusts of 325 kph and ten-meter waves destroyed crops and home gardens. Power, communications, and transport were disabled and ships and wharves were lost to the storm.

Ecumenical partners, including Church World Service, are on the scene. There is particular concern for the fate of isolated areas that need food, shelter, and programs for children.

Church and Shop Work Together: Church leaders and small-shopkeepers oppose proposals by the U.K. government to expand Sunday shop openings. The government wants to allow stores bigger than 3,000 square feet to extend Sunday trading hours beyond the current six hours.

Roman Catholic, Church of England, Church in Wales, Methodist, United Reform Church, and Salvation Army leaders have released a statement opposing the government’s plan.

In a letter published by The Telegraph, they warn that extending opening hours for large chain stores would mean more commodification of lives. They said it would further squeeze the time that shop-workers have with their families, and small local stores will suffer lost commerce.

The Association of Convenience stores told The Grocer magazine that there was nothing new in the “reheated” government-sponsored report making the case for change. It said that the government’s submission would increase business income is “simply wrong.”

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