By John Martin

The Rev. Canon Mpho Tutu, whose marriage to a Dutch academic Marceline van Furth violates canons prohibiting clerical same-sex marriages within the Diocese of Cape Town, has announced that she is starting a new life in the Netherlands.

She has stepped down from her post as executive director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. The foundation says that as a member of the Tutu family she will always remain close to its work, vision, and beliefs.

Bells May Go Quiet

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I heard a bell-note floating to the sun;
It gave significance to lichened stone

So wrote the onetime English Laureate Sir John Betjeman in “Summoned by Bells,” a poetic celebration of rambles through the Cornish rural countryside and visiting its stone parish churches.

Now the United Kingdom’s most famous bell manufacturers have put the future of their business founded in 1739 in doubt. The owners of Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the oldest manufacturing business in the U.K., have sold their historic premises where the famous Big Ben bell was cast. The business dates to 1570 during the reign of Elizabeth I. It moved to Whitechapel Road in 1739 and has traded from the building ever since.

The business has been in the hands of the Hughes family since 1904. Alan and Kathryn Hughes have sold the grade II-listed building on Whitechapel Road. Whether the business will continue is undecided. Its end would leave just a single U.K. public bell-maker.

“We have made this decision with a heavy heart, but in response to the changing realities of running a business of this kind,” Alan Hughes said. “The business has been at its present site over 250 years, so it is probably about time it moved once again. We hope that this move will provide an opportunity for the business to move forward in a new direction.”

Maori Children’s Bible

For centuries and all over the world translation of the Bible has contributed significantly to language development and the flowering of the host culture. These hopes surround release of Tāku Paipera, a children’s Bible in Māori language, the fruit of 30 years of work by the Bible Society of New Zealand.

Tāku Paipera is done in a language that belongs to us, it’s a language that reveals our identity and it’s a language that is the heartbeat of our culture,” said Māori leader Matt Hakiaha.

Quakes Hit New Zealand Churches

These are not happy days for New Zealand cathedrals. Public debate continues about the future of Christchurch Cathedral, and now St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in the capital Wellington is cordoned off with a nearby eight-story building in danger of collapse. A series of shocks in late November and early December left a trail of destruction.

Dean Digby Wilkinson says Wellington cathedral suffered no structural damage, but a 7.5 earthquake has effectively wrecked the cathedral organ. Organ restoration could take up to two years.

Meanwhile, his first concern is to find another venue for worship and staff offices. The hardest-hit is the Diocese of Nelson in the south island. Nearby Kaikoura was completely cut off, including telecommunications.

There are reports from the Diocese of Christchurch of significant damage to the church in Waiau, a hamlet 30 kilometers east of Hanmer Springs. The bell tower at Waiau has apparently sheared off from the body of the church.

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