Week ending 8/24/15
Evidence Uncovered of 1998 Bribes to Nigerian ChurchThe large contingent of Nigerian bishops who attended the 1998 Lambeth Conference apparently had financial support from the repressive regime then in control of the country. Documents recently uncovered show more than $5 being transferred in person by high government officials to the Nigerian Church. Bishop Peter Akinola is directly linked to acceptance of more than $1 million of the illegal money. It was supposedly to help the bishops attend the once-a-decade meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world. The 1998 conference is most remembered for statements issued by the group that opposed ordination of LGBT individuals. African bishops played a major role in amending the resolutions which were originally more affirming of LGBT individuals. The current archbishop of the church in Nigeria has been supporting anti-corruption efforts and attempts by the current government to recover bribes. The Archbishop has not yet responded to the evidence that the church may have been the recipient of some of the bribes.
Rape at Prestigious Episcopal Prep SchoolOwen Labrie's rape trial in Concord, New Hampshire, is putting a very uncomfortable spotlight on St. Paul's School, a private Episcopal academy that has a long list of distinguished alumni. The school, which has long marketed itself as a special place providing both a rigorous academic experience, and a caring community that instills the highest values in its students, is now having to deal with court testimony showing a long-standing tradition in which senior men target younger students for sexual encounters. Labrie was a senior, headed to Harvard; the girl was 15 and thus below the age of consent. Some commentators are trying to tie this to a misogynous culture tied to its origins as a boy's school. However, St. Paul's has been co-educational for more than 40 years.(The book Black Ice by Lorene Cary describes her coming of age as one of the first black women students at St. Paul's in the 1970s.) The outcome and publicity surrounding the trial are likely to have repercussions for other episcopal boarding schools. The National Association of Episcopal Schools lists 33 Episcopal boarding schools on its website.
Dean of Washington National Cathedral Announces ResignationAfter only 3 years on the job, Dean Gary Hall has announced he will resign from his post at the Washington National Cathedral at the end of 2015, two years before the end of his contract. Hall, known for his progressive moves had been brought in shortly after the cathedral had been badly damaged by an earthquake in 2011. The damage, now estimated as taking close to $54 million dollars to repair came after a decade of financial challenges resulting in the cathedral cutting staff and clergy. Hall has presented a balanced budget and raised over $15 million this year. That is still far short of what the cathedral needs for operations and rebuilding. His letter of resignation stated that he thought the cathedral needed someone who could serve for a decade of rebuilding and fundraising.
The Washington Post broke the story and raises questions about other factors in Hall's resignation.