80 Anglican Women Ordained

Since the Anglican Church of Australia lifted its ban on female ordination in November of last year, dozens of women have joined the priesthood—80 in the first weeks of December alone.

Ten women had already been ordained the previous March by Bishop Peter Carnley of Perth, who acted under the authority of diocesan legislation, in advance of General Synod approval.

The Church of England also voted in November to allow women to be ordained to the priesthood (CT, Dec. 14, 1992, p. 52); many of that country’s 1,400 women deacons are expected to seek ordination. But unlike the Australian church’s decision, England’s ordination measure must have approval from Parliament and royal assent before it can become law.

It could be July 1994 before the first women are ordained as priests in England. Australia and England are among the 14 (out of a total of 30) provinces in the Anglican communion that have approved legislation allowing women to be ordained as priests.

Quick Action Spares Filipinos

Western human-rights groups say a quick mobilization of their international networks may have saved the lives of two Filipino Christian leaders imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Just days before Christmas, reliable sources within the human-rights community reported that lay pastor Wally Oswaldo Magdangal was scheduled to be executed on Christmas day.

Magdangal and a second Christian, Renato Posedio, were arrested in October and charged with violating kingdom law by preaching Christianity.

The two had apparently been in hiding since January 1991 when an international Christian service they led in a private home was raided by Saudi religious police.

Reports of the scheduled execution prompted a flurry of international inquiries and protests, including a harshly worded appeal to King Fahd from Philippines President Fidel Ramos. After some apparent confusion, Saudi officials in the United States denied that the two Christians were condemned to die. The two were deported and have reportedly returned safely to the Philippines.

Opportunities in China Abound

Policies in mainland China will change soon, and doors to the vast country will be opened wide to evangelism. That was the prediction made by several speakers at Chinese Mission 92. Yet they warned that the church may not be ready to make the most of the opportunity.

Chinese Mission 92, the fourth triennial Urbana-style missions conference for Chinese Christians, attracted a record 1,300 registrants, up 70 percent from 1989. The four-day event, held in December in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by Ambassadors for Christ, a Chinese-American mission based in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

The vast majority of registrants were of Chinese descent, and well over half were university students or recent graduates. Speakers included Thomas Wang of the AD 2000 movement, and mission leader James Hudson Taylor III, great-grandson of J. Hudson Taylor, the pioneer missionary to China who died in 1905.

Nearly two-thirds of the participants stood to signify their availability for Christian service. Some who volunteered for full-time missionary work said during interviews that it will be especially difficult to explain their decision to their tightly knit family circles.

Several workshops focused on ways to reach the nearly 50,000 mainland Chinese scholars studying in the United States, while others dealt with the current religious situation in China.

Hard-Knock Life—And Death—For Kids

United States: One out of every five children lived in poverty in 1991; 2.7 million were reported abused or neglected.

Brazil: Four homeless children were reported killed each day in 1992—up from three a day in 1990; an estimated 2 million children between the ages of 10 and 15 years have been forced into prostitution.

Thailand: There are a reported 800,000 female prostitutes between the ages of 12 and 15.

There are 100 million children living on the streets of the world’s cities.

Africa, Latin America: 13 million children worldwide, most of them in Africa and Latin America, died last year from malnutrition and from pneumonia, measles, and diarrhea; wars in the 1980s killed 1.5 million children, disabled 4 million, and left 12 million homeless.

SOURCES: Brazilian National Movement of Street Children. Center for Protection of Children’s Rights. Children’s Defense Fund, Jubilee Campaign. and the United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund.

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