New archbishop inherits a divided Anglican Communion

Bishop Justin Welby was named Nov. 9 as the archbishop of Canterbury, primate of the Church of England and leader of the Anglican Communion.

Nearly 1,000 Anglicans converting to Catholicism

LONDON -- More than 900 Anglicans formally expressed a desire to convert to Catholicism at special services held at Westminster Cathedral --including the first Anglicans to join a new branch of the Catholic Church.

The annual ceremonies held March 12-13 included 62 adults who will become Catholics as part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, presided.

The “personal ordinariate” was set up by Pope Benedict XV1 as an extra-geographical body for Anglican converts who left over theological differences, including the consecration of women bishops.

“All will be `sent forth’ by their bishops to prepare to be received into the church in parishes across the Diocese of Westminster at Easter 2011,” Eddie Tulasiewicz, of the Diocese of Westminster Communications Office, told ENInews.

Faith leaders have 'widest reach' on environment

LONDON -- United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told religious leaders Nov.3 that they are uniquely equipped to pressure secular leaders to combat climate change.

Ban made the speech at a three-day conference on faith and the environment in England, organized by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the United Nations Development Program.

Scots consider 'virtual ministers'

EDINBURGH, Scotland -- To stem a nationwide shortage of full-time clergy, the Church of Scotland is considering using "virtual ministers" who would preach over a live video link to congregations that do not have a permanent minister.

"Preaching by live video link to vacant congregations is one of many radical changes being proposed by the Ministries Council," Gordon Bell, media relations officer with the Church of Scotland, told Ecumenical News International.

He said the report to the Presbyterian church's May 21-27 General Assembly suggests the Kirk, as the Church of Scotland is known locally, should consider the use of video technology in churches which struggle to attract full-time ministers.

The Orkney presbytery, which has 21 congregations spread over more than 10 islands, will be used to test the program by linking four congregations in the archipelago with technology similar to video conferencing.

"The intention," said Bell, "is that this will allow the minister to be physically present in a different island each week and virtually present in other ones. We think this is not only a first for Scotland but also a first for the whole of the United Kingdom."