Diocese reaffirms bishop on blessings of couples
Overland Park Delegates in the Episcopal Church's Kansas Diocese narrowly defeated a resolution that would have questioned Bishop William Smalley for recognizing unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples with blessing ceremonies.
The proposal would have said Smalley's new policy "does not reflect the mind of the diocese" and asked him to reconsider, the diocesan newspaper reported.
The Kansas policy and a similar action in Vancouver, British Columbia, have sparked intense debate internationally in the Anglican Communion.
The resolution needed separate approval from two categories of delegates, clergy and laity, with abstentions having the effect of a negative vote. The clergy vote was 31 yes, 38 no and 7 abstaining; the lay vote was 60 yes, 52 no and 12 abstaining.
Smalley, who is retiring next year, said delegates had shown they could "deal with our differences with respect and cordiality. The entire discussion was wrapped in prayer."
Protests follow ouster of Muslim, Wiccan
Waupun, Wis. The first Wiccan to serve as a prison chaplain in Wisconsin and a Muslim chaplain were both ousted from the Waupun Clergy Association, which now allows only Christians as members.
Muslim Imam Ronald Beyah said last week's action included him so it wouldn't appear the group was targeting the person who caused concern, Jamyi Witch, the Wiccan chaplain.
Some state legislators and others criticized her appointment last December, but the warden at Dodge Correctional Institution said the law prevented religious discrimination.
Members of the association in this community 55 miles northwest of Milwaukee said it was founded for Christian ministers, but ambiguous bylaws meant Beyah was included two years ago, followed by Witch last December.
Nigeria's first lady denies funding tie to pageant
Lagos, Nigeria Nigerian first lady Stella Obasanjo has denied her charity for orphans and abused children is helping pay for the upcoming Miss World pageant, a contest that has drawn the ire of the nation's Muslims.
Obasanjo said she is promoting the beauty pageant only in her capacity as Nigeria's tourism ambassador, and that promoters were funding the event. However, Obasanjo is hosting a dinner in London on Nov. 10 with Miss World organizers to raise money for her charity, which is also backed by three United Nations agencies.
Muslim leaders, representing about half the 120 million Nigerians, have branded the pageant immoral. Meanwhile, several nations are boycotting the pageant to protest Nigerian courts' death sentences for women convicted of adultery, in line with Muslim law.
The event was rescheduled from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7 after Muslims protested and threatened to disrupt a beauty pageant occurring during the holy month of Ramadan.