Meaning of YEAR IN REVIEW 1999: RELIGION in English

Anglican Communion. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) The Lambeth Conference--a gathering of Anglican bishops from throughout the world held every 10 years--met at Canterbury, Eng., in July-August 1998. Its most publicized action was a resolution passed by a 526-70 vote rejecting homosexual practice as "incompatible with scripture." The lengthy resolution stated that the bishops "cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions" but committed bishops to listening "to the experience of homosexual people." Most of the dissenting votes on the resolution came from American bishops. The Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, Frank Griswold, abstained. In a later statement Griswold said that he took exception to some parts of the resolution and believed that "we must explore more fully the whole question of what is compatible and incompatible with scripture." The resolution was widely seen as a rebuke to American Episcopal Church bishops by representatives from Africa and Asia. Many American bishops had ordained practicing homosexuals, and the church's convention had only narrowly defeated a 1997 resolution that would have authorized a liturgy to bless same-sex unions. Another Lambeth resolution was also seen as a reaction against the American church. Its 1997 General Convention had mandated the ordination of women in four dioceses that had not yet taken steps to do so. The Lambeth resolution urged mutual respect between bishops who did and those who did not ordain women, stating, "There is and should be no compulsion on any bishop in matters concerning ordination [of women]." In January an African church leader called for a single church to unite all of Africa's Anglicans. Njongonkulu Ndungane, Anglican archbishop of Cape Town and successor to Desmond Tutu, made the proposal during a sermon in Uganda. Such an initiative would unite 11 Anglican provinces in Africa, comprising a majority of the world's 64 million Anglicans. The growth of the Anglican Church of Nigeria was cited in a July statement released by its bishops. They noted that the Church of Nigeria had doubled in membership to 17.5 million, seven times larger than the American church. A Vatican Doctrinal Commentary released in July reaffirmed Pope Leo XIII's 1896 denunciation of Anglican ordinations as invalid. The Vatican's statement triggered a flurry of reactions throughout the Anglican Communion and was seen as a setback to ecumenical relations with Roman Catholicism. William Franklin, dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University and a leader in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues, said that the commentary "seemed to end a fruitful era of ecumenical dialogue." The Right Rev. John Maury Allin, 23rd presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, died March 6 in Jackson, Miss. The former bishop of Mississippi led the church from 1974 through 1986. Stressing a theme of reconciliation, he successfully steered the church through turbulent years after it accepted the ordination of women in 1976 and a revised prayer book in 1979. (See OBITUARIES.) DAVID E. SUMNER Baptist Churches. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) The Southern Baptist Convention received wide media coverage in 1998 following its annual meeting. On June 9 messengers (delegates) met in Salt Lake City, Utah, and adopted a statement on the family that included their belief that a wife should "submit herself graciously" to her husband. According to reports, the majority of delegates said it was time to declare to Baptists and society at large what they believed to be God's plan for the family. In reaction to the media coverage, much of it negative, noted church historian Martin Marty (see BIOGRAPHIES) of the University of Chicago commented, "The denomination may pick up new members who are hungry for authority." Much of the support for the "submission" statement was based on a literal interpretation of Ephesians. Also at the meeting the denomination's traditional condemnation of homosexuality was reiterated. Paige Patterson, one of the powers responsible for the conservative takeover of the 15.8 million-member denomination, was elected president. Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., ran unopposed. Early in September he joined the chorus calling for the resignation of Pres. Bill Clinton, a fellow Southern Baptist. In March former U.S. president Jimmy Carter moderated a meeting of the feuding conservatives and moderates. He encouraged a declaration expressing mutual respect while acknowledging that, though "there are unresolved issues among us, the signatories to this declaration wish to overcome differences that may impede our mission." Among African-American Baptists, the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., was riven by charges against its president, Henry J. Lyons. Lyons had denied accusations in 1997 that he had used church funds to purchase a house, a car, and other personal items. In response the Rev. Calvin Butts III, minister of the influential Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem in New York City, repeated his criticism of the denomination's leadership: "The leadership is woefully inadequate, corrupt and untrustworthy." In developments elsewhere, the Belgian government would no longer classify Baptists as a cult. On Dec. 6, 1997, the Baptists received unanimous acceptance from the nation's Protestant Synod. The acceptance was the result of other European Baptist groups' teaming up with the Baptist World Alliance to urge official recognition. Encouragement would now be offered to Austrian Baptists, who were also classified as a cult. Milestones among Baptists in the U.S. included the appointment of R. Scott Rodin as the 11th president of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, an American Baptist school in Philadelphia. Rodin, a Presbyterian, was the first non-Baptist president in the seminary's 73-year history. The Rev. Thomas Kilgore, Jr., one of the few men to lead two major national Baptist organizations (the Progressive National Baptists Convention and the American Baptists Churches, USA), died in February in Los Angeles. ( See OBITUARIES.) Kilgore, pastor emeritus of the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, was a leader in the struggles for racial justice and served with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. NORMAN R. DE PUY Buddhism (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) China in 1998 celebrated the 2,000th anniversary of the introduction of Buddhism into the country, inaugurating a Buddhist research centre in April and sponsoring an international festival in September. Also in April, Chinese officials denounced as fake a Buddha tooth that Tibetan monks in India had given to Taiwan. While in transit the tooth was worshipped by thousands of Thai Buddhists, and it then was ceremoniously received by 30,000 Taiwanese Buddhists, including government officials. After demonstrations in support of the Dalai Lama in March, Chinese authorities in April evicted 50 Tibetan nuns from Drag Yerpa, removing them forcibly from meditation caves, and in May arrested 15 Tibetan monks. In April China unsuccessfully petitioned Japan to block the Dalai Lama's participation at an international Buddhist conference in Tokyo. In November the Dalai Lama met in the U.S. with Pres. Bill Clinton. They agreed that talks between China and the Dalai Lama were necessary; China denounced the meeting. In July Maha Ghosananada, Cambodian supreme patriarch and the recipient of the 1998 Niwano Peace Prize, led 2,500 Buddhists in marches and religious services in support of peaceful national elections. Opposition parties denounced the victory of Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party, charging intimidation that included forced oaths of party loyalty at Buddhist pagodas. Clashes between groups of monks who favoured Hun Sen and those who opposed him erupted during and after the election; some resulted in beatings and arrests. A coordinated celebration of the Buddha's birthday in May was hailed as an important step toward the reunification of North and South Korea. In June, following two years of anti-Buddhist attacks that included vandalism, arson, and intimidation, South Korean Buddhist organizations strongly condemned religious discrimination and demanded a government apology for pro-Christian bias. In May Buddhists in Russia unsuccessfully protested the removal of a valuable Tibetan manuscript from Ulan-Ude for exhibition in the U.S.; 50 monks and laymen were beaten and detained, which sparked further protests. Burmese exiles in January accused Myanmar of having executed three monks and arrested dozens more during late 1997 and also of restricting the ordination of pro-democracy monks. In April Amnesty International reported widespread human rights abuses against Burmese civilians, including Buddhist monks. During the same month, Burmese officials asked Thailand to execute members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army who entered Thai territory. In June Thailand's Supreme Sangha Council outlawed moneymaking Buddhist funerals and ordered temples to provide free funerals for those who were destitute. In July, after a suburban temple unveiled a statue of the Buddha standing on a globe with his arm raised in victory, the Sangha Council tightened control over religious imagery. In March Buddhist activist Sulak Sivaraksa was arrested for obstructing construction of a gas pipeline on the Thai-Burmese border. In Sri Lanka the Sinhala Commission, a Buddhist group, in July accused Great Britain of colonial-era crimes against Buddhism, demanding an apology and restitution. Tamil separatists were suspected in the bombing of Kandy's Dalada Maligawa ("Temple of the Tooth," one of Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist shrines) in January, which kil1ed at least 11 but failed to damage the Buddha's tooth. Buddhist monks led thousands in June 1997 and February 1998 demonstrations and hunger strikes against government plans to sell the Eppawala phosphate deposit to an American corporation known for environmental abuses. The March 1998 bestowal of upasampada (higher ordination) on 22 Sri Lankan nuns at Dambulla, following the October 1996 upasampada of the first Sri Lankan nun, in Taiwan, formally ended a 1,500-year lapse in the Theravada nuns' order. A fire in April destroyed Bhutan's famous Paro Taktsang monastery, killing one monk. In May fire gutted part of the Todai Temple in Nara, Japan. JONATHAN S. WALTERS Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) Leadership changes, additional churchwide planning, and an effort to eliminate racism in church structures highlighted 1998 for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The church's Northwest Region called the Rev. Jack Sullivan, Jr., as its new executive in March. Sullivan became the second African-American to head a regional body in the more than 900,000-member denomination. In 1998 the Northwest Region comprised 8,300 members in 77 congregations across Washington and northern Idaho and in Anchorage, Alaska. In other action the General Board identified six "vital issues" to be addressed as the church fulfilled its four-year Mission Imperatives. They included evangelism and witness; spiritual vitality and faith development; leadership development; congregational hospitality, diversity, and inclusiveness; justice, reconciliation, service, and public advocacy; and strong worship life. The General Board Administrative Committee in July endorsed a proposal to offer antiracism training to church members. This initiative stemmed from an ongoing churchwide examination of racism in North America, including within the church itself. In late 1998 the Disciples celebrated the ministry of the Rev. Paul A. Crow, Jr. The church leader retired December 31 after nearly 40 years of global ecumenical ministry. In November Crow delivered the Peter Ainslie Lecture on Christian Unity, an annual celebration at which a world ecumenist is invited to share his or her vision of Christian unity. CLIFFORD L. WILLIS Church of Christ, Scientist. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) In 1998 the 103rd annual meeting of the Mother Church focused on signs of significant change in theology. Featured were videotaped interviews with other religious leaders, including Harvey Cox of the Harvard Divinity School; the Rev. Tina Saxon, pastor of Disciples' Baptist Church in Boston; and John Fellers of the Institute of Religion at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Their participation emphasized the widespread interest in Christian healing within the religious and medical communities. "We're at a point of historic change--a new birth in theology and practice," remarked incoming church president Jon G. Harder. During the year interest in spiritual healing led many readers to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. For the fourth year in a row it enjoyed sales of more than 100,000 copies, with the number purchased in the 1997 fiscal year up by 15%. First published in 1875, it was in 1998 carried by some 2,500 bookstores as well as by Christian Science reading rooms throughout the world. On the 150th anniversary of the first Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., the church was invited by the Women's Rights National Historic Park to cosponsor an exhibit on Eddy. It highlighted her accomplishments as pioneer, healer, author, leader, public speaker, founder, and publisher. In August the church was host to an International Conference titled "Pioneers of the Spiritual Millennium." Approximately 1,500 college students and faculty gathered at the church's Boston headquarters to explore ways to discuss the role of spirituality in the academic community. A redesigned Christian Science Sentinel, published weekly, increased its number of orders by 45% in 1998. Each month up to 13,000 Internet users visited the church's Web site (, and 450,000 accessed the electronic version of The Christian Science Monitor (, logging over two million pages. GARY A. JONES Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) During 1998 church president Gordon B. Hinckley exhibited marvelous powers of physical and mental endurance as he, in his 88th year, traveled to meet church leaders and members, heads of state, and other government officials in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa in Africa; Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Chile in South America; all nations in Central America; the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Switzerland in Europe; Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, and Tahiti in the South Pacific; Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea in the Far East; and several dozen communities in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Among his most notable appearances was an address to 24,000 Mormons at a special "fireside" at New York City's Madison Square Garden in April. The church's worldwide building program continued. In late 1998 there were 52 temples operating in 24 countries and 46 new temples in various stages of design or construction. New temples were being built in Bolivia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, the U.S., and Fiji. With 200,000 attending an open house, the temple at Preston, Eng., was dedicated in August. President Hinckley was honoured in the U.S. at the National Conference of Community and Justice for his tolerance and compassion, and he addressed a regional leadership meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in April. He was interviewed during the year by Dan Rather for CBS and Larry King for CNN. Continuing its vast humanitarian program, in 1998 the church assisted members and others after flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters in many locations throughout the world. In May the church was formally recognized as a centralized religious organization in Russia. LEONARD J. ARRINGTON Churches of Christ. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) From 1979 to 1997 the Churches of Christ experienced only modest growth, but in 1998 their numbers increased markedly. New churches were established throughout the United States. Rhode Island led with a 72% growth rate, followed by Minnesota with 67% and Maryland with 60%. The largest numbers of churches continued to be in the southern states. Also significant was the expansion of missions. In India membership was estimated at one million. Other nations showing growth were Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. A largely indigenous movement also resulted in a large increase in Mozambique. The most noteworthy development in Asia was the reestablishment of contact between governments and church members in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, and Lebanon. During the first nine months of the year, Church of Christ Disaster Relief, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., distributed $2.5 million in relief supplies to 26 disaster-stricken areas. Other organizations active in disaster relief were White's Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, La.; Manna International in Redwood City, Calif.; and Bread for a Hungry World in Fort Worth, Texas. Universities operated by members of the church registered record enrollments. Among academies Coventry Christian School in Pottstown, Pa., led with a 25% enrollment increase. "In Search of the Lord's Way," a television and radio program featuring Mack Lyon as host, expanded its coverage by 10%, adding 143 cable channels, the Inspirational Network, the Odyssey Channel, and the Family Network. Among publications The Christian Chronicle continued to lead in circulation, with a total of approximately 100,000 households in 125 countries. GLOVER SHIPP Hinduism (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) From January to April 1998, millions of Hindus from around the world made the pilgrimage to the holy city of Haridwar, India, on the banks of the sacred Ganges River for the triennial Kumbh Mela, the great "Festival of the Pot." Because this Kumbh Mela was the last one of the 20th century, it was considered especially auspicious, and far greater numbers than usual made the pilgrimage to Haridwar, one of the four sites among which the festival rotates. On April 13-14 an estimated four million pilgrims ritually bathed in the Ganges to mark the most propitious day of the festival. Local government officials took special measures to prevent not only the sorts of mishaps, including crowd stampedes, that had marred several past celebrations of the mela but also possible terrorist activity arising from the Hindu-Muslim conflict in Kashmir. Although the Kumbh Mela concluded without major incident, another pilgrimage was marked by tragedy. As many as 60 pilgrims were among the more than 200 who died in landslides in northern Uttar Pradesh, near the Tibetan border, in August. The pilgrims were members of various groups making their way to Lake Manasarovar and Mt. Kailasa in the Tibetan Himalayas, sites sacred to Hindus as, respectively, the mythic source of the Ganges and the paradisiacal abode of the god Siva. Torrential monsoon rains had loosened the sides of the hills flanking the perilous route to these sites, and little could be done to rescue many who were stranded in remote, inaccessible mountain areas. The Indian government ordered the cancellation of the pilgrimage, and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh called for a study of an alternative, less-hazardous route for future pilgrims. Another major pilgrimage was conducted during July and August to the sacred cave of Amarnath high in the mountains of Kashmir, where Siva was worshiped in the form of a large stalagmite. Kashmiri militant organizations, seeking the separation of the state from India, had imposed a ban on the pilgrimage and attempted to disrupt it with explosive devices, which Indian security forces discovered before injuries could be inflicted. The installation in March of a new coalition central government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised fears among moderate Hindu and Muslim political leaders that the BJP would advance a religious ideology inimical to communal harmony. The new prime minister, A.B. Vajpayee (see BIOGRAPHIES), quickly sought to allay any fears that his government would pursue a Hindu nationalism that would violate the principles of a secular state embodied in India's constitution. His critics, however, attacked the government's decision to undertake nuclear bomb tests that bore the project name of Shakti, a word denoting sacred power in Sanskrit. In April a prominent Hindu religious leader, the abbot of monasteries in West Bengal state, spoke out against a Hindu nationalism that might exacerbate communal divisions. In August, on the occasion of the 51st anniversary of India's independence, the Orissa state government announced a major project to restore some 400 ancient monuments, including temples as old as 700 years. The state and central governments had long been concerned about the 3,500 monuments in Orissa, the largest number in any state in the country; only 500 were protected in any manner against the vandalism that had stripped ancient Indian temples of sacred images for illicit but highly profitable marketing. H. PATRICK SULLIVAN ISLAM (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) As in recent years, two trends concerning Islam were most evident during 1998: outbreaks of violence and increasing awareness of the growth and spread of the religion. Violence continued in many Muslim lands and in some cases reached beyond them. Terrorist activities received wide publicity. Their notoriety elicited reactions from Muslims, especially those in Europe and North America, who were concerned that media reports reinforced stereotypes held by many non-Muslims that portrayed Muslims as often violent and Islam as condoning violence. As Islam continued to expand and become more visible in Europe and North America, Muslims in those areas organized to try to counter those stereotypes and to educate their neighbours as well as the media. Their efforts were made more difficult, however, by local problems that had been generated by the expansion and increased visibility of Islam. They included the building of mosques in areas where there had previously been few or no Muslims, distinctive styles of dress, and Muslim holiday celebrations. In Muslim countries, as always, disentangling specifically Islamic elements from other political and social developments was very difficult. Indeed, some could not be separated, and many actions by Muslims were better understood as expressing political or social concerns having religious undertones rather than vice versa. Islamist movements were prominent in many places, but upon analysis most of these could not be simplistically categorized as only religious fundamentalism. For example, violence continued in Algeria, where armed groups attacked whole villages; an international commission visited the country in August, but its initial findings as to the causes of the violence were inconclusive. In Afghanistan the forces of the Islamist Taliban were able to extend their political control to almost the entire country by defeating the opposition forces in the north at the end of the summer. They also continued to move toward enforcing Islamist interpretations of social behaviour; in June they ordered the closing of 100 girls' schools, viewing them as not conducive to a proper society. The killing of Iranian diplomatic personnel after the fall of Mazar-e Sharif in the north led to considerable tension between Afghanistan and Iran and the massing of troops by both countries on their common border. U.S.-Afghanistan relations suffered severely because of a U.S. bombing attack in late August of an alleged terrorist base in Afghanistan operated by Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden. (See BIOGRAPHIES.) That raid, and one on a presumed chemical munitions factory in The Sudan at the same time, was carried out by the U.S. as a retaliatory strike in response to terrorist attacks on American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in early August. Turkey continued to move toward limiting Islamist influence in its political and social life. In January the Islamist Welfare Party was outlawed, and pressure against openly Islamic activities was increased. By midyear the army, which for more than half a century had seen itself as responsible for the preservation of a secular state and society, had taken control of the nation's political life. In Pakistan in August, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that the Shari!ah (Islamic law) would be Pakistan's supreme law. In September an Iranian official source announced that Iran no longer supported condemning to death Salman Rushdie, author of the controversial book The Satanic Verses. Other sources, however, disputed that reversal of policy almost immediately, declaring the condemnation still in effect. Although acts of terrorism, violence, and the struggle between Islamist forces and moderates continued, so also did the growth and increasing visibility of the vitality of Islam, especially in Europe and North America. At the end of July, a 3.5 million mosque in Edinburgh, funded by Saudi Arabia, was formally opened; an estimated 8,000 Muslims lived in that city. In Culver City, Calif., the King Fahd mosque, also Saudi-funded, was dedicated; by the end of 1998, there were an estimated 75 mosques in southern California. Groundbreaking took place in late June in Houston, Texas, for a mosque built by the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam. Of the estimated 10 million Ahmadis, some 12,000 were said to be in the U.S. Pres. Saddam Hussein of Iraq went forward with plans to build the largest mosque in the world in Baghdad. Designed to accommodate tens of thousands of worshippers, it would be larger than the al-Haram Mosque at Mecca and would have four minarets. REUBEN W. SMITH Jehovah's Witnesses. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) During 1998 Jehovah's Witnesses highlighted their belief that the Bible is the word of God by means of a course of study that included textbooks such as The Bible, God's Word or Man's? They also volunteered their time to share with their neighbours information from a variety of sources, including A Book for All People, a brochure designed to build faith in the Bible. Each year Jehovah's Witnesses schedule three-day instructional sessions in the form of conventions. In 1998 almost 200 were held in the United States, highlighting the theme "God's Way of Life." In the U.S. some 1.5 million people attended the conventions, where they were encouraged to strengthen their faith in the Bible and its teachings. These teachings included not only doctrines but also standards of conduct. A handbook designed to build faith in the existence of a Creator was released to the audience at each of the conventions and had an initial distribution of five million copies in English, plus millions in 38 additional languages. The book, Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?, discusses the support that scientific evidence gives to the creation account. As part of their work of getting the Bible and its message into the hands of people worldwide, Jehovah's Witnesses arranged for nearly 300,000 copies of the Bible to be printed in Russian for distribution throughout Russia and in other countries where Russian is spoken. This translation, the Makarios Bible, was the work of two 19th-century translators, prominent members of the Russian Orthodox Church and language scholars. The translation had been generally unknown to the Russian public for more than a century. MILTON HENSCHEL JUDAISM (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) In February 1998 Susan Aranoff of Agunah Inc., on behalf of her organization, encouraged several leading rabbis in New York City to find an acceptable solution to the growing problem of agunahs. According to Jewish law, a woman whose husband is alive may not remarry until she receives from him "get," or religious divorce. Should the husband refuse his consent to this procedure, the wife may become agunah ("chained"), unable to remarry under Orthodox auspices. Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin attended the opening in the first week of September of a new $10 million synagogue in Moscow. Money for the building, situated in the city's huge war memorial complex, was raised by Russia's Jews. "The fact that President Yeltsin went there was extraordinary. This is the first time the President of Russia has ever been at a Jewish event," said Moscow's chief rabbi, Pinchas Goldschmidt, who helped organize the ceremony. This project should be seen in relation to the "grass roots" renaissance of Jewish religious life in former Soviet countries, which flowed from a variety of small activist groups of various denominations rather than from any central, official "establishment." Serious questions about the relationship between church and state arose during the year as a result of activities of Orthodox and other religious groups. These ranged from comments both in favour and in condemnation of U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair to demonstrations by Lubavich Hasidim in New York City urging the prime minister of Israel to oppose territorial compromise in his negotiations with the Palestinians to the controversy surrounding the voting directives given by the aged Iraqi-born Israeli mystic Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri. In connection with the latter, both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis of Israel warned against the "exaggerated and improper use of rabbis," suggesting that though it is acceptable for rabbis to comment on specific political issues that have some religious dimension, it is not proper that rabbis be accorded cultic status to dictate who should govern and how. Neither Reform nor Conservative Jews appeared to be looking forward to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, and even among the Orthodox there was little enthusiasm for the restoration of a Temple with animal sacrifices. Many justified this attitude by arguing that, according to Jewish law, the Temple would be restored only under the direction of the Messiah. Even so, a fringe group, the Machon ha-Miqdash (Temple Institute) in Jerusalem, opened a museum and developed educational initiatives to make people aware of what they believed was the central place of the Temple in Jewish tradition and practice. The International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee met at Vatican City on March 23-26 under the chairmanship of Edward Cardinal Cassidy. It endorsed, with some criticisms from the Jewish side, the recent Catholic document on the Holocaust and also approved a Common Declaration on the Environment, which not only spelled out how the common scripture and subsequent traditions of both Catholics and Jews placed responsibility on humans to safeguard the world and its threatened resources but also acknowledged the pressure of population growth as a significant factor in environmental degradation. Catholic-Jewish relations were, however, placed under strain by the continued erection of crosses at the Nazi death camp near Auschwitz and by the canonization of Edith Stein and the beatification of Alojzije Stepinac in October; both were regarded by the Catholic Church as martyrs to Nazism, but many Jews observed that Stein died because of her Jewish origins rather than her Catholic faith and that Stepinac allegedly cooperated during World War II with the Nazi-oriented regime in Croatia. In February Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron, Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel, led an international Jewish delegation to a UNESCO-sponsored "day of reflection and dialogue" with Muslim leaders in Rabat, Mor. In light of the political tensions between the Arab world and Israel, Bakshi-Doron remarked, "Just being able to sit and talk about [the conflict] here in a Muslim country is a step in the right direction." NORMAN SOLOMON Lutheran Communion. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) In a decision of historic proportions, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council, meeting in Geneva in June 1998, unanimously approved the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" with the Roman Catholic Church. This approval came after a long study process in which 89 of the 124 LWF member churches expressed their opinion on the declaration. Of the churches responding, 91% voted "in favour of" the document, supporting its statement that divine forgiveness and salvation come only through God's grace and that good works flow from that. The declaration had raised considerable debate in some LWF churches, which questioned whether a sufficient consensus concerning the doctrine had been reached. The LWF Council vote indicated a Lutheran understanding that there was agreement on justification to such a degree that condemnations made by both Lutherans and Roman Catholics regarding this doctrine during the Reformation period no longer applied to present-day churches. LWF General Secretary Ishmael Noko declared that the vote should be celebrated as a "historic moment for our two churches." Several days later the Vatican responded to the declaration by detailing a number of remaining differences while acknowledging a consensus in the basic truths. Many Lutherans questioned the degree of acceptance by the Roman Catholic Church. The LWF president, Bishop Christian Krause, called for careful study of the Vatican response. The council also encouraged support by LWF churches for debt relief for the world's poor countries by 2000 and noted reports of human rights violations in Ethiopia. It requested that parties involved in the Middle East peace process resume negotiations and implement previously made commitments. The Norwegian government appointed Gunnar Stlsett, a former LWF general secretary, as bishop of Oslo. Munib Younan was consecrated as the new Palestinian Lutheran bishop in Jerusalem. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the second largest Lutheran body in the world, moved to implement full communion with three Reformed churches in the U.S. It continued its efforts to enter into full communion with the Episcopal Church in the U.S. after such a proposal was narrowly defeated in 1997. The ELCA also studied a proposal to enter into full communion with the Moravian Church in America in 1999. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church in Canada approved respectively in 1997 and 1998 statements of intention to take definitive action in 2001 on a proposal that they enter into full communion with each other. At its triennial convention in St. Louis, Mo., in July, the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod elected Alvin Barry to his third term as president and pursued its plans for evangelization and closer ties with Lutheran churches in Eastern Europe. WILLIAM G. RUSCH Methodist Churches. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) The 1998 Methodist Peace Prize was awarded to Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations. The citation referred to Annan's "courage, creativity and consistency in the pursuit of human reconciliation and world peace." The first-ever All-African Methodist Conference was held in Benoni, S.Af., in March and was attended by Methodist leaders from 16 African countries. A second conference was planned for Kenya in 2000. A nonjudicial body, the All-African Methodist Conference served as a forum for discussion, sharing, and learning, with the goal of promoting unity between churches and strengthening the African voice on relevant issues. In 1998, for the first time, delegates from the Russia United Methodist Church were seated and participated with full rights in the Northern Europe Central Conference. The Russia Provisional Annual Conference was established and had its first meeting at Pushkin near St. Petersburg in May. Representatives from about 200 Methodist schools and colleges around the world met in Bath, Eng., in July to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the opening of the oldest Methodist educational institution, the Kingswood School in England's Avon county. The event, organized by the International Association of Methodist-Related Schools, Colleges and Universities, preceded a conference on the theme "Methodism and Education: From Roots to Fulfillment." World Methodism mourned the sudden death in August of the honorary president of the World Methodist Council, the Rev. Donald English. He had previously been elected twice as president of the British Methodist Conference and was chairperson of the World Methodist Council Executive from 1991 to 1996. The 13th Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion gave its approval to the report of the Anglican/Methodist International Commission, "Sharing in the Apostolic Communion." The two communions agreed to establish a joint working party to develop mutual agreements acknowledging that each church belongs "to the one, holy, catholic apostolic Church," that in each "the word of God is authentically preached and the Sacraments are duly administered," and that "the two Churches share in the common confession and heritage of the apostolic faith." The World Methodist Council announced that Brighton, Eng., would be the centre for the 18th World Methodist Conference, to be held in late July 2001. As many as 4,000 delegates were expected to attend. JOHN C.A. BARRETT Oriental Orthodox Churches (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) Karekin II, the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul, died in Turkey on March 10, 1998. Subsequently, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan, who had served as the head of the patriarchal synod since 1990, was elected acting patriarch of the 65,000-member church body. On August 17, however, Turkish authorities refused to acknowledge the decision, appointing retired archbishop Shahan Sivaciyan in Mutafyan's place. Protests followed when the Armenian community refused to accept the Turkish decision. Consequently, on October 14 Mutafyan was elected as the 84th Armenian patriarch of Istanbul.was scheduled for October. His Holiness Karekin I, catholicos of all Armenians, visited Egypt and Germany in January and February, and he traveled to the United States and Canada in June to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the diocese of the Armenian Church in America. Among the Eastern Orthodox leaders he visited was Archbishop Spyridon of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese. A delegation from the New York City Council of Churches visited Egypt March 10-15 and declared that reports of the persecution of members of the Coptic Orthodox Church in that country had been overstated. In July, however, Egyptian military units closed and sealed a Coptic church in the vicinity of Maadi, near Cairo. Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda and others protested the action.On August 14 police violence in the village of El-Kosheh killed two persons. international protests were lodged with the Egyptian government. St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo was the location for the consecration of the first patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Eritrea. The former archbishop of Eritrea was proclaimed Patriarch Philipos I at age 92. STANLEY S. HARAKAS Pentecostal Churches. (For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II.) In September 1998 more than 100,000 Pentecostals gathered in Seoul, South Korea, in Olympic Stadium to celebrate the 18th Pentecostal World Conference (PWC). Daily sessions met in Cho Yonggi's Yoido Full Gospel Church, the world's largest congregation, with more than 730,000 members. With the retirement of Chairman Ray Hughes, the Advisory Committee elected Thomas Trask of the American Assemblies of God to lead the PWC for the next three years. The n

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.