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Codex BruchsalHallo again to all.

This first Sunday after the Epiphany finds us thinking about gifts. Epiphanytide is one of the shorter, more easily overlooked seasons in the Christian year, wedged as it is between Christmastide and Lent. It is mysterious and wonderful, with its recollection of the 'Eastern sages at his cradle' who 'make oblations rich and rare': the 'sacred gifts of mystic meaning' we know so well as gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We think often of those gifts in this season, of course, but we're also thinking of other gifts today. There are the Christmas gifts and cards we have only just sent through the mails (sorry about that). There are the gifts we received last year we are still continuing to enjoy, lovely books and clothes among them. And there are gifts of friendship forged through this site over many years that we have been so happy to refresh this month over riverside omelets and croque-monsieurs. God's gifts are surely all new each day, and beneath the signs of friendship and presents we are happy to have this relatively quiet season to reflect on them.

In the spirit of gift-giving, we return tonight to an old modus scribendi long-term AO readers will recognise from earlier issues of this page, especially those from 2000 and before. We see dozens of new sites each week, some of them sent to us by kind volunteers,* and many of them culled from web-searches by our own staff. They usually end up in Noted This Week before diligent members of our staff integrate them into our comprehensive listings. Sometimes a site strikes us as particularly beautiful, unusually effective in communicating its information about the good news of Jesus Christ as shared and lived in our communion. Click and read the following gift-links for some examples of these sparks among the stubble of the online Anglican world.

Call Waiting

'The Church of England wants to encourage gifted and committed young men and women, from all kinds of backgrounds, to consider whether God is calling them into ordained ministry as priests. From there, there are lots of exciting and challenging job options! You can find out more about those choices on this website. If you feel a sense of calling from God, we'll help you explore that and consider what to do next.'

We hear much in the Anglican world about the predominance of greying heads in the number of ordinands, but precious little about constructive efforts to encourage qualified younger persons to seek ordination. This attractive website from the Ministry Division of the Church of England is just that: easily navigable, useful, authoritative and honest. A similar site with its focus on religious communities is, a fine site about Anglican religious communities. 'It is here to introduce you to some men and women whose response to God’s call brings them a radical freedom.'

The Diocese of Edinburgh
One of the most attractive diocesan websites in the Anglican Communion comes from this see in the Episcopal Church of Scotland. It provides clear, informative, timely information in an organized way—no small feat for many dioceses. Were we Scottish Episcopalians, we would be particularly grateful for this useful diagram of diocesan structures and an accurate listing of parish websites. (Close seconds in our decisions for this entry were the Diocese of Toronto, the Diocese of Dallas, and the Diocese of Colorado; the websites of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York are also striking in presentation and useful in their ways.


'Fikelela means reach out and is the name of the HIV/AIDS outreach programme of the Anglican Church in Cape Town, South Africa. Fikelela was founded in 2000 with the vision to provide an active Christian response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa.'

This longstanding web-presence provides a wealth of information for interested individuals and potential sponsors. Its coordination of a tasteful number of photographs with accompanying narrative is unusual for non-profit organizations within the religious sector; so is its frequent addition of fresh material. Successive Lambeth Conferences have issued clear calls to all Anglicans about the urgency of action with respect to HIV/AIDS, and we know of no better church-based example than Fikelela.

Codex BruchsalChurch of the Ascension and St Agnes, Washington DC
Parish websites come, and parish websites go, but for many years we have admired the website of this venerable Anglo-Catholic parish in the United States. Key to the site is a consistent message to this effect: 'If you have never visited us, we invite you to come taste and see how gracious the Lord is.' Other parts of the site are arranged carefully and thoughtfully in service of realistic online evangelism. Parish webmakers are a yet-unorganized and often unsung group within the mystical body which is the blessed company of all faithful people. The people of this parish are well-blessed in this instance, and so are the congregations of St Peter, Formosa, South Africa; Ss Peter and Paul, Portland, Oregon; St James, King Street, Sydney, New South Wales; St Luke in the City, Canterbury, New Zealand; St John the Evangelist, Montréal, P.Q.; the Temple Church, and St Botolph's, London.

In 2008, we have also thrilled to the creation and development (or perhaps just our discovery) of several other websites, including the Save St Mark's Church, Mayfair campaign; the Anglican Trust for Women and Children; Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi; Viviendo la Identidad Anglicana; and Voces8.

As the new civil year begins, we caution ourselves and our readers about the dangers of confusing online Anglican life with pew-and-altar-and-soup-kitchen-and-parish-office Anglican life. Yet like the gifts of the Magi—proclaiming the divinity, kingship, and saving power of the Christchild—there are, as we're delighted to know and share, online efforts that do much good to the same ends of proclamation of the gospel through skilled support of the life of our portion of the Church Catholic. Clicke, lege.

See you next week.

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Last updated: 11 January 2009

* Thank you, Michel Cousins, Indran Sinnadurai, and Doug LeBlanc.

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