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VIRGINIA: Five Talents Honors Dr. George Carey


By David W. Virtue

WASHINGTON, DC (9/16/2004)--Drawing on his blue collar working class roots, Lord George Carey, the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury returned to a theme much beloved of his years both before and during his time as titular head of the Anglican Communion - poverty and the poor.

Speaking to a white collar group of Washingtonians at an awards luncheon honoring his service to the poor, Carey gave a moving speech on his visits to the Sudan where poverty is "on a scale impossible to describe."

"The gospel commands us to care for the very poor. The Anglican Communion is suffering the ravages of poverty and despair. The average Anglican is black, a woman with 2 to 4 kids, lives on $2 a day and has a family member with AIDS. We cannot stand by and do nothing," said the archbishop.

Dr. Carey was in Washington to receive the 2004 Award of Vision from Five Talents International, a faith based non-profit organization that is serving the Anglican Communion in its fight against poverty using micro-enterprise development.

The Rev. Martyn Minns, Five Talents chairman said, in presenting the award that Five Talents began as an idea in his parish at Truro Episcopal in Fairfax, Va. It was then taken to Canterbury at the time of the Lambeth Conference in 1998, presented to Dr. Carey who immediately saw its importance and put 1000 pounds (about $2,000) as seed money into the idea.

Five Talents blossomed. Today more than 5,000 businesses have sprung up as a result of small business loans ranging from $100 to $200. "The money is constantly recycled allowing new businesses to spring up in the Two-Thirds world", said Minns.

In accepting the award, Dr. Carey noted the inequality of lifestyles between those of the West and the Global South. "Twenty percent of the world consumes 80 percent of its resources, while 80 percent uses only 20 percent". We are consuming at a profligate rate in the West. This is a moral question we cannot ignore."

Dr. Carey particularly praised the work of the Mama Batia project in Tanzania that erected clinics for pregnant women, under the leadership of Primate Donald Mtelemela.

Carey also noted that, in the midst of poverty the Anglican Communion was growing at a phenomenal rate in the Global South. "The church is growing the fastest in countries like Nigeria, and that one province is bigger than the ECUSA, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand combined."

Carey said that both Muslims and Christians could work together in dealing with the AIDS crisis which sees more than 8,000 a day dying of the disease. "The world will explode if we don't deal with the disparity between the rich and the poor. $50 to $100 can create a business; $5,000 can start a small bank."

"I commend Five Talents International. It is a concrete response to the poverty, disease and unemployment that continually traps the poor in a vicious cycle. Five Talents creates employment and transforms the lives of the poor around the world," he said.

Craig Cole, executive director of Five Talents was awarded $5,000 for his efforts in managing the organization since it was founded.

Since stepping down as archbishop, Dr. Carey has increasingly been engaged in efforts to bring orthodoxy back into the Episcopal Church. He is an active supporter of the Anglican Communion Institute, (ACI) a Colorado-based ministry that is attempting to maintain the highest degree of communion possible in the life of the Anglican Communion.

Like Five Talents, the ACI grew out of the 1998 Lambeth Conference when the Archbishop of Canterbury was invited to appoint a Commission to consider "the exceptional circumstances and conditions under which the Archbishop of Canterbury might exercise an extraordinary ministry of episcope (pastoral oversight), support and reconciliation with regard to the internal affairs of a province other than his own.” He recently exercised that privilege in the Diocese of Virginia where he confirmed some 300 people from 10 parishes in the Northern Virginia area at Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, Va.

The ACI has drawn together such distinguished theologians and clergy as The Rev'd Professor Christopher Seitz, President; The Very Rev'd Dr Philip W. Turner III Senior Fellow; The Rev'd Dr Ephraim Radner Fellow; The Rev'd Dr Andrew Goddard Executive Director and The Rev'd Donald Armstrong III, rector of Grace Church in Colorado Springs.

Recently Dr. Carey has addressed, with growing alarm, the authoritarian, inflexible and under-achieving culture of Islam.

He launched a trenchant attack on moderate Muslims for failing unequivocally to condemn the "evil" of suicide bombers. He also attacked the "glaring absence" of democracy in Muslim countries, suggested that they had contributed little of major significance to world culture for centuries and criticized the Islamic faith.

It is very clear that Dr. Carey is finding a renewed voice for himself in his retirement, and he is emerging as a significant force and voice for orthodoxy, providing moral and spiritual support for orthodox clergy under siege in liberal provinces. As the Anglican Communion roils to possible schism following the implementation of the Lambeth/Eames Commission report, his role and stature will, it seems, only increase.


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