The Vatican has ordered Brazil's controversial liberation theologian, the Rev. Leonardo Boff, to maintain a year-long period of silence in which he is not to write or discuss his work.

The statement, made jointly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, called for "a period of respectful silence, which will allow Father Boff a serious reflection."

It added that Boff was to abstain from his work with a Brazilian ecclesiastical magazine, and was not to attend conferences or engage in any new writing during the period.

Boff, 45, one of the Roman Catholic Church's foremost liberation theologians, was summoned to the Vatican last September to discuss his latest book, "Church, Charism and Power."

In March the Vatican formally notified Boff that some of his teachings were dangerous for the church. It rejected his call for a church without hierarchical and theological privileges and his assertion that Christ did not have such a structured church in mind.

A United Methodist minister who failed to file federal tax returns for 25 years has been put on three years' probation by a federal district judge in Columbia, S.C.

The Rev. Bundy Bynum, 54, former district superintendent of the Methodists' Orangeburg, S.C., district, was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

Bynum still faces civil charges from the Internal Revenue Service regarding back taxes and penalties for failure to file.

The Church of England will consecrate its first black bishop. The Rev. Wilfred Wood, 49, archdeacon of Southwark diocese since 1982, will be installed July 25 as suffragan bishop of Croydon.

Born in Barbados, he is the best known black churchman in Britain and has served on the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure, sat as a magistrate and been race-relations officer to the bishop of London. He is a former moderator of the World Council of Churches' controversial Program to Combat Racism. Wood plays down the historic significance of his appointment. "It's inconceivable that God should call black people to be church wardens or priests but not bishops," he said.

The Rev. William Franklin Graham III, son of evangelist Billy Graham is seeking to aid tens of thousands of Christian refugees in southern Lebanon who are destitute and "have no one to help them," he says.

Graham said in a phone interview from Boone, N.C., that the Samaritan's Purse organization that he heads is purchasing mattresses, blankets and small cooking stoves to aid between 30,000 and 40,000 Christians who have fled from advancing Muslim and Druze forces.

He said the refugees have come from "dozens of little villages that have been overrun."