Friday, January 15, 2010

Colleagues List, Janaury 16th, 2010

Vol. V. No. 21


Edited by Wayne A. Holst


New Blogsite:


In this issue:

"A Reflection on the Changing Seasons -
 Walking the Banff Fenland Trail"


Repeating Announcement of our New Winter Courses
at St. David's United & the University of Calgary

Colleague Contributions:

Martin Marty
Donald Grayston (Doug Roche)


Net Notes:

Islamic Christianopophiba
Who's Sorry Now? Nearly Everyone
Religious Realism & New Realities
Church Attack and Furor in Malysia
African Intolerance to Homosexuality
ELCA Addresses Proposed Uganda Gay Law
Carter Finds Happiness in Foreign Missions
Canadian Catholics Elect First Asian Bishop
Dana Roberts Interviewed on Reverse Mission Activity
Primate Leads Delegation to Winnipeg Religion Summit
Church Leaders Express Condolences, Solidarity With Haiti


Global Faith Potpourri:

Stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Roberta Porter
Gustavo Gutierrez
Walter Wink


On This Day:

Jan. 9, 1968 - Surveyor 7 lands on moon
Jan. 10, 1946 - First UN General Assembly Meet, London
Jan. 11, 1935 - Amelia Earhart 1st Woman to Fly Pacific



Dear Friends:

I hope you are finding the new Colleagues List blog
format to your liking. Please continue to let me know
your thoughts; along with suggestions for improvement.

This week I offer my article on a recent experience
Marlene and I had. It is entitled: "A Reflection on
the Changing Seasons: Walking the Banff Fenland Trail."

Hopefully it will stimulate your own personal reflections
about life in nature.


I am repeating last week's announcements of our winter
course offerings at St. David's United & the U. of Calgary


Colleague Contributions:

Martin Marty - takes issue with some Christians who he
believes suffer from an insular 'persecution complex'

Donald Grayston - passes on an interesting article about
building bridges by respected Canadian peace activist
Doug Roche (Edmonton Journal)


Net Notes:

"Islamic Christianopophiba" - Current events in places like
Malysia and Egypt make it obvious that the world seems to
be ignoring the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world
(Wall Street Journal)

"Who's Sorry Now? Nearly Everyone" - the age of apology
is upon us; mea culpas range from great issues to small ones.
(Wall Street Journal)

"Religious Realism & New Realities" - President Obama
seems much guided by his theological mentor Reinhold Niebuhr
(Public Broadcasting System)

"Church Attack and Furor in Malysia" - the "Allah" issue,
introduced last week, seems unfortunately to be increasing
(Ecumenical News International; the New York Times)

"African Intolerance to Homosexuality" - the shadow side of
religious vigor in many parts of Africa seems to be expressed
in such ways as very nasty attitudes to homosexuals. See
the article in The Telegram, UK, while presiding ELCA bishop
Mark S. Hanson "Addresses Proposed Uganda Gay Law"
(ELCA News)

"Carter Finds Happiness in Foreign Missions" - readers of
Colleagues List know of my great respect for former US
President Jim Carter. I found this article about him at
the end of 2009 and pass it on to you now (Seattle Times)

"Canadian Catholics Elect First Asian Bishop" - the election
of a Catholic bishop can still make front page headlines
in Canada. Of course, this news angle is a special one.
(Globe and Mail)

"Dana Roberts Interviewed on Reverse Mission Activity" -
Dana is an old friend from mutual involvement with the
American Society of Missiology. She brings considerable
wisdom to explain why foreign missionaries are coming to
our shores with the same fervour that led our ancestors to
their's (Religion and Ethics, Public Broadcasting System)

"Primate Leads Delegation to Winnipeg Religion Summit" -
Canadian Anglican Bishop Fred Hiltz will be participating
in a global faith summit to be held in Canada this year.
(Anglican Church of Canada News)

"Church Leaders Express Condolences, Solidarity With Haiti" -
the major news story of the week is the human tragedy
presently unfolding in Haiti (ENI, ELCA, New York Times,
Christian Week, Christian Science Monitor, ACC News)


Global Faith Potpourri:

Fifteen Special Items from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Roberta Porter, Gustavo Gutierrez and Walter Wink
offer their thoughts via Sojourners online.


On This Day:

Do you remember when Surveyor 7 landed on the moon?
When the first UN General Assembly met in London?
When Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly
across the Pacific Ocean?

If so, great. If not, read about these news events in
articles gleaned from the archives of the New York Times.


Blessings, then, on your reading and your ministries.


Our Church Web Promos:


"The Future of Faith" - at St. David's United
"Introduction to Global Mythology" - at the U.of Calgary


Beginning January 18th, for ten Monday evenings, join
Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst in a stimulating study
of the future of Christianity. Discounting atheistic
nay-sayers, author Harvey Cox paints a very hopeful
picture for our faith. He evaluates the amazing growth
of indigenous Christianity in Africa, Latin America,
and Asia. We will reflect on the impact of seismic
changes on our own established churches in the West.

Ten Weeks, Mondays January 18th - March 29th 7-9PM
Registration: $50 (for course, book and hospitality)

Call the office at 403-284-2276 or visit our ASDM
table in the lobby to learn more!

Follow our course notes and resources:



Course Number: HUM 205 - 20 hours - $225.00 (plus GST)

In our changing world human cultures and spiritual
traditions engage and challenge each other as never
before. Classic myths are foundational to all religions.
Myths offer a way for us to understand our common
humanity and the unity we share in the new global
community. Discover ancient and contemporary mythical
patterns that reflect the hopes and fears, joys and
challenges appealing to the human spirit and find
meanings that transcend our local, parochial worlds.
Section 003. January 25th - March 30th - 7:00-9:00PM
Instructor: Dr. Wayne A. Holst

Click for more details or to register online:



Contact us at: (or)
St. David's Web Address -

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish



A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at:

You are welcome to use our course outlines, class notes and
resource pages in your personal and group reflections.



Walking the Banff Fenland Trail

I am glad to live in a part of the world where there are
four distinct seasons. I prefer places where seasons are
obvious and nature is cyclical.

Walking the Fenland Trail near Banff, Alberta just west of
Calgary teaches me a lot about the cylical ways of nature
and of the seasons of life.

Marlene and I spent time there this week, during our winter.
Even thought I have lived in the sub-tropics where the climate
is kinder and much the same every day of the year, I have come
to value the lessons that creation can teach me at home..

Water, trees, grass and mosslands, animal and human life -
winter, spring, summer and fall - these are all integrally
related in the fenland and connected by a two kilometer path.
This place is a beautiful alternative to the bustle of Banff
and the noisy traffic of the Trans-Canada Highway nearby.

For Marlene and I the fenland offers a parable with multiple
meanings of what an ecologically-balanced world can be with
animal, vegetable and mineral life co-existing in creative


A fen is a type of wetland that is fed primarily by
nutrient-rich groundwater. This fen also floods each
spring. The availability of water throughout the growing
season creates a productive and fertile oasis in a
generally dry and sparse mountain environment. Plants
such as sedges, grasses and mosses thrive here.

Aspen trees scrarred by elk and black bears (the latter
seldom seen) teach me not to over-romanticize the place.

Old age, insects and disease have weakened and killed
some trees along our path. The wind which forces some
to rub together (and the sounds are errie) bring others
crashing down.

Forest decomposers are larely unseen but much at work.
A miniature underworld of fungi, bacteria, insects and
earthworms break down dead plant and animal matter,
returning basic elements to the air, soil and water -
only to be used again.

Plants soak up sunlight to grow. This sun-energy is, in
turn, passed on to the insects, birds and mammals that
feed on sap, buds, leaves, flowers and seeds.

The hole in a poplar tree beside us is evidence that,
even in death, plants meet the needs of wildlife. Trees
provide homes for insects and their larvae, which are
in turn, searched out by probing woodpeckers.

In spring, the songs of breeding birds that nest and
feed here fill the air. These are replaced by the
sounds of buzzing insects in summer. Throughout the
year you can hear red squirrels scolding, chickadees
whistling their name or woodpeckers drumming.

In spring and summer, elk come to feed on the flowers,
willows and dogwoods. In winter they graze on grasses
or sedges. Canada geese visit this fen and some will
raise their young here.

The grand scale of the encircling mountains may make
one think that wildlife have an easy life in this place.
But the mountain environment is harsh and difficult to


As darkness deepens, deer mice become active. Little
brown bats leave their roosts in hollow trees and head
for the wetlands where they use their sonar to track
and catch night-flying insects. Great horned owls
swoop silently down on their furred and feathered prey.
We admire the light and shadow of the forest floor,
and the clear or icy waters of the creek. We notice
the rich colours and textures of lichens growing on
the tree trunks.

Once we encountered a grizzly bear directly ahead of
us on the trail. We did not stop to make friends, as we
well know the dangers of such surprize encounters
and we quickly headed in the opposite direction.

Best experience of all? To breathe in the fresh forest air
on every visit.

This time, a deep, penetrating, canon-like boom shakes and
rumbles through the fenland as we cross the bridge to leave.

Unnereved at first, we begin to realize that this is an
entirely natural phenomenon. Long sleeves of ice that
formed on the river earlier this winter have just
dropped to the new, lower, water level.

How unsettling, but natural.

Stillness returns.


I don't intend to summarize and assess this recent Fenland
Trail walking experience in order to turn rich imagery
and natural symbolism into lessons for your life.

But, of course, you may wish to do that for yourself.

Just coming to know this place better is an inspiration.
We are grateful to recognize that it exists to welcome us.


Written with the help of the "Self-guiding brochure for
the Fenland Trail" produced by Parks Canada with text by
Mary Harding of Banff.




Sightings 1/11/10


Christians, who through the centuries have often been
persecutors, in our time often are persecutees. Those
of us who try to keep an eye on and have a heart for
suffering Christians have to log horror stories weekly.
In just a few January days we were made mindful of three
Christian churches bombed in Malaysia; eight Coptic
Christians shot dead in Egypt; persecution of house-
church Christians in China; and Christians suffering
even unto death in some Indian provinces. What, then,
do we make of commentator Brit Hume, journalist Andree
Seu, and columnist Cal Thomas complaining of persecutions
inflicted on them and fellow Christians in the United

Read the rest of the article, click:



Douglas Roche Writes in the Edmonton Journal
December 23rd, 2009

Read the article, click:




Wall Street Journal
January 14th, 2010

The world ignores the persecution of Christians
in the Muslim world.

Read the article, click:



Wall Street Jpurnal
January 13th, 2010

Along with helping people reconnect with old flames,
childhood friends and even long-lost relatives, the
Internet is giving rise to a newer phenomenon: the
decades-late apology.

What would you like to apologize for?



Public Broadcasting System
January 4th, 2010

Click to read the PBS article:



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
14 January 2010

Malaysia: more churches and temple attacked
in 'Allah' dispute

Singapore (ENI). More places of worship belonging to
religious minorities in Malaysia have been targeted in
a continuing dispute about the use of "Allah" by non-
Islamic faiths, and the World Council of Churches has
expressed "deep concern" about the situation in the
Muslim-majority country. The attacks against Christian
churches followed a court decision that outraged Muslim
hardliners, as it opened the way for Christians and other
non-Muslims to use the word "Allah" in their religious
publications and prayers.


New York Times
January 11th, 2010
by Seth Mydans

The vandalism and firebombings shook the country, where a
decision striking down a ban on non-Islamic use of the word
Allah has angered Muslims.

Read the article, click:



The Telegraph (UK)
January 10th, 2010

Homosexual Africans face prison, intolerance and the death
penalty In Africa 38 out of 53 countries have criminalised
consensual homosexual sex.

Read the entire article, click:



ELCA News Service
January 8, 2010

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA) is "gravely concerned" about a proposed
anti-homosexuality bill under discussion in Uganda, wrote
the Rev. Mark S. Hanson in a January 8 letter to U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hanson, ELCA
presiding bishop, thanked Clinton for her recent statements
and follow-up actions by the U.S. Department of State
regarding the proposed law.




Seattle Times,
December 28th, 2009

Jimmy Carter strides through an impoverished
neighborhood of the Dominican town of Dajabon,
where cattle mope behind a tangle of barbed wires,
where the heat suffocates and the air is thick
with mosquitoes.

Read the article, click:

Read my review of Carter book "Prophet From Plains"



Globe and Mail
January 12th, 2010

Vietnamese Boat-Person Becomes an RC Prelate in Canada



Public Broadcasting System
January 8th, 2010

Watch the interview, click:



Anglican Journal News
January 13th, 2010
by Marites N. Sison

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of
Canada, has accepted an invitation to lead the Canadian
delegation to the 2010 World Religions Summit to be held
in Winnipeg this June.

About 100 faith leaders are gathering to pray and hold
leaders of G8, the world's richest countries, to their
pledges of support for the UN Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs). The Religions Summit is being held June
21st-23rd, just prior to the G8 Summit scheduled June
24 to 26 in Muskoka, Ont.



Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Wed, January 13, 2010 -- 10:00 AM ET

Thousands Believed Dead in Haiti

There was still no tally of how many had been killed in the
earthquake, which had an estimated magnitude of 7.0, but as
rescue workers struggled to reach survivors, thousands of
people were believed to be dead, the Haitian president, René
Préval, told the Miami Herald.

Read More:


YouTube spotlights Haiti earthquake

January 13th, 2010

In the wake of last night's 7.0 earthquake in the island nation,
the Internet video site is posting some of the only footage
immediately available.

Click to activate:


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
13 January 2010

Church agencies mobilise relief efforts
after Haiti quake

Geneva (ENI). Church aid agencies are responding to a
major humanitarian disaster in Haiti after the Caribbean
nation was struck by a devastating earthquake leaving
countless people homeless and possibly many thousands
dead. The quake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale and
the worst in two centuries, struck 15 kilometres southwest
of the capital Port-au-Prince at about 5 p.m. local time
on 12 January. ACT Alliance, a global network of churches
and related agencies, reported that offices, hotels, houses
and shops collapsed, while the presidential palace lay in
ruins. World Council of Churches' general secretary the
Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit issued a statement from the
grouping's Geneva headquarters urging solidarity with
the people of Haiti. "Once again they have experienced
the great burdens of anguish, damage, and death because
of a natural catastrophe," Tveit said.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
15 January 2010

Haiti's capital looks like 'war zone' says
church aid alliance

Geneva (ENI). Haiti's capital "looks like a war zone",
and one million people are without shelter following the
devastating earthquake that shook the Caribbean nation,
the ACT Alliance global network of churches and related
agencies has warned. "Thousands of people in Port-au-
Prince - injured, hungry and desperate - have spent days
outdoor in the demolished capital of Haiti without food
or shelter," the alliance said in a 15 January report.

"Desperate Haitians have blocked streets with corpses in
anger. Food is stocking up at the airport, but has not
yet been distributed."


ELCA News Service
January 13, 2010

CHICAGO (ELCA) --The Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general
secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed
condolences and solidarity with the people of Haiti, and
called for prompt support in the relief efforts, after the
January 12th earthquake.



Canadian Missionary Nurse Killed in Haiti
January 15th, 2010


An Alternate Perspective:

Pat Robertson Haiti comments:
French view theory with disbelief

Pat Robertson said the Haiti earthquake was God's
punishment for Haitian slaves' 'pact with the devil'
to win freedom from France. But many French noted
that Haiti's revolution was inspired by France's and
considered an early exercise in self-determination.

Click this link:


ACC News
January 13th, 2010

A statement from the Primate

Archbishop Fred Hilz Anglican Church of Canada
on the disaster in Haiti

January 13, 2010 — Haiti has been devastated by a
terrible earthquake. Thousands are feared to have
died and many more injured. The people in Haiti have
suffered so much in the past 10 years. Hurricane Jeanne
ripped through the island in 2004 and in 2008 tropical
storms took a huge toll. Now a new disaster. Through
the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, our
church has made an initial donation of $15,000 for
emergency relief through Action by Churches Together

The Anglican Church of Canada and especially the
Diocese of Montreal has had a long relationship with
the Anglican Church of Haiti, personalized in many
respects by Canon Ogé Beauvoir, the dean of the
theological seminary in Haiti. A graduate of Montreal
Diocesan College, he went to Haiti in 1991 as a
Volunteer in Mission. In 1996, he returned to Canada
to serve as regional mission coordinator for Africa and
the Middle East. He returned to Haiti, where he was born,
in 2004. We are grateful to know that he and his wife
Serette are safe.

Please pray for the people of Haiti as they struggle
with such devastation and grief..

Please remember as well their relative in Canada and the
Canadian Haitian community many of whom anxiously await
news of friends, relatives and loved ones.

Please give generously to increase our support for relief

I make this appeal in the name of Christ in his compassion
for all who suffer.




Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
11 January 2010

Jerusalem bishop denounces killing of
Coptic Christians in Egypt

Geneva (ENI). Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan has
denounced the killing of six Coptic Christians in Egypt
and he offered support to the patriarch of the Coptic
Orthodox Church of Alexandria. "The attack is horrifying
and puts fear in the hearts of Christians in Egypt,"
Younan said in an 11 January statement to Ecumenical
News International from Beirut, where he is attending
the general assembly of the Fellowship of Middle East
Evangelical Churches. The six Coptic Christians and a
Muslim security officer were killed at a church in Nag
Hamadi on 6 January, the eve of their Christmas


Malaysia Christians flock to worship amid
attacks on churches

Singapore (ENI). Churches in Malaysia were full of
worshipers despite attacks against Christian places
of worship in recent days in a dispute about the use
of the word "Allah" by non-Muslim minorities. "People's
faith is greater than what's happening around [them] so
they continue to go to church and pray for themselves as
well as for the nation," said the Rev. Hermen Shastri,
the general secretary of the Council of Churches of
Malaysia, on 10 January, the Agence France-Presse news
agency reported. Shastri said heightened security
measures had been taken following the attacks, which
came after a court decision that opened the way for
non-Muslim minorities to use the word "Allah" in their
religious books and publications.


Church must bring hope to world's divisions,
says new WCC leader

Geneva (ENI). The global ecumenical movement must bring
the hope of peace and justice to a suffering and divided
world, says the new general secretary of the World Council
of Churches, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit. "As we enter into
the second decade of the 21st century, the world continues
to face many crises - financial crisis, climate crisis, a
food crisis, a new wave of terrorism and violence, new
burdens of injustice and violations of human rights," said
Tveit, preaching on 11 January at WCC headquarters in Geneva.
"Let us celebrate and remind one another how much we are
given in the name of Jesus, as we enter into the many
fights against evil, against injustice, against our own
shortcomings and sins," said the 49-year-old Tveit.


Christianity grows in former Hindu kingdom's prisons

Kathmandu (ENI). In 1986, the Rev. Anthony Sharma was
arrested for conducting an Easter service in Nepal, then
the only Hindu kingdom in the world, and one where converts
were punished. Today, the south Asian state is secular and
Christianity is growing, especially in prisons, where some
inmates say they are comforted by the message of forgiveness
and love brought by Christian ministers. "Things have changed,"
says Sharma, who was appointed Nepal's first Roman Catholic
bishop by the Vatican in 2007, a year after the fall of the
military-backed government of King Gyanendra. This led to
the abolition of the monarchy and the end of Hinduism as
the state religion.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights

12 January 2010

Australian churches rally to support
Egyptian Christians

Melbourne (ENI). Australian Christians from many
denominations are set to rally with the country's
Coptic community against violence directed towards
Christians in Egypt. A specially-organised liturgy
and demonstration is to start on 14 January at St.
Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia's
second largest city, process to the Egyptian
consulate and then on to offices of the Australian
Department of Foreign Affairs. The prayer service
and demonstration are being held in response to the
reported killing of six Coptic Christians and a
Muslim security officer who were sprayed with gunfire
in a drive-by attack in the southern Egyptian city of
Nag Hamadi, on 6 January, the Coptic Christmas Eve.


Polish priests are refused work permits in Belarus

Warsaw (ENI). The government of Belarus has refused
to renew work permits for a group of Roman Catholic
priests from neighbouring Poland who minister in the
country to make up for a shortage of clergy. "No
reasons have been given. All we know is they've been
denied consent to carry out further religious functions
here," the Rev. Aleksander Amialchenia, press officer
for Belarus' Catholic bishops' conference, told
Ecumenical News International. The Roman Catholic
priest was speaking as three Polish clergy prepared
to return home after being denied work permits by
the Belarus government's Religious Affairs Committee.


Canada rejects Jordan's request to seize Dead Sea Scrolls

Toronto (ENI). Jordan has complained to a United Nations
agency after Canada refused to seize the Dead Sea Scrolls,
which had been on display in an Ontario museum on loan
from the Israel Antiquities Authority. Jordan says the
ancient manuscripts were stolen from a museum in East
Jerusalem, which Israel seized from Jordan during the
Six-Day War of 1967. The 17 scrolls had been on display
in Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum since June for the
hugely popular "Words that Changed the World" exhibition
that closed on 3 January.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
13 January 2010

Madagascan Protestant leader calls for
release of church journalists

Nairobi (ENI). The leader of the largest Protestant church
in Madagascar has appealed for the release of two church
radio journalists detained on 8 January by the island's
government. "Please do what you can to get pressure on the
… government to release these men and stop targeting the
church and its radio station," the Rev. Lala Rasendrahasina,
the president of Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM),
said in a statement after the journalists' arrest.


Election to decide if Britain to have
first female Anglican bishop

Edinburgh (ENI). Britain might soon have its first female
Anglican bishop, serving the 38,000-member Scottish Episcopal
Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Rev.
Alison Peden, aged 57, is one of three candidates for the
post of bishop of Glasgow and Galloway. The election is
scheduled for 16 January. Observers say that if Peden is
elected it is likely to increase pressure on the
neighbouring (Anglican) Church of England to allow the
appointment of women bishops.


Protestant leader condemns attacks on Christians in Egypt

Geneva (ENI). A leader of a global Protestant grouping has
expressed concern about violence in Egypt targeting churches
and Christians. "We deplore such violence and call on the
government of Egypt to take every step possible to provide
security for all the people of Egypt," said the Rev. Setri
Nyomi, general secretary of the Geneva-based World Alliance
of Reformed Churches. Six Coptic Christians and a Muslim
security guard were shot dead in the southern Egyptian city
of Nag Hamadi, on 6 January, the Coptic Christmas Eve. Nyomi
was speaking from Harissa, Lebanon, where he was attending
the general assembly of the Fellowship of Middle East
Evangelical Churches.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
14 January 2010

Pope wants Turkey to strengthen status of Catholic Church

Rome (ENI). Pope Benedict XVI has called for the Roman
Catholic Church to be given legal recognition in Muslim-
majority but politically secular Turkey, which has faced
criticism of its treatment of religious minorities as it
seeks to become a member of the European Union. A November
2009 "progress report" by the European Commission on Turkey's
possible membership of the European Union said that in the
country, "Non-Muslim communities - as organised structures of
religious groups - still face problems due to lack of legal


Australian bishop scolds 'scruffy' clergy

Melbourne (ENI). An Anglican bishop in Australia's largest city
of Sydney has dressed down his own clergy over their lack of
sartorial style, and suggested they usually "dress worse than
the lay people" in their congregations. "Why are our clergy the
worst dressed people in church?" wrote Bishop Robert Forsyth of
S. Sydney on Sydney Anglicans Web site (
as he reported the question of a friend. In the column, he wrote,
"There is a way of dressing casual that looks really good … [and]
there is a way that looks positively daggy [slovenly] and scruffy."


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
15 January 2010
Mid-East church group supports women's ordination
as pastors

Harissa (ENI). Representatives of Middle Eastern Anglican,
Lutheran and Reformed churches, meeting in Harissa, Lebanon,
have voted unanimously in favour of the ordination of women
as pastors. "This is historic and allows us to move forward
in a leading role," said Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop Munib
Younan after decision at the general assembly of the
Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches. Younan,
the fellowship's outgoing president, said the decision
meant its 16 member churches were urged to open the door
to the ordination of women pastors.


Former Anglican leader sparks row with comments
on migrants

London (ENI). A former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord
(George) Carey, is at the centre of a religious and political
debate after writing a newspaper article in which he urged
limits on immigration to Britain, and said migrants needed
to recognise the country's Christian heritage. "The sheer
numbers of migrants from within Europe and elsewhere put the
resources of Britain under enormous pressure, but also threaten
the very ethos or DNA of our nation," Carey wrote in an article
published in The Times newspaper. In the article, Carey said he
welcomed, "the contribution of both economic migrants and asylum
seekers to our lively cosmopolitan culture". However, failure
to reduce the number of migrants, he warned, "could be seriously
damaging to the future harmony of our society".


HK Christian students use meditation to protest at rail link
Hong Kong (ENI). Hong Kong Christian students have turned to
meditation, and also joined thousands of other demonstrators
outside the territory's Legislative Council to protest against
plans for a China-wide high-speed rail link that they say would
cause environmental damage, and lead to an entire village being
relocated. "We do not need a development model that divides
people from the land," said Lau Kim Ling, the executive
secretary of Hong Kong's Student Christian Movement, in advance
of a decision that the council, the territory's parliament, was
scheduled to take on 16 January. "Christians should oppose this
huge project that does harm to the environment and brings little
real benefit to the society," Chan Sze-Chi, a theology lecturer
at Hong Kong's Baptist University, told an SCM meeting in
advance of the protest at the Legislative Council.



Sojourners Online
January 12th, 2010

If I see [a] gift as mine alone to give, I might give
hesitantly, even grudgingly, considering my options,
then giving from a sense of ought. If I see the gift
as God's who allows me to use it for a time, then the
gift can flow more freely, as I join with others to be
a channel for God's love and mercy.

- Roberta Porter, from her poem, "Grace in Giving"


January 13th, 2010

Throughout the gospels we are repeatedly told that after
some word or deed of Jesus "his disciples believed in him."
The point of this statement is not that up to that point
they had no faith, but rather that their faith deepened
with the passage of time. To believe in God is more than
simply to profess God's existence; it is to enter into
communion with God and -- the two being inseparable --
with our fellow human beings as well. All this adds up
to a process.

- Gustavo Gutierrez, in "We Drink from Our Own Wells"


January 15th

The irony would be delicious if it were not so bitter:
earnest theologians have been earnestly persuading
Christians for sixteen centuries that their gospel
supports violence, while massive outpourings of citizens
in one officially atheist country after another [during
the peaceful overturning of the Soviet regime and its
allies at the end of the Cold War] recently have
demonstrated the effectiveness of Jesus’ teaching of
nonviolence as a means of liberation.

- Walter Wink, from his book "The Powers That Be"



On Jan. 9, 1968, the Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft
landing on the moon, marking the end of the American series
of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.

On Jan. 10, 1946, the first General Assembly of the United
Nations convened in London.


On Jan. 11, 1935, aviator Amelia Earhart began a trip from
Honolulu to Oakland, Calif., becoming the first woman to fly
solo across the Pacific Ocean.


On Jan. 14, 1943, President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill opened a wartime conference in Casablanca.


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