Vol V. No. 25
Edited by Wayne A. Holst
FAMILY DAY WEEKEND EDITION
In this issue:
Book Notice -
"Thieves in the Temple"
G. Jeffrey Macdonald
University Lenten Study -
"Spiritual Leaders Who Changed the World"
An Old Friend
School Sacks Science Teacher
Synod: Bible Not Modern Textbook
Catholic Colleges and Tests of Faith
The Ten Most Redeeming Films of 2009
Anglicanism in Canada Could Disappear
Why Pope John Paul II Whipped Himself
South Africa Honours Mandela's Release
Irish Victims Ask $1 Billion from Church
ELCA Delegation Meets Orthodox & Catholics
Local Churches Offer Welcome Mat for Olympics
UK Hindu Man Granted an Open-Air Cremation Pyre
Global Faith Potpourri:
Seventeen Stories from Ecumenical News International
Quotes of the Week:
Ruth Bell Graham
On This Day (Feb. 10th - Feb. 12th):
Feb. 10, 1962 - USSR exchanges Gary Powers for Rudolph Abel
Boris Pasternak, Nobel winner, was born (obit)
Feb. 11, 1945 - Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin Meet at Yalta
Thomas Edison, inventor, was born (obit)
Feb. 12, 1973 - First US POWs Released from Vietnam Conflict
Charles Darwin, scientist, was born (obit)
A Prayer of John Wesley
It is Family Day Weekend in Alberta and some
other Canadian provinces. I like the idea and
some of the creative ways families are planning
their time together.
It is also the first weekend of the Olympic
Winter Games, 2011 edition, held in Vancouver and
Whistler, British Columbia. Twenty-three years ago
these same games put Calgary on the global map.
May much good result from Vancouver 2011!
In this issue of Colleagues List I introduce a book
that will not appear in stores for another six weeks.
"Thieves in the Temple" by G. Jeffrey Macdonald (a
proof copy, not a finished product) was sent to me
by colleague Shona Cook who works as a publicist for
the Perseus Books Group. Thanks for thinking of me,
Shona! I hope that my introduction here will prompt
interest in many quarters.
February 17th is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of
Lent. This year I will once again conduct a six-part
lenten study series, co-sponsored by the U of C Chaplains
and Bookstore and St. David's United Church.
It is entitled:
"Spiritual Leaders Who Changed the World" (part two)
beginning Thursday, February 18th in Wellness Centre
classrooms, MacEwan Hall.
We are using the Skylight Press book (second edition)
edited by Ira Rifkin by the same title, and will be
studying several leaders per week, selected from
dozens by those who participate in the study.
Joseph Campbell, Thomas Berry and Huston Smith
are our first subjects.
Thanks to colleagues Paul, Kelly, Sam and Darcie,
and others, for the support provided again this term.
(more detail, below)
The following friends have been in touch with me this
week with information I am now passing on to you:
Derek Evans - will be awarded a Doctor of Divinity
degree by Vancouver School of Theology this spring.
Congratultions to you, Derek. You deserve it!
Ken Kuhl - provides an article from the UK as members
of the Church of England debate endorsement or not
for Canadian and American Anglican dissidents.
An Old Friend - who wishes anonymity got some laughs
from my Thomas Aquinas article last week, and forwarded
several articles to clarify the piece I shared concerning
Benedict XVI's advise to the people of England and Wales
re human rights. Thanks, friend.
Corrine Tessier - works out of the Centre run by the
Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus here in Calgary.
Colleague Mary Robertson suggested that Corrine share
information on an upcoming program with you.
Jock McTavish - discovered a prayer by Thomas Merton
this week and he would like you to enjoy it too.
Doug Koop - longtime friend and colleague - editor of
Christian Week which is quoted often here - shares an
editorial stemming from the infamous remark about Haiti
made by US evangelist Pat Robertson.
Lorna Dueck - wrote this week in the Globe and Mail
about what is journalistically described as "Olympic
Trafficking" and we provide it here for you.
"School Sacks Science Teacher" - a story from Southern
Ohio about evolution in the classroom (Guardian, UK)
"Synod: Bible Not Modern Textbook" - from the other side
of the pond, a resolution re the compatibility of religion
and science (Guardian, UK)
"Catholic Colleges and Tests of Faith" - if Catholic
parents send their children to Catholic colleges in
order to confirm their Catholic values, they may be
in for a surprize says this article from the Wall
"The Ten Most Redeeming Films of 2009" - some weeks
back we shared a list provided by Spirituality and
Practice. This time, as Oscar Night approaches, we
provide another list (Christianity Today)
"Anglicanism in Canada Could Disappear" - many
Anglican churches on Vancouver Island, BC seem
destined for closure (Globe and Mail)
"Why Pope John Paul II Whipped Himself" - suffering
brought John Paul closer to Christ, says a recent
book about him. Whipping may not be necessary for
you, says this article, but self-denial is a vital
means of Christian growth (Christianity Today)
"South Africa Honours Mandela's Release" - twenty
years ago on February 12th, 1991 Nelson Mandela
was released from prison. South Africans still
remember and idolize their 91 year old hero
"Irish Victims Ask $1 Billion from Church" -
Victims are approaching the pope for a settlement
after hearing him express 'outrage' 'shame' and
'profound regret' at abuses by priests.
(Religious News Service)
"ELCA Delegation Meets Orthodox & Catholics" -
the same group of Lutherans that visited the
Archbishop of Canterbury last week paid visits
to the Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul and the
Pope in Rome this week (ELCA News)
"Local Churches Offer Welcome Mat for Olympics" -
many congregations are involved in a variety of
services for people involved in the Vancouver
Winter Olympic Games (Anglican Journal)
"UK Hindu Man Granted Open-Air Cremation Pyre" -
some years ago we reported his request was denied
by the English courts. Now, there is a victory.
Global Faith Potpourri:
Around the World With ENI
Quotes of the Week:
James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Laura LeNoir
Ruth Bell Graham and C.S. Lewis offer wisdom.
Read up on these anniversaries
occurring February 10th through February 12th:
The USSR exchanges Gary Powers for Rudolph Abel, and
Boris Pasternak was born.
Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin met at Yalta to shape
post-WWII Europe. Thomas Edison was born.
The first US POWs were freed after the Vietnam conflict
and Charles Darwin was born.
The words and sentiments may be dated
but their meaning remains the same -
A Prayer of John Wesley
A happy Family Day Weekend to those who
celebrate it officiall or non-officially!
And may you experience a meaningful season
of Lent this year
SPECIAL ST. DAVID'S LINKS
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (or) email@example.com
St. David's Web Address - http://sduc.ca/
Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -
ST DAVID'S ACTS WEB PAGE
Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish
THE FUTURE OF FAITH by Harvey Cox
Monday Night Study, January 18th - March 29th, 2010
An insightful description of where Christian faith
is moving in the twenty-first century.
Follow our class videos, power point presentations,
other notes and study resources. Bookmark this link:
A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at: http://bookstudies.stdavidscalgary.net/
This collection of study resources represents a decade of
Monday Night Studies at St. David's, plus extra courses too!
You are welcome to use our course outlines, class notes and
resource pages in your personal and group reflections.
THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE
The Christian Church and the
Selling of the American Soul,
by G. Jeffrey MacDonald.
Basic Books, New York. March, 2010.
$32.95 CAD. 211 pages.
ISBN # 978-0-465-00932-9
The proliferation of megachurches across the United
States and the emergence of the "Religious Right"
as a powerful political constituency have heralded
the arrival of a new golden age for Christianity in
But this contemporary church arrives at a great cost.
The search for new members, influence and revenue is
persistent, and the methods of aquisition often have
little to do with the principles of faith.
Entertainment and convenience have supplanted religious
edification as primary attractions. Churches become
companies and congregations become consumers.
G. Jeffrey MacDonald's "Thieves in the Temple: The
Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul"
provides an incisive critique of this grand bargain,
bemoaning the rise of the corporate church and also
expressing the need for a new religious reformation.
"Thieves in the Temple" points out very real social
consequences of Christian America's shift from disciple
to consumer. Rates of religious conversion have sky-
rocketed, and the corporatized church, MacDonald argues,
has helped foster perverse Christian theologies that
inform - often with devastating effect - how we now
approach everything from crime to foreign relations
and public discourse.
Without a recognition of the church's wayward course,
he argues, we will not only lose its potential for
social good but also see it hijacked for lesser or
even sinister ends.
MacDonald is a journalist and ordained minister of
the United Church of Christ, a graduate of Yale
Divinity School and resident of Newburyport, MA.
What has become of the Christian Church? Once devoted
to molding Americans into better people, in recent
years it has gotten a corporate makeover. In a very
desparate attempt to bolter their membership rolls,
ministers have begun to treat their churches more
like companies, and their congregations more like
As a minister of a small church, I witnessed firsthand
this lapse into consumerism. In an attempt to cast a
wide net for souls, many churches have sacrificed their
authority to transform Americans' self-serving impulses
for the better. In the headlong rush to operate more
like businesses, churches are sacrificing their moral
authority, perhaps permanently.
The result is a crisis for the American conscience...
In the new religious marketplace, does the church
offer Americans a way to the highest things or yet
another space in which to be self indulgent? For me,
no issue is more important than this one.
I cherish the idea of the church community as a
distinct people, called by the Holy Spirit to follow
Jesus, to live counterculturally, to bear witness,
to make sacrifices, and to change the world for the
better as agents of God's love. I can't stand to see
the church reduced to being an instrument that
strokes worshippers' ego and reinforces destructive
habits of the heart.
We need a wisdom that's not learned by simply
observing nature, where strong species simply devour
weak ones... America needs the church to be the
elevating influence that God intended it to be.
Our job, however tough, is to make that happen,
even in the age of the new religious marketplace.
As we read of church closings taking place among the
old Canadian mainline (see item "Anglicanism in Canada
Could Disappear" in the Net Notes section of this week's
CL) I am reminded of a comment I heard a friend use
to describe his move from my own United Church of
Canada congregation to a local 'big box' church -
"We left because we wanted to hear good preaching."
(What I also picked up was a sincere yearning for a simple,
uncomplex Gospel shorn of such things as seeing the good in
other faith traditions or disturbing issues like actually
being hospitable and non-threatening to gay people.)
While I am all for good church preaching and teaching,
(I have spent almost fifty years engaged with it)
experience tells me that life is actually not as simple
and unfettered as we would like. Who does not want to hear
'good preaching?' - that's a motherhood statement.
Frankly, I fear that the authentic Good News is missing
from many churches. No sector of the Canadian church has
a corner on the Gospel. Current challenges to the mainline
may actually be a blessing in disguise. They can focus us
on what is important, not on what is simple or popular.
Some years ago, my wife and I attented a local Calgary
"megachurch" to experience what people are offered there.
The pastor (backed by the latest in music and technology)
quoted with sincerity a few passages from Paul's book of
Romans and devastatingly declared that it should be quite
obvious to any Bible-believer that gays were unwelcome and
could not be saved.
(He did allow that some people may have an orientation
for which they needed to repent and from which they needed
to be healed.)
It was all I could do to keep Marlene in her pew beside me!
A woman who usually prefers to take a back seat was all but
ready to make a scene and stomp out of the church in disgust!
"How can someone consider himself a Christian," she said,
"... and come out with such terrible things?" "Why should
people believe the words of a Bible like that?
It did not help when I tried to calm her down (she is
still upset about it some years later) by saying that
we have to tolerate what he honestly believes even if
we find it totally unacceptable ourselves.
Why do I give this extensive story and commentary?
Because I believe that the 'popular' modern megachurch
phenomenon will suffer an even greater bust, in time,
than mainline Protestantism. Megachurch faith is, to a
great extent, superficial and sometimes dangerous.
Even though I have Christian friends who will disagree,
I fear it is a house largely built upon the sand. It
is currently quite popular (there is a rather distinct
"Canadian" kind of megachurch more reflective of our
own cultural values) but I suspect it too will disintegrate
sooner rather than later.
That said, let no one think that I am an uncritical fan
of the formerly significant mainline church that the
"big box" superstore church seems to be replacing.
I do not excuse sidelined Protestantism for its dependence
on culture and tradition long after the writing was on the wall.
I am no fan of entrenched hierarchies and rote belief-systems.
The "emerging church" movement which I learn from is one
that is attempting to move beyond both mainline and
evangelical Protestantism toward a truly renewed faith.
We need to go even further. Many Catholic and other
Christians share with many Protestants a desire for
post-denominational Christianity - i.e. diverse and
inclusive communities of "The Way" as we have come
to learn existed during the time of the early church.
I think G. Jeffrey MacDonald shares good insights
in "Thieves." His ideas take us beyond both American
and Protestant Christianity to envision the kinds of
renewal to which many aspire for future generations.
I hope to spend more time with this book over the
next months - applying ideas found here to the
spiritual world with which I am most familiar.
When "Thieves" appears in bookstores this spring, I
hope at least some of you will also consider it.
Reserve a copy from Amazon.ca:
CHAPLAINS' LENTEN BOOK STUDY -
SPIRITUAL LEADERS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD (Part Two)
Doctor of Divinity to be Awarded
at Vancouver School of Theology
May 10th, 2010
VST News: http://tinyurl.com/yfjszl3
CHURCH OF ENGLAND KEEPS DISTANCE
FROM BREAKAWAY US ANGLICANS
February 10th, 2010
Slender lifeline offered to dissidents who split
from US church after it elected gay bishop
by Stephen Bates
The Church of England today offered the slenderest of
lifelines to the dissident US conservative Episcopalians
who split from their church after it elected a gay bishop.
The general synod - the church's parliament, meeting in
London - passed a motion recognising the breakaway group's
desire to remain Anglicans but declined to promise to ally
with them in their ongoing wrangles with the mainstream US
Read the article, click: http://tinyurl.com/ygnnxh9
AN OLD FRIEND
Re: Thomas Aquinas (February 6th, 2010)
Thanks for the chuckle with your comments on "minutiae."
As we both know well, lo these past 45 years or more now,
"the devil's in the details," but where the devil lurks,
there must also be the Good! And only one is Good...
So, under the heading of "minutiae," here goes...
Your sentence - at first reading at least - stopped me
"There is no question that Thomas had a major influence
on the approach to abortion and birth control, for
example, officially advocated by modern Catholics."
Only when I mentally rewrote it thus did I stop chuckling:
"For example, there is no question that Thomas had a major
influence on the approach officially advocated by modern
Catholics to abortion and birth control..."
My friend also suggested I read the following reports
from Rome to "clarify" an article shared on Colleagues
List last week which implied the pope was telling the
government of England and Wales how to legislate human
Zenit News, Rome
February 1st, 2010
Pope's Words to Bishops of England & Wales
Fidelity to the Gospel in No Way Restricts
the Freedom of Others
VATICAN CITY Here is the English-language address
Benedict XVI delivered today upon receiving in audience
the RC bishops of England and Wales at the conclusion of
their five-yearly "ad limina" visit...
Read the rest of the article, click:
Zenit News, Rome
February 7th, 2010
Pope's Equality Position Misunderstood, Says Aide
Father Lombardi Analyzes Comments on UK Legislation
VATICAN CITY - Benedict XVI has been under fire this past week
for supposedly condemning equality legislation in the United Kingdom
that seeks to protect gays and women in the workplace.
His comments, however, were misunderstood, says a Vatican
Read this article, click:
Announcing a Workshop at Calgary's FCJ Centre
"The Holiness of Masculine and Feminine"
Wed. March 3rd &10th, 2010
I am offering two 3 hour evening workshops on March 3
and 10th that may be of interest to you.
The workshop is based in Christianity and offers biblical
exploration and reflection related to masculine and feminine
aspects of God and the implications for our faith and our
I am happy to answer any of your questions. You can call or
email me. My contact information is:
Corinne Tessier, CMA MBA FCMA, President
Affirming Workplace Solutions Inc.
Suite 701-836 15 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2R 1S2 403-860-0574
When I am liberated by silence,
When I am no longer involved
in the measurement of life,
but in the living of it,
I can discover a form of prayer in which
there is effectively no distraction.
My whole life becomes a prayer.
My whole silence is full of prayer.
The world of silence in which I am
immersed contributes to my prayer.
SPEAK OF THE DEVIL
February 9th, 2010
Pat Robertson's "pact with the devil" comments
may have been ill-informed and poorly timed, but
the underlying question of spiritual reasons for
"natural disasters" persists.
Read the article, click: http://tinyurl.com/yzr52nd
Globe and Mail
February 13th, 2010
"Sex for Sale is Hardly Sporting"
Read the article, click: http://tinyurl.com/yghg3me
SCHOOL SACKS SCIENCE TEACHER
February 9th, 2010
SYNOD SAYS BIBLE NOT MODERN TEXTBOOK
February 12th, 2010
Anglican council backs motion that religion and
science are compatible after debate among members.
Read the article: http://tinyurl.com/y86rmg9
CATHOLIC COLLEGES AND TESTS OF FAITH
Wall Street Journal
February 12th, 2010
by David Gibson
A study's findings dismay conservatives.
THE TEN MOST REDEEMING FILMS OF 2009
February 10th, 2010
ANGLICANISM IN CANADA COULD DISAPPEAR
Globe and Mail
February 10th, 2010
Report Recommends Church Closings
WHY POPE JOHN PAUL II WHIPPED HIMSELF
February 8th, 2010
SOUTH AFRICA HONOURS MANDELA'S RELEASE
The Guardian (UK)
February 11th, 2010
Read the article, click:
IRISH SEX ABUSE VICTIMS ASK CHURCH FOR $1 BILLION
Religion News Service
February 11th, 2010
by Francis X. Rocca
VATICAN CITY -- Irish victims of clerical sex abuse
have asked Pope Benedict XVI for over $1.37 billion
in compensation, in a letter that the head of Ireland's
Catholic Church will hand-deliver to the pope next week.
The letter also requests a meeting with Benedict during
his forthcoming visit to Britain, expected to take place
Cardinal Sean Brady received the letter from the
representatives of sex abuse victims on Monday (Feb. 8),
according to a report in the Irish Independent.
Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore said the pope will receive
the letter when he meets with Irish bishops next Monday and
Tuesday, reportedly to discuss last November's Murphy
Commission report. That report traced a pattern of clerical
physical and sexual abuse over three decades, from 1975-2004,
which had been covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin.
In December, Benedict expressed 'outrage,' 'shame,' and
'profound regret' over the report's revelations, and the
Vatican announced he would write a letter to Irish Catholics
'in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are
to be taken in response to the situation.' The pope's letter
is widely expected to be published shortly after next week's
ELCA DELEGATION MEETS WITH ORTHODOX AND CATHOLICS
February 10th, 2010
Lutherans meet with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate
ISTANBUL, Turkey (ELCA) -- A delegation of clergy and
lay leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America (ELCA) stressed "the long view" in ecumenical
dialogue, a topic of discussion with leaders of the
Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate here Feb. 9. The
Lutherans and Orthodox discussed the status of some
of the 28 international Orthodox theological
dialogues, dialogue difficulties and the overall
desire for Christian unity.
February 11, 2010
ELCA Delegation, Pope Benedict XVI Meet,
VATICAN CITY (ELCA) -- Continuing dialogue between
Lutherans and Catholics was a common theme expressed
in an exchange of messages here between a delegation
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
and Pope Benedict XVI. Speaking for the Lutherans,
the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop and
president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF),
called such dialogues "a sign of hope and commitment,"
while the pope emphasized hope for the continuing
LOCAL CHURCHES ROLL OUT WELCOME MAT FOR OLYMPICS
February 10th, 2010
UK HINDU MAN WINS RIGHT TO OPEN AIR FUNERAL PYRE
February 10th, 2010
GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI
Ecumenical News International
8 February 2010
Church leaders hail Northern Ireland political agreement
Dublin (ENI). Church leaders in Ireland have welcomed an
agreement concluded between the two largest political
parties in Northern Ireland, which will see the completion
of a process of devolving power from the British government.
The Roman Catholic Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady
hailed news of the agreement reached on 5 February, saying,
"My prayer is that everyone in our society will reflect on
what has been agreed today with a spirit of generosity and
concern for the good of the whole community." Brady also
expressed his hopes for a resolution of issues concerning
sectarian parades, which have in past led to violent
Hong Kong Methodists may give up schools
if new policy imposed
Hong Kong (ENI). The Hong Kong Methodist Church has warned
it may abandon its schools if the government insists on new
management committees that churches warn will prevent them
from providing Christian education. The Methodist Church
announced its decision after a 4 February ruling by Hong
Kong's Appeal Court against the territory's Roman Catholic
diocese, which lost a second legal challenge against new
laws requiring the appointment of representatives from
outside onto school management committees. "The church
prefers to give up the schools rather than forming the
new incorporated management committees," the president
of the Hong Kong Methodist Church, the Rev. Lo Lung-kwong,
told Ecumenical News International.
English-born Jerusalem Anglican leader laid to rest
Jerusalem (ENI). An Anglican church leader and ecumenical
activist, the Rev. Michael H. Sellors, has been buried at
Jerusalem's Mount Zion Protestant Cemetery. Sellors died of
heart failure on 27 January, and he was laid to rest on 2
February. He was 73, and had been in poor health for a few
weeks preceding his death. In Jerusalem, where he had been
dean of the Cathedral of St George from 1997 to 2002,
"Father Michael", as he was known, was a familiar face
among the city's ecumenical community, as well as to Jewish
and Muslim religious leaders. [465 words, ENI-10-0087]
Born in the rubble of Haiti 12 days after the quake
Port-au-Prince (ENI). Marie Sylsalve cradled her 10-day-old
son, McAnley, and reflected on the past weeks that have taken
an almost incomprehensible toll on her family and nation. She
last saw her husband, Andre, in the moments immediately
following the 12 January earthquake that struck Haiti, hitting
its capital especially hard. The family's home was destroyed
and Sylsalve saw a wall fall on Andre. She presumes he is dead.
Twelve days later she gave birth in the ruins. The birth of
McAnley cheered her somewhat, but Sylsalve, who worked as a
vendor and now lives at a displacement site in the Belair
neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, is faced with supporting
her infant son and three other children.
9 February 2010
World church leader hails G7 debt relief for Haiti,
asks IMF to copy
Geneva (ENI). The general secretary of the World Council of
Churches, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, has written to the finance
ministers of the Group of Seven leading industrialised nations
to thank them for pledging to write off Haiti's outstanding debts
to G7 countries. At the same time, Tveit, a Norwegian Lutheran,
warned that the approval by the International Monetary Fund of
more loans to Haiti after its devastating earthquake on 12
January would cause extra problems for the stricken country.
"The decision of the IMF approving more loans to Haiti after
the earthquake will only add to Haiti’s burden, nearly doubling
the country's debt to that institution, as there is no clear
willingness or definitive moves yet to cancel the country's
current debt," Tveit wrote. On 22 January, the general secretary
of the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation, the Rev. Ishmael
Noko, had said, "I call for an immediate and complete moratorium
on Haiti's debt service obligations and cancellation of the
Indian Christians hope European visit will
highlight their plight
Bangalore, India (ENI). Church officials have expressed hopes
that a visit to India by a European Union delegation, which
led to protests by some Hindu groups, will draw attention to
the plight of harassed Christians in the Kandhamal region of
the country's eastern Orissa state. The 11-member delegation,
with serving ambassadors among its members, was led by EU
political affairs secretary Christophe Manet. On 3 February,
angry protestors, said to be Hindu extremists, greeted the
delegation with shouts of "go back", as it landed at
Bhubaneswar airport in the capital of Orissa state. Christians
said the protestors were backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party,
which has a reputation for being a Hindu nationalist group.
Australian bishop searches India for priests
to work in outback
Melbourne, Australia (ENI). An Australian bishop has gone to
India to find priests to work in an area of Australia that
ranges from tropical islands to the wilderness of the Australian
outback. Bishop Brian Heenan of the Roman Catholic diocese of
Rockhampton in the state of Queensland told the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation that Indian priests would help
overcome an extreme shortage of home-grown clergy. "These
priests can come, please God, for maybe two years or three
years and then, if all is going well, they will probably go
back to India, and others will come and take their place,"
Heenan said. The bishop said he would also be happy to hear
from priests elsewhere in the world who were interested in
working in his diocese.
US Baptist leaders urge Obama to help Haiti missionaries
Washington, DC (ENI/RNS). Southern Baptist leaders have
appealed to U.S. President Obama to assist in the release
of 10 American missionaries charged with kidnapping children
in Haiti. "We do not know all of the facts of this case, but
we are concerned that the continued detainment and possible
conviction of these Baptist mission volunteers will distract
the world's attention and undermine the relief efforts so
desperately needed by the Haitian people," wrote the leaders
in a 5 February letter to Obama. The missionaries, five men
and five women, are said to belong to an Idaho-based church.
They were arrested in January and charged in February with
trying to take 33 children across the border to the Dominican
Republic 17 days after the earthquake that killed more than
200,000 people in Haiti.
10 February 2010
Christians urged to pray for Olympic snow
over Vancouver area
Toronto (ENI). With the opening ceremony of the 2010
Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, set for 12
February, many people are focused on praying for the
athletes, for the community hosting the event, and,
just as passionately, for snow. The British Columbia
cities of Vancouver and Whistler are hosting the winter
games but the Vancouver area has been hit recently by
unseasonably warm temperatures. Hundreds of workers
have spent days and nights trucking and airlifting
extra snow to outdoor venues.
Haiti's humanitarian workers stress need for patience -
Port-au-Prince (ENI). A woman fastens poles together
with strips of cloth to make rafters for the temporary
home she is building in a camp for earthquake survivors
in Croix-des-Bouguets, north of the Haitian capital of
Port-au-Prince.Quake survivors continue to move around
from place to place as aftershocks happen. Reports of
aid deliveries to one camp will provoke families from
other camps to migrate there. Still, life is messy in
Haiti. Humanitarian practice, even during relatively
small emergencies, is hard and imperfect work, and this
is a fact that donors and even non-emergency staff from
humanitarian groups often do not fully understand.
German snow church is Japanese festival's tallest
structure - Feature
Tokyo (ENI). One of the outstanding sculptures of the
week-long Sapporo Snow Festival in the far north of
Japan is of the Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady,
dedicated to Mary the mother of Jesus, in Dresden,
Germany. For seven days each February, snow and ice
statues and sculptures of all shapes and sizes turn
the city of Sapporo on Hokkaido, the northernmost of
Japan's four main islands, into a venue for winter
images representing different themes. The Frauenkirche,
in the eastern German city of Dresden near the border
with the Czech Republic, presents itself at the festival,
"as a symbol of a reunited Germany". The church is
considered unusual because, though it is Protestant,
it bears the title of "Our Lady", which Roman Catholic
churches more commonly use. [
Scottish police upset with monks' high-powered wine
London (ENI/RNS). A small band of Benedictine monks
in the south of England has come under fire for
producing a fortified wine that critics describe as
the "scourge of Scotland" for its high alcohol content.
The tipple, officially known as "Buckfast tonic wine"
but nicknamed "commotion motion" or "wreck the hoose
juice" by devotees in Britain's far north, is turned
out at Buckfast Abbey, a monastery in the Devonshire
hills of southwest England, Religion News Service
reports. But "Buckie" has become a national favourite
brew in Scotland - doubtless in part because it contains
about 15 percent alcohol by volume. In other words,
it packs a punch, as the police report.
11 February 2010
Christian leaders around world distressed
at Philippines arrests
Manila/Geneva (ENI). Christian leaders around the world
have condemned the arrest in the Philippines of a church
official and other health workers in the southeast Asian
country, and say they are worried about reports of torture
being inflicted on those held.
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches,
the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, joined other church leaders in
expressing his concerns in an 11 February letter addressed
to Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and members
of her cabinet. Tveit called for the immediate release of
Uganda's Anglican church wants changes to
Nairobi (ENI). The Anglican Church of Uganda says it wants
to see changes to a proposed law which would jail homosexuals
and even execute them in some cases, which many international
church and secular leaders have condemned. Still, the church
has said there is still a need for a law that would clearly
address gay issues in the east African country, and that
Ugandan Anglicans remain strongly opposed to the acceptance
and promotion of homosexuality. "The Church of Uganda
associates itself with the concerns expressed in the Anti
Homosexuality Bill 2009," Archbishop Henry Orombi said in
a 9 February statement. [486 words, ENI-10-0100]
12 February 2010
South Africa's Zuma asked: Why no mention of churches
in apartheid fight?
Cape Town (ENI). In a parliamentary speech before
Nelson Mandela, one of the major driving forces
behind the end of apartheid, Jacob Zuma, the current
South African president, promised his people more job
opportunities and a continued fight against crime,
but in thanking those who had fought for freedom, he
ignored the country's churches. Zuma was speaking on
the 20th anniversary on 11 February of the release of
Mandela, an event that would catapult the collapse of
apartheid and the introduction of universal suffrage
in Africa's southernmost nation, which is also the
continent's most prosperous.
Dutch church probe decides 'atheist' pastor
won't face discipline
Utrecht, Netherlands (ENI). A self-proclaimed atheist
can continue to serve as a local pastor of the Protestant
Church in the Netherlands, and no longer faces disciplinary
action because of his controversial position on how to
describe God. A special assembly of Zierikzee, a regional
church body tasked with investigating the theological
statements of Pastor Klaas Hendrikse, has said its work
is, "completed". The 3 February decision to allow
Hendrikse to continue working as a pastor followed the
advice of a regional supervisory panel that the statements
by Hendrikse, "are not of sufficient weight to damage the
foundations of the church".
Sex abuse charges 'shocking and disastrous'
says German bishop
Trier, Germany (ENI). A German bishop has described as,
"shocking and disastrous" recent new allegations of sexual
abuse by clergy at an elite Roman Catholic school run by
the church's Jesuit order. The order has asked anyone
abused in Jesuit schools across Germany to come forward.
So far, three priests are accused of systematic sexual
abuse. The Catholic Church hierarchy has been quick to
condemn the abuse, and promised to take action. At the
centre of the allegations is Canisius College in Berlin.
On 28 January, the college said there had been systematic
abuse of pupils by three Jesuit priests in the 1970s and
1980s. So far, 40 cases are known, with new victims coming
forward each day, after the Jesuit leadership urged them
to do so.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
February 9th, 2010
Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live
without and know we cannot live within. I use the word
"love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a
state of being, or a state of grace -- not in the
infantile ... sense of being made happy but in the
tough and universal sense of quest and daring and
- James Baldwin, from book "The Fire Next Time"
February 10th, 2010
Tell the truth, have you ever found God in church?
I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping
for [God] to show. Any God I ever felt in church I
brought in with me. And I think all the other folks
did too. They come to church to share God, not
- Alice Walker, from her book The Color Purple
"I feel better, I feel lighter, I got my privacy
back. People say, 'You'll be back.' But I read more,
walk the dogs more. I'll be fine."
- Laura LeNoir, Birmingham, Ala., explaining why she
ended her Facebook account. (USA Today)
"A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers."
- Ruth Bell Graham, poet, philanthropist, and
deceased wife of evangelist Billy Graham
February 12th, 2010
We are all receiving Charity. There is something
in each of us that cannot be naturally loved. It
is no one's fault if they do not so love it ...
You might as well ask people to like the taste
of rotten bread or the sound of a mechanical drill.
We can be forgiven, and pitied, and loved in spite
of it, with Charity; no other way. All who have
good parents, wives, husbands, or children, may
be sure that at some times -- and perhaps at all
times in respect of some one particular trait or
habit -- they are receiving Charity, are loved
not because they are lovable but because Love
Himself [Christ] is in those who love them.
- C.S. Lewis, from his book, "The Four Loves"
ON THIS DAY
On Feb. 10, 1962, USSR exchanges U-2 pilot Francis
Gary Powers for Rudolph Abel, a Soviet spy.
Feb. 10, 1890, Boris Pasternak, the Russian Nobel
Prize-winning novelist and poet, was born.
Feb. 11, 1945, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin signed the
Yalta Agreement during World War II.
Feb. 11, 1847, Thomas Edison, inventor, was born.
Feb. 12, 1973, the first release of American prisoners of
war from the Vietnam conflict took place.
Feb. 12th, 1809, Charles Darwin, scientist, was born
I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to
suffering. Let me be employed for you or laid aside for
you, exalted for you or brought low for you. Let me be
full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me
have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to
your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, you are mine, and I
am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on
earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
- Adapted from John Wesley's Covenant Prayer