Friday, June 11, 2010

Colleagues List, June 12th, 2010

Vol. V. No. 41


Edited by Wayne A. Holst




Special Items in this Issue:

"Mill Experience"

My contribution to a new book
on the old mill in my home town
of St. Jacobs, Ontario


"Mainline Churches May Be Poised for Recovery"

My review from the year 2000
Freshly published on the
Anglican Synod 2010 website this week!


Now posted:

My Autumn University Courses:

"What Is Gnosticism?"
"Who Is Jesus?"


Colleague Contributions:

Ron Rolheiser
Jim Taylor
Herb O'Driscoll
Harry Winter
Philip Jenkins
Jock McTavish
Martin Marty


Net Notes:

Anglican Synod in Halifax
Anniversary of Cairo Speech
Why Did God Create Atheists?
Update on the Catholic Crisis
Christopher Hitchens Pens Bio
Malawi Frees Jailed Gay Couple
N.T. Wright to Retire as Bishop
Can Israel be Saved from Itself?
Religious Faith as "Civic Oxygen"
Attack on Islamic Sect in Pakistan
Canada Honors Aga Khan with Citizenship
Another Look at Karen Armstrong's Charter


Global Faith Potpourri:

21 Stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

David Toups
Mary Oliver
Thomas Merton
Wangari Maathai
Martin Luther King Jr.
Dorothy Day
Cornel West


On This Day (May 29th - June 10th)

May 29, 1953 - Mount Everest conquered by Edmund Hillary
June 2, 1953 - Queen Elizabeth II crowned in Westminster Abbey
June 4, 1989 - Chinese army crushes Tiananmen demonstration
June 5, 1968 - RFK shot and mortally wounded by Sirhan Sirhan
June 6, 1944 - D-Day invasion as Allies storm Normandy beaches
June 6, 1875 - Thomas Mann, German author, Nobel winner, born
June 7, 1929 - Sovereign state of Vatican City established
June 8, 1968 - James Earl Ray, MLK assassin, caught in London
June 10,1967 - Six-Day War ends with Israel/Syria cease-fire


Closing Reflection - "Flying Into the Wind" by Victor Frankl



Dear Friends:

I plan one more issue of Colleagues List
before the end of June. Publication date
for this last issue (#42 of volume V) is
June 26th, two weeks from now.

My surgery date is this coming Tuesday,
June 15th. I completed my pre-admission
consultations this week and things look
good as I enter this last phase of my battle
with colon cancer.

On to what the doctors are calling -
"the cure" - and may it be so!

Please remember me during the coming week
and my recovery time. I hope to be back
in touch with you soon.


Over the years I have kept in contact with
people from my home town of St. Jacobs, in
the Kitchener-Waterloo region of Ontario.

This week I completed a series of vignettes
on early influences in my life for Jane Epp,
partner to Herb Epp (mayor of Waterloo for
many years) and daughter of C.M. Snider, my
dad's boss at Snider Flour and Feed Mill
in St. Jacobs..

Thus, my contribution - "Mill Experience" to
her forthcoming book, currently entitled:
"Lemonade Memories" - because, as she told
me, her dad was handed a lemon, and he made
lemonade out of it. In other words, he
inherited a dying flour mill and turned it
into a thriving feed mill operation with my
father's help and the help of others.

On the wall of our living room, Marlene has
hung for me a primitive painting of King Street,
St. Jacobs. Pictured to the left is St. James
Lutheran Church, in the middle is the original
Canadian Home Hardware Store, and to the right
is Snider Flour and Feed. That, in a nutshell,
represents a major slice of my early life

It has been of great value for me to reflect on
these formative influences. This time I share
thoughts on my "Mill Experience"

These vignettes can be accessed by clicking
"Mill Experience" on the top left corner
of this week's Colleagues List cover page:

Go to:


One never knows when a decade-old article finds
new life. That, apparently, is what has happened
to my review essay:

"Mainline Churches May Be Poised for Recovery"

Ten years ago, I reviewed six books for the June
issue of the Anglican Journal. Included were titles
by colleagues Reginald Stackhouse (of Toronto ON) -
"Alive Again" and Christopher White (of Whitby ON) -
"Jacob's Blessing."

Good books should continue to be read!

Please enjoy thoughts I shared with readers
of the Anglican Journal a full decade ago.


My autumn courses for Tuesday and Wednesday
evenings at the University of Calgary are
now posted on the Continuing Ed. web page.

They are:

"What Is Gnosticism?" - a study of an early
Christian 'heresy' using the classic text
of the same name by Karen King. I will also
be using supplementary resources by Richard
Valantasis and Elaine Pagels.

"Who Is Jesus?" - a perennial favorite, is
a study of Jesus as religious revolutionary
using colleague Marcus Borg's book.

Calgary students are welcome to attend in
person. Most others might hopefully benefit
by reading my notes and learnings here on
Colleagues List!

Check out the course descriptions below.


Colleague Contributions:

Ron Rolheiser - writes a note of appreciation
for the National Catholic Reporter article
about him that appeared in the last CL issue.
(personal correspondence)

Jim Taylor - elaborates on Craig Venter's
recent announcement (also noted in CL) that
he had created the first synthetic cells,
and reflects on some of the implications.
(Jim Taylor's Weblog)

Herb O'Driscoll - was quick to note that
members of St. David's Calgary are planning
a fiftieth anniversary celebration of our
congregation's life by touring special
Celtic places in the UK and Ireland next
spring. Herb offers valuable preparatory
reading (related in this case to the Iona
website.) Herb is just now leading a group
to that ancient spiritual location, and I
pass along his suggestions to you, below
(personal correspondence)

Harry Winter - introduces us to one of the
major global religion and culture events of
the past week - Edinburgh 2010.

This is a repeat conference, one hundred years
after Edinburgh 1910 - which was one of the
most strategic religious gatherings of the
twentieth century. It focused on world mission
at a time when most missionary activity was
initiated in Europe and North America.

What a different world it is today!

Consider the global Christian mission scene
a century later. Follow Harry's links to
friend Dana Roberts' beautiful conference
plenary address, and special reports provided
by Ecumenical News International. Edinburgh
was a forerunner of the World Council of

Philip Jenkins - "Pilgrims of our time:
Notes from the Global Church" - is a helpful
article as only Jenkins can write. Here,
he provides  "Signs of Christian life in the
European church" (The Christian Century)

Jock McTavish - comments on a Wall Street
Journal article entitled: "Does the Internet
Make You Smarter?" by Clay Shirky.

This is a keen piece and commentary on the
revolutionary changes occurring in the way we
humans gather information and obtain knowledge
today. Excellent! (personal correspondence)

Martin Marty - Is the Crystal Cathedral dying?
Marty uses the case of the demise of an icon to
pinpoint an important phenomenon - the decline
of the megachurch - which we have been tracking
for a while. Read of what is currently happening
and Marty's commentary (Sightings)

Thanks to all colleagues for your contributions
this week. A veritable feast, indeed.


Net Notes:

"Anglican Synod in Halifax" - I offer a number
of significant articles related to the current
gathering of Canadian Anglicans (Anglican News
Service, Anglican Journal, Associated Press,
Episcopal Life and ENI)

"Anniversary of Cairo Speech" - read an assessment
of the famous Obama address to Islam, one year later
(PBS Religion and Ethics)

"Why Did God Create Atheists?" - a humorous
and serious take on the subject, written by a
believer (Truthout)

"Update on the Catholic Crisis" - we continue
coverage as the story unfolds (National Catholic
Reporter, The Guardian, New York Times, Salon)

"Christopher Hitchens Pens Bio" - the great
atheistic cynic provides us with an autobiography
(New York Times)

"Malawi Frees Jailed Gay Couple" - we follow
up on the release of a Malawian gay couple who
have subsequently split (The Guardian)

"N.T. Wright to Retire as Bishop" - last week
we introduced his latest book. This week, we
learn that N.T. Wright is stepping down as
bishop of Durham, UK to concentrate on his
writing (Christianity Today)

"Can Israel be Saved from Itself?" - with
Israel isolated - even from traditional allies -
after a bloody attack on a flotilla bringing
relief supplies to Palestinians, this question
needs to be asked and an adequate response is
necessary (The Tablet, Tikkun)

"Religious Faith as "Civic Oxygen" - a good
article on why religion will always be needed
in our society, by a writer from an independent
Canadian policy institute (Globe and Mail)

"Attack on Islamic Sect in Pakistan" - a serious
internal Islamic conflict festers as a sign that
that faith's major challenge continues to be an
internal one. There is a long history to the
confrontation between mainstream Muslims and the
Ahmadi sect (which has built a major Canadian
mosque in NE Calgary.) I include background
information on these developments (New York
Times, Catholic News Asia, Wikipedia)

"Canada Honours Aga Khan with Citizenship" -
the leader of a progressive Ismaeli sect of
Islam, very prominent in Canada, has been
awarded special recognition in this country
(Associated Press)

"Another Look at Karen Armstrong's Charter" -
many of us are now familiar with her famous
Charter of Compassion. Cathnews Asia shares
two valuable live videos on the subject.


Global Faith Potpourri:

23 stories, two weeks of accumulation, are
provided by Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

David Toups, Mary Oliver, Thomas Merton,
Wangari Maathai, Martin Luther King Jr.,
Dorothy Day and Cornel West share their
wisdom with us courtesy of the New York
Times and Sojourners Online.


On This Day (May 29th - June 10th)

Read the following stories, courtesy of the New York Times:

Mount Everest was first conquered by Edmund Hillary (1953)
Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey (1953)
The Chinese army crushed the Tiananmen demonstration (1989)
RFK was shot and mortally wounded by Sirhan Sirhan (1968)
The D-Day invasion. Allies stormed Normandy beaches (1944)
Thomas Mann, German author and Nobel winner was born (1975)
The sovereign state of Vatican City was established (1929)
James Earl Ray, MLK's assassin, was caught in London (1968)
The Six-Day War ended with an Israel/Syria cease-fire (1967)


Closing Reflection - this issue of Colleagues List ends with
a short, intriguing YouTube video featuring Victor Frankl,
provided by Jock McTavish, teaching colleague at St. David's.

It is entitled: "Flying Into the Wind"

Restful summer blessings to all of you my readers.




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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish




We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.

A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.


We are starting a waiting list for this trip;
also an interest list for a second tour in 2012.



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:

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.



"Mill Experience"

Click link below, and then
 "Mill Experience" on the
top left corner of this week's
Colleagues List first page -


"Mainline Churches May be Poised for Recovery"

 Anglican Synod 2010 Website


Announcing My Autumn 2010
University Courses:

"What Is Gnosticism?"

Course and registration info:


"Who Is Jesus?"

Course and registration info:



San Antonio, TX

Re: National Catholic Reporter story on
Rolheiser, appearing late May, 2010 and
shared in the last issue of Colleagues List.

May 31st, 2010

Thanks, Wayne, and it is always nice to hear
from you.

John Allen is a good journalist and there are
few I would trust to write this kind of piece.



Okanagan, BC


May 30th, 2010

No sooner had I completed last Sunday’s column, on
attempts to extend life by deep-freezing near-death
cells, when Craig Venter announced that he had created
the first synthetic cells.

From the end of life, to the origins of life...

Venter, of course, is the man whose laboratory won the
race to decipher the human genetic code in June 2000.
Now Venter has won another race. He claims to have
created synthetic life...

Read the article:


Victoria, BC

May 27th, 2010


I write to ask a favour. In two weeks Paula and I will be
with a group from SHALEM (Washington DC) on Iona.
I was just looking at the Community's website and saw
an excellent article that I cannot print off. Maybe there
are technical reasons for this but I decided that if anyone
can solve this for me you can.

THE CORACLE is the magazine of the Iona Community.
The articleI want is in the Autumn 2009 issue. The title is:

The author is Rosemary Power...


May 30th, 2010


Here is the link to the Rosemary Power article you wanted.
It can be found (and copied if desired) on pages 10-12 of
the Autumn issue of Coracle:

"Reconnecting With  the Roots: a Future for Celtic Spirituality?"

I hope this is of help to you. I have copied it for myself,
and Colleagues List.



St. Paul, MN.

Harry alerts us to Edinburgh 2010 News --

Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
28 May 2010

Church mission to be viewed
through different prism 100 years on

Edinburgh (ENI). There was only one black African and
19 Asians among more than 1000 delegates present 100
years ago at the historic World Missionary Conference
in Edinburgh. The demographics of those present in
early June for an event to mark the centenary of that
conference, will, however, reflect more of where the
centre of Christian gravity is heading in the 21st
century. There will be fewer delegates, however, when
more than 300 people representing 30 traditions from
60 countries gather in the Scottish capital on 2 June
at the start of the five-day 2010 World Missionary

"The 2010 Conference will be held in the same city and
in the same month as the epic-making World Missionary
Conference of 1910 which many say witnessed the birth
of the ecumenical movement," Roman Catholic Marist
Brother Stephen Smyth told ENInews. The 1910
conference led to the creation of the International
Missionary Council in 1921, and inspired other
church unity movements, culminating in the official
formation in 1948 of the World Council of Churches.


Opening Plenary Session Lecture by Dana Robert:


Asian Delegates Prominent at Edinburgh II

United Asian Catholic News
June 4th, 2010


Additional Ecumenical News International
Reports from Edinburgh:

June 3rd-6th 2010

Criticism of missionaries valid,
but hope is key says WCC head

Edinburgh (ENI). Being a witness for Christianity
requires both evangelism and a prophetic commitment
to the will of Jesus for justice, peace and the care of
creation, the general secretary of the World Council
of Churches, the Rev. Olav Fyske Tveit, has said. Tveit
was speaking on 3 June, the second day of the 2010 World
Missionary Conference in Edinburgh that commemorates a
similar event in the capital of Scotland 100 years earlier
at which only one black African and 19 Asians were among
more than 1000 delegates present. "The churches can be
witnesses of hope in times of injustice, of financial
crises, of violence and tensions between peoples of faith,
and of environmental threats," said Tveit, a Norwegian
theologian whose Geneva based WCC traces its roots to
the 1910 conference in Edinburgh.


1989 marked turning point for Christianity,
global meeting told

Edinburgh (ENI). The events of 1989, when people in Eastern
Europe took their faith on to the streets and challenged
communist regimes, marked a turning point in seeing the
Church as a global community of believers, a world mission
conference in Edinburgh has heard. "People took their faith
into the public square in Eastern Europe and Russia, and the
Berlin Wall came down," Dana L. Robert of Boston University
in the United States told the 2010 World Missionary Conference
in Edinburgh, which commemorates a similar event in the
capital of Scotland 100 years ago. She referred to a comment
ascribed to an East German leader after the 1989 peaceful
demonstrations that led to the collapse of communism:
"We were prepared for everything but not for candles and


Mission event warned about evangelism
that divides Christians

Edinburgh (ENI). "Good evangelism" and "bad evangelism"
came under discussion when a diverse group of Christians
met to discuss the 1910Edinburgh Missionary Conference
100 years later in the capital of Scotland. Antonios
Kireopoulos, the associate general secretary dealing
with faith and order issues and interfaith relations
for the U.S. National Council of Churches, alluded to,
"what I like to call good - or appropriate – evangelism,
and bad - or inappropriate- proselytism". "Proselytism
gets a lot of attention these days when used in the
context of missionary efforts in Muslim countries,
"Kireopoulos said. It is most harmful, he added,
when rather than seeking, "to make Christians from
among people of other faiths,instead [it] strives
to make Christians from among people that are already
Christians," and suffering under political difficulties.


Africans reject being 'dictated to' on gay rights,
says churches' leader.

Edinburgh (ENI). Church leaders in Africa resent the
way certain people in the West and North tell them how
to deal with the issue of giving full spiritual and
political rights to gay men and lesbians, a South
African churches' leader has said. "This is a world
problem, a problem for Asia, Europe and America, and
not just an African problem," Tinyiko Maluleke, the
Pretoria-based president of the South African Council
of Churches, said in Edinburgh, where he was attending
a world conference on Christian mission. Maluleke was
speaking after a media conference at which he said that
mistakes committed by Christian missionaries in the 19th
and 20th centuries must be undone in the 21st century.


Christians from all around world
close Edinburgh 2010 conference

Edinburgh (ENI). Christians from all around the world
closed a mission conference in Edinburgh commemorating
a similar meeting 100 years earlier with reminders from
world church leaders that their faith is essentially
about giving and sharing. More than 1000 people gathered
for the Edinburgh 2010 world mission conference at the
Mound, near Edinburgh Castle, on 6 June in a colourful
service attended by all shades of Christianity including
Anglicans, Evangelicals, Orthodox, Pentecostals,
Protestants, Roman Catholics as well as members of
independent and uniting churches. There was drum beating
and singing by Africans living in Edinburgh, there was
Indian dancing and there was a sermon by the Anglican
archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who referred to "the
crucial importance of Christian witness". Referring to
the biblical account of St Peter's denial of  Christ
before his crucifixion, Ugandan-born Sentamu noted,
"Not every Christian is an Evangelist: some are
Evangelists. But every Christian is a witness."


University Park, PA

"Pilgrims of our time:
Notes from the Global Church"

The Christian Century
May 18, 2010,

Once upon a time, I Europe lived in an age of faith,
which found buoyant expression in the massive popularity
of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage shrines flourished across Europe,
some drawing millions of followers each year, and new
pilgrimage destinations emerged regularly to meet the demand.
Protestants and liberal Catholics might look askance at the
piety practiced at such places (the veneration of mysterious
Black Virgins and the ubiquitous healing miracles),but there
was no doubt of the faith of the pilgrims.

Current believers might look back enviously at Europe's
golden age of pilgrimage. But in fact the golden age is now.

The sheer scale of modern European pilgrimage is startling.
The world's largest Marian shrine is Guadalupe in Mexico,
which attracts 10 million visitors a year, but several
European centers draw pilgrims on nearly that scale. And
just since the 1970s, those numbers have grown substantially.

Lourdes, which drew about a million visitors each year in the
1950s, now records closer to 6 million annually (50,000 might
pass through on a quiet day). Each year, Jasna Gora in
Czestochowa, Poland, attracts 4 or 5 million to see a picture
of the Virgin Mary supposedly drawn from life by St. Luke the
Evangelist. Each year, around 15 percent of Poles make a
pilgrimage to some site. Four million believers visit the
site of Mary's apparition at Fatima in Portugal. Europe as a
whole has probably 500 images of the Black Virgin, and many
are venerated at pilgrimage sites like Altotting in Bavaria
and Montserrat in Spain.

Besides the Virgin Mary, many other saints attract the faithful.
Just since the late 1980s, pilgrimage has enjoyed a breathtaking
revival at Santiago de Compostela in Spain, which now attracts
some half a million pilgrims a year (and closer to a million
in special holy years). Shrine-rich Italy offers Rome or Assisi,
Padua and Turin. So popular are such huge centers that few
observers even note the tens of thousands who attend healing
shrines that areof merely local significance. At Sarsina,
pilgrims seek healing for illnesses of the neck or throat by
having the iron collar of St. Vicinus clamped around their
necks. Even in Europe's supposedly secular heart, on the
German-Dutch frontier, Mary's shrine at Kevelaer draws 800,000
visitors a year.

While we might see such sites as representing a medieval mind-
set, a striking number are either newly founded or recently
revived (many under the papacy of Pope John Paul II). Spiritual
resistance to communist tyranny spawned one great new shrine in
Lithuania, on the Hill of Crosses, Kryziu Kalnas. Just since
1981, over 30 million have visited the Bosnian village of
Medugorje, to hear the messages that the Virgin reportedly
addresses to the faithful.

Other centers represent a more innovative and ecumenical kind
of spirituality. Every summer, 100,000 teenagers or young adults
visit the French monastic center of Taize for a weeklong sampling
of its distinctive spirituality, with its meditative hymns and
devotions. Pilgrimages and retreats also focus on anew wave of
charismatic Catholic centers, like Paray-le-Monial in France.
Long-dormant shrines in Britain and France have been revived
by the patronage of Christian migrants from Africa, Asia and
the Caribbean. Since the fall of communism, pilgrimage has also
revived in the Orthodox world. The believer seeking spiritual
direction can once again visit such historic landmarks of
Russian faith as Sergiyev Posad and Valaam, or even to Optina
Pustyn, which in its day welcomed Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

We must be careful in drawing conclusions from mere numbers.
We can't just add together the visitors to various shrines,
 since there is much overlap. Today, as in the era of Chaucer's
Canterbury Tales, some people are serial pilgrims. And as in
Chaucer's day, it is all but impossible to sort out tourists
from pilgrims (which was the Wife of Bath?). But even when we
make all allowances, we see evidence of a pilgrimage boom that
contradicts a great deal of received wisdom about Europe being
a place where Christianity is dead or dying.

By all standard measures, institutional churches are in steep
decline across most of Europe. Far fewer people attend churches,
and the number of religious vocations has collapsed. But the
popularity of pilgrimage points to an unsuspected kind of
spiritual hunger, which may be a reaction to changes within
the churches. Perhaps we are seeing a side-effect of the
reforms of the Second Vatican Council and the reduction of
the sense of mystery or spiritual power within ordinary
services. When people cannot find miracle in their parish
churches, they seek it elsewhere. However we interpret the
pilgrimage phenomenon, European Christianity is not as dead
as it may appear.


Source Citation
Jenkins, Philip. "Pilgrims of our time." The Christian Century
127.10 (2010):45. Academic OneFile. Web. 3 June 2010.


Calgary, AB

I noted the following article and sent it on
to my teaching colleague Jock McTavish:


Amid the silly videos and spam are the roots
of a new reading and writing culture

Wall Street Journal
June 5th, 2010
by Clay Shirky


Here is how Jock responded:

Perhaps Shirky's observation that "not everything people care
about is a high-minded project" is too apprehensive. Jimmy Wales,
the founder of Wikipedia, was asked why this completely open
knowledge base hadn't been graffitied out of existence. He said
it was because one out of a hundred visitors participate in the
editing, and that seems enough. Then he considered that order
and progress in society might function under the same ratio.

Shirky points to peer review as "the essential insight of the
scientific revolution". That continues. But now everyone is
jumping into a noisy democracy of peer thought.

I experienced this very thing yesterday. I was researching
artificial photosynthesis (a key technology to provide cheap
clean energy and recapture co2). In the course of chasing down
links and footnotes, I encountered an amazing spectrum covering
all that Shirky referred to. From establishment overconfidence
to public stupidity to scientific insight.

There was a shape to this spectrum. Around the world citizens
and scientists and agencies and corporations were communicating.
Corporations were allocating resources. People were talking.
Projects big and small were done and underway. Hundreds of
PhD candidates were slaving away. It is these last under 30's
that will find the solutions.

But their choice, their talk and their hope began and develops
as the people talk about their world and the need for change.
Their research groups are not cloistered, but have web pages
and freely share. Every site - at every level from corporate
propaganda to personal blogs - invited comment. Comment
without qualification. Just naked words, and often anonymous
voices. Most of that comment was uninformed and often silly,
but still interested and hoping. Some of that comment was
well informed, insightful, participating and teaching.

The largest factor of all? Miss Google, the kindly librarian
who answers every question. For Miss Google gathers it all -
the foolish and the wise. She tells us what we need to hear;
but never what to think.

Shirky also says, "the nice thing about throwaway material is
that it gets thrown away." Well partly so. If that's the stuff
hidden in the back of Miss Google's huge library - it's still
there, but the search engines cause it to fade from ready access.

There is a new and opposite thing underway of the grandest value - and The libraries and
archives of the world are not only being photographed, but
turned into text.

This makes them searchable. Old books are coming forward in
Google searches now, not because of any policy of Miss Google,
nor any authority, but simply because someone asked a question
whose answer is framed in some old book people have forgotten.

That's a future that is not only "future looking ahead" but
one respectful of all who have spoken in the past.



Chicago, IL

June 7th, 2010

Decline in the Megachurches




Primate's Presentation

Anglican Church News
June 3rd, 2010


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
04 June 2010

Canadian Anglicans borrow African model
for sexuality talks

Halifax, Canada (ENI). Canadian Anglicans are meeting for
their national once-every-three-years legislative gathering
and, as at previous meetings, will discuss matters of
sexuality that have long divided church factions seen
as liberal and conservative. Still, the discussions, which
at three previous meetings were characterised by polarising
debates, will now be conducted in what organizers describe
as a traditional African manner. "We are going into a somewhat
'indaba' style of conversation," said the Rev. Eileen Scully,
interim director of faith, worship and ministry for the
Anglican Church of Canada. Indaba, a Zulu term for a process
of making decisions by consensus, was also used at the once-
every-decade Lambeth Conference of Anglican Communion
bishops in 2008.


Canadian Anglicans Debate Communion
Decision to Remove US Episcopalians

Associated Press
June 8th, 2010


Landmark Resolution Renounces
Doctrine of Discovery

Anglican Church News
June 9th, 2010


Episcopal Church Eager to Build Relationship
With Canadian Anglicans

Episcopal Life
June 9th, 2010


Anglican Church News
June 10th, 2010

Divided on Same Sex Blessings
But Determined to Walk Together


US President Obama

Religion and Ethics
Public Broadcasting System
June 4th, 2010



June 6th, 2010



Church Must Amputate in Order to Heal

National Catholic Reporter
John L. Allen
May 29th, 2010


Damnation for Pedophile Priests

The Guardian (UK)
May 31st, 2010


New York Times
June 1st, 2010

Pope Names Team to Investigate Abuse in Ireland
by Rachel Donadio

The inquiry represents one of his most concrete actions
since a sexual abuse scandal hit the European church.

June 8th, 2010

Sex Abuse Scandal Gives
New Momentum to Dissidents



New York Times
June 6th, 2010

In Memoir, Christopher Hitchens Looks Back
by Dwight Gabner

The public intellectual Christopher Hitchens delves into
the private dimensions of his life in his new memoir.



The Guardian UK
May 30th, 2010


Gay Couple Splits

The Guardian
June 9th, 2010



Christianity Today,
June 7th, 2010

At 61, he will focus on writing and teaching



The Tablet
June 5th, 2010



June 6th, 2010

Jews to Hold Memorial Service for Those Killed
in Gaza Aid Flotilla

Sunday, June 13th, 1 p.m. across from the
White House in Lafayette Park.

We will also extend the memorial to cover all the
thousands and thousands of Israelis and Palestinians
killed or displaced from their homes since the beginning
of this Israel/Palestine struggle. Plus healing prayers
for those hurt or wounded in the Israeli assault on the
boats plus prayers for release of Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit held by Hamas and for the release of thousands
of Palestinians held by Israel in their jails and outdoor
detention camps.

Rabbi Michael Lerner and Rabbi Arthur Waskow will
conduct healing prayers in the Jewish tradition for
those hurt or wounded, and a traditional Jewish memorial
service for those killed when Israeli troops assaulted
a flotilla of ships bringing aid to Gaza last Monday.

The Muslim community will be represented by Dr. Sayyid
M. Syeed, the National Director for the Office of Interfaith
and Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North
America (ISNA), and the Christian community by United
Church of Christ pastor Rev. Ama Zenya and Rev. Graylan
Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational Church of Christ in
D.C. Other clergy are invited to join in offering prayers.



Globe and Mail
June 2nd, 2010
by Ray Pennings



New York Times
May 29th, 2010

by Waqar Gillani and Jane Perlez

Gunmen killed dozens belonging to the Ahmadi
community, which considers itself Muslim but is
severely discriminated against under Pakistani
law, during Friday Prayer in Lahore.


Persecution of Ahmadi Community
Increases in Pakistan

Union of Catholic News Asia
May 28th, 2010


Backstory on the Ahmadi Movement:

For more information on Ahmadi movement in
Islam check out the Wikipedia article on



Associated Press
May 20th, 2010



Cathnews Asia
June 7th, 2010



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
28 May 2010

US study analyses 'the religion-racism paradox'

New York (ENI). A recent study analysing a half century of
research and data on race and religion in the United States
has concluded that religious belief does not inoculate
believers from racial prejudice – a finding its authors call
"the religion-racism paradox". The study is entitled, "Why
DonÂ’t We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-Analytic
Review of Religious Racism," One of conclusion of the study
is that religious racism "partly reflects inter group dynamics," the
study. News about the study is carried by
Such racism, "arises because religions are social groups,"
said Wendy Wood, a social psychologist who teaches at the
University of Southern California and one of the authors
of the study, which was first released in February.


US lawmaking body rejects amendment on chaplains' prayers

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). The House of Representatives – the
lower chamber of the U.S. Congress - has rejected a proposed
amendment that would have allowed military chaplains to
close public events with faith-specific prayers. The
amendment, offered by Representative Michele Bachmann,
a Republican Party member from Minnesota who belongs to
the anti-big-government advocacy group the Tea Party,
Military Construction Authorization Act, was deemed not
relevant to the bill, Religion News Service reports.
The amendment would have specified that "a chaplain
shall have the prerogative to close the prayer according
to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience".


31 May 2010

Palestinian Christians urge protests after
Israeli assault on flotilla

Bethlehem/Geneva (ENI). Palestinian Christian organizations
have urged protests by church groups around the world against
an Israeli assault on ships bringing aid to Gaza, which Israel
says has led to the deaths of at least 10 activists on board
the convoy. The Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem
YMCA and YWCA of Palestine said on 31 May it "strongly
condemns this massacre against unarmed civilians which
visibly violates international law and human rights". Activists
say Israeli troops came on board shooting; Israel says its
soldiers were shot at and attacked with weapons, the BBC
reported, quoting an Israeli spokesperson. The YMCA and
YWCA urged sister movements throughout the world as
well as church leaders and groups to organize
demonstrations in front of government buildings or
Israeli embassies to protest against the action. In Geneva,
ACT Alliance, an international coalition organising church-
based emergency operations in Gaza, condemned the Israeli
military attacks called for an independent international


World church leaders call for protection
of Malagasy journalists

Nairobi (ENI). The president and the general secretary of
the World Alliance of Reformed Churches have condemned
political actions in Madagascar which they warn are
curtailing freedom of expression and threaten the welfare
of Malagasy citizens. Their statement follows growing concern
for eight radio journalists and technicians detained in the
Indian Ocean nation. The eight work for Radio Fahazavana, a
church-supported station in the capital, Antananarivo. The
international broadcaster, the BBC, reported that on 28 May
the group was formally charged with threatening state
security. The radio station has been shut down and its
equipment confiscated by government officials. Radio
Fahazavana is run by the Church of Jesus Christ in
Madagascar (FJKM), a WARC member.


Japan churches appeal to US on Okinawa base relocation

Tokyo (ENI). Japan's Christian council has urged U.S.
churches to gain awareness, pray and appeal to their
government about the impact of a U.S. military base
relocation in Okinawa, an archipelago south of Japan's
main islands. "The beautiful coral reef, which had
provided a livelihood for the villages and which was
the seabed home of the endangered dugong, would
now be destroyed with landfill for the purpose of
constructing a military base for waging war," said the
moderator of the National Christian Council in Japan,
the Rev. Isamu Koshiishi.


1 June 2010

Afghanistan investigates two church
aid groups for 'proselytising'

Geneva (ENI). Two international church-backed humanitarian
organizations that operate in Afghanistan have been stopped
from doing their work while officials investigate allegations
that they have been engaging in proselytising, which they
strongly deny. Afghanistan has suspended the activities of
Norwegian Church Aid, also known as NCA, and U.S.-based
Church World Service pending an investigation into allegations
they were preaching Christianity in the Islamic nation where
religious conversion is a criminal offence, Reuters Alertnet
service reported on 31 May. "Norwegian Church Aid does
not proselytise in any of the countries in which it works. This
policy is also enforced in Afghanistan," said NCA on its Web
site. "Norwegian Church Aid has been working in Afghanistan
since 1979 and has since 1995 mainly implemented its
programmes through Afghan organizations."These organizations
know the local conditions and culture better than international
organizations do, and this means! that we have earned a high
level of credibility and legitimacy in Afghanistan," said NCA.


Istanbul-based Patriarch's Russia visit
seen as step to unity

Moscow (ENI). The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch,
Bartholomeos I of Constantinople, has left Russia after
a 10-day visit praised by his hosts for strengthening
relations with the Russian Orthodox Church and promoting
a united Christian message to a secular world. Bartholomeos
spent 30 May, the last full day of his visit in St Petersburg,
where he concelebrated a service with Moscow Patriarch
Kirill I at the historic St Isaac's Cathedral, a monumental
19th century structure that took 40 years to build. "I am
happy that with each meeting we are becoming closer to
one another," Patriarch Kirill said after the service, the
Interfax news agency reported. "The holiness and fullness
of Orthodoxy overcomes all division." The Russian
Orthodox Church is the world's largest Orthodox church.


3 June 2010

Tutu inspired me, says German politician
who joined Gaza ship

Trier (ENI). A member of the German parliament who was
on the ferry Mavi Marmara when it was attacked by Israeli
special forces has called on the World Council of Churches
and other church organisations to get more actively involved
in lifting the Gaza blockade. "I really hope that the
Christian community and the WCC and others will really
support us peace-loving people in the world to protest
against this massacre and to really support our demands
to lift the blockade to Gaza and see the Israeli security
penalised who shot innocent people," Annette Groth, a
member of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German
parliament, told ENI news. The vessel was part of a six-
ship flotilla carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian and
peace activists and bearing supplies headed for Gaza,
the coastal enclave that is run by Hamas, the Islamic
Resistance Movement.


US judge rules against graduation in a church

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). A federal judge has ruled
that a Connecticut school board's decision to hold
graduation ceremonies inside a megachurch was
unconstitutional. Graduations for two schools in
Enfield, Connecticut - Enfield High School and Enrico
Enfermi High School - were to be held at The First
Cathedral in Bloomfield in late June, Religion News
Service reports. The American Civil Liberties Union
joined Americans United for Separation of Church
and State to represent two Enfield High School
students and their parents who opposed the use of
the religious venue. The school board said their
decision was a matter of space and price.


Leader of Catholic Church in Turkey stabbed dead

Geneva (ENI). The president of the Catholic bishops'
conference in Turkey, Italian-born Bishop Luigi Padovese,
has been stabbed to death in Iskenderun in southern Turkey.
"This is horrible news that left us deeply shocked," the
Vatican spokesperson, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said
after the news of Bishop Padovese's killing on 3 June.
Vatican Radio quoted Lombardi as saying that "political
motivations" for the killing of Padovese, "or other
motivations linked to socio-political tensions are to
be excluded". [


First female bishop for Finnish Lutheran church

Geneva/Helsinki (ENI). The Rev. Irja Askola has
become the first woman to be elected as a bishop in the
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, a step described
as a "milestone" by the general secretary of the Lutheran
World Federation. "It is an important sign that a woman
has been elected to the office of bishop in yet another
LWF member church," said the Rev. Ishmael Noko,
general secretary of the Geneva-based Lutheran
federation, after the 3 June vote. Askola received 591
votes to 567 for her rival Matti Poutiainen, the Finnish
church council communications centre said.


Pope's visit to Cyprus faces tricky
diplomatic and church hurdles

Rome (ENI). Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pontiff to
visit Cyprus when he arrives on the Mediterranean island,
to which the Apostle Paul once took the Christian gospel,
and where today some hold anti-Catholic opinions. Officially,
the 4 to 6 June papal visit, which was announced earlier
in 2010, has two main aims. The first is to reciprocate a
visit to the Vatican in 2007 by Archbishop Chrysostomos II,
primate of the (Orthodox) Church of Cyprus. The second is
for the Pope to have a separate meeting with Catholic
bishops from the Middle East. Still, church sources have
now suggested that Pope Benedict might need to give greater
attention to the issue of peace in the region following the
31 May action by Israeli forces against ships carrying
activists seeking to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza


04 June 2010

US church head lashes out
at Anglican 'colonial' uniformity

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts
Schori of the U.S. Episcopal (Anglican) Church has forcefully
defended her church's embrace of gays and lesbians, and firmly
rejected efforts to centralise power or police uniformity in
the Anglican Communion. Anglicans should be led by local
communities rather than powerful clerics, Jefferts Schori
argued in a 2 June letter to her church's 2 million members,
Religion News Service reports. In May, the Episcopal Church
consecrated its second openly gay bishop despite warnings
the move would increase tensions in the worldwide Anglican
Communion, many parts of which view homosexuality as a sin.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams then said
Episcopalians, who form the U.S. branch of the 77 million-
member communion, are out of step with fellow Anglicans and
should not fully participate in ecumenical dialogue and
doctrinal discussions.


Faith leaders in Jerusalem say
religion must have 'prophetic' role

Jerusalem (ENI). Religion must take on a more
positive role in peacemaking efforts in the Middle
East, especially in light of the deteriorating
situation there, faith leaders have said. "Religion
part of the solution," said Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop
Munib Younan at a meeting sponsored by the Israel
Palestine Center for Research and Information. Instead
of allowing itself to be misused by Jewish,Christian
and Muslim extremist groups, religion must be prophetic,
a catalyst of reconciliation, and offer peace education,
said Younan, who is bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. He warned religious
leaders against becoming "mini-politicians", and stressed
the need to be critical of one's own political leaders.
"Are we ready as religious leaders to do that? That is
the challenge," he said.


Pope in Cyprus says he wants to support
Middle East Christians

Nicosia (ENI). Pope Benedict XVI, the first Roman
pontiff to visit Cyprus, has arrived on the Mediterranean
island evangelised 2000 years ago by the apostle Paul,
and said that he wants to strengthen the position of
Christians in the Middle East. "Cyprus is an appropriate
place in which to launch our church's reflection on the
place of the centuries-old Catholic community in the Middle
East, [and] our solidarity with all the Christians of the
region," aid Benedict on 4June after arriving at Paphos
airport in eastern Cyprus, where he was welcomed by the
president of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias.
Christians in the Middle East, said the Pope, "have an
irreplaceable role to play in peace and reconciliation
among its peoples".


7 June 2010

Pope warns of Middle East 'bloodshed'
if action not taken

Nicosia (ENI). Pope Benedict XVI, at the end of a three-
day visit to Cyprus, has appealed for Christians in the
Middle East to be given freedom and has said that urgent
international action is needed to prevent "greater
bloodshed" in the region. On the last day of his 4-6
June visit to the Mediterranean island, the pontiff
presented Catholic bishops from the Middle East with
a working document for a special assembly of Middle
East bishops due to take place in October in Rome.
"The Middle East has a special place in the hearts
of all Christians, since it was there that God first
made himself known to our fathers in faith," Benedict
told the bishops in Nicosia. Pope Benedict said, "I
reiterate my personal appeal for an urgent and
concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing
tensions in the Middle East, especially in the Holy
Land, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed."


Stoning to death of couple in Indian
'inter-caste' marriage reviled

Hong Kong (ENI). Asian human rights advocacy groups say
the recent stoning to death of an Indian couple after one
of them was deemed to have married someone from the lowest
caste is a "grim reminder" of how strong the caste system
still is in the world's second-most populous nation. The
Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission said in a
message sent to ENI news on 28 May that the death of Swapna
Reddy, raised in a Hindu upper caste family, and her husband
Sunkari Sriniwas offers more proof of, "the stark reality of
the continuing practice of caste-based discrimination and
caste prejudices in India". The Asian commission said the
couple was stoned to death on 26 May following strong
opposition by Reddy's family to their marriage. The husband,
Sriniwas, was a Dalit, people once deemed to belong to the
"untouchable" caste. Six people were arrested after the
slayings, including the parents of Reddy, according to the
online news site has enacted laws
to counter caste-based discrimination that dates back 3000
years, but the AHRC said, "The effect has been only symbolic.


Romanian churches say family support
cutbacks may fuel decline

Warsaw (ENI). Romanian churches have criticised planned
government cuts in family support, warning the move risks
fuelling the country's demographic decline and encouraging
practices such as abortion. "Although the economic crisis
is affecting the whole world, it's made worse here by the
long history of corruption at central and local government
level," Otniel Bunaciu, president of Romania's Baptist
Union, had said in a 27 May interview with ENInews. The
government in Bucharest is planning austerity measures
that include cutting state employees' wages by 25 percent
and pensions by 15 percent, as well as reducing child
allowances and maternity benefits. The Romanian
government looks likely to face a confidence vote in
parliament and a general strike in the coming days
over the austerity programme.


08 June 2010

Amnesty, world church group urge probe
into DRC activist's death

Geneva (ENI). Amnesty International has added its voice
to calls for an independent investigation into the death
of the head of one of the largest human rights
organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and who
was linked to the World Council of Churches. Floribert
Chebeya Bahizire,executive director of Voix des Sans Voix
(voice of the voiceless), was found dead in his car early
on 2 June near Kinshasa, a day after being summoned to a
meeting with police in the DRC capital. The call by Amnesty
follows one by the WCC general secretary, the Rev. Olav
Fykse Tveit.


South African paper apologises
for effects of Prophet cartoon

Johannesburg (ENI). The South African weekly Mail and
Guardian newspaper has apologised for the effects of a
cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad, and cartoonist
Jonathan Shapiro has said he will not draw him again
while the paper reviews its religious policies. Drawing
under the name Zapiro, the cartoonist satirised the
furore among Muslims worldwide over the Everybody Draw
Muhammad Day page on Facebook, which attracted tens of
thousands of followers.


Church team wants Nigeria violence initiators
brought to justice

Lagos (ENI). Nigerian's government should bring to trial
those responsible for fomenting ethnic and religious
violence that claimed hundreds of people's lives in central
Nigeria, says a World Council of Churches team that visited
the west African country.


10 June 2010

Church activists pessimistic about
commission on Sri Lanka war

Bangalore, India (ENI). Christian activists in Sri Lanka
have given a lukewarm reception to the setting up of an
inquiry by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa into the
latter years of a three-decade civil war between government
forces and Tamil rebels. "Given the history of various
investigative commissions we have had, there is not much
hope from this commission," Rukshan Fernando of the
Christian Solidarity Movement told ENI news on 3 June
from Colombo. The announcement of the setting up of the
commission came on the first anniversary of the decisive
government victory over the rebels in a conflict that
claimed more than 100,000 lives.


African countries take part in
Soccer Peace Tournament

Cape Town (ENI). Before FIFA's soccer World Cup 2010
tournament kicks off in South Africa, 14 countries have
begun to take part in a Soccer Peace Tournament organized
by the Roman Catholic Church in Southern Africa. "We want
to use football to advance the goal of peace, and form
relationships within groups and between individuals, who
understand the importance of non-violence, empowerment
and peace education," Martin Mande, spokesperson for the
peace tournament, told ENI news on 9 June. He said that
the parallel world cup organizers had seized the
opportunity offered by the FIFA competition to spread
the values that societies needs, especially in Africa.



New York Times
May 31st, 2010

"Whether he is celibate or not, the person who views
himself as a 'homosexual person,' rather than as a
person called to be a spiritual father -- that person
should not be a priest."

- The Rev. David Toups, the director of the secretariat
of clergy, consecrated life and vocations of the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Sojourners Online
June 2nd, 2010

"We will be known as a culture that feared death and
adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity for
the few and cared little for the penury of the many.
We will be known as a culture that taught and rewarded
the amassing of things, that spoke little if at all
about the quality of life for people (other people),
for dogs, for rivers. All the world, in our eyes, they
will say, was a commodity.

- Mary Oliver, from her poem "Of the Empire"


June 3rd, 2010

It has never been either practical or useful to leave all
things and follow Christ. And yet it is spiritually prudent.

- Thomas Merton,
  from his  book "The Monastic Journey"


June 4th, 2010

In a few decades, the relationship between the environment,
resources, and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the
connection we see today between human rights, democracy,
and peace.

- Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist, political
     activist, and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


June 7th, 2010

[Nonviolence] is directed against forces of evil rather
than against persons who happen to be doing the evil.
It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat,
not the persons victimized by evil.

- Martin Luther King Jr. from his book
   "Stride Toward Freedom"


June 8th, 2010

The gospels record that Jesus preached good news to the
poor, and an essential part of that good news was that
they were to be poor no longer.

- Dorothy Day, quoted in "Dead Man Walking"
  by Helen Prejean


June 9th, 2010

To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly,
freely -- to step in the name of love as if you may
land on nothing, yet to keep stepping because the
something that sustains you no empire can give you
and no empire can take away.

- Cornel West, from his book "Democracy Matters"



On May 29, 1953, Mount Everest was conquered as Edmund
Hillary of New Zealand and sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Nepal
became the first climbers to reach the summit.


On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was
crowned in Westminster Abbey, 16 months after the
death of her father, King George VI.


On June 4, 1989, Chinese army troops stormed Tiananmen
Square in Beijing to crush the pro-democracy movement;
hundreds - possibly thousands - of people died.


On June 5, 1968, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot and
mortally wounded just after claiming victory in
California's Democratic presidential primary. Gunman
Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was immediately arrested.


On June 6, 1944, the D-Day invasion of Europe took place
during World War II as Allied forces stormed the beaches
of Normandy, France.


One June 6, 1875 Thomas Mann, German author and Nobel
Prize winner was born.


On June 7, 1929, the sovereign state of Vatican City
came into existence as copies of the Lateran Treaty
were exchanged in Rome.


On June 7, 1967, James Earl Ray, the suspected assassin
of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. apprehended
in London.


June 10, 1967, the Six-Day War ended as Israel and Syria
agreed to observe a United Nations-mediated cease-fire.



"Flying Into the Wind" by Victor Frankl
provided by colleague Jock McTavish:


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