Vol VI. No. 16
Colleagues List Blog:
In this Issue -
Holst Family Christmas Letter
Ron Rolheiser - Christmas Column
Bob Bettson - St. John's Calgary
Tim Calloway - Iraqi Christians
Ian MacDonald - Globe Faith Panel
Reflection on Huron Carol
Lights from Around the World
Anglican/Lutheran Christmas Greetings
US Preacher May be Banned from the UK
Top Ten Creationist Arguments (Humour)
Jesus' Great-Grandmother is Identified
Anti-Christian Bias is 'On Rise in Europe'
Murdered French King's Remains are Explained
Communist Vietnam Catches the Christmas Spirit
Lutheran Leader Seeks Communion Accord with Pope
Dalai Lama Still Heads Tibetan Government in Exile
Breakaway BC Churches Take Case to the Supreme Court
Global Faith Potpourri
7 stories from Ecumenical News International
Quotes of the Week:
On This Day (Dec. 12th - Dec. 17th)
Dec. 12, 1963 - Kenya gains independence from Britain
Dec. 14, 1981 - Israel annexes the Golan Heights
Dec. 17, 1903 - Wright Bros. make first successful human flight
Closing Thought - George Bernard Shaw
Christmas comes quickly now.
As part of your Christmas preparations, I hope
you might find time to read and watch some of
the beautiful seasonal material I have found
for you during the past week.
Traditionally, I have shared the Holst Family
Christmas Letter in the last issue of Colleagues
List before the special day, and this year is
Ron Rolheiser - provides his Christmas column
for all of us, and we are grateful for it.
(Rolheiser web site)
Bob Bettson - Anglican priest, serving in Sarnia
Ontario, was religion editor of the Calgary Herald
for some years before becoming ordained. St. John's
Calgary was very familiar to him and, in a letter,
he bemoans the lack of insight he sees in the general
media reports of the story (published here last week)
of the Calgary Anglican church that voted to become
a Catholic parish (personal correspondence)
Tim Calloway - Iraqi Christians are going through
an extremely difficult period of persecution. Tim
shares several links from the New York Times on
this story, which should concern all of us.
Ian MacDonald - This week, the Globe and Mail ran
a five part series (links provided below) on the
current state of faith in Canada. The newspaper has
established a Future of Faith in Canada online panel
and has named several colleagues to that consulting
group. Ian, a member of St. David's United Church
Calgary, suggests that that panel representation
has limitations (Globe and Mail)
"Reflection on Huron Carol" - Fr. Jean de Brebeuf, SJ
is known to many in this country as one of the great
"Canadian Martyrs." During his ten years at Huronia
(near Midland, ON) in the 1630s and before his cruel
assassination at the hands of the Iroquois, Brebeuf had
composed a Christmas hymn and written insightfully in
the "Jesuit Relations" about his native hosts. We
share seasonal thoughts on the giftedness of this man.
"Lights from Around the World" - enjoy a slide-show of
nineteen spectacular Christmas coloured-light locations
from around the world (The Telegraph, UK)
"Anglican/Lutheran Christmas Greetings" - the Anglican
primate and the national Lutheran bishop join together
to offer their thoughts at Christmas (ACC/ELCIC News)
"US Preacher May be Banned from the UK" - the Florida
pastor who gained fame and infamy with his threats to
burn the Koran as a book of Satan is having problems
in his attempts to visit Britain (The Guardian, UK)
"Top Ten Creationist Arguments (Humour)" - here are
interesting thoughts on the arguments some Christians
use to defend creationism (The Guardian, UK)
"Jesus' Great-Grandmother is Identified" - archeological
authorities have announced insights on the woman reputed
to be an ancestor of Jesus (Discovery Notes)
"Anti-Christian Bias is 'On Rise in Europe'" - the
secularist trends in Europe seem to be increasing.
This report speaks of rights violations, not mere
atheistic intolerance, of Christianity (The Tablet, UK)
"Murdered French King's Remains are Described" -
another discovery from the past came to light this
week, surrounding the assassination of King Henry IV
of France, considered by many a good and pious monarch
(Discovery News/Cathnews Asia)
"Communist Vietnam Catches the Christmas Spirit" -
adding to the growing global acceptance of Christmas
as a unique, universal celebration we focus on
what is happening in Vietnam today (Mercury News)
"Lutheran Leader Seeks Communion Accord with Pope" -
Lutheral World Federation president, and Palestinian
bishop Munib Younan has proposed to Benedict XVI that
a common statement on Holy Communion would be a worthy
way to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the
Protestant Reformation in 2017 (Anglican Journal)
"Dalai Lama Still Heads Tibetan Government in Exile" -
the Tibetan government in exile has reiterated that
the Dalai Lama will remain the Tibetan's religious
and temporal head as a global symbol of a non-violent
approach to handling political conflict (Cathnews Asia)
"Breakaway BC Congregations Take Case to Supreme Court" -
After a recent set-back, when the BC Supreme Court ruled
that the Diocese of New Westminster was the rightful
owner of their church properties, plans are underway to
appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada (Anglican Journal)
Global Faith Potpourri
7 stories from Ecumenical News International are provided
to readers this week.
Quotes of the Week:
John Chrysostom, Evelyn Underhill and Emmanuel Katongole
offer memorable insights.
On This Day (Dec. 12th - Dec. 17th)
On-the-scene reports from the archives of the
New York Times are provided for these stories:
Kenya gains independence from Britain (1963)
Israel annexes the Golan Heights (1981)
Wright Brothers claim first successful flight (1903)
Closing Thought - George Bernard Shaw offers
an insight that will resonate with many of us.
May your Christmas celebrations be memorable!
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
INTRODUCING OUR ST.DAVID'S WINTER STUDY FOR 2011
"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor (and)
"I Shall Not Hate - A Gaza Doctor's Journey"
by Izzeldin Abuelaish
Books on sale since Sunday, December 12th, 2010
More study and website particulars will be posted
as they become available
INTRODUCING MY UNIVERSITY WINTER COURSE FOR 2011
GOD, ATHEISM, AND MORALITY
We continue our investigation of the New Atheists and
consider the question: "Can we be good without God?"
Text for the course will be Sam Harris' new book:
"The Moral Landscape:
How Science Can Determine Human Values"
(Free Press, October, 2010)
Course description and registration information:
ST. DAVID'S 50th ANNIVERSARY
TOUR OF CELTIC LANDS - 2011
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. Choir
members from our group will sing at various
informal cathedral events through the day
and at Evensong, on Saturday, May 7th!
We have 26 choristers signed up as part of the
tour group. This special choir begins rehearsals
in early January - led by our congregation's
music director, Brent Tucker.
Details are presently being finalized with
the St. David's cathedral dean, Fr. Jonathan Lean.
We are also planning to sing while visiting Iona,
Scotland and the Church of Mary Immaculate in
Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland. Fr. Ned Carolan, host.
ALL 38 PLACES ON THE TOUR ARE NOW SOLD OUT
We continue to gather a waiting list for this trip,
as they may be some drop-outs as we near deadlines.
We have started an interest list for future tours!
Let me know if you are interested in knowing more
about exciting, spiritual tourism!
SUMMARY OF OUR AUTUMN MONDAY NIGHT STUDY
We are introducing live videos of our sessions,
edited by Jock McTavish:
Review Our Fall Program at St. David's by clicking:
New material will continue to be added to this page
as it becomes available.
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.
HOLST FAMILY CHRISTMAS LETTER
Calgary, Alberta Christmas, 2010
Twelve months ago, as we were writing our annual Christmas
letter, we didn’t know that 2010 would become a year for
fighting colon cancer.
It was on January 13th that we learned Wayne had contracted
this illness. Fortunately, we were quickly led through a
battery of tests, followed by radiation and chemo treatments.
On June 15th, five months after prompt detection and careful
preparation, Wayne underwent surgery. He spent the summer
months recovering under Marlene’s loving support. We attribute
the resulting cure the doctors say has occurred to early
detection, professional treatment, a caring, extended family
and faith in a loving God.
The year was not without its special joys. Daughters Carmen
and Sarah, along with their spouses Mark and Ronnie, brought
their own daughters Emily and Mya into the world within three
weeks of each other. This happened during the month of May.
Marlene is thrilled at becoming a grandmother for the first
time. Wayne is so proud to be part of these wonderful events
in the continuing development of our family. There is more
joy to come as Heather and Paul are expecting their first
child in February of 2011!
All told, this has been an eventful and fruitful year. Even
our brush with serious illness has made life more precious,
its possibilities more open-ended, and its mysteries more
In August, we spent two weeks in British Columbia and enjoyed
our time in Vancouver and the Island. We are amazed at how
this part of Canada has expanded and progressed since we last
traveled extensively in our westernmost province a little
more than a decade ago.
In September, we spent a week in Ontario, attending the Shaw
and Stratford Festivals, enjoying the beauty of Niagara, Point
Pelee and Georgian Bay, and spending time with old friends in
Wayne’s hometown of St. Jacobs. In November, Wayne’s
Rockway Collegiate (Kitchener) high school graduating class
of 1960 celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. While we were
unable to return for that event he experienced much
satisfaction reconnecting with school friends from half
a century ago.
The University of Calgary closed the post office in April,
and this meant Marlene was faced with a job loss. But the
severance was generous and she continues to look for the
kind of work she enjoys and deserves. Hopefully there will
be more about this to report in our letter next year.
Wayne continues to teach classes at both the University of
Calgary and St. David’s United Church - as he has done for
twenty years. Combining the writing of his weekly Colleagues
List religion and culture blog with his teaching he enjoys
life to the full and looks forward to every day. Check this
out at http://colleagueslist.blogspot.com/ and let us know
if you would like to receive these mailings gratis simply by
contacting us at:
Next April and May, we will host a group of almost 40 pilgrims
to the Celtic lands of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the UK to
celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of St. David’s United Church,
Calgary. Spiritual travel appears to be a newly developing
vocation for us and there are many places to see!
We continue to update our travel blog through the year.
Please visit us at http://holstlog.blogspot.com
Marlene and Wayne
San Antonio, TX
December 12th, 2010
"No Room at the Inn"
Re: Colleagues List, December 11th, 2010
ST. JOHN'S CALGARY VOTES
TO JOIN CATHOLIC CHURCH
I spent eight formative years from the age of 25 to 33 at St. John's
when it was an Anglo-Catholic parish--but very much in the
mainstream of Anglican life and life in the Diocese... Much of this
was when I was religion writer for the Calgary Herald...
When I returned to the Diocese in 2001 as a priest...it was into a
period of eccentricity--including ...(a) fairly extreme conservative
theology joined to Anglo-Catholicism...
(Later) many of the longtime parishioners who I knew had become
disenchanted with the direction St. John's was headed--paying lip
service to the prayer book but moving to use of the Missal, a
liturgy not authorized by the Anglican Church of Canada, with a
pre-Vatican 2 ceremonial and corresponding theology...
There seems to be no recognition in media coverage either in the
church press or secular press that other Anglo-Catholic parishes in
Toronto, Vancouver and other centres are flourishing inside the
Anglican Church of Canada. Being Anglo-Catholic does not mean
automatic opposition to women priests, blessing of same sex unions
and liturgical renewal...
The Ordinariate offered by Pope Benedict seems a very one sided
offer and not one which is in the spirit of ecumenism...
the Rev'd Bob Bettson
Canon Davis Memorial Church,
Diocese of Huron
Anglican Church of Canada
Here is the latest on Christians in Iraq -
WITH NEW VIOLENCE,
MORE CHRISTIANS ARE FLEEING IRAQ
Thousands of Iraqi Christians from Baghdad and Mosul have
fled to northern Iraq amid a campaign of targeted violence
New York Times
Dec. 13th, 2010
Video: (loading may take time)
Slide Show: Christians In Iraq
GLOBE AND MAIL NAMES PANEL
TO DISCUSS FUTURE OF FAITH IN CANADA
Where is the liberal (like me) Canadian
Christian representation on this panel?
Two of our colleagues, Michael Higgins and
Lorna Dueck are included in this panel.
Both are progressive thinkers - representing
the Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant
Still, there seems to be a media bias, even
ignorance, of much mainstream Protestantism
in Canada today.
Perhaps its a case of 'familiarity breeds contempt'
and I think more of us mainliners, like colleague
Bob Bettson, should be expressing ourselves in the
Globe and Mail
December 13th, 2010
REFLECTION ON THE HURON CAROL
Brebeuf, Hymn-writer and Canadian Martyr
LIGHTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Slide-show of 19 Christmas Sites
The Telegraph UK
Dec. 17th, 2010
LUTHERAN/ANGLICAN CHRISTMAS GREETINGS
Church leaders share their message
ACC/ELCIC News Services
December 15th, 2010
US PREACHER COULD BE BANNED FROM UK
Would-be 'Koran-burner' not welcome
Dec. 13th, 2010
TOP TEN CREATIONIST ARGUMENTS
A humourous take on conservative positions
The Guardian, UK
Dec. 14th, 2010
JESUS' GREAT-GRANDMOTHER IDENTIFIED
Ismeria Shown to be a Model for Older Women
Dec. 9th, 2010
ANTI-CHRISTIAN BIAS 'ON RISE IN EUROPE'
A growing reaction to cultural traditions
Dec. 17th, 2010
MURDERED FRENCH KING'S REMAINS EXPLAINED
His Throat was Slit by a Deranged Man
December 15th, 2010
COMMUNIST VIETNAM CATCHES CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Christmas as a Global Phenomenon Confirmed
December 15th, 2010
LUTHERAN LEADER SEEKS HOLY COMMUNION
ACCORD WITH THE POPE
Suggests Churches Move Beyond Tradition
Anglican Church News
December 17th, 2010
DALAI LAMA STILL HEADS
TIBETAN GOVERNMENT IN EXILE
He Continues to Serve Dual Role
of Government and Religious Leader
December 13th, 2010
BREAKAWAY CHURCHES TAKE CASE TO SUPREME COURT
Four BC Anglican Congregations Try One More Time
December 15th, 2010
GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI
Ecumenical News International
13 December 2010
Hong Kong Christian groups join in honouring
Nobel laureate Liu
Hong Kong (ENInews). About 1000 people in Hong Kong
joined a celebration co-organized by Christian groups
to honour imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu
Xiaobo in a celebration coinciding with the Nobel
ceremony in Oslo. The Hong Kong Christian Institute
and the local Roman Catholic Justice and Peace
Commission organized the gathering with non-
governmental groups to commend Liu, urging Beijing
to release him and other political prisoners on 10
December. Liu has been imprisoned since 2009 as part
of an 11–year sentence for "inciting the subversion
of State power". "Beijing should know that to confer
the Nobel Peace Prize on Mr. Liu is not to confront
the Chinese people. Human rights are universal values,
and should be abided by all," Catholic Hong Kong
legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit told ENI news at the
Hong Kong meeting.
African inter-faith leader calls for
protest over Ivory Coast poll
Nairobi (ENI news). The president of an African Inter-
faith peace group has called on religious leaders to
protest over Ivory Coast's presidential election
dispute, in which two politicians have been sworn
in as head of State. The Rev. Ishmael Noko, former
Lutheran World Federation general secretary, said
on 9 December, Ivory Coast's people are being forced
to accept an intolerable political situation, as
incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo continues to
cling to power after losing to opposition candidate,
Alassane Ouattara. "Today the Ivorian people find
themselves forced to accept an unacceptable
political environment of one country, two
Presidents," said Noko, who is president of the
Inter-faith Action for Peace in Africa, in a
letter made available to ENI news. "The democratic
will of the people of Ivory Coast is clear ….
Therefore further attempts to manipulate their
expressed will should not be allowed by any
standard of political measurement.
14 December 2010
Trade union founded for Bulgarian Orthodox clergy,
Sofia (ENI news). The founding of a trade union for
Bulgarian Orthodox Church priests and church employees
has angered at least one member of the senior hierarchy
of the church, who denounced it as being against the
church's canon law. According to Bulgarian-language
media reports on 13 December, the union will be part
of Podkrepa, one of the southeastern European country's
two national trade union federations. In the north-
western town of Vratsa, priests said that they had
not been paid on time for a long time and their
statutory health and retirement insurance had not
been paid, the Standart daily newspaper reported.
The Vratsa Metropolitan Kipriyan said, however,
it is "absurd" for priests to have a trade union
and that this is against the church's own law.
Japanese Baptist leader says statistics hide
impact of homelessness
Tokyo (ENI news). Being homeless cuts people off from
the rest of humanity, says a Japanese pastor who heads
an award-winning non-profit organization for those
without a roof over their heads. "We need to support
those homeless people in both physical and relational
poverty by providing them with their material needs
and helping to restore their human ties," said the
Rev. Tomoshi Okuda, who chairs the board of directors
of the Kitakyushu Organization to Support the Homeless
in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. He said government
statistics do not reveal the true cost of homelessness.
Presbyterian theologian takes helm
at Indian church council
Bangalore, India (ENI news). A Presbyterian theologian,
the Rev. Roger Gaikwad, has been installed as the new
general secretary of the National Council of Churches
in India, which groups 30 Orthodox and Protestant
churches. "My aim is to strengthen ecumenical relations
at the grass roots. This will bring out greater unity
among the churches," Gaikwad told ENI news on 14 December
following his installation five days earlier at the
NCCI's Nagpur headquarters in central India. Fifty-
seven-year old Gaikwad had been principal of the
Aizwal Theological College of the Presbyterian Church
of India and was chosen unanimously for the post in
15 December 2010
Vatican official responds to WikiLeaks
'yes man' claims
Rome (ENInews). A top Vatican official who was the
subject of unflattering diplomatic cables revealed
by the WikiLeaks Web site has said he proud to have
been described as one of the "yes men" of Pope
Benedict XVI. Reports in the Italian media have
drawn attention to the messages sent to the U.S.
Department of State by the U.S. embassy to the Holy
See about 76-year-old Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,
named by the Pope in 2006 as the Holy See's
secretary of state, seen as the "number two"
position in the Catholic hierarchy. Julieta
Valls Noyes, the deputy chief of mission for
the embassy, was quoted in one message referring
to voices in the Vatican calling for the "removal"
of Bertone from his position. She described Bertone
as a papal "yes man" being more interested in
spiritual issues than foreign policy, and who
lacked language skills. Vatican sources noted
that while the cardinal does not speak English,
he speaks Spanish, German, French and Portuguese.
Obama, in shadow of worrisome polls,
embraces 'Christian' label
Washington DC (ENI news/RNS). When U.S. President Barack
Obama lit the National Christmas Tree behind the White
House in 2009, he spoke of a "child born far from home"
and said "while this story may be a Christian one, its
lesson is universal". This year, Obama made a reference
to that same "child born far from home", but added a
more personal twist: "It's a story that's dear to Michelle
and me as Christians." Three days later, at a Christmas
benefit concert, the president again talked about how
the story of Christmas "guides my Christian faith",
Religion News Service reports.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
Provided by Sojourners Online
December 14th, 2010
"This is the rule of most perfect Christianity,
it's the most exact definition, its highest point,
namely, the seeking of the common good. For nothing
can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring
for [their] neighbors."
- John Chrysostom
December 15th, 2010
"Adoration, as it more deeply possesses us, inevitably
leads on to self-offering. Charity is the live wire
along which the power of God, indwelling our finite
spirits, can and does act on our souls and other things,
rescuing, healing, giving support and light."
- Evelyn Underhill
December 16th, 2010
"Mary represents the 'rebel consciousness' that is
essential to Jesus' gospel. Wherever the gospel is
preached, we must remember that its good news will
make you crazy. Jesus will put you at odds with the
economic and political systems of our world. This
gospel will force you to act, interrupting the
world as it is in ways that make even pious
- Emmanuel Katongole
ON THIS DAY
Dec. 12, 1963 - Kenya gained its independence from Britain
Dec. 14, 1981 - Israel annexed the Golan Heights, seized
from Syria in 1967.
Dec. 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first
successful man-powered airplane flight, Kitty Hawk, N.C.
CLOSING THOUGHT -
A quote from George Bernard Shaw:
Shaw expresses my feelings exactly --
"Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of
splendid torch which I have got hold of for a
moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly
as possible before handing it on to future