Friday, March 4, 2011

Colleagues List, March 5th, 2011

Vol. VI. No. 25


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:


In this Issue

Special Items This Week -

Book Notice of a
Spiritual Classic:

"Community and Growth"
 by Jean Vanier


My Published Review:

"Souls in Full Sail"
 America Magazine
 March 14th, 2011


Colleague Contributions

James Wall
Paul Mullen
Jean Koning
Martin Marty


Net Notes:

Of Gods and Men 
Superstitious Prayers
Irish Church Story Continued
32 Women Citizens of Vatican
Anglican Bishops in Dialogue
Report Finds Poverty Myths Rampant
Pakistani Government Minister Murdered
Protests at Military Funerals Ruled OK
Sex Abuse is the Catholic Church's 9/11
Controversial Remarks-Program Cancelled

Global Faith Potpourri:

Sixeen ENI stories appear this week


Quotes of the Week:

Henri J.M. Nouwen
Peter J. Gomes
Emily Greene Balch
Sister Anne Montgomery
John F. Kennedy


On This Day: (Feb 26th - Feb. 28th)

Feb. 26, 1993 - World Trade Center bomb explosion
Feb. 28, 1993 - Branch Davidian tragedy near Waco


Closing Thought - Drew Cody


Dear Friends:

In this issue I offer a book notice
of a spiritual classic which first 
appeared more than 30 years ago.

It is entitled "Community and Growth"
by Jean Vanier and it serves as the
study we are using this Lent with
members of the University of Calgary

I thank Paul, the Christian Reform
chaplain; Adrianna, the chaplaincy PR
coordinator, and a number of chaplain
and student associates for their help.


Also, this week, I offer the published
version of a pre-edited review recently 
shared with you - 

"Souls in Full Sail:
A Christian Spirituality for the Later Years" 
by Emilie Griffin. It appears in the March 
14th issue of America Magazine, just released.


Colleague Contributions

James Wall, Paul Mullen, Jean Koning and
Martin Marty share their writings and other
discoveries with us this week.


Net Notes:

"Of Gods and Men" - the story of a group of
Catholic monks, living in Algeria 15 years 
ago, who died as martyrs of tribal conflict.
(Globe and Mail review, Ucan News)
"Superstitious Prayers" - even among medical
people, these beliefs and behaviors seem to be
surprisingly common (Christian Century)

"Irish Church Story Continued" - more info
on the sex abuse fallout there, where fears
are growing of becoming a secular country like 
others in Europe; as well as commentary from the 
US on developments in Ireland (America Magazine)

"32 Women Citizens of Vatican" - recent stats
suggest what most of us assume; here is a place
where men dominate in more ways than one
(Ucan News)

"Anglican Bishops in Dialogue" - countering
the trend to mutual exclusion, a group of
North American and African Anglicans are 
seeking and discovering a common spirit.
(Anglican Journal)

"Report Finds Poverty Myths Rampant" - the
Salvation Army in Canada has recently published
a revealing report on public attitudes to 
poverty (Vancouver Sun)

"Pakistani Government Minister Murdered" -
one of the major human tragedies this week
took place in Pakistan where a Christian
official was assassinated (ENI, Ucan News,
New York Times)

"Protests at Military Funerals Ruled OK" -
the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of free
speech in that country, even when the speech
reeks of hatred and abuse. The US protects 
free speech in ways unknown elsewhere.
(New York Times, The Atlantic)

"Sex Abuse is the Catholic Church's 9/11" -
John A. Allen interviews an Italian author
who writes a book on the extent to which 
the sexual abuse crisis has affected the 
Catholic Church (National Catholic Reporter)

"Controversial Remarks - Program Cancelled" -
here is Canada, comments disparaging of gays
made on a Christian broadcast were withdrawn;
probably due to fears of adverse fallout


Global Faith Potpourri:

Sixteen ENI stories are available to share
this week.


Quotes of the Week:

Henri J.M. Nouwen, Peter J. Gomes, 
Emily Greene Balch, Sr. Anne Montgomery
and John F. Kennedy offer wisdom.


On This Day: (Feb 26th - Feb. 28th)

Read these stories, written as they 
unfolded, provided from the archives
of the New York Times.

World Trade Center bomb explosion (1993)
Branch Davidian tragedy near Waco (1993)


Closing Thought -  this week is provided
                   by Drew Cody


Ash Wednesday and Lent begin this coming
week. Blessings on your seasonal journey.




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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague
Jock McTavish



Books Considered:

"An Altar in the World"
 by Barbara Brown Taylor


"I Shall Not Hate -
 A Gaza Doctor's Journey"
 by Izzeldin Abuelaish

More study and website particulars will
be posted as they become available.

Classes are well underway!

Here is the link to the sessions:




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)

Supplementary text:

"Godless Morality" by Richard Holloway
 (Canongate (new edition) 2009)

Course description and registration

Classes going well. A great group
representing a gamut of believers
through atheists. I hope to learn
much from them and will post insights
as they emerge.


A Joint Project of the Multi-Faith
Chaplains and St. David's ACTS Ministry

This Year's Subject:

"Community and Growth" by Jean Vanier.

The book first appeared in 1989 and
continues to be widely read.

Learn from Vanier's years of experience
in L'Arche communities around the world.

This book will be of interest to those
who seek insights for living and
working together in a pluralistic
society such as our own.

This study is for university faculty,
staff and interested students. It runs
runs for six weeks, beginning March 3rd.

Time: Thursdays, 12 noon to 1:00PM
      March 3rd through April 7th, 2011

Cost: Free. Copies of the book available
      for purchase, courtesy of the
      Christian Reformed Chaplaincy
      and thanks to Paul Verhoef

Location: Small Board Room, Native Centre,
          McEwan Student Centre.

Vanier book study link:




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 Evening Prayers on Saturday, May 7th!

We have 25 choristers signed up as part of
the tour group. This special choir began
rehearsals in late January - led by our
congregation's music director, Brent Tucker.

Details have been finalized with St. David's 
Cathedral dean, Fr. Jonathan Lean. We are
being warmly welcomed! 

We are also planning to sing while visiting
other locations on our tour. More details
to follow.


January 26th was the deadline for all
trip payments - 90 days before departure.

We have started an interest list for other,
future tours!

Let me know if you are interested in knowing
more about exciting, spiritual tourism! This
is a cutting edge ministry at St. David's.
We hope to do many more of these tours in 

Take a look at this St. David's Sacred Site:



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.



Book Notice:

Revised Edition by Jean Vanier
Paulist Press, 2002, 331 pages.
$21.95. ISBN #0-8091-3135-8.

Publisher's Promo:

The profound wisdom in this book is born out 
of a lifetime of growth in the context of 
Christian community with the poor that Jean 
Vanier has been immersed in for more than 50 
years. This book is not only interested in 
giving structural and personal tips for 
creating a healthy and God-centered community; 
it actually is like Jean Vanier's manifesto in 
terms of his paradigm of why community life is 
important and how God teaches special and 
beautiful things in the context of communities.
He is such an effective writer. He is able to 
exhort the reader to want to pursue community 
life, but without being overly idealistic and 
ignoring the many complex difficulties that 
arise. Jean exhorts the reader to pursue 
community life not because it will be easy 
and always meet all our needs, but because 
it brings tremendous growth and because 
God's love and calling are bigger than the 
problems that come up in community. This 
is the best book I have read on community, 
and I will likely read it again.


Author's Words:

In some ways, when I began L'Arche in 1964,
I was a bit idealistic. I felt people could
begin community as I had begun, without too
much outside help. I encouraged people to
start, and they did. Quite quickly, serious
problems cropped up... I have seen how much
leaders and communities need support...

These and other aspects I have enlarged
upon in this new edition. I have also
expanded a great deal on the question of
mission in community.

After another ten or more years, I imagine
I will have many other reflections and
corrections to add. 

Every day I am discovering new things...

- from the Preface


(12 pages paraphrased, below) -

Not long ago, people lived in homogeneous
groups... Times have changed. Today, most
people live in pluralistic societies...

With it, we have seen the disintegration 
of many time-honoured communities, like
congregations, family, other groups.

Our values have changed too. The destruction
of community has been at our own hands... As
much as we yearn for community, we yearn even 
more for the social and economic prizes
individualism brings.

But individualism comes at a cost. Communities
like congregations and families break up -
but the result is a loneliness among people.
We were not meant to live in isolation from
others; everyone needs friends or companions
to counter the loneliness that sets in.

... response to this loneliness can take many
other forms related to the social and political.
Reaction to extreme individualism can give rise
to totalitarian and fanatical forms of power
"to save people from chaos" and preserve the
identity of groups.

"Community means more than the comfort of souls.
It means, and always has meant, the survival of
the species." (David Clark)

It is important to watch how young people react
to various social developments. The insecurities
they reflect from one generation to the next are
readily observable and while the cycles change,
many common issues and problems resurface.

As the young search for security and clarity
of understanding, they need to be led by wisdom
gained through experience...

We are interdependent as humans and today -
more than ever - we are called to become more
conscious of the fundamental unity of the
human family and to help each group of people
find their identity and place in it.

My understanding of community centres on 
principles I have learned from Jesus and
discovering community in the way of Jesus
involves a fundamental risk of trust and 

In this book, I speak of the groupings of 
people who have left their own milieu to 
live with others under the same roof. My 
definition of community is a restricted 
one, but many of the points I offer from 
my experience apply to other forms of 
community life (religious, societal and 
political groups, etc.)

With all that in mind, this book tries to 
clarify which conditions are necessary to
life in community. It is no thesis or 
treatise, but a series of starting-points
for reflection...

Community life needs a certain discipline
and particular forms of nourishment. 

Life in community is painful but it is also
a marvelous adventure and source of life.

- from the Introduction


My Comments:

Jean Vanier has been a personal mentor since 
we first met while I was a graduate student 
in Europe (1967) and he was only beginning his 
life in L'Arche. At that point, there was one 
community, located in the small French village
of Trosly-Breuil, north of Paris. Today, there
are more than 130 in more than two dozen
countries around the world.

Some of these reflect the Catholic nature of
its founder. Many others display the mixed
Christian and inter-faith nature of its
community members.

Over his long an fruitful life, Vanier has been
blessed to live in the kinds of community with
which he is now so familiar, and there is little 
that he has not experienced in community - from 
the sublime to the ridiculous. He has learned 
from it all, and while the book "Community and 
Growth" is now some years old, it continues to 
provide spiritual insight and inspiration for 
many people around the world.

While some of Vanier's work focuses on personal
spirituality, this book sees communal spirituality 
as its major theme. Much is made of the integration
of the personal with the group and vice-versa.

The book is divided into about ten chapters
with themes ranging from the nature and covenant
of community; mission, growth and nourishment
in community. Two chapters are devoted to the
gifts people bring - no matter how humble.

Authority is a key first gift (as distinct from
power) as well as such gifts as listening,
discernment and availability.

The book concludes with chapters related to
'the ordinariness' of life and celebration in
community - where eating together is always the
the main event of every day.

This book is a kind of 'bible' for the people
of L'Arche wherever you find them around the
world. It is, in many ways, the major legacy
that Vanier leaves us.

For that reason alone it is worth taking off
the shelf from time to time - to read or to
re-read as a whole, or in part.

I heartily recommend that if you do not have
a copy, you determine to borrow or own one
for yourself!


Buy the Book from

L'Arche Canada Publications:


My Published Review:

A Christian Spirituality
for the Later Years,
by Emilie Griffin

America Magazine
March 14th, 2011



Chicago, IL

Will Arab Revolution
Penetrate US Echo Chamber?

Wall Writings
Feb. 27th, 2011


Calgary, AB


Rick Mercer
YouTube Video


Peterborough, ON

Many thanks for your Colleagues List this week. 
Your "QUOTES OF THE WEEK", including one from 
Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, reminded me of an 
article I wrote 28 years ago when I met Bishop 
Ruiz, and was mightily impressed with what he 
had to say at that time.  And I have followed 
his career over the years through media reports, 
to his death last year.  I thought you may like
to have a look.  I add a postscript at the end 
- we don't really change much - over the years 
- it seems, sadly.

But I'm always with hope!



Obituary of Bishop Ruiz Garcia
Catholic News Service


Almost Thirty Years Ago

Here are some selected comments 
Jean Koning wrote after an encounter
with Bishop Garcia on a visit to Canada.

"How do we give up power?"

"As a bishop," Ruiz said, " I have to
struggle in my country of Mexico with how
we can be a church for the poor - a church
in poverty."

"How can we give up our power?"

Listening to the poor means looking at
injustices within the structure of the 
church. Not everyone is pleased with these
changes - the chance to "manipulate the
people" is lost, he said, and there are
"confrontations" but bishops are called to
be servants. Understanding development must
precede attempts at evangelisation.

Someone in the conversation asked "How can
we in Canada work from within our structures
and organizations to effect change?"

"... within the person of Christ is both
God and my neighbor. To love my neighbor
is to love Jesus Christ."

To love only ourselves is to love partly.
I must be able to love persons who are
different from me; therefore I should ask:
who is my neighbor that I should love?

Canadians need to ask that question, for
if I love only others like me, I am not 
obeying the commandment.

In seeking to love the neighbor who is
different from me, I must look at the
structures which prevent that sharing of
love, he concluded.

"When the people of Israel heard the call 
to leave Egypt and head from the Promised 
Land they wandered 40 years in the 
wilderness before they reached their 

"But at least they started out."

"We must at least begin to pack."


Chicago, IL

February 28th, 2011

“Liberal Denominations Face Crisis as Rabbis 
Rebel, Numbers Shrink: Struggling for Relevance 
and Funding” headlined the prime story by Josh 
Nathan-Kazis, in the newspaper Forward.

Translation of Nathan- Kazis’s headline, for
non-Jews: synagogue memberships in Conservative 
Judaism, a major liberal denomination, “are in 
free fall.” Meanwhile, we read, in the other large 
liberal group, Reform Judaism, highly-placed rabbis 
are working to shake things up, to reform Reform, 
which is also in crisis...


Dangerous Days for the Jews

The Tablet, UK (editorial)
March 5th, 2011




Globe and Mail Movie Review
February 25th, 2011

A Testament to Brotherhood
and Love's Endurance


Movie Wins French 'Oscar'
Brave Monks in Algeria

Ucan News
Mar. 1st, 2011


by Rodney Capp

The Christian Century
Feb. 28th, 2011



America Magazine
March 7th, 2011


More On Repentence in Ireland
Commentary by James Martin SJ

America Magazine Video
March, 2011


A City made up of Men

Ucan News
Mar. 2nd, 2011


North/South Discussions Fruitful

Anglican Journal
March 3rd, 2011


Salvation Army and Canadian Poverty

Vancouver Sun
Feb. 28th, 2011



ENI News
March 2nd, 2011

Pakistan's minister for 
religious minorities assassinated

Islamabad, Pakistan (ENI news) - Pakistan's 
Minister for Religious Minorities and the 
only Christian cabinet member, Shahbaz Bhatti, 
was assassinated on 2 March outside his home 
in Islamabad. He was the second high-ranking 
Pakistan government official murdered this 
year after expressing opposition to the 
country's law that makes criticism of the 
Prophet Muhammad a capital crime.


Leaders Grieve for Murdered Minister

Uccan News
March 3rd, 2011


Slain Cabinet Minister is Buried

New York Times
March 4th, 2011


US court rules in favour of church

New York Times
March 2nd, 2011


How This Case Affirms US Constitution

The Atlantic
March 3rd, 2011



Interview by John A. Allen
National Catholic Reporter
March 2nd, 2011


Statements about gays unacceptable
March 1st, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
28 February 2011

A poignant Sunday in quake-ravaged 
Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand (ENI news) - On the 
Sunday after an earthquake ravaged New Zealand's 
second-largest city, worshippers gathered 
outdoors, in unfamiliar churches and next to 
damaged buildings to reflect, pray, mourn and 
give thanks.


Asian Church Responds to NZ Quakes

Ucan News
March 4th, 2011


Libyan Christian clergy seek help 
for stranded migrants

Nairobi (ENInews)--Libyan Christian clergy have 
appealed for urgent help for Eritrean refugees 
who have taken shelter in a church in Tripoli, 
following days of violent anti-government 


1 March 2011

World Day of Prayer focuses on women of Chile

New York (ENI news)- The potent symbol of bread 
will take pride of place this week as an annual 
common day of prayer focuses on the struggle of 
women in Chile. 

Korean church groups commemorate 
independence declaration

Tokyo (ENI news) - North and South Korean 
Protestant church groups have held their 
first simultaneous worship services to 
commemorate a declaration of independence 
on 1 March, 1919 from Japanese colonial 

Moments of silence observed for 
New Zealand quake victims

Wellington, New Zealand (ENI news) - 
Thousands across New Zealand observed two 
minutes of silence in churches and public 
squares on 1 March in memory of the victims 
of the 22 February earthquake that devastated
Christchurch, the country's second-largest 


2 March 2011

Harvard minister Peter J. Gomes 
remembered as "an original"

New York (ENI news) - The Rev. Peter J. Gomes,  
best known as an imposing but beloved figure 
on the campus of Harvard University, where 
for many years he served as the minister of 
the university's Memorial Church, is being 
remembered as one of the era's great preachers. 
Gomes, 68, died 28 February in Boston of 
complications from a stroke he suffered 
in December. 

British banks must address 
social responsibility, says report

London (ENI news) - A report calling on British 
banks to address a broad range of social, 
ethical and environmental concerns following 
the financial crisis of the last three years 
was published on 1 March by the Ecumenical 
Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) 
– a charity which works with Churches Together 
in Britain and Ireland. 

Israel revokes Anglican bishop's 
residency permit

Jerusalem (ENI news) - Israel has declined to 
renew a residency permit for the Anglican 
Bishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, according 
to Yusef Daher, executive secretary of the 
Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre (ICC). 


3 March 2011

Britain's Chief Rabbi to receive 
Ben-Gurion University award

Beersheva, Israel (ENI news) - Ben-Gurion 
University of the Negev said it will confer 
the Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social 
Concern Award to Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief 
Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of 
the Commonwealth of Great Britain, in 
recognition of his work as a "theologian 
and philosopher whose aspirations for truth 
and mutual respect of all peoples guide his 

Pakistani churches mourn 
assassinated Christian minister

Bangalore, India (ENI news) - Christian schools 
and colleges across Pakistan on 3 March began 
shutting down for three days to protest the 2 
March assassination in Islamabad of Shahbaz 
Bhatti, a Roman Catholic who was Minister for 
Religious Minorities. 

Madagascar church leader appeals for support 
following "harassment"

Nairobi (ENI news) - The leader of the largest 
Protestant group in Madagascar has appealed 
for support over "harassment" of church leaders 
after the government accused the group of running 
an illegal radio station in one of its orphanages.


Niwano Peace Prize to be awarded 
to Thai Buddhist leader 

Tokyo (ENI news) - The Tokyo-based Niwano Peace 
Foundation has announced it will award its 2011 
Peace Prize to Sulak Sivaraksa, a Thai Buddhist 


Pacific Conference of Churches to mark 
50-year anniversary

Tokyo (ENI news) - The largest ecumenical church 
grouping in the Pacific region is planning to 
celebrate its 50-year anniversary from 30 August 
to 4 September in Samoa. 


4 March 2011

Palestinian advocacy campaign brought 
to churches in India

Bangalore, India (ENI news) Two advocates for 
the Palestinian cause in the Middle East have 
expanded an awareness campaign to churches 
worldwide and recently brought the campaign 
to India. 

Turkish Protestants still face "long path" 
to religious freedom

Warsaw (ENI news) - A senior Turkish Protestant 
has said his country's small Christian churches 
still face severe hardships, despite recent 
pledges by the government to improve protection 
of religious rights.

Anglican bishop in Jerusalem 
seeking renewal of visa

New York (ENI news) The Anglican Bishop in 
Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, said he has gone 
to court to seek a renewal of the Israeli 
residency permits that allows him to live 
and work in the ancient city. The Israeli 
government recently declined to renew the 
permit and ordered Dawani and his family 
to leave the country. 



Provided by

February 28th, 2011

"Praying is no easy matter. It demands 
a relationship in which you allow 
someone other than yourself to enter 
into the very center of your person, 
to see there what you would rather 
leave in darkness, and to touch there
what you would rather leave untouched."

- Henri J.M. Nouwen


March 1st, 2011

"The question should not be 'What would 
Jesus do?' but rather, more dangerously, 
'What would Jesus have me do?' The onus 
is not on Jesus but on us, for Jesus did 
not come to ask semidivine human beings 
to do impossible things. He came to ask 
human beings to live up to their full 
humanity; he wants us to live in the 
full implication of our human gifts, 
and that is far more demanding."

- Rev. Peter J. Gomes, professor 
and minister at Harvard University 
who passed away Monday.


March 2nd, 2011

"We are not asked to subscribe to any utopia 
or to believe in a perfect world just around 
the corner. We are asked to be patient with 
necessarily slow and groping advance on the 
road forward, and to be ready for each step 
ahead as it become practicable. We are asked 
to equip ourselves with courage, hope, 
readiness for hard work, and to cherish 
large and generous ideals."

-  Emily Greene Balch


March 3rd, 2011

"Civil disobedience is, traditionally, 
the breaking of a civil law to obey a 
higher law, sometimes with the hope of 
changing the unjust civil law... But we 
should speak of such actions as divine 
obedience, rather than civil disobedience. 
The term 'disobedience' is not appropriate 
because any law that does not protect and 
enhance human life is no real law."

- Sister Anne Montgomery, R.S.C.J.


March 4th, 2011

"A child miseducated is a child lost."

- John F. Kennedy



Feb. 26, 1993 - bomb explodes at 
                World Trade Center 


Feb. 28, 1993 - a gun battle erupted near 
Waco, TX, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco 
and Firearms agents tried to serve warrants 
on the Branch Davidians; four agents and six 
Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff 



"Beware of the self-made man as
 he tends to worship his creator"


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