Friday, December 9, 2011

Colleagues List, December 10th, 2011

Vol. VII. No. 17


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:

My E-Mail Address:


Special Item:
In This Issue -

"An Evening With Friends from
 Calgary Gay/Lesbian Communities"

Colleague Contributions:

Jim Taylor
Martin Marty
Michael Higgins
Shannon Mang
Marjorie Gibson

Net Notes:

Call to Action
Faces of Jesus
The Year in Photos
Best Photos of 2011
Festive Lights - Border Row
Winnipeg's Little Drummer Boy
Recommendations for Christmas
Choirs Promote Interfaith Harmony
Where are the Snows of Yesteryear?
Vision/Wisdom in an Occupy Support Group

Global Faith Potpourri:
Seventeen ENI Geneva stories.

Quotes of the Week:

Chief Seattle
Anne Frank
Palmer Parker
Mother Teresa

On This Day:

Dec. 3, 1984 - More than 4,000 people die
of gas from a Union Carbide plant in India
On Dec. 5, 1933 - US Prohibition ends as
Utah ratifies Constitutional Amendment

Plus Canadian Prohibition particulars
On Dec. 8, 1941 - US enters WWII; declares
war on Japan a day after Pearl Harbour
On Dec. 9, 1992 - Britain's Charles
and Diana announced their separation.

Closing Thought: Jesus



Dear Friends:

We had a special group of friends visit
us at St. David's this past Monday. They
were members of Calgary's gay/lesbian
community, and I offer my notes on the
discussion taking place between 45 people
that evening. I entitle it:

"An Evening With Friends from
 Calgary Gay/Lesbian Communities"


Colleague Contributions:

This week our contributions are from:

Jim Taylor - who writes about polygamy
Martin Marty - who assesses Boston worship stats
Michael Higgins - who considers Newt Gingrich
Shannon Mang - who investigates Attawapiscat
Marjorie Gibson - who remembers a horse she knew

Net Notes:

This week I found the following -

"Call to Action" - the Anglican primate of
Canada encourages support for environmental
progress at Durban (Anglican Journal News)

"Faces of Jesus" - Rembrandt was a great
student of Jesus and he reflected that in
his paintings (The Christian Century)

"The Year in Photos" - here are best-rated
pictures of 2011 from people that should
know the good ones (The Atlantic Monthly)

"Best Photos of 2011" - not to be outdone,
here are some others (National Geographic)

"Festive Lights - Border Row" - (and)
"Choirs Promote Interfaith Harmony" -
The two Koreas exhibit both negative and
positive behavior during the Festive Season
(Ucan News)

"Winnipeg's Little Drummer Boy" - a
Winnipeg artiste does something special
for Christmas (Anglican Journal)

"Recommendations for Christmas" -
if you are interested in the arts, here
are recommendations that should appeal
to you (The Christian Century)

"Where are the Snows of Yesteryear?" -
reflections from Japan, seventy years
after the Pearl Harbour invasion
(Ucan News)

"Vision/Wisdom in an Occupy Support Group"
- Joan Chittister shares her discoveries
after visiting with an "occupy group"
(National Catholic Reporter)

Global Faith Potpourri:

Seventeen stories are provided for
us this week from Ecumenical News
International in Geneva.

Quotes of the Week:

Chief Seattle, Anne Frank,
Palmer Parker and Mother Teresa
share this wisdom with us.

On This Day:

4,000+ people die of gas in India (1984)

US Prohibition ends (1933)
Plus Canadian Details

US enters WWII against Japan a day
after Pearl Harbour (1941)

Charles and Diana formally separate (1992)


Closing Thought:

Here are reflections on a statement
of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas
with commentary by Matthew Fox.


With two weeks to go before Christmas
my cards have all been mailed (yes,
snail mailed) and I hope to have some
quiet time before the Festival Day.



Introducing the Full Program


"The Other Face of God:
When the Stranger Calls Us Home"

by Mary Jo Leddy

Ten Monday Nights -
January 16th - March 26th
(except Family Weekend Monday)

Information about the book from



A Study Program Sponsored by:
The Department of Continuing Education
At the University of Calgary

Taught by: Wayne Holst

"God, Atheism and Morality" (ten sessions)
Tuesday Nights, 7:00PM - 9:00 PM
January 24th - March 27th, 2012



Welcome to our -

Noon Hour Book Discussions for Faculty,
Staff and Students Winter Series for 2012:

"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor

Discovering God in the ordinary experiences of life
March 2nd - March 30th - five Friday noon sessions

Time and Location for all sessions:
12:00 to 1:00PM in the Native Centre Board Room
Located above the Dairy Queen, Mac Hall Student's

Led by: Wayne Holst,
Coordinator of the ACTS Ministry, St. David's United
and a Faith and Spirituality Centre Liaison.

Cost of the book: $15.00 each


Join us this year for stiumlating campus discussions!

For more information: Adriana Tulissi 403-220-5451
Co-ordinator, Faith and Spirituality Centre, U. of
C. - artuliss@ucalgary,ca



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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



An accumulation of twenty-five+ studies conducted
since 2000 can quickly be found at:

This collection of study resources represents
more than 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.



Kerby Centre and Knox United Downtown Folk Joined Us
Total present: 45 persons.

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Guests: Sharon, Mike, Jen, Kevin, Maureen, Ralph,
Doris, Dan, Lois and Lou-Anne

Discussion Leader and Facilitator:
Rev. Janice Aicken.

Our guests responded to prepared questions we had
asked of them:

1. How does the gay community view the church?
2. What are the characteristics of a welcoming church?
3. Of what needs ought the church community be aware
    as it prepares to welcome the gay community?

Each guest was given two minutes to speak. Then anyone
could respond to, or build on what had been said.
The resulting conversation was one of depth and texture.

Here are other issues that our guests thought about as
background to the discussion:

1. What biases are toxic to gays and lesbians?
2. Does the church have a moral obligation to treat
   everyone in an equal manner?
3. How do we honour and respect one another?
4. How do we recognize when we have a bias?
5. Where are you in terms of being part of
    a congregation, if any?
6. What do you believe about diversity?
7. What do you believe about sexuality?
8. Are some members less acceptable than others?
9. Are you open to exploring your assumptions?


Random comments noted during the discussion:

I felt welcomed when we were mentioned positively
in prayers, sermons, etc.

I felt I belonged when gay/lesbian reality was
celebrated and there were special events scheduled
for us in the church program.

We are given the opportunity to leave literature
to help people to "get thinking" about us.

To affirm gay/lesbians means to help us define
ourselves as part of the congregation.

We have to move beyond mere tolerance
to full acceptance.

In terms of how we had often been treated by
churches in the past we asked ourselves how it
was that Jesus love seemed to be missing from
those who claimed to follow him.

I remember when I went with my partner to visit
his family "up-country" and they were very kind
and welcoming. But my view of them was shattered
when we were asked to sleep in separate bedrooms.

There are various levels of abuse in the church.
Some is blatant, some subtle.Most churches say
everyone is welcome, but don't try to talk about
who you are. Someone said “You’re the first gay
person I’ve very talked with." Wrong! One in
every ten people out there have gay tendencies,
but you don’t know who they are.

Don’t just welcome us. Involve us. In all this,
mistakes are bound to be made, but we can learn/
grow from our mistakes.

It is so fulfilling when we are told “we want you,
no matter what.”

Remember that not all visitors are alienated from
previous church experiences, but want to “try again”
Some have never been part of the church previously.

It was a wonderful moment when I could celebrate my
sexuality as a gift from God. This makes me a better
person, partner, friend.

You will be “different” if you officially accept us
in your congregation. You may get hate mail. Good
people may decide they donĂ‚’t want to associate with
you any more.

Still, you can provide a place where people like
us feel they can be themselves and accepted as we are.

For many years many of us “ached to be ordinary” and
free to talk about ourselves.

We came from a life of  “shaming” The message was
“You’re not as good as others. ”My mother, for example,
told me “I didn't raise you to be part of a minority
group.” Messages like this, often subtle, have come
to us from day one.

Young people, on the whole, have it better than
we did, but there is still a lot of bullying in
schoolyards, etc. The difference is, there is a
lot more publicity and concern about it. You see
in the papers that teenagers commit suicide because
of residual bias in society.

We still have a long way to go.

Small Group Discussion Questions:

1. How do we recognize when we have a bias?
2. If we are open to bias, what might some
    of them be?
3. What biases are toxic to gays and lesbians?
4. Do we (individuals/communities) want to change?
5. How can we prepare to change?
6. How might becoming an affirming congregation
    change our church?
7. Who are we as a congregation?
8. What do we believe about diversity?
9. What do you believe about sexuality?

As the small groups of 7-9 returned to the full
group for a final few minutes together as strong
spirit of good thought and solidarity seemed to
characterize the evening.

We feel we have made a large step to help our
congregation consider becoming an affirming

Thanks to each of you, Sharon, Mike, Jen, Kevin,
Maureen, Ralph, Doris, Dan, Lois and Lou-Anne
and to Rev. Janice for helping us grow in our
understanding and faith.



Okanagan, BC

Web Log
December 4th, 2011

"Polygamy -
People are not
Someone's Property"


Chicago, IL

December 5th, 2011

"Numbering Worshipers in Boston"


Fairfield, CT

Globe and Mail
December 7th, 2011

"Newt's Faith Gets a Pass?"


Calgary, AB.

"What's the Scoop
  on Attawapiscat?"

Human Rights and the
Northern Ontario Cree
- A Kairos Report


Calgary, AB.

"Grace: A Beautful Name
 for an Ornery Cayuse"



"For the Love of Creation"

Primate Hopes for Progress in Durban
As Climate Change Conference Begins

Anglican Journal
December 6th, 2011


Rembrandt and the Incarnation

The Christian Century
December 5th, 2011


The Atlantic Online

December 8th, 2011


From National Geographic

December 7th, 2011


Korean Conflict

Ucan News
December 9th, 2011


Music Breaks Down Barriers

Ucan News
December 5th, 2011



Anglican Journal
December 8th, 2011



Arts Suggestions
From The Christian Century
December 5th, 2011



70 Years after Pearl Harbour

Ucan News
December 8th, 2011



Joan Chittister
National Catholic Reporter
December 8th, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
2 December 2011

In Japan, singles hope for matchmaking
before "Tomb of Christ"

Tokyo (ENI news) - An institute at a
Catholic-run university and college and
a locl revitalization group are organizing
a tour on 4 December that asks singles to
"swear your love in front of the Tomb of
Christ" in the northern village of Shingo.
"There are a variety of arguments about
the Tomb of Christ in Shingo, but our
institute sees it as a legend ... and a
precious tourism resource in a village
that is aging and being depopulated,"
Kazutsura Hareyama, office manager of
the Research Institute of Hachinohe
University and Hachinohe Junior College,
told ENInews in an e-mail interview.


Court upholds Berlin school's
ban on Muslim prayer

Berlin (ENI news) - A decision by the
German Federal Administrative Court
allowing a Berlin school to ban
Muslim students from praying on their
lunch break is being viewed as a ruling
on public religious expression and has
been closely watched by members of
different faiths. Yunus Mitschele,
an 18 year-old student at Diesterweg
Gymnasium, brought his case to the court
in Leipzig, but the ruling on 30 November
prioritized the peaceful running of the
school over students' right to pray.
The school had argued that differing
views on the interpretation of the Quran
had led to conflict and bullying among
its students.


Action group provides new life to
HIV-infected in Indonesia

Medan, Indonesia (ENI news) - An
organization called Medan Plus, founded
by an independent pastor, the Rev. Eban
Totonta Kaban, has worked to decrease
the stigma that still accompanies a
diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in Indonesia.
Since its founding in 2003, Medan Plus
has reached out to more than 2,100
HIV-infected people in a country that
is seeing an increase in cases of the
deadly virus, according to UNAIDS, a
United Nations agency. Indonesia's HIV
tally is projected to climb to about
500,000 in 2014 from 330,000 in 2009,
without increased prevention, according


5 December 2011

In India, tribunal says state
government failed to protect

Bhubaneswar, India (ENI news) - An
independent tribunal investigating
anti-Christian violence in India's
eastern Orissa state in 2008 has
indicted the state government for
failure to protect Christians and
has made several recommendations.
"[Government] officials have played
a variety of negative roles during
the violence, ranging from being
silent spectators and bystanders
to the violence [to] refusing to
protect or assist the victim-
survivors even in the context of
brutal killings," wrote the jury
of the National People's Tribunal
on Kandhamal.

In Ethiopia, gay health meeting
moved after religious protest

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ENI news) -
Protests from religious leaders in
Ethiopia prompted the relocation of
a conference on 3 December in Addis
Ababa on gay rights and health issues
to the United Nations Conference
Centre from a hotel. A group called
African Men for Sexual Health and
Rights organized the meeting, which
they said would shine attention on
issues affecting lesbians and gays
in Africa, including HIV/AIDS and
the state of response among "MSM
[men who have sex with men]
communities." It took place one
day ahead of the 16th International
Conference on AIDS and STDs in
Africa, which is taking place from
4 to 8 December in the Ethiopian
capital. STDs refer to sexually
transmitted diseases.


Christian youth learn about
'eco-justice' at climate conference

Durban, South Africa (ENI news) Christian
young people are bringing their passion for
change to a U.N. climate conference in
Durban, South Africa, eager to learn how
to spread the message that God's creation
needs better care. About 28 youths from
church and faith-based organizations on
six continents are taking "Youth For Eco-
Justice" training during the 17th
Conference of Parties to the U.N.
Framework Convention on Climate Change,
or COP 17, which runs from 28 November
to 9 December.

As church-based civil unions kick in,
Church of England says no

London (ENI news) - New laws that allow
same-sex civil unions to be performed on
religious premises took effect in England
and Wales on 5 December, but the Church
of England says it won't permit them
without approval from its top body.
Civil partnerships have been legal
since 2005, but until 5 December the
ceremonies had to be held in secular
venues, Religion News Service reports.
Civil partnerships, which cannot be
called marriages, give same-sex couples
the same legal rights as heterosexual
couples who are married in a church.


6 December 2011

U.S., Cuban church leaders
seek 'normalized relations'

Washington, D.C. (ENI news) - Church
leaders from ecumenical councils in
the U.S. and Cuba wrapped up a five-day
meeting in Havana on 2 December with a
call for "normalized relations" between
the two countries. "We declare the
following shared conviction: that the
half century of animosity between our
countries must end," said a joint
statement issued by the National
Council of Churches (NCC) and the
Council of Churches of Cuba, Religion
News Service reports.


Nun deplores "lack of progress"
on welfare of Roma in Europe

Warsaw (ENI news) - One of the world's
few Gypsy nuns has deplored the poor
conditions faced by Eastern Europe's
Roma minority more than seven years
after countries in the region joined
the European Union. "Spiritual conditions
reflect the economic situation here.
Although the EU is supposed to have made
improvements, whole Roma settlements are
still just as poor and downtrodden,"
said Atanazia Holubova, a nun with the
Greek Catholic Order of St. Basil the
Great, who lives in Bardejov, Slovakia.

Cultural and religious beliefs are
obstacles to gay rights, says
Hillary Clinton

Geneva (ENI news) - The world needs
to act more proactively to promote and
protect the human rights of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people,
said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton in a keynote address delivered
at the European headquarters of the
United Nations. "In many ways, they
are an invisible minority. They are
arrested, beaten, terrorized, and even
executed," she said.


8 December 2011

Few British faith groups allow gay partnership
rites despite new law permitting them

London (ENI news) - Although it became legal
in England and Wales on 5 December for same-
sex couples to have their registration
ceremonies performed in places of worship,
only non-Orthodox Jews, Quakers, and
Unitarians permit their members to do so.
The Islamic and Roman Catholic faiths have
established positions against such unions,
and the Church of England has responded to
the change in the law by specifying that
written permission must be obtained from
its general assembly, the Synod, which meets
twice yearly.

Churches in Africa urged
to prioritize disability rights

Nairobi, Kenya (ENI news) - With a small
number of disabled, deaf, and blind people
now members of Africa's clergy, the
continent's churches are being challenged
to lead the struggle to increase rights
for the disabled. The churches have not
fully embraced the issue, according to
participants at conference held from 6-8
December in Lukenya, near Nairobi. The
conference sought to educate church
leaders, officials, and representatives
from organizations serving the disabled
about the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
among other objectives.

Philippine Catholic Church at odds with
health department over HIV prevention

Baguio City, Philippines (ENI news) -
When the northern Philippine city of
Baguio observed World AIDS Day recently,
Roman Catholic and other Christian church
representatives chose not to participate
in a parade and program aimed at
campaigning for "zero HIV infection."
The marchers included city health
officials and representatives from
non-government organizations, as well
as about a thousand bartenders,
waitresses, masseurs, and gay-bar
workers, who were invited by the
health department to help in the
city's HIV prevention drive.

National Council of Churches honors
five congregations as "interfaith
engaged" leaders

New York (ENI news) - Five congregations
demonstrating a special enthusiasm and
exemplary work for interfaith relations
have been named "model interfaith engaged
congregations" by the National Council of
Churches (NCC), according to a news
release. In June, the NCC's Interfaith
Relations Commission asked for
nominations from its member communions
and other communities affiliated with
the Council of congregations that "have
something important to share about
interfaith engagement."

9 December 2011

Religious groups in Scotland
overwhelmingly disapprove of
gay marriage

Edinburgh, Scotland (ENI news) -
Although a recent survey showed 62
percent of Scots favor gay marriage,
the country's main religious
denominations overwhelmingly
disapprove of it -- though many
observers think religious voices
are less influential than they used
to be. In response to the Scottish
Government's consultation document,
"The Registration of Civil
Partnerships, Same Sex Marriage," the
Church of Scotland said it "cannot
agree that the law of Scotland should
be changed to allow same-sex marriage.
To redefine marriage to include same
sex marriage may have significant and,
as yet, inadequately considered
repercussions for our country, for
the well-being of families,
communities and individuals."

Child protection agency urges Polish
church to confront clerical abuse claims

Warsaw, Poland (ENI news) - The head of
Poland's largest child protection agency
has urged the Roman Catholic church to
respond to growing complaints of sexual
abuse by its priests. "It's not the scale
of this phenomenon which is worrying, but
the church's attitude. So far, the Bishops
Conference has said nothing," said Jakub
Spiewak, director of the independent
Warsaw-based Kidprotect Foundation,
which runs a hotline for abuse victims
and seven separate child protection


New Zealand cathedral dean quits
church post for city council seat

Wellington, New Zealand (ENI news) - After
nine years, Rev. Peter Beck, dean of the
Anglican Christchurch Cathedral, is quitting
"the best job the church" to run for a seat
on the Christchurch City Council. He wants
to play a greater role in rebuilding New
Zealand's second biggest city following
the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake
on 22 February.



December 5th, 2011

“Humankind did not weave the web of life.
We are but one strand within it. Whatever
we do to the web we do to ourselves.”

- Chief Seattle, from "Common Prayer,
A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals"


December 6th, 2011

“I see the world gradually being
turned into a wilderness. I hear the
ever-approaching thunder, which will
destroy us too. I can feel the
sufferings of millions and yet,
if I look up into the heavens, I
think that it will all come out right.
In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals,
for perhaps the time will come when I
shall be able to carry them out.”

- Anne Frank, from
"The Diary of Anne Frank"


December 7th, 2011

“The power of a fully lived life or a
truly learned mind is not a power to be
sought or contrived. It comes as we let
go of what we possess and find ourselves
possessed by a truth greater than our own.”

- Parker Palmer


December 9th, 2011

"We do not strive for spectacular actions.
What counts is the gift of yourself, and
the degree of love you put into each of
your deeds."

- Mother Teresa, from "The Love of Christ"



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times

Dec. 3, 1984 - more than 4,000 people
died after a cloud of gas escaped from
a pesticide plant operated by a Union
Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.


On Dec. 5, 1933 - national Prohibition
in the US came to an end as Utah became
the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment
to the Constitution, repealing the 18th

Canadian Perspective:

Prohibition took effect in Canada in 1920
and by 1927 when Ontario lifted its own
prohibition, Canada became a rum-running
hub for thirsty America. Fortunes were made
north of the border.

Tired of the mayhem, and desperate for jobs
and tax revenue, the US killed Prohibition
in 1933. It was the only constitutional
amendment ever repealed.


On Dec. 8, 1941 - the United States entered
World War II as Congress declared war against
Japan one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.


On Dec. 9, 1992 - Britain's Prince Charles
and Princess Diana announced their separation.



"Split the wood -- I am there.
 Life the stone and you will
 find me there."


In this teaching from the Gospel of
Thomas, which is a very early text in
Christianity, Christ is to be found
everywhere, even under a stone, even
in the splitting of wood.

Christ is the "light present in all
things" and in all energy and activity
in the universe. This speaks of an
intimate presence as well as an

- Matthew Fox in "Mystic Christianity"


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