Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Colleagues List, December 24th, 2011

Vol. VII. No. 19


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:

My E-Mail Address:



Special Item
In This Issue -

Holst Family
Christmas Letter

Colleague Comment

Don Schweitzer

Net Notes:

Vaclav Havel Dies
Martyr's Shrine Threat
Pope's Health in Decline
After Kim Jong Il's Death
Campus Centre Mends the Mind
Imam Regrets Misinterpretation
Disgraced NS Bishop Apologizes
Shroud of Turin May Not Be Fake
Christmas Cards and Citizenship
Thousands of Abuse Cases Reported
Lutheran and Mennonite Leaders Meet

Global Faith Potpourri:

Seven ENI Geneva stories.

Quotes of the Week:

Dorothy Day
Abba Poeman
Jean Vanier

On This Day:

Dec. 17, 1903 -  Wright Bros. make 
first successful man-powered airplane 
flight, near Kitty Hawk, N.C.
Dec. 19, 1984 - Britain and China 
sign accord returning Hong Kong to 
China control July 1, 1997.
Dec. 21, 1988 - a terrorist bomb explodes 
aboard a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, 
Scotland, killing 270 people.

Closing Thought: 

Hildegard of Bingen



Dear Friends:

This issue of Colleagues List is
arriving at your in-box a few days
of the week earlier than usual
because Marlene and I leave for
Christmas celebrations, December 22nd, 
with our daughter Sarah, our son-in-
law Ronnie, and grand-daughter Mya. 
They live in Slave Lake, Alberta -
about 5 1/2 hours drive northward 
from Calgary. This will be our closest
Christmas to the North Pole, ever!

Normally, our Christmas week edition
contains our family letter, and this
year is no exception.

A final 2011 issue of Colleagues List 
will be sent to you before New Year's.

Colleague Comment:

This week is from Don Schweitzer,
who teaches at St. Andrew's College,
Saskatoon. I introduced his new
book "The United Church of Canada:
A History" to this list last week.

Net Notes:

"Vaclav Havel Dies" - one of the
great voices in post-Communist
East Europe died this week. I have
gathered several articles (BBC, 
New York Times, Montreal Gazette)

"Martyr's Shrine Threat" - the
Jesuits of Ontario are again in
fighting mode to protect historic
property from development. This
site is indeed worth preserving

"Pope's Health in Decline" - some
disquieting news about Benedict's
health has surfaced this week
(Associated Press)

"After Kim Jong Il's Death" -
the news from North Korea is that
little will change with the death
of the current dictator 
(The Guardian, Ucan News)

"Campus Centre Mends the Mind" -
when stress is high among students,
quite a few find help by walking
the labyrinth (

"Imam Regrets Misinterpretation" -
a Canadian imam feels he has been
misquoted in the media and seeks
to rectify the situation
(Toronto Sun)

"Disgraced NS Bishop Apologizes" -
the court appearance of a Canadian
Catholic bishop this week resulted
in an apology (

"Shroud of Turin May Not Be Fake" -
the shroud is like the finding of 
Noah's ark - it is a story that never 
seems to go away (Montreal Gazette)

"Christmas Cards and Citizenship" -
how to handle being Christian and
Canadian simultaneously at this time 
of year is the focus of this story
(Evangelical Fellowship of Canada)

"Thousands of Abuse Cases Reported" -
while the story is not new, the extent
of the abuse is greater than anticipated.
Why do I keep posting these stories?
Because of the extent of the travesty
(The Guardian)

"Lutheran and Mennonite Leaders Meet" -
historic meetings are taking place in
Canada between the descendants of
Mennonites and Lutherans. This is a
wonderful development (ELCIC News)

Global Faith Potpourri:

Seven news stories from around the
world are reported by Ecumenical
News International, Geneva this week.
Remaining Christmas reports will be
posted in next week's issue of CL.


Quotes of the Week:

Dorothy Day, Abba Poeman and
Jean Vanier share their wisdom
with us.

On This Day:

Wright brothers. make first successful 
man-powered airplane flight (1903)

Britain, China sign accord returning 
Hong Kong to Chinese control (1984)

Terrorist bomb explodes aboard a Pan 
Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, 
killing 270 people (1988)

Closing Thought: 

The medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen
offers spiritual guidance to complete 
this issue of Colleagues List.

May God guide your Christmas celebrations
this year, and we will be back with you
in about ten days.



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

Course Information:



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.




Calgary, Alberta                                                               
Dear Friends:

The year 2011 has passed quickly. 

So many good things have happened to us 
during the past twelve months that the 
time seemed to fly by! Still, it is 
important to stop and reflect on what 
we have been experiencing. We hope to 
include you in that reflection.
In 2010, Marlene’s postmistress job at 
the University of Calgary was terminated 
and the retail post office there was closed 
– much to the continuing chagrin of students 
and staff on campus. The blessing in this was 
that she was able to help Wayne (see next 
paragraph) and enjoy her three granddaughters. 
As she waited for her various pensions to kick 
in, up to May of 2012, she sought other income 
sources. It was good news when she was asked 
to work as office staff at St. David’s, the 
congregation we attend. Later, Marlene became 
the acting person in charge but she will be 
happy to return to a less stressful lifestyle 
when a new office manager is hired in the 
new year!

Last year Wayne went through a colon cancer 
challenge. That journey was completed this 
year when a reversal procedure put him back 
on his own internal plumbing. That operation 
occurred in early September and all went 
smoothly and quickly. He did not miss any of 
his regular teaching or other responsibilities 
and for that we are grateful. 

We served as hosts of the St. David’s Fiftieth 
Anniversary Tour of the Celtic Lands (visiting
Scotland, Ireland, Wales and parts of England.) 
What a wonderful experience it was to help 35 
persons become exposed to the history, culture 
and spirituality that has shaped us. We stayed 
on for an additional two weeks, visiting Devon 
and Cornwall, London, and Normandy - places we 
had not seen on previous trips to the UK and 
France. We hope to do more “Spiritual Travel” 
hosting as we found this experience to be most 
rewarding – with thanks to Rostad Tours, our 
Calgary travel agency.

Marlene had her first opportunity to see the 
maples turn colour in Ontario, as we visited 
Algonquin Park, Muskoka, and other lovely 
places in October. When in that area, we always 
take in cultural events at the Shaw and Stratford 
Shakespearean Festivals.

Our family continues to change – Kate (new 
daughter for Paul and Heather) joined us in 
February. Carmen and Mark are expecting their 
second child in March. Ronnie, his wife Sarah 
and daughter Mya (who live in Slave Lake, 
Northern Alberta) sadly experienced the 
loss of a third of their town in May due 
to a forest fire. Ronnie also lost his 
father who died this fall. It has been 
quite a challenging year for the Lukans 
and we will join them for Christmas this 
year – a reversal of how we normally do 
Wayne continues to carry a full teaching load – 
two weekly classes at the university and two at 
the church. He is now in his seventieth year, 
but enjoys what he does and has no desire to 
slow down. He continues to write and to edit 
his weekly Colleagues List religion and culture 
that is read by at least 650 persons around 
the world. We both enjoy our gardening and 
yard work and view it as an annual, natural 
"liturgical" cycle that provides us with much 
spiritual satisfaction.
Marlene and Wayne



Saskatoon, SK

December 19th, 2011

Dear Wayne,
Thanks for your .... interest in and promotion of 
"The United Church of Canada: A History" (the book
notice appeared in CL, the December 17th issue.)

I'm glad you like it. Hopefully your discussion 
of it will benefit the church. 


Editor's Comment: So do we.




BBC News
December 18th, 2011

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel, 
the playwright dissident who led his 
country out of communism, has died 
at the age of 75, an aide says.


New York Times
December 18th, 2011


"Havel Brought Genuine Joy
to Oppressed People"

Montreal Gazette
Dec. 18th, 2011


Jesuit's Fight to Preserve
Historic Canadian Site
December 16th, 2011


Christmas Brings Added Burdens

Associated Press
December 17th, 2011


What's Next for North Korea?

The Guardian UK
December 19th, 2011


Korean Churches Send Condolences

Ucan News
Dec. 21st, 2011


U of C Labyrinth Popular During Exams
Dec. 16th, 2011



Toronto Sun
December 16th, 2011


Lahey's Day in Court
Dec. 20th, 2011


Much Controversy Over the Years

Montreal Gazette
December 19th, 2011



EFC Canada Activate Page
December 19th, 2011



The Guardian
December 16th, 2011



News Release
From the National Office of the ELCIC
December 20th, 2011

Winnipeg, 20 December 2011 - 
Senior management from the Evangelical 
Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and 
Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada) 
met at the ELCIC National Office in 
Winnipeg on December 15.

Nine leaders attended, including national 
leadersWillard Metzger (MC Canada) and 
National Bishop Susan C. Johnson (ELCIC)
as well as staff with oversight in the areas 
of witness, church engagement, communications, 
finance, justice and other departments. They 
shared their current work, challenges, strategic 
plans, and mapped out their relationships with 

Relations between the ELCIC and MC Canada have 
been renewed since July 2010, when The Lutheran 
World Federation offered a historic apology to 
Mennonites for past persecutions. The move to 
formally apologize comes out of a seven year 
dialogue between Lutherans and Mennonites:
The ELCIC and MC Canada have worked to apply this
global (act) of reconciliation in local churches 
and jointly prepared a congregational study guide, 
"Healing Memories, Reconciling in Christ."
This guide offers a study process primarily for 
groups of both Lutherans and Mennonites to understand 
the context of the apology and the new relationship 
between the churches. 

The study guide was intended as a first step with 
the hope that there would be further places to 
foster dialogue and leadership. The December 
meeting of senior staff is another step in 
building relationships. 

Further areas of cooperation emerged from the 
discussions, particularly in the 
area of indigenous ministries. 

The leaders agreed that bilateral conversations 
in specific work areas should take place in the 
coming months, with a follow up meeting planned 
for late 2012. 



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
19 December 2011

South Korean church leaders hope 
for peace following Kim's death

Seoul, South Korea (ENI news) - Leaders of 
a South Korean church council expressed on 
19 December "sincere condolences" on the 
death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. 
"We ask [the] international community to 
cooperate continuously, not taking this 
for breaking of security on the Korean 
peninsula, but for building peace in the 
region of North East Asia," said General 
Secretary the Rev. Kim Young Ju and the 
Rev. Kim Ki Taek, chairperson of the 
unification committee of the National 
Council of Churches in Korea, based in 
Seoul. On 19 December, Pyongyang's Korean 
Central News Agency announced that Kim 
Jong Il died on 17 December from heart 
failure at the age of 69. 

Church of Scotland supports
Israeli agricultural project

Jerusalem (ENI news) - An Arab-Jewish 
agricultural project in northern Israel 
that helps empower women "is a sign of 
hope for a people and a land," according 
to the moderator of the Church of Scotland, 
which is investing in it. During a 12-day 
visit to the Holy Land, the Rev. David 
Arnott on 18 December participated in 
the inauguration of an olive plantation 
on lands belonging to the Abu Hatum 
family in the Jezreel Valley area of 
Galilee. The Church of Scotland is 
providing an initial five-year 
investment to replant 1,000 olive 
trees and rehabilitate land which 
the family is leasing to the Sindyanna 
of Galilee for Free-Trade organization 
-- an Arab-Jewish cooperative providing
employment for women through fair-trade 

Episcopal clergy arrested 
at Occupy Wall Street protest

New York (ENI news) - A retired 
Episcopal Church bishop and at least 
two other Episcopal priests were arrested 
on 17 December after they entered a fenced
property owned by historic Trinity Episcopal 
Church in Lower Manhattan as part of an 
event to mark the three-month anniversary 
of the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street 
(OWS) movement. Livestream video showed 
George Packard, former Episcopal bishop 
for the armed forces and federal ministries, 
dressed in a purple robe and wearing a cross, 
climbing a ladder that protesters erected 
against the fence and dropping to the 
ground inside the property, called Duarte 
Park. Other protesters followed, including 
the Rev. John Merz and the Rev. Michael 
Sniffen, Episcopal priests in the Diocese 
of Long Island (New York), Episcopal News
Service (ENS) reports.


20 December 2011

Anglican church's Christmas billboard 
vandalized in New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand (ENI news) - An 
Anglican church's Christmas billboard, 
depicting Jesus' mother Mary dressed in 
traditional garb and holding a pregnancy 
test strip while covering her mouth with 
the other hand, was vandalized over the 
weekend. The billboard, erected on 15 
December by St. Matthews-in-the-City in 
central Auckland, New Zealand's biggest 
city, has been greeted with controversy.

Orthodox emergency care group 
trains Arab women in home safety

Jerusalem (ENI news) - When a cup of hot 
tea spilled on her infant son's hand, new 
mother Yehut Amer, 22, panicked. "I was 
very scared and didn't know what to do. 
It took me some time to get my wits 
together and get to the clinic," said 
Amer, who on 14 December was among 45 
Arab women from the Israeli Arab village 
of Kfar Qassem to take part in a home 
safety and accident prevention course 
offered for the first time by ZAKA, an 
ultra-Orthodox Jewish volunteer rescue 
and recovery organization. 

Young hip Jews leading 
a Hanukkah music makeover

Washington, D.C. (ENI news) - Put on 
your boogie shoes - the new Hanukkah 
songs are here! What last year seemed 
like a happy coincidence has become a 
hip new Hanukkah tradition: groups of 
harmonizing young Jews releasing 
seriously Jewish, yet seriously 
danceable, songs for the Festival 
of Lights, which begins at sundown 
on 20 December. The Maccabeats, who 
scored more than six million hits on 
YouTube last year with a song about 
flipping potato latkes (pancakes), a 
traditional Hanukkah food, are back 
this year with a boppy reggae tune, 
Religion News Service reports. 
"Miracle" explores the spiritual 
meaning of Hanukkah, which 
commemorates the successful revolt 
led by Judah Maccabee against an 
ancient king who tried to quash 


Hungarian court annuls law that 
withdraws legal recognition of churches

Warsaw, Poland (ENI news) - Hungary's 
Constitutional Court has annulled a 
new law that would have withdrawn legal 
recognition from all but a handful of 
the country's registered religious 
associations. However, a church 
commentator warned that the ruling was 
"just a technical delay," and predicted 
the law would still be enforced from the
start of 2012. "Several petitions were 
received from individuals, legal entities, 
and churches, citing the unconstitutional 
nature of the whole law or certain 
provisions," the Court said in a statement 
accompanying its detailed 15,000-word 19 
December ruling.



December 19th, 2011

"What we do is very little. But it is 
like the little boy with a few loaves 
and fishes. Christ took that little 
and increased it. [Christ] will do 
the rest. What we do is so little 
that we may seem to be constantly 
failing. But so did [Christ] fail. 
[Christ] met with apparent failure 
on the Cross. But unless the seeds 
fall into the earth and die, there 
is no harvest."

- Dorothy Day


December 20th, 2011

“The nature of water is yielding, 
and that of a stone is hard. Yet 
if you hang up a bottle filled with 
water above the stone so that the 
water drips drop by drop, it will 
wear a hole in the stone. In the 
same way the word of God is tender, 
and our heart is hard. So when people 
hear the word of God frequently, their 
hearts are opened to the fear of God."

- Abba Poeman


December 21st, 2011

"What is the 'impossible'? It is liberation. 
To liberate people from the demons of fear, 
of loneliness, of hatred and of egoism that 
shackle them. To liberate people so that they 
also can love, heal, and liberate others. But 
in order to do that, you must go in poverty 
and experience the life of God flowing within 
your own flesh."

- Jean Vanier



Provided from the archives
of the New York Times:

On Dec. 17, 1903 - Orville and Wilbur 
Wright made the first successful man-
powered airplane flight, near Kitty 
Hawk, N.C.

On Dec. 19, 1984 - Britain and China 
signed an accord returning Hong Kong 
to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.


Dec. 21, 1988 - a terrorist bomb exploded 
aboard a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, 
Scotland, killing 270 people.



"God has gifted life with all that is
necessary... nothing that is necessary
for life is lacking.

- Hildegard of Bingen

Here, Hildegard is teaching us to trust.
She says that everything that is necessary
is already within creation. When things go
bleak for us, when bills go unpaid or a
relationship sours, we can easily fall
into despair or self-pity. But Hildegard
urges us to look deeper inside. Life is
what matters. All else is a detail. We
have been given the gift of life, and
within that gift is "everything that is
necessary." This includes our creativity
and imagination to overcome adversity, to
forge new directions and relationships."

- Mathew Fox in "Christian Mystics"


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