Friday, December 30, 2011

Colleagues List, December 31st, 2011

Vol. VII. No. 20



Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:

My E-Mail Address:



Winnipeg, MB.

Commenting on the news about
Canadian Lutherans and Mennonites
in dialogue, CL December 17th issue -

December 20th, 2011

Thanks as always, Wayne.

I appreciate you sharing this
with a wider and eclectic audience!

+ Susan

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson,
National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada


Bangkok, Thailand

December 21st, 2011

Greetings from Bangkok, Wayne.

I appreciate your overviews and
specifics of what's going on.

As one who lives at some distance
from you I continue to be fed by
your ministry of sharing news of
others, and of yourself.

May God's spirit continue to feed
your ministry.

Lance Woodruff,
An Anglican Abroad in Thailand


Peterborough, ON.

December 21st, 2011

Many thanks for this, Wayne and for
all your good work during the year.
I don't always write, but I always
read you, and appreciate the variety
of thought you bring to my life these



Special Items
In This Issue -

End of Year Reflection:

Canadian Mainline Protestantism
Is It Renewable?


End of Year Roundup:

Annual Summary of Colleagues List Articles
Written During the Calendar Year of 2011


Colleague Contributions:

John Stackhouse Jr.
Jim Taylor
Ron Rolheiser

Net Notes:

Korea Update
The Book of Books
Queen's Christmas Message
Muslim Christmas Celebrations
Rene Fumoleau's Dene Christmas
Our Christmas Customs are Changing
Christian Week's 2011 Top Ten Stories
Israelis Protest the Treatment of Women
Nigerian Churches Blasted by Extremists
Pakistan's Christians Celebrate Christmas
Pew: Christianity is Globe's Largest Faith
Ancient Documents Shed Light on the Wise Men

Global Faith Potpourri:

Thirteen ENI Geneva stories.

Quotes of the Week:

Dorothy L. Sayers
Dimitrii of Rostov

On This Day:

Dec. 23, 1986 - Voyager, piloted by Dick
Rutan and Jeana Yeager, complete first
non-stop, around-the-world flight without

Dec. 25, 1991 - Soviet President Gorbachev
announces his resignation as the eighth
and final leader of a Communist superpower
that had already gone out of existence.

Dec. 26, 1941 - Churchill becomes first
British prime minister to address a joint
meeting of the United States Congress.

Dec. 28, 1981 - Elizabeth Jordan Carr,
the first American test-tube baby, was
born in Norfolk, Va.

Dec. 29, 1940 - during World War II,
Germany began dropping incendiary bombs
on London.

Closing Thought:

Winston Churchill on Gandhi and India



Dear Friends:

For this, the last day and last issue of
Colleagues List for 2011 I have spent some
time creating a reflection entitled:

"Canadian Mainline Protestantism
Is It Renewable?"

Also, please find a listing of the book
reviews, notices, reflections and articles
that have appeared here during 2011. I
include links to all 43 in the event there
are some you may have missed:

Please consider the -

"Annual Summary of Colleagues List Articles
Written During the Calendar Year of 2011"


Colleague Contributions:

John Stackhouse Jr. of Vancouver BC reflects
theologically on the Christmas child.

Jim Taylor of Okanagan, BC shares his views
on God and Jesus at Christmas.

Ron Rolheiser of San Antonio, TX invites you
to consider the books that have influenced
him the most during the past year.

Net Notes:

"Korea Update" - here is a series of
links to help fill in the picture of
what is happening in Korea now
(Ucan News, Cankor, Hindustan Times,
 The Atlantic Online)

"The Book of Books" - a fine essay by
Marilynne Robinson on what literature
owes the Bible (New York Times)

"Queen's Christmas Message" - an
annual event for those who appreciate
Her Majesty and her Christian faith
(The Telegraph, UK)

"Muslim Christmas Celebrations" -
this article will possibly surprise
some of you (Huffington Post Canada)

"Rene Fumoleau's Dene Christmas" -
a long-time mentor of mine, Oblate
priest Fumoleau lives in Yellowknife
and continues to inspire his readers
(New Catholic Times)

"Our Christmas Customs are Changing" -
as Canada evolves into a global microcosm
our rites and rituals as a people are
changing (Vancouver Sun)

"Christian Week's 2011 Top Ten Stories" -
still on top of his game, editor, friend
and colleague Doug Koop sends us his last
annual story summary (

"Israelis Protest the Treatment of Women"
- not all Israelis are the same - perhaps
no two are! ... and here is a story that
demonstrates that point (

"Nigerian Churches Blasted by Extremists"
- perhaps the most dramatic global religious
story of the week, and it is portrayed from
several angles (BBC, ENI, Rueters)

"Pakistan's Christians Celebrate Christmas"
- here is a hopeful story from a difficult
religious situation (The Times of Lahore)

"Pew: Christianity is Globe's Largest Faith"
- a world-wide survey with current statistics
to support the claims (ENI, Anglican Journal,
Zenit News from Rome)

"Ancient Documents Shed Light on the Wise Men"
- modern scholars probe texts that offer some
insight to a rather nebulous but intriguing
subject (Huffington Post Canada)


Global Faith Potpourri:

Thirteen stories are offered this week from
Ecumenical News International, Geneva.


Quotes of the Week:

Dorothy L. Sayers and Dimitrii of Rostov
share their wisdom with us.

On This Day:

Voyager, piloted by Rutan and Jeana Yeager,
complete first non-stop, around-the-world
flight without refueling (1986)

Soviet President Gorbachev resigns. He was
the eighth and final leader of a Communist
superpower (1991)

Churchill becomes first British PM to address
a joint meeting of the US Congress (1941)

Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American
test-tube baby, born in Norfolk, Va. (1981)

During WW II, Germany began dropping
incendiary bombs on London (1940)

Closing Thought:

Winston Churchill on Gandhi and India

You may be surprised at these comments.
It removes some of the sheen from the
image of a great world leader.


This is the last occasion I will have
in 2011 to wish you God's blessings.

Next week, in 2012, I hope to begin
a new Colleagues List series!



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, 2012
(except February 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.




An End-of-Year Personal Reflection:

In his book "Beyond the Gods and Back -
Religion's Demise and Rise and Why it
Matters" (introduced to the readers of
Colleagues List; see #5 below, Feb. 19th,
2011) colleague Reg. Bibby declares that
groups such as the United and Anglican
churches "are not yet out of the running
in Canada, given the size of their
affiliate pools, but time is not on the
side of either denomination."

A basic problem, he adds, is that many
and perhaps most Canadians who identify
with Catholic and Protestant traditions
have no particular reason to associate
what they want and need with what those
groups are doing (pp. 213-14.)

"That has to change. People have to know
that (these) groups are dealing with the
life and death questions that they are
asking and are capable of having a
positive impact on their lives and the
people and issues they care about.

"Religious groups that can do these kinds
of things have futures. Those that can't
or won't are going to fade away."

Bibby believes that as Canadians search
for meaning that science and materialism
cannot provide for them, many may simply
bypass the existing groups altogether and
opt for new ones that are not yet born.

What is certain, he continues, is that
the needs that call for "the gods" in
people's lives are going to persist.
But we live in the paradoxical situation
that many groups are going broke precisely
at a time when many people out there are
going spiritually hungry.

"In the long run," Bibby concludes, "many
people may say goodbye to any number of
forms of organized religion (but) few
will say goodbye to the gods."


I return to the question posed by the
title of this reflection - "Canadian
Mainline Protestantism - Is It Renewable?"

I would like to respond to that question
in the affirmative, but with conditions.
It would seem, in some circles at least,
that I am viewed as one committed to the
rebirth of this tradition, but expressed
in new, more meaningful ways.

On page 195, Bibby states: "As I look at
the four primary "firms" in this grouping
- the United, Anglican, Lutheran and
Presbyterian churches - I see far more
than cold numbers.  I see the faces of
many people I have known who value faith
and who have been working hard to
resuscitate their denominations. Minus
their formal titles they include people
like Lewis Garnsworthy, Ted Scott, Gord
Turner,  Ralph Milton, Muriel Duncan,
Sandra Severs, Vince Alfano, Allan Saunders,
Mardi Tindal, Tony Plomp, Wayne Holst,
Michael Pryse and Susan Johnson."

(Bibby joked with me when I asked him
why my name was listed with this rather
august group. He said, without comment
that he placed my name there quite
intentionally and between "United" and
"Lutheran" folk.)


Bibby states: If the research findings
point to a reality that would not surprize
any of them, it is difficult to see much
hope for viable futures.

My Response: I believe the mainline
traditions carry within them more than
negative possibilities. They also contain
seeds of hope that have blossomed in the
past and can do so again.

Let me suggest just a few reasons why
I soldier on, and I do not claim to speak
for anyone listed but myself.

1. I continue to serve from within a
faith community that accepted me when
I needed a spiritual home. It may sound
like a broken record, but that is the
primary reason for any good I may have
been able to offer people through the
church during the last 22 years.

2. I continue to serve because I have
been able to be who I am in this community.
I have never been asked to deny what
shaped me and what I brought with me.
In fact, I was encouraged to share this
with others.

3. I continue to serve because I truly
need to be part of a faith community.
I cannot be "spiritual, not religious"
or a "free lance Christian" but one that
lives with all the good and bad things
that community involves. At most of the
university classes I teach I am asked
why I am a Christian. I tell those that
question this need that I find it hard
to explain, but it is important to me
and I could not be the person I try to
be without a living Christian community
to support me.

4. I continue to serve because I find
myself at a vantage point that continues
to offer me many other considerations.
I try to weigh them all respectfully,
and am able to adapt new discoveries
and insights into my philosophy. I have
learned a great deal over the years from
other believers and non-believers alike.
I consider all of them gifts from God.

5. I continue to serve because I choose
to be hopeful about the church, rather
than despondent. As much as I wish much
of my Christian heritage had never
happened, I nevertheless rejoice that
much of it did. I want to claim what is
good from the past, learn from it, and
not dwell on the negative.

6. I continue to serve because I want to
be part of the new unfolding of what God
has in store for God's people in Canada.
While I do not know how it all will turn
out, I want to be numbered among those
who are doing what they can to bring it

What I say about myself, I believe is
true for many others who faithfully tend
the fires of hundreds of mainline Protestant
Christian communities across Canada. Many
of them go unheralded, and Bibby's
representative list could contain a
lot of other unsung witnesses.


So --

Is Canadian mainline Protestantism

In its present form? No. There is a lot
needing to be ejected.

But hopefully something new already exists
in a form that is even now emerging - that
is, as I believe it to be - a people that are
inclusive, experience-centered, thoughtful,
justice and peace seeking, grounded in tradition
but progressive and ever - open to new promptings
of God's Spirit.

It is neither Catholic on the one hand; nor is
it conservative, evangelical Protestant on the
other. At the same time it is open to the good
influences of both.

I speak of a type of emerging Christian and
Christian community that more and more people
will find attractive, because they are about
things that really matter.

Thanks, Reg. Bibby for helping me to reflect
on these matters at the closing of the year.



Written During the Calendar Year of 2011

All selections can be retrieved by
clicking the link and scrolling down
the page to each specific article:


1. "Souls in Full Sail: A Christian
Spirituality for the Later Years"
by Emilie Griffin
Reviewed for America, March 14th, 2011
January 8th, 2011

2. "Godless Morality: Keeping Religion
Out of Ethics" by Richard Holloway
January 22nd, 2011

3. "The King's Speech:
A Reflection on the Oscar Nominee
For Best Picture and other Awards"
February 5th, 2011

4. "Thinking in Tongues:
Pentecostal Contributions to
Christian Philosophy"
by James K.A. Smith
February 12th, 2011

5. "Beyond the Gods and Back:
Religion's Demise and Rise
and Why it Matters"
by Reginald Bibby
February 19th, 2011

6. "If the Church Were Christian:
Rediscovering the Values of Jesus"
by Philip Gulley
February 26th, 2011

7. "Community and Growth
Revised Edition" by Jean Vanier
March 5th, 2011

8. "I Shall Not Hate:
A Gaza Doctor's Journey"
by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish
March 12th, 2011

9. "Christian Mystics:
365 Readings and Meditations
That Celebrate the Mystical Path"
Prepared by Matthew Fox
April 9th, 2011

10. "Why Catholics are Right"
by Michael Coren
April 16th, 2011

11. "Soulistry:
Artistry of the Soul
Creative Ways to
Nurture Your Spirituality"
by June Maffin
June 11th, 2011

12. "Our One Great Act
of Fidelity" by Ron Rolheiser
June 18th, 2011

13. "Devil's Ink:
Notes from the Basement Office"
by Jeffrey C. Pugh
June 25th, 2011

14. "Allah, Liberty and Love:
The Courage fo Reconcile"
by Irshad Manji
June 30th, 2011

15. "Speaking Christian:
Why Christian Words Have Lost
their Meaning and Power -
and How They Can Be Restored"
by Marcus Borg
August 6th, 2011

16. "A Public Faith:
How Followers of Christ
Can Serve the Common Good"
by Miroslav Volf
September 3rd, 2011

17. "The Messenger:
Friendship, Faith and
Finding One's Way"
by Douglas John Hall
September 17th, 2011

18. "The Long View:
An Elderwoman's Book of Wisdom"
By Donna Sinclair
September 24th, 2011

19. "Practicing Reverence:
An Ethic for Sustainable
Earth Communities"
by Ross Smilie
October 22nd, 2011

20. "The Other Face of God:
When the Stranger Calls Us Home"
by Mary Jo Leddy
October 29th, 2011

21. "Reclaiming the Bible
for a Non-religious World"
by John Shelby Spong
November 5th, 2011

22. "What the Bible Really Tells Us:
The Essential Guide to Biblical Literacy"
by T.J. Wray
November 12th, 2011

23. "A Common Written Greek Source
for Mark and Thomas"
by John Horman
November 19th, 2011

24. "Beyond Religion:
Ethics for the Whole World"
by the Dalai Lama
December 2nd, 2011

25. "The United Church of Canada:
A History" edited by
Don Schweitzer
December 18th, 2011



1. "Is It Fitting?" Sermon Preached
at St. David's United Church, Calgary on
The Baptism of our Lord, January 9th, 2011
January 8th, 2011

2. "Cancer Discharge Letter:
Reflections on a Cure and
a Look at 'Survivorship'"
January 29th, 2011

3. "Goals for the Tour to the Celtic Lands:
Thoughts on the St. David's Calgary 50th
Anniversary Pilgrimage to Sacred Places in
Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England"
(April 26th - May 10th, 2011)
March 19th, 2011

4. "The Universal Spirituality
of Classical Music"
March 26th, 2011

5. "God, Atheism and Morality:
A Summary of Learning from the Course"
April 2nd, 2011

6. "The Holy Land Conflict" -
Notes from a Presentation by
Oren Steinitz, Doctoral Candidate
and Jewish Chaplain at the Centre
of Faith and Spirituality,
The University of Calgary
April 9th, 2011

7. "Notes taken from a presentation by
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish at the Webber
Academy, Calgary this week"
April 23rd, 2011

8. "Thin Places on Our Tour of
the Celtic Lands"
June 4th, 2011

9. "A Brief Reflection on
My Summer Reading"
July 9th, 2011

10. "Sacred Sites:
Thoughts on Tourism
as Spiritual Nourishment"
July 23rd, 2011

11. "Early Protestant
Missionaries in S. Alberta"
Historic Calgary Week
Chinook Historical Society
Presentations at the
McDougall Memorial United Church
Morley Village, Alberta
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
August 20th, 2011

12. "On Smelling the Roses"
Reflections Before Our Planned
Trip to See the Leaves
Turn Colour in Ontario
October 1st, 2011

13. "Beauty in the Beholder's Eye"
Reflections After Our Planned
Trip to See the Leaves
Turn Colour in Ontario
October 15th, 2011

14. "The Ends of Economic Activity"
A Lecture by Miroslav Volf
Presentated at Ambrose University College
Calgary, November 18th, 2011
November 26th, 2011

15. "A Visit to St. David's Monday Night
Study Group by Two of Calgary's
Gay nnd Lesbian Communities" -
Notes of the Discussion
December 10th, 2011

16. "Holst Family Christmas Letter, 2011"
December 24th, 2011

17. "Canadian Mainline Protestantism:
Is it Renewable? " -
A Year End Reflection
December 31st, 2011
(see above)

18. "Annual Summary of Colleagues List Articles
Book Notices, Sermons, Lecture Notes and
Personal Reflections" -
December 31st, 2011



Personal Blog
December 23ed, 2011

"How the Baby Protects Us"


Okanagan, BC

Wednesday December 28, 2011

"The Difference Between God and Jesus"


San Antonio, TX

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

"Books that have Found Me in 2011"




Ucan News
December 23rd, 2011

"Where the Divide
 Hardly Exists"


"Canada Walks Out at
 Kim Jong Il Moment
 of Silence at the UN"

Cankor Commentary
December 23rd, 2011


"West Misunderstands N. Korea"

Hindustan Times
December 27th, 2011


"North Korea Mourns Kim Jong Il"

Atlantic Online Photos
December 28th, 2011


What Literature Owes the Bible
Essay by Marilynne Robinson

The New York Times
Review of Books

December 26th, 2011

A number of the great works of Western
literature address themselves very directly
to questions that arise within Christianity
and test doctrine by means of dramatic


A Clearly Christian Testimony
in a Multi-Faith World

ABC Queensland, Australia
December 25th, 2011


Seeing Jesus in the Koran

Huffington Post Canada
December 16th, 2011



New Catholic Times
December 27th, 2011


Traditional Practices in Decline

Vancouver Sun
December 24th, 2011


December 28th, 2011


Dec. 28th, 2011



BBC News
December 25th, 2011


Ecumenical News International
December 28th, 2011

After carnage in Nigeria, spiritual leaders
seek unity, fearing religious war

Abuja, Nigeria (ENI news) - After Muslim
militants bombed a Nigerian church over
the Christmas weekend, northern Nigerian
Christians say they will fight to defend
themselves against a possible religious
war in Africa's most populous country.
On Christmas Day, a suicide bomber tried
to force his way into St Theresa's Roman
Catholic Church in Madella, on the edge
of the capital, Abuja. He was stopped by
police and detonated a bomb as parishioners
poured out of the church after Christmas
Mass. Thirty-nine people died and hundreds
were injured.

In the U.S. the National Council of Churches
(NCC) condemned the bombing as "intrinsically
evil." Incoming president Kathryn Mary Lohre
added that "we condemn any violent act so
contrary to the common understanding of God's
love as it is expressed among Christians,
Muslims and persons of all the major faith


"Northern Nigerian Christians
 Warn of Religious War"

Dec. 27th, 2011



The Times of Lahore
December 25th, 2011


Pew Survey Confirms This

December 21st, 2011

Ecumenical News International
Report shows Christianity
shifting to Africa

Report shows Christianity
shifting to Africa

Washington, D.C. (ENI news) - With
2.18 billion adherents, Christianity has
become a truly global religion over the
past century as rapid growth in developing
nations offset declines in Christianity's
traditional strongholds, according to a
report released on 19 December. Billed
as the most comprehensive and reliable
study to date, the Washington, D.C.-based
Pew Research Center's "Global Christianity"
reports on self-identified Christian
populations based on more than 2,400
sources of information, especially
census and survey data, Religion News
Service reports.

Anglican Journal
December 22nd, 2011


"Christianity by the Numbers
 Around the World"

Zenit News from Rome
December 23rd, 2011



Huffington Post Canada
December 22nd, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
21 December 2011

Hong Kong churches promote
economic justice at Christmas

Hong Kong (ENI news) - The Hong Kong
Catholic Church has reminded its members
to be aware of the need for economic
justice during the Christmas season and
two other church groups are participating
in the "Occupy" anti-corporate movement.
The Diocesan Catholic Commission for Labor
Affairs (CCLA) has organized a Christmas
campaign to boycott shopping centers to
promote the cause and highlight the need
to alleviate the wealth gap in society.


22 December 2011

Haifa's Holiday of Holidays festival
embraces differences

Haifa, Israel (ENI news) - Both Christmas
lights and Hanukkah dreidels (spinning tops)
are appearing as decorations as the northern
Israeli port city of Haifa throws a multi-
faith party on December weekends. Now in its
18th year, the Holiday of Holidays -- which
also includes the recently-celebrated Muslim
Eid al-Adha -- is meant "to share the
differences and honor them," said Assaf Ron,
director of the Beit Hageffen Jewish-Arab
Center which organizes the festival along
with the Haifa municipality. "We want to
show Jews, Christians, and Muslims that we
can celebrate our holidays together, we can
be together in a big open venue, mix together,
and not feel strange or fearful," Ron said.

Today, the Magi would have a tough time
finding frankincense

(ENI news) - The world may still have gold
and myrrh, but it's quite possible that
frankincense could become a thing of the
past, given ecological pressures on the arid
lands where it grows in Ethiopia. The storied
resin -- known to millions as one of the three
gifts of the Magi, the wise men who visited
Jesus after his birth -- is made from gum
produced by the boswellia papyrifera tree.
It is used as incense in religious rituals
in many cultures, as well as an ingredient
in perfume and Chinese traditional medicine,
reports USA Today via Religion News Service.
Dutch and Ethiopian researchers studying
populations of the scraggly, scrublike trees
in northern Ethiopia found that as many as 7
percent of the trees are dying each year,
and seedlings are not surviving into saplings.


23 December 2011

Filipinos asked to moderate Christmas
celebrations, give to storm victims

Manila, Philippines (ENI news) - A tropical
storm that hit the southern Philippines eight
days before Christmas has prompted church and
government leaders to ask Filipinos to tone
down their festivities this season and give
to hundreds of families left homeless and
hungry. Some churches that celebrate morning
or evening pre-Christmas services from 19 to
24 December have encouraged parishioners to
contribute to a fund drive to help survivors
recover from Tropical Storm Sendong, which
hit on 16 December.

Christmas services go outdoors
as quakes again hit New Zealand city

Christchurch, New Zealand (ENI news) - Many
Christmas church services in Christchurch,
New Zealand will be held outdoors this weekend
after four strong earthquakes struck within
three hours on 23 December, injuring 60, and
causing further damage to the Anglican and
Catholic cathedrals. Christchurch Mayor Bob
Parker said the quakes, which included 5.8
and 6.0 magnitude temblors, were distressing
at a time when the council is slowly making
the city safe after a February 6.1 magnitude
quake that killed 181 people. This time, he
said, "there has been no loss of life or
serious injury. This is not a miracle, we
have been right to be cautious."

Congolese religious leaders
urge election dispute settlement

Kinshasa, Congo (ENI news) - Church
leaders in the Democratic Republic of
Congo are calling for urgent dialogue
over the current election dispute, where
two leaders are claiming the presidency.
The disagreement appeared to heighten
after police on 23 December blocked
opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi
from accessing a stadium in Kinshasa
where he planned to stage his own
swearing-in as president. Three days
earlier, Joseph Kabila had been sworn
in for a second term, after the Supreme
Court declared that he had won with
49 per cent of the vote against
Tshisekedi's 32 per cent. "We want them
to come to the negotiating table and agree,"
Anglican Archbishop Henri Isingoma Kahwa
told ENI news moments after Kabila's
swearing-in on 20 December.


Faith group says "human dignity"
should be key to bioweapons accord

Geneva (ENI news) - Over 100 countries
agreed on 22 December in Geneva to a
set of initiatives to strengthen
international cooperation to prevent
biological weapons such as toxins or
infectious agents being developed or
used by terrorists or nations. Trevor
Griffiths, representative for Brussels
- based Pax Christi International,
however, stressed that "key principles
guiding relevant initiatives should be
human dignity and human security."

27 December 2011

In Kenya camp at Christmas, refugees
see Jesus as one of them

Nairobi, Kenya (ENI news) - In the
Dadaab refugee complex in northern
Kenya, the concept of Jesus as a
refugee is gaining relevance, as
Christians and refugee churches
celebrated Christmas. In the
settlement, Pastor Ancent Muisyo
of the Dadaab International Worship
Center said church leaders were
encouraging refugees from conflict
and famine in the Horn of Africa to
be hopeful, even as the government
on 21 December issued a security
alert for churches across the country.
The center brings together members
from 50 Christian denominations,
including Anglicans, Presbyterians
and Baptists. "The people in Dadaab
need to hear words of hope at this
time, because they have fled war and
insecurity. Their experiences are
similar to the flight of baby Jesus
into exile over fears of persecution,"
said Muisyo.


28 December 2011

UK churches strive for an
environmentally "green" Christmas

(London - As the concept of "going green"
continues to gain traction among consumers
and businesses, churches in the United Kingdom
are using the Christmas season to highlight
their role in improving the environment. In
early December, St. Luke's, a Catholic church
in the London suburb of Pinner, switched on
its solar panels, while the Anglican dioceses
of Gloucester, Exeter, Bath, and Wells launched
an ambitious project to provide "green"
electricity for most of their 300 churches,
200 schools, and other institutions. A number
of other green initiatives were implemented
by churches this Christmas season.


29 December 2011

Dissident's book reveals "secret history"
of Christianity in China

(ENI news) - Though Western companies, from
American automakers to European luxury firms,
have recently gained a foothold in China,
Western religion has played a role there for
much longer than General Motors or Hermes.
Nonetheless, Christianity's presence in China
has been "hidden from the West for many years,"
says Wenguang Huang in the introduction to his
translation of "God is Red: The Secret Story
of How Christianity Survived and Flourished
in Communist China" (HarperOne, September 2011)
by Liao Yiwu, a dissident writer whose previous
book landed him in jail.


Clergy brawl erupts at
Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity

Bethlehem, West Bank (ENI news) - A brawl
erupted on 28 December between Greek Orthodox
and Armenian clergy in Bethlehem's Church of
the Nativity, traditional birthplace of Jesus
Christ, also known as the Prince of Peace.



December 22nd, 2011

"Unless we do change our whole way of
thought about work, I do not think we
shall ever escape from the appalling
squirrel-cage of economic confusion in
which we have been madly turning for
the last three centuries or so, the
cage in which we landed ourselves by
acquiescing in a social system based
upon envy and avarice."

- Dorothy L. Sayers


December 23rd, 2011

"Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness./
Come, my Life, and revive me from death./
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds./
Come, Flame of divine love,/ and burn up
the thorns of my sins,/ kindling my heart
with the flame of thy love."

- Dimitrii of Rostov



On Dec. 23, 1986 - the experimental
airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan
and Jeana Yeager, completed the first
non-stop, around-the-world flight without
refueling as it landed safely at Edwards
Air Force Base in California.


On Dec. 25, 1991 - Soviet President
Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on TV to
announce his resignation as the eighth
and final leader of a Communist superpower
that had already gone out of existence.


On Dec. 26, 1941 - Winston Churchill
became the first British prime minister
to address a joint meeting of the United
States Congress.


Dec. 28, 1981 - Elizabeth Jordan Carr,
the first American test-tube baby, was
born in Norfolk, Va.


Dec. 29, 1940 - during World War II,
Germany began dropping incendiary bombs
on London.


CLOSING THOUGHT - Winston Churchill

The Guardian, UK Dec. 26th, 2011 -

Churchill commenting on Gandhi's
meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931:

It is alarming and nauseating to see
Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple
lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a
type well known in the east, striding
half naked up the steps of the viceregal
palace, while he is still organising and
conducting a campaign of civil disobedience,
to parlay on equal terms with the
representative of the Emperor-King.

In a letter to his mother, 1896:
(India is) a godless land of snobs and bores.


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