Sunday, August 17, 2014

Colleagues List, August 24th, 2014

Vol. X.  No. 4



Wayne A. Holst, Editor
My E-Mail Address:

Colleagues List Web Site:

"Quicklinks" are included with many items
at the beginning of this issue. To get a more
complete picture, however, scroll down to
find your special selection in the body of
the blog. 

Note that not all items here have links.


Dear Friends:

Summer in our northern climes is moving
toward an end, and with that comes planning
for our fall and winter programs.

Next week, I will return to weekly Colleagues
List mailings and information, including upcoming
courses and studies at the church and university.

This week, I want to share with you a book
notice on the theme - "A Good Ending" - published
by the United Church of Canada. It is "A
Compassionate Guide to Funerals, Pastoral
Care, and Life Celebrations."

This continues my interest in how we might deal
with death and dying in our modern secular

Please scroll down to read this book notice.


Colleague Contributions - this week are from:

Dennis Greunding of Ottawa who writes on
"Our Fragile Democracy" in Canada

Jim Taylor of Okanagan, BC who offers articles
on "Fundamentalism" and "Polygamy"

Ron Rolheiser of San Antonio who provides
"Ten Secrets to Happiness."

All four pieces are well worth reading.


Net Notes -

"Taize at 75" - the venerable ecumenical
community in Burgundy, France now
celebrates three quarters of a century
of existence (Taize Community website)

"Theology and Misconduct" - a sad but
important article on how powerful but
human leaders can dramatically contradict
the Gospel they advocate - in this case,
John Howard Yoder, famous Mennonite
writer on peace (The Christian Century)

"John Mogabgab Dies at 67" - Henri
Nouwen's friend and spiritual editor
died recently (Henri Nouwen Society)

"Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism" - while we
all have views on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict something insidious is taking place
(Anglican Journal)

"Pope Francis in Korea Assessment" - two
articles with a common theme on the pope's
recently concluded successful visit to Korea
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Vatican Seeks Peace with US Nuns" - after
some years of open conflict, the Vatican
seems to be changing its approach
(National Catholic Reporter)

"Some Young Mormons Question Faith" -
an interesting report on the lives of at
least some youthful LDS missionaries
(The Atlantic online)

"Canadian Pentecostals Adopt 2020 Vision" -
while some denominations seem to be
winding down, this one is heading boldly
in another direction (Christian Week online)

"Abducted Amish Girls Returned to Parents" -
here is a tragic story that turned out happily
(CBC News)

"Top Muslims Condemn ISIS Christian Attacks" - 
the voice of World Muslim leaders is starting to 
be heard on the tragedy that is ISIS in Iraq
and Syria (Vatican Radio)

"British Hotel Chain Removes Bibles from Rooms"
-  in a not surprising report from Great Britain
we read of a move to stop the distribution of
Bibles in UK establishments (The Christian Post)


Wisdom of the Past Two Weeks - includes reflections
by James Foley, Mother Teresa, Craig Kielburger,
Daw Nyein Tha, Alva Myrdal, Mairead Corrigan,
Emily Greene Balch, Bertha von Suttner and
Madeleine L’Engle.

These quotes come to us thanks to Sojourners
and the Bruderhof online.

Please scroll down.


On This Day - covers a period of August 10th
to 24th with articles from history appearing in
the New York Times as events were taking place:

"India and Pakistan Freed from British Rule"

"Japan Surrenders Unconditionally, Ending WWII"

"East Germany Builds Wall in Berlin"

"Woodstock Music and Art Fair Concludes"

"Czechoslovakia Invaded by Russia"


Closing Thoughts - come from two sources
this week -

F. William Sunderman
and Mahatma Gandhi
To read scroll down.

Blessings to you until we meet again
next week - August 31st!





Book Notice:

A Compassionate Guide to Funerals,
Pastoral Care and Life Celebrations
by David Sparks, 
United Church Publishing House,
Toronto. 2014. $19.95 CAD. 
$10.95 Download. E-book $4.95
277 pp. ISBN # 978-1-55134-216-0.

Publisher's Promo:

Wow, that was a good funeral...

Comments like this are not an accident, but
the result of care and planning, contends
David Sparks in A Good Ending. This practical
book gives advice and ideas for every step
along the way, from supporting the dying
person, to planning a funeral, life celebration,
or memorial, and to being with those left to
mourn. Whether you're a new or seasoned
worship leader looking for fresh insights or
ideas or someone looking for guidance to
support a dying loved one, you'll find this
an indispensable resource. Practical helps
include suggested prayers, sample meditations
and service outlines, and detailed check lists
also available as downloadable file and e-book.


About the Author:

David Sparks has served as a minister for 38
years in The United Church of Canada and the
United Reformed Church of England and Wales.
He has written six books of lectionary-based
prayers in the Prayers to Share and Pastoral 
Prayers to Share series (Wood Lake Books)
and his hymns have been published in hymn
books in Canada and USA. Sparks has led
workshops on various aspects of public

Now retired, he lives with his wife in
British Columbia.


From the Foreword:

During a funeral or celebration of life service,
worship leaders have the potential to be either
great help or great harm to the people who are
saying their goodbyes... every so often we need
a little help to do our best, because funerals are
hard work... it is hard work because often we
are grieving with the people whom we are
attempting to comfort.

Sometimes we are thrown into situations
(suicides, murders, tragic accidents) that
are hard to imagine and seemingly impossible
to prepare for. At all such times, David, the
author can help you toward a very good ending.

This book is filled with useful advice from a
variety of different people, sound instruction
and powerful liturgies that walk the worship
leader through everything needed for them
to help them do their best. When you do not
know where to start, but want to do your best,
this book will help you get there.

Reading this book feels like consulting with a
trusted friend or mentor. For people starting
out in worship leadership this book will help
to alleviate any anxieties you might have about
leading a service. For seasoned worship leaders,
this book will act like a refresher course, offering
new ideas, new perspectives and new liturgies.
(Alydia Smith)

Author's Words:

In this book, I deliberately paint a broad
canvas.  The areas covered range from a
theological basis of bereavement through
a consideration of secular celebrations and
their component parts, to meditations.

(The author attempts to cover the field well
but does not assume to deal with specific
areas like childhood grief or purely secular
celebrations as other books are available.)

A Good Ending arose from my pastoral
experience as a minister. (I have worked
with dedicated church families, those with
no church connection whatsoever, and many

(This is not a "handbook" so much as it is
a means to help you find your own path
and your own words.)

I hope this book will challenge you to think
about the meaning of death and what happens
after a person dies; and I hope it opens you
up to concepts and ideas that are new and

You only have one opportunity to celebrate
and mourn the end of a person's life and
each opportunity is unique and challenging.


My Thoughts:

Earlier this past summer, I attended a
celebration of the life of an old friend and
former parishioner whose family extended
a special invitation that my wife Marlene
and I join with the congregation for the
special occasion. We felt deeply honored
by this, and were uplifted by what we

After the service we had the opportunity
to hear the comments of both worship
leader and congregants as well as to
share our support for the family and to
express appreciation to many, including
the worship leader.

I was particularly appreciative of the way
the service reflected much thought and
spiritual preparation as well as being a
wonderful memorial to the deceased.

Truly, two important needs were being
addressed. First, was the pastoral need
of the mourners and all present. Second
- and equally important - was the sharing
of the Good News of the Gospel in a
winsome and hopeful manner. Both needs
were met, it seemed to me, in a way
that dealt specifically with this situation.

Our congregations are becoming increasingly
diverse. In a way, conducting a meaningful
funeral service is becoming more difficult
than ever. We need to balance the fact
that we are, indeed, a Christian congregation
and not simply involved in a public service -
with an awareness that many of those who
have gathered for the event have little or
no roots or exposure to the Christian faith.

Still, for whatever reason, those people
have gathered for a special and unique
purpose - the paying of respect to the
person who died and those who care
about that person

I am turned off by funerals that pay little
heed to the uniqueness of the moment
and are essentially liturgical blather.
I am equally turned off by funerals in
our churches that are simply memorials
to the deceased. Both extremes are
unfortunate because a wonderful
opportunity to pay tribute to the Gospel
and the dearly departed is being missed.

I think that a book like this one by
David Sparks can help us to find a
special creative balance that will
demonstrate the continuing value
of the church in our society today. 

Buy the book from UCPH:



Ottawa, ON

United Church Observer Online
August 14th, 2014

"A Fragile Democracy"

Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
August 10th, 2014




San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
August 18th, 2014

"Ten Secrets to Happiness"



Brother Roger Dead Nine Years
All Humanity Continues to Visit

Taize Community Website
August, 2014 -


The Case of John Howard Yoder

The Christian Century
August 4th, 2014


Henri Nouwen's Editor and Friend

Henri Nouwen Society Website
August, 2014


We Need to be Alert to the Dangers

Anglican Journal
August 21st, 2014


Opening Message Focuses on Reconciliation

National Catholic Reporter
August 16th, 2014

"Reconciliation -
  Summary Focus of Francis' Korea Trip"

National Catholic Reporter
August 23rd, 2014


After Decade of Threats and Confrontation

National Catholic Reporter
August 15th, 2014


A Natural Outcome of

Being Out In the World

The Atlantic Online
August 20th, 2014


600 New Starts While Other 
Denominations Assume Cutbacks

Christian Week
August 11th, 2014


Suspects Identified - 
Community More Suspicious

CBC News
August 16th, 2014


Voices from Islamic Community
Reject Persecution in Iraq

Vatican Radio
July 27th, 2014


Claiming Diversity a Possible

Sign of More Policy Changes

The Christian Post
August 18th, 2014



Provided by Sojourners
and Bruderhof online

"If nothing else, prayer was the glue
that enabled my freedom, an inner
freedom first and later the miracle of
being released during a war in which
the regime had no real incentive to free

us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did."

- James Foley, journalist who was executed
by Islamic State jihadists this week, on his
captivity in Libya in 2011, as written in
Marquette Magazine.

Pope calls family of slain journalist
Catholic News Service, Aug. 21st, 2014


An empty heart God fills. Even Almighty God
will not fill a heart that is full – full of pride,
bitterness, jealousy – we must give these
things up. As long as we are holding these
things, God cannot fill it. Silence of the heart,
not only of the mouth – that too is necessary
– but more, that silence of the mind, silence
of the eyes, silence of the touch. Then you
can hear him everywhere: in the closing of
the door, in the person who needs you, in
the birds that sing, in the flowers, the animals –
that silence which is wonder and praise.

Why? Because God is everywhere and you
can see and hear him.

 - Mother Teresa


"It's easier to be ignorant and say I don't
know about the problem. But once you know,
once you've seen it in their eyes, then you
have a responsibility to do something. There
is strength in numbers, and if we all work
together as a team, we can be unstoppable."

- Craig Kielburger


Obedience through fear is reluctant and resentful.
Obedience through gratitude is joyful, instant, and
spontaneous. Gratitude is like an overflowing stream,
positive, outgoing. It is a powerful antiseptic, that

kills the germs of bitterness. Gratitude is the glue
that binds and unites you to your neighbor. It is
the salt that flavors all inspired relationships.
A grateful heart is a normal heart.

- Daw Nyein Tha


"The longing for peace is rooted in the hearts
of all [humans]."

- Alva Myrdal


"Our common humanity is more important than
all the things that divide us."

- Mairead Corrigan


"We speculate as to what is in store for us. 
But we not only undergo events, we in part 
cause them or at least influence their course. 
We have not only to study them but to act."

- Emily Greene Balch


"After the verb 'to love,' 'to help'
 is the most beautiful verb in the world."

- Bertha von Suttner


It is when things go wrong, when the good
things do not happen, when our prayers
seem to have been lost, that God is most
present. We do not need the sheltering wings
when things go smoothly. We are closest to
God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.
There is no such thing as belief without
doubt or struggle.

- Madeleine L’Engle


August 11th - 23rd

"India and Pakistan Freed from British Rule"

"Japan Surrenders Unconditionally, Ending WWII"

"East Germany Builds Wall in Berlin"

"Woodstock Music and Art Fair Concludes"

"Czechoslovakia Invaded by Russia"



"How infinitesimal is the importance
  of anything I do, but how infinitely
  important it is that I should do it."

- F. William Sunderman

"Simple truths are more powerful than empires."

- Mahatma Gandhi


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