Friday, December 4, 2015

Colleagues List, December 6th, 2015

Vol. XI.  No. 16



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.


Dear Friends:

It is always nice to be able to introduce a book
written by a colleague. This week I am pleased
to tell you about Fr. Tom Ryan's newly published
 "Christian Unity: How You Can Make a Difference"
Thanks for writing this one, Tom.

For details, and my comments,
please scroll down.


Colleague Comment this week is from:

Hardy Schroeder (Winnipeg, MB) who shares
a link to some Advent seasonal inspiration.


Erich Weingartner (Callander, ON) who writes
of a recent visit to North Korea as part of a
delegation from the World Council of Churches.

Thanks to both of you.

For their letters and other details,
please scroll down.


Colleague Communication:

Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) writes two pieces
for us this week:
"Fear Blunts Our Compassion"
  On the refugee situation today  (and)

"Where You Find God"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) shares:

"The Hiddenness of God
  and the Darkness of Faith"

Thanks to you both for faithful,
regular columns.

Scroll down for more details.


Net Notes: These items spoke to me this week -

"Christmas Greeting" - from both the Canadian
Anglican Primate and the National Bishop of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:

"Welcoming Jesus the Refugee" (ACC Website)


"Lesson from Paris" - an editorial on the
theme that war talk won't destroy terror
(America Magazine)


"Advent is About Desire" - a reflection
on basic humanity (America Magazine)


"Why Bother With Advent?" - some Christian
traditions do not celebrate Advent or other
church year seasons, but here is a rationale
for learning the discipline of Advent waiting
(Christian Week online)


"One Abraham or is it Three?" - a helpful
conversation on the patriarch Abraham and
how the three faiths of Jerusalem view him
(The Christian Century)


"Protestants Follow the Pope" - from an
evangelical Protestant source, this article
for interested Christian travelers says that
Francis encourages Ugandan martyr tourism
(Christianity Today)


"Maurice Strong - Environmental Champion" -
a great Canadian public servant died this
week at age 86 (New York Times)


"Refugee Crisis - A Defining Moment for Canada" -
Governor General Johnson defines the situation
and here are some related links as well
(CTV News)

"250 Syrian Refugees Arrive, thousands More Coming"
(CTV News)

"Small Canadian Towns Opening Doors to Refugees"
(CBC News)


"Chinese Communists Hold a Meeting on Religion" -
a time of assessment on religion in China today
(UCA News)


"Francis Leaves Africa Addressing
  Muslims and Christians"  another successful
  tour for the pope. Here are some links:

The pope calls Africans to be brothers and sisters
(National Catholic Reporter)

He Went as Pope of Peace, but also
         Challenged Corruption and Division
(The Tablet, UK)


Wisdom of the Week - provided by Sojourners and
the Bruderhof online is written by the following

Fred Rogers, Rosa Parks, Jörg ZinkJörg Zink,
Athanasius of Alexandria, Mahatma Gandhi
and Thomas Merton

To read them, please scroll down.


On This Day:

Is from the archives of the New York Times:

"Gas Disaster at Union Carbide, Bhopal India"

"Clinton First US President to Visit N. Ireland"

"UN Partitions Palestine Between Arabs and Jews"


Closing Thought - Henri J. M. Nouwen

To read him, scroll to the end of the blog.


For those interested:

We are completing our program season
for Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
The ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church,

Next week, we will begin introducing the
program prepared for Winter, 2016.



Book Notice -

How You Can Make a Difference
by Thomas Ryan
Paulist Press (Oct. 2015)
$25.00 CAD. 212 pages.
ISBN #978-0-8091-4950-5

Publisher's Promo:

In this inspirational book, Fr. Thomas Ryan
harvests his thirty-five years of experience
in the work for Christian unity, putting it on
the table for popular consumption and to
renew energy for the cause. In addition, he
gives voice to the experience of others from
around the continent and beyond who have
shared the journey with in depth experience
in particular domains of ecumenical endeavor.

Ryan recounts stories of the growing number
of lay movements and institutes of consecrated
life who carry the work for unity at their core,
such as Focolare and the Community of Sant’
Egidio. Similarly, the significant contribution
monastic and religious communities and societies
of apostolic life can make is exemplified in the
stories of Taizé and Bossey, the Paulists,
Atonement Friars, Glenmary Missioners, and
Jesuits. The “new monastics” who are springing
up within a variety of Protestant traditions in
North America are also featured.
All of the above are lifted up as exemplifications
that our bonds with one another in the body of
Christ are being experienced and manifested
in new ways. We are witnessing the emergence
of a new reality: the priority of Christian
community over a purely doctrinal approach.
And the implications are both profound and
exciting. The question framed for the reader is:
If you are not already doing so, how might you
participate and make a difference there, where
you are?


Author's Bio:

Thomas Ryan is a native of Minnesota and a
member of the Paulist Fathers community of
Catholic priests. His ministry has been marked
by three passions: spirituality; Christian unity;
and interreligious understanding and

Fr. Tom is currently the director of the Paulist
North American Office for Ecumenical and
Interfaith Relations in Washington, DC, and
former director of the Canadian Centre for
Ecumenism and of Unitas, an ecumenical
center for Christian meditation and spirituality
in Montreal, QC. An avid outdoorsman and
appreciator of the theatrical and musical arts,
he is the author or co-author of 14 books and
leads retreats internationally.


Author's Words:

We hear about bringing the good news of
Jesus into every human situation. The core
of the gospel is indeed good news.

But how can that message have any semblance
of credibility when we Christians who bring it 
are divided amongst ourselves!

The ministry of the church is actually a two-
sided coin. On one side is evangelization; on
the other is the work for Christian unity. We
need to focus on both sides; to walk the talk.

For 25 years following Vatican II there was
a fresh, strong wind in the sails of efforts
for an increased visible unity and solidarity
among the followers of Jesus. In the last
25 years, however, the wind seems to have
died down.

There are varied reasons for this. Ecumenism
takes time. As old disagreements are resolved,
new ones have surfaced. Our contemporary
culture tends to make a positive virtue of

We have tended to invest more of our efforts
in inter-faith relations. Sometimes these
ventures seem more exotic than the intra-
Christian goal of unity in faith, life, worship
and mission.

But this important new work does not release
Christians from taking the other side of the
coin seriously.

The focus of this book is on our responsibility,
in obedience to Jesus' prayer (John 17:21) to
be actively involved in deepening and in
rendering more visible our bonds of unity with
one another as Christians.

Do we still - did we ever? - feel the pain of
the divisions within the one body of Christ?
Are we making peace with not being the
church God wills?

It is time to relight the first of Christian unity at
the grassroots. To a large extent, the ecumenical
movement has become institutionalized. It  has,
by and large, gone from living room dialogues
to formally appointed officers, commissions,
conferences, and high-level dialogues.

What church members in general must realize
is that while those at the official levels play an
important part in keeping the momentum going,
they cannot do it alone.

The chapters of this book seek to provide a
clearer sense of what each of us can do. All
Christians, whatever their role in an for the
church, can make a difference. I hope to
motivate you to action again, or for the
first time!

This is a big project because it is God's project
and all of us have a part to play in it.

- from the Introduction

My Thoughts:

Over the years, I have watched intra-church and
inter-faith ecumenism emerge, evolve, and in
some cases, fizzle. Some of you who read these
words must understand what I am saying.

We watched with youthful enthusiasm the
breakthroughs of the Second Vatican Council
and these were an encouragement to all
Christians because it involved a major player,
the Roman Catholic Church. Some of us even
specialized in mission and ecumenism, like
the author once more suggests we need to do.

But disappointments during a stretch of half
a century have taken their toll. New inter-faith
ventures captured our imaginations. In some
respects, this focus was safer, because we
tended to put other "faiths" in a separate
category from different "churches." 

The vision of a more "visible" Christian unity
has been strongly influenced by post-modern
thinking about the "value" of diversity in our
contemporary global cultures. Accepting
diversity, however, may be an excuse for
not struggling toward a greater unity.

Tom Ryan, a friend for more than 30 years,
is not satisfied with allowing differences to
remain between Christians.  He believes, like
Jesus - and idealistically - that we should be
doing more to "walk the talk" of Christian

At this stage of my life, I am encouraged
by the appearance of a book like this. Ryan
does believe that all of us can make a
difference. And for those who might view
that as fantasy, need I only ask - "Who would
have imagined the emergence of Pope Francis?"

Even the pope cannot bring about Christian
unity as much as he might like to make it
happen. Ultimately, that depends on the
Holy Spirit working in many and diverse ways.
Perhaps serendipity may also play a part.

The first two chapters of this book focus on
the theological foundations of ecumenism -
the "why?" and the "what?" - that are required
for staying the course in Ryan's estimation. He
then looks closely in the ensuing chapters at
a broad range of grassroots possibilities for
the engagement of laity and clergy alike at
local levels. These are "action chapters" after
the foundational theory has been stated.

As much as I have experienced much ecumenical
disappointment over the years, I, like Tom Ryan,
have not lost hope for a more visible, unified 
expression of the body of Christ. I need some
new ideas and possibilities on my faith journey.

Who knows but that the hiatus too many of us
have endured may have been a good thing. We
have done some "wandering in the wilderness"
but hopefully we are entering a time to live more
fully into the Promised Land! We have been
refined, and continued to prepare ourselves.

Thanks, Tom, for reviving my spirit.


Buy the book from


Hardy Schroeder,
Winnipeg, MB

December 2nd, 2015

Dear Wayne

Elfrieda and I were encouraged and inspired
by this little Gaither video clip this morning.
May you and your loved ones also experience
God's amazing grace during these days
of Advent.

Warm Season's Greetings, 



Erich Weingartner
Callander, ON

November 28th, 2015

Hi Wayne, 

Haven't communicated in a long time.
End of October I visited Pyongyang
with a WCC delegation. I wrote my
reflections about part of the trip for
"The Long Road to Reconciliation"

Thoughts on a Visit to the Sinchon Museum

The WCC also reported on this visit here: and here:

Have a blessed Christmas season!



Jim Taylor
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
November 29th, 2015

"Fear Blunts Our Compassion"
  On the refugee situation today  (and)

December 2nd, 2015

"Where You Find God"


Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
November 29th, 2016

"The Hiddenness of God
  and the Darkness of Faith"



Primate and National Bishop
"Welcoming Jesus the Refugee"

ACC Website
December 4th, 2015


War Talk Won't Destroy Terror

America Magazine
December 7-14, 2015

A Focus on Basic Humanity

America Magazine
November 29th, 2015

Learning the Discipline of Waiting

Christian Week online
December 2nd, 2015


Conversation Between Three Faiths

The Christian Century,
September 24th, 2015


He Encourages Ugandan Martyr Tourism

Christianity Today.
December 2nd,2015

Outstanding Canadian Advocate Dies at 86

New York Times
December 1st, 2015


Governor General Defines the Situation

CTV News
December 1st, 2015

"250 Syrian Refugees Arrive,
  Thousands More Coming"

CTV News
December 2nd, 2015

"Small Canadian Towns
  Opening Doors to Refugees"

CBC News
December 3rd, 2015


A Time of Assessment on
Religion in China Today

UCA News
December 3rd, 2015


Calls Them to be Brothers and Sisters

National Catholic Reporter
November 30th, 2015

"He Went as Pope of Peace, but also
  Challenged Corruption and Division"

The Tablet, UK
December 3rd, 2015

Provided by Sojourners
and Bruderhof online:

We live in a world in which we need to share
responsibility. It's easy to say, "It's not my

child, not my community, not my world, not
my problem." Then there are those who see
the need and respond.
I consider those people my heroes.

- Fred Rogers


I have learned over the years that when one's
mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing
what must be done does away with fear.

- Rosa Parks


We humans contribute to the world’s gloom,
like dark shadows on a dark landscape.…
But now this man from Nazareth comes to
us and invites us to mirror God’s image, and
shows us how. He says: you too can become
light, as God is light. What is all around you is
not hell, but rather a world waiting to be filled
with hope and faith. This world is your home
as surely as the God who created and wrought
it is love. You may not believe it, but you can
love this world. It is a place of God. It has a
purpose. Its beauty is not a delusion.

You can lead a meaningful life in it.

- Jörg ZinkJörg Zink


Let them know that the Lord came not
to make a display, but to heal and teach
those who were suffering. For the way for
one aiming at display would be, just to
appear, and to dazzle the beholders; but
for one seeking to heal and teach the way
is, not simply to sojourn here, but to give
himself to the aid of those in want.

- Athanasius of Alexandria


Although we sing, “All glory to God on High
and on the earth be peace,” there seems to
be today neither glory to God nor peace on
earth. As long as it remains a hunger still
unsatisfied, as long as Christ is not yet born,
we have to look forward to him. When real
peace is established, we will not need
demonstrations, but it will be echoed in
our life, not only in individual life, but in
corporate life. Then we shall say Christ
is born.…

Then we will not think of a particular day in
the year as that of the birth of the Christ,
but as an ever-recurring event which can
be enacted in every life.

- Mahatma Gandhi


Into this world, this demented inn, in
which there is absolutely no room for
him at all, Christ has come uninvited.
But because he cannot be at home in
it – because he is out of place in it,
and yet must be in it – his place is
with those others who do not belong,
who are rejected because they are

regarded as weak; and with those
who are discredited, who are denied
the status of persons, and are tortured,
exterminated. With those for whom
there is no room, Christ is present in
this world. He is mysteriously present
in those for whom there seems to be
nothing but the world at its worst.

- Thomas Merton



From the archives of the New York Times:

"Gas Disaster at Union Carbide, Bhopal India"

"Clinton First US President to Visit N. Ireland"

"UN Partitions Palestine Between Arabs and Jews"


CLOSING THOUGHT - Henri J. M. Nouwen

Advent does not lead to nervous tension
stemming from expectation of something
spectacular about to happen. On the
contrary, it leads to a growing inner
stillness and joy allowing me to realize
that he for whom I am waiting has already
arrived and speaks to me in the silence of
my heart. Just as a mother feels the child
grow in her and is not surprised on the
day of the birth, but joyfully receives the
one she learned to know during her waiting,
so Jesus can be born in my life slowly and
steadily and be received as the one I
learned to know while waiting.



Completing Our Program Season -
Autumn 2015 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church,



Theme: "Living in Darkness - Living in Light"

Books: "Learning to Walk in the Dark"
              by Barbara Brown Taylor

             "Between the Dark and the Daylight"
               by Joan Chittister

A  ten-week study in contemporary spirituality
with books by two prominent Protestant and
Catholic writers.

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 21st - November 30th, 2015

Books and Registration/Hospitality - $60.00
Books only - $35.00

Total Class Registrations: 28.

We have sold all of our 37 supplied book sets.

Thanks to Brenda and Joan who helped Jock when
Wayne participated in the "Jerusalem and the Land
of Three Great Faiths" tour (October 16th - 31st)

Now into our sixteenth year of Monday Night Studies
Our thirty-first series of (usually) ten week sessions!

Our Current "Spiritual Darkness" Study Design/Links:

Check our complete archives for all 45 book studies:



Theme: The Book of Exodus from the Hebrew Bible
              "A Classic Story of Human Liberation"

Ten sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30AM
In the St. David's TM Room
September 17th - December 10th.

No charge.

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)



"Jerusalem and the Land of Three Great Faiths"
  October 16th - 31st, 2015


Tour Company: Rostad Tours Calgary
Tour Hosts: Wayne and Marlene Holst
Sponsored by: St. David's ACTS Ministry
Endorsed by: St. David's Church Council

Talk with or write to Marlene and Wayne

We had 29 paid-up participants taking
the tour.

A service to "report to the congregation
on the tour" is took place, Sunday,
November 15th.

Recommended books -

One City, Three Faiths
by Karen Armstrong (1997)

DK Eyewitness Travel (2014)

TOP TEN: Israel, Including Sinai & Petra
DK Eyewitness Travel (2014)




Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre
Cochrane, Alberta

Mark your calendars!

Sunday February 28th
11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

John Griffith is on sabbatical this year.
Reflections will be led by a Franciscan on staff.


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