Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Colleagues List, June 26th, 2010

Vol. V. No. 42


Edited by Wayne A. Holst





"Mr. Holst, you are a free man"

- these liberating words came this past week
from resident Dr. Sultan Alsheikh, assistant
to cancer surgeon Dr. Donald Buie.

Colon cancer surgery was performed on me at
the Foothills Medical Centre, Calgary, Tuesday,
June 15th, 2010.

The hospital release was signed, June 23rd, 2010.


Special Items in this Issue:

Book Notice:

"And Babies Make Seven"
 by V.J. Koning Keelan


Now posted:

My Autumn University Courses -

"What Is Gnosticism?"
"Who Is Jesus?"


Colleague Contributions:

Mathew Zachariah
Jim Taylor
Ron Rolheiser
Philip Jenkins
Don MacLeod


Net Notes:

Pilgrimage to Chartres
Religion and Modernity in India
Praying with the Office Chaplain
Coming Clean on Ulster's Bloody Sunday
Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Website
Aboriginal Leaders Offer Forgiveness to Government
Anglicans and Lutherans Plan More Integrated Future
Lasers Reveal First Images of Peter and Paul in Rome
Asian and Other Influences Shaping Catholic Theology
Bible Translations in all Human Languages Seen by 2025


Global Faith Potpourri:

27 stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Dag Hammarskjöld
Mother Teresa
Sojourner Truth
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Paula Ripple
Dorothy Height
Michele Many


On This Day (June 12th - June 26th)

June 12, 1987 - Reagan calls Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."
June 17, 1928 - Earhart first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean
June 18, 1948 - UN Commission adopts Declaration of Human Rights.
June 25, 1876 - Custer wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne in Montana.
June 26, 1963 - Kennedy visits West Berlin - "Ich bin ein Berliner"


Closing Reflection - Jock McTavish

The Responsibility Project



Dear Friends:

Here is my last Colleagues List, Year V mailing
to about 600 of you, connected around the world.

I hope you enjoy it as it is my first effort since
returning home from surgery, less than a week ago.

The next issue should arrive some time around mid-
July as we continue our summer schedule.


Special Item:

I offer you a book notice for "And Babies Make Seven"
and I do it as a labour of love for the Koning family
of Calgary, AB and Peterborough, ON.

My autumn courses for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings
at the University of Calgary are now posted on the U.
Continuing Ed. web page.

They are:

"What Is Gnosticism?" - a study of an early
Christian 'heresy' using the classic text
of the same name by Karen King.

"Who Is Jesus?" - a perennial favorite, is
a study of Jesus as religious revolutionary
using colleague Marcus Borg's book.

Check out the course descriptions below, whether or not
you can join the class in person.


Colleague Contributions:

Mathew Zachariah - challenges me about a "missing person"
in one of my "On This Day" news stories, last issue.
(personal correspondence)

Jim Taylor - provides insights on "religious baggage"
(Taylor website)

Ron Rolheiser - writes on coming to terms with the
blessing his father gave him at his death, years ago
(Rolheiser website)

Philip Jenkins - offers a prescient assessment of how the
sex abuse scandal is rocking the church in Europe. He says
that "organized religion is dying; but spirituality is very
much alive." It is a theme he has been emphasising for some
time (Christian Century)

Don MacLeod - a founder of Calgary's Wisdom Centre has
good news about a three-day weekend with Phyllis Tickle
in our city, coming in November (Wisdom Centre website)


Net Notes:

"Pilgrimage to Chartres" - Interested in a pilgrimage to
Chartres? Here is a resource, provided by a Catholic group
from New York who do the trek from Notre Dame de Paris.
(Religion and Ethics, PBS)

"Religion and Modernity in India" - An update on the ever-
changing religious scene in modern India (Cathnews Asia)

"Praying with the Office Chaplain" - Chaplaincies are
becoming a fixture in modern commerce (Wall Street Journal)

"Coming Clean on Ulster's Bloody Sunday" - Interpretation on
this long-needed step by the British Government is provided
by The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Tablet (UK)

"Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Website" - The long-
anticipated Canadian TRC began its work in Winnipeg this week.
The official TRC site provides good background. Bookmark it.

"Aboriginal Leaders Offer Forgiveness to Government" -
As TRC hearings begin, a group of evangelical Canadian First
Nations Christians offer a word that may set the tone.
(Christian Week, Winnipeg)

"Anglicans and Lutherans Plan a More Integrated Future" -
National Lutheran bishop and colleague Susan Johnson began
to outline a plan for the future of Anglican-Lutheran
ministry in Canada at the ACC's recent Halifax conference.
(ACC News, Toronto)

"Lasers Reveal First Images of Peter and Paul in Rome" -
Bold new archeological tools are helping to locate early
images from Christianity in Rome (Washington Post)

"Asian and Other Influences Shaping Catholic Theology" -
The Catholic Church in Asia is growingly influenced by
non-Western sources - a helpful article (Cathnews Asia)

"Bible Translations in all Human Languages Seen by 2025 -
Is this the last great translation surge before all humanity
possesses at least some of its own Christian scripture?
(Denver Post)


Global Faith Potpourri:

27 news items, two weeks of accumulation, are
provided by Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Dag Hammarskjöld, Mother Teresa, Sojourner Truth
Abraham Joshua Heschel, Paula Ripple, Dorothy Height
and Michele Many share their wisdom with us.


On This Day (June 12th - June 26th)

Note the following stories provided by the New York Times:

Reagan challenges Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." (1987)
Earhart first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean (1928)
UN Commission adopts International Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
Custer wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in Montana (1876)
Kennedy visits West Berlin, declares "Ich bin ein Berliner" (1963)


Closing Reflection - Jock McTavish

"The Responsibility Project"


I hope you find some good help for your spiritual life
and growth in the material provided this week.

See you in another few weeks!




Contact us at: asdm@sduc.ca (or) admin@sduc.ca
St. David's Web Address - http://sduc.ca

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish




We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.

A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.


We are starting a waiting list for this trip;
also an interest list for a second tour in 2012.



Monday Night Study, January 18th - March 29th, 2010

An insightful description of where Christian faith
is moving in the twenty-first century.

Follow our class videos, power point presentations,
other notes and study resources. Bookmark this link:






A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at: http://bookstudies.stdavidscalgary.net/

This collection of study resources represents 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.



Book Notice:

V. J. Koning Keelan
Septimal Publishing, 2009
ISBN #978-0-9811795-0-6

Publisher's Promo:

"And Babies Make Seven" is the story of a warm
and courageous young woman overcoming great odds
and, with intelligence and fortitude, living a
full and giving life.

Val Koning survived a car accident in 1970 that
killed nine young people (in Ontario,) but she was
in a coma for eight weeks.

After her recovery, she got married and gave birth
to quadruplets. With humour and much self-deprecation
she relates stories of lives well lived, horrendous
events overcome and the triumph of love and happiness.

The book gives much helpful advice about child-raising,
building a good marriage, running a household in the face
of unusual challenges and about how to work around

The author writes with a light hand and weaves many themes
seamlessly into the narrative so that a reader can absorb it
all without effort.

It is difficult to write inspiring material like this
without falling into cliche, self pity and smug self-
appreciation. But she handles this admirably.

If you are interested in survival stories, love stories,
and - if you would like to belong to a large and loving
family for a while - you should read this book.


Author's Words:

"The technician ran out of the room without saying anything,
but she returned in a few minutes. She continued to make
notations, moving the wand to different positions on my
belly. After a few more minutes, she stopped, opened the
door and invited (my husband) Bryan to come into the room.

"Do you want to sit down?" she asked him. "I have some
important news."

"It's okay. I'm leaning against the table."

A simple sentence, but I heard the unstated frustration.
He was probably thinking, "No, I bloody well don't want to
sit! I've been sitting for nearly an hour! What's taking so

The technician smiled, looking from my face to Bryan's
as she announced: "There are four babies."


My Comments:

Author V.J. Koning Keelan is the daughter of colleague
Jean Koning of Peterborough, ON. Her brother is colleague
Steve Koning of Calgary. I have wanted to put in a good
word for this book since it came out last year, and here
is my chance to do so!

There are at least two good reasons for the appearance of
books like this. They exist for the sake of the reader. Anyone
taking the time to become familiar with its twenty-two short
chapters will discover insights and lessons for life, borne
out of the realities and messiness of ordinary existence.

In addition, the book exists for the sake of the writing itself.
Any author who has gone through the discipline of formulating
and organizing thoughts like this is going to be the better for
doing so.

Bryan and V.J. have lived an interesting but challenging life
and it is worthwhile to engage with them in the joys and sorrows
encountered over the decades of their marriage.

All this has occurred from the beginning-place and focal point
of their Christian faith. To read a book like this is not to
consume spiritual pulp. There is plenty of that around and my
word for such drivel is "reject it where you see it."

Here, however, we engage the Keelans over time and see how they
and their faith have matured as a result of the challenges they

Rock-solid faith has been cultivated in all the Christian
faith communities of this land. "Anglican" - is V.J.'s church
tradition and her dad served as a priest of the ACC for years.
Many of his pastoral charges were among First Nations people
in Alberta and Ontario.

Over the years, this family has done their church proud. Jean
and her "brood" should be recognized for that.

If you wish to grow your personal faith while participating in
the development of another family's faith I encourage you to
engage in a worthwhile summer read of "And Babies Make Seven."


Buy the book: follow the link to
the author's website:



Fall University Teaching:

Announcing My Autumn 2010
University Courses:

"What Is Gnosticism?"

Course and registration info:


"Who Is Jesus?"

Course and registration info:



Calgary, AB

I was surprised to see one item in the latest Colleagues
List. Edmund Hillary conquers Mount Everest (1953). The
historical record is clear: Two people - Edmund Hillary
and Tensing Norgay, a seasoned, well-trained sherpa -
successfully climbed Mount Everest together and lived to
tell the tale. Given the mountaineering equipment of those
days, it is unlikely that one person could have achieved
this feat alone. Hillary himself, at that time, spoke of
how each had to help the other negotiate the last stage
and to step onto the summit. I am surprised that
Colleagues List which is very cosmopolitan and broadminded
did not acknowledge the contribution of a Nepali citizen
to such a historic event.


Your correction has been noted. Thanks, Mathew,


Okanagan, BC

Wednesday June 16, 2010


As I grow older, I grow increasingly suspicious of labels.
We tend to assume that once we have labelled a person --
left or right politically; extrovert or introvert socially;
conservative, orthodox, liberal, or evangelical religiously
-- that we know all we need to know about him. Or her...

Read the article: http://tinyurl.com/275bvwk


San Antonio, TX.

June 20th, 2010

Struggling with my Father's Blessing

My father died when I was twenty-three, a seminarian, green,
still learning about life.  It's hard to lose your father at
any age and my grief was compounded by the fact that I had
just begun to appreciate him...

Read the article, click: http://tinyurl.com/29xaegp


University Park, PA

Decline and Scandal
The Catholic Church in Europe

The Christian Century
June 15th, 2010



Calgary, AB.

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Phylis Tickle is coming to Christ Church, Calgary
on the weekend of Nov. 19th-21st, 2010

Dear Friends,

The Wisdom Centre and Christ Church Calgary
look forward to welcoming Phyllis Tickle


Ms Tickle is coming to Calgary for an exciting and thought-
provoking conference. The November 19-21 event will help to
highlight her book, "The Great Emergence: How Christianity
is Changing and Why" (Baker Books, 2008).

All sessions will be held at Christ Church Calgary.

Friday, November 19 - "Leadership for the Emerging Church:
Should We Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way?".
Times are 10:00AM-3:00PM.

Saturday, November 20 - "The Church is Dead.
Long Live the Church!" is open to all.
9:00 for registration with sessions from 9:30AM-2:30PM

Sunday, November 21 - Join us for worship at
Christ Church Calgary, 3602, 8th Street SW, Calgary, at
10:30 AM. Ms. Tickle will be the preacher for the day.

More details to follow, early fall.




PBS Religion and Ethics
June 11th, 2010




Cathnews Asia
June 15th, 2010




Wall Street Journal
June 22nd, 2010




New York Times
June 16th, 2010

"What happened should never, ever have happened.
The families of those who died should not have had
to live with the pain and hurt of that day, and a
lifetime of loss."

- British PM David Cameron, apologizing for the
killings of 14 unarmed demonstrators by British
soldiers in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 1972.



The Atlantic
June 17th, 2010



The Blame for Bloody Sunday

The Tablet
June 26th, 2010




Official TRC Website


Bookmark this site to keep up with developments.



Christian Week
June 22nd, 2010




Future Conventions and National Offices
Slated to be Shared in Future

Anglican Church News
June 19th, 2010




Washington Post
June 22nd, 2010




Cathnews Asis
June 17th, 2010




"Last Languages Surge"

Denver Post
June 23rd, 2010




Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
11 June 2010

Pope concludes 'Year for Priests'
with sexual abuse apology

Rome (ENI). Pope Benedict XVI has marked the end
of the Roman Catholic Church's Year for Priests by
apologising for the scandal of sexual abuse of
children by clergy. "It happened that in this year
of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins
of priests came to light, particularly the abuse of
the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task
is to manifest God's concern for our good, turns into
the opposite," Pope Benedict told 15,000 priests from
90 countries gathered in Rome on 11 June to
concelebrate the Eucharist with him.


Polish bishops bar IVF supporters from communion

Warsaw (ENI). Poland's bishops have warned Roman Catholic
Church members that they cannot receive Holy Communion
if they support in vitro fertilisation, because it is a
violation of church law comparable to abortion. "The
church always defends the weakest, especially the totally
defenceless, who include conceived children," the Family
Council of the bishops' conference had said on 19 May.
"Those who kill them, and those who actively participate
in this killing or make laws against conceived life,
including the life of a child in embryonic state, which
is largely destroyed by in vitro procedure, stand in
open conflict with the Catholic Church's teaching."
The council's statement was issued amid controversy
over plans by the Polish government of Prime Minister
Donald Tusk for a new bioethics law that would allow
IVF to be funded from the State health budget.


Presbyterian church in India to
'discipline' homosexuals

Kochi, India (ENI). The Presbyterian church in the
northeast Indian state of Mizoram has said it will
"discipline" homosexuals by preventing them from
 taking part in important church rituals because
their life-style choice is incompatible with
Christianity. The executive committee of the synod
of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church, the largest
church in the Christian-majority state, decided at
the beginning of June that the church will not condone
homosexuality in any way, and may excommunicate some
homosexuals. "Our church will discipline such people,
and they will not be allowed to take part in
sacraments," the Rev. C. Rosiama, a leader of the
Mizo church and former moderator of the Presbyterian
Church of India, told ENI news on 11 June from Aizwal,
the capital of Mizoram.


Supreme Court in US state sides with Episcopal Church

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). Virginia's Supreme Court sided
with the U.S. Episcopal Church on 10 June in its dispute
with breakaways conservatives over historic and valuable
parish property, a partial but important victory for the
embattled denomination. The ruling overturned a lower
court's decision, which had ruled in favour of nine
Virginia congregations that broke with the Episcopal
Church, which is part of the Anglican Communion, in
2006 and 2007 over disagreements on homosexuality and
the Bible, Religion News Service reports.


14 June 2010

Church agency warns Kyrgyzstan violence may spread

Geneva/Osh (ENI). The worst conflict in Kyrgyzstan
since a revolution in April, may currently be confined
to an area around the southern city of Osh, but the
international ACT Alliance emergency aid and development
agency has warned that the fighting could spread.
Tatiana Kotova, of the ACT Central Asia Forum, speaking
from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, told the ACT Alliance
in Geneva that fighting between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks
could easily escalate in the central Asia region that
is often described as a forgotten corner of the world.
"It is important that fragile democratic processes are
supported not only in Kyrgyzstan but also in neighbouring
central Asian countries," said Kotova. "The risk of the
conflict spreading is high, with potentially global


Blasts at Kenyan Christian prayer rally kill seven

Nairobi (ENI). Church leaders in Kenya have said
they are holding the government responsible for two
explosions at a constitution prayer rally in Nairobi,
in which seven people died and nearly 100 were injured
on 13 June. The church  a proposed draft constitution,
condemned the attack as an affront to the Christian faith,
and sent their condolences to the families of those who
had died. "Having been informed over and over that the
passage of the new constitution is a government project,
we are left with no doubt the government, either directly
or indirectly, had a hand in this attack. Who else in this
country holds explosives?" said the Rev. Peter Karanja,
general secretary of the National Council of Churches of
Kenya. "We therefore hold the government and the 'Yes'
team responsible for the attack and the blood that was
shed, unless they prove to Kenyans that someone else
planted and detonated the devices," said Karanja.
on 14 June.


17 June 2010

Canadian Anglicans defer decision
on same-sex unions issue

Toronto (ENI). The Anglican Church of Canada has
again put off making a formal decision about
whether to allow churches and dioceses to bless
same-gender unions. Instead of voting on a
potentially divisive resolution at the once-every-
three-years meeting of its general synod, the
church adopted a statement acknowledging it was,
"not prepared to make a legislative decision"
that would apply to all 30 dioceses of the
Canadian church. Currently, four Anglican
dioceses in Canada allow the blessing of same-sex
couples. The national church's statement came after
several days of "discernment" sessions on human
sexuality, when the more-than-300 synod delegates
broke into groups each of about 20 people to discuss
sexuality and same-sex blessings.


Somalis risk death watching World Cup;
Christians issue plea

Nairobi (ENI). Football fever has taken hold in Africa,
but some Islamic rebel groups in Somalia are stopping
people from watching the World Cup because they say that
soccer originates from old Christian traditions. Christian
leaders in Somalia are pleading with groups opposed to
football to allow viewing of the matches, as reports
indicate some citizens risk being shot to death or flogged
in public for trying to watch live soccer from South Africa.
"As I speak to you now, my son Awey Ahmed is in the
detention of the rebel group, Al-Shabaab. He was arrested
after they found him watching the football," Pastor Ahmed
Abukar Mukhtar, leader of a small Christian community in
Somali, told ENI news on 17 June in Nairobi. "There is
nothing wrong with football … It is not sex … It is not
terrorism." Abukar, said it is wrong for the rebels to
use religion to oppress and deny people's rights. He
believes football can be used to build peace, and inspire
young people.


Lutheran pastor among two US winners of World Food Prize

New York (ENI). Lutheran pastor, the Rev. David Beckmann,
who once worked for the World Bank, is one of the winners
of the 2010 World Food Prize, which is often seen as the
Nobel Prize on issues related to food security, hunger
and farming. Beckmann, an ordained minister of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and head of the
Washington-based advocacy group Bread for the World,
shares the 2010 award with Jo Luck, president of Heifer
International, an Arkansas-based charity also dedicated
to alleviating global hunger. The two organizations were
lauded for, "the critical efforts of NGOs in mobilizing
and empowering everyday citizens to end hunger in
communities around the world". The laureates were
honoured for their, "landmark achievements in building
two of the world's foremost grassroots organizations
leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions
of people around the world".


Prague cathedral deal boosts
hopes of minority churches

Warsaw (ENI). A Czech Protestant church leader has
predicted that a new Church-State agreement on ownership
of Prague's historic Roman Catholic cathedral will push
forward long-awaited accords on the rights of the country's
minority churches. "Our positions remain the same on these
issues as they were under previous governments," said
Sandra Zalabova, general secretary of the Ecumenical
Council of Churches in the Czech Republic. "But we hold
the view that the new government now establishing itself
will take real steps to resolve the problems." Zalabova,
a lay Protestant was speaking following the agreement,
signed on 24 May by President Vaclav Klaus and Archbishop
Dominik Duka, the country's new Catholic primate, to end
legal wrangling over whether the 14th century St Vitus
cathedral should belong to the State or the Catholic Church.


18 June 2010

New global organization launches
for 80 million Protestants

Grand Rapids, Michigan (ENI). Two global Protestant
groups are meeting in the United States to launch a
new organization representing more than 80 million
Christians in Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting
and other churches around the world. "In these times
of division and dissension in our lives, including
church life, it is highly significant that two global
groups of churches … should be willing to come
together in a higher level of union," said Richard van
Houten, general secretary of the Reformed Ecumenical
Council, one of the two bodies that are to merge. The
two church groupings came together on 18 June at a
gathering in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to found the
World Communion of Reformed Churches. Reformed
Christians trace their heritage back to the 16th-
century Reformation led by Jean Calvin, John Knox
and others, as well as two earlier movements that
sought to reform the Roman Catholic Church.


Vatican and German Catholics accept
resignation of bishop

Trier (ENI). The Vatican has said it will not review
the resignation of former German bishop Walter Mixa
of Augsburg, who German bishops have portrayed as ill
after he claimed to be a victim of church intrigue
following his resignation in April. Vatican
spokesperson Frederico Lombardi said on 16 June,
"Pope Benedict XIV will receive Walter Mixa in the
coming weeks. The acceptance of his resignation,
however, is not likely to be a subject of debate."
The Vatican statement came after Mixa complained in
an interview on 16 June with Die Welt newspaper in
Germany, "The pressure under which I signed th
e prewritten resignation was similar to purgatory.
Three days later, I repealed it in a letter to the
Pope. During those days, I was desperate not knowing
what to do." Mixa offered his resignation in April
after claims of financial irregularities appeared in
the media, along with reports linking him to child
beatings in the 1970s and 1980s in a church-run
children's home.


22 June 2010

Churches' leader hopes Protestant body
can reach Evangelicals

Grand Rapids, Michigan (ENI). The head of the World
Council of Churches has hailed the founding of a new
global Protestant grouping saying he hopes it will
help reach out to evangelical groups that do not
belong to the Geneva-based WCC. In a greeting to the
18-28 June founding meeting of the World Communion of
Reformed Churches, WCC general secretary the Rev. Olav
Fykse Tveit described the formation of the new grouping
as a "historic moment" for churches everywhere. "This
is a source of inspiration for all of us who see the
call to unity, to mission and to promote justice as one,
undivided call," said Tveit.


Praise for Afrikaner cleric who bucked apartheid system

Johannesburg (ENI). The Rev. Nico Smith, one of a small
band of Afrikaner clerics who bucked the apartheid system
by choosing to live in a black township, has died in
Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. Smith was best-
known for leaving a theological teaching post at
Stellenbosch University, the then academic seat of
Afrikaner power, to join the black offshoot of the "State
Church" the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (Dutch Reformed
Church) or the NGK as it is also known. In 1985 and his
doctor wife Ellen, moved from their home in Pretoria, to
live in Mamelodi to be close to their blacks-only
Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk in Africa congregation.
Smith was 81 when he died on 19 June.


For clergy, losing faith can be an occupational hazard -

New York (ENI/RNS). For some clergy, it is the problem
that dare not speak its name. Affected pastors say they
cannot be themselves among their congregations or
colleagues, sometimes even with their own families. It's
a huge and burdensome secret with the potential to destroy
their careers, they say. They think they're not the only
ones, but feel terribly lonely, Religion News Service
reports. No, it's not some kind of sexual secret - it's
loss of faith. Daniel C. Dennett, co-director of the
Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University outside
Boston, and Linda LaScola, a Washington-based clinical
social worker, researcher and psychotherapist, are the
authors of a recent study entitled "Preachers Who Are Not
Believers" in the journal Evolutionary Psychology. There
used an admittedly tiny sample - just five pastors, all
Protestants - of clergy who tell their congregations one
thing, but secretly believe another.


23 June 2010

Native American tells churches,
'It's time for a truth commission'

Grand Rapids, Michigan (ENI). A Native American leader
has challenged a global Protestant body to create a truth
and reconciliation commission to redress  the  injustice
of Church involvement in cultural assimilation against
indigenous peoples. Richard Twiss, a member of the Rosebud
Lakota/Sioux Tribe, said the Church had been, "a willing
partner", in the oppression of Native Americans. He spoke
at the founding meeting of the World Communion of Reformed
Churches, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Native Americans had
numbered 50 million in 1400 but by 1895 accounted for barely
230,000, as a results of war and disease, Twiss said on 22
June. "It was one of the worst examples of genocide and
ethnic cleansing, right here in America, which says,
'in God we trust'," said Twiss.


Bomb blast near Russian synagogue
worries religious leaders

Moscow (ENI). Russian religious leaders are concerned
following an explosion on 21 June in front of a synagogue
in Tver, a historic city 150 kilometres (90 miles) north
of Moscow, the second major incident targeting the Jewish
community there in as many years. "The attempt to blow up
the building of the Tver synagogue has shocked the entire
Jewish community of Russia," the Federation of Jewish
Communities of Russia said in a statement. The explosive
device was the equivalent of 100 grams of the explosive
TNT, police said according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
No one was injured in the explosion. The Tver synagogue,
built in the early 20th century, is known for its distinct
eclectic architecture.


Thai church leader thankful for support
during 'tumultuous time'

Tokyo (ENI). A Thai church leader has expressed his
gratitude to Christians around the world for supporting
his country during recent violent clashes between pro- and
anti- government forces. "We are thankful for your concern
and prayers at this time when our nation is struggling through
a seminally tumultuous time in its history," said the Rev.
Sayam Muangsak, the general secretary of the Church of Christ
in Thailand. He made his comments in a letter released on a
Web site of the Christian Conference of Asia, a Chiang Mai-
based regional ecumenical body.


US faith groups give G20 nations
failing grade on poverty

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). An alliance of religious
denominations has given the world's richest nations a
near-failing grade for their progress on eradicating
world poverty.

Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 religious
groups that advocates debt forgiveness for poor nations,
gave the Group of 20 a "D" grade in a report released on
22 June ahead of the 26-27 June G20 summit in Toronto,
Religion News Service reports. Melinda St. Louis, the
deputy director of Jubilee USA, said the G20 has made
"shockingly little progress" since its last meeting in
September. In the last nine months, the G20 has delivered
only US$1.2 billion in new resources to low-income
countries; the Canadian government will spend the same
amount on security alone for the three-day summit.


24 June 2010

S. African president 'patches' breach
with national church grouping

Johannesburg (ENI). South African President Jacob
Zuma appears to have patched up a quarrel with the
South African Council of Churches, a key body in
the struggle against apartheid. The council was
offended in 2009 when Zuma failed to consult it
about the creation of  the National Interfaith
Leadership Council, and did not include it in
the new body.

The South African Government's Buanews agency
reported on 22 June that "Zuma, who held a brief
meeting with the South African Council of Churches …
said the Church had historically played a key role
in government and he hoped it would continue to do
so by providing advice and constructive criticism."


Churches are 'not complete'
without people with disabilities

Grand Rapids, Michigan (ENI). People with disabilities
make up 10 percent of the world's population but their
voices are often never heard in church bodies, a
campaigner for disability rights has told a global
Protestant gathering in the United States. "We are
seeking to be included in the life of the Church,"
Samuel Kabue, of the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates
Network, told the founding meeting of the World Communion
of Reformed Churches in Grand Rapids, in the U.S. state
of Michigan on 22 June.


Former German bishop says pressure
on public figures 'merciless'

Trier, Germany (ENI). The former leader of Germany's
Protestant's, the Rev. Margot Kässmann, has in an interview
criticised her country's government for cut-backs affecting
the poorest in society. In the 21 June interview with Der
Spiegel magazine, Kässmann refers to "enormous public
pressure" that public figures face in carrying out their
duties. "We should be careful that social peace is not
threatened," Germany's former top Protestant bishop told
Spiegel, in her first wide-ranging interview since
resigning as bishop of Hanover and chairperson of the
Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) after being found
driving with more than the legal limit of alcohol in her
in February.


Swedish royal couple reminded by bishop -
nobody is indispensible

Stockholm (ENI). Church of Sweden Archbishop Anders Wejryd,
who married Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling in
Stockholm's Church of St Nicholas on 19 June, reminded the
couple – they are not indispensable. In his sermon he told
the Princess and her fitness trainer husband, who became a
prince after they married, "You'll be taking on tasks that
you won't be able to turn down – but that you can influence.
One of you has had many years to prepare for and live this
life – and one of you only a few."


25 June 2010

Faith leaders pray for 'inspired'
G8/G20 summits in Canada

Toronto (ENI). As leaders of the world's
wealthiest nations hold meetings of the G8 and
G20 here, representatives of different faiths from
Canada and the rest of the world are praying for
them, and calling them to account. In a Toronto news
conference scheduled for26 June, the faith leaders
plan to call attention to a statement released in
October that urges leadership and action on the
United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs
were set by the United Nations in 2000 to reduce world
poverty and improve living conditions by 2015; the faith
leaders and other observers point out, however, that the
world is nowhere near the completion of the goals in 2010,
the two-thirds mark.Prior to the G8/G20 meetings, 80
faith leaders met in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the sixth
annual Interfaith Religious Summit.


Head of world church council
to meet Russian Patriarch in Moscow

Moscow (ENI). World Council of Churches leader, the
Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, will meet with Patriarch Kirill I
of the Russian Orthodox Church in his first official visit
to Russia. During his 27-29 June visit, Tveit, the WCC's
general secretary, and Kirill will meet on 28 June,
following a service to be led by the Russian Patriarch
in the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Dormition, the Moscow
Patriarchate's external relations section told ENI news.
The Russian Orthodox Church is the biggest of the WCC's
349 member churches.


Racial divide could be issue as Adventists
converge on Atlanta

New York (ENI). Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
have gathered from around the world in Atlanta, Georgia, for
their main governing meeting and has elected the Rev. Ted N.
C. Wilson, a vice president, to serve as president of the
Protestant denomination. Election on 25 June, the 60-year-
old Wilson is the son of a former president and replaces Jan
Paulsen, who has served as president since 1999. Wilson has
36 years of denominational service including posts in the
Mid-Atlantic United States, Africa and Russia, the church
said. The 23 June-3 July general conference will elect other
new leaders and "determine the focus of mission" the United
States-based Adventists said in anticipation of the event,
which is expected to draw 70,000 church members. Governing
decisions will be made by 2,400 voting delegates.


June 28th, 2010

Reformed Christians challenged
to leave Calvin's city of Geneva

Grand Rapids, Michigan (ENI). A global Protestant body
should move its headquarters out of Geneva to cuts costs
and to follow the global shift of Christianity to the
southern hemisphere says a U.S. Reformed church leader.
Addressing the founding meeting of the World Communion
of Reformed Churches on 24 June, the Rev. Wesley Granberg-
Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in
America, described Geneva as one of the most expensive
cities in the world. He questioned how the Reformed
grouping could talk of promoting global justice, when
it had its headquarters in a place of "significant
economic privilege".



Sojourners Online
June 11th, 2010

God is something so simple: always to live for
others, never to seek one’s own advantage.

- Dag Hammarskjöld, from his book "Markings"


June 14th, 2010

Reconciliation begins not first with others but
with ourselves: by allowing Jesus to clean us --
to forgive us, to love us.

- Mother Teresa


June 15th, 2010

Religion without humanity is a poor human stuff.

- Sojourner Truth "The Narrative of Sojourner Truth"


June 17th, 2010

Prayer is no panacea, no substitute for action.
It is, rather, like a beam thrown from a flashlight
before us into the darkness. It is in this light
that we who grope, stumble, and climb, discover
where we stand, what surrounds us, and the course
which we should choose.

- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel,
  from his book "Man's Quest for God"


June 18th, 2010

Tension is God’s gift to us, a gift that sometimes will
not permit us to escape its presence. I believe that our
creative energies are activated by just that kind of
upsetting tension. It is in responding to this gnawing
discomfort that we have the possibility of giving shape
to dreams that are at once faithful to who we are and
who we can become.

- Paula Ripple, from book "Growing Strong at Broken Places"


June 23rd, 2010

As more women enter public life, I see developing
a more humane society.

- Dorothy Height, a founding matriarch of the American
civil rights movement


Washington Post
June 24th, 2010

"The oil spill is like a cancer or tumor ...
It is creeping and unpredictable from whether
people will have livelihoods or health issues
later from helping clean it up.

You don't know whether it is benign or malignant."

- Michele Many, a social worker at Louisiana State
University who helps fishermen's wives.



June 12, 1987, during a visit to the divided German
city of Berlin, President Ronald Reagan publicly
challenged Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to
"tear down this wall."



June 17, 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on the first
trans-Atlantic flight by a woman. She flew from
Newfoundland to Wales in about 21 hours.



On June 18, 1948, the United Nations Commission on
Human Rights adopted its International Declaration
of Human Rights.



On June 25, 1876, Lt. Col. George A. Custer and his 7th
Cavalry were wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in
the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana.



On June 26, 1963, President Kennedy visited West Berlin,
where he made his famous declaration: "Ich bin ein
Berliner" (I am a Berliner).




You'll really love this film.
It's about finding a lost teddy bear.




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