Friday, July 30, 2010

Colleagues List, July 31st, 2010

Vol. VI   No. 1


Edited by Wayne A. Holst




"People ask me if I'm Catholic or
 Protestant, and I say I'm neither"

Christine McFall, 21 years old
Ballyclough, County Antrim,
Northern Ireland

(read more, below)


Special Items in this Issue:

Book Notice:

"Putting Away Childish Things"

A first novel by Marcus Borg


Colleague Contributions:

Brian Bergman
Lorna Dueck
Michel Birch Conery
Jim Taylor
Michael Higgins
Margaret Somerville

Net Notes:

Twenty Years After Oka
My Grandfather's Faith
Elizabeth at Home in Canada
New Governor General is Anglican
A New Direction for Clark Pinnock
The Disappearing Christians of Iraq
The One Hundred Top Books of all Time
"Feudal Church" at Risk Says Theologian
Archbishop Tutu Announces His Retirement
Abolitionist Discovered to Have Had Slaves
Lutherans Hold Global Assembly at Stuttgart
Land of Mao - A Rising Tide of Christianity
Quebec's Quellet Heads Bishops' Congregation


Global Faith Potpourri:

23 stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Month:

Pierre-Marie Delfieux
Anais Nin
Jane O'Reilly
Eugene Peterson
David Wagoner
Anna Julia Cooper
James Cone
Thomas Merton
Joyce Rupp
Mahatma Gandhi
Thomas More


On This Day (June 28th - July 27th, 2010)

June 28, 1919 - Treaty of Versailles signed in France
June 29, 1995 - Atlantis docks with Russian Space Station Mir
July 1,  1997  - Hong Kong reverts to Chinese rule
July 10, 1940 - The 114-day Battle of Britain begins
July 20, 1969 - Neil Armstrong becomes first man to walk on moon
July 23, 1914 - Austria-Hungary signals beginning of WWI
July 27, 1953 - Korean War armistice signed at Panmunjon


Closing Special -

"Christian History: A Modern African Perspective"



Dear Friends:

"People ask me if I'm Catholic or Protestant, and
 I say I'm neither."

Several weeks ago, we enjoyed the visit of the
McFall family from County Antrim, Northern Ireland
to our home. Four years ago, we stayed in the bed
and breakfast run by mom, Valerie McFall, while on
a visit to their beautiful country, and now all
five McFalls were in Calgary to enjoy the Stampede.

I was taken by the fresh approach of eldest daughter
Christine McFall, a student at Queen's University,
Belfast. She wanted us to know that - as far as she
was concerned - the old categories of "Protestant"
and "Catholic" no longer applied. She was proud to
be a Christian and Northern Irish but, for her, being
Irish included being part of all of Ireland.

Quite obviously,  "the Troubles" were over. None of
of the McFalls wanted any more of those times.

We can only hope that the vision of Christine's
generation ultimately wins out. That, I sense, is the
worldview shared by growing numbers of Irish in both
the North and South of that charming land!


In this mid-summer issue of Colleagues List I share
my thoughts on a new, first novel by longtime friend
and colleague Marcus Borg. It is entitled:

"Putting Away Childish Things"


Colleague Contributions:

Brian Bergman - a student of mine at the university,
Brian is a writer who created an interesting article
comparing the Alberta cities of Edmonton and Calgary
(Globe and Mail)

Lorna Dueck - writes on the spirituality of Elizabeth,
our queen, who with her husband Philip paid Canada
yet another visit several weeks ago (Globe and Mail)

Michel Birch Conery - woman priest and friend, Michel
writes in response to the unfortunate NYT article -
recently describing a Vatican statement - that linked
pedophile priests with the ordination of women.

I then include a statement from Catholic sisters writing
from India (New Catholic Times and Cathnews Asia)

Jim Taylor - writes a nice piece connecting a belief in
the future with the planting of trees
(Jim Taylor's Web log)

Michael Higgins - returning to things Irish, Michael
writes of how the Irish Catholic church can begin to
break free from the terrible legacy of sexual abuse
under which it presently labours (Globe and Mail)

Margaret Somerville - what are children's rights when
it comes to their origins? Somerville raises this
question and comments in the Globe and Mail


Net Notes:

"Twenty Years After Oka" - It is hard to believe that
the Oka story is now a score of years old. Here is
a narrative of how that event affected the sister of the
Canadian corporal who was killed in that skirmish which
has not yet been peacefully resolved (

"My Grandfather's Faith" - Krista Tippet is one of the
bright lights in American religious broadcasting. Here,
she offers her view of her grandfather, and his continuing
influence on her life (The Christian Century)

"Elizabeth at Home in Canada" - In spite of continuing
calls for the end of the monarchy and its relationship
to Canada I continue to see great value in retaining
such ties, at least as long as Elizabeth reigns. Here
is an article offering some good reasons...
(The Seaway)

"New Governor General is Anglican" - earlier this month
the Prime Minister announced the appointment of a new
Governor General, David Johnston  who is currently president
and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo now assumes
the vice-regal position (Anglican Journal News)

"A New Direction for Clark Pinnock" - One of Canada's
leading evangelical theologians - who has taught for many
years at McMaster Divinity School, Hamilton, ON. - is
assuming a new focus in his later years.

"The Disappearing Christians of Iraq" - the pattern which
we have seen in Palestine continues in other dominantly
Muslim countries of the Near East. This article tells the
story of what is currently taking place in Iraq.
(PBS, Religion and Ethics)

"The One Hundred Top Books of all Time" - I like reading
lists like this one, and thought you too might be interested
(The Guardian)

"Feudal Church" at Risk Says Theologian" - Donald Cozzens,
American theologian, recently paid a visit to Australia
and was interviewed on arrival by the Aussie press
(The Age)

"Archbishop Tutu Announces His Retirement" - larger-than-
life figure, Desmond Tutu announced his withdrawal from
public life this month. I have articles from The Guardian
and PBS Religion and Ethics.

"Abolitionist Discovered to Have Had Slaves" - William
Wilberforce has been credited with being a key force
in ending the slave trade in the British empire more
the a century and a half ago. Now, new information has
surfaced on his own involvement with slavery - which,
in many ways, is not surprizing considering the times.

"Lutherans Hold Global Assembly at Stuttgart" - a major
international gathering of Lutherans met this month in
Germany. I have collected a number of stories from
Ecumenical News International

"Land of Mao - A Rising Tide of Christianity" - the
growth of Christianity in China continues to dazzle and
astound. Here is a story on that significant phenomenon.
(National Public Radio)

"Quebec's Quellet Heads Vatican Congregation" - this
month, the Vatican announced the appointment of a
Canadian, Cardinal Quellet, to head one of the major
departments in Rome  - the Congregation of Bishops
(Cathnews Asia)


Global Faith Potpourri:

This month I have accumulated 23 stories from Ecumenical
News International to share with you (in addition to
those on the major Lutheran World Federation assembly in


Quotes of the Month:

Pierre-Marie Delfieux, Anais Nin, Jane O'Reilly,
Eugene Peterson, David Wagoner, Anna Julia Cooper,
James Cone, Thomas Merton, Joyce Rupp, Mahatma Gandhi
and Thomas More share their wisdom with us this month.
They come to us via Sojourners online.


On This Day (June 28th - July 27th, 2010)

Read the following stories of events historically
occurring during the month of July from the archives
of the New York Times:

Treaty of Versailles signed in France (1919)
Atlantis docks with Russian Space Station Mir (1995)
Hong Kong reverts to Chinese rule (1997)
The 114-day Battle of Britain begins (1940)
Neil Armstrong becomes first man to walk on moon (1969)
Austria-Hungary signals beginning of WWI (1914)
Korean War armistice signed at Panmunjon (1953)


Closing Special -

We close with a most interesting documentary on
Christian history from the perspective of a
West Indian reporter with African background.

It is part of a series presented through the
services of the Australian Broadcasting Company:

"Christian History: a Modern African Perspective"




Contact us at: (or)
St. David's Web Address -

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. Choir
members from our group hope to sing at an
informal cathedral concert and hopefully,
Evensong, on Saturday, May 7th!

Arrangements are presently being made with
the cathedral dean, Jonathan Lean.

We are also planning to sing while visiting
Iona, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland.


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


Announcing our New Fall Study at St. David's:

A Celtic Spirituality (Philip Newell)

Including background material from the book:

THE CELTIC WAY (Ian Bradley)



Join our ten week Monday Night Study, which will run
from September 20th through November 29th

Special Guest:

Dr. Wayne Davies, Department of Geography, U of C.
is a native of Wales. He will speak with us at one
session, introducing us to his homeland, and explaining
some of the important sites we plan to visit to maximize
our appreciation of the tour.

This program is being made available for regular
Monday Night study-folk plus those planning to
take the tour of Celtic Lands next spring.

This study series is part of our St. David's fiftieth
anniversary celebrations and is provided for all!



A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at:

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:

A Tale of Modern Faith

By Marcus Borg
HarperOne, Toronto, ON.
2010. $26.99 CAD. 342 pp.
ISBN #978-0-06-188814-4

Publisher's Promo:

In "Putting Away Childish Things" Marcus Borg
weaves his insightful teachings on Christianity
into a new form - fiction.

In this compelling tale, we meet Kate, a popular
professor at a liberal arts college in a small
midwestern town who thinks her life is right on
track. She loves her job, is happy with her
personal and spiritual life, and her guilty
pleasure consists of passing her afternoons at
a local pub with a pint of Guinness and a
cigarette. Life is good.

Kate is up for tenure when it all starts to go
wrong... she is offered a visiting professor job
at a prestigious seminary - the same seminary
that employs the professor she had an affair with
years ago. Kate now has to face her past and watch
as the ramifications unfold in ways she never

In the classroom, students ask for her views on
Jesus, the Bible, and homosexuality - controversial
topics that Kate candidly addresses until outraged
parents start campaigning for the school to get
rid of her.

Through it all, Kate faces the toughest challenge
yet - a challenge of faith that leaves her
questioning what she believed so strongly before.

"Putting Away Childish Things" is an engaging way
for readers to learn about the important issues
dividing Christians today. Along the way, we join
with the characters to ask the hard questions,
such as what does the Bible really teach? Who is
Jesus? What is the nature of faith today?

This is a story that promises to leave us
different in the end than when we started...


Author's Words:

April 23rd, 2010

Dear Wayne:

My first novel "Putting Away Childish Things"
has just been published (April 20th) and early
tomorrow, we leave for Damascus, then two weeks
in Turkey.

If you would like a review copy, let me know...



From the Preface -

This is my first novel. My previous books have
all been non-fiction, to the extent that is
possible. They have been about religion, mostly
about Jesus, the Bible, God and Christianity.

I candidly acknowledge that this is a "didactic"
novel, a teaching novel. It is the only kind of
novel I can imagine writing. I have been a teacher
all my life. My characters wrestle with the issues
of religion today, and in particular what it means
to be an American Christian in a time of major
conflicts, both theological and political.

I am aware that I may not have a novelist's
imagination and gifts. And I am aware that if I
were not an established author, this novel might
not have been published.

I have wanted to write a novel for a long time.
I am not sure why. My motive might be an impression
that being a novelist is better than being an
author of nonfiction. Why I should think that is
not clear. An additional motive is curiosity. What
would it be like to write a book in which I am
making everything up?

It is common for novelists to say that all their
characters are fictitious... in my case it is more
truthful to say that that any resemblance to any
character, living or dead, is completely unavoidable,
even though no character should be identified with
a particular "real" person. We write about what we

All the characters are made up. The exceptions are
occasional historical and contemporary figures from
the world of religion and scholarship... The events
in my character's lives are also made up - with the
obvious exception that they are engaged with the
history of our time.


My Comment:

After twenty years of reading and teaching from books
written by Marcus Borg I find it intriguing that
this friend and colleague would turn from his normal
scholarly modus operandi to that of novelist.

I believe that in doing this, his readers will experience
mixed benefits.

Indeed, he tells us that writing this novel is a kind of
"living out of a personal fantasy." For some strange reason,
he thinks that a novelist may be the more important writer.

OK. You have written your novel, Marcus. Bear with me as
I try to dissuade you of future, similar attempts!


I, for one, have always been deeply impressed with the
author's careful writing style. My students claim that
he makes difficult theological matters understandable
and clarifies what others cannot seem to accomplish.

Now, however, Marcus turns his attention to how ideas -
which he so clearly handles in the scholarly realm -
exist and develop in real life situations through fiction.
I honor Marcus for attempting to do this, but I am not sure
he succeeds using this genre.

It is as though the gifts one hones to find accomplishment
in one field of endeavor may work against you in another.

One of the commentators on the web page
describing this book expresses my feelings well. He
admits to a certain "mild disappointment" with this
novel.  "While it provides a good primer to modern
liberal theology and its implications, and does so
in an easy to digest form" - he continues, "I never
felt that I really knew the characters and was
sufficiently concerned about them."

Character development and narrative resolution is
something one associates with good novels, not solid

The conflict between evangelical fundamentalism and
modern scholarship in history and theology is worth
exploring, concludes the commentator, and I
would have liked both more development and a more
satisfying resolution of this plot line.

Perhaps such an important non-scholarly task is best
left to others.


Marcus Borg has done so much - during his on-going
teaching and writing career - to make modern theology
live, and to see it so much more widely accessible.

I know from personal experience that the light has gone
on in many of my students' faces as they have read what
he has to say about some difficult issue concerning Jesus,
the Bible, and the church. Borg has honed his craft well,
over many years, to his great credit.

He has a proven track record as a theologian.

But writing a novel about such things may not truly be
the best use of his formidable gifts.

I would say - "friend, you still have a number of good
theological books in you. There is so much more I want
to learn from you! Keep being the master you have proven
to be using, the format with which I am more comfortable!"

Besides, I readily admit. Reading novels is not an activity
I am inclined to invest in...(much to the chagrin of my wife.)


Buy the Book:




"Calgary the Gregarious versus
 Edmonton the self-assured"

Globe and Mail
June 28th, 2010



"The Queen's Spiritual Adventure"

Globe and Mail
July 6th, 2010



Vatican says woman priests as grave
an offense as pedophilia:

New York Times
July 16th, 2010


Canadian Woman priest responds to recent
Vatican statement

New Catholic Times
July 19th, 2010


Indian Nuns React Strongly to Rome

Cathnews Asia
July 25th, 2010



Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Why do we plant trees?
Not for any immediate benefit. Most trees, when
they first go into the ground, are scrawny saplings
that need constant attention – water, fertilizer,
staking, pruning...

When we first moved to our present property, it was
a horse pasture. We planted an oak, a maple, a mountain
ash. It took years for them to mature enough to fulfill
our vision for them.

Since then, we’ve planted many more trees -- among them
a dogwood and a golden locust. Last year, I added a
hawthorn. The local deer nibbled off its first five years
of growth. Some shoots are coming back. It will take about
15 years before it beautifies that corner of our yard.

I may not be around to see it happen.

But I still plant trees, as an investment in the future...

Read the entire article, click:



Globe and Mail
July 5th, 2010

At the Crossroads of a Scandal -

"When Irish Eyes are Crying"



"Life's essence, bought and sold"

What are children's rights when it comes to their origins?

The Globe and Mail
July 10th, 2010




Corporal's sister writes of her transformation
July 23rd, 2010



Krista Tippet

The Christian Century
July 27th, 2010



The Seaway
July 8th, 2010



Anglican Journal News
July 9th, 2010



Canadian evangelical theologian
has had a major impact over the years
July 28th, 2010



Religion and Ethics, PBS
July 23rd, 2010



The Guardian
June 28th, 2010



Asia is next to suffer from fallout

The Age, Australia
July 21st, 2010



ENI News, Geneva
July 19th, 2010

Tutu announces retirement plans, thanks South Africans

Cape Town (ENI). Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop
Desmond Tutu has announced his intention to wind down his
public engagements, when he turns 79 in October. "I think
I have done as much as I can, and I really do need time
for other things that I have wanted to do," Tutu told a
media briefing at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town. He
also thanked South Africans for their contribution to the


The Guardian
July 23rd, 2010


Archbishop Tutu Interviewed

PBS Religion and Ethics
July 2nd, 2010



Evidence found that William Wilberforce was
himself involved in the slave trade

July 21st, 2010



Special News Items:

Lutherans Ask Historic Forgiveness of Mennonites

ELCA News,
July 22nd, 2010


ENI and LWF News Releases:

July 20th, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury to make keynote speech to Lutherans

Geneva (ENI). Lutherans from around the world are converging
on the German city of Stuttgart for the 11th Assembly of The
Lutheran World Federation, where they will be addressed by
the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Archbishop
Williams, the spiritual leader of the 78-million-strong
Anglican Communion, may offer advice in his keynote address
on how to deal with the issue of clergy who are in same-sex
relationships, as this issue has left his communion verging
on a schism and has triggered fierce debate among Lutherans.
The Geneva-based LWF comprises 140 member churches in 79
countries, representing more than 70 million Christians, and
it is expecting an estimated 1000 people, including 418
delegates from Lutheran churches, to participate in the
Stuttgart assembly.


July 21st, 2010

Lutheran president pleads for unity
despite sexuality differences

Stuttgart (ENI). The outgoing president of the Lutheran
World Federation has appealed to delegates at a global
Lutheran gathering in Germany to hold together and avoid
splits in the face of differences over issues of sexuality.
"It is not the time for further traditions of Lutheranism
to emerge in the world. We have to find unity," the LWF
president, Bishop Mark Hanson, pleaded in a 21 July address.
Hanson, who is also the presiding bishop of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America, was speaking after conflicts
had surfaced between some churches from the African continent
and Western churches on the role of homosexuals in the Church.


Global Lutheran leader challenges churches
on women's ordination

Stuttgart (ENI). The 70-million strong Lutheran World
Federation has struggled to live up to its own vision of
inclusiveness regarding the role of women, the general
secretary of the church grouping, the Rev. Ishmael Noko,
has told LWF members. "Equitable participation in God's
mission is the hallmark of an inclusive communion. Member
churches are therefore urged to take appropriate steps
towards the ordination of women, and, where it is not the
case, to put in place policies of equality," Noko said in
his address to the LWF's highest governing body on 21 July
in Stuttgart, Germany.


22 July 2010

Forgiveness a 'radical' way of sharing says Anglican leader

Stuttgart (ENI). The act of forgiveness is one of humanity's
most deep-seated acts of people nourishing one another as
human beings, the Archbishop of Canterbury,  Rowan Williams,
has told a global gathering of Lutheran Christians. "To
forgive and to be forgiven is to allow yourself to be
humanised by those whom you may least want to receive as
signs of God's gift but this process is intrinsically
connected with the prayer for daily bread," said the leader
of the Anglican Communion, when he addressed the highest
governing body of the Lutheran World Federation in Stuttgart,
Germany, on 22 July.


Vatican cardinal says lack of shared communion
his greatest regret

Stuttgart (ENI). The recently retired senior Vatican
official responsible for ecumenical affairs has said his
biggest regret during his tenure in Rome is that he did
not achieve an agreement on a common communion with
Protestants. "Today, there is a lot of convergence. So,
we got closer to each other but we could not achieve the
final breakthrough. I regret it very much but you cannot
push the issue," said Cardinal Walter Kasper, who retired
on 1 July as president of the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity. "The main thing that I did
not achieve is the sharing of Holy Communion," Kasper told
ENI news in an interview in Stuttgart, while attending, as
a special guest, the 20-27 July assembly of the Lutheran
World Federation.


Cardinal says Europe needs contribution
of Orthodox churches

Stuttgart (ENI). There can be no full integration of
eastern and western Europe without ecumenical dialogue
and the contribution of the eastern European Orthodox
churches, says the cardinal who has just stepped down
as the Vatican's leading church unity official. "We are
working for the integration of western and eastern Europe
but how to achieve the integration of eastern Europe
without having the Orthodox churches in the boat is a
problem," said Cardinal Walter Kasper, who retired on
1 July as the president of the Vatican's Pontifical
Council for Promoting Christian Unity.


26 July 2010

World Lutheran president-elect speaks on Arab Christians

Stuttgart (ENI). At a time when many Christians worry about
the future of fellow believers in the Holy Land, the first
Arab elected as president of the Lutheran World Federation
has highlighted their situation, and urged them not to
emigrate. Preaching on 25 July, the day after his election
as LWF president, Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan
called on those present to, "pray that Palestinian Christians
may not lose faith and leave the country". In an interview
with ENI news, Younan had earlier said, "We ask Arab Christians
not to emigrate. What is the Holy Land without Christians?"



National Public Radio
July 19th, 2010



Cathnews Asia
July 1st, 2010



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
29 June 2010

Former East German dissident pastor
could upset Merkel's future

Trier, Germany (ENI). A former East German dissident
and Lutheran pastor who is standing as the candidate
of German opposition parties in the country's
forthcoming presidential election is seen as
threatening Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition
government. "Unfortunately what is at stake is not
the issue of who is the best man for this post. What
is at stake are power, revenge and the fate of Angela
Merkel," the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel commented
on 28 June. Seventy-year-old Joachim Gauck, who led
protests in the northern city of Rostock against East
Germany's then communist rulers in 1989, is the
presidential candidate nominee of the Social Democratic
Party and the Green party. Gauck is also known as the
first head of the authority that deals with the files
of the Stasi, the former East German security service,
following the unification of Germany.


Polish parishes named after priest martyr
takes path to sainthood

Warsaw (ENI). The first parish of martyred Roman Catholic
priest, Jerzy Popieluszko, has been dedicated to him in
his native Poland after he was placed on the path to
sainthood at a Warsaw service attended by 140 000 people.
Poland's Catholic information agency, KAI, reported that
the parish in the eastern city of Lublin would also be
given relics, or body fragments, from the late priest,
who was linked to the banned Solidarity movement, which
was at the forefront of the struggle against communism.
Other churches are to be renamed after him in various
Catholic dioceses, while requests for relics had also
been submitted from at least 100 parishes in Poland and
abroad, reported KAI. Popieluszko was beatified, or
declared blessed, at a Mass on 6 June in the Polish
capital's Pilsudski Square attended by 100 Catholic
bishops and thousands of priests and nuns.


1 July 2010

Left votes 'halt' East German
dissident pastor in presidential poll

Trier, Germany (ENI). Joachim Gauck, a former East German
Lutheran pastor and dissident, failed in a bid to be elected
as Germany's president but is also seen to have embarrassed
Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government. Although
Christian Wulff, the candidate of Merkel's coalition, was
finally chosen for the largely-ceremonial post of president,
it took place after the third round of voting in the 30 June
election. Merkel's coalition of conservative and liberal
parties appeared to have a 22 vote majority in the special
electoral college of 1244 lawmakers and representatives of
the country's 16 regional states. Gauck, who does not belong
to any political party but was nominated by the opposition
Social Democratic Party and the Green party, received 499
votes in the first round.


South African church takes on rival vuvuzela makers

Johannesburg (ENI). South Africa's "Shembe church" says that
a deal between it and a manufacturer is about to be finalised
over the trademark rights to the vuvuzela, a horn whose
trumpeting sound has grabbed headlines through its use during
the soccer World Cup. The Nazareth Baptist Church of KwaZulu-
Natal - known locally as the Shembe church - said it is the
confirmed originator of the plastic instrument originally
made of animal horn. It is threatening to take other
manufacturers to court to stop them making the horn. The
church claims its founder Isaiah Shembe was the inventor in
1910 of the trumpet that a plastics factory worker, Neil van
Schalkwyk, saw in stands in the 1990s while playing soccer
for the Cape Town's Santos club. In 2001, Van Schalkwyk set
up Masincedane Sport, which has since made about 800,000
vuvuzelas - and most recently an earplug kit for soccer fans
irritated by the jackhammer-like drone created by the World
Cup crowds at the matches in South Africa!


Basel Bishop Koch now officially
Vatican's church unity head

Rome (ENI). The Vatican has officially confirmed the
appointment of Swiss Bishop Kurt Koch to replace Cardinal
Walter Kasper as head of the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity, after widespread speculation
that such a move was to take place. A Vatican announcement
on 1 July said that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted the
resignation of 77-year-old-Kasper and had named in his
place Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, aged 60. German-born
Kasper became president of the pontifical council in 2001,
having served two years as its secretary. He took part in
the 1999 signing of a joint declaration on the doctrine of
justification, a major agreement between the Lutheran World
Federation and the Roman Catholic Church.


02 July 2010

British church to boycott goods
from Israeli settlements

London (ENI). The Methodist Church in Britain has
launched a boycott of all products from Israeli
settlements in the Palestinian territories, prompting
protests at the decision. "The goal of the boycott is
to put an end to the existing injustice. It reflects
the challenge that settlements present to a lasting
peace in the region," said Christine Elliott, the
church's secretary for external relationships, after
vote on the issue at the denomination's highest
decision-making body, the Methodist Conference.


Churches hail conviction after
India's anti-Christian violence

Bangalore (ENI). Church groups in India have hailed the
murder conviction of a key leader accused of leading mob
attacks on Christian targets in the Kandhamal jungles of
eastern Orissa state two years ago. The court, set up to
try cases relating to the widespread anti-Christian
violence, declared on 29 June that Manoj Pradhan was
guilty and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment
for the murder of a Christian, Porikit Digal.


African faith leaders must not 'fuel conflicts'
says Eritrean theologian

Geneva (ENI). Faith leaders in Africa have a
responsibility to act as peacemakers rather than fuel
strife, says a Lutheran theologian from Eritrea. "There
are some situations in sub-Saharan Africa where religion-
based politics has unleashed violence on a grand scale,
"author Yacob Tesfai said when presenting his new book,
"Holy Warriors, Infidels, and Peacemakers in Africa",
at the Geneva headquarters of the World Council of
Churches. Still, said Tesfai, "Generally speaking,
Africans have not been fighting on the basis of
religion. The question is now: 'How long will that


5 July 2010

Kenya church leaders slam lawmakers
voting selves big pay hike

Nairobi (ENI). Church leaders in Kenya are criticising
a hefty pay rise that lawmakers have awarded themselves,
terming it a betrayal of the East African country's
citizens. The reaction follows the passing on 30 June
of a bill aimed to increase the salaries of those in
parliament to levels where the prime minister could
earn one third more than Britain's prime minister and
10 percent more than the president of the United States.
"It obvious this is the wrong direction. How can we pay
them more than those of the developed countries?" said
Roman Catholic Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa in
an interview with ENI news on 5 July. "There's a lot of
poverty in this country. Many people are dying of hunger
and disease." If implemented, the change would make the
Kenyan members of parliament among the world's highest
paid lawmakers.


Kyrgyzstan priest speaks of problem in restoring order

Warsaw (ENI). A Roman Catholic priest who ministers in
Kyrgyzstan has criticised the country's interim government
and army for failing to maintain order during recent inter-
ethnic violence. "While the new government seems powerless
and unready, the army hasn't been trained to put down
unrest and defend civilians," said the Rev. Krzysztof
Korolczuk, a Jesuit who administers newly formed Catholic
parishes in the western towns of Jalalabad and Talas. "It's
also dominated by Kyrgyz soldiers and feared and distrusted
by all sides," said Korolczuk in an interview with ENInews.
"The lack of neutral institutions poses severe problems here."
The Polish-born priest was speaking as the government of
acting president Roza Otunbayeva sought to establish its
authority in the Central Asian republic, following violence
between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek inhabitants.


Church leaders, politicians welcome
Irish Bloody Sunday report

Dublin (ENI). Irish churches have welcomed a report into
violence in the Northern Ireland city of Derry on 30
January 1972 when 13 people who participated in a march
were shot and killed by British paratroopers. The Saville
Report, released on 15 June, found that the actions of the
Parachute Regiment in Derry on Bloody Sunday were
unjustified and unjustifiable, and that all 13 people
killed were innocent of any wrongdoing. A previous inquiry,
set up immediately after the killings was chaired by the
then head of the British judiciary John Widgery. It
exonerated the actions of the British Army in Derry on
Bloody Sunday, but was later discredited. The Saville
Report was then set up in 1998 by Lord Saville of
Newdigate at the behest of British Prime Minister Tony


Can Sikhs, Hindus get elected in US without converting?

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). What does it mean when the two
best-known Indian-American politicians in American politics
are converts to Christianity? In South Carolina, Nikki Haley
won the Republican nomination for governor despite a whisper
campaign that criticized her name and religion. Along with
rumours of alleged sexual misconduct, many questioned the
validity of Haley's Christian faith, Religion News Service
reports. Some, including Republican state Senator Jake
Knotts, called her Christian conversion into question.
Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, Haley grew up as a Sikh in
Bamberg, South Carolina, and converted to Methodism. She
occasionally attends Sikh services with her extended family,
which has raised eyebrows in some circles.


6 July 2010

'Water as human right' campaign
gets global Protestant backing

Grand Rapids/Geneva (ENI). Church-backed campaigners on
water issues say they have received a boost from a global
body representing 80 million Protestants that has called
on its members to support access to water as a basic human
right. "Preserving the world's water resources, and
securing access to water for all, is one of the greatest
challenges we face," Maike Gorsboth, the Geneva-based
coordinator of the secretariat of the Ecumenical Water
Network told ENI news. Gorsboth was speaking after the
World Communion of Reformed Churches at its 18-28 June
founding meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, urged its
churches to support and adopt a declaration on "Water
as a Human Right and a Public Good". The declaration,
drawn up by Swiss and Brazilian churches, urges that
"the human right to water be recognised at the local
and international level in the same way as the right
to adequate food".


Estranged son deplores actions of US 'hate family'
called a church

Toronto (ENI). In a family whose business is staging loud
demonstrations about God's wrath against homosexuality
(and other perceived sins), Nate Phelps could not be more
out of step. His estranged father, Fred Phelps, leads a
church known for picketing military funerals in the United
States with signs that read, "Thank God For Dead Soldiers"
because the military are part of the system of sin it says
it is fighting. Phelps' relatives were described in a 2007
documentary by the BBC as "The Most Hated Family in America".
They are members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka,
Kansas. Phelps abandoned his family's ways decades ago. In
recent years he has embraced atheism after the institution
his father runs was labelled a "hate-group masquerading as
a church". Now aged 51 and living with his Canadian fiancée
in Calgary, Alberta, Phelps has also publicly denounced his
family's teachings on various groups, including gays and


12 July 2010

US church workers wounded in Uganda bomb blasts

Nairobi (ENI). Church workers from the United States who
had gone to Uganda to complete building a school were among
those wounded in bomb blasts that took place during the 2010
World Cup soccer final. An Islamic extremist group is said
to have claimed responsibility for the attacks. The BBC
reported on 12 July that the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab
said it was behind the two blasts in the Ugandan capital
Kampala the evening before, killing 74 people. A spokesperson
for the group, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, threatened more attacks
in a statement in Mogadishu. Ugandan peacekeepers are in
Somalia, and al-Shabab has threatened Kampala. The blasts
occurred in a rugby club and at an Ethiopian restaurant in
Kampala, as crowds cheered the game between Netherlands and
Spain. Authorities said 74 people were killed, among them
a U.S aid worker.


Six months later, many in Haiti feel, 'it just happened'

Léogâne, Haiti (ENI). Some Haitians feel as if it
happened just days ago, the Rev. Kerwin Delicat, an
Episcopal (Anglican) priest based in the city of Léogâne,
said as people  prepared to mark six months since a
calamitous earthquake struck on 12 January. While some
progress is discernable such as students being back at
school for some time, Léogâne, like the capital of Port-
au-Prince, is still years from recovery. "Eventually,
there will be a return to normal life," Delicat said in
interview. "But it's been just less than six months. It's
like something that just happened." Many residents still
mourn loved ones. For some, trauma is less palpable than
immediately after the quake. But others are still
struggling to resume their lives, Delicat said. "It will
take a long time formany families to restart a normal life,
because the consequences have been so huge," Delicat said
in an interview with ENI news.


Indonesian musician remembered for hymns and worship

Geneva (ENI). Indonesian musician Christina Mandang,
who died after a road accident while attending an
international church gathering in the United States, has
been praised for helping Christians in her country develop
their own style of hymns and worship. Mandang died on 27
June after a car struck her the previous evening in Grand
Rapids, Michigan,during the founding meeting of the World
Communion of Reformed Churches. "Echoes of what a talented
musician she is and …how much she has contributed to helping
Indonesian churches bring their own [style] into the
development of hymns and worship have been ringing all round,"
WCRC general secretary the Rev. Setri Nyomi told ENI news from
Jakarta, where he attended a 10 July memorial service for
Mandang, and her burial the following day.


July 16th, 2010

Hindu governor hails Christian contribution to India

Bangalore, India (ENI). The governor of southern India's
Karnataka state, where  most of the recent atrocities on
Christians have been committed, has paid tribute to the
Christian contribution to national life. "We are privileged
to have so many Christian institutions to bring dignity of
life and knowledge to the poor," said Hansraj Bhardwaj in
an 8 July address at the concluding celebration of the
centenary of the United Theological College in Bangalore,
Karnataka's state capital. Despite accounting for only 2.3
percent of India's 1.2 billion people, he noted that
Christians run nearly 20 percent of the educational,
primary healthcare and social welfare centres in the country.


19 July 2010

Protestants regret resignation of
first Lutheran woman bishop

Trier, Germany (ENI). The resignation of the first woman
elected as a Lutheran bishop over allegations she failed
to properly investigate cases of sexual abuse has been met
with regret. Maria Jepsen, the bishop of the North Elbian
Evangelical Lutheran Church, announced her resignation at
a news conference in Hamburg, Germany, on 16 July. Her
resignation came after a week of growing pressure about
her role a decade earlier, when it is alleged she did not
act swiftly and decisively to investigate cases of sexual
abuse in her own diocese. Still, one newspaper said the
moral standards set by Protestant clergy in Germany are
higher than the societal norm. The abuse cases date back
to the 1980s when a pastor in the town of Ahrensburg
reportedly sexually abused as many as 20 children.


Christians stunned as two pastors shot dead
in Pakistani court

Bangalore (ENI). Christians in Pakistan say they are shocked
by the killing of two young Christians, who were shot dead on
court premises when they were taken there by police to face a
charge of blasphemy against Islam. The Justice and Peace
Commission of the Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan named
the two men as Rashid Emmanuel, a pastor, and his brother,
Sajid Emmanuel. They were leaving the court in Faisalabad
accompanied by a police officer on 19 July, when unidentified
gunmen opened fire, killing the two Christians and injuring
the police officer.


July 27th, 2010

Protestant Reformer to greet Pope in Scotland

Edinburgh (ENI). An actor playing John Knox, one of the 16th
century Scottish Protestant reformers, will head a special
parade through Edinburgh, when Pope Benedict XVI arrives on
a state visit in September, and it is the Pope's own church
that is planning the event. "We want the day to be joyous,
charitable and inclusive," Peter Kearney, a spokesperson for
the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, told ENInews. Still,
2010 marks the 450th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation
in Scotland, an event that led to a break with the papacy in


28 July 2010

River where Jesus was baptised 'too polluted' for pilgrims

Jerusalem (ENI). Health concerns relating to water quality
have triggered an environmental advocacy group to call for
the banning of baptisms in the lower Jordan River, where the
Bible says Jesus was baptised. "For reasons of public health
as well as religious integrity, baptism should be banned from
taking place in the river," said Gidon Bromberg, the Israel
director of EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME),
which has offices in Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, and Amman. Israeli
authorities said on 27 July that tests done on the water of
the lower Jordan River show the popular site for baptismal
ceremonies at Qasr el Yahud on the West Bank meets health
ministry standards. Bromberg said, however, they should not
take place until pollutants are removed from the water.



Sojourners Online
June 29th, 2010

Never tire of forgiving, and so give the
devil no hold. Be merciful and compassionate,
spontaneously and wholeheartedly. The Lord
forgives you all day long; in the silence of
your heart, then, do the same,untiringly and

- Pierre-Marie Delfieux, from The Jerusalem
  Community Rule of Life


July 1st, 2010

Each friend represents a world in us, a world
possibly not born until they arrive, and it is
only by this meeting that a new world is born.

- Anaïs Nin, from "The Diary of Anaïs Nin"


July 2nd, 2010

We must remember the past, define the future,
and challenge the present -- wherever and however
we can. It will take the rest of our lives even to
begin. But then, what else have we to do?

- Jane O'Reilly, American feminist and humorist


July 6th, 2010

We should certainly know by now that it is one thing
to overthrow a dictator or repel an invader and quite
another thing really to achieve a revolution. Time and
time and time again, the people discover ... themselves
in the hands of yet another Pharaoh, who, since he was
necessary to put the broken country together, will not
let them go.

- James Baldwin, from his book "The Fire Next Time"


July 7th, 2010

Civilization is littered with unsolved problems,
baffling impasses. The best minds of the world are
at the end of their tether. The most knowledgeable
observers of our condition are badly frightened. The
most relevant contribution that Christians make at
these points of impasse is the act of prayer --
determined, repeated, leisurely meetings with the
personal and living God. Newlife is conceived in
these meetings.

- Eugene H. Peterson, from book "Earth & Altar"


July 8th, 2010

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are
not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must
treat it as a powerful stranger, must ask permission to
know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen... No
two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the
same to Wren ... Stand still. The forest knows where you
are. You must let it find you.

- David Wagoner, from his poem "Lost"


July 9th, 2010

Religion (ought to be if it isn’t) a great deal more than
mere gratification of the instinct for worship linked with
the straight-teaching of irreproachable credos. Religion
must be life made true; and life is action, growth,
development -- begun now and ending never.

- Anna Julia Cooper, from "A Voice from the South"


July 10th, 2010

[Faith] is the perspective which enables human beings to
recognize God's actions in human history. Other persons
could have been aware of the exodus of a small band of
Hebrews from Egypt and their subsequent entering into the
land of Canaan ... but only those with the faith of Israel
would know that those liberative events were God's self-

- James Cone, from "A Black Theology of Liberation"


July 15th, 2010

There is, in a word, nothing comfortable about the Bible --
until we manage to get so used to it that we make it
comfortable for ourselves. But then we are perhaps too used
to it and too at home in it. Let us not be too sure we know
the Bible ... just because we have learned not to have
problems with it. Have we perhaps learned ... not to really
pay attention to it? Have we ceased to question the book and
be questioned by it?

- Thomas Merton, from his book "Opening the Bible"


July 21st, 2010

God’s love is such a powerful companion for us that no
matter how searing or how intense the hurt of a loss is
we know that our spirit need not be destroyed by it; we
know that God will help us to recover our hope, our
courage, and our direction in life.

- Joyce Rupp, from her book "Praying Our Goodbyes"


July 23rd, 2010

I object to violence because when it appears to do good,
the good is only temporary -- the evil it does is permanent.

- Mahatma Gandhi


July 26th, 2010

The things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us the grace
to labor for.

- Thomas More, English philosopher, lawyer, and author



On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles
was signed in France, ending World War I


June 29, 1995, the shuttle Atlantis and the
Russian space station Mir docked, forming the
largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the


July 1, 1997, Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule
after 156 years as a British colony.


July 10, 1940, during World War II, the 114-day Battle
of Britain began as Nazi forces began attacking southern
England by air. By late October, Britain managed to repel
the Luftwaffe, which suffered heavy losses


July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man
to walk on the moon


July 23, 1914, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia
following the killing of Archduke Francis Ferdinand by a Serb
assassin; the dispute led to World War I


July 27, 1953, the Korean War armistice was signed at Panmunjom,
ending three years of fighting.



ABC Compass, July 18th, 2010
(49 minutes - well worth it)

Christian History: A Modern African Perspective
The formation of a new Christendom...