Friday, December 3, 2010

Colleagues List, December 4th, 2010

Vol. VI. No. 14


Edited by Wayne A. Holst


Colleagues List Blog:


Colleague Comment this Week:


Thank you for your ministry :)

- Miranda Weingartner


Introduced in this Issue -

Book Notices:

"Listening for the Heartbeat of God -
 A Celtic Spirituality" (and)

"The Celtic Way"



A Summary of Discoveries from the course:
"An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality"

Colleague Contributions:

Erich Weingartner
Ron Rolheiser
Donald Grayston

Net Notes:

Has God Returned to Narnia?
How Stores Lead You to Spend
Helping Someone Until They Die
The Blair-Hitchens Debate on God
A Perspective on the New Atheists
A Short Film on India's Orissa State
Wikileaks Mention Vatican Frequently
Relics Stolen from Ancient Kerala Church
Taize Year-End Youth Gathering in Rotterdam
China Releases Tortured Tibetan Buddhist Nun

Global Faith Potpourri:

10 stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Thomas a Kempis
Simone Weil
Basil the Great
Margaret Gibb
D.H. Lawrence

On This Day (Nov. 28th - Dec. 3rd)

Nov. 28, 1943 - Roosevelt, Churchill & Stalin met in Tehran
Nov. 29, 1947 - UN calls for Arab & Jew Palestine partition
Dec. 1,  1959 - Treaty makes Antarctica a non-military preserve

Closing Thought - Peggy McDonagh



Dear Friends:

This autumn, the theme of our Monday Night Study
was Celtic spirituality. This coincided with our
planned St. David's 50th Anniversary Tour, next
spring, to the Celtic lands of Scotland, Ireland,
Wales and England.

We wanted to make this study appealing to a
wider audience than only the travelers, and
we seemed to succeed. We experienced the largest
number of course registrants - 41 persons - in
our Monday Night course history of 21 series
over the past decade!

While more learnings will eventually become
available on our study web page, it seemed a
good time to introduce our study books and some
classroom discoveries to you my colleagues.

Hopefully, you too will benefit from our efforts.

Introduced in this issue:

"Listening for the Heartbeat of God -
 A Celtic Spirituality" by J. Philip Newell (and)

"The Celtic Way" by Ian Bradley.

In addition, below, we share a summary of Celtic
spiritual discoveries and some of the questions we
tackled in "An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality"


Colleague Contributions:

Erich Weingartner repeats a message that seems not
to have come through when he reported on his recent
visit to Korea in our last Colleagues List issue.

Ron Rolheiser shares his thoughts on a timely theme -
"The Virgin Birth" (Ron Rolheiser website)

Donald Grayston conveys another timely message,
relating the Jewish festival of Chanukah and the
Christian festival of Christmas (Tikuun)

Net Notes:

"Has God Returned to Narnia?" - The third movie in
the Narnia series is appearing momentarily, and
there is a return to some of the spiritual focus of
the first film (Wall Street Journal)

"How Stores Lead You to Spend" - Read of how you are
seduced into spending more money at this time of year
(Wall Street Journal)

"Helping Someone Until They Die" - Gail Sheehy built
her reputation as a writer with various "Passages"
books over the past three decades. Reviewed here is
her most recent (National Catholic Reporter)

"The Blair-Hitchens Debate on God" - Last week,
Lorna Dueck introduced the Toronto debate that
gained global attention. This week we share video
selections from the actual event last weekend, and
assessment from both popular and religious presses.

"A Perspective on the New Atheists" - Attention to
the new atheists and their arguments continues. To
help us gain some perspective, America Magazine
re-published four e-articles this week.

"A Short Film on India's Orissa State" - Those
who find the Christian-Hindu religious conflict
confusing should find help with this video
(Cath News Asia)

"Wikileaks Mention Vatican Frequently" - the church
has not been immune to fallout from Wikileaks which
was easily the biggest global news story this week.
(Catholic News Service, The Tablet, The Atlantic)

"Relics Stolen from Ancient Kerala Church" - This
story reminds us that the history of Christianity
in India covers millennia (The Times of India)

"Taize Year-End Youth Gathering in Rotterdam" -
Annually, over Christmas break, Taize sponsors a
large youth gathering somewhere in Europe. This
year, it takes place in the Netherlands
(Taize website)

"China Releases Tortured Tibetan Buddhist Nun" -
Chinese authorities have released a Tibetan
Buddhist nun who was imprisoned for three years
and suffered torture during her incarceration
(Cath News Asia)


Global Faith Potpourri:

This week, 10 stories are provided from
Ecumenical News International in Geneva.


Quotes of the Week:

Thomas a Kempis, Simone Weil, Basil the Great,
Margaret Gibb and D.H. Lawrence provide insights.


On This Day (Nov. 28th - Dec. 1st)

These on the scene stories come to us from the
archives of the New York Times:

Roosevelt, Churchill & Stalin met in Tehran (1943)
UN calls for Arab & Jew Palestine partition (1947)
Treaty makes Antarctica a non-military preserve (1959)


Closing Thought -  This week, the  Rev. Peggy McDonagh,
minister of St. David's United Church, shares some
thoughts on an Advent virus.


We have installed our Christmas decorations outside
and inside our home. Other preparations continue apace.
We seem to be doing this earlier each year.

Blessings of the season to you all!




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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish



Books Considered:

"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor (and)

"I Shall Not Hate - A Gaza Doctor's Journey"
 by Izzeldin Abuelaish

More study and website particulars will
be posted as they become available




We continue our investigation of the New Atheists and
consider the question: "Can we be good without God?"

Text for the course will be Sam Harris' new book:

"The Moral Landscape:
How Science Can Determine Human Values"
(Free Press, October, 2010)

Course description and registration information:




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 will sing at various
informal cathedral events through the day
and at Evensong, on Saturday, May 7th!

We have 26 choristers signed up as part of the
tour group. This special choir begins rehearsals
in early January - led by our congregation's
music director, Brent Tucker.

Details are presently being finalized with
the St. David's cathedral dean, Jonathan Lean.

We are also planning to sing while visiting
Iona, Scotland and the Church of Mary Immaculate
in Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland.


We continue to gather a waiting list for this trip,
as they may be some drop-outs as we near deadlines.
We have started an interest list for future tours!

Let me know if you are interested in knowing more
about exciting, spiritual tourism!

Did You Know?

According to legend, the leek became
the national symbol of Wales in
tribute to a hard-won battle in
640 AD where Welsh soldiers
wore leeks on their helmets to
distinguish them from their Saxon

“The legacy of
heroes is the
memory of a great
name and the
inheritance of a
great example.” – Benjamin Disraeli

- discovered by Marlene Holst



We are introducing live videos of our sessions,
edited by Jock McTavish:

Review Our Fall Program at St. David's by clicking:

New material will continue to be added to this page
as it becomes available.



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 Notices:

A Celtic Spirituality by J. Philip Newell
Paulist Press, New York. 1997. 112 pages.
ISBN #0-8091-3759-3.

Publisher's Promo:

An overview of Celtic spirituality
and its implications for us today.

This book presents a spirituality modeled on the
vital characteristics of Celtic spirituality through
the centuries. Here is an emphasis on the essential
goodness of creation and of humanity made in the
image of God. This book traces the lines of Celtic
spirituality from the British church in the fourth
century through to the twentieth century, via the
founder of the Iona Community, George MacLeod.

J. Philip Newell finds Celtic spiritual roots in the
New Testament, in the mysticism of St. John the
Evangelist. John is especially remembered as the one
who lay against Jesus at the Last Supper and heard
the heartbeat of God. Hence, he became a Celtic image
of listening to God in all of life.

This fresh angle on Celtic spirituality - linking the
figures in the Bible and in British Christian history -
will be warmly welcomed by all who are concerned to
refresh the roots of their faith.


Author's Words:

The premise of this book is that Celtic spirituality
is neither simply a thing of the past or a twentieth-
century phenomenon. Rather, is is a spirituality that
characterized the young British Church from as early
as the fourth century.

This spirituality has always managed to survive in
one form or another, usually on the edges of formal

As I re-read the old Celtic prayers, I ask myself,
"Where did this way of seeing come from, and where
is it to be found today?"

George MacLeod, the founder of the modern Iona Community,
has been influenced by the Carmina Gadelica tradition -
a collection of the ancient Celtic prayers. Alexander
Carmichael, who in the nineteenth century made the
great collection we have of these prayers from the
Western Isles, believed that many of them could be
traced back to the original Columban community of
Iona in the sixth century.

The Pelagian tradition, which was deemed heretical by
mainstream Western Catholic and Protestant Christianity,
emphasised the life of God within, not apart from,
creation. Pelagius maintained that the image of God
can be seen in every newborn child, and that, obscured
by sin, it exists in the heart of every person, waiting
to be released through the grace of God.

Similarly, in the ninth century, the Celtic world
produced one of its greatest theologians: John Scotus
Eriugena, who taught that we could look to creation,
just as we look to the Scriptures, to receive the living
Word of God.

A selective view of the history of Celtic spirituality
is valuable in itself, providing it does some continuity
of perspective; it also demonstrates that this spirituality
has been tried and tested over time.

The main purpose of this book, however, is to offer what
I believe to be a vital spirituality for today.

- from the Introduction


My Comments:

In the ten years we have been teaching courses on
spirituality and theology through our Monday Night
classes at the church, we have not witnessed the
interest and commitment to a study as we have with
this book. That says a lot, because we have encountered
many good books and commitment over a period of 21
courses in the past decade!

What was it that greatly appealed to our 40 registrants
and up to 50 participants in this series? I believe it
had to do with how many of the basic truths taught us
by Celtic Christianity actually 'make sense' and truly
'apply' to our lives today.

Perhaps this might best be summed up in the term
"seeing God in the ordinary."

For that reason alone, "Listening for the Heartbeat of
God" has a place in the libraries of modern Christians.

But there is more. The author, J. Philip Newell, leads
us through an encounter with two Celtic theologians
that have traditionally been viewed as heretical in
theological survey classes taught to laypersons and
seminarians alike.

The focus of Pelagius and Eriugena on the goodness of
creation and humanity - flies in the face of centuries
of Augustinian theological orthodoxy. St. Augustine,
interpreted by Luther and other Protestant reformers,
popularized the doctrine of original sin - meaning that
humans began as sinful beings in need of redemption -
and that the world is essentially evil, and in constant
conflict with Christians who exist there.

Celtic spirituality does not deny the reality of sin and
evil and of our constant need for redemption and vigilance.
It does, however, reverse the Pauline/Augustinian/Lutheran
arguments. It begins with a focus on the essential
goodness of humanity and of all creation. This simple
perspective challenges the basic teachings with which many
of us have been raised and with which many of us struggle.

Celtic spirituality encourages us to authentically "walk
the talk" and to "discover God in the ordinary" - two faith
characteristics that seem to appeal to many today.

These teachings certainly appealed to many in our class.

George MacDonald, a Scot - and one of the earlier
advocates of modern Celtic spirituality - suggests
that while we can engage God in daily life through
our reason or our emotions, the use of the imagination
becomes a third way, a way to transcend the chronic
conflict between hard-line reason or emotional
approaches to knowing God and living the Christian

Celtic spirituality has a strong social justice
component. We are encouraged to 'listen' to the voice
of God, and to 'act' justly in the world as a result.

Newell compares two ways of listening and acting -
the more 'ordered' approach of St. Peter, and the
more 'mystical' approach of St. John. Investigating
these approaches together is a most stimulating

Celtic spirituality is not an 'either/or' way of
living the faith. Rather, it takes a 'both/and'
stance to faith. It is not a matter of either
engaging God through reason or emotion or the
imagination, but of recognizing the good that
exists in all three approaches.

Had early British Christians been more willing
to accept both Pelagius/Eriugena, and Augustine -
seeking the good from each contribution rather than
attempting to root out error in the quest for
Catholic orthodoxy, we would probably all have
been saved much religious turmoil.

For those who have held a long-standing suspicion -
even resentment - at teachings based on original
sin, a healthy encounter with Celtic spirituality
could help you to feel much better about yourself,
and also more attentive and joyful in your Christian


Buy the book at


New Edition, by Ian Bradley,
Darton, Longman and Todd, London UK
1997, reprinted 2010. 134 pages.
ISBN #10-0-232-52495-5.

Publisher's Promo:

Retreats, Prayer meetings and devotional sessions are
often led with a Celtic theme and it is clear that
Celtic Spirituality is growing in its role within the
church. Originally published in 1993, in this 2003 edition,
Ian Bradley has written a new forward in which he reflects
on the decade since The Celtic Way was first released and
on how things have changed. The text of the book concentrates
on the origins and development of the Celtic movement and
later on looks at the key elements of it. The author writes
intriguingly about the intricacies and details of the Celts;
historical in places, a model of spirituality in others,
the book constantly stays earthed in the rich traditions
it is exploring. As a reader, you never lose the fact that
this could greatly influence your spiritual journey along
The Celtic Way.


Author's Words:

Celtic Christianity does seem to speak with almost uncanny
relevance to many of the concerns of our present age.

In this book, I attempt to tell the story of Celtic
Christianity and examine its main themes. I cannot claim
to be totally dispassionate, since I am an unashamed
enthusiast for the subject who believes... that our Celtic
ancestors have much to teach us today.

I hope, however, that I have at least avoided the worst
extremes of misty romanticism which has so often descended
on modern portrayals of the Celtic landscape.

I also aim to explore the way Celtic Christians lived
and thought, and to suggest that it is a path that
Christians might usefully tread today.

Perhaps I might be permitted to dedicate this book to
all doodlers and dreamers, poets and pilgrims. One of
the most important lessons we can learn from Celtic
Christianity is surely that such folk are often much
more effective witnesses to the Gospel and walk more
closely with the Lord than those of us who are
ordained ministers and academic theologians.

- from the Preface to the First Edition


My Comments:

As I read Bradley's book as a back-up to J.Philip Newell's
study on Celtic spirituality ("Listening for the Heartbeat
of God") I was taken by many similar themes and patterns
existing between the two.

In terms of defining and elaborating upon the historical,
theological, spiritual and cultural context, Bradley's is
the more extensive of the two.

Still, it was Bradley who reminded me most of the faith
within which I was raised. It was the family religion of
my parents, Alf and Marieta Holst, now both deceased.

At the end of his Preface, the author states: "One of the
most important lessons we can learn from Celtic Christianity
is surely that (ordinary) folk are often much more effective
witnesses to the Gospel and walk more closely with the Lord
than those of us who are ordained ministers and academic

My parents were in many respects spiritual "ordinary folk""
who were Christian pilgrims." They were not theologically
articulate in the formal sense (as I was trained to be.)
They were, essentially, folk who were able "to discover God
in the ordinary" and who sought to "walk the talk."

Dad sometimes worried that my theological studies had
caused me to lose touch with some of the basics he had tried
to teach me. Mom was simply lost when I tried to 'explain'
to her some of my more profound theological understandings.

Fortunately, they continued to love me in spite of myself.

I have never been the spiritual person my father was. He
continues to inform and inspire me, two decades after his
death. Nor am I the spiritual person mom was. She witnessed
to an essential gratitude for everything in life (the good
and the bad) and to discover God in "the little things."
She encouraged me by example to keep trying to help people,
whatever my own state of affairs, and to work to make the
world a better place.

Their worldview was not the large panel I claimed to have.
Their worldview was more basic, down-to-earth, and deeply

Many times, as I encountered some truth in Bradley's
book, I would recall lessons I first learned from my
parents. I realize now, after they are gone, that they
were indeed anam cara (soul friends) to me. They encouraged
me to look for other anam cara folk along life's way, and I
have done so. I keep trying, in many ways, to emulate them.

This book will help readers to find deep profundities
in the ordinary. For those on a spiritual quest that
seeks simplicity and connection to reality, reading this
book should appeal to you richly as it did me.


Buy the book from


As a result of our autumn study, we have created a summary
of Celtic Spiritual Themes for Reflection and Discussion

    1. Life is basically Good.
    2. People are fundamentally good.
    3. Religion completes and uplifts us.
    4. God is present in all aspects of life.
    5. Ancestors, past family and friends are always with us.
    6. Blessings are a blessing, a heritage worth remembering.
    7. Service is our purpose, no task is too humble.
    8. Our work is a gift, a meditation, a prayer.
    9. Christ completes, he does not displace the seeker's quest.
    10. Evil is real. We need God's continuous protection from it.
    11. Images of the Christian Trinity are always present to us.


Summary Session Small Group Discussion Questions (35-40 minutes)

1. What changes in your personal spiritual outlook and practice
   have opened to you as a result of your encounter with Celtic
   spirituality in this course?

2. What changes in our congregation's spiritual outlook do you
   think are needed and possible because of our encounter with
   Celtic spirituality in this course?

Feedback will be posted on this season's Monday Night Study Site
Please return to this site in future for details:



Calendar, ON.

Quoting Miranda Weingartner :

Dear Wayne,

I was unable to access Erich Weingartner's comment on
the situation in the North Korean Peninsula (last week.)

I provide the link and copy and post it here:



(printed format)

Dear Friends,

Having just returned from Seoul, where I attended
the highly successful 2010 International Conference
on Humanitarian and Development Assistance to the
DPRK from 15-17 November 2010, I expected this
issue of the CanKor Report to bring highlights of
current thinking on development cooperation in
North Korea. As is often the case with the DPRK,
dramatic events tend to overtake careful analysis
and prudent planning. What you will read in this
issue will therefore revolve around the new
provocations in the Yellow Sea (or the “West Sea”
as preferred by Koreans).

Skirmishes in this part of the divide between North
and South are nothing new. The two sides may have
agreed on the “demilitarized zone” (DMZ) crossing
the peninsula, but the extension of this dividing
line into the West Sea is still in dispute after
60 years. The DPRK draws an almost straight line
from the mainland DMZ into the sea toward China.
The ROK adheres to a so-called “Northern Limit
Line” (NLL) that follows in a northerly direction
close to the coastline of North Korea.

Between these two lines is a triangular-shaped area
that holds some lucrative crustacean and mollusc
fishing grounds that are harvested by both sides
in the fall of each year. The navies of both sides
protect their respective fishing vessels. Mischief
and miscalculation does the rest. It is the perfect
recipe for “accidental” warfare. All that is needed
is the heat of political tension and the pressure
cooker of military exercizes in the same
geographical location to bring this pot of
poison to the boil. The outbreak of hostilities
is less surprising to me than the fact that for
sixty years these hostilities have been contained.

Let us hope that cooler heads will once again
pull back from the brink. There is no time like
the present to withdraw from the war of bullets
and get back to a war of words. We are
unfortunately a long way from rediscovering words
of peace. My conversations with several government
officials and diplomats in Seoul brought me to the
conclusion that those most closely related to the
conflict, i.e. the ROK and the USA, have both run
out of ideas as to next steps. It would be the
perfect time for countries like Canada or the
Europeans to inject a moderating influence. But
that would require two qualities that currently
seem in short supply: wisdom and compassion.

Stay Tuned.


Keep informed by clicking the CanKor website:



San Antonio, TX
November 28th, 2010

Virgin Birth

Christian tradition has always emphasized that Jesus
was born of a virgin. The Messiah could only come forth
from a virgin's womb. The main reason for this emphasis
of course is to highlight that Jesus did not have a
human father and that his conception was from the
Holy Spirit.

But there is often a secondary emphasis as well, less-
founded in scripture.  Too common within that notion is
the idea that Jesus was born from a virgin because
somehow sexuality is impure, that it is too base and
earthy to have a connection to such a sacred event...

Read the entire article...



Vancouver, BC

And Their Downsides - An Interfaith Discussion

Tikuun Online
Nov. 29th, 2010




Third in the movie series -
"Voyage of the Dawn Treader" opens soon

Wall Street Journal
November 29th, 2010



Wall Street Journal
December 2nd, 2010


The Latest 'Passages' Book by Gail Sheehy

National Catholic Reporter
December 1st, 2010



Watch the Debate -

"Is Religion a Force for Good?"

The Statesman, UK
November 28th, 2010


Assessing the Debate (1)

Hitchens 1-0 Over Blair

The Guardian, UK
Nov. 29th, 2010


Assessing the Debate (2)

Anglican Journal
December 1st, 2010


Articles from the America Magazine Archives

May 5th, 2010


Explanation of the Anti-Christian Violence

November 30th, 2010




Catholic News Service
December 1st, 2010


The Tablet
December 4th, 2010

"Out of the Diplomatic Bag"


Even the Best Names are Smeared

The Atlantic (cartoon)
Dec. 2nd, 2010



The Times of India
December 1st, 2010


Meeting Draws Thousands from Around the World

Taize Web Site:



December 1st, 2010



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
29 November 2010

Food rights experts warn of bio-fuel
triggered land grabs in Africa

Nairobi (ENI news). Food rights experts are cautioning
Africa to be wary of what may amount to land grabbing
by foreign companies who want to produce bio-fuel crops
and food for their home markets. The warning was sounded
in Nairobi, where members of church groups gathered
from 22-26 November, to discuss challenges of food
security and justice in southern and central Africa.
"Africa has to be careful with these [deals] because
it is the people, the ordinary people at the ground
who will suffer, and not [only] suffer now, but into
the future," Susie Weldon, an official from the
Britain-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation
told ENI news. "I think this is wrong. The first
priority of the governments should be to feed its
own people," said Weldon, whose organization is
working with faith groups to develop environmental
programmes based on their beliefs, practices and


Protests greet donation of Austrian
Catholic church to Orthodox

Warsaw (ENI news). The head of the Roman Catholic Church
in Austria has denied being "anti-Polish" after members
of Polish congregations in Vienna protested against his
decision to offer one of the city's Catholic churches
to Serbian Orthodox Christians. "In recent weeks, many
stormy events have taken place around a church in the
Neulerchenfeld district," said Cardinal Christoph
Schönborn, the chairperson of the Austrian Catholic
Bishops' Conference. "Untruths and simplifications
have been spread, filling me with great sadness,"
said the cardinal. "It has gone so far that I have
been accused of deliberately acting against Polish
Catholics, and this information has even circulated
in southern Poland. I must assure you the truth is
quite different."


30 November 2010

Plans for mosque in Moscow district
spark controversy

Moscow (ENI news). A group of Moscow residents are
fighting for official confirmation that a new mosque
will not be built in their district of Russia's capital,
amid controversies across the world's biggest country
over worship places for Muslims. "We're upset that this
plot of land was chosen to begin with, because it is
neither meant nor suited for the construction of large
public buildings," said Mikhail Butrimov, a leader of
the Moi dvor (My yard) movement fighting the mosque
construction in Moscow's Tekstilschiki district.


Discord over Anglican plan to counter schisms,
embrace opinions

London (ENI news). A major step to promote harmony within
the worldwide Anglican Communion has been rejected by
leaders of a global grouping set up to fight against
what its members call breaches of traditional biblical
Anglicanism. On 24 November, the Church of England's
general synod voted to adopt the draft version of a
covenant, a document that the Anglican Communion's 38
provinces, or areas, will be invited to endorse. If
ratified it would offer a mechanism for managing
differences arising originally from the consecration
of an openly homosexual bishop in the United States.


1 December 2010

Privatisation deters poor's access to water,
say Asian church leaders

Manila (ENI news). More and more poor people in Asia are
being deprived of what was once seen as a free "God-given
resource", as water has become a paid-for asset controlled
by private companies in recent years, say Asian church
leaders. "Now considered as a commercial commodity rather
than as heritage and a natural resource that should be
protected, water … is now being increasingly controlled
by private corporations," said the Rev David Tabo-oy,
evangelism officer of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church
of the Philippines. Tabo-oy was reflecting on "Water as
a gift from God and as a human right" during the second
day of a 28 November to 3 December consultation on
"communities' rights to water and sanitation in Asia"
held in Manila.


Mobilise for HIV prevention, Tutu says on World AIDS Day

Geneva (ENI news). Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, has issued a call to world leaders to take
action to accelerate a decline in new HIV infections
through activism that promotes prevention measures. "HIV
prevention activism is indispensable to overcome the
epidemic," said Tutu, the former leader of South Africa's
Anglicans in a statement to mark World AIDS Day on 1
December. "Communities must receive the support and
encouragement they need to mobilise against the epidemic
with courage and fearless commitment." Tutu is a co-chair
 of the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention
alongside Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, a French
virologist. A declaration released by the co-chairs
warned that ebbing financial investments, lack of
political commitment and ineffective prevention
priorities are challenging progress in achieving
significant decline in new HIV infections.


2 December 2010

World churches' leader to meet Pope in Rome

Geneva (ENI news). The general secretary of the
World Council of Churches, the Rev. Olav Fykse
Tveit, says he hopes his upcoming audience in
Rome with Pope Benedict XVI will advance
Christian unity. "It is important that we speak
honestly in this meeting about the challenges we
have," Tveit said of the 4 December meeting at
the Vatican.  It will be Tveit's first meeting
with Pope Benedict since the Norwegian Lutheran
theologian took up his WCC post in January.
"There are expectations for the ecumenical
movement that have not been fulfilled, and
there are tensions arising in and between
churches," Tveit said in a 2 December statement
issued from the WCC's Geneva headquarters. Some
observers have suggested that the Vatican sees
relations with Eastern Orthodox churches as
having a higher priority than contacts with

Korean churches say global prayers needed
after military clash

Tokyo (ENI news). The head of the Seoul-based
National Council of Churches in Korea has urged
global prayers during Advent for peace on the
peninsula following a North Korean military attack
on a South Korean island. The council's newly-
elected general secretary, the Rev. Kim Young-Ju,
said he wanted the "prayer and solidarity of the
worldwide churches" to help nurture peace. Advent
marks the period of the church year before
Christmas and commemorates the coming of Jesus
into the world. Kim made his appeal in a 1
December statement on the council's Web site,
which also urged North and South Korea to use
only peaceful means to achieve reunification
of the two countries that were divided after
the Second World War.


Swiss church group urges
'don’t buy Zimbabwean diamonds'

Geneva, 2 December (ENI news)--The Swiss church-
backed group Bread for All says numerous human
rights violations are being committed in certain
Zimbabwe's diamond mines by State security forces
and the minerals should be labelled "blood diamonds".
Bread for All (Switzerland) is calling on the
government of Switzerland, as a member of the
Kimberley Process, to demand the exclusion of
certain Zimbabwean diamonds tainted by links to
human rights' violation from international trade.
Marlon Zakeyo, who heads the Zimbabwe Advocacy
Office in Geneva, told ENI news, "Switzerland is
an important jewelery centre, but it is also
known as a country that is a centre for human
rights. The Swiss government is also a key
partner in the Kimberley Process, which deals
with international diamond trading."

Muslims say respect is key to better relations

Washington DC (ENI news/RNS). Half of Muslims surveyed
worldwide believe the West does not respect them,
according to a new Gallup report. "We also found that
this concept of respect ... now includes perceptions
of fairness in policies, not just culturally sensitive
language," said Dalia Mogahed, executive director of
the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Religion News
Service reports. The findings are part of a report on
"Measuring the State of Muslim-West Relations",
released on 1 December at Gallup's Washington



Provided by Sojourners Online:

November 29th, 2010

"My [child], resolve to do the will of others
rather than your own. Always choose to possess
less rather than more. Always take the lowest
place, and regard yourself as less than others."

- Thomas A. Kempis, from "The Imitation of Christ"


November 30th, 2010

"Christ does not save all those who say to him:
Lord, Lord. But he saves all those who out of a
pure heart give a piece of bread to a starving
[person], without thinking about him in the
least little bit."

- Simone Weil


December 1st, 2010

"In order to give us a precise and clear example
of humility in the perfection of love, [our Lord]
took a towel and washed his disciples' feet. So what
about you, living entirely on your own, how will you
ever discover such humility? Whose feet will you wash?
Whom will you care for?"

- Basil the Great


"We must move away from asking God to take care of
the things that are breaking our hearts to praying
about the things that are breaking God's heart."

- Margaret Gibb


"When all comes to all, the most precious element
in life is wonder. Love is a great emotion, and power
is power. But both love and power are based on wonder."

- D.H. Lawrence



Nov. 28, 1943 - President Roosevelt, British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef
Stalin met in Tehran during World War II.


On Nov. 29, 1947 - the U.N. General Assembly passed
a resolution calling for Palestine to be partitioned
between Arabs and Jews.


Dec. 1, 1959 - representatives of 12 countries, including
the United States, signed a treaty in Washington setting
aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from
military activity.


Dec. 3, 1984 - More than 4,000 die of gas in Bhopal, India.



Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

* A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on
  fears based on past experiences.
* An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
* A loss of interest in judging other people.
* A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
* A loss of interest in conflict.
* A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
* Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
* Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
* Frequent attacks of smiling.
* An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make
  them happen.
* An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others
  as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus
can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been
completely cleaned out because of it.


Peggy McDonagh (Minister, St. David's United Church, Calgary)


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