Saturday, January 30, 2016

Colleagues List, January 31st, 2016

Vol. XI.  No. 23



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

Colleagues List Web Site:

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


Welcome to my Colleagues List!

My Special Item this week is a book notice for:
"The Name of God is Mercy" by Pope Francis

I hope you will enjoy it, and even secure a copy

Please scroll down to read my notes on this book


Colleague Comment for this week is from
Monica Kilburn-Smith (Calgary) who has
more good news about her daughter Genny.

Her first note about Genny appeared here
last November 29th. Now, more good news!

Please scroll down to read Monica's letter as well.


Colleague Contributions:

Marjorie Gibson (Vancouver BC) - continues
her blog-story of Belle, a pioneer Albertan:


Douglas Shantz (Calgary AB) - announces
The Lebel Lectures in Christian Ethics
Chair of Christian Thought
University of Calgary - with

Eric Wasylenko, MD, MHSc
Palliative Care Physician and

Practicing Clinical Ethicist


Tom Ryan (Washington DC) - contrasts:

"Ecumenism and Interfaith Harmony -
  What's the  Difference?"


Jim Taylor (Okanagan BC) - takes on the
current rift in the Anglican Communion

"Censure: Missionary Fervor Bites Back"
  The Anglican Communion Divided

I include an article on the same theme from:
The Christian Century of January 26th, 2016

"Has the Episcopal Church been Plutoed?"


Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio TX) - reflects on:

"The Kiss of God on the Soul"


Martin Marty (Chicago, IL) - provides perspective:

"The Ups and Downs of Religion"

Thanks to all six of you.


Net Notes - items catching my eye this week:

"Barbie's Got a New Body" - after many years
the maker of Barbie dolls is changing the way
little girls will see and idolize their friend. Will
this change the self-image of young girls?
(Time Magazine, via Sojourners)


"Orthodox Jewish Women Rabbis" - the
continuing self-awareness of women in
ministry is now becoming an issue for the
more conservative Orthodox Judaism


"The Suicide of the Liberal Churches" -
Chris Hedges pens an article on where
he sees the mainline heading (Truthdig)


"Simone Weil - A Genius of Compassion" -
the life of the famous mid-20th century 
philosopher who never fully left Judaism
but never fully became a Christian either - 
is described in a new book reviewed by 
America Magazine


"Pope Francis Issues Sweeping Apology" -
following up on my comments about his
book, above,  here is more about the way
the pope witnesses to his faith
(Anglican Journal) (and)

"Pope Asks for Mercy Among Christians"
(UCA News)


"Ten Predictions About the Future Church" -
we are at a time when declining attendance
is affecting many churches. Here is a Canadian
evangelical perspective (Christian Week)


"Irenee Beaubien Celebrates 100th Birthday" -
as a young student of ecumenism, I met this
inspired man several times at Canadian
theological students' conferences, often in
Quebec (Canadian Conference of Catholic


"100 Years Since Canadian Women Got
the Vote" -for those interested in history,
this story reads both ancient and modern
(CTV News)


"Transgendered Churchman Responds
to Bishop" - a few weeks ago, I shared
the story of Calgary Catholic bishop
Fred Henry and his strong words against 
more inclusive province of Alberta legislation.
Here is some follow-up to the bishop's remarks.
Faith and gender expression can co-exist, 
an LGBTQ Christian tells the bishop amid a
flurry of reaction (CBC News Calgary)


"Trump Halo Effect Translates to
US Evangelicals" - Many Canadian evangelical
Christians are embarrassed by Donald Trump
and his connection to some American
evangelicals. Two Canadian perspectives --

Offman (Globe and Mail) (and)

Stackhouse (Personal Blog Site)


"China Charges Canadian Aid Worker
With Spying" - some months ago, the
problem was in North Korea. Now
something similar seems to be
emanating from China and the worker's
family calls charges absurd (UCA News)


Wisdom of the Week comes to us via Sojourners
and the Bruderhof daily mailings and includes:

Hildegard of Bingen, Martin Luther King Jr.,
Alice von Hildebrand, Else Von Hollander and
Søren Kierkegaard

Please scroll down to read them.


On This Day:

From the archives of the New York Times:

"Robert Frost Dies in Boston"

"India Proclaims Itself a Republic"

"Alexander Graham Bell Starts First
  Transcontinental Telephone Link"

"Winston Churchill Dies in London"

"Gandhi Assassinated by Extremist"

Closing Thought  is from John Wesley.
Please scroll to the end of the blog to read him.


If you are interested, check into some of the
activities that occupy my time this winter:

Continuing Our Program Season -
Winter 2016 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church, Calgary



Book Notice

A First Title by Pope Francis -

Words of the Pope, who was
interviewed by Andrea Tornielli

Random House Canada
Released January 12th, 2016
Hardcover, 151 pages. $20.50 CAD
ISBN #978-0-399-58863-1

Publisher's Promo:

In his first book published as Pope, and in
conjunction with the Extraordinary Jubilee of
Mercy, Pope Francis here invites all humanity
to an intimate and personal dialogue on the
subject closest to his hear - mercy - which has
long been the cornerstone of his faith and is
now the central teaching of his papacy.

In this conversation with Vatican reporter

Andrea Tornielli, Francis explain - through
memories from his youth and moving anecdotes
from his experiences as a pastor—why “mercy is
the first attribute of God.” God “does not want
anyone to be lost. His mercy is infinitely greater
than our sins,” he writes. As well, the Church
cannot close the door on anyone, Francis asserts -
on the contrary, its duty is to go out into the
world to find its way into the consciousness of
people so that they can assume responsibility
for, and move away from, the bad things they
have done.

The first Jesuit and the first South American

to be elected Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis h
as traveled around the world spreading God’s
message of mercy to the largest crowds in papal
history. Clear and profound, The Name of God
Is Mercy resonates with this desire to reach all
those who are looking for meaning in life, a road
to peace and reconciliation, and the healing of
physical and spiritual wounds. It is being
published in more than eighty countries
around the world.


"... But the tax collector stood off at a distance and
would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat
his breast and prayed 'O God, be merciful to me a
sinner.' I tell you, (he) went home justified... for
everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Luke 18: 13-14.

“The name of God is mercy. There are no situations
we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink
into quicksand - Pope Francis


Pope Francis Brief Backgrounder:
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos

Aires on December 17, 1936. On March 13th,
2013, he became the Bishop of Rome and the
266th Pope of the Catholic Church. On March
13th, 2015, he announced his Holy Year of
Mercy, which began on December 8, 2015,
and will end on November 20, 2016.

Andrea Tornielli is a veteran Vatican reporter,

correspondent for La Stampa, and director of
the Vatican Insiderwebsite. He also writes for
a variety of Italian and international magazines.
His publications includethe first biography of the
Pope, Francis: Pope of a New World, which was
translated into sixteen languages, and This
Economy Kills: Pope Francis on Capitalism and
Social Justice, which was translated into nine


Interviewer's Words:

... when Francis delivered his second homily as
pope (at the Church of St. Anna in the Vatican)
he spoke off the cuff "The message of Jesus is
mercy. For me, and I say this with humility, it
is the Lord's strongest message..."

"f we think we are righteous, "we do not
know the Lord's heart, and we will never have
the joy of feeling this mercy!" the new Bishop
of Rome said. Those who are in the habit of
judging people from above, who are sure of
their own righteousness, who are used to
considering themselves just, good, and in the
right, don't feel the need to be embraced and
forgiven. And there are those who feel the
need but think they are irredeemable because
they have done too many bad things... The
Lord never tires of forgiving (both): never!...

From that first homily which particularly struck
me, there emerged the centrality of the message
of mercy, which would characterize these first
few years of Francis' papacy. This is the face
of the Church that doesn't reproach men for their
fragility and their wounds but treats them with
the medicine of mercy...

I thought how wonderful it would be to
(personally) ask the Pope a few questions that
focused on the theme of mercy and forgiveness,
to analyse what these words mean to him as a
man and a priest...

I liked the idea of an interview that would reveal
the heart of Francis and his vision.

The Pope accepted my suggestion. This book is
the fruit of the conversations in his lodgings...
you can read the contents of our conversations
on the pages that follow.

- From the Introduction 'To the Reader'


My Thoughts:

The association between Pope Francis and an
authentically lived theology of mercy is not hard
to demonstrate. It seems to be there for all to
see from daily secular news releases. Perhaps
no other theme of his papacy has been more in
evidence. It has endeared him to many within
and beyond the Catholic Church.

So why should you consider buying and reading
this book?

First, the interviewer does a fine job of helping
us to get to know Francis as a person. Francis
does not usually resort to the royal "we" in his
comments or opinions. What a most refreshing
gift this is! Using the third person may keep a
pope from the messiness of daily living but it
hardly helps people to believe he actually
understands and can identify with them. Many
seminarians today discover this primary lesson
when studying pastoral theology, and Francis
learned that lesson well (even though it may
not have been heard in his pre-Vatican II 
classroom when he was studying to be a priest)

Second, because he speaks on such a human
level, we do not tend to hear him first as a
Catholic, but as "one of us" - whatever our
spiritual orientation. To hear him speak and
act "with us" is how I believe Jesus did it when
he walked this earth. That does not mean
Francis always has nice things to say. As with
Jesus, there are a broad range of issues to be
addressed - like hypocrisy, selfishness, or the
dangers of riches. People do not agree with 
Francis because he is "the pope." They embrace
his words and deeds because of the authentic 
way he comes across.

Third, while Francis addresses mercy on a
personal and human level, he is adept at
translating that approach to much broader
issues like religious peace and international
justice. What better modeling can he offer
us than by posing with the chief rabbi of the
city of Rome, or the president of Iran. Jewish-
Christian relations have always been important
to the pope. This week the Iranian head-of-state 
came for a Vatican visit to discuss the implications
of the new accords his country has just signed
with many other key nations of the world.

Francis helps us to understand that if we
live daily by following the basic values like
being merciful, that can quite readily translate 
helpfully to issues on a broader scale.

If you are thinking about a book for your
Lenten meditation this year, I think this is
one you might consider.

Purchase this volume from


Monica Kilburn-Smith
Calgary, AB

Early in December, we posted a paper
written by Genny Kilburn-Smith, aged
17 at the time, and given at Cambridge
University earlier last year:

This link includes the paper and pictures
of the event.

This week, proud mom and colleague 
Monica, who serves as woman-priest
at St. Brigid of Kildare Catholic parish
in Calgary wrote me:

"Genny is Going to Cambridge!"

January 18th, 2016

Dear Wayne

Hi, Wayne, as promised, letting you know the
great news - my daughter Genevieve is one of
two winners (across Canada) of the Blyth
Cambridge scholarship!
We are still taking it in - Genny is feeling quite
over the moon. We found out two weeks ago
that they had accepted her into Cambridge,
and then last week that she had won the
scholarship and could actually go! (She will
be taking theology and religious studies.)
Below is a link to the story in one of our local
newspapers - kind of a weirdly written story,
but a nice photo of her and the other winner -
and it was just great for her to be featured
like that (along with the other winner, who
also happens to be from Calgary).  Below
the newspaper link is the story which appears
on the Blyth website. 
(She's got her work cut out for her now,
needing to keep up her top marks at school,
diploma exams and AP exams (the most
important), as well as with all the community
involvement which helped get her the award.  
But she's up for it!
Anyway, just wanted to share the happy news.
Love, Monica

Calgary Sun, January 23rd website


Marjorie Gibson,
Vancouver, BC

Marjorie Remembers
Personal Weblog
January 28th, 2016

"Who Is Belle?"
The Continuing Story
of a Pioneer Alberta Woman


Douglas Shantz,
Calgary, AB

The Lebel Lectures in Christian Ethics
Chair of Christian Thought
University of Calgary - with

Eric Wasylenko, MD, MHSc
Palliative Care Physician and

Practicing Clinical Ethicist

End of Life Care in Canada: 
The Current Landscape

Monday, February 1, 2016 at 7:30pm
First Mennonite Church
2600 Richmond Rd SW, Calgary

Medicine, Mercy & Humility: 
Ethics & Physician Assisted Death

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 12:00 noon
Scotia Bank Milling Area, Rozsa Centre
University of Calgary


Tom Ryan,
Washington, DC

January 27th, 2016

"Ecumenism and
  Interfaith Harmony -
  What's the  Difference?"

Posted on the weblog of John H. Armstrong


Jim Taylor,
Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log
January 24th, 2016

"Censure: Missionary Fervor Bites Back"
  The Anglican Communion Divided

The Christian Century
January 26th, 2016

"Has the Episcopal Church been Plutoed?"

The Christian Century
January 26th, 2016

Ron Rolheiser,
San Antonio, TX

Personal Web Site
January 25th, 2016

"The Kiss of God on the Soul"


Martin Marty,
Chicago, IL

January 25th, 2016

"The Ups and Downs of Religion"



Redefining Ideal Image Doll

Time Magazine, via Sojourners
January 29th, 2016


Emerging Trend in American Judaism

January 28th, 2016


Suicide, Martydom, or Some of Both?

January 24th, 2016

Review: Life of a Jewish/Christian Writer

America Magazine
February 9th, 2016


For Treatment of Non-Catholic Christians

Anglican Journal
January 27th, 2016

"Pope Asks for Mercy Among Christians"

UCA News,
January 26th, 2016

Learning from Declining Attendance
A Canadian Evangelical Perspective

Christian Week online
January 24th, 2016

 A Pioneer of Canadian Ecumenism

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
January 25th, 2016



CTV News
January 28th, 2016


Faith, Gender Expression
Can Co-exist, He Tells Henry
Part of Flurry of Reaction to
Calgary Bishop's LGBTQ Remarks

CBC News Calgary
January 27th, 2016



Two Canadian Perspectives -

Offman and Stackhouse

Globe and Mail
January 23rd, 2016

John Stackhouse Jr. Blog Site
January 27th, 2016


Family Calls Charges Absurd

UCA News
January 29th, 2016



Provided from the websites of Sojourners
and the Bruderhof online:

Listen: there was once a king sitting on
his throne. Around Him stood great and
wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented
with ivory, bearing the banners of the king
with great honour. Then it pleased the king
to raise a small feather from the ground,
and he commanded it to fly. The feather
flew, not because of anything in itself but
because the air bore it along. Thus am I,
a feather on the breath of God.

- Hildegard of Bingen


I refuse to accept the view that mankind is
so tragically bound to the starless midnight
of racism and war that the bright daybreak
of peace and brotherhood can never become
a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and
unconditional love will have the final word.
- Martin Luther King Jr.


In life there are moments of darkness.
There are periods of discouragement.
There are times when we lose sight of
the beauty of the sky for all the clouds.
You may have to bear severe sickness,
or deal with tremendous pain, or you
may be disappointed in this or that.

But remember, whatever difficulty you
have to face, it will not last. It is only a
cloud. For God has made each of us
with a purpose

- Alice von Hildebrand


A great time is coming, but it will come
through struggle and strife. When things
are difficult, you must hold to the faith.

Always remember that God is the victor
in the end. Life is a struggle. In dying, this
struggle becomes strongest. In life, people
often don’t notice this struggle at all, and
so they don’t take it seriously.

- Else Von Hollander


Christ says: Do according to what I say –
then you shall know. Consequently, decisive
action first of all. By acting, your life will

come into collision with existence, and then
you will know the reality of grace. Nowadays
we have turned the whole thing around.

Christianity has become a worldview. Thus,
before I get involved I must first justify it.
Good night to Christianity!

- Søren Kierkegaard



From the archives of the New York Times:

"Robert Frost Dies in Boston"

"India Proclaims Itself a Republic"

"Alexander Graham Bell Starts First
  Transcontinental Telephone Link"

"Winston Churchill Dies in London"

"Gandhi Assassinated by Extremist"



Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike?



Beginning Our Program Season -
Winter 2016 Adult Spiritual Development
ACTS Ministry at St. David's
United Church, Calgary


Theme: "The Other Two Religions of Jerusalem"
                Judaism and Islam

Books: "Chosen? Reading the Bible
              Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"
              by Walter Brueggemann

             "Islam: A Short History"
               by Karen Armstrong
A  ten-week investigation into the religious 
sources of modern global unrest centered
in the Mid-East:

Ten Monday evenings, 7-9PM
In the St. David's TM Room
January 18th - March 21st, 2015
Including Monday of Family Weekend

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

Total book sets made available for sale: 32.
All sets have now been sold.

Now beginning seventeen years
of Monday Night Studies
Our thirty-second series of
(usually) ten week sessions!

Course design:

Check our complete archives
for all 46 book studies:



Theme: The Book of RUTH and other
Hebrew Bible themes of justice for
vulnerable people in society

Five sessions 10-11 AM
Gathering at 9:30AM
In the St. David's TM Room
January 28th - February 25th.

No charge.

Study resource -

The DK Complete Bible Handbook

(copy available in our church library)

The Bible Study Group provided the
service reflection Sunday, Jan. 17th, 2016
and it was well received.



Something to Anticipate This Year

Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre
Cochrane, Alberta

Mark your calendars!

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

Theme: "Opening the Jubilee Door:
A Focus on the Ecological Spirituality
of St. Francis of Assisi"

Registration, including lunch and
refreshments during the day - $35.00

Reflections will be led by Susan Campbell
enthusiastic, qualified and new MSF director;
and will include a nature walk.



Coming Soon - our "Memories Project" --
Sight and Sound Packet contributed by those
taking the "Jerusalem and the Lands of Three
Great Faiths" tour last October and produced
by Jock McTavish.

Available free to all who took and tour with
additional packets at a modest price for those


New Project Later This Winter --

"Where Would You Like to Travel Next?"

Beginning our process to find a destination
for a trip somewhere in the world in 2017.