Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

True North Strong and Free: New Ways of Looking at Canada on the 150th Birthday of the Country

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE –
New Ways of Looking at Canada
on the 150th Birthday of the Country
by Brian Arthur Brown with
Maps Curated by Ward L. Kaiser

Printed by Marquis Imprimeur
Published by 3T Publishing
Available from Wood Lake Books
2017. $24.95 CAD. 136 pp.

 

Publisher’s Promo:

A Canadian author and an internationally renowned
map maker, both United Church of Canada ministers
team up with Canada’s National Chief of the Assembly
of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde; the leader of the
Green Party, Elizabeth May; David W. Parsons, Anglican
Bishop of the Arctic and other visionaries who want to
see the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (2015) accomplish some
real, tangible results.

 

About the Author:

Writing is a hobby that has never overshadowed
Brown’s professional ministry, and sometimes
contributed to it.

Noah’s Other Son: Bridging the Gap Between the Bible
and the Qur’an was the first to attract my attention
and I reviewed it for the Anglican Journal in 2009:
http://tinyurl.com/lj4ecvh

 
Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel and Quran (2012)
was written to encourage local three-way scripture
studies between Jews, Christians and Muslims.
See Anglican Continuing Education Project website
January 27th, 2013 http://tinyurl.com/hqn582u

 

More recently, Brown has published  Four Testaments:
Sacred Scriptures of Taoism, Confuscianism, Buddhism,
and Hinduism (2016) to encourage representatives of
the globe’s eastern religions living with us to join and
expand our studies to include their sacred scriptures.
Colleagues List Sept. 25/16 http://tinyurl.com/h5jur9x

 

Brown has written the 2017 souvenir book,
True North, Strong and Free to contribute to Canada’s
sesquicentennial celebrations.

 

Author’s Prologue (edited extensively) –

Brown outlines how immigration to Canada began
with the arrival of refugees from many European nations.
Later, these were joined by many New Canadians from
the rest of the world. The spirit of hospitality, shown
a continuing flow of immigrants by the established First
Nations hosts at the beginning, continues today.

Blending newcomers has not been an easy adjustment and
there have been many sad stories we wish we could have
avoided. But most New Canadians were able to leave their
pasts behind them in order to create a hopeful future together.
Established Canadians needed only to remember what
their own ancestors had to endure, to accommodate.

How did we create what is the best country in the world
in ways that matter to us? How do we improve it? We
learn to be honest, in this souvenir book, about both
the good and the bad of our history.

The physical beauty of our country, the mutually
respectful and normally tolerant character of our people,
and Canada’s place in the world, are all to be claimed
and celebrated. It is quite amazing, when you consider it.

The final reconciliation with First Nations is a work
in progress in which the sesquicentennial could well
be a turning point.

 

Review by Dr. Wayne Holst 

My Thoughts:

Changing our perspective about ourselves and the
world seems to be a key intention of the author –
colleague Brian Arthur Brown – and those who helped
him write this book.

That is why mapping is so important. Simply looking
at a number of the first maps in this “souvenir” but
much more than a “coffee table” book, convinces
me that changing perspectives is central here.

As a northern nation looking south, then globally,
our perspective dramatically changes. We are not
simply an extension of the United States. While those
ties will always be there, we are a special nation in
the global family, and we have a unique, significant
contribution to make. History has been preparing us.

I have been used to thinking about Brown as a writer
and scholar who wants to bring our multi-cultural and
multi-faith nation together through sacred scripture
studies in local communities. This book takes us a
major step further and attempts to re-focus our
entire perspective as a people because our’s is more
than a multi-faith quest. Religion is only part of it.

Our experience as inheritors of First Nation traditions
upon which to build, and our attempts to be more
discriminating about European and American influences,
provide us with a unique opportunity to “give back” and
“go beyond” what we have seen ourselves doing in the past.

In the sixty years that I have travelled outside Canada,
first to the United States and then globally, I have been
able to claim an evolving Canadian identity.

Visiting recently in Egypt I was pleasantly surprized
that many of my Islamic hosts were quite familiar with
Canada. I was not an American in their eyes. That, I
took, as a compliment.

At this time in history, we are in a situation that will
make us an increasingly valuable member of the global
family. It could even be a gift to our American friends!

If you want to experience help in changing your
perspective about Canada, I encourage you to
obtain and spend time with this book; then talk
about your discoveries with others!

 

Buy from Wood Lake Books:
http://tinyurl.com/hgwysnq

 

Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List 11,  Vol. XII. No. 23, March 12 , 2017

James Martin Essential Writings: Selected With an Introduction by James T. Keane

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

JAMES MARTIN Essential Writings

Selected  With  an  Introduction

by  James  T.  Keane

Modern  Spiritual  Masters  Series

 

Orbis  Books, Maryknoll,  NY

2017, 245 pages. $22.00 US/

$29.00 CAD. Kindle $12.00 CAD

ISBN #978-1-62698-213-0

 

Publisher’s Promo:

Gathered here together for the first time are

selections from the writings of James Martin, S.J.,

the nation’s most well-known Catholic priest and

spiritual writer. Sources include his numerous best-

selling books, his articles for America, and his essays

from sources as diverse as the Huffington Post and

Portland Magazine.

 

This famous Jesuit offers reflections and insights on

everything from prayer to depression to sexuality to

finding one’s individual path to holiness; along the

way he introduces the reader to saints and sages

ranging from Thomas Merton to Mother Teresa to

his wise nephew Charles.
James Martin Bio:

James Martin, SJ is a Jesuit priest, editor-at-large of America, and bestselling author of numerous books, including Jesus: A Pilgrimage and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. He has written for many publications, including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and is a regular commentator in the national and international media, as well as having served as the “official chaplain to The Colbert Report.”

 

Edited from the Introduction by James T. Keane:

The unfortunate restrictions on a volume off essential writings from a scribe as prolific as James Martin are necessarily ones of scope and depth… the difficult job of pruning becomes a monumental task.

I do not deny that some healthy branches have been cut away… and that ultimately some good fruit had to be cut. This meant favoring Martin’s shorter, more journalistic selections over long passages from his books. …

In all this I did seek to find a balance between breadth and depth.

He might prefer this book be recast in terms of that all-important term in  Ignatian  spirituality:  discernment.

Regardless of the terminology, it is my hope that the selections that follow give the broadest and deepest appreciation of James Martin possible and truly present the essential insights of a modern spiritual master.

 

Review by Dr. Wayne Holst 

My Thoughts:

James Martin has written insightfully on a wide range of topics over the years, but a central focus of his writings is the Catholic  faith.

I would ask those who are not Catholic to allow him some slack, since at the heart of his work is a profound ecumenical awareness.

It was through his association with America Magazine, a high quality journal of the Jesuits of New York City, that I have come to know him over the years. Like many of his confreres, he has ventured and challenged the papacy and other authorities, but he remains a loyal Catholic. That is an important understanding to take with you as you engage his work.

The Jesuits have always had a teaching  charism  since their founding by the Spaniard Ignatius of Loyola and I have admired the fact that they have established a great many institutions of higher learning and media centers around the world. Martin models his order at its best.

(Pope Francis was trained and served as a Jesuit for many years – and he carried on a love-hate relationship with his order until the time of his election to the papacy.)

Martin has tended to avoid conflict with his order, but his gifts as a teacher and writer have often been tested – and for the better of the church, his order, and himself.

He writes with depth, simplicity, clarity and compassion. With these gifts he has taken on some big issues like the clergy abuse scandal and other major crises plaguing the Catholic Church today.

Friends of Martin praise him for his friendliness, intellect, wit and practical accessible spirituality.

He knows the art of communication and has honed his capacity to use modern media to spread his insights.

His book “Jesus – A Pilgrimage” (2014) is an excellent study that shows his mastery of both the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith http://tinyurl.com/zcr267f

I am pleased to introduce or re-introduce this modern spiritual guide to Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Martin adds a fresh perspective to our understanding of what it means to be Christian today.

 

Buy the book from Orbis:

http://tinyurl.com/hcokuhv

Buy the book from Amazon.ca:

http://tinyurl.com/z3y7yoy

 

Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List 11,  Vol. XII. No. 22, March 5 , 2017

‘A tribute to a dear friend in Christ’

Posted on: March 21st, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

‘A tribute to a dear friend in Christ’

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It is with great sadness that our Church mourns the death of one of its most widely and highly respected leaders, Terence Edward Finlay. In the course of his ordained ministry which spanned almost fifty-six years, he was known as Father, Archdeacon, Bishop, Archbishop, The Primate’s Envoy for Residential Schools, Co-Chair of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, Liaison Bishop to the Mission to Seafarers Canada, and Chaplain to the National House of Bishops. No matter the order of ministry to which he was called, the office he held, or the title he bore, the most distinguishing mark of his ministry was friendship, that friendship into which Jesus called his disciples in The Upper Room on the Eve of His Passion, Death and Resurrection, that friendship into which he calls his followers in every age.

Terry was one of those bishops in whom as Rowan Williams would say, you could see “The Gathering Christ”…“someone around whom it is possible so see what the Church is”, the Body of Christ, each and every one of us, members one of another. Terry enjoyed gathering the Church for worship and fellowship, for dialogue and discernment of the Spirit’s work in our midst. Across differences in theological perspective he gathered people and enabled them to speak and listen to each other with respect. Throughout his entire ministry he upheld the wonders of diversity in unity. He worked hard to help us live by St. Paul’s counsel that we be “forbearing in love”, and “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. Indeed he embodied that long cherished principle among Anglicans of holding one another in “bonds of affection” in Christ.

None of us will ever forget his broad smile and his hearty laugh. None of us will forget those moments when his eyes danced with delight over someone’s happiness or great accomplishment. Nor will we forget those moments when his eyes welled up with tears over the great pain or grief someone was bearing. None of us will ever forget seeing his head lifted up in song – he loved to sing! Nor will we forget seeing his head bowed in shame and contrition for the suffering inflicted upon hundreds and hundreds of children through the Indian Residential Schools. None of us will forget how he gently raised his hands in presiding at the Eucharist and how he extended his hands in celebrating the peace into which Christ calls us. Terry had a handshake and an embrace in which we all experienced something of the fullness of Christ’s love for us all.

None of us will ever forget how much he enjoyed a good story nor how much he enjoyed telling one of his own – and he had plenty!

I know I am but one among so many who can say Terry was one of my dearest friends. I admired him. I learned much from him. I was encouraged by him. I was challenged by him. I appreciated his wisdom borne of many years in ministry. I was grateful for his counsel. And I always had the sense that when he said “I hold you in my prayers daily” he really did. There was about him a genuineness, a modesty, and a holiness that enriched my life and so many others too.

While we all mourn him we know what great trust he had in the promises of Christ. What great confidence he had in the Communion of Saints, what great joy he had in the very thought of being a guest in heaven.

As we remember, our dear friend in Christ, we pray for Alice Jean (“AJ”), and for their daughters Sara Jane and Rebecca and their grandchildren whom he loved dearly.

In remembering the manner of Terry’s living and dying, a prayer written many years ago by Theodore Parker Ferris comes to mind.

“Teach me, O Lord, not to hold on to life too tightly. Teach me to hold it lightly; not carelessly, but lightly, easily. Teach me to take it as a gift, to enjoy and cherish while I have it, and to let it go gracefully and thankfully when the time comes. The gift is great, but the Giver is greater still. Thou, O God, art the Giver and in thee is the Life that never dies. Amen.”

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, March 21, 2017

Talk Sex Today: What Kids Need to Know and How Adults Can Teach Them

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

TALK SEX TODAY
What Kids Need to Know and
How Adults Can Teach Them,
by Saleema Noon and Meg Hickling,

Wood Lake Books, Kelowna BC
2016. 320 Pages. Paper.
$24.00 CAD. Kindle $10.00 CAD.
ISBN #978-1-77064–8135

 

Publishers Promo:

Not sure what – or how much – information to
share with children and teens regarding sex and
sexual health? Do you fear what they might ask?
Or how to respond to their questions? Or whether
you even know the “answers” yourself?

Saleema Noon knows all about these fears and
concerns. An expert in sexual health education
and stepparent to two teenage daughters herself,
she understands the challenges adults face when
addressing sensitive topics with their kids.

In Talk Sex Today, Noon delivers an intelligent
and sensible blend of current, inclusive, and
practical information for children and teens –
and the adults who love them. Noon builds on
the foundational work of iconic sexual health
educator Meg Hickling and her bestselling
Speaking of Sex books to offer adults a break-
through guide on teaching “body science.”

Together, with a combined 40 years of experience,
Noon and Hickling broach a host of topics including:

  • gender identity and stereotypes
  • sexual diversity 
  • sexual consent
  • bullying and harassment
  • fostering healthy body image 
  • internet safety
  • managing media influence
  • pornography
  • sexual decision-making
  • sexual health for children and special needs teens

Not afraid of controversy and firm in her belief that
knowledge is power, Noon’s broadly inclusive approach
shines with the affirmation that every person –
regardless of race, religion, age, ability, gender
identity, gender expression and sexual attraction –
deserves respect and the information that will keep
them safe.

This is the ultimate guide to teaching children about
sexual health and is ideal for educators and parents alike.

 

Author Bios:

Saleema Noon  – earned her Bachelor of Arts degree
in Family Sciences at UBC. She then researched the
quality of sexual health education in B.C. high schools,
earning her a Master of Arts degree in sexual health
education in 1997, also from UBC.

Since then, Saleema has been teaching not only in
the field of sexual health, but also in the areas of
assertiveness training, internet safety, healthy
relationships, body image and self-esteem.

Respected by the media as a sexual health expert,
Saleema has appeared frequently.

Meg Hickling – is a retired registered nurse and
an award-winning educator and author who has
been instilling knowledge of sexual health in
children and adults for over 30 years. She is
British Columbia’s leading advocate in educating
children about human reproduction. Meg believes
that knowledge brings about empowerment.
Sensitive to her young audiences and their parents,
she delivers her message on sexuality and abuse
prevention with empathy, warmth and a gentle
humour.
 
Her ability to convey difficult and controversial
material with sensitivity and warmth distinguishes
her as a remarkable teacher and role model.

 

Author’s Words:

I think my passion for educating children and their
parents arose from my nursing experience. I was
appalled by my patient’s lack of knowledge about
their bodies and sexual health. Sometimes that
lack of knowledge resulted in every serious
consequences, even death. I was determined to
teach my own children about their bodies in their
pre-school years. Of course, they took that
knowledge into the community and soon other
parents were asking how they could make their
own children as comfortable and knowledgeable
as mine.

I began teaching sexual health in 1974 when the
(flower children generation) were beginning
parents. They were more open to the questions
of their children, but had no role models to follow.
Parents of the previous generations had either
not heard the questions, had ignored them, or
had given erroneous answers. You might say that
I was at the right place and the right time!

Today, parents and children have some of the
same gaps in their knowledge, but there are
also some totally new areas of concern, and
many, many more questions.

In the early 1970s there was no internet, virtually
no access to pornography, no cell phones, no AIDS,
and no real awareness of child sexual abuse.

Times have changed!

I am so pleased that Saleema Noon has agreed
to revise “Speaking of Sex” and its sequels.
Saleema was first my student and then my
colleague. She is a first-rate educator (and 
has helped me extend the field well beyond
the vision I had in 1974.)

(Reading this new edition) you will learn a lot,
I believe, and be much more sexually mature
by the time you reach the end…

– from the Preface by Meg Hickling

 

 

Review by Dr. Wayne Holst 

My Thoughts:

I have followed the evolution of Meg Hickling’s
several editions of “Speaking of Sex” books 
over the years and would say that, in terms of
layout, content and reader-awareness, this is
surely the best of the lot. Saleema Noon’s help
in this project is apparent.  

Of course, the audience tests represented by
the questions the authors are hearing and
responding to – are much more sophisticated
and nuanced as well.

One of he blessings of the internet, for example,
is that in spite of the problems it introduces to
our homes, the resourcefulness to deal with
such problems is also much more extensive.

The experience and complementing gifts of
the authors as educators really shows. They
are not simply writing from  the confines of
their studies. They are dealing with real-life
questions presented to them in groups and
class-rooms. This has always been Meg’s
approach, but it achieves new heights here.

The social sciences continue to provide
the authors with much improved tools. 

I admit to be a child of my era (the 40s
thru 60s) but I am also a person that
keeps wanting to change and to grow –
into my eighth decade. A book like this
helps me to do just that.

I was taught to avoid or deal euphemistically
with awkward and difficult matters pertaining
to sex. The problem with that approach is that –
in our times – such handling of the matter
can rightly be judged as dishonest.

A book like this uses candor, and calls a spade
a spade. And so it should. But that is done with
experience, finesse and delightful humour.

We are not only talking about anatomy and
physical beauty, here. We are dealing with
healthy human relations and what we can all
learn from each other regardless of age,
gender, religion or other background.

I was also taught to avoid certain topics when
“ladies” were present. Through this book I am
discovering two competent and mature women
who can teach me a good deal about things I
simply do not yet understand very well.

If you are a relative, parent, or grandparent
of young people entering a world with many
more sexual challenges than you ever faced,
I encourage you to buy this book for yourself,
and those whose sexual health and well-being 
you care about.

 

Buy the book from –

Wood Lake Books:
http://tinyurl.com/h3gzys4

Amazon.ca:
http://tinyurl.com/j3mneeo

 

Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List 11,  Vol. XII. No. 21, February 26 , 2017

Embracing the Body, Finding God in Our Flesh and Bone

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

Faith Today Review, by Wayne Holst

EMBRACING THE BODY, Finding God in
Our Flesh and Bone, by Tara M. Owens,
Inter Varsity Press, 2015, 254 pages.
$16.79, e-book $9.99.

 

Canadian-born author Tara Owens believes
there is a much more worthy alternative to
the destructive body-worship and porn so
dominant in contemporary culture. She sees
in a reaction to this a constructive outcome,
and encourages modern Christians to come
to know their own bodies and those of others
in healing and celebrative ways.

Owens asserts that while traditional Christianity
has often been a poor teacher by denigrating the
human body at the expense of the spirit – there
is to be found in better Christian theological
and spiritual traditions the source of a new
appreciation for flesh and bone. Indeed, God
is to be found there.

Our bodies have been the cause of much
shame and guilt, as well as of false pride –  
yet our bodies have much to teach us about
divinity. The author unpacks this thesis in a
series of well-designed chapters clarifying
such themes as fear and impulse, celebration
and connectivity.

The author has a strong command of biblical
and liturgical theology, and she directs that skill
in penetrating and healing ways. Sexuality, she
maintains, is beyond all else, ‘good-focused.’  
Our bodies are not something negative, Rather,
they have been beautifully created by God. This
awareness can guide us positively into becoming
more complete individuals and relational beings.

Incarnation and resurrection – God in Jesus,
both human and divine – are at the core of our
understanding of being Christian. We can rejoice
in both carnality and divinity and explore the
great potential entailed in that powerful reality.

 

Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List 11,  Vol. XII. No. 17, January 29 , 2017

Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

PILGRIMAGE
My Search for
the Real Pope Francis,
by Mark K. Shriver

Random House Canada, Toronto
December, 2016. $33.00 CAD.
ISBN #978-0-8129-982-3.

 

Publisher’s Promo:

A down-to-earth and deeply intimate
portrait of Pope Francis and his faith,
based on interviews with the men and
women who knew him simply as Jorge
Mario Bergoglio

Early on the evening of March 13, 2013,
the newly elected Pope Francis stepped
out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica
and did something remarkable: Before he
imparted his blessing to the crowd, he
asked the crowd to bless him, then bowed
low to receive this grace. In the days that
followed, Mark K. Shriver—along with the

rest of the world -was astonished to see a
pope who paid his own hotel bill, eschewed
limousines, and made his home in a suite
of austere rooms in a Vatican guesthouse
rather than the grand papal apartment in
the Apostolic Palace.

By setting an example of humility and
accessibility, Francis breathed new life
into the Catholic Church, attracting the
admiration of Catholics and non-Catholics
alike.

In “Pilgrimage” Shriver retraces Francis’s
personal journey, revealing the origins of
his open, unpretentious style and explaining
how it revitalized Shriver’s own faith and
renewed his commitment to the Church.

To help us understand how Jorge Mario
Bergoglio became Pope Francis, Shriver
travels to Bergoglio’s native Argentina to
meet with the people who knew him as a
child, as a young Jesuit priest, and as a
reformist bishop. Shriver visits the
confessional where Bergoglio first felt
called to a faith-based life and takes us to
the humble parish where the future pontiff’s
pastoral career began: in a church created
from a converted vegetable shed in an area
just outside the city of Buenos Aires. In
these impoverished surroundings, Bergoglio
answered Christ’s call to feed the hungry,
clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless,
following the example set by his papal

namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

In this deeply reported yet highly personal
book, Mark K. Shriver explores how Francis’s
commitment has struck a chord in the hearts
of millions who long to make faith, love,
humility, and mercy part of their lives as they
go out into the world to serve and learn from
the most marginalized.

 

Author’s Words:

(The Jesuits, the order to which Bergoglio, or
later pope Francis belonged, did innovative and
courageous missionary work in Latin America,
and it was from that ethos that the current pope
emerged in Argentina.)

They were as comfortable working with the poor
and marginalized as with the wealthy and well-
connected; often earning the jealousy and
suspicion of religious and political authorities.

I longed to apply my Catholic notions about
social justice through politics (as evidenced
through a Jesuit-turned-pope like Francis.)

Like many of my friends, I had been yearning
for a church I could believe in again (following
great disillusionment following corruption and 
priest scandals of the past decades.)
 
This was the personal context in which Pope
Francis entered my consciousness: skeptical,
disillusioned, and uncertain whether the church
remained a force for good in the world…

We need a spiritual leader who restores the
gospel’s message to feed the hungry, to clothe
the naked, to shelter the homeless. We all,
regardless of our religion, long for an authentic
leader who reaches out and helps others, who
truly believes in the Jewish call of Tikkun Olam,
to repair the world, or the Islamic call to Islah,
to improve, to better the world, to make peace.
And we want that leader to be warm, accessible
and hopeful…

(I was not easily convinced that he was ‘the
real deal.’)

But two recurrent themes kept uplifting me —
humility and mercy. I started to succumb to
a third way of thinking, seeing and living —
and that was — joy. I also learned that joy
was something new in his life too…

Pope Francis seemed like the right messenger
with the right message, a man of substance
with an enduring style…

(Then I got a call suggesting that I write a book
about him, and how his background shapes his
papacy).

(An in-depth look into his formation and
priestly experience has helped me understand
the man we see today)…

He is whole-heartedly committed to the Jesuit
founder Ignatius’s call to “go forth and set the
world on fire for the Lord.”

But he is still human, he is still a Jesuit, but one
whose talents may require a step outside the
order in which he was trained and has flourished.

(This is the story of what has evolved for Francis
and for us and I want to share it with you.)

– from the Prologue

 

Review by Dr. Wayne Holst 

My Thoughts:

Mark K. Shriver has strong American Catholic
credentials and that may both appeal to and
discourage people from reading his book.

He is part of the Kennedy clan – well-connected
but also committed to social justice. He sees
links and patterns in the story of Francis with 
how his own life has developed. Of course,
Shriver is not a member of any order of clergy,
or an academic. He is an intelligent writer and
Catholic layman. What he brings to this work
is a deep faith and commitment to service in the
world – just like he sees in the pope.

I like the way Shriver’s investigation provides
many insights to his own life. That could also
be said for those who may read this book.

While he is a deeply committed Catholic, I like
the way Shriver writes with an ecumenical and
inter-faith (broadly human) perspective.

The author is not hesitant to point out the
flaws and missteps he has discovered in
Bergoglio’s background. Shriver questions
some of the earlier political stances he took
as a Jesuit leader. But Shriver is also helpful
in showing how that early churchman was
able to change his mind and see his heart
evolve in response to the challenging
circumstances within which he served.

The humility, mercy and joy reflected in the
papal ministry of Francis seems to have come
from some negative experience, and this has
rubbed off on Shriver.

It could also rub off on you from reading this
book. I am happy to include it in my library.

 

New York Times Review:
http://tinyurl.com/hmtcgj4

Buy the book from Amazon.ca:
http://tinyurl.com/hqoacwu

Dr. Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary and  helps  to co-ordinates Adult Spiritual Development  at St. David’s United Church in that city. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Colleagues List 11,  Vol. XII. No. 17, January 29 , 2017

There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

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Dear Senator Beyak:

Not only in the Red Chamber on Parliament Hill, but across the country, many people – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – were dismayed by your remarks. You said “I was disappointed in the TRC’s Report and that it didn’t focus on the good,” associated with Residential Schools. Had you, Senator, made these remarks within a discussion of the TRC’s Report, your comments might have been less shocking.

Senator Beyak, you are quite right in saying that for a small minority of survivors, their personal experiences of Residential School were “good”.  But in much greater numbers, the personal experiences of children who were housed in those schools were “bad” – very bad in fact. One only needs to have attended a local, regional or national event hosted by Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission to know this. The Commissioners listened to the personal stories of thousands of students – of survivors – all of which bore witness to the horrific experience they had.

There are hundreds of students who went to Residential Schools administered by the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). They have told their stories at our church’s National Native Convocation and at Sacred Circle Gatherings. We have been rendered speechless by what we heard. We have hung our heads in shame and raised them with remorse over the pain our church inflicted upon those children.

There was nothing good about a federal government policy of forcibly removing children “from their evil surroundings”, housing them in schools with the intent of “killing the Indian in the child…and turning them into a civilized adult”. It was an attempt at cultural genocide, an attempt whose failure bears witness to the courage and resilience of those children and their communities. As elder Barney Williams of the Survivors’ Society has so often said, “We were all brave children.”

There was nothing good about practices of taking away children, removing their traditional dress, cutting their hair, taking away their name, confiscating their personal effects and giving them a number.

There was nothing good about forbidding children to speak their own language, to sing and dance in a powwow, to practice their own spirituality. It was a denial of their dignity and human rights.

There was nothing good about experimenting with children’s diet to monitor the impact on their dental hygiene or their digestive systems. There was nothing good about pressing children into forced labour. It was state-sanctioned cruelty.

There was nothing good about denying a child a celebration of his or her birthday, about separating siblings one from another, not allowing them to be home for Christmas, or to enjoy summer holiday.

There was nothing good about child abuse – and it was rampant in Residential Schools – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse. Such abuses were nothing less than crimes against humanity.

There was nothing good about children going missing and no report being filed. There was nothing good about burying children in unmarked graves far from their ancestral homes. It heaped cruelty upon cruelty for the child taken and the parent left behind.

There is nothing good about a lingering and sordid legacy of intergenerational trauma reflected in poor health, the struggle to enjoy healthy relationships, addictions, domestic violence, astonishingly high rates of incarceration and communal dysfunction.

There is nothing good about Indigenous people treated as “second class”, the blatant evidence of which persists in lower funding for health care, education, policing, and emergency health services. It is a travesty.

All these atrocities associated with the Indian Residential Schools have been documented through the work of TRC Commissioners Murray Sinclair, Marie Wilson, and Wilton Littlechild. The several volumes of their report attest to this dark chapter in the history of Canada. We encourage you to review them. The ninety-four Calls to Action that complement their report are a “roadmap”, as they put it, for journeying toward healing and reconciliation. It will take years to address these Calls to Action fully, but in our commitment as a country to do so, we must be unwavering. We implore you to share in that commitment.

It is true that there were some glimpses of good, well-intentioned teachers, nurses and staff in those schools. We know a number of them personally and we know something of their own internal turmoil and agree that their stories have to be heard. It is true that some Residential School survivors can speak of a personal positive experience. We do not deny that their stories need to be heard too. But we are compelled to say that while there are those glimpses of good in the history of the Residential Schools, the overall view is grim. It is shadowed and dark; it is sad and shameful.

Senator Beyak, you hold up colonial historic accounts of church-run schools across Manitoba (the Pas, Grand Rapids), northern Ontario (Fort Frances, Fort Albany), and Athabasca. The accounts emphasize the good work of missionaries and the churches’ role in positively influencing the life of Indigenous peoples in these places. While there is no doubt that some good things happened, that is so clearly not the whole story that it demands a response.

What your story doesn’t tell us is of the cramped and unsanitary conditions in schools run by the Church Missionary Society of the Church of England, (the Anglican Church of Canada), in the Pas and Dauphin Manitoba; Lac La Ronge and Onion Lake, Saskatchewan; and Wabasca, Alberta. Conditions in these schools led to fires, to outbreaks of diphtheria, to gas leaks. Children died. We cannot speak about the Residential Schools without acknowledging these truths.  To do so would once more silence the witness of thousands of children – some of whom never returned home. It is Indigenous people who have the authority to tell the story. It is our duty to receive that story and allow it to change us.

Our church has offered apologies and will continue to do so. We have supported community-based programmes for healing, through the Anglican Healing Fund, and we will continue that work both as it seeks to foster healing in the lives of persons and families, and to support the recovery of language, culture and spiritual practices consistent with Indigenous identities and traditions. We recognize that this work of healing and reconciliation will take many, many years and we pledge our very best efforts in being steadfast in that work. We ask for a similar expression of commitment from you, and as a member of the Senate’s Aboriginal Peoples committee.

We say this as leaders in a church that ran a number of these Schools. We say this as leaders in a church that has members who are Indigenous and non-Indigenous, survivors and staff, settlers and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers made an apology to Residential School Survivors on behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada. Among his expressions of remorse for what had happened to so many innocent children he said “I am sorry that we tried to remake you in our image…We failed you. We failed ourselves. We failed God.”

We pray to God that our Church and our country remain firm in its resolve to support healing and reconciliation.

We pray that all the people of Canada – First Nations, Inuit and Métis – and all others who through waves of immigration have come to settle here may with goodwill forge a new future together.

We pray that future will be marked by a profound respect for the dignity with which the Creator has endowed all peoples, and by that harmony with which the Creator would have us live – in relations that are good and right and just for all.

Signed: Michael Thompson
The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church of Canada
The Right Rev. Mark MacDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop
The Anglican Church of Canada
Michael Thompson
General Secretary
The Anglican Church of Canada

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, March 20, 2017

Church and the city

Posted on: March 17th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on March 17, 2017


(L-R) Kendra Wassink, Brian Tsang, Glen Rey, Avelina Pun, Andrew Au and Dorothy Wong take in the sights, sounds and smells of Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood as part of the Practices of Ministry in the City conference. Photo: André Forget


It’s one of the coldest days in March, and a bitter west wind whistles between the old community housing blocks of Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, but Andrew Au and Dorothy Wong are focussed on the streetscape, on the incongruity of the new developments, the rush of the streetcars, the way pedestrians carefully navigate the slush and road salt on the narrow sidewalk.

They’re braving the elements not because they’re trying to get anywhere, but as an exercise in opening their senses to the city around them.

Au and Wong live in Scarborough. They don’t visit this part of the city often, but were drawn in by a two-day conference on ministry in the city co-sponsored by Wycliffe College and hosted at the headquarters of Toronto’s storied Yonge Street Mission, a couple of blocks away on Gerrard Street East.

Au and Wong are members of Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. Au says their church is struggling to find ways to be engaged in its own neighbourhood, now that most of its members drive in from exurban communities like Richmond Hill, Ont.

How should the church reach out to the people who live around it, now that many of their members are not part of that community?

Au and Wong, followed by a small group from the conference, turn west off Sackville onto Dundas Street East. A weary-looking Orthodox church shares the corner with three new condo developments, and Au says the change visibly overtaking Regent Park reminds him of patterns of gentrification and inequality in Scarborough.

It isn’t the most typical exercise to be doing at a conference on urban ministry, but then most urban ministry conferences don’t feature discussions on the unconscious impact of background sensory information on human perceptions of place.

Led by Mark Gornik, director of the Harlem-based City Seminary of New York and author of To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City, the conference, held March 13-14, was designed to offer tools to those like Au and Wong, who are looking for new approaches to doing ministry in cities.

The March 14 afternoon session focussed particularly on how paying greater attention to physical senses through which humans perceive the world yields insights that can be invaluable to those hoping to minister to the people around them.

“Ministry in the city begins with what we experience as whole persons,” Gornik explains to the group of over 40 Christians representing a wide range of denominations from across Toronto.

“Before it is anything else—a job, a role, a strategy, or a project…ministry in the city is a prayerful way of being present to our neighbours, our families, our co-workers, our community and to God. It is being present to where we are.”

Gornik notes that in order to be able to reach out effectively to the people around them, ministers need to have a deep knowledge of the context in which they are serving—one that is often made up of years of accumulated knowledge received through the senses.


 

Mark Gornik, director of the City Seminary of New York, says intentional use of the senses can help ministers understand their communities more deeply. Photo: André Forget


Being mindful of the world around them, of the smells and textures of the city and the ways those smells and textures reflect and shape the lives of the people, is one way those involved in urban ministry can approach this work more intentionally.

Gornik stresses the importance of conscious practices, like walking through a neighbourhood while praying for it, as a way of using the sense to approach urban ministry.

In a 2014 essay for Faith and Leadership, Gornik notes that doing so can help Christians see “church life intertwined with the creative and economic life of the city,” which in turn allows them to see areas where the church can act for the betterment of the city and its people.

“Being able to do ministry is really to wonder, and have a sense of wonder and imagination,” he says.

Which is why he ended the session by sending the group out into snow and slush of Regent Park, to wander the streets to practice noticing and praying for the city.

In an interview with the Anglican Journal following the session, Angie Hocking, outreach program co-ordinator at the Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) in downtown Toronto, says she found the session useful.


Angie Hocking, outreach program co-ordinator at Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer. Photo: André Forget


Hocking, who has been following Gornik’s work for some time, says it underlined the importance of paying attention to the physical context in which ministry is done.

Despite being at Redeemer for five years, she says she is still having little “revelations” about the place and the people who live there, brought on by the knowledge she has accumulated over the years.

“You never really have a full grasp on things—you have to always continue to tap into your senses…and remember that things are changing around us, and that we are to…try to evolve and move with that,” she says.

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, March 17, 2017

Priestly training a ‘critical need’ in Indigenous communities

Posted on: March 17th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By André Forget on March 17, 2017


The northern Indigenous communities served by the Rev. Elizabeth Beardy and her husband, the Rev. Larry Beardy, face challenges uncommon in other parts of the country, such as remoteness and residential school trauma. Photo: Contributed


Training new ordained ministers is a “critical need” in many Indigenous communities—but not one traditional seminary education can easily fill, says Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh.

“Seminarians are not coming to live among our people, and…they are not trained to serve in a remote, isolated little reserve,” Mamakwa explained. “We need to look at alternative delivery of ministry.”

Mamakwa’s comments came at a February gathering hosted by the national church in Niagara Falls, Ont., to discuss the future of the theological education in Canada.

Though Mamakwa was unable to attend due to a crisis in one of her communities, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald read a statement she had prepared outlining Mishamikoweesh’s leadership training needs, and presenting possible solutions.

The key challenge, Mamakwa said, is the need to balance support and resources from institutions and schools outside Mishamikoweesh with ensuring education is still run by and for Indigenous people.

Since 2003, education for ministry in Mishamikoweesh has taken place through the Dr. William Winter School for Ministry based out of Mamakwa’s home community of Kingfisher Lake, in northern Ontario.

Named for its founder, the late archdeacon and elder William Winter, the school was set up to provide training to Indigenous people in what was then the diocese of Keewatin; over 70 people have participated in its Diploma in Indigenous Anglican Theology program since its inception.

Students attend the school for intensive two-week sessions twice a year, and work with ministers in their home communities for the rest of the year.

However, the school currently does not have a set curriculum or offer a diploma-granting program. Teaching is done with the help of elders, and supplemented by seminary-trained educators and instructors teaching at seminaries in other parts of Canada.

Until recently, the school was in a partnership with the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, in Saskatoon, which helped provide the school with a curriculum, teachers and, upon graduation, a diploma.

This partnership came to an end in 2011, when Emmanuel and St. Chad faced the possibility of closure. Though the college remains open, its relationship with Dr. William Winter School for Ministry has not been renewed.

Mamakwa said the school is in the process of deciding whether or not it should try to affiliate itself with a seminary. In the meantime, Wycliffe College in Toronto has agreed to provide teaching support.

One of the reasons why Dr. William Winter School for Ministry has not simply adapted another school’s curriculum is due to a strong conviction that it  should be, in Mamakwa’s words, “controlled and run by Native people to teach Native people.”

Indigenous ministers, she said, face unique challenges, and need to be able to function in an environment where people suffer from addictions, trauma and family dysfunction that are part of the toxic legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system.

Moreover, in many Indigenous communities, she said, elders play an important leadership role, and must be part of any training program for Indigenous priests and deacons.


Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, pictured at General Synod 2016, is advocating for training for priestly ministry to be led by and for Indigenous people. Photo: Art Babych


In a March 8 interview with the Anglican Journal, Mamakwa expanded on her earlier statements.

One of the major problems facing the school, she said, is recruitment—specifically, how to recruit students interested in becoming priests.

“Right now, we just make [attendance] open for anyone who wants to come,” said Mamakwa. “There is a high interest in people wanting to come and study, but not necessarily seek ordination.”

Until recently, leaders from the school would visit communities and identify potential students and encourage them to pursue studies with view to ordination. The high cost of flying in and out of northern communities, however, has meant this is no longer financially feasible.

And yet, in the cultural context of Mishamikoweesh, spending time in communities and meeting potential candidates is a key part of discerning who should pursue training for the priesthood or diaconate.

Mamakwa explained that in many Indigenous communities, people do not put themselves forward as candidates for ordination; instead, their communities identify them as being potential spiritual leaders.

This was certainly true for the Rev. Elizabeth Beardy, who was encouraged to attend the school by Winter himself when he visited her home community of Split Lake shortly after the school’s inception.

“[Winter] used to come to our community…he would look around and pick out people and invite them to come to that school,” said Beardy, who studied at Dr. William Winter School for Ministry from 2004-2008.

Beardy was ordained to the diaconate in 2016. She said it had never occurred to her to pursue a seminary education, but that she found the training provided by the school to be of great use.

In particular, she draws on the training she received in counselling when dealing with members of her community dealing with spiritual or emotional issues.

“When they see me, [people] come to me and say ‘oh, I’m going through this, can you come and pray for me?’…And there are some that have problems with their family life, so I talk with them,” Beardy said in an interview. “There is a great need of pastoral care up north.”

Beardy said the shortage of ministers in her part of the country, northern Manitoba, is a problem, where many communities have an active church community but no priest.

Often a community will have to pay travel costs for a priest from a neighbouring area to come in and do a burial when a person dies, she said.

The obstacles to providing ministry training remain real, but Mamakwa is confident the school will find a way forward.

The issue of recruitment is one of several items on the agenda at an April planning meeting where Mamakwa, MacDonald, several other school stakeholders will discuss curriculum development and the establishment of program guidelines.

Meanwhile, Mamakwa encourages anyone interested in supporting the school to consider doing so either financially or offering to volunteer as a teacher.

“What I would like to see is if a parish or the national church…or even an individual could sponsor a student. That would be really helpful,” she said.

 

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, March 17, 2017

Faith groups stand together against politics of hate and fear

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Neale Adams on March, 13 2017


Diocese of New Westminster Bishop Melissa Skelton reads two poems about love and kindness during a multi-faith gathering at Or Shalom Synagogue.
Photo: Neale Adams


People of many faiths met twice early in March in Vancouver to show support for one another at two well-attended public meetings that celebrated diversity and took a stand against acts of hatred.

Both gatherings were in reaction to concerns about an upsurge in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of social conflict that seem to have accompanied the inauguration of the new administration in the United States.

That American political problems have spilled into Canada was suggested by a bomb threat the previous week which resulted in the evacuation of Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre (no bomb was found), and by controversy surrounding a three-day campaign in Vancouver led by Franklin Graham, an American evangelist who once called Islam “a very evil, a very wicked religion” and supported a ban on Muslim immigration in the U.S.

Anglicans were involved in sponsoring both gatherings. The first took place on March 7 at Vancouver’s Or Shalom Synagogue. It was sponsored by the synagogue and the diocese of New Westminster and featured talks, chants, songs, meditation, and even dancing, from a wide variety of faith traditions.

It was followed two days later by a presentation  at St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church involving a rabbi, an imam, and a bishop entitled “Hope Amidst the Politics of Fear: Conversations for Creative Resistance.” This event was organized by St. Andrew’s and Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver.

Rabbi Laura Kaplan, director of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology and a panelist at the event at the United Church, said she was thankful that hate-inspired acts, like the bomb threat, were so far at the level of “harassment” and not more.

“It will be the strength of our community that keeps it at that level,” she said.

Kaplan said she had experienced discrimination and insult during her lifetime and career.

“In the grand scheme of Jewish history I experience these as mosquito bites,” she said. “On balance I am physically safe. I am welcomed almost everywhere by strong multicultural community where people understand it’s the strength of our networks that keep all of us safe. It’s the connections that matter.”

Imam Mohammed Shujaath Ali Nadwi of Masjid ul-Haqq Mosque in Vancouver also said he had been encouraged by the reactions of “fair-minded Canadians and Americans.

“Recent events have stirred more compassion and kindness in the hearts of non-Muslim friends. They came out in support of Muslims defending their rights,” he said.

Nadwi said one benefit of the controversy is that it has stirred curiosity about Islam and encouraged people to learn about the religion. People want to find out about his religion “from the right sources, not just the media. This curiosity has opened minds and hearts to learn the right things. This is something very positive.”


People from a wide variety of faith traditions during discussions held after the gathering at Or Shalom Synagogue.
Photo: Neale Adams


The Rev. Dan Chambers of St. Andrew’s-Wesley, in introducing the speakers at the church, suggested many people are concerned not only with recent events but about the state of the world in general.

“When we consider the critical issues of a global nature—climate change, the widening gap between the wealthy and the not very wealthy, the rise of the threat of nuclear weaponry—hope flickers in the distance,” said Chalmers. “It’s no wonder that for many, despair is right outside our door, and for some it has moved into the house. How do you speak of hope in such a way that it’s not Pollyanna, that’s grounded in reality and the generally possible?”

That challenge was taken up by Bishop Michael Ingham, retired bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, whose talk touched on the theology of hope. Ingham said that biblical hope is neither a passive optimism nor unrealistic wishful thinking.

Quoting British rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ingham distinguished between hope and optimism. “Optimism is the belief things will get better. Hope is the faith that together we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue. Hope is an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.”

Hope has an element of surrender, said Ingham. However, it is not surrender to fate or despair but an ultimate act of trust in God. He quoted a verse from the late Leonard Cohen—who, he pointed out, was Jewish: “Even though it all went wrong / I’ll stand before the Lord of song / With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.”

Cohen, he said, “captures this sense of emptiness before God, of having nothing to bring except our hope and trust in God—and this transforms everything.”

The earlier gathering at the Or Shalom Synagogue, attended by about 100 people, focussed more on celebrating Vancouver’s religious diversity.

Fifteen faith leaders spoke, sang, chanted, or in the case of a Sufi devotee, twirled. Represented were Muslims (Sunni, Shia, and Sufi), two Hindu communities, Baha’i’s, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Quakers, Lutherans, and Anglicans, as well as the Jewish hosts.

“We are asked to be tolerant with each other,” said Firdosh Mehta of the Zoroastrian Society of B.C. “But tolerance is not enough. We need to elevate the understanding of each other for acceptance beyond tolerance—acceptance based on common values.”

Bishop Greg Mohr of the British Columbia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada based his remarks on a United Nations call for accepting refugees. “I invite you to think of stranger not as one newly arrived in a country. Often times the stranger is one living next door to me to whom I have failed to provide hospitality and welcome.

“We are all considered strangers somewhere and we should treat the strangers to our community as we would like to be treated. We must challenge intolerance,” said Mohr.

Bishop Melissa Skelton of the Diocese of New Westminster used her opportunity to speak by reading two poems, one by an Israeli and the other by a Palestinian. The late Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s poem read in part: “The place where we are right / is hard and trampled / like a yard. / But doubts and loves /dig up the world….”

She then read from the Palestinian poet,  Naomi Shihab Nye, which suggests true kindness and compassion come only after one deeply feels the sorrows of other people.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the man in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive. 

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 

As the evening at the synagogue closed, Rabbi Adam Stein of the Beth Israel Synagogue quoted  a verse from Isaiah (56:7) which is on the doors of his sanctuary : “My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples.

He added: “I think truly tonight this house has been a house of prayer for all peoples… we have caused God, the divine, godliness to come out in all of us, inside of us.”

 

About the Author

Neale Adams

Neale Adams

Neale Adams is a freelance writer in Vancouver. He was former editor of Topic, the newspaper of the diocese of New Westminster.

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Anglican Journal News, March 15, 2017