Posts Tagged ‘Interfaith relations’

New animator for ecumenical, interfaith relations named

Posted on: July 23rd, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Tali Folkins on July 21, 2017

The Rev. Scott Sharman, the Anglican Church of Church of Canada’s animator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, says God created the church to call people to “a way of dialogue and learning rather than rivalry and tension.” Photo: Contributed

The Anglican Church of Canada will have, starting this fall, a new staff person in charge of relations with other religious organizations.

The Rev. Scott Sharman, currently interfaith chaplain at the University of Alberta and also the diocese of Edmonton’s ecumenical officer, has been named as the church’s animator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod announced July 18. Sharman, who will work out of Edmonton, will begin in his new role September 1.

Reached by email, Sharman said he believed ecumenical and interfaith relations are especially important today because many of the worst conflicts troubling the world are rooted in differences over religion and culture—something very different from what God wants from the church.

“I believe God has created the church as a place where we are called into relationship with difference for the purpose of modelling a different way of being—a way of dialogue and learning rather than rivalry and tension,” he said.

Sharman succeeds Bruce Myers, who worked his last day as co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations March 31, 2016 after being elected coadjutor bishop of Quebec the previous fall.

Sharman also teaches church history and Anglican studies at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, and serves as director of Ascension House, an intentional community for young people in Edmonton.


Anglican Journal News, July 21, 2017

General Synod appoints animator for ecumenical and interfaith relations

Posted on: July 18th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

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The Rev. Dr. Scott Sharman

The Rev. Dr. Scott Sharman (B.Th., M.Rel., Ph.D) will begin new work with General Synod as Animator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. Working closely with the Primate’s Office, and as part of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Team, Dr. Sharman will work out of Edmonton. He is a priest in the Diocese of Edmonton who understands the heart of his vocation as “that of a bridge builder across division and difference”.

The Rev. Dr. Sharman completed his graduate and doctoral studies through Wycliffe College and the University of St. Michael’s College at the Toronto School of Theology, where he specialized in theologies of Church as they relate to ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.

For the past five years, Scott has served as Interfaith Chaplain to the University of Alberta, and Ecumenical Officer in the Diocese of Edmonton. This has led him into active involvement in a wide variety of ecumenical and interfaith initiatives and organizations. He is also a member of the faculty at Newman Theological College in Edmonton, where he teaches in the areas of Church History and Anglican Studies.

As someone who has ecumenical and interfaith expertise and experience in the academic, activist, local, and national contexts, he hopes this position as Animator of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations will enable him “to serve as a coordinating link between what is happening at the grassroots in these areas across the country with the priorities and plans of the Anglican Church of Canada at the national and international levels”.

Dr. Sharman will take up his new role on September 1, 2017.


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, July 18, 2017

How to Read the Bible

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Books, Reviews

by Harvey Cox

HarperOne: Toronto ON.
Available March 1st, 2016
Paper, 257 pages, $20.00 CAD.
ISBN # 378-0-06-234316-1



Publisher’s Promo:

Renowned religion expert and Harvard Divinity
School professor Harvey Cox deepens our
experience of the Bible, revealing the three
primary ways we read it, why each is important,
and how we can integrate these approaches for
a richer understanding and appreciation of key
texts throughout the Old and New Testaments.

The Bible is the heart of devotional practice,
a source of guidance and inspiration rich with
insightful life lessons. On the other side of the
spectrum, academics have studied the Bible
using scientific analysis to examine its historical
significance and meaning. The gap between these
readings has resulted in a schism with far-reaching
implications: Without historical context, ordinary
people are left to interpret the Bible literally, while
academic readings overlook the deeply personal
connections established in church pews, choir
benches, and backyard study groups.

In How To Read the Bible, Cox explores three
different lenses commonly used to bring the
Bible into focus:

• Literary—as narrative stories of family conflict,
stirring heroism, and moral dilemmas;
• History—as classic texts with academic and
theological applications;
• Activism—as a source of dialogue and engagement
to be shared and applied to our lives.

By bringing these together, Cox shows the Bible in
all its rich diversity and meaning and offers us a
contemporary activist version that wrestles with
issues of feminism, war, homosexuality, and race.
The result is a living resource that is perpetually
evolving as our understanding changes and deepens
from generation to generation.

Author’s Words:

I was born, as many of us were, in a Bible-
drenched country… In Protestant America,
with its historic aversion to “idols”, the Bible
was the only universally recognized sacred icon.

(One day I looked inside the (unused) Bible in
the home where I grew up. It seemed like a
preserve for family history, nothing more. I
was intrigued.)

I think of my personal history with the Bible
as unfolding in three stages. The first I call
the “narrative” stage. Like many people, I
simply took the Bible at face value and more
or less literally, although even as a youngster
I had my doubts about some of the accounts
that seemed improbable.

The second phase of my evolving understanding
of the Bible  might be called the “historical” one.
It began when I was in college and continued
through seminary and beyond. In this period,
the emphasis was on the context in which a
a particular book was written, for and to whom,
when and why.

The third stage which has been developing over
my adult years, I would call the “spiritual” stage.
I do not, however, mean “spiritual” in a narrow
or merely inward sense but in a holistic one that
includes inner and outer, personal and social…

I will have more to say about all these modes
in the rest of the book…

All of these ways of grasping the Bible remain
part of my repertoire. But I believe they need
to supplement and complement each other in
order to get the most from any reading of the
biblical texts. That is something I attempt to
do throughout his book…

(I try to answer the question of how to start
reading the Bible, and go back to my three stages
of my life with the Bible – the narrative, historical
and spiritual. This means that the best way to
read any passage in the Bible is to incorporate
all three elements…)

First, never forget that the story is utterly
fundamental.. “What is happening here?”

Second, become an amateur history detective
and uncover the “who, when, where and why
about a particular text…” I will include “Study
Tips” throughout the book to assist with this

Then, move to the spiritual stage. Start to
engage the text in a no-holds-barred wrestling
match. Listen, and be prepared to change,
but also to argue. Respect the right of the text
to say what it says and not what you would
like it so say. But don’t be cowed by it. Insist
on your right to see things differently if you
do. This is what I mean by “dialogue,” and
if you open both your mind and your heart to it,
the spiritual meaning for today of any text
will find its way across the centuries.

I guarantee it.

– from the Introduction



Author’s Bio:



By Dr. Wayne Holst

My Thoughts:

Few theological teachers of the past half-
century have covered the breadth of modern
themes and key issues that Harvey Cox has.
He has written many books.  For me, here
are some that taught the most –

It all began in 1965 with a very popular book –
“The Secular City” in which the new author
started to introduce several generations of
students to what is now a taken-for-granted
reality – secularization; i.e. living without an
apparent need for God in our western societies.
Here he introduced many to liberation theology.

“Turning East’ (1978) started us thinking about
the value and importance of eastern religions
before many of us had any idea of their value
for human spirituality in our time.

“Many Mansions” (1988) was a book I used
in many religion classes to introduce the
modern necessity of interfaith relations.

“Fire from Heaven” (1994) is one of the best
introductions to the global phenomenon of
Pentecostalism, and still available.

“The Future of Faith” (2009) an insightful look
into the ways faith continues to be globally
vital and significant in spite of the rise of
the new atheism and the “nones” in our time.

Now, with this book, Cox takes us back to
our Judeo-Christian foundations – the Bible
– and our need to recover what we have
lost because it seems to be a dated book.

As much as we want to be spiritually attuned,
ecumenically open and wise to inter-faith
developments in our modern world, we need
to re-ground ourselves in the foundations of
the Jewish and Christian tradition. That
foundation is the Bible.

How can we truly know who we are while
encountering ‘the other’ in all its expressions
if we fail to come to terms with our religious
heritage? I can only contribute to the dialogue
if I know who I am as a Christian.

Cox continues to impress with his perceptions,
clarity and insightfulness. Age has not clouded
his vision (he is 87) and time has not dampened
his vitality and enthusiasm as one of Harvard’s
most popular professors.

You will not go wrong to include but another
book by Harvey Cox in your library.

Buy the book from


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, Vol. XI, No. 28,  March  06th, 2016

Goldbloom remembered as ‘artisan of reconciliation’ for Jews, Christians

Posted on: February 17th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Dr. Victor Goldbloom, a pioneer in Canadian Christian-Jewish relations, died Monday, February 15, at the age of 92. Photo: Canadian Centre for Ecumenism

Dr. Victor Goldbloom, who died of a heart attack Monday, February 15 at age 92, is being remembered in Quebec and across Canada primarily for his accomplishments in politics and government. But for many Anglicans, especially those involved in interfaith relations, Goldbloom will also be known for his work in increasing understanding between Jews and Christians in Canada.

“He was a giant of a man in that sense, and will be enormously missed not just by the Jewish community in Montreal but by the Christians as well,” interfaith dialogue partner and friend Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, former primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, told the Anglican Journal February 17.

Helping Canadian Christians and Jews better understand each other, Hutchison said, is “certainly what he [Goldbloom] gave himself to right to the end.” Goldbloom remained on the executive of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism until his death, for example, he said.

Archdeacon Bruce Myers, the Anglican Church of Canada’s co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, called Goldbloom “an artisan of reconciliation between Jews and Christians, tirelessly promoting interreligious dialogue and common witness in Montreal and nationally.

“He embodied the psalmist’s cry: ‘How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!’ ” Myers said.

Goldbloom, Myers added, had been a “fixture” of Jewish-Christian dialogue in Canada. “It’s difficult to imagine that landscape without him.”

Goldbloom was also a “vigilant defender” of freedom of religion, Myers said, and an opponent of the Quebec Charter of Values, the 2013 bill proposed by the Parti Québécois that would have prohibited the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols at work by government employees.

Another Anglican mourning Goldbloom’s passing is the Rev. Patricia Kirkpatrick, a priest from the diocese of Montreal with whom he worked in Christian-Jewish conversation.

“Because he was so active in Jewish-Christian dialogues at the local, national and international levels, he had a perspective on the process of dialogue like no other I have known,” Kirkpatrick said. “He was unstoppable in his search for dialogue partners and was never deterred.”

Kirkpatrick also had strong praise for Goldbloom not just as a dialogue partner, but as a human being.

“Quite frankly, Victor was like an oak tree…strong and bold, yet giving in its arms a place of life for so many of God’s creatures who were weak and at a loss to know what to do,” she said. “His sense of justice, and therefore injustice, was finely tuned and reminded us all of just how vigilant we must always be of ever-present tyrannies.

“But more than anything else, I remember his sheer joy at being able to partake in so many different ventures so that the world could be made a better place to live,” Kirkpatrick said.

Hutchison said he first met Goldbloom in the 1980s, working with him on Christian-Jewish relationships while he served as dean in Montreal. The working relationship soon became a friendship.

At one point, Hutchison recalled, he himself held a “Shoah service,” commemorating the Holocaust and offering an apology on behalf of all Christians. Goldbloom contacted him to ask if he could publish the sermon, which he did in the Canadian Jewish News, Hutchison said.

Goldbloom was strongly drawn to religion, Hutchison said. At Hutchison’s ceremony of consecration as bishop of the diocese of Montreal, Goldbloom read the Old Testament lesson in Hebrew. Since it was Friday night, the Jewish Shabbat, Goldbloom then immediately “dashed over to the temple for his own service,” Hutchison recalled.

Though Hutchison moved first to Toronto and then Vancouver, the two maintained their friendship. “We shared a good deal over the years,” Hutchison said, adding that as recently as December he had received a long email from Goldbloom in which Goldbloom expressed, among other things, a desire to visit Hutchison and his family in Vancouver Island.

“He was certainly a man who deserved the title gentleman with a capital ‘G’,” Hutchison said. “He was gentle and full of grace, and a very open and understanding individual.”

Much of Goldbloom’s success in improving understanding between Christians and Jews in Canada was due to his ability to maintain good relationships with people, Hutchison says. At one point, during the primacy of Archbishop Michael Peers, he says, relations between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Jewish community became strained because the church, Hutchison says, had made “strong comments” about Israel’s behaviour toward Palestinians.

“It was Dr. Goldbloom who I called and asked if he would meet with our then primate, Michael Peers, to see if we could effect some reconciliation,” Hutchison says. “That was done…They were able to talk things through.”

Trained as a pediatrician, Goldbloom entered politics in the 1960s, serving as Quebec’s first environment minister in the early 1970s. He also served for a time as the province’s municipal affairs minister, and is widely credited for saving the 1976 Montreal Olympics from disaster.

In 1979, Goldbloom left politics to become chief executive officer of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, a now-defunct organization, holding the post until 1987. During his life he also served on a number of other interfaith organizations, including the Canadian Interfaith Conversation and the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Montreal. In 2012, Goldbloom was honoured by the Roman Catholic Church for his work in Christian-Jewish dialogue, receiving the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester Pope and Martyr from Pope Benedict XVI.

From 1991 to 1999, Goldbloom served as Canada’s official languages commissioner.

He is survived by his wife, Sheila Goldbloom, three children, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a brother.


Anglican Journal News, February 17, 2016