News briefs

Catholic youth Down Under

l2,000 Canadian young people joined thousands of other young people from around the world at the 23rd World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, July 15 - 20. The Roman Catholic event is held every three years. Also present at the event were Pope Benedict XVI and 15 Canadian bishops.

Trendy new journal

The third issue of Church & Faith Trends contains an article by Rick Hiemstra on the growing gap between Canadian evangelical Christians and their non-evangelical neighbours; an interview with Douglas Todd, spirituality and ethics writer for the Vancouver Sun; an interview with outgoing Canadian Evangelical Theological Association president David Guretzki about the lack of evangelical engagement with enivironmental issues; and a review of Kevin Kee's book Revivalists: Marketing the Gospel in English Canada, 1884-1957. Church & Faith Trends is a new online journal published by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada's Centre for Research on Canadian Evangelicalism.

He won't stay long in Canada

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Canada held a public prayer vigil July 10 on behalf of Robin Long, a US war resister who was scheduled to be deported from Canada July 15. Long joined the US military in 2003, but became disillusioned with the US war in Iraq, deserted and fled to Canada in 2005. He applied for refugee status in 2006, but his final court appeal was turned down July 14. There are about 200 US resisters of the Iraq War currently in Canada. The CPT Canada vigil, which took place in Winnipeg, drew participants from the 'People's Summit for Faithful Living,' a joint meeting of delegates from Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

If you build it, they will sue

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a news release July 11 calling on Green Park International and Green Mount International, two Canadian companies, to halt construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Michael Sfard, a lawyer representing Biliin village, has filed a lawsuit with the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal asking for the destruction of Palestinian homes and the construction of 30 new Israeli apartment buildings to stop. The village is asking for $2 million in damages from the Canadian companies.

A cure for dead skin

Ahava, a line of skincare products from the Dead Sea, is now being sold in Christian bookstores in North America. Ahava "leverages the inherent purity and nourishing powers of Dead Sea minerals, salts and botanicals in the creation of their skincare products that pamper your skin with a natural, effortless glow."

Making prayer count

The Prayer Vigil to End Extreme Poverty has established a goal to offer one "counting prayer" for every person in the world living in extreme poverty. The "counting prayer" says, "The world now has the means to end extreme poverty, we pray we will have the will." The first prayer was offered on September 23, 2007 at Ground Zero in New York City, and since then over half a million prayers have been made. This "Billion Prayer March" has been endorsed by the United Religions Initiative, the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and Millennium Congregation.

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A cause by any other name

Pro Life BC has changed its name to Signal Hill. Its name and new slogan, "Separating noise from signal," refers to the first transatlantic wireless signal sent from Signal Hill in Newfoundland in 1901, which allowed a clear message to be heard above the static of the airwaves. Similarly, the organization hopes its new name will give it more access to schools and other public forums and allow its message to be heard above the static of the abortion debate. Signal Hill describes itself as "an advocate for human rights that provides information on life issues, women's health and family support."

Christian farmers favour honesty in labeling

The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario (CFFO) has passed a position statement endorsing new federal government legislation designed to ensure that "all or virtually all" of the ingredients in food products bearing the 'Product of Canada' label are produced in Canada. The CFFO is also recommending that water not be counted as an ingredient so that reconstituted fruit juices cannot be labelled 'Product of Canada' if the only Canadian ingredient is water. The CFFO is also in favour of voluntary 'country of origin labeling' legislation and monitoring so that labels such as the maple leaf, 'Canada,' 'Canada #1,' 'local' and 'natural' are not used in a misleading way.

New man appointed

Father Stefano Penna has been appointed academic dean of Newman Theological College in Edmonton. Penna is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Saskatoon, a popular preacher and retreat master, and a professor at St. Joseph's College, which is affiliated with the University of Alberta. Newman College grew out of St. Joseph Seminary, with which it is still affiliated, in 1969. The seminary trains Roman Catholic priests, while Newman College trains both clergy and laity.

No right to be silent

Concerned Christians Canada is presenting a dinner and networking session at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Calgary July 25. Michael Wagner will speak on 'Silenced: Canada's Christian Right: An Antidote to Canada's Moral Decay.' Wagner is author of the book Standing on Guard for Thee. Tickets are $50 a person.

July 17/2008

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