NEWS SIDEBAR: A Prayer for the Feast of St. Chad

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) A prayer for the Feast Day of St. Chad, celebrated March 2: Almighty God, whose servant Chad, for the peace of the church, relinquished cheerfully the honors that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: keep us, we pray Thee, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to step aside for others, that the cause of Christ may be advanced and thy blessed kingdom enlarged; in the name of Him who washed His disciples’ feet, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. (Source: http://www.saintchads.org.uk/stchadcollect.htm) DEAEND CAMPBELL

Reform Jewish Seminary President Steps Down Under Cloud of Suspicion

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, the widely-respected leader of Reform Judaism’s central seminary, has resigned his post and been suspended from rabbinical duties for at least two years because of inappropriate “personal relationships” before he became president. Zimmerman, who has led Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion since 1996, will undergo counseling and be prohibited from working as a rabbi until the Central Conference of American Rabbis reviews his case, at the earliest in two years. A woman who answered the phone at Zimmerman’s house in Cincinnati said Zimmerman “was not available.” The resignation, submitted Monday (Dec. 4) to the seminary’s board of governors, caught the Jewish community by surprise, with associates reacting with “shock” and “sadness.” “Rabbi Zimmerman acted with great dignity in this case and accepted responsibility for his actions, and we’re grateful to him for the manner in which he’s responded,” said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing the country’s 900 Reform synagogues.

Reform Jewish Seminary President Steps Down Under Cloud of Suspicion

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, the widely-respected leader of Reform Judaism’s central seminary, has resigned his post and been suspended from rabbinical duties for at least two years because of inappropriate “personal relationships” before he became president. Zimmerman, who has led Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion since 1996, will undergo counseling and be prohibited from working as a rabbi until the Central Conference of American Rabbis reviews his case, at the earliest in two years. A woman who answered the phone at Zimmerman’s house in Cincinnati said Zimmerman “was not available.” The resignation, submitted Monday (Dec. 4) to the seminary’s board of governors, caught the Jewish community by surprise, with associates reacting with “shock” and “sadness.” “Rabbi Zimmerman acted with great dignity in this case and accepted responsibility for his actions, and we’re grateful to him for the manner in which he’s responded,” said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing the country’s 900 Reform synagogues.

COMMENTARY: The Color of Christmas

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Tom Ehrich is a writer and computer consultant, managing large-scale database implementations. An Episcopal priest, he lives in Durham, N.C.) CATANIA, Sicily _ It is strange to board an Alitalia airplane in Rome on a 60-degree day, bound for the eastern coast of Sicily where they are in greater danger of volcanic ash from Mount Etna than snow from the winter sky, and to hear American Christmas songs over the loudspeaker. Most ironic in this context are the immortal words of Elvis Presley’s classic “Blue Christmas”: “You’ll be doing all right with your Christmas of white, but I’ll have a blue, blue-blue-blue Christmas.” “Christmas of white?” I wonder how many of the world’s Christians ever see a white Christmas. Or hear “sleigh bells ring,” or see a holly tree, or write Christmas cards for “folks dressed up like Eskimos.” It’s interesting how specific our seasonal images have become: foods and customs from Victorian England and family-life images from, say, the 1950s _ and how rarely those specifics match anything in our lives.

COMMENTARY: The Color of Christmas

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Tom Ehrich is a writer and computer consultant, managing large-scale database implementations. An Episcopal priest, he lives in Durham, N.C.) CATANIA, Sicily _ It is strange to board an Alitalia airplane in Rome on a 60-degree day, bound for the eastern coast of Sicily where they are in greater danger of volcanic ash from Mount Etna than snow from the winter sky, and to hear American Christmas songs over the loudspeaker. Most ironic in this context are the immortal words of Elvis Presley’s classic “Blue Christmas”: “You’ll be doing all right with your Christmas of white, but I’ll have a blue, blue-blue-blue Christmas.” “Christmas of white?” I wonder how many of the world’s Christians ever see a white Christmas. Or hear “sleigh bells ring,” or see a holly tree, or write Christmas cards for “folks dressed up like Eskimos.” It’s interesting how specific our seasonal images have become: foods and customs from Victorian England and family-life images from, say, the 1950s _ and how rarely those specifics match anything in our lives.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Canadian Falun Gong Follower Imprisoned in China (RNS) A Canadian follower of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group has been sentenced by Chinese authorities to three years in a labor camp, according to a Hong Kong-based human rights group. The three-year sentence given to Zhang Kunlun _ who became a Canadian national in 1995 after immigrating from China in 1989 _ marked the first time Chinese officials have given a labor sentence to a Falun Gong follower who is a national of another country, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported. Zhang still retained his Chinese nationality, and since he used his Chinese passport to return to China in 1996, the Chinese government could not give him the protections accorded other Canadians, a police spokesman told Reuters news agency. The 60-year-old sculpture professor was sentenced Nov.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Canadian Falun Gong Follower Imprisoned in China (RNS) A Canadian follower of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group has been sentenced by Chinese authorities to three years in a labor camp, according to a Hong Kong-based human rights group. The three-year sentence given to Zhang Kunlun _ who became a Canadian national in 1995 after immigrating from China in 1989 _ marked the first time Chinese officials have given a labor sentence to a Falun Gong follower who is a national of another country, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported. Zhang still retained his Chinese nationality, and since he used his Chinese passport to return to China in 1996, the Chinese government could not give him the protections accorded other Canadians, a police spokesman told Reuters news agency. The 60-year-old sculpture professor was sentenced Nov.