24 January 2014

Historic Christian site found in China

Historic Christian site found in China (UCA News, 17 January 2014)

A recently discovered site may shed new light on historical research into the Nestorian Church, which is believed to be the earliest Christian movement to spread the Gospel in China. A niche in a stone wall with a cross carved above it has now been verified by experts as a repository for the ashes and bones of Christians. The experts also confirmed that this is the earliest Nestorian burial place discovered so far in China. The discovery at the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site in central Henan province, was made in 2009. Its verification was announced to the public this week. Precise dating has yet to be carried out, but it would have been created at some time during China’s Ming and Tang dynasties of 316-907 AD. It has yet to be established if it is older than the well known Nestorian Stele, an inscribed limestone tablet found in Xi’an, Shaanxi, which dates back to 781 AD and is currently considered the most ancient Nestorian artefact.
Link:Historic Christian site found in China

Thousands of years of visual culture made free through Wellcome Images

We are delighted to announce that over 100,000 high resolution images including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements are now freely available through Wellcome Images. Drawn from our vast historical holdings, the images are being released under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence. This means that they can be used for commercial or personal purposes, with an acknowledgement of the original source (Wellcome Library, London). All of the images from our historical collections can be used free of charge.

New Rabbi at Manhattan's Central Synagogue 'a Pioneer'

New Rabbi at Manhattan's Central Synagogue 'a Pioneer' by Sophia Hollander (Wall Street Journal, 17 January 2014)

Growing up as the daughter of a Korean Buddhist immigrant and an American Jew in Tacoma, Wash., Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl said some family members always wondered: Could she ever be fully accepted as a Jew? Any lingering doubts were eliminated last week when the congregation of Midtown's historic Central Synagogue voted her to succeed Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, 71, when he retires later this year. Her appointment will take effect July 1.Rabbi Buchdahl, who is 41, will become one of only a few women—and likely the only Asian-American—leading a major U.S. synagogue. Central Synagogue boasts 100 full-time employees and an endowment that exceeds $30 million.

Free Art Books in PDF format from Getty Museum's Virtual Library

Download more than 250 free art books in PDF format from Getty Museum's Virtual Library backlist catalogue.

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19 January 2014

World Council of Churches, 10th Assembly (2013, Busan, South Korea): Plenary Sessions


The theme plenary set the agenda for the ensuing plenaries and ecumenical conversations, each of which is rooted in the assembly theme. Through the contributions of key personalities from the church and from society, the theme plenary offered reflections on how to interpret the current world situation, the role of the churches and the life of the WCC fellowship, in light of the prayer "God of life, lead us to justice and peace."

Moderator: H.E. Archbishop Dr Vicken Aykazian is Turkish-born, and currently leads the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). He is the president of the National Council of Churches in the USA. Archbishop Vicken was formerly Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in Switzerland.

Speakers: Mr Michel Sidibé is the Executive Director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Dr Wedad Abbas Tawfik is a professor at the Institute of Coptic Studies in Cairo and a member of the WCC's Plenary Commission on Faith and Order since 2006. Bishop Duleep Kamil de Chikera was the Anglican Bishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka from 2001-2010. Mrs Mélisande Schifter, M.Th. is of German and Thai descent and a young theologian of the Evangelical Church in Baden, Germany, with experience in East Africa, China and the USA. She currently serves the WCC in the programme on Ecumenical Theological Education


The mission plenary aspires to highlight the common challenges and opportunities for mission, in light of the new global developments. It offers an action-oriented reflection based on the new WCC mission statement, Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes, so as to enhance ecumenical cooperation on future mission work, addressing churches and ecumenical partners to commit anew to the call for common witness.

Moderator: Prof. Kirsteen Kim is professor of Theology and World Christianity at Leeds Trinity University. She is a member of the British and Irish Association for Mission Studies and the editor of Mission Studies. She is a member of the Lausanne Theology Working Group and since 2006 she has been serving as Vice-moderator the Commission for World Mission and Evangelism

Rev. Prof. Dr Stephen Bevans, a priest in the Catholic missionary congregation of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), ia professor of Mission and Culture at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and also a member of the core faculty of the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI). Rev. Cecilia Castillo Nanjarí is the coordinator of the Ministry of Women and Gender Justice (PMJG) of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI). From 2000 to 2007, she was part of the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostals. Bishop Dr Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, from the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is the Metropolitan of Niranam in India. He is the moderator of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME). President of St. Paul's Mission, the Mission and Evangelism program of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India, he is also the chairperson of the Student Christian Movement of India and of India Center for Social Change. Teatro Ekyumenikal is the cultural theatre group of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. It endeavors to promote ecumenism and peace based on justice through the use of drama, songs, dances, and liturgical art forms. The group is composed of young people from the affiliated churches and organizations of the NCCP. It was founded in February 2010


Moderator: Rev. Dr Soritua Nababan, WCC president from Asia, served as Bishop (Ephorus) of the Protestant Christian Batak Church (HKBP) from 1987 to 1998. He has also served as president of the Christian Conference of Asia from 1990 to 1995 and as vice-chairman and then moderator of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism from 1968-1985.

Cultural performance: Teatro Ekyumenikal is the liturgical and cultural theatre group of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. It endeavours to promote ecumenism and peace based on justice through the use of drama, songs, dances, and liturgical art forms. The group is composed of young people from the affiliated churches and organizations of the NCCP.

Conversation participants: Rev. Dr Henriettve Hutabarat Lebang is an ordained pastor of the Toraja Church in Indonesia and presently serves as the general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, being the first woman to hold this post in 55 years. Ms YangYa-Chi studied sociology and got her master degree in Modern Society and Global Transformations at the University of Cambridge. Her research focused on Christianity in Asia. She is now working for Amnesty International Taiwan as a campaign coordinator.

Theological reflections: Rev. Connie Semy Mella is an ordained elder from the Philippines Central Conference of The United Methodist Church and a member of the United Nations Advocacy Network of the General Board of Church and Society. ev. Daniel Na is Archpriest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was bestowed as Vicar General of the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea and presently serves as Dean of St. Paul Orthodox Church in Incheon, Korea. He has served as the Asia region representative for SYNDESMOS, the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth.

Story of hope: Dr Deepanna Choudhrie studied and trained as a radiologist at Christian Medical College, Vellore, India. Since 1989 she has been serving in Padhar Hospital, a 200-bed mission hospital in rural central India, among the Gond tribe. She received international media attention for her care of abandoned conjoint twin girls Stuti and Aradhana, who were operated in Padhar Hospital in 2012.:

18 January 2014

Faith on the Move – The Religious Affiliation of International Migrants (Pew Research)

About 3% of the world’s population has migrated across international borders. While that may seem like a small percentage, it represents a lot of people. If the world’s 214 million international migrants were counted as one nation, they would constitute the fifth most populous country on the globe, just behind Indonesia and ahead of Brazil. Faith on the Move, a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, focuses on the religious affiliation of international migrants, examining patterns of migration among seven major groups: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, adherents of other religions and the religiously unaffiliated.

Related: The Religious Affiliation of U.S. Immigrants (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 18 May 2013)

17 January 2014

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Classic Speeches on YouTube

FINAL SPEECH: "I have been to the mountaintop" (3 April 1968)

"I Have A Dream"

Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence:

Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence: Certified Transcript of Speech & Sound Recording Originally delivered 4 April 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City. (See below for YouTube clips of this landmark speech).

"Why I Am Opposed To The Vietnam War"


16 January 2014

World Migration Report 2013

International Organization for Migration, World Migration Report 2013

The first three chapters of the World Migration Report 2013 provide an introduction to the theme “Migrant Well-being and Development”, present the current global migration situation across four migration pathways (migration that is South to North; South to South; North to North; or North to South), and review existing research on the emerging field of happiness and subjective well-being. Chapter Four presents original findings on migrant well-being from the Gallup World Poll, examining outcomes on six core dimensions of well-being – Financial, Career, Social, Community, Physical and Subjective - and how they differ across the four migration pathways. The final chapter presents key conclusions and makes recommendations for future initiatives to monitor migrant well-being and the impact of migration on development. The chapter also makes reference to the inclusion of migration in the global post-2015 development framework.

Download the Report: EN | FR | ES

14 January 2014

Free Public Access Religion eBooks from the University of California Press

The University of California Press offers more than 700 free ebooks for online public access. These titles are available for online reading only. Unfortunately, they cannot be downloaded to your ereader or tablet.

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11 January 2014

Mao by day, the Madonna at night: Church welcomes Chinese religious artist to Frankfort

nstead of becoming a famous mathematician like his father, a young He Qi was sent away from his home in the city of Nanjing, China, to the cold countryside to labor in the fields. The schools in China were also closed to curtail a rise in bourgeois values. This was during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a sociopolitical movement led by the country’s Communist leader Mao Zedong from 1966 to 1976 to reassert his power and reinforce ideological purity. The movement was violent, with an estimated 1.5 million people killed and others imprisoned, humiliated or tortured, according to history.com. To avoid the hard labor, He learned how to paint. A neighbor and art professor from Nanjing taught him the basics. He started by painting portraits of Mao. “The people worshiped the great leader Mao,” said He, who is now 60 years old. It was at this time that he first saw Raphael’s “Madonna and Child” printed in a magazine he borrowed from his art teacher. “It touched my heart,” he said. “It was so peaceful. In the daytime, I painted Mao and in the evenings I painted Madonna.”
Link: Mao by day, the Madonna at night: Church welcomes Chinese religious artist to Frankfort

10 January 2014

China's Neo-Confucianism

China's Neo-Confucianism, by Rachel Lu (Foreign Policy, 7 January 2014)

On Jan. 1, scores of children assembled to read aloud, in near perfect synchronicity, a 17th-century Confucian text called Dizigui, which translates to "standards for being a good student and child." The performance, according to local newspaper Beijing Times, was laden with symbolism: It took place at the historic Imperial Academy in central Beijing, which has been a center of Confucian learning for hundreds of years, and the children wore hanfu, a style of traditional clothing said to be similar to those donned more than 2,500 years ago in the days of Confucius. It's part of a changing reception for Confucian classics, which Chinese schools and education authorities had largely abandoned since the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 in favor of more modern curricula like math, science, and colloquial Chinese. But these days, Dizigui's short and simple brand of Confucianism -- a way of thinking that has always included a heavy dose of respect for family and social hierarchy -- has even the ruling Communist Party on its side.

08 January 2014

Anglicans mark 70 years since ordination of first woman priest

Anglicans mark 70 years since ordination of first woman priest (Anglican Communion News Service, 8 January 2014)

The Revd Florence Lei Tim-Oi with the vestry members of Morrison Chapel in Autumn 1945. The Revd Florence Lei was the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion. She was ordained at Zhaoqing, Guangdong by Bishop R. O. Hall on St. Paul's Day, January 25, 1944 for the work in Macao.

A service marking 70 years since the ordination of the Anglican Communion's first woman priest will be held in London, England. The event - at St Martin in the Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, on Saturday 25th January - has been organised by members of a foundation set up to honour Reverend Dr Florence Li Tim-Oi's legacy.

Already appointed as a deacon to serve in the colony of Macau at the Macau Protestant Chapel, Dr Li Tim-Oi was ordained a priest on 25 January, 1944 by Bishop of Victoria Ronald Hall. His decision to do so came in response to a crisis among Anglican Christians in China caused by the Japanese invasion.Since it was to be thirty years before any Anglican church regularised the ordination of women, her ordination was controversial and she resigned her licence (though not her priestly orders) after the end of the war.
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06 January 2014

Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread – so far-flung, in fact, that no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.
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A Survey of LGBT Americans: Attitudes, Experiences and Values in Changing Times (Pew Research)

An overwhelming share of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade and an equal number expect it to grow even more accepting in the decade ahead. They attribute the changes to a variety of factors, from people knowing and interacting with someone who is LGBT, to advocacy on their behalf by high-profile public figures, to LGBT adults raising families.
At the same time, however, a new nationally representative survey of 1,197 LGBT adults offers testimony to the many ways they feel they have been stigmatized by society. About four-in-ten (39%) say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 30% say they have been physically attacked or threatened; 29% say they have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship; and 21% say they have been treated unfairly by an employer. About six-in-ten (58%) say they’ve been the target of slurs or jokes.
Related Link: Same-Sex Marriage State By State (Pew Research, 6 January 2014)

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