The Common Good
January 2004

News Bites

by Rose Marie Berger, Brian Bolton | January 2004

Simple Sermons.

  • Simple Sermons. "Stick to one thought, and then point to what is beyond our understanding; point to the other dimension." This is the advice of 85-year-old Catholic nun Isa Vermehren, who was awarded a top German preaching prize in 2003.
  • Double Shot. Lutheran World Relief is challenging all Lutherans to double their purchase of 100 percent fair trade coffee in 2004. Farmers earn around 50 cents a pound for conventional coffee, said project manager Brenda Meier, but fair trade coffee earns them two-and-a-half times that amount.
  • Ecumenical Acumen. The World Council of Churches elected its first African general secretary, Rev. Samuel Kobia, a Methodist pastor from Kenya. "If you want to walk fast, walk alone," replied Kobia to his appointment, "but if you want to go far, walk together with others."
  • Spending Watch. The "Publish What You Pay" campaign has formed an international coalition of more than 160 civil society groups appealing for mandatory disclosure of payments to and transactions with governments by multinational resource companies. By increasing transparency, they hope to increase citizens’ ability to hold governments accountable for revenue sources.
  • Data Base. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity is now open at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. The school also released the World Christian Database, a searchable online version of the World Christian Encyclopedia.
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