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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Weekly Wire for December 7, 2011

Women’s Christmas Breakfast in Vancouver

Nearly 50 women aged 3 to 93 gathered to celebrate Christmas in our time honored tradition in Vancouver this past Saturday morning.


We had the opportunity to visit with friends and sing Christmas Carols


Eat great food prepared by David , Robert ,Vic , Brian and Joel!


Watch the skit “The Shelter” performed by Debra Donohue, Kelly Teal and Kathy McAdam about the women who use the Surrey Women’s Shelter.  And learn about real life – heartbreaking stories - of women who use the Surrey Women’s Shelter from Jamie Cooper who works at the shelter.  We raised money at the breakfast for the shelter and this coming Sunday we’ll prepare ‘stockings’ for the women.


The entertainment was exceptional as usual.  Kat Goheen sang ‘Oh Holy Night’ and a few members of the City Soul Choir sang for us too.

See you next year!


The Fall 2011 publication of

"What’s Up…in the CWM” is online

and in the Mail!


I would encourage all of you who have access to the internet to view “What’s Up…in the CWM” online, and those of you who attend church regularly to read one of the copies and leave it or bring it back for the next person. Unless of course there is a photo of you, your child or another family member in the newsletter. Then by all means take it home and save it!



Photojournalists needed!

In January we’ll be publishing an online only edition of “What’s Up…in the CWM”. We’ll review Christmases in the CWM and we need you to volunteer to take photos of your congregation’s events. Talk to your pastor today and make sure your congregation is represented.




We’re having a Canadian National Conference on June 16th 2012!

Find out about the topics that will be discussed, get the tools to help you with your decision making process and find out which satellite location is nearest you. Apostle Susan Skoor will present you with a new thought each month until the conference begins so you can make informed decisions and make your voice heard.

See Apostle Susan Skoor’s new video ‘Facilitators’


The videos will be available in both .MP4 and .flv formats. You may have to wait a moment for the videos to load.

“Get in on the conversation”

Follow us on Facebook at Community of Christ – Canadian National Conference

and Twitter at cofccnc



Peace and Justice  --  Human Rights

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Welcome to this issue from the “In The Forefront” mailing list.  To alter your profile, follow the steps at the end, where your profile is listed. 

Please note that due to time constraints that delayed getting this newsletter out, the first action below needs immediate action before the window closes (and the final action has now already met with success).  My apologies for the rushed nature, as well as this shortened version.


Pour la traduction française: cliqueter ici; et cliqueter alors le bouton de traduction sur la page Web.

Para la traducción española: clic aquí; y entonces hace clic en el botón de traducción en la página web.



While Sudan has largely been out of the spotlight, its conflicts have continued.  One of the more notable events in Sudan has been the uniting of rebel groups on three of Sudan’s peripheries (West {Darfur}, East and South; for more details see  This united group is called the Sudan Revolutionary Force (SRF) and was in Washington recently to outline a comprehensive resolution to Sudan’s multiple conflicts – bombings in Darfur and attacks within the camps; unrest in the East; and fighting that verges on ethnic cleansing and also civil war in the southern areas of S. Kordofan and Blue Nile state. 

From that meeting, 62 members of Congress have sent a letter to US President Obama, asking him to recalibrate the US policy on Darfur and Sudan.  Separately, Professor Eric Reeves has indicated that significant leverage still exists regarding Sudan’s substantial debt.  You can add your voice for a revised policy by signing the following petition BEFORE Dec. 5, although as long as link remains valid, continue to sign after Dec. 5, as sometimes they will send a second notice if support continues:

Sign petition:



For anyone using social media, once you have sent a note you probably don't expect the police to come knocking on your door.  But that's what happened to Jabbar Savalan, a 20-year-old Azerbaijani student activist framed and punished by his government for calling for a protest on Facebook.

Action 1: Amnesty wants to shine the spotlight on the Azerbaijan government's assault upon Jabbar’s right to freedom of expression.  Please read the details in the link below and consider signing the petition.
Action 2: Write for Rights: Once a year this newsletter likes to highlight the work of Amnesty International.  Amid all the tangled global issues to be addressed, it is also necessary to support the individuals who innocently get caught in the oppressive and unjust forces.  So as well as signing the petition, consider being part of AI’s annual Write for Rights, Dec 3-11.  Simply go to your country’s Amnesty site or do an internet search to find instructions – you can join an existing group, create a group or do it individually.

Sign Petition:

Demand Freedom for Jabbar Savalan



Power is almost never given up easily, as evidenced by the recent events in Egypt.  While during the early days of Egypt’s protests, the military was seen as a stabilizer during Mubarek’s ouster, it now appears more of a carry-over, intent on retaining power over any Parliament and elections.  While it was a thrill for the Egyptians to vote in relatively free circumstances, the quick timetable played into the hands of long-time organized groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (& the more radical Salafists), and against the newer Tahrir-base pro-democracy and reform groups, which are becoming more marginalized.  While some hope the Muslim Brotherhood will take a moderate approach, more akin to Tunisia, the comparison is weak.  The telling point will be more what the military will do if dynamics move toward more radical Islam, since the military gains much funding from the U.S.  Stay tuned – the unfolding of Egypt’s future direction has barely begun.

The most useful web-based action to assist in a decent future for Egypt has passed for now.  But in the tradition of using this newsletter also to probe unusual angles of action, there is an opportunity to sign a petition to the company that provides much of the teargas to Egypt’s military.  It asks the company to stop supplying teargas as it is being used to suppress the legitimate protests.  While realistically the action is susceptible on several points, it is given for those who nonetheless wish to explore whatever impact it may have on the company.

Sign Petition:

Tell CTS to Stop supplying Egypt's military with teargas.



International aid cannot solve all our problems, although done properly it can make a real difference, saving lives, helping people help themselves out of severe poverty and averting the worst outcomes of disasters.  But a large concern hovering around aid is the issue of transparency.  Along with all the wonderful, effective and efficient organizations there are also other efforts filled with corruption and mismanagement.  Far too much aid goes straight to governments or agencies that lack credible accountability or is “tied aid” (aid that is only given with strings attached that primarily benefits the donor country).  The petition below calls on the U.S. to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), thereby ensuring that the aid it sends becomes more transparent and accountable.

Sign Petition:

[Update of Petition status: SUCCESS! – The petition was delivered Dec.1 by, and together with other organizations, it swayed not only the U.S., but also Canada to sign the IATI.  So now the link below gives the resulting details]



Since early September I have followed the ‘Occupy Wall Street” movement (hereafter #Occupy, due to its expansion into hundreds of cities).  Unfortunately the topic just missed comment in the September newsletter.  So I want to raise a few brief issues in this newsletter, with a more detailed analysis soon to appear on the newsletter’s blog (

To start, I applaud the overall intuition of #Occupy - that our political and economic systems as expressed in the U.S. and also globally, are so at odds with any sense of a decent society, that it compelled people to take to the streets.  Whether that intuition will translate into either a seismic shift or any form of positive change, will be explored in the upcoming blog.  In this newsletter I simply want to address two types of dismissive reactions to #Occupy.  For the most part my observations come from my time at my local #Occupy, in Vancouver, Canada and digesting efforts elsewhere.  If nothing else, being in Canada made for interesting #Occupy considerations, given that Canada, with its tighter banking regulations, didn’t suffer the same collapse and consequent loss of people’s homes and jobs that occurred in the Western world’s original epicenter of the U.S. (Canada does have the distinction, however, of the largest rising gap between the rich and poor).

One form of comment - dismissive - relates to the “type” of person at the #Occupy site.  The labels vary – lazy, shiftless, drug-addicted, naïve, homeless, and so on.  What I found was a wide variety of people, and it shifted.  It started with those naturally inclined to address the above intuition – mainly young people but also a cross-section of ages, income levels and employment status.  Then gradually some homeless came and stayed.  The #Occupy group, seeing them simply as part of the 99%, welcomed them.  As one of the homeless said “This is the first time I have ever felt safe.”  But it did bring in some drug-overdose issues.  The media focused on it and another stereotype was reinforced (as though the person wouldn’t likely have otherwise overdosed in some dingy alley).  To me the story was an indictment of society and not of #Occupy.

The second form of comment – impatient - relates to the attempt at a “leaderless” movement and the lack of immediately articulated goals.  I found this a refreshing effort.  The movement was trying to learn from history and its various forms of paternalism, colonialism, etc., with both its associated overt means of power, hidden power structures and subtle forms of language.  For myself as an extreme goal-focused-with-appropriate-process person, I do admit to frustration at the slow pace and mis-cues.  Personally now that societal patience has run out, I can only hope that #Occupy continues to grapple with this very complex dynamic and re-emerges with a more cogent dynamic.  If not, our society will be the less for it.

As a final note, I found parallels between #Occupy’s “leaderless” attempts and our church’s recent efforts at more inclusive dialogue, primarily during World Conference pre-legislative sessions and also Listening Circles.  In some ways we have had more experience, albeit with a much different size of group; and in some ways we could learn from some of the signaling mechanism to assess consensus.  I hope both efforts continue to mature.  Of course there are many other issues related to the church that must await further discussion.

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An archive is kept at:

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In appreciation and support,

  Rod Downing




Community of Christ International Headquarters

Abolish Poverty, End Suffering Aid
to Central America, Africa, and Turkey

A total of $35,000 in aid—funded through your contributions to the Abolish Poverty, End Suffering mission initiative—is providing relief in Central America, Africa, and Turkey.

Central America Flood Relief
Oblation and World Hunger Fund grants equaling $20,000 will provide continued relief from October flooding in Central America. This funding will be distributed through church affiliate World Accord, providing relief in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This grant follows Oblation funds shared in October that focused aid on church families in El Salvador. (Read more at

Famine Aid to Horn of Africa
Oblation aid of $10,000 will provide continued drought and famine relief in the Horn of Africa. This will help continue Mercy Corps International’s efforts that we initially supported in July with $20,000 from Oblation. (Read more at

Earthquake Relief in Turkey
A $5,000 Oblation grant will aid survivors following two deadly earthquakes in Turkey. This grant will support relief efforts through Red Crescent, which is conducting rescue and relief work in the eastern region of the country hit by the 7.2- then 5.6-magnitude quakes. (Read more at

Your Generosity Is Making Mission Real
You can give to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering and all of the mission initiatives at and on the worldwide ministries side of your offering envelopes. Because of your ongoing contributions to this mission initiative, Community of Christ is able to respond as a worldwide church to help end suffering around the world.

Christ's Mission...Our Mission
Christ’s mission is our mission. From this point forward, all ministries, personnel, and resources of the World Church will be focused on the whole mission of Jesus Christ. Christ’s mission is clearly articulated in five, life-changing, church-changing, and world-changing mission initiatives.
For more information about these mission initiatives, please visit
Connect Online
Make Community of Christ part of your online network through our home page links to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.
What's New
See all new items posted on the Community of Christ website.



Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

Calvin Coolidge

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