Blessed are the givers
The World Giving Index, commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation, ranked 153 countries on their generosity. Canada and Ireland had a ranking of 56, behind only Australia and New Zealand at 57 and just ahead of Switzerland and the United States at 55. That means 64 percent of Canadians gave money in the last month, 35 percent gave time and 68 percent helped a stranger. There were wide variations in the results with giving money ranging from 4 percent in Lithuania to 83 percent in Malta. Burundi and Madagascar ranked last with a ranking of 12, but other poor countries, Guinea, Guyana and Turkmenistan, ranked in the top 20. The study also found that the link between giving money and being happy is stronger than the link between giving money and being wealthy as a nation.
Making human rights right
Philippe Rabot was appointed director of the Alberta Human Rights Commission October 12. The Alberta government also appointed four new members of the Commission. A lawyer, Rabot was commissioner of the Canada Pension Plan/Old Age Security Act Review Tribunals 2005-2010 and chair of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police External Review Committee for seven years. The appointments are the culmination of a two-year review process. The government wants the Commission to operate according to the rules of evidence that apply to regular court proceedings and to render decisions more quickly.
Who cleans the gold dust?
According to the website inthedustofyeshua, preacher Joshua Mills of New Wine International is charging people $400 – $1000 a month to have angels come and clean their houses. Customers are required to leave the house and hand the keys to a Heavenly House Technicians supervisor, so the customers don’t actually see the angels. However, some have reported that the angels do a good job and leave a sprinkling of gold dust behind.
Teachers cheat on tests
The Education Quality and Accountability Office is adding a checklist for teachers on how to administer province-wide tests in reading, writing and math to school students in Ontario. This comes after 10 public schools (twice as many as the previous year) had their marks withheld because teachers broke the rules by providing students with questions beforehand, photocopying the previous year’s test or providing resource materials such as dictionaries. The Ontario government does not monitor the tests and relies on teachers to follow the rules. The irregularities at the 10 schools came to light after tips by parents and administrators.
The purpose of paper
Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith has requested that the board of the Western Catholic Reporter ‘revision’ the role of the newspaper in the light of archdiocese’s focus on a ‘new evangelization’ (calling people to “a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ”). Bryan Froehle of the Chicago-based firm Essential Conversations has been commissioned to conduct a detailed study that will include interviews with parish priests, meetings with focus groups and surveys of the readers.
At least the courts are harsh with someone
Over the past 16 years, Linda Gibbons, a 62-year-old great-grandmother, has been arrested 20 times and has served eight years in jail for picketing and talking with clients outside a Toronto abortion clinic. Most recently Gibbons had been in jail since January 2009 because she refused to agree to bail conditions that would require her to obey a 1994 injunction forbidding such picketing. When her case came to trial in late September 2010, she was acquitted of the charge of obstructing a peace officer and was released. However, Gibbons was rearrested October 8, when she returned to the clinic.
Taking the high road
Members of the Highfield Road Gospel Hall in Toronto have a practice of holding weekly open-air meetings with hymns and fiery sermons, choosing a different street each week. However, on August 22, they were accused of homophobia when they happened to preach in front of the home of a homosexual couple. A video of the confrontation titled ‘Neighbourhood comes together and kicks out religious haters’ has spread widely online. The church’s right to preach on the streets was defended by others, including Don Hutchinson, vice-president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi.
Keep marriage on track
The Canadian Marriage and Family Network (CMFN), which is affiliated with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, is launching a one-year marriage coaching track in Saskatoon November 19-20. CMFN director Greg McCombs will be gathering local pastors and lay leaders to discuss working together to transform marriages in the churches and the community.
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