November 29, 2005

Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the only openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion, met November 3 with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and they had what a spokesperson said were “friendly but candid talks on the range of problems that have arisen since Bishop Robinson’s consecration.” The meeting, which ended with prayer, was described as part of the archbishop’s commitment to listening to all concerned with the challenges facing Anglicanism.

Rabbi David Rosen, the interreligious affairs director for the American Jewish Committee, was named a papal knight commander in a ceremony in Jerusalem November 3. The knight commander rank dates back to 1831, when Pope Gregory XVI established the order to recognize those who had provided meritorious service to the Catholic Church. Rosen, based in Jerusalem, has worked for decades to improve Jewish-Catholic relations. He was instrumental in negotiations to establish diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel in 1993. Besides leading several interfaith organizations, Rosen was recently elected president of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.

Thousands of mourners paid tribute to a 33-year-old pastor two days after he was electrocuted while stepping into the baptistry at the University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. Kyle Lake had reached for a microphone as he stepped into the baptistry’s water in a service October 30 as some 800 worshipers looked on in horror. Members of the congregation, which has a high percentage of students from Baylor, said that a mike has often been used during baptisms in order for the minister to be heard. Lake, pastor of the congregation for seven years, identified with the popular Emergent church movement. Lake left a wife, a five-year-old daughter and three-year-old twin sons.