August 21, 2007

Veteran ecumenist Leonid Kishovsky, director of external affairs for the Orthodox Church in America, has been named moderator of Religions for Peace, a multireligious coalition committed to building regional and international peace through common action. Kishkovsky was elected by the 61-member world council for the New York–based World Conference of Religions for Peace, whose secretary general is William Vendley. In August 2006, at the Religions for Peace eighth world assembly in Kyoto, Japan, more than 800 senior religious leaders from 100 countries elected Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan as president emeritus of the organization.

Gay fans and other supporters of the late Tammy Faye Messner deluged the Internet with messages honoring the ex-wife of disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker in the week after her death. Messner, who died July 20, was known for her ties to the now-defunct Praise the Lord ministry, which she ran with Bakker before he was embroiled in a sex-and-money scandal in the late 1980s. But she also became prominent in gay circles for her support of people with AIDS that dated back to that decade., a Web site of PlanetOut Inc., said July 24 that it will send its online book of condolences to Messner’s family.

Sherwin Wine, 79, the rabbi-founder of a congregation-based movement of humanistic Jews, died July 21 in an automobile accident while vacationing in Morocco. Wine founded the movement of Humanistic Judaism in 1963 and the Society for Humanistic Judaism in 1969. The society has more than 30 congregations and communities led by rabbis or lay leaders in the U.S. and Israel. “He had a creative, new vision for what role religion and humanism could play in American life,” said Harvard chaplain Greg Epstein, who was trained by Wine.