April 8, 2008

Tim Goeglein, a key liaison between the White House and conservative Christians for seven years, resigned February 29 after plagiarism charges surfaced against him. In a blog that day, Nancy Nall, a former columnist for the News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Indiana, noted similarities between a recent Goeglein column in that paper and the work of a writer for the Dartmouth Review. The White House announced that President Bush accepted the resignation from Goeglein, who said he apologized for not upholding standards expected by the president. The News-Sentinel found that Goeglein plagiarized 20 of 38 columns the paper published under his name since 2000. The newspaper said he once used Pope John Paul II’s words as his own.

Britain’s United Reformed Church has appointed Roberta Rominger, who trained in California as a cellist and was ordained there by the United Church of Christ, as its general secretary. She is the first woman to hold the post in the 100,000-member church, which has 700 paid and unpaid ministers. Rominger came to Britain in 1985 and since then has been a URC minister. She was moderator of the church’s Thames North Synod for 10 years. “I am passionate about the vision of a church that is enthusiastically engaged with the world,” said Rominger after her appointment was announced in March. She replaces David Cornick, who will become general secretary of Churches Together in England.

Robert Walker, 95, who founded and edited prominent Christian magazines, died March 1 in Carol Stream, Illinois. Walker, who had suffered from dementia and Parkinson’s disease, was editor emeritus of Charisma & Christian Life magazine, a Strang Communications publication. He started Sunday magazine in 1941 and renamed it Christian Life in 1948. That magazine merged with Charisma in 1986 and now has more than 230,000 subscribers.

Lukas Vischer, 81, a Presbyterian scholar who directed the World Council of Churches’ Faith and Order office from 1965 to 1979, died March 11. His death came 19 days after the passing of his successor in that post, William Lazareth. Vischer was the WCC’s representative at the Second Vatican Council in Rome from 1962 to 1965, a role that led to the founding of a working group between the Catholic Church and the WCC.

Ruth Stafford Peale, the cofounder of the inspirational magazine Guideposts and widow of author and minister Norman Vincent Peale, died February 6 at her home in Pawling, New York. Peale, who was 101, was called the “first lady of positive thinking” after her husband wrote the best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking. She helped found the Guideposts organization in 1945; its flagship publication now has a paid circulation of 2.5 million and a readership of 8 million. The Iowa native was a high school math teacher before she married her husband, who soon became the pastor of New York’s Marble Collegiate Church, where he served for 52 years. When he died in 1993, they had been married for 63 years. Ruth Peale was the first woman president of the National Board of North American Missions of the Reformed Church in America. She also served on the board of directors of several organizations, including more than 50 years with the American Bible Society.