On March 31, while President Lyndon B. Johnson announced plans to de-escalate the Viet Nam war, churchmen opening a “world peace conference” deplored U. S. hawkishness. Before the time gap was bridged, a Soviet delegate to the Prague assembly called all involved countries to a peaceful settlement of the conflict. When an East German pointed out that the same words and mild tone should not apply to both aggressor and victim, most delegates agreed to table the peace assault.

But verbal attacks on the United States were just beginning. Russian Orthodox Archbishop Michael led off with a stinging attack on “U. S. imperialism”—in “full conformity,” according to a West German newsman, “with the view of the Soviet government.”

That evening a Roman Catholic leader of South Viet Nam’s National Liberation Front charged “American pirates and their lackeys” with “crimes against us Christians of South Viet Nam” and praised the “sacred resistance” of those he represented. Joseph Maria Ho Hue Ba, who had hiked and hiked his way to Hanoi to make his first visit outside South Viet Nam, offered “profound thanks to … American Christians, youth, students, intellectuals and workers for … their acts of opposition to the repulsive war of aggression which the Johnson government is waging on our territory.… We especially call on our American friends to act still more energetically in order to force the Johnson government to end its aggression against Viet Nam.” The 75-year-old catechist got a nearly unanimous standing ovation when he commented appreciatively, “In their powerful [Tet] offensive, millions of men, among them many Christians, rose up.”

But other peace demands also clamored for the delegates’ attention. Most immediate were those of the host country, where liberalization was taking its first steps, and of other Eastern satellite states, where similar policies had reached various stages.

The Czech Revolution

Lyndon B. Johnson’s unexpected move toward de-escalation was not the only peace step to win attention in Prague. Shortly before the conference began, Czechoslovakia’s parliament replaced the country’s hardline president with the more moderate Alexander Dubcek, culminating several months of bloodless revolution. Resulting liberalization of censorship, election laws, and economic policies prompted Christian Peace Conference founder and president J. L. Hromádka to say of his country, “We are in the midst of a great renewal.”

The new privileges mean greater responsibilities for the Church, he said. “We have always excused ourselves that we could do nothing in our country because we were under pressure. Now all the pressure which may have existed has been eliminated.”

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Although international ties are still restricted because Czech foreign policy remains unchanged, the new national openness seems to be easing relations between church and state. Mrs. Erika Kalecova, new head of the state office on the churches, said Christians and Marxists “can either live together or die together. It seems better for us to live together.”

One sign of change is state willingness to review what one government official called “mistakes in juridical procedure” during the Stalinist 50s. Baptists petitioned for review of spy charges that jailed thirteen ministers. Although the ten still living are free, they have no civil rights or old-age pensions and cannot serve as pastors.

Roman Catholics asked the government to allow Joseph Cardinal Beran to return from Rome as Archbishop of Prague and Primate of Czechoslovakia. Two religious orders are being reestablished; they had all but died out after 1960 decisions forced monks and nuns into “productive” work.

Although East-West conflicts seemed to approach reconciliation, other tensions appeared between the rich North and the area called the Third World, the poor South. Delegates from nearly sixty countries heard speakers from Uruguay, Madagascar, and Japan describe social and technological needs on their continents.

“Save Man—Peace Is Possible” heralded the conference theme, but opinion varied on how to reach a better, peaceful world. “That we as Christians have encountered … Jesus Christ and are continuously confronted by him in faith does not release us in any way,” said G. Casalis of France, “but on the contrary obligates us to work, to struggle, and to sacrifice … together with men of different world views.”

Not many such conventions see results of their talks and resolutions almost before the words hit the mimeograph machine. As Mennonite editor Maynard Shelly reported, a funny thing had indeed happened to the seven hundred churchmen on their way to another resolution against American bombs over North Viet Nam. Yet the Prague peacemakers reacted cautiously to news of the American bombing pause.

And they were not alone. Other clergymen, like WCC head Eugene Carson Blake, considered the action a “move in the right direction, the type of decision many people around the world have been asking for.” Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, a cochairman of the U. S. Interreligious Committee on Peace, agreed the decision indicated “the power of the peoples’ will in a democracy.” That interpretation gained support in a telegram to President Johnson from twenty-three U. S. Episcopal bishops. Reminding him of their request last September for a move toward de-escalation, they commended the President “for this step which we hope and pray will be the first in a move toward an end to this tragic war and toward a lasting peace.”

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The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., of Yale was “a little skeptical and quite apprehensive that the bombing halt will lead to more escalation.” And James H. Forest of the Catholic Peace Fellowship had only “severely muted enthusiasm” for the partial compliance with North Viet Nam’s request for a bombing halt. Another Roman Catholic, Jesuit Daniel Berrigan, recently returned from an official trip to North Viet Nam, denounced the statement as too little too late: “It is as if Hitler after Dachau issued a statement that he was ready to bargain with the Jews.”

Some churchmen from the Roman Catholic Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the NCC, and the WCC expressed their hope for Hanoi’s favorable reaction to the call for negotiation. In a wire to Nguyen Duy Trinh, WCC leaders said they “fervently hope and pray that Hanoi will respond affirmatively.… We are convinced that such response will command respect and gratitude throughout the world and will facilitate deescalation.”


Billy Graham and his team climax an intensive Australian evangelistic crusade with meetings this week in Sydney. The evangelist said that after the closing service on Sunday, April 28, he might fly to Viet Nam to hold services for troops.

Before the Sydney effort, campaigns were held in Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane. Other cities and smaller communities were reached via land-line relays.

The opening of Leighton Ford’s crusade in Perth coincided with Western Australia’s state elections last month. The Ford publicity was effective enough to prompt one woman to inquire of a local radio station which party he represented. On television a high public official told of someone who confronted him with a similar query. “He issues a better class of literature, too,” a third potential Ford-for-Parliament supporter was quoted as saying.

A Perth newspaper described the airport welcome for Ford as “one of the biggest, noisiest, and best organized” the city had ever seen. Despite the 11:30 P.M. arrival time, 2,000 gathered to meet the Canadian evangelist, who had come for an eight-day crusade in Perry Lakes Stadium. Warmly supported by the Most Rev. George Appleton, Anglican archbishop of Perth, the open-air meetings held during Perth’s coldest March on record drew nearly 60,000. A much larger number listened by means of nine country radio stations and eleven land-line relays at distances up to 600 miles.

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One of the notable features of the crusade was that of the 2,000 inquirers at the stadium, 92 per cent were under thirty. Perth’s only morning newspaper was consistently hostile, but other media in the city provided good coverage and gave Ford and his six-man team a further platform for their message. In addidition, Ford spoke to Rotarians, parliamentarians, and businessmen, and dealt capably with questions from students when 1,300 came to hear him at the University of Western Australia. He also stirred Christian interest in the housing situation of the aboriginals, and invited a 6,300-audience one evening to join him in praying for peace at a time when a contingent of Australia troops was leaving for Viet Nam. An aboriginal Christian leader publicly presented Ford with a boomerang with the inscribed hope that he, like it, would return.

Some 1,300 miles to the east, the Adelaide crusade opened two days later after another tumultuous (“We’re waitin’ for Leighton”) welcome at the airport. Speaking to 10,000 at Wayville Show-grounds on Acts 17, Ford was as forthright as ever. “What would Paul say if he came to Australia in 1968?” he asked. “Would he be stirred to see us given over to our idols?” The next evening, April 1, was especially for youth, and the evangelist’s topic was, “Whose Fool Are You?”

The eight-day Adelaide crusade drew a total attendance of 64,800, and there were 1,521 inquirers. Adelaide University’s Union Hall was packed to capacity, with students jamming the doors, when Ford spoke there. A group of humanists and others heckled him during much of the forty-minute address, but by the end much of the audience was obviously impressed with the message.

As in Perth, Ford billed one meeting as “Christian Action Night,” when he urged listeners to become better informed and more involved in community needs. A folder listing several social-service agencies and an outline of their programs was distributed to interest the audience in becoming volunteer workers.

An enterprising “turf consultant” wrote to Ford from Sydney, offering the crusade the chance to win $2,000 a year at a small outlay (“horse’s name to be sent in code each Friday”), but crusade secretary Alan Quee ruled out the suggestion, noting it was “somewhat inconsistent with the vital aims of the crusade.”

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Meanwhile, Graham was arriving in Sydney from Fiji. En route he recognized the pilot as the one who had flown him into the same city nine years earlier—a fact confirmed by the pilot, whose teen-age son, it turned out, has been active in current crusade preparations.

From Sydney Graham flew to Brisbane, where associate evangelist John Wesley White had drawn about 28,000 to the local showgrounds the four previous evenings. Here Graham had the support of Anglican Archbishop Strong, known as a high churchman.

During the first Brisbane meeting, a gang of twenty youths created a disturbance and upended the offering box. They subsequently quieted down, however, and six went forward at the invitation. A leading Brisbane TV announcer who two days earlier had interviewed Graham on the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., came forward hand in hand with his wife at the closing meeting. For the closing Sunday service, 67,000 persons were at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds. Graham opened his final address by asking people to stand for a minute of silent prayer “for peace in Viet Nam, for peace on the streets of America, and for the bereaved family of Martin Luther King.”

The total turnout in Brisbane was 178,500, with 4,097 inquirers. These figures did not include statistics from the forty-two land-line relays that extended the message of the crusade more than a thousand miles from Brisbane.



The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, founded four years ago, experienced considerable growing pains at its annual meeting in Winnipeg last month. Objection to the nominating committee’s choice for president, the Rev. Hector MacRury, threatened for a time to bring down the curtain on the young organization.

A motion to erase the slate was defeated by a hand vote. But after the Rev. William Fitch was nominated for president from the floor, his fellow Toronto Presbyterian MacRury walked out of the meeting. MacRury was last year’s vice-president and—a fact irritating to some—was a member of the nominating committee.

Several delegates said it was “the beginning of the end” for the young organization. In desperation the meeting voted to reinstate last year’s officers for an interim year, but the action had to be dropped when this turned out to be unconstitutional.

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Finally Fitch, who was not present, was elected president. He had agreed to let his name be put in nomination if there was no other possibility, Fitch said later, but he declined the office after learning of the Winnipeg tensions. So the office stands vacant.

This controversy all but overshadowed another action by the fifty-four delegates. They decided to open the EFC to “congregations, institutions, organizations, and evangelical groupings” as well as to individuals. But an amendment deleted the possibility of membership by evangelical denominations. The action was a victory for members from the United and Anglican Churches, who are sensitive about domination by the smaller groups.

The “renewal” groups within these two big denominations gave reports to the meeting. In other action, delegates authorized the executives to name a social-action commission and to hire an executive secretary.

The meetings were held in downtown Calvary Temple, one of the nation’s oldest and biggest Pentecostal churches.


On Palm Sunday, Pope Paul became the first pontiff ever to recite an entire Mass in Italian in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Lutheran World Federation has appropriated $250,000 to aid Lutherans resettled in new areas under South Africa’s apartheid policy.

The Anglican-Methodist Unity Commission in England this month published the detailed union plan that is due for church action in 1968 and 1969, and warned that failure to unite would lead to schism. Meanwhile, plans for merging Congregational and Presbyterian bodies in England were postponed from 1970 to 1971.

Twenty-three missionaries from various boards working with Indians and Eskimos in Canada’s Mackenzie River basin and Western Arctic coast formed the Evangelical Fellowship of the Northwest Territories at a meeting in Yellowknife.


The widow of Paul Carlson, missionary doctor slain by Congo rebels in 1964, last month attended the opening of a medical center in his honor in Loko, the Congo. The government gave the buildings, worth $500,000, and U. S. companies donated $500,000 worth of drugs. Evangelical Covenant and other backers shipped half a ton of delicate research equipment from Chicago. The Carlson Foundation said the center, for leprosy patients, will be led by Dr. and Mrs. Wallace Thornbloom.

Pope Paul VI denied that his 1967 encyclical On the Development of Peoples intended to “open the way to the so-called theology of revolution and violence. Such an aberration is a long way from our thoughts and words. It is a very different thing from the positive, courageous and energetic activity necessary in many cases to establish new forms of social and economic progress.”

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PAUL J. HALLINAN, 56, who in less than six years as archbishop of Atlanta became a leading Roman Catholic progressive; early acts included desegregation of church schools and hospitals; in Atlanta, of hepatitis.

SIDNEY D. GAMBLE, 77, YMCA worker in China and former chairman of Church World Service; in New York.

KENNETH EUDY, Baptist pastor in Tamms, Illinois; shot to death by a farmer while counseling him and his wife about their different church memberships.

MARIO COLACCI, 57, native of Italy who left the Catholic priesthood; author, and teacher at Augsburg College and Luther Seminary; praised upon his death by the local Catholic weekly; in St. Paul, Minnesota.

PAPA EPHTHIM, 84, head of an Eastern Orthodox splinter that Turkey helped set up in 1926 to oppose the Ecumenical Patriarchate; in Istanbul.

JOHN TUTLIS, 70, apparently a near-penniless recluse who left $400,000 in mining shares to the Roman Catholic Church; in Pretoria, South Africa.

“I hope that in spite of different views and feelings we shall maintain the unity of love,” said Terence James Cooke upon being installed by Apostolic Delegate Luigi Raimondi as seventh Catholic archbishop of New York. The ceremony was attended by President Johnson, Governor Rockefeller, Mayor Lindsay, and a host of church leaders.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead, social-studies director at Fordham University’s new campus, has in the past recommended legalized childless “trial” marriages but now thinks young couples should “get legally married, use contraceptives responsibly, and risk divorce later.”

The Rev. Charles Ausherman, a Reformed Church in America pastor, was named planned-parenthood director of the National Council of Churches.

Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc, 70, has retired as archbishop of Hue, South Viet Nam. He has been living in Italy since the 1963 coup against his brother, the late President Ngo Dinh Diem.

Historian Arnold Toynbee says the peace efforts of Pope Paul and the unity emphasis of Pope John have regained and extended for the papacy the moral influence it lost in the Middle Ages through abuses of power.

The Rev. Kyung Chik Han of South Korea and Bishop Chandu Ray of Pakistan were elected chairman and vice-chairman of the Asia-South Pacific Congress on Evangelism, set for Singapore November 5–13.

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Orthodox priest George Bacopulos denied a charge that the Greek government ordered him to refuse baptism to a child because arch-enemy Melina Mercouri was a godparent. The reason, said Bacopulos, is that the actress is married to a non-Christian, producer Jules Dassin, and is thus not a communicant.

Latest to quit Drew University’s seminary over last year’s firing of Dean Charles Ranson are Alfred Haas, James Ross, and William Murdock. The ten who will leave include the entire Bible staff.

Long-stagnant Conwell School of Theology in Philadelphia is hiring four new teachers for next fall, with other appointments due shortly: Philip Edg-cumbe Hughes of Columbia Theological Seminary, noted evangelical Anglican, as theology chairman; Gary Ross Collins, psychology chairman at Bethel College, Minnesota, as director of clinical training; James R. Hiles of Wellesley College in Old Testament; and Charles E. Thorne, Jr., currently completing a Ph.D. in Ireland, in church history.

Arthur S. Flemming, president of the National Council of Churches and a Methodist, is leaving the presidency of the University of Oregon to head Macalester College (United Presbyterian). Flemming, a member of the Eisenhower Cabinet, has also been president of Ohio Wesleyan.

Kent S. Knutson, graduate studies director at Luther Seminary, was nominated to the presidency of Wartburg Seminary (American Lutheran Church) in Iowa.

Edgar Carlson, 59, for twenty-four years the president of Gustavus Adolphus College (Lutheran Church in America), is resigning to direct the Minnesota Private College Council of sixteen Protestant and Roman Catholic schools.

William Banowsky, 32, of Lubbock, Texas, one of the few Churches of Christ ministers to call a debate with a Playboy editor, has been named vice-president of Pepperdine College, Los Angeles, where he will direct development of a second campus.

The Rev. Jess Moody of First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach, is acting president of Palm Beach Atlantic College, which hopes to open this fall with support from the regional Baptist Association, using the $3 million plant of Moody’s church.

Norval Hadley was named director of World Vision’s relief branch, which shipped a record tonnage of aid goods valued at $1,350,000 in the past fiscal year.

Religious Heritage of America named Methodist Bishop Gerald Kennedy as Clergyman of the Year. Lay awards went to Roman Catholic J. Peter Grace, head of a chemical firm, and Mrs. Stuart S. Sinclair, former president of Church Women United.

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Wayne H. Cowan, 40, managing editor of Christianity and Crisis for a dozen years, was promoted to editor.

After some relatives got a free ride in a government plane, the Rev. Philip Gaglardi, a Pentecostal minister, resigned his thirteen-year post as highways minister of British Columbia.


On May 2, the State of Israel marks its twentieth anniversary.

A helicopter serving Wycliffe Bible Translators in remote areas of West Irian, Indonesia, may be the first in missionary aviation.

Most of the rare religious paintings in the Church of St. Paul, Antwerp, Belgium, were carried out and saved during a fire that destroyed the roof of the sixteenth-century structure. One, Rubens’s “The Flagellation,” is said to be worth $2.8 million.

Fifty Roman Catholic priests in Peru broke precedent by issuing a document denouncing social injustices and pledging to work for reform. They noted that 24,000 of the nation’s 12 million citizens get half its income.

The U. S. Jesuit weekly America praised the statement of the National Council of Churches made against religious repression in the Soviet Union at its last board meeting, but was “bewildered” by its “oversimplified, pushbutton foreign policy solutions.”

For the second year, bids to liberalize New York State’s abortion law failed.

What with violent student protests and other pressures, the American Council on Education reports that at least 300 U. S. colleges are without presidents and that 1,000 dean positions are vacant.

At their sixth theological meeting last month, U. S. Lutherans and Roman Catholics decided the “pressing and as yet unresolved” issue of intercommunion must await further work on the ministry, which will be the subject of September talks.

State accreditation has been won for the new Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts, which plans to open in the fall as the first Greek Orthodox college in the hemisphere.

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