- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2007

Billy Graham group sells summer camp

SWANNANOA, N.C. — A local foundation has bought the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s summer camp here for $5 million and plans to revive the facility with a similar religious focus.

The Peter J. Fontaine Foundation purchased the camp and about 300 acres of land just east of Asheville in December, according to a Jan. 3 announcement. The foundation wants to re-open the area this summer under the name Camp Cedar Cliff while maintaining focus on evangelism and traditional summer camp activities.

“My kids had gone to Cove Camp. It was an important part of their lives,” said Peter Fontaine, the foundation’s president. “We decided to pick up that torch and continue that particular mission field.”

About 2,000 children usually attended Cove Camp during four months in the summer. The Graham association stopped offering the summer camp last year but still used the site for retreats, former Cove Camp director Hugh Wright said.

Jews, Gypsies protest pro-Nazi comment

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakian Jewish and Gypsy communities have sharply criticized a Roman Catholic archbishop for praising the country’s authoritarian wartime rule by pro-Nazi priest Jozef Tiso.

Archbishop Jan Sokol said in a TV interview Jan. 4 that Tiso’s rule was a “time of well-being.”

“I remember him from my childhood. We used to be very poor and under his rule, the situation greatly improved,” the archbishop said on Bratislava’s TA3 TV.

Most of Slovakia’s Jews perished in concentration camps during World War II, an era when Slovakia served as a puppet state to Nazi-run Germany and was headed from 1939 to 1945 by Tiso, a Catholic monsignor. He was executed for treason by Czechoslovak authorities in 1947.

Bishop leaves Alaska for indigenous ministry

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The Episcopal bishop for Alaska has been named the Anglican Church of Canada’s first national indigenous bishop.

The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, 52, will oversee aboriginal parishioners in Canada starting March 1.

The new position is not the norm in Anglican tradition — appointing a bishop who is pastor to a group of people no matter where they live, rather than in a specific geographic area. But at a 2005 national gathering in Pinawa, Manitoba, indigenous Anglicans requested a national indigenous bishop.

“It is a different way of organizing what is already there,” Bishop MacDonald wrote in a letter to Alaska Episcopal churches. “It takes more seriously aboriginal culture, authority and identity and tries to give expression to that.”

City to celebrate religious freedom law

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Religious, civic and educational institutions in Fredericksburg are planning ceremonies to mark the 230th anniversary of the writing of Virginia’s Statute of Religious Freedom.

Thomas Jefferson and others drafted the statute while meeting in Fredericksburg in 1777. Enacted nine years later, the statute separated church and state, gave equal status to all faiths and served as a model for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“When I came to Fredericksburg five or six years ago, I didn’t know Thomas Jefferson had written a religious freedom act for Virginia. So I think the event is about education, as well as celebration, of what he did,” said event coordinator Jim Berry.

Festivities begin tomorrow with a downtown religious freedom parade and ceremony sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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