Moderator offers encouragement to fasting church member

    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - For United Church Moderator David Giuliano, a
telephone conversation this morning highlighted the realization that living
out one's faith in the world can take many forms. And in Dr. David Swann's
case, his faith has led him to a fast for the people of Darfur.
    Swann attends Scarboro United Church in Calgary and serves as a member of
the Alberta provincial legislature. He began his fast on Tuesday, December 4.
He hopes to be able to continue the fast until at least next Monday,
December 17.
    Giuliano phoned David Swann to offer his encouragement when he heard of
Swann's initiative. "David is a member of our church family acting on his
faith. He's putting himself on the line," commented Giuliano after the
    "While many of us are preparing for Christmas feasts, here is a man who
is fasting to draw our attention to the heartache that continues to rock
Darfur," said Giuliano. "When I asked him how he was holding up, David told me
that he felt his sacrifice is a small one compared to the suffering in
    But for Giuliano, the conversation with David Swann left him thinking
about a lot more than the irony of fasting in this season of feasting.
    "Most of us know the Christmas story, about Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the
manger. We tend to sentimentalize it, make it into a warm domestic scene. But
we need to remember that Jesus and his family spent his early years as
refugee, fleeing a genocide. As an adult he preached compassion for those who
were suffering in his world."
    This is why Giuliano says he was particularly moved by David Swann's
personal sacrifice.
    "Sometimes our faith, our sense of moral outrage, becomes insistent,
refusing to let us continue on as though nothing was happening. I think that
has happened for David, and he is trying to wake up the moral outrage of his
fellow citizens," says Giuliano.

For further information:

For further information: Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The
United Church of Canada, (416) 231-7680 ext. 2016 (office), (416) 885-7478
(cell), (416) 766-0057 (home); David Swann, (403) 614-3208 (cell),,

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