Representatives of Reform Judaism and U.S. Roman Catholic bishops launched plans this week for a joint program of "action and dialogue" to broaden support for the bishops' 1983 pastoral letter condemning nuclear war.
It was believed to be the first time a Jewish group formally has put its resources behind a teaching document of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, numerous religious groups, both Jewish and Protestant, have commended the letter.
Officials of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing 750 Reform synagogues, and the bishops' Secretariat for Catholic Jewish Relations said members of both faiths "will be encouraged to build action coalitions based on our shared vision of a world of peace with justice."
A new 97-page discussion guide, called "The Challenge of Shalom for Catholics and Jews," jointly published by the two groups, notes that the bishops and the Jewish body share "mutual concerns," including support for a verifiable freeze on nuclear weaponry.
The Vatican announced this week that it has postponed from 1986 until the fall of 1987 a scheduled synod of Roman Catholic bishops on the role of laity in the church.
Archbishop Jozef Tomko, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, said the decision had been made by Pope John Paul II in order to help the prelates better prepare themselves for an extraordinary synod that has been scheduled for Nov. 25-Dec. 8 this year.
The pontiff called the extraordinary gathering of leading bishops for this year to evaluate the effects of the Second Vatican Council 25 years after that assembly began.
Four denominations that worked together last year to celebrate their common heritage in the beginning of Methodism in this country 200 years ago will meet next month to explore the possibility of continued cooperation.
The churches include the predominantly white United Methodist Church and three black denominations: the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion and Christian Methodist Episcopal churches. A fifth body, the Free Methodist Church of North America, will decide this summer whether or not to join the emerging Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation.
The areas of possible cooperation to be studied include higher education, mission outreach, involvement in social action and evangelism. Representatives of the four churches will meet in Atlanta on May 27.
Three teachers in an exclusive Michigan preparatory school who drew bagels on the office files of Jewish children in the school's kindergarten will be fired.
A committee investigating charges of discrimination at the Cranbrook Educational Community in suburban Detroit's Bloomfield Hills uncovered the practice of the three teachers who were in charge of admissions to the school's kindergarten.
The three teachers denied that they had practiced discrimination and said they had flagged files of Jewish youngsters in order to more evenly distribute the Jewish children between morning and afternoon classes.
But investigators found that in the year under study, the school admitted 43 percent of the Jewish applicants to kindergarten, but 76 percent of the non-Jewish were admitted.
A school spokeswoman said 22 percent of the total student body is Jewish.
Anna Marie Ewald Aagard , professor of systematic theology at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, will become the first Paul Wattson professor in ecumenics at Catholic University. The semester-long professorship, established by the Friars of the Atonement in honor of their founder, will rotate annually.