Campolo plans to close ministry he founded. Tony Campolo announced the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, a progressive organization he founded nearly 40 years ago, will close June 30. Campolo, 78, plans to retire with the closure of the organization, but he will continue to write and speak, with nearly 200 engagements scheduled for 2014. He said his health is good, and he wants to write one more book on how Christianity relates to the social sciences. Campolo anticipates the association will have about $300,000 left in June to distribute to its offshoot ministries. The 22 ministries started under EAPE now operate independently and will continue, including Red Letter Christians, where Campolo plans to spend most of his time. Campolo said he expects to partner more with Shane Claiborne, an activist advocating for nonviolence, serving the poor and living simply. “Too often, we old guys hang on too long and steal the spotlight from the new, bright, shining stars emerging as speakers and leaders,” Campolo said. “We keep occupying leadership without stepping aside and getting behind these speakers.”
Kerry makes first Vatican visit. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Vatican counterpart more than 90 minutes Jan. 14, discussing the Syrian civil war and the negotiations between Israel and Palestinians, and he hinted President Barack Obama hopes to meet with Pope Francis in the coming months. They also discussed health care reform, which has sparked intense opposition from American bishops who oppose an employer mandate to provide free contraceptive services as part of health insurance coverage. Kerry characterized his meeting with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, “as comprehensive a conversation as I’ve had with any secretary of state or foreign minister in the course of my tenure.” Kerry is the first Roman Catholic secretary of state since Edmund Muskie, who served under President Jimmy Carter.
Canterbury Cathedral to host first-ever girls’ choir. Canterbury Cathedral, mother church of the 85 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, will conduct its first girls’ choir performance since it was rebuilt nearly 1,000 years ago. On Jan. 25, worshippers will hear the voices of 16 girls between ages 12 and 16 at a historic Evensong service, which will include the music of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Until now, only male voices have been heard at the cathedral’s services. Twenty years ago, Salisbury Cathedral was the first English cathedral to allow girls to sing in choirs at services. That set the ball rolling. Now 765 girls sing in cathedral choirs across England, compared with 1,008 boys.