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December 20, 1986|JOHN DART

The June-July issue of the Wittenburg Door, the evangelical humor magazine published in El Cajon, Calif., arrived in the mail just in time to raise a question of taste for people shopping for inspirational Christmas gifts.

Specifically, the perennially behind-schedule magazine gave its "loser of the month" award to the "Lord's Supper Talking Clock." The clock presents a likeness of Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of Jesus seated at a long table with his disciples. A digital display of the time is superimposed on the tablecloth.

At each hour, a light flashes by one of the 12 disciples, who thereupon announces his name, tells the time and quotes a saying attributed to Jesus.

According to Wittenburg Door editors, the American Talking Clock Corp. product advertises itself as a Christian "witness" and a "beautiful reminder of our faith" that sells for $1,400.

"Only $1,400. What a witness," exulted the editors with tongue in cheek. "Truly, the Lord's Supper Talking Clock rang our chimes."

The magazine did not say, however, where the clocks can be purchased. Nor did it say whether the consumer could trust the time announced by Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus in the Gospel accounts.

Coincidentally, another unusual timepiece was described by columnist Martin E. Marty in the current issue (dated Dec. 17) of Christian Century magazine. Marty said that a watch advertised by Scattering Light, Inc., has, instead of the 12 numerals on its face, the letters I A M B O R N A G A I N.

"Let the world know that you know the Lord," the ad urged. Watch colors include hot pink and lavender--"just in case you really love the Lord," Marty added.


Some Christians and Jews are giving the precious gift of blood this Christmas and Hanukkah season. The Los Angeles chapter of the American Red Cross said 63 churches and synagogues are hosting bloodmobile visits during December, a month that is usually a critical time for blood supply because donations drop off. Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Covina hosts a bloodmobile today and on Sunday mobile units will set up at Temple Beth Ami in Reseda and at three Roman Catholic parishes (St. Mary of the Assumption, Whittier; St. Francis of Assisi, Los Angeles, and St. Catherine Laboure, Torrance), a Red Cross spokesman said. Seventeen other churches, including Mormon congregations, are donating blood on later dates this month.


Roman Catholic Bishop Phillip F. Straling of San Bernardino recently asked church members in his region to avoid getting involved in promoting the "Bayside Movement" based on alleged apparitions and messages of the Virgin Mary to Veronica Leuken of Bayside, N.Y. Writing in the diocesan newspaper, Straling criticized local Catholics who have promoted the movement and quoted in full a statement issued last month by Bishop Francis John Mugavero of Brooklyn. Mugavero said that the reported phenomena lacked credibility and that the "messages" and related literature contain materials contrary to church teaching.

Sister Mary Milligan, a former general superior in Rome of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and currently provost of Loyola Marymount University, has been elected president of the 21-member board of directors for St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, the training ground for priesthood candidates of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Father Charles E. Miller, C.M., the seminary rector, said Sister Milligan, the first woman to hold that post, has, in addition to her educational and international church expertise, a doctorate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.

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