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nChrist
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« Reply #885 on: January 02, 2010, 05:13:48 PM »

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 25, 2009
Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

    * Covenant to Bind Anglicans Sent out to Churches
    * 5 Years after Tsunami, Affected Countries Prepare Again
    * Christmas Season Attacks on Iraqi Christians Kill 5



Covenant to Bind Anglicans Sent out to Churches

Religion News Service reports that the final draft of a document aimed at mediating disputes between liberals and conservatives in the global has been sent to all 38 provinces for approval. The Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members worldwide, has been bitterly divided over homosexuality, orthodoxy, and scriptural interpretation since the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003. Archbishop Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of Anglicanism, said the document, called a "covenant," is "not going to be a penal code" but rather "a practical, sensible and Christian way of dealing with our conflicts." The nine-page covenant does not mention homosexuality, but says provinces that take "controversial" actions could face "relational consequences," including limitations on their membership in the communion.

5 Years after Tsunami, Affected Countries Prepare Again

The Wall Street Journal reports that Indonesia and other countries bordering the Indian Ocean have spent the last five years working to minimize the effects of another tsunami. The day after Christmas in 2004, a devastating tsunami surprised thousands of unwarned people, claiming around 187,000 lives. Another 43,000 people are still missing. The tsunami devastated hundreds of thousands of homes in Aceh, Indonesia, alone, destroying infrastructure and cultivated land. Since then, warning systems have been installed and - more importantly - many areas have participated in drills so civilians know where to head for high ground. Such warning systems saved lives this year after the Samoa tsunami earlier this month. Still, warning systems are not in place in all areas, especially in remote regions. Eighty percent of tsunami casualties tend to occur before any official warning arrives, giving people in the wave's path little time to escape

Christmas Season Attacks on Iraqi Christians Kill 5

ASSIST News Service reports that five people were killed Dec. 15 when two Assyrian churches and a church school were attacked in a series of terrorist bombings in Mosul. Several bombs had exploded shortly before in Baghdad. A newborn infant was killed and another 40 people were wounded. The U.S. military said they have detained several al-Qaeda members responsible for the attacks. The bombings were only the latest in a consistent stream of attacks against the Assyrian Christian population in Iraq. Nearly 50 churches have been attacked since 2004, leaving hundreds of thousands of Assyrians internally displaced, or living as refugees in neighboring countries. In September and October of 2008, prior to Iraqi provincial elections, a wave of attacks displaced the Christian population from Mosul, causing them to flee to other areas of Iraq and nearby countries.
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« Reply #886 on: January 02, 2010, 05:15:13 PM »

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 28, 2009
Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

    * Shiites Attack Assyrian Town in North Iraq
    * U.S. Activist Held in N. Korea
    * WCC Head Condemns Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill



Shiites Attack Assyrian Town in North Iraq

ASSIST News Service reports that a group of armed Shabaks attacked the Assyrian town of Bartilla Christmas morning without any apparent provocation. The entry checkpoint into Bartilla was controlled by the attackers for more than five hours. Residents said attackers stormed through the Assyrian market, tearing down Christmas decorations from store windows, including throwing a picture of St. Mary into the dirt. The attackers attempted to enter St. Mary church, located in the center of the market, demanding to perform Shiite rituals of self-flagellation inside the church. Church guards stopped the attackers, resulting in a gun battle that wounded four Christians. One man is in critical condition.

U.S. Activist Held in N. Korea

AFP reports that a Christian human rights activist has allegedly been captured in North Korea after he entered the country illegally on Christmas Day. Robert Park, a U.S. citizen of Korean heritage, openly walked across the frozen Tumen River from China into North Korea, according to colleagues who watched and videotaped his actions. Park reportedly came across the border shouting, "I came here to proclaim God's love." Park carried a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il demanding the release of political prisoners and the closing of black site concentration camps. "Robert Park is out of contact now, but we got a tip-off that he is alive and being held by North Korean authorities for questioning," one of Park's colleagues told AFP Sunday on condition of anonymity.

WCC Head Condemns Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill

Religion News Service reports that the World Council of Churches has added its voice to growing worldwide concerns about a proposed Ugandan law that would allow the jailing and possible execution of gays and lesbians. Current Ugandan law allows for people to be jailed for 14 years for engaging in homosexual acts; the new proposed law would raise that to life imprisonment, though no one has ever been convicted of homosexual acts in the country. The WCC's general secretary, the Rev. Samuel Kobia, said he was "saddened and distressed" over the new law in a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. "It is my hope and my prayer that you will join the African church leaders and fellow people of faith, to abstain from supporting any law which can lead to a death penalty; promotes prejudice and hatred; and which can be easily manipulated to oppress people," Kobia wrote.
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« Reply #887 on: January 02, 2010, 05:16:21 PM »

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 29, 2009
Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

    * Christmas Church Heist Turns to Community Blessing
    * Jewish Christian in Israel Seeks Protection from Repeated Attacks
    * Potential Muslim Attack Averted in Pakistani Church
    * Millions in Tanzania Receive Scripture in Heart Language



Christmas Church Heist Turns to Community Blessing

Religion News Service reports that parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Violet, La., had their Christmas sorrow turn to joy on Dec. 22. The previous Sunday, a burglar broke into the St. Bernard Parish church and rifled through about 65 Christmas gifts destined for some of the parish's needy children. As word of the crime spread, people from across the metropolitan area and as far as Wisconsin and Ohio stepped up to help. By Tuesday night, gifts were piled on the floor about 7 feet deep along three walls, including 15 bicycles donated by Boy Scouts and bags stuffed with toys from the Salvation Army. After the theft was discovered, the church's pastor, the Rev. John Arnonesaid the anger he initially felt had changed to sorrow for the thief. "It's an unfortunate need," he said. "But so much good has come of it. It's really been incredible."

Jewish Christian in Israel Seeks Protection from Repeated Attacks

Compass Direct News reports that a Christian of Jewish origin who has been attacked on the streets here four times because of his faith is seeking police protection. Jerusalem resident Yossi Yomtov said police have been slow to investigate hate crimes against him by youths wearing kippahs, cloth skullcaps typically worn by observant Jews. In two of the attacks a youth plied him with pepper spray and stun gun shocks, he said. "This young man cursed me for my belief in Christ," Yomtov told Compass. "He used ugly curses and spoke in highly abusive language." Yomtov, who founded social activist group Lemallah ("Upward") after moving to Israel from the United States in 1999, said he was last attacked on Dec. 19. In previous attacks in the last few months, the assailants appeared to be teenaged or young men of French origin, he said.

Muslims Arrested in Pakistani Church May Have Been Foiled

ASSIST News Service reports that church security in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, may have averted a repeat of a massacre that killed 18 people in 2001. Two Muslim men were arrested outside of St. Dominic's Church on Dec. 25 after security realized the men had never been seen in the church. The men gave separate answers regarding their origins, and would not make the sign of the cross. Police then arrested the men, only to release them hours later. "Due to terror by extremists, we had made all possible arrangements for the safety of the Christians," said Father Nadeem Joseph, the church's pastor. "I appreciate the Christian security at the church that has really been a blessing for all of us, otherwise an incident like that that took place 2001, could have happen place."

Millions in Tanzania Receive Scripture in Heart Language

The Christian Post reports that Wycliffe Bible Translators finished a special project just in time for Christmas in Tanzania. The Wycliffe team had to develop an alphabet for nine languages in northwest Tanzania before beginning translation of the book of Luke in 2008. The translation will provide about two million people with Scripture. "This is about transforming communities. My people will for the first time read God's word in their own language and I'm praying that their lives will be touched by the story of Christ's birth," Pastor Albinus Waynse, who is part of the Wycliffe team of 18 Tanzanians translating Scripture, told CBN News. More than 20 denominations helped support the work. English and Swahili are Tanzania's official languages but 124 other minority languages are spoken throughout the country.
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« Reply #888 on: January 02, 2010, 05:17:25 PM »

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 30, 2009
Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

    * Most Senior Pastors Work at Least 50-Hour Weeks
    * Archbishops Condemn Police Threats against Zimbabwe Anglicans
    * CSW Calls for Release of Detained US Activist in N. Korea
    * Second Irish Bishop Resigns in Wake of Abuse Report



Most Senior Pastors Work at Least 50-Hour Weeks

The Christian Post reports that most senior pastors are putting in plenty of overtime, according to a new LifeWay Research survey. The median number of work hours for Protestant pastors is 55 hours, but 42 percent say they work 60 or more hours. The survey of 1,000 pastors also included bivocational, part-time and volunteer senior pastors. About half of these pastors say they spend five to 14 hours a week preparing their sermon. Nearly half of pastors (48 percent) say two to five hours a week go to visitation - less tan they spend in meetings. Almost three-quarters of pastors say they spend up to five hours each week in meetings. Slightly more than half spend the same amount of time in personal devotions. Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, says the research shows many pastors' commitment to teaching and prayer, but may also show that pastors need help covering ministry responsibilities.

Archbishops Condemn Police Threats against Zimbabwe Anglicans

Christian Today reports that Anglican archbishops in England are condemning last week's government intimidation of churchgoers in Zimbabwe. On Christmas Day, police reportedly refused to allow clergy and parishioners from entering Anglican churches, threatening to arrest or harm them. "We condemn unequivocally any move to deny people their basic right to worship. To prevent people from worshipping in their churches on Christmas Day - unable to receive the church's message of hope - is a further blow to civil liberties in Zimbabwe," said Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and Archbishop of York Dr. John Santamu. Anglicans removed the previous bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, in 2007. Kunonga has set up his own unrecognized diocese and continued his support for Zimbabwe's dictator, Robert Mugabe. His supporters have frequently harassed and bullied Anglicans away from mainstream churches.

CSW Calls for Release of Detained US Activist in N. Korea

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling for the release of a Korean-American missionary believed to have been detained in North Korea. Robert Park, originally from Tucson, Arizona, crossed illegally into North Korea from China on Christmas Day with a message for the country's ruler, Kim Jong-il. Colleagues say he was arrested and detained by North Korean authorities after crossing the Tumen River on Christmas evening. CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said the group has known Park for years. "We know him to be a man of deep courage, faith and commitment who has been serving North Korean refugees and campaigning to draw the world's attention to the horrific violations of human rights in North Korea," he said. "We urge Christians around the world to pray for Robert Park and for North Korea, and that his brave act on Christmas Day might not have been in vain."

Second Irish Bishop Resigns in Wake of Abuse Report

Religion News Service reports that an Irish Catholic bishop implicated in a recent report on clerical sex abuse resigned on Wednesday (Dec. 23). It was the second such resignation in less than a week. In a statement announcing the move, Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin apologized to "all the survivors and their families," and expressed hope his resignation "honors the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered and opens the way to a better future for all concerned ..." Moriarty was one of a number of church leaders criticized or implicated in November's Murphy Commission report, which traced a pattern of clerical physical and sexual abuse from 1975-2004 that had been covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin, at times with the collusion of the Irish police. Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI expressed "outrage," "shame," and "profound regret" over the report's revelations, which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said would lead to a "very significant reorganization of the church in Ireland."
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« Reply #889 on: January 02, 2010, 05:18:31 PM »

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 31, 2009
Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

    * U.N. Advances Defamation Bill But Support Wanes
    * Accused Pakistani Christian Says Muslims Tried to Coerce Him
    * Bible Is Most-Stolen Book during Holidays
    * Ex-KKK Leader to Minister in Historically Black Church Body



U.N. Advances Defamation Bill but Support Wanes

Mission News Network reports that the United Nations General Assembly has again passed the controversial Defamation of Religion resolution for the firth year in a row. The non-binding resolution appears to be losing support, winning with five fewer votes and eight more coming against the resolution than last year. According to Open Doors Director Lindsay Vessey, the rights group's lobbying campaign appears to be gaining ground, even as the resolution's Islamic sponsors try to maximize its impact. "Instead of being a non-binding resolution, they're actually trying to pass it through a separate committee that would make it more of a binding resolution--it would make it an optional protocol," she said. "People aren't free to preach the Gospel--people aren't free to say what they believe even if they're not trying to evangelize. But it's also going to impact missionaries and foreign workers who go into these countries to evangelize."

Accused Pakistani Christian Says Muslims Tried to Coerce Him

Compass Direct News reports that a Pakistani Christian said he was arrested and tortured only because he was a key witness of the mob assault that left at least seven Christians burned to death. Naveed Masih is accused of killing a Muslim during August's Gojra violence but was released on bail on Dec. 23. Masih says several Muslims have offered him large amounts of money to alter his testimony regarding the assault in Gojra. The mob attack, prompted by calls from Muslim clerics spreading a false rumor of "blasphemy" of the Quran, included banned Islamic terrorist groups and resulted in the looting of more than 100 houses and the burning of 50 of them; at least 19 people were injured. Masih refused to alter his testimony, and says he now fears for his life. Masih and his brother Nauman Masih were the only Christians arrested in a counter-charge by the accused Muslims.

Bible Is Most-Stolen Book during Holidays

WOAI News reports that reports that Christian bookstores are seeing theft increase in the down economy, and the most often target are - surprisingly - Bibles. "I can see the need people have, they need to buy more but don't have the means to do it," said Maria Obregon, store manager for Noah's Ark Christian Bookstore in San Antonio, Texas. Obregon looks at the thefts with optimism. "So I just bless them that they can [use it] and read it," she said. The store's Bibles range in price from $10 to $70, but Obregon says she often gives discounts on Bibles, even handing them out for free to new believers. Still, she acknowledges that the pricey thefts have an impact. "It hurts the cash register," Obregon said.

Ex-KKK Leader to Minister in Historically Black Church Body

The Christian Post reports a strange story of racial reconciliation in the largest body of black churchgoers in America.  Last month, the Church of God in Christ welcomed Johnny Lee Clary, former Ku Klux Klan leader, into their midst as an ordained minister. "When the day comes for me to make my journey home, I hope to be remembered not as the former National Leader Of the Klan," said Clary, 50, "but as a man who saw wrong and tried to right it, to build a better world to leave for our children, both black and white." Bishop George D. McKinney, who ordained Clary, told the Tulsa World "it's not every day that we get a former klansman." Clary maintains that he is on a ministry of reconciliation. "We're building a bridge of racial reconciliation, and what better way to do that than with a former KKK leader ministering in a black church that boasts over 6 million members?" he told the Oklahoman.
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« Reply #890 on: January 02, 2010, 05:19:48 PM »

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 1, 2010
Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

    * Algerian Muslims Block Christmas Service
    * Pakistani PM Promises Property Rights to Christians
    * Tucsonans Hold Prayer Vigil for Activist Detained in N. Korea



Algerian Muslims Block Christmas Service

Compass Direct News reports that nearly 50 Muslims in northern Algeria blocked Christians from holding a Christmas service on Saturday (Dec. 26) to protest a new church building. Tafat Church is located in Tizi-Ouzou, a city 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the Algerian capital, Algiers. The local residents were reportedly irritated at finding that a church building with many visitors from outside the area had opened near their houses. A local paper highlighted that the residents feared their youth would be lured into the church with promises of money or cell phones. "This land is the land of Islam! Go pray somewhere else," some of the protestors said. Protestors also reportedly threatened to kill the church pastor, Mustafa Krireche. One of Algeria's Christian leaders, Youssef Ourahmane, said he could not recall another display of such outrage from Algerians against Christians.

Pakistani PM Promises Property Rights to Christians

ASSIST News Service reports that Pakistan's Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, is finally delivering on some long-standing promises to minorities in Pakistan. At an "Interfaith Christmas Celebrations" ceremony on Dec. 18, Gilani vowed to give land property rights to Christian slum dwellers of Islamabad. According to one source, "The announcement sent a wave of joy among slum dwellers and infused them with hope of becoming owners of houses they have been living in for several years." Gilani also announced construction of non-Muslim prayer rooms in Pakistani prisons; a shortened sentence for minor crimes committed during religious festivals, extending a law that already exists for Muslims; and the official classification of "Masihi," Christians' preferred term for themselves, instead of "Essahi" in the future.

Tucsonans Hold Prayer Vigil for Activist Detained in N. Korea

KOLD News reports that a Tucson, Az., church held a vigil Wednesday evening for a member of their congregation believed to be detained in North Korea. Colleagues of Robert Park say the activist crossed the border into North Korea and was arrest on Christmas Day. Park was reportedly carrying a letter for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. "Robert is a rare individual," said Pastor John Benson of Life in Christ Community Church, who ordained Park as a missionary in 2007. "We're really praying that somehow Robert will get an audience with Kim Jong Il. I know that sounds pretty radical and kind of crazy, but it wouldn't be the first time I've seen Robert attempt something impossible, and it ends up happening." The church will hold another prayer Vigil for Park tomorrow afternoon.
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