In Today's Edition:
- PCA General Assembly Makes Racial Reconciliation Declaration
- Rowan Williams of Wales First Choice for Archbishop of Canterbury
- Christian Medical Association: Partial-Birth Abortion Inflicts Horrific Pain on Unborn
- Saudi-Arabia: Human Rights Violations Overshadow King's Anniversary
- Music Artist Helen Baylor Ministers To Over 400 Women At California Correctional Institution
PCA General Assembly Makes Racial Reconciliation Declaration ... The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) approved a declaration on racial reconciliation at its meeting on Thursday, June 20. The request to make this declaration came from the Nashville Presbytery. Over 1,600 delegates attended the General Assembly meeting at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
After debating the resolution, the Assembly adopted a statement saying: "The heinous sins attendant with unbiblical forms of servitude-including oppression, racism, exploitation, manstealing, and chattel slavery-stand in opposition to the Gospel. The effects of these sins have created and continue to create barriers between brothers and sisters of different races and/or economic spheres.
"Therefore we confess our involvement in these sins. As a people, both we and our fathers, have failed to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the laws God has commanded. We therefore publicly repent of our pride, our complacency, and our complicity. Furthermore, we seek the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters for the reticence of our hearts that have constrained us from acting swiftly in this matter. We will strive, in a manner consistent with the Gospel imperatives, for the encouragement of racial reconciliation, the establishment of urban and minority congregations, and the enhancement of existing ministries of mercy in our cities, among the poor, and across all social, racial, and economic boundaries, to the glory of God."
Rowan Williams of Wales First Choice for Archbishop of Canterbury ... (ENS) -- According to an article in the June 20 issue of the London Times, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Wales is the first choice of the Crown Appointments Commission to be the next archbishop of Canterbury. The paper said it had learned that Williams was the first of two names chosen by the commission at its two-day meeting in Surrey last week. The complicated and arcane process requires that commission members are sworn to secrecy, pledging to tell no one, not even family members, about the process.
The names will be submitted to Prime Minister Tony Blair in the next few weeks. He is responsible for forwarding a choice to Queen Elizabeth II, although he could return the names to the commission, regarded by most observers as quite unlikely. The queen will make a formal announcement, "probably in the second half of July," according to the paper.
If he were appointed, Williams would be the first archbishop of Canterbury appointed from outside the Church of England since the Reformation. He was born in Swansea and grew up in a family that spoke Welsh.
Opposition to the appointment has come from those who "fear that his positive stance towards the ordination of homosexuals could herald conflict and even splits in the worldwide church." In an interview with the Southern Cross during a speaking tour in Australia, Williams admitted that he had ordained a gay man who was living in a committed relationship.
Christian Medical Association: Partial-Birth Abortion Inflicts Horrific Pain on Unborn ... A 16,000-member professional association of doctors says that legislation to ban partial-birth abortion is needed to stop a barbaric practice that inflicts horrific pain on developing infants. The Christian Medical Association expressed its support for the bipartisan Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2002, which was highlighted last week at a Capitol press conference held by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and others.
David Stevens, MD, Executive Director of the Christian Medical Association, noted, "Inflicting pain on developing infants such as that incurred during a partial-birth abortion would never be countenanced by any medical review team for human experimentation. There is absolutely no medical reason whatsoever that justifies allowing an abortionist to cut into the cranium of a developing baby, inflict a horrific level of pain, and then suction out its brain," asserted Stevens.
Stevens cited the congressional testimony of CMA board member and pediatric anesthesiologist Jean Wright, MD, who testified that a fetus experiences pain at a level several times greater than adults experience. In a CMA white paper explaining the physiology of fetal pain perception, Dr. Wright writes, "Newborns not only feel pain; they react to pain with 3 - 5 times the response of adults."
Saudi-Arabia: Human Rights Violations Overshadow King¹s Anniversary ... (idea) The 20th anniversary of the enthronement of Saudi-Arabia¹s King Ibn Abdul Aziz Fahd on June 13 was overshadowed by severe human rights violations, says the International Society for Human Rights. "Torture, executions and all kinds of cruel punishments such as public flogging are common practice. Apostasy from Islam carries the death penalty," stated the Frankfurt based human rights organization.
There is zero tolerance for non-Muslim believers. Any public non-Islamic religious practice is prohibited. Out of fear of being persecuted by the religious police, the Muttawah, only a small minority of the more than 500,000 Christian expatriates in Saudi-Arabia dare to join private prayer meetings. Last summer in Jeddah, 14 Christians were incarcerated for months without legal charges. The human rights organization challenges King Fahd to abolish torture and to introduce international human rights standards in his country, such as religious freedom and women¹s rights.
Music Artist Helen Baylor Ministers To Over 400 Women At California Correctional Institution ... Diadem Music artist Helen Baylor continued her ministry to women as she recently performed a concert at the California Correctional Institution for Women in Chino, Calif. Over 400 inmates, correctional officers and staff attended the concert. The institution's gospel choir opened the concert after which Baylor and her band ministered in concert for over two hours. Baylor performed songs from her latest release, "My Everything," as well as past concert favorites. At the end of the concert, many of the inmates in attendance made or renewed their commitment to Christ.
Each member of Baylor's team (band and production staff) agreed that this was one of the most fulfilling ministry events that they have ever had a part in. "My heart and prayers go out to women in these and similar situations," says Baylor. "People should consider giving time to working with or ministering to these women, as we all have found it very fulfilling." The correctional facility in Chino is a medium security facility, housing over 1500 women, serving terms from six months to life.
Award winning artist Helen Baylor released "My Everything," her seventh full-length gospel album and her debut album for Diadem Music, on January 22, 2002. Over the past decade, Helen Baylor has proven herself to be one of gospel music's leading ladies-receiving three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, four Stellar Awards and one Soul Train Lady of Soul Award.