Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Eritrea's Human Rights Record Spotlighted at UN
- Saddleback Church Offers HIV Testing on World AIDS Day
- Canadian Judge: Breakaway Churches Must Relinquish Property
- Sudanese Church Leaders: Peace Process at Critical Point
Eritrea's Human Rights Record Spotlighted at UN
Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that states from every continent expressed concern Monday at the extent of human rights violations taking place in Eritrea. Appearing before the Human Rights Council, the Eritrean delegation faced broad-ranging, and yet consistent, questioning of their human rights record. Statements by member states repeatedly expressed concern at the ongoing use of torture, arbitrary and indefinite detention, the suppression of press freedom and freedom of religion and belief among other accusations. Eritrea's representative, Dr. Girmai Abraham, confessed to being "overwhelmed" by the number of questions he had received, and responded to calls for open access to Eritrea with a guarded conditional acceptance. However, in an astonishing admission, he indicated that an independent press was incompatible with Eritrean culture.
Saddleback Church Offers HIV Testing on World AIDS Day
Saddleback Church in Southern California hosted a variety of activities yesterday to remember World AIDS Day, including live online chats, free HIV testing and "An Evening of Hope" with Pastor Rick and Kay Warren. "HIV/AIDS is still the greatest humanitarian crisis of all time, killing millions every year and leaving millions of orphaned and vulnerable children behind," said Kay Warren. "In the middle of this tragedy, Christians have the opportunity to make the love of our Savior real to anyone infected or affected by HIV and AIDS." The church provided free, confidential HIV testing throughout the day. An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people in the U.S. are unaware they are HIV positive.
Canadian Judge: Breakaway Churches Must Relinquish Property
Religion News Service reports that a British Columbia judge has ruled in favor of a Canadian Anglican diocese in a legal battle with conservative dissidents. The Nov. 25 decision mirrors similar court decisions in the U.S. and may set a precedent as other groups attempt to secede with property assets. Many have left the Anglican Church of Canada in a global conflict over homosexuality and interpretation of Scripture. Justice Stephen Kelleher of the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled the Vancouver-based Diocese of New Westminster may keep possession of four church properties worth a combined $20 million ($18.7 million US). One of the churches, St. John's Shaughnessy, is widely acknowledged to be the largest Anglican parish in the country. The churches have joined a breakaway group called the Anglican Network in Canada, which is affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America.
Sudanese Church Leaders: Peace Process at Critical Point
Christian Today reports that peace is Sudan may be fading, according to leaders of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS). The war-torn country's peace agreement faces the monumental challenge of elections in five months, sparking contention within the government and allowing other violence to slip by. Southern Sudan also faces the threat of famine without seasonal rains. "We appeal to our partners to assist us, the Church, in providing for the physical as well as the spiritual needs of our people, and pledge to use all such support, as well as support from the Sudanese Christians, for the well-being of those facing hunger this Advent and Christmas season," said the ECS Provincial Standing Committee following the conclusion of its five-day conference last week.