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."