Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 15, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 15, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Church of England Extends Pension Rights for Gay Partners
  • Haiti Marks Quake Anniversary with Prayer and Fasting
  • Olympics' Opening Ceremonies Signal Start of Athlete Ministry
  • Iran's Anniversary Pushes Some Away from Islam

Church of England Extends Pension Rights for Gay Partners

The UK Guardian reports that the Church of England General Synod financially accepted partnered gay clergy in the Church's ranks last week. The Synod voted to allow the survivors of same-sex partnerships the same pension rights as other spouses, though not before defeating multiple amendments that would have changed the motion's expression. Simon Baynes, a synod member from St. Albans diocese, said, "Employers who pay as little as they can get away with are the nastiest and the church should not be among them. The church would look very mean." John Saxbee, the bishop of Lincoln, agreed. "Prudence is not another word for parsimony," he said. "This will be a good act in a naughty world."

Haiti Marks Quake Anniversary with Prayer and Fasting

Christian Today reports that Haiti declared a day of mourning on Friday, exactly one month after a 7.0 magnitude quake killed 217,000 people in the small country. According to World Vision, 92 percent of survivors from Port-au-Prince have lost a loved one, and many are still searching for information about family members. World Vision's emergency specialist Joanna Trevor said the scale of suffering is immense. "The effects of trauma on an individual can be devastating in the long term but when it's on the scale that we're seeing in Haiti, the country's recovery is under threat," she said. "Giving children and families the opportunity to grieve, to establish a routine, and to access the basics - food, water, shelter - are all critical steps in this process." If you'd like to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, consider joining some of's partners in their work: Global Aid Network (GAiN) USA, Food for the Hungry, Samaritan's Purse, and World Vision.

Olympics' Opening Ceremonies Signal Start of Athlete Ministry

Mission News Network reports that Friday's opening ceremonies in Vancouver welcomed hundreds of chaplains as well as athletes to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Ministries such as Athletes in Action, a sister ministry of the Jesus Film Project and a part of Campus Crusade for Christ, hope to present the Gospel to both athletes and spectators. "We'll be part of a contingent of chaplains that will be working with the athletes. We'll be working with various community ministries for those that are coming to Vancouver to watch the games," said Tim Pitcher of Athletes in Action. "Whenever you bring in athletes from around the globe, there are always great opportunities to get connections with people from closed countries, from open countries, and people that need to hear the Gospel. So we just really try to take advantage of that."

Iran's Anniversary Pushes Some Away from Islam

Mission News Network reports that Iran's inner tension did not ease for Thursday's 31st anniversary of the Islamic Republic. According to Christians in country, however, increased oppression has many Muslims looking for more than political freedom.  "There was a revolution that took place that brought the people back to Islam and made this an Islamic republic," said evangelist Sammy Tippit, who reaches Iranians with satellite TV. "As a result of that, the people have now seen Islam for what it is, and they are rejecting that." He continued, "The greatest freedom in the world is in Christ, so that's why so many people are turning to Christ." One Iranian leader says the most effective evangelist in Iran is the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. "When he came in, it exposed what real Islam is all about." Iran publically executed two opposition leaders as "enemies of God" last week.