Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 10, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 10, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Lao Officials Arrest 11 Christians at Gunpoint
  • Ministry Breaks Ground for New Children's Village in Haiti
  • Eritrea Arrests 30 Christians at Private Prayer Service
  • Ted Haggard to Debut TLC Reality Project

Lao Officials Arrest 11 Christians at Gunpoint

Following the arrest of 11 Christians at gunpoint on Jan. 4, three house church leaders in Laos remain behind bars for "holding a secret meeting." Compass Direct News reports that Lao authorities released eight of the house church Christians, including two children ages 4 and 8, from Khammouan Provincial Prison, central Laos on Jan. 5 and 6. The charge against the three church leaders is a political offense punishable by law, according to Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). The church's pastor informed authorities in December that church members would gather at his home to celebrate Christmas. This was in line with official celebrations by the government-approved Lao Evangelical Church scheduled between Dec. 5 and Jan. 15. A truckload of district police officers with guns burst into the pastor's house after dark on Jan. 4 and arrested the 11 people there.

Ministry Breaks Ground for New Children's Village in Haiti

Since the massive earthquake last January, Kids Alive International has tripled the number of children in their homes in Haiti. Christian Newswire reports that the Kids Alive facilities were far enough from the epicenter that they were not damaged. When the earthquake struck, the ministry immediately responded providing food, water, fuel, and other supplies from the Dominican Republic to those in need in the greater Port-au-Prince area. Kids Alive now provides meals and education to over 120 community kids, in addition to those benefitting from 24/7 care in their residential homes. With Haitian house parents, children not only have their basic needs for food, shelter and education met, but they also develop caring relationships with the adults. The ministry recently broke ground for a new Children's Village that will house and care for almost 100 more orphaned and abandoned children.

Eritrea Arrests 30 Christians at Private Prayer Service

International Christian Concern reports that Eritrean officials arrested 30 Christians for praying at a private house in the capital of Asmara on Jan. 2. Some of the Christians were only recently released after being detained for their faith. The detained Christians are members of the Philadelphia Church, an evangelical church outlawed in Eritrea. Several churches have been forced to go underground in Eritrea since 2002 when officials required all religious groups to register. The officials only registered four religious groups: Islam, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Eritrea. More than 3,000 Christians in the tiny country have been detained for their faith and imprisoned in inhumane conditions.

Ted Haggard to Debut TLC Reality Project

Disgraced - and apparently redeemed - pastor Ted Haggard will be returning to the spotlight with a reality project on TLC, according to Entertainment Weekly. Haggard was head of the National Association of Evangelicals, with membership reaching 45,000 churches, in 2006 when a male escort said the pastor hired him for sex. Haggard also admitted to using crystal meth. He consequently lost the pulpit of Colorado Springs' New Life Church, the 14,000 member congregation he founded. "My family and I endured the darkest hours imaginable in the public spotlight, and have spent the last four years fighting and struggling to rebuild our lives, our faith and our family," says Haggard in a statement. "Showing the world the new chapter of our lives will hopefully inspire others to find their own path to overcome their struggles and embrace the power of acceptance. The church is open to all, even those who have committed the darkest sins."