Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Cease-Fire Agreements in Darfur Applauded by International Alliance of Evangelicals
- Christian Groups Respond to Devastating Ice Storm
- Florida City Accused of Discriminating Against Christians
- Episcopal Church Left Historic Christianity, Conservatives Say
Cease-Fire Agreements in Darfur Applauded by International Alliance of Evangelicals
An agreement has been reached this week by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to cease all hostilities between the Khartoum government and rebel groups for 60 days as they work toward a durable end to the conflict in Darfur, ASSIST News Service reports. The cease-fire was one of the several agreements made during talks between Governor Richardson and President al-Bashir in Khartoum on Wednesday (January 16). Governor Richardson traveled to Sudan at the invitation of the Save Darfur Coalition, the leading United States-based Darfur peace advocacy organization of which the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is a member. WEA reports there was positive movement on a number of issues, most notably the agreement to a cease-fire between the government and rebel groups that will immediately save lives. The agreement also creates an improved environment for a political settlement, based on the Darfur Peace Agreement, to move forward.
Christian Groups Respond to Devastating Ice Storm
The Christian Post reports that Christian relief groups are responding to a brutal ice storm that crippled Oklahoma and devastated states from Maine to Texas. Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response team has distributed more than 84,000 pounds of food, water and personal hygiene kits throughout the Ozarks of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Ice, snow, and high wind knocked out electricity in nine states and caused 55 deaths as of Friday. Oklahoma was the hardest hit with at least 24 storm-related deaths. The Salvation Army responded to local needs in Oklahoma when the storm damaged all 77 counties and left over 100,000 households and businesses without power in the state.
Florida City Accused of Discriminating Against Christians
An attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund says a Florida city is violating the constitutional rights of Christians by denying them equal access to a public community center. John Quinones is pastor of the Disciples of Christ Church in Ocala. According to AgapePress, Quinones recently asked officials for permission to use meeting rooms in the Marion Oaks Community Center for church services. But officials denied the request, citing policy which says the community center and park cannot be used for formal religious services, revivals, or informal study groups. Jeremy Tedesco, legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), filed a federal lawsuit against the city. He says not only is the law clear in such cases, the county's own policy -- ironically -- offers an open invitation. Under the Constitution, he explains, churches and other religious groups cannot be subjected to discrimination simply because of the content of their speech.
Episcopal Church Left Historic Christianity, Conservatives Say
Two leaders of The Falls Church, one of the largest Episcopal parishes in Virginia that voted to sever ties with the Episcopal Church, said they left the denomination because the American Episcopal Church “no longer believes in the historic, orthodox Christian faith common to all believers,” Baptist Press reports. “The core issue in why we left is not women’s leadership,” John Yates and Os Guinness wrote, referring to the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop of the national body. “... It is not a ‘leftward’ drift in the church. It is not even primarily ethical -- though the ordination of a practicing homosexual as bishop was the flash point that showed how far the repudiation of Christian orthodoxy had gone.” Nine Virginia parishes voted in December to break from the Episcopal Church; two more joined them Jan. 14. The Falls Church and Truro Church in Fairfax have a combined attendance of 3,000 people. “The core issue for us is theological: the intellectual integrity of faith in the modern world. It is thus a matter of faithfulness to the lordship of Jesus, whom we worship and follow,” the pair wrote, noting that some leaders within the Episcopal Church “expressly deny the central articles of the faith.”