Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 25, 2007

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 25, 2007

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

  • Detroit Becomes Foothold for Orthodox Resurgence
  • Meeting the Challenge of "Small": Denominations Join to Fund New Small-Church Curriculum
  • GFA Missionaries Beaten, Arrested at Indian Festival
  • Pastor to Live on the Roof on Behalf of Those Who Don't Have One

Detroit Becomes Foothold for Orthodox Resurgence

The Christian Post reports that Detroit is emerging as a national center for the rebirth of Orthodox Christian churches, which have deep ethnic roots in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. In the U.S., immigration and conversion have been primarily responsible, according to social scientists. Next week, Detroit's Orthodox leaders will host the first in a series of conferences planned nationwide for non-Orthodox clergy who want to explore conversion. The Rev. John Fenton said Orthodoxy represents "an oasis of Christian tradition with its centuries-old style of worship and timeless celebration of the mysterious power of saints. 'So many people feel that the world is constantly changing all around them, and they want to find something that's so deeply rooted that it won't change on them.'"

Meeting the Challenge of "Small": Denominations Join to Fund New Small-Church Curriculum

In a world of mega-churches, the small church can get lost, especially when it comes to education. According to a Religion News Service release, few publishers develop material for Sunday school programs too small to support a traditional curriculum. Although half of all churches in North America fall into the "small church" category, their Sunday schools struggle to meet the needs of fewer children, a wider range of student levels, and a limited teaching pool. So Faith Alive Christian Resources developed Kid Connection specifically for the small-sized Sunday school. Kid Connection combines large group meetings with small groups clustered by age and focused on activity-based learning. Kid Connection was designed to keep costs low and simplify lesson-planning. Kid Connection was developed with the help of grants from the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America.

GFA Missionaries Beaten, Arrested at Indian Festival

According to ASSIST News Service, Gospel for Asia (GFA) native missionaries in India — including a state leader — have been driven away, beaten and even arrested by police at the site of the Ardh Kumbh, a massive festival during which millions of Hindu pilgrims bathe in the confluence of two sacred rivers at the north Indian town of Allahabad. On Monday, January 22, an estimated 20 million people bathed in the Ganges. Up to 60 million are expected to have taken the religious plunge before the 45-day event is over on February 16. GFA native missionaries had to walk or ride bicycles about 10 kilometers to reach the festival site. But as of January 21, more than 200,000 pilgrims had happily accepted their Gospel tracts. On that day, however, radical anti-Christian thugs beat up three native missionaries, stole their materials and told them to leave the festival. Anti-Christian sentiment was also evident when police told a GFA women’s team to leave. The women retreated, but a men’s team continued to share the gospel. Police then arrested six of the Christians and questioned them for a day.

Pastor to Live on the Roof on Behalf of Those Who Don't Have One

Pastor Mike Hattabaugh of Farmington, New Mexico will soon be climbing up on a roof and settling in for five days in order to raise awareness and funds for millions of orphans who don't have a roof over their heads. Mike is also the Executive Director of the NATIONAL DAY OF CARE, which will take place on February 11, 2007. The "Get Mike Down" roof campaign is Monday, February 5th through Friday, February 9th.  Other area pastors have been challenged to join Mike on the roof throughout the week. Last year by living on the roof Mike helped raise over $40,000 in pledges for orphans. This year the goal is $60,000. Mike will be conducting media interviews about the NATIONAL DAY OF CARE while he is staying on the roof.