Religion Today Summaries - July 24, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 24, 2009

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

  • Pakistan: Christian Shot Eight Times in Money Dispute
  • Church of England Offers Combined Wedding, Baptism
  • UK Churches Start Planning Olympics Outreach
  • 10 Held after Violence at Bombed Vietnam Church

Pakistan: Christian Shot Eight Times in Money Dispute

ASSIST News Service reports that a Christian businessman was shot eight times while driving through Lahore, Pakistan after refusing to pay protection money. Suqlain Shah, a former policeman, and another man, Sudia, stopped Ayub Gill's car on July 7, as Ayub was going to buy a property in a nearby town. Ayub's brother Babar was driving and two other relatives were in the back seat. Suqlain pulled out a gun and dragged Babar out of the driver's seat, threatening to kill him. Suqlain then shot Ayub eight times in the legs. After stealing $2,500, they fled on bicycles. Ayub is now recovering in the hospital, but the doctors do not know if he will be able to walk again. Ayub's brother filed a report with the police, but police have taken no action.

Church of England Offers Combined Wedding, Baptism

The Associated Press reports that the Church of England is responding to England's changing demographics with a two-for-one sacrament: marriage coupled with baptisms for a couple's children. Forty-four percent of children in Britain are born out of welock, and the church reports that one in five couples wanting to get married in the church already has children. "Patterns of relationship and marriage within society are presenting new opportunities for the church," said Stephen Platten, the Bishop of Wakefield. Others, such as John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, say the move capitulates to current trends. "It is a pity they have not put in a funeral for grandma as well," he said.

UK Churches Start Planning Olympics Outreach

Christian Today reports that Christians in London are looking down the road to 2012, already preparing evangelism efforts for the Olympics. Lord Brian Mawhinney, Chairman of the Football League and outreach organization More Than Gold stressed that Christians "are restricted only by our imagination and willingness." More Than Gold had lead evangelistic efforts at the Olympic Games since 1996. That year in Atlanta, churches distributed more than 3 million cups of water at the games. In Sydney in 2000, churches provided more than half of the accommodation needed to house the families of competing athletes. “The role of More Than Gold is to cast a vision of authentic outreach and service that every church can engage with and see realized,” said the organization’s CEO Dave Willson.

10 Held after Violence at Bombed Vietnam Church

The Agence France-Presse reports that at least 10 people in prison following a violent dispute at the remains of a war-era Catholic Church. Local Christians and police give differing accounts. Police say that about 200 people tried to "illegally" build on an old church site, when "local residents" tried to dismantle and remove it from the historic site. Police then arrested "extremists" when the conflict escalated to violence. Priest Pham Dinh Phung, however, maintains that 20 people were taken into custody, and all were Catholics. He says the police tried to dismantle the building and then beat Catholics who tried to stop them. The church and the state have argued over who owns the property for years.