Religion Today Summaries - July 31, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 31, 2006

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

  • Christians in Nigeria Plan a 50 Million People March
  • Oklahoma Baptists Debate Necessity of Immersion Baptism
  • Volunteers Urgently Needed to Repair Homes Devastated by Katrina
  • To Tackle New Orleans' Needs, Baptists Designate 27 Zones

Christians in Nigeria Plan a 50 Million People March

December 26, is known as boxing day all over the world. But that date may no longer be known by Christians in Nigeria as boxing day, rather it will be regarded as JESUS DAY, if the plan for a JESUS 50 Million People March every December 26 succeeds. ASSIST News reports this march is being organized by World Rescue Ministries International (WORMINT). It is hoped that every church that calls the name Jesus will participate in the nation wide marching. This vision is taking Nigeria’s Christians by storm and thousands are daily embracing it as the mobilizing team, working under the auspices of WORMINT visit church after church sharing the vision of a great march of JESUS PEOPLE that will take place, come December 26, 2006 in all 36 states of Nigeria.

Oklahoma Baptists Debate Necessity of Immersion Baptism

AgapePress reports one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma will vote this weekend on a proposal that would eliminate immersion baptism as an essential for those who wish to join the church. Members of Henderson Hills Baptist Church of Edmond will vote on a proposal that would remove baptism by immersion as a requirement for church membership. An elder said the church will have no comment until after the vote. But in a column published in the Baptist Messenger, Henderson Hills' Pastor Dennis Newkirk said the church is concerned about those who physically cannot experience immersion due to a disability and for those under the conviction that sprinkling is baptism. But another Baptist clergyman, Pastor Rick Thompson of Council Road Baptist Church in Bethany, says while there is no biblical mandate for baptism as a church membership requirement, baptism is a matter of discipleship.

Volunteers Urgently Needed to Repair Homes Devastated by Katrina

Catholic Charities agencies in Louisiana and Mississippi are in desperate need of volunteers to clean or repair homes damaged nearly a year ago by Hurricane Katrina, according to Catholic Charities USA in Alexandria. Catholic News Service reports an estimated 92,000 houses in New Orleans and 200,000 houses in the surrounding area were severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In Biloxi, Miss., where more than 65,000 homes were flood-damaged, people are still living in tents and trailers as they wait for aid. Houses that need to have moldy drywall and debris removed before they can be cleaned and renovated remain in poor condition because no one is available to do the initial cleanup work. "We're hurting," said Deacon John Ferguson, director of field operations for Catholic Charities in New Orleans. "We would normally be gutting 20-25 homes per week, but for the past several weeks, we have not had any volunteers. Perhaps it is because of summer vacations; perhaps it is because of the heat. But we are totally dependent on volunteers." "The need is greater than ever," he added in a statement released by Catholic Charities USA.

To Tackle New Orleans’ Needs, Baptists Designate 27 Zones

A new evangelistic plan for the New Orleans metropolitan area has been launched as a partnership involving the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans, Louisiana Baptist Convention and North American Mission Board. Baptist Press reports the plan divides the New Orleans metropolitan area into 27 zones, each with at least one Southern Baptist church in it. Churches, associations and state/regional conventions across the SBC will be asked to partner with each zone. Arkansas already has adopted zone 1; Missouri, the lower half of zone 3. “We have four aims in this work,” said Richard Leach, director of evangelism and ministry for the North American Mission Board. “First, to assist the Louisiana Baptist Convention, BAGNO and the churches. Second, to engage volunteers. Third, to encourage the churches. And fourth, to share with all of Southern Baptists and the world through the media what is happening here.”