Religion Today Summaries - Jun 8, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jun 8, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Cholera Outbreak Reappears in Haiti
  • 105,000 Christians Martyred Annually, Says Official
  • Muslims Demolish Church to Build Islamic Seminary
  • Miss. Woman Named World's Longest-Serving Church Organist


Cholera Outbreak Reappears in Haiti

Cholera mostly disappeared in Haiti after last year's epidemic, which killed over 5,000 people. Now, however, Doctors Without Borders says the disease has flared again. Mission News Network reports the group treated 2,000 cholera patients last week in the capital city alone. The disease spread rapidly following the January 2010 earthquake due to the lack of clean water, and many people still drink from contaminated sources. The current upswing in cholera cases has caused enough alarm for an HCJB Global Hands team from Ecuador to pack up and head to Haiti. The team left on Saturday to help treat patients at a Samaritan's Purse facility in Cite Soleil. Many groups who helped fight last year's outbreak have left the country.

105,000 Christians Martyred Annually, Says Official

According to Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, another Christian dies for his faith every five minutes. reports that Introvigne's figures do not include the victims of civil wars, or wars between nations, but only the people put to death because they are Christians. He estimates 105,000 Christians are killed every year. Introvigne told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, "[I]f it is not recognized that the persecution against Christians is the first worldwide emergency with regard to religious discrimination and violence, dialogue between religions will only produce wonderful symposia but no concrete results."

Muslims Demolish Church to Build Islamic Seminary

A Pakistani Christian family watched their home burn in 2004 at the hands of radical Muslims after they opposed demolition of their church to build a Muslim seminary. ASSIST News Service reports that the seminary is now under construction, though strongly opposed by local Christians. The church land for Yousaf Memorial Church is a significant sum, says the Rev. Yaquob Gill, pastor of the church. He believes that's why Muslim men "wanted to snatch it from the Christians, who are seen socially and financially weak in Pakistan." The church repeatedly refused demands that they allow a Muslim to buy the land. Finally, a member's house was burned and the land seized anyway. Police informed the church that they had "burned the Koran" and "humiliated the Prophet Muhammad" and refused to take their case. Instead, they registered a case against the pastor and another member for their alleged blasphemy.

Miss. Woman Named World's Longest-Serving Church Organist

For the past 69 years, Ida Mae Cumbest has been the pianist and organist at Caswell Springs United Methodist Church. According to Religion News Service, that tenure qualifies her as the world's longest-serving church organist. Cumbest has played at Caswell since 1942, which prompted her son, Mark, to contact the London-based Guinness World Records in hopes of honoring his mother for her 90th birthday. After reviewing the collected documentation, Guinness on May 11 issued a certificate that stating that Cumbest does indeed hold the record. Mark Cumbest calculates that his mother has played in excess of 10,000 services. Ida Mae Cumbest has some advice on being good at what she does: "I think to enjoy it," she said, "and not get sold on yourself, and then do it for the Lord."