Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Pastor Cited for Holding Home Bible Study Without Permit
- GFA Missionaries Reaching Out to Bengal Cyclone Victims
- Two Egyptian Copts Re-Arrested in Abu Fana Murder
- Missionaries in South Africa Robbed, Injured a Second Time
Pastor Cited for Holding Home Bible Study Without Permit
Christian Post reports that a California pastor and his wife face legal action from San Diego County for holding a weekly Bible study at their home. Officials informed the couple on Good Friday that the meeting constitutes a "religious assembly" and requires an expensive permit. Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary say the "assembly" is simply dinner, fellowship and Bible study in their home. The Joneses and their attorney argue that forcing them to get a permit is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. "The implications are great because it’s not only us that’s involved," Mary Jones told Fox News. "There are thousands and thousands of Bible studies that are held all across the country. What we’re interested in is setting a precedent here — before it goes any further — and that we have it settled for the future."
GFA Missionaries Reaching Out to Bengal Cyclone Victims
Christian Newswire reports that Gospel for Asia's West Bengal headquarters has become a makeshift shelter for cyclone Aila victims. Everyone involved in the ministry is assisting in the relief effort to rescue the thousands whose possessions and dreams were washed away by the storm. "The love of the Lord and His compassion have seized our hearts to do something for our dear people who have been affected by this dreadful cyclone," a GFA-supported missionary pastor wrote. "We have already sent some money to our district leader to buy essential commodities for the believers." The cyclone ripped through West Bengal and Bangladesh on Monday, killing an estimated 200 people and driving a million others from their homes.
Two Egyptian Copts Re-Arrested in Abu Fana Murder
Compass Direct News reports that police this month released two Copts wrongfully arrested for killing a Muslim during an attack on Abu Fana monastery in Egypt in May 2008, but then re-arrested them as part of an intimidation campaign against Christians, their lawyer said. More worrisome to the Christians in custody is that their fate most likely will be decided outside of the justice system, in “reconciliation meetings.” The state prosecutor investigating the case has not announced the results of his findings on the true identity of the murderer, as he is awaiting the outcome of the out-of-court talks between Copts and local Muslims. Brothers Refaat and Ibrahim Fawzy Abdo have been incarcerated for a year.
Missionaries in South Africa Robbed, Injured a Second Time
ASSIST News Service reports that a couple ministering to orphan children with AIDS has been attacked and robbed at gunpoint in South Africa for the second time in a month. After Clive and Zoliswa Bartlett and their family returned home after church on May 24, burglars arrived and again demanded money. Clive handed them the 200 Rands he had in his pocket and explained there was no more. The robbers then clubbed him with their gun and shot him in the buttocks. They escaped with a laptop computer, printer and the family's car. Clive was taken to a hospital for treatment, and is currently recovering after meeting with a bone specialist. "This was a traumatic experience for the whole family," said Margaret Templeman, field director of the Timothy Misson to African Townships (TMAT).