Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Apartheid-Era Document Finds New Life in Reformed Church
- Conn. School Board Resumes Church Graduation Battle
- Vigil Held in London for Eritrea's Persecuted Believers
- Rains Cause Flooding in Haiti; Hurricane Season Begins
Apartheid-Era Document Finds New Life in Reformed Church
Religion News Service reports that for some 400 years, the small Reformed Church in America has relied on only three confessional statements of belief, all dating back to Reformation. This week, they'll add a fourth, and its unlikely origins -- apartheid-era South Africa -- speak to the changing nature of global Christianity and its impact. Today the church will formally accept the Belhar Confession at the church's General Synod held at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. The confession is a declaration of unity, justice and reconciliation that was written by Reformed churches in the Cape Town suburb of Belhar, South Africa, in 1982. "It is historic and it adds a needed component to the confessions, the social dimension," said Mitch Kinsinger, a religion professor at RCA-affiliated Northwestern College. "For a denomination that has been historically Dutch and white, it opens the windows to a broader sense of what this church is and what it should be."
Conn. School Board Resumes Church Graduation Battle
On Tuesday the Enfield Board of Education got back into the fight on where its schools can and cannot hold graduation ceremonies. The Christian Post reports that the board, which originally decided not to appeal a federal ruling barring graduations at First Cathedral, rescinded its previous decision in a revote. "If we don't appeal it, we're somewhat saying we acknowledge or validate that opinion," said Greg Stokes, chairman of the board. U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall ruled last week that holding a graduation at a megachurch "overwrought with religious symbols" was a tacit endorsement of a particular religion. Attorney Vincent McCarthy of the American Center for Law and Justice, who represents the Enfield school district, believe the board has a good chance of winning the case on appeal.
Vigil Held in London for Eritrea's Persecuted Believers
Around 70 demonstrators from seven organizations took part in a vigil outside the Eritrean Embassy in London yesterday. The annual protest challenges religious persecution and human rights abuses in Eritrea. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) joined members of the British Orthodox Church (BOC), Church in Chains-Ireland, Human Rights Concern-Eritrea, Release Eritrea, Release International, and Open Doors to mark the eighth year of the closure of minority churches in Eritrea, and the harassment of Christians from other denominations. During the protest, leaders presented a petition to the Eritrean Ambassador appealing "for swift and positive action to ensure the release of all prisoners of conscience and to grant full religious freedom, as guaranteed under Eritrea's commendable Constitution."
Rains Cause Flooding in Haiti; Hurricane Season Begins
Mission News Network reports that the people of Haiti lost another round against nature in May, as the rainy season caused rivers to flood already-crippled areas. Compassion International said that at least nine of its sponsored children were affected by flooding in the area of Bozan in Leogane, Haiti. Locals lost bedding, school materials and income-generating materials after the Rouyon River overflowed its banks. Meteorologists and scientists are predicting a severe hurricane season in the Atlantic, which could cause even greater damage to the earthquake-ravaged country. Thousands of Haitians still live in temporary tent cities with poor drainage and overflowing sewage, leaving them extremely vulnerable to rains, flooding and landslides.