Religion Today Summaries - June 12, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 12, 2009

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

  • Schuller's Daughter to Lead Crystal Cathedral
  • Gambia: Prosecution Delays Convicted Missionaries' Appeal
  • Cowboy Roams Idaho, Planting Churches
  • Sri Lankan Christians Plead for International Support

Schuller's Daughter to Lead Crystal Cathedral

The Orange County Register reports that Crystal Cathedral's new permanent pastor is also a member of the family. Sheila Schuller Coleman, founding pastor Robert H. Schuller's daughter, will now take over leadership at the church. She takes the reins from her brother, Robert Anthony Schuller, who resigned after differing with his father in their vision for the church. Coleman says she is in line with her father's vision, and is honored with the task. "Our church didn't even start ordaining women until 1973," she said in an interview. "I'm proud of my dad for doing this and I hope I can serve as a role model for younger women who want to get things accomplished in this church." The older Schuller told the congregation that he will "motive and clarify the vision" while Coleman acts as a "co-leader" to implement it.

Gambia: Prosecution Delays Convicted Missionaries' Appeal

ASSIST News Service reports that the appeal by British missionary David Fulton against an additional conviction for forgery has been delayed. Prison authorities failed to produce Fulton at a June 1 hearing, and the prosecution failed to attend. “Mr. Fulton and his wife Fiona had initially received sentences of one year's imprisonment with hard labor in December 2008, after pleading guilty to sedition on the advice of a lawyer, who claimed this would ensure more lenient sentences,” said a Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) spokesperson. Fulton was "given an additional three years after pleading guilty to forgery." He plead guilty hoping to receive the "usual sentence" of a fine. CSW worries the delay in the appeals process is hampering the Fultons' right to a fair hearing.

Cowboy Roams Idaho, Planting Churches

Jim Ballard's cowboy hat and boots make him look like a Hollywood cowboy, but appearances can be deceiving, Baptist Press reports. Ballard’s time in Idaho is spent working with ranchers and church planters. He sometimes travels 500 miles in a day to recruit and help church planters with Eastern Idaho Southern Baptist Assocation. Ballard preaches at a different church every Sunday in his association, which includes 13 churches and two missions. The "cowboy" churches he works with minister to ranchers whose lives can't accommodate a normal 11 o'clock service on Sunday, so most churches have evening or afternoon services. "We're finding out that even if the folks have a Mormon background, if we'll do a cowboy church in their setting, they'll come," Ballard said.

Sri Lankan Christians Plead for International Support

The Christian Post reports that despite the millions of dollars from the U.N., camps for Sri Lanka's displaced people have only enough resources for 2-4 months. About 300,000 people are dependent on aid groups for food, shelter, and medical care. World Vision estimates that that the cost of food and water supplies alone runs about $1 million per day. The small National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) has been contributing about $15,000 per day, but its leaders have pleaded for international help. World Evangelical Alliance International Director Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, who visited the country June 1-6, said the group “urgently requires assistance from their brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world if they are to complete their task."