Religion Today Summaries - June 13, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 13, 2006

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

  • Compassion International's Indonesian Projects Affected By Earthquake
  • Religious Leaders Address Christian Boom in China
  • Kazakhstan Imposes Large Fine on Unregistered Baptist Pastor
  • Mission Group Identifies Six Key Regions for High Impact Mobilization

Compassion International's Indonesian Projects Affected By Earthquake

Several children who received physical and spiritual support through Compassion International, a Colorado-based international child development ministry, were killed during the recent earthquake in Indonesia, AgapePress reports. The names of the victims were withheld while Compassion officials contacted their sponsors. David Dahlin is with the child development organization. He says whenever children are affected by natural disasters, this has a big impact on sponsors. Whenever children of sponsors die," he notes, "it can be a somewhat traumatic thing." Compassion's one-to-one child sponsorship program is a very real relationship, Dahlin explains. "Our sponsors get to know their children personally," he says. "They pray for them, and they write back and forth and care about their lives. So at a time like this, the loss is real -- not just over in Indonesia, but it also becomes real in the lives of people who sponsor those children and care about those children."

Religious Leaders Address Christian Boom in China

In celebration of the debut of the China Bible Exhibit in New York, Christians and church leaders joined for a day-long symposium with Chinese religious officials to find out more about the Christian church in China. Although still a minority, The Christian Post reports the Christian population in China has surged to more than 16 million, according to Wang Zuoan, vice minister of the State Administration of Religious Affairs of the People's Republic of China. Chinese officials had not easily accepted Christianity, carrying with them the perspective of "one more Christian, one less Chinese," Wang pointed out. The millions of Christians in China today, however, is a "rare phenomenon," according to the state official. Yet the 16 million Wang spoke of did not take into account the millions more that are not a part of the official church of China. The "quiet" Christian population, as Dr. Charles C. West of the New York Committee for the Bible exhibit described them, is so broad that the actual numbers remain unknown.

Kazakhstan Imposes Large Fine on Unregistered Baptist Pastor

A Baptist Pastor in Kazakhstan has been fined more than three times the approximate average monthly salary for leading unregistered religious activity. Pastor Yaroslav Senyushkevich’s fine was imposed on May 18, Forum 18 News Service reported. Senyushkevich, who leads a Baptist congregation in the capital Astana, was tried by the capital's inter district administrative court, where Judge Lezat Alimzhanova punished him with a fine of 856 U.S. dollars. Following this fine, the Council of Baptist Churches voiced their objections to official demands that they register their congregations with the government. Forum 18 reported that the Baptists claim the registration applications in some regions of Kazakhstan require extensive information, including “the most acute problems worrying parishioners,” such as details of members' political affiliation. "Such registration is a web it's almost impossible to break free of," the Council said. Forum 18 also learned of a number of additional cases concerning Baptists. On May 19 at the specialized administrative court of Temirtau, Judge E. Kirillova fined Dmitri Yantsen 17 U.S. dollars for violating Article 375 part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses.

Mission Group Identifies Six Key Regions for High Impact Mobilization

Accelerating International Mission Strategies (AIMS), a cross-cultural ministry that has reached more than 75,000 church and business leaders, has identified six key regions for its international mobilization efforts – China, the Horn of Africa, India, the Malay World, Tanzania and the United States. AIMS is refocusing on these newly designated epicenters to create a bigger impact across the unreached. AIMS will target its training in the six regions for the next five years to equip local leaders in strategically advancing the gospel throughout their respective regions. "We believe that these epicenters will be focal points through which the earth will be shaken and the unreached will be reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ," said Daniel Crosby, president of AIMS, according to the Lausanne World Pulse.