Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Methodists Suspend Lesbian Minister for 20 Days
- Rapture Preacher's Radio Segment Canceled
- Evangelicals Urge CofE to Retract Gay Bishops Guidelines
- Police Arrest Suspect in Pakistan Minister’s Murder
Methodists Suspend Lesbian Minister for 20 Days
Religion News Service reports that a United Methodist minister was suspended for 20 days by a church court in Wisconsin for performing a same-sex union in 2009. The act violated denominational rules. A 13-member jury of local United Methodist clergy voted 9-4 on Thursday to suspend the Rev. Amy DeLong, 44, of Osceola, Wis. The jury also ruled that DeLong should write a report on issues that break the "covenant" between UMC clergy or be suspended for one year. DeLong admitted during the three-day trial to performing a "holy union" ceremony for a lesbian couple in 2009, and would not pledge to stop the practice, which is banned by the church. "I can't imagine doing that," she testified on Wednesday.
Rapture Preacher's Radio Segment Canceled
Broadcaster Harold Camping, who urged followers to prepare for a May 21 Rapture, is losing his radio voice. The Doomsday preacher suffered a mild stroke on June 9 that affected his speech, and will stop airing his Open Forum show at the end of this month. The Christian Post reports that Family Radio will air pre-recorded segments of the Open Forum program from Camping's May 23 to June 9 broadcasts to fill up the schedule until the end of June then wrap up the show, according to the Oakland Tribune. "Mr. Camping has been moved to a Skilled Nursing Facility, where he is undergoing rehabilitation to regain his strength," Family Radio, where Camping serves as general manager and president, said in a special announcement posted Tuesday on its website. Camping still insists the May 21 Rapture happened, but only in a "spiritual" sense. He concluded the main event is still to come on Oct. 21.
Evangelicals Urge CofE to Retract Gay Bishops Guidelines
Some members in the Church of England believe last week's guidelines authorizing gay bishops have no legal backing. According to the evangelical group Reform, the guidelines "should never have been published" because the church's parliamentary body did not vote on them. Christian Today reports that General Synod member and Reform chairman, the Rev. Rod Thomas said, "This gives the impression that the Church of England has decided that it is acceptable for candidates for the episcopacy to be in civil partnerships... However, no such decision has been taken by the Church and as a matter of law it is within its rights to prevent such a thing happening.” The legal advice states that it is up to those involved in individual appointment processes to decide whether they want to take into account a candidate’s civil partnership.
Police Arrest Suspect in Pakistan Minister’s Murder
Police in Pakistan have arrested a man suspected in the killing of minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who was shot dead on March 2. ASSIST News Service reports that the suspect, Hafiz, Nazar Muhammad was arrested on June 19. He is believed to have worked with Bhatti, a Pakistani Christian, for 10 years. Police say Nazar had phoned a minorities’ lawmaker from Sargohda Tahir Nazeer Chaudhry and claimed he knew Bhatti’s assassins. He also pretended to be a Christian pastor while holding a personal grudge against the minister. However, so far cell phone records are the only thing linking Nazar to the killing. Bhatti was gunned down by three masked gunmen outside his home.