Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 18, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 18, 2009

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

  • Pope Offers Gospel as Answer to Africa's Problems
  • Graham to Bring 'Hope' to Secular Uruguay
  • Needs Only Increasing in Haiti, Says Ministry
  • Joyce Meyer Ministries Moves toward Accountability


Pope Offers Gospel as Answer to Africa's Problems

Catholic News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Cameroon yesterday with a message of hope and unity. Benedict said he came as a pastor, not a politician, but nonetheless stood ready to combat injustice. "In the face of suffering or violence, poverty or hunger, corruption or abuse of power, a Christian can never remain silent," the pope said. "At a time of global crisis in food shortages, financial turmoil and disturbing patterns of climate change, Africa suffers disproportionately: More and more of her people are falling prey to hunger, poverty and disease. They cry out for reconciliation, justice and peace, and that is what the church offers them." The trip is the pope's first visit to Africa, and he visited the continent only once as a cardinal in 1987.

Graham to Bring 'Hope' to Secular Uruguay

The Christian Post reports that the strongly atheist nation of Uruguay will host the first Franklin Graham evangelistic festival of 2009. According to the CIA World Factbook, the country is 17.2 percent atheist or agnostic. Six hundred local churches joined to organize the Festival of Hope event in Montevideo, and has drawn international as local Christian music artists to participate. Local Christians hope the three-day event draws more than just Christians.“God is working in Uruguay,” said Alejandro Wojnarowicz, senior pastor of El Rebaño Church and prominent Christian leader in Uruguay, according to BGEA’s Decision magazine. “God is working through thousands of Christians immersed in the Holy Spirit" to see people from all levels of society "transformed."

Needs Only Increasing in Haiti, Says Ministry

Mission News Network reports that Haiti's people face an increasingly dire situation, as unemployment, food costs and shortages and abandoned children continues to rise. "Things have changed for the worse," said Tom Froese, field director for Kids Alive International. "There are a few things that change for the better temporarily, and they take a couple of steps backward. But basically things are pretty rough in the community." Kids Alive currently houses 21 children, but the need is astronomical. "We have seen fuel costs rise as high as $5 a gallon. Food costs have risen. Rice prices, for a bag of rice has tripled. That's put big expense on our ministry to try and meet those costs with the budget that we have... I believe the Christian church is the only hope for this country. It's so morally bankrupt that there is a need for strong Christian influence."

Joyce Meyer Ministries Moves toward Accountability

Religion News Service reports that the senator who has investigated six prominent ministries for questionable finances has praised one of them -- Joyce Meyer Ministries -- for joining the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. "This is a positive development," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. "It's good to see increased financial accountability, transparency, board governance, and ethical fund-raising taken seriously." The council announced the new membership of Meyer's Missouri-based ministry on Thursday (March 12). So far, Meyer's ministry is the only one of the six that has affiliated with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, a group Grassley compared to a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval."