Religion Today Summaries, March 17, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, March 17, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:

  • CeCe Winans, Steven Curtis Chapman to Host Dove Awards
  • Religious Conflict Invades Education in Nigeria
  • Volunteers for Billy Graham San Diego Mission Reach Record Numbers
  • Baptist World Alliance Cuts Budget, Citing Economy, Proposed Lost Funding

CeCe Winans, Steven Curtis Chapman to Host Dove Awards
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Christian artists CeCe Winans and Steven Curtis Chapman will host the upcoming 34th Annual Dove Awards on April 10, the Gospel Music Association announced. The ceremony will take place at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tenn., and will air on two TV networks in the following weeks. PAX TV will air the show from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT on April 19. The Trinity Broadcasting Network will air the show at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on April 25 and at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on April 26. The awards show also will be presented live through a pay-per-view Webcast produced by StarOne Networks and sponsored by LifeWay Christian Stores. That five-hour presentation, available at, will include "pre-awards" coverage and costs $7.95 to $19.95. "The GMA wanted this year's Dove Award to focus on the distinctiveness of Christian music and who better to help us than CeCe and Steven," said John Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, in a statement. "These two artists represent the best in Christian music, for both their commercial success and their artistic integrity, and will make terrific hosts for an evening of entertainment and inspiration." will provide coverage of the Dove Awards from backstage and complete coverage of events throughout GMA week.

Muslim Mob Invades Christian Village in Western Nigeria, Death Toll Exceeds 100
Obed Minchakpu

(Compass) More than 100 persons died when a Muslim mob attacked a Christian community in western Nigeria’s Adamawa state apparently in retaliation for the deaths of 16 Muslims three months ago.  The attack on the Christian community of Yugur in Dumne village in the Song local government area is the latest clash in the “age-long” dispute between Muslims and Christians in the region.  Emmanuel Ljewere, president of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, told Compass the death toll now stands at 110, with 500 injured; 50 are in critical condition. He added that 130 houses and some churches were razed, and 21,000 persons have been displaced. An unknown number of Christians are still missing.  Shortly after the attack began, Nigerian army and police personnel were sent to regain control over the area, but they were also attacked by the Muslim mob. Two soldiers and six policemen died.  Meanwhile, police officials in the state have reported the arrests of 13 Muslim extremists from the Republic of Chad. The extremists are being accused of assisting in the attack on Christians in Dumne.

Volunteers for Billy Graham San Diego Mission Reach Record Numbers
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Volunteers for the upcoming Billy Graham mission in San Diego have reached record numbers. More than 20,000 people have attended training classes across the San Diego area, marking only the fourth time numbers have reached that level in the history of Graham's crusade and mission ministry. Officials previously had estimated that about 10,000 would attend the "Christian Life and Witness" classes for the mission scheduled for May 8-11. "The sign-ups for the Christian Life classes is a barometer for the excitement of the community," said Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, Calif., in a statement. "This response tells us San Diego is eager to hear Billy Graham on May 8-11." Other cities that have gathered as large a crowd for the classes are Portland, Ore.; Anaheim, Calif. and Cleveland, mission officials said. The classes are a prerequisite for people interested in serving as counselors during the mission. In addition to the San Diego mission, Graham is scheduled to preach at a mission Jun 12-15 in Oklahoma City.

Baptist World Alliance Cuts Budget, Citing Economy, Proposed Lost Funding
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) The Baptist World Alliance has pared back its budget in light of a tough economy and anticipation of decreased funding from the Southern Baptist Convention. At their recent Executive Committee meeting, alliance leaders discussed how to deal with a $650,000 deficit and an investment income loss of $305,898, or 13 percent. "The BWA cannot continue to function in a deficit situation continually using the reserves," said the Rev. Denton Lotz, general secretary of the alliance, in a statement. "Drastic situations therefore require drastic measures." The financial difficulties increased when the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee unveiled plans in February to start a new global initiative that would redirect 30 percent of the funding it has traditionally given the alliance. The funding change, which will be considered at the denomination's annual meeting in June, would redirect $125,000 from the $425,000 the Southern Baptists have allocated to the alliance in recent years. That recommendation is prompted in part by the alliance's consideration of a request for membership from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate group that formed to counter the conservative direction of the Southern Baptist Convention.