Religion Today Summaries - May 18, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 18, 2006

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

  • Children's Ministry Launched in Poland Spreads Around World
  • India Puts Hold on Release of Da Vinci Code Movie
  • Episcopal Lay Group Wants 'Gay' Bishop and Consecrating Clergy Put on Trial
  • Da Vinci Code Confirms Rather Than Changes People’s Religious Views

Children's Ministry Launched in Poland Spreads Around World

In 1989, one man saw exciting opportunities to reach a neglected ministry group in Poland — young children and their families, ASSIST News reports. Daniel Watts, founder and president of Every Generation Ministries (EGM), says, “Most of the churches in Poland didn’t have materials or resources for teaching the Bible to children — the training was negligible.” So in 1991, Watts moved his family to Poland and launched EGM after having served in children’s ministry at two large southern California churches. Watts then started researching the conditions of churches throughout Poland. He reached an unexpected conclusion: the best people to witness to Poles weren’t Americans. “Our hearts are good, our intentions are honorable, but it comes across as we know what we’re doing and we’re going to help you by telling you what to do.” So Watts changed his focus to equipping local leaders to meet the challenges he observed. After seven years directing this effort in Poland, Watts left to recreate the same ministry in Hungary and Belarus. In the last few years, EGM has expanded to Romania, Chile and Egypt, with plans to go into six more countries. Watts says EGM is about “help[ing] churches reach out and touch children with the love of Christ.”

India Puts Hold on Release of Da Vinci Code Movie

The Indian government Tuesday temporarily held up the release of the movie "The Da Vinci Code'' after receiving complaints from Catholic groups, even though the national censor has cleared the film, ASSIST News reports. Meanwhile, several newspapers report that Christian groups in many other Asian countries on Tuesday urged boycotts and protests of the movie. The film is to open Thursday in much of Asia, a day ahead of the United States. Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said he had received more than 200 complaints and has asked for a special screening of the movie. The release of the movie, scheduled for Friday, "may be delayed by a day or two,'' he said.

Episcopal Lay Group Wants 'Gay' Bishop and Consecrating Clergy Put on Trial

A group of traditionalist Episcopalians wants the 42 bishops who approved the ordination of an openly homosexual bishop to face church trials for, among other things, flagrantly violating their own ordination vows and scripture, AgapePress reports. Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion (LEAC) has launched a national petition drive requesting action from 37 Episcopal bishops who opposed the elevation of Vicki Gene Robinson to the position of Bishop of New Hampshire. The group has asked the traditional bishops to respond to its letters by May 22. About half of the 37 clergy members stood up at the 2003 convention and issued fervent pleas for the election of Robinson to be reversed because they knew the damage it would do to the worldwide Anglican Communion. LEAC is urging intervention by the orthodox bishops and, if necessary, punishment of those who may have violated their ordination and consecration vows.

Da Vinci Code Confirms Rather Than Changes People’s Religious Views

The Barna Group released the results of a new study this week. It indicates that the book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is not likely to change one's religious views, as much as it is likely to reinforce one's preexisting beliefs. The study produced other fascinating statistics on the impact of The Da Vinci Code: The book has been read (cover to cover) by 45 million people, that means one out of every five adults in the country. Catholics are more likely to read the book than Protestants. Twenty-four percent of those who read the book deemed it at least somewhat helpful to  "personal spiritual growth or understanding." Thirty percent of those polled said they were like to see The Da Vinci Code film in the theater. Among the 45 million who have read The Da Vinci Code, only five percent - which represents about two million adults -  said that they changed any of the beliefs or religious perspectives because of the book's content.