Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 4, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 4, 2008

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

  • Eritrean Christian Killed in Military Camp
  • Illinois Diocese to Vote on Secession
  • Haiti Still Digging Out from Harsh Storm Season
  • Thousands Gather for Election Prayer Vigil

Eritrean Christian Killed in Military Camp

Christians suffering in Eritrean military camps face an often untold plight. According to, at least 2,000 Christians have been transferred to prison camps in the small country since authorities cracked down on unofficial denominations in 2002, many held in metal shipping containers and all without charges. One Christian succumbed to malaria in military detention facility after authorities reportedly refused preventative medicines. Teklesenbet Gebreab Kiflom, 36, was buried "in secret" in the Wi'a area. Open Doors in the Netherlands reports that 65 believers, including 14 women, were detained one by one last week, and presumably transferred to a new military camp known as Mitire. The government officially recognizes the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church, but even these churches report tensions.

Illinois Diocese to Vote on Secession

Religion News Service reports that the Episcopal bishop of Quincy, Ill., who was poised to lead his small diocese to secede from the Episcopal Church next week, abruptly announced his retirement, effective Nov. 1, due to ill health. Bishop Keith Ackerman has been one of the most conservative leaders in the increasingly liberal U.S. church. His diocese is one of three that does not ordain women clergy, and he spoke out forcefully against the 2003 election of the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire. Ackerman's diocese of 24 churches and about 1,800 members is scheduled to vote Nov. 7-8 on whether to formally leave the Episcopal Church and align itself with the more conservative Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Haiti Still Digging Out from Harsh Storm Season

Mission News Network reports that the already struggling country of Haiti is only beginning to recover from a series of four tropical storms and hurricanes this year. The storms left nearly a million people homeless, and many are still without permanent shelter or food and water supplies. Jonathon Wiles with Living Water International says, "They do have clean water but not nearly enough for the people who are there now. We're going into those areas to repair wells that were either broken down before the hurricane, or were broken down during the hurricane, and restoring the water supply so that people can have clean water." The country had already been hit by the global food crisis, and some of the poorest regions at resorted to eating "clay cakes" to stifle their hunger.

Thousands Gather for Election Prayer Vigil

The Christian Post reports that more than 30,000 Christians spent their Saturday fasting and praying in California, participating in a corporate prayer of repentance in TheCall California. “We come rending our hearts and garments,” said Lou Engle, founder of TheCall. “We come as one body – the body of Christ – one voice crying out for mercy, God.” The prayers offered by leaders throughout the day focused on politics, yes, but also on personal sins and struggles. About a fifth of the prayers offered were for the sanctity of marriage, which Proposition 8 in California supports. Along with measures in Florida and Arizona, the ballot measure would ban gay marriages in the state.