Religion Today Summaries - November 19, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 19, 2004

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

  • Canadian Anglicans Remain Divided

  • Imprisoned Vietnamese Christian Hospitalized for 'Mental Disease' 

  • Iraq: Update on Christian Pastor Shot by Terrorists

  • Turkish Council Approves Church Zoning Status 

Canadian Anglicans Remain Divided

ChristianWeek reports that Canadian Anglicans remain divided, despite attempts by the Archbishop of Canterbury to address schism over homosexuality through a special Lambeth Commission. The 17-member commission's recent Windsor Report urged two high-profile clergy to express regret for their part in events that have caused "deep offence to many faithful Anglican Christians." One of these clergy is Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster, BC, who has approved marriage-like same-sex blessing ceremonies in his diocese. Along with V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the Episcopal Church USA's openly homosexual bishop, Ingham was called upon to express regret and to impose a moratorium on any similarly controversial actions until the global communion can reach consensus. Ingham remains unapologetic, however, and recently told the Anglican Journal that his diocese regrets "the consequences of our actions but not the actions themselves." Ingham says the diocese's intention was not to cause dismay, but to "affirm the relationships of gay and lesbian people." The Canadian bishop still refuses to forbid same-sex blessings in the diocese, at least not until the issue can be discussed at the annual synod meeting in May. Canadian Anglicans' reactions to the Windsor Report have been mixed.

Imprisoned Vietnamese Christian Hospitalized for 'Mental Disease'

Compass Direct

Le Thi Hong Lien, the sole woman among six Mennonite church workers sentenced to prison in Vietnam last Friday, is hospitalized with a "mental disease," according to prison officials. She was arrested on June 30 and sentenced to 12 months in prison on November 12. At the trial, co-defendant Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang was so alarmed at Lien's appearance that he asked the court to take her immediately for a medical examination. The judge refused but did agree to allow her to remain seated for the proceedings. Lien's parents attempted to visit her in prison twice this week, but prison officials prevented access. Her parents subsequently filed a report stating, "During her time in prison, our daughter was seriously abused and beaten." Just 21 years old, Miss Lien had been a zealous church worker, specializing in teaching the Bible to small children.

Iraq: Update on Christian Pastor Shot by Terrorists

An Iraqi Christian leader who was shot three weeks ago by Muslim extremists is in stable condition but has been paralyzed from the chest down, according to reports received by Christian Aid. The pastor was attacked on October 22nd in a town in northern Iraq. The attack came on a day that was supposed to be a special celebration of thanksgiving for a new church building he and his congregation had recently acquired. They had been forced to leave their old building by a landlord who had received threats from Islamic extremists if he continued to allow Christian meetings on his property. On the way to the new building for the celebration, a car approached the pastor as he traveled with his mother. Someone leaned out of the window and shot him at close range with a pistol. After initial emergency treatment, the pastor was loaded into the back of a van and taken to a hospital in Beirut. As of the latest reports received by Christian Aid, future diagnoses are uncertain. Please join in praying for the healing of this brave pastor. Also remember his congregation in your prayers; since the attack, they have not met together.

Turkish Council Approves Church Zoning Status
Barbara G. Baker, Compass Direct

A committee acting under the Turkish Ministry of Culture has approved legal zoning of the Diyarbakir Evangelical Church , granting formal approval for the first new Protestant church to be built in southeastern Turkey since the founding of the Turkish republic. In an official document issued October 10 by Mehriban Karaaslan, director of the Diyarbakir Committee for the Preservation of Culture and Historical Sites, Pastor Ahmet Guvener was informed that the location of his church building in the city's Lalebey district had been ruled "suitable." "Without question this is a direct answer to the prayers of Christians from all over the world," Guvener told Compass today. However, one Diyarbakir church leader noted, "There's still no legal mechanism in Turkey for establishing a new church. We are thankful to have permission finally, by the good graces of the Turkish government and on the wings of the drive to enter the European Union, but this hasn't really solved the issue."