Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Graham Meets High-Level North Korean Official
- Va. Episcopal Church Dispute Headed Back to Court
- Pope Names NIH Director to Vatican Think Tank
- Pastor Abducted and Brutally Attacked in India
Graham Meets High-Level North Korean Official
Christian Today reports that Franklin Graham met with North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun on Wednesday, hoping to thaw relations between the government and aid agencies. Graham also offered a small sculpture as a gift to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il through the country's vice parliamentary speaker. Graham later visited a provincial hospital that his aid agency, Samaritan's Purse, and USAID had provided with a generator. According to Graham's spokespeople, this was the hospital's first source of electricity. "I'm going as a minister of Jesus Christ with a message of peace and that God loves each one of us regardless of our borders or politics," the evangelist said before departing on Tuesday.
Va. Episcopal Church Dispute Headed Back to Court
Washington Post reports that the Virginia Supreme Court will hear an appeal from the Episcopal Church in Virginia in its dispute with breakaway denominations. The Episcopal diocese lost its bid to keep property held by breakaway congregations in a Fairfax Circuit Court ruling last year. The nine congregations held millions of dollars in real estate assets. The rulings have often focused on the denomination's church constitution, which grants control of property to the church and not individual parishes. Similar cases in California and South Carolina have been decided in favor of the mother denomination. According to the Washington Post, The Episcopal Church in Virginia argued that the congregations never legally "divided," but rather a conservative faction (albeit the majority of members of those congregations) chose to leave. Judges, however, sided with breakaway members.
Pope Names NIH Director to Vatican Think Tank
Religion News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, to the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Collins, 59, is the geneticist who led the Human Genome Project, the international research project that mapped out the body's complete genetic code in 2003. Among his other accomplishments, he was part of the team that in 1989 identified the gene causing cystic fibrosis. An evangelical Christian, Collins is also prominent for his efforts to reconcile scientific knowledge with religious faith. His best-selling book, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" (2006), argued for the compatibility of Darwin's theory of natural selection with the existence of a creator God.
Pastor Abducted and Brutally Attacked in India
ASSIST News Service reports that a pastor has been abducted and brutally attacked, leaving him severely injured. According to All India Christian Council, five members belonging to a Hindu radical group (name not known) came on a vehicle and forcibly took Pastor Vijay Kumar away to a secluded place and there he was brutally manhandled. Vijay Kumar is a pastor in Ludhiana of Punjab state, India. Christians have seen a trickle of continued violence since a radical Hindu leader was murdered by Maoists in August 2008, when radical Hindus blamed Christians for the violence. Thousands have yet to return to their homes. Only 24 people have been connected in the attacks.