Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Episcopal Legal Bills Result in Deficit
- Pakistan: Girl's Account Re-Opens Custody Fight
- India: Bomb Blast Kills 17 in Unstable State
- 'Fireproof' Passes $20 Million Mark
Episcopal Legal Bills Result in Deficit
Religion News Service reports that the Episcopal Church has spent nearly $2 million on legal expenses this year, more than four times its budgeted amount, and will run a deficit of $2.5 million in 2009, according to the church's news service. The denomination's Executive Council, meeting in Helena, Mont., this week (Oct. 20-24), budgeted $450,000 for legal expenses in 2008 but spent $1.97 million, according to Episcopal News Service. The well-heeled denomination is engaged in a number of costly legal battles with conservatives who've left the Episcopal Church but seek to retain parish property. Also, the stock market decline has decreased the value of the Episcopal Church's endowment funds by 30 percent, said church treasurer Kurt Barnes.
Pakistan: Girl's Account Re-Opens Custody Fight
Compass Direct News reports that lawyers for two underage Christian sisters who were kidnapped plan to renew a custody fight for the older girl, a 13-year-old allegedly coerced into marrying her captor, based on new statements from her 10-year-old sister that they were raped and forced to convert to Islam. The plans come after the court last month allowed 13-year-old Saba Masih to decide whether to return to her parents or remain with her husband. Amjad Ali married Saba Masih shortly after the girls were kidnapped on June 26. In the Sept. 9 ruling the court ordered the return of her 10-year-old sister, Aneela Masih, to her parents. According to Aneela, the pistol-toting captors threatened the girls with death and told them their parents would also be killed if the sisters did not do everything asked of them.
India: Bomb Blast Kills 17 in Unstable State
ASSIST News Service reports that a terror strike in the state capital of the north eastern India state of Manipur on Tuesday left 17 dead and 30 injured, creating panic and added havoc in the trouble-torn state. State President of All India Christian Council (AICC), Manipur, Rev. N. Nipamcha, condemned the terror strike. “Terror has no place among the civil society, terror will bring no solution to the decades-old problems of the state,” Rev. Nipamcha said. Meanwhile, Dr. John Dayal, General Secretary of the AICC, says that after losing their homes -- more than 4,300 log huts, mud and brick houses have been burned down -- the 50,000 Christians of Kandhamal in Orissa are hiding in forests for two months or living as refugees in government and NGO camps across the state. They risk losing their precious crops of the world famous aromatic turmeric and ginger to marauding neighbors urhed to violence by Hindutva hordes.
'Fireproof' Passes $20 Million Mark
The Christian Post reports that the Christian marriage film "Fireproof" has hit $20 million in its four weeks in theatres, grossing 40 times as much as the movie cost to make. “We are thrilled with Fireproof’s astonishing reception and grateful that audiences all over America are raving about this entertaining and inspirational film," said Meyer Gottlieb, president of “Fireproof” distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films, in a released statement. Director Alex Kendrick said positive feedback has continually keeps coming to Sherwood Pictures, the movie-making ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church, which launched Sherwood Pictures after a 2002 Barna Group survey revealed how movies have become one of the leading influencers in American society while churches have lost much of their influence. “We know we have a lot of growing to do as filmmakers, but we will always look for the ‘God’ idea that inspires and motivates people,” Kendrick stated.