Religion Today Summaries - October 5, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 5, 2005

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

  • The Charisma Challenge

  • Fact-Finding Tour Reveals Many Churches Forced To Close In Indonesia

  • Controversy Christian Media Co. Works to Bridge Faith Community and Tinseltown

  • Christian Solidarity With Israel Surges

The Charisma Challenge
Stephen Strang, Charisma

The challenge is for you to find a church or a family to help and to respond generously. Let the church be the church! Do to those congregations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas what you would have them do to you. Within days of Hurricane Katrina, Christian Life Missions-the non-profit partner of Charisma-rushed clothing, prescription drug vouchers, gas vouchers, and thousands of hot meals to displaced families through our partnership with Christian-operated shelters in the Southeastern U.S. and California. One shelter, Laguna Beach Christian Retreat, in Pensacola, Florida currently houses 425 people who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. Donations to Christian Life Missions have helped do this and so much more. 100% of every donation to Christian Life Missions goes straight to the survivors who need it, and no administrative fees are held, as Strang Communications has agreed to pay all overhead costs for this project. Giving hope to a family who has weathered a storm is easy. Your financial gift will go to help families rebuild their lives and churches rebuild their ministries. You'll be immediately providing housing, food, clothing, and more. You can rush aid to churches and families that survived a hurricane. Please take the challenge and go to to give today.

Fact-Finding Tour Reveals Many Churches Forced To Close In Indonesia
Michael Ireland, Assist News Service

A Christian Freedom International fact-find mission to Indonesia reveals alarming and growing evidence of religious persecution against minority Christians. According to Christian Freedom International president Jim Jacobson, "religious persecution targeting minority Christians in Indonesia, particularly in West Java, is both systemic and systematic." Jacobson conducted a fact-finding mission to Indonesia, the world's largest Islamic nation, in September 2005, visiting numerous forcibly closed churches in West Java. Christian Freedom International urges the Indonesia government to allow religious freedom, intervene and stop the forced shutdown of churches, and to denounce the radical Islamic group known as AGAP. AGAP is an abbreviation for Aliansi Gerakan Ant Pemurtadan, which translated into English means Anti-Apostasy Alliance Movement. According to Jacobson, "AGAP has a mission to close churches and basically eradicate Christianity in Indonesia. They use fear, intimidation, threats, and obscure government regulations, in cooperation with local officials, to accomplish their goal." At least 35 churches in Bandung and neighboring regions have had been closed by Islamic mobs during the past 12 months alone. A free copy of the Christian Freedom International fact-finding report entitled "Churches Forced to Close in Indonesia" can be viewed or downloaded online by visiting The report contains testimonials, lists of closed-down churches, facts and information regarding how AGAP is methodically attacking Christianity.

Controversy Christian Media Co. Works to Bridge Faith Community and Tinseltown
Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker, AgapePress

A California company is trying to help the entertainment industry connect with people of faith. Grace Hill Media was founded five years ago by Jonathan Bock, a believer who worked for years in Hollywood and saw a need for a Christian public relations firm. Tara Shaffer, a publicist with Grace Hill Media, says Hollywood executives have come to realize there is a big market for family-friendly films. "Our mission is really to make Christians aware of entertainment that shares in their beliefs or explores the same values they believe in," Shaffer says. At the same time, Grace Hill Media is trying to help promote films that are family-friendly or that put meaningful, positive values onscreen. "We align ourselves with movies that we feel might have a religious hook, are family-friendly, or have a moral focus. And really, we are a kind of bridge between Hollywood and Christians," Shaffer explains. Past and recent Hollywood projects in which Grace Hill was involved include "A Walk to Remember", "Because of Winn-Dixi", and "Kingdom of Heaven". The Christian media company is currently publicizing the Disney movie, "The Greatest Game Ever Played", and the eagerly anticipated film adaptation of C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia."

Christian Solidarity With Israel Surges
Assist News Service

The city of Jerusalem was the target of a massive international prayer initiative Sunday when tens of millions of believers in more than 100,000 churches around the world raised their voices before God on behalf of Israel for the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ). Across 84 nations, millions of Christians banded together on their knees in simultaneous prayer for Israel - many of them nameless and faceless believers praying inside Muslim nations like Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey. Reports of prayer gatherings in additional nations continued Monday. The leaders of Christian houses of worship in the land of Israel prayed Sunday with renewed fervor and resolve for Israel and for the beleaguered Jewish people. DPPJ leaders in the U.S. also coordinated an interactive global teleconference where citizens around the world who couldn't attend official prayer assemblies used phones to enter "virtual prayer rooms" in praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Five hundred and seventy-six callers from 42 U.S. states and 12 nations called in throughout the day to pray, sing and even sound shofars - a ram's horn blown in biblical times to rally troops or announce sacrifices. Several Christians prayed in their native tongues, interceding in German, Spanish, Hebrew, Thai -even Swahili - for the peace of God to come to Jerusalem.