Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Chaplain Convicted of Disobeying Order
- Iraqi Captors Release Chaldean Priest
- Pastors Gathering in Chicago to Focus on "Next Generation" of Church Leaders
- Religious Leaders Unite against Terrorism & Prejudice, Promote Inter-Religious Tolerance
Chaplain Convicted of Disobeying Order
A military jury found a Navy chaplain guilty Wednesday of disobeying an order by appearing in uniform at a White House protest, The Christian Post reports. A jury of five officers deliberated for an hour and 20 minutes before deciding Lt. Gordon J. Klingenschmitt disobeyed a superior officer's order that he could be in uniform if conducting a "bona fide worship service." The penalty phase began immediately after the verdict. Klingenschmitt could be docked two-thirds pay per month for a year and reprimanded. Klingenschmitt said he will appeal and fight to remain chaplain. Last December, the Evangelical Episcopal priest went on an 18-day hunger strike in front of the White House over the right to invoke Jesus' name outside such services.
Iraqi Captors Release Chaldean Priest
A Chaldean Catholic priest taken hostage nearly a month ago was set free by his captors in Baghdad on Monday night (September 11). Father Saad Sirop confirmed his “miracle” release to Compass Direct News, speaking by telephone from Baghdad today. After his kidnappers abandoned him on a dark Baghdad street about 8 p.m. on Monday, Fr. Sirop said, he telephoned his brother to come and pick him up. The 34-year-old priest said that he did not know where he had been hidden during his 28 days of captivity since he was kept blindfolded. “I am still scared a little bit from the whole thing,” he said. “But I think that in the end, God did what He wanted.”
Pastors Gathering in Chicago to Focus on "Next Generation" of Church Leaders
Many Christian denominations report a diminished supply of clergy to serve congregations as large numbers of “Baby Boomer” pastors prepare to retire. A Religion News Service release states that while concerns about the need for gifted young clergy have been growing for some time, the need for qualified young ministerial candidates is underscored in a recent study by the Lewis Center for Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. It shows a significant, 20-year decline across mainline denominations, both Protestant and Catholic, in numbers of clergy under age 35. Other reports indicate declining interest among seminary students in answering the call to ministry. The Fund for Theological Education, an ecumenical organization, is working to boost the number of capable young candidates for ministry by offering congregations tools for nurturing vocation and encouraging new leaders for the ministry. Representatives will gather Sept. 28-30 in Evanston, Ill., for in-depth exploration of the habits, practices and language of Christian vocation that help congregations raise up the next generation of leaders for the church.
Religious Leaders Unite against Terrorism & Prejudice, Promote Inter-Religious Tolerance
Leaders of major world and traditional religions meeting in Kazakhstan signed a solemn declaration “together to tackle and ultimately eliminate prejudice, ignorance and misrepresentation of other religions” as a contribution in the global fight against terrorism, a Religion News Service release reports. Meeting in the capital of Kazakhstan, the Second Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions agreed on the text of a joint declaration on religion, society and international security. The declaration, signed by leaders of 41 delegations representing Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Shinto, Taoism and Hinduism calls for “placing a particular focus on what religions hold in common rather than what divides them.” These common views include the condemnation of terrorism.