Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 17, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 17, 2009

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

  • Coral Ridge Successor to Face Congregational Vote
  • Survey: Number of Female Senior Pastors Doubles in 10 Years
  • Archbishop Sees Little Repentance for Financial Crisis
  • Fight Nights and Reggae Pack Brazilian Churches

Coral Ridge Successor to Face Congregational Vote

Christian Post reports that a vocal minority at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian megachurch have succeeded in putting their new pastor on trial. Dissenters gathered the required 100 signatures from the congregation of more than 2,500 to mandate a congregational meeting for this Sunday, when they hope to oust new senior pastor Tullian Tchividjian. "We have seen a complete lack of respect towards the congregation and for long standing traditions that have been part of Coral Ridge's rich heritage for decades," stated the letter signed by Kennedy's daughter, Jennifer Cassidy, and five others. However, in their forced announcement of the meeting, church elders "strongly" recommended that all members in good standing come to the meeting and support Tchividjian as senior pastor. "It goes way beyond what each individual may like or dislike. It requires the discernment of God's will to identify His anointed and is not to be done without much prayerful consideration," they wrote.

Survey: Number of Female Senior Pastors Doubles in 10 Years  

Religion News Service reports that one in 10 U.S. churches employs a woman as senior pastor, double the percentage from a decade ago, according to a new survey by the Barna Group. Most of the women -- 58 percent -- work in mainline Protestant churches, such as the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Episcopal Church; only 23 percent of male senior pastors are affiliated with mainline churches, the survey said. The UMC and its forerunner has ordained women for five decades; the ELCA and its predecessor has for almost 40 years, and the Episcopal Church has ordained women since 1976. Barna's survey found that female pastors tend to be more highly educated than their male counterparts, with 77 percent earning a seminary degree, compared to less than two-thirds of male pastors (63 percent).

Archbishop Sees Little Repentance for Financial Crisis

Christian Today reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury has publicly chastised bankers for their lack of "repentance" after the financial meltdown. "There hasn't been a feeling of closure about what happened last year. There hasn't been what I would, as a Christian, call repentance," Dr. Rowan Williams told BBC's Newsnight program on Tuesday. "We haven't heard people saying, ‘Well actually, no, we got it wrong. And the whole fundamental principle on which we worked was unreal, was empty.'" Williams agreed with the newscasters that the church should have been more vocal over "financial excesses." "I suppose like most people we felt intimidated by expertise and that's a very dangerous place for the Church to be," he admitted.

Fight Nights and Reggae Pack Brazilian Churches

The New York Times reports that Protestant evangelicalism is winning the hearts of young Brazilians with everything from fight nights to on-site tattoo parlors. "Here they enter the church, sometimes to see a fight competition, they receive the word of Jesus Christ, and they begin a transformation," said Pastor Mazola Maffei of Reborn in Christ Church in Sao Paulo. "They will get off drugs, start to respect their parents and start to cure the illnesses of the soul, like anxiety, depression, drugs and alcohol, prostitution," he said. His church recently held its own fight night  Fifty years ago, Brazil's population was almost exclusively Roman Catholic, but that figure fell to 74 percent by 2000, when 15 percent of the population described themselves as evangelicals. Pentecostal churches are especially appealing for the "flexibility of the religious expression," says Silvia Fernandes, a professor at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, who wrote a book about Brazil's evangelical movement.