Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 25, 2008

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 25, 2008

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

  • India Peace Rally to Coincide with PM's U.S. Visit 
  • Closed Door Trial for Chinese Pastor Scheduled for Tomorrow 
  • Volunteers, Donations Scarce after Ike
  • UK Christians Roll out Red Carpet for Back to Church Sunday 

India Peace Rally to Coincide with PM's U.S. Visit 

Christian Post reports that an advocacy group for persecuted religious minorities will time their protest against the violence facing Christians in India with the Indian Prime Minister's visit to the White House today. Jubilee Campaign and International Christian Concern will share updates on the persecution against Christians and ask participants to pray for justice in the state. The violence broke out mid-August after a radical Hindu leader was killed by Maoist guerillas. Radical Hindus, however, have charged Christians with the crime. Conservative estimates say that at least 20 people have been killed in the rampages mostly conducted by Hindu militants, and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes in Orissa and Karnataka states. The Christian Post reports that the outbreak of anti-Christian violence in India is thought to be the worst in the country’s 60 years of independence.

Closed Door Trial for Chinese Pastor Scheduled for Tomorrow 

Christian News Wire reports that Pastor Zhang Zhongxin's appeal will be heard at a closed-door trial tomorrow in Shandong province, where his defense hopes to have his two-year reeducation-through-labor sentence overturned. So far Zhang's attorneys and relatives have not been allowed to meet with him, as authorities claim Zhang is endangering state security. Zhang will not be released until 2010 if the ruling is upheld. When Zhang was sentenced in July, Authorities accused him of cult participation for his role in organizing Sunday school training courses, preaching the Gospel in Tibet and other places for missionaries, and pioneering sermons. In  2005, he established the “Rainbow Missions Fellowship in Jining of Shandong” and “Timothy Bible training school”, training pastors in ministry work.

Volunteers, Donations Scarce after Ike

Mission News Network reports that the devastation facing the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Ike has not received nearly as much support as the area received after Hurricane Katrina struck, slowing the recovery process. Mark Lewis of Touch Global, a relief ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America, says they're trying to meet the immense physical needs. "There have been tens of thousands of houses that have been flooded. There's still about a million people that are without power now." Some may be without power for weeks. "There will be thousands of people heading back to Galveston Island in the next few days trying to work on their homes, and that's going to be a very long process of trying to get houses cleaned out. We just have not seen anywhere near the type of response for volunteers."

UK Christians Roll out Red Carpet for Back to Church Sunday

"Churches across the United Kingdom are pulling out all the stops to welcome lapsed Christians back to church this Sunday," the Christian Post reports, as the Back to Church Sunday initiative continues to spread since its inception in 2004. The Rt. Rev Tony Port, bishop of Sherwood, is visiting the coal mines to invite others to church. “The coal mines are an important part of our heritage and many of our communities were established around the local pit," he said. "Our message this year is that everyone is a VIP and important to God – we are trying to extend our invitations as widely as possible.” The Rev. Paul Moore, vicar of St. Wilfrid, helped his members literally roll out a red carpet to invite people inside. “It’s so easy for people who don’t normally come to imagine that they’ll be unwelcome intruders if they walk into a church service. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We will aim to make them feel really at home."