Religion Today Summaries - September 13, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 13, 2005

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

  • Distributing Hope To The Children Affected By Hurricane Katrina

  • Christian Camps Stepping Up to Help “Katrina” Victims

  • 84 Seminarians Train For Disaster Relief 

  • Arizona State Univ. Revises Policy, Recognizes Campus Christian Group

Distributing Hope To The Children Affected By Hurricane Katrina
Jeremy Reynalds, Assist News Service

Compassion International, in cooperation with International Bible Society (IBS), is distributing 180,000 copies of “The Survivors” to children affected by Hurricane Katrina. “The Survivors” is an interactive Scripture booklet specifically designed to help children deal with crisis and loss. Developed by IBS, “The Survivors” offers a message of eternal hope. It is being distributed in both English and Spanish to churches and other ministries working with those who survived the hurricane. Helping children work through what they have seen and experienced as a result of this crisis can play an important role in their healing process. “In cases of disaster, children suffer the most. They do not have a voice in the midst of the devastation and destruction. It is important to help children process their feelings, thoughts and fears through the filter of the Bible as they recover from this traumatic experience. This booklet is a great resource for the Church and other ministries who are working with children,” said Dr. Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International in a news release. For IBS, cooperating with Compassion will aid efforts to “get the Word of God into more hands quickly,” said Peter Bradley, president of International Bible Society in a news release. (www.compassion.com) (www.ibs.org)

Christian Camps Stepping Up to Help “Katrina” Victims
Jim Brown, Agape Press

Christian camps across the Gulf States are stepping up to offer much-needed shelter and help to thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Camps and conference centers in the heart of the disaster zone -- as well as organizations as far north as Minnesota -- are extending offers of housing, food, and other aid to evacuees, relief workers, law enforcement personnel, and utilities workers. In many cases, even camps dealing with their own property damage are reaching out to help those with more urgent needs, with the support of local churches and community members. Bob Kobielush, president of Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), says this generous assistance is for many camps "a natural extension of their hospitality and outreach to families all year round." He points out that many facilities are "making significant financial sacrifices, canceling paying guest groups indefinitely to house and feed Katrina's victims." CCCA is connecting those member camps, conference centers and retreat centers that are opening up their properties to evacuees with member organizations in other parts of the nation that wish to contribute funds and supplies. Information about the Christian camps' relief efforts is being regularly updated on the organization's website (ccca-us.org).

84 Seminarians Train For Disaster Relief
Baptist Press

Eighty-four students, faculty and staff members from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary attended a disaster relief training session at the seminary's Recreation Aerobics Center (RAC) Sept. 10. The training was scheduled so students and staff members could serve with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention disaster relief feeding units in Baton Rouge and New Orleans in accordance with government requirements that all volunteers working in restricted areas affected by Hurricane Katrina be certified. The SBTC's Gibbie McMillan, who led the training, told the seminarians, "This is not about you. This is about meeting people's physical needs. They have lost everything." Students from Southwestern Seminary have been granted permission to miss one week of classes in order to work in the Gulf Coast region, Southwestern Seminary Executive Vice President and Provost Craig Blaising said.

Arizona State Univ. Revises Policy, Recognizes Campus Christian Group
Jim Brown, Agape Press

Arizona State University says it will no longer deny official recognition to a Christian student group because of its requirement that its members and leaders be Christians. Attorneys for Arizona State have agreed to reinstate the school's Christian Legal Society chapter and recognize that religious student groups can select leaders and members who are Christians. The move comes after CLS filed a lawsuit challenging a portion of ASU's sexual orientation non-discrimination policy which would require the group to admit non-Christians and homosexuals as members and leaders. CLS chief litigation counsel Steve Aden says the settlement agreement is a big victory for the Christian group. In essence, he says, ASU recognized that its policy was unconstitutional. "They have agreed to amend their policies for registering student organizations to include an express statement that religious organizations may select members and leaders on the basis of religious faith," the attorney explains. Aden hopes the university's about-face will prompt other schools to rescind their prohibitions against CLS. "We frankly hope that other public universities and colleges are sitting up and taking notice that when they violate First Amendment rights of expression, association, and free exercise of religious student groups, they're going to be challenged," Aden says.

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