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Bible Marathon, French Election, Orthodox Easter & Giving

Bible Marathon, French Election, Orthodox Easter & Giving

In Today's Edition:
  • Bible Reading Marathon Precedes National Day of Prayer
  • French Church Leaders Urge Voters to Participate in May 5 Election
  • 300 Million Orthodox Christians will Celebrate Easter May 5
  • $30 Billion Contributed to Protestant Churches in 2000
  • Other Headlines at a Glance

Bible Reading Marathon Precedes National Day of Prayer ... With the National Day of Prayer taking place tomorrow in the United States, hundreds of people have been preparing by reading through the Bible just before the event in Washington, D.C. Mission Network News reports that Bible Pathway Ministries and the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship are sponsoring a Bible Reading Marathon.

The coordinator of the event is Pastor Michael Hall. "We believe that we're giving witness to Isaiah 55:11, that God's Word will not return void. For 80 hours, we come together around the word of God and we just let the Word take preeminence. So, we see it moving and changing people even as they walk by the event." Hall told MNN that the Center for Christian Statesmanship is a big part of the effort. "They're the ones that are responsible for bringing the legislators down here. Each year they have brought down anywhere from 10 to12 or 13 legislators each year and staffers who come down and read. And, those same lawmakers come down and they encourage us."

French Church Leaders Urge Voters to Participate in May 5 Election ... Lutheran and Reformed churches from the Alsace and Lorraine region in France are urging voters to participate in the May 5 final round of the presidential election in the country, according to Lutheran World Information (LWI). In a joint press statement following the result of the first round, in which far-right leader Jean Marie Le Pen beat political rival Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin by less than 195,000 votes, the churches called on "all those who would be tempted to stay away" to instead "assume their responsibility in order to affirm without failure the values of the republic: "liberty, equality and fraternity."

President Jacques Chirac, who garnered 19.88 percent of the total vote against Le Pen's 16.88 and Jospin's 16.18 percent, will meet Le Pen in the May run-off. LWI reports that after the result of the first round of the French vote was announced April 22, there was generally an outpouring of surprise locally and from abroad that the vote favored Le Pen, who has been accused by his rivals as being a racist and anti-Semitic. French voters have expressed themselves, "and we should not judge them. We must listen to their concerns-and more so-their protest," said Rev. Dr. Marc Lienhard, president of the Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine (ECAAL) and Rev. Jean-Paul Humbert, President of the Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine (ERAL) in a joint statement.

300 Million Orthodox Christians will Celebrate Easter May 5 ... Orthodox World News reports that the Orthodox date for Easter is based on a decree of the First Ecumenical Council of the undivided Church at Nicaea, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D. under Emperor Constantine the Great. According to this decree, the determination of the date of Easter is governed by a computation based on the vernal equinox and the phase of the moon. Therefore, Easter Sunday should fall on the Sunday that follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox, according to the Julian Calendar, which was in use at that time. If the full moon happens to fall on a Sunday, Easter is observed the following Sunday. This year, that day is May 5.

Archbishop Demetrios, spiritual leader of over 1.5 million Greek Orthodox in America, will officiate at the Good Friday service, May 3, at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City. The Resurrection Service will be May 4, beginning at 11 p.m.

$30 Billion Contributed to Protestant Churches in 2000 ... American church members contributed nearly $30 billion to 65 Protestant denominations in 2000, according to a new report by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States. The 2002 edition of the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches examines membership and financial data from Christian denominations in both countries. Most of the churches provided data for fiscal 2000.

The $30 billion collected that year represents a $2.5 billion increase, a gain of 9 percent from 1999 when a similar group of 62 denominations reported gifts. The latest report says that the difference in the number of churches reporting financial data accounts for some of the increase, but it gives most credit for the rise to the strength of the U.S. economy in 2000. Each American church member gave an average of $599 in 2000, up from $549 in 1999. Of the 2000 total, each person gave an average of $110, up from $85, to help the needy, whether in the region where the church is located, around the country, or abroad.


Other Headlines at a Glance: