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Religion Today Summaries - April 26, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 26, 2005

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

  • Purpose Driven Ministries and Prison Fellowship Partner

  • 40 Christians Detained In Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Called To Order Their Release

  • Belarus: Native Church Leaders Face Increasing Opposition

  • Church Burned, Christians Attacked in Manipur, India

Purpose Driven Ministries and Prison Fellowship Partner
Agape Press

Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Ministries and Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship have formed a new partnership to reach out to prison inmates and their families. The alliance will be key in an innovative global mission to marginalized people unveiled by Warren on April 17 before an audience of more than 30,000 at Anaheim, California's Angel Stadium. According to the well-known author and pastor, this partnership will open the door for putting Purpose Driven Ministries' "Celebrate Recovery" addiction program in more than 2,000 prisons around the world and help involve more than 20,000 Purpose Driven churches in outreach to prisoners' children through Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program. At the 25th anniversary celebration of Saddleback Church and the Purpose Driven movement last Sunday, the founding pastor spoke of his desire to mobilize his constituency "to care for prisoners as Jesus demanded." He then introduced Prison Fellowship founder Colson, saying no one knows more about working with prisoners. Colson commented that he believes the two ministries are a natural fit and the new partnership would help expand the reach of both. The vision for using "The Purpose Driven Life", Colson said, is to reach out to the marginalized and broken in the prisons and raise them up to become leaders.

40 Christians Detained In Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Called To Order Their Release
Assist News Service

An international advocacy organization working on behalf of persecuted Christians worldwide, is calling on Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to order the immediate release of a group of 40 Christians currently detained in the Muslim kingdom. According to Saudi newspapers, a group of Pakistani men, women, and children were holding a prayer meeting at a home in Riyadh on Friday when police broke in and raided the house. Authorities found Christian tapes and books, and detained 40 people. "The 40 Christians detained in Saudi Arabia are innocent victims of a government that presently has no tolerance for any religion other than Islam," said Kristin Wright, Executive Director of Stand Today (www.standtoday.org). "We ask that the Crown Prince intervene for their immediate release." Kristin Wright serves as Executive Director of Stand Today, a global advocacy organization working on behalf of persecuted Christians worldwide. Ms. Wright lobbies for better treatment for persecuted Christian minorities, and works through various media outlets to expose the plight of the persecuted church. Stand Today is an international advocacy organization, dedicated to raising awareness and promoting action on behalf of persecuted Christians.

Belarus: Native Church Leaders Face Increasing Opposition
Christian Aid Mission

Reports from native missionaries in Belarus confirm what much-publicized recent events indicate: believers continue to suffer under the most repressive religion law in Europe. Under this law, passed in 2002, all religious groups are required to register with the government. Registration is so difficult and exclusive that few groups are actually granted official status, without which they are not allowed to construct buildings. Even after registration, religious groups are forbidden to function outside the town or city within which they are registered. According to Christian Aid's contacts, the situation is "very difficult" for believers in Belarus. They are not allowed to preach publicly; many churches must meet in secret. A mounting worry is about political stability. Several international news agencies report a growing frustration among the people of Belarus that, they warn, could lead to revolution. President Lukashenko has ruled the country with an iron fist for over 10 years, censoring the media and ruthlessly squashing opposition political parties, and a controversial October referendum has ensured he will continue for another term. Though Native missionaries suffer underneath repressive laws, they continue to spread the light of Christ and draw their countrymen to Him, experiencing substantial church growth.

Church Burned, Christians Attacked in Manipur, India
Vishal Arora, Compass Direct

Christian leaders held an emergency meeting in Manipur, India, on April 22 to plan their response to an attack on a church in Thoubal district. The Rev. S. Prim Vaiphei said a mob of 200 Hindus overpowered a police patrol and set fire to the Believer's Church on April 19. Damage to the building, still under construction after previous attacks, was estimated at around 445,000 rupees ($10,350). Following a similar attack in November 2004, authorities ordered police protection for the church during the construction phase. Villagers have now asked church members to abandon the premises or "face the consequences."