Religion Today Summaries, April 27, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, April 27, 2004

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

  • FMA Languishing in Committee; Calls Go Out for Christians to Act
  • Reconciliation from Long-Ago Rift 'Releases' Church's Ministry
  • Break-in in Kosovo: Church Looted and Icons Stolen
  • Churches Address Privacy Rights in Sharing Prayer Requests

FMA Languishing in Committee; Calls Go Out for Christians to Act
Allie Martin, Jody Brown, Fred Jackson, Agape Press

Christian activists are being asked to contact their congressional representatives in an effort to keep alive a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. The American Family Association (AFA) is one of many pro-family groups in America that has labored long and hard for a Constitutional amendment that would recognize and protect this traditional, biblical interpretation of marriage.  Efforts over the past several years by radical homosexual activists, who desire for same-sex "marriage" to be legalized, have spurred on groups like AFA, Family Research Council, Campaign for Working Families, and Focus on the Family to call for Congress to protect marriage from that homosexual onslaught. Legislation to that end has been introduced in both houses of Congress.  But according to Dr. Donald Wildmon, founder and chairman of AFA, the legislation faces the prospect of dying in committee because many members of Congress do not want to tackle the issue. "I've never seen supposedly courageous politicians be as fearful of anything as they are this," Wildmon observes.  "They are afraid of the media, and they are afraid of the homosexual groups." Wildmon says lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to hear from those who support the biblical idea of marriage.  He says Capitol Hill has been flooded with calls from homosexual activists.  He believes it is essentially now or never for Christians to speak up -- starting with church leaders. Gary Bauer of Campaign for Working Families echoes Wildmon's call for people to contact their member of Congress.  "Don't assume anything ... even if your representative is generally conservative," he says.  "Pro-family members are encouraged by these calls."

Reconciliation from Long-Ago Rift 'Releases' Church's Ministry
Charisma News Service

The reconciliation of a Pentecostal church in north Texas that mended a 56-year split into two separate congregations has reportedly empowered members to influence the community. According to the Assemblies of God (AG) News, Family Worship Center was Full Gospel Assembly of God when it opened in 1935 in McKinney, now part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. But 12 years later, half its members left because of leadership differences. The group that departed formed Southside Assembly of God, later DaySpring Christian Fellowship. In 2003, both congregations voted unanimously to reunite and combine staffs. Last fall, the churches merged and Dalton Froman, DaySpring's minister, became associate pastor. Media attention and word-of-mouth about the reconciliation attracted curious visitors. The church registered a record-high attendance during a January service, when 11 people received Jesus. The two congregations discovered that their gifts were complementary. DaySpring had a youth band but no building. Family Worship, which had a building, had a youth ministry but no band. "When reconciliation and healing flows, it creates a momentum that's greater than we are personally," Family Worship's pastor Charlie Tuttle said. "It was the force of completion moving the church into a place where it had never been before." Froman added: "When we release forgiveness, it releases us to work in the city."

Break-in in Kosovo: Church Looted and Icons Stolen
International Christian Concern

On Saturday, April 24, the Serbian Orthodox church of St. Catherine in Bresje near Kosovo Polje, located across from the burned ruins of the Serb hospital was broken into and looted. Kosovo Polje parish priest Dragisa Jerenic informed the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija that on Saturday the door of the church of St. Catherine was broken down and the thieves took 10 icons, some money and various church vessels. The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija concludes with regret that following the pogrom of March 17 and a series of sharp warnings by the international community to Kosovo Albanians to stop attacking Orthodox churches in the Province, attacks on Christian holy shrines continue and the remaining Orthodox churches are not adequately protected.

Churches Address Privacy Rights in Sharing Prayer Requests
Agape Press

Privacy rights are a growing concern for churches, especially when trying to balance them with prayer requests.  A Texas church has come up with an unusual solution.  Now parishioners at the First United Methodist Church in Rockwall must fill out a prayer request form that was designed by an attorney.  If the request is for anyone other than themselves, the person mentioned must give written approval.  The new forms were brought about after privacy complaints prompted the suspension of printing prayer requests in the church's newsletter.  Many churches says they have scaled back or stopped sharing prayer requests altogether after implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act last year.