Religion Today Summaries, April 9, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, April 9, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:

  • Episcopalians to Vote on Same-Sex Unions
  • Multnomah Publishers, Known for `Prayer of Jabez,' Cuts Staff
  • Mother of Slain Soldier Wants God to be Glorified
  • God Uses Cancellation of Healing Festival in United Arab Emirates for His Purpose

Episcopalians to Vote on Same-Sex Unions
Kevin Eckstrom

(RNS) When the Episcopal Church gathers in Minneapolis in July, delegates will be asked for the second time to support the creation of worship guidelines to unite same-sex and other non-married couples. A similar resolution narrowly failed when delegates and bishops last gathered in 2000 in Denver. Integrity, an independent group of gay Episcopalians, plans to offer a resolution that directs the church to create marriage-like rites to "support relationships of mutuality and fidelity which mediate the grace of God between those persons for whom the celebration and blessing of a marriage is not available." If approved, the liturgical rites would be presented to the next General Convention meeting in 2006 for final approval. At the 2000 convention, the church voted to "support" non-married relationships "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication and holy love" but declined to approve same-sex rites. The Rev. David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, said he is "absolutely opposed" to such rites. "Such an action, we believe, is un-pastoral to those most directly affected and can only lead to painful schism and isolation of the American church from the global Anglican Communion," he said.

Multnomah Publishers, Known for `Prayer of Jabez,' Cuts Staff
Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) Multnomah Publishers, the company made famous by the best-selling book "The Prayer of Jabez," has cut two dozen staff positions. The publisher of religious and inspirational books announced it would eliminate 22 positions in its central Oregon headquarters and two outside positions. Multnomah expects profitable growth in 2003 but at a slower pace than in 2001, when "The Prayer of Jabez" became popular. Publishers Weekly cited the 92-page hardcover book by Bruce Wilkinson as the top-selling nonfiction book in 2001. "By focusing on fewer projects each year, we can concentrate our efforts on publishing books that better match our mission of being good stewards of life-changing content," said Don Jacobson, the company's president and publisher, in a statement. Forbes magazine, in an article about the company in its April 14 issue, said sales of the "Prayer of Jabez" book have dropped to 20,000 copies a month, compared to the 1 million sold monthly at its peak. That decrease played a role in the company's 46 percent drop in revenues and delaying of plans for a new 55,000-square-foot headquarters.

Mother of Slain Soldier Wants God to be Glorified
Michael Foust

(Baptist Press) An American soldier who was baptized as a young boy and rededicated his life to Christ before being deployed overseas is one of the latest casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams, 31, was killed in action during a firefight around Nasiriyah, Iraq. Dottie Kendig, an administrative assistant at the church, knows Williams' mother and has spoken with her since the news broke. “Her only comments are that whatever happens, whatever is done, that God be glorified in the entire situation," Kendig told Baptist Press. "That's really the bottom line as far as she's concerned." Kendig recounted how the mother, Sandy Watson, has drawn much strength from Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." "She said, 'God is so faithful. Even though my boys drifted, he's been faithful to bring them back,'" Kendig said. "I think the prayer would be that because of this situation that people would be brought to Jesus," she said. "I believe that is Sandy's desire. ... I really believe she wants the Lord to be glorified."

God Uses Cancellation of Healing Festival in United Arab Emirates for His Purpose

(VOM USA) According to Assist News, in Dubai, about 800 miles from southern Iraq, a "Miracle Healing Festival" became instead a "Miracle Prayer Festival" after the local authorities canceled the main gathering for "security" reasons. On the day the event was due to begin in the Grand Hyatt Dubai Convention Center and after some 70 Christians had arrived from Korea, the organizers were told that due to the war in Iraq, the local authorities could not "guarantee" the safety of the team and those attending. So instead, the Koreans gathered for intercessory prayer for Dubai and the Middle East, and it went on for hours. A pastor from Russia, who had brought a media team to cover the event, said he was sorry it had been canceled, but felt privileged to come to the Gulf to pray for the region. Dr. Lee Jae-Rock, senior pastor of a church in Seoul, Korea, was to have led the meeting. After it was canceled, the Dubai Handicapped Club, a government organization, invited him to meet with them and minister and pray for the physically challenged people.