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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 1, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 1, 2006

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

  • Faith-Based Rehab Ministry Trial Under Way
  • Chinese Authorities Raid House Churches, Arrest 80
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Deliver 'A Prayer for Darfur'
  • Global Mission Event Stresses Church Role in Poverty, Disease Battles

Faith-Based Rehab Ministry Trial Under Way

A Florida ministry is waging a legal battle against officials in Osceola County in an effort to remain open, AgapePress reports. Men of Destiny Ministries provides housing and Christian counseling to men with addictions to drugs and alcohol. Earlier this year Osceola County officials ordered the ministry to shut down because of complaints from some neighbors in St. Cloud, where the ministry is based in a 6,300-square-foot-house. Mat Staver, founder of Orlando-based Liberty Counsel, defended the ministry during a federal trial this week. Staver says the Christian ministry has made a big difference in the lives of many men whose addictions have taken a toll on their lives. Through Men of Destiny, the attorney says, lives that were once broken have been put back together and people have become productive citizens. So why did the County take action against the ministry? According to Staver, although the ministry did not violate zoning requirements, County officials bowed to local pressure that surfaced from what he called the "'Not in my backyard' syndrome." The trial was expected to possibly wrap up Monday.

Chinese Authorities Raid House Churches, Arrest 80

China Aid Association (CAA) reported that government raids of two house churches last week resulted in the arrest of about 80 Christians. Six policemen, including two plainclothes officers, interrupted a fellowship meeting of 43 people in Hubei province, south of Beijing, and detained 20 of them on July 21, according to CAA. Compass Direct News reports that eight of the congregants were sentenced to 10 to 15 days of jail, while the rest were released by 5:30 p.m. that day. In Henan province, authorities on July 19 detained and interrogated more than 60 house church members, CAA said. They were released later the same day. In Anhui province, well-known house church pastor Wang Zaiqing was arrested on May 26. A church-planter and preacher in Anhui and surrounding provinces in east China, Pastor Wang was arrested for printing and distributing Christian books.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Deliver 'A Prayer for Darfur'

Archbishop Desmond Tutu will take an active part in the September 17 international day of action for Darfur, ASSIST News Service reports. Events are being planned all over the world to draw attention to the ongoing genocide in western Sudan in which more than 400,000 people have lost their lives and 3.5 million have been displaced. Waging Peace, an organization dedicated to building a safe and democratic world, says the Archbishop has kindly agreed to write a prayer for use in a minute of multi-faith prayer, which is to be held at the gates of the London residence of the British Prime Minister.

Global Mission Event Stresses Church Role in Poverty, Disease Battles

Lutherans and Episcopalians emphasized their commitment to the eradication of global poverty and the combating of disease as the 2006 Global Mission Event came to a close on Sunday, according to a story in The Christian Post. U2 lead singer Bono is a leading frontman for the ONE Campaign of which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church, USA, are supporters of. The two denominations had affirmed their partnership at the four-day conference in Amherst, Mass., where some 1,300 people from around the world convened. "I think historically our churches as institutions have been very engaged and doing very well with charity and giving to our brothers and sisters throughout the world," said Kim Stietz, director for international policy, according to ELCA News Service. Participants discussed the role of the church in achieving numerous development goals, including combating HIV/AIDS.