Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 14, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 14, 2006

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

  • Indian Christians Gather to Share Experiences of Violence
  • Salvation Army Receives Largest Donation in History
  • AIDS Pre-Conference: Faith Communities Called by God to Be 'Caregivers'
  • Disaster in India: GFA Missionaries Respond to Massive Flooding

Indian Christians Gather to Share Experiences of Violence

ASSIST News Service reports some 200 people who said they were targeted because of their Christian faith, shared their experiences of violence at a recent conference organized by a Christian group in Bangalore, India. According to, the conference, which the organizers said was India's first national conference of the persecuted church, started with testimonies of eight widows of men martyred for Christ in different parts of India. The one-day prayer and fellowship meeting of Aug. 2 was organized by the Global Council of Indian Christians at the Campus Crusade Auditorium in Bangalore. “Even when the laws were not so harsh, several Christian leaders have been reporting of several cases of harassment and violence, including murder attempts on their people,” the story said.

Salvation Army Receives Largest Donation in History

Family News in Focus reports that Jean Kroc’s $1.5 billion gift to the Salvation Army is the largest single donation to a charity in history.  Spokesperson Melissa Temme responded to the donation by saying, “The Salvation Army is exceptionally grateful because this has enabled us to expand our services. It is a challenge to ensure in all things that we do that our mission stays true. And our mission is to serve suffering humanity in Christ’s name without discrimination.” According to Mrs. Kroc’s wishes, the Army will open 30-40 “Kroc Centers” around the country that will provide low-income neighborhoods with a community gathering place. There is a downside, according to Terry Parker, Chairman of the Board of the National Christian Foundation: a donation this size tends to make the average donor across the country give less money. And yet, building the Kroc Centers will increase funding needs because of the cost of daily operations at each facility.

AIDS Pre-Conference: Faith Communities Called by God to Be 'Caregivers'

An ecumenical gathering opened Thursday ahead of the world’s largest HIV/AIDS conference with calls for faith communities to "step up to the plate" and a reminder that people of faith are called by God to be caregivers, The Christian Post reports. "We, the faith communities, are the people who are called by God to be the caregivers, the hands, the heart, the ears, the eyes, the feet of God in the world," said the Rev. Johannes Petrus Heath, general secretary of the African Network of Religious Leaders Living with and Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS. The biblical story of David and Goliath was used by the Rev. Adam Taylor to illustrate the Church’s response to HIV/AIDS. He said David’s five smooth stones can be compared to the five “resources” God has given to the church to overcome the epidemic: removing the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, providing compassion and charity, acting as a prophetic voice on behalf of the “dispossessed,” to move from the ABC model (abstinence, being faithful, and condoms) to DEF (doctors, empowerment, and faith), and to put the international structure of the Church behind the AIDS movement.

Disaster in India: GFA Missionaries Respond to Massive Flooding

Hundreds of Gospel for Asia missionaries are on the frontlines of providing assistance following monsoon-season flooding that has left more than 1,000 people dead and millions homeless across western India. "When I heard about it, I was just numb,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, president and founder of Gospel for Asia. “There is a monsoon every year, but never in history has there been one of this magnitude.” The floods have been so extensive that a major natural gas plant has been shut down, and people are dying from waterborne diseases. The BBC has reported that 66 people in the state of Maharashtra have died from disease, including 37 in Mumbai (Bombay).  Most of the victims are in slums, where the floods bring sewage into the homes. The floods have also affected Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states. In Gujarat, thousands of people have been evacuated from the city of Surat, while in neighboring Maharashtra, thousands more have been left homeless. Dr. Yohannan is currently in India, receiving first-hand reports from GFA area leaders on a daily basis.