Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 24, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 24, 2006

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

  • Reports Document Post-Katrina Failures
  • Compassion Program Produces Leaders Around the World
  • Anglican Head, Episcopal Bishops to Resolve Gay Dispute
  • Texas Pastor, Worldview Weekend Speaker Resigns amid Questions

Reports Document Post-Katrina Failures

No less than a half-dozen reports on the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort are being released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the storm — and nearly all criticize the sluggish pace of the response. The Christian Post says the reports document a host of problems, from the still-unfinished levees to the plight of small businesses and the city's continuing racial divide. Many of the reports focus on the failure of federal dollars to reach their intended targets. "If people have nowhere to live or if they can't afford to live where they work, it becomes difficult for them to go where the jobs are... The end result is that recovery in the struggling areas is being slowed, sometimes to a near halt," said a report by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. Amy Liu, author of the Brookings Institution report, pointed to streets that are still choked with debris as evidence of the failings of the recovery effort.

Compassion Program Produces Leaders Around the World

As students around the country return to colleges and universities, they join 1,000 students from poverty-stricken countries around the world who are getting the chance to go to college because of a program run by an international child-development organization. ASSIST News Service reports that Compassion International works with more than 65 denominations and thousands of indigenous church partners in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. According to a news release from Compassion, the organization’s Leadership Development Program identifies young Compassion-assisted men and women who have shown potential to become Christian leaders and, with the help of sponsors, sends them to universities in their own countries. The goal is for them to influence their churches, communities and nations. More than 300 colleges and universities in 14 countries are involved in the program in one way or another. In addition to their college curriculum, the students – all from horrific, impoverished conditions – receive extensive Christian leadership training.

Anglican Head, Episcopal Bishops to Resolve Gay Dispute

The spiritual leader of world Anglicanism has asked six Episcopal bishops to meet in New York next month to try and resolve differences over homosexuality tearing at their church, The Christian Post reports. The gathering is part of a broad effort by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to preserve the global Anglican fellowship despite a hardening divide over whether the Bible bars gay relationships. The Episcopal Church represents Anglicanism in the United States. The six invited bishops reflect the spectrum of belief across the American church. Virginia Bishop Peter Lee, who is among the six U.S. invitees, said the participants "have agreed not to talk at length with the press" about the gathering. Williams has proposed a two-tier system of membership in the world communion, giving churches with nontraditional views on gay clergy and other issues a lesser role.

Texas Pastor, Worldview Weekend Speaker Resigns amid Questions

Dr. Frank Harber has resigned as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Colleyville, Texas, according to a Texas newspaper report on AgapePress. Michael Ray, the church's executive pastor, said that Harber's resignation has been accepted by the church's leadership board. Harber, a former atheist who was converted to Christ after conducting a historical investigation to disprove Christianity, is president of the Institute for Christian Defense and a regular speaker at Christian Worldview conferences. He had been pastor at FBC Colleyville since June 2001. Ray told the congregation during the worship service that the church would look into the donation of a lot in an upscale Colleyville subdivision where Harber is building a house. The report says Harber purchased the lot for only $25,000. The lot, which appraised for $75,000, was donated to the Cowboy Church of Celina with the stipulation that someone would purchase it right back. According to Ray, the transaction was handled at a "personal level" and did not involve the church. He suggests Harber's resignation was brought on by media scrutiny over the land deal and a recent golf tournament sponsored by the Hooters restaurant chain in which Harber was a participant.