Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 9, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 9, 2006

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

  • Rick Warren Launches P.E.A.C.E. Plans around the World
  • Court in India Extends Bail of EMI Founder, President
  • SBC Leader Alarmed Over Young Adults 'Dropping Out' of Churches
  • India's Caste System Denies Drinking Water for Dalits, GFA Responds

Rick Warren Launches P.E.A.C.E. Plans around the World

Rick Warren has announced a major commitment to care for the sick in Rwanda as he launched "The P.E.A.C.E. Plan" around the world, The Christian Post reports. Warren and his wife Kay Warren made a generous donation to upgrade Kibuye District Hospital in Rwanda last week at the conclusion of his 13-nation Asian and African tour. With the launch of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan in Rwanda, Warren's nearly 30,000-member Saddleback Church officially began deploying P.E.A.C.E. Plan volunteers to the African nation. "Today, the churches in Rwanda, Saddleback Church and other congregations in America are uniting to reinforce and strengthen this hospital," Warren told the hospital staff last week. Purpose Driven/P.E.A.C.E. representatives in Rwanda will be provided with a list of priorities for equipment and programs required and volunteers numbering 125 on 20 teams will work with and through local churches for 10 days.

Court in India Extends Bail of EMI Founder, President

The Rajasthan High Court today extended the interim bail of Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) founder Archbishop M.A. Thomas and his son Samuel Thomas, EMI president, to November 30. The court also granted them anticipatory bail in another case. EMI attorney Mohammad Akram told Compass Direct News that the court extended the interim bail, which was to expire on August 1, by four months. The extension was in relation to two cases filed in February against the two men and other EMI staff for allegedly distributing a controversial book, Haqeekat, which supposedly denigrated Hindu religion and deities. At the same time, Akram said officials of the social welfare department recently deployed at EMI’s orphanage were not looking after the children well.

SBC Leader Alarmed Over Young Adults 'Dropping Out' of Churches

AgapePress reports the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) says he is disturbed that many students in both public and private schools -- even Christian private schools -- are leaving the church once they graduate. In 2002, the SBC's Council on Family Life reported that roughly 88 percent of evangelical children are leaving the church shortly after they graduate from high school. Dr. Frank Page, the denomination's new president, says SBC churches need to counter that statistic by finding ways to make themselves more relatable, more pertinent and significant to students before they graduate. Some blame the church "drop-out rate" among young people after they graduate on the secularist influence of America's public schools. The SBC leader says churches must find ways to connect with this young adult demographic -- and must do a better job of discipling members of this group.

India's Caste System Denies Drinking Water for Dalits, GFA Responds

Despite government intervention, India’s 3,000-year-old caste system is thwarting efforts to provide clean drinking water to the country’s Dalits, or so-called “untouchables.” Numbering 300 million, the Dalits are considered subhuman under the caste system and usually prohibited from using village wells. However, Gospel for Asia is successfully drilling new sources of water, coined “Jesus Wells,” near churches across India. The wells are open to all and are bringing members of different castes together. “We are saddened by the Dalits’ plight,” said Gospel for Asia’ Founder and President Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Dalits work in grimy conditions with their bare hands, many taking on jobs such as unclogging sewers, cleaning bathrooms or disposing of dead bodies. They have no way to quench their thirst or wash themselves without using contaminated water and facing the threat of disease.”