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Religion Today Summaries - August 4, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - August 4, 2005

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

  • Cathedral To Address Global Poverty

  • Hope Floats in Tsunami-Stricken Area; Ministry Aids in Tangible Fashion

  • Two Christian Health Workers Murdered in Bangladesh

  • Saudi Arabia 

Cathedral To Address Global Poverty
Religion News Service

Leaders from a wide range of Christian denominations worldwide will gather at Washington National Cathedral Sept. 11 to discuss concrete ways the faith community can better aid the United Nations in its Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty across the globe. Following two days of private deliberations, a delegation will travel to New York to present a communique to the U.N. on the eve of its 60th General Assembly session beginning Sept. 14. The convocation, officially called The Consultation of Religious Leaders on Global Poverty at Washington National Cathedral, is an initiative of the Cathedral’s recently-established Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation. The center is directed by John L. Peterson, an Episcopal priest and former Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. The center forges collaborations within the Anglican Communion, among Christian denominations, and with interfaith partners, governments, NGOs, and the private sector. (www.religionnews.com)

Hope Floats in Tsunami-Stricken Area; Ministry Aids in Tangible Fashion
Allie Martin, Agape Press

Seven months ago hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives as tidal waves swamped coastal areas in Southeast Asia. Since then, missionaries with Gospel for Asia have worked tirelessly to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of the tsunami victims. Today, the tide comes in along the coast of Tamil Nadu, India, only yards from where homes once stood. Entire fishing villages along the coast were devastated with the tsunami hit on December 26. Witnesses say the first wave was 40 feet high, and the second 60 feet. Nearly 800 families in one coastal village were left homeless, and more than 2,000 people died. So a local church, sponsored by Gospel for Asia is helping by supplying fishing boats to villagers. Pastor Ebenezer with GFA says the boats are helping many rebuild their lives. 15 boats -- at a cost of $5,000 each -- were donated by Gospel for Asia. During a brief ceremony each boat, fisherman, and family were prayed over. GFA workers say relief efforts such as the boat project have opened the door to the gospel in what historically has been a hostile area for missionaries. GFA hopes to provide up to 500 boats for fishermen affected by the tsunami. The boats are not only for believers but also for non-believers.

Two Christian Health Workers Murdered in Bangladesh
Sarah Page, Compass Direct

Two Christian health workers in Bangladesh were hacked to death on July 29. Police and local officials believe Islamic extremists likely were responsible for the murders. The incident took place about 150 kilometers from the capital, Dhaka. Tapan Kumar Roy, 30, and Liplal Marandi, 35, worked for Christian Life Bangladesh (CLB). Along with educational films on arsenic poisoning, mother-and-child health care and AIDS prevention, they often showed the "Jesus Film" at the invitation of local villagers. A well-known Christian leader familiar with the two evangelists said an official at a local madrassa (Islamic school) had threatened the men verbally prior to the murders. Some villagers had also threatened to kill Roy and Marandi if they continued to show the "Jesus Film." Police arrested a man named Monir Hossain in connection with the murders, which they are still investigating. Bangladesh is facing an overall deterioration in human rights, both for the Muslims who form 83 percent of the population and for religious minorities.

Saudi Arabia
Charisma News Service

A believer from India has been sentenced to a year in jail and beaten more than 300 times. According to Christian Aid Mission (CAM), brother Samkutty traveled to the country after he was invited by Christian friends to speak in Indian churches. This spring, while on his way to a Bible study, Samkutty was arrested by religious police. His capture reportedly prompted the arrest of eight other believers on May 28 because Samkutty had on him the names and numbers of other Indian Christians. The arrests were carried out during raids on believers' homes or workplaces. Five of the eight were released in June, but Samkutty remains in prison, where he and fellow Indian inmates are subjected to continuous beatings. These men join more than 40 others who have been arrested in recent weeks in what Washington, D.C.- based International Christian Concern has called Saudi Arabia's largest crackdown on Christians in a decade, CAM said. Meanwhile, five East Africans arrested on April 29 and detained for a month for leading a private Christian worship service in Riyadh have been released and allowed to return to their jobs in the Saudi Arabian capital, Compass Direct reported. The men were interrogated extensively, but were not physically mistreated. Under the rule of strict Islamic law, Saudi Arabia prohibits the public practice of any religion other than Islam. (www.charismanews.com)