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Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 11, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 11, 2008

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

  • Interim Russian Orthodox Leader Chosen
  • Chuck Colson Receives Presidential Medal
  • World Vision Aids Health Care in Zimbabwe
  • More Religious Groups Protect Baby Jesus with GPS


Interim Russian Orthodox Leader Chosen

Religion News Service reports that Metropolitan Kirill, the Russian Orthodox leader of the provinces of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, has been chosen as the interim leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. Following the death Friday (Dec.5) of Patriarch Alexy II, Kirill, 62, was chosen by secret ballot by the Holy Synod, a ruling group of 12 senior clergy who met Saturday outside Moscow. Kirill is considered to be a reformer in his approach to relations with the Russian government and the Roman Catholic Church. He leads the church's external relations department and has appeared often on television representing the church. The Russian Orthodox Church will choose its new permanent head in January.

Chuck Colson Receives Presidential Medal

Former Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM) president Chuck Colson was honored Thursday for his ministry to prisoners and their families with the Presidential Citizens Medal, according to a press release. Presented in person by President George W. Bush, the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors the President can give a civilian, is second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Colson spent time in prison for his part in the Watergate events before turning around to form PFM. "Whatever good I may have done is because God saw fit to reach into the depths of Watergate and convert a broken sinner," Colson said. "Everything that has been accomplished these past 35 years has been by God's grace and sovereign design." Colson credited the medal not to his own work, but to PFM's thousands of volunteers and donors.

World Vision Aids Health Care in Zimbabwe

ASSIST News Service reports that following the recent outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe, World Vision is distributing 500 cholera kits to help protect its staff and other members of the affected communities. According to a statement by World Vision's Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director in Zimbabwe, Daniel Muchena, a single cholera kit has enough supplies for 50 people and also contains cholera drugs, water purification tablets, disinfectants, re-hydration kits, and surgical materials. Four World Vision staff members with health related backgrounds are working in the quarantine camp in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, to assist in the clinical management of more than 1,000 patients.

More Religious Groups Protect Baby Jesus with GPS

Increasing numbers of churches and synagogues are protecting their nativity and holiday scenes with more than prayer this year, the Associated Press reports. Upset with thefts of Baby Jesus and menorahs, many have put GPS tracking systems inside their valuable figurines to relocate them if stolen. One company, New York-based BrickHouse Security, has offered up to 200 nonprofit religious institutions a free month's use of the security cameras and LightningGPS products it distributes. "I suspect most of it is childish pranks," said attorney Mike Johnson of the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian legal group. "Clearly, there are adults with an agenda to remove Christ from Christmas. But they tend to occupy themselves with the courts and courtroom of public opinion."