Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 17, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 17, 2008

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

  • N.M. Diocese Votes to Stay in Episcopal Church
  • James MacDonald Announces He Has Cancer
  • Orissa Christmas Will Be Fearful, Says Minister
  • 1 in 10 Adults Are Caregivers, Studies Find

N.M. Diocese Votes to Stay in Episcopal Church

Episcopalians in New Mexico Diocese of the Rio Grande have voted to leave a conservative umbrella group and "reaffirm" their commitment to the Episcopal Church rather than join a new rival Anglican province on U.S. soil. The Albuquerque-based diocese Thursday voted to end its four-year membership in the Pittsburgh-based Anglican Communion Network. Four Episcopal dioceses that belonged to the Pittsburgh group and have already left the national church plan to join the new province. But other Episcopal dioceses that supported the Pittsburgh group, like Rio Grande, do not plan to join the new province and are likely to remain in the Episcopal Church, officials said. The Rev. Peter Frank, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh group, said officials knew that not all dioceses would join the new province, and encouraged those on both sides not to "stand in judgment of each other."

James MacDonald Announces He Has Cancer

Pastor James MacDonald announced on his blog yesterday that he has prostate cancer and will soon begin treatment in California. The founder of Harvest Bible Chapel and "Walk in the Word" ministry said he will be radiation treatments in January, but will continue to lead Bible study at his Chicago church by video. He also plans to teach at Greg Laurie's church while in California. MacDonald expressed thankfulness and hope in his blog post, saying, "I am not especially anxious, I am not struggling with God’s goodness or asking a lot of penetrating ‘why’s?’ I am more aware of my pending mortality and the brevity of this life by eternal standards... I just want to be clean and close and consecrated in my walk with Christ; and I am, more than ever. Truly!!! And for that I am very thankful."

Orissa Christmas Will Be Fearful, Says Minister

The Christian Post reports that Christians in Orissa, India, will face a “very threatening environment,” said Dr. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA. Moeller reports that the forced shutdown of the social system for which Hindu extremists have called ensures that Christians in Orissa will be "extremely fraught" with fear, even though the state government has declared the shutdown to be illegal. So far, however, government promises have done little to protect Christians from attack. Moeller fears that Christians who leave their homes to worship together on Christmas may be vulnerable to attack for violating an extremist-enforced shutdown.

1 in 10 Adults Are Caregivers, Studies Find

Baptist Press reports that 11 percent of the people who participated in a LifeWay Research survey said they or an immediate family member are the primary full-time caregiver to an elderly parent or a special needs child, a statistic also shown in two other national studies. "This research should open our eyes to the number of people in our churches and communities that are looking for people to be the hands and feet of Jesus," Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said. "Many American church leaders and members that I know reject the idea of increased government involvement in establishing universal health care. But, for the most part, the American church continues to ignore the emphasis that Jesus Himself placed on the poor and the sick."