Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 27, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 27, 2006

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

  • Beijing Police Break into Home of a House Church Missionary
  • Record Number of College Students Learn about Missions
  • Archbishop of Canterbury Condemns Israeli Wall
  • Christians Optimistic as Nepal Government Signs Peace Agreement

Beijing Police Break into Home of a House Church Missionary

China Aid Association (CAA) says that it has learned that on December 7, 2006 a group of policemen along with some unidentified people broke into the home of Xiu Ruibin, a house church missionary in Beijing, beat the people in the house and destroyed the furniture, according to ASSIST News Service. Another church leader was put under house arrest in Xiaoshan on the eve of the court trial for 8 Christian leaders. A CAA spokesperson said, “A few days before the attack, some ex-colleagues of Xiu who came to Beijing to complain about illegal actions of their local government were physically attacked by unknown assailants. Xiu took them into her own home for their safety and to preach the gospel to them. “On December 7, 2006, a group of policemen, led by officer An, came to Xiu’s home to investigate. They threatened the guests and confiscated their ID cards. Not long after, An came and asked to enter into Xiu’s home again. Xiu refused because he still could not produce a search warrant. “In his anger An called several policemen and a gang of ruffians. Xiu closed the iron door immediately and dialed 110 (China’s 911). “But the iron door was quickly broken. The ruffians rushed into the home, destroyed all the electrical appliances and the furniture. Xiu’s six-year old daughter was terrified and cried. About a dozen Christians were taken away.”

Record Number of College Students Learn about Missions

Family News in Focus reports that tens of thousands of students will spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s in St. Louis attending Urbana 2007, the 21st conference sponsored by Intervarsity. In 2003, 19,000 young people came to the conference. This year organizers are expecting 23,000, so many they’ve moved the event to the NFL's Edward Jones Dome. "I think the conference is geared towards using like your major and your career in missions,” said sophomore, Katie Klepacki. Rick Warren will leading one session on AIDS ministry, while missions’ educator Ray Bakke will speak on inner city missions. Intervarsity’s Christy Chappell says the conference is a great entrance to a lifelong missions calling.

Archbishop of Canterbury Condemns Israeli Wall

Speaking to civic representatives shortly after walking through the wall, Dr. Williams said the wall symbolized "the terrible fear of the other, of the stranger, which keeps us all in one kind of prison or another", from which God 2,000 years ago came to release people, Christian Newswire reports. Dr. Williams was speaking on behalf of a delegation of UK church leaders to the town of Christ's birth, which included the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the moderator of the Free Churches, David Coffey, and the Armenian patriarch of Great Britain, Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian. The delegation made its way through the notorious checkpoint at the entrance to Bethlehem. The church leaders had planned to walk through the pedestrian checkpoint, but at the last moment, the Israeli security forces diverted them through the less humiliating vehicle entrance point. The Archbishop of Canterbury's remarks were in response to a speech by Bethlehem's Mayor, which described how Bethlehem was now cut off from the outside world by the wall, causing economic hardship and the emigration of families. Bethlehem, he said, had been "transformed into an open prison" by the wall.

Christians Optimistic as Nepal Government Signs Peace Agreement

After more than a decade of conflict between Nepal’s constitutional monarchy government and the Communist Maoist People’s Liberation Army, a peace agreement was recently signed on November 21, 2006. Now, according to ASSIST News Service, December 17th has marked another step towards a democratic government, as leaders of eight political parties signed the draft of an interim constitution that decreased the authority of the monarch, and promised new provisions of fundamental rights. A few of these rights are: no obstruction of Internet and telephone by government, free basic healthcare for the poor and children, health and reproductive rights for women, free education for children, and special protection for children and all disabled. In a nation that is 98% Hindu and Buddhist, Nepalese Christians are cautiously optimistic, believing prayers for their nation are being answered.