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Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 29, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 29, 2009

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

  • Christmas Church Heist Turns to Community Blessing  
  • Jewish Christian in Israel Seeks Protection from Repeated Attacks
  • Potential Muslim Attack Averted in Pakistani Church
  • Millions in Tanzania Receive Scripture in Heart Language

Christmas Church Heist Turns to Community Blessing  

Religion News Service reports that parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Violet, La., had their Christmas sorrow turn to joy on Dec. 22. The previous Sunday, a burglar broke into the St. Bernard Parish church and rifled through about 65 Christmas gifts destined for some of the parish's needy children. As word of the crime spread, people from across the metropolitan area and as far as Wisconsin and Ohio stepped up to help. By Tuesday night, gifts were piled on the floor about 7 feet deep along three walls, including 15 bicycles donated by Boy Scouts and bags stuffed with toys from the Salvation Army. After the theft was discovered, the church's pastor, the Rev. John Arnonesaid the anger he initially felt had changed to sorrow for the thief. "It's an unfortunate need," he said. "But so much good has come of it. It's really been incredible."

Jewish Christian in Israel Seeks Protection from Repeated Attacks

Compass Direct News reports that a Christian of Jewish origin who has been attacked on the streets here four times because of his faith is seeking police protection. Jerusalem resident Yossi Yomtov said police have been slow to investigate hate crimes against him by youths wearing kippahs, cloth skullcaps typically worn by observant Jews. In two of the attacks a youth plied him with pepper spray and stun gun shocks, he said. "This young man cursed me for my belief in Christ," Yomtov told Compass. "He used ugly curses and spoke in highly abusive language." Yomtov, who founded social activist group Lemallah ("Upward") after moving to Israel from the United States in 1999, said he was last attacked on Dec. 19. In previous attacks in the last few months, the assailants appeared to be teenaged or young men of French origin, he said.

Muslims Arrested in Pakistani Church May Have Been Foiled

ASSIST News Service reports that church security in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, may have averted a repeat of a massacre that killed 18 people in 2001. Two Muslim men were arrested outside of St. Dominic's Church on Dec. 25 after security realized the men had never been seen in the church. The men gave separate answers regarding their origins, and would not make the sign of the cross. Police then arrested the men, only to release them hours later. "Due to terror by extremists, we had made all possible arrangements for the safety of the Christians," said Father Nadeem Joseph, the church's pastor. "I appreciate the Christian security at the church that has really been a blessing for all of us, otherwise an incident like that that took place 2001, could have happen place."

Millions in Tanzania Receive Scripture in Heart Language

The Christian Post reports that Wycliffe Bible Translators finished a special project just in time for Christmas in Tanzania. The Wycliffe team had to develop an alphabet for nine languages in northwest Tanzania before beginning translation of the book of Luke in 2008. The translation will provide about two million people with Scripture. "This is about transforming communities. My people will for the first time read God's word in their own language and I'm praying that their lives will be touched by the story of Christ's birth," Pastor Albinus Waynse, who is part of the Wycliffe team of 18 Tanzanians translating Scripture, told CBN News. More than 20 denominations helped support the work. English and Swahili are Tanzania's official languages but 124 other minority languages are spoken throughout the country.