Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 8, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 8, 2009

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

  • L.A.'s Lesbian Bishop Prompts New Concern for Anglicans
  • North Korea in the UN Spotlight
  • Report: Mainline Protestant Churches Face Rockier Future
  • Philippines Recovery Still Needs $4.5 Billion

L.A.'s Lesbian Bishop Prompts New Concern for Anglicans

Los Angeles Times reports that the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles' new suffragan bishop is excited to get to work, but the global head of the Anglican Communion is less enthusiastic. "I'm very excited about the future of the whole Episcopal Church and I see the Diocese of Los Angeles leading the way into that future," said the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool after her election on Friday. Glasspool is the first openly lesbian priest in the Episcopal Church, and the first openly homosexual priest to be elected since V. Gene Robinson's 2003 election in New Hampshire. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Communion's head, expressed concern. "The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole," Dr. Rowan Williams said.

North Korea in the UN Spotlight

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that North Korea's human rights record came under intense scrutiny yesterday at the United Nations, as the country faces its first Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council. CSW called for "an end to executions and abuses against the liberty and security" of North Korean people, and concluded that "there is a prima facie case for the commission of crimes against humanity, as well as indicators of genocide". North Korea's "strict hierarchical system of government" suggests that "the political leadership, and in particular Kim Jong-il, is to be held responsible". In a letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, 150 individuals who have suffered at the hands of the North Korean regime state beseeched the council for "accountability and justice for the crimes committed against ourselves."

Report: Mainline Protestant Churches Face Rockier Future

The Christian Post reports that a new survey from The Barna Group shows that mainline denominations did not decline as much as expected in the past decade, but may be "on the precipice of a period of decline." The report found that mainline church congregations average about 89 to 100 people, but that only 15 percent of American adults identify with a mainline denomination. The Barna Group considered American Baptist Churches in the USA; The Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church "mainline denominations." Today, these venerable denominations account for only one-fifth of all Protestant congregations today.

Philippines Recovery Still Needs $4.5 Billion

Mission News Network reports that the Philippines still needs almost $4.5 billion to recover from multiple typhoons that slammed the islands this fall. The World Bank estimates that $942.9 million is neeeded for recovery, while another $3.48 billion is needed to reconstruct and relocate devastated cities and villages. Relief agencies such as AMG International say that their ability to help is now limited because the scope of the damage. "We were able to help with immediate needs," said AMG's Roger Thomas. "The long-term is something that agencies like ours are just not equipped to handle. The government has to step in as best they can, along with agencies that are designed to do that." The agency is providing boats to families living in the second story of their flooded homes, helping their children get to school any way they can.