Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 14, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 14, 2010

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

  • Ministries Urge Prayer for Haitian Earthquake Victims
  • South London Church Wins Battle over Noise Ordinance
  • Yemen to Negotiate Release of Christian Hostages
  • UK Bishop Calls for Freedom in Eritrea

Ministries Urge Prayer for Haitian Earthquake Victims

Open Doors USA and other ministry groups are urging Christians to pray for the impoverished country of Haiti after Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake. "The effects of the tragedy caused by this powerful earthquake has rippled across the entire world with mourning for the loss of life, while also eliciting an immediate response from the compassionate," says Open Doors USA President Carl Moeller. Other groups such as Christian Emergency network and World Vision urge the same. "We would be very concerned about a quake of this magnitude anywhere in the world, but it is especially devastating in Haiti, where people are acutely vulnerable because of poor infrastructure and extreme poverty," said Edward Brown, World Vision's relief director in the United States. If you'd like to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, consider joining some of's partners in their work: Global Aid Network (GAiN) USA, Food for the Hungry, Samaritan's Purse, and World Vision.

South London Church Wins Battle over Noise Ordinance

Christian Today reports that a South London church will continue to ring its bells and worship with music after a city council withdrew a noise complaint against the church. All Nations Centre and its 600 members were notified without warning in September that they could no longer amplify music or sermons, contrary to the Lambeth Council's guidelines. The church's pastor, Abraham Sackey, said, "The church believes that the council's withdrawal is an attempt to conceal what happened and which has been ongoing for some time, not only in Lambeth but nationally." He believes wasn't really about noise levels. "The leaders of the church maintained from the very outset that the notice had nothing to do with noise but rather was further evidence of the ongoing campaign of religious hatred and intimidation against evangelical Christians."

Yemen to Negotiate Release of Christian Hostages

ASSIST News Service reports that the government of Yemen has started negotiations for the release of six Christian hostages. A German family of five and a British engineer are held captive in the Northern province of Saada, according to foreign minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi. Johannes and Sabine Hentschel and their children, Lydia (5), Anna (3) and Simon (1), were kidnapped six months ago during an outing near Saada. Two German bible school students and a South Korean teacher traveling with the six were later found murdered. The nine Christians had been working at the Al Jumhuri hospital in Saada. Relatives of the East German family are still cautious about the news from Yemen. The reports were just "unconfirmed rumors", brother-in-law Rev. Reinhard Poetschke said.

UK Bishop Calls for Freedom in Eritrea

Release International reports that more than 43,000 people in the United Kingdom have signed a petition demanding religious freedom for Eritrean Christians suffering in their home country. "Our message to Eritrea is stop the brutality," said Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. The bishop is a patron of Release International, which sponsored the petition. "We're calling on Eritrea to honour the right to freedom of religion, guaranteed under its own constitution," he added. The tiny country has imprisoned more than 2,000 Christians in harsh camps, underground cells and even metal shipping containers. "We want to assure the government of Eritrea that Christians are loyal citizens and present no danger to the integrity of the Eritrean nation. We are appealing to the government of Eritrea to allow all Christians freedom of assembly, worship and expression," he said.