Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 20, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 20, 2010

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

  • Ministries Confront Mounting Despair in Haiti
  • German Christians May Win Political Asylum
  • Middle Eastern Churches Approve Women Pastors
  • Haitians Praise God after Apocalyptic Quake

Ministries Confront Mounting Despair in Haiti

Baptist Press reports that ministry and relief groups working in Haiti are facing an increasingly dire situation following last week's 7.0 magnitude earthquake. "There is a desperation here among the Haitians that they are not going to make it through this," said Dennis Wilbanks of the Florida Baptist Convention after arriving in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 17. "No one wants to sleep inside a building for fear they won't come out of it alive the next morning," he said. Southern Baptists' response to the Haiti earthquake will be a long-term commitment, much like the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to Baptist leaders. "Katrina was in 2005 and four years later, we're still involved," said Bruce Poss, the North American Mission Board's national disaster relief coordinator. "This will be a long-term commitment to the people of Haiti."

German Christians May Win Political Asylum

Christian Newswire reports that a federal judge is expected to decide the fate of a German family who fled to the U.S. to continue their Christian homeschool today. The Romeike family, now living in Memphis, Tenn., fled persecution by German authorities over homeschooling in August 2008, when German authorities demanded their five children be placed in state schools or face potential removal into state custody. "We don't have to worry about looking over our shoulder anymore wondering when the youth welfare officials will come or how much money we have to pay in fines," said the mother, Hannelore Romeike. "If the political asylum application is granted it will be the first time America has ever granted political asylum to Christian homeschoolers fleeing from German persecution," said HSLDA staff attorney Michael P. Donnelly.

Middle Eastern Churches Approve Women Pastors

Christian Today reports that an association of Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed churches in the Middle East have a approved a statement allowing for the ordination of female clergy. The historic vote by the Sixth General Assembly of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC) passed the 70 delegates unanimously. Drafted on the spot in response to a report by the fellowship's theology committee, the adopted statement read, "The Sixth General Assembly supports the ordination of the women in our churches in the position of ordained pastor and her partnership with men as an equal partner in decision making. Therefore we call on member churches to take leading steps in this concern." Meanwhile, the consecration of female bishops in the Church of England was delayed as a legislative committee failed to present a draft in time for February's General Synod.

Haitians Praise God after Apocalyptic Quake

The Washington Times reports that Haitians still waiting for food and water did not wait to praise God over the weekend. "Why give thanks to God? Because we are here," the Rev. Eric Toussaint said. "We say 'Thank you God.' What happened is the will of God. We are in the hands of God now." Across the devastated city of Port-au-Prince on Sunday, small congregations gathered at the remains of their churches to pray, sing hymns and give thanks even as dead bodies still lay in the street. Rescuers have continued their push for survivors, though most still trapped in the rubble are presumed dead. The death toll is now estimated at 50,000 ot 100,000 people, according to the Pan American Health Organization. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said 100,000 would "seem to be the minimum."

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.