Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 21, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff | Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 21, 2009

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

  • 'Widow's Might' Wins $101K Prize at Christian Film Fest
  • China to Restore Historic Churches and Mosques
  • Coral Ridge Taps Graham's Grandson to Be Senior Pastor 
  • Lawyers in Turkey Move to Expand Scope of Malatya Trial

'Widow's Might' Wins $101K Prize at Christian Film Fest

The 2009 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival just keeps getting bigger. This year's festival welcomed more than 2,400 attendees, a record 250 entries, and giant first prize: $101,000 to go with the "Best of Festival" award. This Jubilee award is the largest single cash prize in America to a single filmmaker, signaling the Festival's intentions to propagate future Christian films. The winning film "The Widow's Might," the story of a community coming to the rescue of a widow about to lose her home, was written and directed by 19-year-old John Moore. The Christian marriage film "Fireproof," which made the highest grossing independent film in 2008, won the "Best Feature Film" category. "Our goal with the Jubilee Awards is to reward the work of Christian filmmakers who have artfully communicated a Christian worldview through their film production," explained Doug Phillips, founder of the SAICFF.

China to Restore Historic Churches and Mosques

ASSIST News Service reports that the Chinese government plans to rebuild or restore 12 historic churches, mosques and temples in the capital, Beijing. The announcement was made on Monday by Yang Xiaodong, a Beijing Religion Bureau official. According to news sources, the move is aimed at giving Christians -- Catholics and Protestants both -- Muslims, Buddhists and Daoists better access to places of worship. The news was confirmed by Fang Hailong, project manager of Beijing Fourth Construction and Engineering Company, which has won the bid for one of the reconstruction projects. The foundation for that project, on which the Beijing municipal government will spend 12 million yuan ($1.75 million), was laid in Changxindian in southwest Beijing recently, according to Yang.

Coral Ridge Taps Graham Grandson to Be Senior Pastor

Christian Post reports that two legacies may come together as Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church picks its next senior pastor. The nominating committee for the Florida megachurch has announced its decision to invite the Rev. Billy Graham's grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, to fill the vacancy left by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. Tchividjian currently serves as senior pastor of the nearby New City Church, which he founded. “[B]ecause of Pastor Tullian's unwavering commitment to remain as Pastor here at New City, both churches have agreed to consider a merger,” announced New City in an official statement. Although such a merger would require a massive restructuring for both churches, Coral Ridge committee members expressed confidence that it would be done.

Lawyers in Turkey Move to Expand Scope of Malatya Trial

Compass Direct News reports that lawyers in the case of three Christians who were murdered for their faith here are lining up witnesses in an effort to expand the accused from five young suspects to subversive forces at the top of state power. Evidence in recent hearings suggests the April 2007 murders in southeast Turkey were instigated by Ergenekon, a loose collection of ultra-nationalist generals, businessmen, mafia and journalists who planned to engineer a coup d’état in Turkey. At a hearing at Malatya’s Third Criminal Court on Friday (Jan. 16), plaintiff attorneys said they would like to call as a witness Ergun Poyraz, a journalist arrested in 2007 who has been linked to Ergenekon. Prosecuting attorneys said they believe that Poyraz was not directly involved in planning the murders but has important knowledge of the players within Ergenekon. They hope his testimony will help sort out the tangled web of connections and determine the role of Malatya security forces in the attack.