Religion Today Summaries, January 6, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, January 6, 2003

In Today's Edition:

  • Tressell's Faith in Christ Evident in National Champion Ohio State Team
  • Friends Gather in Yemen to Remember Lives of Slain Hospital Workers
  • Religious Freedom?  Some Things Never Change in Former Soviet Union

Tressell's Faith in Christ Evident in National Champion Ohio State Team
Art Stricklin

(Baptist Press) Looking for an explanation for the Buckeyes' amazing 13-0 record and national championship title?  Look no further than the faith head coach Jim Tressel and his players have shown in each other and their own spiritual progress.  Tressel has been the Buckeyes' coach for less than two years but has taken the Scarlet and Gray back to their once familiar place at the top of the college football mountain.  Maybe not so well known is Tressel's declaration of his job at OSU as, "my ministry," and his faithful attendance at the early Friday morning coaches Bible study and the Friday night players Bible study.  The optional Friday night gathering at the athletic complex plays a big part in strengthening the players for the challenges on and off the football field.  They have a time of sharing and praying, worship and often hear from a former Buckeye great sharing his Christian faith including among others former Buckeyes' All-American Clark Kellogg.  "We've had over two dozen Buckeye players share their faith in churches, and schools," Schmidtke added. "That is thanks to a great coach, great support and great kids."

His star players have been quick to pick up on the positive message delivered through the Ohio State program.  "Football is very important to me at Ohio State, but its importance pales in comparison of Jesus Christ in my life," said starting cornerback Dustin Fox.  "It helps keep me strong during all what we've been through, to walk straight and stay in the word."  His legacy of spiritual leadership has also rubbed off on many.  Sophomore running back Maurice Hall, who scored the winning touchdowns against both Illinois and Michigan, has recorded statewide radio interviews about his personal faith as have junior tights Ben Hartsock and Jason Caldwell and sophomore cornerback Fox.  "My faith and my belief system has helped drive my competitive fire and my personal walk with Christ," said Hartsock.  Maybe Ohio State's amazing season and 2002 national title isn't so amazing when you know the true source of strength for the head coach and his players.

Friends Gather in Yemen to Remember Lives of Slain Hospital Workers
Mark Kelly

(Baptist Press) About 275 Yemenis, Americans and other internationals gathered to remember the lives of three International Mission Board workers murdered Dec. 30 at the Baptist hospital in Jibla, Yemen.  In the auditorium of the International School in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, friends and co-workers of Martha Myers, Bill Koehn and Kathy Gariety shared memories of their lives, sang favorite Christian songs and quoted Scriptures close to their hearts.  "It was good for people who loved them to be able to remember Martha, Bill and Kathy, to honor the Christ they loved and served and to worship him for the way he worked in and through their lives," said John Brady, who leads IMB work in northern Africa and the Middle East.  "We were able to express our sorrow about their deaths and share the hope that gives us all meaning and the strength we need to move forward," he said.  The three were killed Dec. 30 when a lone gunman burst into a room where they were holding an early morning meeting.  He opened fire on them with a semiautomatic pistol, and then moved to another room where he seriously wounded a fourth worker, pharmacist Don Caswell.

Religious Freedom?  Some Things Never Change in Former Soviet Union

(Charisma News) A Pentecostal church in the southern town of Kherson has been ordered closed by a local court for conducting public services without prior consent from authorities.  The Church of Christ, led by pastor Pavel Kudashev, was told this month to halt its activities, Keston News Service (KNS) reported.  The court ruled that church services "were repeatedly held in June and July 2002 without permission from and agreement with the local authorities."  Ukrainian law requires permission for public religious events.  KNS also reported that a criminal case has been lodged against the church.  At a recent hearing a government psychiatrist and other witnesses testified that the congregation's religious rituals caused some members of the community "psychological disorders" and damaged their health.