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Religion Today Summaries - July 18, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 18, 2007

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

  • Luis Palau Draws 100,000 to Nebraska's Largest Festival Ever
  • Church Report Names America's 50 Most Influential Churches
  • Trucker Chapel a Beacon for Christ at Alabama Truck Stop
  • British Teen Loses Legal Battle over 'Purity Ring'

Luis Palau Draws 100,000 to Nebraska's Largest Festival Ever

The Christian Post reports that Omaha's Heartland Festival, sponsored by world-renowned Latin American evangelist Luis Palau, came to a close this past Sunday, having drawn an estimated 105,000 people from around the country. It was the largest outdoor festival ever in Nebraska’s history, with 275 churches from the area participating. Palau said, "It was a glorious celebration. The cooperation and unity of the churches, city officials, business and civic leaders was spectacular. We're confident that, with God's grace, the spirit of unity and purpose that was borne out of the festival will continue in the Heartland for years to come." The completely free event took two years of planning and a budget of $1.75 million to successfully complete.

Church Report Names America's 50 Most Influential Churches

The Church Report has again announced the year’s 50 Most Influential Churches in America. Each year, The Church Report works with Dr. John Vaughan and gathers input of pastors for their insight as to who is really influencing America's churches. This year’s list has several new churches while others have moved up or down. Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, Ill.), Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, Calif.), North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Fellowship Church (Grapevine, Texas) lead this years 50 Most Influential Churches list. New to the Top 10 churches are Granger Community Church (Granger, Ind.), Mars Hill Church (Seattle, Wash.) and Seacoast Church (Mt Pleasant, S.C.).

Trucker Chapel a Beacon for Christ at Alabama Truck Stop

Along Interstate 10 in south Alabama sits a chapel with a shape, size and design that reveal much about its ministry. Situated at exit 53 at Oasis Travel Center in Robertsdale is a trailer that no longer hauls refrigerated items but now serves as a place for emitting the warmth and light of Jesus Christ, Baptist Press reports. Called Exit 53 Chapel, this trailer is a church for truckers — the first of its kind for Southern Baptists in the state. The truck-stop chapel, a ministry of the Baldwin Baptist Association, "provides an opportunity for truckers to be able to worship in an atmosphere they feel comfortable in," said Rick Barnhart, associate director of missions for Baldwin Association. Chaplain David Blanton calls the travel center "one of the most pleasant truck stops (where) we've ever done a ministry."

British Teen Loses Legal Battle over 'Purity Ring'

According to The Independent, British teenager Lydia Playfoot this week lost her High Court challenge over a ban preventing her from wearing a Christian "purity ring". Playfoot, 16, claimed the Millais School caused an "unlawful interference" with her right to express her Christian faith. In a statement she said she was "very disappointed by the decision this morning by the High Court not to allow me to wear my purity ring to school as an expression of my Christian faith not to have sex outside of marriage." Playfoot's lawyers claimed that her school, which allows Muslim and Sikh students to wear headscarfs and religious bracelets, breached her human rights. The school argued that the purity ring is not an integral part of the Christian faith and contravenes its uniform policy. Playfoot believes the ruling "will mean that slowly, over time, people such as school governors, employers, political organisations and others will be allowed to stop Christians from publicly expressing and practising their faith."