Religion Today Summaries - July 6, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 6, 2006

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

  • Protestant Leader: Religion is Important for World Peace
  • Sending 22,000 Youths to Change the World, Change Themselves
  • Cuban Cardinal Says Religious Repression Diminishing Slowly
  • Churches Prepare for Next Disaster with Lessons Learned

Protestant Leader: Religion is Important for World Peace

Bishop Wolfgang Huber, leader of the mainline Protestant Churches in Germany, has emphasized the importance of religious liberty for world peace, ASSIST News Service reports. Speaking at the international Summit of Religious Leaders in Moscow, July 4, Huber said a peaceful coexistence of people with different convictions is what the world needs most. Religious freedom includes the respect for religious convictions, feelings and practices, said Huber at the meeting of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist leaders from 40 countries. But this respect cannot be promoted in an atmosphere of hate and violence. What is needed is a process in which Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and other religions get to know each other better, instead of judging each other too quickly, said Huber.

Sending 22,000 Youths to Change the World, Change Themselves

World Changers has the commitment of 22,000 young volunteers to work on 92 missions projects around the world with many already spending their summer vacation serving the community, says a story in The Christian Post. Sponsored by the North American Mission Board, World Changers is dispatching one of the highest number of youths it ever has to 87 cities this summer for community service work involving house reconstruction as well as Bible clubs for children and sports and handicapped ministries. "The reason World Changers has been so successful over 17 years - and the reason God has blessed its - is because we have been laser-focused on trying to transform the lives of students," said John W. Bailey, World Changers' coordinator for NAMB. "This is the only way to change the world - to challenge the kids to go beyond their comfort zones, cross barriers and make a difference."

Cuban Cardinal Says Religious Repression Diminishing Slowly

Catholic News Service says it's been a slow process, but "religious repression has been diminishing little by little" in Cuba, said Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana. Starting in the 1980s "there was an evolution on the part of the government" increasing church-state communication and "the tension began to diminish," the cardinal said in an interview with The Tidings. The limits placed by the communist government on the church now do not involve being able to worship, but they do involve not being able to have Catholic schools or teach religion in public schools, he said. There is also limited access to the state-controlled media, but, the cardinal said, "slowly we are achieving more."

Churches Prepare for Next Disaster with Lessons Learned

When hurricanes Katrina and Rita swamped the Gulf Coast last year, Texas churches wanted to help, but they didn't know how, and as a result many beds and meals they prepared went usused. Now, The Christian Post reports, religious leaders acknowledge their response wasn't well-organized. This hurricane season, they'll be ready. "I really sense that right now we are more adequately prepared than we would have been last year," said Milfred Minatrea, disaster response coordinator for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. "We have systems in place that are more effective in allowing our churches to respond than we did a year ago." The 2.5 million-member denomination has assigned field people to coordinate with all 254 county judges in Texas, and has set up designated shelters along potential evacuation routes. In the last 15 months, $5.9 million was collected in Texas Baptist churches to assist the denomination's disaster response, Minatrea said.