Religion Today Summaries - June 21, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 21, 2006

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

  • New Episcopal Head Says Homosexuality Not a Sin

  • State to Take Over EMI Institutions in Rajasthan, India

  • Russian Ministries’ Summer Camps Prove the Power of the Gospel

  • Study: House Church Participation Rises in America

New Episcopal Head Says Homosexuality Not a Sin

The newly elected leader of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. said Monday that she believes homosexuality is not a sin and that homosexuals were created by God “with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender.” Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada, who on Sunday was chosen as the first female presiding bishop for the Episcopal Church, was asked if it was a sin to be homosexual. "I don't believe so," she said following her election, according to Reuters. When asked how she reconciled her position on homosexuality with specific biblical passages, Jefferts Schori said the Bible was written in a very different historical context by people asking different questions. Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who is recognized as "first among equals" of all Anglican primates, released a brief statement Monday "greeting" Jefferts Schori as the new Episcopal head, and noted that her election "will undoubtedly have an impact on the collegial life of the Anglican Primates" and bring “into focus some continuing issues in several of our ecumenical dialogues."

State to Take Over EMI Institutions in Rajasthan, India

The Rajasthan government last Wednesday (June 14) announced plans to take over five institutions operated by Emmanuel Mission International (EMI). The organization leads a native church movement that serves more than 10,000 children through the humanitarian and educational work of Emmanuel Anath Ashram (Orphanage), Emmanuel School Society, Emmanuel Chikitsalaya (Hospital) Samiti, Emmanuel Believers Fellowship and Emmanuel Bible Institute Samiti. EMI attorney Mohammed Akram said the state High Court on Tuesday (June 13) dismissed five writ petitions filed by EMI challenging the Registrar of Societies’ decision earlier this year to revoke registration for these institutions. “The state social welfare minister, Madan Dilawar, has said the state government will take over all five institutions,” Akram told Compass Direct.

Russian Ministries' Summer Camps Prove the Power of the Gospel

It’s one week of summer camp, but ASSIST News Service reports that for Ruslan and Sasha, it was a week that changed their lives. This month in Sevastopol (Ukraine), young Next Generation Christians are eagerly welcoming children as they arrive for a week of summer camp, reports Anita Deyneka of Russian Ministries. She writes: "The camp staff has been intentional about whom they invite -- children from large families, orphans and children from immigrant Muslim families. Some of these children have more physical needs than others; but all of them need to discover God’s love and learn from His Word." "Ruslan grew up in a Muslim family, and during camp he learned about Christ. The last day of camp, Ruslan said a simple, “Thanks to Jesus.” The first thing the camp staff noticed about Sasha was his sadness, as he withdrew from the other campers. "One of the counselors began to spend time with Sasha, talking to him about God’s care and love, and about Christ’s free gift of salvation. Sasha was amazed; no one had ever given him anything for free. The sadness that clung to Sasha fell away, and was replaced by the joy of Christ.

Study: House Church Participation Rises in America

House church participation has increased rapidly in the past decade, according to a new Barna study. The Christian Post reports the recent survey revealed millions of American adults are trying out new forms of spiritual community and worship. Many are alternating between house churches and conventional churches. Nine percent of 5,000 adults from across the nation attend a house church during a typical week, which is a significant growth from one percent 10 years ago. "The traditional ways of thinking about and experiencing ‘church’ are rapidly being revolutionized by a form of ‘religious choice’ in which people are taking greater personal responsibility for their spiritual experience and development," the Barna study said.