Religion Today Summaries - June 27, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 27, 2008

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

  • Iran: Couple Arrested, Beaten, Threatened
  • Typhoon Hits Philippines, Ministries
  • Guatemala: Bringing Hope to the Hungry
  • Lutherans Discuss Climate in Africa

Iran: Couple Arrest, Tortured, Threatened

According to Compass Direct News, security police officials in Tehran this month tortured a newly converted couple and threatened to put their 4-year-old daughter in an institution after arresting them for holding Bible studies and attending a house church. A Christian source in Iran said that 28-year-old Tina Rad was charged with “activities against the holy religion of Islam” for reading the Bible with Muslims in her home in east Tehran and trying to convert them. Officials charged her husband, 31-year-old Makan Arya, with “activities against national security” after seizing the couple from their home on June 3, forcing them to leave their 4-year-old daughter ill and unattended. Authorities kept them in an unknown jail for four days, which left them badly bruised from beatings, said the source. Rad was released on bail of US$30,000 bail, and her husband was freed on payment of US$20,000. According the source, Rad was warned that police may raise apostasy charges "next time."

Typhoon Hits Philippines, Ministries

According to Mission News Network, last weekend's typhoon in the Philippines has hampered Food for the Hungry's already-established ministries, but the organization is already bouncing back. FH's Sara Sywulka, director of relief programs, said, "The place where our offices are located have been without electricity. We know that a number of the communities with our child development program were directly affected. Some of the homes have been washed away. Others have lost their roofs or their flooring." Many areas have been unreachable with emergency assistance, but FH is reaching those it can with immediate relief such as food, water, and temporary shelter before rebuilding can begin. They'll be doing that by working through their existing church partners. More than 800 people are still missing since the weekend, and thousands have been displaced from their homes.

Guatemala: Bringing Hope to the Hungry

ASSIST News Service reports that half of all Guatemala's children younger than 5 -- more than 1 million boys and girls -- suffer from chronic malnutrition. Three-quarters of the country's population lives below the poverty line, and most cannot afford regular access to even the limited-quality health services available. "Many people in Guatemala, especially children, consistently suffer from a lack of adequate healthcare," said Michael J. Nyenhuis, president of Medical Assistance Programs (MAP) International. Through such a partnership with 21st Century Vitamins, MAP International is providing more than 114,000 vitamins each month for people in some of Guatemala's poorest areas. These supplements, which are primarily distributed to children through clinics operated by partner agency Operation Blessing, are part of MAP's overall health initiative to provide essential healthcare in Guatemala. According to the release, since 1999, MAP has shipped more than $130 million -- more than 332 tons -- in antibiotics, bandages, oral rehydration salts and other medicines and medical supplies to partner agencies working in Guatemala.

Lutherans Discuss Climate Change in Africa

The Christian Post reports that representatives to the global Lutheran World Federation conference will discuss climate change and its affects on Africa's tallest mountain this week, all under the conference title of “Melting Snow on Mount Kilimanjar A Witness of a Suffering Creation.” The six-day meeting in Tanzania follows a similar but ecumenical meeting in 2007, when Mt. Kenya's and Kilimanjaro’s melting ice caps were discussed. Christian leaders had expressed concerns about the detrimental effects of industrialization in developed countries on ecology, especially in Africa. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania – Africa’s second largest LWF member church and the world’s fourth largest Lutheran church – hosted the 2007 Mt. Kilimanjaro melting ice cap meeting and is hosting this year’s LWF Council meeting as well. The LWF council is the governing body that meets every 12 to 18 months between Assemblies. The Assembly is the LWF's highest governing body that meets every six years. The Lutheran church extends to 78 countries with over 68.3 million members.