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Religion Today Summaries - March 2, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 2, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.


In today's edition:


'Institue of Campus Revival and Awakening' Set for Yale University

Nationalist Hindus Urge State: Fight “Terrorism” of Christian Evangelization

Ministry Work Remains Strong in Iraq despite Violence

Resurrecting the Spirit of Easter to Help the Homeless


'Institue of Campus Revival and Awakening' Set for Yale University


An institute to help college campus ministry leaders understand revival and awakening - and to help bring revival to their own campuses - has been scheduled for June 21-28 at Yale University. "The Institute of Campus Revival and Awakening" is sponsored by Collegiate Impact, Campus Renewal Ministries and The Center for World Revival and Awakening. "The institute will focus on spiritual breakthroughs of the past, as well as current issues, to prepare and equip participants for campus transformation in the present," said Dave Warn, founder and director of Collegiate Impact. The institute, limited to 70 participants, is designed for full-time leaders of denominational and parachurch campus ministries, such as Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, The Navigators, The Christian Union, Baptist Student Union, Reformed University Fellowship and Chi Alpha.  Campus ministry leaders of Christian universities and colleges also are among likely attendees. Topics to be explored include America's four "Great Awakenings;” the theological, historical and practical underpinnings of revival and awakening; campus revival in relation to intellectualism and anti-intellectual; postmodernism: help or hindrance; and more. The institute is being held at Yale because many Ivy League schools were founded on Christian principles, with an expressed Christian mission.



Hindus Urge State: Fight “Terrorism” of Christian Evangelization


The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary movement of nationalist, Hindu youth is “worried” about the “terrorism and anti-national activities” taking place in Kerala, which “are on the increase because of policies to protect minorities.” The accusation is leveled at the Christian minority: the southern state of Kerala has the highest percentage of Christians in India and its chief minister is a Christian despite the fact that the provincial government has a Hindu majority. The RSS statement was made by Mohan Bhagwat, RSS secretary-general, as he was presenting the annual report of the movement’s activities for the year 2005-2006. While presenting the report to the press, the secretary called on the government to stop “appeasement measures which make the burden of minorities in India heavier.” He reiterated his accusations against Christian missionaries, “who must give an account of the money they have and which is supplied them by overseas groups who want the fragmentation of the country.” Interviewed by AsiaNews, John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union, said: “The vocabulary of these leaders is simplistic -- every opponent of their cultural ideology of hindutva hegemony and their political ideology of myopic hyper-nationalism is either a terrorist or a conspirator… Year, after year, the RSS annual report never ceases to amaze me… Their annual report is no other than a series of proclamations by a group of powerful caste leaders, who control a paramilitary group and its organization with a system of religious allegiance, coercion and pure terror.”


Ministry Work Remains Strong in Iraq despite Violence


The oldest on-going ministry to persecuted Christians is still meeting the demands of spiritual hunger in Iraq despite the nation’s escalating violence, the Christian Post reports. Being one of the few Christian literature distributors in the Islamic state, Open Doors International remains committed to fully run its ministry operations in the war-torn country. "At the moment, we are the biggest distributor of Christian literature in the country," said the field coordinator for the 50-year-old non-profit organization. Working with churches and Christians in Iraq, Open Doors is going through creative channels to provide Bibles and Christian books and materials to the Iraqi believers. Local workers have been able to set up 12 libraries in 12 different churches for children and adults. Last month, six churches were bombed, killing three and wounding 22. Nevertheless, the body of Christ is becoming stronger in the face of persecution with believers uniting to form a solid platform. "The leaders of the various churches are still working on forming an evangelical alliance," said Open Doors’ coordinator for Iraq. “They have almost finished the process. Creating such a platform will help the Church to remain strong, forming one fist in this country." Open Doors works with Iraqi Christians to empower the local church and provide necessary materials. On Mar. 1, the ministry will be releasing its annual World Watch List on the top 50 persecuting nations.


Resurrecting the Spirit of Easter to Help the Homeless


The Appreciate Network — the nation's first gift & design enterprise that employs and trains homeless youth — and the Reciprocity Foundation – an innovative nonprofit that implements sustainable solutions to youth homelessness — are launching two new programs to coincide with the Easter holidays. On March 15th, 2006, the Appreciate Network will begin selling Resurrection Easter gift baskets filled with preserves, chocolate, coffee and cookies made by Christian communities. The gift basket will also include the book Seasons of Thanks — a book filled with stories about religious and secular holidays alongside blessings and prayers. The proceeds from every basket will fund job training and life-skills programs for homeless youth run by the Reciprocity Foundation in collaboration with leading youth homeless shelters. Co-founder Taz Tagore said, "Christian holidays, in particular Easter, is a time to remember our tremendous gifts and to share them with those in need."  Gift-givers can place their orders online at www.appreciate.org or by calling 347.546.2670 and have them shipped anywhere in the US. The Reciprocity Foundation will also be launching free Spirit in Action workshops at local churches, community centers and nonprofit organizations across the country to discuss new models for sacred service, case studies from the Reciprocity Foundation's innovative programs for homeless youth and the emergence of social enterprise to encourage ethical consumption in America. Adam Bucko, the organization's co-founder said, "Service that is rooted in love and compassion has the power to alleviate homelessness and poverty in this country."