Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2006

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

In today's edition:

  • Living Water International Has Saved Thousands as Drought Grips East Africa
  • Vicar Refuses to Forgive, Steps Down at Parish
  • Africans Need African Theology
  • Book of Hope Leads Children's Ministries in Historic "Hope Rwanda"

Living Water International Has Saved Thousands as Drought Grips East Africa

3.5 million people in East Africa are facing a recurring challenge. What little rain they've received hasn't been enough. Water wells are a commodity saving lives both physically and spiritually. President of Living Water International Jerry Wiles says that's because it's happening at one of the wells they provided to serve 15,000 people. Wiles says, "There are now 35,000 people surviving off this one well. Most of the other wells in that region have gone dry. And, a missionary in that area told us that if it were not for that one well there would probably 35,000 dead people." What's even more exciting is that the well has been the focal point for evangelism. "The chief of the village in that area that really has been trained and came to the Lord, has taken a leadership role, and they estimate the majority of the people that are living off that well have come to Christ." Living Water is working in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia and 18 other countries. He says the need for water is great as there are 1.1 billion people with unsafe drinking water. "We have probably 10 times more requests than we have resources to respond to." That's why Living Water is asking for your help. "We're continuing to mobilize prayer and people and resources. We're doing trips. We have a lot of people who actually go and drill a well, or be involved in sanitation and hygiene training as well as sharing the Gospel. It's a great way to demonstrate the love of Christ before you bring a proclamation."

Vicar Refuses to Forgive, Steps Down at Parish

A female vicar whose daughter was killed in the London suicide bombings last year has stepped down from her parish role, saying she cannot and does not want to forgive the killers. The Rev. Julie Nicholson said she made the difficult decision after her 24-year-old daughter, Jenny, died in the July 7 bombings on the underground transport network. She said she could not reconcile her faith with the feelings of hatred she has toward the killers. "I rage that a human being could choose to take another human being's life," she told a regional British Broadcasting Corp. show. "I rage that someone should do this in the name of a god. I find that utterly offensive. "Can I forgive them for what they did? No, I cannot. And I don't wish to. I believe that there are some things in life which are unforgivable by the human spirit." Mrs. Nicholson was the vicar at St. Aidan in Bristol, western England. The city's bishop, Michael Hill, said he fully understood her decision and praised her honesty. "Julie hasn't lost her faith and I would say that she hasn't lost hope, but I would say that understandably she doesn't want to be... standing behind the altar and serving the Eucharist or preaching a sermon," he said. Instead, Mrs. Nicholson will work with a community youth arts group, something that was important to her daughter. The 52-year-old Nicholson, who has two other children, has been on compassionate leave from work ever since the attacks. She was ordained a vicar in 2000.

Africans Need African Theology

According to Joe Kapolyo, a theologian from Zambia, many of his African colleagues simply copy Western theology, which is influenced by rationalism. As such, it fails to address specific African needs, Kapolyo said in his keynote address at the annual meeting of the German Association of Evangelical Missions (AEM) near Frankfurt. A truly African theology must deal with subjects like poverty, tribalism, corruption, sexuality, and spiritism, he said. Confrontation with the spirit world is a central element in African thinking. Western theology, on the other hand, regards demons as superstitious trash, said Kapolyo, although Jesus Christ himself drove out demons. During the last five years Kapolyo has been rector of All Nations Christian College in London. Later this year he will become pastor of an international church in the British capital. Despite its fast growth in Africa, Christianity has not succeeded in penetrating African culture, said Kapolyo. In many instances Africans have only been touched superficially, and often mix the Christian faith with paganism: They are good Christians during the day and consult the witch doctor at night. This can lead to grotesque situations.

Book of Hope Leads Children's Ministries in Historic "Hope Rwanda"

Book of Hope, in connection with dozens of ministries, musicians, businesses, and humanitarian and para-church organizations from around the world, will lead the effort to bring children and youth in Rwanda new hope as a part of "Hope Rwanda:  100 Days of Hope." The international Christian relief effort coincides with the dates of Rwanda's 100 days of genocide April 7 - July 15, 1994. In an effort to combat the horror of those 100 days, Hope Rwanda will flood the country with all kinds of humanitarian care. Book of Hope will send volunteer teams to each of the nearly 2900 schools in the country, seeking to meet every child, and distribute two million Book of Hope Scripture books to those children. Each distribution event features a dynamic, hour-long presentation that includes drama, music and personal testimonies. At the end of each week, every student will be invited to a citywide celebration event called Hopefest that will bring the message of Jesus to children and their families in an exciting festival setting. "The president of Rwanda has given his approval and blessing for all of our programs," said Rob Hoskins, executive director of Book of Hope. Part of Book of Hope's outreach will be the showing of the organization's new full-length animated feature version of the Book of Hope called The GodMan.