Religion Today Summaries - May 29, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 29, 2009

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

  • Episcopal Leadership Ousts 61 Breakaway Clergy
  • Christianity Today to Close Four Publications, Lays Off 31
  • Pakistan-Taliban Fighting Creates 2.2 Million Refugees
  • Turkey: Malatya Murder Trial Fizzles without Cooperation

Episcopal Leadership Ousts 61 Breakaway Clergy

The Associated Press reports that the Episcopal Church has ousted 61 clergy who affiliate with the breakaway San Joaquin diocese. Bishop Jerry Lamb, who took over Episcopal leadership for the diocese in 2008 after most of the parishes broke away, said he had asked breakaway clergy to request release from their ordination vows. None of them recognized Lamb's leadership on the matter, instead following former Bishop John-David Schofield. Schofield led the San Joaquin to become the first diocese to break with the national church in 2007. According to Schofield, Anglican leaders across the globe still recognize him and other ousted San Joaquin as priests and deacons in good standing. "Clearly, the traditional understanding of what it means to be a member of this historic Communion has been tragically altered by this action," he said.

Christianity Today to Close Four Publications, Lays Off 31

Religion News Service reports that publishing powerhouse Christianity Today International (CTI) is shutting down four publications and laying off 31 workers. The ministry cited hard times in its industry. According to a plan announced May 22, two magazines will fold: Today's Christian Woman and the Campus Life College Guide, which targets Christian undergrads. CTI will also cease to publish Glimpses, a worship bulletin insert with stories from Christian history, and Church Office Today, a bi-monthly newsletter read by church administrators. The moves, which reduce CTI staff numbers by 22 percent to 108 employees, mark the latest attempt to cut costs at Carol Stream, Ill.-based CTI. In January, the organization shuttered two other magazines -- Marriage Partnership and Ignite Your Faith -- and sold a third, Today's Christian.

Pakistan-Taliban Fighting Creates 2.2 Million Refugees

Baptist Press reports that an estimated 2.2 million people have been driven from their homes by fighting in Pakistan's Swat Valley -- raising the specter of a humanitarian crisis rivaling the refugee exodus during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, relief workers on the ground in Pakistan say. On-site assessments and media reports on the needs of internally displaced people indicate a lack of food staples, cooking utensils, bedding and shelter, reported Francis Horton, who directs work in southern Asia for Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization. Though the vast majority of people fleeing the Valley and two adjoining districts are staying with relatives or renting a place to live, a sizeable percentage have been force to fall back on government camps.

Turkey: Malatya Murder Trial Fizzles without Cooperation

Compass Direct News reports that prosecutors’ efforts to tie the murderers of three Christians in Malatya, Turkey, to state-linked masterminds were set back on May 22 when the alleged ring-leader unexpectedly contradicted his previous testimony implicating a suspected “middleman.” Emre Gunaydin – whose previous private testimony led to the arrest of Huseyin Yelki, the suspected middleman – stood up and claimed Yelki was "not guilty." Gunaydin said he implicated Yelki because Yelki was a Christian missionary. Yelki testified during the court hearing that he had met Gunaydin only once prior to the murders. Gunaydin’s retraction raised suspicion among the judges that in recent months he has received visits in prison from those behind the murders who have pressured him to change his statement.