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Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 19, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 19, 2007

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

  • British Baptists Offer Historic Apology for Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • Bangladesh Cyclone to Prompt Aid Effort
  • Breakaway Presbyterians Seek Forgiveness
  • United Methodist Bishops Elect New Leader, Call for Iraq Withdrawal

British Baptists Offer Historic Apology for Transatlantic Slave Trade

ASSIST News Service reports that the Baptist Union Council of Great Britain (BUGB) has issued a statement of apology for its complicity in the transatlantic slave trade. The BUGB Council met this week with the slave trade as the main focus of its agenda. The three-day meeting concluded with a unanimous decision to formally apologize. Part of the statement read, “We acknowledge our share in and benefit from our nation's participation in the transatlantic slave trade. We offer our apology to God and to our brothers and sisters for all that has created and still perpetuates the hurt which originated from the horror of slavery.”

Bangladesh Cyclone to Prompt Aid Effort

Baptist Press reports that Cyclone Sidr struck the southern coast of Bangladesh Nov. 15 with 155 mph winds and gusts of up to 190 mph. A four-foot-tall tidal surge flattened bamboo and tin houses in 15 districts along the coast. Millions of people live in isolated fishing villages throughout the low-lying coastal terrain, which is extremely susceptible to storm surges. At least 60 percent of the trees in the area have been uprooted and debris on roads and in rivers will make it difficult to reach affected communities, the Associated Press reported. Baptist Global Response and Baptist partners in the region anticipate responding to human needs in the area once an assessment of the situation can be made, said Jim Brown, U.S. director for Baptist Global Response, a Southern Baptist international development and relief organization. "The immediate needs are likely to consist of food, water, temporary shelter and emergency medical needs," Brown said. "In the long term, sheltering will be an issue, as will the need for clean, potable water. Widespread flooding could spread waterborne diseases and raise serious sanitation concerns."

Breakaway Presbyterians Seek Forgiveness

The Christian Post reports that breakaway Presbyterians have asked for forgiveness from fellow believers who have not voted to split from the national church for distancing themselves during a period of "realignment." Congregations that disaffiliated from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) over the denomination’s liberal direction on Scripture and theology recently realigned with the newly inaugurated New Wineskins-Evangelical Presbyterian Church Presbytery. The breakaway groups acknowledged possible neglect toward congregations that have decided to remain in the denomination. "Those of us in the New Wineskins who have left the PC(USA) want to ask your forgiveness if we have been short with you, less than encouraging in our conversations, or down right neglectful of your needs and feelings. It has been a busy time for us," stated Randy Jenkins, moderator of the New Wineskins EPC Presbytery, in a letter addressed to members of the New Wineskins Association of Churches.

United Methodist Bishops Elect New Leader, Call for Iraq Withdrawal

OneNewsNow.com reports that bishops of the United Methodist Church have elected Iowa Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer, 53, to lead them, while also calling on the U.S. to begin an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Palmer will lead the Bishops of an 11 million-member church, the nation's second largest Protestant denomination. He will begin a two-year term as the council's president in May. "(Palmer) is widely respected across the council," said Stephen Drachler, a church spokesman. The troop withdrawal resolution also urges no permanent military bases in Iraq, increased support for military veterans and support for a reconstruction plan. President Bush is a member of the United Methodist Church.