Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 19, 2010

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 19, 2010

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

  • Iran Releases Pastor's Wife, Husband Still Faces Execution
  • Top 400 Charities See Billions Less in Donations
  • Church in Indonesia Forced to Accept Terms of Islamists
  • Chilean Archbishop Booted from Top Anglican Panel

Iran Releases Pastor's Wife, Husband Still Faces Execution

An Iranian pastor still faces execution after his wife was released Oct. 11, according to Worthy News. Fatemeh Passandideh, the wife of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, was imprisoned for four months. "The release of Fatemeh Passandideh comes ten days after the announcement of the death sentence for her husbandPastor Youcef Nadarkhani," said an official with the Church of Iran, speaking on conditions of anonymity amid security concerns. Nadarkhani was convicted of apostasy - leaving Islam - by the 11th Chamber of the Assize Court of the province of Gilan last month after being imprisoned for almost a year. The Islamic Revolution in 1979 unleashed waves of persecution on the country's Christians, who face routine crackdowns on religious minorities.

Top 400 Charities See Billions Less in Donations

The Associated Press reports that the recession might be officially over, but the belt-tightening is certainly not over for charities. The Philanthropy 400 report, released yesterday, accounts for $68.6 billion in charitable contributions. "It shows that charities are really having a tough time, and this is some of the most successful charities in the United States," Chronicle Editor Stacy Palmer said. "Usually bigger charities are more resilient, so that's the part that is still surprising." The United Way and Salvation Army continue to rank highest in giving in the survey's findings. Only four charities in the top 10 reported increased contributions over last year, including Alexandria, Va.-based Catholic Charities USA, which reported a 66 percent jump. For many, that growth has been driven by donated goods rather than cash.

Church in Indonesia Forced to Accept Terms of Islamists

An Indonesian church targeted by Muslim groups for more than two years was compelled to cease meeting in the pastor's home last week. Compass Direct News reports that the Sepatan Baptist Christian Church (GKB Sepatan) in Pisangan Jaya village, Sepatan, in Tangerang district, will no longer meet in the home of the Rev. Bedali Hulu but rather in the facilities of two other churches. In exchange, officials agreed to process a temporary worship permit that would presumably remove the pretext for Islamic protests against the church, but they refused to accept a deadline for doing so. Pastor Hulu argued at the Oct. 7 meeting with officials and Islamic groups that local government officials be given a three-month deadline for granting the temporary worship permit, but the officials insisted on a "flexible" time for issuing the permit.

Chilean Archbishop Booted from Top Anglican Panel

Chile's top Anglican bishop has become collateral damage in the border wars between the Episcopal Church and conservatives overseas, Religion News Service reports. Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile has been removed from an international commission that considers questions of faith and governance in the Anglican Communion, a network of 44 regional churches around the world. Zavala was ousted because his archbishop, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, refused to answer questions about his supervision of conservatives in four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and dozens of parishes. "These decisions are not taken easily or lightly, but relate to the gracious restraint requested (by Anglican leaders) ... and the implications for communion bodies when these requests are not honored," said The Rev. Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the communion.