Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 21, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 21, 2009

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

  • Pope Approves Plan to Bring Anglicans into the Fold
  • S.C. Diocese Will Not Cut Ties with Episcopal Church
  • LifeWay Special Needs Ministry Turns 30
  • Open Doors Working to Defeat 'Defamation of Religions'

Pope Approves Plan to Bring Anglicans into the Fold

The Associated Press reports that the Vatican has opened the door for a parallel church of conservative Anglicans who want to convert to Catholicism. On Tuesday Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican's chief doctrinal official, said the decision will allow for married priests and unique liturgical traditions. In the past, such exemptions have been offered more on a case by case basis, not en masse. The spiritual head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, said the decision was not tied to a growing split in the Anglican Church. "It has no negative impact on the relations of the communion as a whole to the Roman Catholic church as a whole," he said in London. Conservatives in the Anglican Church have spoken out against the election women and gay bishops. The Anglican and Roman churches split in 1534.

S.C. Diocese Will Not Cut Ties with Episcopal Church

The Christian Post reports that the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina may withdraw from select parts of The Episcopal Church, but will ultimately stay with the denomination. "While I have no immediate solution to the challenges we face - it is certainly neither a hasty departure nor a paralyzed passivity I counsel," South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence stated in a letter to clergy. "Either of these I believe, regardless of what godly wisdom they may be for others, would be for us a false peace and a "fatal security" which in time (and brief at that) would only betray us." Diocesan leaders will meet this weekend for a special convention to determine the diocese's future. Lawrence said The Episcopal Church itself is not the problem; rather, "it is those who have cloaked it with so many strands of false doctrine."

Open Doors Working to Defeat 'Defamation of Religions'

Open Doors USA hopes to see the UN Defamation of Religions resolution defeated this year, ending its slow ratification. The resolution seeks to criminalize words or actions that are deemed to be against a particular religion, namely Islam, hampering religious freedom for non-Muslims. "Many Christians living in these countries are already severely impacted by restrictive laws - especially those living under strict Shariah law," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. "From the right to worship freely to the ability to share the Gospel, the Defamation of Religions Resolution threatens to justify local laws that already marginalize Christians." The group plans to lobby key countries in preparation of the resolution's reintroduction in November or December.

LifeWay Special Needs Ministry Turns 30

Baptist Press reports that LifeWay Christian Resources is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its first publication of Sunday School lessons for special needs learners. Prior to the Lifeway publications in the late 1970s, such resources were scarce. "The thread of neediness and disabilities runs throughout Scripture," Gene Nabi said as he reflected on LifeWay's 30-year-old decision to create resources for the special needs community. Nabi, who is now retired, served as LifeWay's second special needs ministry consultant. "Parents have a desperate need as to what kind of spiritual nurture can be given to their children." Lifeway began with Sunday School materials for special needs children, and came out with a version for adults 10 years later. The group also provides modified versions of its regular curriculum to help integrate special needs students into regular classrooms.