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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 30, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 30, 2009

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

  • Lutheran Conservatives Delay Decision to Leave ELCA
  • Indonesian Church Wins Legal Battle for Worship Building
  • Pope: Fall of Communism Proved Man Needs God
  • Samaritan's Purse Launches Operation 'Give Christmas Away'

Lutheran Conservatives Delay Decision to Leave ELCA 

Religion News Service reports that conservatives Lutherans will not leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for at least a year, despite the denomination's decision to allow non-celibate gay clergy. Conservatives meeting in Indianapolis this weekend voted instead to create a free-standing synod and study for a year whether to leave the denomination. "Basically, what we're saying is that a year from now, we're going to have a proposal of some form," said the Rev. David Baer of Whitewood, S.D., a member of Lutheran CORE, which hosted the meeting of 1,200 conservatives last weekend. The group approved a constitution for CORE and asked a steering committee to return in a year with recommendations on whether to leave the ELCA, merge with another Lutheran denomination, or start their own.

Indonesian Church Wins Legal Battle for Worship Building

Compass Direct News reports that Christians have won a court battle restoring the right to worship in their building in Depok City, West Java. Depok Mayor Nur Mahmudi Ismail had revoked the building permit for a multipurpose building and house of worship for Gereja Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) church in March, when Muslims protested the construction. A Bandung court rescinded his order on Sept. 17, paving the way for congregants to resume worship there. Head Judge A. Syaifullah read the decision of the three-judge panel, which found the mayor's reasoning for canceling the building permit inadequate. "These objections by the local residents should have been raised when the building permit was going through the approval process, not protesting afterwards," said Syaifullah. "In this case, the revocation of the building permit was based upon the objections of one group in the community without considering those from the church," he said.

Pope: Fall of Communism Proved Man Needs God

Ending his first trip to the Czech Republic, Pope Benedict XVI declared Monday that communism's end was "proof that God cannot be excluded from public life," Reuters reports. The country celebrated the 20th anniversary of Velvet Revolution, which ended decades of communist rule, during the pope's visit. The pope reminded the crowd of 50,000 young people "of powerful figures who had apparently risen to almost unattainable heights" but suddenly "found themselves stripped of their power." Speaking on St. Wenceslas's feast day, a national holiday, he continued, "Today there is a need for believers with credibility, who are ready to spread in every area of society the Christian principles and ideals by which their action is inspired." The country has one of the lowest proportions of religious people in the world, according to Reuters.

Samaritan's Purse Launches Operation 'Give Christmas Away'

Christian Today reports that Christmas charities are already ramping up efforts for this year. Operation Christmas Child, sponsored by Samaritan's Purse, has launched an awareness campaign reminding Christians that the recession exists overseas as well. "Circumstances are worrying for many people in this country right now, but it is an awful lot worse for the vulnerable children and families we work with overseas," says Simon Barrington, executive director of Samaritan's Purse UK. "Many have seen their conditions worsen as a result of the global recession. These are the very people that we should be showing compassion to right now." The group is encouraging Christians to "give Christmas away" by filling a Christmas shoebox for a child overseas, and participate in their Facebook group to share ideas on ministry at home. National collection week is November 16-23.