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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 6, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 6, 2006

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

  • German Protestants Welcome the Pope
  • Iran Releases Jailed Convert to Christianity
  • Seven Christians in India Arrested for ‘Concealing Identity’
  • Volunteers Needed in New Orleans

German Protestants Welcome the Pope

Protestant leaders in Germany are looking forward to the Pope’s visit to his homeland of Bavaria, September 9 – 14. ASSIST News Service reports there is no need for “confessional envy”, according to the leading Bishop of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, Johannes Friedrich. He expects the media to focus more on the church and the Christian faith during the pontiff’s visit. Commented the Lutheran leader: “There is more that unites us than separates us.” Catholics number 25.9 million in Germany, and have a slight edge over the 25.6 million Protestants. One of the unsolved ecumenical problems is the refusal of the Roman Catholic Church to allow Protestant partners of Catholics to partake in the Holy Eucharist. Friedrich hopes that the Pope will encourage the German Bishops Conference to make special allowances for mixed marriages. Evangelicals are also hopeful that the broad media attention for the German Pope will boost interest in the Christian faith in general.

Iran Releases Jailed Convert to Christianity

One month after ordering his arrest, Iranian court authorities in the northern city of Rasht have released Christian convert Issa Motamedi Mojdehi, declaring the former Muslim “free for the moment.” Compass Direct News reports Motamedi Mojdehi was granted bail August 24 on the basis of a written guarantee from a fellow Christian, who signed over his personal work charter to a revolutionary court in order to obtain the prisoner’s release. Although the initial drug charges that were the pretext for Motamedi Mojdehi’s arrest remain in his legal file, the judge introduced new accusations against him at his August 24 hearing. According to unnamed “confidential witnesses,” the judge said, the convert’s 8-year-old daughter Martha allegedly had been trying to lead other children to the Christian faith.

Seven Christians in India Arrested for ‘Concealing Identity’

A court in Jammu and Kashmir state granted bail to two pastors and five Bible students who had been detained by police on charges of “concealing identity” and “forced conversion.” Pastor P.R. Anthony, pastor Reji K. Sunny and five Bible students – Umesh Kumar, Tarsan Chand, Samuel Masih, Kamal Jeet and Baldev Raj – were detained by Kathua district police on the afternoon of August 31. Compass Direct News reports the seven Christians were released on bail and are to appear in court on September 16. A local Christian leader requesting anonymity said that as soon as the Christians came out of the police station, a group of Hindu extremists took their photographs.

Volunteers Needed in New Orleans

According to Operation Blessing (OBI), since September 2005, more than 7,521 volunteers have spent over 123,344 hours providing relief and recovery to residents in Katrina-devastated Louisiana. Housed at OBI’s command center in Slidell, volunteer teams are sent out daily to: serve meals from mobile kitchens, gut homes, remove debris, and plant mosquito-eating fish in abandoned pools. When 20-year-old Nick arrived in Slidell in March, he was not prepared for what he saw. “I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. I came here ready to work and ready to serve. And then when I saw... houses in the middle of the road, communities demolished, barges sitting right in the middle of the land… it’s just unreal. Getting to see people, hear their stories and be a part of their lives… that’s the best part for me.” A need still exists more than a year after the storm. Residents are still without homes, jobs, gas stations and grocery stores. OBI has committed to remain in New Orleans through July 2007 in order to meet ongoing needs. If volunteers bring a team of four or more to OBI’s command center in Slidell, OBI will provide all housing, meals, safety gear and tools free-of-charge! Those interested may contact the national volunteer coordinator at [email protected].