12 Days of Giveaways - Spin & Win! Sign up before Dec. 25th to win daily prizes and a $250 Amazon.com Gift Card. Find out details.

Religion Today Summaries - September 22, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 22, 2005

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

  • Gospel Concert Benefiting Hurricane Relief Airs Today

  • Churches Urged to Join Week of Prayer for North Korea - September 19-25

  • Los Angeles Home to Most Evangelicals

  • United Methodist Women's Groups Debate Differences

Gospel Concert Benefiting Hurricane Relief Airs Today
World Vision

The stories from the Gulf Coast region continue to tug at our hearts as families settle into shelters and temporary homes, and prepare themselves for coping with the challenges ahead. Please continue to pray for those struggling with loss, frustration, and fear. A special event taking place today will raise funds for Katrina recovery efforts. The Gospel and Christian Music industry have come together for "Gospel Angels: A Concert to Restore Hope," a concert benefiting victims of Hurricane Katrina. The concert will be hosted by CeCe Winans and will feature artists such as Third Day, BarlowGirl, Blind Boys of Alabama, Natalie Grant, George Huff, Israel & New Breed, Nicole C. Mullen, NewSong, and Aaron Shust. World Vision has been chosen as one of the organizations receiving proceeds from the concert. The event will be broadcast from 7- 9 p.m. ET/6-8 p.m. CT on the Gospel Music Channel, Paxson Communications Corporation's i (formerly PAX TV), the Worship Network and XM Radio (8-10 p.m. ET/7-9 p.m. CT). For more information check your local listings or visit www.worldvision.org/GospelAngels

Churches Urged to Join Week of Prayer for North Korea - September 19-25
Michael Ireland, Assist News Service

Churches and Christians around the world are being urged to remember the suffering people of North Korea during the Week of Prayer for North Korea running from 19-25 September, 2005. "The immensity of the need and the deep spiritual darkness in North Korea requires urgent and intense prayer by the Body of Christ," says Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas. Thomas says that North Korea is probably the most closed of all societies in the world today and its walls of isolation have very effectively blocked the population from hearing the Gospel. CSW is urging all Christians to pray for North Korea during the Week of Prayer. "We know of no country in which the state repression of Christianity is so thorough and violent," says Thomas. "We therefore strongly urge the Church to fervently pray until we see the forced imposition of idolatry and the violent suppression of faith fall, and the walls of darkness and repression crumble. Now is a pivotal time to pray and we urge all Christians to take to heart the injunction in Hebrews 13.3 to 'remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."

Los Angeles Home to Most Evangelicals
Baptist Press

Contrary to its stereotypical labels like "Godless Hollywood" and "Lost Angeles," Los Angeles is the metropolitan area with the greatest number of evangelical adults. Its one million faithful Christians are more than those in the New York, Chicago and Boston metropolitan areas combined, according to a study by The Barna Group. But George Barna was quick to put the statistics in perspective. "Keep in mind that the metropolitan L.A. market is huge; it contains more than 10 million adults," he said in an Aug. 23 news release. "Even though its percentage of Christians is below the national average, its population is so massive that it emerged as the largest accumulation of believers. However, looking at its aggregate score as a Christian place, L.A. is 13 percent below the national average. "It is not exactly a Christian commune," Barna added, "but like many metropolitan areas, Los Angeles has a significant remnant of believers who can exert tremendous, positive influence on their culture if they so choose." Barna's "Faith By Market" report also found that Little Rock, Ark., has the highest percentage of evangelicals with 22 percent. Of the 86 largest metro areas in the nation, those with the lowest portion of evangelicals were Salt Lake City, Utah; Hartford, Conn.; and Providence, R.I. (www.barna.org)

United Methodist Women's Groups Debate Differences
Agape Press

Two women's groups within the United Methodist Church -- one conservative, the other more liberal -- debated their differences on social and theological issues today (Wednesday) in an open forum in the nation's capital.  Faye Short, the president of the RENEW Network -- the theologically conservative UMC women's group -- calls the event "significant" in the life of the denomination because the other group invited to the table, the Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, is "one of the most influential and well-funded agencies" in the UMC.  The Women's Division oversees the program ministry of United Methodist Women (UMW).  Short says the objective of the public forum was to engage in "an intense discussion regarding the direction" the Women's Division has taken UMW.  She says one of her RENEW Network members claims to find no evidence, for example, that the Women's Division uses any funds to fulfill the Great Commission.  "In a broken world," says Short, "Christian mission without the gospel message is like putting a small Band-Aid on a massive hemorrhage."  Short adds that she hopes the debate on issues of disagreement between the two groups leads to "reform and reconciliation" within the Women's Division.