Religion Today Summaries - September 27, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 27, 2004

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

  • Canadian Reconciliation Meetings Heals 245 Years of Estrangement

  • China: Gospel Spread through Children's Home

  • Arizona Diocese Facing Financial Crisis

  • Mexico: Evangelical Refugees Demand Justice

Canadian Reconciliation Meetings Heals 245 Years of Estrangement
Charisma News Service

Ministry leaders and intercessors from across Canada gathered in Quebec City in July to witness a dramatic, teary reconciliation between French-Canadian Christians and Christians from France after 245 years of estrangement. The reconciliation quickly became a love-in between the two French groups.  David Demian, director of Watchmen for the Nations stated, "I had to visit France for other ministry work, but the Lord told me then to invite French church leaders over here for our reconciliation meetings." Watchmen for the Nations is a group of 500 Canadian church leaders committed to prayer and reconciliation in Canada and around the globe. The reconciliation included a reconstruction of historical events; French church leaders arrived on a ferryboat to symbolically represent a return to Quebec City's harbor, where French-Canadians welcomed them with open arms. After a teary reunion, they traveled to the Plains of Abraham, site of the 1759 French-British battle. There the French repented for abandoning the French-Canadians and made a commitment to stand with the French-Canadian church. The French-Canadians then expressed their forgiveness toward France. Church leaders from English Canada also committed to stand with France to see the growth of the church in French Canada. Seed was planted in the ground to symbolize healing and growth in relationships, and communion was later held. The Homecoming was part of an ongoing series of reconciliation gatherings that Watchmen for the Nations has held since 1995. (

China: Gospel Spread through Children's Home
Christian Aid

In the face of an apparent communist crackdown on "illegal" religious groups in recent months, the gospel has not ceased to be preached in China by even the youngest voices. A children's home helped by Christian Aid is currently caring for 31 abandoned boys and girls. They came to the home from a variety of backgrounds-some are orphaned, some have been abused, and some have a single parent or parents in prison who cannot support them. At the home, children receive education, food and clothing, as well as genuine teaching of the Scriptures. Directors of the home report that all 31 boys and girls have accepted Christ as Saviour. Before coming to the home, neglected and left to their own devices for survival, they had no respect for authority and no sense of self-discipline. Their hearts and habits are greatly changed at the home, where they learn to study, be polite and help in household chores. The good work of the children's home continues despite renewed efforts by the communist government to monitor religious activity, particularly Christian. Please pray for the safety of believers in China and for the continued effectiveness of ministries such as the children's home in the face of communist persecution.

Arizona Diocese Facing Financial Crisis

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson reports that the Arizona diocese is facing a financial crisis. Earlier this week it filed for bankruptcy after numerous clergy abuse claims. In an interview with Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, Bishop Gerald Kicanas said the diocese is unable to pay all these plaintiffs. The bishop says every effort should be made to try to compensate victims and seek their forgiveness, but "sometimes the expectations of those who have been hurt are far beyond the assets or ability of the church to respond to what they feel is needed." Kicanas claims applying for court relief from its financial burdens is the best way for the diocese to help the victims heal and continue the work of the church. But attorney Lynne Cardigan, who is representing the abuse victims, says filing bankruptcy only "re-victimizes the victims and makes them look like the predators." Meanwhile, she adds, "It delays their lawsuit and it further prolongs their agony." The bankruptcy lawyer for the Diocese of Tucson says the plaintiffs will be paid through a special financial pool that will include $3.2 million from the diocese itself; but Cardigan says the victims may never see that money, and the diocese was wrong to file for bankruptcy protection.

Mexico : Evangelical Refugees Demand Justice
Elisabeth Isais, Compass Direct

Fourteen refugee families from the community of 20 de Noviembre in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, Mexico, have been leading a precarious existence in the corridors of the municipal headquarters building since the end of August, trying to draw public attention to their plight. Seven of the families were expelled from the 20 de Noviembre community five months ago for practicing their evangelical Christian faith; the other seven were driven out 18 months ago. They are asking Chiapas governor Pablo Salazar to intervene to guarantee their safe return to 20 de Noviembre. In another incident, a group of 56 evangelical Huichol Indians from Jalisco who were ordered to leave temporary quarters in Tenzompa, Huejuquilla, El Alto, by the end of June, have had their eviction order postponed until December 30. The Huichols were originally expelled from their homes in Mezquitic two years ago and took temporary refuge in Tenzompa. Religious intolerance has been severe in both areas.