Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Christian Groups Encourage Believers to Pray for Muslims
The ministries Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and Christian Direction are challenging Christian individuals and churches to pray for Muslims around the world during the month of Ramadan, AgapePress reports. The "30 Days Muslim Prayer Focus," which coincides each year with the Islamic holy month of fasting, runs from September 24 through October 23 this year. During this time, YWAM and Christian Direction are calling upon Christians worldwide to make a concerted and respectful effort to learn about, pray for and reach out to Muslim neighbors -- those in their own communities as well as those elsewhere around the world. The sponsoring organizations are offering participants an illustrated booklet that provides information about the Muslim world and what God is doing there and that gives daily readings, prayer pointers, and other information.
Calif. Diocese Seeks to Sever Ties with Episcopal Church
The Christian Post reports a California diocese is considering proposed amendments to its constitution to transfer communion from the Episcopal Church to an Anglican Province in the wake of homosexual divisions. The Diocese of San Joaquin postponed its annual convention to Dec. 1-2 as it intends to remain in good standing with the worldwide Anglican Communion amid recent Episcopal actions over homosexuality that have wracked the church. Currently, eight dioceses have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for alternative primatial oversight, rejecting the leadership of Katharine Jefferts Schori, who will be installed Nov. 4 as Bishop.
Church and Muslims Leaders in the Philippines Express Joint Concern
Catholic bishops, protestant bishops, pastors and Muslim ulama (religious leaders) expressed dismay and concern over the impasse in the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro rebels in the Philippines, ASSIST News Service reports. In a statement issued by the Bishops-Ulama Conference, which is composed of 23 Catholic bishops, 18 Protestant bishops and pastors, and 24 Muslim Ulama members, the religious leaders urged the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front "to return as soon as possible to the negotiating table and resume talks through peaceful and respectful dialogue." "It is our firm belief that dialogue, however long and tedious, is the only human and humane way of resolving human issues and problems," the statement said. Meanwhile, to dispel speculation that the Mindanao peace talks have reached a dead-end, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has directed the government panel chaired by Silvestre Afable Jr. to explore options to break the impasse in the negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Holy Land in U.S. Entertains, Informs
An exhibit titled "From Abraham to Jesus" kicked off a U.S. tour September 15 in Atlanta, Georgia. AgapePress reports it will appear in 28 cities before concluding at The Meadowlands, New Jersey, in December 2008. The exhibit features more than 350 sacred texts and artifacts from the Holy Land, the largest collection ever displayed in the U.S. It is a high-tech experience, using thematic sets, digital surround sound, photo murals, state-of-the art lighting and narration, and an original musical score. The multimedia approach provides an entertaining and informative look at 2,500 years of Biblical history. "So few people get to go to the Holy Land," said Cary Summers, president of Way Makers, one of several international partners sponsoring the tour. "The whole world is focused on Israel now. We've found there is a great deal of interest not only in Israel, but also in the country's history and artifacts." Other sponsors include the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archeology. Included in the exhibit are the Isaiah Scroll (one of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the ossuary (or bone box) archaeologists believe held the remains of a son of Simon the Cyrene, who carried Jesus' cross. Original Holy Land art by America's Thomas Kinkade will also be featured.