Following the massive April 22 railroad disaster in North Korea, the
Adventist Development and Relief Agency, - ADRA, is implementing a
Joint relief project with the World Health Organization, -WHO to bring
aid and basic medical supplies to those affected by the train blast in
the city of Ryongchon. Frank Teeuwen, ADRA’s bureau chief for disaster
Preparedness and response comments:
<Adra was alerted on Friday morning that a train accident did take place in the north, a couple of hours away from the china bor der. Because of our partnership with WHO we were asked to provide transportation for the medical kit that WHO had allocated to the hospitals in the effected area. >
Frank Teeuwen explains ADRA’s presence in North Korea.
<ADRA is one of the few NGO – Non Government- Organization, that have the status of a registred presence there. Which means that we function under the government. What is important here that ADRA could respond so quickly within 24 hours is because we have relationships in the country and because of our partnership with WHO we could respond very quickly, And the ADRA truck was the only truck in town that was operating and could be used. So that’s why we were so quickly on the scene. It’s a good drive from the capital, but they were able to respond quick because of the partnership we have in the country.>
For the first time a woman has obtained a senior position in the Roman Catholic Church. Sister Enrica Rosanna was appointed to the third highest position in the Vatican’s ministry responsible for religious orders. The 60-year-old Italian Nun is now the undersecretary for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, with responsibility for both male and female religious orders. The post means dealing with issues relating to oversight, discipline, studies and Rights and privileges. As a sociology professor she has previously served as head of the Salesian University in Rome.
In England, Canon Dr. Jeffrey John’s appointment
as the Dean of St Albans produced a mixed reaction this week. Dr John withdrew
his acceptance last July as Bishop of Reading after strong reaction to his
homosexuality, reactions that threatened to split the Anglican Church.
Although criticism was generally less vehement than over his appointment as Bishop of Reading, more local reaction is expected in the weeks to come.
The evangelical Anglican Churches are threatening the Church of England with financial ruin in protest of the appointment.
Japan interfaith network grateful to Islamic Clerics Association in Iraq
In Japan a group of Christian and Buddhist leaders has sent a letter to Sheikh Abdel Salem Al Kubaissi of the Islamic Clerics Association in Iraq to express gratitude for the role of the Muslim group in facilitating the release of five Japanese held hostage in Iraq. Members of Interfaith Peace Network said in a statement sent to Geneva that"We are grateful to learn that three Japanese civilians and two other Japanese who were taken as hostage were protected by the Islamic Clerics Association in Iraq and released."
In Israel the Released Israeli nuclear whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu, says he was persecuted by the authorities in Israel because of his conversion to Christianity. Vanunu told Ecumenical News International that "I want to tell those who say I am a traitor, I suffered here 18 years because I am a Christian," Vanunu was release after 18 years in jail. He had been convicted of treason for giving information about Israel's nuclear weapons programme to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper in 1986. Vanunu emerged from prison last Wednesday flashing victory signs and waving to a crowd of cheering supporters who waited to greet him. He said he was treated harshly, including being placed in a solitary confinement for 12 of his 18 years in prison, because he abandoned Judaism to become a Christian.
In Egypt four Christian University students were released mid April. The four students were arrested in the Sinai dessert in January for possessing Christian materials. According to the Barnabas fund the release came amid international pressure as none of the materials were illegal and there was nothing found in their possession, which would have justified their arrest. The Barnabas fund, which is a human rights organization, said to Maranatha Christian Journal that the charge of disturbing the national unity and threatening the social peace is a broad and vague charge commonly used in Egypt. There has been growing concern among human rights organizations about the plight of Christians in Egypt.
At the annual convention of the Associated Church Press in Toronto, The Adventist Review newsmagazine walked away with eight awards for writing, editing, and design.
Associate editor for the Adventist review, Roy Adams, comments:
<“We’ve won awards in the past but this is the first time we’ve come away with that many in one particular convention, the Associated Church Press, so we feel great about it, the entire staff does.”>
And he commented on future potential changes.
<“If they (Unsaid changes) come to pass for the purpose of making the magazine more accessable to more members around the world.
We´ve never been satisfied with the reach because we think we´ve put in too much good stuff for it not to be every where and we are contemplating changes that might do that but they are still in the initial stages.”>
The ACP, the oldest religious press association in North America. is an international association of communication professionals founded in 1916.
The judging was done by journalism and publishing processionals throughout North America.
In Indonesia, the worst outbreak of religious violence has occurred in more than two years since the signing of the Malino peace accord between Muslims and Christians. The latest fighting began when mainly Christian supporters of a separatist group, the Republic of South Maluku marched through the streets commemorating the 54th anniversary of its declaration as a regional republic.
According to the Jakarta Post’s reporters, marchers jeered Muslims in one area, and Christian and Muslim supporters later formed opposing lines along the streets. About 20 people have died and more than 100 have been injured mostly with machetes. In addition to two army battalions, more than 200 Indonesian parliamentary police went to the East to stop riots and attacks.
Ten years on, South Africa and its churches face challenges
When South Africa celebrates its10th anniversary of democratic rule on 27 April, it will do so in a spirit of triumph. Once one of the world's most bitterly divided countries, it narrowly avoided civil war, dismantled the officially-sanctioned racist policy of apartheid, it launched a non-racial democracy and now lays claim to Africa's most robust economy. But church leaders who once denounced apartheid now feel sidelined, and are having to address a new and truculent set of problems and concerns, whether they be an horrific AIDS epidemic or the mounting political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe. That has sometimes pitted them against the South Africa government - a new, and often uncomfortable, role.
For network 7 news Im…