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Southern Baptists Quit World Alliance

The Southern Baptist Convention decided on June 16 to leave the Baptist World Alliance. Twenty-five years after its rightward shift began, the Southern Baptist Convention confirmed its conservative values as it pulled out from the Baptist World Alliance following complaints that members of the global federation had adopted liberal theology and ``anti-American'' thinking.

The alliance, based in Falls Church, Va., is a federation of 46 million Baptists in 211 denominations. The Southern Baptist Convention is the world's largest Baptist denomination and America's largest Protestant body, with 16.3 million members.  The Convention elected 61-year-old Rev. Bobby Welch of Daytona Beach, in Florida as their new leader.

Adventist Church Signs Agreement With Latvia

In Latvia an agreement was this month signed between the government and the Seventh day Adventist Church. According to Adventist News Review the signing of the agreement came rather unexpectedly, even though it has been worked on for quit some time. Latvian Prime minister Ainars Shlesers and Leader of the Latvian Seventh Day Adventist Church, Viesturs Rekis, signed the agreement.  The agreement provides a model of cooperation between the government and Adventist Church and will according to Rekis provide opportunities that previously, under the current law have been closed.  The Church will gain a professional status that enables them to minister in hospitals, to work actively in education, and financil dealings should also become easier. Reikes says to Adventist News Review that “The main thing is that it will be a basis for better dialogue between the Latvia state, and us, because until now we were regarded as something insignificant, like a sect. This
agreement testifies that the state reckons with us “


Churches in Africa declare war on AIDS and poverty & African Churches urged to tap into Global Fund billions

Church leaders from 39 African countries, have declared an all out war against AIDS and poverty. The church leaders met recently in Nairobi and defined AIDS and poverty as two problems threatening to annihilate the continent's population. Ecumenical News International reports that members of the All Africa Conference of Churches said in a statement at the end of a three-day summit, that  "Africa has sounded a distress call to reverse depopulation of her people by the HIV/AIDS pandemic," Also at the gathering churches in Africa were urged to tap into the US$2 billion Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and to redefine their missionary role to patients by making use of available resources to fight HIV/AIDS in the continent. Vinand Nantulya, an official of the Global Fund told the African leaders that  " You have the facilities, the trust and the influence, but we are concerned that you are not in the arena."


New Adventist Church in Huambo Angola

In Angola, the Seventh day Adventist church will be opening up a new boarding university centre for Graduate theology students.

The centre’s courses will also include general accounting, computer science, management, medicine, and languages, reports the Angola Press.

The Church will count on materials and lecturers from the Adventist church in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the center rehabilitation is scheduled to begin in July.


China Arrests Underground Christians

In China, about 50 police officers arrested 100 members of the China gospel Fellowship in Wuhan, according to the China aid association, a religious advocacy group based in the United States. In a statement, the China aid association said it was unclear where police have taken those arrested from the place where the church groups have held retreats for 20 years. According to Newspaper Japan Today, Chinese authorities have been arresting “underground” Christians in three provinces since March.



Shanghei ‘s Cathedral returned to the Anglican Church

Also In China Shanghai's former Anglican cathedral has been handed back to the Church. The Cathedral was closed after thethe civil war in 1949, and has since then been used as a police station and recently a visa office.  The Daily Telegraph reports that the Cathedral will now become the local headquarter of the state approved protestant Church in China, officially named the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. According to Ding Guangxun, chairman of the organisation's national committee, the government is showing its support for freedom of religion.



Religious sect in Botswana refuse polio vaccination

In Botswana a polio immunization campaign is being held this week. The campaign aims to target 2 hundred thousand children below the age of five years old. AllAfrica reports that members of the Apostle Church of God have for religious reasons wowed not to allow health authorities to immunize their children. The religious group is said to have 50 thousand followers and believe illness only can be cured and healed by prayers.  Children of the group are also kept from school and other formal education. The Botswana deputy permanent secretary in the ministry of Health, Dr. Patson Mazonde submitted an affidavit to court arguing the need for all children to be vaccinated in the interest of national health. Police have since arrested several parents and guardians from the Apostle of God. The Apostles of God has its origin in Zimbabwe and is known as the “jews of Africa”.


Founder of WCC Programme to Combat Racism gets S. African award

South African President Thabo Mbeki has presented Baldwin Sjollema, the first director of the World Council of Churches' Programme to Combat Racism, with the Oliver Tambo award, the highest honour South Africa gives to civilian foreigners. According to ecumenical news international, Sjollema  a 77-year-old Dutch sociologist, who lives near Geneva, was decorated by Mbeki on 16 June in Pretoria for his commitment to the liberation of South Africa from its racist ideology of apartheid.



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