U.S. Protestant Population Soon Losing Majority Status The United States will soon no longer be a majority Protestant nation, according to recent surveys. The Washington Times reports that between 1993 and 2002, the number of Americans who claimed to be Protestants dropped from 63% to 52% and that number is expected to fall under the 50% mark within a years time. It will be a historic milestone for the U.S., as the nation has had a Protestant majority since its inception. Reasons for the decline in American Protestantism include an increase in young adults leaving the Protestant churches, fewer children being raised as Protestants and a growing number of those who claim no religion. Christians Hail New PM's Plan to Support Ministries in India In India, Christian churches are welcoming plans from new Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to improve conditions for minorities in the nation. According to Ecumenical News International, Singh's United Progressive Alliance government recently revealed plans to assist minorities through improved welfare, government jobs and funding for educational institutions. Singh said during a recent trip that he needs to unite all Indian communities in order to build a new India. New ADRA Initiative Fights HIV/AIDS Throughout Africa In Africa, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency has recently begun a project to battle the rapid increase of HIV/AIDS across the continent. Reuters reports that the project, funded by a grant from the government of Sweden, will focus on educating instructors on how to care for and counsel those who have HIV/AIDS as well as their families. Once the instructors-to-be have completed the course, they will return to Africa and train others to assist them in fighting against and caring for those with HIV/AIDS. Archbishop of York to Step Down In the United Kingdom, the Archbishop of York, Dr. David Hope, the second highest- ranking person in the Anglican Church, announced recently that he will give up his high post and finish his career as a parish priest. In stepping-down as Archbishop of York, Dr. Hope will forfeit a 60 thousand pound per year salary and palace home in York to become a small-town vicar earning an 18 thousand five hundred pound wage per year. Dr. Hope said after nearly 20 years of being a bishop, he felt it was time to move on. The Passion Comes to Malaysia But Only For Christians/Research Shows Passion Film's Spiritual Impact Falls Short In Malaysia, censors have allowed Mel Gibson's film The Passion of The Christ to be played in cinemas, but only Christians will be allowed to view the film. Ecumenical News International reports that, in order to enforce the restriction, tickets to the film can only be purchased at Christian churches. It is not clear however, how much effect The Passion would have anyway. A recent survey conducted in the United States, suggests that the long-term impact of the film is actually quite small. According to the Agape Press, less than 10% of adults who saw the film said they were converted as a result and fewer than 1% said they had become motivated to share the gospel since watching The Passion. Europe Now a 'Mission Field' for Christianity, Says WCC's Kobia The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Sam Kobia, said recently that Europe has become a new mission field as in many areas of the continent there are people without basic knowledge of God and the Bible. According to Ecumenical News International, Kobia told a congregation of theologians that in much of Europe there is far less Christian awareness than there was 20 years ago. Children's Program Aims to Improve Jewish-Arab Coexistence In Israel, a museum in Jerusalem is making an attempt at peace between Palestinian and Israeli children. The Image of Abraham Project at the Bible Lands Museum recently brought 400 Muslim and Jewish school kids together to learn about their common ancestor, Abraham. Regardless of the fact that most of the children don't know the language of their Arab or Israeli counterparts, they soon begin to play and share snacks with each other. Some of the children have even kept in touch after the completing the program. And finally, Archbishop Urges Church to do More for the Young The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, said during his recent trip to the Province of Melanesia that the Anglican Church must work harder to connect with young people and relate to their problems. The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Archbishop praised churches that actively involve the young people and said that young adults, "will come when they feel they are being taken seriously; when they have the opportunity to ask questions and when they have the chance to develop as people within the church."