Network 7 News 376 headlines



Religious leaders revile Russian school massacre

In Russia the head of Russia's Orthodox church Patriarch Alexei II has urged President Vladimir Putin to maintain the country's "peace and security". The appeal comes  after a bloodbath at the Beslan school siege in southern Russia which left at almost 400 people, many of them children, dead. In his message to president Putin,  Patriarch Alexei II said according to Ecumenical News International, that  "News of the unprecedented brutality of the bandits who seized civilian residents, women and children in a school of Beslan, has shaken the entire world community,"  The attack has been denounced by Christian and Muslim religious leaders worldwide.

Darfur violence in Sudan condemned by Lutheran churches

 The Lutheran World Federation has backed a call by Sudan's Roman Catholic bishops which demanded the international community to prevent "terror, rape, torture, murder and slavery"and "the annihilation of an entire ethnic group" in the Darfur region in western Sudan. According to Ecumenical News International, a meeting of the LWF*s council, the main governing body for the grouping representing more than 62 million Lutherans, on Sunday also criticised the refusal of the Sudanese government to accept an international peacekeeping force in its troubled western Darfur region.

Lutherans set up task force on 'marriage, family and sexuality'

 At the Lutherans Worldwide Council  a task force was appointed to look at  marriage, family and sexuality. The Council that is a global group representing more than 62 million Lutherans worldwide appointed the task group amid fears that differences on these issues might become church dividing. Lutheran
World Federation general secretary Ishmael Noko told Ecumenical News International that: "We have to discuss these issues, no matter how difficult they might seem." The task force is expected to return with a report by the end of 2005.


Expelled Adventists reinstated in Ghana.


In Ghana 70 % of the previously expelled members of the Seventh day Adventist Church have been re-instated. The regional Mid West Ghana Conference recommended the expulsion of 12 branch churches in January for various offences, including dissent. Pastor Badu, leader of the Mid West Ghana Conference explained to the Ghanaweb that the conference had a policy to expel any branch or individual who rebelled against it. Badu also explained that individuals or groups had 90 days to reconsider their faith and allegiance to the conference and after 90 days in this instance it was recognised that 70 % had asked to be accepted back into the Seventh day Adventist Church.



Anglicans and Muslims to Meet for Dialogue in Cairo


In Egypt, representatives from both the Anglican Church and the al-Azhar al-Sharif, the foremost organization of Sunni Muslims, met recently for dialogues concerning their respective faiths.  The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the meetings are part of an ongoing effort by the Anglican Church to foster a closer relationship with the Muslim world.  The dialogues will be capped off by a visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Rowan Williams, this weekend.



Three Life Terms for Man who Killed Palau Missionaries


In Palau, a 43-year-old man has recently been sentenced to three life imprisonments for the murders of three Seventh-day Adventist Missionaries.  Justin Hiroshi was convicted of the December 22, 2003 murders of Pastor Ruimar DePaiva, his wife Margareth and son Larisson.  The DePaiva’s youngest daughter was kidnapped and strangled by Hiroshi, but survived the attack.  The murders took place when Hiroshi botched a burglary attempt at the DePaiva’s home.  The DePaiva family had moved from their native Brazil to serve in Palau in August of 2002.



Kenyan Churches Enhance Links with Catholic Church


In Kenya, leaders of various protestant churches have resolved at a recent meeting in Nairobi to build up humanitarian aide ties with the Roman Catholic Church.  According to the allAfrica News Service, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Sam Kobia said during the meetings that although cooperation has occurred at the high levels of humanitarian assistance, that same cooperation must reach all levels of humanitarian aide.  Kobia specifically stressed the need for increased cooperation between individual church congregations.


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Netherlands Antilles: St. Maarten Court Rules in Favor of Sabbath-Keeping Students


In the Netherlands Antilles, a court has recently ruled that the American University of the Caribbean must administer exams on Sundays as well as Saturdays in accordance with the nation’s protection of religious freedom.  Five Seventh-day Adventist medical students had feared they would not be able to take their exams because the tests were scheduled on Saturday, the Sabbath day observed by Seventh-day Adventists.  However, a Court of First Instance on the island of St. Maartens has told the school it must make provisions for the students to take their exams outside of the Saturday Sabbath.  One of the students said was “ecstatic” about the ruling and was delighted to be able to stay and finish school.