382 News


Iraqi Christians Fleeing to Jordan, Syria


In Iraq, following a second wave of coordinated bombings and continuing harassment, thousands of Christians have fled to Jordan or Syria.  Compass Direct News reports that estimates by the Iraqi government and church officials put the number of refugees between 30 and 40 thousand with hundreds more leaving every week.  The total number of Christians in Iraq is roughly 750 thousand.  Instability in Iraq has significantly worsened conditions for the nation’s Christians.  In addition to highly publicized bombing attacks, Christians are also subjected to numerous written threats, attacks and kidnappings.


Anglican Church report calls for “Moratorium” on Gay Clergy,


Following a full year of research the Anglican Church has published a report on community and keeping the church together – a response to last years ordination of an openly gay Canon along with same sex marriages being recognised in the Canadian Church.  This report by Victor Hulbert:


The World-Wide-Anglican Communion is moving nearer a split following a key report calling for a “moratorium” on the further ordination of any openly gay clergy.  This follows continued  controversy in the church after last years ordination of the openly gay Canon Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the arguments in England over the nomination of Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading, a post he later withdrew from.


The Windsor report calls for openly gay clergy to wait for a consensus to be reached on homosexuality and points out that “Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion not be heeded, then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart.”


In response, Peter Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria stated that he was disappointed by the report claiming there is a marked contrast between the language used against those pro-gay leaders who are subverting the faith and that used against those like him, from the Global South, who, he says, are trying to bring the church back to the Bible.


That kind of response is also seen in America.  A coalition of conservative US Episcopalians affirmed last Saturday that it had already split from the national church and formed four new congregations, partly because of last year's consecration of the gay bishop. They plan to align themselves with a foreign bishop and meet in private homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, Frank Griswold, the presiding Bishop and Primate of the US Episcopal Church, said his church was seeking to live the gospel "in a society where homosexuality is openly discussed and increasingly acknowledged".




Kenya: Drought Ravages Land Native Missionaries Work to Bring Aid


Indigenous ministries in Kenya are finding drought relief efforts increasingly difficult as food prices continue to swell.  A scant rainy season this year has resulted in widespread drought and famine.  According to Christian Aid, native missionaries in the nation are struggling to provide aid to those most in need as food prices have skyrocketed due to shortages.  Currently, 26 of 74 districts in Kenya are suffering from drought with an estimated 35% of the population being severely malnourished in the hardest-hit areas. 



Russian President Putin Meets Nation’s Religious Leaders to Counter Terrorism


In an effort to combat terrorists, Russian President Vladimir Putin met recently with nine religious leaders in Moscow, appealing to them to help stop terrorism by preaching understanding and tolerance.  During the meeting, the first of its kind in three years, Putin told the religious leaders that their “words and actions are extremely important in the current situation,” as the goal of recent terrorist attacks has been to “drive a wedge between the Muslim world and representatives of other faiths.”   Valery Stolyar, director of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Russia was at the meeting and told ANN that Putin wishes to cooperate with religious leaders to promote the “consolidation of civil society.”



Catholic Cardinal Demands Reforms to Global Economy


In Venezuela, human rights organizations representing the Catholic Church recently criticized the current globalized economy as propagating poverty and social inequality.  They stated that they openly supported finding a new economic system.  According to the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, the condemnations were made during a five-day conference in the Venezuelan capitol of Caracas.  The most heated speech was delivered by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez who claimed the main threat to human rights comes from “money and the market” stating, “You cannot serve human rights and the market at the same time.”  At the conclusion of the conference, delegates committed themselves to support the search for alternative economic systems and to promote improvements in education and job training for the poor.



ADRA Liberia Rehabilitates War-Ravaged Schools


In Liberia, five schools damaged or demolished by warfare in the Nimba County will soon be reconstructed through a project run by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, ADRA.  The project will also provide furniture, supplies, sports equipment, and training, as well as improve sanitation through the installation of new hand-pump wells and latrines.  Over 150 teachers and 1500 students will benefit from the project, which is funded by Japan Platform through ADRA Japan.  The project is in coordination with an effort by Liberian government to get war-torn children back in school.



Religious, Cultural Conflict Behind Terrorism, Says Thai PM


In Thailand, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra recently laid blame for terrorism squarely on the exploitation of ethnic and cultural differences.  Saying that such exploitation is the root cause for violence and terrorism, Shinawatra told a gathering of over 400 Christian media representatives that the media must play a significant role in counteracting the spread of religious and cultural conflict.  Shinawatra was delivering the opening address for the world congress of the International Catholic Union of the Press in Bangkok.


And, finally…


It’s ‘Happy Birthday, World’ According to Ussher


According to calculations made by the 17th Century Biblical scholar James Ussher, today marks the 6000th birthday of the earth.  Ussher made his calculations by adding the ages of Adam and his descendents found in Old Testament genealogies, and thereby determined that the world was created on October 23, 4004 B.C.  Ussher’s chronology of Biblical history was somehow added to the margin of the Authorized Version of the Bible and appeared in the King James Version well into the 20th century.  Modern Biblical scholars generally believe Ussher’s chronology to be incorrect, as Biblical genealogies may not be accurate and the exact dates for ancient Biblical events are virtually impossible to pinpoint.