SOAR International Ministries, an Alaska-based organization dedicated to missions and outreach in Russia, has partnered with local Russian churches during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games to spread the Gospel to tourists and communities converging on the event.
The ministry sent 40 volunteers to Russia to establish a number of "fun zone" hospitality centers in local church buildings. They will also go out into parks and other public venues to invite others to partake in their activities.
"The team will assist the local church in introducing the community to Christ and who they are in Him," said Greg Mangione of SOAR, according to Mission News Network. "They'll do that through Gospel magic shows, somebody making balloon animals and face paintings, and just a variety of activities and entertainment. The primary goal is to reach out to the people. We pray it'll be a beginning of a long-term relationship with the local churches." more >>
As the Winter Olympic Games get underway in Sochi, Russia, the International Olympic Committee has begun its usual practice of dispersing 100,000 condoms to competitors staying in Olympic Village.
A representative for the International Olympic Committee confirmed to TMZ that its group would be distributing 100,000 condoms to the 2,800 athletes staying in Olympic Village over a period of 16 days. "The distribution of condoms in the village is part of the IOC's involvement in the HIV and AIDS prevention," an unnamed representative for the IOC told TMZ.
Organizers for this year's winter games have dispersed the nearly 3,000 competitors from 88 countries into three housing areas that make up Olympic Village. The IOC's distribution of condoms is not unfamiliar to the Olympic Games. At the 2012 London Olympic Games, women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo told ESPN that "there's a lot of sex going on" at the games, adding that some players have sex "right out in the open" at Olympic Village, including "on the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty." The IOC distributed 150,000 condoms at the 2012 Olympics. more >>
The Legionaries of Christ Roman Catholic order officially apologized for the "reprehensible" behavior of its founder, who was found guilty of sexually abusing children, and announced new leadership with hopes of rebuilding the organization.
"Today we acknowledge with sadness the initial incapability of believing the testimonies of the persons who had been victims of Fr. Maciel, the long institutional silence and, later on, the hesitations and errors of judgment when setting out to inform the members of the congregation and others. We apologize for these shortcomings, which have increased the suffering and confusion of many," the Catholic organization said in a statement published on Thursday, which was approved in a plenary assembly last month.
The Catholic order also announced the election of Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil as their new general director, and Fr. Juan José Arrieta, as vicar general. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church has responded to a highly critical U.N. report demanding that it stop protecting child abusing clergy, by claiming it is doing more than any other international organization to combat the highly-publicized problem.
"Sexual abuse of a minor is a sin and a crime and no organization can become complacent about addressing it. The Catholic Church has certainly done more than any other international organization to face the problem and it will continue to lead in doing so," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of Media Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a post following the publication of a report by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The report, a follow-up to a U.N. panel which in January directly questioned Holy See representatives at a conference in Geneva about the Vatican's record on child sex abuse handling, demands that the Catholic Church "immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes." more >>
A 7-year-old girl has written to the Lego company, requesting the manufacturers make more "lego girl" minifigures that "go on adventures and have fun."
"All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks," 7-year-old Charlotte Benjamin wrote in a letter that has gone viral on social media. After the girl's father sent it to The Society Pages website, the group shared it on Twitter, where it found 2,542 "retweets" and 1,041 "favorites."
The United Kingdom's Education and Childcare Minister, Elizabeth Truss, warned that toys marketing science and math to boys may be turning girls off of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at an early age, The Daily Mail reported. Truss called for an end to "segregation in toy departments," in order to broaden girls' horizons. more >>
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Thomas Monson was ordered to appear in a British court next month to answer to a surprising summons which alleges that his church's teachings about mankind is fraudulent.
The formal summons, described as "one of the most unusual documents ever issued by a British Court" in The Telegraph, was signed by District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe and threatens to issue a warrant for his arrest if he doesn't appear in court for a March 14 hearing.
Seven teachings of the church headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, are cited in the controversial document as possibly fraudulent, including the claim that "Native Americans are descended from an Israelite family which left Jerusalem in 600 BC." more >>