The number of Catholic priests, lay leaders, and missionaries assassinated increased last year, according to a report by an Italian Catholic organization. Twenty-two Catholic church leaders and faithful were murdered in 2013, reported the Fides News Agency of Rome.
This number was comprised of 19 priests, 1 nun, and two lay leaders. It is an increase from 2012, which had a total of 12 murders.
"As it has been for some time, Fides' list does not only include missionaries ad gentes in the strict sense, but all pastoral care workers who died violent deaths," reads a Fides article. "We do not propose to use the term 'martyrs', if not in its etymological meaning of 'witnesses' since it is up to the Church to judge their possible merits and also because of the [scarcity] of available information in most cases, with regard to their life and even the circumstances of their death." more >>
It was a perplexing mystery for congregants of Christ Gospel Church in Kentucky. They couldn't understand why their money suddenly went missing after they knelt down to pray.
"We had one or two people make a comment to the deacons, they felt they'd been missing some money. Like, they came with $60 and now they have $20, or none," Stephen Manecke, the church's CFO, explained in a WHAS 11 report.
And that's when church deacons were put on high alert and decided that they would literally start watching while the congregation prayed. The decision proved fruitful and they quickly fingered Andrea Washburn, 39, as the force behind the missing money. more >>
A reality TV show preacher known for his snake-handling during worship services has been exonerated by a grand jury in Tennessee.
Andrew Hamblin, pastor at Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette was exonerated by a grand jury in Campbell County on Wednesday, reported local media.
"Prosecutor Lori Phillips Jones said officials didn't see the matter as a religious freedom case but public safety. She said she respects the grand jury's decision," said Nashville's News Channel 5. more >>
A group of evangelical pastors and leaders plan to serve as an advisory council to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention as part of the organization's Leadership Network, officials announced Wednesday.
"The ERLC Leadership Network is about ministering in the midst of a devil-haunted universe," ERLC President Russell D. Moore said. "As we come alongside one another, we'll talk about crucial ethical issues confronting churches and how we can engage the culture with a Gospel-focus. We'll think through issues that aren't yet confronting churches, but will, and how we can best go through the difficulties of life and local church ministry with a joyful warrior kingdom expectancy-marching toward Zion on the triumphant side of history."
The ERLC Leadership Network is a movement of men and women - leaders, pastors and lay people - who desire to join the ERLC's efforts to apply the Gospel of the kingdom to the major cultural issues of our day, states the group. more >>
WASHINGTON – Nine out of the ten countries ranked the most oppressive for Christians to live in were due to Islamic extremism, according to Open Doors' annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday.
With the exception of North Korea – ranked No. 1 for the 12th year in a row – every other country on the top 10 list had as its source of persecution, Islamic extremism. North Korea's persecution of Christians was due to communist oppression and dictatorial paranoia, explained Open Doors in its 2014 World Watch List. According to the report, the countries with the most extreme persecution besides North Korea are: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen, respectively.
Open Doors announced the rankings for its 2014 World Watch List, which documented the 50 nations least tolerant of their Christian population, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Christian persecution watchdog group's methodology involved measuring the level of Christian freedom found in five spheres of life: private, family, community, national, and church. A sixth sphere regarding degree of violence also factors in to the rankings. more >>
A Pastafarian elected to a New York town board, who may be the first of his sect to become a public official, wore a strainer while being sworn in last Thursday.
Christopher Schaeffer was sworn in to a position on the Pomfret Town Board on Jan. 2, wearing the cooking item while raising his right hand for the ceremony.
Schaeffer explained to local media that he wore the strainer in the name of "religious freedom" and in solidarity with likeminded individuals in Russia, reported Greg Fox of the Dunkirk Observer. more >>