A group of masked gunmen took by force 13 Egyptian Coptic Christians from a housing complex in Sirte, Libya, on Saturday, reports have said. The attacks signal a rising wave of religious extremism against Christians, who've faced a number of similar attacks in the past few weeks in the Islamic country.
"Christians in Libya are in extreme danger from Islamic extremists who have shown they are actively hunting them down. It is imperative that the Egyptian government work with relevant authorities to provide for the security and safety of its citizens who are currently in Libya and provide a way for them to safely exit the country as they attempt to flee the violence," said Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern regional manager for the Middle East.
"We mourn together with the families affected by these actions, urge the government to quickly act to protect Christians, and pray for the safe return of those who have been kidnapped today in Libya." more >>
LOS ANGELES – Organizers of a three-day conference plan to host leading pastors, ministry and community leaders, including Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York, as they discuss what it means to embrace Los Angeles and help meet its needs.
Keller, seen in a video on the "Together LA" website, says, "We're bringing Christian leaders together from all over Los Angeles to ask and answer one question: What does it mean to love your city?"
The event, scheduled for February 26-28, will include ministry practitioners presenting interactive sessions that "engage the realities of loving our city," organizers announced on Friday. Workshops and panel discussions will cover topics such as mercy ministry, systemic injustice, ethnic and class conflict, faith and work, social and culture changes and challenges, church health and church collaborations. more >>
As the Episcopal Church of Maryland reels over last Saturday's fatal hit-and-run accident involving their second-highest ranking official, Heather Cook, 58, some Episcopalians say she should've never been promoted so soon after her 2010 DUI, while others say they weren't informed about her scandalous brush with the law before her election last spring.
Cook, who was elected as the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church of Maryland in May, hit 41-year-old married father of two, Thomas Palermo, as he cycled on a Baltimore roadway Saturday afternoon then fled the scene as he lay dying. She only returned to see what she had done after other cyclists reportedly chased her down.
An investigation into her background by several media outlets this week highlighted details of a shocking 2010 DUI where she was reportedly so drunk she couldn't complete a sobriety test. more >>
Actor Michael Keaton has said in an interview that his upcoming movie "Spotlight," about the Catholic sex abuse scandal in Massachusetts, threatened to make him "angry and depressed" due to the dark subject matter. Keaton also revealed that he grew up going to Roman Catholic school, and said that it had a positive impact on his life and helped shape him as a person.
"I liked going to Catholic school. Not as [expletive] as some people think. My experience was fine. It was classic knuckle-rapping and stand in the corner and corporal punishment. But it was just sort of what it was. I didn't come away scarred for life," Keaton told Prestige Hong Kong magazine in an interview on Thursday.
"It kind of builds who you are. I was an altar boy. I liked being an altar boy. Me and my buddies got to go and serve mass and go to school. I didn't go to church all the time just 'cause I was an antsy kid. It was a good experience for me. It probably does shape who you are and what you believe in." more >>
Forty-one passengers of AirAsia Fight QZ8501, which crashed on Sunday with 162 people on board, were reportedly members of a single church in Indonesia, reports have said. The search for the bodies of the victims in the Java Sea meanwhile continues around much grief and tragedy.
The Straits Times reported on Thursday that the 41 Christians were members of the Mawar Sharon Church of Surabaya, part of one of the largest megachurches in the region, with 30,000 members.
A pastor at the church, Philip Mantofa, said that he was shocked to learn of the big loss to his parish. He urged relatives of the victims not to allow the tragedy to shake their faith. more >>
Marvin Sapp recently revealed some of the mistakes he made and struggles he has been through while shifting his focus to a new season in his life.
Sapp, a 47-year-old pastor and gospel singer, took to his Facebook page before his church's annual consecration that involves staying off of social media. Before giving up his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Sapp decided to reveal some challenges that he faced in 2014.
While the singer said he is grateful to have made it through struggles, he did not shy away from admitting some of his mistakes and issues that have taken place over the past year. more >>