The Rev. Phyllis Sortor, the American Free Methodist Church missionary who was kidnapped by suspected criminal gang members in Nigeria last month with a demand for a $300,000 ransom, was safely released Friday, according an announcement from the church.
"Early evening Nigeria time, Friday, March 6, Phyllis Sortor, Free Methodist missionary to Nigeria, was safely released into the care of authorities and Free Methodist church leaders," noted David W. Kendall, for the Board of Bishops in a news release to The Christian Post Friday evening.
"It appears she was kidnapped by a criminal gang, and there is no evidence this event is associated with terrorism or religion. Free Methodist leaders express deep appreciation to all who prayed for Sortor's safe return," he added. more >>
An organization based in the United Kingdom continues to push for justice on behalf of two Christian girls who were gang raped by five Pakistani Muslims.
Last December the Pakistani teenagers, named Sherish and Farzana who live in the Islamic Republic's Punjab province, were reportedly gang raped by the five Muslim men because they're Christian.
The British Pakistani Christian Association has stepped in to help Sherish and Farzana, as well as their family, in the wake of the gang rape and at least one violent incident of intimidation. more >>
A Texas organization that has investigated financial fraud in the American religious community is in the process of expanding their efforts globally.
The Dallas-based Trinity Foundation recently announced their plans to investigate religious fraud on a global scale following the release of research earlier this year indicating that religious fraud globally may total $100 billion in the next decade.
In a recently released statement, the Trinity Foundation noted that for 2015 alone it's estimated that international religious fraud will exceed donations to global missions. more >>
U.S. District Judge Terrence G. Berg was shot outside his home in Detroit on Thursday night in what police believe was an attempted robbery.
Berg was shot in the leg and immediately rushed to a local hospital; his condition is unknown but authorities described the wound as non-life threatening. The incident occurred when he was confronted by two people outside his home. Police believe the men were trying to invade the home and commit robbery. When one asked Berg if he could go into his home, he said no and a struggle ensued, with Berg being shot in the leg.
Jodi Arias, the woman convicted of killing her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander, will either be spending life in prison or eligible for parole after 25 years, because a second jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether to sentence her to death on Thursday.
Arias was put on trial two years ago for the gruesome murder of Alexander, who was stabbed, had his throat slit, and was shot in the head. She was found guilty of first-degree murder in May 2013, but the jury in that case was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the death penalty. The judge then ruled that the sentencing portion of the case would be handed to another jury; the guilty verdict would stand and the jury would only rule on the punishment.
The jury received the case on Feb. 25 after listening to hours of testimony on both sides. Finally, after a nearly 26 hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a note to Judge Sherry Stephens stating that they couldn't reach a verdict, and even if given more time it wouldn't help them come to an agreement. The jury also stated that several members wanted to be removed if the judge ordered them to take more time to reach a verdict. more >>
It is tempting to neglect incarcerated Christians in America. Labeled as lost causes, we justify our lack of attention to the needs of these brothers and sisters in Christ because of the public punishment they serve for their past wrongdoings. Thank goodness this is not the attitude of Jesus Christ.
In a letter to his parents from his prison cell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "I wish I could be doing useful service somewhere or other, but at present that 'somewhere' must be in the prison cell, and what I can do here makes its contribution to the unseen world, a sphere where the word 'do' is quit unsuitable." Bonhoeffer spent two years in prison, yet he published wedding sermons, gave Sunday sermons and shared the Gospel with his prison mates and prison guards.
An imprisoned Christian does not lead a static spiritual life. There is much work to be done for the glory of God behind those high-security walls. Of course, ministry within a prison that is led by a prisoner is far from easy. The daily challenges of prison life are too well known to require further mention. The challenges that do go unheard are the emotional and spiritual struggles endured by incarcerated Christians, such as feeling abandoned and forgotten. more >>