Zhang Shaojie, a prominent church leader from central China, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for gathering crowds to "disturb public order." A U.S. campaign group has said that the decision constitutes religious persecution and the Chinese government's attempt to hold back the growth of Christianity.
"This case shows the Chinese government continues to cover up religious persecution with fabricated criminal charges against an innocent church leader," said Bob Fu, the head of China Aid, according to The Telegraph.
Liu Weiguo, a rights lawyer who has worked with the pastor in the past, said that he was shocked at the severity of the sentence. more >>
A religious community in Denver, Colorado, is currently mourning the death of their beloved pastor, who recently passed away while on a mission trip to India.
Members of Grace Community Church, located in the Denver suburb of Centennial, have announced that their pastor, Terry Broadwater, recently passed away while on a mission trip in the Himalayas with his oldest son and several church members. Broadwater and the church group were reportedly hiking the high Himalayan peaks and ministering to villagers in small mountain towns along the way.
The church said in a statement on its website that although details are still unclear surrounding Broadwater's death, it is clear that the pastor had slipped while hiking the mountain range in a remote part of India and had fallen off of a cliff. more >>
Embattled Pastor Kong Hee of the Singapore megachurch City Harvest, who is facing court charges of misusing millions in church funds, ministered at the Oasis Church in Los Angeles, calling it one of the "greatest" and "most responsive" churches in the city.
"What a privilege to minster at OCC's newly renovated 100-year-old Cathedral that it has recently purchased," Hee wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday, sharing numerous photos of the church, which is led by pastors Philip and Holly Wagner.
A Christian pastor imprisoned for his faith, who had been missing for nearly three weeks and feared to have been executed without notice by Iranian authorities, has been returned to prison in Ghezal Hezar Prison in Karaj, Iran.
Present Truth Ministries, which has been campaigning for Pastor Behnam Irani's release, said on Wednesday that the pastor has been able to get back in touch with his family.
"He was unable to say where he had been taken or what they did to him," the group reported. more >>
A community in Michigan is mourning the death of its beloved pastor after his car veered off the road, which was later found by police submerged in a lake.
Police with Montcalm County, Michigan say that Kurt Hoffman, the lead pastor at Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Stanton for the past four years, passed away over the weekend after he missed a turn while driving and accidentally drove into a lake. The 53-year-old pastor had been driving down South Brown Road when he missed a curve, hit a fallen tree and sped into Lampman Lake. He was discovered by authorities after a passerby noticed a vehicle submerged in about six feet of water in the lake. The pastor was still sitting in the driver's seat with his seatbelt on when he was found.
According to The Grand Rapids Press, authorities are continuing to investigate what caused the pastor to veer off the road and into the lake, although police have reportedly suggested the victim had been driving at high speeds. Hoffman's family had reported the pastor missing on Saturday morning after they had not heard from him for several hours; it is unclear when the crash took place. more >>
Defrocked United Methodist Church pastor Frank Schaefer, who went against doctrine and officiated his son's same-sex wedding, has said that he will argue before a church panel on Friday that his punishment was illegal.
"I would like to get my credentials back," said Schaefer, 52, according to The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I'm hoping for a 're-frocking.'"
The pastor was officially defrocked by UMC in December after he refused to turn over his credentials following a meeting with the Board of Ordained Ministry. He was accused of violating his pastoral vows by performing his son's marriage to another man at a 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts. more >>