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Former pastor arrested in a $120 million Ponzi scheme, International Aid shuts down, and other news in the Christian world.
  • At its triennial General Convention in July, the Episcopal Church (TEC) passed a resolution designed to reverse a moratorium on the consecration of homosexual bishops. TEC bishops also gave church leaders a green light to develop blessings for same-sex unions. In response, almost 30 conservative bishops signed a dissenting Anaheim Statement expressing support for the broader Anglican Church's call for Episcopalian restraint on sexual ethics.
  • In its first layoffs since 1995, World Vision let go of 50 of its 1,200 employees and closed 25 unfilled positions in July due to slumping donations after a slight rise during the last quarter of 2008. Personal monthly sponsorships of needy children have remained stable.
  • In Iraq, seven churches were bombed within 48 hours in mid-July, killing 4 people and injuring 35 others. Christian observers were concerned that the renewed violence will discourage local Christians from attending church or expatriate believers from returning to Iraq.
  • Exodus International in July announced merger plans with two mainline Protestant ministries to homosexuals—the United Methodist ChurchÐlinked Transforming Congregations and the pc(usa)-linked OneByOne—in order to help evangelical and mainline churches better address biblical sexuality.
  • In July the International Christian Retail Show saw attendance down 20 percent as sales at Christian retail stores dropped by more than 10 percent from 2008. The organization reported that 91 Christian retail stores closed in 2008, while only 54 stores replaced them.
  • Christian relief group International Aid ended operations in July after raising less than $200,000 of the $1.5 million needed within two months to balance its $70 million budget. The Spring Lake, MichiganÐbased ministry hopes to move some of its programs in 10 countries to other aid organizations.
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