Never before in the twenty-year history of the National Council of Churches of Christ had there been a triennial assembly like the one in Detroit last month (see December 19 issue, page 30). The dust (or more precisely, paint) had hardly settled before the council’s general board faced another identity crisis.
Responding to a revolt of angry women, minority militants, and radical youths during the assembly the previous five days, the policy-making general board the following day rejected nominations for twenty-five key council posts because the slate did not offer enough blacks. And then the board turned out the fifteen-man nominating committee itself, including Episcopal lay chairman Peter Day, who pleaded that his committee had done the best it could.
Sensing the tide, Disciples of Christ executive George G. Beazley, Jr., who had been tabbed to head the new nominating committee, quickly withdrew.
The general board was suddenly faced with no approved nominations—and no nominating committee. A scant quorum was present and adjournment time was one hour away.
Newly elected president Mrs. Cynthia Wedel saved the day (but not Peter Day) by hastily asking an ad hoc committee to name a new nominating committee that would in turn revise the slate by this month’s general board meeting in Tulsa.
In what Washington Post religion writer William MacKaye called “a sweeping repudiation of the council’s older generation,” the committee retained only six members of the original Day nominating group and appointed a black Methodist woman, Miss Theressa Hoover, chairman of the new group. She is general secretary of the United Methodist women’s division. With her are three other women, six Negroes, three young persons, and one Spanish-American.
Her committee will nominate persons to NCC posts until the 1972 triennium. The bold move was seen as an indication that the younger, blacker, and more radical element of the council will take an increasingly stronger role in steering the interchurch agency.
On the heels of the assembly and general board meeting, rumors circulated that incumbent general secretary R. H. Edwin Espy would step down in favor of a younger man, possibly a black. (Both he and Mrs. Wedel are 61.) But Espy seems determined to remain, at least for the present, aided by vice-president Bishop Frederick D. Jordan of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and American Baptist Convention veteran layman Carl W. Tiller as treasurer (they were elected at the Detroit assembly by handy margins).
Buoyed by the boundless optimism of president Wedel and hopes that hitherto uninterested groups on the left and the right will scurry under his proposed “ecumenical umbrella” (see December 19 issue, page 30), Espy will soon discover just how many things thirty-three denominations want to do together these days.
The National Council of Churches authorized initial steps last month toward broadening its structure to include religious groups not now involved in the council, such as the Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, and Pentecostals. CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked leaders of several key groups that would be affected to comment on the proposal.
Dr. Jacob A. O. Preus, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, indicated that the “phase” arrangement of a new council has a potential appeal, because so far the Missouri Synod’s policy and posture toward the conciliar movement has been at the level of “purchase of service, or on an ad hoc basis.”
Planks In The Ncc Platform
In resolutions at its Detroit General Assembly, the National Council of Churches:
Supported the Washington peace marches in October and November as “legitimate, peaceful, and legal demonstrations of political dissent and moral protest against U. S. policy in Viet Nam.” A separate resolution on Viet Nam, which was debated only briefly and passed easily, asked President Nixon to act unilaterally “to seek a ceasefire with or without the consent” of the South Vietnamese government, and called on him to withdraw all U. S. troops by the end of 1970.
Urged churchmen to minister to U. S. draft-dodgers in Canada.
Called for an international investigation, by an agency such as the United Nations or the International Red Cross, of the alleged Song My massacre. The resolution on civilian massacres said a “belated full-scale investigation by the U. S. Army … is quite inadequate.”
Opposed production, maintenance, and use of all chemical and biological weapons, and encouraged President Nixon in his stated intention of disposing of stockpiles of such weapons.
Asked the government to reform the food-stamp program, extending it to all counties, and to declare an emergency so funds and foods “can be freed for quick distribution.” A related resolution noted the seriousness of the population expansion and called on the U. S. government to halt further population growth.
Created an Indian Board within the NCC to “broaden opportunities” for Indians and Eskimos, and in a separate resolution supported the “just settlement” of long-standing Indian and Eskimo land claims in Alaska.
Urged President Nixon to withhold $495,000 in federal funds allocated to a Mississippi state panel working on Hurricane Camille rehabilitation because of alleged racial discrimination in the agency’s activities.
Referred for action a resolution expressing concern “over injustice and resultant suffering experienced by great numbers of displaced Palestinians.”
Urged the elimination of war toys as Christmas presents and asked Christians to reduce commercialism in Christmas by reducing gift-buying and instead “giving money to religious and peace causes.”
Voted unanimously, in the final rush of business, to seek ways to supplant the NCC with a “general ecumenical council” plan of decentralized, smaller groups under one umbrella organization, including a “more inclusive Christian fellowship” and participation of member churches in a “national consultation” on the subject.
Asked planners of the 1972 General Assembly to provide more “forum” activities and fewer “working” sessions.
The following day, the policy-making General Board asked for the formation of an “entirely voluntary armed force” by the United States, and called for the abolition of Selective Service.
Dr. Paul Rees, editor of World Vision magazine: “Proposals for a restructuring of the NCC are not surprising. Bureaucratic tendencies plague all expanding organizations. Structure is not as important as ethos and commitment. If the new proposals can be helpful in achieving a sort of balance between the values of a membership bond on the one hand and those of a free association or open forum on the other hand, I could be thankful. It is a big order—perhaps too big to succeed. Something needs to be done to break the hammer-lock of ‘pro’ NCC and ‘anti’ NCC do-or-die attitudes. What is all important is truth, and the truth of the Gospel is confined neither to the NCC nor to those who are outside of it.”
The Rev. W. Amos Criswell, president of the Southern Baptist Convention: “Not in the foreseeable future will the SBC join any such council, however loosely it may be joined together. Each church can do as it pleases, but the convention will stay out.”
The Rev. Thomas F. Zimmerman, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God: “Frankly … it is very unlikely that the Assemblies of God would give serious consideration to any conciliar affiliation.”
The Rev. Clyde W. Taylor, general director of the National Association of Evangelicals: “The … council proposed by Dr. Espy is essentially a non-ecclesiological body including churches and other types of social organizations. This type of ‘united nations’ structure fails to meet the minimum biblical and theological bases for Christian fellowship, and certainly lacks the basic ingredient of oneness in Christ. I am confident that evangelicals inside and outside our fellowship will not be interested.”
The Battle For Missouri
Conservative and liberal forces in the three-million-member Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are outlining battle plans. Both are mapping strategies aimed at denominational “balance,” but there seems to be little agreement on whose scales should be used.
A group of Missouri Synod conservatives charge that official church publications “have a certain lack of balance which needs to be corrected.” The group says it plans to set up a nonprofit corporation to publish a magazine and occasional study papers to support charges against the more liberal wing of the church.
Missouri Synod liberals, on the other hand, complain that the new administration of President J. A. O. Preus has been upsetting the balance by giving key posts to conservatives. The liberals are headed by Dr. Alfred O. Fuerbringer, who retired last summer as president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. They recently sent a letter stating their charges to a number of pastors and laymen. The letter, said to be the first of a series, was written by the Rev. Richard E. Koenig of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Preus charged that Koenig is acting in “an irresponsible manner.” and that the letter contained false information. “The only effect it can have is to polarize,” Preus observed.
Hollywood Boulevard: One Way
For a mile and half they stretched down Hollywood Boulevard, not to protest but to demonstrate peaceably that Christianity is alive and well. The Sunday-afternoon march (December 14) was sponsored by the youth department of Hollywood First Presbyterian Church. Some 15,000 invitations were sent; the turnout was somewhere between 2,500 and 5,000.
The marchers carried signs such as: “God is eternal,” “He died for you—live for Him,” and “One Way.” Organizer Bob Norton said the march was strictly to demonstrate that Christ is still effective in the affairs of men. An observer would at least have concluded that Christians are happy: the marchers smiled, chanted, and sang their way down “Tinsel Street.”
Afterwards, they gathered on an athletic field to hear black singers and speakers from Watts. This was designed to show that Christianity is unifying and total, Norton said. The youthful crowd was typical, with long hair on both sexes and many bare feet. But hundreds jumped up shouting approval when the Reverend Edward Hill of Watts said the answers black militants give are “a lot of junk” and concluded, “We’re here to tell them Christianity is the answer.”
The featured speaker was Hal Lindsay, a former Campus Crusade for Christ staffer who now heads “The Light and Power Company” of ULCA. His talk was apocalyptic, and the kids went wild when he thundered, “Christ is coming in this generation.”
Many Hollywood residents probably didn’t understand what the march was all about, but it was obvious that the young people who took part were turned on by shamelessly taking Christianity back into the streets, where it began.
Pcus Rally: Determination Without Compromise
“There will be a continuing Presbyterian Church in the Southland.” This promise, uttered by Dr. Robert Strong of Montgomery, Alabama, was greeted with enthusiastic applause by the 1,500 ministers and laymen attending the first rally of Presbyterian Churchmen United in Atlanta.
The mood was one not of divisiveness, rebellion, or reaction but of determination. All the speakers showed aversion to a division of the denomination, but they expressed firm refusal to compromise with theological liberalism.
Student Activists Go For $110,000
It could only be described as a student uprising. Coeds poised for invasion of the home-economics building. Male students grabbed axes, broom handles, and buckets of paint—then assaulted the college town of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
But there were no injuries, the campus of Eastern Mennonite College emerged unscathed, and the townsfolk had nothing but praise for the determined display of student power. The insurgency began one weekend last month when trustees of the 920-student college announced that $110,000 was needed by Monday night to meet $400,000 in matching funds for a federal grant that would enable the school to build a new $1.5 million library.
By early Saturday, the word was out, and students fanned into the community chopping wood, washing cars, and punching doorbells for donations. Coeds became housemaids, men hired out as butlers, yardsmen, and even singing messengers. Others hit up parents, relatives and churches. A bank kicked in $1,000, but most gifts were small.
Pies, cakes and other goodies baked by the coeds were sold at a campus auction Monday night, the deadline. By 2 A.M., when the last item went on the block, $112,000 had been raised—and money was still coming in the next week from as far away as California.
Harrisonburg’s mayor appeared at a college chapel service and handed a plaque honoring the school to Eastern Mennonite president Myron Augsburger. Student coordinator Everette Ressler summed it up: “Most of these kids are tired of hearing about college demonstrations, and they’re darn proud to be a part of one like this.”
Presbyterian Churchmen United is a fellowship of Presbyterian U. S. ministers who have signed a “declaration of commitment” first published in early October in four denominational periodicals and more than thirty metropolitan newspapers (see October 24, 1969 issue, page 45, for text of declaration). PCU is now a chartered organization that anticipates tax exemption by early 1970.
Former General Assembly moderator Dr. C. Darby Fulton, who served as executive secretary of the Board of World Missions for thirty years, told the group he signed the declaration because it “is consistent with, and derived directly from, the standards that have long been recognized as the canons of our church.”
The Rev. Frank Barker of Birmingham cautioned that “there may well be a fork in the road ahead. But if so, it will not be we who are departing. We will continue straight ahead, and we will invite men from all over the nation to join us, if and when that time comes.”
Asserting that the concern of conservatives is first and foremost theological, Dr. Strong pointed to those who would depart from the church’s historical doctrinal commitment as the disturbers of the peace. He spoke of the “radical ecumenists” committed to making the PCUS a part of the ecumenical mainstream at all costs. He noted five specific proposals to which PCU is opposed: the attempt to reduce from three-fourths to two-thirds the majority necessary to effect a constitutional or confessional change; restructuring the boundaries of lower courts (which some feel will decrease the effectiveness of certain conservative presbyteries and hinder lay participation in the courts); making a new confession of faith; participation in the Consultation on Church Union; and renewed effort to achieve union with the United Presbyterians.
Keynote speaker for the meeting was Dr. D. James Kennedy, pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the denomination’s fastest-growing congregation. Kennedy declared: “I think the time has come that the people are ready to stand up and say ‘Halt! Thus far and no further will we go.’ ” He spoke of theological liberalism as unbelief that is killing the church: “It is emptying the churches, the seminaries, the mission fields and the benevolent causes of the churches.”
He also rebuked evangelicals’ failure in social action, pointing especially to racial prejudice, “which needs to be dealt with as sin.” And he warned of the danger of affirming belief in the priority of evangelism, while failing to be involved in the work of evangelism.
RICHARD L. LOVE
Canadian Church Council: Will Activism Pay?
The Canadian Council of Churches, long regarded as a dull-gray paper organization, struggled to shed its lackluster image at its December triennial conference. The decisions of that gathering indicate that the council, which represents eleven Canadian denominations with 2,270,000 adult membersAnglican Church of Canada; Armenian Church of America (Diocese of Canada); Baptist Federation of Canada; Churches of Christ (Disciples) All-Canada Committee; Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America—Ninth District, Canada and Alaska; Lutheran Church in America—Canada Section; Presbyterian Church in Canada; Reformed Church in America—Classis of Ontario; Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)—Canada Yearly Meeting; Salvation Army—Canada and Bermuda Territory; and the United Church of Canada., is trying to steer on an activist course.
The Montreal meeting heard a warning from general secretary T. E. Floyd Honey, a United Church minister, that a financial crisis threatens the organization. Member denominations, he stated, were pinched for funds, and they tend to regard their financial commitment to the CCC as optional.
“One of the reasons why the churches are short of money,” Honey suggested, “is that people are losing confidence in the denominational structure and programs. The more they seek to bolster the denominational image, the more self-defeating the operation becomes. What the CCC stands for represents a very important part of their salvation. It seeks to bring them out of isolation into common action.”
Despite last year’s financial reverses, the council adopted measures that will call for a threefold increase in giving, including a direct appeal for donations.
This year’s gathering witnessed an immediate demand for hard cash from the newly established social-action fund, and Canada’s first taste of the “reparations” technique, although that term wasn’t used. Joseph Drummond, a vice-president of the National Black Coalition of Canada, threatened to leave the meeting if the council didn’t grant his group $10,000 annually for three years—with no strings attached. The council quickly and unanimously agreed, and before the conference had concluded, the Anglican Church of Canada had forwarded $5,000 to the black coalition.
Miss Ruth Tillman, Honey’s associate, contends the council’s new activist image will commend its work to Canadian churchmen, who will triple their giving to the budget.
At its closing session, the council—meeting in the major city of French Canada—called on all clergymen working in Quebec to speak French. A committee, working with the Canadian Catholic Conference, was asked to probe the French-English problem.
An eighty-four-page report on sex and family life, financed by a contraceptive manufacturer and the outgrowth of study groups across the country, was received. No uniform viewpoint emerged on the report, but the prevailing note seemed to be a call to the churches to “play it cool” regarding specific standards.
If the CCC succeeds in its crucial fund drive, Canada can expect a more aggressively activist ecumenical push. If not, some observers feel the council will fade away.
LESLIE K. TARR
Charismatics Gain Bishops’ Blessing
The numerous Roman Catholic priests in their traditional black garb seemed out of place at the Pentecostal breakfast meeting sponsored by the Toronto, Canada, branch of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. But they were there to hear fellow Catholic Kevin Ranaghan, a theology professor at Indiana’s Notre Dame.
Ranaghan, an apologist for the so-called charismatic movement, told the gathering that in the last two years 30,000 Roman Catholics in the United States had embraced the Holy Spirit movement. The upsurge of tongues-speaking in Catholic circles began with a small group at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and now “is spreading like wildfire,” Ranaghan said.
Significantly, the Pentecostal movement among Catholics captured the attention of the 250 prelates who rule the U. S. Catholic hierarchy at their semi-annual meeting in Washington, D. C., last November. The bishops accepted a report from the committee on doctrine that said the movement “should at this point not be inhibited but allowed to develop.” This rather startling statement on glossolalia is much more liberal in tone that the official positions of a number of mainline Protestant denominations, which have looked askance at the movement, if they have not opposed it outright.
Catholic reaction to the charismatic renewal has been “one of caution and somewhat unhappy,” said the committee report. “Judgments are often based on superficial knowledge. It seems to be too soon to draw definitive conclusions regarding the phenomenon and more scholarly research is needed.”
After being careful to distinguish the charismatic renewal from “classic Pentecostalism,” the bishops’ statement concluded that the movement has legitimate theological underpinning: “It has a strong biblical basis. It would be difficult to inhibit the working of the Spirit which manifested itself so abundantly in the early Church. The participants in the Catholic Pentecosal Movement claim that they receive certain charismatic gifts. Admittedly there have been abuses, but the cure is not a denial of their existence, but their proper use.”
‘Stork Passed The Plow’
The black horse of famine is riding down upon us and by the year 2000 the world population is expected to more than double its present three billion. The stork passed the plow, perhaps in 1963, said World Vision magazine in its December issue, and the world population is now outracing food production at the rate of two to one each year.
In the twenty-two years since independence, India has doubled agricultural production, but her population has shot up to 537 million, a rise of 170 million. Even in America, one in every five persons suffers from a lack of food, shelter, or medicine.
Alarmed by the galloping black horse of hunger, the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health issued a call to President Nixon to declare immediately a national hunger emergency. A “priority” statement adopted by the 2,700 delegates at the Washington, D. C., meeting urged the President to take steps to feed all hungry Americans—estimated to be 25 million this winter.
Nixon responded by announcing he has asked the Department of Agriculture to put food-stamp programs in the 307 counties without the federal project within the next six months, and said he would hasten implementation of a new rule granting $106 a month in food stamps to any needy family of four.
Although the White House in the past has limited its designation of disasters to such things as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, delegates wanted Nixon to break new ground by expanding the disaster definition to include hunger, a commitment the President deferred pending further study.
The Religious Action Task Force, one of eight units taking part in the conference, came up with a host of recommendations for church groups. Included were urging religious institutions to make staff persons available for work on hunger problems, even to the extent of participating in government-sponsored efforts, and pressing the federal government to fulfill its responsibilities toward the poor.
The Big Bequest
For two Southern, church-related colleges, 1969 was the year of the big bequest. Generous donations from E. Clairborne Robbins to the University of Richmond are not unusual. What was unusual about the Baptist layman’s gift to his Virginia alma mater last June was its amount—$50 million.
The donation to the Southern Baptist-supported university will be used, said President George M. Modlin, to “make this the most outstanding church-related school in the country.” It consists of $40 million in A. H. Robbins Pharmaceutical Company stock that will yield about $400,000 per year plus the promise of $10 million to match that amount raised by the university before 1979.
The university plans to improve its 350-acre suburban campus and to upgrade its faculty, curriculum, and scholarship program for the 4,500 students in its day and evening programs.
Robbins has a reputation in Richmond for being generous; people wait in line for jobs at his pharmaceutical firm. Before Castro, Robbins gave his employees a Cuban holiday. More recently, he’s taken them to New York.
Though smaller than the gift to the Richmond school, the $2.5 million gift to Texas Lutheran College is the largest ever to an American Lutheran Church school. More than thirty years before he died last year, O. G. Beck of San Antonio named the liberal-arts college as principal beneficiary in his will. Most of the money, officials say, will go into an endowment fund.
Religion In Transit
Tiny Tim and Vicki Budinger, exchanging marriage vows on the Johnny Carson TV show, promised to obey each other and serve Christ. As the cast toasted them with champagne, Tiny and Vicki drank milk and honey. “The Lord’s food,” Tiny said.
Indignant over a $40,000 training grant from the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council to the controversial Alianza of New Mexico, Episcopal Bishop C. J. Kinsolving III cut off financial support for the fund-troubled national church. The New Mexico bishop said the Alianza, which was founded by Reies Lopez Tijerina and demands, among other things, thirty-five million acres of land it claims under old Spanish crown land grants, promotes violence and is contrary to the Christian position.
The first Episcopal money piped to the Black Economic Development Conference (part of a $200,000 Episcopal allocation made in South Bend last September) will launch a development called for in the Black Manifesto. BEDC chairman Calvin Marshall said a black publishing firm, Black Star Press, would open in Detroit this month to promote further money for manifesto-prescribed projects.
Four of the nine faculty members of a Christian Reformed grade school in Cicero, Illinois, have resigned because the school won’t admit the children of Negro church members.
Early projections for Southern Baptist church memberships in 1969 show 11.4 million persons, up 132,500 from 1968.
The first integrated fellowship of black and white Southern Baptist pastors was formed in Houston last fall, according to Texas SBC information director Billy Keith.
The Pittsburgh Council of Churches has been replaced by the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, which includes Roman Catholic and Orthodox dioceses and involves 2,200 congregations. Baptist minister Lee Hicks heads the new ecumenical venture, touted as “a notable national first.”
Another first—Rockefeller-endowed Riverside Church in New York City revealed its assets: $23,994,000 in endowment funds, $86,105,000 in property.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania slashed its 1970 budget 23 per cent, citing a deficit of perhaps $300,000 last year.
Hmm!, a new “magazine” consisting of four-by-six-inch file cards, is produced by the American Baptist Home Missions Societies to “get essential facts to key audiences.” “It allows us a great flexibility,” a spokesman said … A new evangelical periodical in French, edited in Paris, is called Ichthus … While only a slight majority of U. S. Catholic bishops are satisfied with the nation’s diocesan papers, 70 per cent are satisfied with their own weeklies. Hmm!
A growth of 10 per cent in the combined investment income of its twenty-five participating church pension boards was reported at the fifty-fifth annual Church Pensions Conference in New York last month.
Forty-five Lutheran seminarians from thirteen schools have formed the American Union of Lutheran Seminaries to discuss “common issues.”
Mail-order-minister king Kirby J. Hensley (see March 14, 1969, issue, page 34), head of the Universal Life Church, filed an $8 million libel suit against Life magazine last month for its November 14, 1969, article, “The Instant Minister Racket.” Hensley says his Modesto, California, religious organization is bona fide.
The Right Rev. Paul Moore, Jr., suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D. C., was elected coadjutor bishop of the prestigious Diocese of New York last month; this places him in line to succeed Bishop Horace W. B. Donegan, who will retire not later than 1972. Moore, 50, a liberal, gained a reputation in the Jersey City area for championing civil rights causes in the early 1960s.
The Right Rev. Stephen F. Bayne, Jr., first vice-president of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, has resigned, effective July 1, to become a professor at General Theological Seminary, his alma mater.
Prominent Canadian evangelical Dr. Frank C. Peters, a past president of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, has been named to another term as president of Waterloo (Ontario) Lutheran University.
Theologian-scholar Bernard J. Cooke, a Jesuit, has resigned as chairman of Marquette University’s theology department and has asked to be released from the priesthood.
The Southern Baptist Home Mission Board confirmed that evangelism professor Kenneth Chafin of Louisville will lead the agency’s division of evangelism.
Student Walter E. Brandon, 33, of McCormick Theological Seminary (United Presbyterian) was arrested last month in Chicago on charges of attempting to rob a downtown bank of $10,000 with a toy pistol. Brandon, who was filmed on the bank’s closed-circuit TV, was a B.D. candidate specializing in social work.
A piano teacher who still lives in the house in which she was born has taught Sunday school for eighty-one years. Miss Elizabeth Aageson, feted by Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland, Maine, last month on her 100th birthday, is believed to be the oldest Sunday-school teacher in the nation.
Dr. Alan Buchanan was enthroned as Archbishop of Dublin in Christ Church Cathedral last month. President Eamon de Valera and Premier Jack Lynch attended, the first appearance of heads of the Roman Catholic Irish Republic at a Church of Ireland ceremony.
Paul Neumann, onetime San Francisco Warriors’ pro and former assistant basketball coach at Stanford University, is preparing to be a missionary at Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon.
A Vatican document of far-reaching import in Jewish-Christian relations calls upon Christians “to respect the religious significance of the state of Israel.” The statement, made public by Baltimore’s Lawrence Cardinal Shehan, notes that the trial and death of Jesus “cannot be attributed to all Jews then alive, nor … to the Jews of today.” Hence, “the Jews are not to be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from Holy Scripture.”
A division of the World Council of Churches last month protested the continuance of food flights to Biafra, saying that the aid only prolongs the Nigerian civil war … Meanwhile, Church World Service, an arm of the National Council of Churches, warned that a minimum of 500 tons of relief supplies is needed daily to stave off starvation, more than twice the present cargo from Joint Church Aid airlifts. JCA plans to continue flights.
In a sweeping decision, Italy’s highest court removed all criminal penalties for marital infidelity, leaving it a purely civil offense.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the First Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI lauded the century-old dogmas of papal supremacy and infallibility, saying they had stood the test of time and served as an example to non-Catholics of the “truth and unity” of the Roman church.
Delegates from eighteen nations and areas formed the World Christian Anti-Communist Association in Taipei, Taiwan, after five years of planning.
A fifteen-minute weekly short-wave radio broadcast, recorded entirely in Poland by Polish Baptists, went on the air last month over Trans World Radio from Monaco.
Gideons of Canada presented its seven-millionth Bible to Governor-General Roland Michener, the Queen’s representative, at a dinner in Toronto.
Eighty-four students from two Sudan Interior Mission Bible schools in southern Ethiopia spearheaded a three-month evangelistic tour that resulted in 9,037 professions of faith in Christ. Forty-five witchdoctors destroyed their amulets and idols.
Four series of commemorative stamps will be issued by the Vatican post office this year.
On The Solid Rock
Indian squatters on rockbound Alcatraz island are a somewhat captive audience for Southern Baptist preacher Wayne Bailey, 26, a Creek-Seminole who is pastor of nearby San Francisco’s seventy-five-member American Indian Baptist Church.
Hostile Indian leaders have protested informal open-air services he holds at the abandoned federal prison, scene of a takeover by hundreds to publicize nationwide Indian grievances. They charge him with importing a “white man’s religion.” But Bailey replies they haven’t got a case “because Christianity is the dominant faith among American Indians.”
Although Bailey, a Bacone College alumnus with pastoral experience in Shawnee, Oklahoma, fully agrees with the movement’s goals, his own priority is to reach those on The Rock “who need Jesus, our blood brother.” For him Alcatraz is more than a symbol; it is a happy hunting ground—for souls.
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