Ready To Share Data

In September, leaders of 20 missions agencies and interdenominational groups met for the first time to discuss how they can work together to accelerate world evangelization.

As a first step, they called on Christians worldwide to join in 24 hours of prayer and fasting just before Pentecost Sunday each year as a “focused intercession for global evangelization” between now and the year 2000. Pentecost Sunday will next be celebrated on May 22, 1988.

The missions leaders also made tentative plans for a consultation early next year. The meeting would give experts a chance to discuss available research information about unevangelized people. They would also consider setting up a data base that all groups could share.

R. Keith Parks, president of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, called the September meeting after hearing missions leaders ask if there were ways they could “work together and strengthen our witness to the whole world.” Participants represented groups with about 20,000 overseas missions personnel and a total budget of more than $510 million.

Among the organizations represented were the Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene, SIM International, World Literature Crusade, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Far East Broadcasting, Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society, Church of God in Christ, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), World Vision, General Conference Mennonite Church, Trans World Radio, Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth With a Mission, and the Navigators.


Mixed Message

The parents of 26 students in Dewsbury, England, have refused to send their children to a Church of England school that mixes Christian and Islamic elements in religion classes.

Eighty-five percent of the students at Headfield Middle School are Muslims. Prayers and readings at the school’s daily religious assembly reflect the culture and teachings of both Islam and Christianity. And the twice-weekly religion class teaches the symbolism and sacred places of both the Bible and the Qur’an. Religious education is a compulsory subject in all British schools.

Although Headfield is associated with the Church of England, it receives no church funds, and the church does not control its curriculum. However, Russel Ashwood, the local Anglican vicar and a governor of the school, defends the curriculum. “Here we have an opportunity to build trust between different [faith] communities and to discover the way forward together …,” he said.

In response, some parents say the Church of England has abandoned its responsibility to educate students in their own faith. And some Muslim parents have joined a call for separate schools for each faith group.


More Press Freedom

Radio Catolica, the radio station operated by the Catholic church in Nicaragua, returned to the air last month. It was the first time the station had been allowed to broadcast since the Sandinista government closed it in late 1985.

The government silenced the station after it was late in joining a radio network that was broadcasting a year-end speech by President Daniel Ortega. “From now on, the people of Nicaragua, the invalid, those who are in jail, are going to have the true Catholic voice,” said Violeta Chamorro, publisher of the opposition newspaper La Prensa, which reopened one day ahead of the Catholic radio station.

The government closed the newspaper in June 1986, saying it had backed the contra rebels. Both the radio station and the newspaper were allowed to reopen under terms of a peace plan signed by the leaders of five Central American nations.


Surrogate Grandmother

A 48-year-old woman gave birth to her own grandchildren last month, after serving as the surrogate mother for her daughter’s triplets. Pat Anthony, the surrogate mother, will remain the triplets’ legal guardian until their biological parents formally adopt them.

Doctors took ova from Anthony’s 25-year-old daughter, Karen Ferreira-Jorge, and fertilized them in a laboratory with sperm from Ferreira-Jorge’s husband. Anthony agreed to have the fertilized ova implanted in her uterus because her daughter is no longer able to bear children. The birth of the triplets represented the first all-family surrogate arrangement and the first triplets born to a surrogate mother.


Asking For Prayer

Christian groups in the Soviet Union have issued a call for worldwide prayer during the first week of November. According to the U.S. based Slavic Gospel Association, this is the second appeal for prayer to come from Russian Christians this year.

The first request asked all Christians to pray for spiritual renewal in the Russian church. “During that time, as millions of people in our country and throughout the whole world were praying and confessing their sins, we received blessings from the Lord,” Soviet believers report in their current appeal. This month, Russian Christians are requesting prayer for “spiritual revival, the preaching of the gospel, and the evangelization of the U.S.S.R.”

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