—Theological leaders from 30 African nations have agreed to reshape seminary education in order better to meet the challenges of living on a continent wracked by civil wars, genocide, political corruption, aids, militant Muslims, and poverty. Following a five-day January meeting at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, 235 delegates signed the Nairobi Manifesto, which both acknowledges past failures and outlines future solutions. The consultation demonstrated a readiness to refocus on equipping Christians for ministry through their local congregations.
—The government of Colombia has agreed to recognize 16 Protestant denominations. The accord allows evangelicals to minister in hospitals, prisons, and schools on an equal footing with Catholics.
—Theologian and mission expert Lesslie Newbigin, who spent half a century as a World Council of Churches leader and 35 years as a British missionary to India, died January 30 at age 88 in Birmingham, England. Newbigin had a large following among evangelical theologians and missiologists (CT, Dec. 9, 1996, p. 24).
—Portuguese lawmakers voted 116 to 107 on February 4 to permit abortions up to the tenth week of pregnancy. Abortions in the predominantly Catholic country had previously been allowed only for certain medical reasons.
—Pastors belonging to the Bahamas Christian Council cite divine intervention when a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel with 900 homosexual passengers was unable to dock in Nassa—in February. High winds and waves prevented the chartered ship from landing—after pastors had prayed and held a demonstration in Nassau. Earlier, the government of the Cayman Islands refused to allow the ship to dock there.
—Noor Alam, 58-year-old pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Shaikhupura, Pakistan, was stabbed to death at his home in Sultanpura on January 28, according to Compass Direct news service. His widow filed murder charges against a local Muslim leader. A Muslim mob had ransacked and demolished Alam's church while it was being built.
—The Billy Graham Center, a division of Wheaton (Ill.) College, has assumed administrative responsibility for Evangelical and Missions Information Service staff and operations, including the organization's two major publications, Evangelical Missions Quarterly and Pulse, a missions newsletter.
—The Cary, North Carolina-based Trans World Radio (TWR) and the Lincoln, Nebraska-based Back to the Bible (BTTB) broadcast have signed a "strategic agreement" to produce, finance, and transmit three 15-minute weekly programs geared for women and youth in the Middle East. Broadcasts will start in the fall from a 600,000-watt transmitter in Cyprus. TWR and BTTB have committed to raising $150,000 for the project.
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