- J. Christy Wilson, Jr., 77, professor emeritus of world missions at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, died of cancer February 8, in Duarte, California. A Presbyterian pastor, the Iranian-born Wilson helped establish the Urbana conventions and served as a missionary in Afghanistan for 23 years before joining Gordon-Conwell in 1975.
- Federal Judge Lowell A. Reed of Philadelphia in February granted a preliminary injunction that blocked implementation of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) passed by Congress last fall (CT, Dec. 7, 1998, p. 19). Reed, acting on a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and 16 other plaintiffs, said the law, designed to require commercial operators of pornographic Web sites to keep "harmful to minors" material from children, "could result in the censoring of constitutionally protected speech." Pro-family groups, such as the National Center for Children and Families and Enough Is Enough, say the law is constitutionally sound. They expect the Justice Department to request a jury trial in the case.
- Pat Robertson, 69, returned as president of the Christian Coalition in February after the retirement of former Reagan administration official Donald P. Hodel. Hodel, 63, had replaced Robertson in 1997, at the same time that Randy Tate replaced executive director Ralph Reed (CT, July 14, 1997, p. 60). Tate remains in his post with the Chesapeake, Virginia-based organization. Robertson had been a senior adviser to the coalition since stepping down. Hodel did not take a salary in the post.
- Retired Assemblies of God (AG) general superintendent G. Raymond Carlson, 80, died January 29 in Springfield, Missouri. Carlson led the denomination from 1986 to 1993 during a period when the worldwide AG constituency grew to 15 million from 10 million and the number of U.S. AG churches increased by more than 1,100 to 11,689.
- John M. Buchanan, 61, became editor and publisher of the Chicago-based Christian Century on February 15, replacing James M. Wall, who had been editor since 1972. Buchanan will continue as pastor of Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church. He served as Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) moderator in 1996-97. Wall, 70, will continue as senior contributing editor. Major editorial responsibility will be handled by executive editor David Heim, 45, who has been promoted from managing editor after 13 years at the magazine.
- Metropolitan Iriney, head of the 500,000-member American-Canadian Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church, died February 2 in Libertyville, Illinois. Iriney, 84, had been metropolitan since 1984, although he had been in a nursing home since suffering a stroke in 1996.
- Salem Communications, of Camarillo, California, which owns 45 radio stations and has a network of more than 1,000 affiliates, has purchased CCM Communications, which will maintain its headquarters in Nashville. CCM's publications include CCM magazine, Aspire, and Worship Leader.
- The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) voted January 30 to build a $1.5 million headquarters in Manassas, Virginia, by next year, that will include office space, studios, and a religious broadcasting hall of fame. The NRB, which has more than 1,100 members, currently leases a facility in Manassas.
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