American missionary murdered in Uganda
"Last Friday, gunmen in Mbale raided the home of an American missionary, Micheal Stachofsky, and shot him dead," reports The Monitor, a newspaper in Kampala, Uganda. "Shocking as it is, there is nothing unusual about this because many Ugandans are killed in a similar way all the time. But what Ugandans will find sad is the fact that, like other Ugandans that have been murdered in cold blood, Stachofsky could not be rescued or his killers apprehended in time for the simple reason that police lacked means of transport to get to the scene!" The only local police car, the paper says, doesn't work.
Nevertheless, police roadblocks did turn up a suspect: Santos Odongo, a soldier in the Ugandan People's Defense Forces. African news reports are only identifying Stachofsky and his wife, Patti Sue, as American missionaries who had worked on a water project in the town of Mbale, but they don't identify any religious background or missionary agency. (A quick Web search didn't turn up anything either.) According to one report, Patti Sue Stachofsky told police "the intruders had demanded money from her husband but he had refused and tried to force them out of the house when they shot him and fled."
Congressman in Philippines: let the U.S. military help free Burnhams
U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) is in the Philippines meeting with President Gloria Arroyo on freeing New Tribes missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. The Philippine media are reporting that he's satisfied with the Philippine military's rescue efforts, but American and international media emphasize that he wants greater openness in allowing U.S. troops to give it a shot. "Joint training exercises would help keep peace and order," he tells The Wichita Eagle. "We are feared for our capability." In yesterday's edition of the Eagle, Tiahrt said there was some indication that American troops might be welcome. "The perception that the U.S. can help is there," he said. "They just don't want us to come over and run roughshod over them."
Meanwhile, New Tribes Mission and Martin Gracia's father, Paul, are busy encouraging Christians to pray for the missionaries. "I think there was quite a lot of activity and anticipation that the Burnhams would be released before Christmas," said New Tribes spokesman Scott Ross. But all is not lost. "We do believe there is some progress being made. Every day we wake up and say 'maybe today,'" Paul Burnham told members of Rose Hill Bible Church.
Looking back at 2001:
- A world in turmoil | A troubled 2001 and an uncertain future in 2002 push religion to center stage. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- In a year of high drama, religion plays a leading role | The sudden emergence of the American Muslim community and global Islam is perhaps the biggest religion story of 2001, a year in which the sacred and the secular collided head-on in the public square. (Religion News Service)
Church and state disputes:
- ACLU fights Ten Commandment postings | The ACLU has prevailed in the initial judgments in the latest dispute, but more rounds are sure to come, and six other Kentucky counties are also battlegrounds (Associated Press)
- Florida city's declaration for Jesus draws ire of ACLU | A mayoral proclamation declaring "Auburndale for Jesus" has drawn the favor of local pastors and the ire of civil libertarians (Freedom Forum)
- Spreading the faith—one windshield at a time | Woman's evangelistic literature, city's ban on leaflets collide in court (Kenneth A. Paulson, Freedom Forum)
- Missouri lawmakers want constitutional amendment allowing school prayer | Terrorist attacks provided catalyst for movement (Associated Press)
- Faith-based social services: revival time | Civil rights exemption affecting gays won't cloud new election-year version (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Revival of Bush's faith-based plan expected in 2002 | New version of social services bill takes out civil rights exemption (The Dallas Morning News)
- Relying on tradition, not frills | Jerry Jones, a 'middle-of-the-road conservative,' shuns theatrical emotion and many trappings of modern worship in a bid to keep his church pure. (Los Angeles Times)
- Police brought into church dispute | Parishioners forcibly removed during mass (The Toronto Star)
- Church decorators uncover ancient murals | Depictions of angels in wall paintings believed to date from the 1320s (The Times, London)
- Jail sentence for woman who harassed minister | She had left 31 messages on his answering machine in just one night, and had tipped out bins, turned over plant pots, and thrown paint at his home. (The Scotsman)
Campus Crusade for Christ:
- More students pursuing a spiritual path | Campus Crusade for Christ convention a sign of growing religious interest (The Baltimore Sun)
- Evangelists expand reach | Campus Crusade for Christ adds chapters (Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York)
- Army chaplains' pack provides first-aid kit for soldiers' souls | The box, developed at the U.S. Army labs in Natick, Mass., and expected to go into service next year, can transform into an office or altar and is good for storing linens, books and other tools of the chaplains' trade. (The Washington Post)
- Flame of hope still burns at church shelter | Many of the regulars here tonight travel the circuit together, doing their own thing during the day--job hunting, visiting the doctor—and meeting up at the churches at night. (Dawn Turner Rice, Chicago Tribune)
- Actual membership of any faith in U.S. is open to debate | A mix of honest mistakes, bad data and wishful thinking make separating inflated numbers from real ones a difficult task. (Associated Press)
- Israel's Christian community still growing | There are 137,000 Christians among the country's population, compared to 120,000 in 1995 (The Jerusalem Post)
Other stories of interest:
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