Warlord takes six missionaries hostage on Guadalcanal
Solomon Islands warlord Harold Keke has reportedly killed at least 50 people the last year, and 20 in the last month, the AFP news agency reports. Several people murdered were his own supporters.

Now Keke is holding hostage six missionaries from the Melanesian Brotherhood, part of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

"The recent report from someone who managed to escape from the camp is that the six brothers are still alive but held as prisoners," Archbishop Ellison Pago said in a press release. "The Head Brother and I agree that we must do two things: to ask friends far and near to pray for the safety and release of the Brothers, and for me to communicate with the militants to establish some form of understanding which will lead to a possible immediate release of the six brothers."

Ministry Matters, a publication of the Anglican Church of Canada, recently published an article about the Melanesian Brotherhood and the other three related religious communities. "This is real evangelism that goes on largely unsung, unfinanced, undocumented," wrote Richard Carter.

These evangelists walk the roads with bare feet and no money. These are evangelists whom people can welcome in their homes like returning sons or daughters, who will share whatever food there is and who will sleep on a mat and help hoe the garden, catch the fish or repair the roof. These are the evangelists who will come whenever they are called to pray for the sick, solve a village dispute, calm down a husband who is drunk. And when they visit, they bring a sense of goodness, the sense that something better is possible.

Keke reportedly told the Solomon Islands government why he took the missionaries hostage, but that reason isn't being made public. It's unclear if there have been political or monetary demands.

Saudi Arabia's Christian fish

Details are emerging about Todd Bair, one of seven Americans killed in Monday's bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A retired Army captain, Bair was in the country as a contractor training Saudi national workers.

His wife, Samantha, said that the two would regularly communicate through e-mailed Scripture. "He would write, 'I can't tell you what's going on but if you look at this Scripture, then this Scripture and that scripture, you'll know what's taking place,' " she told The News Chief of Winter Haven, Florida. But the most interesting details come from his mother, Emmy Thompson. The News Chief's William Bygrave writes:

Bair's relationship with his boys was such that his mother said he visited a Muslim-owned jewelry store in Riyadh and commissioned to have three gold fish signs made for him and the boys to wear on gold chains.
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"He went back to the store and the owner asked what that was about," Mrs. Thompson said. "'It is just something special between me and my boys, Bair (told him).'"
She explained that in Jesus' time when Christians were being persecuted, they would draw the sign of a fish in the sand and Christians would know if they were talking with another Christian.
She said the jeweler was so impressed he made other gold fish to put in his window, but they were soon sold out.

More articles

Gracia Burnham:

  1. A new mission | Gracia Burnham talks about life with her children, without her husband, and the dark days of captivity that tested—and proved testament to—her faith (The Wichita Eagle)

  2. In Gracia's words | Gracia Burnham's new book, recounting her ordeal as she and husband, Martin, became hostages in the Philippines, should provide inspiration to millions (The Wichita Eagle)

  3. 'Presence' a graphic tale of wife and missionary | The honest details of their life bring the story home and inspire a compassion we can all learn from (Abe Levy , The Wichita Eagle)

  4. In the presence of her enemies | Gracia Burnham lost her husband and a year of her life after being kidnapped by Muslim rebels (Beliefnet)

  5. Who are the 'enemies' in Gracia's book? | What's interesting about the unfolding scenario is that it's the military generals who are spluttering into their malt whisky and going fast and furious on the defensive. And most of us thought the word "enemies" referred to the Abu Sayyaf! (ABS-CBN.com)

  6. DOJ to use legal pact with Washington to summon Gracia (Today, ABS-CBN.com)

  7. Gracia Burnham talks | She has one regret, a regret that she says could have saved Martin's life (KAKE, Wichita)

  8. Unchained memories | The theme of Gracia Burnham's book is morality. She only wanted a society than can show the best in man and not the worst. The leading players are not the kidnap victims but unseen military officers whose rapacity perhaps exceeded those of the Abu Sayyaf (Ben Lim, ABS-CBN.com)

  9. Gracia Burnham talks about year as hostage | Burnhams taken captive in May 2001 (KMBC, Kansas City)

  10. What she saw | Abu Sayyaf hostage Gracia Burnham talks about her ordeal in a new book (Time Asia)

  11. Muslim separatist guerrillas admit taking brief custody of American hostages in 2001 | Moro Islamic Liberation Front says it gave refuge to the Burnhams and other hostages for about two weeks in a rebel jungle stronghold near Basilan's Sumisip town for humanitarian reasons (Associated Press)

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  1. Hostage: Captors negotiated for ransom (Associated Press)

The Matrix:

  1. The spiritual message of The Matrix | Authors find inspiration in film's mythology of fighting for truth (Morning Edition, NPR)

  2. They don't call him 'The One' for nothing | The first Matrix movie is seen by many Christians as a retelling of the story of Jesus. Whether the sequels will fit that theory remains to be seen (Siri Agrell, National Post, Canada)

Politics and law:

  1. George Bush and the social conservatives: A troubled marriage | A conservative president has more problems with one section of his party's right-wing than you might think (The Economist)

  2. GOP leaders warned to shun agenda of gays | "We urged party leaders not to put President Bush's re-election at risk in 2004 by shrinking from the cultural wars now," said Gary Bauer (The Washington Times)

  3. Evangelical fellowship, top leadership at loggerheads | Some members of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia have differed with their top leadership over the stance taken by the Oasis Forum on the constitutional review process (The Times of Zambia)

  4. Pope John Paul II criticizes Mugabe's land reforms | "Social and political violence will eventually increase, the gap between rich and poor will grow ever wider," says pontiff (Mail & Guardian, London)

  5. God's word is no defense for anti-war vicar | A magistrate yesterday rejected a vicar's defense that God had told him to block a road in protest (The Guardian, London)

Life ethics:

  1. Doctors oppose assisted suicide | More than half of doctors have been approached by a patient seeking medical help to die, an Internet survey suggests. However, most (74%) would refuse to perform assisted suicide if it were legalized (BBC)

  2. Gov. Jeb Bush to seek guardian for fetus of rape victim | Move has angered women's rights groups and reignited the debate over abortion in Florida (The New York Times)

  3. New cases stir US abortion fight | Two pregnancies, a rape, and a murder have merged to redraw the battle lines over abortion in America (BBC)

Missions and ministry:

  1. Help unwanted | What's wrong with Christian groups helping Iraqis? (Vincent Carroll, The Wall Street Journal)

  2. And here's where it gets uninteresting | Church youth worker runs "The Dullest Blog in the World" (The New York Times)

  3. World Vision leader's vision is fight against AIDS | Rich Stearns was an advocate for the victims of the global AIDS epidemic four years ago, pressing for his organization to make AIDS its No. 1 priority (Chicago Tribune)

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  1. American missionary defended | Arrest in Haiti called 'setup' (The Miami Herald)

  2. Kirk says it's ok to snub church | People don't need to go to church to be Christian, says next head of the Church of Scotland (Daily Record, Scotland)

  3. Also: Kirk 'must grasp the nettle of reform' (The Scotsman)

  4. Gideons get mixed reaction | Bibles were offered to middle school students (Rapid City Journal, SD)

  5. Groups want to preach through talking Bibles | Device plays all 27 hours of the New Testament on a single tape sealed in the box (Associated Press)

  6. Local minister aids stricken Maine town | When the Rev. Hans Arnesen drove into the remote town of New Sweden, Maine, he faced his greatest pastoral mission (The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.)


  1. College president's résumé fails student exam | A student reporting assignment at a small evangelical college in Toccoa, Ga., resulted in the resignation of the college president. (The New York Times)

  2. Harvard is pressured to return $2.5m gift | President of the United Arab Emirates tied to a controversial Arab think tank with alleged anti-Semitic and anti-American leanings (The Boston Globe)

Church and state:

  1. Students react to suit over silence | Another graduation and another lawsuit over what will go into the ceremony. But, this time, it's from students who say it's their right to have a moment of silence (KTIV, Iowa)

  2. Principal criticized for school prayer | Ellen Green asked teachers to stand by students' desks and pray on the National Day of Prayer (Associated Press)

  3. Old World would be wise to look to New when drafting constitution | While an 'American solution' is probably the last thing many Europeans want to hear, U.S. has some insight on issue of God and government (Charles Haynes, First Amendment Center)


  1. Pensacola woman guilty of shooting lover at church | Jury rejected argument that she was insane when she shot her estranged lesbian partner and another woman (Associated Press)

  2. Andrews woman admits to embezzling $300,000 from Baptist church | Said she needed money to pay for medical bills for son's Hodgkin's disease (Asheville Citizen-Times, N.C.)

  3. Illegals' 'Christ' scam | Cheating asylum seekers are pretending they have converted from Islam to Christianity to avoid being kicked out of Britain, it was revealed last night (The Sun, London)

  4. Vicar's killer 'must serve 11 years' | Christopher Hunnisett drowned a retired vicar in the bath and dismembered his body (BBC)
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Holy Land:

  1. Israel's unshakable allies | American evangelicals and fundamentalists - the so-called ''religious right'' - are among the most tolerant and respectful friends the Jewish people have (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

  2. The Bible is their 'road map' | Christian Zionists meet to plan strategy to spoil Bush's peace plan (Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange.com)

  3. Jerusalem holy site tensions mount | The Islamic authority (Waqf) which administers the disputed Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount, in Jerusalem has said it will continue to bar non-Muslims from praying there (BBC)

American and Canadian faith:

  1. Has the United States become Judeo-Christian-Islamic? | Leading Muslim organizations say it's time for Americans to stop using the phrase "Judeo-Christian" when describing the values and character that define the United States (Religion News Service)

  2. Canada ain't America when it comes to religion | Americans are just more religious than Canadians. It wasn't always so (Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe & Mail, Toronto)

  3. God keep our land | At a glance, the stats suggest that more Canadians than ever have no religion. Look more closely, (Reginald Bibby, The Globe & Mail, Toronto)

Church life:

  1. Sunday worship in decline | Only one in 10 people in Scotland go to church on a Sunday, according to the latest figures (BBC, video)

  2. Hard-up churches may be forced to shut and cut jobs | The London Diocese of the Church of England has a £500,000 deficit—expected to double to £1 million later this year—leaving about 80 clergy posts at risk (The Times, London)

  3. Heavenly tones: Music and religion | A sociologist argues that music has kept the sound of organized religion from fading (The Christian Science Monitor)

  4. No more messy Mass? | You don't have to be a Roman Catholic to feel some nostalgia for the days when the holy Mass was a less messed-up affair—and sung in Latin (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)

  5. Evangelicals hit out at Archbishop of Canterbury | Some are upset with Fanning the Flame's invitation (The Guardian, London)

Clergy sex scandals:

  1. I'm victim, says vicar who fathered organist's child | Says from the pulpit that he's a "victim of a sinister scheme" (The Times, London)

  2. Also: Organist duped me into having sex, claims vicar (The Guardian, London)

  3. Also: Love child vicar 'victim of sinister scheme' (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  4. Preacher gets new abuse charges | Sexual assault charges continue to mount against J. Wesley McCoy (The Augusta Chronicle)
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Money and business:

  1. Vicars flock to heavenly trade fair | The Christian Resources Exhibition, staged on a racecourse at Esher just outside London each year, is a Godsend for the eager ecclesiastical shopper (Reuters)

  2. "Jesus and Mary" sandals cause a scandal in Denmark | A local Catholic parish filing charges against the store for blasphemy (AFP)

  3. Also: Jesus sandals ditched by Danes | A supermarket chain in Denmark has withdrawn from sale sandals with the images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary on them after criticism from religious groups (BBC)


  1. Northern Ireland church damaged in attacks | A Catholic church in County Down was attacked twice within a matter of hours (BBC)

  2. Attack on Christians condemned | The Global Council of Indian Christians has condemned the attack on a Christian prayer group at Kyarakoppa near Dharwad and termed the Sangh Parivar activists' charge of forceful conversions to Christianity false (The Hindu, India)

  3. Man pleads innocent in L.A. attacks on houses of worship | Jewish Iranian immigrant charged with six counts of arson, four of terrorism (Associated Press)

  4. Ugandan man firm in his Christian faith | Pastor Isaac Wagaba stood mute when the three guards trooped into his cell. They carried bloodstained blindfolds (The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.)

  5. Solomon Islands warlord takes hostages | Six Church of Melanesia missionaries held (AFP)


  1. Another Birthday for Pope: Better than last year? | He appears to be younger, not older, on his 83rd birthday (Reuters)

  2. Also: Pope John Paul II at 83: 'Ministry of presence' | As his 83rd birthday approaches on Sunday, as his 25th anniversary as pope approaches in October, the Holy Father's ultimate homily may be his life itself (USA Today)

  3. Religion Today: Elevating Pope Pius XII | Some historians and Jewish thinkers accuse the wartime pope of being a secret anti-Semite, who failed to speak out against the Holocaust. And the debate has taken a decidedly personal turn in Peter Gumpel's case (Associated Press)

  4. Aboard Swedish airliner, remains of saint | St. Birgitta's flies SAS (Associated Press)

Sexual ethics:

  1. Gay, lesbian group denied specialty tags | Plates are confusing police, lawmaker says (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  2. Williams tries to avert gay schism | Archbishop of Canterbury and his fellow Anglican leaders will debate a report which gives warning of "anarchy and division" if liberal bishops permit homosexual "marriages" (The Daily Telegraph, London)


  1. Anti-Catholicism in the U.S.: A hate much loved and lied about | A review of The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice by Philip Jenkins (Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun)

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  1. Gospel truth | Research throws new light on Lindisfarne manuscript—it might have been written with Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People (The Guardian, London)

  2. Vatican releases modern Latin dictionary | It is a project to keep the language updated, even if they didn't have dishwashers, discos, and miniature golf in Roman times (Associated Press)


  1. 'The God of old': recovering theological imaginings | In the early books of the Bible, the subject of these seven meditations by James L. Kugel, God is truly present; he can be seen and touched (Jack Miles, The New York Times)

  2. Does the devil really make you do it? | Evangelical Protestants, who generate many of American religion's notable innovations, are at war over one of them, known as "spiritual warfare" (Associated Press)

Other stories of interest:

  1. Religion news in brief | ELCA theologians want support for same-sex couples, Dallas bishop expects to be reassigned, and other stories (Associated Press)

  2. June Carter Cash dies with family at her side | Throughout, country music star leaned on Christianity for guidance and for limits (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  3. Prince trusts pagan charm | He has been mocked for his New Age leanings, but the Prince of Wales is wearing one pagan charm with pride (The Times, London)

  4. Street preacher wins injunction in free speech suit | Edward Gathright preaches on Portland streets, telling homosexuals they must die and likening women to daughters of Babylon (The Oregonian)

  5. Feminism mislabeled Christian | Why would the Young Women's Christian Association, which has just chosen Patricia Ireland as its boss, still call itself Christian? (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)

  6. Evangelicals vs. the system | New studies say the mental health system discriminates against evangelical Christians and other devout clients (Beliefnet)

  7. J&K clergy irked at conversion | So far, reports about mass conversions are not fully verified (The Economic Times, India)