Making Amends with Anabaptists

Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed churches are seeking to make amends for persecuting Anabaptists in the 16th and 17th centuries. A Vatican-appointed delegation last fall concluded five years of meetings with a group from Mennonite World Conference, the global Mennonite fellowship. Similarly, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has finished a two-year series of meetings this spring with the Mennonite Church U.S.A., and on June 26 the Reformed Church in Zurich held a reconciliation ceremony with participation by Anabaptist descendants from around the world. Also on June 26, Pope John Paul II met with Johann Christoph Arnold, an elder of the Bruderhof Communities, in Rome.

AmeriCorps Dispute Settled

Federal District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled July 2 that the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps may not pay for programs that place volunteers in Catholic schools (CT, March 2003, p. 28). Kessler sided with the American Jewish Congress. The AJC said the Corporation for National and Community Service was improperly paying for religious instruction. AmeriCorps argued its funding was for secular activities, not the religious elements of the schools, which it said were separate. AJC general counsel Marc Stern said there could be additional lawsuits.

Staines Hospital Opens

Five and a half years after the brutal killing of Australian missionary Graham Staines in India, his dream project of a referral hospital opened in Baripada, Orissa, on July 8. The 10-bed hospital is for both leprosy and general patients. The next week, widow Gladys Staines said she would be leaving India temporarily, citing her daughter's education, an ailing father, and a need for "spiritual reflection in solitude."

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