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Gleanings: March 2019

Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our March issue).
Gleanings: March 2019
Image: Kutay Tanir / Getty
James MacDonald takes indefinite sabbatical

The founding pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel stepped away from preaching and leadership duties in January while the megachurch undergoes a “peacemaking process” after a legal clash with longtime critics. James MacDonald and Harvest dropped their defamation lawsuit against two bloggers and former Moody Radio host Julie Roys, who had alleged mismanagement at the Chicago-area multisite church. MacDonald confessed to battling “cycles of injustice, hurt, anger, and fear, which have wounded others without cause.” During his sabbatical, the church has pledged to hear out former members and critics and review church processes.

World Vision forced out of Pakistan

After 13 years of providing emergency relief and children’s programs in Pakistan, World Vision has been ousted from the Islamic Republic along with 17 other international NGOs representing $130 million in assistance. After Pakistan revised its registration process for foreign charities following the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, dozens of groups—including World Vision and two Catholic charities—failed to secure legal status and spent years appealing the decisions before being expelled in late 2018. The Christian aid organization said it “regrets the effect that the cessation of our work will have on the vulnerable communities with whom we worked, but respects the government’s right to decide who may work in the country.”

Ukraine’s Orthodox Christians split from Russia

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church was officially granted ecclesiastical independence this year, marking the biggest schism in Christianity since the Protestant Reformation. Amid ongoing political clashes ...

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