The following reports were released during the last month by Charisma News Service. Go to our Web site at www.charismanews.com to subscribe to the free weekday service or to access full-length versions of each day’s stories. The site also includes a search engine so you can access archived news.
‘KETTLE PRAYER’ INITIATIVE AIMS TO STIR REVIVAL
A moving symbol of slavery was featured in a series of special prayer gatherings intended to bring racial healing and revival to the country. A 200-year-old kettle into which slaves would whisper their prayers to avoid being heard by their owner was taken to key historic sites as part of The Kettle Tour, led by Dutch Sheets, pastor of Springs Harvest Fellowship in Colorado Springs, Colo. Beginning July 27 in Williamsburg, Va., he and others spent 15 days in July and August traveling to such places as Jamestown, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Plymouth, Mass.; Princeton, N.J.; and Philadelphia.
ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHANGES DIVORCE STANCE
During its weeklong convention in early August, the Assemblies of God (AG) General Council passed a resolution that allows divorcees to become pastors as long as the divorce occurred before their conversion. The decision makes an exception to the denomination’s 90-year-old rule prohibiting ministerial credentials for divorced and remarried persons who have a living former spouse, The Kansas City Star reported. In 1991 and 1997, the 2.5 million-member AG defeated similar resolutions, but this time the measure passed by a 998-834 vote. Earlier that week, the Barna Research Group reported that unlike two years ago when Christians’ divorce rates were slightly higher than the general population, the divorce percentages between the groups have evened out.
CHRISTIAN GROUPS PLEASED WITH STEM CELL DECISION
Many of President Bush’s Christian supporters were pleased with his decision to support federal funding for some stem cell research. Bush said the research would be limited to already extracted cells and that the government wouldn’t back the destruction of new embryos, The New York Times reported. “I give the president’s decision generally a thumbs-up,” Focus on the Family founder James Dobson told CNN’s Larry King. Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice added: “The president has reached the correct decision concerning one of the most serious ethical and moral issues of our day.”
RANDALL TERRY ATTEMPTS MINISTRY COMEBACK
Former abortion protest leader Randall Terry is attempting a comeback to public ministry after losing his radio show, ending his 19-year marriage and then remarrying, The New York Times reported. The “hyper-aggressive,” as the report called him, founder of Operation Rescue, jailed numerous times as he led large-scale abortion clinic demonstrations across the country, recently ended a yearlong sabbatical. Terry, 42, married 26-year-old Andrea Kollmorgen in June. As of July, he and his new wife lived not far from his former home, where his ex-wife and children still live.
RAY MCCAULEY REMARRIES
In July, pastor Ray McCauley, founder of 26,000-member Rhema Bible Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, married Zelda Ireland, a twice-divorced member of the congregation. According to newspaper reports, it was a lavish ceremony attended by 6,000 congregants. The couple met after McCauley’s 24-year marriage to Lyndie McCauley ended last year.
The Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN) The 700 Club program has a new home with Walt Disney–whose welcoming of “Gay Days” celebrants at its Orlando, Fla., theme park has been criticized by CBN founder Pat Robertson. The unlikely arrangement follows Disney’s $5.3 billion purchase of the Fox Family Channel, which it is turning into ABC Family, The Washington Post reported. Disney inherited the agreement to continue to broadcast the The 700 Club and other CBN shows from Fox, which bought the Family Channel from CBN in 1997.
MOVIE STUDIO MAKES FAMILY-FRIENDLY CUTS
New Line Cinema is sending edited video releases–minus profanity, violence and sex–to The Dove Foundation for a family-friendly seal of approval. Dick Rolfe, an Assemblies of God layman who heads the Michigan-based group, told The Washington Post that the first video released under the agreement, Jim Carrey’s The Mask, did “very well, considering the little promotion put behind it.” Lost in Space, The Bachelor and Blast From the Past also have been edited for decency.