Wednesday, February 6, 2008

6 February 2008


Fort Myers Church Requests Affiliation Switch
[2] Death of Archbishop Christodoulos
[3] Elderly Convert From Islam Dies From Burns
Borgdorff Appointed President of Reformed Ecumenical Council
[5] World Outreach Director Search
[6] AMIA Conference Hears Call to Grow Church

Fort Myers Church Requests Affiliation Switch

By a 76 percent majority, members of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers, Florida, have agreed to ask for dismissal from the Presbyterian Church (USA) in order that they may petition to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

The Covenant Presbyterian Church on McGregor Boulevard has 1,300 members and church officials held the vote on Super Bowl Sunday because it's the "highest attended single Sunday other than the traditional Christmas or Easter," said church clerk Jake Faasse.

Faasse expects the decision on dismissal from presbytery to be made sometime in May.

+ The News-Press, 2442 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33901, (239) 335-0200

Death of Archbishop Christodoulos

Archbishop Christodoulos, who during his almost 10 years as head of the (Orthodox) Church of Greece received Pope John Paul II for an historic visit and sparked controversy with several of his remarks, died 28 January at the age of 69.

In 2001, Christodoulos met Pope John Paul II when the pontiff became the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to visit Greece in 1300 years. The archbishop later paid a reciprocal visit to Rome, meeting John Paul’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

The archbishop was involved in a number of controversies. In 2000, he opposed Greek government compliance with a European Commission directive to remove the stating of religion on official identity documents. In 2001, he said of the 9/11 attacks on the United States that the attackers had acted “out of despair caused by the injustices of the Great Powers,” sparking ire among those who saw the remarks as offering a justification for the terrorists. Christodoulos was reported to have retracted the remarks five years later. In 2003, he said that Turkey should not be admitted to the European Union because Turks were “barbarians.”

+ Jerry Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202, (888) 728-7228 x5493

Elderly Convert From Islam Dies From Burns

A 70-year-old woman convert from Islam died on 1 February from burns she suffered when unknown assailants in a Muslim-majority area of Bangladesh about 150 miles northwest of the capital set her home on fire last month.

Rahima Beoa of Cinatuly village suffered burns over 70 to 80 percent of her body after the bamboo and wood home she shared with her daughter and son-in-law, also converts, was set ablaze on 7 January, said Khaled Mintu, Rangpur regional supervisor of the Isha-e-Jamat (Jesus’ Church) Bangladesh denomination.

Family members did not file charges with police over Beoa’s death because they could not trace anyone to the arson, Mintu said, addig that filing charges would also hamper evangelistic efforts.

Area Isha-e-Jamat pastor Abdul Mabud Chowdhury said villagers were not only upset over Beoa’s planned 13 February baptism but angry with her daughter and son-in-law, 40-year-old Ashraful Islam, for converting to Christianity and for his evangelistic efforts.

Beoa received burns on her hands, legs, waist, and other areas, Mintu told Compass Direct. Mintu added that she was given a Christian burial attended by about 100 people, including some Muslims.

In 2006, Mintu said, more than 7,000 Muslims vandalized houses of area Christians. There are 50 Christian families of mostly Muslim upbringing within two miles, he said, including 18 families in the immediate area of Beoa’s home.

+ Compass Direct News, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana, CA 92799, (949) 862-0304,

[4] Borgdorff Appointed President of Reformed Ecumenical Council

Rev. Peter Borgdorff, former executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, has been named president of the Reformed Ecumenical Council, a group that represents some 39 denominations and about 12 million Christians worldwide.

Borgdorff takes over from Rev. Douwe Visser, who resigned the presidency of REC to take a position with the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), based in Geneva, Switzerland. Both Borgdorff and Visser were in Grand Rapids for a special chapel service at which the transition was announced.

The new ecumenical body, to be called the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), will formally come into existence at an assembly set for June 2010 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. It will represent more than 80 million Christians worldwide.

Borgdorff has agreed to serve as president of REC during the next two years as the work is done to formalize the merger and he has also agreed to help write a constitution for the new organization.

The decision to merge REC, which is based in Grand Rapids, and WARC came after several years of discussions. At a meeting last year in Trinidad, WARC agreed to recommend to REC that the new global entity be called the World Communion of Reformed Churches. REC had already agreed to the merger at a meeting in South Africa. The new organization will represent nearly 230 Calvinist denominations in more than 100 countries.

Besides the traditional Reformed churches, the WCRC will be open to Presbyterian, Congregational, and other denominations with a Reformed heritage, Borgdorff added. "I have found over the years that the commonalities among us to be much greater than those things that we think divide us," said Borgdorff.

+ Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560 (616) 241-1691

[5] World Outreach Director Search

The World Outreach Director Search and Selection Team of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) has begun its work in seeking the individual God has called to succeed Rev. Jeff Chadwick. The team includes a current member of the World Outreach Committee (Bruce Anderson), a current member of the World Outreach mission’s family (Tim Mitchell), an individual heavily engaged in mission (Ron Sadlow), a member of the Committee on Administration (Art Hunt), and Executive Pastor/Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah.

+ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Office of the General Assembly, 17197 N. Laurel Park Drive, Suite 567, Livonia, MI 48152-7912, (734) 742-2020

AMIA Conference Hears Call to Grow Church

Announcing that this was the largest turnout ever in the history of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), a jubilant Bishop Chuck Murphy stood before nearly 1,700 evangelical Anglicans at their winter conference, to announce a broad plan to reach 130 million unchurched Americans.

The AMiA leader said the conference has drawn three Anglican archbishops, three retired archbishops, 19 Anglican bishops from Canada, the US, England, Africa, and the entire House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda. A representative from the Province of Uganda was also present, with 80 international guests and 16 representatives from major Anglican missions and seminaries and Common Cause bishops from nine jurisdictions that included bishops from the Reformed Episcopal Church.

Also present was the leader of orthodoxy in the Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh. Representative from orthodox seminaries TESM, Nashotah House, and St. Augustine seminary in Peru were also on hand. A number of retired Episcopal bishops were present including the Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison and Bishop Alex Dickson.

Three new bishops will be consecrated for service in the AMiA as part of the conference agenda. They include the Rev. Terrell Glenn, rector of All Saints Church, Pawleys Island, South Carolina; the Rev. Philip Jones, rector of St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Little Rock, Arkansas; and the Rev. John Miller, rector of Prince of Peace Anglican Church, Melbourne, Florida.

"I believe they will bring additional strength to the Anglican Mission's Council of Bishops as we seek to break into new territory and reach out to the 130 million unchurched in North America," said Murphy. The AMIA will now have seven missionary bishops serving more than 133 parishes with 62 in the pipeline.

Among the featured conference speakers are theologian Dr. J.I. Packer, newly consecrated London Bishop Sandy Millar, Reformed theologian Rev. Dr. John H. Armstrong, and Mrs. Judith MacNutt. Murphy said AMIA has produced the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in contemporary English with a first printing in the works. This was the work of two theologians the Rev. Dr. John H. Rodgers Interim Dean at TESM in Ambridge and US Prayer Book Society President the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon.

According to Anglican journalist David Virtue, Murphy continued "We are not creating a new wineskin; we are not creating a new church or new province. Our call is specific. We are called by God to move out and bring those who don't know Jesus Christ and to bring them into a relationship with him."

+ AMiA National Mission, Resource Center, PO Box 3427, Pawleys Island, SC 29585 (843) 237-0318