“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
This proclamation by the host of angels is a prophecy of God’s purpose to bring about the condition of peace and sinlessness among men. We were horrified at the tragic events of September 11 in the year 2001, especially the terrorist’s attack of our government buildings in New York. We sympathize with those who lost their loved ones. We weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn. What we witnessed is an extreme example of man’s inhumanity to man. However, the results of these terrorists attack had some good results in bringing some to their knees in prayer. They were making earnest and heartfelt prayers and not just uttering repetitious words to no effect. We also see people pulling together to give comfort and help to those who lost so much, and providing for the police and fire workers. They are also patient with the inconveniences and of losing some of their former privileges to which they were accustomed.
But we know the Lord permits such calamities for a reason, as He overrules for our good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) Also for the world in the Kingdom (Acts 17:31). “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9) That is the condition of the Kingdom on earth. Our prayers will be answered as we have prayed: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What should we do now? We should seek refuge - not the refuge of armaments and antibiotics, but the true refuge of God. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and he shall thrust out the enemy before thee.” (Deut. 33:27) But I will sing of thy powers; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou has been a defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.” (Psa. 59:16) We should lift up our heads and look forward to the Kingdom of righteousness. After the rod of destruction has accomplished its work, then will the hand that smote be turned to heal, and the people will return to the Lord and He shall heal them, giving them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Jer. 3:22; Hosea 6:1; Isa. 2:3 and 61:1-3). Finally “take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all stand.” (Eph. 6:13)
2001 IN REVIEW:
- The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
- The United States responds by attacking Afghanistan in search of Osama bin Laden.
- U.S. economy enters recession for the first time in a decade.
- Anthrax scare grips nation; five people killed by the disease.
- Stock markets go through one of the worst years in history.
- George W. Bush is inaugurated 43rd president of the United States.
- Vermont Sen. James Jeffords party switch changes control of the U.S. Senate.
- President Bush and Russian leader Vladimir Putin agree to cut their countries’ nuclear arsenals.
- President Bush decides to fund stem-cell research.
- The world’s first artificial hearts made of plastic are implanted in a few patients.
January 1, 2001 we were expecting a computer glitch that could have fouled up everything from factories to airlines. That would have been simple if that were all that happened.
2001 will be a year to remember. The stock market was soft. The economy was on a decline. Then on September 11th in New York the most brutal attack was launched on civilians.
The Federal Reserve has cut investment rate eleven times in eleven months. Rates are the lowest they have been in 20 years. The Feds have announced that we are in a recession. They gave all taxpayers a cash refund to get the economy going. Gold is not the standard currency of the world as it once was.
Employee layoffs are at an all time high. All types of business are filing for bankruptcy. Enron Corporation is the largest corporation in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy taking billions of dollars from investors’ funds. In November Enron disclosed that the profit it had reported to shareholders and government regulators during the past four years had been overstated by 20 percent or $586 million. The stock dropped from more than $90 per share to less than a dollar.
The auto industry is selling cars with no down payment and finance is available for three to four years at no interest.
War and recession create extreme uncertainty. The chief economist for the fourth largest bank forecast that unemployment rates would go over 6%. Consumer installment debt is over 21% of disposable personal income. Interest rates will go down another quarter point in the first quarter and then ease back up some in the third quarter. It will take a while for the economy to get back on track.
No one can forecast what 2002 will bring. The war could spread or it could just move to the Middle East.
In this Time of Trouble we need to watch for the “times and seasons” of the Lord. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.” (1 Thes. 5:1)
LATIN AMERICAN & CARIBBEAN NEWS TO NOTE: “Haiti coup suspect must go: QUITO, Ecuador - A former police officer accused of plotting this week’s assault on Haiti’s presidential palace will be deported from Ecuador within days, authorities said Friday. Guy Philippe, accused of masterminding an apparent attempted coup against Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, traveled this week to Ecuador but was detained at Quito’s airport upon request by Haitian authorities.”
“Car bombs kill passers-by: LA PAZ, Bolivia - Two car bombs exploded outside police headquarters in the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz on Friday, killing three people and wounding two dozen others. Most of those injured were pedestrians.”
“Navy told to follow rules: SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico has told the U.S. Navy that it should show it is complying with environmental regulations before it resumes bombing exercises on the island of Vieques next month. In a letter to the Navy’s southeast region, the U.S. territory’s Planning Board said the Navy is holding its bombing exercises on Vieques without a pollution-discharge permit and in violation of the U.S. Clean Water Act.”
“Prison moves U.S. inmate: LIMA, Peru - U.S. citizen Lori Berenson, sentenced to a 20-year term for aiding a leftist rebel group, has been moved from a top-security Lima prison to a prison in northern Peru for disciplinary reasons, officials said.”
“Mission Migrants return: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - More than 200 Haitian migrants missing for more than a month and feared drowned after they left in two crowded sailboats for Florida have been returned to their homeland from Cuba, a Haitian government official said Friday. One boat carried 63 passengers, and the other had at last 150. Relatives feared the ships had capsized.”
U.S. NEWS TO NOTE: “City to privatize schools: PHILADELPHIA - State and city leaders reached agreement Friday on a state takeover of the troubled Philadelphia school system as part of an ambitious plan to install a private company to help run the district and dozens of its worst schools. The move to bring in Edison Schools Inc. would be the nation’s biggest experiment in school privatization.”
“Drug maker ordered to pay: CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A jury Friday ordered Warner-Lambert Co. to pay $43 million in Compensatory damages to a woman who said her liver was destroyed by its recalled diabetes drug, Rezulin. The state court jury then began considering whether to order punitive damages against the drug maker, a unit of Pfizer Inc. Lawyers for Margarita Sanchez, 63, said the company lied to the Food and Drug Administration about the drug’s dangers when it sought approval to sell Rezulin.”
“Robbery a possible motive: CONCORD, N.H. - Robbery was the motive in the slaying of two Dartmouth College professors who were stabbed to death in their home, prosecutors said Friday. But the jury for Robert Tulloch will be asked to consider two theories of first-degree murder - that it was ‘purposeful,’ with no motive specified, and that it was committed during a robbery, Attorney General Philip McLaughlin said. A second youth has pled guilty.”
Abu-Jamal ruling draws fire: PHILADELPHIA - Prosecutors are appealing a federal judge’s ruling overturning the death sentence of convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. The notice of intent to appeal freezes Tuesday’s order from U.S. District Judge William Yohn, who said Abu-Jamal deserves a new sentencing hearing because of errors in the Jury instructions given at his 1982 trial. Yohn upheld Abu-Jamal’s conviction.”
“Man sentenced in scam: RICHMOND, Va. - After persuading ailing patients or their relatives to dole out thousands of dollars for fraudulent cancer treatments, John Paul Dyke was sentenced to nine years in prison. Michael Halpern of Key West said Dyke told Halpern’s seriously ill wife that her husband didn’t love her and she should go with him to Richmond for cancer treatments. After a tip from Halpern, authorities found 18 people had paid Dyke more than $300,000, including 12 who died.”
(Orlando Sentinel, December 22, 2001)
“Teen sentenced for plotting: ELMIRA, N.Y. - A teenager who smuggled guns and bombs into his high school for a planned killing spree was sentenced Monday to eight and one-half years in prison under a plea deal. Jeremy Getman, 19, admitted he intended to shoot students and teachers and toss bombs into crowds when he brought weapons to Southside High School on Valentine’s Day, but said he realized he couldn’t kill innocent people. He surrendered peacefully after students notified officials that he had passed someone a threatening note.”
“Ex-bank official gets prison: BLUEFIELD, W.VA. - A former bank official was sentenced Monday to more than 12 years in prison and ordered to pay $515 million in restitution for his role in one of the nation’s largest bank failures. Michael Graham, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to embezzlement and money-laundering charges, was given the maximum sentence. The First National Bank of Keystone was declared insolvent September 1, 1999, after federal authorities concluded that up to $515 million of the bank’s reported $1.1 billion in assets had vanished.”
“Racing guru held in slayings: SANTA ANA, Calif. - The man known as the ‘Father of Supercross’ in the 1970s pleaded not guilty Monday in the slaying of racing legend and former business partner Mickey Thompson and his wife 13 years ago. Michael Goodwin 56 was ordered held without bail. Thomason, 59, and his wife, Trudy, 41, were shot to death in 1988 in the driveway of their home. The pair had a falling out that led to a series of lawsuits and a $514,000 judgment in Thompson’s favor that helped force Goodwin into bankruptcy.”
(Orlando Sentinel, December 18, 2001)
“Mossad Warned U.S. of Impending Attack: Senior Israeli security officials revealed last week that Israel’s Mossad had recently alerted American intelligence to the possibility of major terrorist attacks by Middle Eastern elements against key building and installations in the United States. (reported Israeli daily, Maariv)
“The Italian newspaper II Foglio reported last week that Israel was the only country to warn the U.S. that Middle Eastern terrorism was about to hit the U.S.
“’Israel and the U.S. have been fighting terrorism side by side even before the forming of this coalition, and it goes without saying that it will be active now as well.’
“Israel’s position is that any coalition for an international war against terrorism must have the broad aim of battling all terrorism worldwide - including Palestinian terror against Israel.
“The defense establishment in Israel has received general warnings regarding plans by terrorist organizations to perpetrate mass-casualty attacks within Israel. It has not yet received warning of any specific planned attack, but both the IDF and the Shin Bet security service believe that the success of Tuesday’s September 11 attacks in the U.S. will encourage Palestinian terror organizations to attempt strikes of similar proportions in Israel.”
(Bible Light International, October 2001)
WORLD NEWS TO NOTE: Priests take up self-defense: LONDON - Beneath the white collar, add a black belt: Some British priests are taking martial-arts classes to protect themselves from irate parishioners and other dangers of modern life. A group of Church of England priests is enrolling in tae kwon do classes after researchers found that members of the clergy were more likely to be attacked than probation officers or doctors. A two-year survey of 1,300 clergy in southeast England by the University of London found that 12 percent had been assaulted, 22 percent threatened with violence and 70 percent verbally abused.”
(Orlando Sentinel, December 18, 2001)
“Canada fights car suicides: OTTAWA - Canada’s Ministry of Transportation, looking for ways to commit suicide in cars, is considering ordering auto makers to equip all cars with special suicide-resistant tailpipes. Transport Canada, in a discussion paper posted on a government Web site Friday, said suicide-resistant tailpipe, available at an extra cost of about $2.50 per car, would prevent people from attaching a hose to the end of the exhause, while hidden venting would let fumes escape under the vehicle if a hose or bag were taped to the outside lip.”
“Iraq blames U.N. for deaths: BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi officials said Friday that more than 1.6 million people died as a result of economic sanctions imposed on Baghdad since 1990 by the United Nations, the state Iraqi News Agency said. The agency was quoting from a letter sent from Iraq’s U.N. mission to Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations. It blamed the rise in the death rate on delays by U.S. and British representatives to the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions committee in approving the purchase of medicine and medical equipment.”
(Orlando Sentinel, December 29, 2001)
TERRORISM DIGEST: “British troops could arrive in Afghanistan within days: LONDON - Britain will lead an international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, and the first troops could be on the ground when a new interim Government takes power this weekend if agreement is reached with local leaders, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday. Addressing parliament, Blair said ‘Britain is willing, in principle to lead such a force,’ which will initially help provide security in the Afghan capital, Kabul, but could expand its role to other parts of the country.”
“Widow, others remember Green Beret killed by bomb: ARLINGTON, Va. - Staff Sgt. Brian ‘Cody’ Prosser, 28, one of three Army Green Berets killed by an errant U.S. bomb in Afghanistan, was recalled Monday as ‘the best of the best’ who gave his life doing what he loved: serving his country. ‘Cody is a hero, and I will love and miss him for the rest of my life,’ said his widow, Shawna, after his burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Prosser of Frazier Park, Calif., was killed December 5.”
“Liberty Island will reopen; statue stays shut for now: NEW YORK - Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty, will reopen to visitors Thursday for the first time since terrorists leveled the World Trade Center across New York’s harbor. But the statue will remain closed at least until 2002, the National Park Service said Monday.”
“Immigration officials hold Muslim for visa violation: DETROIT - A Muslim who serves on the board of a group suspected of funding terrorism has been detained by federal immigration officials on a visa violation, his attorney said Monday. Attorney Ashraf Nubani said his client, Rabih Haddad, was detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service on Friday, the same day federal agents raided the offices of Global Relief Foundation of Bridgeview, Ill. Haddad is on the group’s board of trustees.”
“Fake grenade from bag delays plane for hours: SAN DIEGO - A woman boarded a plane with a security screener’s bag that held a fake grenade, which rolled on the floor and delayed takeoff more than three hours. Authorities said they don’t know how Lolita Austria got the bag Sunday and added that they were conducting a petty-theft investigation. Austria, 57, of Rochester, N.Y., was questioned and released.”
(Orlando Sentinel, December 18, 2002)
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: “Proselytizing Physician?: Patient-doctor privilege does not work both ways, it seems. Dr. Karl De Vries, an 18-year veteran of the Maccabi Health Fund, had his contract terminated last week on the grounds that he has ‘begun discussions in the clinic unrelated to medical practice.’ Specifically, De Vries, a Jehovah’s Witness, is accused of trying to spread his faith among the ailing - at least, by the ultra-Orthodox lobbying groups.
“When first presented by the ultra-Orthodox demand that De Vries be dismissed, Maccabe refused, but was then faced with the prospect of boycott by this sizable sector, which could ruin it financially given the tough competition from the Clalit and Meuchedet health funds. Now Maccabi has both fired De Vries and cut off all contact with him.
“’For 18 years I was a wonderful doctor for Maccabi,’ De Vries said last week. ‘Suddenly, now I’ve become a sacrifice on the altar of the Maccabi management, which was afraid of losing the ultra-Orthodox public.’
“MK Yossi Paritzky of the secularist Shinui Party demanded that Maccabi rescind its decision, or else face similar pressure from the non-religious public.
“Maccabi medical director Alik Aviram said in response: ‘This is not a case of yielding to ultra-Orthodox pressure. Dr. De Vries acted in contravention to all medical ethics by distributing Jehovah’s Witness flyers to his patients. As far as I’m concerned, this is only one step away from sexual harassment.’” (The Jerusalem Post, September 28, 2001)
This is a good example of overstepping the bounds of propriety. The good doctor should not have been using his employers’ time to spread his beliefs - especially to ill people. To give him the benefit of a doubt, it seems that he himself was a newly proselytized Jehovah’s Witness, and perhaps acted rashly in the first fervor of battle. But the fact remains that he was out of order. He probably thinks he is being persecuted for his beliefs, but he is not. He is suffering for his improper acts.
The Witnesses have told their followers that they are the only group left that emanates from what Pastor Russell taught. We found this out from one of the Witnesses who came to our door. We told her that at least there is one group that believes Brother Russell was That Servant. We told her where they could contact this group. And we believe Brother Russell was That Servant and believe all he taught, with Scriptural support: the six volumes, and other books as well as the reprints.
THE LAYMENS HOME MISSIONARY MOVMENT: Brother Paul Johnson, who emanated from Pastor Russell’s group, founded the LHMM. When he died Brother R. G. Jolly, a self-claimed crown-loser of the class known as Great Company, described in Revelation 7:9 as “great multitude,” and stand before the throne. The saints are on the throne. See Jude 3, which says, “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort ye that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” After Brother Jolly became Executive Trustee, he presented several things that Brothers Russell and Johnson did not teach. Brothers Russell and Johnson taught the Epiphany and the Time of Trouble are the same. When one ends the other ends. The LHMM teach what Brother Jolly taught - not what Brothers Russell and Johnson taught. If anyone wants to know more about it, they can write us and we will tell them.
“BATTLE OVER TEN COMMANDMENTS MOVEMENT IS HEATING UP: CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -On a recent Sunday, 3,000 people showed up at a downtown sports arena for a Ten Commandments rally that had the fervor of an old-fashioned tent revival. Declaring themselves Christian soldiers in a war against evil, they prayed, waved American flags and poured thousands of dollars into collection buckets.
“It was a carefully crafted scene that is being played out across America as Christian conservatives energized by the spiritual revival brought on by the September 11 terrorist attacks campaign to post the Ten Commandments in public buildings throughout the country.
“In what some experts say is developing into one of the biggest First Amendment challenges in decades, Christian conservatives have declared war on civil libertarians for the soul of America. A grass-roots movement that began three years ago in the Bible Belt South has intensified in recent months, with dozens of efforts under way to defy U.S. Supreme Court rulings prohibiting school prayer and the placement of religious symbols in public buildings.
“The rallies blend patriotism and religion to raise money and garner support for local officials who have voted to erect Ten Commandments plaques and monuments in the lobbies of city halls, county buildings and courthouses.
“’September 11 was a point of demarcation for a renewed interest in this movement,’ says Charles Wysong, president of Ten Commandments Tennessee, the advocacy and fund-raising group that sponsored the Chattanooga rally.
“’There is a defiance and an unwillingness on the part of God’s people to be ruled by groups like the ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union. Everyone is tired of their feeble arguments, including the courts, and we’re not listening to them anymore,’ says Wysong.
“Across the nation, clergy are leading student assemblies in prayer, schools are requiring a moment of prayer, and government meetings are opening with religious devotionals. Several local governments face lawsuits for erecting the Ten Commandments in public venues.
“Hamilton County Commissioners in Chattanooga voted on September 16 to display the Ten Commandments in the county building and two courthouses. In Ringgold, Ga., a town of 2,000 people near the Tennessee border, officials recently placed the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and an empty frame with the engraving: ‘This is for those of other beliefs’ on display in City Hall.” (By Dahleen Glanton, National Correspondent, December 22, 2001)
“RANKS OF NONRELIGIOUS RISE: A study of American religious identification shows that the majority of adult adherents continue to be tied to protestant and other non-Catholic denominations, but the numbers of those who say they are non-Christians or have no religion have risen substantially.
“The American Religious Identification Survey, 2001, was released by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
“The survey found that 52 percent of American adults are Protestant, 24.5 percent are Roman Catholic and 14.1 percent are not affiliated with a religion. Researchers determined that 1.3 percent of adult Americans described their religion as Jewish and 0.5 percent as Muslim.” (Orlando Sentinel, November 24, 2001)
“CHURCHES TRY TO FORM ORGANIZATION: WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Council of Churches is going to try to form a new organization that would for the first time include all major branches of U.S. Christianity, its board decided Tuesday.
“If successful, the new ecumenical body could spell an end to the council, which is now made up of mainline Protestant, black Protestant and Orthodox denominations.
“Most Christians in the United States are currently outside the council, in the Roman Catholic Church and in Evangelical or Pentecostal groups.
“Under the purposely vague plan approved by the 50-member council board, a task force will hold preliminary talks with Catholic, Evangelical and Pentecostal leaders, invite them into a joint process and propose next steps to the council’s national assembly in November.
“The project faces numerous obstacles, both ideological and practical. Conservative Protestants - Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists - have been indifferent or hostile toward the council, often accusing it of theological liberalism and promoting political causes to the neglect of spiritual ones.
“The U.S. Catholic Church decided a generation ago not to enter the council, partly because Roman Catholics in this country alone exceed the 50 million members in the council’s 35 denominations.
“However, since the Second Vatican Council, Catholic bishops have been free to join cooperative bodies with other Christians and have done so in 55 other countries.
“Participants at the council’s 50th anniversary meeting last November said it was time to give birth to a new ecumenical future, noted the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, chief executive of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a current National Council member. ‘I find this extremely helpful and hopeful,’ he said of the proposal.
“The future existence of the council was not discussed by the board. ‘Sometimes an organizational structure has to be willing to die. We have to be willing to entertain that,’ said the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, chief executive of the Reformed Church in America, part of the task force that will contact the other Christian groups.
“The Rev. Robert Edgar, the council’s chief executive, sent notice of the proposal two weeks ago to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals. He plans an early meeting with the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination.
“In another action at the council board meeting, officials settled a major internal dispute, granting independent financial control to its relief agency, Church World Service. The agency, which brings in 85 percent of council revenues, has been dissatisfied with the cost and quality of council administration. It was during discussions of the Church World Service problem that the idea of a new pan-Christian group first arose. [“Behold they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” (Isa. 54:15)]
“The council has struggled through a period of financial turmoil. Following a $4 million budget deficit for 1999, Edgar expressed confidence that anticipated special gifts, staff cuts and other economies would stabilize finances by the end of 2000.” [“Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me.” (Isa. 54:15] (By Richard N. Ostling)
CATHOLICS: “POPE APOLOGIZES FOR CLERGY’S ABUSE: ROME - Pope John Paul II offered an apology Thursday for sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, saying it has caused the victims ‘great suffering and spiritual harm’ and has damaged the church.
“The pontiff tucked his one-paragraph apology into a 120-page message to Catholics in Oceania on the wide range of issues raised by their bishops in 1998. Meeting at the Vatican, the bishops had condemned sexual abuse within the church and in society as a whole.
“John Paul’s message, said by the Vatican to be the first personally sent by a pope over the Internet, also followed a series of articles by the National Catholic Reporter quoting internal Vatican reports about sexual abuse of nuns and other women by priests and bishops.
“According to reports cited by the U.S.-based weekly last spring, some priests and missionaries forced nuns to have sex with them and, in several instances, committed rape and obliged the victims to have abortions. The reports covered cases in 23 countries, including the United States, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
“The Vatican, in response to the articles, acknowledged that the problem existed and said an investigation was under way.
“Thursday’s papal message to Australia, New Zealand and far-flung South Pacific islands went much further.
“’In certain parts of Oceania,’ John Paul said, ‘sexual abuse by some clergy has caused great suffering and spiritual harm to the victims. It has been very damaging in the life of the church.
“’Sexual abuse within the church is a profound contradiction of the teaching and witness of Jesus Christ,’ the pope said, adding that the church wishes to ‘apologize unreservedly to the victims for the pain and disillusionment caused to them.’
“The church, he said, is seeking ‘open and just procedures to respond to complaints in this area’ and is committed to ‘compassionate and effective care for the victims, their families, the whole community and the offenders themselves.’
“John Paul’s promise of ‘open and just procedures’ also answered a demand raised at the Vatican last month by Sister Mary Sujita Kallupurakkathy, superior general of the Sisters of Notre Dame in India.” (By Richard Boudreaux, Orlando Sentinel, November 23, 2001)
“Billboard upsets Catholics: Oregon Roman Catholics are demanding removal of a highway billboard that claims ‘The Pope is the Antichrist.’ The sign on Interstate 5 near Medford was rented by Larry Weathers, an elder at Rogue Valley Historical Seventh-day Adventist Church, a small group that is distinct from the main Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“’We’re not against Catholics or against their religion, just the political, religious organization of the Vatican,’ said Weathers, a barber.” (Orlando Sentinel, August 11, 2001)
“CHURCHES CONSIDER UNION: LONDON - The Church of England and the Methodist Church should get ‘engaged’ and work toward a reunion to heal their 2-centuries-old split, a joint report said Wednesday. The report by Anglican bishop Barry Rogerson of Bristol and the Rev. John Taylor, past president of the Methodist Conference in Britain, proposed a covenant between the two churches affirming their mutual life and ministry. Commitments outlined in the covenant include continuing to welcome each other’s baptized members to participate in the fellowship, worship and mission of the churches.”
(Orlando Sentinel, December 13, 2001)
METHODIST: “ADS TO TARGET UNCHURCHED: It rained today. Does that sentence make you want to go to church? The United Methodist Church is betting $20 million that it will. It’s part of a four-year national ad campaign that starts Tuesday for the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination. The theologically gentle but culturally edgy ads are aimed at about a third of Americans - the unchurched, mostly boomers and Gen-Xers who feel burned by organized religion.
“For some, the unprecedented campaign can’t start too soon in a church that has lost a quarter of its membership since 1965.” (Wire Reports, September 22, 2001)
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN: “CHURCH REVENUE PLUMMETS: Leaders of the Church of the Brethren are ‘seriously concerned and disappointed’ that revenue dropped 20 percent in the 141,000-member denomination. As of July 31, giving to the church’s General Ministries Fund stood at $1.9 million, down from $2.5 million during the same period last year. The General Ministries Fund covers most activities for the church.
“The Church of the Brethren is one of three churches - along with the Mennonites and the Amish -with roots in the Anabaptist tradition of 18th-century Switzerland and Germany. The church is known, in part, for its involvement with peace causes.”
(Wire Reports, September 22, 2001)