| The Adventist Review shares the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Review or the Seventh-day Adventist Church. -- Editors
McCain, Obama Urged to Make Poverty a Priority
ine faith leaders have banded together to urge Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to present a 10-year plan to combat poverty when speaking at their national nominating conventions.
The interfaith coalition--led by Rabbi Steve Gutow, executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA--sent letters to the two candidates asking that they address poverty in a prime-time speech and propose a strategy to help the 37 million Americans who live below the
"As people of faith, we believe it is immoral to ignore our nation's most vulnerable populations. As Americans, we believe enduring poverty undermines our country's economic strength and prosperity," the letter states. "But our efforts to sustain our brothers and sisters living in poverty must be complemented with a serious plan from our political leaders to reduce the number of needy."
In addition to Gutow and Snyder, the statement was signed by the Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World; the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for government affairs, National Association of Evangelicals; the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary, National Council of Churches; Dr. Eboo Patel, executive director, Interfaith Youth Core; Rabbi David Saperstein, director and counsel, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism; Sayyid M. Syeed, secretary general, Islamic Society of North America; and the Rev. Jim Wallis, chief executive officer, Sojourners.
The letter is part of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs' new national anti-poverty initiative, "There Shall Be No Needy Among You." The campaign urges local, state and national lawmakers to advance anti-poverty legislation and programs, including shelters, work and educational opportunities.
"JCPA is trying to get the faith community involved to engage politicians to address poverty in this country," said Adam Muhlendorf, JCPA spokesman. "We want to have the candidates ensure that at the convention, the issue is addressed."
Neither the McCain nor Obama campaign has responded yet, he said.
Archbishop of Canterbury Says Gay Ban
Needed to Preserve Unity
The spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion said the communion will be in "grave peril" if its North American churches ignore temporary bans on gay bishops and same-sex unions.
"If the North American churches don't accept moratoria" on gay bishops and blessings, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said on August 3, "as a communion we are going to continue to be in grave peril."
The archbishop also said conservative archbishops from the so-called Global South must stop transgressing traditional geographic boundaries and seeking to adopt like-minded parishes in the U.S. and Canada. Williams' comments came at a press conference at the conclusion of the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade gathering that brought together more than 650 bishops representing the world's third-largest Christian body.
Nearly 200 bishops, mostly from Africa, boycotted the conference because they refused to meet alongside bishops from the U.S. or Canada who allow same-sex blessings or approved of the election of an openly gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
Though there was no recorded vote, a majority of bishops at Lambeth agreed with Williams and said the moratoria, although "difficult to uphold," are necessary to keep the Anglican Communion from breaking apart.
Yet in a sign of problems ahead, at least two California bishops had already earlier said they will continue to bless same-sex relationships in their dioceses. The bishops' closing statement, which is not binding, came in a 40-page "Reflections from the Lambeth Conference."
The bishops here said same-sex blessings and Robinson's consecration have led to "many negative results." Mission partners have been lost, interfaith partnerships damaged, and the church is ridiculed in some quarters as "the gay church," the bishops said.
Bishops also gave strong approval for a proposed new covenant that would outline Anglican beliefs--and penalties for churches that flaunt them--as well as a "pastoral forum" to deal quickly with crises in the communion.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said: "We have not resolved the differences among us, but have seen the need to maintain relationships, even in the face of significant disagreement and discomfort."
Jefferts Schori generally favors gay rights in her church, and voted to approve Robinson's consecration. Robinson was not invited to the conference but has been in England advocating for gay rights.
A nonpartisan coalition of more than 90 faith, community, labor and business organizations has launched an ambitious "$10 in 2010" campaign to raise the federal minimum wage within two years.
The Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign announced the "$10 in 2010" crusade with support from various denominations, including American Baptist Churches USA, the Episcopal Church, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Christian social justice group Sojourners.
The launch of the new "livable wage" campaign came as the federal minimum wage rose 60 cents to $6.55 on July 24, part of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The hourly minimum will increase again in 2009 to $7.25 per hour.
"As people of faith, we believe there is no better way to urgently address the poverty that afflicts so many low-wage working people and their families than by raising the minimum wage," said the Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry, founding national coordinator of Let Justice Roll. The two-day event, "Living Wage Days," is set to kick off January 10, 2009, featuring worship services and community events across the country.
Opponents argue that an increased minimum wage will lead to more unemployment and layoffs, especially among young and unskilled workers. They also argue businesses will shift excess worker salary costs to consumers.
Methodists Elect First Woman Bishop in Africa
The Rev. Joaquina Filipe Nhanala is a woman of firsts in Africa-- she's the only female United Methodist pastor in Mozambique with a master's degree in theology, and now she is the first female United Methodist bishop in all of Africa.
Her election, during the denomination's Africa Central Conference held July 22-24 at Africa University in Zimbabwe, is effective in September.
In addition to pastoring a large church in Matola, a suburb of the capitol Maputo, Nhanala also coordinates local women's projects, leads the World Relief HIV/AIDS education program for southern African provinces and also participates in the Mozambique Initiative, a partnership of churches in Missouri with churches in Mozambique.
"We have had a long relationship with Rev. Joaquina Nhanala," said Carol Kreamer, coordinator of the Mozambique Initiative. "Bishop Nhanala is capable, bright and dedicated and we look forward to collaborating in mission and ministry together."
Nhanala is succeeding retiring Bishop Joao Somane Machado, who has seen the Mozambique United Methodist Church triple in size in the last 13 years, according to United Methodist News Service. There are reportedly more than 125,000 members some 170 churches across Mozambique. As bishop, Nhanala will also oversee 29 schools, a theological school, agricultural programs, a hospital, two clinics, a seminary and four Bible schools.
LifeWay: Cutback Reflects 'Tough Times'
LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the world's largest providers of Christian products and services, announced Aug. 1 that it is reducing its workforce by approximately 5 percent and cutting expenses in other parts of its operations.
LifeWay, which is a religious nonprofit organization related to the Southern Baptist Convention but does not receive direct financial support from the denomination, is making the move in response to the downturn the U.S. economy has been experiencing, according to a statement released by the organization.
"LifeWay Christian Resources is feeling the pinch of tough economic times," the statement said. "Higher fuel prices, inflation, bank and housing crises, and much more have lowered consumers' discretionary spending, which in turn is leading to lower-than-projected revenues."
"These are hard but necessary steps to ensure the continued effectiveness of LifeWay ministries," said Thom S. Rainer, LifeWay's president and chief executive officer. "The decision to delete jobs is one of the most agonizing I've had to make in my career.
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