World news briefs

By on March 1, 1999
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Colombia, Sierra Leone get PWRDF aid

The Primate’s Word Relief and Development Fund will send $30,000 to help earthquake victims in Columbia and the civil war in Sierra Leone.

In Columbia, the funds will be used to provide food, shelter and clean-up equipment. The Jan. 25 earthquake killed 2,000 and left several thousand people homeless.

Intensive fighting in Sierra Leone has killed thousands since the beginning of the year. More than 30,000 people have sought shelter in the country’s national stadium, located its capital city, Freetown. There has been little power or water for more than two weeks and food and medicine is scarce.

More than 15,000 women, children and older people have lost their homes during the civil conflict. The $15,000 grant to the Christian Council of Sierra Leone will help provide high-energy rations, plastic sheeting, blankets, clothing, cooking utensils and soap.

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Indian Christians persecuted

The growing number of attacks on Christians in India – more than 90 last year – has prompted Indian Christian churches to call for an inquiry into human rights violations. The Church of North India and the Church of South India have both expressed shock and dismay over incidents which have included a gang rape of a nun, the burning of Bibles, random attacks on Christians and discrimination against tribes.

Church Times

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Sudanese bishop freed

Bishop Henry Riak, of Wau Diocese in Sudan, has been released from prison by the Sudanese High Court. The release follows the personal intervention of Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, on behalf of his fellow bishop. The bishop had been imprisoned following the collapse of a development program.

Church Times

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Judge forbids votive candles

votive candles A church court in England has forbidden St. Oswald’s Church in Shropshire, Eng., from setting out a votive candle stand because the congregation is divided over whether it wants the stand. Judge John Shand, diocesan chancellor of Lichfield, ruled that the introduction of votive candles to St. Oswald’s was “indicative of a Catholic theology which is alien to St. Oswald’s.”

The dispute, with echoes of traditional low church-high church battles, began when some people at St. Oswald’s found comfort in having candles lit in the church in 1996 during a curate’s terminal illness, and later in the mourning period after the Princess of Wales’s death.

Church Times

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