By Christy Barritt
Church Faces Charges in Mock Kidnapping
A Middletown, Pennsylvania Assem-bly of God congregation was accused in a mock kidnapping of a youth group and charged by local authorities with false imprisonment and simple assault.
The church and its youth minister staged the event in March as a lesson in religious persecution. Mock kidnappers covered the teenagers’ heads, put them in a van, and interrogated them. Neither the teens nor their parents were told beforehand what was happening.
One of the mothers complained to the police, saying the church essentially terrorized the children.
The minister of Glad Tidings Assembly of God said the goal of the exercise was to prepare the youth for what they might encounter as missionaries in foreign countries. He also said the church has conducted similar events at least twice before without complaints.
Baptist Leaders Tell Church to Reject Racism
A Mississippi Baptist church that prevented a black couple from getting married in its building is now feeling the repercussions as both the community and Southern Baptist leaders have called on the church to reject racism.
The wedding of a black couple was moved at the last minute to a different church after some congregants told the minister they were opposed to allowing black people to marry at their church. The minister said the move was meant to avoid conflict in the predominantly white church located in Crystal Springs. The majority of the members, however, didn’t know what happened until after the incident was reported.
Southern Baptist Convention spo-kesman Sing Oldham said, “We are all saddened when any sin, including the sin of racism, rears its head. Part of our gospel is that we are being redeemed. We are flawed, failed creatures and redemption is a process.
Defining the “Unchurched”
With many churches focused on reaching people labeled “unchurched,” one research firm is seeking to define exactly who the unchurched are.
Traditionally, people who attend a worship service at least once a month and on a regular basis have been considered “churched,” while those who attend less frequently have been labeled “unchurched.”
In a new study, Ellison Research broke down the American population to show that only 63 percent of churched Americans actually attend worship services once a week or more. Twelve percent of the churched attend three times a month, 16 percent attend twice a month, and nine percent attend once a month.
Among the unchurched, 18 percent visit occasionally but not regularly. Twenty-two percent attend on special occasions like Christmas and Easter, while 60 percent do not attend worship services at all.
The study also linked worship attendance to several factors including family history of attendance.
Scotland Pushes for Gay Marriage
Scotland will become the first nation in the United Kingdom to allow same-sex marriage.
The plan won’t go into affect until 2015 and was met with opposition by the Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland.
Legislators have assured churches that the government will take all the necessary steps to protect churches and individuals within the churches who do not wish to conduct same sex weddings.
A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church said, “The Scottish government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale.”
Currently, Scotland allows for same-sex civil partnerships.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.