News Service Briefs
The following reports were released during the last month by Charisma News Service. Go to our Web site at www.charismanews.com to access full-length versions of each day's stories. The site also includes a search engine so you can access archived news.
MORNINGSTAR MINISTRIES IN DISPUTE OVER TAX STATUS Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries is halting plans to develop a retreat and conference center on 400 acres of mountain property in Wilkes, N.C., after local government officials denied the group tax-exempt status. Wilkes officials say that more than half of MorningStar's annual gross income comes from subscriptions and the sale of books and tapes. Joyner said he is bracing himself for a long and difficult legal battle because the county's position may have implications for other ministries. "The county is trying to set legal precedent," he told The Wilkes Journal-Patriot. "They are getting into defining what is a ministry." Though Joyner hopes for a settlement, the ministry is considering taking civil rights action in the case.
MOUNT SINAI HOLY CHURCH LEADER DIES Bishop Amy Johnson Stevens, primate (chief presiding bishop) of Mount Sinai Holy Church of America, died Sept. 14 in Wilmington, Del. She was 87. Bishop Stevens served in many roles in the denomination after giving her life to the Lord in 1932. She was its fourth president and served as presiding prelate over Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Based in Philadelphia, the 76-year-old denomination has churches and missions in 25 states and four countries and is the oldest existing African American Pentecostal organization founded by a woman.
CHURCH LEADERS APOLOGIZE TO NATIVES FOR DECADES OF ABUSE Leaders of Canada's Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and United churches made public apologies Sept. 5 to Native people for decades of abuse by white church officials. The move follows a rash of lawsuits by Natives against several churches, charging physical and sexual abuse of children who attended residential schools in the past, Reuters reported. None of the cases involve Newfoundland, where the ceremony was held in a retreat center in St. John's, but church-run schools in the province did prohibit Native students from speaking their own languages. The Canada apology came just three days before the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs expressed similar sentiments during a celebration of its 175th anniversary.
CHRISTIAN MOTORCYCLIST RESIGNS FROM MINISTRY POST Herbie Shreve resigned his position as president of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) on Aug. 18. A letter mailed to CMA's 70,000 members in September only noted that Shreve had resigned and offered no explanation. Jeff Shreve, Herbie's oldest son, said his father had lost his vision for the ministry. Currently, CMA is being led by its board of directors and board chairman Jeff Ogden. Herbie Shreve is the son of evangelist Herb Shreve, who founded CMA in 1972.
BOGUS REPORT PROMPTS CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND TV SHOW FROM ATHEISTS
An atheists' group is not trying to have Touched by an Angel taken off the air because it uses the word "God." The Federal Communications Commission has been hit with a new wave of complaint letters arising from a bogus alert that started circulating in 1974, claiming that atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair had called for a ban on all religious broadcasting. The hoax, along with a report alleging plans to make a movie featuring a gay Jesus, is one of several debunked at the Christian Web site www.truthorfiction.com.
REGGIE WHITE SAYS GOD WANTS HIM BACK IN NFL
Reggie White, the National Football League's all-time sacks leader, has come out of retirement after a year to join the Carolina Panthers. White, 39, who left the game to devote himself to full-time ministry, signed a six-year contract that could earn him $24 million, The Washington Post reported.
Other stories featured on the Charisma News Service Web site:
* Enrollment Continues to Rise at Christian Schools
* Agency to Investigate Attempt to Make Christian Book a Best Seller
* Athlete Turned Down Olympics in Honor of the Sabbath
* Leaders Urge Jews to Let Go of Suspicions About Christianity
* Pentecostals Bring Changes to One of New York's Toughest Neighborhoods