News Briefs

In July Clive Calver announced his resignation as president of World Relief (WR), effective Sept. 30. He and his wife will then serve as ministers-at-large until March 31. After seven years at the helm of the 60-year-old organization, which is the humanitarian-assistance arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, Calver, 55, said he plans to transition into local-church ministry. WR board chairman Gordon MacDonald praised Calver's networking ability, saying the London native "led the organization to a place of respect and partnership with a growing number of American churches." A search for a new president is under way.

Police raided the headquarters of the church founded by Weigh Down diet author Gwen Shamblin as part of an investigation into the beating death of an 8-year-old boy whose parents are members of her Remnant Fellowship, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Former members told police the ministry sanctioned severe beatings and locking children in bare rooms with a Bible until they learned obedience, the AP said. Authorities say Josef Smith showed signs of chronic abuse, but Shamblin said she believes Joseph and Sonya Smith's claim that their son's death was an accident, the AP said. Remnant is helping the Mableton, Ga., couple pay for legal expenses. In 2002, several Christian bookstores pulled Shamblin's books from their shelves after she claimed the members of Trinity were not equal in authority. Shamblin told the AP the investigation was an attempt to bring down her ministry, which she said has 130 affiliated churches.

In his memoirs, My Life, former President Bill Clinton discusses his relationship with Louisiana pastors Anthony and Mickey Mangun, who lead The Pentecostals of Alexandria, the Alexandria Town Talk reported. Clinton credits the ministers with helping him get through the fallout from his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Anthony Mangun, who met the Clintons at an Arkansas Christian camp meeting in 1977, said that though their political views are opposite, he and Clinton have remained friends. "As he says in the book, when others jumped ship and everything was against him, we stayed with him as friends," Mangun told the Town Talk.

More than 100 Christians in a Nevada community recently gathered near a new strip club to pray for owner Joe Richards' soul. Opponents of the Kingdom Gentleman's Club in Pahrump, located 60 miles west of Las Vegas, held hands and prayed during the vigil in early July, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. "We need to pray for Mr. Richards, because only God can change his heart and bring those signs down," said Shirley Trummell, a 19-year Pahrump resident who organized the vigil. Since Richards opened the Kingdom Gentleman's Club on June 9, the business and its prominent signs featuring scantily clad women in suggestive poses have caused an uproar. The backlash has even fueled a push to abolish legal prostitution in Nye County, the Review-Journal reported.

Pentecostal Pastor Leads Re-Election Drive

A Seattle-area Assemblies of God pastor is spearheading a statewide effort to re-elect President George W. Bush, as well as an ambitious drive to register 60,000 people statewide to vote. Joe Fuiten, pastor of Cedar Park Assembly of God, one of the largest churches in the state, said he believes "God wants us to be involved in government," the Seattle Times reported. Some say his efforts violate the separation between church and state. However, Fuiten said his voter-registration drive is separate from the re-election campaign he leads as a private citizen.

Tenney Novel Headed To Big Screen

Filming is scheduled to begin this month on a movie adaptation of evangelist Tommy Tenney's popular novel, Hadassah: One Night With the King. Based on the life of Esther, the film is being produced by Matt Crouch's Gener8Xion Entertainment and is set to release in March. Best known for his book God Chasers, Tenney said he plans to spend more time working with film producers to create biblically themed motion pictures.

Pastor Gunned Down During Church Service

A 26-year-old Presbyterian pastor was assassinated in Indonesia July 18 while preaching in her church, the Associated Press reported. Four masked gunmen arrived on motorcycles at Efatah Church in Palu and opened fire on the Rev. Susianty Tinulele and her worship team. Ten people were injured. Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Barnabus Fund, which investigate persecution of Christians, said militants may have wanted to punish Tinulele for her support of jailed pastor Rinaldy Damanik, head of the Crisis Center of Central Sulawesi, Assist News Service (ANS) said. Damanik was imprisoned in 2002 after speaking out about human rights abuses. Human rights groups say the murder may be linked to a campaign to kill prominent Christians in the area, possibly to disrupt Indonesia's elections, ANS said.

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