The Monthly Update

January 2005 Update

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

As we welcome in a new year, we can look back to a memorable one that has just ended. Let us thank the Lord for our national leadership and pray that they will decisively resolve the tragedy that started on September 11th. We must recognize the importance of the ongoing struggle against Islam since it will continue to be a significant influence in the progress (or retreat) of Christianity across the globe. We have brothers and sisters around the world who are struggling and being martyred, on average 470 per day, for their faith in Jesus Christ.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for the support you have offered to this ministry both in terms of prayer and finances? We are purely a "faith-based" ministry and depend solely on contributions that are provided to us by our supporters.

The other day a friend showed me a sheet delineating a drug problem that he had when he was growing up. It said:

I was drug to church on Sunday morning.

I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.

I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter what the weather.

I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults and teachers.

I was drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents or did not put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug out to pull weeds in mom’s garden and flower beds, and cockleburs out of dad’s soybean fields.

Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think.

They are stronger than cocaine, crack or heroine, and if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place today!!!!

Well said. Once again, we thank you for allowing us to serve the Lord through your support.

In His service,


Allen O. Morris,
Executive Director

January 2005 Update

Bits and Pieces from across the United Methodist Church

The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of Christians. They are facing Christ and the world....The ‘worship’ growing out of such a view of life is as far off center as the view itself - a sort of sanctified nightclub without the champagne and the dressed-up drunks. - This World: Playground or Battleground?, A.W. Tozer, pp. 5-6.

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Of Interest.

+ This e-mail was sent to us from Mrs. Diane Knippers who heads up the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in Washington, DC. She writes to an issue we have addressed in past Updates:

Dear Friend of faith and freedom,


Will our culture retain Christ in Christmas?

Last night, I attended the "Winter Concert" at my niece’s public school. Fortunately, this high school understands that the classic carols, hymns, oratorios and other musical works that celebrate the birth of Christ are a part of our Western artistic heritage – and that students should learn to sing and play this music. So, in addition to secular tunes, and some beautiful music related to Hanukkah, we also heard great Christian Christmas music. The evening ended with a long-time tradition – the combined choirs and instrumental ensembles all gathered to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

Will our culture retain Christ in Christmas? I recall a visit I made to Myra – St. Nicholas’s home in what is now Muslim Turkey. Today, the ruins of St. Nicholas’s church stand as a haunting reminder of how the Christian Church is now marginalized in what was once Byzantium – the center of Christendom.

If we want to retain in our culture the acknowledgement of the Christian basis of Christmas, I confident that I know the place to begin. We need to begin with ourselves and our churches. Indeed, we need to ask, will our churches retain Christ in Christmas? Not simply the baby Jesus in the nativity, but the Son of God incarnate, born of a virgin, crucified for our redemption, and bodily resurrected. The Messiah who will come again to offer both judgment and eternal life.

The IRD focuses on the reform and renewal of our churches’ social and political witness. That’s because we believe the Gospel has a message for our wider society – a message that the church must deliver with integrity. But we also understand that the churches’ social witness is inextricably rooted in its theological and spiritual witness.

When we sing "O Come All Ye Faithful," are our churches truly the faithful – faithful to the faith once delivered to the saints? This Christmas, I recommit myself to putting Christ first – in Christmas, in my life and work, and in our churches. I invite you to join me.

May you and your family enjoy a blessed Christmas,

Diane Knippers

We can only agree. We also note with sorrow that the founder of the IRD Dr. Ed Robb has passed away. – Editor.

+ Edmund Robb Jr., prominent United Methodist evangelist, dies

A memorial service was held Dec. 17 in Marshall, Texas, for the Rev. Edmund W. Robb Jr., former chairman of the board of the Good News evangelical caucus and a life trustee of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. Robb, 78, who had been in declining health, died Dec. 14. A clergy member of the Northwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference, he served as a local church pastor and then as an approved evangelist of the United Methodist Church. In 1989, he was one of 40 Methodist leaders honored for outstanding achievements in Christian evangelism. He received the Denman

Evangelism Award from the Foundation for Evangelism in 1996. Robb and the Rev. Albert Outler established A Foundation for Theological Education, which helps young scholars obtain degrees from graduate schools and then teach in United Methodist seminaries and colleges. Called the John Wesley Fellows, some 100 scholars have participated in the program. His son, Edmund W. Robb III, senior pastor at the Woodlands United Methodist Church in the Houston area, is now in charge of the foundation. He helped found the Institute on Religion and Democracy in 1980 and was a life member of the boards of Good News and the Mission Society for United Methodists. In honor of his life and ministry, Good News established the Edmund W. Robb, Jr., United Methodist Renewal Award in 2000.

- By Linda Bloom, United Methodist News Service (UMNS); #610; New York; Dec. 22, 2004.

+ Goodbye Christmas? by Charles Krauthammer December 17, 2004

"Holiday celebrations where Christmas music is being sung make people feel different, and because it is such a majority, it makes the minority feel uncomfortable." - Mark Brownstein, parent, Maplewood, N.J., supporting the school board's banning of religious music from holiday concerts. [Note: This is a typical argument – "feeling uncomfortable."]

WASHINGTON -- It is Christmas time, and what would Christmas be without the usual platoon of annoying pettifoggers rising annually to strip Christmas of any Christian content. With some success:

School districts in New Jersey and Florida ban Christmas carols. The mayor of Somerville, Mass., apologizes for "mistakenly"' referring to the town's "holiday party"' as a "Christmas party." The Broward and Fashion malls in South Florida put up a Hanukkah menorah but no nativity scene. The manager of one of the malls explains: Hanukkah commemorates a battle and not a religious event, although he hastens to add "I really don't know a lot about it." He does not. Hanukkah commemorates a miracle, and there is no event more "religious" than a miracle.

The attempts to de-Christianize Christmas are as absurd as they are relentless. The United States today is the most tolerant and diverse society in history. It celebrates all faiths with an open heart and open-mindedness that, compared to even the most advanced countries in Europe, are unique. Yet more than 80 percent of Americans are Christian and probably 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. Christmas Day is an official federal holiday, the only day of the entire year when, for example, the Smithsonian museums are closed. Are we to pretend that Christmas is nothing but an orgy of commerce in celebration of ... what? The winter solstice?

I personally like Christmas because, as a day that for me is otherwise ordinary, I get to do nice things, such as covering for as many gentile colleagues as I could when I was a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital. I will admit that my generosity had its rewards: I collected enough chits on Christmas Day to get reciprocal coverage not just for Yom Kippur, but for both days of Rosh Hashana and my other major holiday, Opening Day at Fenway.

Mind you, I've got nothing against Hanukkah, although I am constantly amused -- and gratified -- by how American culture has gone out of its way to inflate the importance of Hanukkah, easily the least important of Judaism's seven holidays, into a giant event replete with cards, presents and public commemorations as a creative way to give Jews their Christmas equivalent.

Some Americans get angry at parents who want to ban carols because they tremble that their kids might feel "different"' and "uncomfortable" should they, God forbid, hear Christian music sung at their school. I feel pity. What kind of fragile religious identity have they bequeathed their children that it should be threatened by exposure to carols?

I'm struck by the fact that you almost never find Orthodox Jews complaining about a Christmas creche in the public square. That is because their children, steeped in the richness of their own religious tradition, know who they are and are not threatened by Christians celebrating their religion in public. They are enlarged by it.

It is the more deracinated members of religious minorities, brought up largely ignorant of their own traditions, whose religious identity is so tenuous that they feel the need to be constantly on guard against displays of other religions -- and who think the solution to their predicament is to prevent the other guy from displaying his religion, rather than learning a bit about their own.

To insist that the overwhelming majority of this country stifle its religious impulses in public so that minorities can feel "comfortable" not only understandably enrages the majority, but commits two sins. The first is profound ungenerosity toward a majority of fellow citizens who have shown such generosity of spirit toward minority religions.

The second is the sin of incomprehension -- a failure to appreciate the uniqueness of the communal American religious experience. Unlike, for example, the famously tolerant Ottoman Empire or the generally tolerant Europe of today, America does not merely allow minority religions to exist at its sufferance. It celebrates and welcomes and honors them.

America transcended the idea of mere toleration in 1790 in Washington's letter to the Newport synagogue, one of the lesser known glories of the Founding: "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights."

More than two centuries later, it is time that members of religious (and anti-religious) minorities, as full citizens of this miraculous republic, transcend something too: petty defensiveness.

Merry Christmas to all.

+ Thank Wal-Mart for helping Salvation Army overcome the Target loss

Folks dropping money in Salvation Army kettles at Wal-Mart stores can make their money go twice as far. The world's largest retailer announced last Thursday it would match up to $1 million in donations.

Wal-Mart is helping raise money for needy families, while the Target Corporation continues to serve as this year's "Ebenezer Scrooge." Earlier this year, Target told the Salvation Army to "take a hike" with its red kettles, refusing to allow them to raise much needed funds to help children this Christmas.

"We hope our customers join us in donating what they can to benefit an organization that does so much in our communities to serve families in need," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Betsy Reithemeyer said in a news release. "The Salvation Army red kettles and the bell ringers are truly a holiday tradition worth keeping."

The Salvation Army said the kettle donations are spent locally and said the Wal-Mart match will extend local donations.

In the meantime, please take a moment to thank Wal-Mart for supporting the good work of the Salvation Army.



Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman, American Family Association


[Note: Don Wildmon is a United Methodist pastor.]

- Received by e-mail, December 22, 2004.

Abortion, Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia & Other Life Issues.

The parents of Holly Patterson have sued the manufacturer of RU-486 and the Planned Parenthood facility that gave her the abortion pill. Holly died in September 2003 several weeks after taking the drug, which is known on the market as Mifeprex. The lawsuit, filed against Danco Laboratories, claims the drug maker failed to warn doctors of the potential dangers of RU-486. A Danco spokesperson, when asked about the lawsuit, stated that "no causal relationship" had been established between the 18-year-old's death and her use of Mifeprex. But Concerned Women for America says the lawsuit is "well-deserved." Wendy Wright, senior policy director for CWA, says the drug trials of RU-486 were "sub-standard [and] biased," that Danco knowingly distributes the drug to abortionists who violate usage requirements, and that Planned Parenthood "treats women like Holly as collateral damage in their pursuit of more abortions." Wright says the young woman "paid the ultimate price for the FDA buckling to abortion proponents' pressure to approve a drug that has only one purpose -- to kill a human being." CWA is hopeful the boldness of Holly's parents will encourage other family members of RU-486 victims to come forward and hold accountable "those responsible for the injuries" of other women who have taken the regimen. Also named in the suit is the emergency room doctor who treated Holly Patterson.

AgapePress, December 22, 2004. Online version:



Procter & Gamble, maker of Crest, Tide and Pampers, is the leading sponsor of two TV programs that continually push the homosexual agenda. The sitcom Will & Grace regularly promotes homosexuality and explicit sex-talk with jokes about male and female genitalia, masturbation, oral sex and even anal sex. The series’ two male stars are both homosexual. From the beginning, the series has been about nothing but sex. Will & Grace is the program that showed two men passionately kissing each other. According to Broadcasting & Cable online magazine, P&G was the top sponsor of Will & Grace between September 2003 and February 2004. P&G spent an astonishing $8.2 in sponsorship of this program promoting the homosexual agenda.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy depicts five homosexual men remaking the "cluttered, straight men of the world" so that they look, dress and act in the manner of the "cool" and, by implication, superior "gay" community. The program consistently seeks to validate and glorify the homosexual lifestyle. Between September 2003 and February 2004, P&G spent $2,000,000 in sponsorship of this program promoting the homosexual agenda.

Remember that P&G pulled all their advertising support from Dr. Laura's program after a complaint from the homosexual community. P&G will support programs that are pro-homosexual, but refuse to support programs that tell the truth about homosexuality!

Procter & Gamble has become a leading advocate for the homosexual lifestyle.

Please support the boycott of P&G, and ask others to do so.

The American Family Association is asking individuals to:

1. Boycott three products of P&G: Crest toothpaste, Tide detergent, and Pampers diapers. (Some are boycotting all P&G products, which we encourage.)

2. Print out a Boycott Procter & Gamble petition [from the American Family Association (AFA) website] and distribute among Sunday school and church members and with friends.

3. Please register your support for the boycott at

4. Call Chairman A.G. Lafley at 513-983-1100 and politely let him know that you are participating in the boycott and will ask others to do the same.

5. Help us spread the word by forwarding this to friends and family.


Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman

American Family Association


It's Not Gay: A 28-minute video [on the AFA website] presents a story that few have heard, allowing former homosexuals the opportunity to tell their own story in their own words. Along with medical and mental health experts, these individuals express a clear warning that the sanitized version of homosexuality being presented to students is not the whole truth.

- The American Family Association, 107 Parkgate Dr., Tupelo, MS 38801. Tel.: 662-844-5036.

+ Bush backs Federal Marriage Amendment, calls on Congress to "Act promptly"

Back in late February, President Bush made his position clear when he called on Congress to "promptly" pass legislation calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

AgapePress, December 22, 2004. Online version: 

+ ...Attorneys with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (CLP) are in federal court today (December 14) defending a group of 11 Christians who claim the Philadelphia district attorney's office retaliated against them for exercising their constitutional rights during a homosexual event that celebrated "National Coming Out Day." The group of evangelical Christians, nicknamed "the Philadelphia 11," were arrested at a homosexual event known as "Outfest," and charged with three felonies and five misdemeanors. Among the felony charges against them are criminal conspiracy, ethnic intimidation, and riot. The Philadelphia 11 were placed in handcuffs after a liaison between the police department and the homosexual community ordered the group to move to the outskirts of the Outfest celebration. Only moments prior to their arrest, the group was told by another Philadelphia police officer that because they were on a public sidewalk they could move freely through the event. Early last week the CLP attorneys filed papers in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the City of Philadelphia from prosecuting the case. The request was denied, as was the CLP's emergency appeal, even after the courts were presented with undisputed evidence that the members of the Christian group cooperated with authorities at all times and were themselves victims of harassment. Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the CLP, finds this turn of events "beyond belief" and says apparently "the Philadelphia 11 have become second-class citizens in the City of Brotherly Love." - AgapePress, December 14, 2004.

+ Court upholds church stance on "self-avowed practicing homosexuals"

A United Methodist clergywoman from Philadelphia was stripped of her credentials after a church trial. A jury of 13 clergy members voted 7-6 to withdraw the ministerial credentials of the 34-year-old associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, in the denomination's Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference. In the Dec. 1-2 trial of Irene Elizabeth "Beth" Stroud, who had publicly acknowledged she was living in a …relationship with another woman, she was found guilty by the same jury of violating Paragraph 2702.1 (b) of the 2000 Book of Discipline by engaging in practices declared by the United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings.

Robert Shoemaker, who participated in the trial as counsel for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, said the verdict reinforced church law. "The important concept that was upheld in this case is the church's right to set criteria for its ministers," he explained, adding that such criteria can be changed only by General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body, or Judicial Council, it's top court. "Despite how this decision feels, we recognize pain in the larger church struggling over the hurt and difficulty of this decision and pray for a day soon when that hurt will end," said the Rev. Fred Day, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Germantown.

In a Dec. 3 pastoral letter, Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area noted that everyone involved in the trial proceedings at Camp Innabah showed "great respect" for individuals and for the church.

The Rev. Ira Gallaway, Albuquerque, N.M., associate director of the Confessing Movement, noted that Stroud "had been prepared to be honest about her lesbianism with anyone who asked." So while it "is a positive event" that the trial court upheld church law, he said, "it is a sad commentary that she was approved by the Board of Ordained Ministry and (that) her conference ordained her as an elder in the United Methodist Church."

[Note: This is important in that the jury’s verdict uphold church law. What is troubling is that the decision was so close.]

- By Linda Bloom and Linda Green; UMNS; Nashville {04580}; Dec. 8, 2004

(UM) Men. Hearts Afire for God - 9th National Gathering of United Methodist Men

The United Methodist Men will host their quadrennial gathering from July15 -17, 2005, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Men may register online at or by calling toll free 888.245.0176.

- Featured Speakers will be: Tyrone Gordon, Dayton Edmonds, Rudy Ruettiger, Clay Dyer, James Moore, Cal Turner, Bishop Violet Fisher, Evan Hunsberger

- Music and Drama will be: Phillips, Craig and Dean, Friends of the Groom, Africa University Choir, Christlike, Rio Grande Men's Choir, St. Luke's Community Men's Choir, Paul Saik soloist.

- Worship & Praise Leader Wesley Putnam, Pianist Kwasi Kena, Organist Richard Alegria, 250 voice Men's Choir led by Eliud Rios

- A Jim Snead Memorial Golf Tournament will be held in conjunction with the UMM event from July 14 - 15, 2005

- Visit the Ministry Fair July 15 - 16, 2005, 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Armory on the Campus of Purdue University. Over 75 ministries or vendors will be under one roof.

- Choose from 30 workshops: Some of the leaders are: Man in the Mirror, Men's Life Staff, Gil Hanke, Robert Powell, Del Ketcham, Chris Buskirk, Ken Bradford

- Received by e-mail.

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If men speak ill of you, live so that no one will believe them. - Daily Walk , June 23, 1997

Global Outlook

Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me.
Lay any burden on me, only sustain me.
Sever any tie but the tie that binds me to Thyself.

- David Livingstone

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The Philippines.

+ United Methodists in the Philippines Move Toward Autonomy

UMs in the Philippines have reelected three episcopal leaders and moved closer to setting up an autonomous Methodist Church in the island nation. The Philippines Central Conference, made up of clergy and lay delegates from 19 annual conferences, met in late November and reelected and reassigned to their current posts Bishop Benjamin A. Justo (Baguio Area), Bishop Solito Kuramin Toquero (Manila Area), and Bishop Leo A. Soriano (Davao Area). Each presides over several annual conferences. All three bishops were initially elected four years ago, and all support an autonomous, affiliated relationship with the UMC. The Philippines church is now an organic part of the denomination.

UM bishops in the Philippines serve a "term episcopacy" requiring an election every four years at central conference meetings. Convened in Manila, the 2004 Philippines Central Conference took no definitive action on the autonomy issue,

which has been under consideration for many years. However, a procedure was laid out and plans made for the conference to meet in 2006 to consider the issue. "The sentiment for autonomy was very strong," said Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. (Denver Area), who presided at the central conference on behalf of the Council of Bishops.

Methodism was introduced in the Philippines by persons from the United States more than a century ago. The church today has a membership of more than 600,000 and serves a constituency of about one million people. "The church in the Philippines is an integral part of our global mission network," said R. Randy Day, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries. "Our mission partnership will remain vibrant whatever structures exist in the future."

United Methodists in the Philippines move toward autonomy

- By Elliott Wright; UMNS; New York {04579}; Dec. 9, 2004.Also reported in Newscope, December 17, 2004.

+ Churches Respond as Typhoons, Floods Pound Philippines

Churches and relief organizations are responding as typhoons, floods, and landslides have resulted in death and destruction in the Philippines. The UM Committee on Relief sent grants to two of the episcopal areas in the Philippines in response to recovery efforts from typhoons earlier this season. As of Dec. 8, the agency was waiting for information from UMs there regarding response to the latest storm, which occurred Nov. 29, according to David Sadoo, UMCOR field staff for emergency services. "These latest ones are probably the worst," he said. "We're continuing to respond to requests made by the conferences." More than 1,750 people are dead or missing as a result of the storms, according to a Dec. 9 report from Reuters news agency. The U.S. government dispatched Marine and Navy personnel on Dec. 7 from nearby Okinawa to the Philippines to assist residents in the flood-ravaged areas. The four typhoons spawned over a period of three weeks have caused damage in at least five regions of the Philippines. In addition to the fatalities, thousands are homeless. Extensive damage has been reported to property and agriculture, as well as to major roads and communication and power lines. - Linda Bloom (UMNS), as reported in Newscope, December 17, 2004.


+ United Methodist mission agency commits $100,000 to Sudan

In a conflict that has been labeled as genocide by some, more than 1.2 million people have been driven from their homes in the Darfur region since 2003, and as many as 70,000 have died. The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said the information and statistics being gathered about the situation in Sudan have not resulted in sufficient political action. He told United Methodist News Service he hopes the $100,000 grant can be used "to really focus the denomination, more than it is at present, on the crisis there." Taken from the agency's program development fund at Day's request, the money was approved by board directors at the October annual meeting and will support programs that promote child protection, income generation for women and safe returns to rebuilt villages. United Methodist donations already have supported UMCOR assistance in the region. Currently, the agency is working with an international ecumenical alliance in Chad refugee camps holding 130,000 Sudanese.

[Note: Meaningful action by UM agencies is long overdue. This has been one of the most tragic massacres in the present history of our world.] - Linda Bloom; UMNS; New York {04508}; Oct. 29, 2004.

+ The All Africa Conference of Churches called on the U.N. Security Council, meeting in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, to exert pressure to bring peace to Sudan and a solution to conflicts in the African country. "It is in the interest of the people of the Sudan, the international community, and the church in Africa," said the conference's general secretary, Mvume Dandala, a Methodist pastor, Nov. 17. "The church continues to journey with the oppressed people of Sudan." The Security Council was holding a two-day meeting to discuss ways of arriving at a peace deal for a 21-year-long civil war in southern Sudan and a separate conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. - Newscope, December 10, 2004.

+ The Sudanese government has asked two British aid agencies to leave the country, according to news reports from Nov. 29. Orders affecting Oxfam Great Britain and Save the Children UK have been put on hold as negotiations, which include

the British ambassador and United Nations officials, continued. A BBC correspondent was cited as saying that no one expects an expulsion to happen. Reports said Save the Children spoke critically of the government and rebels, accusing the government of bombing a village in Darfur and causing aid workers to flee. The UM Committee on Relief, which expects to be on the ground in Darfur shortly after Jan. 1, and other aid agencies working in the region now plan to keep a low profile publicly. - The British Broadcasting Corportation; Newscope, December 10, 2004.

The Ukraine. In the Ukraine, while one election outcome might be better for UMs there, "what is important is to have a fair election," said Vladimir Shaporenko, staff member of the General Board of Global Ministries and a Ukrainian native. "The current situation is a serious problem for the country, because suddenly the people are faced with something they didn't talk about much: the cultural divide," he said. The country is primarily split between the eastern part, which has more connections with Russia, and the western part, where the Ukrainian language is spoken more. Shaporenko suggested that the western candidate may be friendlier to Protestant denomination.

- Renee Elder, UMNS, Newscope, December 10, 2004.

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For most of us, forgiveness comes easily...after we've gotten even.

- The Navigators' Daily Walk, January 17, 1997