This week, with so many in the listening area of The Meeting House and Faith Radio praying and attempting to help the victims of the storms that struck the Northern and Central sections of Alabama on Wednesday, there is no doubt that is the top story affecting the Christian community - and in times like these, yes, we can count on the Christian community reaching out with the compassion of Christ. Also, this week, the death of a iconic Christian leader, and the strong stand by an attorney for the legal definition of marriage.
3 - Times Square Church, Teen Challenge founder David Wilkerson killed in car accident
This week, Christians mourned the death of David Wilkerson, who swerved into the path of an 18-wheeler while driving in Texas. He was 79 years old. Wilkerson left a legacy of sharing the love and power of Christ with people trapped in situations threatening their very existence. In his book, "The Cross and the Switchblade", he wrote about life among gang members in New York City. The organization he founded, Teen Challenge, has a remarkable track record in reaching out to people with life-controlling addictions, including substance abuse.
Here is a synopsis of the life and ministry of Wilkerson from The Christian Post.
Wilkerson is the founder of Times Square Church in New York City, which was established in 1986 and is now housed in a theater on Broadway. He had turned over the reins of the pastorate to Carter Conlon, who had recently brought a ministry team from the church to Alabama. Wilkerson was recognized for his no-nonsense, passionate approach to sharing the gospel, and his work with the destitute was a true mark of this ministry.
2 - Defense of Marriage Act attorney leaves firm; continues defense
It was a topsy-turvy week regarding the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed overwhelmingly by Congress in 1996 and signed by then-President Bill Clinton. In light of pending court challenges to the Act, establishing marriage as one-man, one-women, effective defense counsel had to be put in place. The Obama Administration abdicated its duty to defend DOMA, and the House of Representatives had stepped in to name the law firm of King and Spalding, specifically attorney Paul Clement, a former Solicitor General (that's the lead attorney arguing cases on behalf of the U.S. Government), as the lead counsel to defend the law...
...but under pressure from the Human Rights Campaign and apparently other pro-homosexual groups, King and Spalding announced it would no longer defend DOMA. No problem - Clement resigned from the firm and has announced his intention to carry on the defense.
Here is a report from CitizenLink.
And, this move has cost King and Spalding some business - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has announced the end of his office's two-year relationship with the firm, specifically due to its action on DOMA. King and Spalding has also come under fire because of its dropping of the case after agreeing to take it, which demonstrates questionable legal ethics.
1 - Deadly tornadoes ravage South; churches and Christian organizations spring in to action
The second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history caused extensive, even catastrophic damage to sections of a number of Southern states. The death toll at this time is approaching 350 people, and many communities are still trying to address the incredible needs that have arisen from this tragedy. Over 250 are dead in Alabama, and the expectations are that the toll will continue to rise. Governor Robert Bentley declared Sunday, May 1st, as a Day of Prayer, as we remember the victims of the storms of April 27th, their families, and the overall relief efforts.
President Obama visited the state on Friday, and promised Federal aid for individuals and families in need through FEMA. State emergency officials are also working to help provide needed assistance to those experiencing loss. As we have seen in past disasters, a vast number of churches and Christian ministries are highly involved in providing not only physical assistance but also spiritual encouragement in this time of difficulty.
Churches across Alabama and throughout the nation have devoted time and effort to collecting monetary donations and supplies to send to the victims. Churches in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and other Southern cities are acting as staging areas and partnering with other churches outside the affected regions to address the needs of those who have experienced damage and displacement. Denominational organizations, such as the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, United Methodist Committe of Relief (UMCOR), and other, have been active in providing needed support.
And, national organizations such as Samaritan's Purse, working with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, as well as the Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, and others are working with local churches and organizations to provide needed services and resources.
Governor Bentley's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives will administer the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, which will operate on an ongoing basis to help Alabamians who have exhausted all other avenues of disaster relief. You can go to www.servealabama.gov for additional information.
And, of course, the American Red Cross and local EMA officials have been extremely involved in helping the suffering.
Faith Radio has established a link for area churches that have notified us of special opportunities. It is found at http://tornadorelief.faithradio.org.