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Church Offerings Over the Phone? Kenya Tries It!

WI Staff Writer | 3/17/2010, 11:23 a.m.

(GIN) €" With mobile phone use spreading like wildfire in Africa, Kenya€s religious leaders are finding new uses for them.

€Cell phones have come to revolutionize everything, even Christianity,€ said Anglican Bishop Charles Gaita of Nyahururu in central Kenya. €They are making things happen quickly.€

Sermons are recorded and sent to congregations in remote areas, said Archbishop Mweresa Kivuli, chair of the Kenyan Chapter of the Organization of African Instituted Churches. €We have even linked our churches to preachers overseas.€

Recently, mobile phone companies introduced money transfer services, which some Christians now use to tithe or give offerings. In January, following the earthquake in Haiti, the Catholic Church in Kenya appealed for donations to be sent through one of the phone money transfer services. €The response was good. We managed to collect 500,000 [Kenya] shillings [approximately $6,500] in a short time.€

The Rev Martin Wanyoike called cell phones €a blessing and a gift from God.€

€We must use it for the service of the world.€

On a Southern U.S. Tour, Archibishop Tutu Draws Thousands

(GIN) €" Addressing thousands of college students in South Florida and Kentucky in his recent southern U.S. tour, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu reflected somberly on some of the current world crises, and the devastation in Haiti, Chile and Japan. €Each one of us can do something to ameliorate the suffering,€ said the 1984 Nobel Laureate.

€But it is much more the fact that God is asking human beings, €Help me to make this a better world.€€ Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu told a crowd of close to 4,000 at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, €God cries, God cries many times.€ The human rights activist was invited to deliver his message €" €Good vs. Evil: Human Rights or Humans Wronged€ €" as part of the college's Distinguished Speakers Series.

Tutu went on to praise the students of Murray State University, in Murray, Ky., encouraging them to continue in a spirit of tolerance. He said he was annoyed with the media's constant portrayal of negativity, indicating there are many incredible stories of students€ great humanitarian efforts. €Go on dreaming. Go on being idealistic,€ Tutu said.

€Refuse to be affected by the cynicisms of oldies like me.€ An appearance over the weekend to the Cavalia equestrian show at Bicentennial Park was to benefit his peace foundation and the Red Cross. He is currently the chairman of The Elders where he gives vocal defense of human rights and campaigns for the oppressed.

Tutu has written a new book €Made for Goodness, And Why This Makes All the Difference,€ released March 9.

Ugandan Priest Denounces €Odious€ Anti-Gay Bill

(GIN) €" The Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha joined human rights activists, health care workers and church leaders who spoke out this week against a bill in the Uganda parliament that broads the criminalization of homosexuality including the death penalty in certain cases. President Barack Obama called the proposed legislation €odious.€ The bill €is violating our cultures, traditions and religious values that teach against intolerance, injustice, hatred and violence,€ said Byamugisha.

€We need laws to protect people, not ones that will humiliate, ridicule, persecute and kill them en masse.€

Endorsers of the bill include the Church of Uganda whose position paper says: €homosexual practice has no place in God's design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation, or His plan of redemption. We don't recognize homosexuality as a right. We are after the sin, not the sinners. We love them, and we want them to repent and come back. It's not an inborn orientation. It's a behavior learned, and it can be unlearned.€ Over 450,000 online supporters of gay rights have signed a petition opposing the Ugandan bill.