In a sense, Olafs Bruvers may be more representative of today’s Eastern European situation than those whose names are often in the headlines. Unlike Andrei Sakharov, Georgi Vins, or Alexander Solzhenitsyn, he is unknown to all but a few people outside his country.

Until he was expelled from his native Latvia late last year, Bruvers had never thought of leaving. He is thirty and has always lived under Communist domination.

He finds it hard to understand why some people might consider him a celebrity. He was in Washington last month to speak to a congressional committee studying the Eastern European scene. In an interview with Christianity Today, he made no claims to being anything other than an ordinary Christian, and his manner was somewhat shy and self-effacing.

Bruvers underscored his conviction that he is representative of many Latvians (and other Eastern Europeans) in his response to a question about the youth group he left behind. The Christian students in Riga will have no difficulty finding leadership, he told a reporter, since many have been willing to step forward as Christians in recent months. Before being deported in September, the slim, bearded young man led a group in Latvia’s capital city.

“I miss them,” he acknowledged, “but they don’t miss me.” Asked to explain the second part of that statement, Bruvers said his friends closed ranks when he left, added to their number, and developed new leaders. They have gotten along well without him. A general spiritual resurgence now sweeping the little Baltic state is “almost like a miracle,” he declared. More than at any previous time in his experience, young people are searching for spiritual freedom. Having long been surfeited with lies, he said, they are now looking for truth, he suggested.

Asked about life in the U.S.S.R. (of which Latvia is now one of the “socialist republics”), the exile said people are speaking out more than ever before. Students respond critically to professors, and anti-Soviet literature is distributed. Young people openly wear buttons (some handmade) that proclaim “I Love Jesus” or “Jesus Loves Me.”

Baptist churches are now crowded, according to Bruvers, and young people are well represented. Throughout Latvia the number of Baptist church members had dropped to about half the pre-war total, but that erosion has now been checked. Roman Catholicism too is attracting open identification among many Latvians, he reported. Other denominations are experiencing some new interest also but not as much as the Baptists and Catholics, he said.

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While there is a steadily increasing amount of religious expression in the Soviet Union, it is not without its hazards. Bruvers cited the case of his friend Gunars Lagzdins as an example. Lagzdins is a Baptist minister who makes his living as a chemical engineer. Bruvers described him as a beloved pastor, a very attractive personality, and a man who has influenced many young people. He lives and works in Riga, but his parish is in the interior city of Jaunjelgava, southeast of Riga.

Despite harassment of various kinds from Soviet authorities, Lagzdins has continued his ministry, according to Bruvers. The state department of religious cults took away his official permission to preach late in 1973. He was accused of spreading anti-Soviet lies in his sermons. He has also had to face charges of black-marketeering and inciting to revolt. The one thing that has not been taken away from him is his engineering job. Bruvers explained his friend’s continued employment by saying that he is such an expert in his field at the Academy of Sciences that they could not afford to do without him. While studying architecture, Bruvers worked as a laboratory assistant in one of the institutes were Lagzdins is employed. The young exile believes that publicity for such spiritual leaders in the Soviet Union is helpful in the current state of affairs.

Communist authorities are now keenly sensitive to news in the Western media about dissidents within their borders. World attention is focused on their compliance with provisions of the Helsinki accords on European security and cooperation. A performance review is scheduled to be held in Belgrade in June.

“This may be the beginning of the end,” Bruvers declared. He doesn’t see how the Soviets can stop what appears to him to be a rolling tide of freedom. People all over Eastern Europe are pressing for Western recognition of their plight in light of the Helsinki guarantees.

Bruvers still is not sure why he, along with most of his immediate family, was expelled. The provocation used by the authorities was linked to the possibility that he was preparing to inform Western sources of internal problems. He was arrested for giving out a questionnaire to fellow students. He and his younger brother, a medical student, had drawn up the single-page form, asking mostly about leisure-time activities but also one question about “the situation in our country.” This question, the prosecutor at Bruvers’s ten day trial said, was framed in an “anti-Soviet way.”

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The brothers had collected about 175 forms and had done nothing to announce the results when police confiscated the papers, he said. The fact that the prosecutor claimed Bruvers planned to send the poll out of the country was enough to convict him, he explained. But instead of carrying out his jail sentence, the authorities deported him.

While disclaiming that he had any important leadership role among Christian youth, Bruvers thinks his work among young people was the primary reason he was deported. The group that met at the University of Riga and around the city had frequent contact with groups in other parts of the country as well as in other Soviet states. There were virtually no contacts with Christian or student groups outside the Soviet Union, however, he maintained.

He did have one sister in the West, and this could have been a factor in the authorities’ decision to oust other members of the Bruvers family. His sister is the wife of a Latvian pastor, Janis Smits, who left the country last May. While Smits wanted to leave, his brother-in-law and other members of the Bruvers family were not seeking to emigrate. The decision to let Smits go was tied to a plan to get rid of the other members of the family, according to Bruvers. The parents are considered undesirables, it was brought out at the trial, since they “polluted” their children with religion. They are now looking for a place to settle. They were granted temporary asylum in West Germany and are living in Bonn.

Even though Bruvers is still puzzled about why he received so much attention from the authorities, he is not unaccustomed to being singled out. Because of his Christian family background, he was the target of verbal abuse in school before he was twelve years old. Teachers spoke of his “backwardness of belief” and of his failure to enroll in the Young Pioneers organization. In high school, because he was not a member of the Communist youth organization for that age group, his class was prevented from taking a long-anticipated trip to Leningrad. Teachers were under pressure to report 100 per cent enrollment, but he said fellow students defended his right not to join. Only classes with 100 per cent enrollments took the trip.

At seventeen he wanted to be baptized. Because the law did not permit public baptisms of believers under eighteen, he was baptized in secret. At eighteen he was drafted into the Soviet army and sent to a base on the Black Sea. Fellow soldiers there, impressed with his spirit and work attitudes, nominated him for secretary of the Communist party organization within their unit. Not being a member of the party, he declined the “honor.” He said his commander found out that he was a Christian because of the incident but did not send him to “re-education” camp because he wanted to keep him there as his chauffeur.

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Official harassment, as much of a problem as it is, is not the chief obstacle to Christian work in Latvia, Bruvers said; what is worse is the shortage of Bibles and Christian literature. Most of the young people he knows do have smuggled Bibles, he acknowledged. He also noted that many people are hearing Western religious and cultural programs on radio.

Along with the well-known dissident leaders of Eastern Europe, the young Latvian exile believes that free-world attention to the human-rights situation there can do more for them than anything else now. While the American signing of the Helsinki accords was criticized by some exiles and anti-Communist groups, the dissidents are now using it as a tool for pointing out their plight. A report in the February 14 issue of U.S. News and World Report said: “The Helsinki accords have become a Pandora’s box of trouble for Russia and its Eastern European allies. In country after country, citizens are taking provisions of the agreement literally and pressing for more liberties.”

Campaign pledges on the human-rights issue made by candidate Jimmy Carter last year are being taken literally now that he is in office. Groups throughout Eastern Europe have been quick to pick up the statements and to inform him of their problems. Within a week of the inauguration, the Carter administration issued two statements aimed at the Eastern-bloc human-rights situation. The Kremlin promptly protested interference in internal affairs and retaliated against Western journalists and some dissidents.

A significant move in the Kremlin’s crackdown was the arrest of physicist Yuri Orlov, chairman of the unofficial committee to monitor Soviet compliance with the Helsinki accords. His panel had been the first to bring together concerns of many Soviet dissidents—political, artistic, intellectual, and religious.

There were also new attempts at repression of dissent in the satellite states. Party pressure has been felt particularly in Czechoslovakia, where a manifesto called “Charter 77” was issued by some 500 prominent persons from all walks of life. Several clergymen are among the signers. Czech religious freedom, says the document, “is continually curtailed by official action.”

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Official church bodies found after the charter was published that they were expected to denounce it. The Communist daily Rude Pravo promptly reported that the Roman Catholic bishops dissociated themselves from the manifesto, identifying it as a disturbance in “the life in our homeland.” The bishops’ lay employees came on stronger, according to the report in the daily, condemning the document as the product of a “group of shipwrecked individuals.” Seventh-day Adventist leaders were quoted in the Prague ecumenical weekly Kostnicke Jiskry as saying they “do not agree with the signatories of Charter 77 because their objectives and methods are not acceptable to us believers.”

According to Kostnicke Jiskry, the Synod Council of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren learned of the existence of Charter 77 by reading the daily papers. “None of its members or officials was asked to sign that proclamation, and none of them has signed it,” said the council. Blahoslav Hruby, a Czech exile who edits Religion in Communist Dominated Areas from New York, said it was significant that among the signers of Charter 77 were some former leaders of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren who had been disciples of the late J. L. Hromadka. Hromadka had promoted Christian-Marxist dialogue and led the Christian Peace Conference until he spoke out against the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.

But whether for a prominent Czech, or a Russian, or for a relative unknown like Bruvers, dissent causes problems. The problems extend to the person’s family and friends as well.

In the February 21 issue of Time, the wife of exiled Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote, “A sentence for a political offense is always a sentence against the offender’s family. Persecution against them starts immediately. Not only has the family lost its main provider but often the wife also loses her job. She has to feed her children, but she cannot find another job because there is but one employer—the state.”

Whatever the risks, the dissenters are gambling on getting attention for their cause before the Belgrade conference in June.

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Americans United: Advocacy Role

Tax-exemption privileges and abuses in the religious community, deprogramming from the cults and freedom of belief, the teaching of Transcendental Meditation in public schools or with government money, the Roman Catholic “lobby” pressing for constitutional change that would prohibit abortions, rights of Sabbatarians who are employed to worship on Saturdays, taxes or utility rates to support religious beliefs or institutions not of the choosing of the tax payer or utility user, foreign aid put in the hands of sectarian groups that sometimes use it to proselytize, the Internal Revenue Service declaring what is or is not an integral part of a church or what its mission is.

These topics were seen as the most crucial for the preservation of religious freedom and the separation of church and state by delegates attending the twenty-ninth National Conference on Church and State last month in San Diego. The two-day convention marked the thirtieth anniversary of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the widely influential organization whose sole objective is to maintain the First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom.

Pronouncements and court cases initiated by Americans United (AU has won 90 per cent of its cases in court during the past decade) have sometimes endeared the organization to segments of the evangelical community; at other times conservatives have been infuriated or alienated by AU’s “liberal” position on such issues as abortion and prayer in the public schools.

But throughout, the organization, whose headquarters is in Silver Spring, Maryland, has attempted to keep its focus on church-state entanglements rather than on the theological aspects of the groups or practices under its scrutiny.

“Americans United is the advocate and not the adversary of the religious community,” Andrew Leigh Gunn, AU’s executive director, told about 100 persons attending the convention’s closing banquet. “Because of church-state separation, the church is stronger here than anywhere else in the world.”

Deprogramming was the hottest issue on the conference agenda—and one of the few on which opposing views were freely heard. A panel discussion generated such angry exchanges and accusations that moderator Edd Doerr, editor of AU’s magazine, Church & State, was at times barely able to keep order.

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Deprogramming is generally acknowledged to have begun in San Diego in 1971, when Ted Patrick seized and held a member of a sect group in the same hotel where last month’s AU convention was held.

In an opening talk on the subject, Sharon Worthing, a law student at Fordham who was unsuccessfully “deprogrammed,” told of joining the New Testament Missionary Fellowship when she was a freshman at Yale. “To the extent that deprogramming requires the law to make value judgments as to the merit of particular religious beliefs and affiliations, it is treading on constitutionally impermissible ground,” the short, plainly dressed girl said. She added that the danger is that “when government acquires jurisdiction over the area of belief, it will use this … to suppress dissent and to deprive its citizens of true freedom. Ideas are to be tested by the mechanism of the marketplace, not by state officials who decide which beliefs and affiliations are healthy and right for citizens and which are not.”

In rebuttal, William Rambur, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who heads the Citizens Freedom Foundation in Chula Vista, declared: “We believe we are rescuing, not kidnapping” persons involved in the so-called new religions. Rambur said his group alone receives twenty-five to thirty phone calls and letters daily from distraught parents seeking to get sons or daughters out of cults (his daughter is in the Children of God).

In another presentation, speakers assailed the Roman Catholic hierarchy for allegedly waging an all-out campaign for pro-life, anti-abortion legislation that is contrary to the doctrine of church-state separation. But California congressman James Corman, a United Methodist who was a stalwart in the 1971 drive to defeat the reinstitution of prayer in the public schools, predicted that a threatened campaign to call a constitutional convention to revise the Constitution to outlaw abortion “will never come off.”

At the convention’s close, Calvin W. Didier, pastor of House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Paul, was named president of AU, succeeding Jimmy R. Allen, pastor of the First Baptist Church of San Antonio.


Amy’s Immersion

“I think it is terrible,” said a woman at Washington’s First Baptist Church, “how Amy’s baptism has been played up by the press.”

Terrible or not, the baptism of President and Mrs. Carter’s nine-year-old daughter provided Baptists an unprecedented opportunity to explain to the world what the ordinance means to them. The ceremony last month was dutifully reported by the White House press corps just as any other public event of the First Family would be reported. Journalists had some trouble handling details, however, since some of them had never before seen a believer immersed.

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W. Barry Garrett, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service, observed the work of the press pool assigned to report to White House correspondents. “It is enough to make us Baptists cringe to know that we have failed so miserably to communicate some of our most precious beliefs,” he lamented. “When you combine the baptism of a President’s daughter with baptism by immersion, you have a scenario that sends the non-initiated into a quandary.”

The pool reporters apparently got their questions answered, however, since the articles carried by news services and major papers were generally straightforward accounts of the ceremony.

Baptized at the same service was a sixteen-year-old girl from Cameroon. A member of the congregation was moved to send a note to reporters. It said, “Surely, this is a beautiful and loving witness of the love of God which transcends class, color, culture.”

The baptism took place the third Sunday after the Carters moved to Washington. That afternoon, the President took his family to see an opera.

Religion in the Cabinet

The only Roman Catholic in the Carter cabinet says the administration plans to stress alternatives to abortion such as family-planning services, sex education, and better programs for unwed mothers. Joseph Califano, testifying before a Senate committee considering his qualifications to be Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, expressed his opposition to federal aid for abortion. He added, however, that he does not favor a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion.

“I personally believe abortion is wrong,” said Califano, who was subsequently confirmed and sworn in as head of HEW. “I believe that federal funds should not be used for providing abortions.” Congress last year passed a law barring Medicaid payments for abortions, but it could be nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although Califano is the only Catholic actually in the Cabinet, two other top Carter appointees are Roman Catholics: Charles L. Schultze, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor.

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Four of President Carter’s ranking appointees are Episcopalians, and three are Lutherans. Three are of Jewish extraction, but two of these are converts to Christianity.

The Lutherans are Robert S. Bergland, secretary of agriculture, Cecil D. Andrus, secretary of interior, and James R. Schlesinger, energy chief.

Schlesinger was reared in a conservative Jewish home but embraced Christian beliefs at the age of twenty-one while on a trip to Europe. W. Michael Blumenthal, treasury secretary, also had Jewish parents but has been affiliated with a Presbyterian church. Labor Secretary Ray Marshall is also a Presbyterian, a ruling elder.

Defense Secretary Harold Brown is Jewish, but currently has no religious membership.

The Episcopalians are Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Secretary of Commerce Juanita Kreps, Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Patricia Roberts Harris.

Attorney General Griffin Bell is the only Baptist in the Cabinet. The closest United Methodist to the president is Thomas B. Lance, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Andrew Young, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was the first clergyman to be given a high-level appointment by Carter. He is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ.

Top White House staff personnel have been urged in a handwritten memorandum from the President to spend “an adequate amount of time” with their families to assure a stable family life. Written on White House stationery and signed “J. Carter,” the memorandum says:

“I am concerned about the family lives of all of you. I want you to spend an adequate amount of time with your husbands, wives, and children, and also to involve them as much as possible in our White House life. We are going to be here a long time, and all of you will be more valuable to me and the country with rest and a stable home life. In emergencies we’ll all work full time. Let me have your comments.”

Rethinking Abortion?

The U.S. Supreme Court is taking a harder look at the abortion question, according to a noted Washington newsman who is an astute analyst of the judicial review process.

Signs of movement, said Lyle Denniston of the Washington Star, were evident last summer when the court upheld a requirement that a woman give “written and informed consent” to an abortion.

Denniston told the annual conference of the National Abortion Rights Action League that he believes there is “a fairly strong degree of impermanence” in the court’s abortion decision of 1973 “because it is based, so fundamentally (for the majority, at least), on present medical knowledge and ethics.” “The constitutional source of the decision, a woman’s ‘right of privacy,’ seems to me, after repeated re-reading of Roe, to be quite secondary in the mind of the court majority,” he said.

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Denniston emphasized that he did not mean to imply that the justices would probably make abortion law depend upon whether they themselves, or other judges, think abortion is right or wrong. “It is to suggest,” he said, “that some aspects of the abortion question will be allowed to be controlled by whether legislators and other policymakers think it is right or wrong.”

A change in the court’s thinking from the so-called Roe case of 1973, he added, could be caused by “compelling advances in the medicine of fetal life—let us say earlier viability.

“But even if there should be at some future point a re-examination of the fundamentals of Roe, we should recognize that, for the time being, at least, the Supreme Court has indeed moved on to questions of when and how regarding the abortion decision and procedure. We have already seen signs of that in the decisions last summer upholding a requirement of written and informed consent by the woman seeking an abortion.

… We now await other signs of the court’s attitude on the when and how of abortions: Must there be public financing; the scope of Congress’ power regarding that, and the constitutionality of denying it for the indigent woman; and, must there be an availability of abortions at public hospitals, publicly aided private hospitals and clinics and Public Health Service hospitals?”

Denniston said that when those decisions are reached, “we perhaps will see the first indication of judicial decision-making in this field according to a ‘moral equation.’

“Then the court will begin to answer the question: Will legislators and executive officials be allowed discretion regarding public financing and public availability of abortions, to follow the moral sense of a community majority, or at least of a vocal, politically active and potent minority?”

Lifeletter, published by a strong antiabortion lobby in Washington, took note of Denniston’s speech by suggesting that perhaps the court is wavering “and just waiting to see if Congress will fight back. Certainly there is no reason to suppose that Denniston has any sympathy for the anti-abortion position. He repeatedly fills Star columns with ‘scare’ stories on the many dangers to the ‘right’ of abortion.” Lifeletter cited page-one headlines to bolster the “scare” charge.

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Big Bible Year

Publishers’ reports reveal that sales of Bible translations continued at a high level throughout 1976. The Good News Bible (American Bible Society) was published on the first day of December, and a million copies of it were sold in that month alone. (An additional 313,000 were sold in January.)

The 1976 sales figure for The Living Bible (Tyndale), in its various editions including The Way, was 2.25 million; for The Jerusalem Bible (Doubleday), about 380,000; and for the New American Standard Bible (several publishers), 130,000.

Figures for the King James, Revised Standard, New American, and New English (all with multiple publishers) were not readily available, but all and especially the first two had continuing large sales.

Prominent annotated editions also did well: The New Scofield Reference Edition (Oxford), based on the King James, 100,000; the Harper Study Bible (Zondervan), based on the Revised Standard, 55,000.

In the category of non-Bible nonfiction (excluding cookbooks, dictionaries, and books issued more than two years ago), the hard-cover best sellers for 1976 included four Watergate-related titles among the top ten. The Final Days (Simon and Schuster) by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the list with 630,000 copies sold. Fifth ranked was Charles Colson’s testimony, Born Again (Revell), at 340,000 copies. (A mass-market paperback edition has just been released.)

Seventh place was won by Billy Graham’s Angels (Doubleday), of which 275,000 copies were sold. It led the list with 810,000 in 1975.


India: Strategy For the Jet Age

Christians in India boast that their church was planted by the apostle Thomas. What he planted in his first-century missionary effort has not grown much, however. Only about 2 per cent of the more than 600 million Indians profess to be Christians.

For the first time in the nearly two-thousand-year history of the Indian church, a representative group of evangelical leaders got together early this year for serious talks on reaching the non-Christian 98 per cent of their fellow countrymen. They met for a week as the All-India Congress on Mission and Evangelization under the auspices of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).

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The 400 Christian leaders assembled at a rural boarding school near Devlali, about ninety-five miles from Bombay. Their gathering was an outgrowth of the 1974 Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, and participants were invited on the same basis as those who went to Lausanne (a cross section of denominations, types of work, men, women, youth, and so on). The congress replaced the EFI’s annual prayer conference. A spokesman explained that for the twenty-five years of the EFI’s existence, the promotion of revival in the churches has had priority, but this year attention was turned outward in the emphasis on mission and evangelization.

The effect on the participants, said the spokesman, was “chastening.” He said they went home “rebuked … for their failure to be His faithful and consistent witnesses to the 98 per cent” but “renewed in faith, in vision for evangelization, and in love for one another.”

According to “the Devlali Letter,” the congress’s principal document, participants also went home with a conviction that all Christians, particularly the leaders of churches and para-church groups, must cooperate in evangelistic strategy. The letter was drafted by a committee that received reports from each of the small groups that met throughout the congress. While the letter was generally thought to represent a consensus of those attending, it was not presented for a formal vote. Instead, all the participants were asked to sign it. The number who did so was not announced immediately.

“We are convinced that we live in such a time of open doors and great opportunities that the evangelization of India in the power of God’s spirit is an achievable goal,” the document declared. “We praise and thank God for his church in India and for placing us in a country where religious freedom is guaranteed to all by law.”

While little was said from the platform about the current political situation, the congress met amid rising tension in the nation over the “emergency” proclaimed in June, 1975. A newsman at the meeting said Christian leaders generally saw the sweeping political and economic changes in the land lending urgency to their task. The general secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in India, P. T. Chandapilla, told a reporter, “The emergency has taught Christians to mind their own business—which is evangelization.”

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Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sent a short written greeting to the congress. It was dated two months earlier. While the congress was meeting, though, she startled the nation with her announcement that parliamentary elections would be held in March. Calling for the vote, she said, was a part of a major relaxation of her emergency rule.

The evangelical leaders met in a retreat setting, but they were not isolated from the pressure of events. At the same time, millions of members of the country’s majority religion, Hinduism, were at a major gathering on the Ganges River. Some of the Christians found it difficult to make travel arrangements because space was already booked by those going to the Hindu festival.

Many of the participants who finally did arrive on trains at the Devlali station found they still had several miles to go before they arrived at the meeting site, the Barnes School. For some, the only available rides were in ox-cart taxis. The centuries-old mode of transportation was a reminder of their heritage, even as jet planes flying overhead were a reminder of current challenges.

Autonomy Ahead

Ecclesiastical wheels sometimes turn very slowly, but there seems to be little doubt now that Methodists in India are heading toward autonomy. Their church, officially known as the Methodist Church in Southern Asia, has been involved in an extended controversy over merger questions. Until it gains autonomy, the Indian denomination is an overseas branch of the United Methodist Church (U.S.A.). A decision by the United Methodist Judicial Council last year finally paved the way for it to go its own way.

Following the judicial decision, the Central Conference of the church in India unanimously voted to become an “affiliated autonomous church” by 1980. A doctrinal statement and other constitutional documents will be prepared next and then submitted to regional annual conferences. If two-thirds of them approve, the matter will come back for Central Conference ratification in, it is hoped, 1979.

The central body voted in 1968 to become one of the bodies that would found the Church of North India, but as union plans developed, the vote was rescinded. The reversal was challenged in the church courts, and it was this question that was settled last year. The church, one of the United Methodists’ largest overseas sections, has some 168,000 members.

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Keeping in Touch

While mainline Western denominations cut back on their missionary efforts, Third World churches are stepping up their outreach at home and abroad. The growing number of missionaries and the societies to support them have brought Indian Christian leaders to the conclusion that they need a vehicle to foster cooperation. A consultation on forming an association of missionary societies in India is scheduled this month as a direct outgrowth of the recent All India Congress on Mission and Evangelization.

If that association is formed, it will be one of at least seven national groups of evangelical missions. All the existing ones were represented at a consultation in Bombay in January, the first ever held by executive officers of these groups. The convenor was Wade Coggins of the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (U.S.A.), who is the retiring steering committee chairman of the World Evangelical Fellowship’s missions commission. The steering committee met during the consultation and named Ernest Oliver as the new chairman. He is the secretary of the Evangelical Missionary Alliance of Great Britain. The full missions commission is scheduled to meet next in January, 1979, and until then the top priority will be given to establishing contacts with emerging missionary movements.

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