Five Abilene Christian University students, all Nigerian, die in crash
For most of the Christian world, Sunday was a time of rejoicing about Christ's victory over death. But at Abilene Christian University (ACU), a 4,800-student school affiliated with the Churches of Christ, the reality of death still clung firm. Sunday morning, an SUV carrying five students crossed the median on Interstate 20, slid along a guardrail, hit a retaining wall, and dropped 30 feet, landing on its roof. All five, who were among ACU's 27 Nigerian students, were killed instantly. "They had been driving all night, so the speculation is they fell asleep," Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeremy Smith told the Associated Press.

"I don't have any real easy words to tell you tonight," ACU provost Dwayne VanRheenen said at an impromptu campus vigil Sunday night. "We know nothing we can say or do can take away the sorrow or discomfort, but we know we can pray together. … Five precious people are gone and we will miss them dearly."

By Monday morning's chapel service, VanRheenen found his words. "As Christians we have hope, not despair," he said. "Death has a sting; it also has a victory. May all of us live in recognition that after life, comes death, and after death comes eternal life."

All five students had been involved in local ministry work, including visiting prisons and nursing homes.

Every pastor's guilty dream
On Palm Sunday, Anglican minister George Wandera allegedly stormed into a service at the Baptist church in Magombe village, Uganda, and demanded to know why so many people were going to that church instead of his. He reportedly kicked and punched the Baptist pastor, Bernard Wanyama, and members of the two congregations joined in the melee. Wanyama was severely injured, but was treated and released, reports the New Vision newspaper of Kampala.

Is this what's next for the U.S. as Christians leave mainline denominations for evangelical congregations? Maybe not: mainline congregations may run out of pastors before they run out of congregants. "A pastor is nothing U.S. churchgoers can take for granted these days," reports the Associated Press. "Though the Roman Catholic priesthood crisis is a familiar story—and current scandals won't help—U.S. Protestant strategists are also becoming alarmed over a growing clergy shortage, particularly in predominantly white, mainline denominations."

Keeping the devil locked up
While ministering in a county jail, Augustine Edosomwan of Phoenix's Living Water of the Valley Church was asked by a female inmate for deliverance (a.k.a. exorcism). Now he's on probation. "Ministry focusing on casting out demons [is] not allowed in the jails," says chaplains' coordinator Mary Falls-Millard. Actually, says the administrative chaplain for the county jail system, Edosomwan would have been okay if he'd cast out the demons in private—and with clearance beforehand. But the woman has now become a target for ridicule by other inmates—and jail officials don't want anyone to feel singled out.

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And Passover commemorates Buddha's enlightenment
The Daily News of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was trying to be helpful. For Holy Week, it attempted to briefly outline five major world religions. Christianity was nicely summed up thus: "The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are central to their understanding of who they are and how they should live. Jesus came to restore God's creation to the condition intended by the creator. There is a wide difference in opinion as to how the Bible is to be understood."

But when it came to Judaism, editors fell asleep. "The Bible's core is the Torah, the five books delivered by God to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai through the prophet Muhammad." The prophet Muhammad? (Thanks to the Canada-based for pointing out the error.)

More articles

Preparing for Easter:

Easter in Pakistan:

  • Bomb attack chills churchgoers in Islamabad | Attendance by Westerners at the city's three Christian churches, in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, has fallen to a handful. (The New York Times)

  • Islamabad parish shares in sorrow, holiday | At sunrise, two weeks after a hail of grenades ripped apart the Protestant International Church in Islamabad, its grieving but resilient congregation gathered for an emotional ecumenical service at Our Lady of Fatima Church. (The Boston Globe)

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Easter and the Mideast:

Easter and the abuse scandal:

Easter and 9/11:

  • Heads turn and eggs roll, but perilous times darken Easter | Across the metropolitan region the celebration of Easter was an unusual blend of joy and solemnity. (The New York Times)

  • It's hallowed ground zero | After the Good Friday recitation of the 12th station of the cross, the recovery workers knelt for a moment of silence at the edge of the ground made holy by the courage and sacrifice of people of all faiths (Michael Daly, New York Daily News)

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Easter history:

De-bunnying Easter:

  • A magical day has become like any other | Home Depot is open all day on Easter, which says all you need to know about what's happened to the holiday. (Susan Ager, Detroit Free-Press)

  • Christians work to teach children about Easter | Stuffed rabbits, chocolate chicks, baskets full of plastic, brightly colored eggs stuffed with candy, all the secular trappings of a holy event often make it even harder for children to grasp the story of Christ's death and resurrection. (Contra Costa [Calif.] Times)

Easter church services:

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  • Wayward worshipers flock back for Easter | Attendance nearly doubles at most services on Easter, then drops to normal until the end of the year when the same people usually crowd the pews again on Christmas Eve (The Bergen [N.J.] Record)

  • A child shall lead them | 12-year-old who may have found calling in preaching epitomizes Easter message of rising above adversity. (The Indianapolis Star)

  • Minn. town stages living Last Supper | The Eastertime program, organized by a local Protestant church each year since the early 1980s, reproduces da Vinci's image down to hair length, expression and gesture (Associated Press)

Debating what Easter means:

  • Easter's message of life resonates with those facing death | For those with terminal illness, it tests their faith's conviction that death is the doorway to heaven. (The Grand Rapids [Mich.] Press)

  • On God | He's alive and well. (Mark Goldblatt, National Review Online)

  • Resurrections of spirit | Easter also presents us with the reassuring idea that there's no tragedy great enough to destroy us, unless we yield to it (Hugh Mackay, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Easter and afterlife | Easter's lessons and ideas aren't limited to Christianity (Editorial, The Hartford [Conn.] Courant)

  • Easter must be a celebration of life | We all share a will to live, greater than a mere biological urge to survive long enough to breed (Richard Harries, The Observer)

  • The springs of faith | Easter is our celebration of the return of spring, the promise of resurrection, something solid on which to hang our hopes and dreams (Editorial, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

  • Hope, even in death | Even those who do not share the theology may share the sense of joyous rescue that the story conveys. (The Cincinnati Post)

  • To forgive, divine | The wisdom, and healthfulness, of letting go of anger (The Washington Post)

  • Easter means taking fresh look at the world, says Archbishop of Canterbury | Meanwhile, Bishop of Blackburn laments that holiday is losing its significance in the life of the Church and the nation at large. (The Times, London)

  • Christians live their faith by giving back in diverse ways | Despite differences, believers share Easter together (Kalamazoo [Mich.] Gazette)

  • The last word on resurrection | From the ubiquity of resurrection myths in the world's religions, it is obvious that the life-and-death question of the vegetation cycle provided one of mankind's earliest impulses to superstition (A.C. Grayling, The Guardian, London)

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