* Though 2011 is only two weeks underway, we’ve already seen large scale tragedies. On New Year’s Day, an Orthodox Coptic Church was bombed in Alexandra, Egypt, killing 21 worshippers as they were leaving the service. Insiders have said that the attack is indicative of growing tension between Christians and Muslims in the region.
Last Friday, January 7, which is Christmas Day in Egypt, PCUSA General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and General Assembly Mission Council Executive Director Linda Valentine sent a letter of condolence to the Synod of the Nile of the Evangelical Church of Egypt, the denomination’s Egyptian partners.
The full text of the letter is viewable by reading “(PC(USA) leaders send solidarity letter to Egyptian partners).”
* In other news, the Satruday, January 8, Arizona shooting which resulted in six deaths and 13 injuries, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has created controversies ranging from stricter gun control to the inadequacy of mental health treatment avaiable in the U.S. to the vitrolic political climate we live in. It is the first attempted assassination of a member of Congress since the 1970s. What fate Jared Loughner can expect as a result is still up for grabs, but much of it depends on the extent to which his mental illness is determined to have contributed to the attack.
On Wednesday, January 12, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama took a trip to Arizona to pay their respects to the fallen, which included a nine-year-old girl who, ironically, was born on September 11, 2001. Sid Salter, columnist for Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger, published an editorial on the tragedy earlier this week, which is viewable by going to the newspaper’s web site.
* In sports, on Tuesday, January 11, the Los Angelos Lakers defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-57, an unprecedented 55 point blowout. The game set a new record, as this was the fewest points the Lakers have ever held an opponent to in their franchise history. As of mid-January, the Lakers have one of the best records in the Western Conference, but so far they’ve not caught up with the San Antonio Spurs, who’ve maintained the best overall record in the league, East and West combined.
* David Nelson, of the famous Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet television show, passed away at age 74 earlier this week, on January 11. He was the last remaining cast member of the Golden Era sitcom, which aired from 1952 to 1966. His younger brother, singer Rick Nelson, was killed in a plane crash on December 31, 1985.
* Pro-Life Mississippi has scheduled its annual Pro-Life prayer vigil for Saturday, January 22, at 6 p.m. at the Capitol building in downtown Jackson. The prayer vigil historically has united Christians from diverse backgrounds—Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—as men and women from across Mississippi gather to pray for the vulnerable unborn. This month marks the 37th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, the court case the legalized abortion throughout the United States. Citizens of Mississippi, working alongside Pro-Life Mississippi, are currently in the process of advocating for a Personhood Amendment, which would define life as beginning at conception. To learn more about the prayer vigil, visit www.prolifemississippi.org.