Century Marks

Century Marks

Wedding dream

Brian Darweesh and Reem Younes had a simple, civil wedding as Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They had fled from their homes in Syria due to violence and a threat on Darweesh’s life. Two Mennonite congregations in Winnipeg, Manitoba, sponsored their immigration to Canada. A little over a year after the civil wedding, the two Canadian congregations threw the couple a wedding ceremony, complete with a wedding dress for Younes and a Syrian dessert. “She married the man of her dreams . . . but [until now] she didn’t get to have the wedding of her dreams,” a congregational representative said (Mennonite World Review, October 16).

Change the subject

In less than 20 percent of family meetings in the intensive care unit do doctors and other health-care providers discuss religion or spirituality, a new study finds. The study examined 249 meetings between health-care professionals and surrogate decision makers. Religion or spirituality came up in 40 of the conversations. More than half of the time, it was the surrogate decision maker, not the doctor, who brought up the subject. Doctors frequently redirected these conversations to medical considerations and very rarely asked further questions about the patient’s religion or opened up about their own religious beliefs (Reuters Health).

Drinking water

Egypt is facing a severe water shortage, which is getting worse as the population grows. Re­searchers at Alexandria University are developing an innovative desalination process using a membrane that binds with the salt as salt water passes through it. Since no electricity is used, the process requires about half the energy that other desalination methods use. It is hoped that the membrane, consisting of five components, can be mass-produced and used worldwide (Christian Science Monitor, October 28).

Safe place?

While 94 percent of Protestant pastors believe their churches are safe places to talk about marital difficulties, fewer than half of churchgoers who divorced in the past five years discussed their marriage problems with their church’s lead pastor, according to new findings by LifeWay Research. High percentages of both churchgoers who divorced (77 percent) and those in healthy marriages (79 percent) agreed in principle that their church is a safe place to talk about marital problems. When their own marriages were failing, however, just 48 percent of the divorced sought counsel from their pastor. Smaller percentages spoke to someone else, and 31 percent told no one at church about their marital problems. Half of divorced churchgoers said their church prayed for them after their separation, and 43 percent said their church supported them (Baptist News Global, October 29).

On the run

Christianity in Iraq could be extinct in five years, according to a study done in the United Kingdom and presented to the House of Lords. The mass exodus of Christians began with the Iraq war in 2003 and has continued in the face of ISIS. The Christian population peaked during the Saddam Hussein era at 1.4 million. It is now down to 260,000. About 100,000 have sought refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, but Christians fear ISIS sleeper cells in this region (Newsweek, October 14).