November 14, 2006

Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has announced that he will be available as a nominee next year for a second six-year term as presiding bishop. The ELCA’s 2007 biennial Churchwide Assembly will meet August 6-12 at Navy Pier in Chicago, the denomination’s headquarters city. Hanson, 59, also serves as president of the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation in a six-year term that ends in 2009. Lowell G. Almen, 65, the church’s secretary since 1987, said at the same time last month that he will retire from that key administrative post next year.

Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson has announced his resignation as chair of the board of the ministry he started 30 years ago. Colson, who turned 75 last month, said October 23 that the board of Prison Fellowship USA has chosen business executive Michael Timmis as his successor. Timmis is the co-owner and vice chair of Talon LLC, a Detroit-based private investment holding company. Since 1997 he has served on the board of the prison ministry. Colson is a former Nixon aide who served seven months in prison on obstruction-of-justice charges related to the Watergate scandal. He has been a leading conservative evangelical commentator on public affairs.

Jeffrey Lundgren, the self-professed prophet who killed five people in 1989 in what he said was a sacrifice demanded by a higher power, died by lethal injection October 24 in a death ordered by the state of Ohio. Lundgren walked the 17 steps to the death chamber without the well-worn Bible that he used in controlling his cult, which formed after he broke from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His victims were Dennis and Cheryl Avery and their daughters, Trina, 15, Becky, 13, and Karen, 7. They were led one-by-one past a buzzing chain saw to a muddy pit, where they were bound with duct tape, shot and dumped into a common grave.

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