The annual missions convention will be held Oct. 23-24 at the Oak Hills Wesleyan Church, 410 28th St. S.W. in Rochester.

Men are invited to assist in community service projects at 8 a.m. while women are invited to a salad luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Sunday morning worship services will be held at 10:45 a.m. with a special evening service at 7 p.m. preceded by a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Andrea Swarthout, commissioned missionary to Japan, and Stephen and Laura Descalzo, commissioned missionaries to Russia, will be the speakers for the weekend and will share mission field updates. For more information, call the Rev. Bob Solon at 288-6053.


COLUMBUS, Ind. -- The National Council of Churches will memorialize co-founder and former President J. Irwin Miller with an annual award honoring people working on Christian unity and social issues.


Miller, the former chairman of Cummins Engine Co., was an alternate delegate from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the council's constituting convention in 1950 and the council's first lay president from 1960 to 1963. He was 95 when he died Aug. 16.

The Rev. Shanta D. Premawardhana, director of the council's interfaith relations commission, announced the award at an appearance last week before the Columbus Interfaith Forum in Miller's hometown.

"Not only was he a great businessman and philanthropist, but he was a great churchman," Premawardhana said.

The first award will be presented at the council's general assembly in St. Louis Nov. 9-11.

The council represents 36 mainline Protestant and Orthodox Christian denominations.


LUCKNOW, India -- Islamic leaders in India have proposed changing a law so that Muslim women can inherit property, but said promoting birth control would be "not Islamic."

Imams and clerics who determine personal law for India's 140 million Muslims -- governing matters relating to marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and child custody -- will consider several proposed legal changes at the All India Muslim Personal Law Board meeting in the southern Indian city of Calicut from Dec. 24-26.


Part of the agenda for the meeting was finalized at a recent gathering.

Under the current law, when a Muslim woman marries, she loses all rights to inherit a portion of her father's land. The proposal before the law board would allow a woman to collect the inheritance along with her brothers.

Also to be discussed is a proposal that would strengthen women's marriage rights, board secretary Abdul R. Qureshi said. Currently, a Muslim man can easily divorce his wife, take their children and leave her with nothing.

Members of the law board, however, said they would not discuss a proposal by Vice Chairman Syed Kalbe Sadiq to consider family planning to help Muslim families -- among India's poorest citizens -- better feed and educate their children.

"Family planning is not Islamic," said Rabe Hasan Nadvi, the board chairman.

Birth control is a sensitive issue among Muslims in India because Hindu nationalists have often criticized the religious minority for its high birth rate.

Sadiq said he would not push for the reform, but he noted in his Shiite branch of Islam -- a minority of India's Muslims -- family planning is not taboo.

"Most of the Shia clerics have given a fatwa (religious edict) in favor of family planning," Sadiq said.


News items for Faith Focus are due by Tuesday prior to the Saturday publication. You may e-mail information to or mail to Faith Focus, Lifestyle section, 18 First Ave. S.E., Rochester MN 55904.

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