March 26, 2020: $2T stimulus bill, spike in faith questions online, India's rising persecution

Thursday, March 26, 2020:

Here are the latest headlines, brought to you by The Christian Post.

— Senate reaches $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package

The Senate reached a deal for a $2 trillion stimulus bill to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The package includes a cash payment to U.S. adults — namely up to $1,200 for individuals for those who make less than less than $75,000 and $2,400 for married couples with $500 per child for households with less than $150,000.

The bill also includes an additional $600 per week to whatever amount a worker would normally get if they lose their job due to the coronavirus.

A fund of $350 billion will go toward small businesses and billions have also been marked for airport and airlines relief.

— Digital ministry sees rise in conversions, faith questions

Global Media Outreach has seen an unprecedented rise in conversions and inquiries about faith, God and the Bible due to heightened anxiety and fear levels associated with the coronavirus.

The digital ministry’s founder, Walt Wilson, said Google searches about fears around the virus, uncertain finances, and employment are “growing rapidly.” With that, the ministry’s reach has gone from 350,000 people per day to 500,000 people.

The ministry has 3,500 online volunteers, speaking 50 different languages, who answer questions and pray for and guide new believers on their spiritual journey.

— India pastor says life more difficult for Christians

A pastor in India said things have become “far more difficult” for Christians as they face persecution “almost daily.”

Pastor Ramesh Kumar, a church planter who leads house churches in 12 villages outside of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, said the persecution can be anything from a mild warning to physical assaults.

Over the last three years, crimes against Christians in India have increased 60 percent. Despite the increasing attacks, Pastor Kumar said he will not stop witnessing and will continue to serve Jesus.

— Arkansas Church sees first death after dozens get coronavirus

A 91-year-old man, who was a greeter at Greers Ferry First Assembly in Arkansas, was confirmed as the first death among dozens who tested positive for the coronavirus at the church.

William Barton died just days after the church’s pastor, Mark Palenske, announced that more than 30 people tested positive for the virus at his church. All of the affected had attended a children’s event at the church earlier this month.

— Pa. church apologizes for holding large worship service

A church in Pennsylvania has issued an apology for holding worship on Sunday amid federal government recommendations that people not hold gatherings of more than 10 people.

Word of Life Church of Greensburg Pastor Tom Walters said they did not gather on Sunday out of “defiance but solely for the purpose of praying.”

After receiving hateful comments over the decision to meet for worship service, Walters apologized to the public and asked for forgiveness, saying he will “try harder to be more of an asset to our community.”

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