Angel Food Ministries (AFM) announced last month it is shutting down operations due to financial troubles. The Georgia-based ministry, which distributes boxes of discounted food products nationwide, said it plans to resume operations in the future after "considering ways to reorganize or restructure our ministry." AFM has faced controversy in recent years, including allegations of financial improprieties by AFM founders Joe and Linda Wingo, lawsuits, and an FBI raid ("Food for thought," April 11, 2009).
Oregon couple Dale and Shannon Hickman are facing manslaughter charges in the death of their two-month premature son, David, who developed a bacterial infection and died nine hours after delivery in 2009. The case marks the fourth time members from Followers of Christ Church, which rejects doctors in favor of faith healing, have faced prosecution for not seeking proper medical attention for a child. Earlier this year, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed a law that no longer provides protection to parents who solely use faith healing for their children's medical needs.
Mel Gibson, 55, is working with Warner Bros. studios to produce a film about the Maccabean Revolt, a Jewish uprising against Greek oppressors in the second-century B.C. Gibson, who in 2006 sparked outrage after making anti-Semitic remarks while in police custody for drunken driving, has not said whether he will direct or act in the upcoming film.
Despite a grim prognosis for her conjoined identical twin girls, Faith and Hope, single mom Amanda Schulten, 21, rejected early recommendations to abort and successfully delivered her premature babies Sept. 6. Doctors say it will be impossible to separate the girls, who are connected at the torso, sharing a heart, two lungs, and two kidneys. Schulten, though, remains upbeat about God's plans for their future. "God is good and He knows what He is doing," the Chicago mom wrote on her blog. "I'm so honored to call them my children."
Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson left Cuba Sept. 14 after Cuban officials blocked him from seeing or negotiating the release of American contractor Alan Gross, 62, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for crimes allegedly committed against Cuba. Richardson, who also attempted to secure Gross' release last year, had originally vowed not to leave the country until he saw the jailed American.
Malcolm Wallop, the former Republican U.S. senator from Wyoming who emerged as a leading conservative voice for tax cuts and strong national defense during his three-term tenure, died Sept. 14 at age 78. In the 1970s, Wallop was the first elected official to propose a space-based antimissile defense system, a plan President Ronald Reagan later embraced in his Strategic Defense Initiative.