We are not out to convert children in schools: bishop

Jewel Topsfield - The Age

The chairman of a Christian group that provides religious education classes in Victorian government schools has insisted its volunteers do not try to convert children, despite the group's chief executive having told a conference that ''we need to go and make disciples''. Bishop Stephen Hale said there was no evidence Access Ministries breached federal and state guidelines that prohibit proselytising in government schools.

Pastors call for church freedoms in China

Andrew Jacobs - SMH

Almost 20 Christian leaders in China have thrown their support behind an embattled underground church, calling for the government to end its persecution and for broader religious freedoms as well. Their petition, a rare gesture for religious figures wary of wading into politics, raises the stakes in a stand-off that has drawn concern from outside China. Nineteen pastors signed the petition, delivered on Wednesday to the National People's Congress, China's legislature, and posted on the internet. It calls for legal protections for so-called house churches, which operate illicitly outside the government-run religious system.

Jackpot: how footy clubs will pile up pokie millions

Royce Millar and Jason Dowling - The Age

Football's reliance on gambling revenue is set to soar, with new figures predicting Victorian-based AFL clubs will double their poker machine income from 2012. The research coincides with the leaking of a report, commissioned by the AFL in 2002, in which experts warned of a gambling explosion and cautioned the league against deals with commercial betting providers. The advice was not followed. An analysis by The Saturday Age and Monash University shows poker machine income growing fast as a proportion of total club revenue under new poker machine arrangements introduced by the former Brumby government.