|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
April 9-12 – Bishop Charlie holds meetings in St John’s, NL
April 21-23 – Ontario clergy silent retreat near Orangeville led by Bishop Charlie Masters
April 25, 2pm – The Rev Buzz Onayemi will be ordained a priest at Celebration Church (Barrie, ON)
May 7 – Ryle Theological College-sponsored Clergy Day, Kanata Baptist, Kanata, ON
May 14 – March for Life 2015 in Ottawa and in many of the provincial capitals
May 26-28 – AMMiC mini-conference in Richmond, BC
June 22-26 – ACNA Executive Cabinet, Council, College of Bishops meetings in Vancouver
June 24 - ACNA reception and worship service at Good Shepherd (Vancouver, BC)
Aug 31 – Sept 10 – Mission trip to Thailand, sponsored by AMMiC and Good Shepherd
Oct 16-17 – AMMiC-led conference in Vancouver, BC on Asian immigrant inter-generational issues
Oct 20-23 – ANiC synod 2015 in Vancouver at Good Shepherd
ANiC’s synod location announced
Bishop Charlie Masters has written Bishop Stephen Leung and the people of Good Shepherd (Vancouver, BC) appointing the church, with its recently renovated building, as host parish for ANiC’s 2015 synod, October 20-23. The Reverend Philip Soh, associate priest of Good Shepherd, will serve as Host Priest and work along ANiC's synod planning team which is led by the recently appointed Canon for Diocesan Events the Rev Canon Paul Donison.
ACNA is coming to Vancouver in June
The governing bodies of the Anglican Church in North America will gather in Vancouver June 22-26. The week will include meetings of the Executive Committee, the Provincial Council, and the College of Bishops. Visitors and observers are welcome to attend sessions of the Provincial Council which are open. Registration is required as space is limited. The Council meetings conclude on June 25 with a reception and Eucharist at ANiC’s Church of the Good Shepherd.
New location for ordination in Barrie, Ontario
On April 25 (Saturday), at 2pm. the Rev Adebusola (Buzz) Onayemi, who serves at Celebration Church (Barrie, ON), will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Charlie Masters. The service will take place at Loving Saviour Lutheran Church, 460 Mapleview Drive West (west of Highway 400) in Barrie. All are welcome. Do pray for Buzz+ and all ANiC ordinands. May God keep their hearts fixed on Him and give them courage and peace as they embark on this new adventure in ministry.
Video of Bishop Charlie discussing ANiC’s five ministry priorities
If you’ve didn’t get to a session to hear Bishop Charlie discussing his vision for ANiC and challenging us to embrace five ministry priorities, you can watch his presentation to members in the Toronto area on March 13. Also you’ll be challenged by the Rev Garth Hunt’s message from the same meeting on praying for revival. That same weekend, Bishop Charlie was involved in an evangelistic meeting for children and their families. You can see photos of the children’s meeting here.
Bishop Charlie will wrap up his “tour” of ANiC with meetings in St John’s, NL on April 9-12.
Also, Bishop Charlie recently spoke at Trinity School for Ministry (Ambridge, PA) about ANiC’s five ministry priorities. You'll find audio of his talk on the TSM website.
Did you know…?
That our diocesan ministry is very dependent upon private donations? Parish tithes cover about 80 per cent of ANiC’s budget. The remaining 20 per cent comes from individuals who are committed to ANiC’s mission and want to see our ministry thrive.
March for Life in Victoria, BC – May 14
The Rev Richard and Jenny Richards are organizing Anglicans for Life Canada participation in the BC edition of the annual March for Life, held in Victoria, BC on May 14 – the same day as the March takes place in Ottawa and elsewhere across the country. If you are in BC, plan to participate. Richard+ hopes to coordinate transportation for participants from the Lower Mainland. For information and to confirm your participation, please email Richard+.
Bishop Charlie writes the Federal Government with concerns about euthanasia
Bishop Charlie Masters has written Minister of Justice Peter MacKay urging the government to act decisively to protect vulnerable people in the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada decision throwing out the prohibition on assisted suicide and euthanasia. He wrote, “…we urge you to draft a very narrow statutory exemption to the prohibition on assisted suicide which provides all the protection possible to the vulnerable… We also ask that any legislation protect physicians and health care workers so that no one can be coerced to act – directly or indirectly – counter to his or her conscience or religious beliefs… Please be assured of our prayers…” You can read the letter on the ANiC website. If you wish to express your concerns to the government, an online petition is on the LifeSiteNews website.
Western Canada clergy & spouse retreat, May 11-14
Clergy and their spouses are invited to a retreat at Young Life's spectacular Malibu Camp on Princess Louisa Inlet, BC. You will experience solid Bible teaching together with worship, physical rest, spiritual refreshment, and enriching fellowship. We want to strengthen and encourage one another in our ministry and refocus on our Christ-ordained, Kingdom-advancing mission. Please plan to attend! See the flyer for full details on costs, transportation, speaker and registration.
Clergy Day event in Ottawa, May 7
ANiC clergy and church leaders are invited to “Pastors in Perspective: Nurturing our inner persons”, May 7, 9:30-3:30pm at Kanata Baptist, 465 Hazeldean Rd, Kanata, ON. The conference is sponsored by Ryle Theological College and in designed to refresh and encourage attendees in their ministries. The speaker is Dr Michael Haykin, a seminary professor and author – including a recent book on the church fathers. For more information see the flyer.
AMMiC conference planned, October 16-17
AMMiC is spearheading a third conference on the issue of relationships between first and second generation Asians in North America. The conference is expected to be held October 16-17, most likely at Regent College. As with previous conferences, an inter-denominational, inter-generational pastoral team is planning the event. AMMiC will publish an English journal of the past two conference proceedings, called, “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Dialogue”. It will highlight the growth among North American Asian Christians.” This will come out in June.
Chinese language translation work underway
Members of the pastoral team of Good Shepherd (Vancouver, BC) are translating ACNA’s liturgy, Texts for Common Prayer, into Chinese – including the Holy Communion short form, and Morning and Evening Prayer. It will be completed this month and ready for trial use.
Another work in progress is the translation of ACNA’s catechism, To be a Christian, into Chinese. By God’s grace, it will be finished before the end of the year.
2015 Missions Trip to Thailand
A missions trip to Thailand is planned for late summer. AMMiC and Good Shepherd (Vancouver, BC) are organizing the trip in partnership with the Anglican Church in Thailand (Diocese of Singapore) and the Karen Anglican Ministry at the Border. Tentative dates are August 31 (Monday) through September 10 (Thursday). Everyone interested in serving in a cross-cultural setting in South East Asia are most welcome to join the team. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. More details are to come..Photos of the 2011 trip are on the ANiC website
First Canadian Chapter of the Daughters of the Holy Cross launches in BC
A group of ANiC women at Ascension (Langley, BC) have applied to form the first Canadian chapter of the Daughters of the Holy Cross. This is a lay community sponsored by the ACNA for women who live by a rule of life involving prayer, service, study and evangelism. Let’s pray that women in other ANiC churches will follow suit. The Daughters of the Holy Cross is holding its second provincial assembly in Belleville, IL, September 17-19. See the video invitation here.
Job opening – half-time youth pastor in Vancouver
St Matthias and St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC) is seeking a part-time youth pastor. The position is for 20 hours per week and the application deadline is May 15 with a start date of July 1. See the job posting on the church website.
A celebration of Christian worship through the arts
New Song Church (Port Perry, ON) is involved in bringing us The David Festival 2015 on April 10-12 and April 17-19. This year, the special guest will be Brian Doerkson – whose songs are sung in churches around the world – and the SHIYR Poets. The Festival offers workshops for worship bands and songwriting, visual arts, choral music, drama and writing. See the festival website for information and to register.
Healing workshop coming to Toronto area
On October 3-5 (Saturday – Monday), the Rev Dr Russ Parker – an author, teacher and subject matter expert – will be at New Song (Port Perry, ON) offering workshops and speaking on healing-related topics include: Healing Dreams (October 3), Why Jesus Speaks to Churches (October 4, am), the Healing Journey (October 4, pm), and Healing Wounded Congregations & Leaders (October 5 full day). The October 5 workshop will be of particular benefit to our church leaders and clergy and as many as possible are encouraged to attend. Watch the church website for more details. Email the Rev Bruce McCallum for information.
Bishop Charlie names a Canon of Diocesan Events
The Rev Canon Paul Donison, rector of St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON), has been appointed Canon of Diocesan Events – especially synods. In his letter of appointment, Bishop Charlie wrote, “I have concluded for continuity and a high standard for these events it would be good for the Diocese to designate a person for this role.” Paul+ was a key organizer for ANiC’s 2014 synod and also is assisting the ACNA in arranging the upcoming Provincial meetings in Vancouver.
Photos of the ordination of the Revs Jonathan Ellis and Ka Hyun MacKensie Shin
On March 15, the Revs Jonathan Ellis and Ka Hyun MacKensie Shin were ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Trevor Walters. Ka Hyun+ is church planting in Burnaby while Jonathan+ is assistant priest at Ascension (Langley, BC). Jonathan's father, the Rev Rod Ellis of Church of Our Lord in Victoria, was the preacher. See the proof in pictures!
Southern Ontario clergy retreat photos
From the photos, it looks like those attending the southern Ontario clergy retreat on February 24-25 had a marvelous time! The speaker, the Rev Keith Ganzer, focused on the theme “Ministers of a New Covenant” taken from 2 Corinthians 2:12- 4:18. See photos.
Parish and regional news
Christ the King (Edmonton, AB) is anticipating the induction and licencing service for the parish’s new rector, the Rev Lars Nowen. The service, led by Bishop Trevor Walters, will take place on April 26. A celebration of the Rev Roy and Yvette Dickson’s 45+ years of Anglican ministry, most recently at the helm of Christ the King, was held on March 22.
St George’s (Burlington, ON) has created a terrific welcome video for newcomers. When it was first shown to the people of St George’s at the congregations’ first service in their new building, it reportedly drew thunderous applause.
In preparation for St George’s official grand opening and dedication service on Easter Sunday, 12,000 postcard invitations were mailed to those in the surrounding community. They are praying for a growing harvest amongst their neighbours. Bishop Charlie will be with St George’s on Easter Sunday to dedicate the building and celebrate the first new church building erected by an ANiC congregation.
Living Edge (Victoria, BC) plans to begin Thursday evening worship services in a local Baptist church as the first step to launching a new church plant. Currently, Living Edge’s ministry is focused on providing food for the hungry.
St Aidan’s at Rivers Bend (Belle River, ON) – On March 28, 10:30am Bishop Charlie will join the congregation, under the leadership of Deacon Phil Rutledge, as they celebrate five years of serving the community around Lakeshore, Ontario. The service in the chapel of Seasons Lakeshore Retirement Home will be followed by lunch.
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
Church Planting conference in Tampa, April 27-30
The ACNA-linked Titus Institute for Church Planting and Multiplication invites all those interested in church planting to a four-day Exponential East 2015 interdenominational conference in Tampa, FL on April 27-30. The theme is SPARK: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication, inspired by 2 Timothy 1: 6-7. This is the largest gathering of church planting leaders in the world, and features more than 100 speakers, 125 workshops, and nine focused-interest tracks. Titus has arranged both a reduced registration cost of $189 and $59 for spouses, as well as a special gathering of Anglicans immediately prior to the conference. This event sells out, so register quickly! Go to the ACNA website for more information. Also check out the Titus Institute website.
International Catholic Congress of Anglicans, July 13-17, in Fort Worth, TX
This congress for Anglo-Catholics – and all who wish to attend – will be held at St Andrew’s in Fort Worth, TX on July 13-17. Keynote speakers include Bishop Nazir-Ali, Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa (Tanzania), Bishop Ray Sutton (ACNA), and Dr Edith Humphrey. Workshops will be offered on topics such as church planting, the persecuted church, theological education, sacred music, and the sanctity of life. For more information, see the conference brochure. You can register on the Forward in Faith website. Bishop Keith Ackerman discusses the event in a video interview with Anglican TV.
Anglicans at the Gospel Coalition conference, April 13-15, Orlando, FL
The Rev John Yates, rector of ACNA’s The Falls Church Anglican (Virginia), writes that as part of The Gospel Coalition’s interdenominational conference in Orlando, FL, April 13-15, a number of ACNA leaders are offering seminars and workshops. As well, there will be an informal gathering for Anglicans to fellowship. There is more background information on the Baptist News website.
More legal good news – this time involving ACNA’s Diocese of Fort Worth
The Anglican Unscripted commentators discuss the latest legal win for an ACNA diocese – this time the Diocese of Fort Worth – and also provide insight into the overall state of play in the courts for these diocesan cases. The Diocese of Fort Worth issued a news release saying “Nearly six years after we were first sued by The Episcopal Church and its local representatives, the court has confirmed the Diocese’s right to dissociate from TEC and… retain its property.” Canon lawyer Alan Haley provides his usual insightful analysis. The US Episcopal Church (TEC) likely will appeal.
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Anglican Communion news
Lenten pastoral letter to Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
GAFCon chair Archbishop Wabukala (Kenya) has sent us a pastoral letter which contrasts the experience of persecuted Christians, who find their strength in the infallible Word of God, to comfortable, established western churches, who brazenly reject the authority of God's Word and embrace culture. Specifically, he addresses the ‘Living Reconciliation’ process in the Church of England which sacrifices Truth on the altar of institutional unity.
He concludes, “The GAFCON movement is vital for the future. At its heart is a passion to see the Anglican Communion restored and renewed so that it can confess the faith of Christ crucified with integrity and without confusion and division. This is a call to discipleship for each one of us, so let us learn from Jesus to say ‘it is written’ and stand firm in the power and promises of God.”
Australian branch of Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans launches
An Australian branch of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) is set to be launched. The GFCA is a movement launch by GAFCon which promotes reformation of the worldwide Anglican Church based on the authority of the Bible and faithfulness to its clear teaching.
Sad news from Barnabas Aid as director resigns
Anglican Ink reports that “The Rev Patrick Sookhdeo has resigned as director of the Christian relief agency, Barnabas Aid International, after an English court found him guilty of… sexual assault and…witness intimidation… The court found Dr. Sookhdeo had touched the breast of his administrative assistant when he gave her a hug and had sought to pressure witnesses into supporting his version of events.”
International news in brief
Coercing doctors – On the heels of the Supreme Court decision (February 6) opening the door to euthanasia and assisted suicide, provincial Colleges of Physicians are at varying stages of considering and adopting policies forcing physicians to participate in medical procedures, such as abortion or euthanasia – either directly or by referral – that might violate their personal and religious convictions. Ontario has approved such a policy; Saskatchewan is considering such a policy and other provincial colleges are following suit. Writing earlier in the National Post, Margaret Somerville discusses why violating doctors rights in this way negatively affects society as a whole.
Proposed sex education for public schools – Ontario’s new sexual education curriculum is drawing fire. Information is posted on LifeSiteNews and on the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s website.
Speaking in the Canadian Senate, Senator Don Plett calls attention to the battle over the Trinity Western University’s proposed law school. He ably shows how freedom of religion – and especially Christianity – is under attack in Canada and how, surprisingly, corporation are, leading the charge, in particular the Bank of Montreal.
The general synod of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) is planned for 7-13 July 2016 in Richmond Hill in the Diocese of Toronto.
The ACoC’s Liturgical Task Force is undertaking extensive revision of liturgical texts to be presented to its general synod in 2016. The ACoC website states: “Among the resources it hopes to present are a series of inclusive-language psalms, a full set of morning and evening prayer liturgies, and alternative collects for all three years of the Revised Common Lectionary” as well as “some alternate baptismal liturgy”. Texts for trial use are posted here.
If you are in the Vancouver, BC area on Canada Day, July 1, you’ll want to join thousands of other Christians at the 2nd annual Voices Together – an evening of unified prayer and worship at the Pacific Coliseum.
The Anglican Mission in Canada, led by Bishop Silas Ng, is holding its national conference May 14-16 in Richmond, BC at Richmond Emmanuel Church. The theme of the event is “Fan into Flame: Discipling and Disciples”. More information is on the website.
An in-depth Baltimore Sun article suggests that the US Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has shown a pattern of ordaining and consecrating troubled clergy – including a former Roman Catholic priest alleged to have engaged in pedophilia, and more recently a bishop, Heather Cook, who was alleged to abuse alcohol and had a conviction for driving while drunk. While allegedly drunk, Bishop Cook struck and killed a bicyclist this past Christmas and then fled the scene of the accident.
Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori is near the end of her nine year term. The US Episcopal Church holds its general convention in Salt Lake City this summer and will elect a new presiding bishop for the next nine years. The Anglican Unscripted commentators discuss possible successors to the current presiding bishop. The current presiding bishop’s term has been marked by unprecedented shrinkage in TEC and by an estimated $40-million or more in legal expenses to fund her litigious penchant.
A Gospel Coalition article examines growth/decline rate statistics for a number of US church denominations. The author concludes: “Mainliners may try to comfort themselves by claiming that every denomination is in decline, but it's simply not true. While conservative churches aren't growing as quickly as they once were, mainline churches are on a path toward extinction. The mainline churches are finding that as they move further away from Biblical Christianity, the closer they get to their inevitable demise.” VirtueOnline chronicles the evidence of decline in the TEC.
At its recent synod, the Episcopal Church of Cuba voted to return to its affiliation with the US Episcopal Church. Since the 1959 revolution in Cuba, the Episcopal Church there has been under the oversight of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba which was comprised of the primates of the Anglican Church of Canada, the province of West Indies and the US Episcopal Church.
Bishop Sturdie Downs (Nicaragua) is the new primate of the Anglican Church in Central America.
The March 6th "ecumenical" Muslim service held in a CoE sanctuary with the rector’s full participation has caused significant consternation. St John’s Waterloo is in the Diocese of Southwark where the evangelical clergy have already thrown down the gauntlet to the ultra-liberal bishop. For the Muslim prayer service, snippets of which you can watch on video, symbols of the Christian faith in the sanctuary, such as the cross, were covered.
St John’s liberal vicar initially defended his action, then issued an apology which was more a self-justification. Anglican Ink reports that, while the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office refused to comment on the incident, despite his being a joint patron of St John’s Waterloo, the Bishop of Southwark stated, “…it is clear that an act of worship from a non-Christian faith tradition is not permitted within a consecrated Church of England building.”
Andrew Symes has compiled a good analysis of the event and a listing of the breaches on canon law. In his analysis entitled “Where are the bishops when you need them?”, Canon Phil Ashey, of the American Anglican Council, points out the irony of Christians persecuted in the name of Islam in some parts of the world while this is happening in the Church of England with no effective response from the CoE bishops. He concludes that the CoE has lost its ability to lead the Anglican Communion. David Ould, a CoE priest, speaking on Anglican TV, provides context and analysis.
In the March 2 edition of Anglican Unscripted, Kevin Kallsen and Peter Ould discuss the evidence of fracturing in the Church of England as Anglican churches are being planted, under the GAFCon-authorized Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), without the permission of Church of England diocesan bishops. Continuing this discussion in a follow-up Anglican TV video, the Rev Ould concludes that it is not yet time for evangelicals in the CoE to jump into lifeboats, but it is time to prepare lifeboats. His view is that conservatives still have the opportunity to grab the “steering wheel” and help direct the CoE back on course, but this demands courage. He also notes that conservatives must realize that they hold financial power in the CoE; the CoE would be brought to its knees if conservatives withheld tithes.
The Rev Julian Mann goes further and says it is time for the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans/GAFCon to consecrate bishops in England saying that “…bishops not holding Church of England licences would free Christ's servants in AMiE from institutional obstruction, obviating the perceived need for secrecy in church planting and ordinations.”
Bishop Richard Chartres (London) is pushing for the appointment of a CoE bishop to oversee church plants. Church Times reports that this bishop’s “…ministry would be "…inherently episcopal but not territorial; thoroughly collegial but with an independent sphere of responsibility"…. Those planting churches are "tender shoots", he said. "They really do need mentoring, oversight, and really close involvement of a sort which it is very unrealistic to expect area bishops to concentrate on." … He emphasised that, while receiving "direct pastoral care" from the Bishop of Islington, planters were "totally loyal to their local situation and bishops"… Bishop Chartres's plan states that the Archbishop of Canterbury has "warmly welcomed" the proposal." Holy Trinity Brompton is cited as an example of a planting church working effectively within the Church of England.
Dr Justyn Terry, dean and president of Trinity School for Ministry (Ambridge, PA), writes that “My visit to the UK in March was a time of great encouragement as I heard evidence of what might be the early signs of a post-secular Britain.” He cites accounts of growing church attendance and successful church plants and concludes, “The long secular winter may be coming to an end. Aslan is on the move. So let us not be discouraged, but continue to do faithfully, graciously, and joyfully whatever God has given us to do in His harvest field.”
An Anglican Communion News Service report notes that Archbishop Justin Welby’s three priorities are: “renewing prayer and praying communities; enabling reconciliation within and beyond the church; and equipping Christians to share their faith with others”.
Westminster Abby will have a new tower by 2018 that will accommodate an elevator so visitors can more easily access the museum housed in the attic gallery.
The war in Syria has been raging for four years and the Christian community is decimated. International Christian Concern calls the war, “…one of the most brutal conflicts in recent history… As the February abduction of more than 240 Assyrian Christians demonstrated again, Syria’s Christian community and other ethnic or religious minorities are being explicitly targeted and killed or driven out of the country.” Well over 200,000 people have died – about half, civilians, including thousands of children. “Nearly 4 million Syrians are registered as refugees in neighboring countries, and an addition 7.6 million [are] internally displaced with the country.”
Reflecting onthe February slaying of 21 Coptic Christian men in Libya by Islamist jihadists, Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis noted that the testimony of these martyrs is having a powerful impact. He writes, “Their testimony and the testimonies of their families have been powerful. The families of the Coptic Christians killed in Libya have consistently spoken about love and forgiveness for those who killed their sons. In response to the events in Libya, the Egyptian government has decided to build a new church in Minya, the hometown of the martyrs killed in Libya, and dedicate it to their memory.” Sheikh Ahmen al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar University is reported to have called for schools and universities to correct extremist interpretations of the Qur’an.
Peace talks between the warring factions in South Sudan appear to have reached an impasse. The report indicates that the leaders or the two sides could not agree on power sharing and security arrangements. Anglican leaders in Africa say that the “on-going war was all about power struggle and not ethnic difference… They said the power struggle in the youngest African Nation was already derailing development.” Without more international intervention, they said, the conflict could escalate into tribal and civil war. Pray for peace.
Nigeria’s postponed presidential election will be held this week, March 28. Pray for a peaceful election. Many Nigerians are fearful of election-related violence. The last election was marked by terrible violence and bloodshed especially in the north and much of it the work of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram.
The Mirror reports that Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has proclaimed himself caliph of the Muslim world. Other jihadist groups in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and north Africa have also pledged allegiance to Baghdadi. In what appears to be a despicable copycat move, Boko Haram has posted a video of the beheading of two men they accuse of being government spies.
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh is calling the Nigerian Church to unity and to lead the nation in removing the divisive scourge of tribalism. He said, “We are looking at that in the next 25 years, we expect that we make better contribution to the building of the nation, better contribution to the lives of our people, not only to increase the numbers of Christians, but to deepen their faith, so that there will be no gap, between what they say and what they do. In other words, there will be moral integrity of whoever calls himself a Christian.”
Taliban suicide bombers attacked two churches – one Roman Catholic and one Anglican – in the Lahore area of Pakistan on Sunday, March 15. The Barnabas Fund reports that suicide bombings killed at least 16 and injured – many severely – at least 70 others. Anglican Ink reports that it was the heroic action of an Anglican parish warden at Christ Church Youhanabad that prevented much worse carnage. Pray for those grieving the deaths of loved ones and for the many who were injured, some severely.
Speaking to Christian Today, Pakistani-born Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali noted that even though only two per cent of the country’s population is Christian, many of these are concentrated in Lahore. He called on the government of Pakistan to deploy the military to root out terrorists and for Muslim schools and religious institutions to stop teaching hate. He also called on the UN to address the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world.
Pakistan has reinstated the death penalty after a seven year moratorium. Christians and other religious minorities are among the more than 8000 people on “death row”, many falsely accused and convicted of blasphemy. Among these is Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death more than four years ago after being accused of blasphemy.
CBN News reports that 400 Pakistani Christian refugees have been arrested in Thailand and are threatened with deportation. Many fled to Thailand after being accused of blasphemy or threatened by radical Muslims.
The Canadian pastor of Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, is being held in North Korea. Asia News reports: “The pastor, Lim Hyeon-soo, 60, has been missing in North Korea for more than a month and there has been no news of him. The religious leader arrived in the country last January 31, 2015 on a humanitarian visit, and was due to return on 4 February. The pastor was a regular visitor to North Korea where he supported a nursing home and an orphanage.
Cyclone Pam, a powerful factory five cyclone, devastated many of the 82 islands that comprise Vanuatu on March 13, with gusts up to 320 km/hour. The BBC reports that the cyclone destroyed much of the island’s infrastructure, killing at least 24 and forcing thousands more from their homes. The Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Archbishop David Vunagi, is appealing for both prayer and aid. The Anglican Communion News Service has more details.
Coming out of the last GAFCon gathering in Nairobi, an Anglican Future Conference is being held this week in Melbourne, Australia. The purpose reports the Rev David Ould on Anglican TV, is both to encourage evangelicals in the Australian Church as well as to draw a line in the sand, should that Church abandon Biblical doctrine and historic Christian teaching.
Resources for ministry
Ed Stetzer, writing on involving Christians in evangelism says: “Pastors can and should equip the church body to understand their role in evangelization. Among other things, a church can do four things to encourage the spirit and practice of evangelism.” Learn about the 4 things.
The Jesus Film is available in multiple languages and with a children’s version.
Safe church – Tim Challies writes about why sexual predators may target churches and recommends a book which offers help in protecting the innocent.
Lay church leaders – A website has been created which compiles resources for lay leaders.
Knowing and reaching the community – A Vancouver seminar, April 7, will help you “map” your neighbourhood so you can understand and engage its needs.
9 marks of an unhealthy church – Learn the nine warning signs of an unhealthy church.
Church websites – A new domain extension has been created specifically for churches. Rather that .com or .ca or .org, churches can now use .church. (eg www.allsaints.church) This may be of interest if your current church website domain name is too long or if you are a new church plant looking for a web address. You can explore and purchase domains at this link or through your current domain provider.
Short-term mission trips – Effective short-term mission trips must be within the context of a long-term committed relationship. This article, summarizing a recent book, states, “When properly designed, short-term trips are an opportunity to learn from, encourage, and fellowship with believers in the context of long-term engagement with God’s work, focusing on understanding His body and our role in it more fully.”
Resources for Christian living
39 Articles – Canon Phil Ashey continues his series of short videos on the 39 Articles with videos on Article 18 which says that salvation is only through Jesus Christ. See part 1, part 2 and part 3.
What is the Gospel? Mark Thompson discusses popular current false gospels such as the gospels of unity, inclusion, social justice and cosmic renewal, and then unpacks the true Gospel as presented in the New Testament. Succinctly, the Gospel is “God’s message concerning his Son and the salvation he has won for us.”
Understanding the times and engaging in the battle
The Institute on Religion and Democracy has a helpful article on spiritual warfare, specifically focused on militant Islam, convinced that faith in Jesus Christ is the only answer. To help us understand the spiritual forces at work, they draw our attention to four articles:
1. “What ISIS Really Wants,” Graeme Wood,The Atlantic, March 2015
2. “ISIS and the Missing Christ,” Andrew Klavan, P J Media,February 22, 2015
3. “How to Pray When Terrorists are Beheading Christians,” J Lee Grady, Charisma Magazine, February 18, 2015
4. “Loving Your Enemies,” Tony Rezk, Contra Mundum,February 16, 2015
Did you know you can “adopt a terrorist for prayer”? A website is set up allowing you to select a terrorist and, with the help of specific prayer suggestions, pray for his/her salvation and release form Satan’s power. Canon Phil Ashey’s article has more. Let’s engage in the war on terror on our knees!
Bishop Bill Atwood discusses different worldviews (especially among Christians, relativists and Muslims), dumbing down the Gospel, and our very likely bleak (immediate) future.
The Crusades are commonly seen as the root cause of Islamic militants’ actions today. First Things sets the record straight with an historic overview of the Crusades and “…the ways those wars have been exploited and distorted for modern agendas.” It’s a fascinating read. Another article from 2002 by a medieval history scholar provides more insight both into the Crusades and into Islam. Historian Thomas Madden writes, “The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes… a black stain on the history of … Western civilization… [introducing] Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins… So what is the truth about the Crusades?... For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands… While Muslims can be peaceful… From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War…” Read the whole article.
Christians and Muslims and ridicule – Franklin Graham, posting on his Facebook page, wrote:
“Why do followers of Islam and Christianity react so differently to the public ridicule and mocking of their respective faiths? Christianity has been repeatedly lampooned by Charlie Hebdo, but there have been no riots, assassinations or murderous threats.
“Here is what I believe is the fundamental distinction: Christianity has a Savior who has been beaten and battered. A Savior who endured the public ridicule and mockery of crowds as He was stripped and hung on a Roman cross for our sins. A Savior who was betrayed and spat upon and who endured shame and derision so that we might be redeemed.
“Our God does not need to be defended. He is holy, all-powerful and eternal. He needs no man to protect His honor. He is the sovereign of the universe who does whatever He pleases, and whose counsel and purpose can never be thwarted. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Creator, Sustainer and End of all things. He will have the last word on the Day of Judgment when all men will bow before Him.”
Just for laughs
Sandra’s car stalled at a busy intersection. As she frantically tried to restart it, the light turned green and the driver behind began to honk. In desperation, Sandra got out and walked back to the impatient driver. "I can't seem to get my car started," she sweetly smiling. "Would you be a sweetheart and go and see if you can start it for me? I'll stay here and lean on your horn for you."
Because of the gospel, I no longer live for approval; I live from approval. —Dave Harvey
And now a Word from our Sponsor
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:1-6 ESV
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