|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
April 24-26 – Women of the Word workshop for women in ministry in Vancouver
April 26 – Ordinations to priesthood of the Revs Jon Vickery & Terry Lamb, Resurrection (Kelowna)
April 26, 9am - 1pm – Growing a Parish seminar at Christ the Redeemer, Toronto
May 2 – Dr John Goldingay speaks on the Psalms at Good Shepherd (Vancouver, BC)
May 3 – Dr Goldingay speaks on the Psalms at Carey Institute. Register online.
May 5-8 – Clergy and spouse retreat, Malibu Camp, BC
May 7 – Anglicans for Life conference, St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON)
May8 – March for Life, Ottawa, ON
May 10-17 – Bishop Azad Marshall (Diocese of Iran) ministering to AMMiC South Asian churches
May 14, 10am – Bishop Azad Marshall to speak to AMMiC clergy, Good Shepherd Vancouver
May 16-19 – BC A4D chapter men’s weekend.
May 27-July 7 – Bishop Abraham Nhial (Diocese of Aweil) ministers to AMMiC Sudanese churches
May 29-June 1 – BC A4D chapter women’s weekend.
May 30-31 – Catechists training for Sunday School & children’s ministers, St John’s Richmond (BC)
May 31 – "Recovering the Ministry of Blessing" seminar will be held at New Song (Port Perry, ON)
June 25-28 – Anglican Church in North America Assembly 2014 at St Vincent College, Latrobe, PA
November 5-7 – ANiC Synod 2014 in Ottawa, ON
Easter letter is on its way
On behalf of the House of Bishops, Bishop Charlie Masters is writing an Easter letter to ANiC members. So watch your inbox.
St Aidan’s appeal will not be heard; congregation moves to better facilities
The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear the appeal of lower court decisions involving St Aidan’s (Windsor, ON) and the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Huron. St Aidan’s rector, Canon Tom Carman writes, “Yes, sadly the Supreme Court has decided not to grant us leave to appeal. It’s not really surprising – not from a human standpoint – but we were hoping for a miracle. Sometimes, though, God simply calls us to bear reproach for his name's sake. And we know that in the end our reward is with Him and in Him. He will see us through this. Please do continue to keep us in your prayers.”
St Aidan’s has entered into an agreement with Ambassador Community Church (Christian Reform) and will be moving services offices there. Sunday services will be at 8am and 12:30pm. Thursday service will continue at 7:30pm. St Aidan’s also has use of the hall when it is available and classroom space for weekly Bible studies. Tom+ say, “It’s a real positive change for us and they are a great congregation to work with. We feel very blessed.”
Church growth seminar offered in Toronto
On April 26 from 9am to 1pm, Christ the Redeemer (Toronto, ON) is hosting a free seminar at 455 Spadina on church growth. Canon Terry Wong, vicar of St James' Church in Singapore, who is currently on sabbatical in Toronto will lead the seminar, entitled "Growing a Parish: Principles and Practicalities". Canon Terry's missional church has much experience planting new ministries in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information and to RSVP email the Rev Melvin Tai.
Vancouver area members invited to special seminars on the Psalms
If you are in the Vancouver area, you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to hear the Rev Dr John Goldingay as he speaks on the Psalms, May 2 at Good Shepherd (Vancouver). On May 3, Dr Goldingay will give two more lectures at the Carey Institute (Vancouver). The event is co-sponsored by the Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC) and the Carey Institute. For more information on the three lectures, see the AMMiC website.
Kudos to St Stephen the Martyr (St John’s, NL) for flying the flag
At the instigation of the Rev Howard Hynes and the people of St Stephen’s, the cities of St John’s and Mount Pearl have agreed to mark Christian Holy Week by raising the Christian flag at city hall. The events on April 14 – at10:30am at St John’s city hall and 1pm at Mount Pearl city hall – will focus attention on the largely unreported persecution of Christians worldwide.
Bishops take a stand. Will you stand with them?
Our bishops in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), including ANiC bishops, are making life a priority. Bishop Charlie Masters and a contingent from ANiC joined a large group from ACNA at the Washington, DC March for Life in January. Now Bishop John Guernsey and Canon Jack Lumanog from the ACNA are joining Bishops Don Harvey and Charlie Masters and other Canadian Anglicans in Ottawa, May 7-8, for the kick-off of Anglicans for Life Canada and the March for Life.
Plans for the May 7-8 events have changed slightly to encourage as much participation as possible. The inaugural event for Anglicans for Life Canada is now an evening event with a dinner and seminar at St Peter and St Paul’s (Ottawa). We are honoured to have Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life and co-founder of Silent No More, as our speaker.
The massive March for Life and all the events surrounding it will be on May 8. We want to have a great turnout of Anglicans. It promises to be a wonderfully encouraging time as we come together with other Christians to celebrate life and honour the One who creates and sustains life.
Plan to attend if you possibly can. Our hosts, the Rev Paul Donison and the good people at St Peter & St Paul’s are providing a buffet meal (at no charge!) and need to know if you are coming as soon as possible to help them plan for the dinner. So please register early – today even! And please do pray for this event and for the Anglicans for Life Canada movement.
Ministry intern takes a stand
Daniel Gilman, a ministry intern at ANiC’s Church of the Messiah (Ottawa, ON), has joined with friends in speaking to university students about how pornography fuels the rape culture. Follow a very successful speaking event at the University of Ottawa on the subject, Daniel has launched a website as well. Daniel has also spoken to U of Ottawa students on the subject of what the pro-life movement can learn from William Wilberforce.
Holy Trinity, Marlborough, MA to purchase building
Holy Trinity (Marlborough, MA) is set to purchase a church building which has been vacant since 2004 – an event the local newspaper called the “the rebirth of [the former] Saint Ann’s Church”. Holy Trinity has been renting space from a Methodist church, but two years ago, opened a second ministry location in a chapel just across the street from Saint Ann’s.
The newspaper article states: “This week, Holy Trinity Anglican Church of Marlborough is scheduled to close on the property. If all goes well with needed permitting, the first service will be held at 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 4th…
“The purchase of Saint Ann’s and adjacent property brings new and exciting possibilities. In addition to the 72,000 square foot church building, Holy Trinity is buying the two-floor, 48,000 square foot Community Outreach Center next door, along with a 12,000 square foot administration building and a huge parking lot with a capacity for about one hundred fifty cars.
“Members of the parish are especially excited about the potential impact on the neighborhood with the planned reopening of the Community Outreach Center. They envision offering free and low cost meals to people in need, creating a place for youth activities, offering emergency shelter for battered women and children, and offering the building in other ways to serve the city.”
While the congregation is excited about the new building and the ministry possibilities it will open up, they are taking a leap of faith financially. In addition to the financial demands of the mortgage, the cost of bringing the buildings up to full operational potential is estimated at $200,000 to $300,000. Thank God, many volunteers are coming forward to assist with the renovations.
Read the whole article, be encouraged and pray for Holy Trinity as they step out in faith! You can see more photos of the soon-to-be-acquired buildings here.
Wanted: Youth leader (part/time) for Christ the King, Edmonton, AB
Christ the King, Edmonton is searching for a youth leader who will help build the church community, focusing particularly on the youth, their parents and families. This job is 12-15 hours per week. Please see the Christ the King website for more information.
Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada to publish book
ANiC’s Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC), under Bishop Stephen Leung, plans to publish a book compiling papers presented at two earlier AMMiC conferences related to intergenerational issues in Asian-Canadian churches. Please pray for the editorial team as they work toward of the goal of making the book available this summer.
Sinful deacon becomes sinful priest
Reflecting on his upcoming ordination to the priesthood, the Rev Alastair Sterne concludes his post on the St Peter’s Fireside (Vancouver, BC) blog: “…I’m a sinful deacon. I will be a sinful priest. That will never change. But I will be one, who by the grace of God, continues to lean into grace. I will be one, who by the grace of God, is forgiven and transformed over and over again. By God’s grace, I will extend his grace in all things.” The post is a good read. Another ordinand, the Rev Mike Chase, also reflects on entering the priesthood in this blog post.
Does your church or clergy have a blog? Let us know. We’d like to compile a collection of links to ANiC-related blogs on our website.
ANiC booth at Toronto Mission Fest proves effective
The volunteers – let by the Rev Barbara Richardson – who organized and manned the ANiC table at Toronto Mission Fest on April 5-6, report that it was a great blessing. Barbara+ says, “Our aim was to get to know the Christian Community in southern Ontario, and help them get to know the Anglican Network in Canada. To that end, we stocked the table with a variety of literature… We invited people to fill out a fun quiz about Anglicans and then enter to win two J I Packer books… Many who came by had never heard of [ANiC], so there was a great opportunity to inform people, including students from a number of Christian schools... Our table was ably staffed by eleven volunteers… [who] were very enthusiastic about their conversations with those who came to the booth.” See photos here.
AEC blog has moved
Remember the Anglican Essentials Canada (AEC) blog? It has been quiet for a while, in part because of technical problems. It is now up and running again at a new web address, so be sure to change your bookmark. You'll find the AEC blog at: www.aecblog.net.
Parish and regional news
All Nations, Japanese (Vancouver, BC) – Two children will be baptized on Easter Sunday. The Rev Shihoko Warren, her husband Ken and their children just returned from a two week mission trip to Japan, where Shihoko+ preached at services and had the joy of baptizing four people.
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) – Bishop Don Harvey will be in Pembroke for Holy Week and Easter Sunday, including a Seder supper on Maundy Thursday. All are invited to the Seder supper. Email St Luke’s – or call 613-735-5000 – for tickets: $18 for adults, children eat free.
Ascension (Langley, BC) – A photo from the ordination of new deacon the Rev Jonathan Ellis was in the April 1st edition of the Langley Advance. See here. (It’s the third photo in the series.)
St Brigid of Kildare Anglican Church (Medway, MA) has a new website.
Be sure to email your parish news to Marilyn Jacobson.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
Stories of ACNA church plants
The Anglican 1000 blog features the story of Winchester Anglican in Winchester, Virginia which had plateaued at 50 members for a long time then suddenly doubled in size in just three months.
Immanuel (Chicago, IL) launch last year. The Anglican 1000 article tells how, through the tragedy of a shooting near where they wanted to locate, God led them to a suitable meeting facility.
As We Worship, So We Believe conference, June 5-6
Trinity School of Ministry (Ambridge, PA) is again offering its Ancient Evangelical Future Conference. The 2014 edition, June 5-6, is entitled “As We Worship, So We Believe”. Speakers are Colin Buchanan, Timothy George, Edith Humphrey, Amy Schifrin and James K A Smith. Workshops are also offered. You can get more information and register here.
Our Primate speaks at Nashotah House – on demon possession
Speaking at Nashotah House chapel, Archbishop Bob, chose a text where Jesus casts out a demon from a mute man - Luke 11. His exegesis is in sharp contrast to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Shori’s interpretation of Acts 16 which she used to criticize Paul for depriving the fortune-telling slave girl of her gainful employment by casting out the demon. His short message is only 13 ½ minutes. Listen here.
Revenge at all costs
Alan Haley reports that the US Episcopal Church (TEC) plans to appeal to the Supreme Court its loss to the ACNA Diocese of Fort Worth in the Texas Supreme Court. Although there is little chance of success, the motivation, Haley believes is to maximize costs to the “rebel” diocese. He writes, “Never mind the cost [to TEC], and never mind the miniscule chance of ever securing review by SCOTUS [the Supreme Court of the US]: make things as expensive, as drawn out and as uncertain as possible for Bishop Iker and his faithful parishioners, because punishment and revenge are the main goals here, and not victory in the courts.” You can read the Diocese of Fort Worth’s statement here.
Evangelism task force launched
Archbishop Justin Welby has launched the “Archbishop’s Evangelism Task Group”. The group was initiated by General Synod last November and “intends to encourage and equip every church and Christian [to] proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ”. Included in the group of twelve experts and practitioners in evangelism are Amy Orr-Ewing, director of programmes for Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and UK Director for RZIM Zacharias Trust, and the Rev Rico Tice, senior minister (evangelism), All Souls, Langham Place.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s media interview raises controversy
The Church Times reports on the fallout from an interview Archbishop Justin Welby gave in early April. In an LBC radio program he said that, were the Church of England to permit same-sex blessings, "The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria, and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic… I've stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who'd been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America." He added that, on his recent visit to South Sudan, “The church leaders there were saying, please don't change what you're doing because then we couldn't accept your help, and we need your help desperately."
While church leaders in South Sudan were quick to confirm Archbishop Welby’s position, others in western churches were harshly critical and ridiculed his statements. Some called the statement “moral blackmail” and said the African prelates were “bullying”.
In a follow-up interview with the Anglican Journal the Archbishop of Canterbury said, “"One of the things that's most depressing about the response to that [LBC] interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said… What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the Church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the Church but around the world… And, this is not mere consequentialism. I'm not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn't take action. What I'm saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak… only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world."
While most of the criticism of the Archbishop’s statement has come from the “left”, the other side does point out that he is on shaky ground when he fails to acknowledge the far deeper divide on the authority of Scripture. The Anglican Curmudgeon expresses this view well and calls us to pray for the Archbishop.
Archbishop Welby visits Canada and US
During his recent visit to the Anglican Church of Canada, April 7-8, the Anglican Journal reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury discussed a range of issues with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, including the work of the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon (to allow same-sex marriage) and the work of reconciliation between the church and former residential school students. Archbishop Welby saidthat he found Archbishop Hiltz “a particularly helpful, thoughtful and challenging interlocutor, and someone who seems to be able to unlock and unpick issues that were weighing on my mind.”
The Journal article continues:
“Welby had also inquired about how the church was prepared to deal with the impact of the resolution [regarding same-sex marriage] in 2016—regardless of its outcome.
“It’s just a reality that when things move, one way or another, that there would be some dioceses or parishes looking for some model of episcopal leadership,” said Hiltz, adding that he informed him about the church’s shared episcopal ministry model. “I told him that it’s in place, [but] it has only been enacted and effective in one diocese—Montreal.”
Hiltz said he informed Welby about the Canadian church’s long history of “bending over backwards to hold people in dialogue, to create provisions for everybody to stay in the fold…”
Overall, Hiltz described Welby’s visit as “good,” saying that he thought it provided the Archbishop of Canterbury “a sense of the commitment of the Canadian church to the Communion.”
From Canada, Archbishop Welby visited the US Episcopal Church, April 9-11.
International news in brief
According to the North Shore News, the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of New Westminster sold a church building for $3-million in 2012 so it could be transformed into a mosque in North Vancouver.
The Anglican Journal reports that the Anglican Church of Canada’s (ACoC) commission on the marriage canon has begun work, reviewing its terms of reference and putting together a consultation process. The commission was initiated by the ACoC 2013 General Synod. Comments posted online below the article tell the tale of a church deeply divided. For example, Bishop William Anderson (Diocese of Caledonia) writes, “What this really means is that they will go through the motions of listening, and then present their own already expressed beliefs as representing a 'fair' outcome. The Primate and the members of this panel should be ashamed for having so blatantly perverted a process that was intended to be balanced. All should be ashamed for being involved in this travesty.”
The lawsuit initiated by the ACoC bishop of Niagara against a local blogger – the Anglican Samizdat – has been settled. For details see the Anglican Samizdat blog, an Anglican Ink article, or the Anglican Journal.
Members of Parliament voted again – thus defeating – a motion by MP Stephen Woodworth which stated that every Canadian law must be interpreted in a manner which recognizes the equal worth and dignity of every human being. According to LifeSiteNews Woodworth reacted to the defeat of his motion, saying, “This marks a dark and dangerous day for Canada. Members of Parliament who voted against this motion have refused to endorse the essential principle of democratic governance which requires legal recognition of the equal worth and dignity of every member of the human family.”
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) – of which ANiC is a member – is supporting a private member’s motion in the House of Commons designed to improve palliative care. The motion was introduced by NDP MP Charlie Angus and jointly seconded by nine MPs from the NDP, Liberal and Conservative parties. For more information, see the EFC website.
We have a short window of opportunity to shape prostitution laws in Canada in a way that will help those who are exploited by the existing system. Alida Oegema of St Peters Fireside (Vancouver, BC) provides the context and explains how we can positively influence laws which are now being revised. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada provides similar counsel.
In his meeting with President Barack Obama, Pope Francis was said to be forthright in raising concerns with the Obama administration’s abysmal record on abortion and freedom of religion.
The Diocese of South Carolina – which disassociated from the US Episcopal Church (TEC) and has now come under the jurisdiction of the GAFCon Primates – succeeded in its appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court to take jurisdiction from the appeals court of the property suit involving the diocese and TEC. It is hoped that this will prevent TEC from continuing its strategy of using successive appeals to delay the trial, which is now set for July 7-18.
In its news release, the diocese said, “We are grateful that the South Carolina Supreme Court recognized that TEC and TECSC are misusing the judicial system to delay resolution of this case… TEC has a long history of dragging out legal battles, apparently in hopes of draining the resources of parishes and dioceses it seeks to punish for leaving the denomination. It has spent more than $30 million on litigation in the past few years. TEC routinely appeals court decisions in hopes of wearing down its opposition – and to intimidate parishes and dioceses that wish to leave the denomination.”
World Vision US caused a media feeding frenzy when it first announced it would begin to hire people who were in same-sex marriages then reversed that decision days later when faced with a tsunami of objections from its financial supporters. In his excellent commentary, Bishop Bill Atwood, notes how Hollywood has advanced the pagan worldview and how the Church can counter this in the power of the Holy Spirit by taking “the initiative to share the wonders of doing things God’s way”. He says, “As the Church, we need to do a better job in preaching and teaching about God’s design and why He sets the limits he does.” Dr Albert Mohler’s able critique of World Vision’s initial decision may have been a factor in the reversal,
With the legalization of same-sex marriage in England, Andrea Williams, a member of the Church of England General Synod explains how such state marriages are a shadow of what God intended and how Christians can uphold the “distinctive beauty of God’s pattern for marriage” as a beacon of hope.
The Telegraph reports that a Church of England priest has married his same-sex partner. Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a divorced father of five, married another male despite the House of Bishops’ recently reiterated policy. It is not known whether there will be discipline. A number of priests and even some bishops – including Bishop Nick Holtam (Salisbury) and Bishop Alan Wilson (Buckingham) – have vocally supported priests entering into same-sex unions.
Church of England statistics suggest that the decline in attendance has leveled off.
The Telegraph reports that hospitals have been putting fetal remains – from both aborted and miscarried babies – into hospital incinerators.
The Bible Society responded to the unrest in Ukraine by distributing 8000 free Scriptures – in both Russian and Ukrainian – along with providing food, drink and medical help. Pray for peace and reconciliation.
A full-on campaign to change the EU’s approach to issues of life and the destruction of human embryos is gaining traction. The “One of Us” initiative backed by two-million signatures is forcing European legislators to face up to the hypocrisy and logical inconsistency of current policies and laws. The tide may be turning. Do pray.
The Barnabus Fund reports that, on March 21, “The population of a Christian town [Kessab] in north-west Syria was forced to flee when it was besieged by Islamist rebels; 80 people were killed, at least 13 of whom were beheaded, churches desecrated and homes looted… Around 3,000 Armenian Christian residents fled for their lives… A dozen or so families with members too elderly to leave remained in Kessab and were subsequently taken hostage… Kessab was the last border crossing with Turkey still in Syrian government hands. It had previously been relatively peaceful and was full of refugees who had fled violence in other parts of Syria. Turkey, which has sided with the rebels in the Syrian civil war and provided access for fighters, money and supplies, allowed hundreds of Islamist militants to cross its border on Friday to attack Kessab.” Another report indicates that at least 2000 refugees from Kessab have found relative safety in the town of Latakia.
International Christian Concern reports that on April 7, a 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit priest who had ministered in Syria for 50 years was taken from the monastery in Homs, beaten and executed by armed men, presumed to be Islamic militants intent on creating an Islamic state.
Despite intense and growing persecution, people are said to be coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers. One report estimates there are now “370,000 new Christians from a Muslim background”.
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali was in Pakistan recently for an ecumenical theological consultation on “The Bible, Marriage, Culture and Family Life”. In the Pakistani context where Christians are often desperately poor and oppressed, the challenges to healthy Christian family life are many.
Christians continue to be unjustly sentenced to death under Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws. Anglican Ink reports that three Christian have been sentenced to death recently. A married couple were convicted with texting a message supposedly insulting to the Prophet despite the fact the cell phone had been lost well before the alleged incident, there are no records of the alleged text and the text was said to be written in English – which neither the husband nor the wife read, write nor understand. Most of these trumped up blasphemy charges are attempts to confiscate the property of Christians or settle personal vendettas.
Christian Today reports that “A communist official in China has condemned the rapid growth of Christianity in the region as “excessive” but has denied allegations of increased persecution.” Despite the very real and persistent persecution, the report suggests that “between 3000 and 10,000 people are turning to Christianity every single day in China, and… there are now thought to be as many as 100 million” Christians in the country.
George Conger reports that the Patriarch of Alexandria, Tawadros II, calls the Arab Spring, “not a spring or even an autumn, it was a winter”. He also condemned “misguided” western support for the revolutions. However, the Patriarch supported the military coup, saying it “saved Egypt”.
Sudan & South Sudan
The New York Times reports that the civil war is evolving into a humanitarian catastrophe. The UN is warning that South Sudan needs $230 million in aid before the end of May “…or it will face the worst starvation in Africa since the 1980s… About 3.7 million people, close to one-third of the total population, are already at severe risk of starvation in South Sudan…”
An Anglican Communion News Service article features the Bishop of Kadugli Diocese who is ministering to his people who have been scattered by war. He visits them in refugee camps and other locations in Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. Despite the immense challenges, many of these Christians are growing in the faith. However, we are asked to pray for peace to be restored in both Sudan and South Sudan.
In response to the Kenyan legislature moving to legalize polygamy, the Archbishop of Kenya, Eliud Wabukala, issued a clear statement on the Church’s position on marriage. He writes:
“As a Church we have no other position than the teaching of the Bible, that marriage is the lifelong union of one man with one woman for the raising of children, joyful companionship and the blessing of society and the nation… In Kenya today, this wonderful gift of marriage is under attack from outside the nation and within the nation.
From outside, we are being pressed by the West, and even parts of the Anglican Communion, into treating homosexuality as a human right, but this is to cheapen rights so that they become a demand that we tolerate individual preferences that are destructive of our moral fabric. The homosexual movement has become an ideology that attacks our human identity as male and female created in the image of God, and same sex marriage, which became legal yesterday in England, is therefore a profound rejection of the law of God.
To use the law of the land to legislate for an activity which is against the natural order, and consistently described as sinful in the Scriptures, is a very serious step which strikes at the heart of family life. It is a repudiation of God and his Word which should make us tremble and cry out for his mercy.
…marriage is also under attack from within Kenya. I have to say that the proposal agreed by a majority of MPs last week to recognise in law the right of men to have as many wives as they like was cowardly and will be a backward step for Kenya if it becomes law. It is true that this legislation would not apply to Christian marriages, but we cannot stay quiet when we see the place of women in our society being demeaned. God’s pattern is given for us in one man and one woman, Adam and Eve, before the fall and is reaffirmed in the New Testament where we see marriage used as a picture of the love of Christ for his bride, the Church.
…let us make sure that our laws are godly, promoting justice and righteousness. Let us know God’s presence with us for blessing and not for judgement and live full of faith and hope as we continue to build this great nation.”
A tribal chief was assassinated in St John’s Anglican Church in Ijebu Igbo, Obun State, Nigeria on April 6. The Daily Post reports that about 10 heavily armed men entered the church during the Sunday service and shot the chief in the head.
The Church of England Newspaper reports that nearly 500,000 people have been forced from their homes by Boko Haram Islamist militants. The BBC cites Amnesty International reports of 1500 people having been killed in north-east Nigeria in 2014. Another horrifying BBC report gives a number of firsthand accounts of those who had been abducted by the Boko Haram and subsequently escaped or who had survived attacks by the Boko Haram. It also provides insight into how the militants operate with the help of informants.
The Church of England Newspaper article reports, “The Archbishop of Ghana, the Most Rev Daniel Sarfo, Bishop of Kumasi, has succeeded to the post of Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA) following the death of the Most Rev Tilewa Johnson, Bishop of the Gambia and Archbishop and Primate of West Africa.”
Rwanda marked the 20th anniversary of the genocide on April 7. The National Post carries a good article recounting one woman’s decision to forgive her attacker. ACNA’s Bishop Bill Atwood darkly wonders if America faces a fate similar to Rwanda in 1994. Joe Carter, writing on The Gospel Coalition website, explores nine facts which are key to understanding the Rwandan genocide.
A report from the World Council of Churches on the plight of primarily Eritrean refugees who are kidnapped as they make their way through Egypt seeking asylum in Israel. Most disappear in the Sinai desert and end up in the hands of human traffickers who attempt to extort ransoms from their relatives or they fall victim to organ theft. Some estimate that 190 Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees are now being held captive in two torture camps in Sinai. Others are in jails in Egypt. “It was also reported that out of 30,000 people who have fled to Israel since 2009 [from north and East Africa] around 10,000 have died on the journey, and 3000 have fallen prey to the brutal organ theft.”
To inform your prayers, see a map illustrating Open Doors’ ranking of the top 50 countries in the world where it is hardest to be a Christian.
Resources for ministry
Addressing the ‘big questions’ – Apologetics Canada offers an engaging five-part video series that addresses: What Is the Meaning of Life? Does God Exist? Do All Religions Lead to God? Why Is There Evil? and Is There Life After Death? The video series is inexpensive and a terrific tool for parishioners and for outreach to both youth and adults. You can see a trailer here. While you’re at it, check out the other helpful resources at Apologetics Canada.
Advice for pastors on caring for their children – A Gospel Coalition article offers seven points of advice on shepherding your own offspring.
Catechesis – In a 29-minute video interview Dr J I Packer discusses the need and approaches to catechesis, as well as ACNA’s resources.
Clergy-killing gossip – Read a short blog on how clergy can best handle gossip that threatens to destroy their ministry.
Resources for Christian living
Is science proving God? – New evidence for the Big Bang Theory is leading to the inevitable conclusion that the universe had a sudden beginning and implies a causal agent. A Breakpoint article explores this and concludes that materialism fails to offer an adequate explanation and that scientific consensuses change. It concludes by quoting NASA astrophysicist, Robert Jastrow: "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
Science and the Bible – If you are in the Lower Mainland of BC you have the opportunity to go hear the world-renowned Christian apologist Professor John Lennox address the question “Has science buried God”: July 12 at Christian Life Assembly in Langley (tickets here); July 14 at Regent College in Vancouver (information here).
Box office surprise – The movie God’s Not Dead is doing well despite a limited release.
39 Articles – Canon Phil Ashey briefly tackles Article 7, the Old Testament and moral laws, in two videos: Part 1 and Part 2. Then he explores Article 8 which extols the importance of the creeds.
Noah - A very interesting expose the movie Noah… Spoiler alert! It isn't based on the Bible at all, but on Kabbalah - a mystical Jewish tradition made popular more recently by Madonna. Another harsh critique sees Gnosticism at the heart of the film.
The Unholy in the Holy Bible – Tim Challies recommends a book, Sex & Violence in the Bible, which deals unflinchingly with those parts of the Scripture we often ignore because they turn our stomachs and we don’t know how to understand them. And yet they are included in Holy Writ which according to the Apostle Paul “is [all] profitable for teaching”.
Just for laughs
A new study found that women who carry a little extra weigh live longer than men who mention it.
Enjoy a cartoon on the difference between parenting child #1 and child #2.
At the end of the day, the biggest obstacle to evangelism is Christians who don’t share the gospel. ~ Albert Mohler
This excellent cartoon explains why Christians cannot be both silent and loving.
And now a Word from our Sponsor
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 ESV
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