|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
Aug 21 – Sept 3 – Mission trip to Thailand, organized by AMMiC and Good Shepherd
Sept 2-4 – Vancouver Youth Leadership Conference, 189 W 11 Ave, Vancouver, BC
Oct 16-17 – AMMiC-led conference in Vancouver, BC on Asian immigrant inter-generational issues
Oct 20 – Clergy Day in Vancouver at Good Shepherd
Oct 21-23 – ANiC synod and workshops in Vancouver at Good Shepherd
January 21-22 – Anglicans for Life Summit and US March for Life
April 7-10 – New Wineskins for Global Mission 2016 conference, Ridgecrest, NC
May 12 – 2016 March for Life
Synod registration is now open!
Synod registration is now open and the agenda pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. This year’s synod will include a strong youth component and offer a meaty line-up of workshops. Do plan to attend the workshops offered on October 21; this day has become integral to synod. Find out more on the ANiC website… and register now! (Although you won’t have to choose your workshops for another two months, the synod organizing committee wishes to apologize in advance for any stress caused by having to choose just two from among so many great options!)
ANiC council vacancies
At synod this year, two Council positions – both for lay members – will be up for election. Both positions have two-year terms, extending from Synod 2015 to Synod 2017. If you are interested – or know someone you would like to see nominated – please review the eligibility criteria and contact information posted on the ANiC website.
Worthily Magnify: A video series exploring liturgy for the newcomer
The Rev Geoff Chapman and the team at Sojourn Church (Vancouver, BC) have created a terrific series of short videos explaining the history, symbolism and theology behind liturgical worship for those in the congregation new to Anglicanism. The title for the series is "Worthily Magnify", which comes from the "Collect for Purity." The videos are being posted to the Sojourn blog. Have a look! These are a great resource for our whole diocese and beyond. Thanks, Sojourn!
Youth Leadership Conference, September 2-4 in Vancouver
The Vancouver Youth Leadership Conference, organized annually by St John’s Vancouver, is dedicated to equipping leaders in youth ministry as well as those interested in Christian leadership. It is for those in grade 11 and up and costs only $35 per person. It will be held at Good Shepherd Vancouver, 189 West 11 Ave. Learn more.
ACNA Provincial Assembly held in Vancouver, June 22-26
To get a good overview of the ACNA Assembly, read the College of Bishops’ reflections here. The document highlights “…ministries to the poor… the work of racial reconciliation… the development of resources for both married and single people, and… new liturgies for baptism and confirmation”.
ANiC members featured prominently. Bishop Charlie Masters welcomed delegated and the Rev David McElrea (Saint Matthew’s, Abbotsford, BC) and Canon David Short (St John’s Vancouver) preached; Bishop Stephen Leung presented the work of Asian and Multicultural Ministries – including a new video overview of AMMiC – and the Rev Shihoko Warren (All Nations – Japanese, Vancouver) reported on her ministry reaching Japanese Canadians. You can watch video clips on the AMMiC website. Also, a short video was shown from St Peter’s Fireside, a vibrant church in Vancouver’s downtown core.
Also, College of Bishops in their statement noted, “We were grateful for our hosts, the Anglican Network in Canada, the leadership of their bishop, the Rt. Rev Charlie Masters, and the wonderful hospitality of Church of the Good Shepherd, Vancouver. They served us in an exemplary manner, exhibiting their deep commitment to the mission of the Province.”
The following are ANiC members appointed to ACNA offices, courts, task forces and committees. See the ACNA website for the full list of committee members.
• Mike Donison, ANiC chancellor, is ACNA assistant chancellor
• The Rev Canon Tom Carman, ANiC registrar, and Claus Lenk, ANiC missions priority leader,
both serve on the Executive Committee
• Bishop Trevor Walters and the Rev Barclay Mayo service on the Tribunal, an ACNA court
• Bishop Ron Ferris serves on the ACNA Court that would hear a trial of a bishop
• Bishop Trevor Walters serves on the Anglican Unity Task Force
• The Rev Ben Roberts is a member of the Catechesis Task Force
• Ron Bales, ANiC executive advisor, in on the ACNA Finance Committee
• Mike Donison is a member of theGov ernance committee
• On the ACNA’s Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force, the Rev Canon Dr J I Packer is senior reader, Archdeacon
Darrell Critch is a member and chair of the Psalter and Music sub-committee, Bishop Charlie Masters is on the
Bishops Review Panel, and Bishop Stephen Leung is on the Editorial, Secretarial, Translation Team
• The Rev Brent Stiller is on the Marriage, Family and the Single Life Task Force, while Gillian Fernie is a member
of the pastoral working group, one of three in this task force
• Bishop Trevor Walters is chair of the Mediation Panel
• Bishop Don Harvey is on the Protocols Governing Admissions task force.
• Dr Don Lewis is on the Seminary Consortium, representing Regent College.
Matching grants for ministries announced
ACNA is accepting applications for matching grants ranging up to $25,000 for ministries that both meet human needs while sharing the Gospel. See the ACNA website for information on the Matthew 25 Initiative and an application form.
Pray meditations to resume in the fall
The 1st Friday of the Month prayer meditation which the Rev Garth Hunt has been preparing monthly for our edification and encouragement is on summer hiatus. The next edition will be out this October. In the interim, you might wish to access past editions posted on the ANiC website+.
Anglicans for Life summit in Washington, DC January 21-22
Anglicans for Life is planning a summit in Washington, DC to coincide with the US National March for Life, January 21-22. Mark your calendar and watch for more information. Also, Anglicans for Life Canada has a new resource, Project Life, which you or your church can order: an 8-week DVD-based adult Christian education series.
New Wineskins Conference for Global Mission next April
Claus Lenk is organizing a group to go down to North Carolina for the 2016 New Wineskins conference, April 7-10. New Wineskins is focused on mobilizing North American Anglicans for world mission. Watch for more information and email Claus if you are interested.
In the news
An article that discusses the recent history of St John’s Vancouver also notes that the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of New Westminster is moving its administrative offices into the building in which the people of St John’s Vancouver once worshipped.
Parish and regional news
Christ The King (Toronto, ON) is thrilled to announce that the Rev Keith Ganzer has been appointed by Bishop Charlie to be full-time rector effective August 15, and in the pulpit beginning September 6. Keith+ has previously ministered at Emmaus (Montreal) and St John’s Vancouver and is well known in ANiC as a guest speaker at a previous synod and at clergy retreat.
St Matthias & St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC) celebrated its 18th anniversary on July 5 (Sunday) with a Thanksgiving service in the morning with Bishop Stephen Leung and a celebration / fundraising dinner in the evening at a nearby Chinese restaurant. The parish was blessed to be provided with accommodation by Bethlehem Lutheran Church when it left its former church building in 2011. However, the congregation would like to find their own facility so it can expand its multi-cultural ministry. Now, with its host church planning to redevelop its building, the people of St Matthias &St Luke’s are actively pursuing their vision, praying for God’s provision and raising fund.
Saint Matthew’s (Abbotsford, BC) will celebrate a confirmation service on July 12, presided over by Bishop Trevor, which will see 11 candidates confirmed plus one re-affirmation of vows.
Saint Matthew’s also has prepared a helpful booklet in connection with their summer ministry called, 'Psalms for the Summer'. It builds on the importance of the Psalms for our lives and worship. The booklet contains the 9 Psalms appointed for each Sunday in July and August followed by reflections and prayers for use throughout the week. It is intended for individual use as well as for small gatherings of family and friends over the summer. Saint Matthew’s offers 'Psalms for the Summer' as an online resource in the hope that it will draw us nearer to God and offer times of deep blessing in His presence as we sit with the Psalms in unity of spirit.
Good Shepherd –South Asian (Calgary, AB) is delighted to welcome the Rev Nelson Charles as honourary assistant.
Good Shepherd Vancouver has held monthly dinner/testimony gatherings since the beginning of 2014. This outreach ministry, known as TGIF, averages an attendance of 70, about 30 per cent of whom are not Christians. TGIF’s winsome combination of warm hospitality and bold witness has proven effective in reaching those who would not consider attending Sunday worship.
Church of All Nations - Japanese (Vancouver, BC) – TheNew Eden gardening outreach ministry, led by the Rev Shihoko and Ken Warren, is showcased in a short new video on YouTube. New Eden offers a children’s garden this year!
New church websites have been proudly unveiled by three ANiC churches:
Christ the King (Edmonton, AB)
Resurrection (Kelowna, BC)
Celebration Church (Barrie, ON)
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
ACNA bishops respond to US Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage
Gathering in Vancouver, the College of Bishops responded clearly and unequivocally to the US Supreme Court decision to redefine marriage to encompass same-sex unions. While stating they are “deeply grieved by the stark departure from God’s revealed order” and “concerned for the inevitable results”, our bishops remain confident that “the kingdom of God cannot be shaken… Jesus Christ teaches that God is the author of marriage… God’s design for marriage has always involved a man and a woman… These truths have ordered civilization for thousands of years. Where God’s designs are followed in any society, including his designs for marriage and families, the result is the greatest possible blessing and abundance of life.”
Please read the full statement, litany and prayer on the ACNA website. A pdf is posted here . Also recommended is an excellent one-page resource from the Roman Catholic Church posted here.
In his statement, Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East) adds near the end: "…I must record my admiration for the statement made by Archbishop Foley Beach, of the Anglican Church in North America, who opposed this decision strongly."
ACNA Assembly and College of Bishops meeting in Vancouver
In addition to the report above, you can watch Archbishop Foley Beach’s report on his first year as Primate of ACNA. Unedited video of the Provincial Council meetings are posted on the ACNA website. And all documents from the Assembly are posted here (password PC2015). And a few photos are posted here.
Be prepared for legal sanctions
Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council discusses the impact of the recent US same-sex marriage court decision on religious freedoms. He suggests that churches such as ours which refuse to knuckle under will face legal challenges and sanctions. Read his arguments and specific suggestions here. Legal tips on how the decision could affect religious freedom are here.
The ACNA Liturgy task force is welcoming responses Having used ACNA’s draft Texts for Common Prayer, do you have comments that would help the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force improve these texts? Responses should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. As work on the texts progresses to the next stage, these comments will be helpful.
The ACNA Catechesis task force wants your feedbackASAP!Constructive suggestions are now and will continue to be reviewed until the end of 2015. Suggestions must be submitted via email.
International Catholic Congress of Anglicans
You can watch videos from the recent International Catholic Congress of Anglicans, held in Fort Worth, TX, on YouTube. The congress featured a strong line-up of speakers including both Archbishops Bob Duncan and Foley Beach, a number of ACNA bishops, Edith Humphrey and a number of Anglican Communion leaders, including the Primates of Tanzania and Myanmar. Archbishop Beach used his address to call for even greater unity and humility in serving the Church, especially in the context of an increasingly hostile culture in the west.
The congress statement reported 350 attended the event which was designed to “recall traditional Anglicans to a renewed sense of the catholic nature of the Church and her mission.”
Calling all songwriters
An ACNA Songwriting Retreat is planned for September 24-26 in Oak Park, Illinois. See the United Adoration website for information and to register.
TEC bishop resigns from Trinity School for Ministry board
Anglican Ink reports that “The Bishop of Central Florida has resigned from the Board of Trustees of the Trinity School for Ministry (TSM) in the wake of the controversy over the baptism of an infant presented by a same-sex couple at the Cathedral Church of St Luke in Orlando.”
Planting churches in Haiti
Bishop Bill Atwood discusses his ACNA diocese’s work planting churches in Haiti and providing practical assistance in this country still suffering from the devastation of the 2010 earthquake.
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Anglican Communion news
Anglican Communion responses to US Episcopal Church’s unilateral action
In a statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed deep concern over TEC’s decision to redefine marriage in its canons in order to facilitate same-sex marriage – primarily because of the consequences the decision would have on unity in the Anglican Communion.
GAFCon responded more forcefully, saying TEC’s move was “a mistake with serious consequences”, noting that the decision defied Anglican Communion teaching and practice and could potentially put in danger Anglicans in Muslim lands. The statement adds “…we commend the Anglican Church in North America for their willingness to speak with courage, truth, and charity. Being part of a global Communion should always be such a source of mutual encouragement to faithful witness, not a source of hurt to that witness.”
A statement from the Global South Primates says “…TEC has chosen… to depart from the Anglican Communion’s standard teaching on human sexuality…“ They said TEC’s decision was “unilateral…taken without giving the least consideration to the possible consequences on other provinces…” and it “clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God’s plan for creation…”
Similarly the Church of Uganda’s statement affirmed “The definition and meaning of marriage is not something that can be defined by voting. It is something that is given by God in general revelation and in special revelation, and it is for us as human beings and, especially, the Church, to simply receive and follow.”
Reform UK, noting that TEC has rejected Jesus’ own teaching on marriage, stated that “… they have denied the faith they profess to teach, forfeiting any right to be regarded as true bishops of the church of Jesus Christ”
Fifth Global South Anglican gathering scheduled for Tunisia, October 12-18
Select primates from the Anglican Communion’s African, Asian and South American churches have been invited to bring as many as seven delegates to a12-18 October meeting in Carthage.
GAFCon Chairman’s pastoral letter
In his June pastoral letter, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala (Kenya) comments on some recent events which show either the strength or the weakness of the Church, especially in the West. He concludes, “The partnership and encouragement that GAFCON offers as a global fellowship is therefore going to be needed more than ever as we commit to the re-evangelization of the West …“
International news in brief
The Anglican Communion Alliance (formerly Anglican Essentials Federation) is planning a conference October 22-24 at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto. The conference – which is a partnership with Wycliffe College, Tyndale and the ACA – has the theme Desiring the Kingdom: Christian Formation in the Here and Now. The keynote speaker will be Dr James K A Smith, a prolific author and professor of philosophy & theology at Calvin College. July 31 is the deadline for early bird registration. See the website for information.
The Anglican Journal reports “In a nine-page contribution submitted to the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon earlier today, the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC) warns that changing Canon 21 to allow for same-sex marriages would “weaken the very basis of our existing communion, and weaken the foundations upon which we have sought to build towards fuller ecclesial communion.” Another article notes that Archbishop Fred Hiltz is deeply concerned that the “…motion amending the marriage canon (church law) to allow the marriage of same-sex couples” will be contentious.
Trinity Western University received a legal setback in its struggle to offer a law school with a Christian perspective. An Ontario Court ruled against TWU despite acknowledging that TWU’s right to religious freedom was being sacrificed on the altar of politically correct sexual morality. A well-reasoned Globe and Mail article explains the threat to all Christians based on the legal reasoning behind the court’s decision. The TWU law school case will be before the courts again on August 24, this time in the BC Supreme Court. Do pray!
Euthanasia – Following the federal election this fall, MPs will have only weeks to create and pass new assisted suicide legislation before the February 2016 deadline imposed by the Supreme Court. The Association for Reformed Political Action asks us to act now, before our MPs are distracted by the election, by contacting our MPS to talk about the issue.
For those concerned about secular takeover of the public education system, the Association for Reformed Political Action Canada has prepared a helpful critique.
Leaders of 16 denominations and ministries have joined together to pledge a significant response to the Syrian and Iranian refugee crisis. They agreed to recruit congregations to sponsor, welcome befriend and care for refugees arriving in Canada. More information and resources on sponsoring refugees can be found here.
The US Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention elected Bishop Michael Curry (North Carolina) to succeed Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori as Primate later this year. +Curry, who is considered to be more moderate than the other candidates, was elected by a large majority on the first ballot. He will be TEC’s first black Primate.
The Anglican Unscripted commentators discuss +Curry and how his leadership might change TEC’s litigious ways. A Stand Firm in Faith commentator says, based on his past record, “Bishop Curry does not share our faith or commitments or most basic values or foundational worldview”; and the litigation will continue.
As expected, General Convention approved trial rites for same-sex marriage, effective November 1, and revised marriage-related canons to make them gender-neutral. In doing so, they overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to wider consultation with ecumenical partners and others in the Anglican Communion before making the changes. Clergy will not be compelled to perform same-sex marriages and bishops retain authority within their diocese to forbid it. A small group of TEC bishops signed onto a statement of dissent and a handful of bishops followed by explicitly saying same-sex blessing would not be allowed within their dioceses (including Springfield, Albany, Central Florida and North Dakota).
This decision to allow same-sex marriages was swiftly met with responses from others in the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Justin Welby expressed his “deep concern”, saying the “decision will cause distress… and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.” The Global South Primates’ statement said “We are deeply grieved again by the Episcopal Church USA (TEC)”, adding that TEC has willfully chosen “… to depart from the Anglican Communion’s standard teaching” and defy “Holy Scripture and God’s plan for creation…”
In response to TEC’s decision, Crossway – which published the ESV Bible – posted Dr J I Packer’s 2002 statement recounting “Why I Walked” out of the Diocese of New Westminster’s synod authorized same-sex blessings. This statement is also posted on the ANiC website.
Critiquing the decision of General Convention, the Anglican Communion Institute concludes, “TEC as a national body is no longer recognizably “Anglican” in an Anglican-Communion sense”; and those within TEC who hold to traditional Anglicanism must “work with the larger Anglican Communion for a way forward”.
An alcohol policy was also adopted by General Convention, along with recommendations to improve education and clergy screening. The church was also urged to repent of its role in fostering a culture that encouraged drinking. TEC’s revised alcohol policy is posted here.
Diocese of Los Angeles – TEC’s Bishop Jon Bruno is trying to sell the St James Newport Beach church building and property out from under one of his own congregations, a congregation reported to be doing well and paying its way. This same property once housed an ACNA congregation. Alan Haley recounts that history on his blog – including the fact that while the courts awarded the church to the diocese, “Bishop Bruno surreptitiously arranged for the transfer of its title into his corporation sole.”
The sale to a real estate developer, at below market value, has run into obstacles, however. First the original donor of the property stipulated that it be used only as a church. And now congregants and clergy have filed a complaint with TEC’s Disciplinary Board of Bishops alleging repeated lies, abuse of power and mismanagement of finances. Since being locked out of their building, the congregation has held services in a park across the street from the building.
Anglican TV commentators discuss the St James situation further.
By a 5-4 decision, the United States - Supreme Court redefined marriage and imposed same-sex marriage throughout the country, overriding existing legislation at the state level. Ryan Anderson offers an excellent review of the decision.
Christian leaders quickly responded with statements affirming God’s design for marriage between a man and a woman. In addition to the ACNA statement discussed above, more than 100 evangelical leaders signed a statement entitled “Here we stand”, which states, “We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot…We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage.” Also, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America registered their strong objection and said the court “overstepped its purview” by redefining marriage
An article on the Colson Centre website discusses how society arrived at this point and suggests the next-steps in the natural progression of west’s dominant cultural worldview –including the normalizing of polygamy, incest and pedophilia.
Respected authority on issues related to marriage and homosexuality Robert Gagnon, in a blistering commentary on the decision, ominously warns, “Prepare for a reign of persecution and abuse of people of faith… ” Time Magazine offers a similar view.
The potential implications for Biblically faithful Christians are many and unsettling – the least of which is a loss of tax exempt status. A Christianity Today article explores the lack of safeguards in the decision protecting religious rights – a concern shared by the four dissenting judges. A New York Times article that examines the impact of the decision on faith-based schools concludes by quoting a secular law professor who says, “If I were a conservative Christian (which I most certainly am not),” he wrote on a law and religion email list, “I would be very reasonably fearful, not just as to tax exemptions but as to a wide range of other programs — fearful that within a generation or so, my religious beliefs would be treated the same way as racist religious beliefs are.” Similarly, Canon Phil Ashey, of the American Anglican Council, concludes an article entitled, “How should we then live – in Babylon?” by recommending “If you do not already have an attorney for your church or diocese, please find one.” Another article suggests churches refusing to perform same-sex weddings may have trouble getting insurance.
In an article in The Federalist, a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage questions whether he was wrong. He concludes: “How many backers of theoretical gay marriage will regret the reality of gay marriage? … If same-sex marriage isn’t just a pathway to happiness, freedom, and equality for gay citizens, but a way to pummel religious Americans into submission, it will be a disaster.”
International Christian Concern reports growing persecution of Christians in rural Mexico.
Andrew Symes (Anglican Mainstream) comments on the tendency of church leaders to attack those who uphold Biblical positions rather than confront heresy. He cites recent CoE examples related to the Diocese of York’s endorsing and blessing a recent Pride Parade and the Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, trashing of traditional marriage doctrine. Reform UK also issued a statement support a brave priest who stood up to a bishop’s heresy.
The Church of England Evangelical Council, citing a number of recent evidences of heresy deeply rooted in the CoE, has called for prayer. They conclude: “We therefore invite evangelicals in all the English Dioceses to renew a commitment to praying for those who lead God’s church. Please join with us in praying that He will enable those who preach and teach to do so in keeping with the faith as we have received it, not colluding in any way with an erosion of the Church of England’s theological framework…”
Recent episcopal appointments have included an evangelical appointed to a traditionally Anglo-Catholic position. Christian Today reports that Dr Graham Tomlin, an evangelical, was appointed Bishop of Kensington in the Diocese of London. Also, the Rev Anne Hollinghurst’s appointment as the Bishop of Aston brings the number of women bishops to six. Bishop Rachel Treweek’s consecration as Bishop of Gloucester makes her the first female diocesan.
A Diocese of London news release on the appointment of two new bishops within the diocese notes that “The Diocese of London’s strategy for growth and development… sets out a target of creating 100 new worshipping communities within the Diocese by 2020.” An article in Premier Christianity tells the story of several congregations planted by Holy Trinity Brompton in empty or nearly empty church buildings. Many are seeing astonishingly rapid growth.
The CoE reports that “Around 1000 men and women… will be ordained into the Church of England this summer…”
Christian Today reports a rapid rise in sharia marriages with as many as 100,000 now in the UK. Around two-thirds of these are polygamous. Sharia marriages provide women with little legal protection.
Speaking to media, Archbishop Justin Welby gave clear testimony to the work of God in his life. He said, “I’m a Christian because Jesus Christ found me and called me, around 40 years ago… I’m a Christian because it makes sense to me, because Jesus rose from the dead, he conquered death and sin and suffering. I’m a Christian because in Jesus I see the God who didn’t say, ‘this is how you lot have got to behave and I’m going to watch you and judge you,’ but came alongside us and lived in the middle of the absolute foulest mess and himself died unjustly young in great agony and bore all that was wrong in this world on his shoulders… whatever happens, whatever stupid mistakes, I know that even at the end of it all, even if everything else fails, God doesn’t, and he will not fail even to the end of my life.”
Read an encouraging article from one of the first Anglican priests/churches to walk away from the Church of New Zealand over growing heretical teaching and practice in the Church.
Bishop Mouneer Anis has worked hard to build relationships with Egyptian Muslim leaders. Recently he hosted an Iftar (evening meal to break the fast during Ramadan) attended by leading Muslims, Christian clergy and foreign diplomats.
The Diocese of Egypt’s Alexandria School of Theology in Alexandria celebrated both its 10th anniversary and the awarding of its first Master of Arts degrees.
The Christian Post reports that “refugees in northern Iraq and Syria are facing huge food shortages, with close to 300,000 Christians having limited means by which to pay for food. With millions of people displaced across the region, [Open Doors, a Christian agency ministering in the region] estimates that $20 million will be needed to provide food for the refugees in the next 18 months….” Open Doors is calling on Christians worldwide to step up giving.The UN’s World Food Programme announced that, “A severe lack of funding is forcing the United Nations to implement deeper cuts in food assistance to vulnerable Syrian refugees across Lebanon and Jordan, the Organization has confirmed.” Most refugees had little time to collect their belongings and savings before having to flee while others were stripped of everything of value at Islamic State checkpoints.
Elam Ministries reports that an estimated 90 Christians are imprisoned in Iran simply for their faith and witness. “At least twelve have been sentenced, usually for the crime of ‘working against national security’. The sentences range from one year, to eight. The rest are believed to be in pre-trial detention. For over thirty of these prisoners there is very little information. If you are led to pray for these prisoners, a list of all the available names can be found on the Elam website.
Bishop Bill Atwood discusses the newly inked Iran Nuclear Deal, astonished that the US would agree to such a one-sided and dangerous deal, with no effective safeguards. He says, “The “Iran Deal” can impact the whole world by introducing atomic weapons into the hands of those who vow “Death to America” and vow to “wipe Israel off the map.”
Last month, a disagreement over amendments to the church constitution led to a brawl at a synod in the state of Kerala and the police were called.
The country’s Supreme Court will review the blasphemy conviction and death sentence faced by a young Christian mother. Asia Bibi has been on death row for nearly five years. Blasphemy laws are frequently abused and used to settle personal scores against Christians.
A biography of Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo is now in print. Dancing with Angels tells his story of imprisonment, torture and an encounter of angels – as well as challenges of leading a church in a repressive Buddhist, post-colonial country.
With the government allowing greater religious liberty, an Anglican congregation in Phnom Penh is preparing to build what will be the largest Christian church building in the country. Anglican Ink reports that the Anglican Church in Cambodia, a Deanery of the Diocese of Singapore, consists of ten churches and nine preaching stations.”
As government persecution of Christians in China grows, China Aid reports that 200 local police and government workers broke into and shut down a shelter for the homeless and disabled run by Christians in Shenzhen. The reason given was “illegal religious activity” – having a cross, Christian publications and a statue of Virgin Mary on the premises without authorization. Around the country, many churches have been closed and hundreds of crosses torn down.
The government is seeking HK$180 million from the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (the Anglican Church of Hong Kong) as a result of a seven-year-old real estate transaction. Last year, the church was declared to be exempt from taxation but this decision is now being appealed.
A Financial Times article discusses the ongoing war by Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, against a region of his own country and suggests that the government’s 2+ year campaign of dropping cluster bombs on black civilians in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions of Sudan is racially motivated. Al-Bashir in his quest for an Arab, Islamic state is waging a “racist war driven by an anti-black notion of Arabisation”. As well, “Al-Bashir is accused of engineering the genocide of 300 000 black Africans in Darfur, western Sudan.”
A New York Times article recounts some of the atrocities of the civil war in South Sudan and demands that President Obama lend clout to the peace process. Franklin Graham says Sudan is to blame for instigating this civil war.
Ramadan has been a particularly brutal time for Christians in northern and central Nigeria with more than 200 killed in just the two weeks in early July. In just one day (July 5), Barnabas Fund reports, Boko Haram destroyed 32 churches and hundreds of home, along with killing many.
A World Watch Monitor article states that the violence is not confined to the Boko Haram. “Obscured by Boko Haram's headlines, violence also has raged farther south, where a lesser reported, years-long campaign has claimed thousands of Christian lives. Militants among the ethnic Fulani, a predominantly Muslim and nomadic population of cattle herders, are suspected of killing dozens of Christians in the states of Plateau and Taraba in recent months… Open Doors… has concluded that the pattern of Fulani violence in the region -- their use of military-grade weapons to drive Christians off the land and to occupy it; the destruction of Christian homes and churches; and their call for the imposition of Islamic law, among other hallmarks -- amounts to ethnic cleansing of the Middle Belt. The campaign, he argues, is animated by the same ambition that drives Boko Haram: To bring the non-Islamic world under Islamic rule.”
Christian Today reports that some Boko Haram members have converted to Christianity as a result of the intrepid witness of Christians working to plant churches in northern Nigeria. The same publication also reports that some of the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been so brainwashed that they are now participating with their captors in the atrocities.
Roman Catholic Church
The CBC reports that Pope Francis has apologized “…for the sins, offences and crimes committed by the Catholic Church against indigenous peoples during the colonial-era conquest of the Americas… History's first Latin American pope "humbly" begged forgiveness during an encounter in Bolivia with indigenous groups and other activists…”
“Increasingly, Iraqi and Syrian Muslims are rejecting Islam because of the cruelty and the legalism of the terrorists who claim to subscribe to the pure version of Islam…[They] no longer could believe in Islam because they saw first-hand the fruit of strictly following it… Those refugees who fled ISIS territories are the most ready to accept Christ. The deep grip of Islam is broken; they are mostly without faith. In a way, they still believe in God. They are not agnostic or atheists but mostly deists who are longing for a faith to embrace to fill the void left by Islam… Now is the time for us to bring Muslims the good news of Christ. Christ is the only one big enough to fill that void in their hearts and minds.” Read more here.
Resources for ministry
A new book out of the Church of England. Towards a Theology of Church Growth, seeks to combat theological views pervasive in western Anglican churches which oppose or hinder growth. See Andrew Symes largely positive review.
Stop trying to grow your church
Tim Challies recommends two books that will challenge your views: Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur and The Prodigal Church by Jared C Wilson.
These rules for sermon writing from the 1800s will serve you well today.
Resources for Christian living
Want to hone your apologetics skills? Apologetics Canada is offering a free online (non-credit) course this fall.
Evangelism and persuasion
Os Guinness has written Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion a book on evangelism and apologetics in of a hostile secular culture. It is featured on Breakpoint and the subject of a Christianity Today interview with the author.
J John humorously and briefly explains evangelism.
Do you excel in business?
You need to hear this gripping interview about Gospel patronage. And this is the highly recommended book.
Guard your heart
Rosaria Butterfield, a former LGBTQ activist, discusses how what we chose to read and watch shapes our worldview. If we are choosing to expose our self to the “world” more than to the Word, the outcome will be a lukewarm, or even cold, faith. She goes on to identify and counter three unbiblical views on Christianity and homosexuality.
Abortion - Undercover videos
courtesy of The Center for Medical Progress’ Human Capital Project – have opened a new window on another horror of abortion: the commercial sale of fetal organs and tissue. Although much of the secular press has ignored the issue, a Washington Post opinion piece offers a summary and points to the most appalling segments of the videos released to date. And a two-minute Fox News commentary is excellent. Dr Albert Mohler also discusses the videos and the media and pro-abortionists’ response. Apparently there are many more videos to come – 12 in total! But Planned Parenthood is warning media not to show the videos.
A LifeSiteNews article compiles eight earlier videos documenting additional horrific practices at Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion provider in the US. Life News estimates that Planned Parenthood is one responsible for one of every three abortions in the US, and that one in five pregnancies end in abortion. Adam Ford captures the business of abortion in this web comic.
Anglicans for Life offers “10 Answers for Anglicans after Planned Parenthood’s exposure” to help us make sense of these revelations. Georgette Forney, who leads Anglicans for Life, offers a short video to help those who have been scarred by abortion deal with these revelations.
If you have the stomach to watch Planned Parenthood abortionists and executives discuss the harvesting and sale of tiny human organs from unborn babies they have meticulously killed so as to leave the organs intact, the videos are available online as follows. Full unedited videos and transcripts can be found here:
In his essay calling Christians to shake off complacency and act, Russell Moore concludes, “It is time for the reborn to stand up for the unborn.” And this web comic provides a chilling statement on the culpability of every one of us who know but do nothing.
Get involved! Join Anglicans for Life Canada now! Anglicans for Life Canada has a new resource you or your church can order to get started: an 8-week DVD-based adult Christian education series. The series – called Project Life – provides an overview of life issues and how Christians can make a difference. To order, email the Rev Vicky Hedelius at or call her at 905-220-0292.
Just for laughs
Wisdom is something you gain just after you needed it.
“What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.” ~Thomas Cranmer
And now a Word from our Sponsor
“…but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”
Hebrews 3:6 ESV
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