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  ANiC Newsletter: 5 August, 2014 ... pdf version

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ANiC news

ANiC and ACNA events calendar
September 7 – Deacon Tom Lo to be ordained a priest at Good Shepherd Cantonese (Calgary)
September 16 – AMMiC fundraising dinner in Vancouver
September 16-18 – AMMiC conference in Vancouver
October 19, 3pm – Good Shepherd (Vancouver) banquet celebrating its 125th anniversary
November 4 – Pre-synod equipping workshops, Ottawa, ON
November 5-7 – ANiC Synod 2014 in Ottawa, ON
May 14, 2015 – March for Life 2015 in Ottawa

Synod and pre-synod seminars, November 4-7 in Ottawa
Synod will be held in Ottawa, November 5-7, hosted by St Peter & St Paul’s. While details are not yet finalized, we can tell you this…

Pre-synod seminars – New this year, synod will be preceded by day of workshops, on November 4, designed to equip clergy and lay leaders – as well as the rest of us – for parish ministry. In making your synod travel plans, be sure to arrange to come a day early so you can take in these workshops. Topics will include: Catechesis; Parish strategic ministry planning; Responsibilities of an incorporated church; Plan to protect (ANiC’s safe church policy); and Anglicans for Life.

Synod highlights – The agenda is almost finalized, so we know that some of the highlights of synod will include: Bible teaching by Canon David Short; Bishop's Charge by our new diocesan Bishop Charlie Masters which will introduce ANiC's five priorities, followed by sessions and workshops fleshing out these priorities; a banquet honouring our founding moderator Bishop Don Harvey; and a presentation by Canon Dr J I Packer.

Registration formula – Also, new this year, in an attempt to address the disparity in travel costs, the ANiC Council has instituted a very Canadian solution – a cost equalization formula. As a result delegates living closer to Ottawa will pay a greater share of the synod costs since they incur fewer travel-related expenses, while those living furthest from Ottawa will pay lower synod fees to account for their greater travel costs.

While any formula to equalize costs will be imperfect, this is an attempt to even the overall costs for our delegates. Following synod the plan will be reassessed and refined as needed for future synods and conferences.

See the synod 2014 page on the ANiC website and watch for more details!

Appeals for prayer for the Holy Land, Iraq and Syria
Archbishop Foley Beach has written ACNA members, including ANiC, asking us to engage with the suffering in the Middle East by praying, pressuring our governments, and giving to charities working to ease the suffering. See his letter, with suggested prayers, on the ACNA website.

Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East) describes the Middle East as “full of flames and blood” and says, “We don’t have any way to heal the situation, except by prayer”. In an Anglican Communion News Service release, Canon Andrew White pleads for prayer and says that, with the world’s eyes on Gaza, the Islamic State’s brutal slaughter of Christians and minorities in Iraq is ignored. In one day, he said, 1500 people were killed. He says, “It is as if hell has broken out here and nobody cares…

The Australian Bible Society suggests five things we can do to help Iraq’s persecuted Christians, including engaging in social media campaigns, putting pressure on our government to engage, and give to Christian charities that are helping the persecuted church and supporting the refugees – and most of all praying. See International News below for more information on Iraq and Israel.

Jobs, jobs, jobs
There are a number of job openings posted on the ANiC website – including openings for rectors, youth workers, music ministers, associate priests and a communication specialist. Some positions are full-time and some are part-time. Check out all of them on the ANiC website!

Below are a few of the more recent postings. In addition, Christ the King (Edmonton, AB) is still searching for a full-time rector as well as a part-time youth leader.

Emmaus (Montreal, PC)
seeking a full-time rector, preferably one who is "sensitive to Quebec culture and to the diverse urban context and culture of the predominantly French-speaking city of Montreal". Deadline for applications is 15 September 2014. For more details see the church website

St Matthias and St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC) is seeking a part-time youth worker. The position is for 12-15 hours per week and the application deadline is September 15 with a start date of October 1. See the job posting here.

St John's (Vancouver, BC) is looking for a marketing/communications specialist. For more information see the St John’s website.

St Peter’s & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON) needs a full-time associate priest starting in December.

ANiC’s Asian and Multicultural Ministries (AMMiC) – update and plans
Bishop Stephen Leung writes that the past ten months have been tough but fruitful for AMMIC congregations and ministry. He says, “I see God clearly continues to lead AMMIC into a wider horizon of multi-ethnic ministry not just in Canada, but now also in the US.” He notes, however that “… today every congregation is facing huge challenges from both within and beyond.”

To help address these church planting challenges as well as encourage and equip the church planters, AMMiC will hold a mini-conference September 16-18 in Richmond, BC. Bishop Stephen explains, “No one can encounter the cultural challenge alone. If we don’t pray and learn together, we are going to be individually eaten up sooner or later.”

In conjunction with the conference, AMMiC’s annual fundraising dinner will be September 16.

In the news
Holy Trinity (Marlborough, MA) is featured in a newspaper article about the church building the congregation recently purchased and has been renovating.

Israel study tour, November 5- 20, 2015
CMJ Canada, led by the Rev Sharon Hayton, is planning another Shoresh study tour to Israel for the fall of 2015. This study tour, titled “Patriarchs, Prophets, High Priest and Coming King”, is much more than a normal tourist style tour. Shoresh study tours, a ministry of Christ Church Jerusalem, offers insight into Scripture as the original readers and hearers would have understood it. Participants can expect to return forever changed. For full details, including the itinerary, please contact tour administrator Joy Rousay by email or call 604-850-2851.

Parish and regional news
St John’s (Vancouver, BC) – A team of seven will be in eastern India this month, visiting ministries to Dalit people operated by Helping Point. The team would appreciate your prayer support. You can learn more here and can follow along by visiting their blog.

New Song (Port Perry, ON) will present the work of esteemed Christian artist Olaf Schneider this September in the church’s new art gallery. One of Olaf's paintings was chosen to be shown at the Louvre in Paris, France, in 2013. Check out Olaf's work at

Christ the King
(Edmonton, AB) partnered with St Paul’s (Anglican Church of Canada) to put on a highly successful children’s day camp program, July 7-11, with the assistance of three well-trained youth from Crosstalk Ministries in Montreal. You can read more on Christ the King’s website.

Holy Trinity
(Edmonton, AB) organized a traditional Filipino Igorot Festival on July 12 in a local park. The event proved to be great way to reach out to and meet fellow Igorots and other Filipinos in Edmonton. They even connected with Igorots from Toronto who are looking for a priest to minister to them. (Igorot means mountain people in the Philippines; most parishioners at Holy Trinity at Igorots.)

Good Shepherd
(Vancouver, BC) – The Taste of Life outreach ministry to restaurant workers in Richmond saw more than 40 people at their July 22 meeting at which a guest speaker sharing on marriage relationship. Taste of Life meets late at night, when workers come off their shift. Pray for the newcomers and non-believers in the group to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Good Shepherd Cantonese
(Calgary, AB) is planning an evangelistic outreach on August 27 with the support of a short term mission team from Hong Kong. The event will feature Cantonese operas with Gospel lyrics. Pray that this will be used by God to draw people to our Lord Jesus, especially those who have been regularly attending the church’s Saturday night potluck dinners but do not yet known Jesus.

Christ the Redeemer Multicultural
(Toronto, ON) – The church’s ministry to international students, A Quiet Place, is organizing a getaway at a retreat centre in Moffat, Ontario, August 30 – September 1.Pray that many will attend and that this time would bring the people closer to each other but more importantly closer to God.

All Nations Japanese
(Vancouver, BC) hosted internationally known artistMakoto Fujimura at an evening public lecture on August 1st in Vancouver on the topic of “Creation Care and Culture Care in the Garden”. He is in Vancouver to teach at Regent College and has a keen interest in the Church of All Nations’ New Eden Gardening Ministry, which is an outreach to non-Christian Japanese Canadians. Makoto’s work is exhibited around the world and he was a presidential appointee to the US National Council on the Arts from 2003-2009. His only other public engagement while in Vancouver was an exclusive ticketed event at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

St Matthias and St Luke
(Vancouver, BC) is organizing a one-day Gospel conference on August 9 for church leaders, new worshipers and seekers. Please pray that the new worshipers would decide to join the church and that the seekers would find Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

Eternal Hope
(Carleton Place, ON) – Photos of the Rev Dave Kemp’s recent ordination to the priesthood are now posted here.

St Hilda’s
(Oakville, ON) – Parishioner Cathy Bender has written a new children’s book designed to take a child on the adventure of discovering prayer. For more information on the book, Floating and Swirling and Rising, see Cathy’s blog. Archdeacon Paul Charbonneau commends the book.

Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it!
Email Marilyn.

Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news

ACNA Assembly 2014 – more reports
Assessing the ACNA Assembly, Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council suggests that, while ACNA did not plant 1000 churches in the first five years, we did plant 488 and “we have changed the conversation” so that ACNA is now defined, not by our past, but by our commitment to the Great Commission. Now, he says that the next five years will require “an ever deeper and more prayerful soul searching” so that we can effectively “present the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ to an ever changing world”. And finally, most importantly, “We need a new Pentecost: We need a fresh outpouring and enabling of the Holy Spirit that will enable us to become the kind of missional church where courage, compassion and conversion are the inevitable outcomes”.

In their July 9 edition of the Anglican Unscripted video newsmagazine, commentators Kevin Kallsen and George Conger discuss Archbishop Bob Duncan’s tenure as ACNA leader and the election of Archbishop Foley Beach. In a later edition, they favorably compare the ACNA Assembly to other church gathers but chastise the ACNA House of Bishops for one of their decisions.

Diocese of Quincy wins pivotal victory
An Illinois appeals court – a panel of three justices – has confirmed a lower court decision which affirmed that the ACNA’s Diocese of Quincy had every right to secede from the US Episcopal Church (TEC) and is the rightful owner of all diocesan property. The hope is that the diocese’s bank accounts, which have been frozen since the litigation began, will soon be accessible for ministry use. More discussion of this decision is found on an Anglican Unscripted video.

In an Anglican Ink article, the diocese’s chancellor is quoted saying, “This is a huge victory…This is the first time there has been an appellate court decision in this country that can be cited as a precedent in other jurisdictions.” And the vice-chancellor stated, “…this ruling has broad implications for other denominations. Hierarchy will no longer be assumed by the courts and even “hierarchical” denominations must now take note that the courts may use neutral principals of law to decide property disputes.”

TEC may appeal. Also there are cases pending in Illinois in which TEC has sued individual Quincy pastors. So continued pray is requested.

Connecting with Archbishop Foley Beach
Our new archbishop, the Most Rev Dr Foley Beach, has a ministry called A Word from the Lord, which broadcasts Bible teaching on radio stations and the internet. This ministry also sends out a short weekly via email. Listen to a recent “One-Minute Message” here, and subscribe here.

More ACNA news
The Rev Dr J I Packer (of St John’s Vancouver) was awarded the Saint Cuthbert’s Cross at the Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America for his “unparalleled contribution to Anglican and global Christianity.”

All reports from the recent ACNA Assembly are posted on the ACNA website. Included among these is a report on the ACNA’s ministry in Cuba, a ministry in which ANiC parishes have recently started getting involved.

A Church of England Newspaper article notes that the ACNA’s membership has grown by 13 per cent since it was founded in 2009 to 112,504 members. In the same time its Sunday attendance has grown 16 per cent to 80,471.

Re:missioning the Church is a conference designed to help churches “discover and live on mission to reach our nation[s] for Christ”. It is August 28-29 at All Saints Church, Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

A United Adoration Songwriting Retreat is planned for September 25-26 in Oak Park, Illinois. Its goal is to bring together songwriters in the liturgical church to renew their creative vision for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Anglican Communion news

Lectures in contemporary Anglicanism
A series of three lectures by Charles Raven analyzing contemporary Anglicanism have been posted on the GAFCon website. Calling these “an absolute must read for anyone wanting to understand the underlying dynamics of the Anglican realignment in real time”, Anglican Mainstream offers summaries of each lecture and notes, ”Charles Raven… addresses the Archbishop of Canterbury’s mandate to keep everyone at the table talking together as long as it takes… Archbishop Welby is here continuing the shift begun by Archbishop Rowan Williams from a “confessional ecclesiology” to a “conversational ecclesiology”, where the process matters more than the content. Raven charts the development of this seismic shift in Anglicanism… Raven gives a remarkably clear, concise and admirably documented history of the disintegration of institutional Anglicanism over the past sixteen years and how it fell into the chaos of the “current unpleasantness”.”

Also recommending Raven’s lectures, Canon Phil Ashey explains the error and impossibility of Archbishop Welby’s objective of “getting people to learn to live with theological differences – “good disagreement”.” He also points to an American Anglican Council slide presentation resource congregations can use to aid understanding of the dynamics at play in global Anglicanism.

International news in brief

United States
The US Episcopal Church applied for and has been granted special consultative status with one of the United Nations’ main bodies, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It joins around 4000 other organizations granted this status.

The trial involving the now independent Diocese of South Carolina and the US Episcopal Church (TEC) recently ended with the Judge saying a decision should not be expected in less than 90 days. Canon lawyer Alan Haley offers a thorough, and occasionally amusing, overview of the trial and the argumentation – especially TEC’s hapless, and sometimes desperate, tactics.

Women bishops vote – In mid-July, the Church of England (CoE) General Synod voted to approve opening up the episcopacy to women. It is possible that the first women could be appointed bishops before the end of the year. Reform, which represents conservative evangelicals, expressed sadness but not surprise, sayingRegrettably none of our proposals were accepted and we are now faced with a prolonged period of uncertainty about the ways forward for our congregations.”

Archbishop Justin Welby expressed his delight and told the BBC that the vote was a result of a cultural change – “much more listening… much more graciousness” – within the CoE. He wrote to CoE ecumenical partners emphasizing the process by which the decision was achieved and the five principles accommodating those who dissent with the CoE. Saying “There appeared a determination that the genuinely held differences on the issue of the ordination of women to the episcopate should not become a dividing factor in the Church of England,” he appeals to the same principle to government ecumenical relations. He writes, “The Church of England continues in its quest to make our unity more visible with those with whom we are in communion, and to seek greater unity with those with whom we are not yet in communion… Finally, it is clear to me that whilst our theological dialogue will face new challenges, there is nonetheless so much troubling our world today that our common witness to the Gospel is of more importance than ever…

Reactionto and commentary on the vote has included:

The Roman Catholic Anglican Ordinariate in England is organizing an “…exploration day” at venues across the county, “…which is aimed at making the Ordinariate more widely known and understood and reaching those whom God may be calling to join it.”

The Russian Orthodox Church released a statement saying it was “alarmed and disappointed” at the decision, adding “…The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy. Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community…”

The Church of Uganda Primate, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali released a statement welcoming the decision. “The Church of Uganda is one of the Provinces that believes the ordination of women is Biblical and whose canons permit the consecration of women as Bishops in the Church.”

Bishop Bill Atwood notes that the CoE decision seemed to be arrived at without any consultation with other Provinces in the Communion, and will likely have unintended consequences.

Dr Albert Mohler suggests that the British government was a major impetus behind this decision and recalls a quote from a former Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London who said, “Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.”

Dr Ephraim Radner says his view aligns with those who, “…though supportive of the concept, [feel the decision] comes too early, putting another thorn in the bleeding flesh of the Anglican Communion and erecting a new barrier to reconciliation with Catholics and the Orthodox.” However, he gives the CoE full marks for the process whereby it arrived at this decision.

The Telegraph offers an almost century-long chronology of events leading to this decision.

Anglican Mainstream provides a round-up of reaction and commentaries.

Anglican TV commentators discuss the implications of this decision for the unity of GAFCon and offer more commentary and speculation in another edition of the video newsmagazine.

Other CoE issues
– With England in the midst of a debate over euthanasia, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey has made known his support for “assisted dying”. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, however, challenges this view. He writes in The Telegraph, “…I am simply amazed at [Lord Carey’s] arguments (or lack of them) in support of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill for the terminally ill…. The majority of those who are terminally ill want… “assisted living” rather than “assisted dying”. This is what the Christian-inspired hospice movement seeks to do, enabling those nearing the end of their lives to prepare for a peaceful and good death… Instead of concocting expensive ways of getting rid of those at their most vulnerable, I strongly believe we should be making sure that good hospice care is evenly available across the length and breadth of the country.” There’s more discussion on the AEC blog.

Christening – A CoE website on christening seems to be dumbing down the sacrament. A commentator says it fails to mention Jesus and offers an anthropomorphic portrayal of the baptism service. He concludes, “It does, I think, raise some serious questions: when does ‘meeting people where they are’ mean that the Christian faith is emptied of its content?; when does a concern for ‘accessibility’ end up cheapening a holy sacrament?; when does a desire to be welcoming to outsiders begin to obscure the offence of the gospel?”

The Diocese of Bathurst is facing foreclosure on its property due to missed loan payments.

Anglican Ink reports that, “The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia has voted to… no longer requiring its clergy to maintain the seal of the confession… The new policy allows priests to report serious crimes…

New Zealand
In light of General Synod’s decision to pursue same-sex blessings, the Rev Michael Hewat ably presents the Biblical view in a New Zealand Herald article. He writes, “…the Bible teaches that the only rightly ordered sexual union is that between a male and female, within the context of marriage… In the Bible sexuality plays only a minor part in terms of human identity. One is either 'in Christ', submitted to his lordship, or still 'in sin', governed by one's own desires and ambitions.” The Rev Hewat is the second high-profile clergyman to leave the established Anglican Church together with his congregation which is temporarily meeting in a funeral home.

The Rev David Pileggi, rector of Christ Church Jerusalem, in a 14-minute Anglican TV video interview, offers insight into the conflict in the Holy Land and tells us how we can pray. Much has been written about the conflict recently. You might find the following helpful:
A journalist explains why the media are actually the cause of children dying in Gaza. It is Israel’s determination to minimize civilian deaths in Gaza that has led it to use risk Israeli soldiers’ lives.

A young Palestinian who grew up in the heart of Hamas – his father was one of the founding members of the Hamas organization – says that if Israel fails in the Middle East western civilization will fail. In a fascinating 15-minute video Mosab Hassan Yousef, who is now a Christian, says the conflict in the Middle East is at heart ideological. “Israel is not the problem in the Middle East. Israel is the solution to the Middle East.”

Israel’s hands are not clean either, however. The BBC News Magazine has an article on a peace-loving Christian Palestinian family’s determination to stay on the land they have been farming since 1916 – despite harassment by those wanting the land for expanded Israeli settlements.

A staff member in the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem explains how Iran is behind Hamas – its ideology, tactics and weapons.

Another article which marvels at the naivety of western media and NGOs, discusses the “terrorist tunnel network” dug from Gaza into Israel in preparation for this war and says the tunnels demonstrate “extremely complex engineering”. It asks, if Hamas wants to build a Palestinian state and cares about the welfare of the people, why it is diverting building materials and labour from building schools, hospitals, houses or even bomb shelters. “Instead, the construction materials were diverted toward attempted terror attacks against Israel and to prepare for an Israeli ground incursion, which Hamas inevitably provoked through incessant rocket fire.”

The Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, is warning that Christianity in Iraq could be close to extinction, reports Christian Today. As the militant Islamist force known as ISIS or Islamic State sweeps from Syria into Iraq, Christians flee for their lives. In Mosul, which is linked to the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, ISIS gave Christians and other religious minorities the option of converting to Islam, paying jizya (an onerous tax on non-Muslims), or death.

Most if not all have now fled, many to Kurdistan; and as they fled the ISIS fighters robbed them of all their cash and worldly possessions, including cars, forcing them to walk many miles to safety. A city which has had a Christian community for nearly two centuries, where Christians once numbered in the tens of thousands, now has no Christians. The homes Christians were forced to leave were subsequently marked with an Arabic symbol denoting “Nazirite” and a notice that the building was now the property of the Islamic State. Many around the world – including the Archbishop of Canterbury – have started using this symbol in social media to show solidarity with the persecuted and displaced Christians.

Like Syrian refugees before them, Iraqi refugees’ plight is grim. World Compassion, which is working in the refugeecamps, reports that “Over 100,000 refugees from Mosul and other towns crossed into Kurdistan in less than 48 hours. These people are existing in the desert, with makeshift tents, in 110 degree heat. Poisonous snakes and scorpions are rampant in these parts, and are wreaking havoc. Refugees literally have nowhere to go.”

The blog Archbishop Cranmer carries a report from Canon Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad”; the post concludes, “Under Saddam, there were 60,000 Christians in Mosul, where they had lived in fraternal coexistence with Muslims for 1700 years. In the Islamic State they have become less than pigs, outcasts, refugees in their homeland.” ACNA Bishop Julian Dobbs discusses the reality for Christians in Iraq and ties it to 9/11, then calls on Islamic scholars to stop the deception that Islam is a religion or peace.

Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem and the Middle East) condemns the inaction of the international communication, saying, “the suffering, persecution and displacement of Iraqi Christians, especially in the Mosul area, is a disgrace to the international community which is not doing enough to rescue the people of Iraq from the terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS.”

Archbishop Glen Davies (Sydney, Australia) issued a similar public statement, saying, "It is an outrage that a community established in the early centuries of the Christian era should face expulsion from their own land, simply for their faith… "We have entered a period of significant suffering for Christians around the world: from Iraq to Syria and from Egypt to Sudan. While the Cross is the symbol of suffering for all who are followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we have a responsibility to stand with our brothers and sisters in the face of such unmitigated persecution."

Watch this inspiring interview from Holy Trinity Brompton, London, England. Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, two young Iranian women who were imprisoned in Iran for their faith – were recently interviewed by Nicky Gumbel. Meanwhile Christians continue to be arrested in Iran simply for their Christian faith.

The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan has consecrated the first Archbishop of the internal province of Sudan, based in Khartoum. Most of the Church’s 31 dioceses are in South Sudan, while five dioceses serve the more than one million Anglicans in Sudan. “The creation of a new internal province will make it easier for the Church to relate to different governments, with their separate laws and administrations. Tensions and conflict remain between Sudan and South Sudan, and the movement of citizens between them is not easy.”

From death row to freedom, Mariam Yahya Ibrahim’s last few months have been a roller coaster ride. Condemned to death in Khartoum for refusing to renounce her Christian faith and 100 lashes for marrying a Christian man, she gave birth in prison before international pressure force Sudan to release her. After set-backs, she eventually made her way, with her husband and two children, to Rome where she met the pope. The family is expected to settle in the US, as the husband is an American citizen. Time magazine provides an overview.

Anglican Ink reports that “The Sudanese government has banned the construction of Christian churches.”

West Africa
West Africa is experiencing an unprecedented, virulent Ebola outbreak which has killed at least 700. Fatality rates are 60 to 90 per cent – making it one of the most deadly diseases known. A news media video notes that two Christian mission agencies – SIM and Samaritan’s Purse – are operating the only medical care centre for Ebola victims in all of Liberia. Two missionary medical personal have contracted the illness. SIM has more information and prayer requests.

Due to the growth of the Anglican Church in Ethiopia – from eight churches in 2000 to more than 80 churches today – and the desperate need for clergy theological education, the Diocese of Egypt is starting a theological school campus in Ethiopia – St Frumenius’ College. Another campus will be established in Tunisia – St Cyprian’s College. The diocese’s website states, “The greatest need of the Church in Ethiopia, and indeed in all Africa, is theological education, spiritual formation and leadership… There are currently 16 clergy serving in 80 churches in Ethiopia, only one of whom has formal theological education.”

Anglican Ink reports that, following the vote to allow women bishops in the Church of England, Kenya’s Archbishop Eliud Wabukala wrote his House of Bishops saying that the Church’s constitution needs to be amended if the Church is to allow women to stand for election as bishops.

The New York Times reports that more than 20 people were killed – most bound and their throats slit – in two attacks on Kenya’s coast in early July. The armed attackers left a message near the killings which read “Kick Christians out of coast”.

The Guardian reports a crackdown on Christian churches in one region of China – from removal of crosses to outright demolition of the buildings. “Christians in Wenzhou have not seen such sustained persecution since the Cultural Revolution… They believe that the orders came from [national leaders]. “Wenzhou is just a testing ground for a widespread offensive against Christian influence”… “"The number of Christians has grown to such an extent that there are now more Christians in China than party members and that scares them…” Some of China’s Christians believe that “this anti-Christian campaign is part of a stated objective by the new leadership to promote Chinese cultural traditions such as Confucianism and Buddhism”.

World Magazine reports that the pro-life message is beginning to penetrate China’s churches. Most of China’s Christians, like the population in general, are uninformed about the physiology of the developing fetus or the Bible’s teaching on the humanity of the unborn. An estimated 30 million abortions are performed each year in China. The author was told that in China abortion is “as common as drinking water”.

Hong Kong
Anglican Ink reports that the Archbishop of Hong Kong has been criticized for suggesting in a sermon that pro-democracy activists should be “silent like Jesus”.

We are saddened to hear that Bishop Albert Vun (Sabah), who has visited and spoken several times at ANiC conferences and assemblies, passed away recently. ANiC’s Bishop Stephen Leung writes that “This is a big loss to the Asian Anglican Communion.” Bishop Vun was passionate about evangelism and church planting. The church in his diocese grew dramatically under his stewardship.

The Primate of the Church of the Province of Southeast Asia, Archbishop Bolly Lapok, is outspoken in his criticism of the Malaysian Prime Minister for his inaction over the illegal seizure of Malay language Bibles. The archbishop suggests the PM’s refusal to support Christians’ rights plays into the hands of the Islamist anarchists and threatens Malaysia’s political stability.

A Toronto Star article provides compelling evidence for the thesis that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. Open Doors reports that the number of Christians killed for their faith doubled in 2013 over 2012. North Korea is listed as the most dangerous place for Christians with between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians imprisoned. Somalia ranked second, followed by Syria with 1213 “martyr” killings last year. Iraq was fourth – with a Christian killed every 2-3 days. Afghanistan was fifth due to Islamist extremism. A video news report elaborates.

Writing for the American Anglican Council newsletter, Bishop Bill Atwood shares what he has learned from persecuted Christians around the world. It’s definitely worth reading! After recounting a number of stories, he concludes: “There are a thousand other examples. The point is that the love of God is particularly present when we are in challenging environments. If we listen to His voice and lean on His grace, we can navigate terrible circumstances with peace. It is important to “train” for tough times though. By looking for ways to remain faithful in the midst of inconvenience, we can grow in our ability to stay faithful in more trying circumstances. Sadly, no place on earth is so insulated that it is impossible to be challenged. Equally, there is no place so trying that it is beyond the grace of God.”

United Nations
The highest human rights court in Europe has ruled that same-sex marriage is not a human right and European countries cannot be forced to grant marriage privileges to same-sex couples. A Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute report states, “The judgment says that European human rights law recognizes the “fundamental right of a man and woman to marry and to found a family” and “enshrines the traditional concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman.” It explains how no European consensus on same-sex marriages exists, as only 10 of the 47 countries bound by the treaty allow such designations.”

Soul food

Just for laughs
You know you're getting old when you come to the annoying realization that your parents were right about almost everything.

“If the mountain was smooth, we couldn’t climb it.” ~Unknown

"He counts the stars and calls them by name, yet he heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds." ~ C H Spurgeon

"When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head." ~ C H Spurgeon

And now a Word from our Sponsor
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV

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