|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
Nov 8 – International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (www.idop.ca/)
Nov 29, 11:15am – The Rev George Cooknell will be ordained a priest at Cornerstone (Sarnia, ON)
Jan 4-8 – ACNA College of Bishops meet in Melbourne, FL
Dec 13 – Danielle Martell will be ordained as a Deacon at St Andrew's (Delta, BC)
Jan 21-22 – Anglicans for Life holds Summit and US March for Life
Jan 29-31 – Women’s retreat in the Ottawa-area led by Living Water Healing Streams
Feb 24 – ACNA Executive Committee meets in Phoenix, AZ
April 7-10 – New Wineskins for Global Mission 2016 conference, Ridgecrest, NC
April 12-14 – Ontario clergy silent retreat at a retreat centre near Orangeville
May 12 – March for Life 2016
June 14-15 - National apologetics and teaching conference, Vancouver, BC (Details to come)
June 16 – National preaching conference, Vancouver, BC (Details to come)
June 20-22 – ACNA Executive & Provincial Council meet in Mt Pleasant, SC
ANiC synod revisited
Synod was a time of tremendous blessing, encouragement and fellowship. If you weren’t able to participate, take the time to watch videos of the sessions (courtesy of Kevin Kallsen of Anglican TV), read Bishop Charlie’s Charge which sets the direction for our diocese, and see some candid photos (taken by Peter Lau and Alvin Ng). More photos are on the ANiC Facebook page. You’ll also find business documents and the agenda on the ANiC website.
Video of key sessions are listed below with links:
• Canon Garth Hunt’s workshop “Are we desperate yet?” (By the way, Garth’s November prayer mediation, known as First Friday of the Month” is partially derived from this workshop. Be sure to avail yourself of these monthly mediations.)
• Bold witnesses workshop with the Revs Aaron Roberts and Sean Love
• Plenary session
• Video of additional workshops will be posted in the weeks ahead
• Bishop’s Charge
• Bible teaching by Canon David Short, with Morning Prayer – Session 1 and Session 2
• Keynote addresses by the Rev Dr Craig Bartholomew – Session 1 and Session 2
• J I Packer preaching at closing session
• Presentation of congregations new to ANiC
• C2C Church Planting Partner presentation
• Catechism update
• Young Anglicans Project presentation
• Business session
Generous response to Syrian refugee appeal
ARDFC reports donors have generously given $13,400 so far to help meet the needs of Syrian refugees. You can learn more about how we are helping these refugees on the ARDFC website. ARDFC is also responding to two other emergency appeals: 1) helping the church in Myanmar meet the needs of those devastated by flooding; and 2) supporting the Deanery of Nepal’s work meeting the medical and physical needs of Nepalese and rebuilding churches destroyed by last spring’s earthquake. In addition, ARDFC has committed to a development project in Burundi that is providing tools, seeds and livestock to help lift subsistence farming families out of poverty, providing better nutrition and an income so they can afford to send their children to school.
Have you seen AMMiC’s new video? While it explores various AMMiC ministries, it also tells a fascinating story of how God weaves the threads of our lives together for His glory. Well done AMMiC!
ARDFC Christmas gift cards do a world of good
You can download and print ARDFC Christmas gift cards from the ARDFC website – or request professionally printed cards at no charge by emailing ARDFC. (Minimum order is five cards.) These cards make great stocking stuffers and meaningful gifts.
Cards are freely available. You can make a donation of your choosing, eligible for a tax receipt if greater than $10, to ARDFC either online, or by cheque. (See the ARDFC website for details.) All proceeds this year go to ARDFC’s new project in Burundi, where we are working with the Diocese of Muyinga to combat poverty and malnutrition by helping subsistence farmers through training, tools, seeds, and goats.
Nov 8 – International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
As we have become more conscious of the suffering of Christians around the world we want to be faithful in remembering our persecuted brothers and sisters before the Throne of Grace. Please join with the ANiC family in marking November 8 which is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. More information is available on the website, including a video which can be shown during services (or at other opportunities). You can also register to receive resources to help your church effectively engage in this day of prayer.
Home-going of the Rev Dr George Quibell
We are saddened by the loss of retired ANiC priest the Rev Dr George Quibell on October 21 in St Catharines, ON. Although retired and, with his wife Jasmin+, parishioners at Good Shepherd (St Catharines, ON), George+ served ably in ANiC and ACNA parishes – including St Peter by the Park (Hamilton) and Good Shepherd (St Catharines) as well as in a CANA church in Batavia, NY – when called upon over the years. Please remember his wife and many friends throughout ANiC who are grieving but filled with the hope Christ gives. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Ordination date changed
Please note the new date for Danielle Martell’s ordination. It is now planned for Sunday, December 13 at 7pm at St Andrew's (Delta, BC). Danielle will serve at St Andrew's.
National apologetics and teaching conference planned for Vancouver, June 14-15
Mark your calendars now! A major national apologetics and teaching conference is planned for Vancouver on June 14 – 15. This will be followed by a shorter, one-day expository preaching conference on June 16. “Biblically faithful” is one of ANiC’s 5 ministry priorities and these conferences are being planned by Canon George Sinclair and his team to advance us in that direction. George+ says that the purpose of the two-day teaching conference is “to grow in clergy and laity a deep confidence in the Bible and a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about itself as God's word written.” The one-day preaching conference, led by Back to the Bible’s Dr John Neufeld, will refresh and equip clergy (and laity) in the basics of Gospel-hearted expository preaching. A top-notch line-up of speakers is confirmed for the two-day conference, including three able apologists – Dan Wallace, Mike Licona and Greg Monette – as well as two excellent Bible teachers, J I Packer and David Lyle Jeffrey.
Ontario clergy silent retreat set for April 12
The 2016 Clergy Silent Retreat will be April 12-14 at the Valley of the Mother of God centre near Orangeville – the same venue as last year. And once again, Bishop Charlie will be the retreat leader. The retreat starts on Tuesday, April 12 at 5pm and end on Thursday, April 14 at 11:30am. Watch for more information.
Women’s retreat planned for Ottawa-area, January 29-31
ANiC women are invited to a weekend retreat on the topic of “Cultured Pearls” – January 29-31 at Maison de Retraits Notre-Dame-de-la-Providence, Orleans. The Rev Liba Staznicky will facilitate. Space is limited. For full information, see the Living Waters Healing Streams website.
Queen Elizabeth responds to Primate’s well wishes
ACNA’s Archbishop Foley Beach wrote Queen Elizabeth congratulating her on becoming the longest reigning monarch of Britain (and Canada). You can read our Primate's letter and Buckingham Palace’s response.
Parish and regional news
Good Shepherd Vancouver is holding a missions fundraising concert on Saturday, November 7, 7:30pm, with music ranging from classical to jazz. All proceeds from a free-will offering will go both to aid displaced Karen refugees at the Thai border and to care for disabled orphans in Changsha and Sanmenxia, China. Good Shepherd has long-standing commitments to both ministries. In fact, a mission team just returned in early September from visiting Karen refugees in Thailand.
Toronto-area women’s conference – A contemplative day conference for women, "Making Room to Enjoy God", is to be held on Saturday, November 7, from 9am to1:30pm at Runnymede Community Church, 60 Colbeck St, Toronto. It will be co-led by Terry Long, who is an associate director for the National House of Prayer and attends Church of the Messiah (Ottawa, ON). For information or to register people can go to www.quietpools.ca.
Blackburn Hamlet (Ottawa, ON) – For the second year, priests and parishioners took part in Life Chain 2015 on October 4 – an event organized by Campaign Life Coalition. They joined hundreds of others standing peaceably at strategic intersections around Ottawa holding signs supporting unborn children’s right to life.
St Chad’s (Toronto, ON) is welcoming the Rev Obi Maduakor as honourary assistant.
St Peter by the Park (Hamilton, ON) – The Rev Bruce Roberts has been named the new interim priest.
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
ACNA declared partner Province by Global South
The Anglican Primates of the Global South, a coalition representing the majority of the world’s Anglicans, met October 14-16 in Cairo and welcomed the ACNA as an official partner province of the Global South. At the meeting, they welcomed ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach to their Council with full voice and vote and rights of participation. At future meetings of the Global South, the Anglican Church in North America is invited to send official representatives, and Archbishop Beach will continue to have voice and vote in the Global South Primates Council. See the ACNA website for more detail.
Primate challenges us to evangelize – urgently
Speaking at Asbury Theological Seminary, Archbishop Foley Beach called for Christians to have a sense of urgency in sharing our faith in Jesus Christ, saying “don’t decide for someone else that they don’t want to hear the Gospel of Christ.” In offering ten reasons to share our faith, he said, “The brokenness around us in our world is so great,” Beach observed. “People are suffering, wounded, miserable, self-medicating and desperate for answers.”
Orthodox Church in America – ACNA ecumenical dialogue report
Following the historic meeting in Moscow in August between Archbishop Foley Beach and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, leaders from the Orthodox Church in America and the ACNA met recently to advance the relationship. They have agreed to focus future work on: understanding the history of Orthodox-Anglican relations; working through key theological positions, including our respective understandings of the priesthood; and impediments and implications of unity and communion. Learn more on the ACNA website.
Flooding in South Carolina
Archbishop Foley Beach asks us to pray for all those affected by the unprecedented rain and flooding in South Carolina. “Please pray for those who have lost loved ones, lost their belongings, lost their livelihood, and those who are reaching out with the love of Christ to their neighbors and communities during this time of tragedy.” At least 20 people were killed and thousands of homes have been flooded.
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Anglican Communion news
Global South conference cancelled due to security threats
Just days before it was to have begun, the Global South conference – in which ANiC’s Canon Paul Donison and Bishop Trevor Walters were set to participate – was cancelled due to security threats. Anglican Ink reports that “The threat of a terror attack has prompted the Tunisian government to cancel the Sixth South to South Anglican Conference scheduled to begin on 12 Oct 2015 in Carthage [Tunisia]. Approximately 150 Anglican leaders from Africa, Asia, and the Americas were set to begin the week long gathering at a resort near Tunis when organizers wrote to participants on 10 Oct 2015 saying the meeting had been cancelled.” The cancelled meeting was subsequently rescheduled for October 2016.
Global South and GAFCon Primates meet
With the Global South conference cancelled, Global South and GAFCon primates hurriedly arranged a Primates’ meeting in Cairo. Significantly, our Archbishop Foley Beach and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby were included in the meetings. The communique from that meeting – attended by the leaders of the vast majority of active Anglicans globally – contained a number of significant points:
||ACNA was announced as a “partner province to the Global South”, with Archbishop Foley Beach included among the Primates. In his October pastoral letter, Archbishop Eliud Wabakala (Kenya) wrote, “I praise God that the ACNA, birthed at our first Jerusalem Conference in 2008, is now recognised as a full Province of the Anglican Communion by Primates representing the majority of the Communion’s active membership.”
||The Primates agreed to attend the meeting in January called by Archbishop Welby and have agreed upon the agenda items they will put forward for that meeting.
||The participation of Archbishop Welby was “appreciated” and discussions were collegial.
||The independent Diocese of South Carolina, which is under the authority of the Global South, was commended for its faithful stand in the Gospel (despite relentless litigation by the US Episcopal Church).
||The Primates are grieved by the latest action of the US Episcopal Church in departing further from historic Christian teaching, this time in redefining marriage.
||Global South Anglicans “uphold the Biblical, orthodox faith of the Anglican Communion” in which unity must be based on the truth revealed in the Scripture.
||They will continue with their established ministry focus: evangelism, discipleship, mission, theological resources, economic empowerment, ecumenical relations and youth.
||Archbishop Mouneer Anis was reelected chairman.
Future discussion around this meeting and the planned January Primates meeting can be found on Anglican Unscripted here and here and in Anglican Ink here and here.
January Primates meeting seen as pivotal for future of the Anglican Communion
VirtueOnline reports that “The discipline of The Episcopal Church (and presumably the Anglican Church of Canada) will be the first item on the agenda when the Primates of the Anglican Communion meet in Canterbury in January…” Writing in his weekly American Anglican Council newsletter column, Bishop Bill Atwood states, “Here is the bottom line. If the January gathering of Primates does not fully address the real issues, the Communion will not survive—nor should it.”
Archbishop Eliud Wabakala (Kenya), who is Chairman of the GAFCon Primates Council, in his monthly pastoral letter, discussed “Just how much is at stake when the Primates of the Communion meet in Canterbury… next January”. He writes, “I believe this will be an historic meeting unlike anything that has gone before. There is now a shared realisation that the time for dialogue is over and there must be a decision that will settle the future direction of the Communion and free us from being dragged down by controversy and confusion.” In calling us to fervent prayer for the Anglican Communion, he stresses the “seriousness of the call to be a faithful watchman” [like the prophet Ezekiel], saying “This ministry is a matter of life and death.”
Discussing the mixed messages in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent sermon at the US Episcopal Church’s Virginia Theological Seminary, Canon Phil Ashey questions the possibility that the January Primates meeting will produce a positive outcome. He asks: “Is his sermon a preview of what is to come – using Gospel proclamation and Biblical language to try and hold together fundamentally irreconcilable theologies about God, Jesus, sin, salvation, discipleship and other essentials of the Christian faith? Is his sermon a preview of something we have seen before on this side of the pond – appealing with Gospel language and proclamation on the one hand, while on the other allowing leaders and churches to establish facts on the ground that are contrary to the obedience to Christ and his word that the Archbishop continues to proclaim?” Our hope must be in God, he concludes, and calls us to prayer.
Ecumenical agreements reached between Oriental Orthodox and Anglican Churches
The Anglican Communion News Service reports, “Historic agreements have been signed between Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches helping to heal the oldest continuing division within Christianity. An Agreed Statement on Christology… by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC), heals the centuries-old split between the Anglican Churches within the family of Chalcedonian Churches and the non-Chalcedonian Churches over the incarnation of Christ. In addition, the Commission has made substantial progress on issues concerning the Holy Spirit, which have continued to keep the Churches apart over the centuries…”
A follow-up article explains that the agreement includes the dropping of the “Filioque” clause in the Nicene Creed and provides historical context.
International news in brief
The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) House of Bishops will hold a special meeting February 23-26 focused on the motion to change the Marriage Canon at June’s General Synod. The Anglican Journal reports, “In a communiqué released October 26, the bishops said this meeting would “pay particular attention to the theology of marriage, the nature of episcopacy, and the synod’s legislative process” and “wrestle with how to honour our roles as guardians of the Church’s faith and discipline and signs of unity both locally and universally.” The question of legislative process—how General Synod 2016 will approach the divisive vote on whether or not to allow same-sex marriage—has raised some anxiety among bishops, and was brought up in the communiqué.”
The ACoC Diocese of Toronto is reported to have designated $0.5-million of its Ministry Allocation Fund to support Syrian refugees.
Wycliffe College in Toronto has launched a pilot Leadership Develop Program for Indigenous Church leaders.
A letter in a Guelph newspaper contrasts the “selfless” action of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, whichdonated an unused church building to an unaffiliated congregation, to the “mercenary practices” of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Niagara, which turned down a substantial offer from a local congregation, preferring to sell its unused church building to a high-density housing developer.
The Anglican Samizdat blog calls abortion “a Canadian disgrace” and notes that “Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has no law to protect the unborn. A baby can be killed in its mother’s womb at any age for any reason, including sex selection, convenience and post-conception contraception. 100,000 Canadian babies are burned, dismembered, disemboweled, decapitated and flushed from their mother’s womb every year. People get upset about seeing photographs of this atrocity and they get upset about a Kurdish boy drowned on a beach; the one thing that doesn’t upset Canadians is the stench of industrial scale death that lurks just beneath our renowned veneer of civility, a veneer that, considering what it conceals, is as disgusting as it is hypocritical. Wake up, Canada and force your politicians to act.” This evil can only be stopped if we have the courage to take a stand.
The Light Magazine carries an article with thoughts on the types of factors we can consider as we wrestle with how to cast our ballot. (Some of these factors are more controversial.)
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has sent a letter of congratulations to Canada’s prime minister-designate, the Hon Justin Trudeau, assuring him of our prayers and highlighting a number of issues such as freedom of religion, refugees, children and youth in government care, poverty, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, euthanasia, palliative care and relations with Indigenous Peoples.
While the mainstream media has largely ignored the fact that the gunman in the recent Oregon Umpqua Community College massacre targeted Christians, an article in Fox News discusses this fact. “The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christians… If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no or didn’t answer, they were shot in the leg.” The author writes, “Christians were martyred for their faith -- on American soil -- a fact mostly ignored by most of the Mainstream Media and the White House. But I reckon it’s politically incorrect to address the persecution of Christians.”
A long list of academics and legal experts are calling on Americans to resist the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision which purports to redefine marriage. Those who agree with their reasoning are asked to stand with these scholars.
North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry will be installed November 1 as Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church, taking over that position from Katharine Jefferts Schori. While he shares his denomination’s overriding liberal theology, he seems to advocate a less militant approach. You can read an interview with him here as well as a Washington Post article on his influences and style.
The US Episcopal Church will install its 27th Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, on November 1 at the Washington National Cathedral. VirtueOnline discusses what can be expected on Presiding Bishop Curry – more of the same revisionist theology and practice, but a more amicable demeanor. A full profile in The Living Church shows two sides to the man – both fun-loving and friendly as well as controlling and censoring opposing views.
Disgraced former TEC Diocese of Maryland Suffragan Bishop Heather Cook was sentenced to seven years in prison for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist last December while she was intoxicated.
Christian Today’s Ruth Gledhill reports that “Thousands of churches could be designated "festival churches" and closed down except for festivals such as Christmas and Easter under plans published today by the Church of England. The massive church shut-down follows plummeting congregations especially in the countryside where one in four parishes, about 2,000, have fewer than ten regular worshippers. The Church of England now has fewer than 800,000 worshippers in the pews on an average Sunday, according to latest figures. Numbers have dropped to under half that of the1960s.”
You can listen to Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali being interviewed on BBC about the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe.
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that “Church of England bishops have called on the British government to more-than double the number of refugees it will resettle in the UK over the next five years.”
The newly installed Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, who is the first female bishop in the House of Lords, is “challenging” us to stop using masculine pronouns to refer to God. Lee Gatiss responds to this old and tired argument.
Sydney Anglicans reports that “A capacity-crowd at the Sydney Synod has voted for a re-affirmation of marriage as between a man and a woman and called for all Australian Christians to respectfully engage in the public debate on redefining marriage.” The Synod also expressed its grief at the actions of the Bishops of Gippsland and Wangaratta “in undermining the Biblical doctrine of marriage and human sexuality”.
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald notes that churches in Australia are becoming more vocal in communicating the potential impact on society and on Christians and on freedom of religion in the event Australia adopts same-sex marriage.
Horrific reports of Islamic State militants’ barbarity continue to pour out of Syria. The Toronto Sun carried an article recounting how Christians – including children – are remaining strong despite unimaginable cruelty and dying for the faith. It states, “As ISIS conquers territory throughout Syria and Iraq to create a caliphate based on an extreme fundamentalist version of Islam, attacks on Christians have been particularly barbaric.” Christian Aid also recounts the story of 12 Christians who were tortured and executed, refusing to deny Christ.
The Islamic State recently released yet another video showing the execution of three Christian men. International Christian Concern reports that, in the video, the Islamic State threatens to execute another 280 hostages if a ransom is not paid. A priest who escaped the Islamic State after months in captivity discussed his ordeal with the BBC. He was comparatively well treated probably thanks to his humanitarian work in the area prior to being captured.
Evangelist Franklin Graham is one of the few who are loudly denouncing the Islamic State for its barbarity – and is receiving the scorn of the secular media for what they perceive as his intolerance.
An Iraqi Chaldean priest tells The Express of the horror of living under Islamic State rule in northern Iraq. He says that Christians who have escaped are afraid to tell of their experiences because the family and friends left behind in Iraq will be tortured or killed by the Islamic State in retaliation. He tells of the ultimatums of “convert or be killed”, of 100,000 people fleeing Mosul in one night, of Muslims turning on their long-time Christian neighbours, and of the genocide that has reduced the Christian population of Iraq from 2 million to 180,000.
Archdeacon Bill Schwartz (Cyprus and the Gulf) tells of his visit to a newly built refugee camp for internally displaced people in Baghdad. The camp was built, in part, with funds raised by ARDF. The camp provides housing, food, and medical care with funding managed through St George’s church to ensure accountability. He says the greatest need is employment for the refugees.
World Watch Monitor reports that Egyptian police raided a Christian satellite television station, Sat-7, which includes Arabic, Farsi and Turkish channels, reaching much of the Middle East with Christian programming. The police confiscated equipment and briefly detaining key staff members who might now face charges. Christian satellite television and Internet sites have been used powerfully by God to spread the Gospel in Islamic countries.
International Christian Concern also reports that children of Christian families are being abducted and held for ransom, with police refusing to assist or investigate.
An escaped “Chibok girl” – one of two hundred+ kidnapped in April 2014 by the Boko Haran Islamic militants – reports that many of the girls are still alive, some forced to marry terrorists. She also reported that any of the girls who refused to convert to Islam were executed.
In early October, BBC reported that a series of explosions near Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, killed at least 18 people. Boko Haran is suspected. “Some 17,000 people are said to have been killed since Boko Haram began its insurgency in 2009.” Yahoo News reports that on October 28, the Nigerian army rescued 338 people – mostly women and children – from a Boko Haram stronghold.
The Church of Uganda has committed to working to end female genital mutilation.
The Anglican Alliance reports that a food crisis is looming and the Church of Tanzania wants to be prepared to help those most affected. The crisis is the result of consecutive years of drought.
World Watch Monitor reports that a large number of churches in the Bukoba region of NW Tanzania have been destroyed by arson in the last few years – six in the last week of September.
All Africa reports that an estimated 700 Kenyans who had been recruited to join Al Shabaab and the Islamic State have gone AWOL and quietly returned home, but are finding it hard to reintegrate.
The Anglican Church of Burundi has received government accolades for its development work in the country, including helping improve farming, protecting the environment through soil conservation methods and training youth and adults in life skills. ARDFC is partnering with a diocese in Burundi on an agricultural improvement project, helping farmers improve production and escape poverty.
Sudan & South Sudan
The Globe and Mail reports that “An inquiry by the African Union has found horrific evidence of war crimes by government and rebel militias in South Sudan, including massacres, rapes, beheadings, forced cannibalism, ethnic cleansing and other atrocities.”
The Anglican Communion News Service notes the pivotal role played by the Church in brokering and building peace.
The American Center for Law and Justice reports that “India is taking major steps to stifle, and even criminalize conversion to, Christianity” through an ironically named “Religious Freedom Bill”. Violence against Christians has risen sharply in the 18 months since a Hindu nationalist government came to power. Christians comprise 2.3 per cent of India’s population – that’s 27 million Christians.
Christian women are particularly vulnerable in Pakistan to rape, abduction and violence. The Christian Post recounts the stories of several women. About 700 Christian women and girls are abducted and forced into marriages with their Muslim abductors, while their bereaved families have little recourse given the biased judicial system. Abducted girls are can be subjected to forced prostitution, trafficking and domestic abuse.
Asia Bibi, the Christian mother who has been on death row for five years, accused and convicted under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, is expected to have her case heard by the country’s Supreme Court early next year. Pray for justice and for an end to these routinely abused blasphemy laws.
Christian Today reports that Christian missionaries are being threatened by an extremist Hindu group which is demanding they leave the country. Nepal’s new, supposedly secular, constitution contains an anti-conversion clause. Two churches have been recently bombed.
A report in Anglican Mainstream tells of the ongoing challenges in Nepal due to destruction caused by the earthquake last spring and the approaching cold weather. It also accuses the Hindu-nationalist governing party in India of attempting to pressure the Nepalese government to make Nepal a Hindu State. When this failed and the constitution declared Nepal a secular state, India imposed an unofficial, but very real, embargo on goods traveling in and out of Nepal, which is a land-locked country. Saying that Nepal is now facing acute shortages of fuel, medicine, commodities and basic supplies as a result of this embargo, the writer appeals to the international community to hold the government of India to account and pressure it to lift the sanctions.
The media is reporting that “After two years of negotiations, Myanmar's government signed a ceasefire agreement with eight local ethnic armed groups on Thursday morning, one of the nation's largest peace deals since it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. But the deal fell far short of the hoped-for nationwide ceasefire.” The Karen National Union was a leader among the eight groups that signed, however, ten other armed ethnic groups have not signed.
The communist country’s three-decade old one-child policy has been changed to a two-child policy. The Globe and Mail reports that “The end of the policy after 35 years caps a tumultuous era of coercive family planning that often horrified the outside world and had become economically injurious as China faces a reckoning from the dramatic greying of its population… By 2030, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences expects China to be the greyest society on Earth. Today, the country counts almost five taxpayers for each person drawing a pension; by 2030, the ratio will fall to roughly 2:1” However, Life News notes that this does not mean an end to forced abortion and draconian sanctions on couples who have more than the allowed number of children. The change in policy is driven by the “demographic disaster” China faces as a result of its policy, not by a desire to end human rights abuse.
Relevant Magazine briefly reports on persecution of Christians in 10 counties and regions: Iraq, Syria, Iran, India, Pakistan, Sudan, Nigeria, China, North Korea, and Crimea – the part of the Ukraine taken over by Russia. Worth reading!
Roman Catholic Church
The National Post reports that Roman Catholic bishops, at a synod considering pastoral care for families, have softened Vatican doctrine toward divorcees – by giving priests discretion to allow them to partake in communion – but strongly rejected gay marriage at the end of one of the most divisive synods of recent times.
Resources for ministry
Preaching – Dr J I Packer offers sound advice on preaching which will “… impact the hearts, habits, opinions, affections, and lifestyles of individuals and communities with moral force and intellectual persuasion.” Read a summary here
Staying out of court – The Church for Vancouver website has a cautionary tale of a dispute between a Vancouver church and its senior pastor that ended in the courts. The attorney/arbitrator writing the article concludes: “What can congregations, pastors and church leaders do to avoid the public airing of dirty laundry? It’s not rocket science . . . they must have clear, written procedures regarding church discipline and termination, particularly in relation to senior leadership positions. Their rules need to be fair and transparent and must be conveyed and acknowledged in writing by their leadership hires. If they have clear internal policies it is unlikely that courts will assert jurisdiction over church disputes”
Liturgy for cleansing – A church in England created and used a liturgy for cleansing and healing of the church following the exposure of years of sexual abuse by clergy in that church.
Resources for Christian living
39 Articles – Canon Phil Ashey continues to explore the 39 Articles which are so foundational in Anglicanism. See his short videos on Article XXII, Invocation of Saints, and Article XXIII, Of Ministering in the Congregation, part 1 and part 2.
Reformation Day – October 31 is Reformation Day, marking the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door. Listen to an interesting 5-minute recording giving context and colour to this important event in Church history.
Packer’s wisdom – Crossways has posted a number of video clips of J I Packer on a series of “Crucial Questions”. The website also offers a list of “50 books J I Packer thinks you should read”.
Wrestling with wrath - Tim Challies, in summarizing Dr J I Packer’s discussion of God’s wrath in his classic work Knowing God, concludes that “God is not cruel in his wrath. He is not arbitrary. And his wrath will never extend to the ignorant or innocent. He will apportion his wrath with perfect fairness upon those who have chosen to face it.”
Hospitality is inconvenient and yet hospitality is key to building community within the church and to reaching our neighbours. Hospitality even plays into loving children and planting church and studying God’s Word together. Unflinching hospitality is really pretty foundational and yet western culture tells us our home should be our sanctuary and we need deadbolts to keep out people who would intrude on our space, our time and our leisure. Tim Challies offers a convincing argument for embracing the inconvenience of a hospitable home.
Giving – What is the minimum giving required of me as a Christian? John Rinehart discusses Biblical principles.
The man who stood behind Ravi Zacharias – Many people have heard of Ravi Zacharias and his powerful global apologetics ministry. But have you heard of DD Davis? Without DD Davis, you likely would never have heard of Ravi Zacharias. Read “the rest of the story”.
Christian celebrity – Tim Challies writes a very thoughtful and even convicting post addressing the phenomenon of Christian celebrity, what it is, why we buy in to it, and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Heaven tourism – Are you perplexed about all the books by those claiming to have visited heaven during near-death experiences? Read one commentator’s overview and summary of the “heaven tourism” book genre. Christian leaders are strongly cautioning about these books, saying they peddle “Christ-less and cross-less religion”.
Marriage - You're married to the wrong person! Tim Challies explains why that's good news.
Public school – A highly recommended book helps and supports parents who have kids in the public school system.
Unprecedented challenge to Christianity – Tim Challies describes We Cannot Be Silent by Dr Albert Mohler as a “…genuinely courageous work. It closely and critically examines the defining moral issues of our day—sex, gender, and sexuality—and stands firm on the unpopular, traditional, biblical viewpoints. Mohler begins by positing “The Christian church in the West now faces a set of challenges that exceeds anything it has experienced in the past. … This is a revolution of ideas—one that is transforming the entire moral structure of meaning and life that human beings have recognized for millennia.”” The book comes highly recommended.
Just for fun
I really didn't mean to push all your buttons. I was just looking for mute.
You can’t keep up with the Jones when you are committed to radical generosity. ~ Tim Challies
The real measure of your wealth is how much you would be worth if you lost all your money and possessions.
Have you ever met a truly generous person who was chronically discontented and unhappy?
And now a Word from our Sponsor
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV
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