|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
December 6, 7pm – Anglican 4th Day Advent Ultreya at St Cuthbert’s, 11601 82 Avenue, Delta, BC
December 6, 1pm (Eastern) – ANiC Council holds an online meeting
December 21, 3pm – William John+ inducted as rector for Good Shepherd South Asian (Calgary)
January 6-10 – ACNA College of Bishops meet
January 20 – 22 – AMMiC meeting of clergy, evangelists and those in-charge of plants/projects
January 25 – Bible-in-a- Day seminar, Richmond Faith Fellowship, Richmond, BC
January 28-29 – Ontario clergy gathering on the “Craft of Preaching” (Information to come)
February 7-8 – “Rise up” men's retreat at St Luke’s (Pembroke) with the Rev Garth Hunt
April 8-10 – Ontario clergy silent retreat (Information to come)
April 2014 – Women of the Word workshop at St John’s Vancouver. Date to be determined.
May 5-8 – Western region clergy and spouse retreat, Malibu Camp, BC
May 6-8 – March for Life, Ottawa, ON
May 20-24 – Anglican 1000 church planting regional conference, Toronto, ON
June 25-28 – Anglican Church in North America Assembly 2014 at St Vincent College, Latrobe, PA
November 5-7 – ANiC Synod 2014 in Ottawa
Welcome Sojourn (Vancouver)
Sojourn is the name chosen by ANiC’s newest congregation. This church plant meets Sunday evenings in the University Chapel building just one block from the University of BC campus. We are praying that Sojourn will attract many university students.
Warmly welcoming to Canada the Rev William John
Good Shepherd South Asian (Calgary, AB) is welcoming its first rector. The Rev William John is moving to the frozen Prairies from Dubai, United Arab Emirates where the average winter high temperature is 23 degrees C and summers average 40 degrees. William+ was Presbyter-in Charge for the Urdu/Hindi congregation at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Dubai. He was recommended to ANiC’s Bishop Stephen Leung by Bishop Azad Marshall who is the Bishop of Iran and Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf for Urdu-speaking congregations
Please pray for a smooth adjustment for William+ and his wife Aster and daughter Anum; for the speedy issuing of a work visa; and for the securing of a good rental facility for Good Shepherd South Asian. (They currently meet in a home.)
The induction service for William+ will be Saturday, December 21, 3pm at Our Lady of Peace Maronite Catholic Church, 504 – 30th Avenue, NW, Calgary, AB. Everyone who is able to attend is urged to go and, by your presence, encourage this fledgling congregation and bless William+ and his family. A reception will follow the service.
Report on ANiC’s November 16 electronic synod
Thank you for praying! The synod went smoothly and the technology worked effectively. Three council members were elected: Michael Bentley, David Gibbs and Ed Lewis. Minor changes to the canons were ratified to clarify that, in order to be considered an ANiC parish and have full voting privileges in synod, congregations must be incorporated and have charitable tax status. Also, a resolution was passed authorizing Council to apply to Industry Canada for permission to continue as a not for profit corporation, under the new Canada Not For Profit Act.
Audited financial statements for the past fiscal year (2012-2013) were approved and an operating budget for this fiscal year, of just under $1.12 million, was accepted. By holding the synod electronically this year, we estimate that ANiC, together with our congregations, saved well in excess of $100,000. Next year’s synod will be in Ottawa on November 5-7, allowing time for Bible teaching, fellowship, celebration and even a little business.
Advent letter from Bishop Charlie
Writing on behalf of the ANiC House of Bishops, Bishop Charlie Masters’ Advent letter urges us “… to make use of the brief days of Advent not only to prepare rightly to celebrate the birth of Jesus but more importantly to prepare our lives for the glorious return of that same Jesus who… soon, very soon will return, the culmination of all things and all his promises.”
Mini-conference for AMMiC clergy, evangelists & leaders of projects & church plants
Bishop Stephen Leung is gathering the clergy of the Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada:
Date: 20-22 January 2014
Venue: AMMiC’s new office at160 - 4611 No 6 Road, Richmond, BC
Purpose: To review and reflect on the current outreach and pastoral work of each church plant; and to find ways to grow spiritually and numerically through sharing, Bible teaching and building up regional support for AMMiC churches
Men’s retreat in Pembroke, Ontario – February 7-8
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) is hosting a “Rise Up” men’s retreat led by the Rev Garth Hunt. Men from all ANiC churches are warmly invited.
Prayer seminar, Port Perry, Ontario – January 24-25
The Rev Garth Hunt will lead a “Pursuing Intimacy with God” seminar at New Song Anglican Church in Port Perry on the weekend of January 24-25. See the church website for full information.
Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada
As you plan your year-end charitable giving, please help us reach our goal of funding the construction of a training centre in a poor community in the Diocese of Recife in north east Brazil. More information is on the ARDFC website. You can donate online or through your church.
Report from Dean Archie Pell on ministry in Pakistan
Bishop Stephen and Nona Leung and Dean Archie and Caron Pell were in Pakistan recently at the invitation of Bishop Azad Marshall, bishop of Iran and the Gulf, to speak at a clergy conference. Because the conference was postponed a week on short notice due to the uneasy political situation, only Dean Archie and Caron were able to stay the extra week for the conference.
Dean Archie reports: “The Pastors' and Church Workers' Conference – which included participants from non-Anglican churches as well as from outside Pakistan – was a huge learning experience for Caron and me. Many people came to us to tell us their stories, stories that reminded us of the sufferings of the early church. Women often surrounded Caron during breaks to talk with her. Many pastors and their wives wanted me to pray with/for them, for their ministries, and for ill people in their families. Lots of people wanted to have their pictures taken with us (mostly with Caron) because they were so surprised and grateful that Canadians would take the risk of coming to be with them. It gave us a whole new window into Anglican ministry in Muslim countries. And we also gained knowledge of the difficulties facing Pakistan -- from people at the conference, from Muslims who approached us in public to talk with us, and from a meeting with the Governor of Lahore.”
Anglicans for Life conference and march, May 7-9 in Ottawa
St Peter & St Paul's (Ottawa, ON) will host a one-day conference for Anglicans which is timed to link to the national March for Life in Ottawa. The conference is on May 7, followed by the march on May 8 and a prayer and fellowship time on May 9. You are warmly invited! See the poster.
Since 1969, more than 4 million children have been killed by abortion in Canada – and their mother's deeply wounded. This year, another 100,000 babies will be put to death, at taxpayer expense. By participating in this conference and march, you will stand up for the most vulnerable, babies and their mothers, and show legislators that you support a culture that values all human life.
The conference will feature Bishop Charlie Masters, ANiC’s coadjutor bishop, Dr John Patrick, president of Augustine College, and Georgette Forney, President of Anglicans for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
ANiC priest caught on video ministering in Pentecostal Church!
The Rev Ken Bombay is well known to many in ANiC and has served in pastoral care at St George’s Burlington. Recently, Ken+, who is now serving as interim pastor at First Assembly Pentecostal Church in Calgary, Alberta, invited the Rev Paul Donison, rector of ANiC’s St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa) to speak at First Assembly. Paul+ began with a dramatic recitation from the Gospel of Mark, then preached on Jesus’ healing ministry. His sermon was titled: “Why I still pray for healing with a chronically sick child”. You can access the video of the service here. Paul’s ministry begins at about the 50 minute mark. Take the time to watch. You’ll be blessed!
Western region clergy and spouse retreat planned, May 5-8
Bishop Trevor Walters invites ANiC’s western region clergy and their spouses to set aside May 5-8 for a retreat at Young Life’s spectacular Malibu Camp up the BC coast in Princess Louisa Inlet.
Dates: May 5 (Monday) - 8 (Thursday)
Speaker: The Rev Jim Salladin
Activities: Malibu Camp offers a spectacular natural setting with a variety of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, sailing and kayaking.
Transport: Price includes the boat trip up the coast and along Princess Louisa Inlet.
Cost: $350 per person for shared accommodation; $450 per person for single occupancy.
In the media…
Bishop Ron and Jan Ferris are mentioned in a Toronto Star article about their son Ramesh and his advocacy in the fight against polio. Ramesh “was recently inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame for his tireless work helping to raise awareness and money toward eradicating the crippling and potentially deadly disease.”
Parish and regional news
Blackburn Hamlet Community Church (Ottawa, ON) is now an ANiC parish! Bishop Don Harvey made the announcement that the church had “graduated” from its former church plant status on September 29 at the congregation’s 5th anniversary service. Congratulations!
Holy Trinity Filipino (Edmonton, AB) – Pray for this congregation and the rector the Rev Robert Gomowad who are targets of a campaign to discredit the church by claiming it is not genuinely Anglican. Pray for God’s encouragement and blessing and grace to endure this persecution.
St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON) are offering a series of lectures entitled “Anglican Explosion”. You can access audio of previous sessions on the church website, including: Anglican Roots: Political or Theological? (by ANiC Chancellor Mike Donison), Challenges to Orthodox Essentials (by Dr Greg Bloomquist), The East African Revival (by the Rev Paul Donison), and Jerusalem 2008: GAFCon 1 (by the Ven Desiree Stedman). Future sessions are: Nairobi 2013: GAFCon 2 (by the Rev Paul Donison) and Where are we headed? (by Bishop Don Harvey).
Good Shepherd (St Catharines, ON) participated in a community food drive and succeeded in collecting about 2000 pounds of food. As part of its Christmas outreach program, Good Shepherd will be showing a Billy Graham My Hope video.
St Aidan’s (Windsor, ON) – Dave, a newsletter reader, brought to our attention an article (see page 10 and 11) in the October edition of The Banner, a newsletter of the Anglican Church of Canada’s St John’s the Evangelist Church in London, Ontario. This article discusses the September court ruling which deprived ANiC’s St Aidan’s of its property and funds. While not taking St Aidan’s side, the author expresses his view that:
“The compassionate and common sense position would have been to let St Aidan's parishioners have the property (ie give it to them) or sell it to them at a modest price and not initiate a suit to claim it as Diocesan property. The parishioners were the ones who had raised the money over the years to build and operate the facility.
(a) We do not need more church buildings as we are currently closing and deconsecrating them around this Diocese and others in the Anglican Church of Canada
(b) The congregation members would not have been upset and could have continued to worship there as Christians, and Anglicans in the world wide communion that we enjoy. Albeit they had a different view of our approach to same sex marriages, which is still a view held by many of our devout Anglicans parishioners.
(c) We would have saved the litigation costs over $700,000 all of which came from many donations of devout Anglicans through their apportionment amounts and donations forwarded from parish fund raising endeavours.
(d) This decision, while no doubt legal, does not live up to the second and great commandment Love Thy Neighbour as thyself'.
“Shame on our Diocesan legal advisors.”
Christ the Redeemer Multicultural (Toronto, ON) will celebrate an adult baptism on December 22. Praise God! The church is organizing Christmas dinners in several homes to host international students and new immigrants who are far from their families during the holiday season. See their Facebook page for more details. And pray for more “labourers” to help in this “ripe” harvest field.
Christ the King (Edmonton, AB) has a new website. Check it out!
St John’s (Sudanese) Anglican Church has a new meeting location. The church has moved from New Westminster to the Middle Eastern Friendship Centre at 13483 108th Avenue, Surrey.
St John’s Vancouver is mentioned in an Anglican Planet article on Christian adult education.
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) celebrated its 5th anniversary on November 17 with Bishop Don Harvey. On November 16, Bishop Don consecrated St Luke’s cemetery!
St Matthias and St Luke (Vancouver, BC) – The church choir will perform at Vancouver’s Oakridge Shopping Centre’s December 20 at 6:30pm. Pray with them that shoppers will stop to listen and will hear the true meaning and the good news of Christmas.
Be sure to email your parish news to Marilyn Jacobson.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
Tornadoes affect ACNA churches in the US Midwest
Churches in both the ACNA’s Diocese of Quincy and Diocese of the Great Lakes were affected by tornadoes on Sunday, November 17. Worshipers at churches in the Diocese of Quincy had their services interrupted by warning sirens, and hurriedly made their way downstairs. Their churches were spared, but one of the largest tornadoes to hit Illinois in 60 years devastated nearby communities. The diocese is coordinating a relief effort.
Later the same day, Christ the King Anglican Church in Kokomo, Indiana lost its worship space and all of their belongings as a tornado destroyed the mall in which they meet. Thankfully, the storm hit when the church space was not in use. See the ACNA website for more information. Please remember the relief efforts and the needs of Christ the King (Kokomo, Indiana) in your prayers.
Liturgical calendar introduced
A great video produced by ACNA’s Christ Church Overland Park, Kansas introduces the Church Calendar and is so timely as we begin the church year with Advent.
TEC’s Bishop of Pittsburgh OKs same-sex blessings; Archbishop Duncan responds
Responding with sadness to Bishop Dorsey McConnell’s letter allowing same-sex blessings in the US Episcopal Church (TEC) Diocese of Pittsburgh, ACNA’s Primate Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote, “Scripture and Tradition present counter-cultural models for the ordering of society in marriage and family (as in everything) through sacrifice, chastity and self-denial… there is a fundamental divergence on the moral and pastoral responses we in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh are called to offer."
Prior to the formation of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop Bob served as TEC Bishop of Pittsburgh.
ACNA church receives unexpected gift of church building
Like many ACNA congregations, St Matthew’s in Johnstown, PA has been blessed by the support it has received from churches from other Christian denominations. After several years of renting space, St Matthew’s received an amazing answer to prayer when it was given a church building – free. Then more gifts came from the local Roman Catholics allowing St Matthew’s to furnish their new home with alter, pews, baptismal font and candles. St Matthew’s first service in the building was October 6. Archbishop Bob Duncan celebrated at the dedication service on November 20.
GAFCon and the 39 Articles
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and chairman of GAFCon gave an insightful lecture on the 39 Articles and GAFCon to the Ridley Institute which is associated with ACNA’s St Andrew’s Mount Pleasant (South Carolina). You can read or watch the lecture via the GAFCon website.
Remedies for restoring the Anglican Communion
Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis. Bishop of Egypt and Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, spoke earlier this year in Toronto about the conflict in the Anglican Communion. Reporting on his “comprehensive” address, the Anglican Planet says: “He began by asking: “Are we still a Communion when ‘our fabric has been torn at the deepest level,’ when many of its Provinces are in broken or impaired communion…?” Mouneer compared the conflict in the Anglican Communion to an adulterous husband who hopes to reconcile with his wife while still continuing an amorous relationship with his mistress.”
Having thoroughly diagnosed the problems in the Communion, Bishop Mouneer then prescribed remedies including: following up on previous recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates Meetings; recognizing and supporting faithful Anglicans who have been disenfranchised; returning to conciliarity in the governance of the Communion; instituting a Covenant; and restructuring both the Anglican Communion Council and the Anglican Communion Office so they are representative of the Communion.
Ongoing Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon) coverage
Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, is losing respect for how he has been characterizing his meeting with GAFCon Primates in Nairobi last October. An article in Anglican Ink provides a good overview of the issues and journalists George Conger and Kevin Kallsen discuss the matter further in the November 23rd edition of the Anglican Unscripted video newsmagazine.
Writing in the American Anglican Council newsletter, Canon Phil Ashey discusses how the Global Anglican Future Conference has stepped into the void and is functioning as an “instrument of unity” in the Communion. He also discusses the East African Revival, repentance and church unity which is found only in Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross.
ACNA’s Bishop Bill Atwood has written two excellent articles recently. The first article offers a rationale for addressing Biblical sexuality in the most recent GAFCon Communique when the first GAFCon Communique also dealt with sexuality. Specifically, he notes that the Church of England is on the brink of allowing same-sex blessings. In the second article, he discusses the authority vacuum in the Communion created by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s failure to exercise righteous leadership during the past decade – and the hope that GAFCon is filling that vacuum.
The Anglican Planet provides an overview of the GAFCon gathering.
Archbishop of Canterbury talks about Christmas celebrations gone wrong
Expressing dismay at the stress caused by unbridled consumerism at Christmas, Archbishop Justin Welby is urging “families to "show" love and affection rather than try to "buy it".
International news in brief
The Anglican Journal reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury will visit Canada, April 7-9, “as part of his personal commitment to get to know the primates (senior archbishops) of the Anglican Communion and learn about each of their local contexts.” He will meet with Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) in Toronto.
The church building which was formerly home to ANiC’s St Hilda’s congregation has been demolished. The ACoC Diocese of Niagara sold the property for $1.9 million. In 1957, a parishioner had donated the property to the parish for the token amount of $2.
The Anglican Journal reports that “Archdeacon Dr Geoffrey Peddle was elected as diocesan bishop in the [ACoC] diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador at a synod on Nov. 16”.
On November 30, the ACoC Diocese of New Westminster elected the Rev Canon Melissa Skelton, an American, as its new diocesan bishop. The Vancouver Sun reports: “The people drawn to her growing Seattle parish have been “mostly evangelicals looking for beauty and mystery,” said Skelton… [She is] Widely understood among Anglicans to be a “progressive” on moral and religious issues…” The Diocesan website has more background on Canon Skelton.
The Anglican Journal reports: “Before the end of 2013, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and officers of General Synod will appoint members of a commission to carry out a broad consultation about changing the marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage.”
Bishop Ron Cutler has been elected coadjutor in the ACoC Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI.
Bishop Dorsey McConnell of the US Episcopal (TEC) Diocese of Pittsburgh has written his diocese authorizing a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships and stating that he is willing to ordain individuals in same-sex relationships. Archbishop Robert Duncan – Primate of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), bishop of the ACNA’s Diocese of Pittsburgh, and former bishop of TEC’s Diocese of Pittsburgh – responded with sadness and noted the “…fundamental divergence on the moral and pastoral responses” between the ACNA and TEC.
Christianity Today reports that a Wisconsin Federal Court judge has ruled that the housing tax break afforded clergy is unconstitutional. The ruling came in response to an atheist group’s claim that the long-standing IRS’s clergy housing allowance violates the First Amendment. A long appeals process is anticipated. However, if upheld, it is estimated that this ruling could “reduce the take-home pay of some pastors by up to 10 percent.”
The Washington Times reports that the Washington [DC] National Cathedral plans to charge a $10 admission fee.
A US Episcopal Church (TEC) backed rump diocese in South Carolina is attempting more legal shenanigans, this time by adding Bishop Mark Lawrence and three other church leaders from the now independent Diocese of South Carolina, to the ongoing court case. Anglican Ink and the Anglican Curmudgeon (aka lawyer Alan Haley) have more details.
The much anticipated report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality (aka Pilling Report) is proposing the Church of England follow the same path taken in the Anglican Church of Canada and the US Episcopal Church – “facilitated conversations” and a “local option” to bless same-sex relationships. One member of the Working group, Bishop Keith Sinclair, refused to sign, instead issuing a minority report which can be seen here. Andrew Symes offers the best summary of the report. TitusOneNine compiles historic and related statements. It also notes that the recommendations of the report are in breach of Lambeth Resolution 1:10 and will cause further breaks in communion with Global South Provinces.
Bishop Greg Venables responded by quoting 2Timothy 3:12-13 “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” A round-up of media coverage on the report is here. A video of the news conference is here.
The Church of England (CoE) general synod overwhelmingly supported the proposed procedure to move forward with legislation for women bishops. However, the Telegraph reports that “the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, warned members… there are still areas of disagreement to overcome before final approval can be given next year.”
General synod also approved the creation of a task force on re-evangelizing England.
In response to pointed questions, general synod was told that Stonewall, a LGBT lobby group was invited by the CoE to help prepare “anti-bullying” materials for CoE schools. The Rev Andrew Symes writes:
“It is good that the Church of England wants to help its own schools have a zero tolerance attitude to bullying. But Stonewall is the wrong choice of partner to have invited for help with this project. Stonewall are one of the leading lobby groups behind the redefinition of marriage, which runs directly counter to the Church's teaching. Their input will skew any anti-bullying programme to focus on "homophobia" when other forms of bullying are far more common. Stonewall's agenda is not just to prevent bullying of children for perceived sexual orientation. It is to use the curriculum to normalize and celebrate homosexuality. High quality, professionally produced resources to this end can be found on their website.”
VirtueOnline reports that Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has publicly criticized Prince Charles, “…for failing to uphold the supremacy of Jesus Christ… [by participating] in Hindu worship and his veneration of a Muslim Sufi 'saint’'” during a trip to India. Bishop Nazir-Ali said these actions were at variance with his future role as Defender of the Protestant Christian Faith.
British media jumped on a comment made by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey when, as part of an address on evangelism and revitalizing the church, he noted that the “Church of England could be one generation away from extinction”. Anglican Ink provides more.
The Diocese of Grafton has appointed Australia’s first woman diocesan bishop. However, as David Ould reports, the Rev Dr Sarah Macneil is an advocate for ordination of those in same-sex relationships and, more importantly, is on record as arguing that salvation was not won through Christ’s atoning death, but his “presence is what brings life, peace, forgiveness of sins and right relations to God.” These views are in opposition to the Church of Australia’s stated doctrine.
In a subsequent article, David Ould reports on divergent and sometimes alarming responses to his queries from existing Australian diocesan bishops. He writes, “Behind these discussions what is rapidly becoming clear is that Dr Macneil’s appointment may very well become the public crystallisation of profound differences that already exist in the Anglican Church of Australia, not least in the House of Bishops itself.”
Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva was elected primate of the Church of Brazil.
In a video, Bishop Samuel Azariah of the Diocese of Raiwind, moderator of the Church of Pakistan, said that despite years of intense persecution, Christianity in Pakistan is growing and Christians are resilient. On Sunday September 22 suicide bombings at All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar killed 127 and injuring 170 others, many women and children.
Despite growing persecution by Hindu extremists, Christianity in India is growing. International Christian Concern reports that many high caste young people are turning to Christ. It states that in the past decade the Christian population has grown from 24 million to 71 million.
80 people were publicly executed on November 3 in seven cities across the county, some for the crime of possessing Bibles.
The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haran which has been targeting Christians in Northern Nigeria is reported by the CBC to be kidnapping and enslaving Christians brides. “In a new development, Boko Haram is abducting Christian women whom it converts to Islam on pain of death and then forces into "marriage" with fighters — a tactic that recalls Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in the jungles of Uganda.”
Bishop Sosthenes Eze (Enugu North Diocese, Nigeria) speaking to his diocese warned that Nigeria would be thrown into anarchy “unless Christians and indeed all Nigerians turn to seek the face of God”. He cited corruption, violence, terrorism, crime and greed and called on the nation to repent.
Anglican Ink reports that “The Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya has denounced a call by Mombasa clergy that they be given guns to protect themselves from the depredations of criminals and Islamist militants.”
Bishop Grant LeMarquand, the area bishop for the Horn of Africa, and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis are appealing for support for the growing church in Gambella, Ethiopia where poverty, natural disasters, and tribal conflict make the work of the existing 70 churches difficult. They are appealing for financial and prayer support for the clergy.
With the political division of Sudan in 2011, the leadership of the Episcopal Church of Sudan has been considering whether it should also reorganize into separate provinces to better serve the 31 dioceses in Sudan and South Sudan.
The Africa Globe reports that, having witnessed the terrorist activities of extremist Islamic groups in other African states, Angola’s authorities have “…taken pre-emptive action and decided to ban the Muslim religion, which they consider a cult, NOT a religion.”
Christian Today reports “a sharp increase in the number of Christian Scriptures distributed in some of the countries where believers suffer the highest levels of persecution”. In addition to the 32 million Bibles the United Bible Society reports distributed, there were hundreds of millions more portions of Scripture printed and the unequalled access to Scriptures online. We are asked to pray for the protection of those distributing Scripture in countries of persecution and for those who are receiving God’s Word. Christianity is in danger of becoming extinct in its ancient homelands because of a rising tide of sectarian attacks, says a British cabinet minister.
The National Post reports that British cabinet minister and practicing Muslim, Sayeeda Warsi, has taken up the cause of violence against Christians, calling it a “global crisis” and the most grave challenge facing the world this century. She noted that Christians have become scapegoats for extremists, and “There are parts of the world today where to be a Christian is to put your life in danger. From continent to continent, Christians are facing discrimination, ostracism, torture, even murder, simply for the faith they follow.” Minister Warsi plans to hold a summit next year in London to address this persecution of Christians.
The Toronto Star reports, “Virtually every human rights group and Western government agency that monitors the plight of Christians worldwide arrives at more or less the same conclusion: Between 200 million and 230 million of them face daily threats of murder, beating, imprisonment and torture, and a further 350 to 400 million encounter discrimination in areas such as jobs and housing. A conservative estimate of the number of Christians killed for their faith each year is somewhere around 150,000… at least 75 per cent of all religious persecution… is directed against Christians…”
Preaching from a tablet – Tim Challies offers tips for preaching from an iPad or tablet.
Feeling weary, pastor? – Vaughan Roberts’ exposition on Luke 10:17-24 will be a great encouragement.
Resources for Christian living and activism
Personal evangelism – A helpful series of posts offer advice on preparing to witness effectively.
39 Articles – Canon Phil Ashey explores Article IV, “Of the Resurrection of Christ”, in his series of brief videos on the 39 Articles.
Children groomed to be victims of paedophiles – LifeSiteNews reports that the government of PEI has issued a guide to parents encouraging them to expose their young children to pornography and engage in what most would consider totally inappropriate sexual behaviour. This push to sexualize children is at work all over Canada, the US and the western world.
Money matters – Saying how much he has benefited by godly counsel on how Christians are to use their money, Tim Challies passes on four questions to ask when considering a purchase.
Christmas stress – Here are a few holiday themed articles: Russell Moore in How to Deal with Holiday Family Tensions tells us Christians are called to be peacemakers, to honour one another, to Christ-like humility, to persevere to maturity, and to an eternal perspective. Elisha Galotti in Five Ways to Make the Holidays More Peaceful, offers very similar counsel.
Narnia and beyond – We marked the 50th anniversary of C S Lewis’ death recently. The current issue of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Faith Today magazine, which is freely available online, has an article exploring five books written by Lewis that “deserve your attention”.
Bible app for kids – Free! - See www.bible.com/kids.
Just for laughs
Self-defense instructor: "What steps would you take if someone were coming at you with a large, sharp knife?"
Student: "BIG ones."
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. ~ C S Lewis, The Last Battle
And now a Word from our Sponsor
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us… This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:1-7 ESV
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