Displaying items by tag: Britain
Five hours of prayer every day, soup kitchens, sharing the Gospel with street people, impromptu guitar jams, amazing beards in the world of a Franciscan friary - all these are featured in a BBC documentary, Friars on a Mission (available for another 19 days on iPlayer). This unique insight into the simple and missional lifestyle of five Franciscan friars in Bradford has testimonies from them and those they have helped. Brother Benedict - who was once promiscuous and heavily involved in drugs before having a life-changing encounter with God - enthuses in a thick Mancunian accent, ‘I’ll always be raving for Manchester, but I’m raving for the Lord.’ Tony, a homeless man, adds, ‘If it wasn’t for the friars, there is a very good possibility I’d be dead.’ Warmth, humility, and joy - not to mention an infectious sense of humour - radiate from them all.
God has given you and me the privilege and responsibility of blessing people, communities and land in the name of Jesus, not interceding (although we must do that as well) but speaking out directly. This is powerful when done as part of everyday life. Where this biblical practice is being recovered, salvation and community transformation are taking place.
(written by Roy Godwin, The Ffald-y-Brenin Trust)
Felix Ngole, a Christian, has won the right to challenge his expulsion from a social work course at the University of Sheffield because in a discussion on Facebook he had expressed his Christian views on marriage and sexuality. Mr Ngole, a second-year masters student, sought permission on Wednesday for the High Court to review the university's decision judicially after it rejected his internal appeal. The university said that his comments breached a code of professional conduct, but the High Court granted permission for a judicial review. The Christian Legal Centre is representing Felix and will continue to support him, as the case has wide-reaching ramifications for the freedom of Christians.
Political parties need to get candidates in place before the deadline of 11 May. Any British, Irish or eligible Commonwealth citizen over 18 with £500 deposit can stand. Pray for God’s guidance for committees in the constituencies as they select candidates. Proverbs 22:29 says, ‘Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings, he will not stand before unknown men.’ Pray for men and women to be chosen who excel in their work. All of Labour’s 229 MPs were automatically re-selected, but 12 opted to stand down. Conservatives short-listed candidates for target seats without inviting applications: four MPs stood down. Liberal Democrats hope to have candidates in all seats by next week. UKIP’s selection process has begun; they hope to have candidates nationwide. Pray that there will be no manipulation or inappropriate ‘deals’ affecting choice in the 650 seats.
Satan has regular tactics. They have recurred across the ages. He loves to conceal himself. Therefore in our personal lives or national situation we could fail to spot him at work. We need to ask a simple question: is this situation creating fear, unbelief or uncertainty? Nationally, as the General Election approaches, there is a fear factor. We saw it dominating the arguments in the Referendum. We need to ask, ‘Is this the normal political hurly-burly or something more sinister?’ We can take a stance in our prayers and say ‘Lord, we stand against the spirit of fear, intimidation and manipulation’. We also see it in the fear of terrorist attacks. Terrorists create fear; we can pray for agents of fear to be brought into the light. Pray for God to enable the police and intelligence forces. Pray against the enemy’s lies and manipulation, particularly where potential terrorists are concerned.
The Church of England has about 4,700 schools, educating about one million children each year. A senior CofE official has suggested that parents should lose the right to withdraw their children from RE lessons, because it is being exploited by those who do not want their offspring to learn about Islam and by parents with ‘fundamentalist’ beliefs who do not want their children to learn other world views. Derek Holloway, head of RE in the CofE’s education office, said pupils risked being left with little understanding of religious belief and without the skills to live in a modern and diverse country. This is not confined to any one particular religion or area of the country. At present parents can insist that their children take no part in RE lessons and do not have to provide a reason. Schools must comply with their request.
Data released by the Metropolitan Police showed that the number of reported acid attacks in London rose by 74% in 2016; over 1,800 attacks involving corrosive fluid have been reported since 2010. Acid is a popular weapon for gangs, as it is easy to obtain and it can be difficult to identify the attacker. Schoolchildren are increasingly using acid as a weapon instead of knives. The attacks, known as ‘dosing’, happen when youths smuggle acid or ammonia into school hidden inside drinks bottles. One 18-year-old told the Sunday Times that many were using bottles of cheap household cleaner as weapons. He claimed he has carried acid since he was 12, and said that he could get it for £5 and mess someone’s whole life up. He added, ‘A lot of people ain’t got the heart to stab people. It’s just easier to squirt someone.’ The police are appealing for parents’ help in tackling the problem.
An email message from ‘Christians in Parliament’ says, ‘We have been encouraged by increasing numbers of people at our weekly chapel services, with guests preaching from Genesis, the parables of Jesus, and Ruth. During this hectic election period please pray that all Christian candidates will continue to trust the Lord and will find their identity in Him rather than in their political position. Pray that Christians will be elected who will seek to serve God and all people.’ Due to the general election, they have had to cancel some events, but they ask us to pray that when regular events resume the new chapel service series on ‘Faith or Fear’ from Mark’s Gospel, weekly Bible studies for MPs and staff, a dinner for Christian MPs, and afternoon tea in the House of Lords will all have God’s blessing. See also:
Yesterday the EU Brexit negotiation team had ‘constructive’ talks with Theresa May; tomorrow EU leaders will meet to adopt their joint negotiating position on Brexit. Downing Street described their talks as ‘constructive’, after Mrs May’s previous tough stance on key issues of freedom of movement. Also, Angela Merkel has told German MPs that the future EU / UK relationship can only be discussed once the problem of the UK payments to the EU budget has been resolved. Shortly after her speech, The EU trade commissioner stated that the EU will definitely reach a free trade deal with the UK after Brexit. The dates that the two ladies are working towards are: 29 April - EU members (excluding the UK) adopt Brexit negotiating guidelines. 8 June - UK election prior to Brexit talks. 24 September - German parliamentary election, with Mrs Merkel seeking a fourth term. 29 March 2019 - deadline for ending the talks on UK exit terms.
During Theresa May’s Easter message, she talked about religious freedom and said people should be able to talk freely about their faith, including their faith in Jesus Christ. She urged everyone to uphold the country's ‘strong tradition’ of religious tolerance and freedom of speech. ‘We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ. We must be mindful of Christians and religious minorities around the world who do not enjoy these same freedoms, but who practise their religion in secret and often in fear.’ She added, ‘People should be confident about Christianity's role in the country.’ Alastair Campbell, editor-at-large of the New European, said the prime minister should be careful about merging her faith with her politics.