Displaying items by tag: Religion
Mission organisations say that the church is the largest social force in China not controlled by the Communist Party, and the Communist government prohibits large meetings and non-communist social media sites. They are also ‘rewriting’ the Bible to reflect the government’s communist worldview. Ask God to bless church leaders with supernatural wisdom and increased unity with one another (1 Corinthians 1:10). Ask Him to move powerfully in the lives of the victims of flooding that displaced millions and killed hundreds recently. Pray for the young generation of Chinese to experience a hunger for truth and freedom that leads them to salvation (Luke 6:21). Also hospitals in Xinjiang Province must abort and kill all babies born in excess of its mandated family planning restricting ethnic minorities to three children including full-term new-borns. In addition to forced birth control and sterilisation, religious minorities are subject to massacres, internment camps, torture, organ harvesting, and disappearances. See
The co-chair of the new anti-racism taskforce, the Revd Sonia Barron, has said that the Church of England must not just ‘pay lip-service’ to issues of racism. On 13 October the Church announced the launch of a taskforce, which will propose actions that the Church should take to promote greater racial equality across the Church. The work of the group will include sifting through 160 recommendations that already exist, most of them made by the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC) since 1985, and identifying any that have been ignored and could be implemented. Their recommendations will be presented to the Archbishops’ Racism Action Commission, which will be launched in spring 2021.
Local missionaries are finding ways to expand God’s kingdom on Mindanao island by holding Bible studies and church services in areas so remote it requires three hours through rough terrain to reach by motorcycle, and five hours during the rainy season. Although the island is untouched by coronavirus it is a nest for communist rebels, the New People’s Army, and the Islamic extremist Abu Sayyaf Group. Terrorism is rampant. The armed wing of the Communist Party has waged a protracted guerrilla war against the government since 1969. The government, USA, and EU have designated it as a terrorist organisation. Where the pandemic has reached and lockdowns are in effect, missionaries are using Zoom, Facebook messaging and other internet means for regular fellowship, prayer meetings and Bible studies. Filipinos sharing the Good News of Jesus need our prayers as they face Islam and Communism.
There is ‘a serious threat to the survival of the Christian faith in Chad,’ says Rev Clément Hlama. Islam dominates Chadian society, and discrimination against Christians is normal. Poor and uneducated Christians are vulnerable to exploitation and are the most severely affected by 2020’s multiple disasters. Flooding affected 400,000 people. Christians in rural areas lost homes and harvests. Covid-19 lockdown damaged small businesses and prevented farmers travelling to their fields. Food prices shot up, causing malnutrition to escalate. Measles and meningitis outbreaks earlier this year are in decline, but the viral disease chikungunya and a type of vaccine-derived polio is continuing to spread. Cholera is endemic in parts of the south. This would be bad enough for any country, but Chad’s frail health resources cannot begin to cope. Islamic charities are active amongst the Christians, Islamising them through offers of aid.
Latin American churches have played a key role in helping those affected by coronavirus. Their role goes beyond running food and medicine banks. ‘It’s a case of being there for people and keeping in contact, without a religious agenda. Sometimes all you can do is hold somebody's hand in the dark.’ The Most Rev Gregory Venables said: ‘Pray that we will have wisdom in accompanying people through the next weeks and months. Because it's not going to go away quickly, we've got to act wisely.’ This area has five out of the ten countries globally with most coronavirus cases. There's illness and insecurity. Most Latin American countries are economically bankrupt. People live hand to mouth; they have nothing. The situation is very desperate. Some of the longest lockdowns in the world and strict rules don’t seem to have stopped the spread.
On 5-6 October pilgrims from across Senegal flocked to the holy city of Touba, where they slept, ate and prayed together for the Magal religious festival, lasting about a week. Despite coronavirus, roads to Touba were congested. Buses packed with pilgrims inched along and tollbooth attendants greeted people with ungloved hands held out for change. It was one of the biggest events to be held anywhere in the world since the start of the pandemic. Up to five million came after the leader of the Mourides, the Muslim sect that organises the event, issued a call for pilgrims to come despite the pandemic. The Magal’s emphasis is on community and hospitality. Pilgrims don’t book hotel rooms. Touba’s residents open up their homes and travellers bed down, many in each room. Lunch and dinner, in the Senegalese tradition, are usually eaten off a communal plate.
You may be apart but you can sleep out together. London City Mission are inviting people to spend the night of Saturday 21 November sleeping outside to raise money and awareness of those in London facing this winter without a home. The 2020 Sleepout event is in support of the Webber Street Homeless Day Centre, which offers practical help and the hope of Christ to the homeless. This year it will be a virtual, fun activity with online talks from those working at Webber Street with other people joining you from all over the country live via Zoom. The organisers say, ‘There’s loads of exciting ways to jump into a sleeping bag and make heaps of difference. It’s an exciting and challenging way to get others to support you and raise money together for people living on the streets in London. For more information go to
Ebrahim’s ordeal began in 2013 when he was sentenced to one year in prison and two years of internal exile in the remote town of Sarbaz for ‘propaganda against the regime by establishing and organising Christian gatherings’ and ‘having contacts with anti-revolutionary networks outside Iran’. He expected to be released in 2015, but instead he was retried and sentenced to an additional five years in prison for ‘acting against national security’. On 27 September, he had to answer a further charge of ‘propaganda against the state’, carrying a prison sentence of three to twelve months. Thankfully, the next day the case closed for lack of evidence. Iranian Christians are thankful that the prosecutor did not press charges, but request prayer that Ebrahim will know the Lord’s peace during this time of increased pressure from the authorities, even while continuing to serve the internal exile sentence.
Due to their work being sensitive names of places and people are omitted in this prayer request, but God knows who you mean when you pray. D was in NWB for five months before safely returning to the UK with his family. They are all currently in quarantine and then will enter further training. Please pray for God to prepare a community for them to return to in the mission field. Pray for God to protect their business and the team that they left behind and for visa options to open up for those wishing to join the team. Pray also for God’s guidance as they work out their fundraising plans and for open doors to be revealed so that their ministry grows. Please pray for protection for non-Covid patients and staff, and for enough income to keep going; Ask for wisdom for R, who is unsure when to return to the UK for home assignment, and for any visas that have been delayed by closures in immigration due to Covid.
Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds have confirmed that on 12 September they had their four-month-old son Wilfred baptised by Father Daniel Humphreys at Westminster Cathedral. While little is known about the PM's religious beliefs, Carrie Symonds is a practising Catholic. As it happened, this event provided a solid alibi for Boris when he was accused of travelling to Perugia for a short holiday. The accusation was withdrawn after it became apparent they had mixed up Johnson with former PM Tony Blair. A spokesman said that journalists could ‘confirm with the priest’ that the PM was not in Italy but instead at his son’s baptism.