Displaying items by tag: Religion
Two devout evangelical Christians whose 10-year-old son is in intensive care with a brain tumour are in a High Court battle with doctors. Specialists want a judge to allow them to limit the treatment they provide to the youngster, saying the boy cannot recover and should be made as comfortable as possible without further ‘invasive’ procedures. The boy's parents, who are separated, disagree and say doctors should not limit treatment options. They ‘lavish’ the youngster with love, and play gospel music to him. The judge began considering evidence in the family division of a high court on Tuesday. Lawyers representing the boy's parents said life was ‘precarious and uncertain’, and people sometimes made unexpected recoveries. The parents believe there are things that could be done, but that doctors are giving up.
Since its launch last December, Clergy Hosting has attracted eleven clergy to take up the challenge and to offer hospitality to destitute migrants and asylum-seekers. They know through conversations that there are many more clergy and lay people who want to open up their homes and provide this vitally needed welcome. They are hosting an information evening in London on 20 April where clergy who are already hosting guests will be sharing their experiences alongside those being supported by Clergy Housing. People who attend this or any other open evening will learn how the Housing Justice scheme works and be able to ask questions about it.
This year Germany will have elections at the national and local state level. There is one decisive factor that we can pray into. It is the preamble of the Federal Constitution (referred to as the Basic Law of the German Federal Republic), which reads as follows, ‘In awareness of their responsibility to God and man, the German people have drawn up for themselves this constitution.’ Such a reference to ‘God’ by political leaders is very unusual in Europe. It originated in 1949, after the Nazi period. The Germans know what happens when politicians take responsibility for their work only ‘before man’. Also, once a month members of parliament from a cross-section of all parties meet at a prayer breakfast before the start of the parliamentary sitting. In this place of prayer they always have the example of the person Jesus of Nazareth before them. May Germany’s politicians powerfully meet Jesus in these meetings.
82% of Venezuelans live in poverty. Opposition lawmakers attempted to fire judges accused of a judicial ‘coup’ to keep socialist President Nicolas Maduro in power. Youths build barricades, burn rubbish and hurl rocks at soldiers and police, who respond with tear gas and water cannon, in the political turmoil. This violent political crisis is raising concerns for democracy and stability in this volatile major oil-exporting country. While Venezuelan churches usually ask parishioners to help spread peace and love throughout their communities, now in Caracas the Episcopal Church’s bishops are calling parishioners to support violence against the government. They handed out leaflets last Sunday, calling on members to participate in civil disobedience against President Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party. The leaflet said, ‘It is time to ask very seriously and responsibly if civil disobedience, peaceful demonstrations, just claims to national and international public powers, and civic protests are not valid and timely.’ The Church called the government ‘morally unacceptable and therefore reprehensible.’ See
Moves are under way in Malaysia that could see parts of the country implement full sharia law with inhumane punishments; there are reports that the Deputy Prime Minister could agree to support this in parliament. Currently sharia courts have limited jurisdiction in family matters, with the main criminal courts operating at federal level making decisions based on the constitution. Even this situation can create significant problems for Christians, particularly converts from Islam. Their conversion is not recognised in the sharia court system, so they are still officially Muslims. Christian women converting from Islam cannot legally marry a Christian man, as sharia forbids Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. There have been several previous attempts to extend the jurisdiction and sentencing powers of the sharia courts, with bills that included amputation of limbs for theft and death for blasphemy and apostasy. Government can only implement this if parliament changes the constitution.
What makes you angry? I'm not talking about that frustration you feel when you've just missed a train, or your computer crashes - I'm talking about the kind of deep anger that rages against the injustice we see in our fallen world. When I heard about the situation facing our church family in northern Nigeria, that's how I felt - angry and sad. There is a humanitarian crisis in the region, leaving millions on the brink of starvation. This is bad enough in itself. But thousands of Christians, who have already been forced to flee their homes to escape Islamic fundamentalists, are frequently being denied access to the vital aid that they need to survive by local leaders, simply because of their faith in Jesus. Some of our brothers and sisters have been eating leaves - they had nothing else to eat.
At a ‘creation care fair’ at St Cuthbert’s Church in Toronto, Anglicans and community members had opportunities to ask church and secular leaders how they were responding to the challenge of climate change, with many questions about whether or not the Anglican Church of Canada will divest from fossil fuel companies. Its General Synod will be making a decision about this in 2019. While the Canadian Church and government address environmental challenges, President Trump signed an executive order to return to coal fuel. The order directs the US Environmental Protection Agency to begin re-evaluating immediately the Clean Power Plan that was published just ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in France. The Plan was to reduce US power plant emissions dramatically over 25 years, and was a bargaining tool when negotiating the Paris climate accord. See:
Ex-Muslim Nabeel Qureshi has asked for prayers as he undergoes chemotherapy for cancer and struggles to eat. In his post he also said he saw Jesus in a dream. ‘It's something that I have never seen before. A lot of people who leave Islam and become Christians do so because they have seen Jesus in a dream or a vision. I received dreams and visions when I was seeking God, and I saw things that led me to the Gospel. Later, I was thrilled to see Jesus in a dream. I had been praying for it. I had been asking for guidance and I think I got some.’ To read his story and find out about his unusual prophetic act, click the ‘More’ button.
Cuba was an atheist country during the Castro era. In 1960 Rev Naranjo spent two years in a labour camp for his evangelical preaching. Now, his church is full of life with 200 worshippers on Sundays, providing clinical care for disabled children and hosting a Bible study group. Across Cuba tens of thousands gather for evangelical worship every week even though the government still doesn't allow religious groups to construct their own houses of worship and have demolished church buildings. Presbyterian pastor Joel Ortega Dopica said, ‘There's a revival of churches of diverse denominations; all of them are growing, not just in the number of members, but in their capacity to lead and act in society'. Dopica is the president of the Council of Churches of Cuba, an official association of 32 Protestant denominations.
The Apostle Paul refers to himself and his brothers and sisters in Christ as ‘co-workers’ with God. If communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ is a task, the team to accomplish that task is the Church. If the team doesn’t pull together the job won’t get done. Pray for the Church across Britain, that we will work together with great effectiveness to complete the task of sharing Jesus with every man, woman and child in this land.
(Lyndall Bywater, Salvation Army)