Displaying items by tag: Religion
Rt Rev Hugh Nelson is the new Bishop to the Armed Forces: he was formally licensed by Justin Welby on 20 September. This role will be in addition to his work as Bishop of St Germans in the Diocese of Truro. Speaking to Premier Christian Radio, Bishop Hugh said, ‘One of the commitments that I make as Bishop to the Forces is that I will pray for two things, every single day while I'm in this post. One is that the day will come and come as soon as possible when there's no need for any armed forces, when peace breaks out and the kingdom of God fully arrives. And in the meantime, I will continue to pray every single day for our men and women who are out there on the frontline trying to keep peace and justice in the name of this country.’
Brazil has one of the largest Christian populations in the world; 91% say they are a ‘Christian’ of some form. The Kingdom of God has exploded in Brazil since 1960 as the nation has been saturated with truth in and through Jesus Christ. Jesus said (Luke 12:48), ‘To whom much is given, from them much is required’, and Brazil has certainly been given much from God. The Church has become a strong mission-sending organisation in one generation. Today, God desires it to go to a new level of seeing mission mobilisation emphasised in every local ministry so that every believer contributes to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The Brazilian Church is known as a praying Church; pray for a massive prayer movement across the churches and denominations emphasising intercession for an explosion of church-planting, leading towards communal movements to Christ among all unreached people groups.
Flights carrying Haitian migrants from the US back to their homeland continue daily. The ongoing mass expulsion comes in response to a growing humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico border. Over 12,000 migrants, mainly from Haiti, camped under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after wading across the Rio Grande from Mexico. Activity at the border has increased significantly in recent years. Border agents stopped nearly 200,000 people last month, a significant increase from the 50,684 arrests in 2019. UN officials say almost a million people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras have fled to Mexico. Mexico may top 100,000 new asylum claims this year, breaking a new record. Recently a federal judge decided officials could not use Title 42 law to deport migrant families from the US to Mexico. Lawyers serving the Biden administration immediately appealed the ruling. Mission Cry is sending 25,000 Spanish Bibles to migrants all over Mexico and hope to reach 2 million people.
For many years we have interceded for the persecuted Christians in China. A significant trend in the past year has been for even more church raids: according to an International Christian Concern report, ‘not only were churches shut down or demolished, but pastors and Christians are regularly arrested.’ Open Doors estimates that there are 97 million Christians in China, many of them in unregistered underground house churches and therefore considered to be ‘illegal’. Christians are not the only religious minority facing persecution; between 1 and 3 million Uyghur and other ethnic Muslims have been put in internment camps where they are taught to fall in line with the CCP. In January, the US state department described China's treatment of Uyghurs as a ‘genocide.’ China has also reportedly violated the rights of Falun Gong practitioners and Tibetan Buddhists.
The National Day of Prayer for Schools is on 28 September. A few years ago, Scripture Union research found over 95% of UK youth were not connected to a local church. 99% of young people engage in mainstream education. Many believe that if we want to reach the unchurched 95%, we need to learn how to serve our schools and meet these youth where they are. Due to the challenging situation the pandemic created for children, young people, schools, staff and families, church groups across the UK are prayer-walking their communities, praying God’s blessing over their local schools, and seeking God for breakthrough in schools. On 28 September Christians will join an online prayer gathering in the morning, with prayer videos released every hour, before they gather to prayer walk in locations across the UK later. For more information see
Catholic hospitals will defy Queensland’s euthanasia laws that force them to allow doctors to administer end-of-life drugs in their facilities. Health provider Mater said, ‘We will not tolerate non credentialed doctors coming on-site, nor will we assist in the provision of voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in any of our facilities.’ The VAD laws were signed off by parliament and are due to go to a vote later this month. Catholic facilities provide one in five hospital and aged-care beds in Queensland and want the same right to oppose VAD at their facilities, as is the case with South Australian laws. The legislation is all but certain to pass but many oppose allowing unaccredited doctors to enter hospital rooms without notice or permission and then to assist in a medical procedure that is dangerous and undermines patient safety. The Queensland government is forcing Catholic hospitals, against their values and beliefs, to open their facilities to assisted dying.
Argentines are far more anti-Semitic than they acknowledge and nearly 40% of the population believes that ‘Jewish businessmen’ are benefiting from the Covid pandemic. ‘In Argentina, we have a very distorted vision of ourselves’, said an award-winning columnist. ‘We think we are not anti-Semitic, but in many ways, this is an anti-Semitic country.’ He went on to say that myths about the Jews are part of Argentina's popular culture. The study’s main author was ‘surprised’ by the magnitude of antisemitic sentiment, particularly among younger people. Argentina is home to over 200,000 Jews, the largest community in Latin America.
Police are appealing for information after 39-year-old Hatun Tash suffered a knife attack at Speakers' Corner in London on 25 July. The former Muslim, now a Christian speaker, was treated by the ambulance service then taken to a central London hospital. See Meanwhile Christian street preacher Joshua Sutcliff who was fined and prosecuted for evangelising in London on Good Friday 2020 was acquitted recently, but another judge upheld a Covid fine against Christian preacher Andrew Sathiyavan, who was out for the same reasons the same weekend. The Christian Legal Centre were pleased that Joshua was acquitted but are concerned that prosecution came this far. ‘We are seeing a lot of inconsistencies from the police and the judiciary in these cases. Christians have been easy targets during the pandemic while other groups gathering in significant numbers have not been targeted by the police.’
Tatjana Schoenmaker set a new record in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke, and she is using her success to point others to God. After breaking another record in the preliminary rounds for the 100-metre breaststroke, she ended up claiming the silver medal. In all her competitions in Tokyo, Tatjana has worn under her green South Africa swim cap another cap proclaiming her faith with a blue Jesus fish and the phrase ‘Soli Deo Gloria,’ meaning ‘Glory to God alone,’ printed on the side of it. She has used her platform to discuss her Christian faith before the Olympics began in an Instagram post, ‘Father God, may Your will be done, may Your peace fill us up, may we praise You no matter what the outcome, may we be empowered by Your strength to give our all and may we forever be in awe of Your goodness!’ she wrote. ‘Thank You for bringing us to this very moment.’
A new wave of Christian persecution began after two Muslim men were arrested and charged under the new anti-conversion law. Hindu nationalists, including BJP members, claimed they had been involved in forceful conversion of 1,000 people. Using the arrests as an opportunity for political gain, BJP politicians publicly warned against illegal conversions of Hindus to non-Hindu faiths. Since then, International Christian Concern has documented at least thirty Christians in Uttar Pradesh being attacked by radical Hindu nationalists. In each of these incidents, perpetrators justified their attacks by falsely accusing their Christian victims of engaging in fraudulent conversions. ‘This is a grave situation for Christians in the state,’ a church leader, requesting anonymity, said. ‘There is zero response from the Yogi administration, which empowers the attackers to do more. The attacks are perpetrated by the hardcore Hindutva activists who are supported by politicians.’