Displaying items by tag: North America
Many churches have either been destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Ida. The Baptist director of missions said that more than 80 Southern Baptist churches in Louisiana were damaged by the storm. ‘We have churches ranging from desperate to recovering, and the desperate ones need help now. Insurance rates are out of this world. It's going to be tough for them. But most of our churches will be okay in the long run. It's just right now, we have a crisis and need all the help we can get.’ Thirty of the most severely damaged churches were in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. Methodist Bishop Swanson said it is too early to gather damage assessment. New York churches were also severely damaged. A parish pastor describes the damage as ‘ten times worse than the last hurricane.’
One week after Hurricane Ida came ashore over half a million people are still without power. Some of the hardest-hit areas could be without power until 29th September. Mayor David Camardelle said, ‘It looks like a bomb went off. We have no water, we have no electricity, we have no food.’ Residents have been waiting in long queues for water, ice, food and fuel, and the situation has been made worse by extreme heat without air conditioning. On 9th September forecasters watched category 3 Hurricane Larry and Tropical Storm Mindy that are heading towards Bermuda and Canada causing ‘significant swells’ along America’s east coast. Louisiana’s Governor said, ‘We know there are a lot of people out there who are hurting. We're going to continue to work hard every single day to bring additional relief and to make progress.’ But Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy said residents need more help now.
Ida, the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in Louisiana, hit as Category 4 while the region's hospitals were under siege from rising Covid cases. Debbie and her family cowered on a stairway landing while four feet of muddy water rushed into her home. She and her son had earlier safely rescued her elderly parents from their home, but now they prayed the roof would not collapse on them all. ‘God blessed us that we all survived,’ she said after they were rescued. Her experience is just one of the tens of thousands rescued by crews in high-water trucks, helicopters and swamp boats desperately searching for survivors. Pray for Louisiana communities beginning the huge task of clearing debris and repairing damage. They are facing the depressing prospect of weeks without electricity in the stifling, late-summer heat because the region's power grid is down. On 2 September, New York City declared a state of emergency after flash flooding: see
The Dixie Fire is the largest of nearly 100 major wildfires burning across a dozen western US states, including Alaska. Two mountain communities were incinerated, and a utility company blacked out 51,000 customers to prevent new blazes. Two weeks after the fire destroyed Greenville, the Caldor Fire a few miles southeast exploded and ravaged Grizzly Flats, a forest community of around 1,200 people, destroying more than 50 homes. Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in El Dorado County. Both fires grew by tens of thousands of acres in two days. Numerous resources were put into the Susanville area, with 18,000 people. Residents were warned to be ready to evacuate. By 19 August over 2.4 million acres were burned in 104 large fires and complexes in twelve states, involving over 25,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel.
On 30 July President Joe Biden announced his intention to create four key international religious freedom roles in his administration. Rashad Hussain will become ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom; he previously served in the Obama administration countering anti-Semitism and protecting religious minorities. Khizr Khan and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum will be commissioners on international religious freedom. Both have a background in human rights advocacy. Biden’s nominee for special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism is Deborah Lipstadt, who also has a strong background in advocacy against persecution and founded the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University.
Over the next ten years CfaN will train, equip, and launch 20,000 evangelists for mass evangelism all over the world. This August, instead of recruiting thousands, they want just a limited number of students. Instead of training for two years, it will be an intensive three-month programme. Those accepted as one of these pioneer evangelists will be trained by Daniel Kolenda personally, along with the whole CfaN team and other world-renowned evangelists at its headquarters in Orlando, Florida.The bootcamp will not be for the faint of heart; this three-month intensive training includes rigorous components of study and service and is a fast track to the field. It culminates with a three-week initiation in Africa that will put everything learned in the classroom to test. Students who graduate will have access to preach the gospel in Africa alongside a Gospel Crusade team.
She was going to try out for the Olympics. Then in February Quanesha injured her femur. ‘Eleven weeks of frustration, limitations from physicians, doubt from others, and not being able to train was a big challenge. My coach definitely didn’t think I would be able to compete at the US trials for a spot on the Olympic team.’ But she would not be held down by negativity. ‘Being an Olympian is a promise God made to me before the trials or injuries. I held on to that promise through the good and bad. Being an Olympian is great, but it could never be as fulfilling as the joy of knowing how my faith was tested beyond measure and I held on to God’s promise with all the trust I had, and He never left my side.’ On 30 June Quanesha qualified for the Olympics.
An ongoing anti-Christian campaign in Canada has resulted in churches being attacked and burnt down. Those responsible include far-left terrorists with a Marxist ideology whose sole purpose is to strike fear in Canadians for practising their faith. Most of the churches burnt and defaced serve indigenous Christians. ‘Burning down churches is not in solidarity with us indigenous people. We do not destroy people's places of worship,’ said Jenn Allan-Riley, assistant Pentecostal minister at Living Waters Church. Seventeen of the 45 buildings, across six provinces and the Northwest Territories, have suffered fire damage or been completely burned to the ground. The terrorism began following discoveries of unmarked graves of indigenous children on the sites of Catholic boarding schools. Terrorists also targeted non-Catholic churches. Calgary’s House of Prayer Alliance Church was torched, leaving 230 Vietnamese refugees with nowhere to meet. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the terrorism.
The Bootleg Fire in Oregon is the largest of 300 raging in the USA, more than 80 of which are described as major blazes. It has burned through over 300,000 acres, prompting thousands of evacuations. Over 2,000 firefighters are tackling the fire, one of the largest blazes in Oregon's history. Since starting on 6 July, it has already scorched an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. The fires raging across 13 US states are spurred by heatwaves and high winds. At least 160 homes and buildings have been destroyed so far. Fire incident commander Joe Hessel said, ‘We are running firefighting operations day and night. This fire is a real challenge, and we are looking at a sustained battle for the foreseeable future.’ It threatens to destroy thousands more properties as it continues spreading.
A new survey reveals Americans who identify as having no connection with religion has declined slightly. The survey was part of ‘American Values Atlas’, based on phone interviews with over 50,000 Americans throughout 2020. One of the biggest takeaways from the survey is that the rise of the ‘nones’ has slowed. The term ‘nones’ describes Americans who do not identify with a particular religion and includes atheists and agnostics. Even with this slight decline, religiously unaffiliated Americans constitute a larger share of the American public than the three most prominent religious groups in the US: white mainline Protestants (16%), white evangelical Protestants (14%), and white Catholics (12%). All other religious groups accounted for less than 10% of population, including Christians of colour, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists.