Displaying items by tag: Religion
The Church of England will hold an unprecedented ‘act of repentance’ service for the medieval expulsion of Jews in 1290 and other anti-Semitic acts. The move comes as the 800th anniversary approaches of the 1222 Oxford Synod, which introduced notorious anti-Semitic laws, including forcing Jews to wear clothing to distinguish them from Christians. Despite the CofE not existing in the 13th century (Henry VIII created it much later), Justin Welby’s office said it is exploring the idea of such a service, in conjunction with the Council of Christians and Jews, as well as the potential for a liturgical resource that might be offered to local churches to model an appropriate symbolic repentance. David Rich of Community Security Trust labelled the apology a case of ‘better late than never. The historic trauma of medieval English antisemitism can never be erased, and its legacy survives today with rising anti-Semitism’.
Many churches will be running a wide range of school holiday clubs throughout the summer months. Pray for the themed weeks to inspire children as they discover their Father in Heaven’s love and the friend that they have in Jesus. May the new songs that they learn be sung at home with their families and friends. Pray for God to give His strength and stamina to the many adults who will be guiding the children through various craft activities, sports and games, presenting interactive mime and drama, storytelling, singing and dancing, messy play and much more. May they find many opportunities to introduce their groups to Christ in each session. Pray for the clubs aimed at children who would normally receive free school meals. Pray for the evening clubs and café clubs aimed at older children to be fun and safe for all. May every Christian holiday club be used by God to open avenues between churches and communities.
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.
Financial data released by the Church of England shows that each bishop costs almost £120,000 a year, in addition to receiving £46,000 per year as a stipend. ‘As a member of General Synod for over a decade I have questioned the cost of bishops’ lavish lifestyles and opulence at the top while parishes up and down the country struggle to meet their bills, and even close their door,’ said Sam Margrave, a lay member of General Synod and a former local councilor, in a written statement submitted before last weekend’s synod meeting. The CofE spends, on average, £70,800 on the ongoing maintenance of each bishop’s house; 26 bishops live in houses that have more than six bedrooms.
Society has been shaken over the past year, revealing that we need wise leaders in the church and in the public arena more than ever before. The Evangelical Alliance is inviting Christians working in the arts, media, academia, business, education, civil society, politics, healthcare and all other sectors to enrol in their Public Leaders Course. A public leader is a Christian who is intentional about bringing their faith to their leadership wherever God has placed them. The ‘public’ element means they are open about their Christianity and their leadership role is not internal to the church. The ‘leadership’ refers to where they have influence: workplace, local community, online, a social group. We can pray for filmmakers, writers, entrepreneurs, educators, health workers, civil servants, lawyers and all in the secular workplace to hear God’s call on their lives to live out their faith and draw others into God’s kingdom.
As all eyes turn to Tokyo for the Olympics and Paralympics, Japanese Christians are inviting the global Church to unite for one million hours of prayer for the spiritual transformation of their nation. An international prayer movement (Japan1Million) is led by the Japan international Sports Partnership and the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association. Their partnership is driven by a vision to see the Church in Japan grow to ten million people by 2024. Working towards that vision, they had hoped to reach a million Japanese people during their Olympic outreach year. Covid closed those doors, but one door remained open; the door to prayer. With less than 1% of its population of 126 million attending church, the Japanese are the world’s second largest unreached people group. Most people in Japan have not been to church, read the Bible or encountered any Christians. Committed prayer is needed for a significant spiritual breakthrough.
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.
As many in England and across the Land are gripped by the euphoria of football and the Euros, multitudes are learning how to prophesy and believe in Hope. With the singing of ‘its coming home’ everywhere, people may not realise it but they are actually declaring Hope. In the same spirit of faith, may we declare as believers that ALL of God’s Will and promises for our family of nations are coming home! May revival, transformation and restoration visions or prophecies that many have been waiting for over many years finally begin to be fulfilled in this generation. On 8 July, believers joined a Zoom call to pray and declare God’s will and Kingdom promises over our land. This is a regular event. Those who miss the prayer gathering will find it is available on YouTube and Facebook to watch again.
Church and science can seem like separate worlds, but many scientists appear in pews and pulpits across the UK. ‘Encouraging Christian Leadership in an Age of Science’ (ECLAS) affirms the work of faith-filled scientists who bring their vocation in science to the church, as members and active friends of congregations. ECLAS want to help them create spaces of engagement, build confidence and competence around scientific issues, and foster thoughtful, prayerful communities working in the world. They are funding 22 churches in England and Wales creatively to change the conversation between the church and the scientific world, focussing on topics from climate change to mental health, with the aim of showing how engaging with science can lead to a deeper experience of faith. ECLAS are supported by a grant of £400,000 to enable congregations and organisations to host these projects and shepherd follow-up projects for one or more additional congregations by 2022.
China Aid, which provides legal aid to Christians in China, recently tweeted, ‘New Cultural Revolution starts. Government tells students’ parents and teachers to hunt all religious books, antagonistic books and overseas books. Everyone is mandated!’ CBN News said the communist government does not want any disruptions for the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. ‘They really fear there could be protests, a pro-democracy movement going, leading up to and during the Olympics. So this sends a message to the parents: “Look, no outside influence. We don't want any collusion with foreigners here”, because they know that foreigners are pro-democracy. They are indoctrinating students, and also sending a message to the adults.’ Pray for the world to recognise false religion when they see communist party flags in pulpits.