Displaying items by tag: Religion
The Commonwealth Games start Thursday 28th July and end Monday 8th August in Birmingham. They are known as ‘the friendly games’. As thousands of athletes and officials arrive from the 54 nations, The World Prayer Centre wants to prepare a highway of blessing and thanksgiving. The team have joined with Gas Street Church in Central Birmingham for a service that will include worship led by Tim Hughes and Gas Street music, together with prayers and messages from countries including, The Caribbean, India, Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. It’s free to attend this powerful event on Saturday 16th July 2022 for an afternoon of celebration to welcome and bless the nations and territories of The Commonwealth to the UK. Between now and 28th of July we can pray for God to watch over the police and security teams, keeping them safe and giving them wisdom as they keep our streets free from violence.
Police officers walked into a church Bible class and took into custody Pastor Kabashi Idris of the African Inland Church and evangelist Yacoub Ishakh of the Independent Baptist Church. They were charged with violating public order under Article 77 of Sudan’s penal code, and then released. A radical Muslim neighbour had filed a case against them, prompting the police to arrest them. He had told police his children were singing the songs of the Christians and feared they might convert to Christianity. His house is near the church and last month he filed a complaint that the church was disturbing the peace by worshipping in song. A guilty verdict could result in a three-month prison sentence, a fine, or both, and the court could issue an order to cease worship services.
The mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee is ‘devastated’ after a court ruled his life support should be removed. This was because it decided that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ Archie had died. His mother said, ‘Basing judgment on an MRI test that he is likely to be dead is not good enough.’ This is the first time someone has been declared probably dead based on an MRI test. The concept of brain death is discredited if Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed brain-dead. His mother added, ‘The hospital and judge failed to take the wishes of the family into consideration. His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, I know he is still in there. Archie has not been given enough time. From the beginning I have thought, “Why the rush?” Until it is God's way I won't accept he should go. I know of miracles when people have come back from being brain-dead.’
Research by the Times Education Commission condemned ‘shocking’ regional disparities in schools. One primary school reported children starting school unable to say their names; half of reception and nursery were not toilet-trained. There was also a lack of training on how to identify students with special education needs. The Association of Christian Teachers (ACT) called for the Church to play a bigger part in the education system after the report also found that parents do not believe classrooms prepare pupils for life or work and the system places too much emphasis on exams which could damage pupils' mental health. Exams have become a source of emotional stress for teachers and students: some students refuse to even open an exam paper. Christian teachers can emphasise that exams aren’t everything. They have the opportunity to say how trusting God puts worry in perspective, that God has a plan for our lives - even if we feel it all depends on one certain day and one exam.
Two of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram extremists in 2014 have completed their master’s degrees in the USA. Lydia Pogu completed a masters in Human Services Administration, and Joy Bishara a masters in Social Work. ‘Boko Haram told us that school is a taboo for women and warned us that if we went back to school, they would come for us,’ said Lydia. ‘I thought all my dreams had changed, but God had a different plan for me.’
Kerry worked in a Christian hospital in sub-Saharan Africa as a physiotherapist to bring healing and hope to people largely unreached with the Christian message. Based in north Cameroon, she became part of a multinational (and non-denominational) team offering medical - and sometimes miraculous - solutions to the Fulbe (also known as Fulani) tribe. A gentle, gracious and unhurried people, the Fulbe are mostly Muslim. But many are now following Jesus, and they do not always first hear about him through the missionaries. Extended family groups, even across the border into Chad, have come together after having dreams of Jesus, asking Kerry and her colleagues to teach them more about the faith. A young man called Mohammed, whom Kerry introduced to Jesus four years ago, has since visited several of these groups, feeding their hunger to know more about this wonderful person who appeared to them in their sleep.
After months of power struggles and accusations, Boris Johnson has said, ‘Let's draw a line under our issues’. The House of Commons and House of Lords both begin their sessions with prayers: may God graciously answer them at this time. The Speaker's Chaplain prays along these lines: ‘God of righteousness and truth, grant our government and MPs your Spirit’s guidance. May they never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals, but laying aside all private interests and prejudices remember their responsibility to improve the condition of our nation.’ The House of Lords prayer is: ‘Almighty God, You raise up leaders to reign and decree justice. Grant them Your counsel, wisdom, and understanding. Direct and guide all meetings, so that all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections are laid aside. May the result of all our counsel bring glory to Your Name. Lord and be graced with your favour.’ See
Gunmen burst into St Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state. They opened fire and set off explosives, killing dozens of worshippers, including many children, who were celebrating Mass on Pentecost Sunday. Legislator Adelegbe Timileyin told local media that at least fifty people were dead. While much of Nigeria has struggled with security issues, Ondo is widely known as one of the country’s most peaceful states. Its state governor said, ‘This vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom. I appeal to our people to maintain calm and let the security agencies take charge. The perpetrators will never escape. We are after them. And I can assure you we will get them.’ While radical Fulani militants have terrorised the Middle Belt region over the past two decades, authorities are still investigating the source of Sunday’s attack.
A survey released by evangelical organisations has found that while around half of the country’s population identify as Christian, only 6% are 'practising' and active enough in their faith to attend church at least once a month. This is one reason why over 2,000 churches have closed during the last decade. Grants can help struggling churches make repairs, but not all are able to remain open. Meanwhile, churches themselves are meeting in new spaces according to community needs. 'I’ve never known such innovation in the UK, with church planting in different places in different communities,' says Gavin Calver, CEO of the Evangelical Alliance. 'People are planting churches in coffee shops or in homes, and a lot of this church planting wouldn’t be measured. I’m excited about a fresh move of God in the UK, and the measure for that will not be how many church buildings we have: it will be how many active disciples we have, and I’m not sure those two things give you the same answer.' This is also borne out by the fact that the fastest-growing churches in the UK are immigrant and black-majority churches, which typically meet in school halls or cinemas, focused on people and community rather than on a building.
Justin Welby is encouraging Christians to pray in the lead-up to this gathering of Anglican bishops that only happens once in ten years. He said that the conference theme, 'God's Church for God's World', reminds us that we are called upon to pray for the needs of the world. There are many needs: world peace, global climate crisis, the effects of the pandemic - to name but a few. Please pray that as they meet and consider their shared mission and ministry, that they hear the call from God, and that they call others to make a difference for Christ in the world. The chaplaincy team has developed a prayer guide with contributions by religious communities from across the world. This invites people to devote a day to prayer on Trinity Sunday (12 June) and to continue praying during the summer.