Displaying items by tag: Religion
650 Bishops from across the Anglican Communion are debating at the Lambeth Conference if marriage is solely between a man and a woman. The once-a-decade conference ends on 8 August. There is now a three-way choice of voting options around homosexuality being incompatible with scripture. Originally bishops were asked to reaffirm a resolution of the 1998 Conference which considers homosexuality as ‘incompatible with scripture’. Now they can not only affirm it or abstain; they can vote against. This revised outlook has the potential to divide the church. A poll commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation found a clear majority of Anglicans believe that same-sex marriage is right, despite the church’s refusal to permit it. See
Although over half of the population is defined as Christian, most have never had authentic contact with the Gospel. Only 2% are Evangelical, and 8% regularly attend church. A staggering 50 million have no link to a church, and 80% have never even handled a Bible. Many are suspicious of organised religion. Defined by secularism, the country has separated itself from its only source of healing. The philosophies and post-modern relative truth have left many seeking meaning and purpose. Despair and hopelessness have led to Europe’s highest number of youth suicides. However, this search for meaning has also led some to seek and find Christ. Dozens of churches are now being planted each year. France stands in desperate need of a move of God: only He can bring the healing and hope this nation needs.
Chinese officials locked down a popular resort city after 450 Covid-19 cases emerged, causing over 2,000 tourists to be stranded as the city conducts mass testing. China’s ‘zero-Covid’ policy puts immense pressure on regional leaders to eliminate the virus. Wuhan also has a lockdown over a case of cholera. Bibles for China’s Kurt Rovenstine said it was a local official who restricted travel. That incited some panic. Rovenstine said that churches and schools suffer the worst from lockdowns. One parent said her son could only attend school six weeks out of the seventeen in the semester. Churches can’t meet to offer the Lord’s Supper, and people can’t go to church to receive a Bible. There are many requests for Bibles around China. Despite the challenges, Christians throughout China remain committed to growing in Jesus. They want to share His story with their neighbours.
Archie Battersbee’s parents, Hollie and Paul from Southend-On-Sea, have been fighting a legal battle since their son was found unconscious with a ligature around his neck in a tragic accident in April. On 15 July, Mr Justice Hayden ruled ‘it is in Archie's best interests for life-support to be removed as it is futile, compromises Archie’s dignity and serves only to protract his death rather than prolong his life.’ Archie's family appealed the decision. At the time of writing, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are considering arguments at a Court of Appeal. Pray for Archies’ parents who said, ‘Planned death is another name for euthanasia, which is illegal in this country. It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie, including if, when and how he should die’.
Evangelical churches across Bosnia and Herzegovina will be putting on a series of camps for children, teenagers and young people across the country. Ask God to bless, strengthen, and protect the adults who have cleared spaces, prayed over them, and sought blessing for the young Bosnians. Pray for unity through these efforts, as well as much fruit. Pray for God to move in the young people, and for Him to raise up disciples who in turn also make disciples. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give the adults insight into how to pray for the youth coming to the camps. Pray that Jesus would move powerfully through His people. Ask Him to give the average church attender a desire to join in these prayer camps and that there would be unity in the Evangelical church.
Sri Lanka’s clergy are struggling to survive during the country’s state of emergency. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is providing £390,000 in vital support for priests and churches struggling during the unprecedented economic crisis. It will provide priests with a basic income and subsistence aid for catechists, Sisters and other members of religious orders carrying out essential pastoral work. Bishop Valence Mendis said the local Church is struggling to cover its own costs and finding it difficult to relieve the suffering of everyone turning to them for help. He said, ‘People can afford virtually nothing.’ Bishop Mendia said, ‘The economic situation is very serious. Many are going without medicine and food. People have died in queues while waiting to buy basic goods. Many have lost their jobs, and prices have risen astronomically.’ Inflation soared above 54% last month, food prices are now 80% higher than this time last year.
Ashfaq Masih is a Christian falsely accused of ‘blasphemy’ and sentenced to death by hanging. He said, ‘Muhammad Irfan came to my shop for wheel balancing for his motorbike. I balanced the wheel and asked for my amount of labour as settled between us. Muhammad Irfan refused to give me money and said he was a follower of Peer Fakhir (a Sufi spiritual guide) and don't ask for money from me. A false FIR (First Incident Report) was made against me. I told the real story to a police officer but he did not record my version but conducted an investigation ex-parte. I neither uttered any derogatory word against Prophet Muhammad nor can think about it.’ The Muslim judge presiding over the case, said that it could not be believed that a Muslim will spin a story in this regard, describing the evidence of Masih's defense team as ‘not believable’. Masih’s is the third death sentence for blasphemy since January.
The UN secretary-general has warned that war in Ukraine, climate change, the pandemic and inequality have produced an ‘unprecedented global hunger crisis’ already affecting hundreds of millions of people. UK’s April inflation was the highest in forty years, food costs increased by nearly 9% and the number of foodbank users has doubled in the last year, but tonnes of produce have been ploughed back due to labour shortages. Jesus told us to pray collectively and daily for the Father to provide ‘our daily bread’ (Matthew 6:11). Pray for leaders working to combat the global food crisis, for all who are suffering drought and hunger, and for ourselves to be generous and give (Psalm 37:21). The Bible emphasises our dependence on, and gratitude to, God for our daily bread, stewardship of the earth, and respect for one another. But our priorities easily become skewed in favour of selfish gain.
85 million people, 98.6% of Iran’s population, are Muslim; only 0.2% are Christian. Massive numbers of Iranians have come to Jesus in recent years. From only 500 Muslim-background believers in 1979, many estimates suggest the number is even greater than one million. Large numbers of Persian people have also encountered the risen Christ outside of Iran. The Church has not grown this fast since the seventh century. In Iran, a person can receive a death sentence for abandoning their religious faith. This growth is a remarkable move of the Holy Spirit, with many signs and wonders, dreams and visions. But we still need to pray for a mighty move of God across the nation; for the Iranian believers to be protected as they share their faith; and for those who are translating the Bible into the many different dialects spoken in Iran to reach every lost tribe.
Only 3% of Christian missionaries focus on ‘unreached’ people groups’. Of 7.7 billion people around the world, over 3 billion are either unreached or least reached. There are 7,000 unreached people groups representing nearly 42% of the population of the world who have never heard of Jesus Christ. There are many factors why these groups are unreached, including physical, political and cultural barriers. See Some unreached people have portions of scripture translated into their language. Some people groups do not even have their language written down. Other unreached groups have no translation of the Bible available in their mother tongue. Pray for more Christian linguists to hear God’s call to study the culture and language of unreached people so that they can then train people to translate the Bible into their languages. Pray for Christian broadcasting and technological innovation to reach the unreachable in closed countries and isolated remote communities.