Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: Hurricane Harvey Floods Texas

Satellite photo of Hurricane Harvey from the Naval Research Laboratory – August 25, 2017

The slow-moving Tropical Storm Harvey, no longer a hurricane, is battering the Texas coast. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting “total rain accumulations of 15 to 30 inches and isolated maximum amounts of 40 inches over the middle and upper Texas coast through Thursday.”

According to Fox News, “More than 200,000 homes and businesses were reportedly without power.” The Associated Press reported, “At least two people have died as Tropical Storm Harvey continues to dump rain on Southeast Texas.”

Prayer List

  1. Loss of Life – Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort people that have lost a family, friend, pet or livestock to the storm.
  2. Displaced –  Pray for everyone whose home or apartment was flooded and has to find a new housing.
  3. Sickness – Pray for everyone that gets sick from contaminated water that their sickness will go away quickly.
  4. Emergency Personnel – Pray for safety for fireman, police officers, energy company personnel and disaster relief teams that will be assisting the storm victims. Trapped people must be rescued, power lines restored, and fallen trees removed.
  5. Criminals – Looters often steal from closed businesses and abandoned homes. Pray for people looking for opportunities to steal.
  6. Churches – Pray for churches to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support for communities that will rebuild after the storm.  Also pray for churches to share God’s love and the Gospel with people that are depressed.
  7. Businesses – Pray for business owners and new entrepreneurs to survive this economically challenging time. Also pray for people losing their jobs to find new employment and for their financial needs to be met.

Unreached People of the Day

Sunday: Arab, Omani in Oman
Monday: Ghirath in India

Operation World Prayer Focus

Sunday: Oman
Monday: Pakistan

Birthday Prayer Lists

Have you prayed for the salvation of all your friends? Why not turn your Facebook friend list into a prayer list? It shouldn't take long to pray for each friend on their birthday.

Some Christians also pray for entertainers, politicians and media personalities on their birthday.

Religious News Websites

Baptist Press

  • Couple fights to limit videos to biblical marriage
    Christian filmmakers Carl and Angel Larsen are asking a district court to reinstate their challenge to a Minnesota law that could force them to produce media supporting same-sex marriage.
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 7:55pm -
  • SBDR preparing major Puerto Rico response
    After Hurricane Maria knocked power out for nearly the entire population of Puerto Rico, the island's infrastructure is devastated and initial reports estimate that it will take months before services can be completely restored. On Thursday afternoon (Sept. 21), FEMA officials sought to organize a response in Puerto Rico with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief as well as American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 7:51pm -
  • 'Remarkable' number of women reported at SBC seminaries
    "A remarkable number of young women" are enrolling at Southern Baptist Convention seminaries, according to a report delivered this week to the SBC Executive Committee.
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 7:29pm -
  • Rick Warren counsels TX pastors amid Harvey relief
    The losses that are going to hurt the longest after Hurricane Harvey are the invisible ones, pastor Rick Warren told a group of Southeast Texas pastors at Calvary Baptist Church in Beaumont as he counseled them on how to help people recover in what could be "the church's finest hour."
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 5:44pm -
  • Students, DR join forces for campus outreach
    Through help from Baptist disaster relief volunteers, "move-in" day at East Tennessee State University may have cemented the reputation and presence of the school's Baptist Campus Ministry -- and possibly opened the door for an annual outreach event.
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 4:58pm -

Berean Research

  • Who will go into the ‘furnace of fire’ Jesus warned about?
    Following is part 1 of a series entitled “Hell Interrupted” by Tim Barnett and Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason. Barnett and Koukl go to the scriptures to answer the burning question: Is the future punishment of the wicked a place of eternal fire? You may not have noticed, but Hell is not as popular as […]The post Who will go into the ‘furnace of fire’ Jesus warned about? appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 1 day ago 23 Sep 17, 3:00pm -
  • The Five Solas of the Protestant Deformation
    The church has “functionally replaced the Five Solas of the Reformation with pragmatic, and often idolatrous, solas of our own making,” says Bible study author, speaker and blogger Michelle Lesley. I’d venture to say that a large number of professing Protestants have no clue what the five solas are. Not only that, many Protestants are unclear […]The post The Five Solas of the Protestant Deformation appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 3 days ago 21 Sep 17, 2:31pm -
  • Spiritual Disciplines and the Appearance of Wisdom
    Spiritual Formation….Contemplative/Centering/Apopathic/Breath Prayer….”Christian Yoga“….Enneagram (you’ll learn about this below) are terms Bible believing evangelicals must become familiar with. All of these practices have been introduced into mainstream evangelicalism. Where do they come from? You don’t have to dig very deep to discover that practices such as these are rooted in Eastern mysticism. In other words, […]The post Spiritual Disciplines and the Appearance of Wisdom appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 6 days ago 18 Sep 17, 4:19pm -
  • Our Top 7 rules for commenting
    Hey! Where did those comments go? When it comes to our comments policy, I’ve always believed that Christians should be able to glorify Christ with their words and actions, without me imposing rules. That hasn’t happened, in spite of our updated Comments Rules of Conduct Policy. And so I have implemented a new website tool […]The post Our Top 7 rules for commenting appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 10 days ago 14 Sep 17, 7:07pm -
  • The ‘Progressive Christian’ Charade
    Five years ago I penned a series of articles entitled “Liberals Created the Culture of Evil and Death.” Due to the aggressive tactics of the “fake news” media and counterfeit Christians, I decided to dust off part three and re-post a portion of it on Berean Research.  One of the liberals who has been masquerading […]The post The ‘Progressive Christian’ Charade appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 11 days ago 13 Sep 17, 3:18pm -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • Germans Are Welcoming Refugees as a Way to Honor Luther’s Legacy
    Asylum seekers and immigrants are big part of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary in Germany.As a young man, Martin Luther had a persistent, obsessive fear that he was cast out from God’s grace and that it was his own fault. He saw himself as a figurative refugee from the love of God. “My sin lay heavy night and day,” he wrote.Later, he would lament, “To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.”Then, after nailing his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, Luther became an actual refugee from his homeland. Roman Catholic leaders were seeking his life, and he was forced to flee and hide.Five hundred years later, the Reformer and German icon is strikingly relevant for the issues facing Germany today. Millions of Germans feel attached to Luther and, to many of them, his example urges their country to welcome refugees.“Luther was so human,” said Markus Ziener, a veteran journalist with the influential German newspaper Handelsblatt who now teaches at a university in Berlin. “Because he struggled, the rest of us who struggle can identify with him and find him very approachable,” Ziener said.Luther’s quest for the grace of God led him to study theology, the Bible, and the writings of Augustine, and he met a merciful Christ he couldn’t wait to tell others about.So when Luther wrote his 95 Theses, he was driven by a few simple, democratic ideas—for example, that the grace of God is available to every believer and that everyone is equally free to access that grace through faith. Because they were already assured of God’s love through his unmerited grace, Christians were then to help others in need. According to Luther, “God does ...Continue reading...
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  • Fake Apocalypse News Shouldn't Eclipse Real Tragedy News
    There are real issues that deserve full coverage, not another fake story about the end of the world.The need for good journalism has never been more pressing. Time and time again I have written about fake news. And over and over we find more of it, and more people believing it.Rohingya Muslims are fleeing Myanmar for their lives. Puerto Rico is picking up the pieces after a devastating hurricane. One of the most divisive pieces of legislation in American history is being debated. North Korea and the U.S. are dancing around rhetoric last heard in the Cold War. It appears that no journalist is facing a shortage of issues and controversies worthy of their time—real issues that deserve full coverage and our attention.In light of all of these significant and worthy issues that should deserve coverage, my question to the media is, why instead have you chosen to dedicate significant time and resources to the ravings of a poorly-credentialed conspiracy theorist like David Meade?The “expert” of a profession that has been called ‘Christian Numerology,’ Meade has been the subject of article after article, bolstering his claims and linking his views to mainstream Christian theology. While some may see the unfounded discoveries of men like Meade as urgent news, I feel compelled to point something out: there is a lot going on in the world right now.As I said in the Washington Post, Meade is a “made-up expert in a made-up field talking about a made-up event.” So, why is he in so many news reports today?Taking Our Eyes Off the GoodIn giving people like Meade a platform, media outlets have unwittingly legitimized his illegitimate findings. They’ve given (yet another) ill-informed Christian a megaphone by which he (and others before him) can make Christians look foolish and distract us from ...Continue reading...
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  • ‘Home Again’ Fails to Challenge Shallow Notions of ‘Home’
    Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s directorial debut reveals just how dissatisfying good fortune can be.As far as I’m concerned, the phenomenon of “hate-watching” was invented for women viewing romantic comedies. I dislike the trappings of romance and the pitiful reduction of characters to clichés that define most rom-coms—yet I still watch at least a few every year. I do so in part because a good one can feel like comfort food: It’s warm and soothes my secretly mushy heart.Nancy Meyers’s rom-coms, including It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give, are good examples of the genre’s potential. Now, though, her daughter has also gotten into the rom-com business: Home Again, which came out September 8, is written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. It is her first feature film; Nancy Meyers also co-produced it.Home Again is about how sometimes we have to re-find home. I love that idea. In my 30s, I’ve already spent some quality time searching for, clinging to, creating, and recreating “home.” Unfortunately, though, the movie implies that home is about the people with whom we make it—a concept often taken for fact in this genre about “soulmates” and finding “The One.”Alice (Reese Witherspoon), the film’s protagonist, is a 40-year-old woman starting her life over after a divorce. She has two daughters, a floundering career, and a big house. She has recently relocated her family back to Los Angeles, so it’s natural that Alice would lack a community or a sense of home that is more than a place. Yet she happens to own a place that feels like a resort.Because she’s floundering—but still has the room to “be a patron of the arts”—she allows three young men who are attempting to make ...Continue reading...
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  • Iraqi Christians At Odds with World on Kurdish Independence Referendum
    Kurds and Christians both want security and autonomy as minorities in Iraq. But one’s dream could dash the other’s.Despite intense opposition, a referendum that could lead to the establishment of an independent Kurdish nation appears set for Monday, September 25.Upwards of 35 million Kurds—a majority-Muslim community and the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, spread across Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria—are on the verge of setting their century-old dream of a homeland on the path to reality.Victimized by the Ottomans during the Armenian (and Kurdish) genocide of the 1910s and regularly persecuted since, the Kurds have long been a marginalized population. Ironically, the recent upheaval in the Middle East has presented them with an opportunity. Many are moving to take advantage of regional mayhem and political malfeasance, filling a void of security and governance with self-determination.The idea of a free Kurdistan isn’t popular among non-Kurds. Turkey has openly fought with its Kurdish population in a decades-long conflict that has killed between 30,000 and 40,000 since 1984; the Syrian regime readily repressed Kurdish rights; and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq murdered tens of thousands of Kurds in the country’s north.But as war has ravaged Syria and Iraq, and as ISIS swept from Raqqa to Mosul and nearly to Baghdad, the Kurds are not throwing away their shot.Kurds in Syria have declared autonomous enclaves collectively called Rojava. In neighboring Iraq, where Kurds have claimed a level of autonomy since 1970, the recent turmoil has given Iraqi Kurdistan new territory and greater autonomy. It has also given Iraqi Kurds momentum to finally push the long-desired referendum.Christians in the Middle East share a bond with the Kurds, both being minorities. That doesn’t mean they’re always political ...Continue reading...
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  • Art of Darkness: Angelina Jolie’s Latest Film Succeeds at Personalizing Genocide
    What “First They Killed My Father” tells me about suffering and the imago Dei.The other day I chatted with a friend who has lived in the US for a year or two—a refugee from Afghanistan who recently got an entry-level job in her field of engineering. She was ecstatic, eager to work her way back up the ladder. While drinking green tea, I casually asked her about her new job and what it was like to be an engineer in Afghanistan. Her two-year-old daughter was with us, eating red cherries as the juice spilled down the front of her second-hand party dress. “Oh,” my friend said, “there are no engineers there anymore.” I looked at her blankly. “What do you mean?” “All of the engineers were killed,” she told me. “The Taliban, they wanted the country to go backward. So they killed them all. Now there are villages waiting for buildings to be made, but there are no engineers to help anymore.”She said it all so matter-of-factly while wiping her kid’s messy hands that I could barely understand her meaning. After the conversation, however, I thought a lot about how her story and others like it seem so unusual to me until they start to pile up and accumulate. As I hear more and more from my refugee and immigrant friends, as I read the news and try to pay attention to current events, suddenly I start to find that my safe and secure existence is the anomaly. My lack of proximity to suffering is what marks me as different—the outlier in a world full of horror.I thought about this conversation as I watched the new Netflix film First They Killed My Father (a Cambodian Daughter Remembers). I’m not sure anyone is strong enough to watch a genocide unfold through the eyes of a five-year-old. And yet, this is precisely who experiences these ...Continue reading...
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Forum 18 News Service

  • Kazakhstan: Criminal cases, and no alternative service
    Four Jehovah's Witness young men could face up to one year's imprisonment for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience if criminal investigations against them reach court. Military Conscription Offices rejected their certificates as religious ministers despite the law granting exemption to "clergy of registered religious associations".
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  • Georgia: Constitutional changes to impose impermissible freedom restrictions?
    Constitutional changes already adopted in second reading would allow restrictions on freedom of religion and belief based on vague criteria, including "state [national] security or public safety", an impermissible restriction. Human rights defenders object to the proposed changes. Parliament's final reading is expected on 26 September.
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  • Tajikistan: Id al-Adha restrictions, haj returnee celebrations banned
    Teachers were banned from attending mosque on Muslim festival Id al-Adha. They and children were forced to attend school, even though the state declared it a holiday. Officials banned haj pilgrimage returnees from holding celebratory meals. Traditions Law amendments and increased punishments have come into force.
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  • Uzbekistan: Religious freedom survey, September 2017
    Freedom of religion and belief, with interlinked freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, remains severely restricted in Uzbekistan. Forum 18's survey analysis documents violations including: raids, fines, imprisonment and torture; education and worship meetings banned without state permission; and religious literature censorship and destruction.
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  • Kazakhstan: Worship banned
    Courts banned worship by Almaty's Source of Life Protestant Church from April to July, Almaty's Jehovah's Witness Centre from August to November, and - if its appeal fails - Oskemen's New Life Protestant Church for three months. Jehovah's Witnesses described their ban as "a grossly disproportionate penalty".
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Get Religion

  • newSally Quinn tells RNS: 'Occultism was so much a part of my growing up and my beliefs'
    The media campaign for Washington, D.C, journalism legend Sally Quinn's "Finding Magic" book rolls on and on.This really isn't a surprise, in light of her spectacular social connections to just about every level of Beltway society and the media powers that be -- starting, of course, with The Washington Post, where she was a Style page force to be reckoned with both as a writer and as a news maker. There was her infamous romance with the married editor Ben Bradlee, of course, followed by their equally celebrated marriage.That Washingtonian profile -- the subject of my first post on Quinn and her book ("Sally Quinn and her ghosts") -- was just the start, describing her as the "gatekeeper of Washington society turned religion columnist and about-to-turn evangelist for mysticism, magic, and the divine."Yes, there are all the hot political connections. Yes, there are the even hotter personal details, from sex to deadly hexes. But I am sticking by my earlier statement that the Quinn revelations in this book are important and that they should matter to GetReligion readers because: ... Quinn -- during some crucial years -- served as a major influence on religion-beat debates. My take on her approach: Why focus on hard news when everyone knows that religion is really about emotions, feelings and personal experiences?Now, Religion News Service, has an interesting Q&A up online with Quinn, which means here are going to be lots of questions about the DC maven's "evolving faith." The word "occult" shows up in Quinn's very first answer and the crucial theological term "theodicy" should have, as well. RNS: Your childhood is a particularly beautiful and important part of the book. What was your religious experience growing up? Quinn: For me, it was what I call embedded religion. The occultism was so much a part of my growing up and my beliefs.
    - 23 hours ago 23 Sep 17, 6:00pm -
  • Two conservative manifestos say something about Protestant dynamics, news values
    Conservative U.S. Protestants are particularly active in issuing manifestoes. That could reflect their feeling of increased defensiveness over against the broader culture, or their perception that Christian liberals provide mushy or erroneous messages so definitions are needed, or other factors.Two recent pronouncements that have won support from hundreds of endorsers tell us something about news judgment on religious issues and about internal dynamics within U.S. Protestantism as churches prepare to mark the Reformation 500th anniversary on October 31:(1) The August “Nashville Statement,” narrow in both agenda and in organizational backing, consists of a preamble and 14 articles in a “we affirm” and “we deny” format. It proclaims U.S. traditionalist responses to the moral debates over same-sex couples and transgenderism.(2) The September “Reforming Catholic Confession” defines in 11 sections and a related “explanation” what a wide swath of U.S. evangelical thinkers view as the essence of Protestant belief and how to approach Catholicism after these 500 years.As of this writing, media discussion of #2 has been limited to parochial outlets and a few social conservative Web sites, while by contrast #1 has won coverage and heated reactions across the spectrum of “mainstream media” newspapers, broadcasts and Web sites.Alongside the old local TV news cliche “if it bleeds, it leads,” The Guy sees two other maxims: “Who cares about doctrine any longer?” and “If it’s sex, it’s sexy.”While cultural liberals accuse the conservatives of being obsessed about sex,  it’s equally the case that they feel forced to actively confront new challenges, like it or not. Such statements are less about changing minds of outsiders than shoring up beliefs within the  in-group.Commentators think the Nashville group’s most dramatic assertion is that it’s sinful “to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism” and this “constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.” Strong stuff, and obviously controversial -- and thus newsworthy.
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 10:45pm -
  • Is it big news when liberal Lutherans say the early church was wrong on sex? Why not?
    When it comes to lesbians and gays in the ministry, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America speaks with a clear voice. So that doctrinal stance really isn't news anymore.When it comes to ecclesiastical approval for same-sex marriage liturgies, the ELCA -- at this point -- leaves that decision up to local leaders. So it really isn't news when an ELCA congregation backs same-sex marriage.When it comes to ordaining a trans candidate for the ministry, some folks in the ELCA have crossed that bridge, as well. So an ELCA church embracing trans rights isn't really news.So what would members of this liberal mainline denomination need to do to make news, when releasing a manifesto on issues of sex, gender and marriage? That was the question raised by the recent "Denver Statement" that was released by (and I quote the document): ... some of the queer, trans, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, gender-queer, asexual, straight, single, married image-bearering Christians at House for All Sinners & Saints (Denver, Co).That was also the question that "Crossroads" host Todd Wilken and I addressed in this week's podcast. So click here to tune that in.Now, in terms of news appeal, it helps to know that this relatively small, but media-friendly, Denver congregation was founded by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, a 6-foot-1, tattooed, witty, weight-lifting, frequently profane ELCA pastor who has graced the bestseller lists at The New York Times. She's like a superhero who walked out of liberal Christian graphic novel.So the Denver Statement made some news because it was released -- at Bolz-Weber's "Sarcastic Lutheran" blog -- in reaction to the Nashville Statement that created a mini-media storm with its rather ordinary restatement of some ancient Christian doctrines on sexuality.So if the Nashville Statement was news, then it made sense that -- for a few reporters and columnists (including me) -- that the Denver Statement was also news. (Oddly enough, a previous statement on sexuality by the Orthodox Church in America -- strikingly similar to the Nashville Statement -- made zero news.)But here's another journalism issue: Was the Denver document news merely because it openly rejected what the Nashville Statement had to say?
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 4:33pm -
  • An abortionist and his faith? The Atlantic leaves us wondering what kind of faith
    When I saw that The Atlantic had interviewed someone about abortions in the South, naturally I was interested. Here was an African-American doctor talking about why he makes huge sacrifices to make sure southern states have access to abortions.Being that 35 percent of all aborted babies are black even though black women are only 6 percent of the U.S. population, that says something about the large numbers of black babies who will never see the light of day. And since this doctor is in Birmingham, Ala., in the rural South, which is heavily black, I thought he might have something to say about why that clientele has such high abortion rates out of proportion to their share of the population.One more thing: Since the kicker above the article says he would be discussing his Christian faith, I was even more interested. Would the reporter know enough, I wondered, to challenge this doctor with theological questions about this topic? Or would this be one of a zillion sympathetic profiles of abortion providers out there? Also, there is another obvious question: What is this man's church tradition?The story begins: Willie Parker is an imposing ob-gyn who has been traveling across the deep South providing abortions since 2012. At times, he has been one of the few providers in the only abortion clinic for hundreds of miles. Though he had been flying down from his home in Chicago twice a month to provide abortions in Mississippi and elsewhere, he recently moved to Birmingham, Alabama -- closer to the center of the abortion wars. He is also a practicing Christian, and he frequently refers to his faith as being the reason why he does what he does. It’s the argument he lays out in his recently published book, Life’s Work, and in his new position as board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, a prominent pro-choice advocacy group.The link after the words ‘his faith’ is to an enormously sympathetic 2014 profile of the same doctor done by Esquire. By now I already know where this article is heading.Still, the writer, Olga Khazan, does ask the question:
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 1:10pm -
  • No, drinking a Coke isn't a sin for Mormons — and that was true before BYU welcomed caffeine
    It's a sin for Mormons to consume caffeine.Everybody knows that, right?Not so fast.Given today's big headline involving Brigham Young University and Coca-Cola, it's probably not a bad time to remind readers of the actual facts.But before we delve into specifics, let's catch up with the news, via this fantastic lede from the Salt Lake Tribune: Don’t cue the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and no, Brigham Young University is not on a slippery slope to tapping kegs of light beer in its cafeteria. But yes, the LDS Church-owned school has decided to end its more than half-century ”caffeine-free” policy on the Provo campus, at least when it comes to soda. Based upon what church officials recently declared a long-running misunderstanding of the Mormon faith’s “Word of Wisdom,” BYU had banned caffeinated beverages — coffee, tea, and other than caffeine-free soft drinks — since the mid-1950s.The Associated Press took a more straightforward approach, befitting its role as a national wire service:
    - 3 days ago 21 Sep 17, 9:40pm -

Mission Network News

  • SGA seeks to help Ukrainian Orphans (MNN) -- SGA works to help churches reach out to Ukrainian OrphansThe post SGA seeks to help Ukrainian Orphans appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 3 days ago 22 Sep 17, 4:00am -
  • Alpha Relief assesses aid for disaster victims (MNN) -- Alpha Relief assesses aid for those devastated by disasterThe post Alpha Relief assesses aid for disaster victims appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 3 days ago 22 Sep 17, 4:00am -
  • World Missionary Press revives translation projects in God’s timing'l (MNN) -- World Missionary Press is revisiting old projects just in time for God's workThe post World Missionary Press revives translation projects in God’s timing appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 3 days ago 22 Sep 17, 4:00am -
  • Triumphant Mercy fosters unity in Christ among refugees (MNN) -- One organization is meeting refugees' needs holisticallyThe post Triumphant Mercy fosters unity in Christ among refugees appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 4 days ago 21 Sep 17, 4:00am -
  • Bethany Global holds first fundraiser event with a focus on family sponsorship (MNN) -- Bethany Global holds first fundraiser eventThe post Bethany Global holds first fundraiser event with a focus on family sponsorship appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 4 days ago 21 Sep 17, 4:00am -

PE News

Persecution Blog

  • Missionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' Story
    Growing up the home of missionary parents in Ecuador, Gene Jordan has always known the story of five men—Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian—who gave their lives in the jungle to reach an isolated Indian...      Related StoriesNate Saint Memorial School: End of an EraVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 62 days ago 24 Jul 17, 4:06pm -
  • After Arrest, "I Was Terrified"
    “Dr. Andrew” is working to share the gospel in the Middle East, but he hasn’t always had a heart to share Christ’s love with Muslims. Growing up in a nominal Christian family, Andrew was harassed by Muslims his whole life....      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio in Central Asia 
    - 89 days ago 27 Jun 17, 10:07pm -
  • Being a True Vessel for God's Use
    “Brother Matthew” is a pastor and church planter in South Asia, working among Muslims to share the gospel. After threats against his life and an attack on his brother, he was encouraged by family members to leave his country. He...      Related StoriesVOM Radio in Central AsiaAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified"Openness in Pakistan? 
    - 7 Jun 17, 4:56pm -
  • VOM Radio in Central Asia
    "Tanya" is a Christian worker in Central Asia, living and ministering in a country where she must always be cautious about what she says openly and who she says it around. Listen to hear how Christians in the former Soviet...      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified" 
    - 9 May 17, 7:17pm -
  • Nate Saint Memorial School: End of an Era
    The end of an era comes next month. In August 1985, I clutched my mom’s hand and squeaked my rubber flip-flopped way down the gravel path from the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) “base” to the cinderblock Nate Saint Memorial school....      Related StoriesMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 27 Apr 17, 8:14pm -

Religion News Service

Today's Creation Moment

  • The Amphipod's Unique Escape
    The hunted are smart to stay downwind of the hunter. Many predators hunt using scent, at least in part. The same principle works in water. Many predators smell chemicals given off by their prey and use that scent to help them locate their prey. If you were a predator in a stream you would be smart to stay downstream from your prey. The prey won't smell more
    - 3 days ago 22 Sep 17, 5:00am -
  • The Key to Real Leadership
    Wasp colonies in temperate zones usually wait until the end of summer to raise male young. That's because male wasps are typically useless consumers of food. They don't do anything worthwhile in the nest, nor do they help gather more
    - 4 days ago 21 Sep 17, 5:00am -
  • What Does the Milky Way Say About Evolution?
    When we look at the size of the universe, it sometimes becomes easier to see evolution as credible. After all, when we see galaxies that are said to be billions of light years away, it seems possible that there really have been millions of years. But, in truth, the immensity of space is really not so friendly to evolution's claim that the universe, and the earth, are billions of years more
    - 5 days ago 20 Sep 17, 5:00am -
  • Not Every Gift Has Value
    Human bridegrooms are not the only males who give gifts to their intended. The birds and the flies do it, too. On a previous program we talked about how the bower bird woos his potential mate by building a hut for her and decorating it with bright more
    - 6 days ago 19 Sep 17, 5:00am -
  • Don't Stress Out Your Unborn Baby
    We all instinctively know that worry and anxiety are not good for us. Previous studies have shown that stress affects our health and makes our immune systems less efficient. But somehow that knowledge doesn't seem to be enough to keep us from fretting about the challenges and problems of life. read more
    - 7 days ago 18 Sep 17, 5:00am -

United Methodist News Service

World Magazine

  • New quake hits already shaken Mexico
    A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Mexico Saturday morning causing alarms to sound in Mexico City, where rescuers continue to look for survivors following Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude quake that so far has been blamed for nearly 300 deaths. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Saturday’s quake was centered in the southern state of Oaxaca. The director of Mexico’s disaster agency said it was an aftershock of the 8.1 magnitude quake that struck that region on Sept. 7, killing at least 90 people. The new quake caused buildings in Mexico City to sway and sent people running into the streets. There were no immediate reports of additional damage or injuries resulting from Saturday’s temblor.Image: Article Title: New quake hits already shaken MexicoKeywords: EarthquakeMexicoInternationalDisasterAuthor: Mickey McLean
    - 1 day ago 23 Sep 17, 2:33pm -
  • cb092317
    Image: Section: CartoonsDate to Publish: Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 08:54 to Monday, October 23, 2017 - 08:54
    - 1 day ago 23 Sep 17, 12:55pm -
  • School values transgender lessons over parental rights
    A California charter school embroiled in controversy about a lesson to kindergarteners on transgenderism is not backing down. On Monday, the Sacramento-area school board rejected a proposal by parents to allow children to opt out of lessons on gender identity.The proposal came after a kindergarten teacher at Rocklin Academy Gateway in June reintroduced a boy in the class as a transgender girl without parental notification. After efforts by the administration to brush away the incident, concerned parents spoke out to the school board in August, insisting they put the issue on the agenda for the September meeting.Administrators moved the Sept. 18 board meeting to the Rocklin Events Center to accommodate nearly 500 people who attended, including parents and advocates on both sides of the issue.“To teach my kid that biologically this boy was born a boy and to teach him that now he’s a girl is very confusing and I feel it’s a lie,” parent Chelsea McQuistan said at the meeting, according to KTXL-TV in Sacramento.LGBT advocates on the front row held signs that read, “Trans rights are human rights,” and, “Trans kids have courage.”After five hours of statements, the five-member board voted unanimously to affirm a set of recommendations from the school administration, including one that declined to adopt an opt-out policy.Four pro-family groups (the California Family Council, the Capitol Resource Institute, the Pacific Justice Institute, and Alliance Defending Freedom) unsuccessfully proposed the board adopt the “Parental Rights in Child’s Education Policy,” which included two main provisions. The first would have required schools to notify parents about lessons related to gender, gender identity, transgenderism, and sexual orientation and to allow them to choose to have their children not participate. Currently, the school only allows notification and opting out for lessons on sex education, which the school maintains does not include transgenderism. Second, the school would have been required to notify parents if their child might be in a “state of undress” in the same room as someone of the opposite biological sex. Parents would have been allowed to request a “privacy accommodation” for their child, such as a single-user restroom.School officials insisted that state privacy and antidiscrimination laws did not require parental notification on topics of gender identity and that to allow parents to opt out of such lessons would discriminate against transgender students.But that is a misunderstanding of the law, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).“Nothing in California law prohibits schools from providing notice and opt-out before [gender identity and sexual orientation] issues are raised,” noted ADF in a statement on the matter. “In fact, doing so shows a proper respect for the primary role of parents in addressing controversial topics.”A provision asking teachers to notify parents about controversial topics did pass the board on Monday, but it was “really weak,” Greg Burt of the California Family Council told LifeSite. Burt said the requirement was not mandatory and only required teachers to “try to notify parents” without any accountability if they did not.“The school district has the option to provide all kinds of opt outs,” said Burt, noting the school provided an opt out for viewing the recent solar eclipse. “When you’re talking about something as sensitive and controversial as gender identity, for them to say they can’t provide an opt out for parents is just flat-out wrong.”Burt said 40 families and 71 kids have left the school over the issue, and he expects that more will leave after Monday’s decision.“We’re not giving up,” Burt said. “We knew it would be a long haul, and that initially they would reject our suggestions, but this is not the end of it.”  Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon Jim Mattis Transgender troop policy in fluxThe Pentagon published a memo last week attempting to clarify the tenuous state of transgender troops serving in the U.S. military.President Donald Trump in August ordered the military to enforce a ban on any new transgender enlistments but left it up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to set policy for current transgender personnel.Last Friday, Mattis sent a memo to top military leaders stating that active transgender troops can reenlist and continue to serve in the military for now. Mattis said the deputy defense secretary and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will lead a panel to determine how to implement Trump’s ban by the February 21, 2018, deadline.But a bipartisan group of legislators want to set the transgender military policy themselves.Last Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in backing a bill that would prohibit the Pentagon from involuntarily separating or denying reenlistment to transgender service members on the basis of gender identity. The bill would also require Mattis to finish his review of the effect of transgender troops on the military and report to Congress by the end of the year. —K.C. © Less marriage, more singlesOnly about half of today’s American adults are married, according to new analysis from Pew Research, which is down significantly from a peak of 72 percent in 1960. The news is fitting for this week’s annual “Unmarried and Single Americans Week.”The report, which examined recent Census Bureau data, pointed to the usual suspects—delayed marriage and a rise in cohabitation—to explain the continued drop. The median age of marriage has risen from 20.3 for women and 22.8 for men in 1960 to 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men in 2016. And more couples today than ever before are choosing to live together and raise children outside of marriage. Four in 10 births are to women who are single or living with a nonmarital partner, according to Pew.One new takeaway: Pew noted today’s marriage rates are more closely linked to educational attainment than previously. Among adults age 25 and older, 65 percent of those with a college degree were married, compared to 55 percent of those with some college education and 50 percent of those with only a high school diploma. In 1990, that spread was much narrower at 69, 67, and 63 percent. —K.C. Missing babiesFinland has fewer newborns today than at any time in the last 150 years, by Bloomberg Markets reports . The number of live births fell in 2016 to its lowest number since the country experienced the great famine of 1868.The decline is especially troublesome in part because of Finland’s eager efforts—including generous paid leave, a world-class educational system, and boxes of baby gear delivered to every new mother—to turn it around. According to Save the Children, Finland is the second-best country in the world in which to be a mother, behind Norway.The fertility statistics are frightening, said Heidi Schauman, the chief economist at Aktia Bank in Helsinki. “They show how fast our society is changing, and we don’t have solutions ready to stop the development. We have a large public sector, and the system needs taxpayers in the future.”In order to maintain its welfare state, Finland should have a fertility rate of two children per woman. The 2016 rate is projected to come in at 1.57.Finland is not alone. Of Save the Children’s top 10 countries in which to be a mother, nine have an estimated 2017 fertility rate under 2.0. —K.C. Image: Deck: A California school board refuses to notify parents of in-class gender flipsCategory: Family & SocietyKeywords: EducationTransgenderismMilitaryMarriageParentingFertilityFinlandSexualitySlug: FamilyArticle Title: School values transgender lessons over parental rightsAuthor: Kiley CrosslandDigital Branding: RelationsHide from Archive?: 0
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 7:52pm -
  • Amazon’s book reviews fail the truth test
    First Benghazi, then her emails, and now this: Amazon last week deleted about 900 mostly negative reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, What Happened.Clinton’s critics pounced on the news as evidence Amazon colluded to protect her image and boost book sales. “This is just more proof that Hillary Clinton is a propped up hero of the left,” wrote Cristina Laila of Gateway Pundit. Amazon insisted it acted to protect the integrity of its reviews, not to skew them in Clinton’s favor. What happened with What Happened shined a spotlight on the deep pitfalls with Amazon’s user-generated review system and how it can hurt both authors and readers.Clinton’s book, released Sept. 12, had more than 1,500 highly polarized reviews on Amazon by Wednesday morning. “It seems highly unlikely that approximately 1,500 people read Hillary Clinton’s book overnight and came to the stark conclusion that it is either brilliant or awful,” Simon & Schuster president and publisher Jonathan Karp said.A little more than 20 percent of the reviews came from people who actually bought the book on Amazon, according to a report by Quartz, and many of the reviews had nothing to do with the content of the book. One reviewer wrote, “Trump happened. Look in the mirror, Hillary. There’s the problem,” according to a screenshot captured by Gateway Pundit.Tommy Noonan of ReviewMeta, a company that analyzes the veracity of online reviews, told Quartz the reaction to Clinton’s book on Amazon was much more likely a case of brigading, where a group of internet critics purposefully attacks a product or book online. Brigades target conservatives and liberals alike: ReviewMeta listed Megyn Kelly’s book Settle for More, Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Reagan, and a “Make America Great Again” Christmas ornament as victims of the practice.Overinflated positive reviews also plague Amazon. The ecommerce site requires reviewers to disclose so-called “incentivized reviews” with statements like, “I received this product for free or at a discount in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.” According to ReviewMeta, such reviews have exploded from just 2 percent of new reviews on Amazon two years ago to more than half of new reviews now. And incentivized reviewers are four times less likely to leave a critical review than a nonincentivized one.Amazon has a serious truth problem—and one of its own making—with its review system. The number of new reviews plays a role in how prominently the site features products, so authors, especially lesser-known ones, have an incentive to beg friends and family for lots of reviews when their books are released. The system creates a high temptation to cheat, with a low financial cost. Publishers’ known practice of gaming The New York Times best-seller list by buying hard copies of books en masse seems archaic in comparison and could soon become obsolete. Associated Press Jake LaMotta (right) fights Marcel Cerdan in Briggs Stadium in Detroit in 1949. Iron fistsJake LaMotta, the unflinching boxer memorialized in the 1980 film Raging Bull, died Wednesday after a bout of pneumonia. He was 95. Known as the “Bronx Bull,” LaMotta compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts during a 13-year boxing career that began in 1941. The strong-chinned fighter could take and dish out severe punishment, and an opponent knocked him down only once in his 106 fights. LaMotta’s fame resurged because of the 1980 film by Martin Scorcese, based loosely on his autobiography. Robert De Niro won an Academy Award for playing LaMotta, portrayed as a violent and abusive husband. “I’m no angel,” LaMotta said in a 2005 interview with the Associated Press. He was married six times and is survived by four daughters and a longtime girlfriend. —L.L. Associated Press/Photo by Ariana Cubillos, File Wuilly Arteaga raises his violin before National Guards during a May protest in Venezuela. Music with a messageA young Venezuelan violinist who played music at antigovernment protests could seek asylum in the United States. Wuilly Arteaga, 23, performed Tuesday at the Lincoln Center in New York. He played Venezuelan folk music as images from protests appeared on a screen behind him. Arteaga said he feared returning home because of death threats he received after speaking out against the authoritarian communist regime of President Nicolas Maduro. Arteaga became famous for playing the Venezuelan national anthem amid clouds of tear gas at a protest. During one demonstration earlier this year, security forces dragged Arteaga and his violin to the ground and threw him in jail, where he was beaten. Arteaga hopes to find work in the United States before applying for asylum. —L.L. Out of touchSunday night’s Emmy Awards broadcast was a bust in more ways than one. The show drew 11.3 million viewers, just slightly more than last year’s record low. President Donald Trump, the butt of many of the evening’s jokes, rubbed it in on Twitter. “Smartest people of them all are the ‘DEPLORABLES,’” making a tongue-in-cheek reference to the liberal elite’s favorite term for Trump supporters. Everyone I rooted for lost, except Sterling K. Brown, who won best actor for This Is Us, which lost in the best drama category to The Handmaid’s Tale. —L.L.Comic crusaderLate night host Jimmy Kimmel renewed calls this week for universal healthcare, using the opening monologues on his show to lambast Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare. Conservative commentator Erick Erickson raised this question: Where is Kimmel’s compassion for those whose premiums have skyrocketed since the Affordable Care Act took effect? —L.L. Image: Deck: The flawed system hurt, then helped Hillary Clinton’s new bookCategory: Culture & ArtsKeywords: BooksTechnologyBusinessMoviesTelevisionPoliticsSlug: CultureArticle Title: Amazon’s book reviews fail the truth testAuthor: Lynde LangdonDigital Branding: MuseHide from Archive?: 0
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 7:26pm -
  • McCain deflates GOP hopes for healthcare reform
    The hissing sound coming from Washington, D.C., this afternoon is Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., letting the air of the Republican Party’s latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., introduced a new healthcare reform package last week that, like GOP’s first attempt earlier this year, would have ended the individual and employer mandates to buy health insurance. It also would have cut federal Obamacare taxes and subsidies and given states more discretion to spend healthcare funds. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he opposed the bill, meaning Senate Republicans could only afford to lose two more votes. With McCain a decisive no and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, leaning against it, the bill’s chances of passing now are slim to none.Image: Category: CongressArticle Title: McCain deflates GOP hopes for healthcare reformKeywords: CongressSenateHealthcarePoliticsObamacareAuthor: Lynde Langdon
    - 2 days ago 22 Sep 17, 6:57pm -

World Watch Monitor

  • Sunni Arabs ‘helped drive out’ Mid-East Christians
    Amid the push by Iraqi government forces to retake Mosul from Islamic State (IS), some former inhabitants of Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains and northern Syria are refusing to go back because they believe their former Sunni Muslim neighbours were complicit in driving them out, says Middle East analyst and former journalist, Patrick Cockburn, in News Deeply. Christians returning to Nineveh believe Sunni Arab villagers were complicit in “taking their houses, killing and raping people,” he says.Cockburn adds that, in Syrian towns occupied by IS, Christians believe their Sunni Arab neighbours were similarly cooperating with IS and that returning Christians might drive Sunnis out in turn. There’s a “real, very high level of friction and hostility on the ground, which I think is going to be extraordinarily difficult to reverse”, he says.“A longer-term and very dangerous shift in both Iraq and Syria is that communities in general can’t live together any longer.”In November Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana, a priest in the Assyrian Church of the East and head of CAPNI (Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq), said that defeating IS won’t guarantee Christians’ return. “What are the guarantees that it will not happen again?” he asked, noting that Iraqi Christians had been targeted not only since IS’s sudden appearance in 2014 but since the US-led invasion in 2003, after which he said the fabric of Iraq “was broken”.In the decades before IS, more than a million Christians left Iraq, which had turned increasingly hostile towards them, the minority population felt.
    - 13 Mar 17, 1:01pm -
  • ‘Freedom of religion or belief must be protected’
    Countries around the world are urged to act now to promote and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief by a UN expert.The Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed, made his appeal at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as he set out his priorities for the mandate of freedom of religion or belief, which he took up last November.Mr. Shaheed expressed concern about a rise in the number of incidents of violence - for religiousreasons - by extremist groups, vigilante mobs and others.“State and non-State actors, alike, continue to impose restrictions, or limitations, and engage in targeted harassment, intimidation of, or discrimination against religious minorities, unrecognised religious communities and dissidents, who are often confronted with threats to their freedom, safety and security,” he said.“I am particularly alarmed by continuing reports of mass atrocities and violence that threaten the very existence of religious minority communities, including some groups that have existed for over two millennia.”Mr. Shaheed pointed to a number of mechanisms for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief that have already been developed, and for which consensus among states already exists. He said his agenda for the next three years would be focused on the implementation of these state obligations.The Special Rapporteur stressed that policies adopted to enhance the capacity of security forces to combat terrorism by limiting fundamental rights (such as freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly) often have dire consequences for the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief.He welcomed efforts to promote that right at national and international levels by governments, parliamentarians, national human rights institutions, human rights and faith-based organisations, and educational institutions.
    - 10 Mar 17, 6:39pm -
  • Iraq urged to allow UN investigation into genocide
    International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has called upon the Iraqi government to allow a UN investigation into the treatment of Yazidis by the so-called Islamic State (IS), reports Reuters.A year ago, the UK Parliament joined US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US House of Representatives, the EU Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in describing the actions of IS (or Da’esh) as genocide. In June last year, UN experts reported that IS militants seek to destroy the Yazidi group, whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions, through murder, sexual slavery, gang rape, torture and humiliation that amounts to genocide.Some religious leaders and other sources, including Vienna-based legal counsel Ewelina Ochab, believe that the campaign of genocide also extends to Christians. Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in the country. Today there are thought to be fewer than 200,000. World Watch Monitor reported in May last year that Christianity “could disappear” from Iraq and Syria withinfive years, according to Catholic sources. Britain is drafting a UN Security Council resolution to establish an investigation, but Clooney said the Iraqi government needs to send a letter formally requesting the inquiry before the council can vote.Clooney, who represents Yazidi victims of IS, told reporters, “We do want to see an investigation take place with the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities, but ultimately if that support is not forthcoming in terms of real action, then the UN has to think of other ways in which to achieve accountability.”Since 2014, when IS took control of parts of Iraq, Yazidis and Christians have been under severe, and often violent, pressure with many Christians being given four options: to leave, convert to Islam, pay the jiyza (tax), or be killed. A report last October highlighted this accelerated targeting of “disproportionately suffering” Middle East Christians.
    - 10 Mar 17, 1:08pm -
  • Iranian mother and son Christian converts arrested
    An Iranian mother and son who converted to Christianity have been arrested in the north-western province of West Azerbaijan. Anousheh Reza-Bakhsh (known as Veronika) and her son Soheil (known as Augustine) were arrested on 20 February at their home in Urmia, the provincial capital. Mohabat News reports that it is the first known arrest of Christians in the city since 2008. Urmia, with nearly 700,000 inhabitants, is famous for housing the Cathedral of St. Mary the Mother of God, whose origin dates back to the 16th Century. Middle East Concern (MEC) reports that the mother and son, who had become Catholics, were baptised in Istanbul in August last year, after which they returned home and “continued to read and learn about the Christian faith”. Christian material was reportedly found at their home, as Augustine, reported to be a psychology student, had been “a keen follower of online Christian theological training programmes and Christian satellite TV channels”, according to MEC. There has been no further update on their whereabouts or safety, though they are believed to have been taken to an intelligence office of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. They are both reported to have health issues. Iran, which is no. 8 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian, continues to monitor and persecute Christians across the country. Often, detainees are subject to psychological and physical harm by the authorities. Iranian and European human rights and religious rights organisations have urged the international community to use new opportunities for trade with Iran since the nuclear agreement to hold the government there to account over its treatment of Christian converts.
    - 9 Mar 17, 3:23pm -
  • Pope: ‘Persecutors don’t care about denominations’
    Pope Francis has urged all Christians to pray for fellow believers who are persecuted for their faith, saying that “those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong”.“How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones!” Francis says in the video that shows three representatives of different denominations: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox – standing as if in a police line-up accused of a crime. “They are persecuted and killed because they are Christians,” the Pope continues, adding, “I ask you, how many of you pray for persecuted Christians?”The one-minute video, which also includes images of broken religious statues and a burnt-out church, is the latest to be produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and contains his prayer intention for March: the support of persecuted Christians through prayers and material aid from all the Churches.Francis has spoken frequently about an “ecumenism of the blood” to emphasise that persecution is affecting many parts of the Church and should be met with ecumenical solidarity.
    - 8 Mar 17, 2:31pm -