Churches provide support in New Zealand

Thanks to Kendall Harmon of Titusonenine for providing the link to this story of encouragement and support in Christchurch New Zealand.

The normal rhythms of life were completely disrupted and people found themselves doing things they had never expected to, but it was usual for the congregation to meet and take communion on Sundays.

”That in itself will begin to meet that need of working through what we’ve all been through.”

In a 90-minute service, parishioners talked of their experiences. One said he had gone to help evacuate a group of elderly residents of an Anglican rest home and been told, ”We don’t want to go, we want to pretend this is the first night of a church Bible camp”.


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Afghani Convert Musa Released; Another Christian Still in Prison

Great news from Compass Direct that Said Musa has been released from prison but prayer still needed for Shoib Assadullah.

A source in Afghanistan told Compass that the 46-year-old Musa  was released last week and had left the country on Monday (Feb. 21), but the date of his release was not clear.

Musa had written a series of letters from his prison cell, the last one dated Feb. 13, according to Compass sources. In that letter Musa, an amputee and a father of six, said that representatives of embassies in Kabul visited him and offered him asylum. 

After the representatives left, according to the letter, Musa was taken to another room where three Afghani officials tried to convince him to recant his faith. They promised to release him from prison within 24 hours if he would do so. He refused and was sent back to his cell.

“I told them I cannot [follow] Islam,” he wrote in his letter. “I am Jesus Christ’s servant. They pushed me much and much. I refused their demands.”

Details of Musa’s release remained confidential in order to protect him and his family, who still remain in danger, sources said.

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Happiness Officer – Great job title

The blog that you are reading is a hosted by WordPress.com. If that means anything to you then you will know that WordPress is one (if not the) leading platform for bloggers. The people behind WordPress are a company called Automatic. And they are looking for some new recruits. Including a ‘Happiness Officer‘. Now I’ve no idea what a happiness officer does. Reading the job description is sounds like a glorified PA. However, I’d like to work for a company that employs a happiness officer, and maybe that’s the idea!

Might bring it up at the next Pcc – St Giles’ could do with a happiness officer.

A Prayer for New Zealand

Yesterday was a sad day for New Zealand and for Christchurch in particular. We get used to hearing of reports of earthquakes and destruction in far off parts of the world, but there is something about the disaster happening in the centre of a ‘first world’ city that brings it closer to home. I’ve never been to New Zealand but it is high on the list of thsoe places I’d like to visit on a ‘once in lifetime adventure’. Ever since I was shortlisted for a job with a church there I’ve felt a connection.

Reports are that the death toll is still rising and that it will take years if not decades to reconstruct the city centre:

VIDEO: Christchurch in ruins

One of the strengths of the Anglican church is that it is a world wide family of churches, and in times of crisis families can either draw together or pull apart. I was pleased to hear that the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the bishop of Christchurch to assure her of his prayers and the prayers of the Church of England. The Dean of Oxford Cathedral (with which the cathedral in Christchurch is twinned) has written to offer his support too. If you didn’t know already the cathedral in Christchurch was severeley damaged and in all likelihood will need to be demolished.

The Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews was interviewed here about the situation.

Another strength of the Anglican church is our rich heritage of prayer. In times of trouble it can be difficult to find the right words, and the Church of England has suggested the following for use in churches praying for New Zealand. It is adapted from a New Zealand Prayer:

God of consolation
grant to those who suffer and sorrow at this time of devastation in Christchurch,
the spirit of faith and courage,
that they may have the strength to meet the days to come
with steadfastness and patience;
not sorrowing without hope
but clinging to your goodness and love,
through Jesus Christ who is the resurrection and the life,

Amen.

Missionaries in Egypt rejoice with Egyptians

From the Living Church Website

“there is an atmosphere of cautious optimism. People are proud of being Egyptians! Most people don’t think there is much chance for the Islamists to take power in the elections. Egypt is aware that the world is watching, and [Egyptians] don’t want any kind of totalitarian regime, neither secular nor religious.”

Read the whole article.

American Missionary killed in Mexico

The whole sad story is here.

The missionary, Nancy Davis, who had worked in Mexico for decades, was shot in the back of the head by gunmen in a pickup truck who had pursued her and her husband for miles in Tamaulipas State.
Her husband, Samuel Davis, piloted his bullet-ridden truck across the two-mile international bridge here, driving pell-mell against traffic on the wrong side of the bridge to evade the pursuers and reach an American hospital. He arrived on the United States side too late to save Ms. Davis, 59.

Jesus – as smart as IKEA?

One of my best friends is Rev Rich Wilson vicar of  St Michaels Church Twerton (possibly the best church website I’ve seen). Anyway we go back years together and speak on the phone probably every week. One of the things I love about Richard is his enthusiasm for all things to do with God. Jesus, the church, the end times… you name it Richard get’s passionate about it. He’s a deep thinker too. Here is his presentation of the Gospel of Jesus – the Good News Jesus brings. In it he asks the question ‘Is Jesus at least as smart as Ikea?’

If you have a spare 45mins this video repays careful watching. You’ll enjoy it!