GOLDEN GIRL CHRISTINE’S GOD-GIVEN TALENT –Page 14
JANE FONDA ON LOVE, LIFE AND GOD SEE PAGE 3
FORMER SOAP STAR DANNIELLA WESTBROOK ON HER BATTLE WITH DRUGS AND HER NEW LIFE AS A CHRISTIAN – SEE PAGE 7
ANNE IS PRIDE OF Anne Scarfe
‘Christians could face extinction’ Minister’s warning
See story on page 10
An Act of faith Interview with Sir Anthony Hopkins See page 5
BRITAIN An 86-year-old pensioner who works as a Street Pastor and helps the homeless and the hungry has been named as the country’s top local hero in the Pride of Britain Awards. When most people of her age are safely tucked up in bed, widow Anne patrols the streets of clubland looking out for vulnerable people at risk. Anne also works in a soup kitchen, helps run
Honour for 86-year-old Street Pastor a cafe for the homeless in her home city of Plymouth. She not only received top honours in the Pride of Britain Award, but also later met Prime Minister David Cameron.
Anne committed her life to helping others after her husband Tom died nine years ago. Heartbroken and in despair after losing her partner
of 45 years she decided that she would give God all the love that she had for her beloved husband. Anne said: “Everything I do is for God’s glory and I am so privileged to be able to take His love onto the streets.”
Full story on page 2
a wonderful 45 years with Tom, it was a true romance. Nothing could replace Tom.”
AN 86-YEAR-OLD WOMAN has captured the heart of the nation after winning a Pride of Britain Award.
In deep despair, Anne could not imagine life without Tom and saw no future.
Widow Anne Scarfe, who lives in Plymouth, received her award at a glittering televised ceremony in London attended by Royalty, celebrities and politicians.
But she had a wake-up call from her daughter who said: ‘Mum, your grandchildren have lost their granddad and now it feels like they are losing you.’
Anne is not only a Street Pastor but also works at a soup kitchen in the city, helps out with other soup runs and is one of the team at a cafe for the homeless run by a local church. Anne was winner of the West Country’s Local Hero prize and went forward to the national awards ceremony where she was chosen ahead of local heroes from all the ITV regions.
Anne said: “I was absolutely amazed to have been chosen as winner,” said Anne. “My legs went to jelly when my name was announced and I couldn’t stand up. But the award is not just for me - it’s for all the people I work with as Street Pastors and at the soup kitchens.” Anne was presented with her award by Philip Schofield and Christine Bleakley at the
Anne working at a soup kitchen
Anne (centre) on patrol as a Street Pastor
ceremony, which was hosted by Carol Vorderman.
She was given a special hug and kiss not only by Peter Andre but also by the members of boy band The Wanted. “They were wonderful,” said Anne, “I didn’t know who Peter Andre was until someone told me.”
The following day Anne had the surprise of her life when, along with the other award winners, she was whisked to 10 Downing Street to meet Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition leader Ed Milliband. Anne, who is a committed Christian, moved to Plymouth with her husband Tom 23 years ago. Sadly, Tom died suddenly eight years ago and Anne was devastated. “I was not only heart broken, but also angry with God,” said Anne. “I raged at him for days and couldn’t believe he would take the love of my life. I had
“It brought me to my senses,” said Anne, “and I said to God ‘I will give you every ounce of love I had for Tom.’ ”
Eager to serve God, Anne was put in touch with a local church and started helping with children’s work. When the Street Pastors initiative was launched in Plymouth five years ago Anne was one of the first to sign up.
She regularly patrols the city centre streets in the early hours of the morning offering help and
Anne with her Pride of Britain Award
comforting word for vulnerable people and young people at risk.
“I love the work and I think because I am old, young people like to talk to me. They don’t feel threatened by me.” Anne has had some amazing experiences on the streets of Plymouth and has many stories of the way her prayers and comforting words have helped people not only in distress but also on the point of suicide. Anne with Christine Bleakley and Philip Schofield at the Pride of Britain Awards
Anne said: “Everything I do is for God’s glory and I am so privileged to be able to take His love onto the streets of Plymouth.”
HELP SOMEONE TAKE THEIR LIFE BACK
RAPt helps people in prison and in the community, overcome the grip of addiction and build a more positive future. To make a donation, please visit our website or contact us direct. RAPt | Riverside House | 27-29 Vauxhall Grove London | SW8 1SY Tel: 0207 582 4677
www.RAPt.org.uk www.facebook.com/RAPtcharity @RAPtCharity
“RAPt gave me back my son. Drugs tore our family apart but now we’re looking forward to another Christmas together”
JANE FONDA ...on marriage, life and her relationship with God
ONE of the world’s most famous actresses has told how she turned to God after her marriage broke up.
The face of L’Oreal Jane Fonda, who has appeared in a string of high-profile Hollywood movies, revealed that her faith in Christ has helped her during her career at the top. She said: “At the end of my marriage to Ted Turner I became a Christian. For several years prior, I had begun to feel I was being led. It was – and is – difficult to articulate. “Today I think I know what was happening. I was becoming embodied, whole. I had spent 60 years disembodied, trying to be perfect so that I could be loved. You can’t be whole if you’re trying to be perfect.”
Jane’s entire life had been spent in pursuit of perfection, from the very beginning
of her fledgling career. In spite of her ability to turn her hand to whatever she decided to do, it was acting which captured her imagination.
“As I entered my sixth decade, I could feel myself becoming whole. In the Bible in Matthew Chapter 5 verse 48 when Jesus tells his disciples: ‘You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ “Jesus wasn’t telling his disciples to be perfect like God, he was telling them to be whole, like God.
“We need to give ourselves over to our higher power, become whole – by welcoming the Holy Spirit into our innermost selves.
WORK IN PROGRESS “My faith is a work in progress (as am I) but I will plant my flag on the belief that God lives within each of us as Spirit (or soul).
“Lots of folks go to church every Sunday and spend the rest of their time avoiding dealing with the question of consciousness. They try to pass time with pastimes, possessions, prestige.
She added: “Lots of folks go to church every Sunday and spend the rest of their time avoiding dealing with the question of consciousness. They try to pass time with pastimes, possessions and prestige. “They think about God and talk about their religious beliefs but avoid experiencing the Spirit. Thinking and experiencing aren’t the same. That is what Jesus meant when he said that God is within us.
“That is what Jesus meant when he said that God is within us. That is what I am seeking, and I have found that since I have come to feel God within me, I experience less fear of anything, including death.” Jane, who is now 75 and has released a series of exercise DVDs, insists a true experience with Christ changed her, not mere religion.
Winter 2013 Page 3
he Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby caused plenty of controversy recently when he described the Christian victims of a suicide bombing in Pakistan as ‘martyrs’.
His choice of words seemed to cause offence in some quarters, but it is hard to argue with his views.
The horrific facts speak for themselves. According to the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity one million Christians have died for their faith in the last 10 years. Yes, that’s ONE MILLION believers. And their crime? To believe so passionately in Jesus Christ as their Saviour that they are prepared to pay the ultimate price for their faith.
Justin Welby has, quite accurately and correctly, pointed out that Christians are being singled out for violence in many countries across the world.
In the face of this oppression and violence, Christianity is arguably actually growing faster in some countries where persecution prevails. In China, for example, Christianity is the fastest growing religion. However, Christianity is still tightly controlled by the government in China, which has led to a dramatic growth in the number of house churches, where followers of Jesus meet ‘underground’ and outside the control of the authorities. Persecution and imprisonment of Christians is still prevalent in China. Some church leaders have mysteriously disappeared after being arrested by the authorities. In other parts of the world the number of Christians is in decline purely because of the widespread violence and killings by groups opposed to those who believe in Jesus.
This is particularly evident in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Syria.
Foreign Minister Baroness Warsi, herself a Muslim, recently warned that Christianity may become extinct in some parts of the world because of the actions of extremist groups who intimidate, threaten and murder Christians.
She, and others like her, who highlight the plight of Christians in many parts of the world, deserve full praise and support for speaking out in such strong terms. Sadly, their words too often fall on deaf ears.
Lifelines Trust c/o Cornerstone Vision 28, Old Park Road, Peverell, Plymouth PL3 4PY Tel: 01752 225623 Fax: 01752 673441 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The Son is published by the Lifelines Trust and produced by Cornerstone Vision. Editor: Chris Girdler Advertising: Debbie Girdler 07989301331 The Son Order Line: 01752 225623 Page 4
Space telescopes offer evidence of Bible’s creation story the telescope and doing years of research into Hubble’s discoveries Hutchins says, he’s convinced that when Galileo turned his telescope to the night sky he ignited in man, ‘an insatiable quest to the stars, perhaps in response to a Divine Invitation from God.”
DISCOVERIES made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Hubble and Spitzer Telescopes appear to confirm the Genesis account of planet formation to be scientifically accurate.
Since Galileo, man has been embarked on a bold quest, spending billions of dollars and devoting hundreds of millions of man hours in a race to the stars that has now culminated in the invention of the Hubble telescope.
Since Biblical times, people have put their trust in the Genesis account of creation. In recent years however, some have challenged the account and say there is no scientific evidence to support Genesis. It appears now that discoveries made by NASA’s scientist are confirming that the Genesis account is scientifically accurate. The idea of no scientific evidence to support it is now being turned upside-down by the very findings made by NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Telescopes of proto-planetary disc that surround infant stars. According to NASA scientists, data from these two telescopes is revealing that planets like the Earth are formed in the exact same fashion as described in the Bible in Genesis 1:2, 3.
They found that planets form inside a proto-planetary disc of dust and debris, starting out in a formless and chaotic state in total darkness, as described in Genesis Chapter 1 verse 2. “Now the earth proved to be formless and waste, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep.” NASA’s scientists have also discovered that as the planets mature inside their dusty cocoon they suck up all the dust between them and the sun so that the planets slowly emerge from darkness into the light as described in Genesis verse 3. “Let light come to be.” Then there came to be light. After doing a two year study of the data put together by NASA scientist from these two telescopes, award-winnig author J Paul Hutchins says he was astonished to learn how accurately this scientific data lined up with the simple description of planet formation recorded in Genesis.
The younger stars, he found, had a “protoplanetary dust cloud” around them, while more mature stars had little to no dust around them.
The cloud left behind by newly formed stars is made up of fine dust particles, which gravity’s pull condenses into small rocks, which then crash into each other and “form like snowballs,” increasing in size until they grow into new planets. As this happens, the dust that is floating in space is absorbed by the new planet, clearing the space around it and making the nearby star more visible.
Hutchins’ conclusion was that Earth was formed, by God, in a similar way.
The Genesis account in the New International Version 1984 describes the Earth as being ‘formless and empty’ at first, and says that “darkness was over the surface of the deep.” Hutchins believes that if a person examines the Bible in the original Hebrew, they will see that the sun and the stars were already present at this time, before the Earth was totally formed. The Earth had no form, he says, because the dust cloud had not yet condensed into a planet, and there was no light because dust particles shaded our planet as it formed. As the planet matured, and gathered the dust that had been shading it, though, the Sun
became visible and “there was light.”
“It made perfect sense...even though we don’t have the details of it, He gave us a brief overview of how the earth was formed,” Hutchins said. “If He didn’t exist then how could these writers of the Bible write this information, thousands of years in advance, and it exactly matches up with what the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes are finding? “So my goal is, for people that their faith may be weak...or they’re questioning the existence of God, this book will inspire them and reaffirm their beliefs.”
SOMBRERO While doing research for a book about the imagination of man, Hutchins came across images of the Sombrero Galaxy. It is about half the size of our Milky Way galaxy and contains about 800 billion stars.
Hutchins told The Christian Post that it was around that time that he asked himself, “If man’s imagination is responsible for everything on the earth, then whose imagination is responsible for this galaxy and the whole universe.” At that time he decided to change the direction of his research, leading him to write Hubble Reveals Creation by an Awe-Inspiring Power. After retracing the history of
As a culmination of man’s 400 year quest, NASA’s Hubble and other telescopes around the world have discovered that the known universe is made up of over one hundred twenty five billion galaxies like the Sombrero Galaxy, collectively exhibiting an energy source beyond comprehension.
According to a report by ABC News and other news agencies, astronomers in Australia say there are 10 times more stars in the visible universe than all the grains of sand on the world’s beaches and deserts. Those scientists think the universe may contain as many as 70 sextillion stars, and that is only the stars in the visible universe within range of our telescopes, but they suspect many more are out there.
Hutchins says, “such inconceivable numbers provoke the question; how could mortal man comprehend, or begin to wrap his head around the total collective energy emitted by 70 Sextillion stars, when our own sun can blister our skin from 93 Million miles away?
The logical conclusion would be what Einstein once concluded; this unimaginable power Isaiah wrote about without the aid of science or a space telescope thousands of years before Hubble revealed it, is Supernatural in Nature. “That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a Superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God” -- Albert Einstein
ACT OF FAITH SORTED : Growing up in Port Talbot did you ever dream of becoming a world-famous actor? “I had dreams, yes, of course I did. And I always wanted to be in the movies. In fact, I was what you might call something of a daydreamer at school. Couldn’t concentrate, a shy kid, bit of a loner. And I was lousy in school. I was anti-social and didn’t bother with the other kids. A real screw-up, a moron. I didn’t know what I was doing there. That’s why I became an actor. My father, a hard worker, a local baker, and my greatest hero today, as a matter of fact, worried about me a lot, thought I might be backward.
What do The Silence of the Lambs, The Elephant Man, Dracula, The Mask of Zorro and Nixon all have in common? They all star the hugely talented Sir Anthony Hopkins, of course. He has taken on some exceptional roles during his incredible career, but what of the man behind the mask? Sorted magazine interviewed the legendary actor and we publish their article here with our thanks.
I believe my higher power, God, got me out of that one. I still say the Serenity Prayer a lot... It’s a good one to remember: God, give me grace to accept with serenitythe things that cannot be changed.
How influential was Richard Burton in your rise to fame?
How did your time at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama mould you as an actor? I joined a community drama group at the age of 17 while staying at the local YMCA. It was the mid 50s and I knew it was a good idea to meet other actors, make friends, get on the path to a career. It was my springboard really, starting out in Wales, and I always recommend young actors find their feet, ask themselves, “Is this for me?” Did you ever suffer from nerves as a youngster? Oh yes, many actors say they get into this profession because they are basically shy people. Maybe true, maybe the case for many of us. But I used to get very anxious, angry too. There have to be some emotions to draw upon, to wrestle with. I’ve not got too many demons nowadays and try not to take myself too seriously. What were the most important lessons you learnt as Olivier’s understudy and protogé? Confidence. He was very gifted. Very generous with what he said. He once wrote: ‘A new young actor in the company of exceptional promise named Anthony Hopkins was understudying me and walked away with the part of Edgar like a cat with a mouse between its teeth.’ He taught me to believe in myself.
For me, giving it (alcohol) up was finding the airlock, the escape hatch. It was as if a voice said, ‘Ready! Go!’ It was that clear, the voice of gold. The best part of myself, my subconscious, came to rescue me. I don’t know how. I had no religious connection or a connection to what I thought was God. I was in hell. Then it was over. It was like a great pilot light was lit. No explanation except, I guess, I was open, willing and ready. When I look back I think I was so lucky to get out of that one. It was all about fear and horror. Definitely the horror , I was going down the plughole.
He told me I needed to get out there, mix with other the other kids and make friends. But I was this shy kid who always wanted a brother. I loved the movies and the escapism of the cinema. Acting and Hollywood were a world away from Port Talbot. But in the back of my mind, I thought maybe, just maybe.”
Burton was, and still is, hugely regarded in Wales. One of the greats. Truly one of the greats. He and Elizabeth (Taylor) were in Port Talbot at one time during the height of their fame. He was visiting his sister, I think, and I was about 15 when I met him. Very impressed, just by example, very encouraging. Just before they left, I saw them together getting into a large car. Elizabeth looked back and smiled at me, caught my eye. I watched them drive off and thought, he’s done it, by God, he’s made it and if he can do it then there’s hope for me. I thought I’d follow my nose, follow my luck. And I think I’ve been very lucky.
down the beach by the Pacific coast. I was drinking Tequila like water, hallucinating, it was all coming to the end. I was at the jumping off point, not too tightly wrapped, an desperate for help. I called out...
Who were your main heroes and influences? My father. As mentioned Burton and Olivier are both up there too. Oh yes, and Tommy Cooper - ‘Just Like That’, a comedy genius. Still makes me laugh, just thinking about Tommy. How did you get into the film world? I didn’t want to end up ponsing around the West End and I wanted to be in the movies. I wanted to prove I could do it, get to the top of my game. Live the dream. In 1968, I got my big break in ‘The Lion in Winter’ playing Richard I along with Peter O’Toole and Katie Hepburn. It was a godsend. I took all the offers that came along. I like work, the money. If they ask me and I like the script, the people, good directors. I have worked with some difficult directors - no names, no back talk... and I avoid them. But if it all feels right, a challenge, I do it. What has been your favourite role to-date? Burt Munro in the 2005 film The World’s Fastest Indian. How do you get into and stay in character so well? Blank everything else out, forget everything... I’m not what you’d call a Method Actor. I just don’t forget the lines. One of your most famous roles is that of Hannibal
Lecter. Why do you think this was such a success, and how great an impact has it had on your career?
He was the right anti-hero for the time. When I first heard the title ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ I thought it was going to be a children’s film. Then I read the script and I had this kind of instant premonition that this was going to be something big. The character of Lector came to me surrounded by light. It was my calling card to Hollywood. What would you say are the biggest challenges for an actor, career-wise and on a personal level? Staying right sized. Keeping it in the day. Avoiding expectations. Avoid expectations and you avoid disappointment. It has been documented that you overcame a problem with alcohol in 1975 with the help of God. Does faith play an important part in your life? It was like being possessed by a demon, an addiction, and I couldn’t stop. And millions of people around are like that. I could not stop. I was hell bent on destruction. And I just asked for a little bit of help, and suddenly, pow. It was just like, bingo! I was in Hollywood in the early mid 70s, going mad. I was seeing visions of Christ walking
Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
You’re involved in a number of philanthropic endeavours. Why is it important to you to give something back to society?
‘A’ helps ‘B’ and ‘A’ benefits. It’s the best deal in town. I am a patron of the RAPt charity and a few other things. RAPt* is pioneer in offering addiction rehabilitation to prisoners. An agenda that is now in the news. I’ve been lucky, it’s been an amazing journey, so far, and it doesn’t hurt to give a bit back. (More info www.RAPt.org.uk )
What are your hopes and dreams for the future? I am the happiest I have been for a long while. Gets better and better. I would like to spend more time with Stella (my wife) and maybe visit Wales for a bit longer. Full circle really. Take a look at how the old place has changed. Have a laugh. An old friend of mine used to say, ‘You know, Tony, you can tell if you’ve had a good day if you’ve had a bit of a larf - You’ve got to have a larf!’ he always used to say to me...
Winter 2013 Page 5
Former East Enders star on her battle with drugs - and her new found faith
‘I just didn’t realise that you can have a relationship with Jesus...’ SOAP STAR Danniella Westbrook became a household name at the age of 16 – and has rarely been out of the spotlight since. Her much publicised battle with drugs is now a thing of the past following her decision to become a Christian. Danniella appeared in commercials for Coca Cola, Asda and Weetabix as a child, later becoming the face of High Street chain Tammy Girl.
A stint in iconic BBC kids drama Grange Hill and an appearance alongside Freddie Mercury in the video for Queen’s Invisible Man followed in her early-to-mid teens. But it was her role as Sam Mitchell in the flagship BBC soap EastEnders in 1990 that projected Danniella into the headlines - often for the wrong reasons. Since leaving Albert Square for the first time in 1993, Daniella has returned three times, most recently in 2009 when she dramatically replaced the actress who took over the role, Kim Medcalf.
After her first EastEnders departure Danniella landed a part in ITV’s Frank Stubbs Promotes with Timothy Spall, but struggled with cocaine addiction throughout the 90s. Her battles with drugs are infamous, and well documented in her first autobiography The Other Side Of Nowhere.
SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT Danniella dug deep to fight her demons and has now been clean 12 years and counting‚ since her final and successful treatment, in Arizona.
Danniella and her husband Kevin became Christians three years ago when they relocated to Los Angeles with their children Kai and Jodie B.
Talking about her decision to follow Jesus, Daniella said: “I always felt that there was something bigger out there than me. At Cocaine Anonymous they always refer to a ‘higher power’ and for me that higher power was God.
“I just didn’t realise that you can have a relationship with Jesus in the way that I understand that you can today. When I was in treatment in Arizona (when I finally got clean) I was pregnant with my daughter and I couldn’t sleep. They had a ‘serenity path,’ in the garden. I went and sat out there at about 3am.
“There’s this thing called the Phoenix Lights, when the sky lights up in different colours. I sat there, looking at the sky, and I just had a conversation with God. This was way before I was a Christian, but I said to him, ‘This is really hard and I cant do this on my own. But if I’m meant for more than to just be working
Danniella Westbrook... talks about her faith in her new book Faith, Hope and Clarity in television and wasting my life doing other stuff, then you need to step in and help me out because I can’t do it on my own.’ I felt that was my first real connection with God.” Some time later she and her husband were persuaded to attend a friend’s evangelical church. “We went and we both just lit up.
“We literally went from church to the airport because we were flying back that day to London. And the whole way home we were like, ‘That was amazing!’ I didn’t know churches like that existed at all, because I’d never been looking for that.
GOD CALLED US “Obviously all over England there are great evangelical churches. I know that now, but back then I didn’t. So I think it was more that God called us, rather than us looking for him.”
They returned to the UK in 2011, settling deep in the Essex countryside. In 2013, Danniella self-published her second autobiography Faith, Hope and Clarity, with author Matt Trollope. In May 2013 Daniella appeared on BBC
One’s Songs of Praise and shared details of the dark period of her life as a drug addict. In the show’s special episode devoted to ‘fame and faith,’ she told host David Grant that her dream was ‘overtaken by the excesses of fame.’
She admitted: “All my life all I wanted to do was be an actress, so I was excited at the prospect of doing what I loved, more so than being famous. Then as time went on the fame overtook doing what I loved.” On the show she went on to say that she spoke to God during her darkest times.
She continued: “Throughout my ‘using’ and my darkest times I did used to speak to God, you know when you’re alone and you’re at your depths. And I think people do that in any case whatever they’re going through in life even if they’re not spiritually aware, at their darkest moments the person they call upon is God.” The soap star told the presenter that after finding faith as a Christian she realised the value of fame. She said: “Everyone was like ‘oh my God, she’s gone from a drug addict to a crazy
Christian,’ and you know what, if you want to label me, label me, that’s cool, but walk a mile in my shoes and then you know, and then judge.”
She continued, “I used to be a big person for judging until I came into the church and that was one thing I had to check myself on constantly was not to judge others.”
BIGGEST ADDICTION “What I’ve realised is fame is the biggest addiction there is. Everybody wants it, whether they say they do or not, most people want it, most people when they’ve got it don’t know what to do with it and then they either want more of it or they want to get rid of it because they don’t like it. “I’ve realised through faith that using your status, whether it be as an actress or whatever that may be, can actually do a lot of good for a lot of causes,” she added. To order a copy of Danniella’s autobiography ‘Faith, Hope and Clarity’ visit her website at www.westbrookdanni. com. It is available as an e-book and also in hardback and paperback.
Winter 2013 Page 7
TV presenter’s Christian faith
Diane Louise Jordan: ‘Jesus is my inspiration’ TELEVISION presenter Diane Louise Jordan says her inspiration is Jesus. The Radio 2 and Songs of Praise regular grew up in a Christian family and has explained that faith played a huge part in her life. She said: “When you look at what Jesus modelled, he was very intentional about what he did, but he wasn’t always busy.
“He had time – he made time to spend with God praying. He was intentional about being relational with his close friends, having meals.
“Every now and again, he’d go out to preach and do some amazing miracles! For me, that’s the model.”
CHRISTIAN UPBRINGING Diane, 53, was the first black presenter on Blue Peter and has been a pivotal part of some of the BBC’s flagships shows for many years.
She believes her Christian upbringing grounded her for the success that was to follow. “I came from a Christian family… my faith is just a part of my life. I’m very grateful that I was brought up in a Christian family, even
though I think I took it for granted when I was younger.
“When I was younger, everyone went to church, particularly if you came from a Caribbean family, but I think that for me, faith informs everything that I do. I can’t imagine living my life without that framework. “I believe that we are all on this earth for a purpose. I believe that we all have a birthright, and I also believe that we don’t need to compromise in order to pursue our birthright.
“Part of my birthright may be that I’m in TV for a while, or forever! I don’t know! I can’t compromise what I believe I’ve been put on this earth to do in order to stay on TV.”
Kingsley will take on the role of King Herod in the epic film Mary Mother of Christ, while O’Toole will play the prophet Simeon in the movie. Co-written by Benedict Fitzgerald, who also cowrote Mel Gibson’s blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, Mary Mother of Page 8
He said that the other contestants on X Factor were 100 per cent behind his stand against the Kary Perry song and the production team chose an alternative.
X FACTOR runner up Jahméne Douglas is a man on a mission - to be a positive role model for young people. He has made a public stand against inappropriate lyrics and explicit pop videos and wants to see a return to better values.
Jahméne said: “A song has to be something I feel deeply about. I’ve turned down a lot of songs because of the message. I’m not here for money and fame and all that stuff. I have my own priorities and try to keep myself grounded in what my mission is.”
The 22-year-old former shelf stacker from Swindon hit the headlines in 2012 when he refused to join other X Factor contestants in performing Katy Perry’s ‘Last Friday Night’ because of the references to drinking, nakedness and other suggestive lyrics.
Jahméne told the media that he used to pray
Jahméne who has a strong Christian faith, said: “A lot of singers have forgotten they have a responsibility through influencing people mainly the younger generation. “So all these foul songs - they don’t realise how badly they’re poisoning children’s minds. I’m trying to bring back the class of the olden days and hopefully set some standards.”
Big Ben’ Big Ben’s
Diane, who has recently agreed to be a judge for Time2Shine, Christianity’s answer to the X Factor, was asked what she enjoys most about being a Christian.
Leading act show host o
She said: “I’m just glad I’m me. With all my imperfections, I’m still glad that God made me the way he did. I think that at our core, what every one of us desires is to be known and loved.
“And I feel very privileged believing that God both knows and loves me.”
Starring role for Peter HOLLYWOOD giants Ben Kingsley and Peter O’Toole are set to star in a major new movie about the life of Jesus’s mother Mary.
Gospel’s gent: Ja
Jesus is being billed as the prequel to the 2004 movie.
Funders are still being sought for the distribution of the $25m film, but it is being scheduled to hit cinema screens next year – starting in the USA in April.
The movie will focus on Mary and Joseph as they survive as young parents in one of the most treacherous times in history. We will peer into Mary’s life at ages eight, 15, 19 and 27. From Mary’s youth to her struggles as a young mother Young actor Odeya Rush will caring for her child, Jesus, play Mary in the epic new up to the age of 12 years old. movie.
ACTRESS Patricia Heaton has captured attention with her frank talk on her Christian faith. The former Everybody Loves Raymond star went on The Adam Carolla radio show in the United Sttates where she even tried to open the atheist host up to Christianity.
“We have a dog. ... When the dog dies and my daughter’s crying and wants to know where Molly went, I don’t want to say a hole in the ground.” Offering motherly and Christian advice, Heaton underscored the need to raise children in ‘a concrete set of beliefs,’ especially in Los Angeles.
“I think it’s interesting that you keep having Christians come into your life – your driver, the guys you were in construction with,” Patricia Heaton said on the show. “C.S. Lewis calls those the hounds of heaven.”
“You can give them concrete principles of atheism I guess if you want but when you see little kids, to me they have a natural inclination toward God or something god-like,” she told the host.
“Believe you me, I wish I was religious. I’ve told people that a million times,” the radio host said.
“I’m not one of those atheists who’s angry at people that are religious. My whole point about being an atheist is I like the nothingness and to be left alone ... and if I’m going to spend a bunch of time ... running
“I know where you’re going with this,” Carolla responded.
One reason for him wanting to be religious is his children, he noted.
Carolla did not express opposition to religion, but he indicated that he has no desire to leave the comfortable atheist life.
ahméne Douglas X Factor runner up makes a stand for better values to give himself strength through the torment of living with his abusive father. “I became a Christian without fully understanding what it meant and when I was about eight years old and I started praying when I could hear my father abusing my mother.
make he replied a Gospel music album.
“My father didn’t want us to go to church. He stopped us from going to Sunday school. But when you do go to the bottom of the bottom, you realise everything that is important.
Although his debut album – a collection of reworked hits – shot to No.1 in the UK charts, Jahméne is keen for the world to hear his original material, which he promises will be deeply rooted in gospel and his faith.
“I came to know praying, but I didn’t understand completely what praying was until later in life.
PRAY FOR STRENGTH “When all hope was gone, I used to get on my knees and pray for the strength to change things. I think the fact I’m here now proves my prayers have been answered. The X Factor is a massive platform to help change things for someone else.” Jahméne, whose debut album Love Never Fails topped the charts earlier this year, had no hesitation in professing his Christian faith on the popular TV series.
When he was asked what kind of music he would have liked as one of the one-week themes for the show, he answered “Team Jesus’ Gospel”.
He then introduced The X Factor to his local church’s Gospel choir, with which he regularly sings, and to his pastor.
Citing influences from successful gospel duo Mary Mary and solo artists Yolanda Adams and CeCe Winans, Jahmene says it’s his mission to spread the gospel without being dictatorial. “CeCe Winans and Whitney Houston were doing ballads talking about love, but in a spiritual way rather than preaching to people
because a lot of people don’t want to hear, ‘God this, God that’. They’ll switch off.
“I’m trying to do it in a way where they stay turned on and they’re listening to the lyrics and getting the Word in a different way - on the sly. They don’t know they’re getting it.”
POSITIVE WAY He adds: “For me, the plus side to fame is having a platform to influence people in a positive way. So things like Women’s Aid (a domestic violence charity of which Jahméne is an Ambassador) is one of them.” Jahméne said in a recent interview: “It says
When he was asked what album he would like to
in the Bible that God is Love. To me that means the way that you are and what you do for other people as well.
“I think people often forget that your actions have influence. “As a singer it’s important for me to remember I have a responsibility of influencing people in a certain way.
“I want to present love in a pure way, that’s not tainted with something so that people have a different definition of love because I have given it to them in a different way.
“It’s so easy to think bad about love because you have had a bad experience with it.”
tress challenges radio on his atheist beliefs around, yelling at people who do believe, now I’ve fallen into the same trap I’ve accused them of falling into – which is ‘what are you wasting your time doing this for?’”
“My whole thing is I’m an atheist. I’ll be over here taking a nap. If you want to spend your weekend volunteering ... God bless you. Get more of those gang bangers off our streets. I’ll be the lazy atheist sitting around at home. I’ll be reaping the rewards of you pulling the gang bangers off the streets and giving them food.”
Throughout the more than hour-long radio programme, the conversation between Carolla and Heaton, along with her husband David Hunt, took a lot of interesting turns as they continued to delve into the issue of faith. Carolla expressed his displeasure with the fact that Christians are a lot of times portrayed as uneducated and semi-racist and all lumped together in that light.
“The fact is there are thousands of years of Christian history of some of the greatest minds that ever lived,” said Carolla.
The award-winning actress said there are a lot of people of faith in Hollywood, but they don’t talk about their faith. Citing a passage in the Gospel of Mark, she said, “Jesus said don’t be ashamed of me now or my word or I will be ashamed of you at the end of time.”
PREACHING THE GOSPEL Without hesitation, the actress ended up preaching the Gospel on the atheist’s radio show. “God is perfect and you have to be perfected in order to exist with Him. We are not perfect. Sin is ... when you miss the mark.
“We all are born with this sort of disease and the cure for the disease ... is the blood of Christ.”
Winter 2013 Page 9
‘Christians face extinction CHRISTIANITY could become extinct in some areas of the world because of persecution, a top Government minister Baroness Warsi has warned. According to Foreign Minister Baroness Warsi countries such as Syria and Iraq, where the religion first flourished, are now dangerous for Christians. Baroness Warsi, who is a Muslim, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m concerned that the birthplace of Christianity, the parts of the world where Christianity first spread, is now seeing large sections of the Christian community leaving and those that are remaining feeling persecuted.”
‘COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT “One in 10 Christians live in a minority situation and large numbers of those who live in a minority situation around the world are persecuted.” She expressed her concern that Christians have, in some cases, been targeted for “collective punishment”, as some majority groups blame them for perceived ‘injustices’ committed by Western powers.
“Tragically, what’s happening is they are being seen as newcomers, being portrayed as an ‘other’ within that society, even though they have existed there for many, many centuries,” she said. “What we are seeing, sadly, is a
sense of collective punishment meted out by local groups sometimes states, sometimes extremists. “They are seen as legitimate targets for what they perceive as actions of their coreligionists.
“This concept of collective punishment and them being seen as agents of the West or agents of regimes is wrong. “We need to speak out and raise this with the countries where this is happening.” Baroness Warsi made a speech at Georgetown University in Washington DC recently to highlight her concerns and call on politicians in countries such as Pakistan to ‘set the tone’ for tolerance. She said that she had already had “very frank conversations” with Pakistani ministers about the issue and reminded them of their ‘duty’ to speak out against persecution.
“There is much more that we can do,” she said. “There’s an international consensus, in the form of a Human Rights Council resolution on the treatment of minorities and tolerance towards other faiths.
“But we need to build political will behind that. Of course there have been moments when religious communities have been in conflict, but there have also been great moments of coexistence between faiths. There isn’t an intrinsic clash between different faiths.
“Politicians do have a responsibility to set the tone, to mark out legal parameters as to what will and will not be tolerated.”
In an interview with The Telegraph, Lady Warsi spoke of the importance of co-operation between faiths: “I do not buy the argument
Amazing search for historical truths about the life of Jesus...
and religious Roman world into which Jesus was born, and in which he lived and ministered.
RESEARCH spanning more than 40 years by noted archaeologist and scholar Dr Ron Charles has revealed a fascinating insight into the life and times of Jesus Christ.
Although Jesus was a Jewish ‘teacher’ he was also a loyal and active Roman citizen, who used that status to enhance his ministry. Within this ‘new’ chronology, Dr Charles renders an extraordinary picture of Jesus, the culmination of forty-three years of research, spanning five continents.
Dr Charles, often described as ‘The Christian Indiana Jones’ visited more than 50 countries during four decades studying ancient records and documents to uncover the historical truth about Jesus.
He’s appeared many times on the Discovery Channel, The History Channel and National Geographic and was part of a team who searched for the landing site of Noah’s Ark. His research findings were first published 10 years ago in The Search, a New York Times bestseller and has now been released as Chasing Jesus, a 450 page volume which tracks the life of Jesus through the corridors of history.
Chasing Jesus offers the reader a new perspective on Jesus’s way of life, his politics, the history, the customs, the philosophies and the manners of the time. The result is an eminently readable, humane and fascinating portrait of the earthly Jesus.
Dr Ron Charles
TRYING TO WIN ARGUMENT Dr Charles commented: “For as long as I can remember, I’ve hungered to learn the truth about Jesus. The historical truth.”
Jesus was born into the world during the time of the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus (January 27 BC to August 14 AD). He lived and ministered and was put to death during the time of Roman Emperor Caesar Tiberius (September 14 AD to March 37 AD. Jesus was born into a part of the world governed by Herod the Great, a king appointed by the Roman Emperor. For the last two centuries, the accepted view of Jesus has been confined to his depiction within the pages of the Bible. The man and his character have always been presented with little or no relevance to the society in which he lived, or the wider world at that time. Page 10
With Chasing Jesus, Dr Ron Charles aims to better our understanding of Jesus - the man - by bringing to life the real world which he inhabited, the Greco-Roman culture he was born into, governed by Herod the Great.
Whilst the accepted fundamental statements regarding Jesus correspond to the doctrines, many simply do not concord with historical truths.
Importantly, Dr Charles believes that historically, the Gospels should not be seen as four separate documents, but as one witness to the same events, one collective source. Creating his own chronological record to act as a ‘road map,’ Dr Charles’s research led him to establish a clear picture of the political, social
Dr Ron also has a fascinating personal story. Until very recently he conducted mercy missions into Egypt and the Middle East offering protection and charity to widows and children of Christian families, who are often targets for attack in certain regions. He’s been followed and had to negotiate with
Al Qaeda, he’s been shot at in Libya and has witnessed at first hand the terrible persecution being faced by the Coptic Christians in Egypt. CHASING JESUS is available from www. faithbuildersworld.com and other good online retailers.
Five copies of Chasing Jesus to be won The Son has teamed up with Faith Builders to offer five free copies of Chasing Jesus by Dr Ron Charles. All you have to do is e-mail the following: email@example.com and put Chasing Jesus in the subject line. The first five entries drawn at random after the closing date of January 31 2014 will receive a copy of the book.
in some parts of the world’ Government minister’s shock warning
that faiths are on a violent collision course, that division and sectarianism are inevitable. Yes, the battle lines have been drawn on religious divisions in the past. “People are exploiting them today, finding a convenient ‘other’ – a scapegoat – in their minorities. “But history shows this is not inevitable; communities can and do co-exist.” “Not only can they co-exist, they can flourish. “Pluralism is not only a good in itself; it is good for society. “It enables people to play a full part in society, which boosts economies.”
HUGE DIFFICULTIES The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, agreed that Christians in the Middle East face huge difficulties. Also speaking on the Today programme, he said: “There are real challenges for Christians in this part of the world to support and get alongside them and also for politicians to understand that the presence of Christians is a great mediating factor, often for example between different segments of Islam. “It’s a mix that has lasted for a thousand years and no Western government should promote a
course of action in the Middle East which would end with a new government which was intolerant to its historical neighbours and colleagues within the territory.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Reverend Justin Welby, has also warned that Christians are
being persecuted for their faith. In response to the bombing of an Anglican church in Pakistan which killed 81 worshippers in September, he said: “I think Christians have been attacked in some cases simply because of their faith.” The Archbishop found himself under fire when
‘MEDIA IGNORES THE SLAUGHTER’ WESTERN MEDIA is failing to report the widespread slaughter of Christians overseas, according to a Conservative councillor.
Alistair Thompson, writing on the Conservative Home blog, said the poor reporting underlines a ‘systematic failure to stand up for Christians in the East, who over the last decade have faced ethnic cleansing on unimaginable scale.’ Mr Thompson highlighted figures showing that there is an average of 100,000 Christians who have been murdered every year over the past decade. And he commented, despite this ‘avalanche of attacks against Christians, politicians both here, in the US and EU remain almost completely silent.’
He said: “In Burma, where the native Christians are considered to be opponents of the regime, the military junta have launched helicopter gunship attacks against areas with high Christian populations.”
And he added that in Nigeria, ‘the terrorist group Boko Haram is believed to have killed more than 3,000 Christians since 2009, many of the victims targeted while attending church or as they left.’ Mr Thompson said: “According to the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity, an average 100,000 Christians have been murdered each year over last decade. “A million killed for their faith, of 11 murdered every hour of every day of every week, but still the West says nothing!”
he used the term ‘martyrs’ to describe the victims of the church bombing.
The victims at All Saints Anglican church, a 19th‑century colonial legacy in the Kohati Gate district of Peshawar, died because they insisted on practising their faith, as martyrs in all religions have done through the centuries.
“We have been talking for a long time about the persecution of Christian communities around the world,” said Neville Kyrke-Smith, director of the charity Aid to the Church in Need.
100 MILLION PERSECUTED “But no one has wanted to listen. Some thought we were exaggerating. Others said we were mad. The problem seemed to be that it was seen as politically incorrect to take too much notice of Christians suffering in case it was interpreted as casting a slur on the whole of Islam.” The Committee of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, an EU‑wide body, produced a report three years ago that spoke of 100 million Christians around the globe facing persecution because of their beliefs. It estimated that three quarters of all religious persecution worldwide was faced by Christians.
PERSECUTION LEADS TO BIG INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR BIBLES DEMAND for Bibles and other forms of Scripture has surged in areas of the world where Christians most frequently face religious freedom violations. The United Bible Societies (UBS), which represents 146 Bible societies in more than 200 countries and territories, reports: “Global Scripture distribution by Bible Societies rose by 6%, from just over 381 million in 2011 to more than 405 million in 2012.
“Of that 405 million, 32.1 million were full Bibles, matching 2011’s record-breaking year of Bible distribution.” Of greatest interest, UBS notes how six of its top countries for distribution gains also top the World Watch List (WWL), which ranks countries where Christians face persecution.
For example, the country with the highest increase of Bible distribution from 2011 to 2012 was Syria, which recently leapt from No. 36 to No. 11 on the World Watch List.
While Syria’s Bible society distributed 19,000 Scriptures in 2011, it distributed 163,105 in 2012—a 758 percent increase. Many of those products were Scripture calendars and books
for Christmas and Easter.
“Christians in Syria are under enormous pressure and are in great need of encouragement,” said Mike Bassous, general secretary of the Lebanon Bible Society (which oversees Syria).
“Staff in Syria are working hard to produce enough Scriptures to meet these needs. They have focused on producing smaller items of Scripture, like calendars and Scripture booklets, because they can do this quickly and also because they are easier to transport than full Bibles.”
Likewise, the Bible society in Iraq, which ranks No. 4 on the WWL, distributed 66,000 Scripture items last year, a 132 percent increase from 2011. And the Bible society in Laos, which ranks No. 18 on the WWL, delivered 21,000 Scriptures last year (a 159-percent increase), including a “significant increase in the distribution of full Bibles.” Egypt rose by 25 percent in Scripture distribution, while India had a 19 percent increase. The countries ranked No. 9 and No. 10 for places with the largest Christian minorities respectively. Egypt ranks No. 25 on the WWL, while India is No. 31. Distribution for digital-format Bibles, including YouVersion, are up as well, says UBS.
Winter 2013 Page 11
CD REVIEWS 1 Girl Nation - 1 Girl Nation This five-piece, energetic girl band from Nashville are bringing a new hope for teenagers around the world as they confidently convey their Christian hope. The first song “While We’re Young” isn’t the One Direction number but a refreshing cut telling the message that if you go through hard days there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. “Count Your Rainbows” has a bit of a Taylor Swift country vibe. A particular standout is “Love Like Crazy” 9/10 where the girls team up with boy band Royal Taylor. 1GN also make a pitch at clubland with some danceable beats on “Vertical” while the slower “Invade” is a Euro sounding beat ballad. In fact throughout, 10/10 the production from Jason Ingram, Casey Brown and Jonathon Smith is top rate. In a culture where all kinds of shallow young ladies are presented to us as role models, it’s heartening to encounter a group like this who clearly have something to say and the talent to say it creatively.
Music Reviews supplied by Cross Rhythms, the UK’s leading Christian music voice. For more than 20,000 reviews, music news, articles, online radio and shop visit www.crossrhythms.co.uk Newsboys - Restart
Pop music history has its fair share of acts who’ve ceased to be groups per se but rather successful brands. For such acts changing personnel doesn’t seem to matter, what counts is they continually modify their stylistic approach to keep in step with the quixotic changes in youth pop music tastes. Newsboys have successfully changed and changed again down the years and 9/10 now their latest incarnation has taken a further step into X Factor pop dance territory. No doubt long-in-tooth followers will bitterly miss the brand abandoning the last vestiges of rock music but for a young audience keen to find an alternative to the vapid emptiness or undisguised hedonism of TV talent searches and clubdom there is much to enjoy and dance to and on the one or two slow 10/10 songs (like the wistful ballad “That Home”) chill out and think on the lyrics. And clever lyrics are something the Newsboys HAVE retained down the years. Wherever you look you’ll find cleverly conceived, expertly executed and, most important, spiritually uplifting pop music. The Newsboys are clearly still a brand leader.
Soulfire Revolution - Revival
A top quality release recorded in, er, Columbia! Emanating from Mision Carismatica Interncional (MCI) in Bogota, this album manages to succeed in creating a unique high energy worship sound, due in part it has to be said by bringing in such talented guests as Kim Walker-Smith, TobyMac and Martin Smith. Lorena Castellanos, the daughter 9/10 of the church’s pastors, brings to life a number of the songs with her breathy, distinctive vocals. The title track is an electric guitar-driven invitation to allow God to invade us by his Spirit, Kim Walker10/10 Smith featuring in the chorus. The Martin Smith-inspired “Count The Stars” is a beautifully melodic ballad while the highlight of the project is undoubtedly “We Sing”, an unexpectedly simple electro-pop dance anthem. This is an inspired, stand-out and finely produced set of songs which captures the passion and spirit of what God is doing in the church in Columbia.
Philippa Hanna - Through The Woods
Recently signed to Authentic Media and fresh from touring with pop legend Lionel Richie, Philippa has never been more popular and with this, her fourth full length album, she has surely delivered her best yet. Bringing in Grammy Award-winning producer Eliot Kennedy, Philippa has delivered an eclectic mix of uptempo pop, country and also slower, mellow ballads all presented with contemporary production 9/10 sparkle. Tracks such as pre-released single “Lighthouse”, the country-tinged “Stars Will Fall” and the pop-driven “Fire” all show the sheer versatility of the Sheffield-based songstress who is a pop talent with the ability to break into the10/10 mainstream anytime soon. Philippa has worked hard and this deftly executed set can only further enhance her reputation. Next up Philippa is touring with Wet Wet Wet. If you haven’t yet done so, discover her now.
Love & The Outcome - Love & The Outcome
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Canadian Chris Rademaker and his wife Jody King provide a practically perfect pop performance for their debut album. Opening with more bounce than Tigger, “When We Love” conveys that the love of God is reflected in all love. This theme returns later in “Heart Like You”. Jodi’s vocals cut through loud and clear, singing simple but never trite lyrics full of hope and joy. Not that Love And The Outcome go in for shallow triumphalism. “No Mistaking” speaks of doubts and fears and how sometimes it is not easy to know God’s will, so we need to “Ask” for our Father to answer. Some tracks have something of a boy band vibe, but without the syrupy luv sickliness, while the powerful driving rhythms from Chris’ bass move the songs along. The anthemic single “He Is With Us” is a particular radio-friendly item though “The Story You’re Building In Me” is too sentimental and contrived. However, apart from this small hiccup, this album is a musical pleasure.
Matt Redman - Your Grace Finds Me
The crowd roars, the drums thud in an almost bodhran style rhythm, a singer starts singing 9/10 about the transforming power of the cross and a male chorus does one of those wordless “uh-uh-oh” choruses. The latest Matt Redman album shows that one of the world Church’s great songsmiths has tweaked his sound. There are still rock guitars and a little bit of the old stadium rock sound. But there are folk flavours too, not just on the opener “Sing And Shout” but also on the banjo-driven “This 10/10 Beating Heart”. There’s also a delightful mid tempo “Your Grace Finds Me” - the album’s first single - (with another catchy “uh-uh-oh” chorus), a tender piano-led reflective ballad “Mercy” and the serene closer “Benediction”. Recorded live at the LIFT Worship Leader Collective before 1,500 worship leaders and with a sparkling sound quality, this, Matt’s first all new album for a while, shows that he is still the world Church’s most consistent creator of heartwarming worship songs.
Nearly one million different people visited the Cross Rhythms website last year, making it one of the most popular Christian websites in the UK and among the top sites of its kind in the world. The website includes music reviews, testimonies, prayer rooms, reflections on life and life issues and an online shop. Visit www.crossrhythms.co.uk
Winter 2013 Page 13
CHRISTINE THE GREAT
Britain’s greatest woman athlete Christine Ohuruogo celebrates her 400 metre victory in the World Championships in Moscow CHRISTINE OHURUOGU, one of Britain’s most successful athletes, won over a whole new legion of fans following her Gold medal victory in the 400 metres at the 2013 World Athletic Championships in Moscow. Known for her commitment and dedication to her sport, Christine is also a committed Christian, and spoke to Keep The Faith magazine about her life, work and faith. Christine has been competing at a top level for 10 years and is one of the UK’s leading athletes, and her World Championship win was just another crowning moment in an illustrious career that has seen her become the only athlete in the world to win the 400m World Championships twice – the first time was in 2007.
In 2008, she was crowned 400m Olympic Champion in Beijing, and surprised everyone when she won a silver medal in the 400m at the 2012 London Olympics, beaten by a fraction of a second by the winner, American Sanya Richards-Ross. No one was even expecting her to reach the final.
Renowned for being a focused premier athlete, Christine is also unashamedly a Christian, and unafraid to talk about her faith, and glorify God through her life and sport.
Top athlete’s God-given gift She is happy, ecstatic even, about her World Championship win, particularly as she is the first woman to win the world title twice. She recalled: “I didn’t realise all the trappings of my win until afterwards. I didn’t realise I was the first woman to have won it twice. It didn’t hit me that I had won the title twice either. ” She shared, “I’ve won everything. I’ve won Olympic Gold, I’ve won Olympic Silver, I’ve won World Championship, I’ve won a Commonwealth Gold; the only thing I didn’t have was the British record.”
‘GOD GIVES US TALENTS’
Christine’s faith undergirds everything she does, including her work as an athlete, and plays a major role in her life.
“It (Christianity) has helped me a lot,” she explained. “There was one time, where I mentioned that God had helped me in my race, and I think people kind of took offence to that, because it’s like you don’t work hard for it. It’s (Christianity) just given me that not fearing my job.” She sees her athletic talent as a God-given gift that should be fully utilised. “God gives us
talents, and wants us to do our best regardless. God doesn’t promise that you’re always going to win; He doesn’t promise that it’s always going to be easy; He doesn’t promise that you’re going to be champion of the world all the time, but what He does say is, ‘Go and do the best you can; glorify Me while you’re doing it, and then all will be well.’ That gives me a lot of comfort. “When I go to the start line, I never pray that I’m going to win. Obviously I want to win, I’ve trained to win and I work to win; 24/7 I’m thinking about winning, and I’m thinking about my final. You eat, you sleep, you drink; everything is focused towards making sure you get your best.
“It’s obvious I want to win, but I never pray to win. I just pray, ‘Help me do my best, don’t let me fear other people, don’t let me fear the job at hand. Help me do all the right things at the right time. And if I win, that’s great. If I don’t, help me be a gracious loser. Even if it doesn’t go too well, you still give thanks regardless. “It’s about helping me stay focused, and believing in the fact that He can help us, we can ask Him to help us run well. He wants to help us go out and do the best we can. He gives us
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this gift to perform well. It’s great when it goes well.” And where Christine’s faith is concerned, it helps her to be the person God created her to be.
“For me, faith is a 24/7 thing. It’s not something you switch on and off once a week on Sunday. I try to use it to help me make myself a better person, and more able to accept myself. “You have to learn to accept yourself and accept who you are in Christ, rather than what other people want you to be.”
Christine has attended an Anglican church in West Ham, East London, since childhood. Fellow church members, although proud of her achievements, don’t make her a focus of attention – she’s not a great fan of hoo-ha and fuss! Instead, worship services provide Christine with a place to get spiritual fuel and to re-focus. With the athletics season now over, Christine has her sights set on the Commonwealth Games and, if she retains her competitive edge, will compete in the Rio 2016 Olympics. She is, however, starting to think about life beyond athletics. “At the moment, I’m very happy to keep on going for a bit, but you have to have a goal, something to work towards, otherwise the work is too hard to just do aimlessly without any good reason for doing it. So I will have a good think and a pray about what I think the next step for me is. I’m 30 next year, and I don’t have anything as yet, but as it stands now, I’m happy to continue.” For more details, visit www.chrissyo.com.
Revealed: How David Moyes’ faith angered fellow player a big ginger Jock from Glasgow Celtic could play with absolutely zero aggression, putting all of his energies into bleating on about Jesus instead. “Alan Comfort had scored that day, so I gave him a wide berth. But there was no respite for Graham Daniels, who had recently become a father but was out of contract at the end of the season. He writes: ‘And you,’ I spewed. ‘I’m fighting the world for this team and you’re doing nothing. Where is God when we are fighting for our lives and getting beaten every week? “He’s not giving us much help is he? You’ve no chance of getting a new contract here. Who’s going to fend for your baby and put food on the plate?
DAVID Moyes has been revealed as a quietly-spoken Christian with an interest in the pastoral care of his players. Moyes, who took over the hot seat at Manchester United after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, was one of a trio of committed Christians who played for Cambridge United in the mid 1980s and were known as ‘Cambridge’s Holy Trinity.’ The revelation about Moyes’ faith was featured in Red Card Roy - an autobiography by Roy McDonough who played with Moyes in the Cambridge United team.
ACTIVE CHRISTIANS But the Manchester United manager’s Christian beliefs didn’t go down well with McDonough.
Moyes was one of a trio of active Christians at the club, the others being Alan Comfort and Graham Daniels.
McDonough wrote: “The three of them sat in the changing room with a little black book, discussing their beliefs, when they should have been getting psyched up for a relegation scrap.
“I would cut out a lurid tabloid newspaper story and stick it on the noticeboard in front of them saying, ‘see that pervert. That’s what you will end up like. Vicars messing around with the choir
Manchester United manager David Moyes...persecuted for his faith boys.’ But they just turned the other cheek.”
persecution of the Christians.
MCDonouogh snapped: “I was still in a bad temper after the game, sinking a couple of cans on the coach before launching into a fully blown
“I battered Moyes first demanding to know why
McDonough admits he ‘completely lost the plot with the God Squad’ after a 3-3 draw at Wigan.
“In my mind they were part of the problem. They were too nice on the pitch, not nasty enough to win games, so it was like turning up with eight men each week.
“Daniels just looked up at the roof of the coach, smiled, and said three words: ‘He will provide.’ I could have baptised him with a can of beer there and then but I didn’t want to waste it. After that I never bothered saying anything again and, and the three of them stuck to their beliefs.” Comfort, who later played for Orient and Middlesbrough, became a vicar. He works in Walthamstow and is Leyton Orient’s club chaplain. Daniels is general director of Christians in Sport. • Reproduced with thanks to News of The Word
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Winter 2013 Page 15
Aston Villa star thanks God for goalscoring gift
ASTON VILLA hot-shot Christian Benteke has explained the divine inspiration for his heaven-sent goal celebration. The Belgian international had a sensational start to the 2013-14 season, scoring twice in the shock 3-1 win against Arsenal at the Emirates and followed it a few days later with a goal against Chelsea, which Villa eventually lost 2-1. Benteke celebrates each of his goals with his trademark pointing towards the sky and the 23-year-old revealed he chooses to react to scoring in that way as a mark of his Christian faith. “I do the celebration because I believe in God,” said Benteke. “So when I score the first thing I have to do is say thank-you to him. He has given me the power to score.
“I am a very religious person. I pray before the game and I pray after the game. This is my education from my family.
“I thank him for the good things that he has given me. Before each match I pray to him to make sure that nothing bad happens to all 22 players on the pitch. That is important. “I ask for him to look after everyone. Before we are footballers, we are men, we are people together. “We have a good job. Other people wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning and go back home at 6pm. They work really hard. We have to enjoy what we do and give thanks for that.
Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke celebrates another goal
Christian Benteke has revealed how he developed a cutting edge – when his disciplinarian dad chopped up his football boots.
Villa’s top scorer took the Premier League by storm last season with 15 goals in the top flight as part of a 19-goal overall haul. But, as a boy, Benteke had to cope for a year without his shooting boots when his father Jean-Pierre took a knife to them as punishment for poor classwork. The Belgium international explained: “My dad was frustrated because I was not doing well enough in school, so
he took my boots, cut them up with a knife and said I could not play for my club again until I passed all my exams.
“Of course, I continued to play football in the street with my friends but for a whole year I was not able to play for my club. “I was nine years old, I think, and I was devastated because all I wanted to do was play football. But also I understood. My father wanted the best for me and it was important to him that I get a good education too.
“So I applied myself at school, passed all my exams and after a year I got new boots. I was so happy!”
Chelsea striker says: ‘God told me to trust Mourinho’ CHELSEA STRIKER Samuel Eto’o has revealed that he didn’t always rate his new manager Jose Mourinho. The Cameroon striker reunited with Mourinho this summer at Stamford Bridge, despite claiming a few years ago that he would rather sell groundnuts in his village, than play for a pathetic team like Chelsea.
“I was talking about Jose – not about Chelsea,” he said. “Before meeting at Inter Milan, we didn’t know each other personally, so our relationship was tense. I even said one time that I’d never play for a club where Jose was coach. “But God knows best. He wanted to show me that I was wrong and today Jose is a friend. Now he’s my coach again. It’s a real pleasure Page 16
Editor: Chris Girdler
to team up with him once more and join a great team. Jose has a real clear idea.
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“He talks straight and it’s really important in this business. He’s sincere and straightforward.
“When it comes to Jose, I can’t pick out only one quality because he’s as good on the pitch as off it and this is rare for a manager.
“He’s one of the best. He got in touch. I realised there was an opportunity at Chelsea – and things moved very fast.” Talking about his faith Samuel said: “God is my everything. He is by my side every single day… when people have the feeling that what he gave us to face is difficult, even in hard times I say to myself that all that God gives is good…even when it seems hurtful.”
Samuel Eto’o He talked about the time his country Cameroon failed to qualify for the World Cup after failing to win against Egypt “The whole country collapsed. I cried a lot but when I went back to the changing room after the match I took the Bible I drifted apart and I prayed. I read a few Psalms and I stood up and said to my team mates ‘Let’s move forward.’ ”