Highland Festival with Luis Palau “a howling success”
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New Technology provides life-size model unborn babies — Page 3
TOGETHERNESS AND TRUTH
Good news Britannia Billy Grahams’ Grandson took over a mega church — Page 6
‘Jesus has got a waiting list?’ On Thursday 18th June 2009, viewers of the the quick-fire general knowledge quiz show; The Weakest Link hosted by Anne Robinson, heard a bombshell on seculardaytme television when Maria, a 60 year old retiree from Leicester declared “28 years when I had oesteoarthritis but Jesus Christ healed me!” At the end of the first round, Anne Robinson asked Maria “What have you spent your life doing?” “Lots of different things, such as Ford transit side-loading dustcart driver, a security warder in a museum, traffic warden” she answered. “All fit jobs, you need to be fit for? “ commented Anne. “Yes I used to be very fit and I’m fit again now” Mria answered. Inquisitively Anne asked “was there a bit of time when you weren’t fit?” With confidence, Maria declared “28 years when I had osteoarthritis, but Jesus Christ healed me. I had one crutch at the time He healed me... I was prayed for at the church I’m going to with the layig on of hands. I joined this church 7th January 2007 and on 19th August 2007, I got my total healing from osteoarthritis”. “Oh so even Jesus has got a waiting list then?” jokes Anne. “I don’t know Anne but He cured me!”, Maria concluded.
Pastor Adeboye distributing leaflet; starting a church — Page 5
By Nick Thompson
Our modern society is a paradox, on one hand adrift and rudderless, seemingly lacking the sense of vision & adventure that was the hallmark of the 1960s and 70s, gripped by a sense of ennui that paralyses people with cynicism and world weariness. On the other we yearn for and many actually sign up to big ideas, as demonstrated by President Obama’s change agenda that so motivated large tranches of the American population. At the same time we are growing increasingly dependent upon others for our ideas. Today’s young people are increasingly happy to take other peoples’ opinions on board or unquestioningly trust organs like Wikipedia, eschewing the opportunity to discover facts for themselves, choosing rather the consumer pick and mix approach to information. If you were to chart these trends what you would see is the coalescing of people around big coherent ideas. The key is that these ideas are coherent, and this is the key that Western Christianity seems so patently to be lacking.
If you scan the world you can see the way in which organisations and religions are strategically using the media to put across ideas, perspectives and with increasingly aplomb world views. Al Jazeera is a highly effective outlet for a specific strand of Islamic thinking, giving space and room to particular views and values and in the process allowing its viewers to subscribe to those ideas. Viewers may come from different cultures, different lines of thinking, different backgrounds and yet they find common ground and cause around the views espoused by Al Jazeera. Indeed there are documented examples of where Al Jazeera is so effective that you have the phenomenon of Christians actively aligning themselves with other faiths to criticise their Christian brothers and sisters, forgetting the travails of the Christian population in the countries they are aligning themselves with. In contrast our mainstream media, newspaper, television and radio, here in the UK is incontrovertibly and unequivocally liberal, propounding a liberal worldly
agenda that increasing relegates people, such as Susan Boyle, to the status of a story, forgets that they are people and engages in a feeding frenzy around that story, regardless of who or what gets trampled on in the process. There is no space for a right-wing voice, no room for an alternative view and no opportunity for the British public to reflect on a faith-based approach that presents internal and domestic news from a Biblical perspective. In the interests of balanced reporting, an even-handed approach and for the opportunity for some to point out that the Emperor has no clothes Great Britain desperately needs a daily news vehicle that will report, review, analyse and comment on the news.
Christians need a perspective that aligns with the central pillars of their faith as well as informing their decisions and opinions. Some will say that they do not and/or will not agree with everything presented. That is absolutely fine, the duty of news media is to report the news and leave the reader/viewer/listener to draw their own conclusions. For those who are adequately informed such news media would simply serve as a litmus test. However, for those looking for guidance, a provocative thoughts or simply an alternative view such news media would stand as distinct from any other news media as chalk is from cheese. Now it must be admitted that we leave in a time of transition. If you believed the Pied Pipers of onl i n e
media the whole world is going on the web. Well, it may make for a snappy sound bite for their PR purposes but the sad fact is that it simply isn’t true. Yes newspaper circulations are falling but that is as much a factor of uninspired news reporting and celebrity focus as it is the move to the web. The recent Daily Telegraph revelations over MP’s expenses had the effect of revitalising circulation, driving up sales figures in a sustained fashion. It is clear that there is a distinct niche within the printed newspaper market for a clear, articulate voice that coherently and confidently puts across a Biblical perspective on the news. The issue is not whether such a publication could commercially survive, rather it is whether or not a publication of this nature could maintain a clear, unhindered focus on reporting news with an unshakeable commitment to integrity, earning the respect and trust of its readers and witnessing to the redemptive potential of journalism. Visit www.lifebite.co.uk to see unmissable views on the news!
Delirious? History Maker Farewell Tour — Page 8
Michael Jackson The real day he died — Page 15 .............................................
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DAX Lenterns — Page 1
Oberammergau — Page 3
Greenbelt 09 — Page 9
The 10 Commandments of Christian and Muslim Witness The first ever set of guidelines giving advice for Christians and Muslims, who want to share their faith in an ethical way, was launched on Wednesday 24th June at Islamic Relief ’s Headquarters in London. The guide, which contains 10 points of advice, has been produced by the Christian Muslim Forum, a national body set up in 2006 to improve relationships between the 2 faiths. Youth Specialist on the Forum, Dr Andrew Smith, was one of the key speakers at the launch. He has been working for the evangelical organisation Scripture Union in inner city Birmingham for the past 14 years and has been active in promoting his own faith whilst at the same time seeking to listen to and understand his Muslim neighbours. “Speaking with local Muslims and sharing my faith has been fascinating, stimulating, even fun, but at times it has become competitive, aggressive and has left a nasty taste in my mouth. I was left feeling frustrated and defensive and with no wish to do it again! Talking to others I realised that this was a common experience, so the idea of a set of principles that would help both faiths avoid this, seemed to me an obvious way forward” Speaking alongside Dr Smith was Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Interfaith spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain. He recognises that
this is a controversial and sensitive area. “Islam and Christianity are two world religions that are missionary- and therefore are ever vying with each other for converts. But we should be able to speak of our faith honestly and with conviction, without demeaning or ridiculing others. There is no place for coercion or manipulation and when a person does convert from either faith that decision should be respected. It is our hope that these ethical guidelines will be adopted by many Christian and Muslim organisations.” The launch was chaired by the Vice-Chair of the Christian Muslim Forum, Dr Richard Cheetham, the Bishop of Kingston, and attended by many representatives from Muslim and Christian missionary organisations. Ethical Guidelines for Christian and Muslim Witness in Britain The Christian Muslim Forum offers the following suggestions that, we hope, will equip Christians and Muslims (and others) to share their faith with integrity and compassion for those they meet. 1) We bear witness to, and proclaim our faith not only through words but through our attitudes, actions and lifestyles. 2) We cannot convert people, only God can do that. In our language and methods we should recognise that people’s choice of faith is pri-
marily a matter between themselves and God. 3) Sharing our faith should never be coercive; this is especially important when working with children, young people and vulnerable adults. Everyone should have the choice to accept or reject the message we proclaim and we will accept people’s choices without resentment. 4) Whilst we might care for people in need or who are facing personal crises, we should never manipulate these situations in order to gain a convert. 5) An invitation to convert should never be linked with financial, material or other inducements. It should be a decision of the heart and mind alone. 6) We will speak of our faith without demeaning or ridiculing the faiths of others. 7) We will speak clearly and honestly about our faith, even when that is uncomfortable or controversial. 8) We will be honest about our motivations for activities and we will inform people when events will include the sharing of faith. 9) Whilst recognising that either community will naturally rejoice with and support those who have chosen to join them, we will be sensitive to the loss that others may feel. 10) Whilst we may feel hurt when someone we know and love chooses to leave our faith, we will respect their decision and will not force them to stay or harass them afterwards
Manchester Churches Partner with Police to Combat Crime By Peter Wooding Special to ASSIST News Service
With one of the highest rates of gun and knife crime in the UK more than 150 church leaders in greater Manchester linked up with neighbourhood police teams this week for the launch of a nation-wide campaign to help combat this crisis. Wednesday June 24th night marked the start of a ten-city strategy, under the banner of Redeeming Our Communities, which is to be rolled out nation-wide, in partnership with the police, over the next three years. In addition to senior church and civic leaders, the event, at the Whthenshawe
Forum Centre on June 24, which was funded by Greater Manchester Police, was attended by the Chief Constable of Manchester, Peter Fahy. Chief Constable Peter Fahy and City Links director Debra Green on stage at Redeeming Our Communities event "As chief constable the biggest challenges in Manchester are the obvious crime ones around robberies and burglaries, but probably deeper than that is an alienation in a lot of communities," explained the Chief Constable. He added: "Clearly a lot of
problems with gangs and guns is coming back to young people not seeing a lot of prospects out there other than getting involved in criminality. But we feel passionately about working with local people. We've put a lot of investment into what we call Neighbourhood Policing and tonight is an opportunity to strengthen that through greater involvement with faith communities." Peter believes this week's event was ambitious to get churches to step out more into their communities: "It's difficult territory as I think often faith groups, because of some of the pressures in society can become quite insular and introverted. "So tonight is really encouraging local faith communities to make a connection with your local policing. We want to provide ideas about how churches can help us with things like mentoring with debt advice for people in difficulties and with making an effort in terms of community cohesion. Also we want churches to help us with young people particularly in providing activities and more purpose for young people. People coming out of prison, those sorts of issues. So it's really getting across to faith groups that they are a tremendous resource and if we can build a stronger link between police and those faith groups then we can have an amazing resource to do good things in local neighbourhoods." With around one thousand in attendance at the Redeeming Our Communities event a large percentage of those were uniformed police officers. During the evening they were all asked to stand to huge applause and then everyone prayed for them to have the strength to face the daily challenges of combating crime. "I'm really excited about tonight because I'm a Christian myself and I know it's quite difficult sometimes with the police service," explained Neighbourhood Police Inspector Dave Willcock. He added: "A lot of police
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officers don't have a faith, but for me this is a fantastic opportunity for the police service to see how the church can get behind us, praying for officers, supporting us through voluntary work and supporting us through lots of different things in the community. This is a great opportunity for local police officers to link in with local churches and actually realise and understand that the church plays a big part in the community and they've got a lot to offer us. Perhaps before that they may not have realised that as they've not had the opportunity to engage." Behind the campaign is Manchester-based charity City Links, formed in 2003 to encourage strong community liaison between churches and the police in tackling social problems. Director and founder Debra Green described the partnership between police and churches as "an unprecedented move to establish an ongoing national strategy, not just in Manchester but nationally, aimed at reviving and regenerating communities. "Churches are the biggest deliverers of youth services in the UK and are therefore very much in the front line of working with young people, but we want to encourage them to do so more strategically by linking up with neighbourhood police teams to undertake projects involving young people for the benefit of communities at large." Also in attendance were a number of dignitaries including the Mayor of Manchester Alison Firth. She told me: "I think it's fantastic that this event is covering the whole of Manchester. When we think of the different faith groups that are within Manchester as a city I think we have a great strength within our community leaders. Together as a united community we will be much stronger and we'll have more links with the local people who live and work and worship and prayer together in the communities that we serve."
Great RE with
R.E. lessons have never been so much fun: Children, teachers, Ofsted Inspectors, Governors – they all love it! What is getting so many people excited? It’s Bible Explorer. Bible Explorer (part of Walk Through the Bible Ministries) aims to reach every child with the story line of the Bible – the Big Picture, and currently has over 350 trained volunteer presenters, providing a free, educational program exclusively to primary schools. It’s taught to children in Years 5 & 6, in five one hour sessions for either the Old or New Testament, developing the RE syllabus in a fun and interactive way. An hour may seem a long time for children to concentrate, but not with Bible Explorer! The story line of the Bible comes alive with drama, story telling, multi-media and much more. The impact is amazing to watch as the classroom is turned into a map and the incredible exploration through the people and places of the Bible begins. The children may find themselves joining in the battle between Moses and Pharaoh, experiencing the miracle of crossing the River Jordan, seeing the walls of Jericho ‘tumble down’, or sprayed with water pistols during a storm! Getting children excited about RE helps them to discover that the Bible isn't a boring, old, irrelevant book. Said one teacher: "The children really loved the lessons and I am amazed at how much they remembered while having a lot of fun. R.E. lessons were never like this when I was young!" Bible Explorer presenters often hear the children cheer when they realise it’s an R.E. lesson! County R.E Advisors say "I've never seen anything like it. It's brilliant". We offer extensive training to anyone with a heart to communicate the Bible to children. Want to know more? Visit: www.Bible.org.uk or get in touch at BibleExplorer@Bible.org.uk
Muslim calligrapher writes a Christian text for the Pope A Muslim calligrapher who had never read the New Testament has spent two months writing the Gospel of Luke in Arabic script. Yasser Abu Saymeh has dedicated the past two months to Christian art and is writing the Gospel of Luke in ornate Arabic script, which was presented to Pope Benedict XVI when the Roman Catholic leader visits the Holy Land. He opens his workshop early every day, right after dawn prayers at a mosque near his home. The walls are decorated with handwritten verses from the Quran and Arabic poetry. Writing tools are laid out on an old table, including two dozen calligraphy pens and
black, green and red ink. Every few days, a local priest checks completed pages for accuracy. The text and drawings will be bound in deer hide and presented in a mother-of-pearl box, a specialty of Bethlehem artisans. When it came to choosing a calligrapher for the project, the choice quickly fell on Abu Saymeh. Abu Saymeh admits he never read a New Testament text before working on his latest project which he was selected for by Bethlehem's Christian mayor. He said he has since come to appreciate the shared strands of the two faiths. 'I found that many of the
English Diocese Urges Priests To Wear Masks, Gloves When Anointing Flu Victims Pope Benedict XVI
things emphasised in Christianity exist in our religion,' said the 51-year-old Abu Saymeh. The artist completed the Gospel's text, which eventually covered 65 poster-sized pages. It was accompanied by coloured drawings depicting the life of Christ, from the Nativity to the crucifixion. The pope received the gift on May 13, when he visited Bethlehem as part of a pilgrimage that also includes stops in Nazareth and Jerusalem, the other focal points in the life of Jesus. During a May 11 reception at the residence of Israel's president, Shimon Peres, the pope received another rare gift of Scripture a 300,000-word Hebrew text of
the Jewish Bible inscribed on a silicon particle the size of a grain of sand. Calligraphy is prized in Islamic cultures because Islam frowns upon figurative art as idolatrous. Abu Saymeh was trained in Baghdad and works in a small studio in Bethlehem, a few hundred yards from the Church of the Nativity, built over Jesus' traditional birth grotto. He had won distinction in 2007, when he presented a handwritten copy of the Quran to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He also teaches calligraphy at a local university, and is sometimes asked to testify in court as a handwriting expert, usually in fraud cases. Raised in a Palestinian
refugee camp in Jordan, he began his career by drawing signs for what he said were peaceful demonstrations against Israel's military occupation. Mayor Victor Batarseh said he chose Luke among the four Gospels because he felt his writing contains the most detail about Jesus' time in the city. And he picked Abu Saymeh not just because of his talent, but to send a message of peaceful religious coexistence. 'It's a message to the world that Bethlehem is the city where Christianity was born,' he said. 'It's also the place of brotherly relations between Muslims and Christians.' Relations between Christians and Muslims in Bethlehem are generally good, though there is occasional
friction, usually involving either land disputes or mixed couples marrying someone from another religion. Muslims make up twothirds of the population in the town of 30,000 and Christian influence has been receding steadily. The issue of interfaith relations was high on the pontiff 's agenda during his May 8-15 tour, which includes several meetings with Muslim leaders. Among many Muslims here resentment is still festering from 2006, when Benedict linked Islam and violence. The pope quoted a Medieval text that characterised some of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad as 'evil and inhuman,' particularly 'his command to spread by the sword the faith.'
Benedict long ago expressed regret for any offense his words might have caused, but his comments on the upcoming trip will be watched closely by Muslims and Christians in the Palestinian territories. Any misstep that could upset the delicate relations between the Muslim majority and a dwindling Christian minority was avoided. The calligrapher said he took on the mission, in part, because he wanted to send a conciliatory message and distance himself from extremists. I would like this to be a message from a Muslim artist through this simple work that the Muslim artist is tolerant and not aggressive, despite abuses that may come from here and there from extremists who use our religion for their own interests,' he said
The Diocese of Lancaster on April 29 published an emergency pastoral planning document amid concern about a possible swine flu epidemic. Among the document’s directives: If you are visiting a home where someone has the flu, during a local out break or a pandemic, wear a mask and gloves or wash your hands after visiting and most importantly between each separate visit … If you are blessing or anointing someone with ‘flu (e.g. with oil) or laying hands on them, wear gloves and a mask. The document adds, “You may need to think about suspending all public worship for a time, during the height of a pandemic. The same may apply to religious instruction classes
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Stunning new technology allows parents to hold a life-size model of their unborn child The place of technology and science in human understanding and enlightenment, has a way of changing perceptions or even creating a closer bond with an unborn baby. We now have better insights into the amazing work of the Creator and it’s in the womb. It's a defining moment in a parent's life: Seeing their unborn child's image on an ultrasound for the first time. Now pregnant women could have the chance to hold a life-size model of their unborn baby. The startling new medical technology is the result of a Royal College of Art design student's PhD. Brazilian student Jorge Lopes has pioneered the conversion of data from ultrasound and MRI scans into life-size plaster models of living embryos using a method called rapid prototyping. 'It’s amazing to see the faces of the mothers. They can see the full scale of their baby, really understand the size of it,' said Dr Lopes. 'The technology can be also be used as an emotional tool for parents whose foetus might be deformed or need treatment,' added Hilary French, who heads the School of Architecture and Design Products. A good way of understanding how rapid protoyping works is to imagine a printer that prints plastic powder instead of ink. Then as it prints layer up layer it slowly builds up a 3D model. Aine Duffy from the RCA said: 'It's stunning technology - here at the RCA we use it for everything from new medical devices, to car components, to jewellery, to architectural models.' Dr Lopes' work will be displayed at an exhibition opening at the RCA in London today. The technology is currently being trialled at a clinic in Rio de Janeiro. His supervisor, King's College head of obstetrics Stuart Campbell, called the invention 'absolutely unique' and 'a fantastic development'. Professor Campbell, who pioneered the use of ultrasound in the
32 weeks Dr Lopes also models from CT scan
1980s, also hoped the technology would help mothers - blind mothers in particular - to bond with their babies. 'I don’t know whether I am looking at science or I am looking at art', commented an external examiner reviewing the student's PhD viva. Dr Lopes also modelled conjoined twins from a CT scan Dr Lopes, who is sponsored at the college by the Brazilian government, had begun his research by looking at how model-making had been used in practical ways over the centuries, Ms French said. He started with mummies, then moved on to dinosaurs, then foetuses - leaving friends joking he had gone from 'mummies to mummies'. His work uses the latest computer techniques first exhibited by Ron Arad at an exhibition at the V&A at the turn of the century entitled Not Made By Hand, Not Made in China. Arad, one of the most famous designers in the world
and the head of design products at the RCA, called Dr Lopes' work a 'ground-breaking new field of world importance'. Back in 2004, a new technology which allowed parents to see moving ‘3D’ scans of their baby sparked calls for a review of the abortion law. The scans showed babies younger than the 24-week abortion limit stretching, yawning, smiling and ‘walking’ in the womb. But despite polls showing that most women supported a reduction in the upper time limit for abortion, the law remained unchanged when Parliament voted last year This new life-size model technology could ignite the abortion debate once again.
The Church in the UK has a duty of care to women in crisis of unexpected pregnancies and not to stand as a judge over a hurting nation. In England, Scotland and Wales, abortion is allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. The consent of two doctors is required. Abortion up to birth is lawful when the mother’s life is at risk, or where the unborn child has a serious handicap (however, ’serious handicap’ has been taken to include a treatable abnormality such as a cleft palate). Abortion is unlawful in Northern Ireland, except for where the mother’s life is at risk. One in five recorded pregnancies in England and Wales ends in abortion. According to Government figures given in 2006, of the 5.3 million abortions to residents of England and Wales: 0.4% were because of risk to the mother’s life; 1.3% were because of foetal handicap; over 98% were for social reasons. In 2006 one woman told the BBC: “I went to the British Pregnancy Advice Service for counselling. I asked if at ten weeks it was a baby and they said, ‘No, it’s just cells.’ I felt like it wasn’t a baby and that was my get-out clause; I wasn’t doing anything wrong. “Afterwards I was emotionally numb and although I didn’t have an emotional breakdown, I became anorexic. I was promiscuous for some time. But at the time I didn’t think it had anything to do with the abortion.” She said her failed abortion of a second child changed her view: “When I saw that baby with its heart beating, I knew that nine years ago I had destroyed a baby… I realised that I had been reacting out of fear and not really thinking. I was in denial: ‘It wasn’t really a baby but cells.’ “Women deserve more than abortion in a crisis. There are other options, why should the death of a baby be the only answer?”
Oil paintings inspire a unique Christian resource
Visitors to The National Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park this May were the first to view a new and dynamic resource for churches, schools and individuals. The Journey, consisting of a set of 15 stunning Giclée prints which portray the final journey of Christ to his death and resurrection, is accompanied by a user-friendly teaching manual. This exciting resource which will benefit committed Christians, those who are seeking to develop their understanding of God through the Christian faith, and those who are exploring Christianity for the first time, is based upon life-size works from the talented contemporary artist Penny Warden. Her 15 Stations of the Cross are displayed at Blackburn Cathedral in a major and permanent exhibition of sixfeet-high oil paintings each depicting one lonely figure, and painted in such a way that every figure will
challenge and speak to all who view them. “We are not just observers of the journey of Christ,” says Penny, “rather we use His journey to help us to understand our journey through life.” The comprehensive teaching manual that accompanies The Journey has been especially written by the artist’s husband, Rev Dr Richard Warden, for church leaders, group leaders, classroom teachers and individuals. Richard, now a vicar in Finchampstead, Berkshire, spent three years as an army chaplain, and 15 years as a school chaplain and teacher of religious studies. The Journey, which has received accolades from Desmond Tutu, Dr Rowan Williams, and Tom Wright (Bishop of Durham), will help to explain the meaning of Christ to a puzzled and agnostic generation, and engage with people wherever they may be within the complexities of life in the 21st century. But, behind The Journey is a remarkable story… Penny, now aged 52, did not start painting seriously until she was in her 40’s! Despite being top of art at school and being urged and encouraged by her teachers, Penny’s talent was not acknowledged by her parents. Consequently, she never considered art to be an option, declaring ironically, “In the 70s, I didn’t even think to do art … my art was dead and buried … I just closed all the doors to it.” What followed was a series of frustrating and unfulfilling courses and jobs. She dipped into account-
ancy, advertising and sales work, and still her art “did not figure whatsoever.” In May 1981 Penny became a Christian. Her growing convictions fuelled a desire to learn more, and against all odds – with no relevant qualifications or specific aptitude – she was accepted that September into Westminster College, Oxford to study Theology. It was in Oxford on her first Sunday at church that she met husband-tobe Richard, who was then training to become a priest. They have been together ever since. By the age of 33 she was a mother of two children, was in a teaching post as Head of Religious Studies, and at last the art was beginning to surface. She attended amateur art classes until, at 40, she started a part-time Fine Art degree that had recently been introduced at the local University. This was to be the springboard for a new language which would combine her love of theology with her love of painting. Towards the end of her first year there, this love became expressed in a series of deeply poignant and personal images – the Phoenix paintings, which have been seen by many thousands of people whilst they were on a five-year solo tour of 10 English cathedrals. These images, based on the crucifixion, began Penny’s own journey of how to translate the familiar images of Christ’s final journey of trial, condemnation and eventual crucifixion into a new arrangement of colour and form. It was following this successful
tour that Penny launched the permanent exhibition of The Stations of the Cross in Blackburn Cathedral in March 2005 - probably “the most significant contemporary artistic commission in any church in the land,” said Canon Chancellor Chris Chivers, and “the most adventurous of its kind in any English cathedral,” Canon Andrew Clitherow. Recently Penny has been commissioned by the Board of Trustees of Trinity Hospice, Bisham, Blackpool for six life-size canvasses for their Chapel to mark their 25th Anniversary in 2010.This is a very significant and exciting project which will transform a very important space within their organization. The Trustees, who were very impressed by the quality of Penny’s work in Blackburn Cathedral, felt that she was the right artist to rise to this challenge. To learn more about The Journey, please visit www.thejourney.me.uk.
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Swiss Govt to consider ban on assisted suicide By The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk
THE SWISS Government is considering a new proposal to ban assisted suicide facilities in Switzerland. The new proposal would tighten restrictions on who could access assisted suicide, potentially limiting it to those who are close to death. If passed it could spell the end for so-called ‘suicide tourism’ to Swiss facilities such as Dignitas, which has come under increasing fire in recent weeks over allegations of suspicious deaths. The current law in Switzerland allows terminally ill patients to choose to kill themselves with the help of organisations like Dignitas. But the Government is now considering “legal barriers and a ban on organised suicide assistance.” Wesley Smith, a bioethicist, said: “Apparently certain elements of the Swiss Government are sick and tired of the travesty
of suicide tourism”. He added: “I wish the Swiss would outlaw assisted suicide altogether, but stopping the organisations that prey on the weak, vulnerable, and despairing would be a good step in the right direction.” It was revealed earlier this week that several of the 115 Britons who have so far committed suicide at the Dignitas facility in Switzerland were suffering from “treatable” conditions. Dignitas are reportedly under investigation after helping a physically healthy man, who suffered from depression, to kill himself. The organisation’s founder, Ludwig Minelli, has been accused by a former nurse at the facility of profiting from patients’ deaths. In the coming weeks Peers in the House of Lords are expected to debate proposals to weaken the existing UK law against assisted suicide by preventing the prosecution of those who help friends
and relatives travel to suicide facilities such as Dignitas. Earlier this month Dr Peter Saunders of the Care Not Killing alliance in a letter to The Times, questioned whether the new proposal will allow people to help their “loved ones” travel to “a clinic” for assistance in dying. He warned that the Dignitas ‘clinic’ in Switzerland is “no clinic at all”. Mr Saunders said: “It is an apartment in which visitors are handed poison to drink — nothing more, nothing less.” He adds: “It is dangerously naive to suppose that people who are helped to commit suicide are always ‘loved ones’. “At the moment, with the Crown Prosecution Service able to review cases after the event, there is a deterrent that makes people with sinister motives stop and think before pressuring inconvenient relatives into removing themselves in this way.”
Oberammergau with Gold Crest Holidays IN 2010 the villagers of Oberammergau will perform their world-famous Passion Play for the 41st time since the village was saved from destruction. The amazing origins of the play date back to 1633 when the village, faced with the deadly plague, made a vow to God that if they survived they would perform a homage to Jesus’ life, death and suffering every ten years. From this moment the entire village was left untouched and as a result the villagers of Oberammergau have performed this play every decade for over four hundred years. The picturesque village of Oberammergau is situated in the stunning Bavarian Alps and it provides the perfect backdrop for the performance. Gold Crest Holidays’ eight day tour will have two days in Oberammergau to take in the picturesque village before using the included tickets to enjoy the epic five-hour Passion Play performance. There are three included excursions to the ‘Sound of Music’ city of Salzburg, historic Innsbruck with its famous golden roof and
the picturesque lakeside village of Zell-am-See whilst everyday taking in wonderful mountain scenery as we wind through the Rhine Valley, the Alps and Bavaria. They have a specialised groups department. All year round they take all kinds of groups including, schools, churches and the WI on private tours to many European destinations. Gold Crest are already taking a number of church groups to Oberammergau next year, including a church from America. They can tailor-make a holiday itinerary and offer personalised
departure points, private coaches (subject to numbers) and promotional materials. Gold Crest Holidays have been providing short breaks to the Continent for over twenty years and between them and their Austrian partners, their staff have been involved in the last two Oberammergau performances, so they have lots of experience. Gold Crest Holidays’ fully trained reservations team are on hand to answer any queries you may have and to take you through our simple booking process. For your peace of mind they are fully ABTA bonded.
Answering the call to defend
Caroline Petrie: The nurse from Weston-super-Mare who faced disciplinary actions from her employer when she asked a patient if they would like prayer
UK — DID YOU know that a social worker can no longer talk about his faith to those who are seeking answers to their problems; a nurse can no longer wear a cross at work; or that a marital registrar is demoted because she conscientiously objects to conducting civil partnerships? The times they are a changing. This isn’t just a song lyric, but the reality that many are experiencing in the United Kingdom; namely those who align with the Christian faith. More and more Christians, people from all walks of life are being discriminated and targeted on account of their faith. Often, people are losing jobs, losing their paychecks and being demoted. As the laws and employment policies rapidly change, the effect that they are having is to marginalize individuals who stand up in the public square for things that God deems to be right, true and just. Now more than ever it appears that we, as Christians are needed to stand up for what is right. After all, if we don’t, who will? The Christian Legal Centre (CLC), the sister organisation of the Public Policy group:
UCB UK‘s Carl Brettle on a mission to mobilize major prayer By Peter Wooding Special to ASSIST News Service
year to distribute 40,000 of those booklets and there’s space for 150 names per book. “This meant if everyone used these and that’s a big if, 5.5 million people in places of authority would get prayed for every week. So it’s wrapping up those kinds of ideas and obviously with UCB being a media ministry and engaging with so many churches and so many people because of our daily devotional booklet the Word For Today we want to investigate how we can involve prayer as a fundamental in everything we do. “So we will be launching later this year a new publication called Prayer For You Today, which is a Word For You Today companion edition. It will also be free, but it’ll focus on prayer for every issue in society, teaching on prayer, comment on prayer, biblical verses for prayer for all kinds of needs that you may have. Our hope is that kind of publication will raise the awareness of needing to pray both within our private lives and within church life and we’ve got to be honest.”
STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND (ANS) -- United Christian Broadcaster’s recently appointed prayer mobilizer Carl Brettle has an ambitious goal to see prayer impact the entire population of the UK on every challenging issue facing the country today. Speaking to me at the UCB broadcasting centre in Stokeon-Trent, one of the UK’s largest Christian media facilities, this humble gently spoken Welshman told me about this huge vision God has given him to mobilize prayer: “I came to UCB with a specific life goal in mind. Several years back I felt the Lord say that He wanted prayer for every person, in every place, for every issue, every moment of the day. “I’m five years in trying to unpack that now and what I’ve realized after significant research, along with some of my colleagues, is that around 60% of the churches in the UK don’t have a weekly prayer meeting. We also then discovered that although it says in scripture pray Prayer line for the for those in authority, in gen- Armed Forces As the armed forces face eral life that’s what gets done some extremely challenging the least.” times serving in places like Community Prayer Diary Afghanistan and Iraq, UCB Carl explains that in re- launched a dedicated prayer sponse to a lack of Christians line for service personnel. praying, UCB produced a Carl told me how this Community Prayer Diary: came about: “Yes that’s very ex“This brochure encourages citing. Colonel Paul Eaton appeople once a year to go and proached us a number of find out who the local chief of months ago about having a police is and your fire officer prayer line dedicated specifiand your local doctor and so on cally to the armed forces for and then write their names in service men and women could and then pray for them get prayer. That’s going quite throughout the year. With well and is projected to have UCB’s help we managed last about 1200 calls in a year. That
doesn’t sound a lot when you think we’ve got 111,000 calls a year on our prayer line. However the benefit to the armed forces is that we record every type of prayer request that comes in without breaking any confidences. So it might be a prayer request about a marriage or a debt problem or a health issue and we can total up of those types of prayer requests and feed that back into the welfare service in the armed forces. “The really exciting thing is from May 1 we have gone live on the military’s own phone network. Anywhere in the world now service personnel can dial a short code to get into prayer line from wherever they are 24 hours a day and it’s free. So we’ve been telling our volunteers that operate prayer line not to be surprised if they get a frantic phone call from a soldier who’s seen a colleague wounded or even killed and is trying to come to terms with that and is seeking prayer. So that’s a really good service. It makes you feel like you’re doing something to repay the indebtedness of the service of the armed personnel.” Credit crunch causes dramatic increase in prayer line calls
Carl says when talk first began of the financial crisis the amount of calls to their prayer line ministry rose significantly: “Back in October the word recession was used for the first time by UK prime minister Gordon Brown and then the media picked it up and it was splattered all over the papers and on every television report. During that first week we saw a 50% increase on calls related to debt problems and job security. So our prayer line is a
little bit like putting your finger on the pulse of the nation. It was as immediate as that. We were flabbergasted that there was that sharp change in numbers. So we’re trying to get to a place where if we get that result in this week’s prayer line we’re trying then to run radio shows or prayers on the radio, which actually minister to the immediate needs of the nation as it’s happening.” UK prayer temperature is hotting up
During the last decade a number of major prayer initiatives have exploded in the UK including the 24/7 prayer movement and one million hours of prayer in Manchester. Carl believes this is in preparation for some major challenges ahead: “I’ve been watching this for 7 or 8 years now and when I first got involved in the prayer scene in the UK there wasn’t a great amount of prayer going on. You wouldn’t get churches across the city or a town getting together for prayer at that moment in time. You do see that now. I think it’s a great opportunity. The last 7 or 8 years has seen an unprecedented amount of prayer and at the same time the prayer temperature of the nation has increased. “But at the same time the opposition to the Christian message and faith has increased, particularly in terms of what’s going through parliament where religious freedom is being questioned. You can see there’s going to be a showdown somewhere along the line and I hope and pray that the church of Christ in the UK will be alive and kicking enough in a prayer sense to be ready for that battle however it’s fought.”
Christian Concern for Our Nation has answered the call. The CLC, under the direction of Andrea Minichiello Williams, was established and exists to promote and protect Christian truths in the public arena. The Lord is assembling individuals who are gifted with legal, political and media skills to serve Him. Christian Barristers and Solicitors review cases (free of charge) for individuals who have experienced persecution and the Centre provides support through every step of their legal process One recent success of the CLC is Caroline Petrie, a nurse from Weston-super-Mare who faced disciplinary actions from her employer when she asked a patient if they would like prayer; it must be noted that the patient did not object to this request. Subsequent to this incident, the Trust for whom Ms. Petrie worked, summoned her to a disciplinary hearing citing that she had breached policies on equality and diversity. In the end, with the support of the CLC it was found that Ms. Petrie was acting in her patients’ best interests and did not have to set aside her faith at work.
The Bible instructs us in Proverbs 31:8“…to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves...” (NIV). The many cases before the CLC illustrate this mandate. God calls us to speak honestly and with conviction for what His word says. As the various individuals involved in cases speak for truth in the public square, we rest in the assurance that God is faithful to equip and aide in responding to the drastically changing times. So yes, the times are a changing but know that there are Christians who are standing up to respond to these changing times, ready to engage in battle and overcome the laws and policies that seek to restrict religious liberties. If you or anyone that you know has been discriminated against because of your Christian faith, please contact the Christian Legal Centre’s case manager, Onn Sein Kon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07545 696206. For more information on the CLC visit: www.christianlegalcentre.com
Greg Laurie Mark 20 Years In Southern California By Dan Wooding Founder of ASSIST Ministries
ANAHEIM, CA (ANS) -- The Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie, which have drawn nearly 3 million people to ballparks and arenas across the Southland since 1990, will mark 20 years in Southern California with its annual evangelistic outreach at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, August 14-16. Featuring nightly messages from Riverside, Calif., pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie, who will speak during all three evenings of the "Southern California Harvest 2009," the Southern California Harvest Crusade is the longest-running annual outreach in the U.S. In addition to nightly messages from Laurie, the Southern California Harvest 2009 will also feature music from top name bands in-
cluding Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Relient K, Skillet, and the Katinas. With a trademark ability to present a straightforward gospel message in a culturally relevant format, drawing on the latest in current events, contemporary Christian music, and technology, Greg Laurie's Harvest events have drawn more than 3.8 million people to stadiums and arenas around the world since 1990. Laurie also serves as senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in the U.S., and serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. All three evenings of the Southern California Harvest 2009 are free of charge and video podcasts and blog accounts of each message will be made available at http://blog.greglaurie.com
The Christian Times
Indian Government Seeks to Repeal Anti-Conversion Legislation INDIA (ANS) -- The newly elected Indian government, led by the moderate Congress party, is taking a strong stand against anti-conversion legislation that has restricted religious freedom in the nation. They plan to block bills introduced in a number of states by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This is very encouraging news for Christians and other minorities in the nation. The controversial anticonversion laws, ironically called the "Freedom of Religion" acts, are currently active in five states: Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. Two more states-Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh - have passed anticonversion legislation but not yet put it into practice. The impact on these states will vary depending on whether the BJP is dominant there. In Rajasthan, an anticonversion law had been passed but had not yet been implemented. With the consent of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the Indian government plans to nullify it there. For Madhya Pradesh, they plan to withhold consent to the ruling BJP, which had proposed amendments that would make the law there even more stringent. Digvijay Singh, the former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and today a senior official in the Congress party, agrees with the federal government's concerns that the bill infringes on the religious freedom outlined in the
constitution, according to ChristianToday.com. "When I was chief minister in those 10 years, there was no case for forcible conversion," he told a media source. Where enacted, the laws have held strict penalties for anyone declared guilty of either converting someone or of changing their religion without first informing the government 30 days beforehand. Depending on the state, this could mean two years in prison, a heavy fine, or even both. While the laws were reportedly introduced to check religious conversions made by "force, fraud or allurement," Christians say they have been misused to attack and arrest pastors on madeup charges. Dr. K.P. Yohannan, president of Gospel for Asia, gladly welcomed the news of the Indian government's recent stand. "It's absolutely encouraging to see the government is upholding the constitution and its secular values of freedom of choice and liberty for the people," he said. "Continue to pray for those in authority, that they will protect the rights of the minorities in their freedom to choose." Even as they rejoice in this positive step, Christians can be praying for India's state of Karnataka, where there have been many attacks on believers as well as a recent push by the BJP to introduce anti-conversion legislation.
Missions Organisation Helping Christians Respond to Famine in Kenya By Michael Ireland Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
MARION, INDIANA (ANS) -- Years of droughts that yielded poor harvests, political violence that displaced thousands of people in 2008, and skyrocketing fuel and food prices have led to the current food crisis in Kenya. Only 18 percent of Kenya's land is suitable for farming, and unstable rain patterns have resulted in Kenya being unable to feed all of its 37 million people, according to a media release from World Gospel Mission (WGM). With more than 10 million people in Kenya facing starvation due to drought and political unrest, World Gospel Mission (WGM) is helping Christians in the United States get muchneeded food supplies to the hardest hit areas. "Today, about a third of Kenyans are hungry," said Tim Rickel, vice president of Development at WGM, a missionary-sending agency based in Marion, Indiana. "Right now, they need food, and WGM has the infrastructure and the people
on the ground to distribute it and make sure it gets to those who need it. "But WGM's missionaries and Kenyan partners are ready to help," says Rickel. "They just need more food to give away. Fifty-pound bags of corn cost $50 each and will keep whole families from starving." WGM has been serving in Kenya since 1932 and partners with Africa Gospel Church, an indigenous Kenyan denomination of churches. These churches are often used as staging areas for distributing aid. "It's sending a powerful message that the church is concerned about feeding a person's body and soul," says Rickel. Visit www.wgm.org to find out how you can respond to this need in Kenya. World Gospel Mission disciples believers to become missions-active Christians. As an interdenominational missionary organization, WGM partners with individuals, small groups, college groups, and churches to intentionally address the physical and spiritual needs of individuals and communities.
The Christian Times
Government failing to support faith groups
Adeboye Designed Posters To Plant RCCG Parish In U.S IN his bid to expand the mission of the church, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye was personally involved with the design and distribution of church flyers and posters around the United States town of Detroit, where the first RCCG parish was set up in North America. Revealing this and other details was Pastor James Oladipo Fadele, the church's senior pastor in North America, during an interview to commemorate his 50th birthday. According to Fadele, the first parish in North America was established on the prompting of Adeboye during one of his visits to the
United States. The parish Winners Chapel, in Detroit, Michigan, was set up in 1992. Not only did Adeboye mandate Fadele to start the parish, "he backed up his faith and determination with action by joining me in making the fliers and posting banners in Detroit." Adeboye had hinted in the past that, in the early 90s, he tried asking several RCCG members in the United States to "start something" without anything done until he mandated Fadele. Now the RCCG has over 300 churches in the United States and Canada. Fadele and Adeboye grew up in the same compound, in Ifewara,
By The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk
Osun State, Nigeria. He stated that Pastor Adeboye "inspired and mentored me to study Mathematics. His favorite word then was 'how is your Maths?' He joined the church before I did and became one of my 'bible study leaders' until I came to the United States to study." Fadele, said, he hopes that the church would grow and impact "the whole North America" and by the time pastors would have retired, and settled, they would "be well taken care of; that the pastors can
look back and thank God that they had pitched their ministry tent with the RCCG." Fadele, as Chairman of the RCCG Board of Coordinators in North America, has charge over 300 parishes. Since 1981, an open explosion began in Redeemed Christian Church of God Nigeria, with the number of parishes growing in leaps and bounds. At the last count, there are over 2000 parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria. On the Interna-
tional scene, the church is present in other African nations, including Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Gambia, Cameroon, and South Africa. In Europe the church is spread in England, Ireland, Germany, and France. In the United States and also in the Caribbean states of Haiti and Jamaica. One of the well-known programs of the church is the Holy Ghost Service.
Despite ministerial pledges of support for religious charities, there has been little evidence of this so far, says the Evangelical Alliance (EA). Measures such as the new Equality Bill threaten to strip these groups of their identities, EA’s Head of Public Affairs Don Horrocks told Third Sector magazine. “The Government indicates that it is considering introducing measures that will show its support for Christian charities,” he said. “After all, it needs the faith sector to help deliver public services. “But the proof will be in the pudding. I haven’t really seen any evidence of it yet.” Instead, Mr Horrocks said the new Equality Bill was a sign of increasing prejudice towards Christian groups. He said the Bill “could potentially force Christian groups, by threat of legal action, to effectively have their faith identities emasculated so they are prevented from delivering their services in a Christian way”. The Equality Bill seeks to change employment law so that churches and religious groups can no longer require staff such as youth workers to live consis-
tently with the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics. It also introduces a new duty for local authorities to promote ‘equality’ across grounds including sexual orientation and transsexualism. Any organisation which refuses to sign up to their local authority’s equality agenda could lose public funding. At an EA event last year Hazel Blears MP, then Communities Secretary, said the Government wanted to fund faith groups to carry out more public services, but only if they promised not to use the money in evangelism. At the time, the National Secular Society commented that “hidden beneath the flattering and emolient words was a clear message: we need your help to run welfare services on the cheap. “This message was also tempered by the announcement that public money would come with firm conditions attached”. The EA’s Dr R David Muir said: “The Government wants the social action and welfare that faith groups provide, but there is a danger that they also want faith groups to leave their beliefs at the door.”
The Relevance of Being Irrelevant
When D. James Kennedy, the influential pastor who pushed conservative politics from the pulpit of Fort Lauderdale's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, died in 2007, members lost the fiery leadership of the man who built it from a congregation of a few dozen to more than 10,000 with internationally viewed television and radio programs. Now, successor William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, 36, grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and head of Margate's relatively small New City Church, is ready to take Coral Ridge in a new direction. Tchividjian (chi-VIDgen) -- friends call him Tullian -- is no stranger to the church, whose congregants erupted in cheers Sunday when they heard he was offered the job. An occasional guest speaker at Coral Ridge who has a radio show on WAFG-FM 90.3, he is expected to modernize the thinking of the church over
The Rev Billy Graham;
Passing down the legacy
weary of this pressure from church leaders to fit in with the world: we don’t have to. The relevance of the church doesn’t depend on its ability to identify the latest cultural trends and imitate them. “The ultimate factor in the church’s engagement with society,” Os Guinness says, “is the church’s engagement with God,” not the church’s engagement with the latest intellectual or corporate fashion. Contrary to what we’ve been hearing, our greatest need as twenty-firstcentury churches is not structural but spiritual. We need to remember that God has established his church as an alternative society, not to compete with or copy this world, but to offer a refreshing alternative to it. When we forget this, we inadvertently communicate to our culture that we have nothing unique to offer, nothing deeply spiritual or profoundly transforming. Tragically, this leaves many in our world looking elsewhere for the difference they crave. Ironically, the more we Christians pursue worldly relevance, the more we’ll render ourselves irrelevant to the world around us. There’s an irrelevance to pursuing relevance, just as there’s a relevance to practicing irrelevance. To be truly relevant, you have to say things that are unfashionably eternal, not trendy. It’s the timeless things that are most relevant to most people, and we dare not forget this fact in our pursuit of relevance. In an article about younger generations returning to tradition, Lauren Winner notes that young people today “are not so much wary of institutions as they are wary of institutions that don’t do what they’re supposed to do.” What Christians are “supposed to do” is remind our culture that the things of this world aren’t all there is and that human beings aren’t left to the resources of this world to satisfy our otherworldly longings. Christians alone can provide our culture with that longed-for transcendent difference, because only the Christian gospel offers a true spirituality, an otherworldliness grounded in reality and history. Only the Christian story fuses past, present, and future with meaning from above and beyond. That’s what we have to offer and proclaim. We Christians have been entrusted with an eternal, transcendent truth that can transform our weary culture and open others’ eyes to a world beyond their own: the story of a simple Jew who made a difference because he was different.
The Christian Times
Billy Graham’s Grandson takes over from D.James Kennedy
Tullian Tchividjian Pastor, Author
Many church leaders have been telling us for a long time that the church’s cultural significance ultimately depends on its ability to keep up either with changing structures and environments (innovative technology, for instance) or with the latest intellectual fad (such as postmodernism). Recently I was flipping through a couple of wellknown Christian magazines. I counted six full-page advertisements for upcoming conferences designed to help churches adapt in order to meet modern needs—“new ways for new days.” Some emphasized improved techniques, programs, methods, and advertising strategies. Others stressed our need to “emerge” from preoccupation with traditional truth claims and theology and to focus instead on what’s most important—relationships, caring for the poor, and social justice issues—forgetting that robusttheological confession (belief) and Christlike practical compassion (behavior) are always meant to go hand in hand. To believe otherwise is like arguing that the wing on the right side of an airplane is more important than the wing on the left. Without both working together, the plane isn’t going anywhere. But here’s what struck me: all this comes at precisely the time when our culture is growing weary of slick production and whatever’s new and is growing hungry for authentic presence and historical rootedness. Younger generations don’t want trendy engagement from the church; in fact, they’re suspicious of it. Instead they want truthful engagement with historical and theological solidity that enables meaningful interaction with transcendent reality. They want desperately to invest their life in something worth dying for, not some here-today-gonetomorrow fad. It’s both sad and ironic that this shift is now putting the church in the wrong place at the right time. Just when our culture is yearning for something different, many churches are developing creative ways to be the same. Just as many in our culture are beginning to search back in time, many churches are pronouncing the irrelevance of the past. Just as people are starting to seek after truth, many churches are turning away from it. As a result, these churches are losing their distinct identity as a people set apart to reach the world. I have good news for all of us who are becoming
By Mark D. Roberts
A review of
‘Unfashionable’ I first read about Rev. Tullian Tchividjian in Washington Post, that he was recently elected as the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida. This church had been led for fivedecades by Dr. D. James Kennedy, who was a notable televangelist who had made quite an impact as a member ofthe Religious Right. Tchividjian insists he holds the same theological positions as Kennedy, but he cuts a far different image. His hair is spiky, his beard sometimes scruffy, his skin tanned. He offers a classic prodigal-son story of youthful forays into drugs and sex and then a return to the fold. He has said he wants people to know what Christians are for as much as what they are against, and he has rejected the idea of changing the country through politics. "I think that politics is one strategic area of cultural engagement," he said yesterday. "But I also think that the sphere of art and the sphere of education and the sphere of media and technology are also strategic." Tchividjian, 36, is the middle of seven children born to Stephan Tchividjian and Graham's eldest daughter, Gigi. He attended Coral Ridge -- where Graham delivered the dedication ceremony -and its adjacent school as a young man, but at 16 he dropped out, spending the next five years partying in Miami Beach, seeking the company of women and getting high. He says he eventually bottomed out, recommitting to Christ and then joining the seminary and becoming a minister. He started a church of his own, New City Presbyterian, which will merge with Coral Ridge under his appointment. He has adouble legacy: grandson of Billy Graham and successor to James Kennedy. Yikes!” I decided to offer a prayer forTullian, even as I resolved to pray for him regularly. Little did I realize that one day later I would meet Tullian Tchividjian at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas, and even serve on a panel with him. Anyway, I had the privilege of meeting Tullian on Friday morning,March 20. In this meeting I learned that he pronounces his name TOOlee-uncha-VIJ-in, though his
full name is William Graham Tullian Tchividjian. Heimpressed me as friendly and humble. (I didn’t see any sign of a “Billy Graham’sGrandson” tattoo.) His contribution to the panel was solid and helpful. Tullian isa bright, articulate, theologically-nuanced, enthusiastic communicator. I doubt Iwould have associated him with Billy Graham if I hadn’t known about their relationship in advance. But, with such knowledge in mind, I could see evidenceof Tullian’s genetic connection to the most famous preacher of the last century,and the one who led me to Christ in 1963. With that background, let me turn to the business at hand. Unfashionable, publishedby Multnomah, is 171 pages long, plusanother 12 pages of a study guide forindividual or group use. The addition of this guide makes Unfashionable very useful, especially for small groups or adult classes.Perhaps one of the best ways for me tointroduce you to this book is by quotingfrom the preface. Here’s Tullian’s list of thetop-ten signs that you may be toofashionable: 10. You can look around at churchand notice that everybody is basicallythe
same age as you are and they look and dress pretty much like you do. 9. You can’t stand singing a worship song that was “in” five years ago—much less singing a hymn fromanother century. 8. It’s been a long time since you disagreed with anything said by Oprah. [MDR: Ah, nuts!] 7. You’ve attended a “leadership” conference where you learned more about organisation and props(structural renovation) than proclamation and prayer (spiritual reformation). 6. Your goal in spending time with non-Christians is to demonstrate that you’re really no different thanthey are, and to prove this you curse like a sailor, drink like a fish, and smoke like a chimney. 5. You’ve concluded that everything new is better than anything old OR that everything old is betterthan anything new. 4. You think that the way Jesus lived is more important than what Jesus said—that his deeds are moreimportant than his doctrine. 3. You believe that the best way to change our culture is to elect a certain kind of politician.
2. The church you’ve chosen is defined more by its reaction to “boring, traditional” churches than by itsresponse to a needy world. 1. The one verse you most wish wasn’t in the Bible is John 14:6, where Jesus says, “I am the way, thetruth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s way too close-minded! So, how did you rank? It is telling that the form of this top-ten list is something made “fashionable” by David Letterman. Tullian is notarguing that Christians must become separate from the world and its modes of communication. In fact, he believes that “contextualization” is a necessary component of Christian mission. We need to communicate in culturallyrelevantmodes if we’re going to be used by God to transform lives and, indeed, cultures. So Unfashionable does notmake an idol of being out-of-step with everything in our culture. Rather, it challenges us to consider carefully howwe adapt to culture and when we break with it. Let me encourage you to buy Unfashionable. It’s a fine read and well worth your time and money.
A Christian Education? By John Parker Principal Emmanuel School Exeter
Every child is unique and special to God. He is jealous for young minds and lives and anyone who leads one astray is answerable to Him. Today’s culture, reflected in governance and consequentially in education, is far from the traditional Judeo-Christian values of the past. Scripture clearly lays the ultimate responsibility for the education of children on parents. The vast majority do not have the time or ability to educate their children, although home-schooling is a popular and increasing alternative for many families. The question for those Christian parents who cannot is, ‘to whom do I delegate this great responsibility and how can I be sure it reflects my own faith and value system?’ Christian education
seeks to serve parents in raising their children in the knowledge and ways of God with the ultimate aim of preparing them for life and finding His plan and their place of service in His kingdom, without distinction between sacred and secular. Education should be a life-long experience and needs to be established firm foundation. Using curriculum material based on the Word of God and a Christian worldview, we seek with God’s help, to reflect every child’s uniqueness and through our lives and teaching impart the divine knowledge, understanding and wisdom that will prove an immovable rock in the trials and storms of life. We believe a revelation of the ‘father heart’ of God and a personal relationship with
Christ is the only basis for a truly fruitful and meaningful life while Scripture trains us in righteousness, discipline and submission and challenges and shapes our philosophy, life-style and life focus. Reaching for excellence and holding the ‘ideal’ before us yet walking in the reality of our circumstances, we seek to prepare young men and women who are academically qualified, socially balanced and spiritually grounded; young people who will be a credit to their families, fully participating members of their communities and active members of their local church. Useful contacts:
Christian Schools Trust (01905) 759740 Christian Education Europe (01793) 783783
which Kennedy presided for more than five decades and take it back to the basics of teaching the Bible instead of reigniting the culture wars. Energetic and easygoing, he will be a stark contrast to the often stiff and formal Kennedy, people familiar with the church say. Kennedy, a notable member of the Moral Majority before its dissolution, rallied against same-sex marriage and evolutionary theory and sought to ``reclaim America for Christ.'' ''The impression out there of Coral Ridge is that they are a church that is stuck in the past and unwilling to change,'' said Tchividjian, a father of three who lives in Coconut Creek. “This move on their part corrects that assumption" ... Tchividjian said he plans to stay away from politics. A registered Republican, he would not answer questions on current political issues, such as same-sex marriage.
Christians give despite recession, poll reveals By The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk
Christians are still giving generously to charity despite the economic downturn, a new poll shows. Amid rising unemployment and financial uncertainty 16 per cent of Christians actually increased their charitable donations. Over two thirds (69 per cent) said their charitable giving had remained steady and just one per cent said they had stopped giving since the start of the recession, polling company ComRes found. A third of the general population intended to give less to charity in the first half of this year, according to research published in February. “These results are a testament to Christian attitudes across the nation” said Peter
Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Radio which commissioned the poll. The biggest increase in charitable giving came from denominationally independent Christians with almost a quarter (24 per cent) finding a way to give more. Mr Kerridge added: “As Christians we will continue to love our neighbour, even in times of need and financial hardship. “Many charities around the globe, including Christian charities could not survive without donations from their supporters. I would like to thank all those Christians who continue to give to the causes close to their heart, especially when the UK is in a time of recession.”
Most can't name all Ten Commandments By The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk
A quarter of British children can’t name even one of the Ten Commandments, according to a new poll. Just six per cent of the population can name all ten, found a survey by computer game manufacturers Electronic Arts (EA). The survey of 1,000 people in Britain was part of a publicity campaign to promote EA’s new game, The Sims 3, in which the company says players can ‘play God’. When it asked respondents to produce a new set of commandments, the results included new prohibitions on harming the environment, committing acts of terrorism, being motivated by greed and failing to respect all people regardless of race, religion or sexuality.
Six of the biblical commandments survived, but none of those which mention God were chosen. The survey found that 28 per cent of eleven to 16-yearolds could not recite any of the Bible’s commandments. EA will offer the new rules engraved on limestone tablets at the Houses of Parliament as a further publicity stunt. The company said: “The Sims 3 is all about messing with life and making decisions that will affect the lives of each of the characters in the game. Whilst it is ultimately a game, a person’s moral standards will quickly start to show through revealing what sort of ‘God’ they will play over their creations.”
The Christian Times
Christians riding the waves
By Keyvan Cyrus Coordinator of the theological studies & the Director of Farsi Christian Resource Centre in 222Ministries International.
Christian Surfers UK
Many people think the waves are too small or that the water’s far too cold to surf around the coast of the UK and Ireland. However, this is a complete myth. There is a very lively and thriving surf community of around 400,000 surfers around our coasts. The great news is that there is also a missions organisation focused specifically on reaching this surf community - Christian Surfers UK. Christian Surfers UK is part of a worldwide network of Christian surfers, which is now active in 24 countries, and Christian Surfers UK have been in existence for over 17 years. The aim of the Organisation is quite simple and that is to be a “Christian presence and witness in the entire surfing community” and to be a bridge between the church and the beach in their locality.
Christian Surfers believes very much that the best people to reach surfers are through surfers, and this is done through friendship evangelism, servant hood, working with the local church and getting to know people on a personal, ‘one to one’ level. Christian Surfers are a registered charity and have been members of Evangelical Alliance for many years, and believe that being a member gives them a form of credibility amongst the Christian community. Phil says “Some Christians do not think of surfers as passionate missionaries, but we feel called to combine our love of sport and desire to do what Jesus commands us to do – John 10 v 10” Christian Surfers UK is thriving at the moment, with over 500 members. It runs numerous events throughout the calendar year, not just through the summer! Its most
high profile event is the Jesus Surf Classic ( Surf and Skate Festival ), now in its 17th year, and it will take place over the weekend of 12-13 September at Croyde Bay, North Devon. It attracts up to 170 of the UK’s top surfers, many of whom would traditionally have nothing to do with the Christian community. Phil Williams heads up Christian Surfers UK, and has now been in this ministry full-time for the last 7 years. It was a huge step of faith when he took on this role, as he had had a very successful career in the logistics industry, for the previous 18 years. Phil and his family trust in the provision of God for
By Andrew Halloway
This year there are some amazing opportunities to reach the surf community for God. Christian Surfers UK are once again looking for more workers to take projects forward, to see just a small part of what God’s strategy is to reach the surfers around the UK, Ireland and, indeed, mainland Europe. It’s an exciting, but challenging, mission field. Are you passionate about surfing and a relationship with Jesus, if so get in touch. For the latest information about Christian Surfers UK check out the website: www.christiansurfers.col.uk, or contact Phil email@example.com.
vious 20 centuries together. In 222 Ministries International we have sensed the urgent need for evangelism, discipleship, church planting and training leaders for Iran and we use different approaches to achieve this, including broadcasting satellite TV programs, internet, and online teaching. Farsi is the second largest blogging language of the internet world with 700000 weblogs (BBC). Our websites provide resources where people are evangelized, discipled and trained, and also study at our online Bible College. In less than one year, 1512 people committed their lives to Jesus through just one of our websites and we receive over 1000 phone calls from Iran each month in response to our TV programs. Underground churches are increasing dramatically in Iran and God is changing the heart of this nation; we in 222Ministries are privileged to participate in this great harvest.
Steve Collins and 2009 season dig team
with the geographical profile described in the text.” Genesis describes the region of Sodom and Gomorrah as "the plain of Jordan." For a start, the River Jordan does not run through a plain south of the Dead Sea – it ends at the northern tip of the Dead Sea. The Bible also describes the plain as “well watered”, which the northern site is, whereas south of the Dead Sea is barren desert. The Bible also indicates that you should be able to see the whole area from the hills above Jericho, and that the site must follow the travel route of Lot (whose wife was turned into the famous pillar of salt), from west of the Jordan to the east. Again, the northern plain theory meets these criteria, and the southern theory does not. Collins concludes: "Though we are still digging and uncovering a plethora of material and artefacts, and much research still needs to be conducted, I feel that the evidence for this being the ancient city of Sodom is increasing by the day." As usual, critics who believe the older parts of the Bible are just myth and legend rather than real history poured cold water on Collins’ claims as soon as he first
made them in 2002. But as his digs have progressed, fewer and fewer seem willing to deny Collins’ discoveries, as more evidence is unearthed, year by year. In the academic world, cynicism about the Bible is rife today. It wasn’t always so. All the major biblical finds in the Holy Land were discovered in the past by archaeologists and historians who, like Collins, had respect for the Bible’s accuracy. Collins is proving once again that the Bible is historical truth. It is also spiritual truth. If Sodom really existed and was destroyed by God because of its sinfulness, it has a warning for us today: God will not allow evil to go unpunished for ever. _____________________ Author: Andrew Halloway is a freelance editor and writer. He is Editor of Good News, a newspaper that churches across the country use for outreach into their communities – see www.goodnews-paper.org.uk – and he contributes regularly to a Christian news and comment website – www.lifebite.co.uk. His own website is: www.christianeditor.co.uk
A very special holiday
The sun is shining in on a room where children are playing table-tennis. Suddenly a lad of
their support. Phil believes the Organisation has a unique place in the surf community. They have got some great relationships with the governing bodies of surfing in the UK, the British Surf Association and have been asked to be a partner on the UK Pro Surf Tour. Phil says “It’s been amazing to see God at work - providing waves at competitions when conditions should have been completely flat, seeing numerous lives touched and changed, and see surfers give their lives to Christ, or thinking about God in a way they never have before”.
Since the 1979 Revolution in Iran, people have experienced Islamic ideology in every aspect of their lives leaving them feeling a sense of disillusion and despair. As a result Iranians are looking for alternative answers. Islamic faith has never been a core part of Iranian identity over the 15 centuries that Islam dominated the country. So they carved out their own syncretistic religion from mainstream Islam to make it more palatable. Christianity has always had a strong heritage in Iran since at Pentecost the first three groups who witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:9 were Iranian. Although the Iranian church was established in the 1st Century AD, unfortunately after the Islamic invasion in 7th Century, the Church diminished through persecution and many Christians either emigrated to other Christian lands or were forcibly converted to Islam. In the last 30 years the rate of conversion to Christianity of Iranians has been more than all the pre-
Churches to partner with CAP to tackle debt in their local communities.
The Lost City Of Sodom – Found? AN ARCHAEOLOGIST claims to have rediscovered the ruins of the infamous biblical city of Sodom that the book of Genesis says God destroyed with “burning sulphur”. Dr Steven Collins, a professor at Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque, has looked where other archaeologist have failed to look – and believes he has come up trumps. In recent years, Collins’ team has uncovered extensive remains from Tall el-Hammam dating to the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1600 BCE), precisely the time when Sodom would have been one of the doomed “cities of the Plain” (Genesis 13-19). As in the Bible’s account, it was also destroyed at that time, and then lay unoccupied for centuries afterwards – as if neighbouring people viewed the place as cursed. Dr Collins based his search on geographical information in the Bible. It led him to an area north-east of the Dead Sea, in Jordan, rather than Israel. Previously, archaeologists had looked south of the Dead Sea, to no avail. Collins says: "I began to read Genesis 13-19, and realised that the traditional site did not align itself
about eleven comes up making no eye contact with the players and rhythmically bangs on the tabletennis table. A girl playing tabletennis frowns and looks up. She starts to explain about her brother’s autistic behaviour then suddenly a huge grin comes over her face and she says “Of course! I don’t have to explain here do I?” and happily continues with her game. This is just one of many scenarios that occur at the holidays for families affected by a child on the autistic spectrum, organized by Through the Roof charity. We have found that many of these families can never go away together on a relaxing holiday. Through the Roof provides a four day break in the spring, with a trained carer allocated to each family (the carers are volunteers and fund themselves). There are on and off-site activities, meals pro-
vided, optional Christian group sessions for parents, Bible Club for the children, and praise parties for the whole family. This is all in a beautiful, safe environment on the South Downs at a facility called Dalesdown. As one parent said, “I came exhausted and struggling with my faith - I have made new friends, had time to worship God and relax, knowing my son has been understood and allowed to enjoy things at his own pace and my other two children had such fun. Thank you so much!” If you are interested in attending as a family, volunteering, or contributing towards the cost of this project, please contact us. Jacky Oliver, Chief Executive firstname.lastname@example.org www.throughtheroof.org
EVERY DAY we’re bombarded with headlines that say we’re facing one of the greatest economic crises of recent times. With personal debt at record levels, the economy faltering and unemployment up, it can be easy for Christians to feel powerless in the face of such issues. Personal debt now stands at £1.4 trillion (that’s twelve zeros!) and those in debt are far more likely to suffer relationship breakdown, miss meals for the sake of making repayments and even attempt suicide. The good news is, though, local churches can respond to this problem with a practical solution that really works. Christians Against Poverty (CAP) was founded 13 years ago in Bradford and has been helping congregations across the UK tackle what is the most pressing problem facing UK society in the 21st Century: personal debt. The charity operates through a growing network of centres based
around the UK, all opened in partnership with a local church. Over the last twelve years, the charity has grown from one man working from his home with a donation of £10, to a national charity with 102 centres across the country and an annual turnover of £5 million. CAP’s centres now stretch from Aberdeen down to Penzance. CAP aims to show God’s love in action by providing sustainable poverty relief through debt counselling, advice and practical help. CAP’s unique ‘hands on’ approach empowers people to help themselves out of poverty and be released from the fear, oppression and worry generated by overwhelming debts. Vital financial and budgeting life skills are developed through our services, thus ensuring poverty relief is sustainable. Through CAP’s work, many also respond to the love of Jesus and make a commitment to follow Him. As each centre is opened in partner-
ship with a local church, these new Christians are ideally placed to be supported, nurtured and welcomed into a loving church family. It has never been easier for churches to partner with CAP to tackle debt in their local communities. Not only can they open a dedicated debt counselling centre, they can also run CAP Money, the charity’s three-week money management course. Recently launched, the course aims to give any person in the local community the tools they need to help them manage their finances and is run through the local church. For a one-off fee of just £100, CAP will train up three members of a local church who will become ‘Money Coaches’ and run the course in their community. With more than 500 churches already signed up and many now starting to run the course, thousands of people across the UK will now have the help they need to
keep their finances on track. What’s more, with many predicting that the financial situation will get worse, there has never been a more important time for local churches across the region and the country to reach out to the needy in their communities with a practical demonstration of Jesus’ love. Whilst personal debt is a massive problem and one that can no longer be ignored by the local church, Christians need not feel powerless to combat it. Through Christians Against Poverty, many can now respond effectively with an award-winning service that truly frees people from the cycle of debt and enables them to respond to the love of God in the process. For more information about CAP, visit www.capuk.org or call 01274 760 580 for more information about partnering with CAP. If you are concerned about your finances, please call 0800 328 0006.
20,000 people directly reached with the Gospel pecially with the thousands of young people who attended. As well as the large numbers of people making professions of faith, another very welcome aspect of the mission has been the sense of unity it has spawned in well over 100 churches, representing more than half of the places of worship in the Highlands. Denominations including the Church of Scotland, the Associated Presbyterian Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church, Baptists, Methodists, the Salvation Army and many others. Lord Mackay of Clashfern chaired the organising committee. The festival began on 8 June, when teams visited a number of the smaller Highland communities. Evangelists teamed up with musicians, athletes, and children’s enter-
tainers to put on “mini festivals” in Gairloch, Mallaig, Lochinver, Buckie, Golspie, Fort William, Forres, and Thurso. Champion skateboard and bicycle stunt teams travelled to a total of 39 schools, where a team of youth speakers presented a positive Christian message and addressed keynote issues for young people such as stress, bullying,
drug and alcohol abuse. Luis’s son Andrew, who was also a keynote Festival speaker, spoke to prisoners inside Inverness jail. Randal Burtis, who organised the event on behalf of the Luis Palau Association, said: “This effort was a howling success which exceeded our all expectations. To reach 20,000 people with a positive message of hope is something
that the local organizing committee should be very proud of. It was their efforts that made the festival free and well publicised for all of their friends and neighbours. The Luis Palau Association found a wonderful spirit of cooperation in all the Highland communities we visited. Highland Festival with Luis Palau was definitely one of the major highlights of our ministry.
Scottish Christian workforce unites LUIS PALAU and his team are returning to the United Kingdom 30 years after his 1979-1981 Glasgow Crusade. Not since the 1955 Billy Graham Crusade had such a large Scottish Christian workforce been united across denominations. As the editor of Crusade magazine summarized the effort, “It put large-scale evangelism back on the British map, and proved that it still
has a part to play in the church’s outreach to a tired and troubled land.” Palau has shared the Gospel with more than 1 billion people through evangelistic events and media. He has spoken in person to more than 25 million people in 72 countries with close to 1 million registered decisions for Jesus Christ. And his radio broadcasts in both English and Spanish are heard by mil-
lions more on over 2,600 radio stations in 42 countries. Mr. Palau has written nearly 50 books and produced many more articles on a variety of issues to do with faith. Luis Palau festivals have produced some of the largest audiences ever recorded in cities from south Florida to South America. His ministry also includes the Next Generation Alliance®, created to grow and nurture partner
evangelists, and the Livin It® Alliance, which brings together action sports ministries to reach young people for Christ. The just concluded Highland Festival demonstrates that unity of purpose in our churches, can translate into succesful festival outreaches by ministries such as Luis Palau and his team. Luis Palau
Rural churches can be exciting places of growth and development
There are many, largely untold stories of healthy, growing, vibrant churches throughout the United Kingdom. These churches may not be well known, but there is evidence of the gospel spreading and communities being transformed. Rural Ministries is an evangelical mission
agency committed to helping plant and grow rural churches, with the desire to make Christ known among the estimated 11 million people living in rural Britain. The outreach has spread to all parts of the United Kingdom, from the Isle of Skye to Guernsey and Northern Ireland to Norfolk and for over 45 years the aim has always been the same, to establish and develop a permanent witness to Jesus Christ in
The Christian Times
Delirious? Farewell 'History Makers' Tour
From Iain Taylor Taylor Communications
ORGANISERS branded the Highland Festival with Luis Palau “a howling success”, since over 20,000 people were directly reached with the Gospel – 750 of whom made decisions for Christ. Over 100 churches took part, supplying over 1,000 volunteers for the 63 separate events which took place in Inverness and across the Highlands over the two week period. At the climax of the Festival, in Bught Park, Inverness on 19 and 20 June, Palau preached to a total of about 8,000 people, who also enjoyed free entertainment from leading Christian bands such as Delirious, Hillsong London, LZ7 and The Listening. Extreme sports demonstrations from professional skateboarders and BMX riders also proved a great success, es-
rural Britain. Rural Ministries having witnessed a steady expansion in its ministry is available to assist those committed to planting and growing rural churches. We do this through forming partnerships, sharing resources and keeping our prayer supporters regularly informed as we work to achieve thriving rural churches effectively communicating the good news of Jesus Christ.
Church Planting – Starting the adventure
Establishing new churches is not easy and until recently there has been little emphasis on rural church planting. This is starting to change and Rural Ministries is committed to supporting and being part of that change as we look to see churches established that are: Christ centred, mission driven, bible confident, sustainable with committed leaders.
Church Growth – Continuing the adventure
Many previously active churches have faced closure but this is not the complete picture. Significant transformations are taking place where people have identified and addressed any hindrances to church growth. Rural Ministries can provide to those churches seeking growth a range of support services covering all areas of church life and this is
supported by a twice yearly magazine (Impact), a quarterly church life update and an annual conference all providing up to date information on relevant rural church issues. More information is available on the Rural Ministries web site www.ruralministries.org .uk or by contacting the Wellingborough office on 01933 303050 or email: email@example.com
AFTER YEARS of touching the lives of millions, Delirious? recently confirmed the details of their farewell tour. The six date 'History Makers UK Tour' takes places in November. The final ever Delirious? concert will be at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Sunday 29th November 2009. This leading Christian band have supported both Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams, and they headlined the Highland Festival with Luis Palau in June 2009 as part of their ‘History Makers’ farewell tour of the UK. The ‘History Makers’ farewell tour also includes other major UK major music venues such as the HMV Picture House in Edinburgh, the Hammersmith Apollo in London, as well as in Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds. Delirious? will be performing without a support act, playing an extended set. "They've measured their audiences by the million, their shows by the thousand and their albums by the dozen. But this is the last time to catch the underground sensation live before Delirious say their goodbyes" says the promotional information. After the tour finishes Delirious? will cease to function as a band, making this the final opportunity for fans to see the band perform live. Plans are forming to record the final London concert for a future live DVD.
The band will release 'History Makers - The Greatest Hits CD' on 2nd November 2009. Lead singer Martin Smith has also revealed that the band are considering recording their final concert for a live album. In an interview with Wrecked, Martin says, "There [are] plans for a proper Greatest Hits album, and maybe a live album of our London Concert at the end of the year. It still has to be worked out, but we are working some things". The final Delirious? concert will be held at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Sunday 29th November 2009, and despite only recently releasing the live CD/DVD 'My Soul Sings', it is understood that Delirious? will be recording their final show to be released as a live DVD in 2010. ‘History Makers’ farewell Tour Dates
24 Nov - Waterfront, Belfast 25 Nov - HMV Picture House, Edinburgh 26 Nov - O2 Academy, Bristol 27 Nov - O2 Academy, Birmingham 28 Nov - O2 Academy, Leeds 29 Nov - HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London Tickets on sale from Gigantic.com
More information on: www.delirious.org.uk
The Christian Times
The Christian Times
Concert at Canterbury Cathedral launches £600,000 Appeal A UNIQUE EVENT recently took place at Canterbury Cathedral. For the first time ever a Methodist School (Kent College) and MHA (Methodist Homes for the Aged) staged a joint concert to launch a major public appeal. An audience of over 350 packed into the Quire at the Cathedral to hear the 60 strong Kent College Choristers directed by Jackie Spencer present a spell binding evening of music. The choir (recently
runners up in the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year competition) sang everything from Benjamin Britten to The Beatles with vigour and energy. School Chaplain, Revd. Dr. Paul Glass said, 'it is wonderful to be able to gather the young and the old together in such an exciting and worthwhile event.' The event was held to launch the appeal for the new Bradbury Grange Home which MHA is building in
Whitstable. In attendance at the concert was the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr Harry Cragg, Mrs Ahmed representing the Lieutenancy of Kent and Keith Salsbury, national Chair of MHA - one of the largest charities working with older people nationally and a forerunner in providing dementia care facilities. MHA’s aim is to improve the quality of life for older people, inspired by Christian concern –and the audience had
the pleasure of listening to Mrs Jessie Jordan, who has lived at MHA’s care home in Tankerton for the past seven years. She gave a lively account of her daily routine and spoke for all the residents at Cliff Dene about their excitement at the prospect of moving to their new home at the end of next year. A Registered Charity, MHA (Methodist Homes for the Aged) was launched over 65 years ago and offers its services to anyone who needs
them, of any faith or none. MHA has built a reputation for meeting the highest standards of care and accommodation, aiming always to exceed statutory expectations and to provide value for money. MHA’s professional standards and responsible management of its resources have been highly praised by the Care Quality Commission and other national agencies. The old Granary House building, designated as a Listed Building, requires im-
mediate and urgent restoration work and MHA worked closely with the planning department and heritage experts to ensure the building’s listed status and locale were taken into account. The cost of building Bradbury Grange is £6million. A significant level of charitable income has already been raised by MHA throughout the UK. However, in order to offer an enhanced quality of life, MHA hopes that the development will include many extras. These could in-
clude a library, a computer room and a sensory garden and local support would be very welcome to help MHA achieve its aim of offering additional facilities to improve residents’ lives. The Bradbury Grange Appeal is this year’s major fundraising appeal in Kent seeking to raise £600,000 to provide the highest quality care environment. A donation of £350,000 from the Bradbury Foundation (and in recognition of which the new home
will be renamed Bradbury Grange) has made a promising start. The Appeal Launch has gone some way to providing information about MHA’s plans for Whitstable and surrounding area. To help with raising the remaining amount for the provision of additional facilities please contact Mo Hayward on her direct line 0113 272 8462, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.mha.org.uk
The Christian Times
The Journey of a Christian Job Seeker
NEW HOLLYWOOD 'ROM-COM' SPARKS GROUP DISCUSSION LAST CHANCE HARVEY offers the latest chance for churches to discuss key themes in a current movie. Set in London, the new film, starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, is currently on general release in the UK. 'This is an insightful "romcom" and I thoroughly recommend it to all churches - in particular as a discussion starter for women groups,' explains Nick Pollard of
the Damaris Trust. 'The film covers three main areas - living with past failures and regrets, overcoming the fear of pain and disappointment in new relationships, and reconciliation.' Inspired by the film and the opportunity it presents to churches, Damaris have created free, downloadable resources for groups to run special events around the film including clips, interviews with the stars, posters, invitations, quizzes
and a leader's guide. 'Last Chance Harvey offers reflection on important issues,' said Nick. 'It is well worth taking a group to see at the cinema. We are grateful to the film's distributors, Momentum, for making clips available free through Damaris. We hope hundreds of groups will take advantage of this excellent opportunity.' Websites: www.damaris.org/lastchanceharvey
In Romans 8:28, the Bible says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Before the idea to publish this journal came to be, I was speaking to the Lord about the fact that my life had truly not been a testimony, at least as far as my search for a job was concerned. This journal and its testimony were born out of fifteen months of an intense job search, over a thousand résumés distributed, and more than six failed interviews. Thirteen months of the search occurred while I was in a
job, and two months of the search took place after I was out of a job. The search began in September 2007 from a sincere belief that the Lord placed in my heart and confirmed through prophetic messages that I was to change jobs. I fully expected blessing and promotion, but what it initially led to was grief, hopelessness, and despair. As I pondered the fact of not having a testimony in my job search, the Lord dropped in my spirit that the testimony was not in His giving me a job right away, because He was surely able to do that, had He so desired. The testimony, rather, was in His taking me through an experience that would teach me to hold on in the testing of my faith so that others would see this and glorify His name. And from this kind of testimony, they could be encouraged as they went through their own dark times. Job 5:7 says, “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward”; and Psalm 34:19 states, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” I praise the Lord for the truth of these words and how they were proven in my life. This journal acknowledges the despair, frustration, rejection,
and great emotion often experienced in a job search. These emotions can apply equally well in other areas of life where we are not experiencing fulfillment. But for me, the testing ground was the job search, and I equated not succeeding in the search with failure and rejection. What a wrong mind-set that was! The journal also reflects my roller-coaster emotions, which we all are prone to in any crisis situation. I experienced this fluctuation in emotion throughout the search, but even more after I resigned from my job in October 2008. It is easier to accept rejection when you are still in a job; but when you are unemployed, the pressure is concentrated, particularly as your bills are mounting. To say that my resignation from my job was poorly timed would be an understatement. But as I look back now, I realize that everything in my life was divinely inspired to give God the ultimate glory. A week after my resignation, the stock market crashed in the United States. As you can imagine, this sent prospective employers into a state of panic, and as a result, potential job offers were frozen. But God is the God of the impossible, and nothing that happens here on earth limits what He can do from his throne in heaven. Crashing world markets and economic turmoil mean nothing to Him, because He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). I had to learn that lesson, and you may need to learn it too. So I invite you to journey with me now into my own personal crisis of a protracted job search. Perhaps you’ll recognize yourself within the pages of my journal, and perhaps you’ll come to discover—like I did—the God
who waits to deliver you! Although this book is written from a Christian perspective, non-Christians will equally benefit from it. All of us are either going through a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or embracing a crisis— no one is exempt. In this book, you will discover how to: • Conquer your emotions and fears as you face life’s trials. • You will learn to position and anchor yourself in the hand of God to keep you strong, bold, and moving forward. • You will develop the ability to praise God in the midst of your storms, even when you don’t feel like it. • You will discover that God walks with – you through every trial you face. You will see that He is truly the guide and makes the path straight and the hills flat for those who trust in His wisdom and mercy. • You will take away a word or a thought – to help you in your despair, and you will learn to hold on to the Word of God to maintain hope. To order the The Journey of a Christian Job Seeker: Conquering Your Emotions and Your Fears Through Life’s Trials ($14.99, paperback, 978-1-60791-339-9) please visit the following Web sites now at - www.borders.com - www.amazon.com - www.barnesandnoble.com - www.journeyofachristianjobseeker.com
The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
With 11 illustrated and explained chapters, The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land follows the history, stories and legends of the pilgrims in the holy land since the birth of Jesus till present day. Here are short reviews of all the chapters of the book: The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land opened with the
footsteps of Jesus, the origins of the Christian religion are revealed in its entirety, charming the readers. The first chapter describes the holy family, the birth of Jesus, events and activities in his life and his death. We can recognise the beginning of the Christianity in the Byzantine period. The second chapter describes this mysterious period with the first pilgrims and emperors, the True Cross in Jerusalem and the impressive buildings. The third chapter begins when the holy land was under the Arab occupation and continues with the Arab period (including the Temple Mount) until the continuation of the pilgrimage. The end of the 11th century indicates the beginning of the reoccupation of the Christians.
The fourth chapter opens with fascinating descriptions, the Kingdom of Jerusalem; the crusades, the knights and the prospering of places in the holy land. In the chapter afterward, The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land exposes the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the decline of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Alongside the prospering of Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Muslims decline as well. The six chapter expounds on the return of Muslims to the holy land and the pilgrims under the Mameluke Conquest and continues with the Muslims occupation in chapter seven, 16th -18th century, when the holy land becomes part of the Ottoman Empire and the Turks build walls around Jerusalem.
The 19th century is well remembered due to the French Revolution. The eighth chapter of the book takes the readers to a tour through Napoleon's journey to the holy land. The ninth chapter describes the Modern Age. Believers, kings and scholars from all over the world arrive to the holy land in the 19th century. The fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century brought the rise in Christian building. In chapter ten, The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land views the influences of the First World War, as well as the British forces in the holy land. The last chapter describes the 20th Pilgrimage; new and restora-
tion building, Pope John Paul II, processions and other major events. The Chronicle of Pilgrimage to the Holy Land stands as an excellent reference to understanding our world and deepen our faith. A reliable and helpful book that’s worthy of the best shelf.
Images from the book:
The Christian Times
Bishops may be ejected as part of Lords reform
Doctors: stop 'quick fix' abortion adverts By The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk
Television already sends out the message that casual sex is fine and allowing abortion ads would simply offer a ‘quick fix’ for the consequences, warn doctors. The warning comes as the advertising watchdog considers whether to change the rules to allow abortion services to advertise on TV for the first time. A consultation on the proposals closed on Friday. A group of doctors is expected to voice opposition to the new plans at a meeting of the British Medical Association next week. Dr Mark Pickering, a York GP, told a newspaper: “We know that TV is a powerful medium which gives young people messages that sex is fine, sex is great and they are not getting enough of it. “It is full of beautiful young people jumping in and out of bed with each other. “Allowing abortion services to advertise on TV would then be saying, ‘Here is a quick medical fix for the consequences of having sex.’ That is giving all the wrong messages and is very disturbing.” However, Simon Blake, Chief Executive of sexual health charity Brook, said: “Clear, factual advertising about services which provide honest messages is going
to be part of shifting the balance away from the over-sexualised media.” Brook was behind the plan revealed earlier this month to issue boys from age 13 with cards allowing them to pick up free condoms at football grounds and scout huts without the ‘embarrassment’ of asking. Mr Blake said at the time that the scheme would make condom use “an everyday reality”. Groups such as Brook argue that more information and sexual health provision is the solution to high rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. But in his comments this weekend Dr Pickering said: “If you are not changing the underlying messages, simply saying here is how to sort it out when it goes wrong is not going to help.” In June a group of MPs pointed out that as providers of abortion services, Brook and the other sexual health groups whose recommendations led to the plans to allow abortion ads, had a vested interest in the idea. They called on the Government “to encourage more normal lifestyles with deferment of sexual activity among under-age children and adolescents rather than introducing measures that will further sexualise them”.
By The Christian Institute www.christian.org.uk
The Temple Mount and the Fulfilment of End Time Prophecy By Martin Blackham
Seeing the majesty of the Temple Mount with the narrow streets of Jerusalem on our TV screens we have a sense that this area is very important we feel that it sets the scene for Armageddon, the rise of the Anti Christ and the return of the Lord. Now we all know that we are living in the End Times right! Wrong! You would be surprised how many people fail to link world events to the Bible and yet so many prophecies have been fulfilled in our lifetime. Both the huge amount of travel in our day and the Internet were predicted in the book of Daniel where it says: “many will go back and forth and knowledge will increase” Daniel 12:4. The issue of the End Times was important to Jesus’ disciples who came to him on
one occasion and asked: “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” in Matthew Chapter 24. Jesus said that there would be wars and rumours of wars. In the last 100 years there have been two World Wars, the Vietnam War, Korean War, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Jesus also said that there would be famines and earthquakes i.e. major world events would happen like the Great Chinese famine 1959 to 1961 which killed 30 million people (1) and the 2004 Asian Tsunami that killed more than 226,000 people (2). He talked about the persecution of the Church and even Satellite Television is in the prediction of the Gospel going to the nations! He then went on to say that the most significant sign of the End Times and his return would be the sign of the fig tree which his disciples immediately understood as
Israel see Jeremiah 25: 5-7 and its blossoming i.e. its rebirth. In fact in the book of Acts the disciples ask Jesus whether he was at that time going to restore the nation of Israel. Now after 2000 years Israel is again a sovereign nation. This happened in 1948! Now how come the Temple Mount is so important in the End Times? This is because Jesus talks about a world leader coming to the rebuilt Temple in Matthew 24:15. The amazing thing is that this could not have happened before 1967 when Jerusalem came under the control of Israel! In Revelation Chapter 13 the world leader also forced everyone to receive a mark on the right hand or on his forehead, so that no-one could buy or sell unless he had the mark. Whilst there is some debate as to what the mark is it is clear that it will be required
to carry out any type of economic activity. What is so shocking is that the recently introduced UK Identity Card has the image of a beast over the photo. The card also has an electronic chip containing scans of all 10 fingerprints and a digital photo (3). Now it could be argued that this electronic chip be implanted rather than being on a card which could be lost or stolen. UK Government Ministers are already working on a plan to implant “machine readable” microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British jails (4). For the mark to be an efficient economic tool it would necessitate a global currency. World Leaders meeting at the London’s Excel Centre for the G20 Summit activated the International Monetary Funds
power to create money, $750.00 billion of it! In doing so they are putting into play a world currency. What is so scary is that at the end of the G20 Meetings UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown walked on to the stage and announced to the waiting mass media the emergence of a New World Order i.e. the One World Government. The New World Order will create a vacuum for a strong messianic type leader. We know that the Bible says this Leader will go to the Temple Mount where “He sets himself up in Gods temple proclaiming himself to be God” 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Events are happening quickly and we need to be ready for Jesus’ return. Martin Blackham is the Presenter of the In The Last Days TV Programme www.blackhamfamilyministries.co.uk
The House of Lords could lose its bishops under plans being considered by the Prime Minister. Gordon Brown is looking at proposals for a radical reworking of the upper chamber of Parliament as part of wider plans for constitutional change. Justice Secretary Jack Straw is expected to publish details of the proposals before the House of Commons begins its summer break next month. One option under review would make the upper house entirely elected, abolishing the places currently held for the 26 most senior Church of England bishops. Critics fear that secularists could use this change to force a church and state split. Another option being considered could see 80 per cent of the House being elected, with 20 per cent reserved for appointed members and others such as bishops. A partially-elected house is likely to gain the backing of the Conservatives. The Party leader, David Cameron, recently expressed his support for an upper house where two thirds of members are directly elected. Last year immigration minister, Phil Woolas, sparked controversy by saying that a split between church and state was inevitable. This prompted a response from the Rt Revd Christopher Herbert (then Bishop of St Albans), who wrote an article for The Times in defence of the current system. He argued: “First of all, it is misinformation to say that Britain is a secular society. The evidence that we have from the 2001 census is that more than 72 per cent of people under no pressure whatsoever described themselves as Christian and 6 per cent as belonging to another faith. “Even roughly one in five worship monthly – a huge number – but the Church of England exists not simply for those who come to church, but for every single person who lives within our parish system.” He continued: “The Church creates webs of relationships across our country, which are very strong and very important for community cohesion (to pick up government language). If the Church was disestablished the loss would be enormous. “Our society and the Church have evolved together. It’s part of the tradition of the country and I’m not sure what’s so bad about tradition in that sense. “In the 21st century, it’s not about power – it’s about the desire of the Church to serve every community and where necessary to challenge it, comfort it and say when things have gone wrong.”
The Christian Times
UK Churches Learning from the Ukraine
Worship: In times like these... By Doja Adun
By Israel Emmanuel
After observing the impact that The Embassy of God has had on Kiev and the nation of Ukraine over the last fifteen years, some Christians and leaders expressed to Sunday Adelaja, the church’s senior pastor, a desire to have the same kind of transformation in the UK. Indeed, the Church in many other nations are eager for similar results, which has prompted Pastor Sunday to pioneer History Makers Bible School – a training programme for those who want to be agents of positive change in their nation. Generally, the societal impact of the churches is not being felt as it could and the moral state of society seems to worsen by the day. Gun and knife crimes are not subsiding; teenage pregnancies are rife; laws are being passed that threaten the fabric of religious freedom in the nation. So, when the much-needed HMBS started in September 2008,
about 300 students were attracted from different parts of the UK, including some from overseas, each one eager to learn strategies that will improve community and family life. Once a month, Pastor Sunday or a member of his team taught Kingdom principles in a relevant and practical way. The students were challenged to consider themselves as history-makers, rather than mere church-goers. Why restrict the light of God to the four walls of a cathedral when there is a throng of people groping in darkness outside? Many of the students had not seen Christianity from this perspective before; that even ‘ordinary church members’ can proactively influence their world for Christ! Take Stella for instance, who after the first school session, started a community forum, Stella & Friends, to reach out to the lonely
in her Hastings community. Pastor Adebo of Recovery Chapel in London, inspired by the story of one of the teachers, started to feed the homeless during his Sunday services and is now seeing the tangible signs of change amongst this often neglected community. Challenged by the teaching delivered at HMBS, Pastor and Mrs. Nwator began a
April. They all came back with a good report of how the church has taken responsibility for the transformation of society. Drug addicts are delivered, prostitutes changed, families restored and souls saved in their hundreds every day. Every sector of life, from politics to sports, is being touch with the love of God. If we adapt the teachings that are known and practised so well by the believers in Ukraine, we could have the same results in our land. A whole session is now complete and HMBS starts again in September 2009. As we continue to learn from the Church in Ukraine, we would soon experience spiritual and sociological reformation in the Isles of Britain.
prison outreach in Manchester and are witnessing a revolution in the lives of inmates. The list of initiatives goes on. Perhaps one of the best ways of learning is to make observations from close range. This some of the Further information is availstudents did, travelling all the way able from the school’s website, to Kiev for The Embassy of God’s www.hmbsuk.org 15th Anniversary celebrations last
“Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs” – Psalm 66:4 The main purpose why God created human beings is to worship Him; with our lives and everything that we have. AW Tozer wrote: "The Chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” We digressed from our purpose like the Israelites did when they felt comfortable. We found comfort in our systems and way of life. All these are now failing us. They are all crumbling down and we are in despair. We call this season “recession”, “credit-crunch” and it is like a fashion in vogue but a very bad fashion. Property boom has become a doom; there is an epidemic that might take so many lives called swine flu; corruption is not a sacrilege anymore, youth are killing each other, family values are breaking down, more children are being put in care and all that we thought have been working for us are now failing us. Now it is time to shift our focus back on to God who is in control of all things regardless of what is going on around us and fulfill our God-given mandate which is to worship God. Worship Events
That is why a lot of worship events are taking place in and outside the country. I was privileged to get information about some of the past worship events in UK and noting the reasons for organizing these events, you will know that we are coming back to the heart of worship. • The Christian Union Link Up had their worship event on the 23rd May 2009 in West Norwood, South East of London, and their focus is to bring Christians and Christian Unions in Colleges and Universities to one place to worship God (John 4:24). The likes of Muyiwa and Riversongz, Maria Martin, Jake Isaac and Link Up Choir were the Guest Artistes for the day. Their reason for the
event is “For every believer to know who they are in Christ; and to walk in dominion so that where ever we go there is a shift.” • Minstrel Ministries had their worship event on the 31st May 2009 in Old Kent Road, also South East of London. The theme for the event was “Judah Hath Prevailed”. Their reason for event states: “There is a new sound of worship and the LORD has commenced work on the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David; hence the need has arisen for a proper place to be given to worship, so we want GOD`S children to gather and enjoy HIM in an atmosphere of worship. When pure worship goes up GOD speaks.” The artistes for the day were Femi Sax, Baba Ayan, Doja Adun, T2 For Real Grace, Rebirth Family, Shola Lana and Segun Salako. • Another Worship event took place in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, on the 9th May 2009, themed “Declaring God’s Kingdom”. This was hosted by Milton Keynes Tabernacle to celebrate their 3rd year anniversary. Artistes in attendance were Pastor Jon Colyer, Pastor Gabriel Eziashi and Milton Keynes Tabernacle Choir. Another reason for the event is to “Build an Altar of Worship unto God”. • True Worshippers for God hosted a worship event in Birmingham on the 13th June 2009. It was themed “Worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth”. The event was organized based on a vision Maria Adesanya had in 2007; to gather all worshippers together for one sole purpose: Worship. Also donations were collected for those in need. The events covered here are amongst so many worship events happening these days. This is to confirm that God is calling us back to worship and worship Him alone, especially in these times where our help can only come from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Marianne H. Micks - "When we worship together as a community of living Christians, we do not worship alone, we worship 'with all the company of heaven.”
The Christian Times
"We refuse to be enemies" By Emma Halgren
HymnQuest In March 1984 the hymn writer Fred Pratt Green set up the Trust bearing his name to receive and disburse his increasing royalty income. Twenty-five years later, in March 2009, a national celebration was held in Coventry Cathedral to mark this important anniversary, attended by over 600 people from
around the country. Speakers included hymn writers Timothy DudleySmith, Graham Kendrick, Bernadette Farrell, Janet Wootton and Andrew Pratt, and the music from the closing celebration was recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 2’s Sunday Half-Hour on 24 May and 9 August.
The Pratt Green Trust’s principal aim is ‘to further the cause of hymnody’, and it seeks to achieve this by allocating grants to organisations and individuals whose work falls within that area. Over the years it has funded projects like the first Latvian Catholic hymnal, a new hymnbook for Methodists in
Evangelicals vs. Christian Cable
For more information and a free demo disc go to www.hymnquest.com
Antigua, a collection of hymns for the churches in Cameroon and most recently a book of hymns by living British authors to be published later this year. Since the year 2000 a major part of the Trust’s work has been the production of HymnQuest, a CD-ROM containing 22,000 hymns and
A Prophetic Word By Chris Lazenby
Under 'a la Carte' Plan, Viewers Could Bar Certain Channels
By Piet Levy Religion News Service
Evangelical Christians are on the front lines in the battle over indecency on cable television, calling for a pick-andchoose pricing plan that would allow viewers to keep certain channels out of their homes. But on the opposite end of the battlefield is an opponent familiar to and even respected by evangelicals: Christian cable stations. The fear among Christian broadcasters is that a proposal to allow consumers to reject MTV or Comedy Central would also allow them to drop the Trinity Broadcasting Network or Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. Cutting off that access could hurt religious broadcasters. "We do not believe that 'a la carte' is the cure for the disease," said Colby May, attorney for the Faith and Family Broadcasting Coalition, which represents Trinity and CBN, in addition to other stations. "In fact, it is a cure that may very well kill the patient." Evangelical and family groups support the concept of "a la carte" cable legislation, which would allow cable users to subscribe only to the networks of their choice. The plan, endorsed in an unofficial Federal Communications Commission report and likely to be proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is billed as a way to avoid paying for such stations as FX, Comedy Central and MTV, which rack up high ratings with such risque or controversial shows as "The Shield," "South Park" and "The Real World." May argues that an a la cartecable
package would drive up the per-subscriber cost of each individual station to compensate for lower subscription numbers. The viewer's cable bill could rise even if the number of stations went down. But the Christian networks' main concern is that the only ones willing to subscribe would be Christians. If a la carte were in existence, May argues, conversion experiences for alcoholics and people contemplating suicide or suffering from a crumbling marriage never would have happened. "If you obligate viewers to pre-select religious service, you are essentially going to find yourself witnessing to the choir," May said. "In combination, all of these networks have literally thousands and thousands of anecdotal stories of people who were channel-surfing that came across one of their services and it changed their life for the better."But such Christian groups as Concerned Women for America say lives would be better with the a la carte plan. "Unfortunately, the number of inappropriate programs far outweighs the number of good," said Lanier Swann, the group's director of government relations. "Our issue is to protect families." Dan Isett, director of corporate and government affairs for the conservative group Parents Television Council, argues that religious broadcasters on localized cable services would not be affected by a pick-andchoose cable choice plan. He said the policy might even grant more opportunities for fledgling networks not owned
by major multimedia corporations. "If consumers have a choice, it opens up a new range of diversified programming that doesn't exist today," Isett said. "If I were [Trinity Broadcasting Network], I would look at this as an unparalleled opportunity to reach people." Michael Goodman, media analyst for the Yankee Group, said a la carte may sound like a great idea, but it's bound to have serious consequences for viewers and cable firms. He argues for a more obvious approach. "That's why we have remote controls," Goodman said. "If you don't want to see it, turn the channel. Or if you really don't want to see it, use the parental controls." But Swann said because many children are more techsavvy than their parents, it is simply not enough. Besides, she said, the main problem is that cable subscribers are required to pay for material that they find objectionable. In an effort to appease critics, the two main cable providers, Time Warner and Comcast, announced "family tier" packages late last year that carry only what they construe to be family-appropriate stations, such as the Disney Channel, Discovery Kids, the Food Network and CNN Headline News. But the critics are still upset. "The 'family tier' system is a straw man designed to fail," Swann said. ". . . I don't think we need the same individuals who promote, produce and air the type of programming we're trying to avoid to be allowed to define what is familyfriendly."
worship songs with comprehensive biblical, thematic and lectionary indexes plus author and composer biographies (and in many cases pictures). If you’re frustrated by only being able to remember an odd word or phrase from a hymn or worship song but not how it starts, HymnQuest has the answer! Its im-
I don't know about you, but I get tired of the media telling us what percentage of us will die of this or that disease. I'm also tired of the mixed messages we receive. One day it's bad to drink wine, the next, it's okay. Too many eggs used to be bad for us; now, apparently, we can eat as many as we like. Eating butter is both bad and good for us, depending on which radio station we listen to, or which newspaper we read. And of course, there's the national problem of obesity. We are told that a huge percentage of the population are overweight and many are clinically obese. The NHS is struggling to deal with the problem and it's predicted that possibly millions of people will die before their time from heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses related to obesity. At the same time, we're being told that most of us are much fitter than we used to be and are going to live to such great ages that pension funds won't be able to keep up. It's interesting that amidst all the constant prattling and mixed messages, there's never any mention of the fact that human be-
ings are children of eternity. No mention of spiritual well-being. It seems that the be all and end all is simply a case of how long we can keep this physical body staggering on. We should all jog around eating spinach (chewing each mouthful fifty seven times), drinking two litres of water a day for as long as possible. When the final, inexorable decay finally starts to impede our progress, we can then begin bolting on new parts to keep us a going concern for as long as possible. After that, who cares? If there's a God, everyone will go to heaven (justification by death, as the theologian R.C. Sproul so aptly puts it). And if there is no God, it doesn't matter anyway. Such, it seems, is the tragic, spiritual state of Britain today. For all those people who believe that physical fitness is the most important thing in life, I have a message. It's something which the government and those boffins at NICE (what a dreadful acronym!) - don't want you to know. It's a vital secret; a prophetic word I wish to disclose to you which is of national importance concerning our physical existence! And here it is: whatever we eat and however much we exercise, eventually, everyone now living will die! Are you well prepared? Chris Lazenby is a tutor/lecturer in theology at King's Evangelical Divinity School (formerly Midlands Bible College) and associate tutor, University of Wales Lampeter.
pressive word and tune search facilities will find whatever you want at the click of a mouse. What’s more, this amazing CD-ROM containing the contents of 390 hymnbooks allows you (with the appropriate copyright licence) to print or export direct into PowerPoint almost all of its 22,000 texts.
SAT-7 URGES PRAYER FOR IRAN SAT-7 is urging its friends and supporters to continue to pray for peace in Iran, where street demonstrations following recent elections have led to bloodshed and loss of life. Sara Afshari, SAT-7 PARS Executive Director, is very concerned about how people in Iran are being treated, “We have many young viewers and we worry about those who have been caught up in the violence. “ Ms Afshari believes the current political unrest in Iran reflects an even greater disillusionment with life in general. “Everything in Iran is difficult. Even before the election, many people in Iran were disillusioned. Some have turned to drugs, immoral lifestyles and even suicide. Others have been seeking hope elsewhere. This factor has led to the unprecedented interest so many have to find out more about the Christian faith.” SAT-7 PARS, the ministry’s Farsi language channel, has begun broadcasting prayers for peace in Iran, and placing encouraging scriptures on the screen. Verses include those from the 23rd Psalm and 1 Peter 5:7 which urges viewers to “cast your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.” SAT-7 PARS producers are scrambling to adjust their broadcast schedule to include new programmes designed to comfort viewers. They also plan to send scripture verses to all SAT-7 PARS viewers who have registered a mobile phone number or an email. SAT-7 PARS is urging all friends of SAT-7 to set aside some time each day at 12:00 noon to join them in praying for Iran.
A land is nothing without people, and people are nothing without a land." That's the maxim followed by Palestinian farmer Daoud Nassar. And when he speaks of the intimate connection between people and their land, he is talking from hard-won experience. Nassar, a Palestinian Christian, lives with his family on 42 hectares (100 acres) of fertile land west of Bethlehem. His grandfather bought the land in 1916 and the Nassar family has farmed there ever since, growing olives, almonds, grapes, pears and figs. In 1991, Daoud Nassar learned that the Israeli authorities were planning to confiscate three quarters of his land – a practice that is illegal under international law, but nonetheless widespread on the West Bank. Since then, the family has been locked in a costly legal battle with the Israeli government, despite possessing all the land registration documents and other paperwork necessary to prove ownership, Daoud Nassar told a visiting ecumenical delegation on 10 March. The ecumenical delegation – a Living Letters team travelling on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC) – visited the Nassar farm along with ecumenical organizations, church leaders and civil society groups in Israel and Palestine in March. Amid the legal battles and harassment from surrounding Israeli settlers, the Nassar family has chosen a path of peace. It has opened up its land to locals and people from around the world to participate in educational and peace building activities. The Nassar farm is part of a parcel of land, including eight nearby Palestinian farming villages, which Israeli authorities hope to annex in order to expand the Gush Etzion settlements, whose population is around 50,000. Many West Bank families do not have the official documentation required to prove ownership of their land, let alone the resources to be able to fight lengthy court battles. Since their first court appearance in 1991 to challenge the confiscation order, the Nassars have surprised the courts not only with the thoroughness of their documentation, but with their persistence. Daoud Nassar estimates that the family and supporters of the project have spent around 145,000 US dollars in legal and other fees and attended numerous court hearings – with the result that, for now, the land is safe. The Nassar farm is already surrounded by Israeli settlements, and like many Palestinians, the Nassars have endured harassment, threats and attacks from nearby settlers. In one such attack, Daoud Nassar's mother was threatened with a
gun. In another, settlers uprooted 250 olive trees from the property. It is acts like this, Nassar says, that may easily fuel violence among Palestinians. For many others, the only possible options seem to be to resign themselves to the situation, or to emigrate. The Nassar family decided there should be another option – to refuse to be enemies. So they established on their land a project called the Tent of Nations. Its overarching aims are to build bridges between people of different backgrounds and between people and land. "We wanted to move away from a circle of blame, and channel our frustration into something positive," Daoud Nassar told the Living Letters team. The Israeli authorities have forbidden any permanent infrastructure development on the site, as well as access to the electricity grid and public water, so the Nassars have refurbished seven underground caves, painting them, fitting them out with comfortable rugs and cushions and connecting them to electricity from a generator so that they could be used for meetings and other gatherings. There are now plans to install solar panels and build wind turbines on the farm. Since the establishment of the project in 2000, the Nassars have garnered significant local and global support. Children from Bethlehem are given the opportunity to reconnect with the land through tree planting and helping with the grape and olive harvest. At the local level, Nassar says, the activities of the Tent of Nations have gone at least some way towards promoting understanding between Palestinian and Israeli people. In early 2008, a woman from a visiting group of peace activists invited her friend from a nearby Israeli settlement to come and visit the Tent of Nations. The woman had been living in the settlement for nine years but was not aware that there were Palestinians living in the surrounding areas. The visit gave her a powerful insight into the living conditions of the Palestinians in the region. Actions like these are small steps towards better relationships between these deeply divided groups, said Daoud Nassar. He hopes that his project will encourage other Palestinians not to see themselves as victims, but rather to look at the future with some hope. "What we are trying to do here, in a simple way, is to motivate our people, and show them there is a future," he said. Emma Halgren is a member of the Uniting Church in Australia, and a communications intern at the World Council of Churches (http://www.oikoumene.org/).
The Christian Times
The real day Michael Jackson died
by Edward Gilbreath
Over the last few days, the world saw the passing of some of her favourite stars and start maker. First it was Ed McMahon who passed away on June 23, 2009. Best known for his enthusiastic catchphrase "Here's Johnny!", McMahon was also familiar as the host of TV talent show Star Search. Then it was Farrah Fawcett n June 25, 2009. Farrah Fawcett was an American actress. A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee, Fawcett rose to international fame when she first appeared as private investigator Jill Munroe in the TV series Charlie's Angels in 1976. Fawcett was also a pop culture figure whose hairstyle was emulated by millions of young women and whose poster sales broke records. While her impact was particularly strong on the teens of the 1970s, her appeal spreads over multiple generations. Then on the same day (June 25, 2009), the unbelievable news was on the airwaves that, ‘the king of pop’ Michael Jackson died as a result of a cardiac arrest. Let the wall-to-wall Michael Jackson coverage continue. As soon as I heard the tragic news about his passing yesterday afternoon, I knew it would mean nonstop fodder for all the CNNs and WGCIs and
TMZ.coms (sorry, Farrah). This will be just like Princess Di’s death, I thought. And for a brief moment, it was just as shocking and unexpected. Then, after a few minutes, the horrible truth sank in: Michael Jackson had already died many years ago. Or at least that’s how it felt. I posted that thought on my Facebook page and was surprised to see a steady stream of friends chime in with their agreement. “Around ‘92, I’d say,” wrote my college friend Christopher. “You got that right, he’s been gone for a good long time,” added Karin, another former classmate. “Yes,” continued my work colleague Bruce, “It feels like we’ve already grieved his death … as sad as the news is.” Maybe it was around 1992. That’s when the plastic surgeries and ever-whitening skin began to morph him into something more noticeably un-real. Or perhaps it was back in the early ’70s when, under the harsh rule of a demanding stage parent, he was not allowed to be a child, but then years later didn’t seem to understand how to be an adult either. By the late ’90s, the “ABC” Off the Wall - Thriller versions of Michael Jackson were clearly notions of the distant past. I’ll never forget the day in 1997 when my wife came home from her job as a daycare worker and told me she
Farrah Fawcett had overheard a discussion among the 9- and 10-year-olds about Michael Jackson. After she offhandedly referred to him as an African American, the kids’ eyes widened in disbelief: “You mean Michael Jackson is black?” Many of us used to think that Michael Jackson’s constantly changing looks were the result of his desire not to be black. The narrowed nose, straightened hair, and lightened skin all suggested a person who was attempting to escape his genetic fate. Yet, Jackson always spoke about being proud of his racial heritage. And his continued influence on the black urban and hip-hop artistic communities was immense, despite the fact that he appeared to be running away from his race. Could it be, as Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page has suggested, that Jackson was not trying to escape his race so much as the image of his father that he saw in the mirror? The truth is, despite all the controversy and dysfunction and tragedy in his life, Jackson was one of the great pop-culture reconcilers of our time. Like Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Nat King Cole, and Bill Cosby (as well as many others), Jackson broke down racial barriers by virtue of his talent and ability. I recall seeing white girls in 7th grade walking the halls with the Thriller
Michael Jackson album in their hands and thinking, But for the ’80s generation, Michael Jackson demolished the walls. Everyone, regardless of race, talked about the “Thriller” video or Jackson’s legendary performance on the Motown 25 TV special or whatever Jackson’s latest fashion statement happened to be. Of course, we also talked about his problems and freakish behaviors later on. But my sense is that there always was more sympathy than condemnation for this man whom so many once wildly celebrated. Or was it on 3 February 2003 or 6 February 2003 when Living with Michael Jackson, a Granada Television documentary by Martin Bashir was aired in the UK by ITV and and later on ABC in the USA. ackson felt betrayed by Bashir and complained that the film gives a distorted picture of his behaviour and conduct as a father. He claimed
that Bashir, in the final version of his interview, used only that material which supported the negative view Bashir portrayed as holding towards Jackson. Jackson's lawyers claimed in a British High Court case against Martin Bashir and Granada TV that the documentary was a breach of contract and breach of confidence. The proceedings were put on hold when Jackson was charged with 10 felony counts in late 2003, and the proceedings could have continued after Jackson's acquittal. Without a doubt, the enigma, Michael Jackson died in the heart of the people during and after the said trial though he was acquitted. You love him but you still cannt embrace him, thus producing a set of ‘closet’ fans. The outpouring of sadness and grief after the announcement of Jackson’s death proves that he still occupies a special place in our cul-
ture. Folks whom I would’ve never imagined cared about Jackson have chimed in on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs with notes of sympathy and fond memories of “the King of Pop.” I was about 8 when Elvis died in 1977, and I remember not knowing much about who the guy was until that day. Suddenly, I received a whirlwind education on “the King” and his importance in music and pop culture. In death, Elvis Presley became real to me. I suspect it may be that way for many younger folks today as the tragic figure that Jackson became in his latter years takes a backseat to the musical legacy of one of the greatest entertainers the world has ever known. No one knows what the condition of Jackson’s spiritual life was at the time of his death, whether or not he’d made peace with God. The assumption is he was still search-
ing, still unfulfilled, still trying to recapture the success of his ’80s heyday while trying to escape the fallout of that same success. These rent events beg the answers to these questions; what I’m I doing with my life? I’m I ready to die? What will be my legacy if I drop dead right now? Other questions are; what will happen to the welfare of my loved ones if I die? Is my wife, husband, father, mother, friend or neighbour ready to meet their Creator if they die today? Hard questions but real! Please take the time to pray for .the families of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Edward Gilbreath is director of editorial for Urban Ministries Inc., editor of UrbanFaith.com, and the author of Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical’s Inside View of White Christianity. He blogs at Reconciliation Blog. This article appears courtesy of a partnership with UrbanFaith.com.
Great holidays from
The Christian Times
In August Edition
‘Thank You’ from The Christian Times A very big thank you to all our contributors, advertisers, advisers, distributors and helpers, for the successful launch of The Christian Times. The Christian Times is positioned to work in corporation with other christian agencies and ministries in bringing positive and relevant news to the church and the general public. We strongly believe that good news can really be news. Finally, a very big ‘thank you’ to you our readers and subscribers.
By Richmond Holiday
A Richmond Holiday provides the perfect setting for marveling at God’s creation while you enjoy Christian fellowship. Those who have already been on one of their holidays can testify to the lasting friendships they have made, which are at the heart of a Richmond Holiday. The friendly Richmond staff are known for going the extra mile to welcome and include guests whether they have come as part of a group or on their own. And their hotels, providing delicious homemade food, add to the ingredients of a quality Richmond Holiday. However you choose to unwind, the holidays will refresh and enrich your mind, body and soul. There is also an opportunity to take advantage of hand-picked Ministry leaders who offer optional, informal Christ-centred Bible ministry and pastoral care. All you have to do is decide where you’d like to go. The charming Greek island destinations boast luxurious beaches, pools, watersports and opportunities to explore the local culture and biblical history with the support of knowledgeable guides. So will it be Samos, Kos or Crete you will visit first?
Tuscany is a breathtaking new destination for 2009. Abundant Italian culture on your doorstep, as well as the rooftop swimming pool with amazing views, will make this holiday truly memorable. The Alpine resort allows you to soak in the stunning
vistas, with the option of a full on activity based week if you’d rather have the experience at a faster pace! They also have a variety of themed weeks, including walking, painting and dancing, where you can learn from the experts in surroundings that
will inspire and enthuse. An excellent opportunity to join the fantastic 30somethings or Christian 18-30 weeks. “The holiday had everything I could have asked for, lovely hotel & staff, fellowship with the team and other guests - a little snapshot of heaven”,
said Margaret Bryans. Other guest have commented “Perfect for the lone traveller” “The most fantastic week with my children” “We feel cherished and refreshed, physically and spiritually”
Samos, Kos, Crete, French Alps, Tuscany.
For more destinations including our Wintersun programme and ski holidays; please see our website:
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Innovative Worship Backing Track DVDs released for churches and small group worship Musicademy is a worship training organisation that produces DVDs, online lessons and practical training for musicians involved in worship. It is based in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire in the UK and was established as a music college in 2003 by musician and guitar tutor Andy Chamberlain, and business partner Marie Page. Musicademy’s popular range of internationally acclaimed worship focussed DVDs has sold extensively across the world. Increasingly seen as the authoritative voice in practical DVD and online worship training, Musicademy has a portfolio of guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and vocals DVDs and online lessons.
Musicademy has launched a new DVD specifically for churches and small groups who want to sing contemporary worship music but have few or no musicians. The DVD contains 54 of the best known contemporary worship songs with easy to read on-screen words for the congregation to sing along with. Where it differs from others’ backing tracks is in expensive top class studio production, the automated words on screen, tag lines and ad-libs to provide a ‘real worship’ feel, the ability to select any song with or without lead vocal plus 50 themed set lists for public worship, covering topics like communion,
thanksgiving, repentance, hope, personal renewal, God’s love etc. Once the set list is activated it automatically and seamlessly moves from one song to the next. The long and short set lists have been thoughtfully chosen to suit different ages, styles and demographics The DVD plays on any DVD player or computer so can be used around a TV in a house group or using a projector in church with virtually no technical ability needed to operate it. You don’t need any specialist software or expensive hardware like midi file players, there’s nothing to download and the whole package costs just £29.99 – great value 54 songs both with or without vocals with a total of 4 hours playing time – that’s one sixth of the price of the main competitor in the worship
backing tracks marketplace. Musicademy is even doing discount pricing for churches wanting to buy one for each of their house groups. The DVDs feature modern worship classics plus upcoming new songs from Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, Matt Redman, Vineyard, Delirious, Tim Hughes, Stuart Townend, Brenton Brown, Darlene Zschech, Kevin Prosch, Brian Doerksen, Reuben Morgan and many others. The tracks have been created with top UK worship musicians like Cathy Burton, Paul Evans (Delirious), Musicademy Director Andy Chamberlain says “ The DVDs are available from www.musicademy.com (where the trailer can also be viewed) and cost £29.99 each The Musicademy is highly recommended by The Christian Times.
The Christian Times is produced in the UK by Sayitbetter Media, part of Joash Communications. 11 Brook Road South,Brentford, Middlesex TW8 0NN Telephone: 0844 804 4097 Email: email@example.com . Printed in the UK by Petersborough Web. Conditions for advertising: All advertisement are accepted subject to the publisher’s standard codition of insertion. Copies may be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Publishing Editor: Paul-Kayode Joash
FOR OVER 32 years, Martyn Lewis built up a considerable reputation as one of Britain's best-known TV anchormen before deciding to take up a business career, as Chairman of "Teliris", the company he co-founded with British and American partners after leaving the BBC. Martyn is also Chairman for YouthNet UK, a charity he founded in 1995 to create a comprehensive internet site signposting young people to every conceivable opportunity or form of help they might need ( www.thesite.org ). Praised publicly by both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, it has a staff of 35, a budget of over £3 million a year, and is accessed by over half a million young people a month. YouthNet has also created www.do-it.org , the national volunteering database, with over 600,000 regularly updated volunteering opportunities on line. In 1994, Martyn made the news himself with two controversial and widely-debated speeches arguing for a shift in the agenda of TV news programmes to achieve a fairer balance between the positive and the negative, and report and analyse achievement just as much as failure. He still debates these very same issues in forums around the world. The Christian Times strongly believes that a good news can indeed be news! Watch out for our interview with Martyn in the August edition of The Christian Times.
"What do rally drivers wear on their feet? If you're leading the Hankook MSA Scottish Rally Championship, the answer is Holy Socks. Castle Douglas driver Jock Armstrong and co-driver Kirsty Riddick have been wearing Holy Socks as part of their campaign to lift this year's Scottish title. Jock is the latest in a line of rally drivers to wear
WHAT IF CHURCH WAS LIKE A TENNIS MATCH? WITH WIMBLEDON upon us, it's an intriguing question. Award-winning radio group Whistling Frog Productions have produced a lively audio thought to tie-in with Wimbledon, which is now available for churches and schools to download free-of-charge from the Internet. 'Wimbledon Church' is a short thought dramatising
Martyn Lewis talks to The Christian Times
what church could be at its best, in the style of a nail-biting tennis rally. This thought-provoking material is ideal for using in church, or for starting discussions in the classroom. The mp3 file is just under one minute in length and can be downloaded free of charge from Audiopot the UK's online library of creative Christian audio at www.audiopot.org
the special socks which feature biblical designs - and the combination appears to be working well. He leads the championship by three points going into his home event, the RSAC Scottish Rally in Dumfries on June 27th. He also tops the Group N category for productionbased cars in his distinctive white Subaru Impreza N11 which sports the logo "Rallying with Holy Socks.". Jock and Kirsty, the current Scottish co-drivers champion, have had two podium finishes on the four rallies completed so far. Despite problems with the car, they managed to finish sixth on the last round, the Jim Clark Reivers rally which is the only tarmac event of the Hankook series. Said Jock: " This has been my first full championship year in Scotland and I am very glad that Holy Socks have came on board to help us. The Championship is very close for overall and Grp N title and to be leading this with Holy Socks is fantastic news.
With Margaret doing all the praying for us, and our feet are cosy warm, we hope to maintain this lead." This is the fourth season of Holy Socks' involvement with the sport - having previously been worn by Dumfries driver Malcolm Proudlock, and Steven Clark, who was last year's Group N winner. The Newton Stewartbased company produces a range of socks, with Biblical designs, including Daniel and the Lions, Loaves and Fishes; Jonah in the Whale and what seems to the rally driver's favourite The Sheep and the Goats. Said Holy Socks founder, Margaret Wyllie: "It might seem an odd combination to some but Holy Socks are about journeying and driving a rally car is certainly a different way to travel!". "I give the team a different design for every rally but I think the driver's favourite is The Sheep and the Goats", said Margaret,adding: " The Sheep are on the right leg and the goats are on
the left - it helps to know the left from the right on a rally stage!". Holy Socks are sold through church groups and Cathedral shops across the UK and Ireland, including York Minster, Liverpool Metropolitan and St.Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. The socks have travelled far and wide, and have been photographed at Machu Picu, on a trek in the Himalayas, and on the Great Wall of China. Last year Holy Socks were invited to exhibit at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury - a gathering of around 800 Bishops and Archbishops from all over world. They proved a major hit with the clergymen and their wives - including the Archbishop of Canterbury who paid a visit to the stand - and were taken back home to all points of the globe. To find out more, go to www.holysocks.co.uk or phone Margaret Wyllie on 01671 404043 mobile 07918 18 45 39