‘Worship in the woods’

acehChurches destroyed a year ago by Islamic extremists and police in Aceh Singkil – a rural ‘regency’ in Indonesia’s only Sharia-ruled province – have still not been rebuilt because of discrimination against Christians by local authorities, say church leaders. However, despite the troubles, church membership is climbing. …”

– This report from World Watch Monitor.

(By complete contrast: Nature’s dome is Church of the Wood’s only chapel, Episcopal News Service.)

Asia Bibi’s appeal delayed

Aasia Bibi - photo via Diocese of MelbourneAfter more than seven years in prison, the first Pakistani Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy has had her Supreme Court appeal delayed, amidst renewed Islamist calls for her to die. …”

– News from World Watch Monitor.
Photo: Barnabas Fund.

Former GAFCON Chairman urges South Sudanese leaders to preserve life

apb-wabukala-acnaThe retired Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya and former GAFCON Chairman, together with leaders of All Africa Conference of Churches to South Sudan has urged the political leaders of South Sudan to preserve lives of citizens instead of struggling for power and wealth in the country. ”

Report via GAFCON.

Rome Scholars Network meets to discuss Evangelical — Catholic Relations

Rome Scholars Network meeting, Rome, July 2016The morning of Friday 1 July brought to a close the inaugural edition of the Rome Scholars Network (RSN) held in Rome. Under the leadership of the Italian lecturer and pastor, Dr. Leonardo De Chirico, the Network brought together Protestant scholars and ministers from across Europe, the United States and Australia who discussed Evangelicalism’s increasingly incoherent relationship with Roman Catholicism in today’s ecumenical climate. …

‘Given that the fifth centenary of the Reformation is just around the corner, the message coming from many Catholic quarters and some Evangelical leaders is that the Reformation is over. We at RSN do not agree. The Reformation is as relevant as ever since the Gospel and the five solas are as relevant as ever. Roman Catholicism is employing a strategy of absorption in order to swallow up Evangelicals. In spite of its friendly tone from Vatican II onwards, Rome has not changed a bit in its fundamental structure‘…”

Report from Evangelical Focus. (Sydney’s Mark Gilbert was a part of the meeting.) 

‘Russian government introduces draconian Soviet era restrictions on religious freedom’

kremlinLast Friday two members of the Russian Duma (parliament) introduced a series of amendments to anti-terrorist legislation that would require individuals to gain prior state authorisation before even discussing their faith with someone else. …

It now goes to Russian President Vladimir Putin who has until July 20th to decide whether the bill will become law. The new law will require any sharing of the Christian faith – even a casual conversation – to have prior authorisation from the state. This includes something as basic as an emailed invitation for a friend to attend church…”

– Concerning news via Barnabas Fund.

‘In Pakistan, Taliban’s Easter bombing targets, kills scores of Christians’

pakistan“On Easter Sunday, a crisp spring day, some of the city’s Christian population mingled with their Muslim neighbors, celebrating in a neighborhood park — taking their kids on rides or pushing them on swings. Then, the sound of tragedy.

Without warning, a blast tore through the park, killing indiscriminately.

Because of the innocent setting, an unusually high number of those injured were women and children. But the attack, claimed by a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, intentionally targeted Christians, the perpetrators say…”

– This report from CNN.

See also:

Suicide blast kills at least 72 in Lahore parkThe Express Tribune, Karachi.

Lahore blast leaves behind playground buried with hopes and dreamsGeo TV Pakistan.

‘Freed Australian hostage Jocelyn Elliott vows to continue work’

ken-and-jocelyn-elliot“An Australian woman who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Burkina Faso has returned to the nation’s capital after being freed, and says she hopes to be reunited with her husband so they can continue their medical work in the African nation…”

– ABC News has this report. (Please continue to pray for the release of Jocelyn’s husband, Ken, and for their captors.)

Jocelyn Elliot released by kidnappers – husband still held

ken-and-jocelyn-elliotFrom ABC News, Sunday 7th February:

“An Australian woman has been freed after she and her husband were kidnapped by an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Burkina Faso, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirms.

President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou presented Jocelyn Elliott to journalists at a news conference in Dosso, south-western Niger, and said authorities were intensifying efforts to secure the release of her husband.…”

– Please give thanks for Jocelyn’s release, and continue in prayer for her husband Ken, and for their captors.


Family of kidnapped missionaries in Burkina Faso plead for Ken and Jocelyn Elliot’s release – Bible Society.

AP scores a hit with scoop on ISIS’ destruction of Iraqi monastery

monastery-destroyed-2“Certainly, journalists can’t do enough to explain what’s up with this orgy of monument desecration that ISIS and Al Qaeda enjoy doing. But there’s a deeper issue here…”

Julia Duin at Get Religion looks at coverage of the destruction of the 1400 year old St. Elijah’s Monastery of Mosul monastery. (Image: CCTV.)

‘ISIS destroys Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery’

iraq“Satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press confirm what church leaders and Middle East preservationists had feared: The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble … St. Elijah’s Monastery stood as a place of worship for 1,400 years…”

– Report from Fox News.

An Aussie’s take on the abduction of two fellow countrymen in Burkina Faso

burkina-fasoDominic Steele writes –

“If you have been praying for the two Australian medical missionaries abducted in Burkina Faso I’d encourage you to listen to this interview with a fellow Aussie over there.”

Listen here.

More background at Bible Society Australia.

Two Australians kidnapped in Burkina Faso

two-australians-kidnapped“An Australian couple has been kidnapped by jihadists in the West African nation of Burkina Faso. The couple, believed to be surgeon Dr Ken Elliot and his wife Jocelyn, were kidnapped … near the Burkina Faso’s borders with Niger and Mali…”

– Report from Nine News.

Later report from ABC News.

(Please pray for them and their captors. Dr. and Mrs. Eliot have served in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa since 1967.)

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