Prayer fuel: News from the UK and around the world

Here are a handful of news-bites from around the UK and around the world included in the August issue of EN. May these encourage us as well as spur us on to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world facing severe persecution.

Girl guides: drop God
The Girl Guides are to drop the words to ‘love my God’ from the Promise that girls and volunteers make when they join the organisation, it was announced in June.
It is to be replaced with the words ‘to be true to myself and develop my beliefs’. Bible Society’s Newswatch (Daily Telegraph)

Sex ed: positive?
In late June the government announced that PHSE — including Sex Education — will not be part of the National Curriculum and it will therefore not be compulsory for it to be taught in schools.
The education minister, Elizabeth Truss, said that the government supported a flexible approach saying that schools should be free to tailor programmes for their pupils. Family Education Trust

Oak Hill: new staff
At the beginning of July, Oak Hill announced the appointment of two new staff members, and that Graham Beynon is to become Director of Free Church Training in 2014.
Graham will continue to pastor his church in Cambridge, and this part-time appointment with Oak Hill will help ground Graham’s work with the college in the life of the local church. Two other staff appointments at Oak Hill, for Old and New Testament teaching, are Dr. Trevor Burke and Dr. Chris Ansberry, both joining the college in September from the States. Oak Hill

Norway: best seller
The Bible was Norway’s best-selling book in 2012, it was reported in June.
A new translation by the Norwegian Bible Society has sold 160,000 copies. Anne Veiteberg, of Norway’s Bible Society, commented that immigration has been a factor, with 250,000 immigrants settling in Norway in the past six years, 60% of whom claim to be Christian. She said: ‘Now that we’re exposed to other faiths, Norwegians have taken more interest in their own faith’. Fellowship of European Broadcasters (FEB) 

Iran: released
Pastor Robert Asseriyan, one of the leaders at the Central Assemblies of God (AoG) Church in Tehran, was released from prison on July 2 after having been arrested in the middle of a worship service on May 21.
However, security authorities have asked Pastor Asseriyan and his family to keep their silence and not be interviewed by the media regarding his case, his release or his trial. The condition ‘Silence for Freedom’ shows the Iranian authorities’ desire to portray Iran as having made human rights improvements – and they do not want prisoners to speak out contradicting this. Mohabat News

Laos: ‘willing to die’
Local authorities have taken the citizenship and farmland of six Christian families, promising to reinstate them only when the 16 people give up their Christian faith, it was reported in June.
In December, authorities and village party members confiscated the registration papers. Next, they took the deeds to their land. On May 7, when two Christian leaders attempted to intercede for the families, they were told that return of the papers and deeds was contingent on the families renouncing their faith. The families said: ‘We are willing to die rather than renounce our faith’. Religion Today

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