Here are a handful of news-bites from around the UK and around the world included in the May 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.
No church marriages?
Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat justice minister, said in early March that the traditional Christian wedding ceremony should no longer have legal status.
Couples who want to marry in church would have to undertake two separate ceremonies (the civil one taking place as part of the church wedding) in order for their marriage to be recognised by the state.
The Daily Telegraph
Marriage types preserved
The Ofﬁce for National Statistics (ONS) has conﬁrmed that it will present ﬁgures for opposite-sex and same-sex marriages and divorces separately.
In a public consultation launched in October by the ONS, it was clear from the wording of the questions that the UK’s recognised statistical institute was considering the adoption of a gender-blind approach to marriage and divorce statistics.
Family Education Trust
Burning babies’ bodies
In late March it was reported that stillborn and miscarried babies have been used to provide heat for hospitals, or been incinerated with medical waste.
The Chief Medical Officer has written to hospitals noting that current guidance is clear that this should not be taking place. Over 15,000 human remains have been incinerated over the past two years.
The Christian Institute
India: gospel meetings
On March 18–19, two days of public gospel meetings were held in a village outside the city of Bellary in Karnataka.
There was no opposition from Hindu people and many villagers gathered to watch the singing and dancing performed by Sunday school children. Pastor Rathna Kumar preached the gospel and several people came to know Jesus. Further gospel meetings like this are being planned for the coming months. Please pray that more people are saved through this work.
Palestine: ID changes
The Palestinian Authority has stopped including religious afﬁliation on national ID cards, meaning that these will no longer differentiate between Muslims and Christians, it was reported in late March.
Explaining the move, the Interior Ministry said that the Palestinian Basic Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion or ethnicity. Hamas have criticised the move as they fear it is one step towards allowing Jewish settlers to remain in the future Palestinian state and to be citizens on equal terms with Muslims and Christians.
On March 10 it was reported that despite the tensions, mission groups and churches are reporting an increased interest in faith in the Ukraine.
‘Christians throughout Ukraine are praying and fasting. All churches are overcrowded with people who are coming to seek God’s face and ask for deliverance’, according to Rostislav Borishkevich, director of Good Samaritan Mission in Kiev. ‘People are crying out to God because they know that only he can help our nation.’
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