Prayer fuel: News in the UK

Prayer FuelHere are a handful of news-bites from around the UK included in the December issue of en. May these spur us on to pray for our country and issues we all are facing.

Christians = terrorists?

Pro-marriage and pro-life Christians have been listed next to terrorists by a group of secularists and atheists in a manifesto calling for the establishment of an ‘international front against the religious-right and for secularism’, launched in mid-October.
Signed by homosexual-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, the National Secular Society’s president Terry Sanderson and prominent atheist A C Grayling, concerns have been raised that genuine concern about murderous terrorists is being hijacked to attack evangelical Christians. The Christian Institute

NI: against exploitation

The Northern Ireland Assembly voted in mid-October to criminalise paying for sex, and voted to support the introduction of statutory child trafficking guardians alongside statutory victim support.
In voting for these provisions Northern Ireland now leads the way in having the very best anti-trafficking and exploitation legislation in the UK. CARE

The Prince & persecution

Muslim leaders have a duty to warn their own followers about the ‘indescribable tragedy’ of the persecution of Christians around the world, Prince Charles insisted in November.
He said that faith leaders must not remain silent. His comments coincided with the publication of a new report which concludes that Christians are the ‘most persecuted religious minority’ in the world and that Muslim countries dominate the list of places where religious freedom is most under threat. The Daily Telegraph

For more news and prayer fuel from around the UK, visit our website or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Prayer fuel: News in the UK

Prayer Fuel(view original article here)

Here are a handful of news-bites from around the UK included in the November issue of en. May these spur us on to pray for our country and issues we all are facing.

Bigot dropped

Stonewall, announced in early October that it is dropping its controversial ‘Bigot of the Year’ Award.

In the past, those who have spoken out against the redefinition of marriage have been nominated – provoking a campaign against the award. In 2012 Coutts advised Stonewall that they would withdraw funding unless the category was removed. In 2013, Barclays and PwC dropped their sponsorship of the event after being contacted by Christians who objected to the award. Christian Concern

A ban on thinking

The decision to ban a pro-life group from the freshers’ fayre at Dundee University early in September has been criticised by sociologist Dr Tiffany Jenkins.

Writing in The Scotsman, she said that such actions mean ‘denying youngsters the chance to formulate their own views’. The sociologist defended the right of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), to share its views with students despite disagreeing with them. The Christian Institute

New pregnancy centres

A new national network for pregnancy centres with a Christian ethos was launched on September 27 at St Michael’s Church, Chester Square, London. There were around 90 delegates from 30 centres nationwide.

A new initiative to reach the churches about abortion called ‘Open’ was introduced. The keynote talk was delivered by Prof. John Wyatt, author of Matters of Life and Death and Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics at UCL. He re-established the heart of the pregnancy centres’ work in an inspiring way: that we are called to be Jesus to our clients and that we are called to see Jesus in our clients.


For more news and prayer fuel from around the UK, visit our website or subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Anglican update: Cry from Southern Sudan – you can help!

Anglican Update

(view online version here)

We recall the emergence of Southern Sudan as an independent state in July 2011. The Anglican Church played a significant role along with other churches in the forming and developing the new nation, the first in history to escape from Muslim domination.

Since December 2013, Southern Sudan’s viability has been gravely threatened by an internal civil war. The rebel forces are led by the former vice-president, Riek Machir, who established himself in the north east of South Sudan where many of the country’s oil fields, the source of its income, are situated.

Supporting small scale business

Anglican International Development, based in Newcastle, had partnered the Episcopal Church of Sudan in developing Manna Microfinance, a programme to enable the South Sudanese to develop their own family economies through small scale business activities. It was also allocated facilities in Bor in the north east to develop a medical training programme in conjunction with the International Christian Dental and Medical Association. However, Bor was overrun by rebel forces and the programme has been started in Mengo Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, training 50 participants to work as medical officers in South Sudan.

Following independence, many such international groups stretched out helping hands to partners in South Sudan. But the civil war disrupted these activities. Leaders of the major Protestant denominations concluded that such was the threat to the survival of the country itself that concerted action was needed against the major threats.

A cry for help

They issued Cry from South Sudan in August 2014 following a consultation in London and established a United Christian Emergency Committee for South Sudan.

The first threat they see is that the world will forget them, overwhelmed as it is with the development of Islamic State. However, their own parlous situation is of a piece with the development of IS. South Sudan is a front-line state facing the advance of Islam in Africa. They border on Sudan, a Muslim nation, which in turns borders on Egypt. Sudan has no interest in the survival of South Sudan and will therefore be actively involved in fanning the flames of the civil war.

Following the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Gadaffi in Libya, Islamist fighters dispersed south into western and eastern Africa.

Their effects have been felt in Chad and in the separatism in Kenya. Some observers claim that the bombing of Islamic State will only disperse the fighters in a similar way, and South Sudan is an obvious attraction for their destabilising activities.


second The threat is a creeping famine caused by the disruption of the civil war. This is likely to hit hard early in the new year.

The authors of Cry… continue: ‘Our future is being undermined as our children are being devastated. Over 7% die at birth. Few attend school. Those schools that do function have to meet under trees. Those people that do get educated have no jobs. This is a time bomb for vulnerability to radicalisation by extremist groups.

‘God calls the church to bring peace and stability to South Sudan. However, we acknowledge that we have not always been faithful to this calling. We as church leaders now want to respond unitedly. We are committed to act together as one body and have established the United Christian Emergency Committee for South Sudan. We will be acting trans-denominationally. We ask for your support in the following areas:

• To help us build a strong and healthy nation for the future

• To support our hands in prayer for God’s deliverance

• To continue your interest and concern for the long term. Millions have died in conflict in our nation and millions have been displaced. We are committed to ensuring a long-lasting peace.

• To keep our nation and its hopes and needs before your governments and for other institutions to bring their pressure to bear

• To assist us as you can in the following strategic projects:

Human Rights; Education; Relationship with Cultures; Health; Relief; Discipleship /Theological Training; Political / Peace-making; Leadership / Ethics; Publishing; Economic Development; Legal Systems; Prayer Committee/Intercession

Where to begin

In our emergency situation we will begin with the following:

1. Provide food, medical relief and shelter. As crops have failed, we are now experiencing a famine which could become unmanageable.

2. A process of political reconciliation with specialist advisers. Without peace there can be no stable future for our country

3. Establish teachers’ training programmes ensuring a supply of teachers to encourage the government to build many schools. Education of the young is key to the future of South Sudan.

4. Establish a leaders’ ‘staff college’ with courses for politicians, bishops and senior clergy, businessmen, people in the military and law enforcement and other leaders in civil society. We will provide responsible leaders for the nation.

The committee, based in Juba, South Sudan can be contacted through the Revd John Brand, Friends of South Sudan, and on twitter through @fossuk

Chris Sugden 

This article was first published in the November 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates

Anglican update: Asking for asylum for Iraqi Christians

Anglican Update

(view online version here)

‘Convert, leave or die’. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians face this choice. Hundreds have been either beheaded or crucified. Many thousands have left everything they had in life and are living in crowded and temporary shelters.

They got brief exposure in this summer’s headlines but mainly along with the Yasidis who were trapped on a mountain.

Pleading on BBC

Andrew White, the vicar of Baghdad, pleaded on BBC radio for Britain to help them by joining other nations in offering asylum. But answer has there been none. So far the UK has taken 54 refugees from Iraq and Syria.

Why? Probably because Iraqi Christians have no economic or political significance. Some within their leadership disagree about whether the best solution is for them to flee to other countries, or find a safe haven provided by the military might of others in their native lands as was provided to the Kurds two decades ago.

The latter argument is emotionally compelling. Christians have been in Iraq for centuries and members of the people of God since Jonah went to Nineveh. The land is their home, their culture and their identity.

And there are arguments against offering asylum. The UK government has its own pressing problems dealing with seemingly uncontrollable immigration from the EU. Others argue that providing asylum would do ISIS’s work for them in removing ‘unbelievers’ from the lands they want to control.

How long will it take?

In the pogrom against the Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, many found refuge in the UK and other European countries. From 1930 it took 15 years and a global war to rid the world of Hitler.

Western politicians estimate that it will take at least three years to rid the Middle East of ISIS. In that time how many of the religious minorities will have died?

Leaving home, culture and identity is a huge wrench and not undertaken lightly. But God is not bound to nations nor by them. The nation-state as a concept is so 19th-century. The nation-states in question here are of very recent origin and look set to disappear in the near future. Moreover, God moves people around: he displaced the Jews several times; Jesus himself was a refugee to Egypt as a baby; and he taught that those facing the great tribulation should flee to the mountains. God is bound to his people, not to geographical borders.

Hospitality to the suffering and vulnerable is a Christian tradition stretching back to the early church when Christians went out to take in and care for weakling babies and ill people left out to die.

It is not sustainable to provide supplies for the 7 million displaced persons in the Middle East whom the UN classes as refugees. Their aid needs are 60% underfunded, according to the UNHCR. It is sustainable to provide immediate shelter and a transit camp for 100,000 Iraqi Christians who want to flee to the UK sovereign bases in Cyprus and from there be dispersed to host countries willing to offer them asylum (which the UK currently does not).

Could we do this?

But what if parishes and churches offered to take in two or three Iraqi Christians each. for, say, three to six months? There are 16,000 churches in the Church of England quite apart from other denominations who so generously support the Christian NGOs. That would mean a handful per church.

When I floated that possibility in our church at the end of August three people immediately offered space in their homes. In another part of the country someone offered 50 places in their holiday park. That would livingly demonstrate the Body of Christ in action – a great witness to the gospel .

The archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the bishops of West Yorkshire and the Dales, Manchester and Coventry have all called for Britain to offer asylum to those fleeing Iraq. Christian peers Baroness Cox, Lord Alton, Lord Curry and Lord Dannatt wrote to The Times in September urging the government to provide such refuge and grant asylum.

Councillor Mary Douglas, a member of a Pioneer church and a trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, writes: ‘I pray that the church in the UK will be foremost in opening our homes to refugees’.

You could make your own point by writing to your MP urging this course of action and where possible making an offer. And do we doubt that such people will bring the blessing of God with them?

Chris Sugden


This article was first published in the October 2014 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates

Prayer fuel: News in the UK

Prayer Fuel

(view online version here)

Here are a handful of news-bites from around the UK included in the October issue of en. May these spur us on to pray for our country and issues we all are facing.

Dawkins (partial) apology

Professor Richard Dawkins apologised in late August for tweeting that it would be immoral for a mother to continue with a pregnancy if she knew that the foetus had Down’s syndrome.

However, Dawkins still asserted that abortion was the correct choice based on his own morality, which is to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, as he believes it is immoral from the child’s perspective not to abort the baby. Right to Life Charitable Trust

Aggressive exclusion

An ‘aggressive form of secularism’ is pushing faith out of the public square, the former Attorney General warned in late August.

Dominic Grieve said there is a ‘sanitisation’ of religion from the workplace, which will lead to people being ‘excluded’ from society and that ‘recognising people’s right to manifest their faith and express it is very important’. In April, a survey of 2,000 people suggested that Christians are afforded less protection for their beliefs by the state compared to those who practise other religions. The Christian Institute

No brainer

Children raised in marital homes are better behaved than those brought up by unmarried parents, according to major research funded by the Department for Education reported in mid-September.

The study of around 3,000 children aged three to 16 found that those with married parents showed lower levels of anti-social attitudes and hyperactivity. They were also more confident, kind and responsible, according to the research from the University of Oxford and the University of London. The Christian Institute


For more news and prayer fuel from around the UK, subscribe to en for monthly updates.

Prayer fuel: News in the UK

Prayer Fuel

Here are a handful of news-bites from around the UK included in the September issue of EN. May these spur us on to pray for our country and issues we all are facing.


Majority sidelined


Proposals to allow three-parent babies will be pushed forward by the government, despite more than 60% of people opposing the plans in a consultation, it was announced on July 22, as the responses to a 12-week government consultation were released.
Figures showed that, of 1,857 responses, 1,152 opposed the idea of three-parent babies, while 700 ‘expressed general support’. The remainder did not come down on either side. The Christian Institute


New for the Cornish


Cornwall now has the Bible online, it was reported in late July.
The New Testament and Psalms are available in Cornish as a downloadable app. Translators say it makes the Bible ‘really accessible’ for people, who can now get it on their smartphones. There are an estimated 500 fluent Cornish speakers and a further 3-4,000 who can hold a conversation in Cornish. Bible Society’s Newswatch


EA wins


The Evangelical Alliance’s complaint about an offensive advertisement by the gambling organisation Sporting Index, which was published in June by City AM newspaper, was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in August.
The ruling, published on August 6 on their website, found that the June 10 advertisement, in which the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil was digitally altered, breached three sections of their code. The image of the statue was graphically altered and shown to be holding a bottle of booze in the right hand with the left arm around a bikini-clad model over the caption: ‘There’s a more exciting side to Brazil’. Evangelical Alliance

For more news and prayer fuel from around the UK, visit our website or subscribe to EN for monthly updates.

Prayer fuel: News in the UK

Prayer FuelHere are a handful of news-bites from around the UK included in the July issue of EN. May these spur us on to pray for our country and issues we all are facing.

Wrong or rights?

Children in Church of England schools could be given sex education materials provided by gay rights groups, according to new guidance launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury, it was reported in mid-May.
Critics have raised concerns that within the 72-page guidance, produced by the CofE, Stonewall is mentioned more than Jesus Christ. The guidance is entitled ‘Valuing All God’s Children’. The Archbishop said: ‘No sense of something being right or wrong justifies another wrong’.
The Christian Institute

Scotland: evangelism

Grace Edinburgh are thanking God for his help and favour during their week of evangelism during the Spring.
10,000 homes were reached in tract distribution. 600 gospels were distributed by hand. Hundreds of homes were visited and around 100 people had lengthy gospel conversations. Over 20 visitors came to church services and some have continued to stay in touch.
Grace Baptist Partnership Scotland

Resist assisted suicide

An online petition asking people to resist the legalisation of assisted suicide in the UK was launched in May by Not Dead Yet UK, a network of disabled people in the UK opposing the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Signing up to the online petition will help fight against Lord Falconer’s forthcoming Private Members Bill which Not Dead Yet fear will begin to open the door to state sanctioned assisted dying.
The Right to Life Charitable Trust

For more news and prayer fuel from around the UK, go to our website to subscribe to EN for monthly updates.

Prayer fuel: News from the UK and around the world

Prayer FuelHere are a handful of news-bites from around the UK and around the world included in the June 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.

WEST by Northwest

WEST teamed up with the North West Partnership in April so that students will be able to study together for the Graduate Diploma and Masters-level degree programmes at the centre in Liverpool.

Jonathan Stephen, principal of WEST, said: ‘This is a highly significant development for WEST, as we continue to fulfil our commitment to “bringing the academy into missional church”’. WEST

Less protected

Christians are afforded less protection for their beliefs by the state compared to those who practise other religions, suggests a late April survey.

Of the 2000 people surveyed exclusively for The Telegraph, nearly half thought British believers had less protection. This figure rises to 62% among those who identify as non-practising Christians. The poll also reveals that 56% see Britain as a Christian country.
The Christian Institute

NI: rejecting SSM

The Northern Ireland Assembly rejected gay marriage by an outright majority for the third time on April 29.

Assembly members voted 51 to 43 against redefining marriage at Stormont. Pro-traditional marriage campaigners say those pushing for a change should ‘take the hint’. The private member’s motion in support of same sex marriage was tabled by six members from the Alliance, Sinn Fein and the Green parties, and called on the Minister of Finance and Personnel to introduce gay marriage legislation.
The Christian Institute

Australia: Christian

The April elected Premier of New South Wales, Liberal MP Mike Baird, is reported to be a committed Christian.

Baird, 46, was elected unopposed. He attends an Anglican church in his electorate of Manly (a beachside suburb of Sydney). Bruce Clark, senior minister at St Matthew’s on the Corso, said that Baird is a strongly committed Christian man.

Fellowship of European Broadcasters / Eternity Newspaper

Google: 0 results

Google has bowed to pressure from American ‘pro-choice’ group NARAL by agreeing to ban advertisements for crisis pregnancy centres that educate women on the alternative options to abortion, it was reported in early May.

NARAL campaigned extensively to force Google to remove advertisements for pro-life pregnancy services after complaining that the adverts appeared 79% of the time when users entered the search terms ‘abortion clinics’. Christian Concern

USA: illegal meetings?

Fairfax County, Virginia, has proposed a new law that some believe will outlaw Bible studies held in a home, it was reported in early May.

The law violates the First Amendment right of freedom to assemble in that it states ‘regular gatherings of 50 people or more cannot meet more than three times in 40 days’. One person is concerned that the law is punishing the many for the actions of the few, as noise orders could be given and cars towed away if they violated laws, which is preferable to making a law that stops lawful meetings. Christian Headlines

For more news and prayer fuel from around the world, subscribe to EN for monthly updates.

Prayer fuel: News in the UK

Prayer FuelHere are a handful of news-bites from around the UK included in the April issue of EN. May these spur us on to pray for our country and issues we all are facing.

Assisted dying
Following a consultation of its members, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) will remain opposed to proposed changes to the law on assisted suicide, it was reported in February.
77% of the respondents to the consultation were opposed on account of the effects on the vulnerable, the problems implementing changes without coercion to die being possible and the ‘slippery slope’ nature of the proposals leading to no-consent deaths occurring.
Right to Life Charitable Trust

Wales: smacking stays
On February 11 the Welsh Assembly rejected an amendment to criminalise parents smacking their child.
Assembly members voted 39 to 14, with one Assembly member abstaining. However, Deputy Minister Gwenda Thomas said: ‘There will be an opportunity to examine these issues in forthcoming legislation in this Assembly term’. The issue of criminalising smacking is likely to return to the Welsh Assembly before the 2016 election.
The Christian Institute

Sunday football
Northern Ireland’s national football team will be forced to play an international match at home on a Sunday for the first time, for a Euro 2016 qualifier, it was reported at the end of February.
The news has received widespread criticism, with some urging the Irish Football Association to challenge the decision. Previously, countries have decided their own fixture schedules, but not since an electronic selection process was introduced.
The Christian Institute

For more news and prayer fuel from around the UK, subscribe to EN for monthly updates.

Prayer fuel: News in the UK

Here are a handful of news-bites from around the UK included in the March issue of EN. May these spur us on to pray for our country and issues we all are facing.

Insulting end
On February 1 the word insult was removed from Section 5 of the Public Order Act after the successful campaign by the coalition of groups, ‘Insult me’.
The Home Office had been working with the police to prepare them for the change, where the word and its wide interpretation in law had led to arrests of people for calling Scientology a cult, or for religious discussion between a Muslim and a Christian.
The Christian Institute

Pass it on
The Bible Society is launching ‘Pass it On’, a campaign which will urge parents to read, listen to or watch Bible stories with their children, it was reported in late January.
Organisers are talking with children’s authors to release print adaptations of biblical stories. New apps for iPads and android tablet devices are also understood to be in the works. A ComRes survey revealed that 12% of Londoners think Santa Claus is in the Bible. The Christian Institute

Mary Jones world
Work has begun to turn a deconsecrated church in Bala, North Wales into a new £1 million visitor centre telling the story of the woman who saved for six years to buy a Bible and walked 25 miles to collect it from Thomas Charles.
The new centre will tell their story and give visitors the chance to learn about the Bible’s impact in Wales and the rest of the world. Bible Society’s Newswatch


For more news and prayer fuel from around the UK, subscribe to EN for monthly updates.