7 Jun 2020
CLOSING THE GAP
A gap between churches and other forms of gatherings in NSW has been closed. From 1 June up to 50 people will be able to gather in churches, just like in a club and other places. The government initially eased the regulations for hospitality venues – clubs, pubs and restaurants, but left the limit on places of worship at ten. But this gap has now been closed, even before it came into effect by another announcement. Eternity News reports that Vic, WA, SA, ACT can have up to 20 seated patrons in any enclosed space, increasing to 50 on 21 June.
BALCONY TO BALCONY
Christian World News reports that a church in Kenya has taken its services on the road. A team from the church travels to apartment blocks delivering sermons and music from the street below. The Sunday services, nicknamed B2B for Balcony To Balcony, is led by Rev Paul Macharia from All Saints' Cathedral in Kiambu County.
FEEDING THE MULTITUDES
According to New Life, the Barnabas Fund is feeding more than 500,000 Christians in desperate situations due to Covid-19 lockdowns in 29 countries. In some countries people were already facing food insecurity due to swarms of locusts destroying their crops. The fund has also provided hygiene products for more than 21,000 Christians as well as support to almost 7,000 struggling pastors.
1 Jun 2020
According to The Christian Post, nearly half of churchgoers haven't watched an online service in the last four weeks, and among those who have, only 40% say they've been watching services from their regular home church, according to recent polling data from the Barna Group. The survey noted that 48% of churchgoers reported that they had not watched any church online in the last four weeks. Less than half of the remaining 52% who did watch church online said they watched the service of their own church, with a “surprising 23%” reporting that they streamed a different church online.
PERSECUTION IN CHINA
Christian Headlines reports that the coronavirus that devastated China’s population hasn’t stopped the communist government from shutting down and even razing churches across the country. The persecution has impacted state-run churches and underground house churches alike, according to the watchdog Bitter Winter, which monitors religious freedom in China. “The Communist Party’s persecution of house churches is increasingly severe,” a member of a house church told Bitter Winter. “This is mainly because more and more people believe in Christianity.”
A new poll carried out by a Catholic international aid charity has found that the hymn "How Great Thou Art" is the favourite hymn to inspire hope at this time of crisis. Premier Christian News reports that the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development used a Twitter poll to ask just over 500 people about their favourite piece of Christian music. 'How Great Thou Art' garnered 37.7% of the vote, closely followed by 'Christ, Be Our Light' with 30.2%. The song 'Be Not Afraid' took 20% of the vote, while Matt Redman's ‘10,000 Reasons' came in with just 12.6%.
24 May 2020
ONLINE CHURCH SERVICES
As Covid-19 restrictions are eventually lifted for churches, pastors should not return to an inhouse-only church format says Rev Brad Kirk, who believes churches must keep their services online. He told OneNewsNow the internet is a powerful outreach tool, that is not only reaching a congregation, but many more people outside the church.
WORLD VISION’S EMERGENCY RESPONSE
ASSIST News Service reports that World Vision has dramatically scaled up its emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The international aid agency reports they are now aiming to reach 72 million people across the globe, investing more than four times the original planned budget. Andrew Morley, World Vision International President and CEO says they will mobilise 37,000 staff, 400,000 faith leaders and 220,000 community health workers to combat the virus.
QUIZZES AND THE GOSPEL
Sporting quizzes are becoming a mission field reaching thousands of people. A Christian sporting charity is reaching tens of thousands of people with the message of Jesus through the launch of its weekly online quiz. Premier News reports that Christians In Sport has utilised the trend to engage with sporting fans across the world.
17 May 2020
CHURCH REPAIRS MASKS
A Californian church has organized an army of volunteers to repair 263,000 protective masks and deliver them to local healthcare workers. Masks have become an essential piece of personal protective equipment for frontline workers in the fight against coronavirus. According to a Press Release sent to Christian Headlines, the enormous project, which involved over 4,200 volunteers, was coordinated by the Rock Church in San Diego.
FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE HONOURED
Born to an upper-class family in 1820, Florence Nightingale was expected to live a typical, domesticated life of a 19th century woman. However, after what she described as a call from God, Nightingale rejected these expectations and decided to pursue a career in nursing. Eternity News reports that in honour of Nightingale’s life, the World Health Organisation has named 2020 the first International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
“I STILL BELIEVE” FILM
Filmmaker Jon Erwin didn’t anticipate his new film would be released during a global pandemic that would lead to the rapid closure of movie theatres nationwide, but it was. Despite the setback, however, he says the movie is still leading many people to Jesus.
“Life is full of things that you can't control and things that don’t go according to plan,” Erwin, the film’s co-director, told Christian Headlines in a recent interview. “The whole theme of the movie is ‘I Still Believe even when I can't see.’ It's sort of fitting.”
“The film is designed to give people hope and give people a glimpse of the power of the Gospel and the change that it can have in your life,” Erwin said.