11 Jan 2021

10Jan21 Christian News Bulletin

Premier Christian News reports that last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that all places of worship in Scotland will be banned from hosting physical gatherings for the whole of January as part of a national lockdown. The only in-person services allowed are weddings, limited to five people, and funerals where just 20 will be allowed. Ms Sturgeon announced the changes in a statement at the Scottish Parliament.

According to The Christian Post, the testimony of a pastor from Northern Ireland who miraculously recovered from COVID-19 will be adapted into a feature film for Netflix. A video of Pastor Lee McClelland from Ark Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, went viral after he fell ill from COVID-19 in March last year. In the video, the pastor describes being in the hospital with the virus where he began to lose hope as his condition deteriorated. However, a hospital cleaner who was also a missionary began to minister to him from afar and he recovered. 

The Melbourne Anglican reports that church planting will continue to be a major focus in 2021 for the Diocese of Melbourne despite the COVID pandemic, with a focus on both developing new churches and revitalising existing ones. Bishop Kate Prowd, who manages the church planting portfolio, says that the diocese considered the portfolio to be “the number one ticket item”.

4 Jan 2021

3Jan21 Christian News Bulletin

Baptist Press reports that mobile medical clinics are seeing people in Thailand come to faith in Christ. Dr Doug Derbyshire and his wife Cheryl moved to Thailand as missionaries in 1992. He says that taking care of physical needs and then moving on to address spiritual needs is almost an automatic transition. Medicine is a remarkable bridge for the bringing of the Gospel. The medicos share the Gospel with every patient they treat. Dr Derbyshire says they are seeing people ‘one after another’ come to faith, and churches are being established.

The first audio Bible voiced entirely by women has been released. According to Premier News, the project was developed by the organisation Courage For Life, led by Bible teacher Ann White. The Courage For Life Bible was recorded by a group of 12 women, reading from the New Living Translation. Ms White says she had the idea for the project while working in prisons and teaching inmates about the Bible.

Eternity News highlighted the fact that Queen Elisabeth II focused attention on “light that brings hope” in her 2020 Christmas address, saying the teachings of Christ are her personal “inner light”. “Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive mood — light brings hope,” Her Majesty said. “For Christians, Jesus is ‘the light of the world’.

27 Dec 2020

27dec20 Christian News Bulletin

According to Eternity News, one of Australia’s most ambitious church-planting goals is the Gen1K target of 1,000 new churches, adopted by the Baptist Association of NSW/ ACT. ‘1000 healthy churches by 2050’ means tripling the size of the Baptist footprint. Essentially, this means linking every church into a church planting project. 

Hungary's leading soccer club Ferencváros (FTC) and the conservative government have agreed to support persecuted Christians worldwide. Under the accord, FTC will provide soccer training in Hungary to the Scholarship Program participants for Christian Young People. The 121-year-old FTC also delivers sports equipment to youth in areas where Christians face persecution. Worthy News reports the Budapest-based club has linked with the prime minister's State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians.

The Christian Post reports that the percentage of North Koreans who are exposed to the Bible is increasing steadily despite extreme persecution, according to a new report that investigates the conditions of religious freedom in the Hermit Kingdom. The annual report found that the number of North Koreans who responded that ‘they have an experience of seeing the Bible’ has increased by 4% each year since 2000.

20 Dec 2020

20dec20 Christian News Bulletin

On 21 December, Jupiter and Saturn will come so close together that to the human eye they’ll appear as though they’re overlapping. It is the first time in 800 years that we’ll be able to see this “double planet” effect. It’s known as “the great conjunction” and, according to NASA, happens every 20 years. According to Eternity News, Johannes Kepler, a 17th century German astronomer who created the laws of planetary motion, put forward the theory that a triple conjunction, where planets align three times in close succession, was the cause of the Star of Bethlehem. This year’s conjunction won’t appear multiple times. But its single appearance will look similar to what Kepler imagined the Magi followed in the Christmas night sky.

A US church is to build a tiny house village to provide shelter for homeless women. The project involves the construction of 20 tiny houses and a common building. Christian Headlines reports the tiny house village will be located on property owned by the Baptist church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Church minister Steve Wise says the tiny houses are not designed for cooking and eating. ‘We want mealtimes to be a community time’, he says. ‘God cares about our homeless friends. We think God will do something amazing here’. 

After it was announced that several concerts in Perth’s Forrest Place would replace the Nativity Event, 1,200 letters and emails sent to the City officials had an impact. The Australian Christian Lobby reports it was eventually decided the program will respectfully acknowledge the Christian aspect of Christmas. Churches, community groups and schools have been invited to lodge expressions of interest to contribute items for the five Sunday evening concerts leading up to Christmas. Thanks to the activism of Christians, Christ is being kept in Christmas in Perth.