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Further Afield



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"Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone."
Mark 16:15


News from the Wider Church Community






Open Doors asks UK churches to pray and petition for Christians in Iraq and Syria


Already more than 400,000 people from 127 countries have signed a petition calling on world leaders to support persecuted Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq, as part of the Open Doors on-going Hope for the Middle East campaign.


The ‘One Million Voices of Hope’ petition was created after eight months of consultation with Christians and church leaders in Syria and Iraq, and asks the UN to ensure that Christians and other minorities in these countries have: a right to equal citizenship; dignified living conditions; and a role in bringing reconciliation to their communities and rebuilding society.  Over 98,000 of the signatures come from the Middle East itself.


The petition will be presented to the UN on 11th December, and to the UK government on 13th December. Open Doors is hoping to gather as many signatures as possible before these dates. 


One of those who has signed the petition is Father Thabet, a church leader from Karamles, Iraq. He said, "We need international support and protection. That is the only way our future as Christians in this country can be guaranteed."


Father Thabet was forced to flee Karamles along with his entire community when the self-proclaimed Islamic State invaded the village, but it was liberated in October 2016, and the community are beginning to make repairs and return. Of the 797 houses in Karamles, 97 were reduced to piles of rubble, 446 were completely burnt out, and the others were damaged.


Father Thabet says, "We start with the houses with the least amount of damage. Our budget is limited and the government is not helping us."  But through a local partner, Open Doors has been providing support to help the community begin to repair 50 homes.


Father Thabet believes it is vital that the Church remains in Iraq. He said, "It is our mission to live here in this place as Christians, the place of the root of Christianity. Without faith, I do not have a reason to stay here. But I have faith, so I am here."


If you would like to sign the petition, please go to:  http://advocacy.oduk.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=77&ea.campaign.id=54115


More info at: (http://www.opendoorsuk.org/campaign/hope-for-the-middle-east.php)


Iraq was once home to one of the largest Christian communities in the Middle East. Today, the Church in Iraq is in danger of disappearing completely. The IS militants have forced thousands of Christians to flee their homes.




Christian Aid launches Rohingya Crisis Appeal


Christian Aid has launched an appeal to help all communities displaced by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, and Rohingya Muslims who have crossed the country’s border into Bangladesh as refugees.


Figures show 412,000 Rohingya people have fled into Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district since a fresh outbreak of violence recently erupted in Rakhine State. A reported 210 villages have been destroyed in the north of the state, leading to an unknown number of displaced people within Myanmar.


For the last 12 months, Christian Aid in Myanmar has been working in camps and with conflict-affected communities through local partners in Rakhine State and supports all ethnic groups displaced by violence.


Ram Kishan, Regional Emergency Manager South Asia, said: ‘The number of refugees arriving in Bangladesh is rising rapidly - an estimated 15,000 people coming across the border daily.’  


To donate to the Rohingya Crisis Appeal, visit www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies





Number of women in ordained ministry at record high, new figures show

The number of people entering training to become priests in the Church of England is at the highest level for a decade with women making up more than half the total, according to new figures released today.

 A total of 544 men and women began training for ordained ministry this autumn (known as ordinands), an increase of 14% on last year and the highest figure for 10 years, according to statistics from the Ministry Division of the Church of England.

Women make up more than half of those entering training, or 274 ordinands, the biggest intake of female ordinands for a decade, and an increase of 19% compared to last year. At the same time, the number of younger ordinands, in the under 32 age group, rose by nearly two fifths, and now accounts for 28% of the total.

The figures, covering the period from 2008 to 2017, are published alongside Ministry Statistics for 2016 showing the number of women serving in ordained ministry in the Church of England rose by 7% from 5,310 in 2013, to a record high of 5,690 last year.

However women still make up less than a third, or 29%, of the total number of active clergy.

The figures have been released as the Church of England steps up efforts to increase the number of candidates for ordination by 50% by 2020 as part of the Renewal and Reform programme, with an emphasis on increasing the number of women and the youthfulness and ethnic diversity of candidates for ordination. 



Christians Against Poverty welcome 7,000 commitments

Christians Against Poverty has been celebrating the fact that since it began in 1996, not only has it helped thousands of people across the UK to get to manage their debt, but also through its work 7,000 people have decided to become Christians.  1,000 of those people made their decision this year alone. 


The founder of CAP, John Kirkby, who gave up a career in finance in order to start the charity, says:  ‘It seriously blows me away to think that the little charity I started in my bedroom office in Bradford, with a tenner, has managed to bring God's light into so many lives and increase His kingdom! It gives me so much joy to think that 7,000 people are now walking with God, experiencing His enormous love and bringing that light into other lives too.’


If your personal debts are becoming a burden to you, CAP can help you, too.  Just visit:  https://capuk.org/





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