75 Percent of Christians in Iraq Have Fled in the Past 14 Years

During roughly the last decade and a half nearly 75 percent of the Iraqi Christian population fled the country.

The site Faithwire reports that since 2003, the Christian population in Iraq has dropped dramatically.

An Iraqi Christian lawmaker, Josef Sleve, told Anadolu Agency (a news service) that about 2 million Christians lived in Iraq in 2003. He said:

The number of Christians living in the country now stands at between 500,000 and 850,000.

This means that over the past 14 years, some 1.5 million Christians have emigrated to other countries.

Experts say that the Christian departure has sped up since the rise of ISIS.

Pledge to pray

Archbishop Justin Welby:

The most important thing I’ve ever done is become a follower of Jesus. I want everyone to hear his voice calling to them. That’s why I’m praying for people to know his life-transforming love. Will you join me and Christians around the world and #Pledge2Pray as part of Thy Kingdom Come 2017?

Sign up now and encourage your church, friends and family to get involved: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/

 

Millennials believe Britain is no longer a Christian country

The Daily Express reports that British millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, believe they no longer live in a Christian country despite thinking religion plays an important role in people’s lives.

A total of 41 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said Britain has “no specific religious identity” in a ComRes poll published to launch the new Faith Research Centre in Westminster.  In contrast, of those aged 65 and over, 74 per cent believe Britain is a Christian country while only 20 per cent think the country has no specific religious identity.

Katie Harrison, director of the new Faith Research Centre at ComRes, the public policy research consultancy, said:

“In some of the questions we asked, adults aged between 18-24 and adults aged 65 plus answered at opposite ends of the scale, indicating marked differences between generations in perceptions of religion and belief.

“This is consistent with some of the projects we’ve recently been commissioned to carry out.

“We’re seeing a strong interest in understanding the attitudes and needs of people in their 20s, especially in our faith research work.”

 

Church accidentally prints 2Pac lyrics in carol service booklet!

Someone probably should have told this church that there’s more than a few ‘Hail Mary’ carols.

Sadly they choose rapper 2Pac’s version.  Not the most suitable lyrics!

The Church in Colombo were hosting their carol service ‘Joy To The World’ on 11th December when this mistake happened.  They were meant to be singing a Catholic prayer, also called ‘Hail Mary’, when they spotted the wrong lyrics.

Pictures have since spread on social media, with people sharing those 2Pac’s lyrics.  Here’s just a little snippet:

‘I ain’t a killer but don’t push me
Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to getting p*ssy
Picture paragraphs unloaded, wise words being quoted
Peeped the weakness in the rap game and sewed it
Bow down, pray to God hoping that he’s listening
Seeing niggas coming for me, to my diamonds, when they glistening
Now pay attention, rest in peace father
I’m a ghost in these killing fields’

It makes me feel a lot more relaxed about any mistakes we might have made over the Christmas services.

Christmas video 18: What happened to the love?

ITN and the Jerusalem Productions have created two powerful videos reminding people about the Christian meaning of Christmas as an antidote to all the commercialisation, tinsel and drunken partying!

This is the second of the two clips.  It’s been a rough year for many of us. At Christmas we ask, where is the love? And where is the light and the hope?

Christmas All-Age Prayers

Yesterday we adapted a prayer idea from Flame Creative Kids Ministry which works brilliant for children with SEND.  Here’s our adaptation for PowerPoint for the prayers to use on the big screen.

We’re going to take a few moments to pray using the characters from the nativity.  For each character there is a picture and a topic that I will read out.  I will then give you a moment to either silently or quietly in your families pray for that topic.

Mary

Thank you for parents and people who look after us

Joseph

Please help people who have to make difficult decisions

Animals

Thank you for animals and all of the world you made

Shepherds

Help us to tell people about who Jesus is

Star

Please show us the right way to go when we are confused

Wise Men

Please help all people who are searching to find what they are looking for

Jesus

Thank you for sending Jesus to be with us and help us

Christmas All-Age Talk: What shape is Christmas?

This is the script from my all-age talk yesterday:

What shape is Christmas for you?

 

Perhaps the outline of the manger, or the outline of a stable, or a star in the sky (normally a four-pointed star), or an angel.

 

Or it could be the shape of a Christmas tree, or a Christmas tree bauble. Or perhaps a cracker.

 

When Christmas comes to an end whatever shapes we have are put back in the boxes (nativity sets, Christmas tree baubles, leftover crackers) to be used next year. They make only a brief appearance before going into the loft.

 

If we’ve got a real Christmas tree perhaps we take all the decorations off it and cut it up for recycling.  [Start taking the secateurs to the tree – leaving just the trunk and two cross branches.]

 

That’s the real shape of Christmas for me: Jesus comes to be our Saviour, Jesus comes to die for us on the cross.

 

Throughout the first Christmas we hear this message.  The angel who appears to Joseph in Matthew 1:21 said: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”

 

As the angels announced to the shepherds in Luke 2:11: “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

 

So apart from a nice cosy feeling what does this leave us to do?  As the shepherds shared the message so we’re to share with others around us.  1 John 4:14: And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.