Christian ministry – Odessa Sem http://odessasem.com/ Tue, 05 Jul 2022 04:02:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://odessasem.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-2021-06-25T201706.303-150x150.png Christian ministry – Odessa Sem http://odessasem.com/ 32 32 Douglas George’s ‘God’s Love’ is a heartfelt collection of spiritual songs written to inspire and encourage https://odessasem.com/douglas-georges-gods-love-is-a-heartfelt-collection-of-spiritual-songs-written-to-inspire-and-encourage/ Tue, 05 Jul 2022 04:02:32 +0000 https://odessasem.com/douglas-georges-gods-love-is-a-heartfelt-collection-of-spiritual-songs-written-to-inspire-and-encourage/ MEADVILLE, PA (PRWEB) July 05, 2022 “God’s Love”: a delightful collection of uplifting songs. “God’s Love” is the creation of published author Douglas George, a devoted family man who seeks to encourage others in their faith. George shares, “As Christians, we should consider it an honor and a privilege to be part of God’s […]]]>

“God’s Love”: a delightful collection of uplifting songs. “God’s Love” is the creation of published author Douglas George, a devoted family man who seeks to encourage others in their faith.

George shares, “As Christians, we should consider it an honor and a privilege to be part of God’s family and to have God’s love.

“Love is essential to the nature of God. Those who have become partakers of the new nature are the people of God. They alone increasingly reflect the holy and loving character of God and love others. The transformed hearts of Christians are responding to God’s call to love one another.

“Christians understand that the love of God involves the rod and rod of guidance from the chief shepherd, Jesus.

“Only those who truly resemble Christ will be held to the end, for they have true faith in him. Moments of doubt may come, and the storms of life may assail them; but if we belong to Christ, we are bound by him and will always belong to him. Such biblical truth should lead Christians to humbly approach the throne of God to know and grow in the love of God.

“God’s love serves as a constant reminder that God is always watching, ready to help you in any way you need or even just want. God’s love ranges from his fierce protection of these followers to the promise that his love will never fade no matter what.

Published by Christian Faith Publishing, Douglas George’s new book is an excellent resource for music directors and music ministry officials.

George shares the hope of making God’s love known and providing a message of welcome to those seeking to deepen their faith.

Consumers can purchase “God’s Love” at traditional bookstores, or online at Amazon.com, Apple iTunes Store or Barnes and Noble.

For more information or inquiries about “God’s Love,” contact Christian Faith Publishing’s Media Department at 866-554-0919.

Share the article on social networks or by e-mail:

]]>
Police raid False Prophet enclave and save 77 people in Ondo https://odessasem.com/police-raid-false-prophet-enclave-and-save-77-people-in-ondo/ Sun, 03 Jul 2022 02:04:45 +0000 https://odessasem.com/police-raid-false-prophet-enclave-and-save-77-people-in-ondo/ On Friday night, Nigerian police officers stormed a church in Ondo state and rescued around 77 people, including children, from an underground apartment in the church. The rapid police response was a result of public dissatisfaction with the activities of some self-proclaimed false prophets and men of God in the country who are believed to […]]]>

On Friday night, Nigerian police officers stormed a church in Ondo state and rescued around 77 people, including children, from an underground apartment in the church.

The rapid police response was a result of public dissatisfaction with the activities of some self-proclaimed false prophets and men of God in the country who are believed to have been involved in various harmful practices to deceive their members to enrich themselves. rapidly.

LEADERSHIP Sunday reunited the victims, including 23 children and 52 adults, making a total of 77 people, were rescued by the police.

It was learned that the people who were abducted and held in the underground cells of the city’s Whole Bible Believer Church were so dehumanized.

Townspeople who spoke to our correspondent said there had been a growing suspicion in the region that the values ​​that have traditionally distinguished Christian ministry are increasingly absent from the operations of the church in Wave.

It was recorded that the pastor told the captive members that they should stay in the church and await the second coming of Jesus Christ by September this year.

The pastor of the church popularly known as Ondo Church and other accomplices had been arrested by police detectives in the town.

In a viral video, a voice was heard saying, “There are kidnapped children found in the underground cell of a church in the Valentino area of ​​Ondo.

“The pastor and some church members were arrested and were also in the police patrol van.”

The rescued people were seen in three commercial buses escorted by police patrol vehicles which transported them to the police station.

Parading the pastor at the police headquarters along Igbatoro Akure, the capital of Ondo State yesterday, the assistant pastor of the Church identified as Pastor Peter Josiah said he was in charge of the church and taught the members only the pure scriptures.

He said, “I was called by God to rewrite the King James Version of the Bible because there were so many things wrong with the Bible version.

“I only teach them what the Bible says about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The prophecy being fulfilled this time shows that the rapture is near. I never even mentioned the years in church. I never taught them to run away from their parents; I only teach them the gospel. I only tell them to obey their parents in the Lord.

The pastor in charge of the church, Pastor David Anifowose, said he received instruction from God that they should camp in the church until the second coming of Christ.

“It was I who received the instruction from God that people from the church can be in the church and await his second coming. And my members were waiting for the second coming of Jesus when the police invaded the church and arrested us.

One of the church members, Olasunkami Olafisoye, a 24-year-old college graduate, said she disobeyed her parents because they kept her away from God.

Olafisoye said, “My parents don’t go to church anymore. When we left our old church they usually stayed home and before that I was not comfortable with the biblical teaching of the church.

“Later, I joined this church because my parents keep me away from God and I want to make heaven. I love the way the church has followed Jesus and the way they cling to Christ.

“I disobeyed my parents because they took me away from Jesus and I find my way to heaven through this Church. I can’t because my parents lost paradise.

One of the parents who reported the case to the police, Michael Olorunyomi, said he had been to church before and left the church because of the bad teachings pastors were teaching members.

“The pastor teaches church members the need to divorce their wives. Husbands are told to divorce their wives if they want to go to heaven.

“They turned the children against their parents by teaching them what is not in the Bible. When I left the church, my daughter refused to follow me. I made the mistake of leaving her when I left.

“Before I knew what was happening my daughter who is level 300 in college dropped out and camped in the church waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ because the pastor said he wouldn’t. there was nothing left in the world; that the rapture will come in September of this year.

“They even arranged a marriage between my daughter and one of the pastor’s families. They said no one should go to work or school and they should do nothing but wait for him in the church.

“Look at each one of them; they looked neglected. He told them that they should not do their hair so that whoever does their hair loses paradise.

However, the police PRO revealed that 77 people were rescued from the underground apartment by police during the Friday night raid while the two pastors were arrested in connection with the incident.

She said: “We received information about the activities of a particular church and its pastors and we reacted spontaneously and discovered that 77 people were caged in an underground apartment within the church.

“The two pastors assisted the command in its investigation. The investigation is still ongoing and the picture is not yet clear on the activities of the two pastors.

“Kidnapping is no small offense and in order for us not to mislead the public, we need to investigate the matter to get a true picture of what happened. We will make our findings public after the investigation.

]]>
Black pro-life Christians aren’t just focused on abortion…… | News and reports https://odessasem.com/black-pro-life-christians-arent-just-focused-on-abortion-news-and-reports/ Tue, 28 Jun 2022 19:41:36 +0000 https://odessasem.com/black-pro-life-christians-arent-just-focused-on-abortion-news-and-reports/ For many white evangelicals who led the pro-life movement, the end of Roe v. Wade scores a long-awaited and celebrated result. But for black Christians whose political views on life go beyond a single-issue fight, the feeling is more mixed. As Founder of Pro-Black Pro-Life, Cherilyn Holloway sees how Black Christians can agree with valuing […]]]>

For many white evangelicals who led the pro-life movement, the end of Roe v. Wade scores a long-awaited and celebrated result. But for black Christians whose political views on life go beyond a single-issue fight, the feeling is more mixed.

As Founder of Pro-Black Pro-Life, Cherilyn Holloway sees how Black Christians can agree with valuing life from a theological perspective and are open to a “whole life” perspective, while by rejecting politically conservative political positions. For them, racial disparities and injustices that affect abortion must also be priorities.

“To live abundantly, we must be able to recognize the systems that have been put in place to prevent us from doing so,” Holloway said.

While the abortion bans that take effect after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling may result in more babies being born, black Christians continue to draw attention to so many other factors that overlap and threaten the lives of black people during pregnancy.

“It’s not as simple as some make it out to be. Having the baby isn’t the only problem, and the abortion isn’t the only problem,” said Justin E. Giboney, president of The And Campaign. “There are a lot of other factors that come into play when it comes to policies like paid family leave, health issues – which this country still hasn’t adequately addressed. These also play into the conversation.

Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, and their babies are half as likely as white babies to survive to their first birthday. Racial disparities persist in almost every measure, from income to cover childcare to the quality of education.

A promotional video for the campaign’s Whole Life initiative says, “When black women who have chosen to carry their children to term are still at risk of dying, we need to lead with a more compassionate posture.”

Efrem Smith, co-senior pastor of the Midtown Church in Sacramento, says he and many other black pastors aren’t represented in mainstream abortion conversations because there isn’t much room to simultaneously value the life from a theological perspective and addressing the structural racism and inequalities faced by Black women in particular. Smith’s Church is a multiethnic Evangelical Covenant Church congregation.

“It’s not an easy place to land,” he said. “The mainstream culture has tried to force black Christians into a pro-life, pro-choice paradigm.”

The reality, for Smith, is much more nuanced. He believes black Christians are at their best when they can stand up for life while standing up for “our liberation and empowerment at the same time.”

Smith highlights the historical position of black women in America. They have not had the opportunity to “choose life” when their own life has been endangered by others, whether through slavery, lynching, sexual assault, violence, exploitation or inadequate health care.

A recent Pew Research survey found that two-thirds of Black Protestants support keeping abortion legal. Although they share fundamental theological positions with white evangelicals, black Protestants are consistently much less aligned with the policies of the Republican Party, including its efforts to ban abortion.

Yet the largest historically black denomination, the 5 million-member Pentecostal Church of God in Christ (COGIC), takes a pro-life stance against abortion. One of its bishops, Vincent Mathews, spoke last year at a prayer event around Dobbs organized by the Family Research Council.

COGIC Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard said earlier this year, “We recognize the disproportionate harm that abortion has done to the black community — especially women — and we look forward to seeing women in crisis and children in need genuinely cared for”.

While the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), which has 2.5 million members, has historically opposed abortion except in cases to save the life of the mother, the health commission of the he church spoke out on Dobbs in favor of “reproductive justice” for black women, including access to abortion. Likewise, progressive black clergy in the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference criticized the decision and pledged to mobilize against it.

Whether they oppose abortion or support abortion rights, black believers see their faith communities playing a crucial role in the response. Smith in California sees Roe’s overthrow representing a critical moment for predominantly black houses of worship to be recognized as epicenters of mutual aid in their communities.

“The black church, because it was born out of slavery, always had some version of an extended family or a village within it,” he said, “the black church is ready to say, “Regardless of the circumstances in which you became pregnant, if you have this baby, this church will be your family.

His multi-ethnic congregation is preparing to expand spiritual care following the decision. It has partnered with licensed counselors and healthcare professionals and will connect members to available services.

Midtown Church is not alone. Many black congregations are offering similar outreach, and Giboney with the And campaign said he could see more black churches discussing new strategies for providing support to women and children in response to the Supreme Court ruling.

“Christians who are Republicans and Democrats and everywhere must be advocates for these women if we really want them to flourish,” said Giboney, a lawyer and political strategist. “It’s not just about winning on the issue, it’s about putting the skin on the politics, not isolating a policy, but acknowledging all the factors that play into a woman’s decision.”

CT previously featured Cessilye R. Smith, a Black Christian who set out to address infant and maternal mortality among women of color with a free maternal health clinic and birthing center. “When the public eye sees the pro-life movement fighting to end abortion without looking to the root,” she said, “then you will always have a sidelong eye from the black community. “

Holloway of Pro-Black Pro-Life thinks ministry leaders can learn from the black church’s history of self-help. She hopes to see Christians expand church networks and form coalitions within congregations to support women’s access to quality reproductive health care and affordable, adequate housing.

“We don’t want a conviction. We want grace,” she said. “We also want people to understand that if they find themselves in a situation where they have an unplanned pregnancy, they shouldn’t have to run away from the church, they should run there.”

Pew found that Christians from Black Protestant traditions are also the group most opposed to criminalizing women who choose to terminate their pregnancies.

Holloway will continue her advocacy work, educating local black communities about racial equity in health care and ways to support pregnant women and mothers in her home state of Ohio, where the reversal Roe v . Wade triggered a six-week abortion ban.

“We care about the life that is in the womb, but we also care about the man in the street. We also care about those children and where they get their education and their health care, as well as grandma and grandpa coming into end-of-life care and being treated with dignity and respect,” she said. “These are all life issues for us.”

Some black Christian leaders say they can’t wait for those who rallied so passionately for the unborn child to join “whole life” causes to support women as well: pay equity, child care, affordable housing , mental health support and health care.

“Not every church has to do everything…” Holloway said. “Who do we know that we can accelerate some of these things with? They are sitting on your pews.

Amethyst Holmes is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC.

]]>
Rev. Jerry Pillay elected new WCC general secretary https://odessasem.com/rev-jerry-pillay-elected-new-wcc-general-secretary/ Mon, 27 Jun 2022 03:44:20 +0000 https://odessasem.com/rev-jerry-pillay-elected-new-wcc-general-secretary/ Pastor Jerry Pillay has been elected as the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). He is the ninth general secretary of the WCCsince the founding of the fellowship of churches in 1948. Pillay is currently Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria. A member of […]]]>

Pastor Jerry Pillay has been elected as the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

He is the ninth general secretary of the WCCsince the founding of the fellowship of churches in 1948.

Pillay is currently Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria. A member of the United Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, he is originally from South Africa.

Pillay was one of two candidates standing for election to the WCC’s top administrative post. The other candidate was Dr. Elizabeth Joy. Pillay will replace outgoing Acting General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Ioan Sauca, who began serving in the role in April 2020, when former General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit was appointed Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway.

WCC central committee moderator Dr Agnes Abuom shared words of congratulations and blessings to Pillaythe new ministry.

“May the global fellowship of the WCC warmly welcome you, pray for you, and show you in every way that we care for you as you assume important leadership in our continued journey towards Christian unity,” he said. she stated. “You and the ecumenical movement are making history and shaping a future in which we can live Godis love for each other and for everyone.

The General Secretary acts as COECEO of and directs the WCCincluding the ultimate responsibility of the COE‘s work and its staff.

Dr. Pillay will take office on January 1, 2023.

Name: Rev. Teacher. Dr. Jerry Pillay
Occupation: Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria
Church: United Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa
Country: South Africa
Born: 1965

At the origin of the webpage: “.oikoumene.org

CCD reprinted with permission.

Rev. Jerry Pillay elected new WCC general secretary

]]>
Baptist Women in Ministry Annual Report Reveals Gains but Serious Losses Due to COVID – Baptist News Global https://odessasem.com/baptist-women-in-ministry-annual-report-reveals-gains-but-serious-losses-due-to-covid-baptist-news-global/ Wed, 22 Jun 2022 10:09:55 +0000 https://odessasem.com/baptist-women-in-ministry-annual-report-reveals-gains-but-serious-losses-due-to-covid-baptist-news-global/ Women in ministry continue to feel blocked in their callings and ignored in their ministry because they are women, according to an annual report released June 21 by Baptist Women in Ministry. “The State of Women in Baptist Life,” which surveyed 555 female ministers from October to December 2021, found that 86% of respondents “feel […]]]>

Women in ministry continue to feel blocked in their callings and ignored in their ministry because they are women, according to an annual report released June 21 by Baptist Women in Ministry.

“The State of Women in Baptist Life,” which surveyed 555 female ministers from October to December 2021, found that 86% of respondents “feel barriers due to gender” and 59% “said they were ignored and silenced in their ministry.

The survey also reported that 63% of Baptist women in ministry said they “have to fight for a place at the table” in their roles, and 25% said “yes” when asked if they had been victims of sexual assault, harassment or misconduct in their work. ministry settings.

“Some victims are ashamed and fear being silenced, not believed or even blamed. Many victims find it difficult to label their experience as harassment or assault and find it easier to act as if it never happened,” the report explains. “Even if the BWIM survey was anonymous, it is likely that the actual number of women involved is higher.”

But the survey also documented supportive and positive experiences for women in ministry, as well as the progress they have made overall.

“Compared to 2015 data, this 2021 report definitely shows that Baptists continue to make progress for women in ministry in almost every area,” he says. “Even with the sharp drop in ordinations during the pandemic, the annual average of women ordained from 2016 to 2021 has increased from the previous report’s average. The number of female pastors and co-pastors increased from 2015, and all faith groups had a higher percentage of women serving at the highest levels of pastoral ministry.

Number of ordained women growing

BWIM said its number of ordained women ministers increased from 2,433 in 2016 to 2,722 last year.

“From 2016 to 2021, Texas (57), North Carolina (51), Georgia (47) and Virginia (36) hosted the majority of female ordinations. These states also had the highest number of ordinations in previous reports. The correlation is most likely due to the Baptist-affiliated seminaries located in each of these states, as students frequently seek ordination during or shortly after their time at the seminary.

But the good news must be taken with the bad, according to the report.

“Every ordination, call, installation and positive experience of a Baptist woman in ministry depicted in this report is cause for celebration,” said BWIM Executive Director Meredith Stone. “But Baptist women deserve safe places where they are affirmed, respected and empowered for ministry. Unfortunately, this report reveals that much work remains to be done to make a Baptist world just for women a reality.

BWIM added that the project “captures the complex lived experiences of women in ministry today, recognizing that women are not monolithic and that the personal experiences of women in ministry have fluctuated incredibly over the years. complex”.

This complexity is evident in statistics on women in leadership positions in ministry, including BWIM’s findings that the number of female Baptist pastors and co-pastors increased from 174 in 2015 to 272 in 2021.

By faith group, the American Baptist Churches in the United States, with 440, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, with 105, lead the pack in 2021 in terms of most women pastors and co-pastors, according to the report. They were followed by the Alliance of Baptists (60), the Baptist General Association of Virginia (48), the Baptist General Convention of Texas (33), the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (33), and the DC Baptist Convention (28).

But the growth is very slow

While this is a positive development, the numbers don’t tell the whole story, BWIM said. “For most faith-based organizations, the percentage increase was very small, indicating that while Baptists are making progress, progress over the past six years has been minimal.”

BWIM noted that the Alliance maintained the highest percentage (45.1%) of congregations led by women pastors or co-pastors, although its total number did not change from 2015 to 2016.

The survey also indicated that while the percentage of CBF congregations with female pastors and co-pastors increased to 7.4% in 2021, the increase was due to a decline in the total number of affiliated churches. The Fellowship’s figure of 105 is down from 117 in 2015.

“There is far too much space between the beliefs we hold and the reality that exists in our Fellowship.”

“This is neither acceptable nor an expression of the faith we hold,” CBF executive coordinator Paul Baxley said in comments included in the report. “This year’s report on The Status of Women in Baptist Life makes it incredibly clear that there is far too much space between the beliefs we hold and the reality that exists in our community.”

Paul Baxley

Paul Baxley

Baxley said CBF will work closely with BWIM to inspire churches to call women to ministry, adding that there are many candidates in the pipeline. “About half of the students in our theological schools today are women, and there are increasing numbers of women in other positions on the church staff.”

Obstacles are like rocks

But much more needs to be done to change the attitudes of clergy and congregations about the valuable role of female clergy, the report continues.

“The obstacles that women in ministry face often resemble the size of rocks. Some women are told they cannot serve in the ministry because of their gender. Other times they are theoretically encouraged in their calls to ministry and supported to serve in another church, but are told repeatedly that they cannot minister here.

The report included many comments from women ministers about their experiences.

“I felt the call to preach, but I have no support in my local community. … I know I am called upon, but I feel lost and unsupported and often completely ignored,” said a former youth minister.

The survey also reported that 21% of Baptist women in ministry have been asked inappropriate questions about family planning in interviews and other settings, and 28% have been asked inappropriate questions about their love life. .

Additionally, 30% said they were given different ministerial titles than their male counterparts, 49% said they were paid less than male clergy, and 72% said they had to provide more evidence of competence than male ministers. .

Of those surveyed, 57% said men were recognized for their ideas, 67% said men interrupted or talked about them, and 45% had been seen by peers or church members. “After my first sermon, a congregant asked my husband if he had written my sermon,” a pastor said.

“In light of the statistics on the barriers women continue to face in ministry, there appears to be a disconnect between how Baptists think they support women in ministry and the reality of women’s experiences in their middle,” BWIM said in the report.

As a result, comments on the survey often reflected considerations or decisions to leave for other Christian traditions.

“Although I still identified with my Baptist roots, I decided to go into service in another denomination where I would be invited to serve as a pastor and use the gifts I had received. I miss my connections with Baptist churches, but I don’t think there is a place for me,” a pastor told BWIM.

Bigger challenges for women of color

The survey also found that women of color in ministry felt challenged even more than white women. When asked if their leadership was seen as controlling, angry, or unsympathetic, 65% of women of color said yes, compared to 46% of white clergy women.

Similarly, 62% of women of color said their professional contributions were ignored, compared to 44% of white clergy women. And when asked if people comment on their emotional states, 46% of women of color said yes compared to 38% of white women.

BWIM found that these disparities continued during the COVID-19 pandemic when 35% of women of color reported insufficient access to mental health care resources, while only 24% of white women said the same.

Pandemic lingering effects

The BWIM report includes an entire section exploring the impact of the pandemic on Baptist women in ministry. He revealed that 72% suffered from burnout, 48% had more responsibilities at home and 50% felt pressured to spend more time in ministry. A further 42% said they were considering “downgrading their ministry” or taking a leave of absence, and 34% actually left the ministry due to the pandemic.

The pandemic, according to the report, “could set back progress in women’s representation in the workplace by half a decade, after many women left their jobs in part because of burnout and increasing care responsibilities”.

BWIM concluded that there is much to celebrate despite the roles of the pandemic, the continued decline of Baptist institutions, and the gap between belief and practice contributing to the challenges women face in ministry.

“There is cause for celebration in the trends of overall growth of women in ministry in the 2021 report. There is also a deep need for Baptists to reimagine how churches, institutions and our own attitudes toward women can develop into broader methods of increasing support for women in ministry.

Related Articles:

Women in Ministry: Strategically Silent? | Analysis by Melody Maxwell

Women need more than your affirmation | Review by Laura Ellis

White evangelical leaders who suppress women are revered as saints, author says

The Untold Story of Black Women Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement | Opinion of Marvin McMickle

Book traces complex history of women’s influence in Southern Baptist Convention

]]>
UNICEF warns of millions more child brides in Africa https://odessasem.com/unicef-warns-of-millions-more-child-brides-in-africa/ Mon, 20 Jun 2022 07:53:28 +0000 https://odessasem.com/unicef-warns-of-millions-more-child-brides-in-africa/ (Photo: Compassion UK) UNICEF has just released a report revealing that 45 million more girls in sub-Saharan Africa will become child brides over the next decade if progress to end the practice is not accelerated. Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, points out that in poorer rural areas that have a […]]]>
(Photo: Compassion UK)

UNICEF has just released a report revealing that 45 million more girls in sub-Saharan Africa will become child brides over the next decade if progress to end the practice is not accelerated.

Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, points out that in poorer rural areas that have a higher prevalence of child marriage, there is a need for “multisectoral and contextualized interventions”. Local churches are ideally placed to provide this. They don’t just know the communities they support; they are part of it. That’s why Compassion, an international child development charity, works through local partner churches.

Efforts are being made by faith partners to address child marriage by educating caregivers, faith leaders, local authorities and parents to raise awareness of girls’ rights, the importance of their education and the dangers associated with child marriage. child marriage. However, girls like Djamila* are still at risk.

Djamila and her parents live in a remote village in eastern Burkina Faso, where the rate of early marriage is among the highest. It’s his story.

One evening in December 2019, his sister brings him disturbing news.

“My sister secretly overheard my father discussing the wedding ceremony and she informed me the same evening. My father was preparing my wedding in the coming days,” says Djamila. She was only 14 years old.

Driven by poverty or pressed by tradition, some parents in Burkina Faso do not hesitate to marry off their daughters at a very young age. The impact of the COVID pandemic has intensified this.

Djamila’s father planned to marry her to an older man before her 15th birthday. Worse, the father did not consult Djamila or his mother about his intentions. Although the legal age of marriage in the country is 17, UNICEF reports that more than 52% of girls are married before the age of 18, with 10% marrying before the age of 15.

Marrying as a teenager would mean that Djamila’s right to education, optimal health and protection would be denied. The dangers of child marriage are horrific and well known. They are at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, death during childbirth and obstetric fistulas. The impact extends to future generations, as their children are more likely to be raised in poverty.

Djamila immediately informed the staff at the Compassion Center of her father’s terrifying plans.

“I knew my father was serious about marriage. I rushed to the center and wrote a letter to the director of the project. I knew she could, and she would do anything to save me of this scourge”, says Djamila. His dream is to become a biology teacher. How could she become someone’s wife and continue her studies?

As soon as the project director read Djamila’s note, Martha immediately intervened by activating the child protection process in collaboration with the local authorities. The church pastor hosted Djamila at his home for four days until the matter was resolved, to prevent her from being kidnapped by her future husband. The police and agents of the Ministry of Social Affairs were also alerted and involved in the process.

“When I read the letter, I couldn’t believe what Djamila was writing. She was afraid of going home as a helpless girl. The pastor took her to his family for his safety. I called his mother for detailed information and she confirmed to me that the father was organizing the traditional wedding of Djamila in the following hours,” says Martha.

Three days after the centre’s intervention, Djamila’s parents were invited to attend a meeting at the local police station. The police officer explained the law to family members and the dangers of child marriage, sensitizing them that child marriage is prohibited and is a violation of the law.

After the meeting, her father changed his mind and today Djamila is back with her parents and safe. Thanks to the centre’s diligent intervention, Djamila escaped early marriage because her parents were made aware of the consequences of the illegal practice.

“Without the support of the center, I would have been married against my will at a young age. I thank the center workers for saving me from becoming a woman. God bless them,” Djamila says smiling.

“I can say that child protection is our top priority this season. Because children have not yet resumed activities at the center due to COVID-19 measures, we must stay in contact with each child registered by through phone calls and home visits,” says Marthe. “I have intentionally identified people in the community who can notify the child protection specialist at any time of any cases of abuse.”

Efforts are being made by Compassion’s partner churches to address child marriage by educating caregivers, faith leaders, local authorities and parents to raise awareness of girls’ rights, the importance of their education and the dangers associated with child marriage. However, girls like Djamila are still at risk.

Djamila has a message for all parents who want to marry off their children: that they stop giving their daughters to men. “I want to alert the world to the marriage of girls. It is not good to marry girls against their will,” she says. “

“Girls must have the opportunity and the freedom to choose their future husbands without pressure from relatives. Stop giving your daughters away as objects to men. Give them the chance to finish their studies, to be mature before their marriage.”

Girls like Djamila continue to advocate for an end to child marriage in communities, with the support of their families, churches and the Compassion centre. To show that change is possible. Show the power and potential of 45 million girls.

For more information on how you can help Stop The Weddings go to www.compassionuk.org/stop or follow them on social media @CompassionUK

*Name has been changed for security reasons.

]]>
Centraide seeks partners for the collection of school supplies | Local News https://odessasem.com/centraide-seeks-partners-for-the-collection-of-school-supplies-local-news/ Sat, 18 Jun 2022 13:00:00 +0000 https://odessasem.com/centraide-seeks-partners-for-the-collection-of-school-supplies-local-news/ HICKORY — The price of gasoline has gone up. The price of food has gone up. The price of rent has gone up. Now more than ever, families can use a helping hand to make ends meet. And although it’s only mid-June, the Catawba County United Way (CCUW) is already focused on helping parents meet […]]]>

HICKORY — The price of gasoline has gone up. The price of food has gone up. The price of rent has gone up. Now more than ever, families can use a helping hand to make ends meet.

And although it’s only mid-June, the Catawba County United Way (CCUW) is already focused on helping parents meet the needs of a new school year.

Planning is underway for the 2022 CCUW School Supply Drive, and United Way is seeking area businesses, churches and public agencies to be collection sites. The campaign benefits students in three local public school districts: Catawba County, Hickory Public and Newton-Conover City Schools.

Last year, the CCUW drive collected over 6,000 individual items, received over $800 in donations, and Publix donated over $4,000 in in-store gift cards.

The 2021 collection partners were West Rock, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Peoples Bank, St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Partnership for Children, Trinity Ridge, Century Furniture, Hickory Chair, Paramount Automotive, A Women’s View, Catawba County Government, Catawba County Library system, Cloninger Ford Hickory, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, Authentic Church, ZF Chassis Components and Target in Hickory.

The success of CCUW’s school supply drive meant that hundreds of local students had the tools they needed to succeed.

This year’s campaign will run from July 1 to August 1.

]]>
Christian groups at the forefront of drug work in Scotland, report says https://odessasem.com/christian-groups-at-the-forefront-of-drug-work-in-scotland-report-says/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 23:16:06 +0000 https://odessasem.com/christian-groups-at-the-forefront-of-drug-work-in-scotland-report-says/ CHURCHES and Christian groups in Scotland are at the forefront of addictions work, according to a new report. Church groups have helped more than 2,300 people recover from drug addiction over the past decade, according to the Evangelical Fellowship and Share Scotland report. Christian organizations currently provide more than a quarter of available beds in […]]]>

CHURCHES and Christian groups in Scotland are at the forefront of addictions work, according to a new report.

Church groups have helped more than 2,300 people recover from drug addiction over the past decade, according to the Evangelical Fellowship and Share Scotland report.

Christian organizations currently provide more than a quarter of available beds in Scotland for alcohol and drug treatment: 121 out of 418.

Drug-related deaths in Scotland hit a record 1,339 in 2020: 5% more than in 2019, and the highest recorded since 1996. The country had by far the highest drug-related death rate in Scotland. Europe – three and a half times. that of England and Wales – although figures for 2021 showed a slight decline.

The report, Stories of Hope: Addiction Treatment, published last week, says: “Scotland has been scarred by the devastating impact of drug and alcohol addiction in many ways. Today, the nation is at the forefront of drug addiction problems and deaths in Europe, with repercussions on health, economic, educational and social challenges for families and communities in urban and rural settings .

“The growing mental health crisis, socio-economic challenges and limited clinical support, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, have resulted in the largest increase in addiction issues in more than a decade.”

The Scottish Government has pledged £50 million in funding over the next five years for community organizations working to support recovering drug users, and it is hoped the report will make the case for earmarking some of that this new funding to pre-existing faith-based organizations. programs.

The report presents some of the projects proposed by faith groups. These include the Havilah Ministry in St Andrew’s, Arbroath, which serves over 100 people each month in a walk-in service; and the Alpha Hebrides project, which offers a residential recovery program in the Western Isles.

Residential rehabilitation programs run by faith-based groups have a high success rate: all respondents to an online survey of Christian groups in the area reported a success rate of over 50%, with an average of 66%.

Liam, one of the recovering drug addicts named in the report, said: “All my life I have struggled with fear and anxiety following traumatic childhood experiences.

“After 20 years of using drugs and alcohol for pain relief, I’ve been reduced to a level of brokenness I never thought possible. If it wasn’t for Le Havre [one of the Christian groups in the report]I would probably be dead, and my family devastated.

“I will never be able to thank the staff for the impact they have had on me and my family’s life. Jesus always saves people, he always heals people and he always changes people’s lives. I am living proof.”

Director of Evangelical Alliance Scotland, Fred Drummond, said: “This report shows that Christians, fueled by the love of God, reach out to people in their darkest times and walk with them to a place of hope”.

]]>
Jesus Christ and him crucified https://odessasem.com/jesus-christ-and-him-crucified/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 06:24:54 +0000 https://odessasem.com/jesus-christ-and-him-crucified/ Singer-songwriter Andy Squyres recently posted his observations on the biblical phrase Jesus Christ and him crucified. To her surprise, several of her Instagram followers pushed back on the expression. Somehow it threw them. It should come as no surprise: the wisdom of the cross has frustrated the wise men of the world for centuries. Jesus […]]]>

Singer-songwriter Andy Squyres recently posted his observations on the biblical phrase Jesus Christ and him crucified. To her surprise, several of her Instagram followers pushed back on the expression. Somehow it threw them. It should come as no surprise: the wisdom of the cross has frustrated the wise men of the world for centuries.

Jesus Christ and him crucified

The Apostle Paul gave us this phrase in 1 Corinthians 2 as he remembered what it was like to come to Corinth for the first time. There was a highway that started in Thessalonica, passed through Berea and Athens, and ended in Corinth. It is helpful to read Acts 17 to see what Paul experienced before coming to Corinth: persecution in the first two cities, followed by Paul’s famous speech in Athens at Mars Hill. Theologians love discourse. They talk about it again and again as a masterpiece of rhetoric. But what is strange is that not much happened in Athens. Look at Acts 17:32-34. “Some people have become believers.” And then Paul leaves the most influential city in Greece and goes to the most sinful city in Greece – where there is a huge response to his preaching. Additionally, Paul receives divine encouragement for God in a dream, and he remains in Corinth for 18 months to minister effectively.

The phrase Jesus Christ and him crucified explains the difference between the ministry of Athens and the Corinthian ministry. Look at the first five verses of chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians. Paul talks about a complete reset of his gospel tactics. No flowery speeches. No great rhetoric. Just Jesus, and him crucified, followed by signs and wonders. Add to this passage what he says in the first chapter of his letter (1:22-23). Paul tells us that the idea of ​​a crucified savior was incomprehensible to the Hebrews and a laughing stock to the Gentiles.

Here is the power in what Paul was trying to say: Jesus Christ and him crucified represent both the power of God and the wisdom of God. Power? Jesus was killed! Wisdom? The idea (as a philosophical concept) is a joke. Robert Farrar Capon calls this “the awkwardness of God”. He warns us against any theological system that guarantees victory in this life. Each of us would rather choose the assurance of right-handed theology than the mystery of left-handed faith. The world wants a strong right arm; the world wants a magic formula, guarantee of success. God proposes the opposite. Even Christians fall into this trap: we want to rush towards the resurrection, the “proof” that God is greater than the wicked.

In Corinth, Paul brings his message to the less influential people in Corinth – all the uneducated and marginalized. Christians (especially rich, powerful, and affluent Christians like those of us in the United States) must learn to embrace the “left hand of God”: a wisdom that leads them first into the valley of shadow of death before emerging from it. victorious. The Gospel tells us that Good Friday comes first, Easter Sunday second. As a young Christian, all I wanted was a Christian faith that promised us DJ Khaled’s mantra: win-win-win. I wanted a Christianity that made my life easier in every way, from simple things like always having a good parking space to ensuring health and wealth. Bt Paul knew better.

The testimony of saints throughout the ages warns us against too easy faith, the kind “faith” that actually calls for less trust in Jesus and more trust in our own intelligence and theological reasoning. Teachers like Capon and Henri Nouwen warn us against embracing a religion of power and ignoring suffering. “Many people suffer because of the false assumptions on which they have based their lives. This assumption is that there should be no fear or loneliness, confusion or doubt. But these sufferings can only be dealt with creatively when they are understood as wounds that are an integral part of our human condition,” writes Nouwen. He also said: “It is also becoming evident that those who avoid the painful encounter with the invisible are doomed to live a [prideful]boring and superficial life.

A mature view of Christianity includes the possibility that we, too, have our crosses to bear. Perhaps it is time for modern Christians to embrace those parts of the gospel that we have shunned: “For it is granted unto you, for Christ’s sake, not only to believe on him, but to suffer for him.” (Philippians 1:29)

]]>
#ChurchToo Revelations Grow, Years After Movement Started https://odessasem.com/churchtoo-revelations-grow-years-after-movement-started/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 16:19:51 +0000 https://odessasem.com/churchtoo-revelations-grow-years-after-movement-started/ A scathing report on sexual abuse and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States A viral video in which a woman confronts her pastor at an independent Christian church for sexually attacking her when she was a teenager. A television documentary exposing child sexual abuse in the Amish […]]]>

A scathing report on sexual abuse and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States

A viral video in which a woman confronts her pastor at an independent Christian church for sexually attacking her when she was a teenager.

A television documentary exposing child sexual abuse in the Amish and Mennonite communities.

You could call it (hash)ChurchToo 2.0.

Survivors of church sex abuse and their advocates have for years been calling on churches to admit the extent of abuse within them and to implement reform. In 2017, this movement acquired the hashtag (hash)ChurchToo, which spun off from the broader (hash)MeToo movement, which exposed sexual predators in many sectors of society.

Over the past few weeks (hash), ChurchToo has seen a particularly intense series of revelations across denominations and ministries, reaching vast audiences in headlines and on screen with a message that activists have long struggled with. to pass.

“To us, this is just a confirmation of what we’ve been saying for all these years,” said Jimmy Hinton, an advocate for abuse victims and a minister with the Church of Christ in Somerset, Pennsylvania. “There is an absolute epidemic of abuse in the church, in religious spaces.”

Calls for reform will be front and center this week in Anaheim, Calif., when the Southern Baptist Convention holds its annual meeting following an outside report that found its leaders mishandled abuse cases and suffocated the victims.

The May 22 report came out the same day an Indiana independent church was facing its own judgment.

Moments after her pastor, John B. Lowe II, confessed to years of ‘adultery,’ longtime member Bobi Gephart took the microphone to tell the rest of the story: She was just 16 years old when it all started, she said.

The video of the confrontation drew nearly a million views on Facebook. Lowe then resigned from New Life Christian Church & World Outreach in Warsaw.

In an interview, Gephart said she was not surprised that so many cases are coming out now. She received words of encouragement from around the world, with people sharing their own “heartbreaking” stories of abuse.

“Things are moving,” Gephart said. “I really feel like God is trying to work things out.”

For many churches, she said, “It’s about covering up, ‘Let’s keep the show going.’ There are people who are suffering, and that is not good. I still don’t think many churches understand that.

Hinton – who has denounced his own father, a former cabinet minister now jailed for aggravated indecent assault – said the viral video demonstrates the power of survivors telling their own stories.

“Survivors have far more power than they ever imagined,” he said on his “Speaking Out on Sex Abuse” podcast.

(hash)ChurchToo revelations have emerged across all manner of religious groups, including liberal denominations that preach gender equality and portray clergy sexual misconduct as an abuse of power. The Episcopal Church aired survivor stories at its 2018 General Convention, and an Anglican Church of Canada archbishop resigned in April amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

But many recent reckonings are happening in conservative Protestant contexts where a “culture of purity” has prevailed in recent decades — emphasizing male authority and female modesty and discouraging courtship. tradition leading to marriage.

On May 25, reality TV personality Josh Duggar was sentenced in Arkansas to more than 12 years in prison for receiving child pornography. Duggar was a former lobbyist for a conservative Christian organization and appeared on the since-cancelled TLC show ’19 Kids and Counting,’ featuring a homeschooled family that emphasized chastity and parade. traditional wedding. Prosecutors said Duggar had a “deep, pervasive and violent sexual interest in children.”

On May 26, the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader reported on a series of sexual abuse cases involving workers at Kanakuk Kamps, a major evangelical camp ministry.

Emily Joy Allison, whose story of abuse launched the (hash)ChurchToo movement, said the sexual ethics preached in many conservative churches – and the shame and silence it engenders – are part of the problem. She argues that in her book, “(hash)ChurchToo: How Purity Culture Upholds Abuse and How to Find Healing.”

Allison told The Associated Press that tackling abuse requires a change in both church policy and theology. But she knows that the latter is unlikely in the SBC.

“They have to undergo such a drastic transformation that they would be unrecognizable in the end. And that’s not going to happen,” Allison said. Reform work focused on “harm reduction” is a more realistic approach, she said.

Some advocates hope the focus on abuses could lead to lasting reforms — if not in the churches, then at least in the law.

Misty Griffin, an advocate for fellow survivors of sexual assault in Amish communities, recently started a petition calling for a “Children’s Rights Act” from Congress. By early June, it had collected more than 5,000 signatures.

This would require all teachers, including those in religious schools and home schools, to be trained in child abuse and neglect and subject to reporting mandates, and would also require age-appropriate instructions on how to prevention of student abuse. Griffin said such legislation is crucial because in authoritarian religious systems, victims often don’t know that help is available or how to get it.

“Without it, nothing will change,” said Griffin, consulting producer for the documentary “Sins of the Amish.”

The two-part documentary, which premiered on Peacock TV in May, examines rampant abuses in Amish and Mennonite communities, claiming they are enabled by a patriarchal authority structure, emphasis on the forgiveness of offenders and reluctance to report wrongdoing to law enforcement.

The Southern Baptist Convention, whose doctrine also calls for male leadership in churches and families, has been particularly shaken by the (hash)ChurchToo movement after years of complaints that leaders failed to care for survivors and held their attackers accountable.

At its annual meeting, the SBC will consider proposals to create a task force that would oversee a list of clergy credibly accused of abuse. But survivors have criticized this proposal and are calling for a more powerful and independent commission to perform this task and also look into allegations of abuse and cover-up. They are also looking for a “survivor restoration fund” and a memorial dedicated to survivors.

Momentum for change has grown as survivors such as Jules Woodson, who in 2018 went public with a sexual assault accusation against his former youth pastor, have been encouraged to tell their stories.

“I was like, ‘Thank God there’s a space where we can tell these stories,'” Woodson said.

Such accounts led to the independent investigation, whose 288-page report detailed how the SBC’s executive committee prioritized the protection of the institution over the welfare of victims and the prevention of harm. abuse.

The committee apologized and released a long secret list of ministers accused of abuse.

Woodson said seeing his attacker’s name on it felt like a double-edged sword.

“It confirmed in some ways that my attacker was there, but it was also devastating to see that they knew and yet no one in the SBC spoke up to warn others,” she said. .

Woodson added that she still awaits meaningful change: ‘They offered minimal words acknowledging the problem, but they offered no reform and real action that would show genuine repentance or care and concern for survivors. or vulnerable people who have not yet been abused.

About the photo: Dresses donated by survivors of sexual assault from Amish and other religious groups in ordinary dress hang on a clothesline below a description of age and affiliation Church of Every Survivor, Friday, April 29, 2022, in Leola, Pennsylvania. The goal was to show that sexual abuse is a reality among children and adults in these groups. Similar exhibits held nationwide aim to shatter the myth that violence is caused by a victim’s choice of dress. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski, File)

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

]]>