By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

SURREY, ENGLAND (ANS) – A Christian human rights organization is deeply troubled by an acid attack on an elderly CatholicFather Anselm Mwang'amba displays his terrible injuries. priest in Zanzibar on Sept. 13.

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said in a news release that the incident, the latest in a series of assaults on churches and church leaders in the semi-autonomous archipelago, highlights a worrying deterioration in freedom of religion or belief in Tanzania.

Father Anselm Mwang’amba was attacked as he left an Internet cafe in the historic Stone Town area of the Zanzibar capital, and is currently hospitalized with severe burns to the face, neck and hands.

CSW said according to a local report, while inside the cafe Father Mwang’amba received a call from an unknown number and was doused with acid as he exited to answer his telephone.

The assault on Father Mwang’amba is the fourth major attack on a Christian leader in Zanzibar since December 2012, when a Catholic priest was wounded by unknown gunmen.

Local Christians report receiving threats via text message or in leaflets naming church leaders who have been targeted for assassination, and in some instances referring to a prospective date.

In February, the murder of a Protestant pastor was followed a week later by the killing of a Catholic priest.

In addition, CSW reported, at least 20 churches have been looted and either burnt or demolished, allegedly by supporters of the separatist religious movement Uamsho (Awakening). Perpetrators of religious violence are never brought to trial even when identified or caught in the act, and police investigations are generally extended indefinitely.

In a comment to CSW on the attack on Father Mwang’amba a local Christian speaking on condition of anonymity said, “We are asking the international community to intervene in this issue. Christians do not have any protection. In this environment we live in so much fear of what will happen to whom tomorrow.”

CSW has also received reports of increasing discrimination on the Tanzanian mainland and an inadequate official response to religion-related violence.

The family of a Pentecostal pastor beheaded in March in violence that erupted in Geita after the Muslim community objected to the opening of a Christian-owned butchery are still awaiting justice.

Christians complain of the inequitable application of public order regulations designed to maintain religious harmony, including discrimination in the granting of permits for open-air meetings and new media outlets.

In May, people died and more than 60 were injured when the inauguration service for a new Catholic Cathedral in Arusha was bombed in what the Tanzanian president described as a “terrorist attack.”

Daniel Sinclair, Communications Director at CSW said in the news release, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Father Mwang’amba, who we wish a speedy recovery. These threats and attacks targeting church leaders and church buildings are in violation of the Tanzanian constitution, which provides for freedom of religion or belief. If left unchecked, religious violence will ultimately undermine national cohesion. CSW calls upon the Tanzanian authorities to take decisive action to tackle rising extremism and prevent impunity from taking hold in any part of the country.”

He added, “It is vital that the Government of Zanzibar effectively addresses attacks on the local Christian community, offers protection to all who are under threat, adequately compensates churches that have been looted or demolished, and ensures that inciters and perpetrators of religion-related violence are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide works for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

For further information, visit www.csw.org.uk.

 

By Grelan Muse Sr. and Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Twenty-four hours after a massive twister hit Moore, Okla., rescue crews have nearly concluded their search for survivors and victims.Onlookers watch as children are pulled from the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Associated Press reported Tuesday at least 24 people were killed when the tornado ripped through the suburban city, which sits just south of Oklahoma City. At least 9 of the dead are children, seven of which attended Plaza Towers Elementary School.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” said Jayme Shelton, a spokesman for the city of Moore, told the Washington Post. “Send your prayers this way.”

Amy Elliot, coroner with the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office in Oklahoma City, told The Associated Press at least 40 more bodies are expected. She didn’t elaborate as to how many of the deceased were children from Plaza Towers.

The 2-mile wide tornado, which hit Moore the afternoon of May 20, packed winds of up to 200 miles per hour and churned as it sat on the ground for an estimated 40 minutes. Homes in the path of the twister were leveled, and vehicles sat on top of one another.

This is the second tornado to touch the ground in Oklahoma in many days. On May 19, a tornado hit east of Moore killing two people.

Joel Reynalds, son of ASSIST News Services senior correspondent Jeremy Raynalds, lives in the area, said the devastation was “unreal.”

“(I’ve) never) seen anything like it. It looked like a bomb went off,” Joel Reynalds said.

Efforts to help victims of the tornado poured out immediately. According to Jeremy Raynalds, chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have been deployed to Moore to offer support.

“Our hearts are breaking for all of those in the path of this horrific tornado. Words can’t do justice to the pain that is being experienced in and around Moore,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.

“Please pray continuously for all of those who lost loved ones, and for those who may still be trapped amidst the rubble.”

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is deploying in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, who is also president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Together the two ministries will seek to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those impacted by the storm.

The threat for severe weather continues Tuesday as severe thunderstorms containing hail, damaging wind gusts, and tornadoes. According to the Weather Channel, areas that should prepare for the severe weather include Dallas, Shreveport, La., St. Louis, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio.

By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, W.V. (ANS) — To juggle means to keep thingsBill Ellis “continuously in the air.” I tried it with green apples, tennis balls and once with three croquet balls. I was doing well until two of those wooden balls collided and went separate ways enough to allow the third ball to hit me between the eyes. After that headache, I lost my desire to be a juggler.

We all may have been warned, “Don’t try to do too many things at the same time.” We are advised to keep our minds on what we are doing.

There was a time in which parents and grandparents lived a very scheduled kind of life. The father was expected to earn money for the upkeep of his family. Mothers had the primary role of taking care of the family.

We may remember singing, “Monday is wash day, Tuesday is ironing day”David Cain juggler and on it went for every day of the week. Little girls were taught about cooking, cleaning and sewing. Little boys had their chores and learning experiences. Our first teachers were before we started to school.

America’s beloved poet, Robert Frost, had it right when he wrote, “It takes a heap of living to make a house a home.” My friend, Charles Swindoll, brilliant speaker and author of many books, was on target with these wisdom words, “You know what’s helped us in the Swindoll home? To think of where we live as a training place, not a showplace.”

We find many things to do at work, in the community, the home, school or at church. We become like, Martha, the sister of Lazarus, and of whom Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41).

It seems like men and women have been in the juggling business since the creation. We always have too many things going at the same time.

Financially we juggle bills. At work, we try to put in more hours than there are in the day. In some communities, there are more volunteers than people able to work.

Mothers and fathers can be busy doing things at the school where their children attend. The pastor is always looking for volunteers to serve in the church. Hospitals get much of their work done by volunteers.

I was the speaker for a Tri-State fund raising rally for the Boy Scouts of America. Two of my all-time favorite Boy Scout executives were Don Berg and Bud Trigleth in Decatur, Ill. Contractors and thousands of volunteers are busy at work to prepare the gigantic new national Boy Scout Camp, not far from where I live in West Virginia.

A piece of paper just dropped from my desk. On the front staring back at me were these big bold words, “WE’RE COUNTING ON YOU!”

We are all in the juggling business to get everything done for ourselves, our family, our school, our church, our neighborhood. My pastor is Dr. Melissa Pratt, one of the most talented young pastors in the nation. She scheduled David Cain, world champion juggler, for special events for our mothers and children the weekend of Mother’s Day.

I and a few other men sat on the back row for one of the most amazing programs I have ever seen. Cain would thrill those at any youth convention, family camp, high school and college audience, award ceremonies. He deals with faith, evangelism, spiritual warfare, Christian living and to demonstrate it he uses balls, rings, boomerangs, a bullwhip and has them all in continuous motion.

His web is www.christianjuggler.com and his e-mail is davidcainjuggler@hotmail.com. Be a winner in the juggling business. Learn how to juggle successfully.

By Jeremy Reynalds
ASSIST News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) – Faith Comes By Hearing audio BibleJerry Jackson, left, and his wife, Annette ministry has again been awarded the prestigious 4-star rating from Charity Navigator – a charity evaluator.

According to a news release from Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH), being recognized for the sixth straight year elevates the ministry into the top 3 percent of all charities.

 

Charity Navigator said this means FCBH “demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

FCBH said in his notification letter, Charity Navigator’s president and CEO Ken Berger wrote, “We are proud to announce Faith Comes By Hearing has earned our sixth consecutive 4-star rating. Only 3 percent of the charities we rate have received at least six consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Faith Comes By Hearing outperforms most other charities in America.”

FCBH said the recognition is especially meaningful, as “Charity Navigator evaluates 10 times the number of charities than (its) next closest organization, and draws more visitors to (its) website than every other charity evaluator combined.”

Jerry Jackson, FCBH’s founder and president, said in the news release, “It has always been our priority to be good stewards with every donation given to complete our mission. The best way to ensure accountability is to be open with our finances.”

He added, “As an outside and impartial evaluator, Charity Navigator’s continued recognition of our transparency and fiscal responsibility is testimony to our current and prospective donors that they are giving to a ministry that is using their funds wisely.”

For more information go to www.fcbh.org

By Peter Wooding
Europe Bureau Chief for ASSIST News Service

COLCHESTER, ENGLAND (ANS)A graphic designer is suing a hotel in Colchester, England after claiming he was turned down for a job there because he is a Christian.

Jamie Haxby

Jamie Haxby

According to an article in the Daily Mail newspaper, 24-year-old Jamie Haxby was invited for an interview with Prested Hall Hotel after applying for a job to design the venue’s advertising and promotional material.

But after discovering that he was a Christian, manager Celie Parker said that he could not be considered for the role because his beliefs would upset atheist employees.

Haxby is now taking his case for religious discrimination to the East London Employment Tribunal, and will be supported by the Christian Institute.

Spokesman Mike Judge said: “Jamie’s case is shocking, and shows that discrimination against Christians is getting more brazen.

“There’s no place for this anti-Christian intolerance at the hands of aggressive atheists. It’s high time the government took the issue more seriously.”

The Daily Mail went on to report Haxby said the interview was going well until Parker saw his portfolio which contained samples of work that he had done for his local church and a Christian charity.

She subsequently apologized for wasting Haxby’s time, and commented that both she and other employees were atheists who could not work with a committed Christian.

“Everything was going well, and I felt happy with how the interview was progressing. Parker made several comments about the high standard of my work and how talented I was,” he said.

“However, just over halfway through looking over my portfolio, Celie stopped me and said she did not think we needed to go any further. “My heart slightly sank as I could tell there was something she did not like. She then explained that she thought my work was brilliant, but that she and others on her team were atheists.

“She said that judging from my work I was clearly a committed Christian, and I understood from what she was saying that it would be very difficult for me to work there.

“I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I felt upset and angry.”

Haxby explained that his faith should not influence the hotel’s decision as to whether or not to offer him the post.

“She just said not to take it personally, but that it wouldn’t be sensible and that it wouldn’t work, or words to that effect,” he added.

“She also expressed regret over ever asking me to the interview and apologized for wasting my time. But I was feeling increasingly distressed and upset.

“I then said there was no way that this was right in equal opportunities Britain and that everyone should have an equal chance at getting a job.

The hotel has denied discriminating against Haxby on the basis of his religious beliefs, and has said that the job was given to another more experienced candidate.

“The current climate of intolerance towards Christianity has led to a number of Christian individuals being barred from different areas of public life and employment. The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled against three Christians, Lillian Ladele, Gary McFarlane and Shirley Chaplin, who were all penalized for expressing their beliefs in the workplace, said Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern.

“The law needs to be re-visited urgently to ensure that it provides a basis for the full and active involvement of Christians in community life, whilst upholding the freedom of Christians to practice their beliefs in the public sphere without facing detriment.”