||FIRST, THE NEWS:
CHURCH GROUP PLANS TO HEAD TO SERBIA-HUNGARY BORDER FOR RELIEF MISSION (VIDEO)
from ABC7 News
(5 Sep) A Covina, Calif. church group is planning to head out to the Serbian-Hungary border to help the refugees as part of a relief mission. The members will be spending a portion of their time at the border caring for the medical needs of the refugees. They also want to offer emotional support to the thousands of families trying to survive in difficult conditions. Members of the Covina Assembly of God Church worked together to create care packages Friday night.
Thousands of desperate migrants trudged along a highway in Budapest trying to get to the Austrian border. Many of them are Syrians fleeing from deplorable conditions in their war-torn country. "When we got the call to spend time by the border we just jumped in and said, 'Yeah we're going to help in any way we can.' So we actually multiplied our purchase of medical supplies," aid worker Carr Oduro said.
Heartbreaking images of the journeys refugees have made surfaced, including photos of a boy who drowned off the coast of Turkey. "It was really sad. It was very sad, and just to know that families are being torn apart and that children are being traumatized by all the things happening," aid worker Kathy Graham said. The group will head out to the border on Sept. 16. [read more...]
AZERBAIJAN: 11 WEEKS WITH NO SUNDAY LITURGY
by Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service
(8 Sep) For the past 11 Sundays, the Georgian Orthodox community of Gakh [Qax] Region of northern Azerbaijan has been unable to meet to celebrate the liturgy, Georgian Orthodox Christians complained to Forum 18 News Service. On 21 June the Azerbaijani State Border Service denied re-entry to the country to their only priest, Georgian citizen Fr Demetre Tetruashvili. "I can't say why he can't return," Amil Javadov, head of communications at the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations, claimed to Forum 18 from the capital Baku on 7 September.
"People go into the church and pray individually, but without a priest there is no liturgy, no service," a Georgian Orthodox Christian lamented to Forum 18. "Fr Demetre is still banned from entering Azerbaijan."
Javadov of the State Committee insisted that Forum 18 should ask its question in writing as to why Fr Demetre cannot return to his place of service. Forum 18 put the question in writing the same day (as it had done on 29 June and 3 July). Like Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry (to which Forum 18 had put the same question on 29 June and 9 July), the State Committee had not responded to Forum 18 by the end of the working day in Baku on 8 September. [read more...]
ST. PETERSBURG NEEDS THREE TIMES AS MANY CHURCHES AS IT NOW HAS - HEAD OF THE METROPOLIA
(1 Sep) Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga believes there are not enough Orthodox churches in the 'northern capital.' "Today there are just over 200 churches in St. Petersburg, most of them are located in its historic center, and certainly it is not enough for such a populated city," the metropolitan said in his interview with the Delovoy Peterburg paper. He reminded that earlier Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia had set a task for hierarchs that there should be at least one church for every 10,000 people.
"If we use this index, we will find the 'northern capital' among outsiders. If there are about five millions of residents in the city, there should be three times as many churches in it as we have today," the hierarch stated. He also said that "church buildings should be returned to the Church. It will be not only historically correct, but pious, as according to the Orthodox teaching, a secular organization cannot occupy a church building," the metropolitan stressed. [read more...]
BELARUS: CANCELLED FINE FOR REFORMED ORTHODOX WORSHIP RE-IMPOSED
by Olga Glace, Forum 18 News Service
(2 Sep) Although the Regional Court overturned an earlier fine for leading a meeting for worship, the same lower court in Gomel [Homyel] in south-east Belarus has imposed the same fine of more than two weeks' average local wages on Pastor Sergei Nikolaenko of the Reformed Orthodox Transfiguration Church. He again submitted an appeal to the Regional Court on 1 September, he told Forum 18 News Service. Pastor Nikolaenko and another church member were given "official warnings" that if they violate the law by holding unregistered religious worship they will face criminal prosecution, with possible prison terms of up to three years.
Aleksandr Gorlenko, the official who drafted the written ban on the Church's meetings, refused to discuss it. "All the reasons were explained to the leader of the church," he told Forum 18. Nine days after the appeal court annulled a fine for leading a religious service, the court again fined Pastor Sergei Nikolaenko of the Reformed Orthodox Transfiguration Church more than two weeks' average local wages. This was exactly the same amount as the original fine. "The judge didn't consider all our arguments and facts and, obviously under pressure from well-known authorities, declared me guilty again," the pastor complained to Forum 18 News Service on 21 August. [read more...]
POPE CONCELEBRATES MASS WITH ARMENIAN PATRIARCH
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(9 Sep) History was made on Monday when Pope Francis concelebrated morning Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta with the recently-elected Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, His Beatitude Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, as well as with the Bishops of Synod of the Apostolic Armenian Catholic Church and the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, ICN informs. Following the readings of the day, the Holy Father spoke of the many Christians, who continue to be persecuted, and of the complicit silence of many powerful world leaders. Even today, "Perhaps more than in the early days," said Pope Francis, "Christians are persecuted, killed, driven out, despoiled, only because they are Christians."
"Dear brothers and sisters, there is no Christianity without persecution. Remember the last of the Beatitudes: when they bring you into the synagogues, and persecute you, revile you, this is the fate of a Christian. Today too, this happens before the whole world, with the complicit silence of many powerful leaders who could stop it. We are facing this Christian fate: go on the same path of Jesus." The Pope recalled, "One of many great persecutions: that of the Armenian people. The first nation to convert to Christianity: the first. They were persecuted just for being Christians," he said. "The Armenian people were persecuted, chased away from their homeland, helpless, in the desert." This story - he observed - began with Jesus: what people did, "to Jesus, has during the course of history been done to His body, which is the Church." [read more...]
HIGH-RANKING MOSCOW CHURCH OFFICIAL IN LUXURY CAR DRIVES AWAY FROM TRAFFIC STOP (VIDEO)
from Kyiv Post
(8 Sep) Video has emerged online of a Ukrainian clergyman from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate ignoring instructions from Kyiv’s police patrol. In the recording he tells his driver to drive on after his car was stopped for a traffic violation. Metropolitan Pavel, the father superior of Kyiv’s Pecherska-Lavra monastery complex, is seen asking a police officer if he had been to church, according to the video footage. He then tells the police officer to “think of his soul,” before getting back into luxury Mercedes S-Class car, which then drives off. The video was shot on July 28 near the gates of the monastery, but the footage only came to light online on Sept 6.
In an official statement posted on Facebook on Sept.7, the Kyiv police said the clergyman hadn’t been arrested because of the presence of large numbers of churchgoers at the scene of the traffic stop. “Yes, a traffic violation by the priests’ car was recorded at the end of July. But because of the presence of many believers, police officers decided not to escalate the conflict and did not arrest the lawbreaker,” the police statement read. Commenting to the Kyiv Post, Metropolitan Pavel said the police had not arrested or ticketed either him or his driver simply because he and his driver had not in fact broken any rules. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
PROTESTERS DISMANTLED A TEMPORARY CHAPEL NEAR THE SUPREME RADA IN KYIV
KEEPING CHILDREN’S HOPE AND FAITH BURNING BRIGHT
from Mission Network News
UOC OF THE USA DELIVERS ASSISTANCE TO DONETSK REGION OF UKRAINE
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE CRITICIZES ROC(MP), ASSERTS LEADERSHIP ROLE
ST. PETERSBURG DIALOGUE FORUM’S WORKING GROUP ON CHURCHES IN EUROPE MEET IN BERLIN
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
CALL TO PRAYER FOR NEW BELIEVER ARRESTED IN KAZAKHSTAN
from Mission Eurasia
POLL: RUSSIANS CONSIDER U.S. AMORAL AND DEVOID OF SPIRITUAL VALUES
from Russia Beyond the Headlines - Religion
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX SPOKESMAN CALLS ON FAITHFUL TO REPLACE 'CYNICAL ELITE'
from The Moscow Times
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NOW, OUR VIEWS:
Let's keep the comments coming! When you've finished reading, leave your COMMENTS in our Hosken-News Blog below. Thanks!
We thank God for Christians, like those in our article CHURCH GROUP PLANS TO HEAD TO SERBIA-HUNGARY BORDER FOR RELIEF MISSION (VIDEO), who are doing something about the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. An undercurrent in the news about these refugees is the idea that radicals might be among them, "sleeper cells" that many months or years later will arise to wreak havoc. While that may well be true, and we should take measures to check people's backgrounds, it shouldn't keep us from showing compassion toward people who are fleeing for their lives from a terrible war of attrition in Syria. We do well to heed these words I came across this morning in my Bible reading:
"Give counsel, execute justice; make your shade as the night in the midst of the noonday; shelter the outcasts; don't betray the refugee. Let my outcasts dwell with you; as for Moab, be a covering to him from the face of the destroyer. For the extortioner is brought to nothing, destruction ceases, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. A throne shall be established in loving kindness; and one shall sit thereon in truth, in the tent of David, judging, and seeking justice, and swift to do righteousness." (Isaiah 16:3-5)
When we protect the outcasts and refugees, we are acting like Christ, the Son of David, Who seeks justice and does what is righteous. When we do this, we are establishing His throne, His kingdom on earth: "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Ukraine's Supreme Rada voted on 1 September to amend the Constitution to allow the regions more autonomy. This is a key measure toward bringing peace to Ukraine, and the fighting has indeed toned down since then. Our first news headline PROTESTERS DISMANTLED A TEMPORARY CHAPEL NEAR THE SUPREME RADA IN KYIV tells of resistance to this vote, but it passed anyway. Let's keep praying for a just settlement to the fighting in Ukraine.
Our next online course - "Rehabilitation of Children with Disabilities" - begins on Monday, 21 September. The deadline to enroll is Thursday, the 17th. Don't delay - enroll today!
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Those Pesky Commas!
"Picky, picky, picky! What difference does it make, anyway? Are you from the Grammar Police?" - some people say, when you point out a misuse of the comma. But as the picture shows, leaving out a comma where it should be, or inserting a comma where it shouldn't be, can completely change the meaning of a sentence. A prime example of inserting commas where they shouldn't be is found in Eph. 4:11-12 -
“He gave some to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints, to do the work of ministering, to the building up of the Body of Christ."
What does this Scripture text say to you? It seems to list eight spiritual offices or tasks:
1. apostles, 2. prophets, 3. evangelists, 4. pastors, 5. teachers, 6. equip the saints, 7. do the work of ministering, 8. build up the Body of Christ.
This is the way the King James Version had the punctuation, which gives you the impression that apostles (bishops), prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers should equip the saints, do the work of ministering, and build up the Body of Christ. But is it what the Apostle Paul really meant when he composed these words?
Continue reading in our Hosken-News Blog.
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. This life is preparation for eternity. When we fully grasp this fact, we will live only for eternal values.