Turning the world upside down

The top five news stories you need to know about from the past week.
Russell Powell

Anglicanism Changing!

June 24th, 2011

We are witnessing a huge continental shift in world christianity. It’s not just been this week, this year or even this decade, but I mention it this week because several of the breaking stories on sydneyanglicans.net relate to this changing of the old order. There was once a time when the educated, cultured north led the way in Christian mission to the Southern Hemisphere. Not any more.

The religious blogs in the US are alight with the news that the influential Pew survey of protestant leaders globally, has just been released and shows this continental realignment. To quote from the survey “Evangelical Protestant leaders who live in the Global South (sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia) generally are optimistic about the prospects for evangelicalism in their countries. But those who live in the Global North (Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand) tend to be more pessimistic.” What’s wrong with that sentence? Just a minor global positioning error which puts Australia and New Zealand in the Global North! Anyway, the Washington Post has written a good summary of the findings.

The survey was released just one day ahead of the announcement that an English missionary society has been formed with a push from friends in the global south, to plant churches and support orthodox Anglicans. It’s called the Anglican Mission in England – AMIE. You can read the details here. Similar societies have flourished in the US over the last decade as the Episcopal Church slipped further into liberalism. This is a very important development and one that needs prayer and support. There’s an excellent commentarty from Charles Raven, well worth reading.

With evangelism in the global south comes persecution, and this week there was a frightening statistic made public – that Christians are dying for their faith at the rate of one every five minutes. Unfortunately the figure is borne out by news from Sudan, where another purge of Christians is underway. Last week I reported that Archbiship Daniel Deng Bul Yak had spoken of genocide and “the threats to, and arrest and torture of, pastors and known Christians because of their faith…” This week, his colleague Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of Kadugli, asks for a day of prayer for Sudan, this Sunday. Please pass this on to your churches.

Among other stories that we as Sydney Anglicans should be praying about, the earthquake disaster has led to parts of Christchurch being abandoned, and in China, 36 million (!) have been affected by flooding. Not a word from most of our media outlets, but the Christian Post covers it here.

Finally, some light relief, if the Westboro Baptist cult could ever be called that. Churchgoers at Mars Hill, Seattle handed them coffee and donuts when they came to protest.

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