Friday, December 21, 2012

Woman Buried in Avalanche Survives By Digging Herself Out

Oldest Recording of Family at Christmas Discovered

Church Bells Ring Nationwide for Newtown Shooting Victims

Church bells are tolling across the U.S. this morning in remembrance of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting last Friday, with religious leaders calling on people to pause and reflect on the tragedy.
"Bells in churches historically have a variety of functions. They are announcements, they are a call to prayer, they are a memorial and they are a call to action," the Rev. Richard Burnett, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church Downtown in Columbus, Ohio, told The Columbus Dispatch. "I think all of those things at one level or another can speak to people in our community a week after the tragedy of the massacre."

When 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last Friday morning, he had already killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby home. He then proceeded to shoot down 20 children, the school's principal an five other employees before turning the gun on himself, in the deadliest school shooting America has experienced since the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.

"We are standing in solidarity with those who weep and grieve," the Rev. Virginia Lohmann Bauman of St. John's Evangelical Protestant Church added. "Our bells also ring because the resurrection is real for us and death is not the end. We do believe in eternal life, and these children are in heaven with God and with Jesus."

Newtown first responders carry heavy burdens

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - While the people of Newtown do their best to cope with loss and preserve the memories of their loved ones, another class of residents is also finding it difficult to move on: the emergency responders who saw firsthand the terrible aftermath of last week's school shooting.

Firefighter Peter Barresi was driving through Newtown on Friday when police cars with lights flashing and sirens blaring raced toward his oldest son's elementary school. After he was sent to Sandy Hook school himself, he saw things that will stay with him forever.

With anguished parents searching for their children, he prepared to receive the wounded, but a paramedic came back empty-handed, underscoring the totality of the massacre. Barresi, whose own son escaped unharmed, later discovered that among the 26 dead were children who played baseball with his son and had come to his house for birthday parties.
"For some of us, it's fairly difficult," said Barresi, of the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co. "Fortunately most of us did not go in."


Translations needed to complete Digital Bible Library

International (MNN) ― Yesterday , we told you how ministries and donors were working together to launch a game-changing Scripture repository called The Digital Bible Library.

Today, we'll spotlight Wycliffe Bible Translators USA and the key role they're playing in making God's Word available to every tribe and in every tongue.

"Rendering the Scriptures so that people can have access to them: that's a really good thing. But what we're really interested in is creating the opportunity for those Scriptures to impact people's lives," says Wycliffe President Bob Creson.

Philanthropist and businessman Mart Green, founder of Mardel Christian and Educational Supply and whose family owns Hobby Lobby, has long held the vision of ministries and donors working side-by-side on a project that will eradicate what he calls "Bible poverty."

"Prior to the formation of Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN), Bible ministries were often working in silos. While they were making important progress in their individual efforts, it was clear that an opportunity existed for greater collaboration to more rapidly advance their individual efforts," Green explained in a press release.
"The goal of ETEN is to mobilize the necessary leadership and financial resources across our alliance partners so that by 2033, every tribe and every nation in the world has access to God's Word in their heart language."


The Queen James Bible and ‘Homophobic’ Interpretations

In case you haven’t heard the news, there is a new edition of the King James Bible that rewrites eight key verses that speak against homosexual practice. It’s called the Queen James Bible (I kid you not), and the editors state that, “We edited those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.”

Yes, you can now practice homosexuality and read your Bible without feeling condemned, although you still have to deal with the hundreds of verses affirming only heterosexual marriage and family (including one of the Ten Commandments that says, “Honor your father and mother” rather than, “Honor your father and father”).


Hospital staff marvels at ‘miracle’ mother

CROWN POINT | Stacy Martinez recently received a new gift of life that staff members at Franciscan St. Anthony Health Crown Point are calling a miracle.

Martinez, 25, of Cedar Lake, had just undergone a Cesarean section, giving birth to twin girls, when she suddenly became unresponsive. Her heart had stopped. It was surmised she had suffered an amniotic embolism, which left her chances of survival at about 40 percent, at best.

A handful of Obstetrics Unit nursing staff members are among a larger group of nurses and physicians being credited for helping Martinez beat the odds, although they refuse to accept kudos, instead crediting “a higher power” and prayer for an outcome that “was very much a miracle.”


Christmas Food for Arab Christian Families in Israel

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Providing Holiday Assistance to 650 Needy Arab Families
JERUSALEM, Dec. 21, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is providing Christmas food vouchers to 650 needy Arab Christian families in Israel this week. Families will receive food for Christmas celebrations in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Shrar'am, Akko, Isfiya, and 15 other communities.

While The Fellowship aids needy families in all of Israel's sectors on an ongoing basis, it conducts additional special projects before the major religious holidays. Aid is given to Jewish families before the High Holy Days and Passover; to Muslim families before Ramadan; to Druze families before the Feast of the Sacrifice; and to Christian families before Christmas.

"During a period in which poverty in Israel is worsening, we continue to look out for those needing immediate assistance," said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and CEO of The Fellowship. "In order to give hope and to assure a future for the country, we must strengthen and guarantee the welfare of the needy wherever they are. I hope that our contribution will help these families celebrate the holiday in dignity."

During 2012 The Fellowship donated more than $1.6 million projects in 60 Arab areas. The total cost of this special Christmas project is $59,000. The aid to needy families includes help with basic needs such as food, medicine, and transportation to medical appointments. The Fellowship also operates treatment centers for children and youth at risk in a number of Arab areas, and helps widows and single-mothers without an education to become self-sufficient in several Bedouin communities.

In recent years, the total amount of Fellowship contributions to the Arab sector has exceeded $16.8 million, including aid to the needy, aid to the elderly, care for children and youth-at-risk, prevention of drug use, and aid during times of emergency and tragedy.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews began in 1983 as an effort to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews. Today it is also a prominent force for helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide. The Fellowship is the world's largest channel of Christian support for Israel and the charity distributing the most aid in Israel annually. Led by its founder and CEO Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $110 million per year -- the large majority from Christians -- to assist Israel and the Jewish people through extensive aid programs. The Fellowship has raised more than $800 million for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul.

Christian Newswire

Santa Monica Live Nativity Flash Mob: Interviews with Pastor Steve Snook and Artistic Director Shawn King

Faith Organizations Launch National Campaign Called, 'Leave a Christmas Place Setting for Pastor Saeed'

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pastor Saeed Abedini is a Iranian born U. S. citizen who is being held in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith.

The Washington, D.C. based Christian Defense Coalition and Faith and Action are asking Christians all across America to set an empty place setting for Pastor Saeed at their Christmas dinners.

The place setting will challenge the faith community to pray for Pastor Saeed and also to remember the thousands of Christians who are in prison and separated from their families at Christmas because they are being persecuted for their faith.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states,

    "While Americans sit down with their families and friends to celebrate the joy of Christmas, there are thousands of Christians around the world who are imprisoned and persecuted for their faith like Pastor Abedini.

    "'Leave a Christmas Place Setting for Pastor Saeed,' will serve as clear witness to pray and remember all those who are are imprisoned and being brutalized around the world because of their Christian faith.

    "The empty place setting is a powerful graphic that fathers will not be with their children this Christmas. Mothers will be separated from their families and children will be apart from their brothers and sisters.

    "It is critical during this Special Season of the year, that the American church stands in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around who are being brutalized, tortured and imprisoned because of their faithful witness for Christ.

    "We must never forget their sacrifice and we must always remember their suffering."
Rev. Rob Schenck, President of Faith and Action, adds;
    "Remembering our imprisoned brothers and sisters, and all persecuted and oppressed Christians worldwide, is in keeping with the whole Christmas story. Jesus and his parents would flee persecution and become refugees. They went into hiding.

    "Jesus would later suffer imprisonment, torture, and death because of his obedience to God. Nothing could be more fitting for Christmas than to set a place for Pastor Saeed. Let us always remember."
For more information or interviews
call: Rev. Patrick Mahoney 540.538.4741

Christian Newswire