Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Activist group promises fight after Ohio school officials say Jesus portrait will stay

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said Wednesday that it would continue to fight an Ohio school board that said it would not remove a large portrait of Jesus that has been inside a middle school since 1947.
"There's really no gray area here," Andrew Seidel, a staff attorney for the foundation, told "This is a blatant infringement on our First Amendment rights."
The activist group dedicated to the separation of church and state notified the school district recently that the painting hanging above the entrance of Jackson Middle School is an illegal endorsement of Christianity and should be taken down.
During a school board meeting Tuesday night that drew a crowd of 300 people, superintendent Phil Howard said the painting has historical significance and will stay put.

Religious ‘Cleansing’ in the Middle East a Growing Threat

(Morning Star News)

Christian communities under attack in the region.

When Iran’s holocaust-denying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proclaims, “Israel must be wiped off the map,” the United States rightly takes the threat of genocide seriously. President Obama, like his predecessor, is committed to preventing the eradication of the people of Israel. Conservative U.S. Christian leadership, as reflected by Christians United for Israel, has strongly backed this commitment.

There is, however, another threat of genocide in the Middle East. It is the religious cleansing of Christians and other religious minorities from the Sunni-dominated Middle East. This danger remains unacknowledged by President Obama and has received little attention, with few exceptions, from U.S. Christian leadership on both the right the left.

Not so abroad. Already, last year, former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy drew the attention of the international community respectively to acts of “genocide” and “a perverse program of religious cleansing” directed at the Middle East’s 10-12 million Christians. Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly appeals for prayer and action on behalf of the region’s endangered Christian communities.

Today, the crisis of religious cleansing is particularly acute in Syria. The general chaos and confusion of civil war harms all Syrians irrespective of religion. But members of religious minorities – roughly 25 percent of the population – are targeted for murder, abduction, displacement and humiliation with increasing frequency and ferocity. Religious cleansing proceeds under the publicly proclaimed slogan, “Alawites [a branch of Shia Islam] to the grave, and Christians to Beirut!” – a proclamation, like President Ahmadinejad’s, of genocidal intent.


Sports help warriors on path to healing

7:00 A.M. ET Jan. 8, 2013 | WASHINGTON

The Rev. Laura Bender, a United Methodist Navy chaplain and  regimental chaplain for Wounded Warriors, shares a moment of laughter with Lance Cpl. Damaso Soto. A UMNS photos by Jay Mallin.
The Rev. Laura Bender, a United Methodist Navy chaplain and regimental chaplain for Wounded Warriors, shares a moment of laughter with Lance Cpl. Damaso Soto. UMNS photos by Jay Mallin. View in Photo Gallery
View Flickr slideshow
Deep in the heart of the Pentagon, warriors are warming up for several rounds of fierce volleyball competition.
The gym is an assault on the ears: dozens of volleyballs hitting the hardwood floor, deep baritone shouting of teammates pumping up teammates, shrill whistles.
This is the second annual Wounded Warriors seated volleyball tournament, and it includes all branches of the military pitted against each other — and each team is in it to win.
Many of the men and women on the floor today are missing arms or legs or have scars across their heads and bodies.
Everyone competing in this tournament is wounded, ill or injured. Most are young men with shaved heads, but there are a few women competing or on the coaching teams. The Special Operations Forces stand out because many have long hair and beards.
An announcer points out before each round that the rules of the game for seated volleyball are the same as regular volleyball except for three things: The net is lower, size of the court is slightly smaller, and some part of the player’s torso must maintain contact with the floor at all times or a “butt lift” will be called.
Cpl. Dylan Kelley, 22, of the Marine Corps is participating for the first time today.
“It’s very motivating, especially to see double amputees, other people fighting cancer, just coming out here and giving it their all, you know, putting their whole heart and soul into the game,” he said. “You know, just everybody comes away winners, all the time.”
Some injuries are “in-your-face” apparent but for others like Kelley, the wounds are not visible.
Invisible wounds are hard to mend and anyone who has gone to war is wounded, says the Rev. Laura Bender, a United Methodist Navy chaplain who serves at the United States Marine Corps Wounded Warriors Regiment in Quantico, Va.
“War changes everyone … some of us are better able to manage the changes in our lives. But some have physical ways in which they are not able to manage as well.”


New trend emerging in global evangelism

USA (MNN) ― When we thought of "evangelism tools" in the not-so-distant past, images of small, pocket-sized Bibles and pamphlets came to mind.
Now, evangelism tools consist of a conglomerate of smartphone apps, video clips, and podcasts.
"It's spiritual multiplication using technology, and it's very exciting," says Tom Cannavino with The JESUS Film Project.
In recent days, Cannavino met a bus driver from Kenya and asked him what language he spoke. "Luo," the man answered.
"So I went to the new JESUS Film app on my phone and selected Maps, and I went to the country of Kenya and saw that there were 37…JESUS Film translations there," recalls Cannavino. "I scrolled down and found Luo, his language, and I e-mailed it to him from my phone, at that moment."
The next day, he received an e-mail from the bus driver.
"That video is great. I had watched the English version before, but I was really fascinated watching the Luo version," the man said in his e-mail.
Cannavino adds, "He watched the film, but the exciting part is that he sent the link to the film to friends and relatives here in the U.S., and then back at his home in Kenya.
"Through technology, God is allowing us to share the Gospel and to connect with people."


Persecuted Christians Have New Allies: World Watch Monitor and Morning Star News

he surge of African nations up the ranks of the world's worst persecutors isn't the only news today from Open Doors USA.
Along with the release of this year's World Watch List (WWL), an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution for their faith, Open Doors is also launching World Watch Monitor (WWM), a fresh news initiative that aims to raise awareness of the persecuted church.
"It's important for people to have knowledge of persecution," said WWM editor Jeff Thomas (previously editor and vice president of the Colorado Springs Gazette). "The association of our news with the credibility of Open Doors [will] enhance our news information."
Open Doors is not a new player in the persecution news arena. Long before it launched WWM, the ministry ran the well-regarded Compass Direct News service. But Open Doors began to rethink its strategy in 2011 and decided to close Compass Direct and associate its reporting more closely with the Open Doors brand, Thomas said.
The World Watch Monitor name now explicitly links the news service to the WWL in order to "help readers encounter the larger story of the persecuted church and be invited to more significant involvement with it," he said.
WWM is one of many nonprofits—including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Voice of the Martyrs, and International Christian Concern (ICC)—that use journalism to raise awareness of religious freedom around the world. "If you strip away the religious element of what we're doing, persecution is a niche topic," said Thomas.
But former Compass Direct editor Jeff Sellers says such news efforts are limited by their ties to particular aid agencies. Independent news organizations, like those in the mainstream press, face fewer limitations in gathering and disseminating information, he said.
To test his belief, Sellers launched Morning Star News (MSN) in September. According to its website, MSN is "the only independent news service focusing exclusively on persecution of Christians."

Faith leaders pray for civility in D.C.

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land has joined a diverse group of religious leaders in a prayer initiative calling for increased civility among government officials.

Conservative and liberal faith representatives began praying daily for civility among politicians when the new Congress was sworn in Jan. 3 and have pledged to pray until President Obama is inaugurated for a second term Jan. 21.

"We need to heed [President] Lincoln's admonition to listen to 'the better angels of our nature,'" said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "We are in a time of crisis in this country. We need first of all to quit questioning people's motives and intent, and agree to disagree without being disagreeable, and seek areas of common ground where we can work together on issues that are important to the country."

Among the initiative's recommended prayer requests for Obama, members of Congress and other public officials are for them to:

-- Show patience with and respect for other politicians;

-- Avoid inflammatory language, as well as attacks on character and motives;

-- Demonstrate humility and admit their limited understanding;

-- Pray for political opponents.


Christian broadcasters warn of increased online censorship

A women’s advocacy group, the Uprising of Women in the Arab World, complained in November that Facebook had deleted one of its photos and suspended five administrator accounts for its Facebook page. The apparently offensive photo showed an unveiled Arab woman in a sleeveless top, holding, in a call for liberation, a passport photo of herself wearing the hijab.
Among other content Facebook temporarily censored in 2012 was an image and caption criticizing President Obama for his handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The social media platform also took Mike Huckabee’s “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” event page offline for 12 hours during the summer media firestorm over Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s support for heterosexual marriage.
In each of these cases, Facebook later apologized and claimed the content had been removed by mistake. But Craig Parshall, director of the John Milton Project for Free Speech at National Religious Broadcasters, a Christian association, says such incidents have become all too common. The John Milton Project published a report in September detailing examples of censorship from new media companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple. The companies’ policies allow them to remove user-generated content the companies deem offensive, Parshall says, including so-called “hate speech, or controversial political or religious content, even if it would be otherwise lawful.”
More examples: In 2010 and 2011, responding to complaints from homosexual activists, Apple permanently removed from its App Store applications from two groups—Manhattan Declaration and Exodus International—that promote heterosexual marriage. Google’s video-sharing service, YouTube, last May blocked as “hate speech” a youth speaker’s video that warned against gay “marriage.” Earlier in 2012, Ryan Faust, senior pastor of Grace Church in Seattle, told me Facebook had censored lengthy comments he posted regarding the Bible and gay “marriage.”


Church Consultant on the Quiet Issue of Pastors' Salaries

By Audrey Barrick , Christian Post Reporter
January 7, 2013|5:52 pm

A church consultant says that when it comes to pastors' salaries, the small minority of preachers who live lavishly should not be reason to underpay the other 400,000 pastors leading churches.

A pastor's salary is a quiet issue, Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, acknowledged in a December blog post. It causes discomfort both for the pastor and congregation when brought up, which Rainer finds unfortunate.
While there are extreme examples of pastors who mismanage finances, most pastors are not overpaid, he says. Many are underpaid.
With that, Rainer wanted to clear up five common issues that most church members are unaware of when it comes to a pastor's pay.
First, he says churches should not count benefits and expense reimbursements as a pastor's pay. No secular company counts benefits and expenses as part of a worker's pay and it shouldn't be the case in the church as well.
"I cringe when I hear churches state a [compensation] package to be the pay for the pastor," he wrote.

Background Checks for Church, Ministry and Business

According to infographic below by First Contact HR , "A background check is the process of discovering and assembling information to objectively assist employers in evaluating a candidate's qualification, character, fitness and to identify any potential hiring risks for safety and security reasons."
Although more companies, churches and ministries are conducting background searches for employment, some corrupt personnel slip through and get hired.
So my advice to churches hiring new staff includes finding out if the job candidate has ever been fired from a previous church or ministry and discovering the reason for the firing. Also spend time praying for each of the job candidates and allow the Holy Spirit to provide discernment in hiring.
Here are three reasons why corrupt employees may pass background checks:
  1. The corrupt employees were never caught in previous fraud.
  2. They were caught in fraud but because of embarrassment or other reasons, their employer or church board decided to keep the scandal a secret and never pursued legal action.
  3. The corrupt employee was caught but settled out of court with a nondisclosure agreement.
READ MORE to see the infographic

PRIME MINISTER says Boys get their sex education from pornography

Sex and relationship education should be made compulsory and should also include “relationship counselling”, the cross-party inquiry into unplanned pregnancies said.
Teaching boys and girls about sex and relationships in mixed classes could help boys form “a more rounded view of what is involved in a sexual relationship as opposed to just a sexual encounter”, the MPs added.
The report was published as David Cameron announced plans for parents to be automatically prompted to tailor their internet filters when switching on new computers if they declare there are children in the house.
The Prime Minister vowed to act against a "silent attack on innocence" and shield children from the "worries and complexities of adulthood".
The move was prompted by concerns over the impact of easy-to-access pornography on children’s lives.


Ashley Tisdale Joins Cast of Left Behind

Disney actress Ashley Tisdale has posted on Instagram a picture of the book Left Behind and tweeted:
Gotta do my homework. So excited to be a part of this project #leftbehind #stoked
Tisdale joins Nicholas Cage as a member of the cast.Tisdale will play the role of Chloe Steele. Janaya Stephens played this character in the previous films.

The Left Behind movie website reports that Chad Michael Murray is joining the cast as well. Murray will play the role of reporter Buck Williams. Child actor Kirk Cameron played this role in the earlier films.

The movie will go into production later this year with an anticipated 2014 theatrical release.
The movie is based on the popular Christian graphic novel Left Behind. Left Behind and rest of the 16-book series depicts what life will be like after the rapture based on theology found primarily in the Bible book of Revelations.

The Left Behind book series has exceeded 63 million in sales since its orginial publication in 1995, making it the bestselling Christian fiction series in history.

Left Behind was also voted one of the top 10 books of the 20th century on and The Indwelling, book #7, The Mark, book #8, Desecration, book #9, The Remnant, book #10, and Armageddon, book #11, and Glorious Appearing, book #12, have all reached #1 on The New York Times bestseller list according to


Girl Expelled for Refusing RFID Badge Loses Appeal

Top 50 Countries of Christian Persecution

African Countries Make Persecution Surge on Open Doors World Watch List

Mali Jumps from Unranked to No. 7; North Korea Remains No. 1 on List of Worst Persecutors
SANTA ANA, Calif., Jan. 8, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Persecution of Christians in Africa vastly increased in 2012, according to the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith.

The number of countries on the African continent sharply increased on the annual list due to the increasing influence of Islam, states Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians worldwide. Mali is a newcomer on the list and holds the No. 7 position. Tanzania (No. 24), Kenya (No. 40), Uganda (47) and Niger (No. 50) also moved onto the World Watch List and Ethiopia is one of the strongest risers (from No. 38 to No. 15) on the list. In addition, the small African country of Eritrea made the Top 10 for the first time at No. 10. Libya climbed from No. 26 to No. 17.

North Korea is still No. 1 when it comes to persecution of Christians. For the 11th consecutive year, the hermit communist country heads the World Watch List. Possessing a Bible alone can be a reason for a Christian to be executed or sent to a prison camp along with three generations of his or her family. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians suffer in horrific prison camps. The intense persecution has continued under new leader Kim Jong-Un. The number of defectors to China greatly decreased in 2012 and half of those who try to defect do not make it.

"Nothing much has changed under new North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un," says Open Doors spokesman Jerry Dykstra. "In fact, persecution of Christians has increased. Reportedly one labor camp alone could hold up to 6,000 Christians."

Apart from North Korea, the Top 10 on the World Watch List consists of eight countries where extreme Islam poses the largest threat for Christians. They are (from No. 2 to No. 9) Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Maldives, Mali, Iran and Yemen. Worldwide, Open Doors reports an increase in the persecution of Christians.

Attacks and infiltration
The most notable trend Open Doors researchers found was the increase of persecution in Africa. Fundamentalist variations of Islam rapidly gain influence on the continent. On the one hand, this was due to focused attacks, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria (No. 13). On the other, the influence of Islam increased through infiltration in different social and economic areas. Open Doors saw a similar pattern in several African countries.

"We do not necessarily distinguish one overall plan from one source in the whole of Africa. However, we do see that radical Islamic groups are patiently waiting for the right time to show their power," Dykstra explains. "Apart from the pattern of violent attacks, we see that radical Muslims are infiltrating into politics, business and the judicial power, such as introducing Sharia family courts. On a number of occasions, Muslims were ready to step into a power vacuum. Take Mali, for example, where Touareg rebels and Muslim fundamentalists gained power in April 2012."

Mali was a model country
Of the African countries, Mali is the most noticeable newcomer on the World Watch List due to its sudden emergence to No. 7.The situation in Mali escalated after the coup.

"Mali used to be a model country," says Dykstra. "The situation in the north used to be a bit tense but Christians and even missionaries could be active. Currently the situation in northern Mali is somewhat similar to Saudi Arabia. Christians are simply no longer allowed to be there."

A pastor from the northern part of Mali told Open Doors that he was informed that Muslim fundamentalists were planning to kill all Christians. He warned all the members of his congregation to leave. That happened. Hundreds of Christians fled from the north to the south of the country or neighboring countries.

Syria makes big jump
Outside of Mali, Syria made the largest jump on the World Watch List. The country is No. 11 on the list, compared to No. 36 in 2012. For years under the regime of President Assad, Christians were allowed the freedom to worship but not evangelize. They have now come under pressure from rebels fighting against the regime. To add to this, jihadists entered Syria with an anti-Christian agenda making life for Christians in the country virtually impossible. Tens of thousands of Christians have fled.

China continues drop
China continued its descent on the World Watch List. Five years ago, the country was ranked in the Top 10, but now it has dropped from No. 21 to No. 37. The government still considers the church to be a political movement and wishes to be informed of all Christian activity. However, house searches, arrests and the confiscation of Bibles and Christian books no longer occur on a large scale. Instead, the government forces many church leaders to keep an accounting for their whereabouts; a way to keep them subdued and under control. At least 100 Chinese Christians are still in prison.

Difficult situation in Egypt
Egypt has also descended on the World Watch List, going from No. 15 to No. 25. Nevertheless, the country's score does not show any improvement. The drop is a result of Open Doors' change in methodology to monitor and chart the persecution of Christians. The Christians with a Muslim background are facing the most serious problems. Apart from that, Egypt is going through a difficult stage. Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are gaining more power after the election of Mohammed Morsi last summer.

Change in methodology
More than ever before, the World Watch List provides an insight in the overall spectrum of the persecution of Christians in all spheres of life (private, family, community, national and church.) The freedom to come together and the degree in which Christians are exposed to acts of violence are also included in the monitoring. This results in a balanced scoring, taking into account both the impact of violent incidents and less visible, structural developments threatening the position of Christians.

Christians are persecuted in at least 60 countries for their faith. They suffer interrogation, arrest and even death in some of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world. For 58 years Open Doors has supported and strengthened believers worldwide through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development and prayer and presence ministry. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            888-524-2535      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) or go to our Website at

(For more information or to set up an interview on the World Watch List, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            616-915-4117      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email For the list of all 50 countries on the WWL and more articles, go to

Christian Newswire

IRD, Hudson Institute Premiere New Film about Genocide in the Sudan

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- For almost two years the regime of Sudanese President and indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir has been waging a relentless, targeted campaign of forced starvation, aerial bombing, and on-the-ground massacres against the various peoples of the Nuba Mountains. Now genocide in the Nuba Mountains of the country's South Kordofan region is exposed in a new film by Operation Broken Silence, a nonprofit group for the abolition of genocide, slavery and human trafficking.
The 45-minute documentary provides rare footage of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in this region. Despite the dangers, Mark Hackett and his film crew managed to enter South Kordofan in June 2012. The result, in his words, is "the first singular, large-scale media project to document this war."

The film is intended to help the international community understand the level of violence now aimed against the Sudanese Nuba people by their own government. Hackett reports, "Our findings were absolutely horrifying."

Following the film screening, Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, Nina Shea, will moderate a discussion with the film's Director Mark Hackett, CEO and Executive Director of Operation Broken Silence, and Dr. John Hubbel Weiss, Associate Professor of History at Cornell University.

This event will be streamed live here:

IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:
    "IRD is pleased to be working together with the End Nuba Genocide alliance of genocide scholars and Sudan activists.

    "We will continue to demand to know why the U.S. and the world community supported Al Qaeda affiliates in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, but will not support the black, African indigenous people groups of Sudan that actually do want freedom and secular democracy without Sharia."

Christian Newswire

Two Widowed Fathers Write Bereavement Survival Manual

ENUMCLAW, Wash., Jan. 8, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Statistics show that widowers are rare, and widowers with school-aged children make up a unique group.(1)

When Dr. Doug O'Neill's wife died of cancer, he found himself heartbroken, bewildered, and the single father of six young children. Dan Gilbertson lost his wife to the same disease. He became a single parent to an infant daughter and lost custody of his two step-children of seven years. Twenty years later, the two men teamed up to write "Grief Odyssey" (2012, WinePress Publishing) a bereavement survival manual that targets widowers with children.

Unlike many books on terminal illness, "Grief Odyssey" is written for the surviving spouse rather than the one facing death. O'Neill and Gilbertson share their personal journeys, from the fateful diagnosis of cancer to the long years of emotional recovery, and offer wisdom on preparing for a spouse's death, adjusting to being a single parent, and eventually finding healing.

Dr. O'Neill speaks nationally and internationally at conferences on death and dying, and has authored a chapter in the book, Men Coping With Grief [2000, Baywood Publishing]. He teaches sociology at South Dakota University Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and believes that "Death and Dying in Our Society' should be a required course for students.

Dan Gilbertson is a partner, vice-president and financial planner with Summit Wealth Group, in Lakewood, Colorado. He has an extensive background in financial planning, insurance counseling, and fee-based asset management. He consults and advises many widowers, widows, their families, and friends on financial matters. He remains passionate about helping people avoid potential pitfalls of others taking advantage of their inheritance or settlements.

O'Neill and Gilbertson will donate $1 of the proceeds from the sale of each book to the American Cancer Society.


For more information, to request a review copy of "Grief Odyssey" or to schedule an interview, please contact Robyn Williams by phone at 360-802-9758 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            360-802-9758      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, by email at, or by fax at 360-802-9992. To purchase a copy of "Grief Odyssey" visit or call 877-421-7323 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            877-421-7323      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Christian Newswire

Billy Graham Reaches Out with New Grassroots Movement and Asks Christians Nationwide to Join Him

My Hope with Billy Graham Culminates in November with Graham's 95th Birthday -- Planning Underway Now with Information Sessions for Pastors
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 9, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- In 2002, My Hope began as a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) to take the Gospel into areas of the world where Billy Graham could not physically travel. Ten years and 57 countries later, My Hope with Billy Graham has now become a movement spreading across the U.S. and Canada, where Christians are eager to learn how to more effectively share their faith with family and friends.
The effort comes at a critical time. According to a recent Pew Forum survey, one in five people in the U.S. report having no religious affiliation. That's up more than five percent in the past five years.
In December, eight My Hope with Billy Graham information sessions were held at locations from coast-to-coast. Planning is underway for additional engagements in 47 major cities in the U.S. and 44 cities in Canada over the next three months, and continuing into every area of each country. Tailored for pastors and church leaders, the initial sessions presented by representatives of the project will share Billy Graham's vision for My Hope, including testimonies from past participants, and materials from time-tested resources used in Billy Graham Crusades for more than 60 years.
"My Hope has been used in many countries and hundreds of thousands of people have received Christ as Savior," said Billy Graham. "I think it is going to be a tremendous time of evangelism. I think that the Lord is going to use it mightily. I've been praying that we might have a spiritual awakening. But I think that becomes possible as individuals surrender their lives fresh and anew to Christ. And that's the hope that we have."
"My father is as burdened today about the souls of men and women as he has been at any time in his life," said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the BGEA.
My Hope with Billy Graham encourages participants to reach out to people they already know and engaging in meaningful conversation and connections as a catalyst for sharing the hope and love found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. While one-on-one conversations will be the root of this relationship evangelism outreach, there will also be a special program available on a wide range of formats including TV, radio, DVD and Internet that people can share to reinforce the message. The program will feature music, stories and Billy Graham's presentation of the Gospel.
My Hope with Billy Graham will culminate in November 2013, the month Billy Graham celebrates his 95th birthday.
My Hope with Billy Graham -- Pastor / Church Leader Meeting Dates
Jan. 15, 2013
Nashville, Tenn.
Grace Church of the Nazarene
Jan. 17, 2013
Orlando, Fla.
First Baptist Church
Jan. 17, 2013
Atlanta, Ga.
Mount Paran Church of God
Jan. 19, 2013
Boston, Mass.
First Baptist Church (SPANISH)
Jan. 24, 2013
Laurel, Md.
First Baptist Laurel (Eng. And Sp.)
Jan. 24, 2013
Denver, Colo.
Cherry Hills Community Church (The Chapel)
Jan. 24, 2013
Houston, Texas
Second Baptist Church Houston - West Campus
For more information on My Hope with Billy Graham, including additional meeting dates, news articles and evangelism resources, visit
About the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) proclaims the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world by every effective means available. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., the BGEA directs a wide range of domestic and international ministries, including: large-scale festivals led by evangelists Franklin Graham and Will Graham; The Billy Graham Library; The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, located outside of Asheville, N.C.;, an Internet evangelism project reaching thousands of people for Christ online; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet. For more information, please visit Get news updates on Twitter at

Contact: Lisa Moseley,
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,
704-401-2116 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            704-401-2116      end_of_the_skype_highlighting,

Christian Newswire

Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival Set for October 2013

Festival evolves out of contemporary church film movement
RAHWAY, N.J., Jan. 8, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival today announced that it is accepting film entries for its festival slated for October 11-13, 2013 in the Rahway Arts District. The film festival, in its inaugural year, is devoted mainly to exhibiting films in all genres made by producing and media ministries, Christian organizations, and pastors. The festival is an extension of the contemporary church film movement that has risen during the last decade.

"Increasingly, churches are utilizing films to create hope and to transform hearts and minds across geographic boundaries. The festival is a platform for these films," said LaVonne McIver-James, festival founder.

Churches that make movies are apart of a cultural movement of churches harnessing the power of films to impact culture. For instance, the movie Courageous which challenges men to be good fathers, has had a profound impact on men across the United States. It is produced by Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church. To Save a Life, a gripping teen drama is an outreach project of California's New Song Community Church. The movie The Grace Card examines healing broken relationships by receiving God's grace. It is backed by The Calvary Church of the Nazarene in Cordova, Tennessee. This culture-impacting movement is fueled by pastors, Christian organizations, and media/producing ministries using faithful filmmaking to transform hearts and minds. Increasingly, churches are seeking to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the world through films because movies have a powerful effect on people and have perhaps the greatest potential to influence culture.

The mission of the Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival is to educate, energize, and empower churches to incorporate filmmaking into their ministries and to give exposure to the best in church-based films. In addition to movie screenings, the festival will offer seminars and panels for church leaders, directors, producers, actors and those interested in utilizing films as a Christian evangelical tool. The goal of the festival is to empower churches and their members to make movies that move mountains and inspire generations.

"We seek movies that depict thought-provoking stories that create meaningful conversations and spark understanding across generations, races, and cultures," said McIver-James.

Festival screenings will include movies that demonstrate Biblical concepts in entertaining ways and create a deeper understanding for people regarding their purpose and destiny in life.

For more information about the Churches Making Movies Christian Film Festival, please visit

Christian Newswire