Church

Ebola Outbreak Accelerates

Volunteers working with the bodies of Ebola victims in Kenema, Sierra Leone, sterilize their uniforms on Sunday, August 24. Health officials say the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest ever.

CNN: Death toll passes 1,550 as Ebola outbreak accelerates, officials say

The Ebola outbreak “continues to accelerate” in West Africa and has killed 1,552 people so far, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The total number of cases stands at 3,069, with 40% occurring in the past three weeks. “However, most cases are concentrated in only a few localities,” the WHO said. The outbreak, the deadliest ever, has been centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a handful of cases in Nigeria. The overall fatality rate is 52%, the WHO said, ranging from 42% in Sierra Leone to 66% in Guinea….

 

Church

Nigeria: Catholic Church Suspends Sign of Peace

Due to ebola:

Nigeria Catholic churches in Lagos have suspended the ‘sign of peace’ where the congregations shake hands during mass. While some Anglican churches have suspended handshakes during communion due to the spread of Ebola.
The Archbishop of Lagos Adewale Martins released a statement on Sunday saying that while the handshakes have been suspended, Catholic priests should continue the traditional hand to mouth method of given Holy Communion for now, but asked the priest to make sure their hands don’t touch the tongues of the recipient. He also said Holy Water bowls usually placed at the entrance of churches should be discontinued to contain the spread of the virus.
In the same vein, the Primate of the Church Of Nigeria Anglican Communion the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh suspended shaking of hands during the exchange of the peace. He also suspended the age long mouth method of administering communion. He said this is aimed at preventing the spread of the disease through physical contact.

 

Church

Churches in West Africa Call for Prayer as Ebola Virus Spreads

Ebola virusChurch leaders in West Africa have asked for our prayers as the Ebola virus continues to spread, with 932 reported deaths as we go to press.

Please make use of the prayer we have written – see below.

Ebola is spreading in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and threatening other countries in West Africa.

The people of Ghana are becoming increasingly aware of the epidemic.

We are in contact with our Anglican partners throughout the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA), which includes The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana.

Janette O’Neill, Us Chief Executive, said: ‘This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. When communities face such terrible suffering the church must be there to combat fear and hopelessness with both love and tangible support.

‘The church can also be a source of knowledge to help families understand the situation, and the church can help to make sure governments are fully aware of what is happening at community level.’

Read on here. There are prayers too:

Prayers for West Africa:

God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful Father,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.

God of healing,
whose Son healed those who were brought to him.
Hear our prayer for the peoples of West Africa
suffering from the Ebola outbreak.
Inspire and enable your church
to be a source of healing, comfort and hope to those affected,
and an agent for the education
and equipping of communities
to stop the spread of this disease.
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

 

Church

Ebola Patient Dr Kent Brantly Arrives in the USA

NBC News:

A person in a hooded white protective suit with was helped out of an ambulance by a person in heavier protective gear on Saturday at the Atlanta hospital where an American doctor who contracted Ebola while working with a charity organization in Liberia arrived for treatment Saturday afternoon. Dr. Kent Brantly — the first person infected with Ebola on U.S. soil — landed at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia, in a plane specially outfitted with containment equipment. Dobbins Air Reserve base Spokesman Lt. Col James Wilson said the arrival and transfer was “uneventful.”

He was immediately transported by ambulance to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, according to the Christian charity organization Samaritan’s Purse. Emory has prepared a special isolation unit with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and said they are equipped to care for Brantly. Nancy Writebol, a second American infected with the deadly disease will be evacuated from Liberia and placed in the same “hospital isolation unit” with Brantly, Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory, told NBC News. Writebol remains in serious but stable condition, according to SIM, the Christian mission organization that she works with.

“The patients will be escorted throughout by specially and frequently trained teams that have sufficient resources to transport the patients so that there is no break in their medical care or exposure to others,” the U.S. Defense Department said in a statement. Ebola has infected more than 1,300 people and killed 729 of them in the current West African outbreak, according to the CDC.

Church

‘God Will Deliver Me From This,’ Doctor Infected With Ebola Says

Please pray for Dr Kent Brantly as he battles this deadly virus.

Kent Brantly

Dr. Kent Brantly is fighting for his life after being infected with the Ebola virus while working with Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia. The doctor is listed in grave condition but remains hopeful that God will deliver him from the disease’s grip.

“God’s going to deliver me from this but even if he doesn’t, I have lived my life for him and I have no regrets,” Brantly told Kent Smith, an elder at the South Central Alliance Churches in Fort Worth, Texas.

“It’s a very stressful time,” Brantly’s mother, Jan, told Daily Mail. “Kent is a fine young man, very compassionate, doing what he’s prepared all his life to do. He’s placed his life in the hands of a loving God and our love in that God that sustains us. We pray constantly for him and we solicit the prayer of the whole world. He’s a brave man. He’s doing what he’s doing to serve his God and we are asking people to pray.”

Brantly and wife Amber were working as medical missionaries in Liberia; she recently returned to the states with their two children for a planned visit with family. He has remained in Liberia, where he is receiving medical treatment.

“I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email to Dr. David Mcray, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital, where Brantly completed a four-year residency. He also asked for prayers for Nancy Writebol, an American co-worker who has also been affected by the disease.

“Kent prepared himself to be a lifetime medical missionary,” Jan told the Associated Press. “His heart is in Africa.”

An investigation is currently being held in order to determine how Brantly contacted the disease, which is spread through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids as well as indirect contact with “environments contaminated with such fluids,” according to the World Health Organization.

 

Church

Secular South Africa?

The Christian Century:

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Twenty years ago, in 1994, democracy finally came to South Africa, the wealthiest and most powerful nation of sub-Saharan Africa. Most South Africans would agree that the subsequent years have been difficult, and levels of violence and poverty remain intolerably high. But the turn to majority rule was a massive political and moral achievement, to which Christian churches contributed mightily.

Beginning in the 1960s the antiapartheid cause featured centrally in Christian debates worldwide over political activism and the legitimacy of armed resistance to tyranny. Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu became perhaps the best-known face of the antiapartheid movement.

Obviously, the churches that struggled against apartheid did so from a sense of religious obligation and not with any thought of advancing their own power or influence. But with 20 years of political freedom behind us, what can we say about the religious consequences of the revolution? Who were the winners and losers? And has religious radicalism faded from political life?

Even more than in most Global South nations, South Africa’s religious statistics re­main fiercely contested. A fair consensus, though, suggests that while the country remains predominantly Christian, familiar mainstream denominations are much weaker than in most of black Africa. The most successful religious movements lie on both extremes of the spectrum: among highly charismatic faith-oriented healing churches and among secularists. In religious terms, the emerging South Africa looks at once thoroughly African and surprisingly European.

Mainstream churches—the squeezed middle—claim the loyalty of about a quarter of South Africans. About 7 percent of the population are Catholic, with another 20 percent belonging to the main Protestant churches—Methodists, Anglicans, Lutherans and Dutch Reformed.

Who are the nation’s other Christians?

Find out more here.

 

Church

Gang Attacks Anglican Cathedral

In Nigeria:

Armed with knives, clubs, and chains, a group of 30 Muslims attacked an Anglican cathedral in Nigeria, according to Morning Star News, a US-based website that reports on the persecution of Christians.

At least seven clergy and other church leaders were wounded in the attack, which took place in Nasarawa State in the central part of the nation.

“As they were terrorizing the church members, their fellow Muslim youths playing football at the field adjacent to the church jumped in through the fence and helped the gang,” said Rev. Isaac Onwusongaonye. “This gang beat the security men at the gate mercilessly with wood, chain and iron … I narrowly dodged a big stone thrown at me.”

The attack, which followed a dispute over payment of water at the church well, ended when police arrived.