AJC: Presbyterian Church Continues to Demonize Israel

PORTLAND, Ore., June 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC deplored the adoption by the Presbyterian Church (USA) of a report that lays the foundation for the denomination to repudiate the vision of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Commissioners endorsed “Israel-Palestine: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace” by a vote of 429 to 129. The report was approved despite efforts to send it back to the committee that wrote it for a full and fair examination of the current situation and the role that all parties need to play in reconciliation and  peace.

“For those who seek an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace it is deeply disappointing that a major Protestant denomination in the U.S. with deep roots in the Middle East has chosen to be a cheerleader for those whose vision of peace does not include the State of Israel,” said Emily Soloff, AJC Associate Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, who attended the PCUSA General Assembly in Portland, Oregon. “Sadly, efforts to moderate the Presbyterian trajectory toward rejection of peace were derailed.”

The report is filled with inaccuracies, innuendos and unsubstantiated claims. It perniciously leads readers to the conclusion that the goal of two states is unattainable and that Israel is solely responsible.

In 2014, the PCUSA GA called for a review of the Church’s support for two states for Israelis and Palestinians, but Church representatives chose instead to use that review process to create yet another one-sided document that condemns Israel.

As it did in 2010 with its notoriously biased Middle East Study Commission Report, the Church chose to follow those who prefer rejection over reconciliation and punitive language over peaceful pursuit.

SOURCE AJC

New Film Presents Joey+Rory’s Strength During Fight Against Cancer that Captured Hearts of Millions

For One Night, Fathom Events, Provident Films and Hickory Films Present “To Joey, With Love,” An Incredible True Story of Life, Love and Hope that Never Dies

NASHVILLE, June 16, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Husband-and-wife singing duo Joey+Rory wanted more to life, so they chose less. In preparation for the birth of their child, the couple simplified their lives by putting their music career aside and staying at home, planting roots deep in the soil of their small farm, and the community they loved. They believed God would give them a great story — and He did.
For only one night on September 20th, Fathom Events and Provident Films will present the intimate and deeply touching documentary, To Joey With Love in movie theater nationwide. Joey+Rory’s incredible true story of life, love and hope that never dies. Joey captured the hearts of millions through Rory’s blog, This Life I Live, where Rory shared the story of the couple’s strength during his wife Joey’s fight against cancer.
The earthy purity of Joey+Rory’s story has never been revealed with this level of intimacy and access. The stirring journey of the 2010 Academy of Country Music Top New Vocal Duo takes moviegoers from the birth of their daughter Indiana who was born with Down Syndrome, through Joey’s struggle with and ultimate surrender to cancer — all amidst their never-ending hope in something far greater. To Joey, With Love was produced by Hickory Films in association with Provident Films.
In their music career, Joey+Rory recorded eight studio albums for Vanguard Records and Farmhouse Recordings and charted three singles on Hot Country Songs. In 2008, the duo was the third-placed finalist on the CMT competition Can You Duet. In October 2015, the duo cancelled all future concert appearances in the wake of Joey’s diagnosis with terminal cancer. On March 4, 2016 Joey Feek died; she was just 40 years old.
Joey and Rory believed God would give them a great story, and He did. He gave Joey+Rory a love story for the ages, one that is sure to inspire hope and faith in all who experience it.
About Fathom Events 
Fathom Events is recognized as the leading domestic distributor of event cinema, and ranks as one of the largest overall distributors of content to movie theaters. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) (known collectively as AC JV, LLC), Fathom Events offers a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events that include live, high-definition performances of the Metropolitan Opera, dance and theatre productions such as the Bolshoi Ballet and National Theatre Live’s Hamlet, sporting events like FS1 Presents USA v Mexico, concerts with Roger Waters and One Direction, the TCM Presents classic film series and faith-based events such as The Drop Box and Four Blood Moons. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes and offers unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live digital broadcast network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 885 locations and 1,348 screens in 181 Designated Market Areas® (including all of the top 50). For more information, visit www.fathomevents.com.
About Provident Films 
Provident Films, a division of Provident Music Group, develops, produces and markets faith-based films, and has been a pioneer in developing the current landscape of this business and ministry. Provident’s partnerships include Sherwood Pictures/Kendrick Brothers (War Room, Courageous, Fireproof and Facing the Giants), The Erwin Brothers (Woodlawn, Moms’ Night Out and October Baby), and Kirk Cameron (Unstoppable, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.)
Nashville-based Provident Music Group, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, has been a worldwide leader in inspiring entertainment for more than three decades. More info is available at ProvidentFilms.org.
About Hickory Films 
Hickory Films is a small group of independent filmmakers based south of Nashville dedicated to bringing great stories to life on screen, while living great stories.

Internationally Known Christian Blogger and Writer Reacts to Orlando Nightclub Attack.

(Katy,Texas) Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, founder of FaithInspires.Org a Christian blog read in 195 countries issued the following statement about the horrific attack last night on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

“ Last night as most of us were sleeping in beds, first repsonders were already combing through what we now know to be the worst attack on U.S. Soil since 911 ! At this moment 50 people are known dead, and nearly as many more wounded. The carnage in its wake is worse than the Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech massacres. We do not yet know the motivations behind the attack . We do know that Omar Mateen a 29 year old Islamic American is believed to be behind the attack. We do know that he was not in imminent danger, and was therefore not defending himself. From that we know that his actions can not be defended on any level.

The nature and scope of this tragedy should and shall launch us as Christians into compassion. We take to God’s throne the sorrows and needs of those who have been impacted by this cowardly act. We send out our prayers for the comfort and strength of the families of those who were lost. We include also in our prayers the people of Orlando, of Florida, and of this great nation. God Bless America !”

Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield is a Katy, Texas based minister. He is the founder and editor of FaithInspires.Org, which was read in 195 countries around the world in 2015. Crutchfield and his work have been seen in Google News, SelfGrowth.com, ChristianHeadlines.com and others.

Pat Boone on Youtube Discussing Ark of Noah Travels to Brazil and USA

PASADENA, Calif., June 8, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Legendary American singer, composer and actor Pat Boone recently endorsed The Ark of Noah Foundation (www.youtube.com/watch?v=EexrhRLKkZs) encouraging viewers to join him in supporting the life-size Ark of Noah replica, which is preparing to take sail across the Atlantic. The 2,500-ton ark is larger than a football field and stands 410 feet long, 95 feet wide, and 75 feet tall. It can carry more than 5,000 people at a time.

“My friends at the Ark of Noah Foundation plan to bring a life-size Biblical replica of Noah’s Ark from the Netherlands to the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil,” said Boone. “From there, it will go through South America, Central America and then the United States.”

Transportation of the Ark of Noah from The Netherlands to Brazil, is 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, will be a massive undertaking that will be streamed live on the Internet. According to Boone, the vessel will be docked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will bring real hope to a country and world in need.

“The proceeds from the Ark will be used to build Hope Centers in the underprivileged areas of Brazil,” said Boone. “These hope centers will provide food, education, as well as the Gospel for the unreachable children and families.”

Boone ended the video encouraging viewers to go to www.donate.arkofnoah.org and join him in supporting the Ark of Noah Foundation.

The profit foundation is a 501c3 charity based out of Pasadena, CA and is raising money to fund the trip, which will eventually end in the United States.

The Ark has been getting worldwide attention as it prepares to take sail. Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers built the Ark of Noah four years ago as a religious attraction and now has partnered with The Ark of Noah Foundation, www.ArkofNoah.org.

Hundreds of thousands have already visited the Ark of Noah in The Netherlands to see the Biblical reconstruction and hear the story of Noah and the great flood. To be in line with the Biblical story, the ark includes artificial replicas of animals paired two-by-two as described in Genesis.

For more information, photos and video on the Ark of Noah, visit arkofnoah.org/media.

Teamwork Innovation Comes to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

I find it interesting that they combined a stand alone workshop normally presented  to other sorts of organizations into a regular college course for Theology Students. It sounds like it worked out well. Maybe consideration needs to be given to integrating more of the outstanding training that is out there into our various levels of ministry training.-Pastor Crutchfield

PHILADELPHIA, June 8, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Dr. Janice Presser explains the uses and value of Teamability® — a new technology that identifies teaming quality — in a ministry setting.

Dr. Janice Presser, co-founder and CEO of The Gabriel Institute, introduced new elements of teaming in an all-day seminar at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary at the Charlotte, NC, Campus.

Professors Dr. Rodney Cooper and Dr. Mark DeYmaz hosted Dr. Presser’s workshop, a portion of which was presented by GCTS Doctorate student, Rev. Darryl King. The attendees, all candidates for a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree, are enrolled in the course entitled “Redemptive Leadership & Organizational Development in the Multiethnic Context,” focused on informing, forming, and transforming in order to fulfill the spiritual calling.

Dr. Presser’s mission was to explain essential concepts of a completely new technology – called Teamability – which applies concepts from physics and systems theory to the study of teaming dynamics. It identifies a person’s ‘gift’ for making meaningful team contributions, and other qualities of positive teaming. Through integrated management methods and Self-coaching, Team Analysis, and ‘Teamability Playbook’ reports, this technology is producing operational benefits within a wide range of business and institutional organizations.

Workshop attendees had the opportunity to experience and learn Teamability in the context of their own ministries, ranging from a church planter with a congregation of 20, to a congregation of 18,000 members and staff in excess of 100.

The attendees hailed from locations around the United States including Massachusetts, South Carolina, Illinois and California.

For information from The Gabriel Institute, call TGI at 215.825.2500 or send an email to inquiry@thegabrielinstitute.com.

Reformed Theological Seminary Launches Online Journal

ORLANDO, Fla., June 7, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — The inaugural issue of Reformed Faith & Practice: The Journal of Reformed Theological Seminary was launched on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 and can be accessed at journal.rts.edu.

This is a major milestone for the seminary as this year it celebrates its 50th anniversary.  For years RTS has published a popular magazine, Ministry and Leadership.  This is the first time in RTS history that it has produced a theological journal.

The new journal will be published three times a year and distributed electronically without charge. Each issue will contain articles, interviews, book reviews, and occasional tastes of campus community life – excerpts from lectures, chapel presentations, and other seminary conversations that may be on interest to the broader community.  The journal’s editorial board will be made up of the academic deans at the various RTS campuses.

The RF&P will encourage theological reflection with a particular view toward the well-being of evangelical and Reformed churches. The journal will reflect the academic excellence of the RTS faculty, while aiming to help those in pastoral ministry.  It will present articles that are biblical and theological, thus providing ministry resources for leaders of the church. It will also aim to serve the alumni of Reformed Theological Seminary as an on-going source of continuing education.  You may subscribe to receive an email notification of each issue by signing up at www.rts.edu/subscription/publications.aspx.

Reformed Theological Seminary has campuses in Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Jackson, Memphis, New York City, Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Global.  John R. Muether, Dean of Libraries and Professor of Church History at the Orlando campus, is the editor of RF&P. Queries about the journal can be sent to him at editor@journal.rts.edu.

Select Panel to HHS: Planned Parenthood and StemExpress Broke the Law

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Two letters have been sent to the Department of Health and Human Services by the Select Panel on Infant Lives seeking further investigation and remedies for violations it uncovered in the course of its investigation into Planned Parenthood’s trade in aborted baby remains. The investigation was initiated after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price of aborted baby remains.

Committee Chairman Marsha Blackburn notified HHS officials that it had obtained evidence that for over a five-year period, two Planned Parenthood organizations and a third abortion facility violated HIPAA privacy laws by allowing employees of the organ procurement company StemExpress to access private patient records that clearly identified women by name and birth date.

The abortion businesses at issue are all located in California. They include:

Each patient record shared constitutes a separate violation of HIPAA, noted Blackburn.

Concerns were also expressed that coercion may have been involved in obtaining consents from vulnerable pregnant women for the donation of their aborted babies’ remains. Each StemExpress procurement technician received a bonus for every organ or other body part obtained. In addition, technicians were instructed to inform women that the remains would be used to cure various diseases, (for which, in some cases, researchers are not actually using fetal remains), as a means of persuading women to consent.

The second letter focused on evidence that StemExpress violated regulations by “fraudulently using invalid consent forms, and misleading customers to believe it had valid Institutional Review Board (‘IRB’) approval.”

“The so-called IRB used by StemExpress appeared to be phony as a three-dollar bill,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, who served as a founding board member for the Center for Medical Progress. “This gave Planned Parenthood and StemExpress’ body parts business an illusion of legitimacy that it did not possess.”

The Select Panel is asking the HHS to conduct additional investigation into these offenses and take “all appropriate actions” if it agrees violations occurred.

Nearly 80 pages of documentation accompanied the letters to support the Select Panel’s conclusions that Planned Parenthood and StemExpress broke the law.

“The Select Panel has provided irrefutable evidence that Planned Parenthood violated the privacy of patients and that StemExpress fraudulently portrayed its organ procurement as legitimate,” said Newman. “The Panel’s investigation confirms what the Center for Medical Progress videos showed; that this was nothing but a scheme to exploit women and their babies for financial gain,” said Newman.

Read Blackburn’s Letters:

Humanitarian Disaster Institute to Host 4th Annual Disaster Ministry Conference

WHEATON, Ill., June 1, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) will host the 4th annual Disaster Ministry Conference at the Meyer Science Center on the campus of Wheaton College on June 7-10, 2016.

“The purpose of our conference is to equip church and lay leaders to lead their congregations in preparing for disasters and in serving those affected, as well as to foster collaboration between churches and other organizations,” said Dr. Jamie Aten, HDI’s founder and co-director, Dr. Arthur P. Rech and Mrs. Jean May Rech Associate Professor of Psychology, at Wheaton College.

The event will feature global leaders in the fields of disaster ministry, emergency management, humanitarian aid, public health and mental health. “Caring for the Vulnerable” is this year’s theme. In alignment with the theme, topics to be addressed will include discussions on refugee care, meeting the unique needs of people with disabilities and of children during and following disasters and more.

“Disasters are unrelenting in this fallen world-whether it’s tsunamis, hurricanes or active shooters, there always seems to be something that calls for a response from the people of God. HDI has become a global leader in helping the church respond to humanitarian disasters of all kinds,” said Dr. Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College.

Bishop Efraim Tendero, secretary general/CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, will be the keynote speaker this year. “This conference is vital to help the church understand how it can better be the hands and feet of Jesus in a disaster,” he said. “I look forward to sharing my heart with attendees and know that God is going to use the vital information that both I and my fellow conference speakers have to share in order to help ministries wrap their heads around what it takes to minister to their communities after a disaster.”

With a special focus on the current refugee crisis as a result of the atrocities taking place in the Middle East, the conference will also offer several breakout sessions, a workshop, and a special event/panel on the Church and the Refugee Crisis led by Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research and well-known speaker, author and radio show personality.

Featured speakers also include the following experts: Sheryl Haw, international director for Micah Global; Kent Annan, author of Slow Kingdom Coming and co-director and co-founder of Haiti Partners; Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, health psychologist and owner/editor-in-chief of Praeclarus Press; Hugh Heinrichsen, Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Redeemer’s Fellowship who will be talking about his church’s response to the Umpqua Community College mass shooting and Rev. David Myers, director of the Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“With expertise from speakers on topics critical to providing care for the vulnerable, participants will gain new knowledge, skills and networks for effectively leading their congregations in developing disaster ministries and becoming more resilient,” said Dr. Aten.

For a full list of speakers and the conference schedule visit: www.disasterministryconference.com. Continuing education credits are available for  mental healthprofessionals.*

HDI is the first social science research center in the country devoted to the study of faith and disasters. More information about the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is available at wheaton.edu/HDI.

*Wheaton College has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4597. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Wheaton College is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

NOM President Brian Brown Takes on Additional Role, Elected President of World Congress of Families

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Taking on an additional role as a leader in the pro-family movement, Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), has been elected president of the World Congress of Families (WCF). Brown was elected at the recent World Congress of Families X conference in Tbilisi, Georgia. He will continue to serve as president of NOM.

“I am honored that the Board of the World Congress of Families has elected me to serve as its president, and I look forward to continuing to work to advance the pro-family movement in the US and around the world,” Brown said. “Preserving and promoting the natural family as the core institution of society is an essential task if we are to build strong, stable, healthy communities.”

The World Congress of Families (WCF) is anchored in truths enshrined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (article 18), and that, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” (article 16(3)). WCF focuses on providing that protection to which the natural family is entitled, while also protecting the right to freedom of conscience and religion. WCF upholds the rule of law, condemns violence, and respects the dignity and rights of all.

“In recent years, secular leaders around the world have become obsessed with advancing so-called ‘alternative’ family structures. But there is no family structure more valuable and important to children and civilization as a whole than that of a married father and mother raising the children born of their union in an intact and loving family,” Brown said. “The natural family produces the best outcomes for society – promoting child health and well-being, encouraging marital happiness, enhancing economic prosperity, reducing delinquency and criminality, enhancing educational attainment, promoting spiritual growth, and securing liberty and human dignity. I look forward to contributing to WCF’s work to develop and advance pro-family policies around the world.”

The mission of the World Congress of Families is to help secure the foundations of society by uniting and empowering leaders worldwide to respect, protect, and defend:

  • the natural family founded on marriage between a man and a woman;
  • parental rights and the welfare of children, including their need for both a mother and a father;
  • the dignity and sanctity of all human life from conception; and
  • freedom of speech, religion, and conscience in an atmosphere of respect for all.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains Enter Fort McMurray, Prepare for Return of Residents into Fire-Devastated Community

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 27, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have deployed to fire-ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, and are ministering to first responders and utility workers as they endeavor to restore critical functions in the city.

The chaplains will maintain a presence in Fort McMurray as residents begin returning to the area on June 1. Many will be seeing what is left of their homes for the first time since hastily evacuating in the face of the enormous wildfire in early May.

It is reported that the fire has now burned more than 566,000 hectares (more than 1.4 million acres) across the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Jack Munday, the international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, said, “The devastation caused by the Fort McMurray fire has resulted in more suffering than we can imagine. As the residents return, we need to pray for God’s hope and comfort as they face intense grief in their loss.”

Munday continued, “Our chaplains have been in the area for several days. We will continue to be there to offer emotional and spiritual care to those who have been working long, brutal days to get the city back up and running, and for those who are returning home to find that their whole world has changed.”

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains from Canada and the United States are partnering in the effort. The group has deployed in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian disaster relief organization also headed by Franklin Graham. Together the two ministries will address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected.

In addition to the work in Fort McMurray, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team currently has chaplains in Ecuador (earthquake) and West Monroe, La. (flooding). They recently completed ministry efforts in the Houston, Texas, area (flooding).

For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. Updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/RRTChaplains.

About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 215 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes. 

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