Category Archives: Christians in Action

Sister Norma, Recognized By Pope Francis, Visits The Bay Area April 15-18

Sister Norma Pimentel recognized by Pope Francis.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — During his 2015 U.S. visit, Pope Francis met with and acknowledged Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, for the ongoing humanitarian aid she provides to refugees and immigrants on the TexasMexico border. This April, Catholic Charities will welcome Sister Norma to San Francisco and present her with the 2016 Loaves & Fishes Award for Faith in Action at the 19th Annual Loaves & Fishes Dinner & Gala on Saturday, April 16, from 6:00 – 9:30pm, at the St. Regis Hotel. To date, Sister Norma’s Crisis Relief Center has assisted over 32,000 refugees and immigrants.

“I am touched to be honored by Catholic Charities,” said Sister Norma. “Many individuals we serve are fleeing horrific violence. Catholic Charities is working to restore human dignity.”

According to DHS U.S. Customs and Border Protection, from October 2015February 2016, 23,553 unaccompanied minors crossed the U.S. border in search for a better life. Most are fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

At the Loaves & Fishes Dinner & Gala, Thuy Vu of KQED, a Vietnamese refugee, will be the Master of Ceremonies and will interview Sister Norma. This year’s event will recognize supporters for their vital role in providing funds to benefit Catholic Charities services to refugees and immigrants throughout San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.

“We are thrilled to have Sister Norma in San Francisco and to honor her for the important work she provides to refugees,” said Jeff Bialik, Catholic Charities Executive Director. “This year we hope to shed light on this vulnerable population.”

One individual who received services from Catholic Charities is Rafael Lopez, a young man who traveled alone from El Salvador to the United States at the age of 17.

“I feared for my life every day because of gang violence,” said Lopez. “My only option was to flee. Once in California, I feared being deported. If I returned to El Salvador, I would be killed. Catholic Charities restored my hope and helped me gain legal status. I’m safe now and I have a shot at life.”

Last year, Catholic Charities provided aid and services to more than 8,000 refugees and immigrants through weekly immigration workshops, legal support, counseling support, shelter assistance, housing, childcare, and youth development. The Bay Area is home to thousands of refugees and immigrants who desperately depend on these vital services.

Catholic Charities’ mission is to strengthen families and reduce poverty. Founded in 1907 and rooted in their faith traditions of charity and justice, Catholic Charities supports families, aging and disabled adults, and youth through social services and opportunities for healthy growth and development regardless of age, race, color, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status or socioeconomic status. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our website.

Digital Bible Society – Spreading the Word of God in Every Language…with the Speed of Digital

HOUSTON, Feb. 18, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Digital Bible Society doesn’t plan to stop until the whole world knows — sharing the good news, that is.

Photo: Founder Ken Bitgood

Ken Bitgood, the CEO and founder of Digital Bible Society, and his team have a vision for every person in the world to have the word of God in their hearts and in mobile devices of their choice before the year 2020.

With headquarters in Conroe, Texas, (30 miles north of Houston), DBS is a clearinghouse for digital resources for missionaries and mission organizations, pastors and churches, and individuals who are seeking to distribute Christian, biblical content in different languages, using tiny chips called a Micro SD chip.

“DBS is a Bible society for the 21st century,” said Carl Dobrowolski, DBS director for publisher relations & rights, based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Very few are doing what DBS is doing, and that is distributing biblical resources for our brothers and sisters in closed countries and where the Word of God has not been given full course.”

Along with DBS, other missions-minded ministries make up a Digital Bible Alliance who have freely committed to giving material in numerous languages to the libraries of DBS, such as Bible League of Canada, Open Doors International and The Voice of the Martyrs.

With proper compression, DBS can add not only dozens of Bibles and reference books, but hundreds of hours of video and thousands of hours of audio to a single chip, according to Ken Bitgood.

“Ken is the Christian Steve Jobs,” Dobrowolski said. “He has the same mesmerizing ability, but not to bring attention to himself, but to marshal the distribution of digital content for the good of the church and to glory of God. He, along with DBS, is a leader in the exciting digital frontier.”

DBS distributes thousands of high-quality packages to missionaries working in countries that are closed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It also is successfully leveraging the power of digital to provide multiple translations and biblical resources, including the New International Version® (NIV®), on its website Inscript.org and will deliver DBS branded Bible apps, opening up an additional channel to further its mission.

“Our team strives together to make digital libraries available for those who otherwise would never have a Bible in their own language,” Bitgood said.

In many closed-access countries, Christians are tortured, imprisoned and murdered.

“Possessing a Bible, saying the words God or Jesus and meeting together are all offenses punishable by death,” Bitgood said. “Missionaries are encouraged to pass on packages to anyone they know working with the people group in the region. The interesting thing about this chip is that it is not only easy to carry, but that it has the capacity to hold more than 50 times more material than a CD disk.”

Since January 2013, DBS has assisted in the creation and distribution of hundreds of millions of digital Bible and Christian resources in over 450,000 digital libraries that can be copied.

“These digital libraries have been delivered to those who need them most and many of them are being copied at a rate that only Heaven knows,” Bitgood said.

With the new headquarters planning a grand opening in March, Bitgood’s vision is becoming even more real.

“I’m ready to let everyone know we’re here,” Bitgood said.

To learn more about Digital Bible Society, visit www.dbs.org

Fellowship of Christian Athletes Presents Coach of the Year, Athlete of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Honors.

By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder and Editor FaithINspires.Org

(Kansas City) This morning at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, http://www.fca.org) Breakfast at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention in Louisville, Ky., FCA honored Clemson University Head Coach Dabo Swinney as the recipient of the 2014 Grant Teaff Coach of the Year Award and longtime college coach Art Baker with the 2014 Grant Teaff Lifetime Achievement Award.  Just a day earler at the College Championship Breakfast FCA presented the 2014 Seminole Tribe of Florida Bobby Bowden Student Athlete of the Year Award to Bryce Petty of Baylor University.

“This morning, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes honored two coaching greats who have not only put many W’s in the win column, but also impacted countless players during their careers,” said Les Steckel, President and CEO of FCA. “We congratulate Clemson University Head Coach Dabo Swinney and longtime coaching great Art Baker for their many, many contributions to college football.”
Former FCA President Dal Shealy, who remains involved in football ministry, said of Baker: “Art has been involved in FCA for almost 60 years and has been one of the most faithful and committed Christian coaching men I have ever known. He has been an outstanding coach at each football game in which he has served, both as an assistant and as a head coach.”
Of Swinney, Shealy added: “Dabo is a man who teaches and coaches with character. He is a family man and a player’s coach, and he stands tall for Christ in everything he does.”
Named after Grant Teaff, former Baylor University coach, AFCA executive director and Trustee Emeritus of the FCA Board of Trustees, the Coach of the Year Award presented by FCA recognizes a football coach who exemplifies Christian principles and who is involved in FCA. The award is also based on the success and performance of the coach’s team that season. Previous winners include Tommy Bowden, Tommy Tuberville and Jerry Kill.
The Grant Teaff Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a coach who has committed his life to being a Christian influence in the lives of student-athletes. Previous winners include Jimmie Keeling, Fisher DeBerry, Jerry Moore, Mel Tjeerdsma, Houston Nutt, Tony Dungy and Ken Sparks.
Dabo Swinney, at Clemson for just seven years as head coach, is making progress toward joining the university’s coaching legends of the past. In 2014, he led the Tigers to a 10-3 record, along with a win over Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Over the past several seasons, Clemson has earned two top-10 rankings in the USA Today poll. From 2011-13, Clemson had a 32-8 record, the most wins in a three-year period in school history. Swinney has also led the Tigers to two ACC Championship games, winning one, and has won or shared three ACC Atlantic Division titles.
Swinney has been a four-time finalist for the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year Award, which evaluates coaching performances in terms of coaching excellence, sportsmanship, integrity, academic excellence and community commitment. In 2013, he was also one of 16 semifinalists for the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year Award for the second year in a row. Swinney was also named the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year in 2011, as well as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year awards.
Swinney is active in his community through his foundation, which made the first contribution to the cancer fund established for former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich. Many schools followed his lead.
The 1993 Alabama graduate and wide receiver on Alabama’s 1992 National Championship team first joined the Clemson staff prior to the 2003 season, and has a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the nation. In 2006, he was listed as the No. 5 recruiter in the nation by Rivals.com and signed 38 players in his five recruiting seasons as an assistant coach.

Longtime coaching great Art Baker is a former head coach for Furman (1973-1977), The Citadel (1978-1982) and East Carolina (1985-1988). He is a 1953 graduate of Presbyterian College, where he also played football and served as an assistant coach.
Baker served as an assistant coach for Frank Howard at Clemson University from 1965-1969, at Texas Tech from 1970-1972, when he succeeded Bob King at Furman, and for Bobby Bowden at Florida State in 1984. As a head coach at Furman, Baker hired assistant coaches Dick Sheridan, Jimmy Satterfield and Bobby Johnson, who all later became Furman head coaches.
Baker closed out his career on June 30, 1995, when he retired after six years as Associate Athletics Director for Development and Gamecock Club Director at the University of South Carolina.
The Florida Bobby Bowden Student Athlete of the Year Award was presented the day before at the College Championship Breakfast the at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas.
The 2014 recipient is Bryce Petty, quarterback for Baylor University and a Midlothian, Texas, native. Petty was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Manning Award, the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and the Big 12 Player of the Year. He completed 36 of 51 passes for 550 yards at the very close 42-41 loss to Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
Bobby Bowden, former longtime head coach at Florida State University, was the featured speaker at the awards breakfast. Bowden amassed a career head coaching record of 410-141-1 and is the winningest coach in major college football. FCA President and CEO Les Steckel also gave brief remarks at the breakfast.
“Sunday’s Bobby Bowden Awards Breakfast was a celebration of student-athletes across the nation, many of whom will go on to become professional men and women, parents and community leaders,” Steckel said. “We congratulate Bryce for his stellar season, his leadership on and off the field and his academic achievements.”
Speaking to Baylor of the award, Petty said, “This is meaningful for me for two reasons. First it’s an award about Christ, and to me that’s the ultimate prize anyway – when we talk about success, it needs to be credited to the One who has enabled us to have success.
“Second, the platform we have as football players is not to be taken for granted. Too often, players think it’s just about them and get too caught up in thinking that all have the same opportunity and that’s not true. We’ve been given a great opportunity – we need to keep it in perspective – it’s not just about wins on the field, it’s as much about off the field accomplishments.”
The other two finalists for the award were:
Mark Murphy, safety for Indiana University and an Akron, Ohio, native who started 42 of his 47 career games. He recorded 279 tackles and two interception touchdown returns in 2014 and became the third Hoosier to collect Capital One Academic All-America honors twice. This season, he also earned the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award, and was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, the AFCA Good Works Team and the Wuerffel Trophy.

Deterrian “D.T.” Shackelford, linebacker for Ole Miss and a Decatur, Ala., native who was named to the preseason watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy for the second straight year and became the first ever two-time recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award. He was also the Wuerffel Trophy winner, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain and earned Capital One Academic All-District VI honors.
The Bobby Bowden Award recognizes the Football Bowl Subdivision player who epitomizes a student-athlete. He must conduct himself as an exemplary model in the classroom, on the field, on campus and in the community.
The award, sponsored by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, was conceived by Vince Gibson, a former Bowden assistant at South Georgia College who went on to become head coach at Kansas State, Louisville and Tulane before he passed away in 2012 from Lou Gehrig’s disease; and Vernon Brinson, one of Bowden’s former players at South Georgia College in the 1950s.
Past winners of the Bobby Bowden Award have included: Jason Wright, Northwestern University (2003); Billy Bajema, Oklahoma State University (2004); D.J. Shockley, University of Georgia (2005); Carl Pendleton, University of Oklahoma (2006); Jacob Tamme, University of Kentucky (2007); Stephen McGee, Texas A&M (2008); Colt McCoy, University of Texas (2009); Christian Ponder, Florida State University (2010); Case Keenum, University of Houston (2011); Ashton Richardson, Auburn University (2012); and Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (2013).

Fellowship of Christian Athletes Celebrates 60 Years of Touching Lives

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 19, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Sixty years ago, a young basketball coach, Don McClanen, wondered why athletes endorsed products like shaving cream and cigarettes, but not a Christian lifestyle. That insight became the backbone for one of the largest organizations in the world that serves athletes and coaches, all while bringing glory to Jesus Christ.

Now, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org), founded by McClanen in 1954, is celebrating six decades of touching lives—one heart at a time.

“To look back over 60 years and realize the athletes and coaches who have been shaped by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is remarkable,” said Les Steckel, FCA President and CEO. “We are so thankful for all who have helped FCA grow to where it is today and have encouraged young athletes to lead lives that are dedicated to Christ, both on and off the playing field. Athletics offers continual opportunity either to portray Christ or to elevate the world’s standards. By choosing to honor Christ, players and coaches impact not only their own teams but also all who interact with them, look up to them and even oppose them on the playing fields.”

The first FCA National Conference was held in 1956 in Estes Park, Colo.—a precursor to today’s FCA Camps, which are a staple of FCA’s ministry, growing to 516 camps in 40 states and 33 countries with an attendance of 86,557 in 2014. This past summer, 10,137 campers made a first-time commitment to Christ, and 9,642 more rededicated their lives to Him.

Building on the words of Billy Graham, who said, “A coach will influence more people in a year than most people will in a lifetime,” FCA focuses on reaching coaches as well as athletes.

According to the FCA web site, “For 60 years, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has never stopped moving, never stopped growing. Whether it existed only in the form of a dream and stack of old magazine articles in a basketball coach’s dresser drawer, or in the very real possibility of reaching every corner of the earth, the vision remains the same: to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.”

For more information about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit www.fca.org.

Former Virginia Lt. Governor Nominee Launches National Movement to Protect Rights of Christians

NORFOLK, Va., Oct. 15, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Bishop E.W. Jackson, Harvard educated Attorney, Minister and last year’s Virginia Republican Nominee for Lt. Governor has launched a national movement to protect Christians from “growing hostility, discrimination and anti-Christian bigotry.” He has produced a video addressing the issue: youtu.be/oIl2O9SzzoA.

As a first step, today Jackson officially launched the UNITY PETITION FOR RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL RIGHTS. This effort is inspired by increasing concern that pastors, churches and Christians who believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman, face violations of their First Amendment rights.

He points to incidents involving Christian business owners who ended up in court and in the national news because they refused to participate or provide service for same sex ceremonies. Elane Photography of New Mexico was ordered to pay $7000 in legal fees to two lesbians who sued to force them to photograph their gay ceremony. Says the Bishop, “The First Amendment rights of Christian citizens are being trampled to validate same sex relationships. The subpoena of Pastors’ sermons by the gay Mayor of Houston this week is just another example of the gross violations of Christians’ Constitutional Rights.”

The fight to protect marriage is unifying Christians in “an unprecedented way,” says the Bishop. “The Unity Petition is gaining support in Catholic and protestant communities and bringing together traditional black Pastors, Hispanics and evangelicals.”

Every signer is asked to take the “Pledge to Vote.” Christians are being urged to vote for candidates who uphold traditional marriage, the sanctity of life, the First Amendment right of religious conscience and “the Judeo-Christian values which are the foundation of our nation.”

The effort is being sponsored by STAND, and supported by a Coalition of organizations called “Christians Vote.” The petitions will be presented to the new Congress as a message that Christian voters have had enough and expect their rights to be protected.

Dallas Area Christians to Stand Up in Support of Christians Persecuted in Iraq

DALLAS, Sept. 4, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Christians in North Texas will gather on Sunday September 14th at Dallas City Hall Plaza; at 4:30 pm, for a rally to show their support for humanitarian relief for persecuted Christians in Iraq and other Muslim nations.  A press conference will be held prior to the rally on Wednesday, September 10.

Press Conference Details:

WHEN: Wednesday September 10, 2014 at 10:00 am

WHERE: Fair Park Bible Fellowship 1321 Rowan Ave. Dallas, Texas 75115

The media is invited to attend and receive additional information about the concerns of the Christian community on this important issue.

Event Details:

WHEN: September 14, 2014 at 4:30pm.

WHERE: In front of Dallas City Hall 1500 Marilla Street Dallas, TX.

The deliberate targeting and persecution of Christians by ISIS in Iraq, as well as the blatant attacks on Christian communities throughout the Middle East has caused great concern and offense within the Christian communities of Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding counties. In Iraq, many Christians are fleeing their homes and cities to escape the brutal jihad against Christians at the hands of ISIS. Many are now refugees in need of humanitarian aid. As confirmed by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity and the Vatican, 100,000 Christians are murdered every year because of their faith. Open Doors Ministry has stated that 9 out of 10 countries cited for the worst atrocities against Christians are Muslim.

Iraqi born Pastor Jalil Dawood of the Arabic Church of Dallas and Pastor Stephen Broden of the Fair Park Bible Fellowship will be featured speakers at the rally. In addition, other notable speakers and pastors will be present.

For more information: Contact: Pastor Stephen E. Broden 214-394-0098 Facebook: DFW Rally of Support for Persecuted Christians www.facebook.com/DFWrallyforpersecutedChristians

100 Detroit City Blocks to be Restored this Month

Metro-area church joins national nonprofit in the effort to beautify one of Detroit’s west central neighborhoods

PLYMOUTH, Mich., Aug. 7, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — More than 10,000 of the expected 20,000 volunteers are signed up for a great restoration project happening this month in the city of Detroit. Among the ranks will be NorthRidge Church of Plymouth, Mich.  On their website Life Remodeled describes theirs goals this way, ” Our strategy includes remodeling a Detroit Public School each summer in order to create academic and athletic improvements. Additionally, we believe that if we partner with the local residents to remove blight in the surrounding area and create safe and inspirational pathways to the school, we will help to sustain and build up a neighborhood that radiates hope to the rest of the city!”

Life Remodeled, a nonprofit organization devoted to “remodeling lives — one neighborhood at a time,” will focus their 2014 efforts on Cody High School and the surrounding Detroit area neighborhoods during the week of August 11-17. NorthRidge Church volunteers will provide and serve the food for all volunteers during the six-day event, as well as participate in general areas. The church plans to have 900 volunteers dedicated to food efforts alone.

“We love the idea of NorthRidge attenders serving the Detroit community, and Life Remodeled is helping make this more possible,” said Michael Miller, Director of Stewardship and Outreach for NorthRidge Church. “Our hope is to see something sustainable come from this; we want to see our spiritual influence continue well beyond just this week.”

With its main location at 49555 N. Territorial Road in Plymouth, Michigan, NorthRidge Church is a non-denominational ministry that serves approximately 20,000 southeastern Michigan residents. Senior Pastor Brad Powell has led the congregation for the past 24 years. NorthRidge offers six services each weekend; four at the Plymouth location and one at each of their satellite locations. For more information, visit NorthRidgeChurch.com.