Thursday, October 11, 2007

10 October 2007


They Closed the Wrong Church
[2] Inverness Provost Tells God To Keep His Distance
[3] Count Down to Calvin's 500th Anniversary Begins
[4] Courts Back Abduction of Christian Girls
[5] Calvary Protestant Reformed Church Organizes in Hull
[6] School District Ends Discrimination Against Christian Club
[7] Departing Congregation Picks PCA Over EPC
[8] Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film Come to Princeton Seminary
[9] Reformed Wing of UCC Aserts Itself
[10] Visit the Reformed Pulpit on the Internet

They Closed the Wrong Church

At least the people of Govan Old Parish think the Church of Scotland closed the wrong church. The congregation occupying one of Scotland’s oldest religious sites is part of a three-church merger brought on by lack of resources in the national church.

Under the merger, parishioners at Govan Old and Linthouse St. Kenneth's churches will worship in Govan New Church. According to published reports, Govan Old Parish Church contains 31 highly decorated sculptured stones dating from the 9th and 10th Centuries, as well as an ancient stone sarcophagus.

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN UK

Inverness Provost Tells God To Keep His Distance

Bob Wynd, Provost of the Highland Council, has informed the Presbytery of Inverness that there will be no more Kirking of the Council and the Church of Scotland has told him it is not his decision to make. Since 1602, the people of Inverness have consistently invited civil officials to appear in church and affirm their intention to serve God and the people.

According to published reports Wynd refused to read the Scripture lesson during this year’s ceremony and instead delivered a message on the need for “inclusivity.” When a firestorm of public protest erupted, Wynd announced the discontinuance of the affirmation during the remainder of his term 2011.

According to The Scotsman, Wynd defended himself saying, "My whole point was to improve the turnout at the event. Last year there was a group of seven present, three councillors and four officials."

Upon further reflection, Wynd reportedly continued, “It was always at the invitation of the church historically and traditionally when the council elections were held annually, and it tied in with that. But now the council elections are held every four years and the church continued to hold the Kirking annually. In line with history and tradition, I suggested that it once again tied in with the election of the council. But if they want to continue to send out invitations annually they can - that's fine."

+ Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 4YN UK

Count Down to Calvin's 500th Anniversary Begins

America’s Calvin Synod at its 2007 meeting invited American Reformed communities to join in celebrating the celebration of John Calvin’s 500th birthday in 2009. The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches is spearheading the celebration in Europe through sponsorship of a dedicated web site. <> provides a calendar and directions to celebrations and relevant educational materials for free download. Many churches will begin a two-year preparation with celebration of Reformation Day on 28 October.

+ Rev. Mr. Zsolt Otvos, General Secretary, Calvin Synod,365 E. Woodrow Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43207

+ World Alliance of Reformed Churches, 150 route de Ferney, PO Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Courts Back Abduction of Christian Girls

It has been more than a year since Allabe Kaku Chibok lost his three daughters because he became a Christian – paradoxically, he lost custody of them only after his ex-wife died. An Islamic court in the northern Nigerian state of Born granted custody to Chibok’s wife’s Muslim relatives after a chain of events that began in November 2004, when he allowed his daughters to attend the funeral service of their mother; she had divorced him when he left Islam.

The girls stayed for a week with Muslim relatives at his former wife’s house, but when Chibok arrived there to take them to school, he found that a retired female police officer, Hajiya Maryam Aliyu, had helped his ex-wife’s Muslim relatives abduct them. On 4 August 2006, Borno Upper Sharia Court I ruled that under Islamic law a non-Muslim father cannot be a custodian to his children if the mother of his children is Muslim – or, in this case, if the deceased mother’s relatives are Muslim.

Chibok, now 50, had kept custody of the children after Malama Botul Grema divorced him in 1996, and when she remarried in 2000 he had maintained custody of Zara, now 14, Fati, now 12, and 11-year-old Aisha. A member of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in the Gambaru area of Maiduguri, Chibok told the police commissioner that his efforts to rescue the girls had met with the blunt assertion that he was no longer capable of being their father because he had become a Christian.

+ Compass News Direct, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana, CA 92799-7250

Calvary Protestant Reformed Church Organizes in Hull

Hull, Iowa, will have a new Protestant Reformed Church on 11 October. Some 43 families, totally 150 people will transfer from the historic Hull Protestant Reformed Church to start the new congregation. Elections of elders and deacons will follow the formal meeting and the evening will close with the first consistory meeting.

+ Hull Protestant Reformed Church, 1006 Hayes Avenue, Hull, Iowa 51239

School District Ends Discrimination Against Christian Club

After Liberty Counsel issued a demand letter and threatened legal action, the Round Lake School District gave Child Evangelism Fellowship of Northeast Illinois permission to distribute flyers about its after-school Good New Clubs. Secular organizations such as Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts were allowed to distribute their flyers through the teachers, but CEF was only permitted to leave its flyers in the school office. The local CEF director tried to resolve the issue but the school district would not allow CEF equal treatment until receiving Liberty Counsel's demand letter.

Through the Good News Clubs, trained CEF leaders provide religious instruction and teach good citizenship and moral values to students in public elementary schools. Good News Clubs are only one ministry of CEF, which operates many different programs in 158 countries.

Liberty Counsel has partnered with Child Evangelism Fellowship to help the organization establish after-school Good News Clubs in every school district in the nation.

+ Liberty Counsel, PO Box 540774, Orlando, FL 32854 (800) 671-1776

Departing Congregation Picks PCA Over EPC

The Riverside Presbyterian Church in Linn Grove voted 74-0 to secede from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Presbyterian Church in America organization. That decision bucks a trend; most of the congregations departing the fragile PC(USA) are leaving for the provisional New Wineskins Presbytery or moving directly to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

In some cases the PC(USA) presbytery sets terms for withdrawal directing the group to which a congregation may move or setting a fee to avoid court action. This time the denomination went directly to the court with claims on the property.

+ Presbytery of Prospect Hill, 318 E 5th St, Box 1405 Storm Lake, IA 50588

Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film Come to Princeton Seminary

Jeffrey Stout, professor of religion at Princeton University and president of the American Academy of Religion, is delivering the Stone Lectures at Princeton Seminary in a series of five lectures and five film screenings which began 24 September and will continue through November.

The series is titled “A Light That Shines in the Darkness: Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film,” and includes screenings of films by Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Lars von Trier, Yasujiro Ozu, Nathaniel Dorsky, Stan Brakhage, and two rarely seen films by the late avant-garde filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos: his six-minute, 16mm 1968 film Bliss, and a 30-minute preview excerpt from his 16mm eighty-hour masterwork Eniaios, scheduled to premiere in June 2008 in Greece.

Stout who earned his Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University and joined the faculty there in 1975 is author of Democracy and Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2005), Ethics after Babel (Princeton University Press, 2001), and The Flight from Authority (Notre Dame, 1981). Ethics after Babel won the award for excellence from the American Academy of Religion in 1989.

Stout’s essays and reviews have appeared in such journals as Ethics, The Monist, New Literary History, Soundings, The Journal of Religion, Religious Studies, and The Journal of Religious Ethics.

+ Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08542

Reformed Wing of UCC Aserts Itself exists to remember, celebrate, and build upon the foundation of the Reformation Roots of the United Church of Christ. The First Issue of is online at Articles include: 1) Reformation Day: That Most Protestant Of Holidays; 2) Jonathan Edwards And Me; 3) "Shrimp Anyone?" That Mainline Red Herring About The Bible; 4) Jesse Remington High School: Rebuilding Christian World View In The Mainline. Reviews include: 1) Pilgrim Press Titles Of Interest To Reformation Studies; 2) Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe In Christ.

+ Rev. Chuck Huckaby, First Presbyterian Church, 252 Admiral Circle, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee 38464

Visit the Reformed Pulpit on the Internet

The President of the Christian Observer Foundation which produces Presbyterians-Week serves a suburban Washington congregation. Dr. Elliott’s sermons have been distributed in outline form over the Internet for many years. Interested Observers can now hear the actual sermons in MP3 format by downloading them from the web page of Reformed Presbyterian Church in Manassas, Viginia.

+ Reformed Presbyterian Church, 9400 Fairview Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110