Christians in Nigeria reportedly celebrated Christmas in good numbers despite the constant threats of attacks, including suicide bombings, by terror group Boko Haram, which has destroyed churches and slaughtered entire congregations throughout the years. Many who celebrated the holiday at churches are internally displaced people, who no longer have any homes to go to.
Fr. Gideon Obasogie, director of communications of the Diocese of Maiduguri, told Fides News Agency that despite fears of terrorist attacks, "the Catholic faithful went to Christmas Mass, majority of whom are IDPs from the Adamawa part of the diocese (Pulka, Madagali, Gulak, MichiKa, Mubi), to express their faith in an eloquent manner."
Boko Haram has been attacking Nigerian government and church buildings for over five years now, often targeting the country's Christians who make up close to half of the population. The militants have made it their mission to establish Islamic law over the nation, and drive out all followers of Christ. more >>
Saddleback Church's Pastor Rick Warren is scheduled to give the congregation at the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, hosted at a dozen regional locations, its last sermon via video this Sunday, as the megachurch, founded and once led by Pastor Mark Driscoll, officially dissolves.
"As we reflect on over eighteen years of ministry, and ultimately close the doors on Mars Hill Church, we are thankful that many of our churches will continue as new independent, autonomous churches," officials stated Tuesday on the church's website. "While Mars Hill Church will cease to exist, God's work through his people will continue."
As Mars Hill staff were busy closing the final chapter on the church that once rocked the Seattle area and beyond with its edgy, strict orthodox preacher who had his share of leadership problems that led to his resignation in October, there were no official reaction statements coming from the church other than an announcement on its website. Both Driscoll and Warren declined to comment, according to their respective media representatives at press time. more >>
A topless abortion activist with the words "God is Woman" written across her bare chest was arrested in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Thursday, after rushing the nativity scene and attempting to flee with a baby Jesus figurine.
Iana Zhdanova of FEMEN, a radical feminist organization from Ukraine that's based in Paris, stunned onlookers in Rome on Christmas Day when she stormed the nativity display wearing only jeans and sneakers. Video footage of the incident shows the blonde-haired activist proudly raising baby Jesus above her head and screaming an inaudible message to horrified onlookers before being apprehended by Vatican police.
The protest came shortly after Pope Francis unveiled the nativity while marking Christmas with a late-night mass in St Peter's Basilica. more >>
More than 12,000 bags of cookies along with a note and voucher for free hot meals at a local eatery were given to residents and workers on Christmas Eve near the four locations of the New Jersey-based Liquid Church. The gift bags were distributed by more than 5,000 people who attended one of 12 services at the church in what was called a "spiritual flash mob."
"It's exciting to see the enthusiasm to go out and share God's love after each service," said Liquid Church Pastor Tim Lucas. "And we just heard from some police officers in Times Square sharing that they just received a bag from a Liquid Church family. It made their day to know that they matter, especially on a day like today. Now that's what we call putting our faith into action."
Those who attended Christmas Eve services at Liquid Church throughout the day were given the bags of cookies and vouchers with instructions from Lucas to "fan out" and show God's love after the services. more >>
Christmas is a time often associated with trees, Santa Claus, mangers, family gatherings, television specials, and the opening of presents. But according to a very successful technological Christian ministry, the season for giving may also be the season for Bible reading.
Bobby Gruenewald, the pastor who was the mastermind behind the YouVersion Bible App, told The Christian Post that during December the rate of Bible App usage increases.
"Our data gives us insight into people's interaction with the Bible around the world: installs of the app, chapters read, bookmarks and highlights created, verses shared, and more," said Gruenewald. more >>
Rafael Ramos was one of the two NYPD officers murdered on Saturday, and he's remembered for his commitment to his church as well as his passion for ministry.
Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu, were executed by a lone gunman who later took his own life. Ramos, 40, dreamed of being a chaplain and was hours away from graduating from the New York State Chaplain Task Force when he was killed. The pastor of Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens, New York, where Ramos was a member, issued a statement remembering the fallen officer's service.
"Ralph Ramos was a long-standing member of 14 years at Christ Tabernacle. When he was not working, he was highly involved in our church. He served as an usher, was part of our marriage ministry and life group ministry. He and his family are well loved throughout the congregation," said Rev. Adam Durso who serves as executive pastor at Christ Tabernacle Church. more >>