SIM appoints first African international director 06.18.2013
Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko is the newest international director of SIM (Serving In Mission), a Canadian-founded mission agency now with international headquarters in South Carolina.
Bogunjoko's appointment as the first African international director is considered something of a historic occasion, as SIM missionaries helped plant the six million-strong ECWA Church in Nigeria, to which Bogunjoko belongs.
Canada has also played a large role in Bogunjoko's journey.
Long before SIM was as global an organization as it is today, currently with close to 2,000 missionaries serving in more than 65 countries, SIM Canada supported Bogunjoko and his wife as Nigerian missionaries being sent to the French speaking country of Niger.
Bogunjoko will head SIM for a five-year term.
"My hope is that I will be able to work with people in such a way that they can maximize their giftings, whatever I can do to encourage them so that they in turn can be all that the Lord has created and called them to be. That would be the greatest joy in this role," he says.
"SIM is a global organization now. That in itself is a privilege that the Lord has given SIM as an organization, to serve the Church globally. It used to be that SIM was predominantly a western mission organization with western missionaries working to reach others in the world. My story was a clear demonstration of that, the fact that in the beginning I couldn't join SIM in Africa, but joined through Canada."
The Word Awards recognizes Christian book on sex 06.17.2013
MISSISSAUGA, ONAuthor Sheila Wray Gregoire walked away from the Word Awards, an annual event celebrating Canadian Christian writers and editors, with $5000 and the prestigious Grace Irwin Prize on June 12.
Gregoire's book, The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex (Zondervan), was written for married Christian women, though the head judge for the award, Ray Wiseman, said it was "a must-read for all married persons and those planning marriage. Well done, Sheila, for daring to write a 'how-to' book that ministers to a crying need in the church."
"Do you know how strange it is to be the Christian sex lady?" laughed Gregoire as she accepted the prize--Canada's largest literary award for Christian writers.
This year, 285 entries competed for the awards. Winners also included Steve Bell for the Word Award for best lyrics, Jayne E. Self for best suspense novel, and Jordan Hageman for best blog series.
Guests at the event and other writers from across Canada are looking forward to meeting in Guelph for the annual Write! Canada conference, held June 13-15 this year. Write! Canada is the largest conference for Christian writers in the country. (www.thewordguild.com)
Waging Peace documentary comments on Muslim and Christian peacebuilding 06.13.2013
WATERLOO, ONNBC-TV is set to re-air a one-hour documentary, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives, on June 23.
The documentary, produced by MennoMedia, will show throughout the summer and through to November on various NBC TV stations. The program is intended to encourage relationship building.
"I believe we're at a global crossroads where young professionals will lead us into a new generation, or two or three, of peace and understanding," says J.E. Rash, president of Legacy International, in the documentary.
Other people who appear in the documentary include David W. Shenk, author of A Muslim and Christian in Dialogue; Peggy Gish, Church of the Brethren peace and social justice activist; Sam Rasouli, director of Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq; and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California.
The program originally aired in the fall of 2011 and received many positive responses. A list of stations planning to air the program this year can be found at www.interfaithbroadcasting.com.
For more information, visit www.store.mennomedia.org or www.wagingpeacealternatives.com. (MennoMedia)
NGOs recognize Canada's plan to combat human trafficking 06.06.2013
OTTAWA, ONOn the first anniversary of Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, NGOs are voicing their commitment to the issue.
The Action Coalition on Human Trafficking Alberta, the Alliance Against Modern Slavery, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, International Justice Mission Canada, The Salvation Army, World Vision, Beyond Borders, Not For Sale Canada, and other NGOs originally submitted recommendations for inclusion in the plan before its launch on June 6, 2012.
"Canada should play an active role in protecting children in developing countries from being trafficked into forced labour," says Elly Vandenberg, World Vision's senior director of policy and advocacy. "We would also like to see the Government of Canada work with businesses to provide greater transparency on international supply chains."
The Salvation Army's director of federal government relations, Michael Maidment, says, "The introduction of a national action plan was an important step in the fight against this terrible crime.
"We need to educate Canadians about the problem and ensure that law enforcement officials have the resources needed to pursue those who commit these crimes."
Karlee Sapoznik, the Alliance Against Modern Slavery's president, comments that we need more research on the victims and trends of human trafficking involving Canada to better address the issue.
These organizations anticipate a report from the Government of Canada detailing how the action plan is being implemented and its progress so far. (www.evangelicalfellowship.ca)
Christian History magazine made accessible to all 06.06.2013
WORCESTER, PAA newly revived magazine exploring Christian history is offering readers easy access to historical themes and life stories.
The Christian History magazine, published by Christian History Institute (CHI), is accessible online as part of a multi-media website. The website includes a church history study guide, the entire archive of Christian History magazine (104 issues), a children's DVD series, and other reference materials.
"[The website is] a resource that is designed to bring memorable stories and lessons of Christian history out of the ivy halls of academia and into the hands of average believers," says Michael Austin, the CHI blog manager.
"Visitors can search a vast archive of valuable material and examine major milestones of Christian history. [CHI's] unique model of offering the magazine as a donation-supported ministry is refreshing."
Christian History's latest issue, published in June, is titled Christianity in Early Africa Ancient Traditions, Profound Impact. The issue includes articles, maps and photos associated with North African church leaders. (www.christianhistoryinstitute.org)
Paul Brandt tour resonates with fans 05.30.2013
A Canadian tour to promote country artist Paul Brandt's newest album Just As I Am is hitting the right note with fans and organizers alike. The tour, which sees Brandt visit 18 cities before wrapping up in Ontario June 7, features gospel songs as well as older country favourites.
Promoter Paul Kelly of Unite Productions says Brandt has been a hit in British Columbia and Alberta, and is refreshingly forthright with his beliefs.
"Paul is unapologetic about his faith," Kelly says, "and he weaves his personal faith story into the evening and invites the audience to consider following Christ."
Brandt ends each night by giving a virtual altar callhe invites people to follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and to ask him any questions they might have as a result of the concert.
Kelly comments, "It's such an intimate and personal show with Paul, and he's also backed by some of Nashville's finest musicians, including legendary pianist Gordon Mote and vocalists Liz Brandt and Greg Sczebel."
Proceeds from the concerts go to charityhalf to the local host church's charity of choice and half to the Built It Forward Foundation and its work in Haiti.
For more information, visit www.paulbrandt.com or www.uniteproductions.com.
Canadians prefer home-based child care 05.23.2013
OTTAWA, ONSeventy-six percent of Canadians believe it is best for children under the age of six to be cared for at home by a parent, according to a new poll released by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.
The results come on the heels of more discussion by the Ontario government of its controversial full-day Kindergarten program. They hold steady regardless of age, income, gender and working status and are also fairly consistent across regional lines.
Among parents of children under six, 69 per cent believe that having one parent at home to care for their child is the best option.
Only 12 per cent believe the government should provide subsidies to child care centres to improve quality or create more spaces. A mere 10 per cent would expand the public school system to include child care. Instead, most would like funding to go directly to parents.
"This poll shows that the policy push in various provinces today stands in contrast to the desires of Canadians, who prefer to see funding go directly to them rather than into school bureaucracies or institutional care," says IMFC executive director Andrea Mrozek.
"Parents aspire to spend more time with their small children. Across the country, it's clear this is a goal. Public policy ought to better support families in this desire. A top-heavy, one-size-fits-all government solution will never serve the diverse needs of each unique family," concludes Mrozek.
Conducted by Albion Research, the IMFC's survey interviewed 2,022 Canadians online in January, using six questions to gauge their opinion on early child care. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Further details about the poll can be found online: www.imfcanada.org/daycaredesires.
George Beverly Shea, longtime Billy Graham associate, dies 04.17.2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C.Canadian-born George Beverly Shea, 104, of Montreat, North Carolina, soloist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), died last night following a brief illness.
Since George Beverly Shea first sang for Graham in 1943 on the Chicago radio hymn program, "Songs in the Night," Shea has faithfully carried the Gospel in song to every continent. Graham's senior by ten years, Shea devotedly preceded the evangelist in song in nearly every Crusade over the span of more than one-half century.
Shea was the recipient of ten Grammy nominations, a Grammy Award in 1965, and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammy organization in 2011. He was also a member of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame (1978), and was inducted into the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame in February 1996. Shea was also inducted into the inaugural class of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists' "Hall of Faith" in 2008.
"I first met Bev Shea while in Chicago when he was on Moody Radio," says Billy Graham. "As a young man starting my ministry, I asked Bev if he would join me. He said yes and for over 60 years we had the privilege of ministering together across the country and around the world. Bev was one of the most humble, gracious men I have ever known and one of my closest friends. I loved him as a brother. My prayer for his wife, Karlene, and his children, Ron and Elaine, is that God will strengthen them during this time."
Born in Winchester, Ontario, where his father was a Wesleyan Methodist minister, Shea's first public singing was in the choir of his father's church. Between Crusade, radio, and television dates in many countries, he sang at hundreds of concerts and recorded more than 70 albums of sacred music. At age 23 he composed the music to one of his best known solos, "I'd Rather Have Jesus."
"Even though Bev was 10 years older than my father, he never acted his age," says Franklin Graham. "He was absolute fun to be with. Bev was one of the most gracious and unassuming men I have known. He was always encouraging and supportive, a man of deep faith and strong commitment to Jesus Christ."
Shea is survived by his wife, Karlene, and his children from his first marriage, Ronald and Elaine. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Erma, who died in 1976.
Ron, born in 1948 in Chicago, graduated from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill., in 1971. For more than 30 years, Ron has been an associate in Crusade ministry through the BGEA, assisting in preparatory work for evangelistic crusades involving Mr. Graham and more recently for Franklin Graham's ministry. He is married to the former Cathy Ford.
Details on the funeral service for Shea will be forthcoming. (Billy Graham Evangelisitic Association of Canada)
Circle Square dramas revived to teach timeless truths 02.27.2013
LONDON, ONA new website of downloadable video short stories is helping parents and teachers teach timeless truths and life lessons to kids.
Originally part of the "Circle Square" children's television series produced by Crossroads Christian Communications in the 1980s, each video presents a tender, poignant, often humorous live-action vignette that touches on topics as diverse as "Being Trusted," and "Working Together," and as serious as "Child Abuse" and "When We Grieve." Dramas are followed by suggested discussion questions.
"Circle Square" series writer, Jana Lyn Rutledge, packaged the series for today's audiences. She says Life's Little Lessons To Go presents issues youngsters face every day.
"It's a tough time to raise kids," she says. "Ours is a fast-paced world. Children are growing up in an entertainment-addicted society. A generation ago, these stories taught today's moms and dads the value of being true to themselves, working hard and being thankful."
"The world may have changed," Rutledge says, "but the importance of cultivating those same values in children remains. These videos entertain, yet help kids think through critical issues, so that when challenges arise, they're prepared to meet them."
The series of 40 videos can be downloaded to computer, tablet or smart phone.
"Story telling never grows old," says Rutledge. "Children learn what happens when a foolish choice is made and see the consequences of poor behaviour. Life's Little Lessons To Go teaches truth through story in a way that cultivates wisdom. Wisdom and truth safeguard our lives." (www.lifeslittlelessonstogo.com)
IMFC welcomes new leadership 02.18.2013
OTTAWA, ONAndrea Mrozek is the new executive director for the Institute of Marriage and Family in Canada, replacing outgoing executive director Dave Quist.
Mrozek's extensive work in key policy areas includes a study on the cost of family breakdown in Canada. She was also able to quantify the real costs of all-day kindergarten in Ontario at $1.5 billion annually before the provincial government later admitted to that same amount.
Established in 2005, the IMFC is a not-for-profit organization that conducts, compiles and presents the latest and most accurate research on marriage and family-friendly policy, by focusing on areas like education, family structure and the effect on child outcomes, as well as elder care, daycare and family finances, among others.
The IMFC is the research arm of Focus on the Family Canada, a charity dedicated to helping families and marriages thrive across Canada. (www.imfcanada.org)