30Dec18 Christian News Bulletin

According to Melbourne’s Herald-Sun, Pope Francis, in his Christmas message, declared that ‘God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.’ Without fraternity, the Pope said, ‘even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.’ He urged the world to put aside ‘partisan interests’ to find a political solution to wars in Syria and Yemen and conflicts in Ukraine and on the Korean peninsula.

Jakarta’s former governor, known as “Ahok”, who was sentenced last year to two years in jail for blasphemy against Islam, is to be released from prison next month, four months ahead of schedule. The ethnic Chinese Christian was due to be released in May. But he has been granted early release, scheduled for 24 January, for good behaviour, according to the Director General for Prison Affairs, as reported by AsiaNews.

Eternity News reports that more than 50 nations have responded to a call by Australian prayer leaders to pray at sunrise on New Year’s Day at a public location such as a hill, lookout or landmark in their city or town, or even at home. “Basically the New Year’s Day Sunrise Prayer Relay is a relay of people praying all around the world at sunrise on New Year’s Day, said Pat Steele, a prayer and worship leader in Wollongong on the NSW south coast.