CHURCH IS CHANGING As the effects of COVID‐19 continue to change the landscape of church ministry, some churches are considering permanent changes. One Baptist Church has seen online participation now three times larger than prepandemic in-person church attendance. Church pastor, Robby Gallaty, says they have begun the process of creating a permanent online church ministry. Pastor Gallaty says that churches predominantly dependent upon a building are going to have a hard time transitioning into the future. ‘Change is constant’, he says, but as the Body of Christ, there must be a willingness to reach as many people as possible even if it’s uncomfortable and different. If the Church doesn’t have a robust online presence it is going to miss where the people are.
MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR TASMANIA In May 2021, Will Graham will be bringing a message of hope to Tasmania. New Life reports that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been preparing for the upcoming Celebration, which will be hosted in the cities of Hobart and Launceston and streamed online.
FOCUS OF A MAN OF FAITH Heart Of The Nation, a feature in The Australian newspaper’s Weekend Magazine written by Ross Bilton, tells of an up-and-coming young medical researcher, Dr Caleb Dawson, who works at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne. Apparently, he is ‘probing the mysteries of cancer and the immune system using the esoteric techniques of “3D confocal fluorescence microscopy” in which special dyes and lasers are brought to bear on tissue samples, revealing ever-deeper layers of reality. Dawson’s curious gaze isn’t just detached and scientific. He sees beauty in there too; he sees art. And he sees something even deeper: the hand of God. For as well as being a scientist, Dawson, 28, is also a man of faith, a guitar-strumming Christian who declares his belief in the resurrection of Jesus.
CHURCHES OFFER ASSISTANCE In southern Oregon, which has been adversely affected by devastating fires, some churches are coordinating relief efforts. Pastor Lee Gregory of Medford Neighborhood Church said in an interview with ABC News affiliate KDRV that his congregation is restarting a previous campaign called “I C.A.R.E” to assist displaced residents. Gregory said he’s working with local churches and asked that they open their parking lots to people who’ve escaped the fires and are now living in RVs and trailers and need a place to stay.
MURALS ILLUSTRATE RACIAL JUSTICE A church in Washington, D.C. that was vandalized by rioters has made a powerful statement on racial unity. St. John’s church, which, according to The Christian Post, was almost burned down and was graffitied by rioters, has painted a series of murals in the spirit of racial justice. One of the murals has Amos 5:24 written on it, which states, “Let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Another mural prominently features South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who teaches that “our lives are inexplicably bound together.”
“THERE WAS JESUS” AT NUMBER ONE Country Music star Dolly Parton has partnered with popular Christian music artist Zach Williams to make a new hit song titled “There Was Jesus,” a song about hope in troubled times and how Jesus is always there, especially when things seem darkest. According to The Christian Post, the song topped 10.5 million impressions on the Christian airwaves in the US, which put it in the number 1 spot on Billboard’s Christian Adult Contemporary chart for the week starting 6 September.
MORE PRAYER DURING PANDEMIC Last month The Sydney Morning Herald reported that ‘Churches may have closed their doors, but more Australians are opening their minds to spirituality and prayer. Researchers have found Australians say they have been praying more during the COVID-19 crisis, suggesting the pandemic has led many to reassess their priorities in life.’
BINDI ASKS FOR PRAYER Christian Headlines reports that Bindi Irwin has asked for prayer for her unborn baby, saying God has blessed her marriage to Chandler Powell with pregnancy. Since the death of her father, the ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin, in 2006, the world has watched his family carry on his legacy at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Chandler and Bindi were married at the Australia Zoo in March. Bindi told Christian Headlines, ‘God soon had a big blessing on the way for us.’ The couple are rejoicing in what they describe as ‘an incredible blessing’ and have asked people to pray for them, their baby and the Irwin family.
‘THE CHOSEN’ A TV show telling the Gospel story through the eyes of people changed by meeting Jesus is having an impact. The Chosen, with eight seasons planned is about to begin filming the second season. Producer Dallas Jenkins says they could hopefully film all planned seven seasons of The Chosen in the next three-and-a-half-years. He told Religion Unplugged that despite complications of filming during the pandemic, he believes The Chosen is needed now more than ever. ‘Telling those stories in a compelling way can have impact in a divided world today’. He says that this is the biggest crowd-funded media project of all time, raising more than $US11 million to fund the first season.
Christian News Bulletin reported that Charlie Daniels, the country/gospel singer and southern rocker who was best known for the 1979 hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and who also was an outspoken Christian, died on Monday 6Jul20 from a stroke. He was 83.