Monday, December 12, 2016

The 3 - December 11, 2016

On this week's edition of The 3, featuring three stories of relevance to the Christian community, there is news of a historical monument on a college campus in New England that could be facing the prospect of removal. Also, eight Christians have had charges against them dropped in Nepal, after being charged under the country's new constitution.  And, an attack at a Cairo Copic Christian church has left over two dozen dead.

3 - Haystack Monument in danger of removal

A monument on the campus of Williams College in Massachusetts is facing the possibility of being removed, according to a story on the Christian Examiner website.  The monument commemorates the establishment of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which took place in 1810. The monument was built in 1867.

The story relates that five students at the college who were all New England Congregationalists, inspired by the already-occurring Second Great Awakening, made the decision to launch the missions sending agency after gathering to discuss a treatise by William Carey.  During the meeting, a thunderstorm occurred and the students sought refuge under a haystack. They prayed that a sending agency would be formed, and four years after the so-called "Haystack Prayer Meeting," the ABCFM was established.

Now, the college is considering removing the monument, according to the Christian Examiner story, relating information from The College Fix.   A committee is reviewing a number of items concerning their cultural "appropriateness to modern times and impact on today's campus climate."  According to that website, this marks the second instance this year that the Committee on Campus Space and Institutional History at Williams has taken a look at so-called "controversial works of art" at the school.

2 - Charges dropped against group of Christians in Nepal 

Last year, the Asian nation of Nepal approved a new constitution.  One of the provisions is that anything perceived as evangelism is outlawed, according to a story on the Christianity Today website, which reports that a court in that nation has dropped a case against eight Christians.  This marks the first religious freedom dispute since the new constitution was put in place last year.

According to the story, seven men and one woman had been "charged with proselytizing after giving out a pamphlet about Jesus in a Christian school while helping children through the trauma following the 2015 earthquake."

Five of those arrested were staff members of the Christian teacher-training program Teach Nepal, while the other two are school principals. The pastor of Charikot Christian Church, Shakti Pakhrin, was detained a few days later.  The article notes that "Nepali Christian leaders have welcomed their acquittal."

1 - Tragedy at Cairo Coptic Cathedral

At least 27 people are reported to be dead and dozens injured in a blast at a Coptic cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, which occurred at a chapel adjacent to the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo on Sunday. published a report from World Watch Monitor, that said, "All but three of those who died were women and children."

The Monitor reported, "A woman carrying a heavy bag walked into the church, sat on the women’s side and put her bag on the floor. After a few minutes, she stood up and walked out, leaving the bag behind. A few minutes later there was a huge explosion."

The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has declared a three-day period of national mourning.

Christianity Today pointed out that "this Sunday was also a national holiday, as Egyptian Muslims celebrated the birthday of Muhammad."  CT also reported:
Al Azhar, the leading religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world, condemned the attack. 
“Targeting houses of worship and the killing of the innocents are criminal acts that violate Islamic principles,” the Cairo-based institution stated, expressing full solidarity with the Egyptian church and Egyptian Copts.
Egypt has been facing an Islamist insurgency since the 2013 removal of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi. Retaliatory attacks have damaged or destroyed dozens of churches throughout the country.
Also, it's being widely reported that some 160 worshippers have been killed in a church in Nigeria after a roof collapsed.

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