Posted by Kendall Harmon

Talk to Katie Meyler for 30 seconds and you understand why children love her. The 32-year-old from Bernardsville, New Jersey, is as effervescent as a shaken bottle of soda, with an infectious laugh and boundless energy.

Then consider where she works: Monrovia, the capital of Liberia and the capital of the Ebola epidemic devastating West Africa. For nine years, Katie has used her skills and passion to try to improve the lives of kids in this impoverished nation of 4 million people. Last year, she opened the More Than Me girls academy, the first tuition-free school in West Point, one of Monrovia’s poorest neighborhoods.

Ebola has forced the government to close the academy and all other schools to try to stop the epidemic. Undaunted, Meyler is now using her building and resources to help those children victimized twice by the disease, the children who are now orphans and outcasts within their own community.

Read it all and watch the whole video report.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicinePovertyWomenYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia

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Posted October 22, 2014 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, says the World Health Organization.

Speaking in Geneva, Dr Marie Paule Kieny said work was also advancing quickly to get drugs and a vaccine ready for January 2015.

The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 4,500 people.

Most of the deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaSierra Leone

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Posted October 22, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of people infected with Ebola in western Sierra Leone is increasing to more than 20 deaths daily, according to government estimates.

Forty-nine new cases of were confirmed on Monday in two Ebola zones in and around the capital Freetown, the National Ebola Response Center reported on Tuesday. There are 851 total confirmed cases in the two zones, called Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural, the centre said. The Ebola outbreak previously primarily affected eastern Sierra Leone.

Claude Kamanda, a lawmaker who represents a western area, told local newspaper Politico that more than 20 deaths are being reported daily, and authorities are struggling to keep up with the collection of corpses from homes in the area.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaSierra Leone

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Posted October 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After 8 years of religious acrimony, the Anglican Church of the Sekondi Diocese has decided to reconcile with the Orthodox Anglican Church (Parish of Saint Peter and Paul ), the breakaway faction of the mother Anglican Church.

The decision by the Sekondi Diocese, headed by Bishop Rt. Rev. Colonel Kwamina Ottoo,to reconcile with the breakaway faction, which is also headed by Bishop Jacob Augustus Welbourne, was taken at the Church’s Synod, which is the highest decision making body of the Anglican Church.

In a letter sighted by The Chronicle and signed by Bishop of the Sekondi Diocese of the Anglican Church, Bishop Rt. Rev. Colnel Kwamina Ottoo, and titled ‘Reconciliation’, written to the breakaway faction read:

“The Anglican Church desires to reconcile with the Parish of the Saint Peter and Paul Othordox Anglican Church. The reconciliation process has come about as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit who we believe has been working behind the scenes in the last eight years healing wounds, ill-feelings, uneasiness and divisive spirits”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* International News & CommentaryAfricaGhana

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Posted October 21, 2014 at 3:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since Ebola broke out in Liberia's capital city, more people have started coming to Sunday service at Trinity Cathedral, says the Very Rev. Herman Browne. And like many priests across Monrovia, Browne has been spreading the word about Ebola prevention through his sermons.

But Browne's message this week was personal. It came from his family's encounter with the virus.

For the past three Sundays, the reverend had been under a volunteer quarantine. This week he returned to the pulpit and explained to his congregation what happened.

It all began when his wife, Trokon Browne, went to see a close friend. "The friend ... broke down, fell on the floor and started to cry," Herman said. "Some illness had returned to her, and she was explaining it to Trokon."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia

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Posted October 21, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In addition to many drug candidates, there are vaccines in development. In early September, the National Institutes of Health began testing a vaccine, made by a division of GlaxoSmithKline and based on an adenovirus, on twenty volunteers. Another vaccine, called VSV-EBOV, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics, started human trials last week. It seems possible that some time next year a vaccine may be available for use on people who have already been exposed to Ebola, though it will still not be cleared for general use. If a vaccine is safe and shows effectiveness against Ebola, and if it can be transported in the tropical climate without breaking down, then vaccinations against Ebola could someday begin.

If a vaccine works, then the vaccinators might conceivably set up what’s known as ring vaccinations around Ebola hot spots. In this technique, medical workers simply vaccinate everybody in a ring, miles deep, around a focus of a virus. It works like a fire break; it keeps the fire from spreading. Ring vaccination was the key to wiping out the smallpox virus, which was declared eradicated in 1979, but whether the ring technique—provided there was a good vaccine—would work against Ebola nobody can say. In any case, epidemiologists would not give up trying to trace cases in order to break the chains of infection.

In the U.S. and Europe, hospitals have made fatal mistakes in protocol as they engage with Ebola for the first time—errors that no well-trained health worker in Africa would likely make. But they will learn. By now, the warriors against Ebola understand that they face a long struggle against a formidable enemy. Many of their weapons will fail, but some will begin to work. The human species carries certain advantages in this fight and has things going for it that Ebola does not. These include self-awareness, the ability to work in teams, and the willingness to sacrifice, traits that have served us well during our expansion into our environment. If Ebola can change, we can change, too, and maybe faster than Ebola.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted October 21, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The World Health Organization declared Nigeria free of Ebola on Monday, a containment victory in an outbreak that has stymied other countries’ response efforts.

The milestone came around 11 a.m. local time, or 6 a.m., E.T. The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 in West Africa is remains unchecked in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, so Nigeria is by no means immune to another outbreak.

“It’s possible to control Ebola. It’s possible to defeat Ebola. We’ve seen it here in Nigeria,” Nigerian Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu told TIME. “If any cases emerge in the future, it will be considered—by international standards—a separate outbreak. If that happens, Nigeria will be ready and able to confront it exactly as we have done with this outbreak.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted October 20, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Huntington’s sensitivity to religion-and-world-politics ought to have commended his analysis to the Vatican for thoughtful consideration and serious discussion. Instead, Huntington-the-straw-man-who-prophesied-endless-civilizational-war is dragged out whenever it’s deemed necessary for officials of the Holy See to say that “a war between Islam and ‘the rest’ is not inevitable” (true, if the civil war within Islam is resolved in favor of those Muslims who support religious tolerance and pluralism); or that Christian persecution and dislocation in the Middle East must be handled through the United Nations (ridiculous); or that the path to peace lies through dialogue, not confrontation (true, if there is a dialogue partner who is not given to beheading “the other”).

The Huntington proposal is not beyond criticism. But Huntington accurately described the Great Change that would take place in world politics after the wars of late modernity (the two 20th-century world wars and the Cold War); he accurately predicted what was likely to unfold along what he called Islam’s “bloody borders” if Islamists and jihadists went unchecked by their own fellow-Muslims; and he accurately identified the fact that religious conviction (or the lack thereof, as in Europe) would play an important role in shaping the 21st-century world. Thirteen years after 9/11, and in light of today’s headlines, is Huntington’s proposal really so implausible?

There is something very odd about a Holy See whose default positions include a ritualized deprecation of the Huntington thesis married to a will-to-believe about the U.N.’s capacity to be something more than an echo chamber.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaEngland / UKEuropeMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you thought Nigeria had the release of the 219 Chibok schoolgirls sealed up in Friday’s ceasefire agreement with Danladi Ahmadu, Boko Haram’s self-styled secretary-general, President Goodluck Jonathan has thrown another twist into the whole matter.

In a message to Nigeria’s intending Christian Pilgrims, he urged them to pray not just for a peaceful, successful conduct of the 2015 election, but also the safe return of the abducted Chibok girls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 19, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Poor communication, a lack of leadership and underfunding plagued the World Health Organization’s initial response to the Ebola outbreak, allowing the disease to spiral out of control.

In one instance, medics weren’t deployed because they weren’t issued visas. In another, bureaucratic hurdles delayed the spending of $500,000 intended to support the disease response. Meanwhile, fresh information on the outbreak from experts in the field was slow to reach headquarters, while contact-tracers refused to work on concern they wouldn’t get paid.

The account of the WHO’s missteps, based on interviews with five people familiar with the agency who asked not to be identified, lifts the veil on the workings of an agency designed as the world’s health warden yet burdened by politics and bureaucracy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first time Dr. Steven Hatch suited up in protective gear at an Ebola treatment center, he was confronted with the weight of his decision to volunteer here. A patient, sweating and heavily soiled, had collapsed in a corridor. “Literally every surface of his body was covered in billions of particles of Ebola,” he recalled.

The physician introducing him to the routine, Dr. Pranav Shetty, said they needed to get the man back to bed, so they picked him up. Dr. Shetty focused on calming the patient, who would not live through the night. He diluted a Valium tablet in water, and cut some intravenous tubing into a crude straw for him to sip.

“It was a beautiful moment because I was like, he’s a doctor, he was taking care of his patients,” said Dr. Hatch, an American volunteer. “That’s what we do here.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 17, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading Nigerian evangelical, Samuel Kunhiyop, author of African Christian Ethics,serves as general secretary of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), a 5-million-member denomination in Nigeria. ECWA has been doing frontline evangelism in Nigeria since 1954. In recent years, this group has planted hundreds of congregations in Muslim areas of Nigeria. Kunhiyop spoke with Timothy C. Morgan, CT's senior editor for global journalism.

Is Nigeria as bad as we read in news headlines?

It’s even worse. Hundreds of churches have been destroyed, over 50 in Kano alone. One church and ministry has been built seven times and destroyed seven times. Another has been built three times and destroyed three times. Pastors have been murdered in their houses. Another was murdered in the church during a prayer service.

The situation is much worse further north in Yobe and Borno states, the headquarters of Boko Haram. People have fled residences where their forefathers lived for generations. Christians have been the victims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Sudanese Air Force dropped four bombs on an Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) complex in the Nuba Mountains on Friday (Oct. 10), church leaders said.

“The bombs have completely destroyed our church compound in Tabolo,” the Rev. Youhana Yaqoub of the ECS in Al Atmor, near the Tabolo area in South Kordofan state, told Morning Star News. “A family living at the church compound miraculously escaped the attack, although their whole house and property were destroyed.”

Kamal Adam and his family thanked God for their safety as they watched their house burn from the bombing, he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesEpiscopal Church of the Sudan* Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 16, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

British ebola survivor Will Pooley is preparing to return to West Africa to provide medical support in the fight against the epidemic.

He is among the first wave of volunteers from the NHS and Public Health England who have begun training ahead of possible deployment to Sierra Leone.

The nurse, from Suffolk, said it was "something I need to do".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaEngland / UK

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 17 Ebola cases have been treated outside of West Africa in the current outbreak, including two Dallas hospital workers who have tested positive for Ebola. Most of these involve health and aid workers who contracted Ebola in West Africa and were transported back to their home country for treatment. Four cases were diagnosed outside of West Africa: A Liberian man who began showing symptoms four days after arriving in Dallas, a Spanish nurse who became ill after treating a missionary in a Madrid hospital and the two Dallas hospital workers who were involved in the treatment of the Liberian man. These cases are compiled from reports by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders and other official agencies.

Read it all and examine the map.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMedia* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaSierra LeoneAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is a Liberian hospital like during an epidemic?

In many of the hospitals, there was no protective gear, and nurses were working without gloves and masks. We [SIM] had the advantage of being partnered with Samaritan’s Purse, which had flown in everything we needed to protect our healthcare workers. But still there was fear of being in an isolation unit and working with people. It took time before nurses could see that, yes, they could be protected and go in and come back out and be disinfected.

How did culture affect how you provided health care?

It was hard on families, if they had a patient or family members who were dying of Ebola, to not be able to touch the bodies if they did pass away. In African culture, customarily, after death they do a body washing, so there’s a lot of touching. Once a person dies, that’s when the viral load is at its peak.

David: There’s also a good deal of stigma from the community. People would not take their family members to an isolation unit because they knew it would be regarded as a death sentence. Instead, they would try to keep them hidden at home.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* Theology

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Posted October 15, 2014 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ebola epidemic threatens the "very survival" of societies and could lead to failed states, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

The outbreak, which has killed some 4,000 people in West Africa, has led to a "crisis for international peace and security", WHO head Margaret Chan said.

She also warned of the cost of panic "spreading faster than the virus".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & MedicineHistoryPsychology* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 13, 2014 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first reported case in the Ebola outbreak ravaging west Africa dates back to December 2013, in Guéckédou, a forested area of Guinea near the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone. Travellers took it across the border: by late March, Liberia had reported eight suspected cases and Sierra Leone six. By the end of June 759 people had been infected and 467 people had died from the disease, making this the worst ever Ebola outbreak. The numbers do not just keep climbing, they are accelerating. As of October 8th, 8,399 cases and 4,033 deaths had been reported worldwide, the vast majority of them in these same three countries. Many suspect these estimates are badly undercooked.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 13, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa, already ghastly, could get worse by orders of magnitude, killing hundreds of thousands of people and embedding itself in the human population for years to come, according to two worst-case scenarios from scientists studying the historic outbreak.

The virus could potentially infect 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January, according to a statistical forecast by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday. That number came just hours after a report in the New England Journal of Medicine warned that the epidemic might never be fully controlled and that the virus could become endemic, crippling civic life in the affected countries and presenting an ongoing threat of spreading elsewhere.

Read it all.

Update: The elves also recommend the latest post on Ebola at Lent & Beyond, with a graph showing the cumulative number of cases of Ebola in West Africa. There are also suggested prayer points, and links to donate to several charities on the frontlines in the Ebola struggle.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Primate of the Church of West Africa, the Most Reverend Professor Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, has said there is the need for churches to preach messages that will convince wayward persons to have a heart for true repentance. He observed that while it was desirable to get armed robbers, prostitutes, corrupt politicians and greedy professionals to decide to go to church, the messages from the pulpit these days were not convincing enough to get them have a change of heart.

“They are comfortable being in church and going through all the motions of Christianity, yet their hearts are far away from God. This is because the messages they hear are philosophies on how to be successful in the world,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Province of West Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaGhana* Theology

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Posted October 7, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One morning in March, when the first case arrived at the Liberian unit of Japan’s Bridgestone Corp... managers sat around a rubber-tree table and googled “Ebola,” said Ed Garcia, president of Firestone Natural Rubber Company LLC. Then they built two Ebola isolation clinics, using shipping containers and plastic wrap. They trained their janitors how to bury Ebola corpses. Their agricultural surveyors mapped the virus as it spread house to house, and teachers at the company’s schools went door-to-door to explain the disease.

“It was like flying an airplane and reading the manual at the same time,” said Philippines-born Mr. Garcia, who runs this 185-square-mile stretch of rubber trees.

Six months later, Firestone has turned the tide of infections, offering a sanctuary of health in a country where cases are doubling every three weeks.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia

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Posted October 7, 2014 at 5:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Nyasaland became independent in 1964, Arden became Bishop of Malawi. He worked hard to encourage an indigenous ministry, consecrating the first Malawian suffragan bishop and increasing the number of ordained clergy from 23 to 100. He was keen on training the laity: “If the clergy are the lungs breathing in the fresh air of the Spirit, you laymen and laywomen are the hands and the feet and the mouth of the body of Christ,” he wrote. He was also instrumental in persuading the different Christian churches to establish a health association — it still provides 45 per cent of healthcare in Malawi.

Arden was particularly concerned about polio; at many confirmation services, polio sufferers would crawl to the front of the church or were carried there. He organised a survey of the area, discovering 500 cases. As a result he convinced a leading government surgeon to help to procure funds for a vaccination programme. Within a few years Malawi was the first developing country to be declared free of polio.

On the theological front, meanwhile, attempts were being made to revise the Book of Common Prayer, and Arden was a key figure in producing a new, 380-page prayer/hymnbook in Chichewa, the national language of Malawi.

He became Archbishop of Central Africa in 1971, and it was a matter of pride that he was the last white Archbishop of Central Africa.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Central AfricaChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryAfricaMalawi

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Posted October 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A man who identified himself as the leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram denied that the country’s security forces had killed him.

“I am not killed, I am alive and you are claiming that you killed me,” the man purporting to be Abubakar Shekau said in a video released today that couldn’t be independently verified.

The figure, dressed in combat fatigues, spoke for 16 minutes in a mixture of Hausa and Arabic. He fired a gun mounted on a Toyota Hilux vehicle and said his group had carried out executions as it enforces strict Islamic law in an area of northeastern Nigeria the insurgents claim to rule. Nigeria’s defense ministry said that while it was studying the video, there was no proof when the film was made, and it was confident that Shekau was dead.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted October 3, 2014 at 9:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The death toll from Ebola in West Africa rose to 3,338, a sign the outbreak isn’t abating as the first case diagnosed outside Africa was confirmed in the U.S.

The U.S. case, in a Liberian man who recently traveled to Dallas, shows the difficulty of completely containing the outbreak and highlighted vulnerabilities in airport screening procedures designed to keep it from spreading globally.

The outbreak has spurred 7,178 infections through Sept. 28, the World Health Organization said yesterday in a statement. Almost all of the Ebola virus disease cases and deaths are in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfrica

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Posted October 2, 2014 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“By his Christian conviction, character, conduct, confession and competence, he has exhibited commendable Christian stewardship and now today, the Primate, on behalf of All Anglican faithful nationwide and in conformity with cherished biblical counsel and Christian heritage, has rolled that our beloved Servant leader be conferred with the PRIMATIAL Award of Excellence in Christian Stewardship to the glory of God and in praise and thanksgiving to God for His gift to us in the Church of Nigeria.”

With the above statement, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) led by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Anglican, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh yesterday presented its highest award to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The award is the highest be conferred on an individual for service to humanity and to God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted October 1, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The assassination of a French tourist by militants in Algeria has raised the fear of new terrorist attacks in the country. Hervé Gourdel, 55, was beheaded on September 24 by a radical Islamist group, ‘Soldiers of the Caliphate’ linked to Islamic State in Iraq, in the north-eastern region of Kabylie.

Gourdel, who was an experienced hiker, was kidnapped on September 21, along with 5 Algerians, but his companions were released 14 hours later.

His murder has sparked a wave of indignation and anger, notably via social media. It reminds Algeria and the world of the civil war of the 1990s, also known as ‘‘The Black Decade’’ when more than 150,000 people died violently, while thousands of others went missing. This followed the annulment of an election won by an Islamist group, after which the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) sought to gain power, opposed by the Algerian military.

Now, members of the Christian community in Bejaia, one of the main cities in Kabylie, are particularly concerned over the threats posed by militants. "If we consider the fate reserved by IS fighters for Iraqi Christians, there is genuine reason to express concerns over the church in Algeria. That is why we must be vigilant,’’ said Omar, 31, member of a Protestant church in Bejaia.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaAlgeria* Theology

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Posted October 1, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When the body collectors arrived at the home of Theresa Jacob, at the top of a rocky hillside in Liberia’s capital, her family fought to keep her body. She didn’t die of Ebola, they insisted, showing a stack of hospital documents.

It was a futile battle. After a long argument, a team of Red Cross specialists entered the house in full Hazmat suits, goggles, masks, hoods, boots and two layers of gloves. They disinfected the body of the 24-year-old woman with a heavy chlorine spray, put her into a body bag, carried her down the hillside to their truck and drove her away to be cremated.

Because of the risk of Ebola, every body in Monrovia now is collected and burned, regardless of the cause of death. It’s a symptom of a nearly collapsed state in a massive emergency, when extraordinary measures are needed. With at least 1,830 deaths by official count – and two or three times that number by unofficial estimate – Liberia is the most devastated country in the Ebola zone.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia

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Posted September 30, 2014 at 5:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The village in eastern Congo lies at the epicenter of one of Africa’s most brutal and longest-running wars. It is both military base and refugee camp, both killing field and sanctuary, a place woven from chaos and resilience. Civilians trapped in relentless violence struggle to live. Death arrives in many forms — guns, machetes, disease and hunger.

It is a war that has claimed an estimated 5 million lives, many from starvation, disease and other conflict-related causes, since 1998 — more casualties than the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined, and more than any conflict since World War II. It is a war that the world’s largest and most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission has failed to quell. The peacekeepers, heavily financed by Washington, are now engaged in their most ambitious effort in years to end the fighting.

And yet the war remains invisible to most outsiders, who have grown weary of the unending cycle of violence. Today, relief groups have trouble raising money to help Congo as more publicized upheavals in Syria, South Sudan and elsewhere grab the world’s attention.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaRepublic of Congo

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Posted September 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Sunday urged the country's churches to pray that conflicts between supporters of rival political parties do not occur again during the fortnight left of the election campaign prior to the presidential and parliamentary elections of 15 October.

He was speaking in Maputo during the consecration of Carlos Matsinhe as the new bishop of the Anglican diocese of the Libombos. Matsinhe is the successor to the recently retired bishop, Dinis Sengulane, a man who has been prominent in efforts to secure peace in Mozambique.

“We invite the Anglican church and other churches to pray for the elections to be a moment of festivity and coexistence between brothers”, said Guebuza.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaMozambique

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Posted September 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s nine months into the biggest Ebola outbreak in history, and the situation is going from bad to worse. The outbreak simmered slowly in West Africa from December, when the first case was retrospectively documented, through March, when it was first recognized by international authorities. Now, terms like “exponential spread” are being thrown around.

Already, the number of cases (about 5,800 as of Sept. 22) and deaths (2,800) has dwarfed the numbers from every reported Ebola outbreak in history. And the case count is doubling every three weeks. Here’s where we stand....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone

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Posted September 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

This post is sticky look for new entries below

For more info: PraytoendEbola website and #PraytoendEbola and Pray to End Ebola on Facebook. Lent & Beyond is posting daily Ebola Crisis Prayers.


SIM, a Christian mission organization which has been on the frontlines of the fight against Ebola in West Africa has called for a special week of intercessory prayer, urging Christians around the world to join together in prayer against the Ebola outbreak that is ravaging West Africa. Here is an excerpt from their exhortation to prayer:

The fight against Ebola in West Africa has been going on since the beginning of 2014. As the final quarter of the year approaches, the spread of this deadly disease is escalating out of control. The infection rate and death toll continue to rise; hundreds of health workers serving on the front lines to fight the disease have been taken by it; and the resources brought to bear still pale in comparison to the desperate needs. What seems to us to be a desperate situation is not impossible for God. May our prayers be heard and used by God to accomplish the impossible.

Therefore, as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, let us join together around the world for a full week of focused prayer beginning September 29 through October 5. Our desire is for prayers to be raised continually on behalf of those infected and affected by the Ebola virus, for the sick and dying, for the courageous health workers, for grieving families, for pastors trying to serve their churches and communities, for government officials and decision makers who formulate policies and responses, for protection for those working in educating communities, and for all those waking up each day to the devastation of Ebola.

Though we are troubled, we do not despair. Though we grieve, we are not without great hope. For two millennia, the Church has prioritized the sick and marginalized. We are called to do no less today.

May the God who answers prayer, the God to whom we pray, the God who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death so that we may fear no evil, may this God turn His face towards us and by His power and wisdom guiding all those involved, bring an end to the spread of Ebola. May He bring many who live without the knowledge of Jesus into relationship with Him. Updated prayer requests and other resources can be found at www.praytoendEbola.org .


Please read the full details at the PraytoendEbola website. Please note if you scroll down to the bottom of the home page of the Pray to End Ebola website, there is a place to sign up for regular prayer updates via email. There will also be updates on Twitter: #PraytoendEbola. Lent & Beyond is posting daily Ebola prayers using the Ebola Crisis Prayers tag.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaSierra Leone

15 Comments
Posted September 28, 2014 at 5:47 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an article in this week’s The Tablet, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, half of whose diocese in northern Adamawa state is now under the control of Boko Haram, spoke of the appalling conditions for those Catholics who remained.

“We have our members who have been killed, those who have been abducted, among whom are men and women as well as children. There are those who are forced into marrying Boko Haram members, some have no houses to lay their heads. Also many have no food to eat nor do they have clothes to wear,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Nigerian military said a man who appeared in recent videos claiming to be the leader of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, was killed in a battle last week.

The man, identified as Mohammed Bashir, died when government troops defending the northeastern town of Konduga killed some top Boko Haram commanders in an attack on a convoy of rebel vehicles on Sept. 17, Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Bashir “has been acting or posing on videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric character known as leader of the group,” the army said.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 25, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a grim assessment of the Ebola epidemic, researchers say the deadly virus threatens to become endemic to West Africa instead of eventually disappearing from humans.

"The current epidemiologic outlook is bleak," wrote a panel of more than 60 World Health Organization experts in a study published Tuesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

"We must therefore face the possibility that Ebola virus disease will become endemic among the human population of West Africa, a prospect that has never previously been contemplated."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2014 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nine months ago Bol Olor Ding and his friend Kamis Ngor Ajack were in school studying math and science. Now, at the ages of 14 and 15, they’re veterans of the civil war in South Sudan that’s created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

After fighting forced their schools to close, the two boys exchanged their classrooms for the battlefield and received a government army uniform and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

“If you don’t have a gun you will be killed,” Ajack said through an interpreter in the town of Wau Shilluk, whose population of 5,000 has swollen to 40,000 as violence spreads in the oil-rich state of Upper Nile. “I was afraid of fighting in the beginning, but when I got a gun and uniform I became brave.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2014 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The suffering of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the depredations of the Islamic State (ISIS) are beyond description, the vicar-general of the Diocese of Zanzibar reports following a visit to Kurdistan last week. The Rev Jerry Kramer writes: “Right now we’re processing all that we saw and experienced firsthand. Honestly, we don’t have the words at the moment. The suffering is so immense. The magnitude of the disaster is beyond comprehension.” Fr Kramer, who served as the rector of an Episcopal congregation in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and was one of the leaders in the grassroots campaign to rebuild the city, but currently is a missionary in Tanzania with Love for the Least ministries stated: “Christians were given 48 hours to leave their homes. “Some paid to stay or converted to Islam.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaTanzaniaMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dispatch of troops to west Africa may seem an odd priority when American forces are preparing to confront jihadists in Iraq and Syria and are stretched thin elsewhere. Ebola is a disease that is usually absent from human populations, has been quickly stamped out in the past and in its worst recorded outbreak has thus far caused 3,000 known deaths (see article). Moreover it is unlikely to spread widely in rich countries with good health-care systems. Set against killers such as HIV, the virus that kills some 1.6m people a year, or tuberculosis (TB), which takes another 1.3m lives, an expensive fight against Ebola may seem a misallocation of resources.

Yet Ebola is now growing exponentially, with the number of new cases roughly doubling every three weeks or so. In Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, it is thought to be doubling every two weeks. Previous outbreaks were usually in rural villages where it was easier to contain. At this rate of progress, small numbers quickly become big ones, and there is a real risk of the disease spreading to cities such as Lagos, which is home to more than 10m people. The longer Ebola is allowed to replicate in humans, the greater the risk that it will become more contagious. Some virologists fret that it might even acquire the ability to be transmitted through the air by coughs and sneezes. Although this seems unlikely, nobody wants to find out just how quickly Ebola can adapt to humans.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 22, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Barely three years after Britain helped to free Libya from Col Gaddafi's tyranny, anti-Western radicals hold sway. How could Britain's goal of a stable and friendly Libya have been thwarted so completely?

Step forward a fabulously wealthy Gulf state that owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East.

Qatar, the owner of Harrods, has dispatched cargo planes laden with weapons to the victorious Islamist coalition, styling itself "Libya Dawn".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibyaEngland / UKMiddle EastQatar

4 Comments
Posted September 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could spread to hundreds of thousands more people by the end of January, according to an estimate under development by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that puts one worst-case scenario at 550,000 or more infections.

The report, scheduled to be released next week, was described by two people familiar with its contents who asked to remain anonymous because it isn’t yet public.

The projection, which vastly outstrips previous estimates, is under review by researchers and may change. It assumes no additional aid or intervention by governments and relief agencies, which are mobilizing to contain the Ebola outbreak before it spirals further out of control in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone

2 Comments
Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Bishop of the diocese on the Niger, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, has predicted that if the activities of rampaging Boko Haram insurgents continues unchecked, it would result into the break-up of Nigeria.

Although, he would not want Nigeria’s disintegration, Bishop Nwokolo stressed that it might be inevitable if it becomes too difficult for all the citizens to live together, “as we are now trying to observe with the ongoing slaughtering of innocent Nigerians in the name of religion.”

The Bishop made this known at the St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Omagba Phase 1, Onitsha, Anambra State, during the confirmation and induction into the Girls Guide and Mothers Union. He regretted that a lot would go wrong if Nigeria breaks up.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States has made the same mistake in evaluating fighters from the Islamic State that it did in Vietnam — underestimating the enemy’s will, according to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Clapper’s comments came in a telephone interview Wednesday, in which he summarized the elements of a new National Intelligence Strategy released this week. Clapper also answered some broader questions about intelligence issues confronting the country.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 19, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking on the theme of the Synod, “Thy Kingdom Come”, President Jonathan emphasized the need for Nigerians to shun vices that were evil, so as to attract mercies and kindness of God in their daily dealings.

In his opening address, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, advised Nigerians to work hard to ensure that the prediction that the country would cease to exist in 2015 comes to nothing.

Okoh, who is the Bishop and Archbishop of Abuja, insisted that God has plans for Nigeria but warned that the people in collaboration with enemies from outside could destroy the country.

He said: “If the politicians allow righteousness to be the umpire; if the electorate allow righteousness to be the umpire; if the INEC allow righteousness to be the umpire; then the country will remain strong, solid and promising. But if for whatever reasons we dump righteousness and seek to manipulate people and figures, then sin will degrade our country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?

It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright sunlight, a Muslim with a British accent cut off the heads of two American journalists and a British aid worker. The jihadi seemed comfortable in his work, unhurried. His victims were broken. Terror is theater. Burning skyscrapers, severed heads: The terrorist takes movie images of unbearable lightness and gives them weight enough to embed themselves in the psyche.

It was a time of aggression. The leader of the largest nation on earth pronounced his country encircled, even humiliated. He annexed part of a neighboring country, the first such act in Europe since 1945, and stirred up a war on further land he coveted. His surrogates shot down a civilian passenger plane. The victims, many of them Europeans, were left to rot in the sun for days. He denied any part in the violence, like a puppeteer denying that his puppets’ movements have any connection to his. He invoked the law the better to trample on it. He invoked history the better to turn it into farce. He reminded humankind that the idiom fascism knows best is untruth so grotesque it begets unreason.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaEngland / UK--ScotlandEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From his own wallet, Kowbeidu also supports his siblings and obsesses over spending his money on Western luxuries. After Valerie threw him a 50th birthday party, he made her promise no more. That money could help Liberian children attend school, as he received help.

"I am here because of God's generosity through God's people," he says. "From whence I came, I pray I never forget."

That's largely what made him run for Mount Pleasant Town Council last year, he says.

"This country has given me more than I could have imagined," he says. "I want to give back."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* South Carolina* Theology

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Posted September 14, 2014 at 6:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World, you still just don't get it. The Ebola epidemic that is raging across West Africa, killing more than half its victims, will not be conquered with principles of global solidarity and earnest appeals. It will not be stopped with dribbling funds, dozens of volunteer health workers, and barriers across national borders. And the current laboratory-confirmed tolls (3,944 cases, with 2,097 deaths) will soon rise exponentially.

To understand the scale of response the world must mount in order to stop Ebola's march across Africa (and perhaps other continents), the world community needs to immediately consider the humanitarian efforts following the 2004 tsunami and its devastation of Aceh, Indonesia. The U.S. and Singaporean militaries launched their largest rescue missions in history: The United States alone put 12,600 military personnel to a rescue and recovery mission, including the deployment of nearly the entire Pacific fleet, 48 helicopters, and every Navy hospital ship in the region. The World Bank estimated that some $5 billion in direct aid was poured into the countries hard hit by the tsunami, and millions more were raised from private donors all over the world. And when the dust settled and reconstruction commenced, the affected countries still cried out for more.

In contrast, the soaring Ebola epidemic garnered only a negligible international response from its recognition in March until early July.Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfrica

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Posted September 10, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To defeat a disciplined and fanatical insurgency inspired by ideological fervour anywhere, disciplined leadership is fundamental. Without such leadership the security forces are reluctant to engage. When rampant corruption is added to the mix, it is no wonder that West Africa’s putatively most powerful military force has been unable and unwilling to reduce Boko Haram to the pitiful state in which it existed four years ago. Now that the security forces have the benefit of outside help and sophisticated surveillance techniques, it should be easy. But if armies are not fully at one with their political leaders, and if armies believe themselves to be abused, there is no fight.

Victory over Boko Haram is only possible if Mr. Jonathan makes such a victory a national cause and if he and his close followers find a way to strengthen the legitimacy of the state and of key state institutions such as the military. This would involve Mr. Jonathan demonstrating a real belief in the integrity of the nation, casting aside party and ethnic considerations, and showing that he really is the leader of all Nigerians, not just southerners, Christians or the denizens of Abuja.

Until and unless Mr. Jonathan rises to as yet untouched heights of leadership, Maiduguri may well be overrun, and a jejune and greedy movement constitute Nigeria’s first breakaway state. The 19th-century Kanemi-Bornu emirate will then have been recreated in the guise of a fanatical caliphate with no real indigenous roots.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ebola is spreading exponentially in Liberia, with thousands of new cases expected in the next three weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Conventional methods to control the outbreak were "not having an adequate impact", the UN's health agency added.

At least 2,100 people infected with Ebola have died so far in the West African states of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

9 Comments
Posted September 9, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

DREW HINSHAW: That’s right. What they’ve been able to do here is empty out an entire countryside. The very far northeast part of Nigeria. Town after town after town is abandoned and Boko Haram has been able to do that just by sort of constantly, like you said, starting with hit and run attacks and eventually moving entire units into these towns scaring lots of people out.

You hear over and over again when you talk to people from these towns, the only people left in those towns are basically the elderly people, who don’t really want to move, or can’t move and don’t really pose a threat to Boko Haram. What’s interesting is they are raising their flags in some places, not all places. They’re not really sticking around and governing them, like you had in northern Mali.

They kind of go in, they make some weak effort to impose Sharia law, they tell women how to dress and then they go back into the caves and mountains and forests where they’re camped out. They don’t want to be sitting ducks in these towns.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted September 8, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Janine Morna arrived in northern Nigeria in March to study child abductions by local militias, few outside the region had any idea of the scope of the problem.

That changed abruptly on the evening of April 14 - 15, when members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram stormed a secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok and captured some 300 teenage girls.

Suddenly, child kidnappings in northern Nigeria — which had concerned human rights researchers like Ms. Morna for years — were global front-page news. Around the world, nations pledged aid and counterterrorism assistance, while #BringBackOurGirls floated to the top of trending topics on Twitter. It gave many who live and work in the region hope that change was imminent.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States is preparing to launch a "major" border security program to help Nigeria and its neighbors combat the increasing number and scope of attacks by Islamic extremists, a senior U.S. official for Africa said Thursday.

Nigerian insurgents have begun attacking villages in neighboring Cameroon and have been seizing land in northeast Nigeria where they proclaimed an Islamic caliphate.

Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a meeting of U.S. and Nigerian officials in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, that "Despite our collective efforts, the situation on the ground is worsening.

"The frequency and scope of Boko Haram's terror attacks have grown more acute and constitute a serious threat to this country's overall security," she said. "This is a sober reality check for all of us. We are past time for denial and pride."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMilitary / Armed ForcesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

A T19 reader did some number crunching and kindly sent us the following chart showing the cumulative number of Ebola cases in each affected country since June 4, 2014. Data is compiled from the WHO disease outbreak reports. - the elves



Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone

1 Comments
Posted September 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram captured the northeastern town of Bama, about 72 kilometers (45 miles) from the capital of Borno state, Maiduguri, a senator representing the region said.

After a battle lasting several hours, “Boko Haram has taken Bama town and the soldiers have gone away,” Ahmed Zanna, who represents the Borno Central region, said today by phone from the Nigerian capital, Abuja. “Lots of youths have been killed by the insurgents; I even lost two of my family members from the attacks.”

The armed forces of Africa’s largest economy and local vigilantes who have mobilized to fight Boko Haram said the town hasn’t entirely fallen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted September 2, 2014 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All schools in Nigeria have been ordered to remain shut until 13 October as part of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

The new academic year was due to start on Monday.

But the education minister ordered the closures to allow staff to be trained on how to handle suspected Ebola cases.

Five people have died of Ebola in Nigeria. The West Africa outbreak has centred on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 1,400 people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

1 Comments
Posted August 27, 2014 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Kibera, Kenya (CNN) -- Heaps of trash pile up for miles in Kibera, a district of Nairobi that houses nearly 1 million people and is one of the poorest slums in the world. Aluminum shanties fill the horizon, and an odor of urine cuts through the air. A man trots through the narrow, unpaved streets on a camel. If you make your way through this crowded maze, however, you will find the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, a free public school for girls and, recently, a few boys. Peek in through the windows, and you'll see a sight that seems incongruous next to the grimy chaos outside.

In this school, where there is no electricity and temperatures often top 90 degrees, dozens of students in neat wool uniforms are sliding their fingers across touch screens, reading a lesson on their Amazon Kindle e-reader. The students, who range in age from 14 to 20, are cheerful, welcoming and quick to share the genres of books they like to read in both Swahili and English. Their school is one of 28 participating in a program with Worldreader, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that provides modern technology -- usually Kindles -- to improve literacy in the most impoverished parts of the world.

By expanding access to education in areas where books are a scarce resource, the Worldreader team is trying to break the cycle of poverty, one electronic page at a time.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenya

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Posted August 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pattern is becoming all too familiar to residents of Nigeria’s embattled northeast: Gunmen believed to be members of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram descend on a village, burn houses, round up scores of young people, load them onto trucks and then drive away.

Four months after Boko Haram shocked the world by abducting nearly 300 girls from a rural school, fighters shouting “God is great” snatched dozens more young people from another village in recent days, according to officials, local journalists and Nigerian news media.

This time, the target was boys and young men, who were waved into trucks at gunpoint, prompting fears that they would be hauled off and forced to fight for the militants in their war against the Nigerian state.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 16, 2014 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Given the discussion about Ebola in the current open thread, this article from the Economist may be of interest. The graphs comparing Ebola with other diseases in West Africa, and per capita health spending in various countries are worth looking at. - the elves.


Ebola is now exposing how hard it is to contain an outbreak, particularly in poor countries. Stopping Ebola should, in theory, be straightforward. There is no cure, but there are ways to treat victims that will maximise their chance of survival and help prevent transmission. Patients should be isolated and kept hydrated, their blood pressure monitored and secondary infections treated. Those who have come into contact with the infected should be watched to see if symptoms develop. If none emerge within 21 days, the person can be deemed virus-free.

But all this is labour-intensive. “You still have to have a cadre of people who at the end of the day are able to go out there,” explains Ian Lipkin of Columbia University. That depends on strong health systems or substantial international help. In this case, there was neither.

The outbreak began in three of the world’s poorest countries. Guinea spends $62 per person on health each year, compared with $3,364 in Britain. Sierra Leone has two doctors per 100,000 people, compared with 245 in America (see chart). Such health workers as are available in the countries affected by Ebola are under severe strain. About 150 have been infected and 80 have died, the WHO said on August 8th. Médecins Sans Frontières, a non-profit organisation that has 680 health workers in the region, now says that its staff “simply cannot do more”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone

12 Comments
Posted August 15, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

People in Sierra Leone and Liberia filled churches on Sunday to seek deliverance from an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, defying official warnings to avoid public gatherings to contain an epidemic that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa.

With their creaking healthcare systems completely overrun, Sierra Leone and Liberia have both declared states of emergency to tackle the highly contagious and incurable disease, which has also stricken neighbouring Guinea.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberiaSierra Leone

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ebola, one of the world’s most fatal diseases, has surfaced in Africa’s most populous country.

Nigerian health officials have announced 10 confirmed cases and two deaths in the country from the Ebola outbreak that is sweeping West Africa, including a nurse and a man from Liberia whom the nurse had been caring for.

The man, Patrick Sawyer, a naturalized American citizen, had flown to Nigeria in late July and died soon after. He had infected at least eight other people, including the nurse, who died on Tuesday, officials said.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted August 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the calls I got through the night, it's a revelation that people fear Ebola more than God....! Nobody calls me frantically for Godly things....
Ebola brings death surely, but surely God gives life by grace through faith In Jesus!
(From his Facebook page)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* International News & CommentaryAfricaGambiaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone* Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 8, 2014 at 5:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church leaders in West Africa have asked for our prayers as the Ebola virus continues to spread, with 932 reported deaths as we go to press.

Please make use of the prayer we have written....[Here is one]:
God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful Father,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.
Read it all.

Filed under: * AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaGambiaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone

2 Comments
Posted August 8, 2014 at 5:47 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two Americans with Ebola received at least half of the world's supply of a drug that might be able to change the course of the deadly virus.

Some people are asking how to allocate additional doses of this drug and whether it was ethical to give those drugs to American missionaries when they weren't available to West Africans suffering from or fighting the outbreak.

The World Health Organization will convene a panel of medical ethicists early next week to discuss the use of such experimental treatments. The group will probably decide how to allocate medications should more become available.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is breaking new ground by bringing help and hope to a Pygmy community living in the country’s forests.

Pygmy peoples live in several ethnic groups across the forests of central Africa. There are an estimated 250,000 to 600,000 living in the Congo rainforest alone.

These forest dwellers have lived by hunting and gathering for millennia. But in the past few decades their homelands have been devastated by logging, war and encroachment from farmers. Their appearance and lifestyle means they have also been marginalized by much of society

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaRepublic of Congo

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Posted August 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Diocese of Esan, Anglican Communion has condemned the ravaging activities of terrorists and insurgents in Nigeria while urging Nigerians, irrespective of party affiliation or religious inclinations to avoid making inflammatory statements capable of worsening the already bad security situation in the country.

The diocese in a communiqué issued at the end of the third session of the fourth synod held in Eguare, Ebelle, Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State also noted the helplessness of Nigeria in curtailing the ravaging insurgency in the country, inspite of assistance from the international community.

This, the diocese noted “makes the resort to divine intervention both imperative and timely”,In the communiqué signed by the Archoishop of Bendel province and Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. F.J. Imaekhai and the synod clerical secretary of the diocese, Ven A.O. Isibor, the diocese noted that divine direction is underscored by the fact that any nation that fails to heed the call for divine direction is bound to experience the kind of problem the Nigeria nation is confronted with.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted August 7, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Global health experts at the World Health Organization are meeting to discuss new measures to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

The meeting - being held in Geneva, Switzerland - is expected to last two days and will decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

That could involve imposing travel restrictions on affected areas.

The outbreak began last February and has since spread to four African countries, claiming nearly 900 lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra LeoneEuropeSwitzerland* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 6, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recent U.S. surveillance flights over northeastern Nigeria showed what appeared to be large groups of girls held together in remote locations, raising hopes among domestic and foreign officials that they are among the group that Boko Haram abducted from a boarding school in April, U.S. and Nigerian officials said.

The surveillance suggests that at least some of the 219 schoolgirls still held captive haven't been forced into marriage or sex slavery, as had been feared, but instead are being used as bargaining chips for the release of prisoners.

The U.S. aerial imagery matches what Nigerian officials say they hear from northern Nigerians who have interacted with the Islamist insurgency: that some of Boko Haram's most famous set of captives are getting special treatment, compared with the hundreds of other girls the group is suspected to have kidnapped. Boko Haram appears to have seen the schoolgirls as of higher value, given the global attention paid to their plight, those officials said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 6, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A recent Pew Research Center survey shows that neither world power has a clear advantage when it comes to the hearts and minds of people in Africa. Among the seven sub-Saharan African countries polled this year, at least six-in-ten in each nation say they have a favorable view of the U.S., including roughly three-quarters or more in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Senegal. Broad majorities also rate China positively. The one exception is South Africa – just 45% express a favorable view of China, compared with 68% for the U.S.

Such questions are particularly important to U.S. officials this week as presidents and prime ministers from across Africa converge on Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The meeting is billed by the Obama administration as the “largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government” and is meant to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between the U.S. and African nations. Meanwhile, China has become Africa’s largest trading partner – surpassing the U.S. in 2009 – and just this year announced the formation of the “Africa Growing Together Fund,” a $2 billion investment vehicle created in partnership with the African Development Bank Group.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As West African nations try to stop the deadly Ebola virus from spreading, people living in the affected countries are nervous. In Sierra Leone, communities are keeping a close eye on the exact locations where the disease has emerged.

The posters are crudely drawn and graphic. There's one pasted to the wall of the squat, concrete community centre in Kroo Bay, a slum in the centre of the capital Freetown, the kind of place where you can imagine disease spreading fast.

The houses are built of breeze block and have battered, rusting roofs. The spaces between them are piled with garbage, small children with no shoes tote yellow plastic jerry cans of water through the narrow lanes.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaSierra Leone

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2014 at 11:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The income gap between rich and poor nations is more severe than the more highly publicized disparities between the top and bottom of the U.S. income ladder, according to a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

“While not to diminish the ample income inequality in the U.S., a focus on absolute inequality would suggest income disparity among the world’s population is a far greater concern,” write Lowell Ricketts and Christopher Waller, economic researchers at the St. Louis Fed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaAsiaEngland / UKEuropeSouth America* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta said Thursday it was preparing a special isolation unit to receive a patient with Ebola disease “within the next several days”.

“We do not know at this time when the patient will arrive,” Emory said in a statement. The university also did not say whether the patient was one of two Americans battling Ebola infection in Liberia – charity workers Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly.

“Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases,” the hospital said. “It is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. It is one of only four such facilities in the country."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.

4 Comments
Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now recognized as the largest Ebola outbreak in history, the most recent eruption of the disease in three countries in West Africa -- Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- has claimed more than 670 victims, spurring international concern that the disease is only a plane ride away from spreading to other countries, including the United States.

“Our government has declared this now as a humanitarian crisis that is above the control of the national government,” Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia’s assistant minister of health, told CBS News, adding that, “This virus, if it is not taken care of, will be a global pandemic.” Nyenswah is calling for more international aid to stop the spreading of the disease.

With no cure and a mortality rate as high as 90 percent, the Ebola epidemic serves as a grim reminder that even with the advent of modern medicine, the spread of deadly infectious diseases is not relegated to history.

Read it all.

Update: In the span of four days, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa claimed 57 more lives and has resulted in 122 new cases says the WSJ--read it all also.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaGuineaLiberiaNigeriaSierra Leone* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As alarm spread over the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, one of the three main countries battling the worst known outbreak of the disease, declared a public health emergency late on Wednesday including the deployment of security forces to quarantine epicenters of infection. He also said he was canceling a planned visit to the United States.

In an address to the nation posted on the presidential website, Mr. Koroma said the emergency would “enable us take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak.”

Mr. Koroma said he had been planning to attend a United States-Africa summit meeting in Washington, but would instead go on Friday to Guinea to discuss a regional response to the outbreak. The other two countries accounting for many of the 672 killed by the disease in recent weeks are Liberia and Guinea.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaSierra Leone

0 Comments
Posted July 31, 2014 at 4:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wearing long hijabs, the anonymous women squeeze quietly into crowds, barely noticed.

One slipped in among students gathered Wednesday at a notice board of a college campus in the northern Nigerian city of Kano. She detonated a hidden bomb, killing herself and at least five others, wire services reported.

On Sunday, a 15-year-old female suicide bomber blew herself up near a temporary university site, with no other casualties. Another pushed into a queue of women buying kerosene at a fuel station Monday, detonating a bomb that killed herself and at least three others. Hours later, an 18-year-old woman approached a shopping mall and detonated a bomb. She killed only herself.

No group has claimed responsibility for the rash of daily attacks in Kano, but experts say they bear the marks of the Islamist extremists led by Boko Haram. Police in adjacent Kastina state arrested a 10-year-old girl wearing a suicide vest Tuesday, government spokesman Mike Omeri said Wednesday. Two other Boko Haram suspects were arrested, he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomenYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted July 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria Most Reverend Nicholas D. Okoh has urged the Boko Haram insurgents to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue to stop the bloodletting that has pervaded the country.

Addressing newsmen at the sidelines of its second synod organised by the Diocese of Kubwa in Lugbe at the weekend, Rev Okoh said the best way to have a comprehensive end to the insecurity in the country was for the gunmen to come forward and "discuss issues as is done in civilized environment".

He said the attempt on the life of former Head of State Retired General Muhammadu Buhari last Wednesday in Kaduna forebodes worse days ahead.

"It sends signal of insecurity. And again, its sends another signal that is let everybody, east, west, north, south, Christians, Muslims, African traditional religionists put hands together and stop this terrorism. Nobody is spared, nobody is free, and nobody is safe," said the Anglican Primate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 30, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How easily the world forgets. It has been only three months, but it feels like a lifetime since more than 200 Nigerian girls were snatched from their school in the dead of night by the brutal Boko Haram. Vigils and marches around the world marked the girls’ 100 days in captivity, and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan managed to emerge from his cocoon to finally meet the parents of the abducted girls. I guess we should thank God for his small mercies. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his role as a UN global ambassador, tried to keep up hope for the girls’ return on the bleak anniversary, but his words had a hollow ring.

“The world has not forgotten these girls. Not in a 100 days. Not for one day,” Brown wrote.

Yes it has. The universal outrage that greeted the abduction, and the massive effort to mobilize the global community to confront the terrorists and rescue the girls, has dissipated. Western governments talked tough, promised big, but in the end, did precious little to help save the girls. A world-wide Bring Back Our Girls campaign led by politicians, religious leaders and celebrities swept across continents and energized people. There was hope, but it was only fleeting. Once the sad faces that tugged at our heartstrings disappeared from our TV screens, the outrage faded, and governments moved on to the next crisis in the headlines, promises forgotten. People returned to their busy lives, and the Bring Back Our Girls campaign fizzled. More than 200 girls are brazenly abducted, and what the world does is to shed a little tear, then shrug its shoulders and move on. It is hard to imagine the horror that confronts these girls every waking moment. The terror, the helplessness and the feeling of abandonment must be excruciating.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 29, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Robert Mutuku hangs “Out of Africa” T-shirts in his craft shop in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, he worries that the scarcity of tourists because of Islamist-militant attacks may doom his chances of keeping his five children in school.

Mutuku, 47, has had to fire three people who made souvenirs at his workshop for the tourists who once crowded the alleys of the city’s Old Town to savor its spice aromas and admire its Portuguese and Islamic architecture. Now Mutuku is certain he won’t be able to fulfill the dream of his eldest daughter, Catherine Ndinya, 21, to attend college.

“I have spent three days without selling anything,” Mutuku said in a July 25 interview. “I already took a bank loan to send the others back to school this term. I don’t know what I’ll do next term.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenya* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 28, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Cameroonian military says members of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram have abducted the wife of the country's deputy prime minister in the northern Cameroonian town of Kolofata.

A local religious leader and mayor was also abducted from the same town.

Separately, at least five people in northern Nigeria were killed in a blast - residents suspect Boko Haram.

Boko Haram has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks, as the army was deployed to the region.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaCameroonNigeria

0 Comments
Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria says it has put all entries into the country on red alert after confirming the death of a Liberian man who was carrying the Ebola virus.

The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa's most populous country.

Surveillance has been stepped up at all "airports, seaports and land borders", says Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.

Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa - the world's deadliest outbreak to date.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

6 Comments
Posted July 26, 2014 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians in Sudan frequently face arrests, impromptu questioning and expulsion. But this month, conditions worsened after the government announced a ban on the construction of new churches.

Shalil Abdullah, the Sudanese minister for guidance and religious endowments, made the announcement on July 12, sparking criticism from top Christian clerics who warned of shrinking worship space in the mainly Muslim and Arab north.

After South Sudan’s independence in 2011, many Christians moved to the newly formed country, which has a large Christian population. But a sizable number remained.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--North Sudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 26, 2014 at 3:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. pastor who took it upon himself to fly to Sudan to meet with and pray for imprisoned persecuted Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim was among those celebrating her freedom Thursday. He credited the 27-year-old married mother's release to the outcry of people from around the world who were captivated by her steadfast Christian witness in the face of impending death.

"Praise God for that," Pastor William Devlin told The Christian Post in response to Ibrahim's early morning flight out of Sudan, where she had been held imprisoned for nearly one year. Devlin returned to New York City on July 20 after a week-long trip to Sudan, where he says he spent an hour and a half with Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani and their two children.

"I think it was really the outcry of people from around the world," added Pastor Devlin, commenting on what he thought led to Ibrahim's release just days after his visit with her at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. Indeed, the young woman's case resonated with many around the world and many were moved to petition for her release. One such petition, published on Change.org, had more than one million supporters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted July 25, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and her family landed in Italy en route to a new life in the U.S.

A woman in Sudan who faced the death sentence for refusing to renounce Christianity safely landed in Italy en route to the U.S. on Thursday after the international community intervened to secure her safe exit, NBC News reports.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, was imprisoned for apostasy in February under Sudan’s strict Islamic law, after converting from Islam to marry her Christian husband, a U.S. citizen. Born to a Muslim father but raised Orthodox Christian, she refused to convert back under threat of death.

Read it all.

Update: Per Catholic News Service--#PopeFrancis spent 30mins with #Meriam&family. Thanked her for her "constant witness" to faith. She thanked him for church's prayers,support

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted July 24, 2014 at 7:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ugandan authorities discovered three mass graves containing remains of victims of recent clashes over land rights in the oil-rich Lake Albertine Rift basin, threatening to escalate simmering tribal tensions in the region.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that police investigators are preparing to start exhuming the graves discovered in Bundibugyo district, along Uganda's western border with Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Local Bundibugyo district officials estimated that 10 to 12 people were secretly buried in each of the mass graves shortly after tribal uprisings over land rights in the three border districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaUganda

0 Comments
Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Among almost a million people displaced from their homes through conflict in the Central African Republic are 9,000 people who have found refuge at a seminary in the capital, Bangui.

An “unbelievable number of children” are among these refugees at St Mark’s Major Seminary, said Bishop Richard E Pates of Des Moines, in the United States.

“Everyone there has been traumatised. They have all witnessed atrocities,” he said, noting that the “generosity and kindness” of the Church authorities who keep the seminary’s gates open to those fleeing violence “serve as an example of how to react in a crisis.”

Bishop Pates, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, visited the conflict-ridden neighbours South Sudan and the Central African Republic from July 10 to 21.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaCentral African Republic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] MOST Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Archbishop of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), on Saturday in Abuja urged Anglican youths to build bridges of unity and shun tribalism and ethnic sentiments.

Okoh, who spoke during the investiture of 95 national patrons and patronesses by the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF), said that tribalism and ethnicity posed danger to spiritual growth.

"There are many ills afflicting our church today and principal amongst them is the emergence of tribalism amongst the leadership and members of the congregation.

"We must consciously build bridges to keep the church together, and we should imbibe the spirit of give and take because division is not the way to progress," Okoh advised.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written to the Rt Revd Ezekiel Kondo who was enthroned yesterday as Archbishop of the new Internal Province of Sudan.

Archbishop Justin was represented at the service at All Saints Cathedral, Khartoum, by the Chair of the Sudan Church Association, the Ven Michael Paget-Wilkes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan

0 Comments
Posted July 21, 2014 at 9:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 20, 2014 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A lawsuit brought by a Sudanese Muslim father against a Christian woman to formally establish her as his Muslim daughter was dropped on Wednesday, the lawyer handling the case said, a move that could allow her to depart for the United States.

The case of Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, raised an international furore when a Sudanese court sentenced her to death in May on charges of converting from Islam to Christianity and marrying a Christian South Sudanese-American.

Ibrahim says she was born and raised as a Christian by an Ethiopian family in Sudan and was later abducted by the Sudanese Muslim family. The Muslim family denies that and insists she belongs to them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

hen Boko Haram invaded her village last year, the Islamist extremists burned the churches, destroyed Bibles and photographs and forced Hamatu Juwanda to renounce Christianity.

"They said we should never go back to church because they had brought a new religion," the 50-year-old said. "We were going to be converted to Islam."

The head of the village, a Muslim, presented her with a thick nylon hijab to cover her head and renamed her Aisha.

She submitted, smarting with rage. Women who didn't wear the hijab were beaten.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 16, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria's president has accused activists of "playing politics" after his meeting with parents of the abducted schoolgirls was called off.

The #BringBackOurGirls group should be ashamed of manipulating "the victims of terrorism", he said.

Mr Jonathan had been due to hold his first meeting with some of the girls' parents on Tuesday.

Islamist group Boko Haram captured more than 200 girls during a raid on their boarding school in Chibok in April.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States and other western nations have ignored the religious motivation of the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram and must understand the theological dynamics in Nigeria in order to curb terrorism in the western African country, the archbishop of Nigeria's Anglican Church told Baptist Press.

For a long time, "the United States did not come out to say anything about Boko Haram," Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria, said in an interview. "They kept talking about economic problems, [saying] that Boko Haram is fighting because of economic problems. That is not true ... The United States deliberately ignored the fundamental issues of religious ideology."

Based in northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram has killed an estimated 10,000 people since 2002 with an escalation in murders recently. In April the group received wide media coverage for kidnapping 273 schoolgirls, 219 of whom remain missing and may be enslaved as wives of Muslim men. Loosely translated, the phrase Boko Haram means "Western education is sinful."

Read it all.

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 6:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram sect yesterday invaded the Dille Village in Askira-Uba Local Government Area of Borno State, killing five civilians and setting ablaze three churches including the Church of Brethern in Nigeria, EYN, as well as shops and residential buildings.

Unconfirmed reports revealed that unspecified number of the attackers were also killed by military fighter jets that arrived the scene of the incident and bombed them.

This was even as the Nigerian Army High Command yesterday declared that the battle against Boko Haram and terrorism will be defeated though it urged the citizenry to be patient as the development was a new phenomenon whereas the army is a conventionally trained force.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father Michael Lapsley is an Anglican priest who was sent to South Africa during the institutionalized racial segregation of apartheid. He became a chaplain to Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress and a target of the white supremacy government. One day Lapsley opened a package that turned out to be a bomb. He lost both hands and one eye in the attack on his life, but his faith survived. He now uses his wounds to connect with those who have experienced trauma and help them find healing.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth AfricaAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This takes me to the question of what does it mean to be alive. What constitutes quality of life and dignity when dying? These are big, important questions. I have come to realise that I do not want my life to be prolonged artificially. I think when you need machines to help you breathe, then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced and about the way money is being spent. This may be hard for some people to consider.

But why is a life that is ending being prolonged? Why is money being spent in this way? It could be better spent on a mother giving birth to a baby, or an organ transplant needed by a young person. Money should be spent on those that are at the beginning or in full flow of their life. Of course, these are my personal opinions and not of my church.

What was done to Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was disgraceful. There was that occasion when Madiba was televised with political leaders, President Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. You could see Madiba was not fully there. He did not speak. He was not connecting. My friend was no longer himself. It was an affront to Madiba's dignity.

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Kwashi & wife, interview on 6-30-2014 from Christ St Pauls on Vimeo.

Among the topics covered are: How the Kwashis met, marriage, children, orphans and ministry to orphans, women's ministry, the roughly 200 kidnapped girls in Nigeria, ACNA, and Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther. Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Sudanese woman who gave birth in a Khartoum prison with her legs in chains has said that her baby daughter is disabled as a result of her treatment.

Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was sentenced to hang for apostasy on May 15, when she was heavily pregnant with her second child. Less than a fortnight later she gave birth to Maya – but the prison authorities refused to remove the shackles on her legs.

"I gave birth chained," she said, in her first description of the May 27 birth.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPrison/Prison Ministry* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan

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Posted July 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I would guess that most blog readers know little about this remarkable Anglican. Please avail yourselves of the many resources here to learn more.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Church of Nigeria* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted July 1, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Crowther was the apostle of Nigeria and the inspiration of much more. He worked all over but especially in the South South (for the Nigerians here) or Niger Delta, in places like Nembe (which I have been to), Brass, Bonny. It is a hard place now, one can scarcely imagine what travel and health were like then. He was a linguist, a scholar, a translator of scripture, a person of prayer. Above all he loved Jesus Christ and held nothing back in his devotion and discipleship.

Those who opposed him were caught up in their own world. British society of the nineteenth century was overwhelmingly racist, deeply hierarchical. It resisted all sense that God saw things differently. In the India of the time the East India Company, ruling the land, forbade the singing of the Magnificat at evensong, lest phrases about putting down the mighty from their seats and exalting the humble and meek might be understood too well by the populations they ruled. The idea that an African was their equal was literally, unimaginable. Of course they forgot the list of Deacons in Acts 5, including Simeon Niger in Acts 13, or Augustine from North Africa, or the Ethiopian eunuch whom Philip baptised. They lived in an age of certainty in their own superiority. In their eyes not only the gospel, but even the Empire would be at risk if they conceded.

The issue was one of power, and it is power and its handling that so often deceives us into wickedness. Whether as politicians or Bishops, in business or in the family, the aim to dominate is sin. Our model is Christ, who washed feet when he could have ruled. Crowther's consecration reading was do not dominate, and it means just what it says. Each of us must lead by humility.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted July 1, 2014 at 5:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, on Monday, observed that Christians living in the Northern part of Nigeria are at greater risks of being killed by the Boko Haram Sect.

The group said over 258 Northern Nigerian Christians have been killed by the deadly sect within the last seven days, with the aim to eliminate Christians in the entire Nigeria and imposing Islamic Religion on Nigeria.

In a statement signed by the chairman, Board of Trustees of the organization, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi and released to journalists in Awka, Intersociety alleged that the ethno-religious cleansing campaigns launched in July 2009 was also targeted at forcing the federal authorities in the country to return the presidency to core northern Muslims.

Read it all.

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Posted July 1, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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Posted June 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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