Religious NEWS briefs

>>Gwendoline Kanokanga on expansion

>>Harare Hospital, New Life make good partners

>>Pastors appeal six-year jail term

>>Pope Francis calls for rethink on divorcees

Gwendoline Kanokanga on expansion

The Gwendoline Kanokanga Foundation will next year expand its community programmes of empowering women in the community, a project that was birthed over a decade ago.

Impact Christian Centre co-founder Pastor Gwendoline Kanokanga said the foundation was birthed with the aim to empower women to use their hands in impacting positively on their families and society.

“This project began while I was still a member of Zaoga way back in 1990 and back then I called it Operation Feed and Clothe 5 000. I was inspired by founders of Zaoga, Dr Ezekiel and Eunor Guti, seeing the work they did in the communities.

“As a result I aimed at feeding and clothing 5000 people,” Pastor Kanokanga.

The project trains women in producing body oils, hair gels, candles, and lotions among other products.

To date over 2 000 women have been trained under this programme in areas such as Domboshava, Highfield, and Epworth as well as in rural areas.

“I thank God that through this project we have women managing to educate their children and feeding their families. Next year we are looking at ensuring that children we have groomed will groom others in their communities.

“We will also focus on helping our orphans, training those who love to play musical instruments as well as video filming.

“We will continue with our outreach programmes which before have seen us send doctors and nurses to the rural areas where people receive free medication as well as legal advice from lawyers.

“We also continue in the spiritual work of God where women are delivered from spiritual husbands and other problems,” Pastor Kanokanga said. With her husband Pastor Davison, the Kanokangas preside over Impact Christian Centre. – Extra Reporter

 

Harare Hospital, New Life make good partners

Harare Hospital has commended New Life Covenant Church for hosting the annual Christmas party at the health institution last week.

The Harare Children’s Hospital Christmas Party thrilled more than 1 000 kids, and acting principal nursing officer Matron Dade Getrude Pedzisayi said: “For the past years we have had orphaned children and those from under-privileged backgrounds coming for this occasion. Even those admitted here got presents and goodies hence joining in the Christmas celebrations. This does go a long way as most of them couldn’t get anything for them to enjoy Christmas.”

She said the hospital catered for 160 to 180 children daily, and such a load could not be carried without the assistance of “our partners in the church”.

New Life executive administrator Drene Bismark said, “New Life Covenant Church has always fostered a culture of serving the community around it. This dates back to the early years of New Life Temple in the 1990s, when the church ran a feeding program for the less fortunate, sponsored an orphanage in Porter Farm, and operated a mobile Clinic Unit that provided free and easy medical care to people living in rural communities.

“And as New Life has grown and evolved, so has the desire to do more for those around us. New Life has a value system that promotes active transformation; that means that have to be the change we want to see in our communities…

“But we encourage others to do their part as well. Charity is not a ‘Christian thing’, it is a universal human value. If people would contribute in some form to helping the less fortunate around them in their communities, a major difference could be made,” Bismark said. – Extra Reporter.

 

Pastors appeal six-year jail term

Three Christian church leaders in Iran appealed their prison sentences last week, after being sentenced to six years in an Iranian prison each for their faith.

“The charges faced by Pastors Behnam Irani, Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani are clearly unjust” said the attorney Mr Farahani.

We continue to call on the authorities to release these clergymen along with Ebrahim Hosseinzadeh, unconditionally and without delay,” said Christian Solidarity Worldwide chief executive Mervyn Thomas in a news release.

“Their only ‘crime’ is to exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief, as guaranteed in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is signatory.

We urge the Iranian government to uphold this right for religious minorities in Iran, in line with its obligations under international law and the provisions upholding the rights of religious minorities in its own constitution.”

A house church leader in Shiraz, was also recently arrested.

Hosseinzadeh, was taken into custody by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security. They also confiscated his Christian books and laptop. Reportedly, Hosseainzadeh is still detained at the Pelak 100 detention centre in Shiraz. – Christian Headlines.

 

Pope Francis calls for rethink on divorcees

The Pope is asking bishops and priests around the world to consider whether Orthodox Church practice might be the best way forward to resolve the crisis over divorce and remarriage.

In the “Lineamenta” or discussion document for the final Synod on the Family, which takes place next October in Rome a year after the last one, bishops are asked to assess Orthodox Church practice.

Currently, a spouse who is betrayed by their partner through infidelity or other falsehood is unable to remarry after a civil divorce without losing access to the sacraments, including Holy Communion.

This effectively excommunicates thousands of innocent men and women, who are unable to confess and be absolved, and thus be readmitted to the sacraments, while remaining in what the Church regards as an irregular marriage.

The document asks bishops to bear in mind the “distinction” between objective sinfulness and extenuating circumstances.

Bishops and cardinals are also being asked to consider whether the process of obtaining an annulment can be made easier, more affordable and even, possibly, free.

The Church teaches that marriage is for life because of Jesus’ words in Matthew’s Gospel, where he said: “Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries commits adultery.”

The Eastern Orthodox Church permits two remarriages out of compassion, and in recognition of man’s sinful nature. At his general audience in Rome last week, Pope Francis said no one at the last synod questioned the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. – Christian Today.

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