Brazil: Pentecostal Churches Growing in Poor Communities
Pentecostal churches are thriving in Brazil, particularly in the country’s poorest communities. Brazil is a traditionally Catholic country, but Pentecostal churches are providing what many poor Brazilians need.
According to Christian Today, many underprivileged Brazilians are drawn to Pentecostal churches because the churches are the one group in their communities that are caring for them and providing for their physical needs, as well as their spiritual ones.
“The government doesn’t help us so God is the only option for the poor,” said Pastor Antonio who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Brazil.
Antonio got into drugs growing up and felt he had nowhere to turn until he found the church.
“There are a lot of problems here in the favela,” said Pastor Antonio, referring to the Portuguese term for a slum. “Poverty, a lack of work, crime, mental health issues – the church helps with these things.”
Churches are a stable presence in these poor communities, providing education, security and economic development, as well as spiritual help.
About 20 percent of people who live in Brazil’s major cities live in favelas, so there is a great need for these churches to help.
Additionally, about 20 percent of Brazil’s population is Protestant, with most of these people identifying as evangelical Pentecostals.
Nebraska Mother Facing Potential Charges for Calling Police to Help Free Toddler Locked in Car
A Nebraska mother is facing potential charges for child neglect after calling the police to help free her daughter who was accidentally locked inside a car.
In a column for The Federalist, Mary Katharine Ham writes that the toddler in question had been visiting the pool with her aunt. When the woman exited the vehicle at the child’s home and opened the rear door to retrieve her niece, a gust of wind blew the door shut, trapping a toddler and the car keys inside. The child’s mother and aunt first used tools on hand to try to unlock the door, then called a roadside assistance service, who said that it would take 30 minutes for the company to arrive. Out of options, the mother called the police.
Police broke the window to free the toddler and ticketed the mother on suspicion of child neglect.
Ham reported, “… this child was not forgotten. Her relatives were trying to free her from the car and called the police for help doing that. They were in the very act of not neglecting her. The mother had a perfectly reasonable explanation for how it happened, corroborated by weather reports from the day showing wind gusts of 40 mph, and the child was unhurt.
“Can’t we just leave it at that? Can’t we give parents in a scary moment even 20 minutes of grace?”
Unfortunately, police did not grant the mother grace, as she now awaits a case with local prosecutors.
A spokesperson for the police department said, “We make decisions in the moment with all the information we have available. This can be a super dangerous situation. People die in these circumstances.”
The spokesperson continued, “But please don’t be afraid to call 911 for help.”
Study Claims Church Attendance Can Help You Live Longer
A new study claims that church attendance is good for your health; those who attend services experience less stress and enjoy longer lives.
Vanderbilt University professor and Baptist minister Marino Bruce spearheaded the study, alongside Keith Norris, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Bruce said, “We found in our study that attending church is actually good for your health, particularly for those who are between the ages of 40 and 65.”
He continued, “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who attended church at some point over the last year.”
According to the research, middle-aged adults who attend a church, synagogue, mosque, or other house of worship reduce their mortality rate by 55 perfect. This data was gathered from 5,449 participants of both sexes and all races.
The research might suggest that there is a connection between spiritual health and biological outcomes.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Several prominent members of President Trump’s cabinet reportedly meet for prayer sessions every week. Vice President Mike Pence is one of the sponsors of the weekly prayer meetings. Eight other cabinet members also sponsor and attend the meetings. Capitol Ministries also hosts weekly Bible studies in the House and Senate.
China is reportedly on track to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030, despite the increased persecution Chinese Christians have been experiencing. Christian leaders are praying for 200 million Chinese believers by the year 2030. But they are still in need of much prayer and support. Hundreds of churches have been destroyed, their cross symbols removed, and Christians have been imprisoned, tortured or even killed for their faith.
An Israeli rabbi is making the case that the Hebrew priesthood can be re-established through genetics, making it time to rebuild the Temple. “Genetics connects modern Judaism to the Bible, confirming 3,000 years of Jewish tradition,” explained Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman. He opened the Center for Kohanim in Jerusalem nine years ago, and has authored a book on DNA evidence of the priesthood. Genetic researchers in Haifa discovered a Y chromosome, a genetic marker passed from father to son, that indicated a common ancestry for Jewish men whose family traditions hold that they are descended from the biblical priestly class.
Alabama Senate Votes to Give Church Its Own Police Force
The Alabama Senate has granted a large church the right to create its own police force.
Christian Today reports that the 4,000-member church says it needs its own police force to keep its congregation safe, especially with the many events the church holds every year and the increased violence directed at church congregations.
Attorney Eric Johnston, who is behind the bill, stressed the need Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham has for the police force: “We’ve got over 30,000 events a year that take place at Briarwood – going on all day, all night, at the school, at the church, at the seminary,” said Johnston. “We have to hire policemen all the time. It would be so much easier to have someone on staff.”
The bill passed in a 24-4 vote.
Critics of the bill, however, say that granting a church its own police force is an unprecedented move and could lead to covering up of abuse within the church.
Alabama has previously granted private universities their own police force but has never done so for a church.