Thursday, August 25, 2011

U.S.mandated report finds vaccines safe for kids


An exhaustive new report from experts at the Institute of Medicine finds that children's vaccines are typically safe, with bad reactions occurring only rarely and then not causing any lasting medical problems.

The IOM committee also agreed that there is no evidence supporting a connection between certain vaccines and the later onset of conditions such as autism or type 1 diabetes in kids.

The purported link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism, especially, has been hotly contested, both in the media and the courts in recent years. In 2010, the British researcher behind a 1998 study that was pivotal in suggesting such a link was accused of fraud and the journal that published it has since retracted the research.

In its review, the IOM committee examined more than 1,000 studies, looking for problems possibly related to vaccines, such as seizures, inflammation of the brain and fainting, as well as longer-term issues.

"We looked at eight different vaccines and a number of adverse effects, and what we found is that there is very little evidence that vaccines cause adverse events," said committee chair Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton, professor of pediatrics and law, and director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University.

"And most of the adverse events that there is evidence for tend to be time-limited," she said. To read more, click here.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Meth Lab Busts Up 600 Percent Since Tenn. County Launched Prayer Rallies


Government and church leaders in Tennessee’s Scott County are attributing a surge in meth lab seizures and drug arrests to the power of prayer originating from monthly community rallies which began in April.

The first prayer rally held in early April was attended by 200 people on the lawn of the Huntsville courthouse and was planned by county officials as an annual event. However, when four meth labs were seized by law enforcement within the first week of the prayer event, the meetings became monthly.

Also, since the first meeting, 21 meth labs have been seized by police, an increase of 600 percent, say county officials.

For the last two weeks, the prayer vigils have turned into nightly revival meetings held in a tent at the park across from the courthouse.

In a state that recently surpassed Missouri as having the most methamphetamine production in the nation, several counties in Tennessee appear to be losing the war on drugs as the result of less funds for enforcement.

Scott County Sheriff Mike Cross and Commissioner David Day say they were desperately looking for answers when they came up with the idea for a prayer rally. To read more, click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Holy Apostles, Elizabethtown to Be Received into the Diocese of the South


Bishop Foley Beach will be receiving Holy Apostles Anglican Church in Elizabethtown into the Diocese of South of the Anglican Church in North America on Tuesday, August 23, 2011.

Holy Apostles was formerly affiliated with the Diocese of the Holy Spirit, which was dissolved earlier this summer. Bishop John Guernsey who headed the Diocese of the Holy Spirit was elected bishop of the newly-formed Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.

Bishop Beach will be meeting with the vestry of Holy Apostles and then area clergy. A reception will be held for Bishop Beach at 5:30 AM – 6:30 PM EST at Holy Apostles to give the people of Holy Apostles an opportunity to meet their new bishop.

Bishop Beach will be meeting later that evening with the folks at St. Andrews’ Anglican Church, Versailles. He also has a meeting scheduled for the following day at Apostles Anglican Church, Lexington.

Holy Apostles is located at 56 Public Square, Elizabethtown KY 42701. For details, contact the church at 270-769-1170 or the Rector, the Rev. Chris Larimer, at frchris@holyapostlesky.org.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

American girls abandoning Girl Scouts


More and more Christian parents are having their daughters bid good-bye to Tagalongs, Thin Mints and Girl Scouts because of the organization’s relationship with Planned Parenthood, the largest player in America’s abortion industry.

Proof of the strong links can be found by looking no further than the statements of Girl Scout CEO Kathy Cloninger, who told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview in 2004: “We partner with many organizations. We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs, and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.”

There’s additional documentation in printed materials provided by the Girl Scouts, although the statement from Cloninger remains sufficient for many parents. It comes on the heels of WND’s exposure of Girl Scouts’ promotion of lesbian causes.

Get the inside story on what Planned Parenthood is, by one who was there, in “Unplanned.”

However, those same parents don’t want their daughters to withdraw from the camaraderie, fellowship and fun found in children’s clubs and children’s groups, and, as a result, a number of alternative organizations have sprouted. To read more, click here.

Related article: Teens quit Girl Scouts, expose radical agenda

How can I help prepare my children for marriage?


Marriage has gone through profound changes over the last six decades, but we continue to speak about it as though it's the same old familiar pattern. Today's young people can listen to their grandparents tell how they fell in love, or what their first apartment was like, and feel that nothing is different. Yet marriage has changed dramatically. Today's children must marry under circumstances neither I, nor my parents, ever knew. It's sobering to contrast generations passed circumstances with what young people can expect now. To read more, click here.

Young bible campers learn 'on the theme of creation'


New Sudbury's Anglican Church of the Ascension is “strongly committed to youth,” according to Anne Germond, director of the parish.

To help the congregation's youngsters grow spiritually, the church holds an annual summer session that makes learning the word of God fun. This year, the camp took place Aug. 8 to 12.

Germond said in its tenth year, about 30 kids took part in the activity-filled week.

“Part of spiritual formation is for young people to be together,” she said.

This year, the camp had an environment focus, “on the theme of creation.” To read more, click here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Sower Chasuble


In the spring of 2008 Fr Bruce approached Elizabeth (Lizzie) Wall to see if she would be interested in producing a new set of Church Vestments for S Giles. Fr Bruce had seen Lizzie's embrodery and quilting work at the annual Art and Crafts Fayre at Liverpool Cathedral a thought that a series of five seasonal chasubles would be a unique way of marking the 2008 City of Culture. It would also be a lasting gift and work of art for future generations to use and enjoy.

Lizzie was very pleased to take up the commisson and work began on the first (green) chasuble in early summer. This chasuble will tell the parable of the sower and the story of it's development and construction follows below. To read more, click here.

The Butterfly Effect


Is it possible that the small things I do can make a difference all over the world and into the future?

"Recently, I had the opportunity to visit an exhibit at a local church. I was guided through the life of a child living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Step into Africa, a World Vision Experience: AIDS. Olivia, whose life I followed, is real; her name has been changed. Having already lost her parents and a sibling to the AIDS epidemic, Olivia experienced more heartache when a man invaded her home and raped her. She became pregnant and had a son. Soon after, Olivia was raped a second time by the same man and gave birth to a second child—a girl. This time, she went to a clinic and found that she and her daughter were HIV positive; her son was not. Olivia and her daughter may die, and her son will be left to fend for himself.

As I walked through the burlap curtains dividing segments of Olivia's life, I saw what may have been her house. I looked at nameless photos and read staggering statistics on the burlap walls, and I listened to Olivia's story on an iPod, hearing her cries for help as she was raped. I thought, How does something like this happen? This is a child! If this were to happen in our country, it would be headline news. In places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Olivia lives, it happens often. There is no reporter, no camera crew in a Winnebago on the front lawn, no detective on the case.

At the end of the recording, I helplessly turned in my iPod. There should be something more to be done. It can't just 'be over.' But it is. I reached into my purse to get my car keys and noticed a note card with a butterfly on it. I'd put it there as a reminder of The Butterfly Effect, and that there are always consequences to my actions. Some consequences aren't so bad, but more often than not, they affect us in ways we can't imagine...." To read more, click here.

Anglican church assumes central role in new diocese


When members of St. Bartholomew’s Church in the Town of Tonawanda decided in 2008 to leave the Episcopal Church, they didn’t know for sure where they fit in the larger structure of Anglicanism.

Less than three years later, the parish has become a pivotal congregation within the Anglican Church in North America, a rival to the Episcopal Church that grew from a rift between theological conservatives and liberal Episcopalians over Bible interpretation and the ordination of a gay bishop.

This week, the congregation served as host for a conference of the International Diocese, the new diocese to which it belongs as part of the Anglican Church in North America.

Friday, Bishop Bill Atwood dedicated St. Bartholomew as the diocese’s pro-cathedral, giving the church special significance as the site of the bishop’s chair.

Atwood cited the church’s role as a stabilizing force in organizing the new diocese, which includes congregations in Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, as well as New York State. To read more, click here.

Teens Look to Parents for Advice on Sexuality


A 2011 study revealed a surprising source for teenagers to learn about sexuality—their parents. Here are some of the results of the research:

45 percent of teenagers rely most heavily on their parents for information about sexuality.

32 percent of those surveyed relied on guidance from friends.

15 percent relied on what celebrities thought about sexuality.

The study also revealed another interesting statistic: 78 percent of parents assumed that their teenagers would turn to other sources (besides parents) for advice about sexual issues. Based on these statistics, the study's lead researcher concluded, "Parents are more important than they think. It's the role of the teen to be autonomous and turn away, but it is the role of the parent to remain a role model."

Bonnie Rochman, "Who Are Teens' Role Models? Turns Out, It's Their Parents," Time (7-18-11)

Originally posted on Christianity Today.

Sack lunches too warm, study says


Think that turkey sandwich you packed for your kid's lunch will be at a safe temperature -- safe and sound from food-borne illness --when they sit down to eat it? Maybe not--a study finds that few sack lunches might be kept at proper temperatures until lunch time.

The study, released Monday in the journal Pediatrics, looked at temperatures of 705 lunches containing at least one perishable item belonging to 3- to 5-year-olds. Food was removed from containers and temperatures were measured by a temperature gun about an hour and a half before the lunches were served. To read more, click here.

Related articles:
Packed Lunches May Reach Unsafe Temperatures Before Consumption: Study
Study: 90 percent of sack lunch items sit at school at unsafe temperatures
Study: Preschoolers' brown-bag lunches reach unsafe temperatures
Health Buzz: Sack Lunches Often Reach Unsafe Temperatures

Let the Word Invade Your Heart


How might our ministries be transformed if we allowed God, through his Word, to fill us, change us?

As the early morning light filters through the trees in my backyard, I sit on the deck off my kitchen, open Bible and journal on the patio table before me. The birds twitter a praise chorus, a squirrel scrambles from tree to tree, palpable peace invades my soul. The simple pleas of the psalm I'm reading become my own: create in me a clean heart; bless the Lord oh my soul.

I'd like to say that this is how I begin every summer morning. But honesty demands this confession: it doesn't always happen. It's not that I neglect Scripture. I'm in the Word most days. Because like many Christian leaders, I often read God's Word as part of my work: to prepare messages, write articles and books.

In ways, I feel lucky that I have a job that allows me to spend working hours focused on the Bible, but here's the rub: because I spend time reading the Bible at "work," it's easy to neglect this discipline when I take off my "Christian leader" hat. And then I can't figure out why I'm feeling burned out and empty. To read more, click here.

10 Tips to Make Use of Your Plastic Bags


Find "Your Inner Green"

More and more Americans are taking care to recycle their plastic, paper and aluminium.

In a world where the expression “Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce” is not just a catchy phrase we learned in grade school anymore, it’s imperative that every individual do their part in keeping green today.

Perhaps the simplest place someone can start "going green" is recycling those plastic bags from the store.

If you are someone who uses paper over plastic – you might want to rethink your options.

Plastic bags are an extremely resource-efficient disposable bag choice contrary to public opinion, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

“Plastic grocery bags require 70 percent less energy to manufacture than paper bags, and produce half the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the process,” the council shared as noted by the Boustead Consulting & Associates Ltd. in a report prepared for the Progressive Bag Alliance. To read more, click here.

Praying as They Grow


Ways to develop your child’s prayer life at any age

Like many expecting mothers, I started reading parenting books while pregnant in preparation for all the trials and tribulations I knew would be coming after the birth of our son. One of the books I discovered was on praying for your child. In it there was a list of prayers that focused on praying about a different part of the child's body. As soon as Nikolas was born I copied the prayers down on index cards, adding his name in the blanks to personalize them.

Every night I would work my way through the stack, praying one of the prayers as part of Nikolas' bedtime routine. As soon as he was old enough to talk, he added his own "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" prayer with a laundry list of relatives and friends to bless. After several years though, both our prayers became rote.

I often found myself having to remind Nik to slow down and think about the people he was praying for. "You are asking God to bless these people, not running through your addition tables." I wanted the prayer to come from his heart, not out of habit. To read more, click here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

11-Year-Old New Hampshire Girl Missing


Celina Cass Vanished from Her Stewartstown Home over Monday Night

Shy and sweet, with a gap-toothed smile and a reputation as reliable, 11-year-old Celina Cass is the last person anyone in her New Hampshire community would expect to run away. At this point, they only wish that were the case. The other explanations are too scary.

Last seen at a home computer Monday night, the fifth grader vanished overnight from her home a mile from the U.S.-Canada border, leaving family members and friends incredulous. Police and conservation officers are searching fields, woods and the Connecticut River while FBI child abduction specialists have joined the hunt.

Police have said that there's no indication she ran away or that someone took her, and there are no signs of a struggle

But tight-lipped police investigators revealed little about the probe beyond that Wednesday, despite a flurry of activity in and around the three-story house where Celina lives with her mother and stepfather. Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said it is still being treated as a missing persons case.

"We are still desperately looking for her," Young said.

She wouldn't comment when asked why an Amber Alert was never issued for the girl, even though the FBI said it had enlisted a four- to six-person "child abduction rapid deployment team" to pitch in. Earlier in the day, state police Sgt. Sheldon Belanger, the lead investigator in the case, said Celina's disappearance did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert and wasn't considered suspicious.

Police were going through phone and computer records at Celina's home, he said.

Those who know Celina say it's unlikely she ran away.

To read more, click here.

Related article with more photos of the missing girl: Desperate search continues for 'shy and quiet' 11-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom three days ago

Please pray for Celina and her family. Please pray for all missing children.

Learning to Lead from Mumford & Sons


How a British bluegrass band demonstrated effective institutional leadership

Preparing for a concert by Mumford & Sons, the British "new grass" quartet, I expected the roof to come down. These guys' glory is that they pick the banjo and smash the bass and stomp the floor like an Appalachian dance hall band rather than a group of west London lads. I even expected a spiritual experience: few musicians, secular or sacred, sing about God with such depth of spirituality without saccharine piety. I'd heard their concerts are like church -- just a whole lot better.

I expected all that. I didn't expect a lesson in institutional leadership.

To read more, click here.

Pray for Christians' Safety During Ramadan, Open Doors Urges


Ramadan, the 30-day annual Islamic fast which begins next week, may expose Christians to an increased risk of persecution in Muslim-majority countries and believers in the West should pray for them, Open Doors USA said as it launched a Ramadan Prayer Calendar.

“Ramadan is a time when Christians are especially isolated in some Muslim-dominated countries,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller in a statement. “This is why it is so important for us to unite in prayer for persecuted Christians throughout the world.”

To help Christians pray for the persecuted, Open Doors has prepared a Ramadan Prayer Calendar having multiple prayer points and designed to help believers pray for vulnerable Christians around the world during the 30 days.

The group, which has served the persecuted church worldwide since 1955 when its founder Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe for the first time, will also send out daily emails with a story from a Muslim-dominated country, prayer requests, and a call to action. Open Doors has provided a link on its website for believers to register.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which begins August 1 this year, is the time when most Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, seeking to shed their sins through acts of restraint as they believe this is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self-control.

However, “the observance of Ramadan could increase pressure on believers,” Moeller said.

To read more, click here.

From My Perspective: Five major trends for churches in America


Discerning future trends can be difficult if not risky. If we miss a trend, we risk missing opportunities because we had our resources directed elsewhere.

I am thus careful when I do trend projections. I am especially careful when I am projecting trends that will have a direct impact on the churches in America.

The basis for the trends

The trends that follow were not created in a vacuum. Most of the information is based on studies we have done at LifeWay Research. But much of this research provides us information and facts about today's realities. It does not offer certitude for future trends.

The process is analogous to weather forecasting. We can see all the ingredients that will likely cause a specific outcome. But those factors can change, so we can never say that we are 100 percent certain.

To read more, click here.

10 Rules for Dealing with Angry Children


Mikayla, age 13, has just been told she can't go to her friend's house. "You need to clean your room first," says her mom, "You promised to do that, remember?"

Mikayla gets in her mother's face and screams, "You're the meanest mom in the world! I hate you!" She turns and runs into her bedroom, slamming the door.

"That's it! You're grounded, young lady," her mom shouts back. She's left feeling exhausted and defeated, and unsure if she's done the right thing.

If you're a parent, odds are you've been there. Why do we often engage in shouting matches with our kids—or freeze up, not knowing what to do—when an angry outburst occurs? Read on to learn the 10 rules of dealing with an angry child.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keeping Kids Safe at Camp


Sometimes our best ministry activities attract the wrong people. Church summer camp, for instance, is often the highlight of a church’s summer ministry. Sadly, sex offenders know this too. According to John McLaughlin, an officer with the police department of Keene, New Hampshire, offenders may target and use activities common to children and youth ministries to find their next victims. For churches during the summer months, this can mean camps, Vacation Bible School, and other children’s programs.

In a recent webinar by Safe Hiring Solutions, McLaughlin described how child sex offenders select, seduce, maintain, and dump their victims. Here are tips that every church leader (and parent) should know for keeping kids safe from sexual abuse.

To read more, click here.