Feb. 5, 2020: Wuhan pastor; Menlo Church; 'The Lord of the Rings' actor

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020

Here are the latest headlines, brought to you by The Christian Post.

— Nigerian church torched by suspected Fulani; over 2 dozen killed in attacks

Radical Fulani militants killed 32 people last week in predominantly Christian areas of Nigeria. A church building, a pastor’s home, and numerous other buildings were also destroyed in the January 26th and January 27th attacks.

Ahead of the Trump administration’s meeting this week with Nigerian officials for the fifth U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission meeting in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was urged to pressure Nigerian officials about why protection is not being provided for vulnerable communities.

— Anglican bishop’s son denied asylum, deported back to El Salvador

The son of an Anglican bishop in El Salvador who fled his native country for the U.S. following death threats from a gang was recently deported, according to his father.

Josue Alvarado Guerra, the 34-year-old son of Bishop David Alvarado of the Diocese of El Salvador, was deported back home after being detained in Ohio by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last November. He had been in the U.S. since October 2016 and worked as an undocumented day laborer. 

It is not clear whether Alvarado Guerra applied for asylum soon after he entered the U.S. or if he waited until after his arrest to plea for asylum. The bishop said his son is now hoping Canada will approve his asylum request.

— Megachurch pastor John Ortberg allowed volunteer attracted to minors to work with children

John Ortberg, senior pastor of the nearly 4,000-member Menlo Church in Menlo Park, California, exhibited “poor judgment” when he knowingly allowed a volunteer who confessed to having an attraction to minors to work with children, church elders said. Ortberg is now undergoing a period of restoration.

In an email that was sent to church members on January 21st and shared with The Christian Post by the church, Beth Seabolt, chair of the congregation’s elder board, said Ortberg was asked to go on personal leave from the church on November 22nd 2019, while an investigation of concerns raised by a third party was conducted.

— Actor John Rhys-Davies says Christianity has made the world better

“The Lord of the Rings” star actor John Rhys-Davies told The Christian Post that people often “forget that Christian civilization has made the world a better place.”

The actor was at the Movieguide Awards in Hollywood, California, last month for his role the film “I Am Patrick: The Patron Saint of Ireland” that will be in theaters nationwide on St. Patrick’s Day. The Movieguide Awards show will broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on February 24th.

— Chinese pastor in Wuhan issues urgent call to prayer as Coronavirus cases rise above 20,000

A Chinese pastor living Wuhan — the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak — has penned a powerful letter urging the international faith community to pray as the number of confirmed cases rises above 20,000 in the country. The Christian leader, identified as "A Wuhan Pastor" by China Source, penned a lengthy letter in which he revealed that fellow pastors from around the world have been reaching out, asking how they can support him.

The pastor urged the international community to “pray for God’s mercy upon this city, and bring peace upon this city through our prayers and testimony.”

The virus originated in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Hubei province, and can lead to respiratory illnesses, deadly in some cases. On Monday, Hong Kong reported its first death from the virus, which has killed at least 425, all but two of them in mainland China. The United States recently recorded its 11th case of the virus. Last week, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency.

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