Alliance News Feed – Notre Dame: The Heart of France on Fire
by Dan Lawrence, an Alliance international worker serving in Paris, France
As one who lives in Paris, I can’t even begin to explain how heartbreaking the recent events are for this city.
Paris was birthed more than 2,000 years ago out of a small island in the middle of the Seine River. That island is still the very center of the city and on it has stood Notre Dame since 1163. This place is physically and emotionally the heart of the city. For centuries, it has been where the city comes to gather—it’s the symbol of this community.
As word of the fire quickly spread on Monday, people everywhere stopped. A collective lump formed in our throats as we looked on in disbelief. People gathered around screens in every café, paralyzed by astonishment. How could this be happening?
Immediately you knew you would be asked years from now, “Where were you the day Notre Dame burned?”—and you would remember. As the heart of the city burned, the hearts of its people broke. This monument that we walk by several times a week is so much more than just stones—it is history, art, relics, culture, and identity.
That night the city was quiet, only sirens. As the sun went down the glow of the flames still rose. People gathered to mourn as close to the church as the police would allow. By the light of phones, people looked for the lyrics to songs they once knew to join a makeshift choir that had formed.
Some people kneeled in the streets to pray. The sound of crying was all around. However, most people were silent, unsure of what they were feeling. It was as if someone had died.
The Day After . . .
As the ashes of the old church settled, so did the Parisians. As life continued, people walked around stunned. There was a subtle, silent recognition of what we were going through together. Underneath it all, people anxiously awaited news of the church’s fate.
That day, a picture began rapidly circulating of the inside of Notre Dame. It showed that the cross on the alter still stood. People around the world took this as a sign—the cross still stands among the ashes. As interior images appeared, we began to hear one word over and over—hope.
I asked a good French friend of ours, Mary*, what this all meant to her. “This is not just a symbol of Paris—it’s a symbol of France,” she replied. “People from all around the word have been affected. Everyone has a relationship with Notre Dame.”
Mary then went on to say something that is very revealing about the culture here—“I’m not a believer, so this is not about religion at all to me, and for our country this is not about religion.”
You see, France is filled with big old churches, but most of them are empty. The truth is, France is the forth largest atheistic country in the world—less than one percent of the population claims to have a relationship with Jesus. Most people have been hurt by religion and want nothing to do with God. Mary described it, saying, “France has a disaffection with the Church.”
For most of the French, their hope is not in God or even the church. They have hope that this building—this symbol—can be saved. They hope that Notre Dame can be rescued, restored, and see new life. Little do they realize that the work they hope to see done in this building, God wants to see done in them.
One of the greatest spiritual hurdles for the French is formal religion itself. They detest it and struggle to separate Christ from it. As people stare at the church, they are forced to look at religion. And until this hurdle is overcome, they will never be able to enter into relationship with the living Christ.
I believe somehow all of this is causing people to look deep—to search their roots, history, and identity. They seem to be collectively tapping into something simultaneously ancient and new. Physically, emotionally, and even spiritually there is a stirring in the heart of France.
Pray with us that the French people will wrestle with this deep stirring and ask the hard questions so they all will see that God is more than buildings, services, rules, and rigidness. Our resurrected Lord is our greatest hope. Only Jesus can rescue and restore their hearts, bringing new life. May this be the beginning of a great movement of the Holy Spirit here in France.
As the people stare with broken hearts at blackened walls, questioning it all, may we the believers be there to comfort, listen, guide, and love.
As one of the four Alliance colleges/universities, Simpson University recently received recognition for two of its outstanding programs:
First, five WorldSERVE teams are preparing for overseas summer service in India, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. About 30 students are participating this year in the university’s yearlong discipleship program that includes a short-term service trip. Over the past 25 years, Simpson has sent more than 1,700 students on trips to nearly 30 percent of the world. These teams partner with mission organizations to help in churches, camps, orphanages, youth programs, and more.
Also, of the 126 California schools assessed for the Best RN Programs ranking, Simpson’s School of Nursing is the highest ranked private university—and the only one in the top 25. The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing, which is nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), has graduated more than 190 four-year bachelor of science in nursing students since the BSN program began in 2011. In addition, more than 175 students have graduated from Simpson’s RN-BSN Track, designed for registered nurses who want to obtain their bachelor’s degree.
In addition to its CCNE accreditation, the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing is also accredited by the Western Senior College and University Commission and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Learn more at simpsonu.edu/nursing.
Alliance News Feed – Notice of April 2019 Revision to General Council Special Rules of Order
Per legislation adopted by General Council, the Board of Directors submitted a recommendation to the Committee on Rules for action, pertaining to Article V (Delegate Certification) in the General Council Special Rules of Order. This item was deemed to be routine and editorial amendments, and not of a substantive nature. As required, notice was given to delegates via the Web from March 7–April 7, 2019. Following the notice period, the Committee on Rules unanimously adopted the recommendation. This revision has been made to the General Council Special Rules of Order and will be reported to 2019 General Council (see Item 3.1 in the Report of the Corporate Secretary). Please direct any questions to the Office of the Corporate Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alliance News Feed – Indonesia Flooding Update: The Alliance and CAMA Continue Relief Efforts
The Alliance in Indonesia (GKII) and CAMA, the U.S. C&MA’s relief and development arm, continue to assist victims of flooding and landslides in the eastern province of Papua this month. At this writing, at least 114 people have died, with nearly 100 still missing. More than 11,000 have been displaced.
Alliance efforts have focused on distributing water and food and digging out homes. More than 100 volunteers from local churches and CAMA’s Papua United soccer teams are engaged with relief and recovery. An initial $5,000 was received from CAMA for this work.
“The Alliance Bible school (STT Levinus) is digging out, and our team has delivered supplies, tools, and a generator,” an Alliance international worker reported. Temporary shelters at the Alliance-affiliated Hillcrest International School and the GKII youth center are shutting down to encourage people to return to their homes.
Please pray for
Strength, good health, and patience for workers involved in relief efforts
God to provide needed supplies, including power tools
A growing passion among GKII church members for outreach and care for their neighbors
The ability to find and connect with those most in need
By Dr. Jeff and Amy Lane, serving at the Alliance-affiliated Bongolo Hospital in Gabon, central Africa
It’s been tough at the hospital these last few months. We do our best with the limited resources we have, and many times we can help people dramatically. But right now, many patients are dying.
We are at the height of malaria season. Our pediatric ward is overwhelmed—children are arriving too late to save and dying in front of our eyes. Pregnant women are showing up having been in labor for two to three days. Many times, it’s too late to save the child.
We have had a few older patients die in the evening after undergoing straightforward surgeries and uncomplicated recoveries. African friends and colleagues have lost loved ones to illness. It’s been tough.
Despite the tragedies, we do see God performing miracles. One happened just the other day. A pregnant woman arrived from the regional hospital—she and her baby were in trouble. She was about two hours away for an emergency cesarean section and had gone into labor and ruptured her uterus.
It Looked Bleak
We performed the emergency surgery, and when the baby was delivered, it looked bleak. The child was motionless, without color, had no pulse, and was not breathing. We immediately began to resuscitate the baby. After about 30 seconds the little boy’s heart started pumping, but he would not breathe.
We continued to breathe for the baby. At about 20 minutes after delivery, we were considering stopping our efforts. In fact, most medical experts say it’s okay to stop at this point.
We prayed. Just then, the baby took a breath . . . then another . . . then another. Soon he was breathing regularly on his own. His heart continued to beat normally. His color improved.
Okay, his heart and lungs were working, but how about his brain? we wondered.
A Marvelous Cry
Then, the miracle continued—he let out a marvelous cry of life. He opened his eyes. He started moving. He even grabbed the finger of our pediatrician. He continued to cry loudly! Nurses, doctors, and ancillary personnel in the operating room area joined him in praise!
This was truly a miracle.
A few days later both mom and baby were doing well. We continue to pray for this baby’s recovery and development. God has something in store for him.
We thank God for miracles like this in tough times. There have been others. It keeps us going. We know God is in control. Praise Him for his goodness. Praise Him for miracles.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Alliance News Feed – Torrential Rains Slam Indonesia, Causing Deadly Floods
The death toll from flooding in the Sentani area of Papua, Indonesia, had risen to 104 as of Wednesday, March 20, with nearly 10,000 people displaced from their homes. Floodwaters and landslides destroyed roads and bridges in several areas, hampering rescue efforts, the Associated Press reported. Mass burials are being planned for the victims of flash floods.
Although no Alliance international workers have been affected, C&MA (GKII) churches report there have been two deaths and ten houses swept away. All homes on Lake Sentani are flooded; many churches have not reported as of this writing. The Alliance Bible school in the area (STT Levinus) is flooded, with many students having lost their belongings.
An aid center has been established at one of the largest Alliance churches (Ebenhazer Church), and CAMA personnel and an Alliance worker are on the ground distributing water, tarps, and food. The Indonesia Alliance relief arm (Tents of Compassion) is working with local Alliance district and field leaders to see how they can best assist victims in Jesus’ name. Pray that the church will be galvanized to reach out to unbelievers and come alongside Christians during this very difficult time.
Further updates will be reported as the situation unfolds.
9:30a.m. Fellowship Zone (Hot drinks and Snacks) lower level
9:30 AM All Sunday School Classes
10:30 AM Worship Service (Children’s Church takes place during part of the service)Wednesday
6:30 PM Kidz Club
6:30 PM Youth Ministry
6:30 PM Women’s Study
7:30 PM Choir Practice
Various Small Groups throughout the year, call the Church Office for more info