The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week. Check back in every Friday to see the latest wrap up of religious news that made us think and reflect.
Historic church up for grabs
News.com.au reports on the sale of a historic Uniting Church in country New South Wales, built in the late 1800s, which is set to sell north of $650,000. The sandstone building contains bricks from local farms and sits on approximately one acre of land.
The church is being sold due to a decline in its congregation.
Bureaucrat in bakery drama gets toasted at the polls
Fox News details the electoral fate of infamous Oregon bureaucrat, Brad Avakian, who was running for Secretary of State but lost to his Republican rival.
Last year Avakian, then Labor Commissioner, found himself at the centre of a political storm when he ordered the Christian owners of a bakery to pay a lesbian couple $135,000 in emotional damages after they refused to make the couple a wedding cake due to their religious views on same-sex marriage.
Their refusal to service the same-sex couple ignited a debate about the limits of freedom of religion, tolerance and government power.
Portrait of hope in Wayside Chapel
Sydney’s iconic Wayside Chapel has released a new coffee table book collecting portraits of visitors, volunteers, staff and friends which celebrates the Wayside’s unique and colourful community.
A poignant gift this Christmas to give someone special with all profits going back into programs and services that support the community’s vulnerable.
Indonesian Christian politician caught up in blasphemy row
The Guardian reports on a Christian governor in Jakarta who is a suspect in a case of alleged blasphemy. Despite Indonesia’s national motto—Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (“Unity in diversity”)—Islamic hardliners have been agitating for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama to face charges of insulting Islam when he cited a verse from the Koran during political campaigning.
Human rights campaigners are closely watching developments: after all, Indonesia is a nation where a man was sentenced under blasphemy laws for over two years in prison for stating he was an atheist on Facebook.
Researchers crack millennial church desires
Relevant covers news of fresh research by the Fuller Youth Institute in North America that offers insight into teenage and emerging adult congregations. Over 250 congregations of various sizes, ethnicities and geographic regions were studied and findings demonstrated integrated discipleship and open dialogue were vital needs for young people.
What have been your own experiences, either as a millennial in church or someone who has been successful in growing millennial attendance at your church? Please let us know in the comments below.
Christmas ad to lift spirits
The annual Sainsbury’s Christmas advertisement has been released, featuring some superb animation and a song by Late Late Show host James Corden.