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Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 6:30pm

Todays Word



Thank God for His provision of your hands, feet and voices willing to speak His truth throughout our region - what a blessing you continue to be.  (State College)

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US excludes Iraq’s Christians from Islamic State genocide

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/20/2015 - 5:00am

(Image courtesy Wikipedia)

Iraq (MNN) -- The Obama administration is moving to designate the Islamic State’s attacks on the Yazidi and other religious minorities in Iraq an act of “genocide”. It is a rare move intended to ratchet up international pressure against the terror organization. An announcement is expected in the next couple of weeks by Secretary of State John Kerry, but is it enough? There are a couple of schools of thought. First, genocide may not be the most accurate word to describe what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Syria. Genocide is more about ethnicity (genus) than religion.  Also, according to the Voice of the Martyrs USA, Christians are NOT all being killed by ISIS. Many are being forced to flee or convert or pay the jizya tax. Since genocide is about extermination, being forced out of their homes isn't the same thing. ‘Genocide’ is not a term used lightly in the international community. Other situations that finally earned the term ‘genocide’ included the mass killings in Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and, more recently, the Darfur crisis in Sudan. The United Nations defines it as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group," including killing and forcibly transferring children from the group. The 1948 U.N. convention on genocide requires signatories to work to prevent genocide and punish perpetrators when it does occur. In other words, it would imply that the United States -- as a UN member -- would be involved in helping to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups, as well as offer aid, asylum, and other protections to genocide victims.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

The second school of thought: the Islamic State has been so thorough with its purge of Christians, that some aid groups fear Christianity could be extinct in the Middle East within a generation or even sooner. A new study from aid group Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) covered the oppression of Christians for their faith between the years 2013 and 2015, and found such persecution has been "catastrophic for many Christians in the regions where persecution is worst," such as Middle East, Africa and Asia. As noted by Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and a USCIRF commissioner from 1999 to 2012,  “to propose that Christians have been simply driven off their land but not suffered similar fates is deeply misinformed.... [Christians] are also being deliberately targeted for extinction through equally brutal measures.” Who cares? Much of this discussion has been met with silence from the American Church. Open Doors USA’s Emily Fuentes says, “I think we get ‘compassion fatigue', or, maybe we just get used to it in the news. It’s hard to remember that this is STILL going on, and that people have been displaced from their homes for more than a year and a half, and many have lost their family members in a violent way.” The topic of ‘refugees’ is front and center now, with the heightened awareness and debate over admitting Syrian refugees into the U.S. Fuentes urges you to remember that these nameless masses are people who have survived unbelievable trauma. “It’s been absolutely horrific for religious minorities and minority groups in general in both Iraq and Syria, who have been targeted specifically by the Islamic State.”

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Only a smattering will actually succeed in resettling in North America. For the hundreds of thousands still in the Middle East and North Africa, she explains, ”We’re there working with these partner organizations to provide refugee care such as tents and trailers and all of those things to house people, as well as food. We’re providing trauma counseling.” The need continues to grow. "The exodus has stopped," shares an Open Doors worker in Iraq. "There are no more Christians in Mosul. We now need to pray that they might return one day." Still, ISIS continues to attack Christians in both Iraq and Syria. Thousands more have been forced to flee for their lives. Fuentes says Open Doors needs your help to support these believers who’ve been so affected by the violence there. Yes, they need physical supplies. But, this is really a spiritual war, and that calls for a spiritual response. “What I’ve heard time and time again [from persecuted Christians], is to know that they’ve not been forgotten about. They ask for our prayers, [and] they ask that we share their stories; that the stories don’t just stay with us, but that we share them with all we know.” (Open Doors also has a petition to Take A Stand Against ISIS. Click here if you want to sign it.)
Categories: Mission Network News

Closing arguments in Columbia County murder trial

WGRC News - Thu, 11/19/2015 - 12:05pm

Closing arguments were presented in a Columbia County murder trial yesterday. The jury in the trial of Maria Sanutti-Spencer could begin deliberating as early as this morning. Sanutti-Spencer is accused along with her father Rocco Franklin of gunning down her husband Frank Spencer outside his Millville home in 2012. Sanutti-Spencer’s defense says she was nowhere near the scene when the shooting happened. The prosecution believes they have enough evidence to convict the woman. Franklin Spencer remains in Argentina awaiting extradition back to the United States to face the charges.

Categories: Local News

Loch Haven’s 2016 budget

WGRC News - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 1:09pm

Lock Haven city council last night was presented with a 2016 budget which does not contain a tax increase. The city had raised taxes this year by 16% in order to cover a deficit. City officials say that the increase has helped to allow for a $130,000 dollar reserve which will be carried over into next year’s $10.6 million dollar budget. If things go as planned, the city should have about $93,000 dollars to carry over into 2017. Among the expenses increasing in the 2016 budget is the cost of health care for city employees.

Categories: Local News

Governor Tom Wolf welcomes Syrian refugees

WGRC News - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 1:09pm

An ever increasing number of state governors are threatening to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris. Here in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf says his administration will continue working with the federal government to resettle Syrian refugees in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services says 14 Syrian refugees have already arrived in the state.

Categories: Local News

President Obama heads to G-20 Summit

WGRC News - Fri, 11/13/2015 - 12:34pm

President Obama heads out Saturday for the G-20 summit in Turkey. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said ISIS and Syria will be on the agenda, along with global economic issues and climate change. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend. Rice said no formal meeting is scheduled with President Obama, but the two leaders will have ample opportunity to chat on the sidelines of the summit. Obama and Putin have never enjoyed a warm relationship. Next week, President Obama will travel to the Philippines and Malaysia for summits on economic cooperation and trade.

Categories: Local News

Boil Water Advisory

WGRC News - Fri, 11/13/2015 - 12:33pm

Customers of the Montgomery Water Authority are reminded to continue to boil their water until further notice. Officials with the Authority say an issue at the reservoir serving the borough’s water supply caused a drop in pressure. That issue has since been fixed, but officials say that customers will have to boil their water until officials can make sure that everything is okay with water pressure. Fresh water is available for public use at the borough garage on Henry Hand Drive.

Categories: Local News

Lewisburg woman arrested for scalding 2 year old son

WGRC News - Fri, 11/13/2015 - 12:33pm

A 20 year old Lewisburg woman was ordered to stand trial yesterday in the scalding of her 2 year old son. Hayle Hans is accused of forcing her son into a bathtub filled with extremely hot water which caused second degree burns to the child’s body. The incident happened on August 25th when Hans reportedly became upset that the child had an accident while potty training. She allegedly filled the tub with hot scalding water and placed the boy in it, leaving for a couple of minutes and returning to find the skin on the boy’s legs peeling. She then together with her boyfriend game the boy a cooling bath and applied ointment but he had to be taken in for medical treatment six days later. Bail was set at $10,000 dollars.

Categories: Local News