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Attempt to drive to church and set fire to a Queen of Peace Catholic church in Florida

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Florida : A driver plowed into a Florida church and then set it on fire as parishioners prepared for mass Saturday, but no one was hurt, authorities said.

The Marion County Sheriff’s office said that Steven Shields deliberately drove his vehicle through the doors of the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala at 7.30am as the congregation prepared for Mass.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Steven Shields, 24, after he allegedly crashed a vehicle through the front doors of Queen of Peace Catholic Sanctuary in Ocala, poured gasoline in the foyer area and lit it on fire all while parishioners were present setting up for morning mass.

Shields then fled the scene in the crashed white van leading a police chase that ended on south Highway 441 when Deputy Josue Gonzales conducted a Precision Immobilization Technique to stop the car and take Shields into custody.

All parishioners were able to escape the church without injuries, and Marion County Fire Rescue was able to extinguish the flames quickly. The damage caused to the church was described in the report as extensive, and since it exceeded more than $1,000 in value resulted in a burglary charge.

police report, Shields told deputies he targeted the Catholic Church because of a “mission.” He also indicated during the interview that he had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, but had not been taking his medication.

The report also described surveillance footage that showed the white van crashing through the double doors, a man pouring gasoline on the Church floor, slipping on the gasoline then lighting and throwing what is presumed to be a shoe into the room that was then engulfed in flames.

Shields was charged with attempted second degree murder, three felony counts of evidencing prejudice, arson to a structure, burglary of an occupied structure and felony fleeing or attempting to elude. He is being held in the Marion County Jail with no bond.

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32 Christian Students Released from Captivity

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Nigeria – In the early hours of July 5, 2021, gunmen invaded Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria, and kidnapped an estimated 153 students.

As of today, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the kidnappers have released 32 of the students, 28 of which were freed on Sunday and an additional four on Monday.

While the exact number of students kidnapped remains an estimate, authorities agree that over 80 children from Bethel Baptist High School remain in captivity.

Over 1,000 students have been abducted just this year—a sharp increase over previous years in what is a relatively new trend. The mass abduction of schoolchildren began in 2014 when the Islamist terror group Boko Haram abducted 276 mostly Christian girls from a school in Chibok.

We thank God for the release of these children to their parents and pray for the thousands who remain in captivity. We ask you to join us in praying for Nigeria, for the Lord to comfort those uncertain of their children’s whereabouts, and for those who persecute the church to find faith in Jesus Christ.
Sources:persecution

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Church Buildings Burned in Canada and the United States

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Canada – A number of churches in the Canada and the United States have been vandalized by criminals, some of whom claim to be acting in response to recent revelations around the horrifying mistreatment of indigenous children in Canada at the hands of mostly Catholic-run schools. Officials are still investigating the incidents.

A Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, British Columbia in Canada was burned, adding to the now 45 churches attacked in Canada in recent weeks. The Coptic community is heavily persecuted in Egypt, and Christians often flee the region to escape persecution. Incidents like the recent vandalization of the church are a stark reminder of the community’s difficult history.

In the United States, protestors in Portland have vandalized four Catholic churches buildings in the last two months. Father George Kuforiji, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church vandalized last month, told the Catholic Sentinel that he was extremely saddened by the crimes to their church, which is “a community that has nothing to do with the graves.”

Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy at International Christian Concern, also commented on the incidents, saying, “The attacks on Churches in Canada and the United States are a sobering reminder of the growing anti-religious and anti-Christian hatred in the West. The lack of severe condemnation of the attacks from public leaders is disheartening and more needs to be done. History is filled with difficult memories of atrocities and crimes that mankind has committed against each other, but the response to the painful history must be measured and productive. Burning down churches is not the answer. It is evil, wrong and only perpetuates a climate of hatred.”

Ambassador Sam Brownback, who served as Ambassador for International Religious Freedom for the Trump Administration recently called the current time “the most persecuted era of Christianity in the history of mankind.” Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world with over 300 million Christians facing persecution.
Sources:persecution

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us news10 hours ago

32 Christian Students Released from Captivity

Nigeria – In the early hours of July 5, 2021, gunmen invaded Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, in Chikun Local...

us news10 hours ago

Church Buildings Burned in Canada and the United States

Canada – A number of churches in the Canada and the United States have been vandalized by criminals, some of...

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