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Fire breaks out at Midwest College Church in New York

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A massive fire gutted a historic church in Manhattan that is home to “New York’s Liberty Bell,” which rang out to mark the birth of the U.S. in 1776.

The blaze broke out in an adjacent building just before 5 a.m. Saturday morning, the New York City Fire Department says, before spreading to the Middle Collegiate Church.

Video and photos from the scene show fire consuming the church with flames shooting through its windows and roof. The FDNY says firefighters arrived in three minutes to combat what grew into a six-alarm fire that consumed the two buildings.

New York reports that damage from the fire spread to a third building, but that occupants were able to evacuate.

FDNY Assistant Chief John Hodgens said there were four minor injuries to fire personnel and that the cause was under investigation.

A statement posted to church’s website said there had been no loss of life, but that congregation was devastated by the damage.

“We are devastated and crushed that our beloved physical sanctuary at Middle Collegiate Church has burned. And yet no fire can stop Revolutionary Love,” wrote the Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, the church’s senior minister in charge.

The statement also said churchgoers would meet digitally for services on Sunday, as they have since social distancing was put in place in March.

The church congregation’s history goes back nearly 400 years. Its first building was built in 1729, and the church moved to its current East Village location in 1892.

The church housed several Tiffany stained-glass windows and a skylight dome. Those were apparently lost in the fire.

“Unfortunately, it seems like it was pretty bad — the sanctuary is not in good shape and we have some beautiful Tiffany stain glass windows that are gone,” Middle Collegiate Church Minister Amanda Ashcraft told WABC-7.

The church’s tower also housed New York’s Liberty Bell, which rang out for the inauguration and death of every U.S. president, as well as for Sept. 11 remembrances and other occasions. The bell was cast in 1729, according to The New York Times. Its condition was unclear as of Saturday evening.

In a tweet, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the Middle Collegiate Church an “icon of the East Village.”

“I can’t count the number of times I walked past it and took in its humble beauty,” de Blasio tweeted.

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One Christian Killed, Four Kidnapped in Nigeria

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Nigeria– A bus driver was killed and four female members of an Anglican Church abducted while driving along Kaduna-Kachia road on Tuesday, April 6th, reports the Barnabus Fund.

“Bandits blockaded the road and opened fire on the church bus and another truck. In addition to the Christian bus driver, named as Alfred Makinde, three others were killed in the gunfire,” stated the news source.

The kidnappers contacted the church demanding a N100 million (about $245,000) ransom.

“My conversation with the Anglican church is there were 15 members in the bus but the others ran into the bush and others were shot and sustained injuries, but the bandits took four persons; one old woman and three young ladies” said Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Kaduna Christian Association of Nigeria chairman.

The attack comes just twelve days after eight Christians were abducted while driving on the same Kaduna-Kachia road, about 20 miles outside of Kaduna city. Christians are particularly targeted in this area of Nigeria, often referred to as the middle belt, where the Muslim majority north meets Nigeria’s mostly Christian south, creating an environment of ethnic tension which often results in severe Christian persecution. Christian communities are targeted, and thousands of believers have been kidnapped, tortured and killed with nowhere to turn for safety. While the government denies religious motive behind these attacks, the frequent burning of churches and targeting of believers shows that a hatred of Christianity plays a key role in the violence throughout the Middle Belt.

Please pray for the safe return of all who have been kidnapped. Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, for the Lord to strengthen the Nigerian church and heal His persecuted children of their trauma. Please also pray for the world to recognize the scale of the suffering that believers are having to endure in Nigeria, as well as for the souls of those who persecute the church, that all will repent and find salvation in Christ.
Sources:persecution

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പാസ്റ്റർ ജോൺ വർഗീസിൻ്റെ (രാജൻ പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ) സഹധർമ്മിണി ഏലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി -71) അമേരിക്കയിൽ നിര്യാതയായി

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ഒക്കലഹോമ: ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ മുൻ ശുശ്രുഷകനും സിനിയർ പാസ്റ്ററുമായ Rev. Dr. ജോൺ വർഗീസിന്റ (രാജൻ. പ്ലാന്തോട്ടത്തിൽ, ആഞ്ഞിലിത്താനം ) ഭാര്യ എലിക്കുട്ടി വർഗീസ് (ലില്ലി – 71) ഏപ്രിൽ 10-ന് പ്രഭാതത്തിൽ താൻ പ്രിയം വെച്ച കർത്തൃ സന്നിധിയിൽ ചേർക്കപ്പെട്ടു. മെമ്മോറിയൽ സർവ്വീസ് ഏപ്രിൽ 16 നു വെള്ളിയാഴ്ച വൈകിട്ട് 6- മണിക്കും സംസ്കാര ശ്രുശ്രുഷ ഏപ്രിൽ 17- നു രാവിലെ 10 മണിക്കും നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും . രണ്ടു ശുശ്രുഷകളും ഒക്കലഹോമ ഐ.പി.സി. ഹെബ്രോൻ സഭാ ഹാളിൽ വെച്ച് നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നതായിരിക്കും.

മകൾ : ഫെബി മാത്യു.
മരുമകൻ: ജോൺസൻ മാത്യു (ബോബി ).

കൊച്ചുമക്കൾ: ജോയാന, രൂത്ത് & ക്രിസ്റ്റഫർ

Viewing:- Wednesday 4 – 7.30pm (prayer meeting 6.30 pm – 7.30pm)

Memorial service:- Friday 6.30 pm. @IPCH

Home Going Service:- Saturday 10 am. @ IPCH

Follow CDC guidelines.
Come and go as you wish.

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