Emmanuel, God is with us. At Christmas, we celebrate that God came to us and lived among us. Born of Mary in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, He worked as a carpenter. Fully God, and fully man. He knows our joys and sorrows, longings and contentment, vulnerabilities and strengths. In times of strife and conflict, grief and sorrow, rest and peace, He is with us. He came to call all to repentance and announce the coming of God’s Kingdom.
Wishing you a joyous Christmas as we celebrate the full meaning of His birth and His life on earth. Merry Christmas from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
Note to readers: There will be no EFC Update next week. The Update will resume in January.
Government to Propose Delaying MAiD Expansion
The government will propose to delay the expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying to people with mental illness as their sole underlying medical condition. The justice minister announced on Friday that he will introduce a bill after the Christmas break to delay the expansion from taking effect. Thank you for to everyone who contacted their MP. This delay is an answer to prayer. The Minister has made it clear, however, that this is only a delay. Please continue to pray for this expansion to be stopped.
EFC President Releases New Book
EFC president Bruce J. Clemenger has published a new book titled The New Orthodoxy: Canada’s Emerging Civil Religion (Castle Quay, December 2022). The book examines the changing face of secularism in Canada’s public square, charting its emergence in the last several decades and presents a framework for how Christians can engage well in the shifting political environment in Canada. It is available in digital and paperback formats at CastleQuayBooks.com and major book retailers.
Winnipeggers Hold Prayer Vigils for Peace in Ukraine
Three Winnipeg ministries are cooperating to hold regular interchurch prayer vigils for peace in Ukraine, reports the All Things Reconciled blog at FaithToday.ca. The vigils, held every two months, include prayer time allotted for Ukraine, Russia and Canada. Read the post by Albina Nikitina to learn more about what Square One World Media, Kingdom Ventures, Bridges for Peace Canada and local Christians are doing.
Three Days in Galilee
As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, what better time than to learn more about the places where Jesus taught and walked? Faith Today circulation coordinator Rachel Baarda shares highlights of her recent trip to Galilee as part of a tour for Christian journalists.
EFC President Attends Global Affairs Meeting
EFC president Bruce J. Clemenger participated last Thursday in a roundtable meeting of Canadian religious leaders with Nazila Ghanea, special rapporteur on freedom of religion for the United Nations. The special rapporteur is appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on hindrances to religious freedom and belief, and to bring global attention to the plight of religious minorities who face harassment or persecution.
Living in Two Worlds?
Tim Perry reflects on the hope of the gospel at Christmas in Faith Today’s cover essay for Nov/Dec: “The Nativity narrative in the Gospel of Luke is perhaps so familiar we miss its strange otherworldliness…the way he brings that other world of hope into the present world of strife.”
Sign up at FaithToday.ca/SubscribeFree for a print subscription to read more articles like this. A sampling of articles from the latest issue are also available at www.FaithToday.ca.
Ensure Patients, Not Doctors, Initiate MAiD Discussions
The EFC has asked the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) to make sure that discussions about MAID are only initiated by patients, not doctors. As the EFC submission to the CPSO says, “Doctors are in a position of authority, and ideally, trust. Raising MAID as an option suggests to a patient that the clinician sees their life as not worth living, or that ending their life is something worth considering.” The EFC also asked the CPSO to protect doctor’s conscience rights and to push for MAID to be included as the cause of death, on death certificates. Read EFC's submission to the CPSO here.
This Week’s Prayer Prompts
This week’s prayer request is about palliative care. For those at the end of life, who have received a terminal diagnosis or who have suffered a traumatic injury, and their families. For our culture to be life-affirming and compassionate. For our churches to be known for supporting and caring for loving those at the end of life. For all Canadians to have access to high quality palliative care.
This week's EFC affiliate highlight focuses on supporters who shared stories of palliative care with us in 2018.
You can always find the week’s prayer prompts at TheEFC.ca/TakeAction. Also, we offer new pandemic-focused prayer ideas each month at TheEFC.ca/Covid-19.
→ Suffering Well & Suffering With-Virtual Course, online, Jan. 9
→ Communications Workers Watercooler Break (CCCA), online, Jan. 13
→ Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, worldwide, Jan. 18-25
→ Rencontre au sommet 2022 (prayer summit), Granby, Que., Jan. 23-24
→ Mission Central Conference, Vancouver, Jan. 27-29
In Case You Missed It
→ Job Openings: Vice president academic (Hamilton); pastor (Lethbridge, Montreal, Brampton, Toronto, Ottawa, Sault Ste Marie, Uxbridge); Toronto congregational justice and mercy coordinator; Montreal director of leadership programs; and more (FaithToday.ca/Classifieds)
→ So You Want to Start a Podcast? (Faith Today article)
→ Charitable Status for Pro-Life Organizations (includes EFC video interview)
→ Protecting Youth from Online Pornography (sample letter)
→ Bill to Clarify Law on Child Sexual Abuse Materials
→ Bill to Verify Age and Consent on Pornography Sites