Why Are Taylor Students Heading to the Middle East?
While Brother Andrew became famous as a courageous smuggler who delivered Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, few people realize he has spent the last thirty years on a different quest. He now travels to Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and Israel to support the struggling church. Why? Because he recognized that the lack of Christian support for Christians in this part of the world mirrors much of what he saw in his travels behind the Iron Curtain.
Few Western Christians realize that the Christian population of Palestinian Arabs who have lived in Israel since the time of the apostles has dwindled from almost 10% in 1947 to 2% today. Why? Brother Andrew believes this is largely due to the lack of prayer support, paltry encouragement and increasing political isolation. Most of the world, including Christians, looks at the tensions of the Middle East as a problem between Jewish Jews and Muslim Palestinians; the Christians have largely been forgotten.
Ma’ariv, one of the daily newspapers in Israel is quoted as saying that Christian Arabs are afraid to speak out. "Out of fear for their safety, Christian spokesmen aren't happy to be identified by name when they complain about the Muslims' treatment of them...off the record they talk of harassment and terror tactics, mainly from the gangs of thugs who looted and plundered Christians and their property, under the protection of Palestinian security personnel.” (2001)
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs asserts the following:
-Palestinian policemen in Beit Sahur opened fire on a crowd of Christian Arabs, wounding six. The Palestinian Authority is attempting to cover up the incident and has warned against publicizing the story. The local commander of the Palestinian police instructed journalists not to report on the incident....
-The pastor of a church in Ramallah was recently warned by Palestinian Authority security agents that they were monitoring his evangelistic activities in the area and wanted him to come in for questioning for spreading Christianity.
-A Palestinian convert to Christianity living in a village near Nablus was recently arrested by the Palestinian police. A Muslim preacher was brought in by the police, and he attempted to convince the convert to return to Islam. When the convert refused, he was brought before a Palestinian court and sentenced to prison for insulting the religious leader....
-A Palestinian convert to Christianity in Ramallah was recently visited by Palestinian policemen at his home and warned that if he continued to preach Christianity, he would be arrested and charged with being an Israeli spy.
There are many other human rights concerns besides Christian human rights abuses. House demolitions, suicide bombers, the concerns of Jews being targeted by Palestinian rocket fire and the plight of Palestinians who are being separated because the Israeli security fence are other major concerns.
These issues are not unique in the world where the church is in its infancy. Whether one looks at Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kashmir, Nigeria, Tibet, Niger, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia etc. persecution of minority peoples, which often includes an infant Christian church, is drastically affecting the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ because of discrimination. To ensure the witness of the gospel can be heard, one needs to ensure the gospel can be proclaimed. When Paul asks “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10: 14) Paul presumes the preacher is alive and able to live among the people to whom he is called to preach.
To address this volatile situation, Taylor students will be serving both in Israel/Palestine and subsequently when they come back to Canada. While in Israel they will
• provde a witness to Muslims and Jews as we support those caught in violence and discuss the issues of peace and reconciliation from a Christian perspective
• work as escorts for children going to school through hostile areas
• take part in street patrols and prayer walks
• engage in meetings with community members to nurture non-violent change based on the example of Jesus Christ
• engage in public action where appropriate
• provide an international presence to ensure unrestrained violence doesn’t get out of control
• document violence and abuse
• lead worship
• engage in street theatre
When the students get back to Canada, the research collected will be collated and used to ensure
• those affected by the violence are not silenced, forgotten or misrepresented; this will include presentations in churches and bible study groups
• the voice of the abused minority is heard by those who can apply political pressure to rectify these abuses; this will include presenting our documentation and/or communicating with our local political representatives
Taylor students will also be working with long-time missionaries from Christian Peacemaker Teams International to listen, record, document and share the stories of the abused in Israel and Palestine. This research in turn will be used by Christian Peacemaker Teams to educate and pressure politicians to ensure that minority groups in Israel/Palestine are aren’t overlooked and that minority human rights are protected along with the majority populations. Why? So that these persecuted people will be able to say with Paul when he was being persecuted: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned (II Cor. 4:8,9). We go “to encourage the timid, and help the weak (I Thess. 5:14). We go so the story of human rights abuses by our brothers and sisters will be documented and heard by their Christian brother in Canada; we go with the hope that these stories will lead to fervent prayer; we go to research and document, praying that this research will be used by politicians and peacemakers to ensure religious freedom and human rights are upheld for all people and not just for the majority.
Conservatory of Music to Open in the Fall
Conservatory of Music at Taylor Ready to Launch
Taylor College and Seminary is pleased to announce that a Conservatory of Music will be launched in Fall 2010. Featuring a group of accomplished and well-known instructors from the Edmonton area, the Conservatory of Music at Taylor will serve hundreds of students with lessons, classes, choirs and other instruction. The new logo for the Conservatory features a stylized music note that forms the letters “C” and “M” and includes the “Taylor” wordmark.
“For 70 years, music has been a part of this institution,” says Taylor President Dr. David Williams. “We are delighted that this new initiative will strengthen this important connection with our roots. Of course, we also recognize that musicians of all ages are eager to develop their skills, and Taylor is looking forward to providing a place of excellence in music instruction.”
Heading up the Conservatory of Music at Taylor will be Marg Daly. Ms. Daly has extensive experience in the arts, having started similar conservatories in St. Albert and Lloydminster, having served as administrator of music programs at a college and at a university college, and having taught flute, piano, harmony and music history for many years.
Joining Ms. Daly will be Diana Wiens (conductor of the Taylor Community Choir and the Taylor Children’s Community Choir), who will teach voice. Other instructors include Denice Bennett (voice, vocal literature, vocal pedagogy, music appreciation), Leslie Mahr (violin, viola, beginner piano), Dorie Gold (flute) and Harold Wiens (voice). A number of other instructors are expected to formally join the conservatory in the weeks ahead.
“We have had a very positive response already from instructors and students,” says director Marg Daly. “The calibre of instruction will be very high, and students of all ages are going to be well-served.”
The Conservatory of Music will be located in Muller Hall at the Taylor campus. Recitals and other performances will be held in Stencel Hall, Taylor’s lecture theatre.
A formal launch is planned for August 2010, and instruction will begin in September.
Mark His Word
Taylor is pleased to announce that US-based actor Hunter Barnes will bring his acclaimed stage presentation of the Gospel of Mark tothe E P Wahl Centre's onWORD series on May 11th.
This one-man show is simply scripture, but the experience of seeing the story of Jesus brought to life adds a richness to our understanding. This presentation is part of a 'Journey Through Scripture with the Arts,' part of the ongoing onWORD series. The Wahl Centre hopes this series will capture the imaginations and hearts of audiences as faith is expressed through creativity and beauty.
While in Edmonton, Hunter will also perform at two local churches (Greenfield Baptist and Christ Church); there is no charge for any of these presentations, and we encourage you to come and bring your friends and family. The performance at Taylor will take place on May 11th, beginning at 7:30 PM in Stencel Hall.
Sunday, May 9, 2010 | 10:00 AM
Greenfield Baptist Church
3712 - 114 Street NW, Edmonton
Sunday, May 9, 2010 | 7:00 PM
Christ Church (Anglican)
12116 - 102 Avenue NW, Edmonton
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | 7:30 PM
Taylor College and Seminary (Stencel Hall)
11525 - 23 Avenue NW, Edmonton
The performance is part of Taylor's onWORD series -- a weekly gathering that explores scripture. The current series looks at scripture through the arts, and you can read more about this series here.
ABOUT HUNTER BARNES
Hunter has been working in theatre for the past twenty years. As an actor, he was the recipient of Portfolio Magazine’s Best Actor Award, in Tidewater Virginia, as well as the Regent University graduate theatre program's Best Actor Award.
With a deep love for scripture Hunter has found his greatest professional satisfaction in performing Mark’s Gospel, the greatest story he’s ever told! He has performed scripture throughout the US and Canada, including shows in England, Egypt, Pakistan & India.
Hunter lives in Zarephath New Jersey with his wife and three daughters, and is an associate Pastor for Zarephath Christian Church.
“I have rarely been moved so quickly from laughter to tears, from enjoyment to rejoicing as I have been watching this show. A little child seated nearby did not once take his eyes off Hunter. I commend Hunter to anyone looking to be challenged, encouraged, and changed.”
Popular speaker and author of Making Life Rich Without Any Money
“Hunter’s presentation of the Gospel of Mark is moving and edifying. It’s not too much to say that the anointing of God is on this ministry. Hunter has performed for and instructed my seminary students as an adjunct professor, here at Gordon Conwell”
Dr. Jeff Arthurs
Professor of Preaching and Communication
Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and author of the book “Preaching with Variety”
"Hunter Barnes held our entire group captive during his presentation of The Book of Mark. He truly brought Scripture alive for us in an unforgettable evening of humor, entertainment and inspiration. We can't wait to have him back!"
Arts Ministries Director,
The Salvation Army Eastern Territory
“Hunter's presentation at our Chapel drew more enthusiastic comments than just about anything we've done in the last four years. He was electrifying and anointed. It was a tremendous reminder about how powerful the straight ahead Word of God can be.”
Dr. Gordon McAlister,
Chaplain Regent University, Virginia
New Arts Series at onWORD
onWORD will use the arts as a way to continue a weekly journey through scripture in a series running until June 1. We invite you to come and explore scripture with your mind and your senses -- experiencing scripture in new ways and allowing some pre-conceptions to be challenged!
May 4 - Beauty and Creativity
Tim Willson (Taylor College and Seminary) will open this series on the Fine Arts, exploring creativity as a powerful tool in our journey through Scripture. This shortened session will be followed by film screening of a cinematic masterpiece, Krystof Kieslowski's The Decalogue (episode 1).
May 11 - Mark His Word
Actor Hunter Barnes (Somerset, NJ) performs the entire Gospel of Mark in a moving, memorable and dramatic encounter with Scripture! Check out Hunter's website for more details on this compelling dramatic presentation: www.MarkHisWord.org (Read more here.)
May 18 - Bono's Bible
Professor Tyler Williams (The King’s University College) will explore biblical themes in the music of U2. Arguably the biggest rock band in the world, U2 will visit Edmonton in June–making this an excellent time to examine the band’s lyrics in light of scripture.
May 25 - Brush Strokes: Encountering the Risen Christ in Art
Dr. Allan Effa (Taylor Seminary) will lead an art meditation, leading viewers through works of art that illuminate biblical texts. These portrayals can shed new light on these familiar passages – come and “see” things that can easily be overlooked. Dr. Effa will discuss the role of art in the history of Christianity, share several important things to look for in Christian art, lead an engaging reading of Scripture, and then delve into three powerful pieces of art. The first will be a 14th century Greek Orthodox icon of the Anastasis or “Resurrection” which is preserved as a fresco in St. Savior Chora’s church in Istanbul. The second painting will be Caravaggio’s oil on canvas Supper at Emmaus dated 1600. The third paining will be Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Thomas.
June 1 - The Rich Man and Lazarus: A Lens on Scripture
Rev. Thomas Brauer (Anglican Diocese of Edmonton) will share how Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus has shaped a unique outreach to Edmonton street kids using photography. Let these photos and scriptures challenge you in fresh ways!
(You can read more about Thomas' work on pg. 4 of The Messenger, a publication of the Edmonton Anglican Diocese.)
NOTE: Our final series of the 2009-2010 onWORD season will be offered from June 8 - 29, as Dr. Richard Paetzel will teach on the Parables of Jesus.
When: Tuesdays, 7:30 PM
Where: Stencel Hall, Taylor Seminary, 11525 - 23 Avenue NW Edmonton
Cost: no charge to attend