Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Most Britons do not believe in the nativity, survey shows

[Source here]:

Most Britons do not believe the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus, a study has found.

By Ben Leach
Last Updated: 10:20PM GMT 20 Dec 2008

Young people were particularly doubtful about the nativity, with 78 per cent of 16-24-year-olds saying they were not convinced of its historical reliability.

Overall, 70 per cent were sceptical of the baby’s birth in a manger to a virgin mother, according to the poll of 1,000 people by the British Marketing Research Bureau.

Almost a quarter of those questioned who described themselves as Christians admitted they did not believe certain aspects of the Bible’s teaching about Jesus.

The survey was commissioned by St Helen’s Church in Bishopsgate, London, which has produced a film of “sound evidence” supporting the Bible’s account. The Rev Charlie Skrine, curate of the church, said the survey showed that “most of the UK believes that the accounts of Jesus’s birth aren’t good history“.

He added: “Combined with a general lack of understanding about the real meaning of Christmas, this leaves people without the hope that Jesus offers.”

Simon Gathercole, a new testament scholar at Cambridge University, said people were sceptical because they were not aware the origins of Christianity were anchored in real history.

He added: “Jesus was born while Augustus was emperor of Rome just before Herod died. We’re talking about events that are anchored in real history not in ancient Greek myths.”

A separate study by Mothers’ Union, a Christian charity, showed that more parents encourage their children to believe in Father Christmas than in the nativity.

A spokeswoman for the charity said the survey “raised concerns that the church needs to do more to support families in the spiritual nurture of their children”.

She added: “The church needs to get across the fact that in times of both adversity and prosperity, it has a universal message which enables people to connect with something outside themselves.”

The study of 1,000 parents found that one in five do not encourage their children to associate Christmas with the nativity. Five per cent do not encourage their children to believe in Father Christmas.

It also found only four per cent plan to attend church services more with their children in 2009.

It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Saturday that he believed the basic premise of story of the three wise men was true.

Last year, Dr Rowan Williams appeared to cast doubt on it, but speaking on BBC Radio 4, he argued that the idea of astrologers following a bright star to Bethlehem made sense in the historical context.

Asked if he believed the men – who according to the gospel of Matthew, took gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus – existed, Dr Williams said: “Yes I do. I think I trust the beginning of Matthew’s gospel in broad outline, because the notion that there are astrologers, perhaps of partly Jewish background, just outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire who might be on the watch for this, getting involved in the politics of Herod’s last days in Jerusalem.”

Telegraph.co.uk

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Anglican Church, Bankrupt Churches, Jesus Christ, The Bible Exposed, UK | Leave a comment

Disgraced pastor gets a year in jail

[Source]:

Disgraced Baptist pastor Royden Wood has this morning been sentenced to one year in jail and three years’ probation.

The former church minister was convicted of assault and sexual assault involving church members.

Last week, Wood — the former pastor at the now-defunct Ambassador Baptist Church — seemed unconcerned at the prospect of jail time.

“It was fun. It doesn’t scare me a bit,” he said, his wife Linda by his side.

“I had a good time there,” he said of his time awaiting bail. “I have an intense and passionate desire to help people and I was a tremendous blessing to many in jail. The other inmates were constantly asking me, ‘Why are you so happy?’ It’s easy to be in jail. It’s hard to be out here.”

Wood was convicted in April of nine assaults on three boys at the church’s alternative school in the 1980s, and three sex-related charges involving two female church members who had breasts touched over their clothing. Six more sexual assault charges were laid in July.

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Baptist Church, Grabbed Breasts, Sex Abuse, UK | Leave a comment

Former London pastor to be sentenced

[Source] August 29th, 2008:

A disgraced Baptist pastor in London will be sentenced next Tuesday on a dozen sex-related and assault charges.

A sentencing hearing was held Wednesday for 58 year-old Royden Wood, an ex-pastor at the now-defunct Ambassador Baptist Church.

He was convicted in April of nine assaults on three boys in the 1980s, and three sex-related charges involving two female church members.

Six more sexual assault charges were laid in July.

Wood’s lawyer argued for a conditional sentence but Crown sought a jail term given the lengthy abuse inflicted on the boys.

Outside court, Wood said he has `enjoyed jail,’ had a `good time there’ and that it didn’t scare him.

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Sex Abuse, UK | Leave a comment

Abuse victims say Diocese is delaying settlements

[Source]:

“I feel like I’m being raped again.”

Frustrated victims of pedophile priest Charles Sylvestre say the London diocese is prolonging their pain by dragging its feet over compensation and forcing them to repeatedly relive the horrors of their youth.

“I feel like I’m being raped again,” said Lou Ann Soontiens, who was assaulted from about age 11 to 17, when she had a forced abortion.

“Bishop (Ronald) Fabbro made comments of a speedy resolution and compassion. Where’s the compassion? We want to move on with our lives and we’ve got this hanging over us.”

Sylvestre pleaded guilty Aug. 4, 2006, to sexually assaulting 47 girls over nearly 40 years in Chatham, Pain Court, Sarnia, London and Windsor. Police have said many more victims have since come forward. It was also discovered that church officials knew of the abuse and did nothing.

Sylvestre died Jan. 22, 2007, at Kingston Penitentiary, after serving less than four months of his three-year sentence.

More than two years after the guilty pleas, dozens of victims represented by different law firms are still waiting for the swift and compassionate conclusion they say was promised. A group of them is planning a news conference to express their anger.

“Bishop Fabbro in his homily apologized and said we were going to be dealt with expediently and gently,” said Karen Schram, whose abuse began in 1971 at age 10. “That has not happened. I believe the majority of the Catholic congregation believes we’ve reached a resolution. We haven’t. Every time we turn around somebody is preventing us from reaching a resolution.”

Soontiens said the diocese is requiring her and others to undergo more psychological evaluations, something the women involved in the criminal proceedings have been through many times before.

“The courtroom girls have already went through that with the police, the Crown attorney, and now I’m going through it three or four different times over again,” said Soontiens, whose lawsuit began four years ago. “Each time I go, they say that’s the same we’ve heard from the beginning. Why makes us all go through it, live that over and over again?

Mark Adkinson, director of communications for the London diocese, said he couldn’t comment on that.

“I’m not intimately involved in the process,” he said. “I know that the diocesan co-ordinator for this is aware this is something that is painful for people to have to go through again. I know he is working really hard on addressing those concerns. To be honest, I haven’t heard of that complaint in a long time.”

Adding to the long delay, the victims say, is that the lawyer heading up the diocese’s defence has taken a job as a judge.

“Now they’re putting a new person on that doesn’t know what’s going on, and has to take time to read all our files,” said Soontiens. “This is going to drag on and on and on.”

Adkinson said the diocese was also disappointed by its lawyer’s departure.

“We’re just as disappointed as anybody else because we were hoping to move forward and meet the needs of any victims,” he said.

Senior partner Paul Ledroit of Ledroit Beckett law firm in London, representing 34 victims, said he had four mediations scheduled for August. They all got cancelled.

“It’s frustrating to these women because they had been promised by the diocese that things would be dealt with expeditiously, and you’re now looking at years since this process started,” he said.

The survivors said they’re dealing with the added stress from public perception that the cases have been settled, the victims got millions and churches are closing to pay for it.

“They make it sound like Bishop Fabbro has to sell his house because he needs the money for sexual abuse victims,” said Soontiens. “It’s not true.”

The diocese put Fabbro’s house on the market in December 2007, asking $850,000. At the time, the diocese said it was to pay for the lawsuits.

Adkinson said he doesn’t remember that being given as a reason for putting the house up.

“There were a number of factors, I hadn’t heard of that one before,” he said, adding the house was old and needed extensive repairs.

Despite that, he said proceeds from the house — which sold last month for $625,000 — have been earmarked to pay for the lawsuits.

But he also said the diocese has insurance.

“The diocese has had various insurance companies over the years that will pay for all, most or part of it,” said Adkinson.

Published: Friday, August 22, 2008

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Bankrupt Churches, Church Scandals, Closing Churches, Rape, Sex Abuse, UK | Leave a comment

Priest admits 27 sexual assaults

[Source]:

A priest who sexually abused boys at a Manchester Catholic school in the 1970s and 1980s has admitted, at Manchester Crown Court, 27 assaults on children.

Father William Green, 67, of Cale Lane, Aspull, Wigan, admitted the assaults on children aged between eight and 16.

Green took physical education classes at St Bede’s College in Alexandra Park, Manchester, when the assaults happened and has also worked at other schools.

He is due to be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 30 September.

Green was charged with 33 counts of indecent assault against nine boys under 16.

He pleaded guilty to 27 of the charges relating to seven victims and the remaining six charges were ordered to lie on the file.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Greater Manchester said: “We have co-operated with the authorities since the beginning of the investigation.


“It is regrettable when something like this happens. Our priority and concern is always for the victims.”

August 20, 2008 Posted by | Sex Abuse, UK | Leave a comment

Priest admits molesting schoolboys

[Source]: 18/ 8/2008

A PRIEST who sexually abused a string of boys at a top Catholic school more than 20 years ago has finally been brought to justice.

Father William Green, 67, who took physical education classes at St Bede’s College in Alexandra Park, Manchester, has admitted 27 assaults on children who were aged between eight and 16. He faces a `significant’ jail sentence.

Green, who was a priest at the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, Wigan, made excuses to see boys on their own, taking them to a room where he indecently assaulted them.

A lawyer acting for five victims said it was “highly probable” there were other victims who are reluctant to speak of what happened to them during the 1970s and 80s.

Police launched an investigation after they were contacted by one of Green’s victims. Green, from Cale Lane, Aspull, was charged with 33 counts of indecent assault against nine boys under 16. He pleaded guilty to 27 of the charges relating to seven victims. The remaining six charges were ordered to lie on the file. He is due to be sentenced on September 30 at Manchester Crown Court.

Richard Scorer, partner with Manchester law firm, Pannone, is now preparing to take civil action against the Catholic church on behalf of the victims.

He said: “In my experience, people who are victim to sexual abuse as a child rarely get over it. It can mean flash backs and memories triggered by something as simple as a smell.

“It impacts on people throughout their adult lives and can cause problems with relationships. It can also cause difficulties in holding down a job because it can result in people having a mistrust of those in authority.”

He added: “The judge indicated that there was an overwhelming likelihood Green will face an immediate and significant sentence of imprisonment when he is sentenced next month. This can only be right and proper, given the dreadful abuse he subjected a succession of young boys to.

It is highly probable that there are a number of men still living in Manchester who are either too frightened or ashamed to come forward.

“I would however urge them to either contact the police or speak to me in confidence in order to bring closure to their ordeal.”


A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Greater Manchester said: “We have co-operated with the authorities since the beginning of the investigation.


“It is regrettable when something like this happens. Our priority and concern is always for the victims.”

He said the case was a historical one and that safeguards had been put in place in recent years to prevent something similar happening again.

August 18, 2008 Posted by | Catholic Church, Sex Abuse, UK | Leave a comment