Global News in Brief, Aug. 24

By John Martin

Refugee Play Shortlisted: A play at Edinburgh Festival Fringe that highlights the plight of a refugee in Calais is in the running for two national awards.

Still Here by Rachel Partington, artistic director of Theatre for Justice and a student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, has been shortlisted by the National Student Drama Festival for its Edinburgh Award 2016. It is also longlisted by Amnesty International for its Freedom of Expression Award 2016. The play, sponsored by the Church of England, is being performed on the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Still Here is based on the experiences of an Eritrean refugee, from interviews conducted in the Calais Jungle in December 2015.

It documents the journey of a man as he fled persecution for his faith, and the journey of the young British woman who interviewed him. The production draws on the talent of both cast and creatives from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

“It is a privilege to sponsor and support a play that deals so powerfully and skillfully with one man’s journey of faith and flight,” said the Rev. Arun Arora, director of communications for the Church of England. “We share with Rachel a responsibility to speak up for the poor and the marginalized.”

Trauma Center for Nigerians: A Nigerian diocese has laid the foundation stone of an trauma center for victims of the Boko Haram insurgency. The Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Mani, Bishop of Maiduguri, says it will provide post-trauma services to thousands in Borno State, northeast of the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

The bishop said the center will help people of all faiths and churches. The project is expected to cost Naira 15 million ($3.75 million).

“The good thing about this project is that government engineers who provided the plan and are supervising the project are doing it free of charge,” Mani said.

The clinic and trauma center will include a maternity ward, a small operating theatre, a pharmacy, and a laboratory. “We are going to use our doctors, nurses, and all health workers, both retired and serving, to render services for the community,” the bishop said.

Boko Haram, the radical Muslim movement, was founded in 2002. It attacks soft targets, kidnapping young women as sex slaves. It plans suicide bombings mostly of police buildings. Its most spectacular action in Nigeria was bombing the United Nations office in Abuja in 2011. It killed over 6,600 people during 2014, and at least 250,000 people have fled Nigeria to neighboring Cameroon, Chad, or Niger.

Synagogue Ruins Unearthed: New discoveries of a first-century synagogue appear to fit Gospel narratives from the life of Jesus. The ruins, at a site called Tel Rechesh near Mount Tabor in lower Galilee, may have been one of the synagogues where Jesus preached.

“This is the first synagogue discovered in the rural part of the Galilee, and it confirms historical information we have about the New Testament, which says that Jesus preached at synagogues in Galilean villages,” said Motti Aviam, a senior researcher at the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology near the Sea of Galilee.

 Inscriptions indicate that the buildings were also study centers and community meeting places.

Aviam said in an interview with YNet News that the discovery will be “very important for Christians. The New Testament describes how Jesus delivered sermons in a synagogue in Capernaum and other synagogues in the Galilee.”

Book Scoops Australian Awards: A spiritual handbook for survivors of sexual abuse has been chosen as the 2016 Australian Christian Book of the Year.

Child Arise! The Courage to Stand (David Lovell Publishing) is by Jane N. Dowling. Dowling was abused by a family member in early childhood until her mid-teens and later by a Roman Catholic priest.

Among other 10 shortlisted books were Leon Morris: One Man’s Fight for Love and Truth (Authentic Media) and Post-God Nation: How Religion Fell Off the Radar in Australia, and What Might be Done to Get it Back On (HarperCollins Australia).

There were 50 contenders for the award, organized by SparkLit, trade name of the Australian Society for Promoting Christian Literature.

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