Bits & Bobs
Stephen Baker, Manchester
SOFTWARE FIRM GIVES NEW WINGS TO MAF
A specialist mission relief agency, whose planes fly aid, missionaries and development workers to thousands of remote spots around the world, has received a £1 million gift from a software company. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) took delivery of a brand new Kodiak 100 aircraft when Isle of Manbased AFD Software Ltd. chose to make the donation as their way of celebrating 25 years in business. The aircraft will transport people in and out of Kalimantan, Indonesia, giving access to healthcare, education and Christian ministry in a region of rain forests and mountain ranges.
Source: Baptist Times (18/12/08)
EVANGELISM STILL CHARITABLE
Evangelism and worship are a benefit to the public according to new Charity Commission guidance. There had been fears that churches and agencies could lose their charitable status under new laws requiring all charities to demonstrate public benefits from their work. But providing an organisation does not use improper pressure, such as offering ‘material or social advantages’, seeking conversions was judged ‘an established and accepted means of attracting new followers’. Religious charities would not be required to step up their social work, as some feared. If all they do is to provide a place of worship to which access is not unduly restricted they will be seen to meet the public benefit requirement.
Sources: Church Times (19/12/08)
FOSTER CARER CHALLENGES COUNCIL OVER BAPTISM DECISION
A legal challenge has been mounted against a local council which banned a woman from fostering because a Muslim teenager in her care converted to Christianity. The woman, who attends an evangelical church and who has fostered more than 80 children over 10 years, is fighting the council’s claim that she ‘breached her duty of care as a foster parent’ by failing to stop the 16-yearold being baptized. Lawyers are demanding a judicial review into the council’s decision, claiming a breach in the Human Rights Act which guarantees freedom of religion for both the carer and the girl. Mike Judge of the Christian Institute, which is funding the carer’s legal case, said, ‘I cannot imagine that an atheist foster carer would be struck off if a Christian child in her care stopped believing in God.’
Sources: Telegraph (8/2/09), Church of England Newspaper (13/2/09)