Views from the News

Christians mark David Livingstone’s bicentenary

Christians have been remembering the Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, as 19th March marked 200 years since his birth. A conference was held in Edinburgh to consider Dr. Livingstone’s legacy. He was born in the Scottish town of Blantyre and went to Africa as a medical missionary in 1840.

SLAVERY He felt his mission was to reach new peoples in the interior of Africa and introduce them to Christianity, as well as free them from slavery. Dr. Livingstone returned to Britain in the late 1850s as a national hero, before returning to Africa. Much of his work as a missionary and doctor was in what is now Malawi.

RESPECT The Right Reverend James Tengatenga, Bishop of Southern Malawi, said Dr. Livingstone was different to other missionaries of his day because of the respect he showed for indigenous cultures and languages.He said that many Christians in Malawi trace their faith in some part back to the missionary. Bishop Tengatenga said the story of his church ‘is not complete without giving David Livingstone a place or role in it’.

FAITH ‘I can’t tell the story of my faith without telling the story of David Livingstone’, he said. The President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, came to visit the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre as part of celebrations to mark the bicentenary of his birth. She also attended a church service with Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. (Look out for a full-page article in the November magazine on David Livingstone)


Britain ponders ‘three-person embryos’ to combat genetic diseases

If given the green light, British scientists would be the first to offer treatments letting babies be born with DNA from three people; their parents and a woman donor. The government is considering whether to propose legal changes that would allow radical new treatments for families at risk of incurable genetic diseases that involve the creation of so-called ‘three-person embryos’. A national consultation released on Wednesday by the UK’s fertility watchdog found public support for techniques that involve introducing DNA from a third person to embryos which could prevent mothers from passing on devastating diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, to their children. The treatment is controversial on several grounds, not least that the genetic modifications in the embryo pass down to all future generations. The techniques have never been tried in humans, but have worked in animal studies. The report from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which stressed a need for more research to establish the safety and efficiency of the procedures, will now be passed to ministers who must decide whether to seek parliamentary approval for the treatments.


Argentina’s Kirchner takes Hugo Chavez a Bible

Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine president, took a Bible to cancer-stricken Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, a day after he missed the inauguration ceremony for his new term. Mrs. Kirchner said she would meet Raul Castro, the Cuban president, and his brother Fidel and said the Argentine Federation of Evangelical Churches gave her a cross and a Bible for Mr. Chavez. ‘They were very warm. They prayed. I was delighted,’ she said. ‘I am bringing the book to my friend Hugo Chavez’.



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