Let Light Shine This Christmas

web-ac-offering

Advent Conspiracy 2016
Anchor City is proud to continue to be a part of the Advent Conspiracy, a movement of churches committed to the belief that Christmas can still change the world. We want to invite our world into a better Christmas story than materialism and consumption, but one of faithful love, unfailing hope, and transforming relationships in and through Jesus.

Part of how we express this as a church family is through our Advent Conspiracy offering, which is collected by the church and given away 100% to support both a local and global partner in ministry.

Here are the details for this year’s Advent Conspiracy offering:

When: Christmas Sunday, December 25, 2016 (and Sunday, December 18, 2016 for those who cannot join us for our Christmas service)

Global Partner: Justice Ventures International 

Local Partner: Genesis Diez Ministries in Baja, Mexico

How: Use the Advent Conspiracy offering envelopes provided and/or write a check to “Anchor City Church” with “AC 2016” in the memo.

As Anchor City honors our commitment to our ministry partners through this Advent Conspiracy offering, we continue to be amazed at the stories of freedom, justice, and restoration which are made possible, in part, through our church’s support.

Listen to this short story about the Joy of Sharing by Ashok Ramasubramanian at the Moth, which is both light-hearted and profound.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

The Syrian Refugee Crisis
Recently, many of us have become aware of the terrible news of violence — particularly against children — in Aleppo, Syria. These barbaric acts of violence are part of a massive ongoing humanitarian crisis which has gripped Syria since 2011.

From World Vision, here is a sketch of how massive this crisis is:

13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to a violent civil war that began in 2011.

4.8 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.1 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children.

Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school.

Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; slightly more than 10 percent of the refugees have fled to Europe.

Peace negotiations continue despite a fraying and piecemeal ceasefire.

Pro-government forces drove out rebel forces from eastern Aleppo in a months-long siege and military campaign that left thousands dead and scores more injured or displaced. “As we go about our holiday preparations, the families and children of Aleppo are literally being massacred,” says Rich Stearns, World Vision U.S. president. “We must never lose our capacity to feel outrage when human beings are so callously slaughtered, and then we must turn that outrage into action. Pray, give, and raise your voices in support of these Syrian families.”

In many ways, we see and hear the broken echoes of violence from that first Christmas Day — when a power-mad King Herod committed unspeakable acts of infanticide against children in Bethlehem. And yet, we continue to believe the words of John, who fearlessly proclaimed, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” — John 1:5

If you or your family want to give individually to bring aid to families suffering in Aleppo and in this Syrian refugee crisis, we encourage you to support organizations with proven track records of coming alongside people in need:

World Vision is responding to the crisis by “helping refugees and displaced families. We’re sharing hope and God’s love by providing food, clean water, healthcare, safe places for children to play, and more.”

Preemptive Love Coalition invites you to wage peace with them. This is one of the organizations Pastor Jim Mullins mentioned at our retreat. “Violence unmakes the world, but preemptive love has the power to unmake violence. We bring relief to families fleeing war in Syria and Iraq. We help refugees rebuild their lives. And we provide lifesaving medical care for children in conflict zones.” Learn more about the current crisis in Aleppo here.

International Rescue Committee “provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America.”

Read this story in the Union-Tribune about one Syrian refugee family beginning a new life here in San Diego County. “Kassab (the mother of the family), who dreams of running her own daycare for kids with special needs, has completed coursework and a routine inspection to operate a small daycare out of her home.”

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