Ukrainian Missionaries in Brazil, Christians in Iraq Still Displaced & Freedom of Churches
As war continues in their home country, many Ukrainians are traveling to distant places for refuge. Brazil is one of the countries that has opened its borders to refugees. Christians largely remain displaced from the once vibrant Nineveh Plains eight years after the Islamic State decimated the region, a Christian charity working in the area said. And, The freedom of churches and other religious organizations to make employment decisions based on their beliefs has again gained support in the federal court system.
As war continues in their home country, many Ukrainians are traveling to distant places for refuge. Brazil is one of the countries that has opened its borders to refugees.
Vitalii and Iryna Arshulik are Ukrainians living in Brazil as church planters. They minister in an area where 80 percent of the population is of Ukrainian descent. They’ve partnered with Elias Dantas, a Brazilian pastor living in the United States, who is in contact with Ukrainians seeking asylum in other countries.
The Arshuliks represent a combination of efforts from evangelical organizations and churches around the world to help refugees. The International Mission Board plays an active role in this effort.
After the initial group, more refugees have come and been met with the same care and concern. Local Brazilian Baptist churches have made commitments to the refugees to help for an extended time.
Christians largely remain displaced from the once vibrant Nineveh Plains eight years after the Islamic State decimated the region, a Christian charity working in the area said.
Of the estimated 100,000 or more Christians who fled their homes in the 2014 invasion, perhaps 20,000 have returned to date since repatriation efforts began in 2017, according to Max Wood, chairman of the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.
About 200 refugees gathered Aug. 6 to commemorate those who died or were displaced in the invasion.
About 40,000 Christians displaced from the Nineveh Plains are in Jordan where the government prevents their employment, according to Wood. He said these Iraqi Christians rely solely on humanitarian aid.
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The freedom of churches and other religious organizations to make employment decisions based on their beliefs has again gained support in the federal court system.
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In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court ruled the “ministerial exception” based on the First Amendment’s religion clauses protects the right of the archdiocese and the school to decide who will fulfill their religious mission. The First Amendment prohibits government establishment of religion and guarantees the free exercise of religion.
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