Urgent Request for Donations for Ellazar Williams

Thank you in advance for your compassion and generosity towards this young man.

Ellazar WilliamsBlessings from Rev. Renee Hollinshed, MS – revrenee@focuschurches.net
FOCUS Interim Executive Director

Recently you may have seen the news story of Ellazar Williams, a 19-year-old man who became paralyzed after being shot in the back by Albany (NY) police. Read more HERE or HERE.

Ellazar is in desperate need of supplies and funds. If you are able to purchase or provide any of the items on the following list, please bring them to any one of these locations (call for available drop-off times) by Monday, December 3rd at Noon:

Items needed for ELLAZAR WILLIAMS:
Full size bed sheets
Full size plastic bed cover
Full size blankets/comforter
Towels
Washcloths
Clorox bleach
Lemon Scented ammonia
Pine sol
Ajax/comet
Mr. Bubbles
Bathtub cleaner scouring pads
Ajax or gain dish soap
Gain laundry detergent
Dove body wash
Dove bar soap
Shampoos and conditioner (any kind)
Body cream/lotion
Lots of paper towels
Toilet paper

– FOCUS Churches of Albany, 275 State St., Albany NY 12210 (518) 443-0460

– First Church in Albany, 110 North Pearl St., Albany NY 12201 (518) 463-4449

– Macedonia Baptist Church, 26 Wilson Ave., Albany NY 12205 (518) 489-4370

– Walls Temple AME Zion Church, 27 Delaware St., Albany NY 12202 (518) 449-1447

– Fifth Ave. AME Zion Church, 189 5th Ave., Troy, NY 12180 (518) 326-1556

– Unity Church, 21 King Ave., Albany, NY 12206 (518) 453-3603

Learn more about Ellazar and donate money directly here.

Thank you in advance for your compassion and generosity towards this young man.

Outrage and the “war on Christians”

“To be clear, this case had nothing to do with ‘persecution…'”

outrageEd Stetzer, Executive Director, Billy Graham Center has written a book released in the fall of 2018 called ‘Christians in an Age of Outrage’. I haven’t read it and don’t know if I will.

But he penned a piece about WHY he wrote it, and it makes some sense.

“In Fall 2017, it seemed like the world was on fire. Everywhere I looked, I saw anger — anger towards Christians, anger by Christians, anger by Christians towards Christians. People whom I respected as voices of patience and forbearance were being ignored or sucked into the hostility.

“I want to help Christians engage an outraged world with discernment and wisdom, seeing the world as the mission field to which God has called us.”

Stetzer wrote in the introduction of the book: “What do we do when the anger becomes too much? When our righteous indignation at injustice morphs into something completely different? How do we know when righteous anger has made the turn into unbridled outrage?”

I should note that, very recently, I became aware of the aftermath of a bout of Christian versus Christian outrage. One was actually more irate, the other one more wounded, both ironically coming from a place of love for each other.

The former, I’m sure, believes that there has been a war on Christians in America. I can imagine that person would applaud former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “religious liberty memo”. The 20 guidelines include the notion that employers are ‘entitled’ to hire only those whose ‘religious beliefs and conduct are consistent with their employers.’

The other would see the state trying the codify Christianity, creating what I too would consider a violation of church and state.

I’ve been thinking about this in part because of a story you’ve probably heard about. A guy named John Chau who “was killed by indigenous people with bows and arrows after visiting the island of North Sentinel in India to convert people to his religion,” that being evangelical Christianity.

The group International Christian Concern, “a nonprofit that aims to draw attention toward Christians suffering throughout the world,” wants the locals to be charged with murder.” Now there are places in the world, including India, where it can be dangerous to be a Christian.

But as Patheos notes: “Not only does this group call what happened ‘murder,’ ignoring the fact that they aren’t bound by our laws and were acting out of self-defense, but they go even further by suggesting they can be tried in our courts. These remote villagers have had no contact with the outside world, and it is illegal to travel there because it’s dangerous for visitors and residents.”

I believe that when an arrow pierced his waterproof Bible on an earlier trip, he truly believed God would protect him from harm. I’m suggesting ICC is engaging in unjustified outrage, beyond offering condolences to his friends and family. Chau’s action was neither heroic or admirable but potentially dangerous to those he wanted to “convert.”

“To be clear, this case had nothing to do with ‘persecution…’ It’s well known that the Sentinelese people are hostile toward all outsiders. In 2006, two Indian fishermen were also killed while illegally traveling to the island. In other words, he wasn’t killed because he was a Christian; he was killed because he traveled to a prohibited island and endangered the locals…

“What better day than Thanksgiving to threaten the lives of indigenous people. This is how genocides start.”

BTW, on that list of the 50 countries where Christians ARE most persecuted, the United States does not appear. In the USA, I’m much more concerned about the potential loss of freedom of the nonreligious and those practicing non-Christian religions.

Not incidentally, a new bill wouldn’t ‘literally’ ban Bible sales in California.