Fuller Theological Seminary announced plans this week to sell its 70-year-old Pasadena, California, campus and move to a new location designed to facilitate its expanded online education offerings in the wake of shifting enrollment. “In the last few years we have been through meticulous financial excavation, budget scrutiny, and painful cuts as we’ve navigated an increasingly challenging and disrupted higher education landscape,” wrote Fuller president Mark Labberton in a letter released on May 22nd. But the news isn’t all bleak. Christianity Today notes that while the number of full-time students at Fuller’s main and regional locations has dropped, enrollment in online classes rose by 50 percent over four years and began outnumbering all other campuses in fall 2016. Read more about the transition HERE.
Recent protests in Nicaragua have negatively impacted the efforts of prominent international child sponsorship ministry, Compassion International, slowing down or even halting operations and programming at child development centers there. But Compassion is no stranger to these kinds of difficulties, and Virna Segovia, a Compassion worker in Nicaragua, says there is hope. Compassion is doing everything possible to continue “business as usual” and reach children and families in need. Speaking to Mission Network News, Segovia reports that in areas where protests have broken out, programs look largely the same as they do at other sites. “Children learn how to pray, how to do handcraft, how to read the Bible, study the Bible, learn Bibles verses. They learn how to relate with each other.” Segovia says the child development centers are a safe haven for children and that the program gives hope, because it breaks the cycle of poverty. She and other Compassion workers will continue their efforts, but they ask for prayers that “God will be in control over the unrest taking place in Nicaragua and for the 60,000 children under Compassion’s care who depend on their work.” Read the full article HERE.
The Church of England has found a creative new use for Amazon’s virtual assistant device, “Alexa.” CBN News reports that the Church recently launched a new Alexa “skill” which offers a prayer for the day, grace before meals, and even answers questions such as: What is a Christian? What is the Bible? Who is God? The skill is compatible with all Amazon Echo and Alexa devices and is similar to an app on a smartphone or tablet. Adrian Harris, head of digital at the Church of England, says it is one of the “first significant faith-based resources” for Alexa. Read more HERE.
On June 18th, famed Covenant House New York, a 45-year-old nonprofit that provides services to vulnerable homeless, runaways, and exploited youth, will honor 6-time Tony Award winner, Audra McDonald, with their prestigious Beacon of Hope Award. McDonald has been a long-time board member and advocate for Covenant House. Kevin Ryan, President and CEO of the organization, calls her “the real deal.” He said in a statement to Playbill magazine: “She’s been leading this fight against youth homelessness from the trenches. She sleeps out to raise funds so kids don’t have to. She wraps presents in the shelter for birthdays and Christmas. And in virtually every concert performance she’s given over the past five years she has consistently lifted up the voices of young people fighting homelessness and trafficking.” McDonald will receive the award at Covenant House’s upcoming A Night of Broadway Stars gala concert. Read more about Covenant House and the event HERE.