Honoured legacies, Christmas lights, and incredible giving spirits made for a week of amazing news.

40-year broadcast engineering career recognized with prestigious award

Altona’s Laverne Siemens has been recognized by the Western Association of Broadcast Engineers (WABE) for a career of excellence and dedication. Siemens has been presented with the R.W. Lamb Award.

The honour is the highest WABE can bestow on an individual.  It recognizes an individual whose personal achievements and contribution to the broadcast industry over their lifetime is outstanding. Recipients are considered pioneers in the broadcast engineering field, forging new, previously unexplored paths.

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'Christmas Star' to appear for first time in 800 years

In the midst of a difficult year, the perfect sign of hope will come to the Manitoba sky just in time for Christmas.

On December 21 the planets Saturn and Jupiter will align, appearing to form one large star. In astronomy, when two planets align, it is called a conjunction, and Jupiter and Saturn form a conjunction about every 20 years. However, this year will be the first time the two planets have come this close in 800 years.

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Winnipeg police officer pens a book aimed at keeping kids safe while helping others have their wishes granted

An officer with the Winnipeg Police Service and father of three is using his own experience to help others.

Late in November, Jay-R Toralba released a children’s book called Superhero U, which focuses on teaching children how to stay safe in case of an emergency.

Not only is he helping to teach children the importance of knowing vital information like their name, phone number and address, he is also donating all proceeds from the book to charity.

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Churches eligible for Safe At Home programming grant

Religious organizations can apply for a grant of up to $50,000 to deliver mental health and physical wellness programs as of Monday afternoon.

A new $3 million grant program aimed at giving Manitobans motivation to stay home is launching as of Monday afternoon. This grant will help organizations and individuals fund activities or purchase supplies that Manitobans can take part in at home, such as online concerts.

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Winnipegger surprises out-of-towner with Christmas ornaments

A student miles away from her family can have a holly jolly Christmas after a neighbourhood banded together to give her some holiday cheer.

While her family lives in northern British Columbia, a university student named Karla needed to stay in Winnipeg during the holiday season. To bring herself some Christmas joy, she bought a Christmas tree before the lockdown began in Manitoba.

Due to the quick nature of the purchase, Karla forgot one thing: ornaments.

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'Do not be afraid': Bible app names most-read verse of 2020

In the midst of uncertainty in 2020, a popular Bible app says readers turned to Scripture for comfort, with an 80 per cent increase in searches compared to the previous year.

The YouVersion Bible App has released its annual list of most-read verses. In North America, the most read verse was Isaiah 41:10 - "Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." (NLT)

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Swiss court suspends ban on public worship

A court in Switzerland has halted a ban on religious gatherings in the midst of some of Europe's strongest COVID-19 restrictions, at least for the time being.

The ruling came down last week, the Catholic News Agency reports. Public religious services can resume in the city of Geneva until the court hands down its final judgment on the ban. 

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Drive-in church services to be temporarily allowed

A much-debated worship service method will be allowed to take place throughout the holiday season.

Drive-In church and drive-in worship services will be allowed to take place starting on Saturday. 

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Three generations being set free from addiction

While alcoholism and addiction ran in a couple's history, Adult and Teen Challenge helped stop the vicious cycle, breaking the chains and setting multiple generations free.

Tara Murray and her husband Aaron grew up in different countries, both of them had alcoholic fathers. This lead to brokenness which each tried to fix through more addiction. 

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Moose Jaw church creates drive-thru nativity scene

A church in Saskatchewan is lighting up the sky with an interactive nativity scene. 

With many church Christmas concerts and get-togethers being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hillcrest Church in Moose Jaw wanted to find a way to get the community in the Christmas spirit in a safe manner. 

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WATCH: for KING & COUNTRY teams up with NEEDTOBREATHE for Advent & Christmas classic

A song that has its roots in monasteries over 1,000 years ago and remains a favourite of many has a new life with two top Christian bands joining forces for a powerful rendition.

For KING & COUNTRY teamed up with NEEDTOBREATHE to record 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' and released it in late October. It's a fitting song for Advent in 2020 as much of the world goes through lockdowns and will experience limited contact for Christmas.

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Manitoba principal takes donation collection in his own hands

Mitchell Middle School's Principal made sure their tradition of collecting donations for Southeast Helping Hands and Steinbach Community Christmas was not forgotten this year.

Andrew Mead says collecting food for charity is a big part of the Christmas Season over at Mitchell Middle.

"This year was a bit of a challenge because we don't have a lot of kids at school and we are just trying to encourage families to stay home. We thought we would do a mobile pick up. I put a little Rudolph on the front of my truck and drove around Mitchell and met families at the end of their driveways and they filled my truck up."

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Approved COVID-19 vaccine coming to Manitoba

COVID-19 vaccines will be coming as early as next week to Manitoba.

Front-line health care workers will be among the first to receive the vaccine. At-risk Manitobans, such as seniors over 80 years old and some adults in First Nations groups will also be among the first to receive a vaccine.

Premier Brian Pallister says 900 Manitobans will be the first to receive the approved Pfizer vaccine.

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The power of praying parents

After years of struggling, a couple from Southern Manitoba is rejoicing that their son is finally free from addiction.

Shirley and Garry Vickery are the parents of David, a graduate of the one-year program at Adult and Teen Challenge, as well as their 18-month SURGE program. 

"Our son's childhood had been great. He was very active and full of energy. He was a good student until later grades when things began to slip," says Garry.

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Business leader creates fund for front-line workers

The former Chair of Winnipeg's Chamber of Commerce is creating a program to donate meals to the families of truckers, teachers, and other front-line workers.

Jessica Dumas sat as the first Indigenous female Chair of the Chamber of Commerce in Winnipeg in the 2019/2020 year. She is using her skills as a community leader to spread thanks to front-line workers during the pandemic.

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Cross-Canada Messiah project bringing country together

An ambitious new reimagining of the beloved Handel oratorio, A Messiah/Complex, is hoping to spark conversations about inclusion, equity and diversity for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.

Powerful choruses, inspiring arias and messages of hope, excitement and shared humanity — Handel’s Messiah has become a fixture of the holiday season.

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Winnipeg choir sharing virtual Advent calendar

Winnipeg’s baroque chamber choir Canzona is gifting a series of holiday performances with a virtual Advent calendar. 

From the Latin for "coming" or "arrival", Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas. "Musically speaking, [Advent] is so rich in terms of what composers have written over the centuries for this time of year," said Canzona's Artistic Director Kathleen Allan.

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Marriage restored as alcoholic finds Jesus at Teen Challenge

A whole family is being restored thanks to a father's newfound personal relationship with Jesus, helping him overcome addiction and anxiety.

Peter McMullen has graduated from the one-year program at Adult and Teen Challenge in Winnipeg and is now in the SURGE leadership program they offer. 

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Red River Ex given green light to open Saturday

An annual Christmas celebration is moving forward with its light show, but its holiday statue stop will remain closed.

Following the announcement of new Public Health Orders, the Red River Ex's Winter Wonderful drive-thru light display will be opening for the first time this year on Saturday.

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Athletes raise funds for persecuted Christians

A French church partnered with athletes and organizations to help Christians around the globe who are experiencing persecution because of their faith.

French Connect London, a French-speaking church in London, along with the Christian association Plus Que Sportifs, recently organized “The Goal”, an online charity gala, to raise funds for Open Doors and Holistic Sports France, organizations which help persecuted Christians.

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'Christmas on Wheels' spreading joy of holiday season

A float adorned with decorations and blasting Christmas music is making its way at random around Winnipeg.

Cory Bossuyt keeps the Knights of Columbus's Christmas Parade float safely stored at his Oak Bluff farm. He was disappointed that the float did not get any use this holiday season, as the parade had been cancelled.

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Legacy of daughter who died of cancer lives on with hospital toy drive

A mother and grandmother say that this year's toy drive will be more important than ever before as they bring smiles to the faces of isolated and sick children.

Tiffany Grant and her mother, Beverly, run a toy drive each year in memory of Tiffany's daughter Emma-Lee Arnould who died of cancer before Christmas of 2017.

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Local artist singing God's praises in the midst of trials

A local gospel singer is hoping her song about God's goodness will encourage and inspire those facing hardships. 

Bunmi Oduntan, who also goes by her singing name Bunmi Praise, has released her recent single 'You are Great'. 

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WATCH: Vulnerable new music video from Cory Asbury

The Christian artist who just announced a movie is being made from his song is releasing a new music video about his unravelling. 

Cory Asbury, the Grammy-nominated Bethel singer, released the new music video to his latest single, 'Unravelling', on December 7 to YouTube. 

"Through the first album and now this one, I realized that I just can’t seem to get over the love of God. I’m stuck on it," Asbury says.

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'Step up to help others': A Christmas request from anonymous Christian family

A husband and wife in Winnipeg are asking others to simply show kindness to others in 2020 and beyond after they donated $230,000 to CHVN radiothons in 2020.

"It's not about the dollar amount that you can give," the husband says. "It's that you can do something for somebody else."

In the final moments of the Change Happens radiothon on CHVN in October the phone rang. The callers identified themselves as "an anonymous Christian family," and they told the operators they would like to match all funds raised to that point. That meant they gave another $130,000 to the funds received up to that point.

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'A Kingdom investment': CHVN listeners gave over $500,000 in 2020!

Many have called 2020 "the worst year ever," but on CHVN our audience (or the "CHVN family" as I affectionately refer to our audience) made it the best year ever for our ministry partners.

On Thursday CHVN wrapped up its final radiothon of the year, raising an incredible $200,728 for Adult & Teen Challenge. That means that in 2020, the audience donated a total of $579,783.00 across five radiothons. It's a fitting end for CHVN's 20th year.

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Lauren Daigle, Kanye West named Billboard's top faith artists of 2020

Billboard's year-end charts have named Kanye West and Lauren Daigle as top artists of 2020 in Gospel and Christian music.

After more than a year in the top spot, West's 2019 album, Jesus Is King, earned West a second year as the top Gospel music artist, the Christian Post reports.

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Visa, Mastercard remove services from Pornhub

Visa and Mastercard have terminated the use of their cards on Pornhub after an investigation into the site's activities.

A campaign rallying against Pornhub has announced that an investigation by the two multinational financial services into the rape of trafficking of men, women, and children confirmed the presence of illegal content on the site.

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