28 Too Many contributes to new report on HTPs
Today (10 December) is International Human Rights Day and the final day of 16 days of activism to end gender based violence. To mark this, Church Mission Society (CMS) mission partner Ann-Marie Wilson (pictured left), who heads the charity 28 Too Many, which aims to help eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) across 28 African countries where it is practised, was part of a special event this afternoon at the Department for International Development in London to launch a new report on Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) by the Gender and Development Network (GADN). Ann Marie says: "As a member of the GADN group working on violence against women, 28 Too Many has supported and contributed to this new report which provides an overview of HTPs including FGM and child marriage. There is still much to do to end these deeply held practices but this new report shows that progress is being made and there is good reason to hope for a better future."
F2S's Ethiopia meeting attracts early bookings
Faith2Share’s next leadership consultation, set to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 3 to 11 October 2014, has already attracted a lot of interest. As Faith2Share international director Mark Oxbrow explained: “Although the gathering is still nine months away, bookings are flooding in as mission leaders from around the world make sure of their place. This meeting will be our sixteenth leadership consultation and will bring together around 60 leaders of large and small mission agencies.” The event is being held at The Red Cross Training Centre in Addis Ababa, and includes a senior mission leaders’ retreat and training modules. There will also be sessions on the challenges and growth of the church in Ethiopia; mission in the Horn of Africa, as well as visits to mission projects in and around the city and special meetings for emerging mission leaders. For more information use our feedback form here.
Standing against corruption
This Monday 9 December, is being marked around the world as 'International Anti-Corruption Day' with an attempt to gather one million signatures for a petition to be presented to the G20 leaders next year. The aim is to have 50,000 signatures by Christmas and a million by June. It is estimated that every day well over US$3 billion goes missing from the global economy - stolen through bribes, money laundering, tax evasion and other illegal payments in business and government. Money lost through bribery alone adds up to US$1 trillion a year. It’s the world's poorest who suffer most. Corruption kills. A recent report from Christian Aid estimates that if we addressed illegal corporate tax evasion we could save the lives of 230 children under the age of 5 every single day. You can sign the petition here.
Beware prosperity gospel conmen, says Bishop
“Let us be clear – salvation is a free gift that no amount of money can buy.” So says Bishop Moses Deng Bol of Wau Diocese in South Sudan, who has hit out at pastors who sell prayers and blessings to church members. Bishop Deng Bol warned members of his diocese not to be fooled by ‘propserity gospel’ tactics by conmen in Yei – in the south of the country. "How stupid then to think that you can pay for faith or sell it like market goods," he wrote in the Diocesan newsletter – as reported by the Anglican Communion News Service. "It really makes me so mad that because they lust for money people that have been trusted to lead in faith are taking advantage of people that cannot understand the message of Jesus properly," he added.
NZCMS supports spreading gospel in Albania
More than 170 people, including 50 children, gathered in mid-October for the Albanian Encouragement Project (AEP) conference, which New ZealandCMS (NZCMS) mission partner Fey Cotter helped organise. AEP comprises, and represents, about 70 Evangelical mission organisations working to further the gospel in Albania. According to NZCMS, "People from a wide variety of backgrounds and affiliations gather at this event, signifying a significant aspect of what God is doing in Albania: increasing unity among believers committed to God’s kingdom. This is especially important when we remember that Albania was once the European nation most resistant to the gospel." On its website, AEP says: "There is religious freedom in Albania, with about 70 per cent of the population Muslim, 20 per cent Orthodox and 10 per cent Catholic; but materialism seems to have become the religion of choice for many. A great number of Albanians have fled to find work in other countries in order to provide for their families."
Churches pay tribute to Nelson Mandela
With the news of the death, at the age of 95, of former South African president, Nelson Mandela, church leaders around the world have been paying tribute to this "former freedom fighter, turned peace maker". Archbishop Desmond Tutu said tonight, "He was not only an amazing gift to humankind, he made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall. God be praised.". Rev. Moss Ntlha, General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA) said of Mandela's death that it "calls to mind the prophetic tradition of Micah that says: 'He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)'.” Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said, "The world is challenged to show the same degree of humanity as he had done in his life. South Africa has lost its greatest citizen and its father. Nelson Mandela, fighting to the end, is freed to be with his God. ... We are challenged to show the same degree of humanity, of courage and of generosity."
Mission Training Course Launched in Asia
Faith2Share member agency, AsiaCMS, are working with a number of other Asia-based mission agencies to launch Asia Gateway a brand new training programme in wholistic training for mission leadership. The intensive training programme offers both an 8 week residential programme and a modular non-residential programme each year at three levels. At the basic level students will look at topics such as 'Bible and Theology', 'Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam', 'Communication and Contextualisation', Development Studies' and 'Spiritual Formation'. The first residential programme will begin in Malaysia in March 2014 and student registration is already open.
Responding Biblically to poverty in Africa
The rule of the Lord, 'Love your neighbour as yourself', forms the backbone of CMS Africa's training, according to its international director, Rev Dennis Tongoi (pictured left). Writing in CMS Africa's recently published annual report for 2012/13, Dennis says; ‘In CMS Africa’s training this is the foundation that we seek to 'teach people to obey'.” Since 2010, Faith2Share member CMS Africa, working with its partners, has helped to train more than 4,300 leaders and seen 354 seed projects initiated, where churches reach out into local communities. The next step in loving our neighbour, says Dennis, is for dioceses to collaborate together and tackle poverty. “Broken relationships with others create social poverty, which often leads to material poverty; hence we must disciple people to love their neighbours.”
Give me a Bible, please
A co-mission partner with Faith2Share member agency AsiaCMS, called ‘R’, serves in China and works for an educational company which places international teachers into government schools to teach. She stays in the teachers’ dormitory with staff and others from her company. 'R’ has to be sensitive but she’s found the other teachers are very interested in Christianity and would like a Bible. Elle (not real name) is currently in Hong Kong and is now a believer. She was baptised there on 16 October 2013. As 'R' explains: "She told me that she was very grateful that I had given her the Bible. She said, ‘you planted the seed and God gave me a wonderful woman in Hong Kong to make it grow’. A lady helps her study the Bible and Elle also took one of her friends along to the Bible studies group.” Go here for more testimonies from AsiaCMS.
Discipleship for the Workplace - a priority
Continuing their meeting in Jos, Nigeria, the 51 participants in the Faith2Share Depth Discipleship consultation today expressed a concern that churches fail to disciple their members for the workplace. Although most Christians spend a major part of their time in work little is taught in our churches about how to be a Christian manager, how to handle business finances (and corruption), how to discipline employees and many other challenges that are faced daily. A panel of mission leaders who also work as an architect, teacher, marine engineer and production manager and accountant addressed challenging questions from the floor as the lively debate coontinued. Tonight (Sunday) we heard from a missionary working in prisons in Niger of all that God is doing there. The consultation will conclude on Monday night.
Missions Collaborate in response to disaster
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and New Tribes Mission (NTM) are working hand-in-hand to deliver food, clean water, and other critical aid to remote island communities of the Philippines in desperate need following Typhoon Haiyan. NTM has four aviation personnel stationed in the Philippines on an ongoing basis, operating two small airplanes and one helicopter. When the disaster struck, they were uniquely positioned to help. MAF's experienced disaster response personnel have traveled to the Philippines to assist the NTM crew with logistics. The team is focusing its efforts on small, isolated islands that no one else is assisting. "We are partnering with the local church and local municipal leaders to find the best way to meet the needs and serve those most vulnerable," said a NTM spokesman. Building collaboration between mission agencies and churches is at the heart of what Faith2Share stands for.