Growing in our walk with God - in Ethiopia
We have received some great feedback and coverage on several of our members' websites about Faith2Share's Leadership Consultation in Addis Ababa last week. CMS Africa's Serah Wambua said: “It has been a great listening to what God is doing across the world. In particular, it has been a blessing to share mission in an Ethiopian context where mission is taken with the seriousness it deserves!” Writing on the CMS Africa (a Faith2Share member) website, Serah (pictured left) asks that we pray the lessons learnt and the connections made will help extending the kingdom, bear fruit and give glory to God. She also asks that we pray for the church in Gambella where CMS (also a Faith2Share member) Africa region manager Steve Burgess and Serah visited and experienced God in the context of displacement and marginalisation. NZCMS (a F2S member) also reported on its website about mission partner Iri Mato’s time at the consultation – describing it as a “blessing in many ways.” Read more of the news report, here.
Kimbilio opens centre for girls in DRC
Girls living on the streets of Lubumbash in DR Congo, have a new place where they can go for safety, education and a chance to be reunited with their families. This is thanks to Project Kimbilio, which opened a transit house this summer for vulnerable girls. Kimbilio director Jean Bosco Tshiswaka, a CMS Timothy mission partner, said: "The house can accommodate 10 girls who live there for up to five months while we help them to reconnect with their families where this is appropriate.” Kimbilio was originally set up by a former mission worker, Ian Harvey, with the diocese of Katanga as a refuge for street boys in 2009. It grew to include a day centre, a boys’ transit house and another house for boys who cannot return to their families.In the past year, girls have been turning up at the day centre to have breakfast, wash their clothes and hear a message about Jesus. So a plot of land was purchased to build them a transit house, too.While at the transit house, girls have the opportunity to improve their literacy and take sewing classes.
Plans for a 2015 consultation on evangelism
Evangelism in new contexts was the focus of a recent meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, United States - led by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the North American councils of churches. The meeting’s primary objective was to set the agenda for a larger consultation on evangelism in North America, timetabled before the end of 2015.The meeting was held from 28 September to 1 October and was organised by the evangelism programme of the WCC in cooperation with the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCUSA) and in consultation with the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC). The question of understanding evangelism anew - in light of rapidly changing cultural contexts is keenly felt by the churches in North America, according to WCC. Delegates at the meeting are pictured left.
Back to the field after Addis
The last full day of the Faith2Share Leadership Consultation in Ethiopia was a packed one - with training modules and an evening sharing stories in mission. Topics focused on children - both how we care for vulnerable children and then how children are engaged in mission within the church. Another track worked on church planting issues internationally whilst others focused on emerging mission movements, security issues and transformative discipleship. Most participants are leaving this evening (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday). Please pray for safe travels and a positive outworking of all that everyone has learnt together. We give thanks for the event and for the time delegates have spent in worship, fellowship and learning. We trust that people will feel enriched and reenergised to go back to the mission field and continue their amazing work.
"The world must act to stop Ebola"
As the Ebola crisis in West Africa deepens, Dr Daniel Sarfo, the Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa, has issued a statement welcoming the UN Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) to Ghana. He expressed his gratitude to its staff and also other agencies, including the Anglican agency Us, for their contribution to tackling the crisis in the region. He said: "Now Ebola is at war against humanity, the world must act now to stop Ebola." He said he was grateful that the UN mission, led by Anthony Banbury, was going to Accra, Ghana to start a mission to contain the virus. The advanced party has now arrived in Accra, which will be used as a base for the mission - comprising 250 people: 100 based in Accra and 150 for affected countries. The archbishop said the UN mandate is five-fold – “stopping the outbreak; treating the infected; ensuring essential services; preserving stability; and preventing further outbreak." It is our prayers that we all support them to make the mission a great success, he added.
Photo credit:The Church of the Province of West Africa, courtesy ACNS website
A full day of meaty discussions in Addis
Faith2Share's leadership consultation is in full swing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and we continue to pray for all those participating in the event. Faith2Share director Mark Oxbrow, who is there with the Faith2Share team, reports that a full day of discussion was rounded off later with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and a key note address by Dr Peter Okaalet (pictured left), who talked about the need for holistic mission. Topics at the consultation on Tuesday included dealing with mission in hostile environments, the problems of dependency and the challenges of sustainability on mission and much more besides. Local church and mission leaders joined the gathering in the evening. We give thanks for the growing church in the Gambella region of Ethiopia, which has seen amazing growth, as another speaker, Bishop Grant LeMarquand, earlier in the week underlined.You can download Faith2Share's 12 Day Prayer Diary for the conference and other matters here.
Ethiopia is strategic for Christian mission
The Faith2Share Leadership Consultation continued in Addis Ababa today with presentations on the mission significance of the 'Horn of Africa'. Participants were reminded that Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa with a Christian heritage which stretches back almost two millennia. With a history of witness through suffering Christians in Ethiopia, Somalia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan have a maturity of faith which needs to be offered to the world. The task now, local leaders told us, is to inspire Christians for mission, to build missional churches and to mobilise missionaries. Bishop Grant LeMarquand, one of four bishops present, spoke of the pressing need to train leaders in rapidly growing churches. Later in the day participants visited local mission projects in Addis Ababa. In the picture Paul Rhadha Krishnan, Chair of the Indian Missions Association, takes on street boys at Retrak, a rehabilitation centre in the city.
Young leaders need mentors
At the final session of the Faith2Share Leaders' Retreat in Addis Ababa today John Amalraj, Director of Interserve India, challenged mission leaders gathered from twenty countries to consider how effectively they are mentoring younger leaders within their ministries and in the church. Each leader was encouraged to list ten young people in whose lives they can invest. With the arrival of more mission leaders today the full Leadership Consultation is now underway with a vibrant worship service this evening led by the choir of a local Ethiopian church. The preacher at the service was Wondimu Methewos the Director of the International Mission of the Mekane Yesus Church (Ethiopia). In an earlier session leaders shared personal stories of mission and identified key themes within their mission pilgrimage. A common theme was the need to network and support each other. The consulation continues in Addis Ababa until Friday.
Arab Vision helps Christians stand firm
It is a great time to be producing Christian TV programmes for the Arab World. That's the message from Umm al Farieq, the international director of Arab Vision, a Christian TV production company. Arab Vision as a media ministry is well-placed to support and strengthen the church and help Christians to stand firm in their faith in times of hardship and persecution. Pictured left is their new studio. “There is much more openness in the region than before the revolutions; people have started to form their own opinions and share them more openly, through Facebook and other social media; young people start asking questions about what is being taught in the churches -"Is the way the pastor looks at things the only way?". “I am very impressed with the courage and determination of the many Christians who had to flee Iraq and Syria,” continues Umm al Farieq. “They chose not to give up their faith, even though the consequence was that they had to leave everything behind and flee to another country. Some of our programs provide Biblical teaching about how to live a true Christian life in a setting of discrimination and persecution. They are made by people who know what they are talking about - people who also live in areas of conflict and oppression.”
Join us in 12 days of prayer: 1 - 12 October
Faith2Share is asking all our members, supporters and friends to join us in 12 days of prayer from 1 October (today) until 12 October 2014. The online campaign builds on the success of last year's initiative. On our website there's a daily prayer guide for the next 12 days, with a fresh prayer added daily. We will do the same on Facebook and Twitter Faith2Share celebrates the global flow of prayer for mission and we encourage you to join us in prayerful unity to celebrate mission across the globe. We give praise and thanks to God for successes and pray for peace, wisdom and understanding in challenging situations. In this prayer guide we're also inviting people to pray for each day of the Faith2Share Leadership Consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 3 to 10 October 2014. This year’s conference theme is ‘When two walk together’, building effective partnerships in mission leadership for global impact. Thank you for your prayers!
Fears for refugees ahead of Iraqi winter
A former Egyptian member of parliament, Ehab el-Kharrat (pictured), whose church is distributing aid to Iraqi refugees, has warned about the gaps in humanitarian provision ahead of the Iraqi winter, and is worried about underfunded UN campsites and thousands living on the streets. He recently visited Erbil, a city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq that has attracted thousands of people fleeing conflict in the region. Eva Boutros, director of volunteer ministry at Kharrat's church, Kasr el-Dobara, says the fact that Egyptian Christians have been present has made an impression on many. "Muslims and Yazidis appreciate very much that they are cared for," she said. "They know it is the church that is doing this in Iraq."But whether Christians, Muslims, or the UN, no one is doing enough. By December if no solution is found, the already tragic situation could turn catastrophic."Hundreds of thousands are unprepared for winter," Kharrat said - anticipating average lows of three degrees Celsius."Conditions are horrible. They survived the summer - the heat did not kill them, but the freezing snow might." Read the full report here. (Photo: SAT-7)
Calls for solidarity over Gaza crisis
This week the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches has been highlighting to member churches, faith-based communities, and civil society organisations around the world the need to join together in 2014 for "advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel." This week (21 to 28 September), PIEF (part of the WCC) asked congregations and individuals around the globe who share the hope of justice to unite to take peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness. Speaking about the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel (WWPPI), Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary, said: "I write to acknowledge the many ways member churches of the WCC have sought the things that make for peace with justice in Israel and Palestine and to encourage your awareness of and participation in this significant week of witness and peacebuilding. The WWPPI is an important time for focusing our efforts together in order to amplify our global solidarity." The theme of the week is: "Let my people go!" We pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
Multifaith prayer service for Westgate bombing victims
One year on from the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya and thousands of mourners gathered in the capital and across the country for commemorations and prayers. The assault and four day siege by Islamist militants on the upmarket shopping mall left 67 people dead and at least 200 injured. In honour of the victims, Kenya held a national prayer service on Sunday.The prayers were hosted by Kenya's Inter-Religious Council. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto joined senior figures from Kenya's Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities in the multi-faith service. Our prayers are with families who lost loved ones and those who continue to be affected by this tragedy.