Discipleship on the move at SACYN 2014
Nearly 60 delegates from 10 Asian countries will gather for the South Asian Christian Youth Network (SACYN) meeting in Dubai from Saturday (22 November) until 29 November. The conference is the organisation's core group meeting in 2014 and will consider issues on Asian migrants (diasporas), human trafficking and discipleship on the move. SACYN says: "There are many migrant workers who live in the Middle East and the meeting will deliberate on the aspirations of identity of the diaspora communities." Delegates will also hear about the issue of migration, the exponential growth in migrant labour and reflect together on the Christian response and responsibility in this context. Speakers include Tan Kang San, AsiaCMS (a Faith2Share member) executive director ; SACYN coordinator John Chhetri and Raj Patel, Asia manager of CMS (another Faith2Share member). Please pray for the delegates and the event, including an evening of celebrations on the first day, where more than 200 others are expected.
Kenya attorney general bans new churches
Kenya’s attorney general has reportedly banned new religious organisations from registering as the East African country moves to enforce stricter regulations on churches, mosques, and temples. An article in Christianity Today, which quotes different media sources, reports that the registration ban (effective November 11) will be in place indefinitely, and existing religious organisations must file details of their registration status and financial returns. According to reports Kenyan attorney general Githu Muigai met last week with religious leaders from organisations including the Kenya Episcopal Conference, the National Council of Churches of Kenya, the Hindu Council of Kenya, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, and the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya to discuss what new regulations might look like. Mark Kariuki, chairman of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, said in advance of Friday's meeting that Muigai’s move to stop church registration and regulate churches amounted to persecution, according to Kenya's Standard.“We call on all Christians to support us and stand with us,” he said. “When it comes to matters of faith, people are willing to die for the faith and we will stand firm with the church.” The National Council of Churches of Kenya said in a press statement: "..It is very unfair and illogical of the government to attempt to control and muzzle all religious institutions by introducing new regulations that are not in line with the law."
Ghana mission strengthened after radio show
Faith2Share has received encouraging news from Pastor Kofi Adjei Ishmael, mission secretary for Torchbearers Mission, a Ghanaian mission agency. Kofi, pictured left at our recent leadership consultation in Addis Ababa, writes:"A week after I returned from Addis I was interviewed about mission at a local radio station. It was very fruitful so I was asked to return the next week. The impact has been overwhelming!" Kofi and his boss were first interviewed on Sunny FM, a Christian radio station, by a presenter known as "missionary Mohammed". The interview was played again on another station called Spring FM, also Christian. The subsequent interview was just Kofi on his own. Kofi continues: "We were interviewed on issues concerning mission in general. Whether missions is still relevant in our days now....what we think the church can do to push missions to unreached places, what we as a ministry has done so far and others. The impact has been very overwhelming....the programme was a 'phone-in to the studio. So many people called in for some clarification on matters concerning missions. We have had some donations in cash and kind and we have about eight people so far coming to the office making inquiry on how they can be sent to the missions field. only last week I have about five people to request for prayer and two others requesting for some clarifications relating to their faith."
Church of England gives green light to women bishops
Women can now become bishops in the Church of England - making this week an historic one after legislation was signed into law by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on Monday (17 November). Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together. We will also continue to seek the flourishing of the church of those who disagree.” The final legislative requirements took place during a session chaired by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu (pictured) on the first day of the Synod's meeting in London.The move comes two decades after the church first ordained women as priests, in 1994.The new policy also comes several years after the Church of England first voted to approve the idea of ordaining women as bishops. Earlier attempts to make the change were largely undone by disagreements over how it should be enacted. In the end, the historic change was executed fairly simply; for instance, in one portion of the Anglican Church canon a section was amended to begin with a new paragraph: "A man or a woman may be consecrated to the office of bishop." Announcing the new policy, the church also noted that it currently has openings for bishops in four dioceses, and for assistant bishops at five. More information, here.
WCC dismay over attacks on churches in Nigeria
The head of World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed "profound dismay" after the recent attacks on the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) – a WCC member church – and the Kulp Bible College, among other churches in Nigeria. The attacks occurred in the last week of October in Nigeria and are linked to the militant group Boko Haram, according to media reports.In a statement earlier this week, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said: "We want to offer our support and solidarity to the whole people of Nigeria, and its government. It is vital that the government take immediate and proactive steps to protect all the people of Nigeria and work strategically to defend them against such attacks, as well as supporting practically those who have recently experienced these atrocities.” In his statement, the WCC general secretary said he appreciated efforts by the Christian Council of Nigeria in working with other organisations to provide aid to people fleeing the violence. A large number of the local population fled to the Cameroon border in order to escape the violence. He also drew attention to the plight of more than 200 school girls who were abducted six months ago and are still held captive. “We believe this to be totally unacceptable. We call upon the government to continue to work for their well-being and speedy release,” said Tveit. We join other Christians in holding Nigerian people in our prayers.
Best of Brazilian mission under one roof
The seventh Brazilian mission congress took place at exactly the same time as the Faith2Share Leadership Consultation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia so we were very sad not to see any of our Brazilian colleagues in Ethiopia. But reports show they had a very encouraging time at their congress. Held in October this year, the event marked a new phase in the mission movement in Brazil. With representatives from the main denominations, churches and mission organisations, the conference brought together the best of Brazilian mission initiatives and showed that the movement is growing and maturing. The theme of the conference was “Realities that we cannot ignore” and focused on the needs for the Gospel in several regions outside Brazil and on specific challenges within the country. Highlights included the launch of the Missionary Bible with introductions and commentaries to all the Bible books - and written mainly by Brazilian theologians and missiologists. For more information, go here
Voices for justice ahead of G20 summit
Ninety Christian leaders from many continents have signed an open letter to G20 leaders - urging them to take determined action on corruption and tax evasion. The letter, which represents one billion Christians worldwide, will be presented to the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia later this month (15 and 16 November). The letter, organised by EXPOSED campaign, reminds the G20 that corruption 'robs US$850 billion each year from developing nations through illicit financial flows' and an additional ‘$160bn a year is lost through tax evasion'. EXPOSED calls this a conservative estimate which results in developing nations losing more through tax evasion than they receive in aid. EXPOSED says this letter is the first move by such a wide constituency of the Church to take a stand on economic integrity issues. If you still have not signed the global call to combat corruption, you can do so here. There is a prayer guide on Micah Network’s (a Faith2Share partner network) website for 10 days of prayer in the run up to the summit.
"Why can't I be baptised, too?"
Murray and Féy Cotter (pictured left) are mission partners with NZCMS (a Faith2Share member), involved in church planting and mission administration in Albania - living in the capital city Tirana. They report that over the last eight months the Shalom church plant, which comprises 15 adults and 20 children, has been doing some basic Biblical discipleship topics from the first SEAN course, Abundant Life. During that time they covered 18 different topics including repentance from sin, belief and forgiveness, how to pray, and what it means to be a member of a local church. After studying the topic of baptism they asked who was ready for baptism – several people came forward. After several weeks going over what baptism meant with everyone in the church, in September a total of nine people were baptised. The mission partners explain: “We met with those to be baptised the day before the event and discovered that another woman wanted to be baptised as well. Though she was a new Christian, we agreed that she was ready. On the day, an 80 year old woman who was a regular part of the Shalom Church but has been away for the summer said 'Why can’t I be baptised too? Why didn’t you ask me?' So we ended up baptising her as well – by pouring water on her instead of immersion because of her age.”
Pray for political stability in South Sudan
CMS Africa's latest prayer bulletin quotes Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail from Kadugli Diocese, who says that the environment is not peaceful in Kakuma refugee camps in South Sudan. There has been some fighting between the Dinka and Nuer peoples that started earlier this week, he reports. This may be related to the fighting between government and rebel forces which continues sporadically in Upper Nile State."There seems to be a rhythm to the fighting: it intensifies just as a new round of peace talks is about to start in Arusha, each side trying to improve its position before the expected ceasefire," says the bulletin. It adds that the Government of South Sudan still controls most of the territory, but has very little money because of the closure of many of the oil fields. Therefore soldiers who have not been paid are deserting to the rebel army (which is supported with funds and arms by Khartoum)."Pray for God to turn the hearts of fighting men to be seekers and workers of a lasting peace," asks CMS Africa.
Webinar to end human trafficking
Anglicans from around the world will be gathering in Rome, Italy, from 3 to 7 November 2014 to discuss their churches’ work to end human trafficking and modern slavery. Anglican Alliance is holding an interactive webinar after the conference, on Thursday 6 November (1pm GMT) and invites people to hear more from the consultation and share their experiences and insights to help tackle these issues together. There will be presentations from four panel members from across the Anglican Communion who will share outcomes from the consultation, an interactive question and answer session, and a discussion on the way forward for shared learning and collaboration across the Anglican Communion – including Anglican Networks – and with other faith-based and secular partners. The consultation is being convened by the Anglican Alliance and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon. Go here to register for this global webinar on 6 November.