Hope of Prayer service for Sydney cafe siege
The Governor of New South Wales, General David Hurley, Premier Mike Baird and Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione attended a special service today (Wednesday 17 December) at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney Square, Australia in the aftermath of the Martin Place cafe siege. The service was led by the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies. The service of Hope of Prayer was open to all and included prayers for victims' families and friends, police and emergency services and media. Yesterday (Tuesday), the Bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, represented Sydney Anglicans in a delegation of religious leaders (pictured left) laying flowers at the memorial that has been established in Martin Place - which is now covered by a carpet of flowers. Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced a review into the background and security checks on the man behind the Sydney cafe siege. The BBC reports that Mr Abbott said questions must be asked about how Man Haron Monis was not on a watch list despite a history of violence and mental instability. Monis died along with two hostages on Tuesday when police raided the cafe he had taken over in the centre of Sydney. (Pic credit: Sydney Anglicans)
First female bishop for Church of England
The first female bishop for the Church of England has today been named as the Reverend Libby Lane (pictured left), who becomes the new bishop of Stockport. The announcement comes just a month after a historic change to canon law. She is currently Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley. As Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minister on Monday 26 January 2015. Libby Lane was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in the North of England in the Dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. For the past 8 years she has served as Vicar of St. Peter’s Hale and St. Elizabeth’s Ashley. She said: "On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be Bishop, I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God.The church faces wonderful opportunities, to proclaim afresh, in this generation, the Good News of Jesus and to build His Kingdom." For more information, go here. (Pic credit: Manchester Evening News)
Hundreds die in Peshawar violence
Faith2Share partner, Insur, writes today from Pakistan, "Our city Peshawar is once again under the terrorists attack, a school has been attacked by the terrorists and about 132 school children and teachers have been killed and many others are injured. The parents of the children are in a deep grief and whole of the environment in Peshawar is under terror and under grief. The situation in our city is very tensed and all the major roads within the city are blocked and people have been stuck on the way and at some of the schools. ... This reminds the Christians of Peshawar, of last year's attack on the All Saints' Church, they are also crying with the parents of today's deceased children. Please pray for all this situation and protection of our city and for peace in our region."
Indian Christian to lead Interserve International
It has been announced that Dr. Bijoy Koshi (pictured left) is to lead Interserve International from May 2015. The Interserve International office based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, supports a network of national Interserve offices around the world as they focus on recruiting and sending professionally trained Christians to serve mainly in the Muslim and Buddhist communities of South Asia. Dr. Koshi, who gave the Bible Studies at the 2010 Faith2Share Leadership Consultation in Brazil, was brought up in India but more recently has been serving as Interserve Regional Director for the Americas and North Pacific and then as Director for Strategic Initiatives. Faith2Share welcomes Bijoy, and his wife Premi, to this new ministry responsibility.
Showing the love of Christ in India
Manna Mission, an emerging mission movement in the Faith2Share network, based in West Bengal, India has launched a Christmas campaign to reach 1,000 children who attend its 10 education centres in north and south Bengal districts. "Pray that these children and their parents will experience the love of Christ in a fresh way," says Manna Mission president Tushar Manna (pictured). Tushar hopes to give a small Christmas gift to each of these children - including a Christmas story book, so they will know the love of Christ. Please uphold Manna Mission in your prayers as it continues to make a difference among unreached Bengali-speaking people groups. Manna Mission's goal is to reach 10 states in Eastern India and three neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Set up in 1996, Manna Mission is involved in a variety of ministries - including children education centres, Bible conference and mission consultations, church planting, women's leadership, community welfare and skills development/business as mission, plus fellowship for Muslim background believers.
AsiaCMS celebrates Lendehl's ordination
AsiaCMS (a Faith2Share member) is delighted that one of its mission partners in the Philippines, Lendehl (pictured left), has just been ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church (5 December). Lendehl serves with the Episcopal Church and Jigsaw Kids Ministries. Jigsaw works with street children and their families in Manila. They have a number of centres providing support services, education and fun activities. Lendehl offers pastoral support and leadership within the team. “Jigsaw Family Centers are places where children can ‘Belong, Play, Learn and Grow;’ places to Grow in Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these is LOVE,” according to AsiaCMS. Rev. Lendehl says he sees his ministry as living out his call to servanthood - representing and witnessing Christ and serving the poor, weak, sick and lonely.
CMS Africa champion given senior role in Tanzanian Church
CMS Africa (a Faith2Share member) has announced that one of its 'champions' who is based in Tanzania has been appointed Secretary General of the Anglican Church of Tanzania. Canon Johnson Chinyong’ole is also the Tanzania chair of Samaritan Strategy Africa (SSA). He replaces Rev Canon Dr Dickson Chilongani who is now the new bishop of Central Tanganyika (Dodoma). Canon Johnson has successfully championed SSA work in Morogoro diocese and throughout Tanzania. CMS Africa requests prayers as he takes up this new responsibility. Please also pray for the diocese of Morogoro as it seeks to fill the gap left by Canon Johnson. In other CMS Africa news, there is a youth training workshop taking place this week in Gachie, Kiambu. A group of young people affiliated with at least four denominations will go through the CMS Africa '3D' programme where they discover, develop and deploy their gifts, talents, abilities and even experiences to the glory of God, creating value through work and service to others.
New Zealand celebrates in style
Exactly 200 years after Nga Puhi Chief Ruatara invited the Christian explorer Samuel Marsden to preach at Oiho Bay in New Zealand, 8,000 Christians are expected to gather this Sunday to celebrate all that God has done in their country over the past two centuries. The key event will be at Horncastle Arena with the support of churches, of all denominations, from around the city of Christchurch. Faith2Share member, New Zealand CMS, will be sharing some of the story of New Zealand through the eyes of mission. The organisers say, "the evening will be a celebration of Gospel story by way of kapahaka, song, dance, prayer and story." For more information see www.raranga.org.nz
Discipleship on the move - SACYN moves on
The South Asia Christian Youth Network (SACYN), meeting in Dubai, has ended its training event with a commitment to reach out and support diaspora communities. One delegate says, "I commit to be the arm of the church in extending our hands of fellowship to these brothers and sisters." The 50 young delegates from ten South Asian countries had been hosted by Holy Trinity Church in Dubai which ministers entirely to diaspora communities. Ajoy Varghese of the International Justice Mission spoke on the last day of the challenges of migration and human trafficking. Other significant workshops focused on the religious dynamics of migration and how migration in treated in South Asian novels. The new coordinator of SACYN will be Miranga Pieris from Sri Lanka. He succeeds John Chethri from Nepal who has completed his term in office.
Together in mission in Kenya
This week two Faith2Share mission leaders are working together in Northern Kenya. (After the violent attack on a bus at Mandera quarry last week, in which 36 non-Muslims were shot, we cannot reveal names or locations.) The two, who are from different African mission agencies, met at the recent Faith2Share Leadership Consultation in Ethiopia and realised that they had complimentary skills which they could use in joint training. As a result many church leaders and evangelists in this challenging region of Kenya will this week benefit from high quality training drawing on the resources of two different mission movements.
Faith represents CMS Africa on UK visit
Faith2Share was delighted to welcome Faith Gichuhi, of CMS Africa (a Faith2Share member), to our offices last week. Faith is part of the accounts team in Nairobi. She is also involved in youth and women's training in Nairobi as part of CMS Africa's ministry. Part of Faith's work involves training vulnerable women in book-keeping and finances. She has been in the UK to represent CMS Africa at meetings - including the Africa Conference, hosted by CMS (another Faith2Share member) and held in Swanwick, Derbyshire in the UK in mid November. Give thanks for the Africa conference, which evaluated mission across the African continent. Bible readings were ably led by the Rt Reverend Paul Butler, who is Bishop of Durham, on the theme of Matthew: Learning to Follow Jesus. About 170 delegates were at the conference, at least 30 of which were first time attendees. Faith is pictured here at the event with long-time Faith2Share friend and colleague Rev Bisoke Balikenga, youthwork coordinator for the Anglican Church of Congo and Manasseh Tuyizere, head of the youth department in Kigali, Rwanda.
Celebrating 25 years of mission in Eastern Europe
Last week over 80 delegates from a number of European countries gathered in Bucharest for the EEMA conference "Revolutions in European Mission". This event provided an opportunity to reflect how mission in Europe has changed since the times of the Iron Curtain. Participants heard from some people who started in mission many years ago smuggling Bibles into the Communist block or starting a prayer campaign for the persecuted church. At the same time we heard from many East Europeans who first heard the Gospel message from foreign missionaries and are now leading mission movements in their own countries. What was very exciting was to hear from those Hungarians or Romanians who felt a call to mission and have been working among the Roma people, or as far away as Mongolia or Nepal. Delegates were reminded that today mission is global and no longer only "from Texas to Poland" but really "from everywhere to everywhere". Faith2Share's Anton Ponomarev was asked to lead one of the sessions particuarly focussed on listening to mission stories across Europe and what partnerships between Western and Eastern European agencies and churches are possible.
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.