Mission on the move in Nepal
Students of the National Mission Commission of Nepal (NMCN)'s mission training centre were recently assigned one week's practical training. They went to Kavre, Mahadevtar which is a mountainous region in Nepal. NMCN (a Faith2Share member) reports that these young missionaries (pictured left) were able "to evangelise more than 700 people through distribution of tracks, personal evangelism and drama." It adds: "Thanks to all of you for your prayer and partnership." NMCN mobilises local Nepali Christians to plant churches in the unreached areas of Nepal and sends cross-cultural missionaries to other parts of the Himalayan Region. It also has training schools and a slum ministry among many other activities. Ram Prasad Shrestha founded the organisation in 2001. You can watch a video about NMCN here.
Creation care initiatives on Earth Day
It is fitting that on Earth Day (22 April), CMS Africa (a Faith2Share member) reports on the forthcoming Lausanne regional conference on Creation Care and the Gospel to be held in May. CMS Africa says speakers are now finalising their presentations for the event, which aims to spread a biblical vision for creation care as a gospel issue and to highlight how this issue holds tremendous potential for missions, for discipleship, and for ministry to the poor. A primary outcome for this conference is to encourage churches and Christian organisations across East Africa to begin addressing the urgent environmental issues of our day, equipping each participant to begin biblically-based creation care movements in their own country and sphere of influence.“We thank God for the delegates who have confirmed to attend from different countries in the region so far and invite those who have a heart for environmental stewardship from a biblical perspective to make their way to Brackenhurst Conference Centre, Kenya on 17 to 21 May," said CMS Africa's Karobia Njogu. In separate news, the campaign Act Now for Climate Justice was launched at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland today to coincide with Earth Day.
Churches mourn tragedy on Mediterranean
Together the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) grieve the drowning of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean. The UN refugee agency estimated yesterday that as many as 850 migrants had perished in a boat capsizing this week off the coast of Libya, as the ship’s captain and a crew member were taken into custody on criminal charges. Rescue efforts are underway and so far 28 survivors have been found, according to media reports. “We remember in prayer those who have died and express our deepest sympathies to their families.” “We deplore this loss of life,” remarked the CEC general secretary Rev. Dr Guy Liagre, “and are deeply saddened by this tragedy on Europe’s doorstep.” The UN estimate points to this as the single worst disaster involving the flow of migrants seeking to reach Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit called for “renewed solidarity and action, and for a resumption and strengthening of a collective European response.”
Pic credit: United Reform Church
IS murders Ethiopian Christians in Libya
A video released on 19 April purports to show the killing of a group of Ethiopian Christians by Daesh (Islamic State) in Libya, reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Their murders echo the deaths of 21 Egyptian Christains in Libya - portrayed in a video released by Daesh on 15 February. In a statement released today, His Grace Bishop Angaelos,
General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, said: "The confirmation of the murder of Ethiopian Christians by Daesh (IS) in Libya has been received with deep sadness. These executions that unnecessarily and unjustifiably claim the lives of innocent people, wholly undeserving of this brutality, have unfortunately become far too familiar. Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their faith. The Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia have had a shared heritage for centuries. Being predominantly Orthodox Christian communities with a mutual understanding of life and witness, and a common origin in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they now also share an even greater connection through the blood of these contemporary martyrs." The news comes on the same day that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, visited His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Egypt to personally express his condolences following the similar brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by Daesh in February. Media reports say 30 Christians were killed in this most recent atrocity but this has yet to be officially confirmed by the Ethiopian government.Please pray for this situation.
Evangelists take God's mission to Isiolo
A ground-breaking mission training day for evangelists in Thika Diocese in Kenya organised by Church Army Africa (a Faith2Share member), saw 35 delegates trained up and empowered for God's mission. Faith2Share Africa coordinator Timothy Mazimpaka, who was one of the trainers there, commented: “There has never been any other mission training there in the last 15 years. This was a major breakthrough. The training introduced delegates on concepts of ‘The Head of Mission’; ‘The Heart of Mission’ and the ‘The Hand of Mission’.” After the training the delegates went further north to do mission outreach in Isiolo (pictured left), situated in the northern part of the former Eastern Province, nearly 300 kilometres north of Nairobi. It is inhabited by the Turkana, Borana, Somali and Meru communities. During the six day outreach, 227 people came to Christ.
Bring back the Chibok girls: one year on
It is now one year since more than 270 schoolgirls were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary School by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria. Approximately 230 are still missing. To remind the world about this tragedy and injustice, prayer vigils and marches were held around the world yesterday (14 April), on the first anniversary of their abduction. In a statement United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon said: “We must never forget the kidnapped Chibok girls, and I will not stop calling for their immediate release and their safe return to their families.” He added that over the past year, Boko Haram has intensified its brutal attacks on boys and girls in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. “Hundreds of thousands of children have been displaced from their homes, and deprived of their rights to live and grow up in safety, dignity and peace.” An online campaign to support the girls, titled #BringBackOurGirls, was trending across social media platforms yesterday, with many thousands backing the campaign and calling for immediate action.
Global Day of Prayer for Children
Tuesday 14 April is a global day of prayer for children worldwide and one of the main movements working with children is the 4/14 Window. With 40% of the world population being under the age of 20, the Church needs to seek the way to change how we view children and to respond to their strategic place in God's Kingdom. Many of Faith2Share members are engaged in children's ministry and we are mindful that many of our mission contexts are places where children and young people are in fact the majority of the population. If you would like to use the free Prayer Guide, please visit Global414Day.com
Nigeria - Has the die been cast for democracy?
In his acceptance speech President-elect of Nigeria, General Muhammedu Buhari has promised that Nigeria is now firmly on the road to democracy. He said, "There shall be no bias against or favouritism for any Nigerian based on ethnicity, religion, region, gender or social status. I pledge myself and the government to the rule of law, in which none shall be so above the law that they are not subject to its dictates, and none shall be so below it that they are not availed of its protection." He then went on to say, "Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructive player in the global fight against terrorism and in other matters of collective concern, such as the fight against drugs, climate change, financial fraud, communicable diseases and other issues requiring global response." Several Faith2Share leaders in Nigeria have expressed cautious hope that Nigeria can look forward to a secure future under Buhari's leadership. The full text of his speech can be found here.
Archbishop Justin on hope and unity at Easter
In a world in which violence and violation of human rights describe the day to day context for many people, the resurrection of Christ is the great hope. That is part of this year's Easter message from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the wider Christian community. In his address, Archbishop Justin Welby asks people to remember those Christians who are still a beleaguered and persecuted community in many places. He says: "We continue to remember the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. This year our remembrance is also focussed on Armenian people who were driven to their death and into exile because they were Christians." He adds: "It is into this world that the message of the Church at Easter remains constant over the centuries, proclaiming in the midst of hopelessness the hope of Christ, triumphant beyond death and the powers of evil; living and life giving amongst us."
University attacked in northern Kenya
Canon Francis Omondi, Director of The Sheepfold Ministries (a member of Faith2Share), reports from Northern Kenya as gunmen hold hostages at the university in Garissa. "Today 2 April was to be our school closing day. We at Garissa Academy were to gather with guests from Nairobi and Garissa for our prize giving for excellent academic performance of last year. Three miles away from us at 4:30am Alshabaab gun men struck! Garissa University is under hostage. There has been a stand off between police and KDF forces and the hostages (mainly students in one of the hostels) and masked gunmen since that time. Our friends and relations in the university are holed in their houses and speaking by phone we are told that there is gunshots sounds continuously. There are several killed already and a number injured but we will know the full extent of the damage once the place opens. Pray with us."
Nigerian Archbishop to head Anglican Communion secretariat
Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon is to become the new Secretary General of the worldwide Anglican Communion which brings together Anglican churches across six continents. Archbishop Josiah is well known to many members of Faith2Share and delivered the CMS Annual Sermon "The churches and the unreached : the challenge for the twenty-first century" in 1995. As archbishop of Kaduna in northern Nigeria he has been deeply involved in Christian-Muslim relations and working for community cohesion - see background article on our website here. Most Revd Dr Idowu-Fearon has been Bishop of Kaduna, and is the current Director of the Kaduna Anglican Study Centre. Before that he served as Bishop of Sokoto, Warden at St Francis of Assisi Theological College in Wusasa, and Provost of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kaduna. His doctorate is in sociology and he also studied Islamics at Birmingham University, UK. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, "I warmly welcome the appointment of Bishop Josiah and look forward to working closely with him in the renewal of the Anglican Communion amidst the global challenges facing us today."
Philip Potter dies
The death has been announced of Dr. Philip Potter, the first leader from the global South to serve as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Dr. Potter died peacefully yesterday at home in Germany, aged 93. Born in Dominica, in the Carribean, Dr. Potter first served with the Student Christian Movement (SCM) and on the staff of the Methodist Missionary Society in London. When he joined the staff of the WCC he brought with him a fresh perspective on mission from the global South and made very significant contributions to debates on the nature of post-colonial mission and evangelism. He served as General Secretary from 1972 - 1984. Under his leadership the WCC also sponsored the development of new forms of spirituality, common prayer and music drawing on the diverse traditions and confessions of diverse churches.
40 day training for church planters in Mirik
Thirty-six trainee church planters have just started a 40 day training programme in India run by Leadership Training Institute (LTTI), Mirik. The trainees are drawn from two neighbouring countries, as well as neighbouring states of India. Narayan Sharma, who heads up LTTI, was one of the hosts for the Faith2Share Depth Discipleship consultation in Mirik in 2012 (see group photo left). He also attended Faith2Share's Leadership Consultation in Bangkok. This is the 12th batch training that LTTI has organised. "We are all very much excited with them and they are doing very well...this training is absolutely run by faith and we are very much grateful for your loving contribution in the past for this training," says Narayan.