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.
Bioske's peacemaking seminar in Congo
Rev Bisoke Balikenga, provincial youth worker for the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, is holding a seminar on capacity and peace building in Boga Diocese for youth leaders from 6 to 9 April. "Even though people have been affected by the war in Gety area (in Boga Diocese) people need to have the word of God," explains Bisoke, who works with two Faith2Share members CMS Africa and Church Mission Society. Bisoke (pictured left with colleagues while in the UK recently) adds: "The seminar will be on how to stimulate young people to start using the resources which they have here in Congo to be use properly and not to think about the war or to be used by the politician to create chaos. We are going to use a lot our manual, which has the very good lesson and we thanks CMS UK for helping us to print our second version manual in Swahili." After the seminar Bisoke will go Nairobi to meet CMS Africa, Church Army and All Saints Cathedral to discuss future workshops in Congo.
Laying foundations in first 3 years of mission
The first three years of a missionary's life must be reserved for learning, so that the next 10 or 20 years can be can be marked by ever-increasing effectiveness for the sake of the gospel and the glory of God. That's the message from CMS Australia (a Faith2Share member) Federal Secretary Peter Rodgers, who says the first three years as a missionary are crucial as they build the foundations for the future. "When missionaries depart for their location after five months of cross-cultural training, they undergo some of the most stressful transitions that human beings experience. Cultural dislocation, unfamiliar surrounds, language barriers, isolation due to lack of relationship networks, a new job… Often all at the same time," Peter says. But this discomfort and period of significant adjustments are fundamentally worthwhile, he argues. "As CMS missionaries learn to participate fully in another culture, they are doing mission in the most effective way possible – by investing to stay long-term. The benefits of long-term mission abound," he adds.
Helping eradicate child abuse in Sri Lanka
Esther, a mission partner with Faith2Share member AsiaCMS, has a pioneering ministry working to eradicate the sexual abuse of children in Sri Lanka. She’s involved with the ESCAPE project, which is part of the Lanka Evangelical Alliance Development Service (LEADS) in the country. As a child psychologist, Esther (pictured left) provides counselling and therapy for children. A significant part of her time is also spent raising awareness about issues of sexual abuse and advocating for change. Sri Lanka is thought to be the principal source of child pornography for the world market. LEADS estimates that there are 30,000 boy prostitutes in the country most of whom are aged between six and 14. The sense of shame associated with sexual abuse in Asia means that most cases go unreported which increases the challenge posed by this evil which is a constant threat to the children involved, AsiaCMS adds. More information about Esther's work and other AsiaCMS co-mission partners, here.
Common prayer for Middle East conflict
During this Lenten season, the World Council of Churches is inviting its member churches and Christians worldwide to offer special prayers this Sunday, March 29 for all those affected by wars in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt. Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary, said: "Unbearable atrocities have been committed by state and non-state armed groups in the numerous conflicts" in the Middle East, with hundreds of thousands killed, mostly innocent civilians, among them so many children. He continued;" Many churches and Christians around the world have offered signs of solidarity and sympathy through prayer vigils, humanitarian assistance and advocacy for just peace. Despite these efforts, so many still feel powerless and incapable of making any impact and change." He invited Christians to use a common prayer for peace in Syria and beyond through liturgical resources on the WCC website.
Micah Global seeks new International Director
A major Christian movement, Micah Global, focused on integral mission is seeking to recruit a new International Director. For some years Faith2Share has worked closely with Micah Network which is a global network of Christian agencies committed to integral (or holistic) mission. Some Faith2Share agencies were also part of Micah Challenge, a campaigning body focused on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In December 2014 these two bodies merged to form Micah Global. With a new governance structure in place Micah Global is now seeking to recruit an International Director to lead the new network/movement Micah Global. If you are interested in this post or know of suitable candidates please download the job description and instructions on how to apply here.
Call for calm as Christians murder two bombing suspects in Lahore
Whilst condemning the suicide bomb attacks on churches in Lahore, Pakistan, Christian leaders are also calling for calm and a measured response after local Christians attacked and burnt two suspects in the street. Immediately after the bombings, an angry Christian mob blocked a major highway, ransacked a bus terminal and burned two people to death who they suspected of being involved in the attacks. Christian demonstrators blocked roads in other major Pakistani cities as well. In a press release today the Bishop of Peshawar, the Rt Rev Humphrey Peters, says: “This incident was highly condemned by the Christian and Muslim community leaders across the board and the Government was condemned for not providing appropriate security to the vulnerable Christian minorities." Yesterday's attacks act as a reminder of the 2013 attack on All Saints’ Church, Peshawar that killed 99 adults and children and injured 143, and increases the risk of Christian retaliation.
Suicide bombers kill church members in Pakistan
Suicide bombers today attacked two churches in Lahore, Pakistan, resulting in the loss of at least 15 lives and injury to more than 70 others. The policemen guarding the two churches and a child are among the dead. The two churches, Christ Church (Church of Pakistan) and St. John's (Catholic) are close together in the Youhanabad district of the city. The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan splinter group Jamatul Ahrar immediately claimed responsibility for both attacks which were timed to coincide with Sunday services. Following the attack an angry mob captured two suspects from the local community and beat them to death. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned the Youhanabad bomb blasts in the strongest terms and directed the provincial governments to ensure the security of the public and to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.