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Countdown to 120th Maramon Convention

The Maramon Convention - one of the largest Christian conventions in Asia -  takes place this year on 8 to 15 February. It is organised by Faith2Share member Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association, the missionary wing of the Mar Thoma Church.The event is now in its 120th year and is held annually at Maramon, Pathanamthitta, Kerala in India. Speakers this year include Bishop Zipho D Siwa from South Africa; Dr Leonard Sweet, from the US; Rev Dr Sam T Kamalesan and Rev Dushantho Rodrigo, Sri Lanka. The origin and growth of this annual week long event can be traced back to the great revival movement, which gathered momentum during the reformation period in the Syrian Churches of Malabar under the pioneering leadership of Abraham Malpan in the latter part of 19th century. This brought about the transformation in resurgence of the ancient apostolic Churches in Kerala founded by St Thomas the Apostle in AD 52, according to Wikipedia.

Making young people peacemakers in DRC

Rev Bisoke Balikenga, provincial youth worker for the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, has outlined his plans for the year. Bisoke (pictured here with Faith2Share's Mark Oxbrow) works with two Faith2Share members CMS Africa and Church Mission Society. As DRC faces elections in 2016, Bisoke reports that he is planning to hold lots of workshops in each diocese in DR Congo “for young people to become the peacemakers”. Bisoke said he wants young people to “practice the word of God in all situations." In Bunia, Bisoke’s home town, the church plans to build a centre for youth programmes and training for lay leaders – “where people can build peace, release their trauma, and a place of getting the word of God." The aim is for young people to gain more knowledge to help them build a Christ-centred life. Bisoke adds; "They will be the good people who can practice the right management for helping Africa and Congo as well.” Plans are also under way to build a business centre for youth enterprises in Bunia - to include shops and other outlets.

Bishop from Philippines to lead WEA

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) announced today that their new Secretary General will be Bishop Efram Tendero from the Philippines. Bishop Efram is a well known evangelical leader who comes with a strong background in network development.  He has been National Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) since 1993. PCEC is the largest network of evangelical Christians in the Philippines composed of 30,000 evangelical churches, 69 denominations, and 160 parachurch and mission organizations. In 2005, he was concurrently appointed General Secretary of the Philippine Relief and Development Services (PHILRADS), the relief and development arm of PCEC that works hand in hand with local churches in holistic ministries to help the poor and the needy in Christ’s name. He was one of the spiritual advisers of former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos and was a member of the Presidential Council for Values Formation. He is married to Sierry and has four children.

Christians pray to transform world

During this week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 to 25 January) there have been examples around the world of Christians promoting both unity and diversity. Global observances included the National Council of Churches in India - through an invitation of dialogue on water by Brazilian churches who had chosen this year's theme of “water is right – water is life”. The idea is to initiate a dialogue among faith communities and prayerfully pledge to save water and care for the earth. The need for overcoming divisions through unity was also recognised by the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). This year’s prayer materials were also made available by the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC). In a similar vein, an ecumenical service was held at the Syriac Orthodox Church in Beirut, Lebanon on 18 January. In a press release to accompany the event, the Middle East Council of Churches said: "...share with us our fervent and passionate prayer for peace in our beloved and suffering Orient - especially in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, who are currently facing the harshest waves of persecution...".

Brazilian churches promote peace and unity

This year prayer materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 to 25 January) were produced in Brazil and drafted by a group of Brazilian churches. The message from the World Council of Churches (WCC), which co-published the materials with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, is that these resources highlight the value of Christian unity amid challenges to religious intolerance that are growing around the world. Traditionally celebrated between 18 and 25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), this year’s week of prayer has a theme based on the gospel of John (4:7): “Jesus said to her: ‘Give me to drink’”. The meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well is symbolic of love which has the power to diminish all separations based on religion, ethnicity or culture, says WCC. The prayer materials also aim to build dialogue among different faith expressions as a way of building peace among peoples, cultures and religions. Read more here.

Prayer for peace at Nigerian elections

As Nigeria prepares to go to the polls next month (14 February), CMS-Africa (a Faith2Share member) is asking us to pray for the forthcoming elections as Boko Haram "has stepped up attacks across the country and there are fears that many people in the north-east will not be able to vote due this conflict." In CMS-Africa's latest prayer news, it says: "On a very sad note, the self-proclaimed anti Bible terror group, Boko Haram has continued its onslaught on the Nigerian Christian populations in the New Year. The terror group launched a military campaign in 2009 to create an Islamic state and in January 9 2015, attacked 16 villages killing hundreds of people in an act that brought the number of people killed by this group to over 2,000." Most recently (last weekend) the Islamist militants attacked Chibok, the town where Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls last year. However, the Nigerian army claims to have since recaptured Chibok.

Lifeway Mission joins Faith2Share network

Faith2Share is delighted that Lifeway Mission International has become our newest member to join the Faith2Share network. Kenyan mission agency director Aila Tasse (pictured left) attended our recent consultation in Ethiopia and decided to join Faith2Share after the event. Lifeway Mission is a non-denominational, indigenous agency working with churches, organisations and Christian ministries in reaching out to the unreached people groups, serving persecuted believers and training leaders in East Africa and Horn of Africa countries. Lifeway Mission International is a faith mission based in Nairobi. It believes that 'God's work done in God's way will not lack God's provision.' It reports that it has finished the year 2014 well and is very thankful to the Lord for that. Its central tenet is that 'God wants to reach the 300 unreached people groups in the Greater Eastern Africa region in this generation, trusting God beyond the realities of their present situation.' Faith2Share Africa coordinator, Timothy Mazimpaka, and Lifeway Mission's Aila Tasse also collaborated in December in northern Kenya when they worked together on a training programme for local church leaders and evangelists. This partnership also came about from Faith2Share's Leadership Consultation in Ethiopia.

Hope out of tragedy in Pakistan

A prayer vigil has been held in central London for those who died in the attack in December on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. More than 130 school pupils died in that attack. The prayer vigil was held at St. John's Waterloo and was attended by the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan and senior Muslim and Christian leaders. In addressing the gathering Toaha Qureshi MBE reflected that the holy Qu'ran teaches us that all peoples are decended from one human family and placed in nations and tribes so that we can know and respect each other, not so that we should despise each other. Concluding the vigil Rev Rana Youab Khan pointed to the hope that still exists in Pakistan. A video of the vigil can we seen here.

50 years old today - Indian Evangelical Mission

Faith2Share congratulates the Indian Evangelical Mission (IEM) on the occasion of its 50th. Anniversary today, 15 January. The mission was founded in 1965 at the initiative of the Indian Evangelical Fellowship and Rev. Dr. Theodore Williams was appointed as the founder General Secretary. IEM is an indigenous interdenominational Indian mission serving a number of different churches in the country and sending missionaries to most parts of India as well as to several other countries. Today IEM has 840 mission workers serving amongst 94 different people groups in many different ministries including evangelism, church planting, bible translation, medical work, education, community development and leadership training. There will be a Golden Jubliee National Convention in Bangalore in October this year. The current General Secretary of IEM, Rev. John Wesley is a trustee of Faith2Share.

Ebola survivor returns to work in Liberia

The mission agency SIM have announced that Dr. Rick Sacra is to return to West Africa to work with Ebola patients in Liberia. Dr. Sacra was one of the first western mission workers to contract Ebola whilst working as a missionary with SIM in a maternity unit in Liberia. He was airlifted home to the US and after a long recovery period at Nebraska Medical Centre was declared Ebola-free on 26 September 2014. He says he is now 95% fit and medical staff say he is immune to Ebola. He is due to depart for Liberia on 15 January and will work at the ELWA hospital with the mission team from SIM USA. "I guess I'm less nervous about this trip because I know what I'm getting into a little more," Sacra said at a news conference this morning at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "The thing I was afraid of last time, I've had it, and I'm through it. Thank God." Watch video here.






















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