Show of unity between Muslims and Jews on Gaza conflict
Muslim and Jewish leaders in the UK have united in calling for stronger collaboration between their communities in the wake of the Gaza conflict. In an unprecedented joint statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Muslim Council of Britain condemned civilian deaths as tragic and called for efforts to avoid them. They also condemned any expression of antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism generally, calling on both communities to “redouble efforts to work together and get to know one another”. The statement is seen as the most significant step forward for both groups in the past five years. You can read the full statement on thewebsite of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Church prays for peace in Tripoli and Benghazi
Fierce battles have now raged for weeks in the troubled Libyan capital of Tripoli, with intense fighting between rival armed groups and militias rocking the city. That's the message from the Diocese of Egypt. A news item this week on its website claims that there has been indiscriminate shelling of urban areas, and according to the Ministry of Health, the fighting has killed 214 and injured 981 in Tripoli and Benghazi. The government in Libya has attempted to issue ceasefire orders, but with no force loyal to the state strong enough to take on the militias on its own, and enforce the decisions, the decrees have not had any effect, says the website. Please pray for safety and security for the leaders and congregations of Christ the King Church in Tripoli. Rev. Ayo, one of the priests, wrote “I was robbed of my phone yesterday evening, but glory be to the Lord for His presence which prevailed over them, because their intention was to take me away.”
Sharing Jesus in the Horn of Africa
SAMS missionaries Bishop Grant and Dr Wendy LeMarquand (pictured left) give thanks for the successful completion of the first draft of the translation of the gospel of Mark into Opo, a language of western Ethiopia. This is the first book of the Bible translated into the Opo language. Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS) - USA is a Faith2Share member. Bishop Grant and Dr Wendy LeMarquand work in the Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa, which includes four countries: Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Grant is area Bishop for the Horn of Africa in the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa. Dr Wendy LeMarquand is a family physician with 33 years experience in practising general and tropical medicine. She works with the leaders of the Mothers’ Union in Gambella, equipping them to teach in the rural villages. The couple asks for prayer for churches being built in the new Gambella refugee camps to minister to 150,000 South Sudanese refugees. Bishop Grant is also one of our speakers at the Faith2Share Leadership Consultation in Ethiopia in October.
Discipleship training in Maithali language
Ram Prasad Shrestha, director of National Mission Commission of Nepal (a Faith2Share member), has informed us that he is holding a pastors and leadership mission consultation in Jankapur from 28-30 August. The idea for this was hatched at Faith2Share’s Depth Discipleship consultation in Kathmandu (23-26 March). Ram continues; "We are focusing on Maithali speaking region of Nepal where gospel is least reached people group. About 12% of Nepal speak Maithali language, which is also a main language of Bihar state of India. Our group at Faith2share consultation in Kathmandu had proposed the strategy and action plan to hold this consultation after discussing at the group." Several pastors and leaders of the Maithaili speaking region attended the Faith2Share meeting. Ram is expecting 100 pastors and leaders to attend his August meeting.
Archbishop remembers Melanesian Brothers
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, this week dedicated a memorial, and paid tribute, to seven Melanesian Brothers who were killed twelve years ago while working for reconciliation during the Solomon Islands conflict. The Archbishop and his wife Caroline, attended the dedication ceremony on Monday during a two-day visit to the Church of Melanesia. The couple are on a 10-day visit to Anglican primates in the South Pacific, as part of the Archbishop's commitment to visit all his fellow primates around the Anglican Communion during his first 18 months in office. The Melanesian Brothers is the largest Anglican religious order in the world and played a key role in promoting peace amid the civil conflict which between 1998 and 2003 left hundreds dead, and thousands homeless.
Muslims and Christians stand together in Lebanon
A group of liberal-minded Muslim and Christian Lebanese professionals and academics has written an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing grave concern about the latest persecution of Christians in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul by the “Islamic State.” The text of the letter prepared by the group, which prides itself on embodying the best that Lebanon has produced by way of peaceful pluralistic coexistence and mutual respect among the 18 religious denominations recognized in the Lebanese Constitution can be downloaded here. Four years ago the Faith2Share International Director met with senior Muslim leaders in Allepo and Damascus, in neighbouring Syria, who also expressed a desire to build positive relations with Christians to jointly face the challenges of a 'generation without faith'.
Iraq Christians flee from Islamic militants
Urgent prayers are requested as tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians flee for their lives as Islamist militants surge across northern Iraq towards the largest city of the Kurdish region, Erbil. Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian city, has been left all but abandoned as the Islamic State group advances through minority communities in the country’s north-west. Late last night (Thursday) the UN security council condemned the attacks and urged international support for the Iraqi government. Contacts in Kurdistan say, “In general we are really impressed by the way the Kurdistan is welcoming and supporting people of all backgrounds who have suffered at the hands of the Da’ash [as the Islamic State is known by Kurds]. The Baghdad government and world powers have been deeply concerned by the offensive. The Guardian newspaper reports that US president Barack Obama has ordered targeted air strikes against the militants and airdrops to help the fleeing Iraqi refugees. UN officials say an estimated 200,000 new refugees are seeking sanctuary in the Kurdish north from the extremists who have pursued them since the weekend.
Nepali mission students graduate
At recent graduation ceremonies in Nepal 11 students representing different denominations and church groups completed their training with the National Mission Commission of Nepal (NMCN). NMCN is a member agency of Faith2Share preparing Christian leaders for mission. Most students remain in Nepal although some NMCN workers now serve in other countries. As well as studying the theoloy of mission, contextualisation, leadership, youth ministry, Bible study methods and many other topics, students also spent time in Girubari, Nawalparashi, working with the local church. Pastor Bholanath Newpane, a former graduates of NMTC, has planted more than 14 churches in different part of Nawalparashi District. In some areas team members were insulted and chased away by local people but many others responded to the gospel message.
WCC's concern at Ebola outbreak in West Africa
The World Council of Churches has expressed a “deep and shared concern” to its member churches in West Africa over reports regarding the Ebola crisis and its impact on the people of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. In a letter to the Liberian Council of Churches, and intended for all Christians in West Africa, WCC calls on churches and their congregations “to seek out appropriate ways of supporting our affected brothers and sisters, particularly through our Christian health services in the affected countries, who are over-stretched and lacking many of the basic necessities and resources to deal effectively and compassionately with this crisis.” Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC associate and acting general secretary, wrote: "What affects one, affects us all” - recognising the anxiety and isolation of patients and their families as well as the risks faced by “the many caring local and international health service providers who are giving medical care and support to those at risk or already infected by Ebola.” We continue to pray for the two US missionaries with global mission agency SIM who are battling the Ebola virus.
East African church hosts 'Revival' conference
In the strong tradition of the East African Revival, All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral (left) in Nairobi will be holding a ‘Divine Conference’ from 18-21 September this year. Their focus will be 'making disciples of all nations' and they are expecting up to 2,000 people to attend. Speakers will include partners from the Church of Uganda and the Anglican Church of North America. Introducing this conference the Archbishop of Kenya, Rt. Rev. Eliud Wabukala says, "Here, the Anglican Church is very active in Kenyan society to promote justice and economic empowerment, to break down tribal prejudices and to establish a culture of integrity in public life, but the greatest service we can do is to proclaim the gospel of God’s saving love in Jesus Christ which is our motivation in all these areas."