The Church of Bangladesh is collecting Lenten offering to help earthquake victims in Haiti.
This year in March we are holding a retreat for our clergy at Oxford Mission, Barisal. The theme we have chosen is "The Discipleship of Christ". Under this theme we have three subthemes for mediation and reflection: "we are called to be the Disciples of Christ"; "we are walking with Christ"; and "the cost of Christ's discipleship".
These themes are appropriate for our clergy retreat during the lent season. Lent is an opportunity for us to examine our life and work in the light of Christ's discipleship. He calls us to follow him to be his disciple, and to follow Christ as a disciple means we have to take up the cross, denying our own interests. We are weak human beings and in the context of the present world, where there is competition and consumerism, we often fear and are nervous about our life, causing us to move away from Christ's path, the path of cross. There is no resurrection, no new life without the cross, without the self denial.
We have circulated an appeal to our congregations to offer their lent collection for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Often we do not realise the truth that we are much better off than many others in this world, and sometimes we do not even like to be bothered by this. In Bangladesh we face many natural disasters such as cyclones and floods and we have experience of hopeless conditions of suffering people. This experience encourages us too to respond to the needs of other people in other countries who also face natural disasters.
It is so sad that the Copenhagen conference on Climate Change failed to produce a good result for the countries who are vulnerable to and victims of climate change. All it managed was to highlight the injustice of climate change. The rich countries always behave like the rich man in Jesus' story, who used to throw the rest of his food to the poor and sick Lazarus at the gate (Luke16:19-26). However, we have hope and trust in God who is with us and comforts us in every distress.
We have now completed moving our CoB head office and CBSDP head office from Old Dhaka to Mirpur. St Andrew's Theological college has moved to Old Dhaka. The new place is not ideal for our head office but at this time there is no other option. The traffic situation in Dhaka is getting worse each day. We are looking for a new piece of land out of the crowded city area but land prices have greatly increased in the last couple of years. Let us see God's will for us. So for now, please contact us on our new address and telephone numbers given at the end of the bulletin.
I would like to thank all our friends and mission partners who came to attend the consecration of Bishop Sunil Mankhin and the CBSDP consultation last November. Their participation made the events significant and successful. Bishop Mankhin and his family are keeping well and have settled down in Kushtia, where he is now busy with his pastoral supervision. On CBSDP, we have now made the first concrete step in our reorganisation programme, by appointing Mr. Thomas Manash Das as the director of CBSDP. We hope he will now be able to lead this programme and successfully implement the recommendations of our last consultation.
Rev. Stephen and Mukti Barton could not come to Bishop Sunil Mankhin's consecration but they sent us greetings quoting Eckhart, a German monk. I want conclude my letter with it. Eckhart says, "There is no stopping place in this life, no not for anyone, no matter how far along the road he or she may be. This, then, above all things: be at all times ready for the gifts of God, and always for new ones."
Easter, resurrection of Jesus Christ brings us a new life, a renewal of our commitment and new gifts for our spiritual journey.
Rt. Rev. Paul S. Sarker
Moderator, Church of Bangladesh