Lectionary Selection: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Prayers for Kenya:
(Adapted form the AACC assembly worship)
We bring to you during this time of uncertainty our worries, our joys, our convictions, and our confusions.
We come with our deep longing for the church to not go back to where we were before.
We stand as a broken church and communities in deep need for a true and just society.
Transform us so that we live each day as transforms.
Help us to break down the walls of separation within our lives and communities.
Enable us to move from silo to ubuntu.
Transform your church that we will become authentic bearers of light and life, in our world,
Light and life in situations of stale theologies
Life and light in situations of selfishness and greed
Life and light in situations of all forms of discrimination
Life and light in situations of environmental abuse, economic unfairness, and all situations of violence.
Life-giving God, we stand in need of radical new ways of being your witness in the world.
Finally, Merciful God, like the church in Thessalonians we pray that this new opportune time we are in is a new lease of life for the church. As we service the world the work you have appointed us to do will be produced by faith, our labor prompted by love, and our endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Kenya:
This past July, I opened my email and was humbled by the letter of appointment you sent me. The appointment letter stated (I have paraphrased): Phyllis M. Byrd … be appointed on behalf of the members of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to serve a four-year term with the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) beginning August 1, 2020. Over the past thirty years, I've served in Kenya, I have received several reappointments; yet, this one was different. The reappointment to service on your behalf in 2020 comes at a kairos moment in the history of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused: Church buildings to close, massive job losses, health, and economic crisis, Schools and Universities closing and moving to online learning, etc. Reappointment in 2020 comes at a time when the veil that prevented some from seeing the harsh realities within the USA has been torn. We have come face to face with the deeply rooted chasm in the structure of the USA that was present before COVID-19 but made even more visible. Poverty and inequalities within the USA and the rest of the world have been enhanced due to the pandemic.
The torn veil in the case of the USA made it easy to see clearly the socioeconomic, racial, etc. inequalities. The veil of the temple that was torn after Christ uttered his last words on the cross was a transformational moment. The torn veil was symbolic of the radical change that occurred in the world with the death and subsequent resurrection. The torn veil enabled a new relationship with God as well as with each other. In 2019 you commissioned me to go out on your behalf, to serve. This commissioning (as I captured in one of my previous newsletters) came at a time when I was physically sick and did not even know it. Once the doctors pointed this out to me I knew I was in deep need of a personal transformation in my life. I could not serve the church fully in my present state of being. This is a difficult and deeply personal admission. At the same time, it is a safe place to have this conversation with the family of God. In 2019 I made a mental shift and vowed to myself: “By the time of my next appointment, in 2020 I would be in better physical health.” This would enable me to serve on your behalf not laboriously but with love and free from the disturbance of health challenges. I thank God, I have been able to start the process of transformation from where I was in 2019 to where I am now in 2020.
I am not fully where I need/want to be, but I am not where I was before thanks be to God. I owe a big thank you to all of you, it was your confidence in me that gave me the impetus to begin the process of transforming my physical self.
2020 has been difficult for all the aforementioned reasons and more, at the same time I am grateful for 2020. I appreciate this Kairos year, because of the clarity it brings to the global Church, it has made visible the symbiotic nexus between poverty, injustices, social inequalities in the USA as well as in other parts of the world. Paul’s final instructions to the church in 1 Thessalonians 5 challenge the church to action, each day giving us an opportunity to do good to one another and to all. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 "The labor of love invites us to serve together and seek sustainable solutions that are local and global."
Thank you for challenging me to embark upon a journey of healthy living and transformation. Thank each and every one of you for reappointing me to serve on your behalf. I am looking forward to forging closer links with you over the next four years. I hope we will have the opportunity to have Zoom meetings with the various churches across the USA. Please continue to pray for me as I continue the journey of transformation.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Phyllis Byrd
Mission Partners in Kenya:
More information on Kenya: https://www.globalministries.org/kenya
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Kenya:
Phyllis Byrd serves with the Organization of Africa Instituted Churches (OAIC) in Kenya. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.