Today is February 20, 2018, my 25th birthday. I am thinking about how thankful I am for all I learned being a part of Global Ministries and now as I work at my return placement with the Partners in Service program. Last week, I had a Partners in Service retreat where I had a chance to both reflect on my current assignment in Kentucky and my Global Ministries assignment, in Swaziland. During this time of reflection, I understood that I gained more patience and the ability to listen from my Swaziland placement - which ultimately helped me on my return with my current assignment by understanding my place and role in an organization. In the Zion Church, I learned about the importance of prayer and disciplined meditation. Knowing your place and being present are just some of the disciplines I learned in Swaziland.Read more
When you read the story of the Israelites’ forty years of wandering in the desert, you find plenty of examples where they rebelled and wanted to return to Egypt. Given that they were in bondage there, it might be hard to understand why they would want to go back. But the uncertainty of the future can seem quite daunting, even when compared to a bad and familiar situation. Once out in the desert, the Israelites remembered the delicious foods they enjoyed in Egypt without mentioning being oppressed by the Egyptians (Numbers 11:5). For some of them, a bad but familiar situation in Egypt seemed better than dealing with the stress of who-knows-what in an unknown land.Read more
Kgolagano College was established in 1975 by five churches (African Methodist Episcopal Church, Botswana Diocese [Anglican], Church of God in Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, and the United Congregational Church in Southern Africa) and was called the Botswana Theological Training Programme (BTTP). In 1987 the BTTP became Kgolagano College of Theological Education by Extension.Read more
Today is International Women’s Day and we celebrate the wonderful contribution of women throughout Africa. Some of these women we have worked closely with, others we have never met. Yet, in spite of their circumstances, they have done and are doing dynamic work in their communities. I want to share with you a story about a woman we know and another story about the faces of Jesus in Africa.Read more
The nearly 3 year drought effecting the Western Cape is being called the worst in South Africa’s history, and if historical trends continue the city of Cape Town will run out of water before the rainy season this June. One reason for the shortage has been changes in weather patterns as a result of climate change and El Nino patterns leading to precipitation far below normal levels; another is Cape Town’s rapid population growth, with the city having nearly doubled in size since 1995 which placed additional strain on the cities resources.Read more
A day of prayer and fasting for peace in South Sudan the Democratic Republic of Congo- 23 February
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
'And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.' Colossians 3:15
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of reflection regarding the suffering, death, and resurrection of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is also time for self-examination and reflection, for us to redirect and rededicate our attention and action, prayerfully, to the most crying needs in our society.Read more
The Programme Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has held an extra ordinary meeting here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, for the last two days, to review the state of the nation and propose the necessary interventions.Read more
Last night President Trump opened his address to Congress by proclaiming that "The state of our union is strong," followed by his assessment of his agenda in 2017, and laying out a vision for what 2018 might hold. We feel it is appropriate to provide our own brief review of the United States' impact on our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world through their own words.
Ban on travelers from Muslim majority countries and reduction in refugee resettlement
On the president's decision to reduce the number of refugees admitted to the United States, and to block travelers from seven Muslim majority countries, we heard from Bishop Emeritus Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land:
I am worried, not only for those who can no longer enter your country, but for the safety of my neighbors in this region. I am afraid that the decision to deny entry for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries while suggesting preferential treatment for Christians from those same countries will be harmful to many smaller communities in the region. This approach will be especially harmful to Arab Christians. In the Arab world, Christians have a long history of living side by side with our Muslim neighbors. We reject any move to divide Arab society along religious lines, and continue to see ourselves as deserving equal citizenship with equal rights and equal responsibilities.
I am worried, because I myself am a refugee, and know firsthand the struggles refugee families face. At the same time, as a Lutheran bishop, I know that turning away refugees of any religion contradicts the message of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself was also a refugee, who sought refuge and safety with his family in Egypt. Throughout his life, through his teaching and his actions, Jesus showed concern for the stranger and the outcast. Read the full letter
As a result of this decision, approximately 80,000 refugees who would have received safety and the opportunity to work for a new life in the United States, have been left in refugee camps or have opted for more dangerous routes to escape persecution. The lack of American leadership in the program was cited by many other governments as an excuse to reduce their resettlement efforts as well. Islamophobic retweets by the president also prompted rebuke from American faith leaders.
Relocation of US Embassy to Jerusalem
The President also further hindered the possibility of peace between Palestinians and Israelis with his decision to relocate the United States Embassy to Jerusalem. A move that was widely decried by partners and the international community. This action provoked the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem to write an open letter to the president saying:
Our solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem. Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm. We are confident that, with strong support from our friends, Israelis and Palestinians can work towards negotiating a sustainable and just peace, benefiting all who long for the Holy City of Jerusalem to fulfill its destiny. The Holy City can be shared and fully enjoyed once a political process helps liberate the hearts of all people that live within it from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing. Read the full letter
In a letter from the South Africa Synod of the United Congregational Churches of Southern Africa, partners responded saying:
We found his announcement of treating Jerusalem as a capital city of the Israeli government manipulative and misleading. This utterance insinuates that Jerusalem only belongs to the State of Israel and that Palestinians are aliens in the area. Nothing could be further from the truth than President Trump’s dangerous insinuation. His utterances feed into the wrong notions that Palestinians are not children of Abraham hence aliens in the area. Read the full letter
Response to Hurricane Maria
Last night the president also called on Americans to continue to support recovery efforts in Puerto Rico where, four months after Hurricane Maria, tens of thousands of citizens remain without power. There was no hint of irony in his statement, even though just the day before, aid to Puerto Rico had been dramatically reduced. In the midst of the worst disaster on the island in recent memory, Global Ministries and partners responded immediately to the needs of the communities. A webinar was held with Miguel Antonio Morales, General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ in Puerto Rico), prayers were lifted up from Rev. Edward Rivera-Santiago, General Pastor, United Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico, and we were moved by the testimonios, of the individuals serving as wounded healers. Much work remains to be done, and you can hear a vision for a more hurricane resilient and sustainable future for Puerto Rico in a webinar on February 15th, with Juan Rosario Moldanado of Amaneser 2025.
Use of racist language describing Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries
Partners in several countries replied with words of thanks when Global Ministries shared our letter to the President with them, calling on him to apologize for his hurtful and offensive descriptions of Haiti, El Salvador, and the countries of Africa. The affirmation that "We are Family...No Matter What" prompted many partners to reply with messages echoing that our bond as brothers and sisters would not be overshadowed by the words of government leaders.
Consideration of military intervention in Venezuela
In Venezuela, as the country sought a way forward in the midst of economic uncertainty and political instability, President Trump openly considered military actions against the current government. This prompted a letter from Global Ministries and the leadership of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. While the military option was not further pursued, the words of that letter still bear an important reminder:
Global Ministries has been engaged in a relationship of solidarity and accompaniment with the people of Venezuela for more than 60 years. As such, we have walked alongside Venezuelans throughout various moments in the history of that nation. As we watched the news of the recent election, we would like to share with you our deep concern for the people of Venezuela and their future. We are deeply convinced that any US military intervention in Venezuela would exacerbate the current crisis and could bring back the darkest pages in the history of the country when the military overthrew civil governments to install dictatorships and de facto presidencies. Every time Venezuela has suffered a military episode in its recent times, the lives of the poorest and the most vulnerable population have been severely damaged. Read the full letterRead more
Lectionary Selection: Mark 1:29-39
Prayers for South Africa:
Gracious God, by your power, make the Gospel message universal. Teach us through the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Word, that the Gospel is ‘good news’ and not ‘law and order.’ Through the Holy Spirit, provide us an epiphany that alerts us to the fact that the Gospel is not determined by national borders made by humans. May you, our God, the Son and the Holy Spirit awaken us to a spirit of mission, that deprioritizes parochialism and emphasizes a diverse and Pentecostal Church. Inspire us to connect with those less privileged, for what a pity it would be to allow our privilege to merely protect itself. May you bless your followers, so that we may use all the tools at our disposal to pray, to connect, to listen and to respond when needed. In doing so, may we emulate your son, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Amen.Read more
Yo he venido para que tengan vida, y vida en abundancia. Juan 10:10b
El gozo viene de participar y ser testigo de sanidad, crecimiento y nueva vida. Este es el núcleo del mensaje de Jesús que se revela completamente durante el tiempo de Cuaresma y Pascua.Read more