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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Timor Leste: John 17:1-11
Almighty God, whose will be done in this part of our small world, please continue to endow the Timorese your wisdom in leadership of your followers; as servant leaders as Jesus did instead of being focused on position and power. We know this can be done only with the Holy Spirit working within them in changing values, perceptions and attitudes attuned to your will. Let them continue contributing to the positive development of this new nation through its existing ministries in rehabilitation, socioeconomic development and educational concerns both at the secondary and college levels because they are focused mostly on the underprivileged in their society. We pray that peace will continue so that change can be realized to strength this nation and its people. Also, we pray for the current leadership not only in the Protestant Churches of East Timor (IPTL) and its foundations and related bodies but the whole country itself. We ask that they not be distracted in pursuit of the general welfare of your people. We know God that only through you can positive change take place. Finally, we pray that there would be a successful transition of leadership in IPTL this coming July 2008. In Jesus name. Amen.
(Prayer by Carlos Madrazo)
Global Ministries International Partners in Timor Leste:
- Protestant Churches of East Timor (IPTL): represents the Reform Churches presence in a predominantly Roman Catholic country in Southeast Asia. When Timor Leste gained United Nation's recognition in 2002 through a referendum, more than half of IPTL members were Indonesian civil servants and members of the military left. What used to be 17,000 member church had more than half of its supporters gone. Likewise, more than half of its ordained pastors left for Indonesia and/or Australia. The main front line workers that sustain the Christian fellowship in rural areas are the evangelists assisted by barely 17 ordained clergy; a few of whom are doing part-time jobs. The exact number of IPTL members remains unknown. During the first or second week of July every four years, IPTL holds its General Assembly. This coming July 2008, there will be change of leadership. IPTL besides being Global Ministries' covenanted partner in this tropic oasis is fully committed to and engaged in spiritual, educational and socio-economic rehabilitation of their young country. It has now three church-related bodies that tend to the more specialized ministries namely, the Foundation for Social Light (HUSONA) for rehabilitation and development (1979), Didache Foundation (DIDACHE) (2007) for the Lisa Dila Vocational Junior High School and the International Christian University Timor (ICUT, 2007) and Universidade Communidade Matebian (UCM, 2002) for higher education concerns where it hopes to establish its own school of divinity to train more rural pastors.. IPTL also collaborates with the Ministries of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), Asian Federation of Student Christian Movement as well as the Federation of Asian Women's' Ministries. IPTL has made fraternal relationships with neighboring Christian churches in Australia and Indonesia. As of this writing, IPTL is spearheading the formation of a National Council of Church for Timor Leste. IPTL is a member of WCC (World Council of Churches) and WARC (World Association of Reformed Churches).
Global Ministries Missionary in Timor Timor Leste:
Carlos Madrazo began serving in 2007 as an institutional capacity building advisor to IPTL, Didache Foundation and ICUT.
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Colombia: John 14:15-12
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.
On April 27 and 28 churches all over Colombia, the United States and Canada will be praying (prayer and worship resources at http://peaceincolombia.org/prayerday08.htm) and acting (ideas for action at: http://peaceincolombia.org/actionday08.htm) for peace in Colombia, as part of the annual Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia. The Commission for Restoration, Life and Peace (CRVP) of the Evangelical Council of Colombia (the Global Ministries partner organization in Colombia) has asked us to join in this important effort. CRVP Coordinator Ricardo Esquivia writes: It is the prophetic message, just prayer and active solidarity that enables the Word to become flesh amongst us, realizing God's plan for abundant life. God's power is here, it is active, and it is within God's people. But just as seeds need water to sprout, Christians require prophecy and prayer to free their power. It is time to clamor, to prophesy, to pray and to act!
Gracious God of Peace, we pray for the millions of innocent victims of Colombia's civil war; may they know peace, may they experience justice. We pray for the Colombian conflict to be solved through peaceful political negotiation, for guns to be silenced, hearts to be softened and wounds to be healed. We also ask for wisdom and courage as we discern how best to act for peace. May our sisters and brothers in Colombia feel our prayers and see our actions this week. Thank you for sending us an advocate for times such as these. Amen.
(Prayer by Michael Joseph)
Global Ministries International Partner in Colombia:
- CEDECOL – The Council of Evangelical Churches of Colombia. Global Ministries partners closely with the Restoration, Life and Peace Commission and the Christian Women's Network for Life and Peace.
Global Ministries Missionary in Colombia:
Michael Joseph serves in Colombia with the Restoration, Life and Peace Commission of the Council of Evangelical Churches (CEDECOL), including the Christian Women's Network for Life and Peace. He is providing a pastoral critical presence to church and lay leaders who are living in life-threatening situations.
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Lectionary Text and Prayers for Zimbabwe: John 10:1-10
Loving Shepherd God, we ask you to wrap your embrace around the people of Zimbabwe today. During this time of political uncertainty after the presidential elections, help leaders in all sectors of public life to hear your voice of peace with justice. We pray particularly for the church in Zimbabwe and our Global Ministries partners there. We ask that you might give them courage in their witness to the fullness of life which Jesus wants all to experience in his name. Amen
(Prayer by Bob Shebeck)
Global Ministries International Partners in Zimbabwe:
Christian Care: Christian Care was formed in 1967 by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches tasked to improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged, including refugees. As an arm of the church Christian Care is called to witness the presence of God among the poor and disadvantaged who are burdened by oppression, poverty, ill health, lack of freedom or knowledge to make sustainable life-supporting choices.
Before Zimbabwe's political independence in 1980, Christian Care was concerned with relief of families of political prisoners and the prisoners themselves. This program reached out to about 5000 people. Other relief program included drought relief, special emergencies, an essential service for people displaced by escalating war which peaked around 1975 with the establishment of protected/consolidated villages.
Shortly after independence, Christian Care was heavily involved in post war reconstruction. In 1985 the organization broadened its mandate to include rural development. Projects to date have included disaster relief programs, dam construction and irrigation development, integrated rural development programs, water and sanitation, livestock restocking, HIV/AIDS, gender, advocacy and income generating projects.
United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe: The United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) was founded in 1893 by the American Board of Foreign Missions, predecessor mission program of the United Church of Christ. Global Ministries works closely with this partner church in the many facets of its ministry in Zimbabwe. The denominational membership today is approximately 30,000 people in 47 churches and several preaching points and worship groups. The UCCZ has worked ecumenically on important efforts in Zimbabwe and is responsible for many schools and several health institutions in the country.
The church's mission is to promote Christian living and to relate humankind to the larger body of Christ through teaching, healing, stewardship, preaching, and farming. The church revolves around the core values of hard work and self-reliance, and works to eradicate poverty and disease through technical and vocational life skills training for survival, and integrated participatory community-based development.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches: The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has been in partnership with Global Ministries since 1964. The council has twenty member churches, nine associate member churches, and two observer members. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches' mission is to meet the needs of their communities, proclaim the gospel, develop their capacity to be self-sustaining, and to speak with one voice on issues of national interest.
Zimbabwe Synod-UCCSA: The Zimbabwe Synod is one of five synods comprising the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. It is located in Bulawayo with congregations and schools throughout Matabeleland. The church's greatest constraint is the economic and political situation prevailing throughout the country. As a result of this situation, ordinary Zimbabweans suffer greatly. The migration of the youth and other members of the work force is taking its toll on the church and communities where the churches are located.
United Theological College, Harare: United Theological College is an interdenominational institution whose purpose is to train quality pastors and teachers of the Christian gospel for churches in Zimbabwe and the region. The College seeks to prepare students to understand and articulate the Bible's transforming holistic and prophetic message to individuals, families, groups and society at large. The college recruits qualified and experienced Christian lecturers who are committed to excellence in teaching and research.
United Theological College is the largest ecumenical theological training school in Zimbabwe run by seven participating churches namely: Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, United Congregational Church in Southern Africa, Uniting Presbyterian Church and African Methodist Episcopal church. United Theological College (UTC) was founded in 1954 as an institution of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, situated on part of the Epworth Mission Farm and named Epworth College. It became an Ecumenical Protestant Seminary in 1955 when the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, The United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (therein called the participating churches) resolved to co-operate in sponsoring the college for the training of pastors and other church workers. In 1976 the name was changed to United Theological College.
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