Rev Cosmas Gwagwe (Yei Diocese) with CMSI friends in Dublin
2016 Making Connections - Changing Lives “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
My wife and I are currently taking part in a ‘Community Bible Reading Experience’ through our local church, which essentially involves reading through the New Testament over eight weeks and occasionally meeting with others to share our experiences. Although I seem to have fallen behind the schedule far too easily, I’ve still found it hugely valuable to get a broader, wide-angle overview of stories and letters that I’d normally only visit in much smaller sections. As I’ve read through Acts and Paul’s letters, I’ve been struck by the way in which the
The Meeting Place Competition As always, May has seen many lovely pictures and posters arrive at the CMSI office from those taking part in the Children’s Resource competition. This year, we explored the importance of meeting together and we learned about Madi West Nile Diocese in Uganda. We’ll pick our competition winners in the next few days, but for now, we wanted to let you see just a few of the entries we’ve received so far.
Early Church grew and developed through myriad personal connections - lots of people visiting, meeting and hosting one another, lots of people teaching and being taught, sharing, instructing and correcting together, sending messages and letters of encouragement, building one another up. There’s a relentless dynamism and a sense of movement that is thrilling to read. Even with the undercurrent of conflict and discord, the picture is one of growth and change. In many ways, that’s the model for all of us who continue to follow ‘The Way’ (as it was called in those early years). We need to be in the business of making connections connections with people and connections between people - in the hope that this will lead them to deeper connections with God and with His transforming love. Even if, and when, the Church seems beset by conflict,
disagreement and division, we are to strive for more of these personal connections. In CMSI, we want to keep investing in connections that transcend geographical distance and we want to help bring people together. We also want to share stories of impact and renewal that have come about by people meeting people and investing in one another. As you read through our Summer Snippets, we hope you’ll see glimpses of these connections and of the Holy Spirit at work. These stories encourage us. We pray that they’ll encourage you too and inspire you to keep connecting. Have a lovely summer! Roger Cooke Editor
Walking together The impact of the Limavady-Kajiado link At the end of June, a team of 31 from Limavady Grammar School (LGS) will head to Kenya for a two-week visit with Kajiado Diocese. It’s the latest chapter in an ongoing partnership that started with a visit to the school by Bishop Jeremiah Taama in 2001 and that has had a significant impact.
Hip reflections At our Shine event in April, Keith and Lyn Scott were introduced as CMSI’s newest Mission Partners. We asked Keith why theological education was so important. This is what he said…
A few years ago I had a hip operation - a hip replacement. If you’ve ever had a hip replacement, you’ll know that a lot of those operations now are done under spinal block. So you’re actually awake when the operation happens. You know what’s going on, even though you can’t actually feel any pain. So, I was more or less awake during this operation - and I was aware of what was going on. I could hear the saw going and I was certainly aware of them hammering in the new hip. And I thought to myself… ‘Well, how diﬃcult can this be?’
CMSI volunteer, Paul Ferguson, is a former teacher at LGS and was instrumental in helping develop the link. Here’s what he had to say… The impact on pupils and staff in LGS has been considerable. The teams that have visited Kenya have all been ‘mixed’ - male and female, Protestant and Catholic backgrounds, Christian and nonbelievers. All have been impacted spiritually and have been impacted in their thinking and outlook. Over 20 staff and 100 pupils have visited Kajiado but the support of the whole Limavady community has been considerable. Some have come to faith, others have been confirmed in the faith while others are still on the journey. A significant number of pupils have since travelled to different parts of the world as a result of their visit to Kajiado. CMSI staff member Roger Thompson recently caught up with some of those involved in the Limavady side of the link: On Saturday 30th April I arrived at St Canice’s Church Hall, Eglinton to find over 100 pupils, staff and parents preparing for their annual sponsored walk in support of Oloosuyian Girls’ Secondary School in Kajiado. I was impressed not only by the numbers, but also the happy atmosphere and the sense of common purpose.
Among those I chatted with was Brian Purcell (head of Physics) who enthused about the impact the team visits had on the students, and how much he was looking forward to this summer’s group going out. They’ll be helping with painting and construction work in the Kenyan school. I also chatted to Jonny Dixon, another Physics teacher, who told me how his life had been transformed on a previous team visit when he had come to faith in Christ. Jonny’s story In my final year at school, my physics teacher, Paul Ferguson, invited me to come on a school trip to Kajiado as a past pupil, to build water wells. I jumped at the chance, and secretly I was thinking I'd show them that you don't have to be Christian to do good things in the world. In Kajiado, I was blown away with the realisation that these Kenyan people had nothing, incredible poverty but yet they oozed a deep joy from their lives. I couldn't grasp why this was, but it had a profound effect on me and I decided I wanted to experience this for myself. I got chatting to some of the other people on the team who were Christians and through discussions it was explained to me what Jesus did for me out of love on the cross. It didn't fully make sense but something was stirring inside of me. The next day that we were in church in Kajiado, I prayed that if Jesus was real, that He would come into my life, and I thanked Him for dying for my sins. This was the start of my journey with Him and it has been life-changing.
There didn’t seem to be an awful lot to it. I have my dad’s copy of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s old, sure, but how much can people have changed since 1940? And I’ve got a Stanley knife and a hammer and an angle grinder. I don’t have a bone saw, but I’m pretty sure an angle grinder would do the same job. So, I reckon…maybe if I watched a couple of YouTube videos, I could do a fairly decent hip replacement. Do you think you’d like me to do that? I suspect not. I suspect that you wouldn’t like me to do a hip operation because the reality is…I know absolutely nothing about orthopaedic surgery. So the big question is…Why would you let somebody climb into the pulpit, that knows absolutely nothing about theology. Why would you let somebody build up and lead the Christian community, that has no idea of what they’re about. That’s why theological education is so vital. CMSI’s annual theme for 2015/2016, ’Firm Foundations’ highlights the importance of leadership training and theological education. Further details can be found on the CMSI website.
Keith and Lyn are due to return to Zambia in October, to work at St John’s Anglican Seminary, where they were previously based. This schedule relies on us securing suﬃcient financial support to send and support the Scotts. You can donate to their fund via the CMSI website or by contacting the CMSI oﬃces.
Partnership Perspectives Over recent months, all three of our Partnership Coordinators have visited some of our Global Partners. Linda Abwa recently returned from a short visit to Ethiopia and a team visit to DR Congo. Kelly Yates was also away in April, visiting partners in Uganda. In March, Roger Thompson spent time in Zambia and Kenya. We asked them each to reflect on their visits and share some simple highlights - something challenging, something surprising and something inspiring.
Something challenging LA: St Frumentius Anglican Seminary in Gambella (Ethiopia) lies close to a community boundary. The ongoing violence in the region means that one group of students dare not cross over to study with their classmates on campus.
RT: Visiting the area to the northwest of Kitwe, in northern Zambia, I was struck by the signs of economic deprivation. In the town of Mufulira, I met church members who had recently lost their jobs along with 2,500 others laid oﬀ by the British-owned copper mine, and I heard of problems in many families due to alcohol addiction, HIV AIDS and TB.
Rev Ruth explained that with this oven women in the community can bake cupcakes and other products to sell locally. What a wonderful and surprising way for God’s people to be blessed, both with tasty baked goods and with a means to a good income.
RT: The biggest surprise of the trip was meeting the students at Bahati Secondary School Centre in Kayole slum, Nairobi. Despite the most unpromising of environments (a vast informal settlement lacking the most basic facilities) these students were writing wonderful poetry in English using the Japanese Haiku form.
Something surprising KY: During my time in Luwero Diocese, I was shown a ‘model home’- a programme the Mothers’ Union plans to run in each parish, to encourage healthy lifestyles. Through this they teach skills and practices to maintain a ‘good’ home – crop cultivation, animal rearing, water collection, good sanitation and much more. They even highlight the value of a comfortable living room where families can enjoy time together and can be encouraged to study the Bible.
LA: During my brief visit to the Anglican Centre in Gambella, I delivered an HIV pastoral care session. It was fairly ‘standard’ and was interrupted by rain and unreliable electricity supply.
imagine how the hall might look next year… an oﬃce here, a movie corner there, a big open space for dance and drama groups.
This building, now rather derelict, was once the hub of the church until it outgrew this space and built a new cathedral. It will soon become a hub again, this time for children and young people. Through the CMSI Children’s Resource ‘The Meeting Place’ we are pleased to partner with the Diocese in this development.
As we stood there, sun rays blazing in, a few pupils from the local school mooched around during their break time. This is their spot, a place they gravitate to, a place where they meet. They will be the ones to fill this building with lively activity, a new generation who will lead the way in this community.
LA: I was inspired by the determination of the staﬀ and student team at St Frumentius College (Ethiopia) to make it known that they are not separated by choice, and that they are making the greatest eﬀorts to find a neutral venue where they can meet together.
Afterwards, one of the students made an eﬀort to find me to say how relieved he was by the teaching on extending grace to people living with HIV.
He had recently lost a friend to HIV, and had shown the friend much kindness, but he was unsure if he had been doing the right thing. The main messages he had previously heard about HIV were stigmatising of those who were infected. He was a part time student already ordained, it was sad that the other messages he was hearing were so negative that he had become unsure of God’s loving grace towards his friend.
Rev Ruth, Mothers’ Union Coordinator, excitedly showed me the outdoor, woodburning oven. Now I knew how Mama Bishop had produced a very delicious carrot cake the day before!
Something inspiring KY: It was inspiring to stand inside the old cathedral at Madi West Nile with Canon Isaac (Diocesan Secretary) and to
RT: One of the most inspiring experiences I had in Zambia was worshipping in St. Agnes, Chingola at their annual Sunday School day.
The two youthful choirs sang passionately and with beautiful harmonies, especially during the collection, which lasted for three extended hymns. There were seven large oﬀertory baskets filled with gift envelopes, and these were presented by a phalanx of girls and women who danced up the aisle dressed in blue and white fabrics.
CMSI Conference 2016
Set to record On Sunday 14th August, RTE’s weekly, televised worship service will feature CMSI. Don’t forget to watch or record the programme so you can sing along and enjoy the stories and challenges about ‘Firm Foundations’ - our annual theme.
Saturday 24th September, 10:30am-5:15pm Dromantine Retreat & Conference Centre, Newry
The programme will be recorded in Donnybrook on Sunday 3rd July from 1:30pm to 6:30pm. We still need a few more folk to come along and be our ‘congregation’. If you are interested and available, please contact the oﬃces for further details.
With Friday Extra - 23rd September, from 7:30pm
Need a speaker?
The programme for Ignite is taking shape and we're very excited about the conference, which is for everyone - parishes and individuals who support CMSI or who connect with our partners, and those with a broader interest in global mission.
Rev Alice Madi West Nile Diocese, Uganda
The Bakers Uganda
Archdeacon Naftaly Kajiado Diocese, Kenya
The Scotts Preparing for return to Zambia
Bishop Harold Dioceses of Down and Dromore
Ian Hannah Coleraine House of Prayer
Varied seminar programme, including an ‘in-focus’ series on each of our Global Partner countries
Worship led by Ian Hannah
Act of ‘recommissioning’ with Bishop Harold
Opportunities to pray, to chat and to share together
Dynamic and creative Children's Programme
Buses available from Dublin and Enniskillen (via Armagh)
Friday Extra evening programmme for residential guests For further details, visit the CMSI website or contact the oﬃces.
CMSI staﬀ and volunteers are available to speak at Sunday Services, Harvest Celebrations and midweek meetings. We’d love to come and share stories of how God is transforming lives through His global church.
Summer connections The summer months see plenty of connections and encounters with our Global Partners. We’re looking forward to welcoming Bishop Jered (Shyogwe), who will be at the Shyogwe Celebration event in Newry on Saturday 28th May and will also participate in the CMSI stall at Africa Day in Phoenix Park, Dublin on Sunday 29th May. In addition to the team from Limavady Grammar School, two Mission Experience Teams Abroad will visit our Global Partners. On 7th July, a META from Carrigrohane Group of Parishes in Cork head to Zambia. A META from Lisburn Cathedral will be in Yei Diocese (South Sudan) from 18th July.
The Zambia META
Please pray for all these visits - that they will help to deepen relationships and that they would be full of blessings.
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