INSiGHT July 2023 (Issue 30)

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Empowerment Formation & Edu cati on,

July 2023
ID 32018633 © Cienpies Design / Illustrations | Dreamstime.com

CONTENTS

July 2023

4 FOREWORD

5 VIEWPOINTS: Education, Empowerment and Formation

Resurrection and Liberation

Training in Mission (TIM 2023)

De-colonizing theological education – Learning in the Margins

CWM Student scholars drop-in for physical and virtual visits

Called and empowered to serve

23 AT A GLANCE

CWM News

CWM Board of Directors’ Meeting in Taiwan focuses on mission, solidarity and transformation

CWM Moderator Rev. Lydia Neshangwe inducted as Moderator of UPCSA

Engaging in God’s mission through CWM/Nethersole Fund and Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital

CWM delegation visits educational institutes and churches in Hong Kong

CWM meets Guyana Government and Guyana Reparations Committee

CWM General Secretary strengthens solidarity with United Church of Zambia (UCZ)

CWM Caribbean Members’ Mission Forum: Rise to Life – Radical Discipleship and Transformative Spirituality

CWM celebrates its 46th anniversary

Rise to Life – Together in Transformation: CWM Assembly will be held in Durban, South Africa, 12-19 June 2024

AMM delegates experience diverse communities in the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

CWM Statement on Taiwan “Not Forgotten and Not Alone”

PCT responds to CWM Statement on Taiwan: Prophetic voices from the wilderness

Rev. Dr Huang Po Ho Calls for Break Down of Walls of Division at CWM Annual Members’ Meeting

Member Church News

AFRICA

Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) Moderator unveils new theme at UPCSA General Assembly

UPCSA Moderator addresses Church of Scotland General Assembly in Edinburgh

Zambia government commends United Church of Zambia (UCZ) for its role in development

Ecumenical Programme trains ambassadors on HIV/ AIDS prevention strategies

EAST ASIA

Presbyterian Church in Singapore (PCS) Moderator preaches “Gospel Word in Season”

Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF) webinar on becoming a community of solidarity and resistance

Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) Moderator shares the life, work, and hopes of PCT

EUROPE

PACIFIC

United Reformed Church (URC) inducts first black and ethnically-minoritised woman as Moderator

PCANZ Moderator’s Pentecost Message

Pacific coalition’s open letter to leaders on Fukushima nuclear waste dumping

SOUTH ASIA

Church of South India (CSI) trains Christian Educators for Child-Friendly churches

Church of Bangladesh (COB) plants nine indigenous churches after 15 years of evangelism work

Ecumenical News

CWM Mourns the Demise of Ecumenical Mama, Dr Agnes Abuom

57 TAKE A LOOK

CWM Sunday 2023 Highlights

July 2023 3
Hospital Project in Myanmar 6 10 14 18 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 47 48 50 52 54 55 56 58
Agape

Formation

Job 33:6

Look, you and I both belong to God. I, too, was formed from clay.

Psalm 95:5

The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.

Isaiah 49:5

And now the LORD speaks— the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. The LORD has honoured me, and my God has given me strength.

Isaiah 64:8

And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.

When we come across the word “FORM” in the scriptures, we sometimes think of what form creation will take. We also come across many verses that talk of how people are formed into groups, soldiers are formed into armies, believers are formed into disciples and servants of God.

When we talk about Education, Formation and Empowerment, we often overlook the Formation aspect. What are we formed from? What are we formed for? What are the ingredients that go into remaking us for God’s work?

In the scriptures we see stories of the formation of mobs and crowds. We also see those who are formed through their devotional practices. We note that among the first believers, devotion to the apostles’ teaching was an important first step.

Acts 2:42

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

From Acts, we can also see that formal learning, by itself, is not enough. Education needs the context of fellowship, sacraments and prayer, in order to be deeply spiritually forming, both of individuals and community. This has been important for our Protestant tradition, as we enter an attitude of semper reformanda (Latin = always reforming). We believe that, by grace, God is continually reforming and recreating us.

In this edition of INSIGHT, we look at some of the educational, formative and empowering activities and people connected with CWM. The CWM programmes all have individual and community dimensions, for we are individually formed to be part of the Body of Christ, serving God’s world in mission. We enter into lifelong learning.

The same applies to institutes of learning. Seminaries and colleges cannot simply teach what they inherited. To be ‘always reforming’ means that we need to be open to new scholarship, new ideas and new methods. Part of CWM’s role will be to challenge and provoke Member Churches and Partner Institutions to attend to the energy at the margins, where so much reforming change can be generated.

May God empower us to read the signs of the times, and facilitate public witness through lifeflourishing education.

[Bible verses are taken from the New Living Translation]

4 July 2023
FOREWORD

VIEWPOINTS

Education, Empowerment and Formation

and Resurrection Liberation

Building on the last decade of work…

In this reflection, new Mission Secretary for Education, Formation and Empowerment, Rev. Dr Amelia KohButler, outlines the theology driving education for coming years.

Romans 6:4

We’ve been buried with Jesus through baptism, and we joined with Jesus in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by God’s glory, we too might live a new life.

Colossians 3:1

Since you’ve been resurrected with Christ, set your heart on what pertains to higher realms, where Christ is seated at God’s right hand.

2 Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things of earth.

6 July 2023
VIEWPOINTS
Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible (p. 2408). Sheed & Ward. Kindle Edition. Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible (p. 2482). Sheed & Ward. Kindle Edition.
The resurrected Body of Christ, the Church, has the mission to continue God’s work on earth. We learn. We teach. We are healed. We heal. We forgive. We are forgiven. Our education needs to form us in these skills and practices, helping us to become fit as a body to do this work.

Life-flourishing Education

“Rising to life and breaking out from Babylon” are two biblical concepts that have been informing CWM’s approach to understanding God’s mission for us. The two ideas are woven throughout Christian doctrines and shape behaviours in mission and ministry.

Theme 1 - Resurrection

“Rising to life” is the hope of every Christian following the Way of Jesus. In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find a different approach to living. Because of the resurrection promise, we are not to be afraid of death. Rather, we remember that a grain of seed must die in order for new life to rise. Resurrection is core in Christian faith. When mortal death comes, we welcome this eternal new life in Christ. Even the very act of Baptism is a dying to self and a rising to Godly life. We actually begin our eternal relationship in this earthly life.

The resurrected Body of Christ, the Church, has the mission to continue God’s work on earth. We learn. We teach. We are healed. We heal. We forgive. We are forgiven. Our education needs to form us in these skills and practices, helping us to become fit as a body to do this work.

Theme 2: Liberation

“Breaking out from Babylon” draws upon historical stories found in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures). Babylon was one of the places where the people of Israel experienced dislocation and displacement, forced labour (slavery) and exile. Babylon was the place people were taken to when their homeland was overcome and occupied. Babylon was a place of captivity, where Israelite language, culture, religion and identity, were constantly under threat. It was a region and period of war and conquest, with Israel being subject to the powers around it. When we hear the names of Empires, Babylon and Persia, we are meant to think of conquest and oppression, occupation and displacement.

“By the waters of Babylon we lay down and wept” (Psalm 137:1) – writes the Psalmist, illustrating the sorrow and pain that came with captivity and loss of liberty. Danger and threat are made real to us in the inspiring story of Queen Esther, who bravely advocates for her people, despite being a sexslave herself.

Yet, when the Israelites eventually break out from Babylon and are free to return to Jerusalem, some remain in Babylon. Those who do journey to Jerusalem go in various waves of migration, facing slightly different challenges. We even read of philosophical disagreements and practical tensions between those who had previously had the shared experience of being victims in foreign lands.

The story of Babylon, like the story of exile in Egypt, outlines centuries of oppression, and contributes to shaping a theology of liberation. We talk today of being liberated by Christ. It is Jesus who frees us from the consequences of sin and challengesthose things that oppress and bind us. When Jesus saves, he breaks the chains of our captivity to sin. He is guided by the prophet Isaiah, quoting…

Luke 4:18

“The Spirit of our God is upon me: because the Most High has anointed me to bring Good News to those who are poor. God has sent me to proclaim liberty to those held captive, recovery of sight to those who are blind, and release to those in prison— 19 to proclaim the year of our God’s favour.”

Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible (p. 2228). Sheed & Ward. Kindle Edition.

Careful study of the biblical themes guides our missional thinking today. The good news (gospel) is that God wants the best of resurrection life for us. God’s intention for us and for all creation is goodness and flourishing. As we die to sin, we are invited to rise to life-flourishing. Our CWM Education philosophy is that education should be geared towards the flourishing of life. We learn to

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live in the ways God intends. We learn to influence the world to live out God’s calling to us. We measure all our education programmes by whether they help our students and our member churches encourage life-flourishing.

Formation for Mission and Ministry

We learn both formally (courses) and informally (experiences) as we engage with our environments and times. Faith allows us to re-read life through God’s stories. Study, alongside the spiritual disciplines of prayer and service, helps us to grow in wisdom. The combination forms us for discipleship. As disciples, we engage in public witness, in our public worship, our social advocacy and in our charitable service.

Christian doctrines form the theological threads that weave communities of faith together and serve as lenses to see, understand, and engage in the world. However, some doctrines inherited from the past were also used to perpetuate domination, exclusion, and subjugation. When we recognise that even the devil quotes scripture, we see the need to critique how Bible passages and doctrines have been used. The weaving together, of

education and disciplined Christian life, allows us to review doctrines. We measure theoretical ideas, against Jesus’ demonstrations of behaviours, to see if our current practices are shaped by a healthy reading of scripture or if our cultural habits and preferences are distorting our understandings.

Con-text can be translated as “with the words”. Contextual study is about reading the scriptures within the situation in which they were written AND reading in our own situations. It is about recognising the influence and impact of societies and settings that interact with the text. Jesus is able to correct distortions and misinterpretations by placing particular passages alongside the great themes in the scriptures (meta-narratives) and shows how they play out in the context of real life.

As students of scripture, we have a responsibility to be mindful of both the verses in front of us AND the broader themes. The more we study the scriptures, the more links and layers of meaning we discover. Theological education, however, does not exist for its own ends. It provides us with tools, methods and ingredients. The Holy Spirit forms us for mission and ministry, breathing into and inspiring the learnings so they can be embodied in our lives.

Instead of being ruled by the values of the world, God invites us to become part of God’s own family. We become part of the KIN-dom of God (or the

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VIEWPOINTS

KIN-dom of Heaven/Resurrection). To do this, we need to be de-colonized from the world and brought into the citizenship of the People of God. We die to the old and rise to new life. We come back to (the promise of) Heaven after our (worldly) exile in Babylon. We become, together, the new resurrected Body of Christ.

The calling of Christ is to proclaim God’s good news, serve God’s world, show God’s love, challenge injustice, make peace and heal, create and tend to creation. As Christ’s Body, Christians are formed to do these works. We are not just saved from sin. We are also saved for the ongoing mission of God. We become God’s missionary people, hands and feet, hearts and minds, ready to do God’s work.

Formation includes practical community living, social analysis, learning God’s revelation among Indigenous communities, and participation in the campaigns and struggles to dismantle systems of oppression (Babylon). Formation also includes the development of competencies to engage in missional work. Physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual health and well-being all contribute to

formation in discipleship. Formation for mission and ministry will integrate different styles of learnings and build the capacity of people to respond to God’s call.

Recognizing that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), we undertake education and formation with an attitude of faith. We ask God to open us up to God’s own wisdom and power. There is no need for us to ‘suffer from imposter syndrome’ as we learn to become vehicles for the Holy spirit to operate in the world. We do not work miracles ourselves, but by God’s grace we may bear witness to what God does around us. We can become people who rely on the Spirit. We can pray in humility that we might be part of God’s great purposes. We do not set the mission agenda for God, rather, we look at the whole of God’s mission and discover which part of it God is calling us to participate in.

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(TIM 2023) Training in Mission

The TIM participants share reflections about the first part of this incredible journey. From the excitement experienced by family to the long plane flight, to settling in, we feel their anticipation and sense of adventure. Each of these young adults has had the courage to say YES to God’s adventure.

The CWM Training in Mission programme has a history of over 40 years.

Started as a yearlong Mission training event, the TIMs now undertake a 6-week Diploma in Mission, led by Trinity Methodist College, Auckland, New Zealand. This forms the first stage of a six-month immersion experience. They undertake a range of Mission Projects, developing project management skills and working in a variety of communities. Participants do First Aid training and undergo a

3-day core training programme with Godly Play International, which takes a creative, imaginative approach to become Godly Players responding authentically to God’s call in their lives.

In 2023, they will also participate in two different regional youth initiative programmes in Tuvalu, in the Pacific, and in Kingston, Jamaica. The first will focus on ecology and economy, especially climate justice. The second will focus on The Onesimus Project, which includes studies about the Legacies of Slavery and Modern-day slavery, racism, peacemaking and reconciliation.

Setting off on a missionary journey takes faith. It stretches us. We have excitement and anxiety. We anticipate, yet we are called to maintain a calm aura of trust in God. We know in our heads that God is faithful under all circumstances, but now we must experience that same faith in the depths of our souls.

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VIEWPOINTS
Welcomed to PTC

Beginnings

On 13-14 June 2023, most of our TIM participants left their home countries for the journey to our commencement site in Suva, Fiji. There had been a process of preparation, with applications, essays, medical checks, endorsements from General Secretaries, committees, conversations with families and workplaces, permissions from study institutions and Government officials.

my last sermon to St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in my hometown King William’s Town, and a sending-off service was conducted by EN Bono Memorial Congregation.

Lemon (from Bangladesh) reflected:

I was very excited about this TIM programme, but my family was more excited than me. They kept asking me about this programme, then about my passport and visa. It was hard for my family, but after coming here, I really liked the way the people here took to themselves at first. At first, there were problems with food and weather, but with time everything got better. Hopefully, I can apply what I am learning here to my personal life and my church.

Susana (from Samoa) writes:

Two of our accepted TIMs were not able to leave home by the departure date. Their visas had been delayed, and we all constantly held them in our prayers, wondering what God would have in store for them. Four of our TIMs had previously been accepted for the programme in 2020 but the programme was cancelled due to COVID19 travel restrictions. At that time, some had cried for days with the disappointment, so knowing that two of our number were missing was deeply personal. The TIMs who made it to Fiji fasted and prayed for those that did not. We placed the wellbeing of our sister and brother into God’s hands.

Fayaka, who was serving as the President of Fellowship of Youth in his Presbytery (South Africa) shared about how this trip had “ignited a lot of hope for many people”:

The cancellation of the TIM 2020 was a blow for me because it meant a turning point for me in my life, my family, and those who supported my journey because they believed that for me a new dawn was settling in and a new hope for my family and community certain. When the TIM programme returned and I could participate in April 2023, I was invited to give

Leaving home was never too easy however God’s blessings come in different forms. Opportunities always comes with blessings and along the way there will be obstacles. These obstacles test my faith on whether I am a firm believer of our Lord Jesus Christ or a sinner who will never allow Jesus Christ in her life.

A goodbye to parents, families and friends was hard whilst it strengthened me to serve God’s calling, believing He’s always there to provide. What an amazing God we serve!

From Samoa to Fiji was a God’s call within another call. Consequently a priority was set straight and I had to focus. Arriving in Fiji confused me in ways and as always, everything was set accordingly to His plan.

Thankfully the support system I received provided me comfort and care as if they were my own blood. On another note, Fiji’s surrounding and green scenery overwhelmed and gave me the thought of an enjoyable 6 months ahead with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Looking forward to what God has installed for me. Faafetai (Samoan – Thank you).

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TIMs departing from Singapore

Thankful to the Lord that I’m able to start my journey for studies in the Diploma of Missions with CWM after having a hectic yet accomplished church camp. The journey starts off for me with a flight that was delayed for 2 hours. Anxiety crept in, but I was reminded that it’ll be according to God’s own timing and also encouragement from brothers and sisters back home that it’s always better to fly safe.

Reaching Nadi – Fiji, physical exhaustion was relieved by the uplifting songs that were sung at the arrival to welcome us. Part of my team was held up due to filling out arrival cards while some of us manage to catch the connecting flight from Nadi to Suva.

It was said that Fiji is one of the first spots in the world to see the sun rise every day. I’m a witness to it, as I fly from Nadi to Suva. How Great is our God!

Accommodation

Arriving at Pacific Theological College (PTC), we were met with three lovely new apartments, still not quite complete. We are the first occupants, along with some Korean medical/health personnel who are studying English and Fijian in preparation for their mission work across several hospitals and clinics. The apartments will eventually be used for families, students, academics, and sabbaticals and will become a key asset as the Pacific Theological College expands into becoming a university.

Identifying tasks to be done at the new apartments, we considered what missionaries generally need to contend with in any new environment. Access to water and shelter are key. They rarely happen smoothly and adjustments need to be accounted for. A couple of people experienced early diarrhoea and upset tummies. The water supply tasted a bit odd. We eventually discovered that it was being diverted from another house and shared with construction workers on a building next door. We now filter all our drinking water and check how the pressure is before planning a shower!

PTC also held a welcome dinner showcasing Fiji’s Kava culture, where we received a Bula garment, garland, Sulu, oil and perfume.

Garden

The site resembled a construction zone when we arrived, so we quickly got to work to plan our Mission Garden. Clearing weeds was a first task. Collecting and filling plastic drink bottles, we started to create a retaining wall border for our garden beds. This is a great way to reduce waste and recycle. We also learnt about creating in-bed composting tubes and recycled plastic bottle planters. If we get time, there are lots of ideas we can have a go at.

12 July 2023
Jia Xin / Grace (from Singapore) shares:
VIEWPOINTS
Our Mission Garden emphasizes reuse, repurpose, recycle

Fertilizer was made by boiling up onion skins, and we will add aloe vera, potatoes and bananas to the cuttings, some of which were brought in from other people’s gardens. They all provide good nutrients.

Mission gardens are a wonderful opportunity. They can eventually provide beauty and food, sustenance for body and soul. They bring us close to the Creator God. They can also provide ingredients for wellbeing and healing. They are a learning and modelling site. We undertake teamwork here and hope to be able to develop a model garden that demonstrates good sustainability practices and ideas for recycling what would otherwise be landfill waste.

Cultural Learnings

Out TIMs went to the Fijian National Museum, learning about indigenous culture and colonizing history. They spent time considering different perspectives and how cultural assumptions can influence our thinking.

Tai-li (from Taiwan) expresses the discovery of culture in a new context:

The first time when I saw a shark rattle, I thought it served the same purpose as a bear bell. In Taiwan, when we go mountain climbing, especially some higher mountain, we were suggested to bring the bear bell. When it makes noise, bears will know there are people here and won’t come close.

Atithi (from India) reflects:

The museum talks about our people’s past and reminds the present generations of ancient cultures and traditions. Many times, we forget our roots, cultures and indigenous elements which are overridden by modern elements. This museum is really an eye opener and wonderful place. Lots of historical things, cultural items, their ancient boats, vessels, clothes etc were preserved in that museum. Colonization by the British empire had a great impact on Fiji in all areas and levels of life, which is observed through things displayed.

We came to know about Indio- Fijian relationships in the past and how Indians came to Fiji and settled down here, transfer of knowledge and other skills and techniques. How Fijian people accommodated foreigners in their land, their cultures, their traditions etc. [What] caught my attention, [were the] missionaries who came to this small beautiful island to share the gospel of Christ- a burden, urge and commitment for the Great Commission of Christ. Some missionaries, who left their homes and their home countries, never returned - what great sacrifices and contributions to the unknown people.

But when I did a search on shark rattle, it turned out that the noise generated when placed in waters and shaken vigorously, sounds like a shoal of fish. These will attract sharks to come, so the fisherman can catch them.

You can follow the TIMs at their blog: https://cwmtim2023.blogspot.com/

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Shark rattle

De-colonizing theological education –Learning in the Margins

What does indigeneity teach us about learning?

“What is this obsession CWM has with decolonizing and contextualization?”

Whenever new students start in colleges or universities, I encourage them to start a small notebook and keep it in their pocket. (These days, it may be a memo file on their smartphone!) In it, I explain, we should write down the many words that are used in this God-learning community that are different from how we use words at home. This is the new language you are learning for this new area of study.

In the local congregation, I often hear: “but these Pastors, when they come back from College – they are hard to understand and they have forgotten how to relate with us!” To the shame of theological educators, this is often true. Pastors are often so caught up in the excitement of new concepts about God that they forget how to communicate with their flocks. To the shame of congregations, they are often unwilling to do the hard work with their Pastors to challenge and deepen their faith by seeking greater understanding about God. Extending our vocabularies (word-lists) is a way of increasing our ways of talking about God. Our languages never have enough words to explore the mysteries of

God, but studying new words and ideas does help us to go deeper and get a greater appreciation of the God we are following.

As we gradually fill our notebooks, we also discover made up words and words from other languages that describe something we did not previously have a word for. These new words carry contemporary meaning and arise from our particular context. Often the words need some explanation in order for the meaning to become clear.

On a recent trip to the Taiwan countryside, I visited the “sticky rice” Nuomishih Bridge (糯米石橋). It has the name “sticky rice” because it needed to be rebuilt after being bombed. With the shortage of mortar, a sticky rice paste was made to do the repairs. So, when people say sticky rice in Nantou County, they may be talking about food or they may be talking about a water crossing. The words have acquired new meaning.

14 July 2023 VIEWPOINTS
Figure 1. Sticky Rice Bridge

On that same trip, I was impressed on a visit to a local indigenous Meiyuan congregation of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), Dayan Presbytery. The local pastoral team were embedded in local indigenous life in the villages. This is not a Sundays-church. This is a church with a very strong After-school Programme and a Seniors’ Programme. Christian education is understood to be life-long accompaniment. Elementary, Secondary, Tertiary and Post-work education all have a place in church life. It is important to understand that contextual learning is not one-way. We do not simply learn from teachers who fill up our empty vessels. Our lives are already full of knowledge and ideas. Contextual learning focuses more on sharing what we have with one another, learning from one another, learning from our surroundings and valuing discovery. Great contextual teachers are facilitators of discovery, drawing upon local inputs and encouraging contributions from students and their networks. In this model, teachers are not simply experts in a field of study, they are co-learners who agitate and inspire learning communities.

Authentic learning and associated assessment tasks are common approaches used to place learning in the missional context. The learning framework draws on real-world tasks, situations and problems. In doing so, learning and assessment can authentically reflect the mission

field. If God’s heart for mission is among the most marginalised in the world, this is where much of our education should take place. If we learn in flashy and comfortable institutions, we will only be prepared for ministry in flashy and comfortable settings. If we learn in the environments of the marginalised, we will be able to develop strategies and skills for working in those spaces.

Building a Centre among the urban workers in Seoul, led to pastoral/mission leaders becoming

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Figure 2. Meiyuan Church Figure 3. Political Poster design from the Korean Workers’ Movement - Order of Service for Sunday Worship

leaders in workers movements in South Korea. Living among the poor and oppressed workers led to acts of service and help, connected with bible studies and theological reflection about the local condition. The Centre is now regarded as a site of historic importance because the Church’s mission of assisting the labour movement was instrumental in re-humanising labour. People were valued for who they are rather than just what they do. Understanding the nature of God, in whose image we are made, is essential to being able to redeem and reclaim humanity, especially when particular groups are marginalised or oppressed.

Undertaking bible study and theological reflection among the poor communities in South America inspired the development of Liberation Theology. Undertaking bible study and theological reflection among poor workers in Korea inspired the development of Minjung Theology. Undertaking bible study and theological reflection among women inspired Feminist Theology. Undertaking bible study and reflection among black and ‘coloured’ communities inspired Black Theology. Undertaking bible study and theological reflection among communities of coloured women inspired Womanist Theology. The list goes on.

None of these theologies are to be feared. It is quite wonderful and inspiring to discover that God’s Holy Scriptures can be used in every setting and every context. There is so much to read and discover together and our different understandings simply point us toward a God who is great enough for all, not just for some. However, each of these theological developments reveal a common temptation that resurfaces every generation. Churches and their leaders are tempted to define an orthodoxy and control system that limits biblical interpretation to what is comfortable for this particular community. When people challenge a narrow interpretation, find themselves on the margins and are eventually asked to leave a community, it is often a sign that a church places its faith in its own culture than in the God who keeps moving toward the marginalised.

To ‘colonize’ means to establish control over others. To ‘decolonize’ then means to return selfdetermination to the people. This is done, not with the goal of independence, but with the goal of

respectful inter-dependence. We want our sisters and brothers to experience freedom and liberation in the Gospel, so that they might claim, in their own ways, their unique relationships with God and one another, and with us. As we seek freedom for ourselves, we also seek it for other. The work of decolonizing requires us to look at what systems oppress people. How is control established over people? When should this be challenged? When is the church involved in colonizing others? How do we bring back an emphasis on respect for one another and the encouragement of agency – the liberation to choose life?

Decolonizing theological education may involve the following:

• Identifying multiple starting points for talking about God, embracing new language

• Re-imaging God, embracing new artistic impressions

• Redesigning course content, including contextual sources

• Redesigning course assessment, inviting comment from the margins

When I look at courses, I ask:

• Does the reading list reflect a particular form of intellectual oppression? Or does it include input from a range of sources?

• Does the teaching input include a diversity of educational methods and an understanding of multiple intelligence strategies of learning?

• Does the course delivery disadvantage particular people groups?

• Do I see signs of privileging a particular colonizing community? (e.g. is Jesus perceived to be Western and white?)

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Figure 4. artwork by Indian artist Frank Wesley - Jesus in Varanasi. See http://indigenousjesus.blogspot.com/2011/08/ indian-artist-frank-wesley.html

When we think about communities as clusters of people, we might see that those on the margins can often feel a long way away from each other. (The margins are not just found in one direction.) Diaconal (service-oriented) ministry may find workers moving along the margins, finding different concerns and salvation needs. There can be different starting points, both for learning and mission/ministry. I find it helpful to return to indigenous learning from Aboriginal Australians who belong to the oldest known living culture in the world (60,000 years).

In the 8-ways learning framework, we discover different places to start. There are strict protocols about choosing order, not just bending knowledge to suit ourselves. In this model, the respectful protocol is to start in a spot and follow lines in a journey of discovery and exploration. Do not leap from one spot to another without following the learning that is on the path connected by lines. My aboriginal sisters sometimes criticize western education as being too quick to ignore

certain sources of deep knowledge. In the rush to move from symbols to story-sharing, they may ignore non-verbal inputs and learning maps which will better help to frame the story. There is much wisdom to be gained by considering additional contextual inputs.

The teachers who have inspired me most are the ones who keep learning. They are always stretching themselves and going beyond their previous insights. I want to keep coming back to learn from them, partly because they also invite me to share my learnings with them. I love teaching because I learn so much from my students and their communities. I appreciate the possibilities of CWM because there is so much to learn from each other and from our ecumenical relationships.

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Figure 5. 8 Ways Learning - www.8ways.online

CWM Student scholars

drop-in for physical and virtual visits

Every two months, we have drop-in day. Multiple times are available for student-scholars to ‘dropin’, have a chat and do a bit of networking. The student-scholars are usually part of our Academic Accompaniment Programme and Special Academic Accompaniment Programme (AAP). When Member Churches consider their Capacity Development Programmes, they will include plans for educational strategies and development. This is where the AAPs come in. CWM Member Churches can nominate student-scholars for AAP who can take a course of study that will help them offer strategic leadership in the future.

During such drop-in sessions, we get to hear about the range of diverse studies being undertaken and encourage one another with ideas and hints about research and practice. In July, we had in-person drop-ins from students residing or passing through Singapore. We also get to meet some of the students when CWM staff visit different Member Churches. It is always encouraging to see people who are committing their time, energy and intellect to growing as disciples and leaders in mission!

Student-scholars often have a solid grounding in tradition, theological and ministry studies. CWM support enables them to undertake further studies in emerging issues that look to future mission. Contextual study considers more than place and language. One of the great challenges has been how our identities have been influenced by COVID. When we see ourselves on a screen, in two dimensions, and as we begin to see ourselves as others see us, it changes our perceptions. Our interior world can seem at odds with both our physical experience and our digital identity. The emergence of emojis and avatars have changed how human interaction takes place. The Gospel can be shared in text messages:

JOHN 1:1

In da Bginnin waz da 1 who is called da Word. Da Word waz wit God & waz truly God.

(SMS Bible, based on CEV)

Students are exploring the ethics and practical applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and different understandings of gender roles and

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identities. These are the real contexts churches will need to address in coming years. Our new generations of leaders will need to understand the interactions of contemporary language (often digital) and spiritual discipleship, worship and mission. For some of us, the digital age may feel foreign and fearful, but many online discipling communities that started during COVID, continue to grow and flourish. Some churches grieve this situation, longing for people to ‘come back’ to the gatherings in buildings. Others celebrate that they are now more engaged with a meaningful and growing spirituality by being able to be involved in online study and discussion groups, being connected for discipling mentoring sessions and participating in webinars and online courses.

At the same time, we talked together about ‘unlearning’ – a theme our CWM Moderator, Rev Lydia Neshangwe, preached about at the recent Annual Members’ Meeting. As we learn new things, the complexity around integration with past learnings can feel overwhelming. This is when we need a good mentor. Inatoli reflected on the special relationship that has developed with her academic supervisor,

My supervisor is very encouraging. I share that things are difficult or the study material is difficult and it drains me. She helps me. When I need some administrative advice she gets in and makes things easy for me. [ibid]

Sam is studying about Artificial Intelligence at UTC Bengaluru. He has found that conversations about digitality can be a challenge for the Church in South India (CSI), but given India’s global investment in digital presence, it is so important. He points out,

The challenge is that it is a new topic for theological colleges and we are just beginning to explore ideas like IMAGO DEI versus IMAGO ROBOTICO. [John Moses Samuel, online drop-in 13 July 2023)

Sam asks us to consider, how might AI have a positive impact on our ecclesial and missional work into the future. I automatically thought of how intelligent computers can gather data, evaluate options and identify the best spots in the ocean for regeneration of coral reefs. This could be part of the creation care strategies for our oceans. Others have suggested that AI can be helpful in putting our notes into readable reports. The possibilities for assisting in the work of Bible translation will revolutionize mission between different language groups.

There are, of course, challenges that come with online sessions and gatherings. One of our Special Academic Accompaniment Programme (SAAP) scholars, Inatoli, said Being a distance student is a challenge. I can feel quite isolated and alone, particularly as I am addressing areas of theology that people are uncomfortable talking about.

CWM education strategies serve to empower individuals and communities. Building capacity becomes a starting point and is followed up by application of learning. It is not enough to acquire knowledge, we also need to learn how to use it. By empowering people to act on what they have learnt, we are activating mission. Mission is both sending and receiving. Education is fuel for both.

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Figure 1. Inatoli Aye, Special Academic Accompaniment Programme

Sithembiso Ndlela is at the beginning of his PhD studies at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa. His background is in commerce and leadership studies, with a particular interest in social entrepreneurship. He speaks with energy and passion about the potential of future mission,

I want to focus on the role of Christian education in fighting poverty, and how to encourage members of church and community…

At the moment the UPCSA has not delved into social entrepreneurship very much, but we are starting to identify what kinds of projects we could do in our local churches?

[Sithembiso Ndlela, online drop-in 13 July 2023)

Like the churches he will be working with, Sithembiso has to deal with the challenge of balancing work, study and missional innovation. Many of the poorest congregations cannot rely on income from members to fund mission work, so other forms of resourcing need to be explored. We were able to talk about a new initiative on the other side of the world in the

tiny Pacific Island nation of Nauru, where the local church is engaged with training people to sew quilts. When the new sewing centre is not being used for classes, it can also be rented out for social enterprise. Churches are actively seeking ways to help people overcome poverty and enter into lifeflourishing!

Samuel Mali is undertaking studies towards a Doctorate in Theology at United Theological College, Bengaluru, India. He is coming towards the end of his writing on the topic, “An intersective Exploration of Palestinian Liberation Theology and Dalit Theology in the Contexts of Zionism and Hindutva: Towards Theology of Subaltern Solidarity for Emancipation”.

While the title is a mouthful, the importance of the study lies in its relevance to the most oppressed and marginalised in India and in Palestine. Just as Jesus stood against the oppression of Rome and

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Figure 2. Sithembiso Ndela, studying at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal Figure 3. Samuel Mali, Church of North India

the institutional attitudes of the Temple, the poor can find their voice in the promise of liberation and emancipation. Samuel may be coming to the end of this part of his work, but it is clear this is merely the beginning for him on a journey of advocacy and teaching. We wonder what insights he might have when he eventually goes to Palestine? Perhaps his insights from studies in India might bring hope and healing?

As he reflected on his studies during the past year, Samuel wrote, Christians need to partner with everyone who faces oppression so that a social renewal is made possible and liberation of the oppressed becomes a lived reality.

Member Church for three years after they conclude their studies. If they fail to work for the Church, the bursary is considered a loan they must pay back. In this way, we seek to extend the education beyond the individual. Whole denominations are benefitting from such accompaniment.

Generally, preference is given for local courses (i.e. in country and, where in country is not available, in region). Courses beyond the local region may be considered where the programme of study is not available in the region and it is demonstrably important to the mission plan of the local member church. These may be referred to the Special Academic Accompaniment Programme [SAAP].

(Samuel

AAP Scholars reporting form, 2023)

The churches in our South Asia region have been making the most of the AAPs, with 35 currently enrolled students. 22 students are enrolled from our African churches. 7 students are from the East Asia churches. The other regions each have 2 enrolled students. Special consideration is given to women, young and emerging leaders and lay leaders. Specifically, fifty percent (50%) of AAP funds will be earmarked for women, with at least every second programme participant from a member church being a woman. Post-graduate and doctoral studies are strongly encouraged. [The exception to this will be where the member church seeks to educate a disadvantaged or under-represented group of leaders.]

An important requirement is that each studentscholar is effectively granted a bursary that is attached to their working for the sponsoring

SAAPs are for advanced scholarship in areas beyond the support of the local denomination. They are deemed to be important study areas, with regional or global implications. Often, these studies take place in partnership with a particular institution with strength in the research area. Generally, the SAAPs fit into three categories:

Category A – from a Member Church [but not qualifying for AAP]

Category B – from an Ecumenical Partner [Church or Organization]

Category C – Specialist Missiological Research

There are currently five SAAP scholars, one from the Pacific, two from East Asia and two from South Asia. We look forward to where their research and thinking may take us in the future!

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to serve Called and empowered

If we speak about a calling to serve Christ, many assume one can only serve the church by being a minister. My story is quite different. My name is Alois Magigwana from the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) Synod of Zimbabwe. I am a third-year Bachelor of Arts student, majoring in English and Media and Cultural Studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal. This has been made possible through a Council for World Mission (CWM) Academic Accompaniment Programme (AAP) Scholarship.

My calling to serve Christ came during the CWM Training in Mission (TIM) programme in 2016,

Through my efforts in running the youth newsletter, I was appointed the UCCSA Denomination media officer. It was then I realized I needed to serve Christ through media and communications. I recall submitting my application for the CWM AAP scholarship and thought working in the media department for the church seemed like an unattainable dream. Many churches were unaware of the significance of having a media department. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when churches were shut down and people were compelled to assemble and attend to their spiritual needs online, the importance of media and communications came to the fore. It became imperative for churches to develop media departments. Prior to this, I had never felt that my calling was recognised as necessary.

Having been equipped with skills and knowledge, my aim and prayer is that this study will enable me to better serve Christ professionally, especially through my church, UCCSA. My primary area of expertise is in writing for the media, which is relevant to the church’s mandate, since the mission of the church is to reach people everywhere. It will be my duty to use my abilities and knowledge to ensure that the gospel of Christ is presented and spread in a way that appeals to people of all ages and reaches every part of the world.

As I commence my last semester, I hope that the church will put my knowledge and talents to use in a way that will enhance my professional and spiritual development, all for the glory of God and the church. Even though I wish to serve the UCCSA, I believe my calling extends beyond any particular church. I am therefore prepared to serve in the future through the CWM Partners in Mission programme anywhere in the world.

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AT A GLANCE

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CWM Board of Directors’ Meeting in Taiwan focuses on mission, solidarity and transformation

Council for World Mission (CWM) held its Board Meeting on 8-9 June 2023, gathering its Board Members and management staff for a time of discussion and deliberation on issues faced by CWM. Held in Changhua City, Taiwan, it commenced with opening worship and prayer by CWM Moderator Rev. Lydia Neshangwe.

Preaching from Acts 13:1-4, the CWM Moderator expounded on how Paul and Barnabas were set apart and commissioned by God to work together even though they were diametric opposites.

With the Holy Spirit having brought them together in ministry, Rev. Neshangwe interpreted this as a call to transformative accompaniment, which she challenged the Board members to practise with their member churches and one another as a Board. Rising to this call and embracing different approaches and ways of thinking would spur growth and a higher quality of spirituality, she added.

Subsequently, the CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum delivered his report where he highlighted CWM’s intensified commitment to resume missional work with member churches post-pandemic, as well as the successful completion of all the regional Members’ Mission Forum (MMF), which were

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instrumental in reconnecting and engaging with member church delegates in person.

Dr Keum stated that the MMFs provided the space and platform to surface missiological discernment such as strengthening ecumenical engagement, peace-making initiatives in regions of conflict, and engaging with youth who are disappearing from churches.

He also detailed other key programmes and activities such as signing the framework of cooperation with All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), a planning meeting on “Together in Transformative Ecumenism”, and a solidarity visit to Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China (HKCCCC), a CWM member church in the East Asia region.

The next day, the Board of Directors resolved to ratify and approve the Solidarity and Action Grants to Churches of Christ in Malawi (CCM) and Presbyterian Church of India (PCI) to strengthen

their efforts to respond to Cyclone Freddy and current outbreak of violence respectively.

In addition, the Directors proposed to recommend to the Annual Members Meeting (AMM) the theme of the 2024 Assembly “Rise to Life: Together in Transformation”, event dates and host churches and region.

The Directors also approved several Common Resource Applications from Church of Bangladesh (COB), Church of South India (CSI), Presbyterian Church of India (PCI), Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA), United Church of Zambia (UCZ), United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI), and United Church in Solomon Islands (UCSI).

In addition, the Board approved several policies including the revised Environment Policy, Travel Policy, Investment Policy, and received the Communications Strategy 2023 – 2025 by Rev. Dr Young-cheol Cheon, Mission Secretary –Communications.

As the meeting officially drew to a close, Mrs Albertine Ehari Kabaru gave thanks for their opportunity to steward what God had entrusted to them and prayed that God would be glorified in their decisions and conversations.

The next Board meeting will be held on 12-14 November 2023 in Durban, South Africa.

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CWM Moderator Rev. Lydia Neshangwe inducted as Moderator of UPCSA

CWM Moderator Rev. Lydia Neshangwe was inducted as Moderator of The Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) in a joyous service on 24 June 2023 at City Presbyterian Church, Harare, Zimbabwe. The service was interspersed with rousing, lively South African worship by the choirs, and commenced with the current UPCSA Moderator Rt Rev. SJ Mtetwa’s welcome of guests hosted by the presbytery. Rev. Mtetwa recognised the presence of former UPCSA Moderators, Zimbabwe congregations, Commissioners, the Council for World Mission (CWM) General Secretary, and guests across Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), U.S. and U.K.

Following this, the outgoing Moderator Rt Rev. SJ Mtetwa preached his retiring sermon on “going back to basics”. He stated that UPCSA is not just an African church, but a church whose identity, past, present, and future are embedded in Africa, with each person’s existence subordinated to the community to which he belongs. He said, “Our theological understanding of centrality of Scripture is undergirded by roles and functions to ordain ministers from presbytery to General Assembly”, adding that the UPCSA is “defined by ethics of sharing – sharing knowledge, resources, talents, space, faith, and best practices, sharing life itself”.

After his sermon, Rev. Mtetwa led the service of inducting the Moderator-Designate Rev. Neshangwe into office as she recited the words of response and was surrounded in prayer by UPCSA ministers. She was then given a ring as a symbol of her authority and office, received the Moderator’s Bible, and an official robe and stole was placed on her by her predecessor.

Subsequently, those present sang the Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:23–27) as they raised their hands in prayer and blessing for Rev. Neshangwe.

The overall mood was jubilant, and one of gaiety as the congregation and guests rejoiced alongside the Moderator. There was an outpouring of congratulatory messages from many participants joining the live-streamed service.

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The overall mood was jubilant, and one of gaiety as the congregation and guests rejoiced alongside the Moderator. There was an outpouring of congratulatory messages from many participants joining the live-streamed service. President of World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) Rev. Najla Kassab said: “May the Lord bless the outgoing Leadership and the new Leadership. We pray with you today.” Also, CWM Board members Markel Virgo and Rose Wedderburn brought greetings from the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI) and prayed God’s blessings on Rev. Lydia as she assumes the role as Moderator.

CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum said: “This remarkable achievement is a testament to your exemplary leadership, unwavering dedication, and profound commitment to the mission of God and the unity of God’s people. As you embark on this new chapter of your leadership journey, please be assured of our continued accompaniment, prayers, and support as one family of the CWM. Under your leadership, I am confident that the UPCSA will continue to flourish in God’s Mission, embracing the theme “Stronger Together”.”

The newly-inducted Moderator, Rev. Neshangwe, thanked her family of origin and marriage, and her intercessory prayer group, as well as introduced her two chaplains before the closing hymn and adjournment of the General Assembly.

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Engaging in God’s mission through

CWM/Nethersole Fund and Alice Ho

Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital

A Council for World Mission (CWM) delegation recently visited the CWM/Nethersole Fund and the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in Hong Kong.

In 1994, owing to the relocation of Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital (AHNH) from Hong Kong West to Taipo in New Territories, the land at Bonham Road was sold. The land, which was registered under the name of former London Missionary Society (LMS, now known as CWM), had been occupied by the Hospital for over a century.

Both CWM and the Hospital decided to use part of the proceeds from the sale of the land to establish the CWM/Nethersole Fund in Hong Kong on 19 September 1997 to support the development of projects and services in need in both Hong Kong and mainland China in the following four main areas: evangelism, medical and health, education, and social welfare.

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Over the past years, the Fund has supported around 80 projects each year and has supported more than 180 organisations and churches and more than 1,700 projects.

“The Fund is not a direct service provider; instead we walk hand-in-hand with NGOs, and the churches’ initiatives rolled out by partner organizations, as well as the churches, are benefiting the community,” said Mr. Chow Kun Chee Roland, Fund Chairperson.

Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, General Secretary of CWM, replied, “You are managing the CWM/ Nethersole Fund in an excellent way, we are also trying our best to give life to suffering people”.

AHNH was the first hospital in Hong Kong to provide Western medical treatment for the local Chinese population since its founding by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1887. It also became the first hospital in Hong Kong to provide training for nurses in 1893.

Having relocated from Hong Kong Island to Tai Po in 1997, it is now a district acute hospital and a member hospital of the New Territories East Cluster of the Hospital Authority. Among its notable service highlights are its joint replacement centre, pain management centre, day surgery, and community outreach. Serving as a “hospital without walls”, its community outreach services team facilitates patient rehabilitation in a familiar living environment.

Significantly, it bolsters community health and disease prevention efforts, promoting collaborations between the hospital and stakeholders, working on community collaboration projects and strengthening volunteer recruitment efforts. It also established the Community Relations Committee to further expand the health promotion network in 2017.

The extensive specialist, allied health and emergency services AHNH renders to the community is testament to its commitment to provide holistic care and its vision to serve patients and the community with the love of Christ to fulfill the healing mission of the Christian church, bringing life to mankind in its fullness.

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AHNH was the first hospital in Hong Kong to provide Western medical treatment for the local Chinese population since its founding by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1887.

CWM delegation visits educational institutes and churches in Hong Kong

Council for World Mission (CWM) Moderator Rev. Lydia Neshangwe represented a CWM delegation to bring greetings to the congregation of Tin King Church on 4 June 2023.. Rev. Emily Y.P. Lai, Minister-in-Charge, preached on “Two Kinds of Wisdom”(James 3:13-18) during the service, explaining how the church had been caring for needy neighbours in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Affirming the church’s efforts, Rev. Neshangwe said, “CWM is trying to bring life-flourishing communities that bring life rather than death, sadness, war, and conflict. We have witnessed your efforts in achieving this goal.”

The CWM delegation had also included Mr. Siliga Atiake Kofe, Treasurer; Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, General Secretary; Rev. Julie Sim, Mission Secretary – Mission Programme & Partnership; and Rev. Dr Young-cheol Cheon, Mission Secretary – Communications.

After the service, the CWM delegation visited Mong Wong Far Yok Memorial (M.W.F.Y.M.) Primary School, where its facilities are used by the church. The school has been sponsored by the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China (HKCCCC), a CWM member church in the East Asia Region since 1989.

They also attended the launch of an Exhibition on ‘Unmasking Smile’ at the Atrium, Tuen Mun Town Plaza. It brings together a collection of innocent yet inspirational

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artworks created by students of schools sponsored by the HKCCCC during the pandemic.

The next day, the CWM delegation visited several schools in Hong Kong founded by the London Missionary Society (LMS), including Ying Wa Girls’ School and Ying Wa College. Ying Wa Girls’ School was founded in February 1900 with a two-storey building and a boarding school to provide quality Christian education for girls.

Today, there are 800 students studying at the school and former students are taking their places as responsible citizens and in positions of leadership, according to Mr. Francis Kwan, Principal of Ying Wa Girls’ School.

The CWM delegation also visited Ying Wa College, which was founded by Dr Robert Morrison of LMS in 1818 to spread the Gospel and propagate both English and Chinese cultures. The name of both schools: ‘Ying’ (Anglo) and ‘Wa’ (Chinese) originated from the Anglo-Chinese School in Malacca. The college then moved to Hong Kong in 1843.

Mr. Dion Chen, Principal of Ying Wa College, said, “We all hold the best of Ying Wa’s traditions and vision, we aim to build a humble and caring community, are dedicated to nurturing all round, capable young gentlemen with academic excellence based on strong Christian faith and values.”

The CWM delegation also visited Divinity School of Chung Chi College (DSCCC) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. DSCCC embodies the tradition of ecumenical cooperation and higher education among mainline Protestant denominations in Hong Kong, including the HKCCCC, the Tsung Tsin Mission founded by the

Basel Mission, the Methodist Church in Hong Kong, and Pentecostal Holiness Church.

The Chung Chi College was founded in 1957 by representatives of Protestant denominations, continuing the legacy of thirteen Christian universities and colleges in pre-1949 China. In 1963, the College became one of the three founding colleges of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“The Chung Chi College is the only theological school in Hong Kong that is jointly run by denominations of different theological traditions, and also the only divinity school in a public university among Chinese Society,” said Prof. Francis ChingWah Yip, the Director of DSCCC.

In reflecting on this “fruitful and successful” solidarity visit, CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum said that they were moved by the hope showed by the Hong Kong church in engaging in mission in the community with the people.

“We saw signs of hope and life, with many in the church being very active and dynamic in engaging with the local community,” he expressed.

After visiting Chung Chi College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the delegation was welcomed at a dinner hosted by the HKCCCC.

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CWM meets Guyana Government and Guyana Reparations Committee

Council for World Mission (CWM), the Guyana Government’s Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sport, and the Guyana Reparations Committee attended a meeting, hosted by Hon. Charles Ramson Jr, Minister of Culture, Youth & Sport on 1 June 2023. Describing the Guyana government’s plans to mark the bicentenary of the 1823 Demerara Uprising, a key moment in the struggle of emancipation of the enslaved, the minister sought CWM’s support, and was assured of CWM’s readiness for collaboration by CWM Deputy General Secretary Dr Sudipta Singh.

Prior to the meeting with the Minister of Culture was a meeting at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs hosted by Ambassador George Talbot on behalf of the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Eric Phillips, chair of the Guyana Reparations Committee outlined the bicentenary plans for August 2023, and beyond. In addition to a memorial service and international

conference on reparations, the bicentenary will have a year-long exhibition at the National Gallery, Georgetown.

Ms Tamika Boatswain, Director of Culture, spoke about the importance of the year-long exhibition as an educational, historical and cultural contribution of the Guyana government to the bicentenary. Other government initiatives planned for August include launching a commemorative stamp and coin, preparing and distribution of books for children about slavery focusing on stories of agency of slaves, preparing and disseminating a documentary about the 1823 Demerara Uprising, and the marketing of heritage packages and tours.

In response to the Guyana Reparations Committee and representatives of the Guyana government’s request for CWM’s support to mark the bicentenary, CWM committed to contributing material from its archives to the year-long exhibition to mark the

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1823 Demerara Uprising. Rev. Dr Michael Jagessar informed the meetings that CWM archives contain Quamina’s letters, letters from the London Missionary Society (LMS) Missionaries and from the LMS Office, Colonial Newspaper coverage of the rebellion and the trials, and journals from plantation owners and LMS missionaries from the period of the Demerara Uprising. At the invitation of the Guyana Reparations Committee, and with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry for Culture, Youth & Sports, CWM agreed to contribute to the national memorial service in August 2023.

The service will be held at Bethel Congregational Church, a member of the Guyana Congregational Union (GCU), a CWM member church. Quamina, assassinated leader of the 1823 Demerara Uprising, was a deacon at Bethel Congregational Church, and the church is home to the emancipation bell. Quamina is a national hero in

Guyana with streets named after him, replacing colonial names. Members of the CWM Caribbean Region had earlier placed a commemorative wreath at the feet of the 1823 memorial sculpture in Georgetown during the CWM Members’ Mission Forum (MMF).

Highlighting the CWM work on legacies of slavery and its commitment to reparations, Rev. Dr Graham McGeoch told the meeting that this was the start of a conversation, and that CWM was committed to contributing to the 1823 bicentenary alongside the Guyana Reparations Committee and the Guyana Government. The Minister for Culture, Youth & Sport, Hon. Charles Ramson told the meeting, “This is really significant for our country and our people”.

At the invitation of CWM, the Guyana Government and Guyana Reparations Committee will visit the CWM archives in June 2023 to view material related to the 1823 Demerara Uprising.

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CWM - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

CWM General Secretary strengthens solidarity with United Church of Zambia (UCZ)

In a significant milestone for fostering unity and knowledge sharing, the Council for World Mission (CWM) General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, embarked on a memorable visit to the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) on 27 June. This visit not only deepened the bond between the two organizations but also provided an opportunity for collaboration and celebration of their shared mission.

Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum led a powerful all-staff devotion at the UCZ, centering on the theme “together towards life.” Drawing inspiration from 1 Corinthians 13:13, Dr Keum emphasized the importance of Faith, Hope, and Love. He urged the congregation to rediscover Faith at the margins, reaching out to those on the fringes of society. Hope was highlighted as an agent of change, encouraging a positive outlook for a better future. The power of Love was emphasized to defeat the politics of fear, fostering unity and compassion within the community.

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Following the devotion, a fruitful meeting took place between the CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, CWM Mission Secretary –Ecology & Economy Rev. Daimon Mkandawire and UCZ Heads of Departments, led by Synod Bishop Rev. Sydney Sichilima and General Secretary Rev. Chipasha Musaba. The meeting served as a platform for dialogue and collaboration, strengthening the ties between the organizations.

During the meeting, Dr Keum conveyed greetings from CWM and shared valuable insights into the organization’s life and work. He discussed CWM’s mission, vision, and ongoing programs, emphasizing their commitment to empowering member churches. The General Secretary outlined the organization’s new programmatic structure, which aimed to enhance cooperation, strategic planning, and resource sharing among member churches.

UCZ representatives highlighted their missional work, focusing on the success of the Mission Support Programme (MSP) projects. The Projects Secretary presented the outcomes and impact of these initiatives, showcasing how they have positively transformed communities and improved the lives of the congregants.

The visit of the CWM General Secretary to the United Church of Zambia was a remarkable occasion, solidifying the relationship between the organizations. Through the devotion on Faith, Hope, and Love, and the subsequent meetings with UCZ leadership, both organizations explored avenues for collaboration, shared experiences, and celebrated the successes of their respective initiatives. This visit served as a catalyst for continued growth, unity, and shared mission, as they journeyed together towards life, guided by the values of Faith, Hope, and Love.

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Through the devotion on Faith, Hope, and Love, and the subsequent meetings with UCZ leadership, both organizations explored avenues for collaboration, shared experiences, and celebrated the successes of their respective initiatives.

CWM Caribbean Members’ Mission Forum:

Rise to Life

– Radical Discipleship and Transformative Spirituality

The CWM Members’ Mission Forum (MMF) for the Caribbean region gathered 14 delegates, resource persons, and an ecumenical partner for empowering discussions, collective discernment, and mobilisation on mission priorities under the theme “Rise to Life: Radical Discipleship and Transformative Spirituality”. Hosted by the Guyana Congregational Union (GCU) in Georgetown, Guyana, Mrs Rose Wedderburn extended warm greetings on behalf of the Board of Directors of CWM in the Caribbean region, and Dr Sudipta Singh, Deputy General Secretary for Programmes, presented an overview of CWM’s programmes and structure on 28 May 2023.

The next day, the keynote address was delivered by Rev. Dr Michael Jagessar, who delved into moments of rising, including costly discipleship and transformative spirituality within the contextual setting. He emphasized the power of re-envisioned discipleship and its role of effecting positive

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change in communities and all creation, as well as the need to acknowledge and resist legacies of colonialism and promote justice, peace and flourishing life.

One of the highlights of the MMF was exposure visits to significant historical sites such as the 1823 Monument, where participants paid homage to Quamina, a key figure in the 1823 Demerara rebellion. Assistant General Secretary of the GCU, Rev. Leander Warren shared the inspiring history of Quamina, an African slave in Guyana, and a freedom fighter in one of the most substantial slave revolts in the British colonies before the abolition of slavery. They also visited the tomb site of Hermanus Hilbertus Post, who established the first Congregational church in Guyana, the Bethel Congregational Church.

Miss Ominell Boyce, a GCU youth delegate said that she was delighted to participate in the MMF, stressing the value of listening to stories shared by the UCJCI and identifying the similar challenges in both churches’ contexts. Miss Boyce committed to using her platform in youth leadership to collaborate with other young people in making desired changes within their churches a reality.

The 2023 CWM Caribbean MMF concluded with a closing charge from CWM Mission Secretary – Discipleship and Dialogue, Rev. Dr Graham McGeoch, urging attendees to rise up from metaphorical Babylon and celebrate God’s liberation. The gathering proved to be a transformative experience, fostering a sense of fellowship, worship, and learning among the members.

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CWM celebrates its Anniversary 46th

Every year, the Council for World Mission (CWM) community commemorates CWM’s inauguration as a mission organisation with a renewed missional ethos on a Sunday close to 18 July. This year’s 46th anniversary celebration was held in Chen Li Presbyterian Church in Singapore on 16 July 2023. It was based on the theme “Break down the Walls of Division” (Ephesians 2:14), and attended by church members, CWM staff, and Presbyterian Church in Myanmar (PCM) representatives.

The service commenced with a beautifully melodious worship led by CWM Director Deacon Sarah Phua supported by the Chen Li Presbyterian Church worship team. This was followed by a video message by the CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum. Dr Keum explained that CWM Sunday marks the transformation of CWM into its present form, with a renewed ethos based on equal partnership and mutual sharing

of resources, making a contemporary transition into a community of churches in mission where “equal partners empower one another as authentic, creative, and interdependent missional churches”. In responding to its calling as a community of peace and reconciliation, the CWM General Secretary emphasized the power of love, reconciliation and unity in Christ that triumphs over hatred and division in a polarised world.

During the service, PCM Women Secretary Mrs Hming Sangi gave the prayer of thanksgiving for missionaries, healthcare workers, educational institutions and programmes, and prophetic voices and action for justice and wellbeing. Subsequently, PCM General Secretary Rev. Pek Muan Cuang brought greetings and expressed PCM’s gratitude for CWM, which he described as “a backbone for PCM”, and who had been part of Agape Hospital’s inception in 1989. He also expressed profound

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thanks for CWM member churches, as PCM has received their participation over an extended period.

Rev. Pek went on to deliver the sermon, elaborating on how tearing down the walls of division moves us from hostility to peace through the sacrifice of Christ (Ephesians 2:17); from strangers into God’s family; and from schism to unity. He spoke about how human differences can alienate and cause fractures, but these God-given gifts of diversity can also unite them to become stronger together, accomplishing what would be impossible to achieve alone (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum jointly administered the Holy Communion with the Acting Senior Pastor Rev. Ang Eng Hoe, and an offering was specially collected for the people of Myanmar. All offerings collected from the CWM communities will go towards PCM’s Agape Hospital, which provides basic healthcare to an under-served community in Chin State.

July 2023 39

Rise to Life

Together in Transformation:

CWM Assembly will be held in Durban, South Africa, 12-19 June 2024

On the fruitful final day of the CWM Annual Members’ Meeting on 13 June 2023, AMM members agreed to the formation of the CWM 2024 Assembly Planning Group and Nominations Committee as proposed by the Board, and approved the proposed dates, venue and host churches for the 2024 Assembly. Hosted by UCCSA and UPCSA, member churches of CWM Africa, the Assembly will be held in Durban, South Africa, 12-19 June 2024, with the theme “Rise to Life: Together in Transformation.”

During the General Secretary’s presentation and proposal towards Assembly 2024, he said that the ongoing crises faced by the world such as military conflicts, climate crises, and social, political and economic inequalities challenge CWM’s mission of reconciliation through building life-flourishing communities in the member churches’ contexts. It is in the escalation of global crises on multiple

fronts that the theme of “Rise to Life: Together in Transformation” and Bible passage Luke 4:18-19 were proposed and approved. After an eight-year hiatus in CWM’s quadrennial Assemblies due to the pandemic, the 2024 Assembly will serve as an inauguration of the Strategy Framework and the New Programmatic Structure (NPS), rejuvenating Churches’ missional programme and capacity after the pandemic and rebuilding community and partnership in mission.

In addition, it is expected to promote the contribution of the African mission thought and action, especially the global shift of world Christianity to Africa and the Black Theology of Liberation. Besides shaping mission theology and practice into the future, it will also address current issues, potential threats and promising opportunities African communities face. The CWM Jubilee 2027 will be on the Assembly agenda,

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envisioned to promote the Jubilee ethos of liberation from injustice and enslavement, paving a new way of the missional journey together in global, regional and local contexts.

The AMM officially concluded with a closing worship and Holy Communion service led by Rev. Pan Chung-Chie of PCT and preached by CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum. In his sermon, Dr Keum drew a parallel between the challenges faced by CWM, the Church, and their mission work, and Peter’s experience as described in John 21:5-13.

Dr Keum emphasized, “In our celebration of the First Breakfast as Holy Communion, there is the mission of Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. In other words, making miracles of love for the lives who are suffering, hungry, lonely and vulnerable.” He added, “As Christ is risen, we rise too with

these people to raise our heads and to see the blue-sky to overcome injustice, oppression, and discrimination. Therefore, our decade motto of the CWM Assembly calls us to Rise to Life: Together in Transformation!”

The next AMM will be held in Durban, South Africa, from 12-13 June 2024.

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“As Christ is risen, we rise too with these people to raise our heads and to see the blue-sky to overcome injustice, oppression, and discrimination.

AMM delegates experience the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan diverse communities in

The CWM’s Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM) presented an opportunity for delegates to gain exposure to different communities in PCT through Sunday worship services and mission exposure on 11 June 2023. Four diverse PCT congregations were identified, and delegates were allocated into four different groups for distinctive worship experiences in the respective congregations. They were warmly welcomed by Ta-San Church (Bunun Ciubu Ciukai Presbytery), Meiyuan Church (Tayal Cyukay Presbytery), Lukang Church (Chionghoa Presbytery), and Tongluo Church (Hakka Missional Presbytery).

CWM Moderator Rev. Neshangwe and CWM

General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum visited Lukang Presbyterian Church in Changhua, where delegates heard a sermon by Rev. Moly Chen

about growing in humility and obedience in the Lord (Philippians 2:5-8). At Lukang Presbyterian Church, the CWM delegates learned more about Lukang Church, which is home to the first kindergarten in Lukang city and a 62-yearold kindergarten. The AMM attendees were then hosted at lunch while watching cultural performances by the church members. The CWM Moderator thanked the Lukang Church for its warm hospitality before she led the group in “Marching in the Light of God”, a song familiar to CWM.

Ta-San Presbyterian Church, located in the Dadu Mountains near Taichung Industrial Park, is where many indigenous Bunun people relocated to after leaving agriculture-based homes in search of better job opportunities.

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After worshipping together with Bunun hymns, the AMM delegates heard a sermon by Rev. Lian Tanapima on Thanksgiving, as the Bunun people continued the tradition of giving thanks for good harvests for the first half of the year followed by the second half of the year.

Another group of delegates was received by the Meiyuan Church of Atayal tribe, the third largest indigenous population in Taiwan. Despite losing valuable traditions such as their face tattoos during the Japanese colonial period, the church actively serves the community through a health station for seniors and Christian education for children.

In addition, a group of AMM delegates heard a sermon on God’s calling for Abram when they visited the Tong-Luo Church, which incorporates the Hakka dialect in its church worship. The missionary work began with Preacher Cao Zuoyan and Dr George Hudson who arrived at the township for tent-preaching missions in 1954, and today, its community outreach includes music classes, and gospel tea party lectures, and establishing the Hakka Bible Story Hall in August this year.

All the delegates in the four groups learnt more about these diverse communities through the community ministry sharing segment.

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Despite losing valuable traditions such as their face tattoos during the Japanese colonial period, the church actively serves the community through a health station for seniors and Christian education for children.

CWM Statement on Taiwan NotandForgotten Not Alone

The Council for World Mission (CWM), comprising 32 member churches from six global regions, made a conscious decision to hold its June 2023 Annual Members’ Meeting in Changhua, Taiwan, as an act of support and solidarity with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), and the wider Taiwanese society.

Meeting under the theme “Break Down the Walls of Division”, CWM has actively listened to the voices of the Taiwanese people. Caught in the escalating geopolitics between competing Empires, Taiwan is living under the constant threat of war. Empire-policies have created deep divisions not only within Taiwanese society, but also in the entire Asia-Pacific region. The situation has been intensified in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war, with Empires taking more aggressive actions than in the recent past. Taiwan has experienced increased military exercises

(simulations and provocations), and the Taiwanese people feel increasingly vulnerable.

Taiwan has been one of the most isolated nations in the world during the Covid-19 Pandemic, primarily because of its exclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Health Regulations (IHR). Taiwan was not allowed to participate in the global response to the pandemic, including accessing information and resources, sharing data and best practices, and participating in international discussions and decision-making.

CWM has been working closely with the PCT and other ecumenical partners through the Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF), advocating for the rights of the Taiwanese people to “self-determination”, including religious, political, and economic freedom, and in pursuing peace in the region.

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CWM affirms Taiwan’s right to rise to life through the pursuit of justice, peace, and reconciliation. It acknowledges the resilience of the people of Taiwan in resisting the oppressive structures which threaten to destroy peace in their communities and limit their opportunity to flourish. CWM commends Taiwan’s generosity in contributing to the welfare and wellbeing of other nations, even in the face of its own challenges—including assistance for Ukraine, financial support during Covid, and standing in solidarity with Hong Kong.

CWM calls for greater global cooperation within and beyond the CWM family to support Taiwan in its struggle for peace, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. It urges global multinational and ecumenical organisations to hear the voices of the Taiwanese people, to speak out against the military hostilities being suffered by Taiwan, and against the injustice of Taiwan’s continued isolation.

Christian wisdom reminds us that we are all connected, and “if one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (I Cor 12: 26); CWM affirms its solidarity with Taiwan and its people, and says, “You are not forgotten, and you are not alone”.

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CWM has been working closely with the PCT and other ecumenical partners through the Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF), advocating for the rights of the Taiwanese people to “self-determination”, including religious, political, and economic freedom, and in pursuing peace in the region.

PCT responds to CWM Statement on Taiwan: Prophetic voices from the wilderness

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) General Assembly Executive Committee, which convened on 18 July 2023, expressed “heartfelt and deep gratitude” to the Council for World Mission (CWM) for issuing a statement in support and solidarity with PCT during its recent Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM) themed “Break Down the Walls of Division”. The statement titled “Not Forgotten and Not Alone” addressed the plight of Taiwan amidst geopolitical tensions and marginalisation, showing “prophetic audacity and radical hospitality”.

For decades, Taiwan has faced enormous challenges dealing with dehumanising forces whilst being overlooked by the international community. As such, the CWM statement offered PCT sustaining hope and encouragement, assuring them of “prayerful commitment” from a

mission partner, and its decision to hold its AMM in Taiwan reminded PCT that it was “not forgotten and not alone”.

PCT also credited faithful and courageous partnerships such as the Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF) and CWM for the challenges and outcries of Taiwan increasingly being heard by the world. In response to these truthful partnerships, PCT affirmed its commitment to engage in ecumenical companionship and participating in prophetic endeavours of compassion and pursuing just peace in a deeply troubled world.

In closing, the PCT Moderator Rev. Pang Jyh Hong and PCT General Secretary Rev. Chen Hsin Liang exhorted church members to respond to the call for unity and restoration in 2 Corinthians 13:11, pursuing peace and living in God’s love.

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Rev. Dr Huang Po Ho Calls for at CWM Annual Members’ Meeting Walls of Division Break Down of

Former CWM Moderator Rev. Dr Huang Po Ho delivered the keynote address on the first day of the CWM Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM) themed “Break Down the Walls of Division” (Ephesians 2.14). The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Gentiles in Ephesus, who were treated as inferior and excluded by the Jews, pointed out that their new status was the fruit of the work of reconciliation through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. According to Paul, breaking down the “dividing wall” of hostility between the Gentiles and the Jews was not the ultimate goal, but rather to overcome discrimination and achieve peace and reconciliation between the two groups.

“The theme of this annual meeting is ‘Break Down the Walls of Division,’” Dr Huang said. “This is a theme that is particularly important in today’s world, where we are faced with so many walls of division – religious and cultural discrimination, racial and gender prejudice, political and ideological exclusion, and worldwide geopolitical tension and conflict.”

Highlighting the geopolitical tensions in the current global context, Dr Huang underscored the relevance and timely nature of the theme based on the central message of the Christian faith, which the theologies of modern ecumenical movement are derived from. Also the Director of Academy for Contextual Theologies in Taiwan, Dr Huang acknowledged that over the years, CWM has “implemented many inspiring programmes to combat empires and economic globalisation, and to decolonise different socio-political hegemonic forces.”

Dr Huang also spoke about how walls as products of human spirituality and are meant to protect one’s interests. Walls can take different forms, the Berlin Wall and the South Africa apartheid system and often symbolise exclusion and resistance. He noted that walls, such as the curtain in the Temple and the geopolitical conflicts, are not isolated incidents but part of larger systems of discrimination and power struggles. It calls for unity, reconciliation, and the breaking down of walls to promote peace and justice in the world.

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AFRICA

Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) Moderator unveils new theme at UPCSA General Assembly

The newly-inducted Moderator of UPCSA Rev. Lydia Neshangwe introduced the new UPCSA theme “Stronger Together” during the worship service at the UPCSA General Assembly on 25 June 2023, Sunday. Held at Highlands Presbyterian Church, Harare, Zimbabwe, Rev. Neshangwe preached her sermon themed “Stronger Together” with Scripture readings from Psalm 133: 1-3 and Acts 2:1-4. Using the acronym “PEST”, she spoke on Political, Economic, Social, and Technological divisions that afflict the world, and the church. In a world and global church affected by competition, criticism and hatred, she cautioned against having divisive hearts that discriminate and practise “classism, racism, tribalism, sexism, and ageism”.

Referring to the immediate past Moderator’s theme of “going back to basics”, she emphatically offered the panacea of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) that binds church members together. In the face of worldly forces and divisions that separate, disconnect and exclude, the Holy Spirit reconciles, connects, unites and includes. The infilling of the Holy Spirit also imbues us with joy, wisdom, healing, forgiveness, and building one another up constructively. In addition, blessings in church, families and marriages are bestowed by the Lord when there is unity, “when they learn to be stronger together”. Finally, she shared frankly that God had laid upon her heart the need for revival, led not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), and by God’s leading UPCSA into the future.

During the service, fraternal greetings were received from ecumenical partners and churches such as the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) General Secretary Rev. Dr Fidon

Mwombeki, Council for World Mission (CWM) General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) President Rev. Rupert Hambira, Reformed Church of Zimbabwe, Methodist Church of Southern Africa, and more.

CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop

Keum extended heartfelt congratulations to Rev. Neshangwe, who is also the CWM Moderator. In his congratulatory message, Dr Keum commended Rev. Neshangwe’s outstanding leadership and expressed his confidence that UPCSA will flourish in God’s mission. He also affirmed her prophetic theme “Stronger Together” in a deeply polarised, post-pandemic world, as there is “immense power that lies in unity, ecumenical partnership and inclusivity”.

In addition, Dr Keum reflected the perceptible shift of world Christianity to Africa, making it significant for the African Christian community to lead the global church towards unity and reconciliation, and noted that it had contributed immensely to social and political movements in advocating for justice, peace and development during times such as the apartheid era.

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UPCSA Moderator addresses Church of Scotland General Assembly in Edinburgh

Moderator of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA), a partner denomination of the Church of Scotland (CoS), and Moderator of the Council for World Mission (CWM), brought greetings on behalf of the overseas guests and delegates at the CoS General Assembly held in Edinburgh. In her address on 21 May 2023, she drew attention to the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) conditions we all operate in.

The CWM Moderator said that volatility in politics and uncertainty in society have led to mental unwellness in all societies, and the complexity of business, technology, and relationships has been both beneficial and detrimental. The ambiguities of culture and religion and its multiple interpretations pose challenges in shaping church ministry and our service to God and society.

She explained that they came to the Assembly not because they lack their own assemblies but because they are members of one family – body of Christ – gathering to fellowship, celebrate, mourn, learn and discern alongside their brothers and sisters in Church of Scotland.

Bound by the love of Christ and shared hopes and dreams for the next generation, Rev. Neshangwe affirmed the General Assembly’s theme “remember who you are”, and urged delegates to “remember ‘whose’ they are”. She encouraged them to look past disheartening circumstances and be galvanized by God’s call to serve where they are placed and beyond.

Zambia government commends United Church of Zambia (UCZ) for its role in development

The Zambian government has commended UCZ for its efforts in promoting and advocating fitness and wellbeing among citizens, and recognized its role as a crucial partner in developing and contributing to the improvement of local conditions, said the Southern Province Deputy Permanent

Secretary, Yolanta Mutyambe. She was delivering a speech on behalf of Southern Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa during the UCZ Corporate Sports Gala held at Choma Secondary School.

The event brought different denominations together and was aimed at raising funds for rehabilitating dilapidated mission stations and supporting evangelism, the UCZ Southern Province Presbytery Bishop Rev Elias Sinkala revealed.

“As a Church we have targeted to reach 500 souls annually and through this event, we will be able to raise money to buy equipment for the Mission and Evangelism Department to reach that target,” he said, during the event with 16 congregations participating in various activities.

Ecumenical Programme trains ambassadors on HIV/AIDS prevention strategies

The Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ), an ecumenical programme which UCZ is a member church of, has taken strides in its 2023 operation plan through various nation-wide projects. Aligned with its strategic plan and focused on theological education by extension through church and community service, 49 HIV/AIDS Combat Ambassadors were trained in Lusaka to raise awareness and provide HIV/AIDS prevention strategies as part of the DECIDE HIV/AIDS Programme.

In addition, it engaged in environmental initiatives such as the WISE Green Church Project to raise awareness of creation care and sustainable usage of resources, as well as environmental stewardship. Over 7,700 trees of different species were distributed to and planted by churches and individuals in Ndola, Chililabombwe, and Kitwe, according to TEEZ Training and Capacity Development Manager Rev. Michael Kalito.

July 2023 49

EAST ASIA

Presbyterian Church in Singapore (PCS) Moderator preaches “Gospel Word in Season”

Presbyterian Church in Singapore (PCS) Synod Moderator, Pastor Christopher Chia delivered a message themed “Strengthening Faith, Strengthening Family” in June 2023, where he emphasized the need for greater love, worship, and trust in God. Expressing concern about the spiritual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Synod Moderator urged churches to examine their faith and relationship with Jesus, stressing the importance of repentance and genuine humility.

In his message, Pastor Chia gave thanks that PCS is now able to monetise Telok Kurau (TK) land, an asset that holds historical significance for the denomination. Through securing a suitable land developer, PCS can retain ownership and optimize financial returns for gospel ministry. He called for the church’s focus on evangelism, stressed the need to strengthen faith and families to fulfill God’s Great Commission. He encouraged churches to dedicate specific days for prayer and outreach, seeking to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF) webinar on becoming a community of solidarity and resistance

The Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF) organized a webinar themed “Light after Darkness - Becoming a Community of Solidarity and Resilience” to address the challenges faced by Taiwan spread of misinformation. The webinar drew participation from over 60 ecumenical leaders from various

countries, featuring prominent speakers such as former Minister of the Ministry of National Defense Taiwan, Michael Tsai, who spoke about the need for a regional alliance.

Aimed at fostering resilience and solidarity during adversity, presenters brought wide-ranging perspectives and covered topics such as civil defense, identifying fake news, and the impact of misinformation on society. CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, a co-convenor of TEF, said that we should be peace-makers as a faith community, reminding them of the churches that pursued peace and reconciliation during the Cold War.

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Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) Moderator shares the life, work, and hopes of PCT

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) recently hosted Council for World Mission (CWM)’s Annual Members’ Meeting (AMM) in Changhua City, 10-13 June 2023, where through an interview with CWM, PCT Moderator spoke about the life and work of PCT and its ministries and affiliates.

The PCT Moderator Rev. Pang Jyh Hong called it an “honour” that CWM is holding its AMM in Taiwan for the first time this year, adding that its network of quality Christian educational institutions and hospitals were resources they could tap on to host this event. In addition, he gained an insight into diverse membership and nationalities that CWM encompasses through the organization of this event, and expressed gratitude on behalf of PCT for the care and concern shown by ecumenical organisations through the Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF).

PCT Moderator Rev. Pang has been a pastor for 26 years, and is passionate about serving in Hakka Mission, Senior Citizen Ministry, and Pastoral Care Committee. Upon graduation from seminary, he served in the Hakka Mission in Kaohsiung for 7 years, followed by working in the General Assembly office before his current role as pastor of Hsin Chu Neili Church in the Hsin Chu Presbytery.

He spoke candidly about PCT’s challenges of a greying population, slowing evangelism, and its close, direct relationship with its affiliated hospitals such as McKay Memorial Hospital and Sin-Lo Christian Hospital established by medical missionaries and their support of and contribution

to PCT General Assembly. For example, around 50 hospital chaplains minister to patients to share the love of Christ as part of the mission and ministry of Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH), located near the venue of CWM’s AMM 2023.

PCT also has at least three theological institutions for pastoral training, and as well as a vibrant indigenous ministry that celebrates its 70th anniversary next year. Even though indigenous peoples make up 2 percent of the Taiwan population, around half of PCT’s 1,200 churches are indigenous, so PCT’s mission work in this area is extensive. It reaches out to people with disabilities, divorced and abused women, and fishermen, among other ministry groups.

At an international level, PCT has collaborated with the MacKay Medical Mission of Taiwan to send a team of medical personnel to Ukraine, making it the first team from Asia to provide voluntary medical assistance on site since the Ukrainian-Russian conflict began. They also donated hospital beds to Ukraine, and they provided medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, it is aiming to expand and concretise its ministry to care for foreign labour in the morphing regional and global context.

When queried on hopes or prayer requests that PCT has for the global Church and CWM, the PCT Moderator indicated PCT’s joy and honour of being chosen as the event host, and reiterated his hopes that the Taiwan Ecumenical Forum (TEF) will continue to be run, with its issues being addressed in CWM. He expressed PCT’s willingness to share God’s grace bestowed upon them, and its extensive experience in medical and educational institutions through the conduit of CWM to the world and the global Church.

July 2023 51

EUROPE

United Reformed Church (URC) inducts first black and ethnically-minoritised woman as Moderator

The United Reformed Church (URC) inducted Rev. Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson, its first black and ethnically-minoritised woman as General Assembly Moderator during its General Assembly held from 30 June – 3 July in Swanwick, Derbyshire.

A monumental moment for URC, she pledged to “assist the leadership and the membership to bring

the denomination into its true identity – one that is constantly seeking justice, that regards God’s Word in the Bible as the highest authority, and as a place where all God’s people are one.”

Rev. Robinson has served on CWM’s think tank for its formation of legacies of slavery work, and is a womanist practical theologian who passionately advocates for racial and gender justice, and the inclusion of diverse, marginalized voices and ideas within the church.

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PACIFIC

Pacific coalition’s open letter to leaders on Fukushima nuclear waste dumping Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) is among a coalition of concerned civil service organisations, social movements and scholars which issued an open letter urging Pacific leaders to protect the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants from the impending release of radioactive waste from Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

PCANZ Moderator’s Pentecost Message

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) Moderator Right Rev Hamish Galloway has addressed the growing issue of stress, anxiety, and social isolation among young people, with intergenerational disconnect as one of the contributing factors. In his Pentecost Message, Rev. Galloway recalled how the church had fostered intergenerational connections in the society in the past, and its impact on young people’s well-being.

The PCANZ Moderator however, acknowledged the changing times, with the younger generation growing more hostile towards the church, resulting in struggles to connect with them. He encouraged them to be inspired by the in-filling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the resilient love shown by the early church in the face of hostility.

Finally, he urged them to embrace its role as bearers of God’s hope-inspiring message and lifegiving Spirit to the new generation, enabled by God to bring life to the dry bones of despair (Ezekiel 37).

The coalition was dissatisfied with the lack of progress made by Pacific states to halt the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company’s plan to dump over 1.3 million tonnes of nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. The letter emphasized that the nuclear dumping plan not only poses environmental risks to the Pacific Ocean and its biodiversity, but also contravenes international law and threatens the livelihoods and well-being of Pacific peoples, which have borne the inter-generational consequences of nuclear testing.

It called for Pacific states to oppose Japan’s dumping plans by issuing a strong collective statement of opposition through the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), failing which, economic sanctions could be applied. Also, a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) could initiate a lawsuit against Japan at the Tribunal on the International Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to address the trans-boundary harm caused by the nuclear wastewater release.

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SOUTH ASIA

Church of South India (CSI) trains Christian Educators for ChildFriendly churches

Church of South India (CSI)’s Department of Christian Education, in collaboration with EMS, commenced a comprehensive training programme for Christian educators from the respective dioceses to exchange ideas and deepen their understanding of how to establish child-friendly churches that foster a nurturing environment for their young members. The programme was inaugurated by the Chairperson of the Christian Education Department, Rt Rev. Timothy Ravindar, Bishop of Coimbatore Diocese, whose reflection on Luke 2 reminded them of their role in creating spaces for children to explore their faith and encounter the divine.

Church of Bangladesh (COB) plants nine indigenous churches after 15 years of evangelism work

Fifteen years of evangelism and economic development efforts by the Church of Bangladesh (COB) in the mountainous district of Khagrachhari have borne fruit, with nine new churches planted to serve the indigenous

communities of Marma, Chakma, and Tripura. To address their needs, COB is running primary schools and providing healthcare and clean water supply services in these remote locations, where transportation is difficult and risky, access to development opportunities and essential facilities is limited.

Recently, Rev. Ripon Roy and Rev. Ajoy Ritchil were appointed to provide continuous care for the new churches, supported from catechists in the area. Regular worship, religious festivals, Sunday school, women’s programs, and youth programs are conducted in each church. Prayers are requested for the ongoing care of these new churches.

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Ecumenical Mama, Dr Agnes Abuom CWM Mourns the Demise of

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we mourn the demise of our beloved ecumenical mama, Dr Agnes Abuom. Her passing is an immense loss to the global ecumenical movement, where she played an extraordinary role as a visionary leader and a steadfast advocate for justice and peace. She dedicated her life to promoting unity, mission, and reconciliation through the ecumenical movement. She paved the way for Transformative Ecumenism and continued to work to renew the ecumenical movement, always firmly based on her unyielding faith.

Throughout her long, distinguished, ecumenical career, Dr Abuom tirelessly worked for gender equality and empowerment, breaking barriers, inspiring female leadership and paving the way for many women to assume leadership roles within the Church and ecumenical movement. She herself broke countless barriers to serving the WCC as its president and moderator and the global ecumenical movement with dignity, integrity, and simplicity of her leadership.

She always represented the voices of marginalised communities, particularly those from the global south. Her efforts were instrumental in ensuring

that the perspectives, experiences, and concerns of churches in the Global South were heard and taken into account in shaping the international discourse on faith and justice. With her leadership, she greatly contributed towards successfully holding the WCC assemblies in Busan in 2013 and Karlsruhe in 2022. Dr Abuom has been a faithful supporter of the world mission, including the recent World Mission Conference 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania.

Dr Abuom’s contributions to the global ecumenical movement will forever be remembered in our collective memory and continue to guide and inspire us as we strive to carry forward her legacy. In this time of sorrow, we extend our heartfelt sympathies to Dr Abuom’s family, friends, and colleagues, who have lost a remarkable soul. We also extend our warmest thoughts and prayers to the African Churches and the entire global ecumenical community.

Rest in Eternal Power, Ecumenical Mama!

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ECUMENICAL NEWS
Dr Agnes Abuom at the International Theological Colloquium on Transformative Ecumenism, January 2016, Moshi, Tanzania.

TAKE A LOOK

July 2023 57

Take A Look

The CWM community commemorates CWM’s inauguration as a mission organisation with a renewed missional ethos on a Sunday close to 18 July every year. View snippets of this year’s 46th

TAKE A LOOK

Agape Hospital, operated by Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) has been a ray of hope to a community wracked by the military coup and pandemic. Established in 1989, it makes health services accessible to under-served people in Chin State, and is now in need of relocation as it faces space constraints and requires upgrading of medical and hospital equipment for medical care in conflict areas. Former PCM General Secretary Rev. Ramthanga and Assoc

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Take A Look

1min
pages 58-59

CWM Mourns the Demise of Ecumenical Mama, Dr Agnes Abuom

2min
page 56

SOUTH ASIA

1min
page 55

PACIFIC

1min
page 54

EUROPE

1min
pages 52-53

EAST ASIA

3min
pages 50-51

AFRICA

4min
pages 48-49

Rev. Dr Huang Po Ho Calls for at CWM Annual Members’ Meeting Walls of Division Break Down of

1min
page 47

PCT responds to CWM Statement on Taiwan: Prophetic voices from the wilderness

1min
page 46

CWM Statement on Taiwan NotandForgotten Not Alone

1min
pages 44-45

AMM delegates experience the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan diverse communities in

1min
pages 42-43

CWM Assembly will be held in Durban, South Africa, 12-19 June 2024

1min
pages 40-41

CWM celebrates its Anniversary 46th

1min
pages 38-40

Rise to Life

1min
pages 36-37

CWM General Secretary strengthens solidarity with United Church of Zambia (UCZ)

1min
pages 34-36

CWM meets Guyana Government and Guyana Reparations Committee

2min
pages 32-33

CWM delegation visits educational institutes and churches in Hong Kong

2min
pages 30-31

Engaging in God’s mission through

1min
pages 28-29

CWM Moderator Rev. Lydia Neshangwe inducted as Moderator of UPCSA

2min
pages 26-27

CWM Board of Directors’ Meeting in Taiwan focuses on mission, solidarity and transformation

2min
pages 24-25

to serve Called and empowered

1min
page 22

CWM Student scholars drop-in for physical and virtual visits

6min
pages 18-21

De-colonizing theological education –Learning in the Margins

6min
pages 14-17

Accommodation

2min
pages 12-13

Beginnings

3min
pages 11-12

(TIM 2023) Training in Mission

1min
page 10
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