BRITAINâ€™S LEADING BLACK COMMUNITY-FOCUSED PUBLICATION PROMOTING AND SUPPORTING FAITH AND FAMILY VALUES
MESSAGE TO MEN:
Your words are powerful!
Is the Church failing young Black men?
the Keep The Faith Men We Admire List How to break the chains of mental slavery
Rev Yemi Adedeji talks about the importance of church unity, mission and revival
Examining the spiritual legacy of The Windrush Generation
NOEL ROBINSON: The worship leader touching the world
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CONTENTS ISSUE 81 10
Dear Reader Can you believe it? The UK is finally basking in some glorious sunshine. All I can say is “Thank God for the sun,” after the very long winter we endured. Let’s pray that it lasts. Here at Keep The Faith, we are very thankful for men and their contributions to the wider world, hence the focus on them in this current issue. We have an interview with Noel Robinson, one of the UK’s foremost worship leaders to come out of Britain’s Black majority churches. He is gearing up for the release of Devoted - his first album for seven years. We’ve also interviewed Rev Yemi Adedeji, the Head of the One People Commission - a representative body for Christians of different ethnicities and cultures - and we’ve compiled a list of the Christian men that we admire. Hope you agree with our choices. Malachi Talabi talks about the power of men’s speech to positively impact people’s lives; Pastor Peter Nembhard shares why our churches need men, whilst I ask the question ‘Is the Church failing young Black men?’ Award-winning theologian, Dr Anthony Reddie, explores the legacy of the Windrush Generation; Pastor Alton Bell looks at the historical impact of slavery on AfricanCaribbeans, and how we can reverse its negative effects, whilst Rev David Shosanya asks ”Where do we go from here?” following the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists. Others topics covered in this month’s Keep The Faith include the online church, immigration, waiting on the Lord, pursuing one’s dreams, and women as instruments of peace. We hope that this edition informs, inspires and motivates you to be even more active for the Lord. Happy reading.
Editor Marcia Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org
04 Food 4 Thought by Marcia Dixon 06 Readers’ Letters
07 News pages 10 Keep The Faith about town 11 Ministers’ Appreciation Ball
12 Gospel News by Marcia Dixon 14 Wanna get into the gospel charts? By Juliet Fletcher
16 C O V E R S T O R Y Interview with Noel Robinson 20 C O V E R S T O R Y Interview with Pastor Yemi Adedeji
22 Why our churches need men by Pastor Peter Nembhard 24 C O V E R S T O R Y Men we admire by Marcia Dixon 26 C O V E R S T O R Y Message to men: Your words are powerful! by Malachi Talabi 28 C O V E R S T O R Y The Legacy of the Windrush Generation by Dr Anthony Reddie R
Keep The Faith Tel: 0845 193 4433 www.keepthefaith.co.uk www.blackchristiandirectory.com
30 C O V E R S T O R Y Breaking the chains of slavery by Pastor Alton Bell 32 Women as instruments of peace by Dionne Gravesande
33 Where do we go from here? by Rev David Shosanya 34 Immigration: singing a strange song in a strange land by Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts 36 Not by bread alone - words matter, too by Bishop Dr Joe Aldred 37 Is the online church taking over real-time worship? by Rev Stephen Brooks
38 It’s never too late to achieve your God-given dream by Esther Williams 40 I do mind the waiting by Gladys Famoriyo
41 Men and money by Isaac Carter 42 Cyber Corner by Keno Ogbo 43 Business Matters by Denise Roberts 44 Heart to Heart by Esther Fenty 45 Charity Affairs by Lara Rufus
46 Does child sponsorship really make a difference? by Kate Sharma
Publisher: Shirley McGreal email@example.com Editor: Marcia Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com Admin and Subscriptions: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @keepthefaithmag
Many thanks from Keep The Faith to: Rev David Shosanya Rev Stephen Brooks, Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, Rev Yemi Adedeji, Pastor Alton Bell, Pastor Peter Nembhard, Malachi Talabi, Dr Anthony Reddie, Noel Robinson, Juliet Fletcher, Dionne Gravesande, Esther Williams, Gladys Famoriyo, Keno Ogbo, Lara Rufus, Denise Roberts, Kate Sharma, Marcia Dixon, Jackie Raymond, Becky Wybrow and all our advertisers. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Publisher.
FOOD 4 THOUGHT
Is the Church failing young Black men? By now, I’m assuming that most Keep The Faith readers will be familiar with the unimaginable act of violence that took place on a street in Woolwich, south east London, on May 23, where a British soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby, was hacked to death by two Muslim extremists.
What has been shocking about this incident is that the assailants, Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, both of Nigerian descent, grew up in Christian families. This fact alone has many believers across the country asking the question: Why have these young men turned away from the faith of their youth to embrace Islamic extremism and commit such an evil act? Whilst it’s understandable that Britain’s Christian community will undertake some major soul-searching, it should also be noted that we’ve been here before. In the 80s and 90s, numerous Black teenagers and young adults rejected their Christian upbringing to embrace the teachings of other religions, namely Rastafarianism or the
Nation of Islam. Both religions attracted disaffected Black youth, because they offered an explanation for the racism they experienced; provided an appealing counter-culture that enabled them to celebrate their ethnicity, and a strategy on how to exist in a racist society within a religious framework. Islam is now the new religion of choice for Black males, who are somewhat disenchanted with British society, but who want to embrace a faith that is not Eurocentric. In the midst of our soul-searching, let’s not forget that discussions about the Church’s inability to attract men have been going on for years. Women have complained year in and year out about the lack of men in our pews and, during the rise of the gun and knife culture in the 2000s, it was evident that both the perpetrators and victims often came from a Christian background and, again, churches were accused of failing Black youth. In examining the reasons why churches are not appealing to increasing numbers of young Black men, could it be that they find a lack of men sitting in the pews galling; think Sunday school lessons boring, and that the numerous Sunday sermons they listen to fail to convince them about the truth of Christianity, nor offer them a way to navigate a society they sometimes find racist? Whatever the outcome of our discussion, we cannot discount the fact that, despite its faults, our churches remain our strongest institutions; that the bulk of the growing Black middle class are Christians, and that the young Black men who do embrace Christianity tend to be highly-educated, professional, and somehow find a way to circumvent the obstacles they face to live successful, purpose-driven lives.
LET’S HELP THE ABUSER AS WELL AS THE ABUSED I’m pleased that, during the past few years, there has been more open discussion within the Church about the issue of domestic abuse and violence. Church leaders are waking up to the fact that it’s an insidious evil; are speaking out about the topic from their pulpits, and are now more willing to offer support to victims. This development is fantastic, but surely the Church must also offer a hand of support to those in their midst who are the perpetrators of domestic abuse and violence? Men (the vast majority of perpetrators are men), who have been brave enough to share why they abuse women/girlfriends/ wives, often state that they’ve done so because they’ve been consumed by jealousy and/or anger when (i) their partner talks to other men; (ii) their partner challenges them, or (iii) they have felt insecure, and the only way they felt able to deal with their feelings was when they lashed out in violence to maintain some semblance of control over their partner. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, one male abuser admitted that, in order to gain control over a partner, he groomed them; he gained their trust to get close to them, so that he could critique and criticise them and, if necessary, hit them.
Our spiritual heroes are worth celebrating I recently attended a special service celebrating the life and legacy of my first pastor – the late Rev Dr Io Smith, a church pioneer and community figure, who greatly impacted the lives of others. One particularly enjoyable aspect of the service was hearing Christians state how Pastor Smith inspired them. The keynote speaker, Rev Les Isaac, shared how, when he was a young man, whenever he and his fellow believers heard that Pastor Smith was visiting their church, they got excited, because they knew they were going to be inspired by a powerful woman of God. I’ve felt it important to mention this service, because it sets a template for other churches to follow, as almost all churches will contain men and women who, like Pastor Smith, are pioneers and have left an indelible mark on others. The lives of such individuals deserve to be honoured and celebrated, because not only do we stand on their shoulders, but they are also great role models for future generations.
Abuse is obviously a deep-rooted problem but, just as women’s ministries have been able to help women deal with the wide range of issues and emotional baggage they come into church with, so also must men’s ministries seek to do the same. They need to provide safe spaces for men to talk, not just about their hopes, dreams, aspirations and successes, but also about those painful areas of their lives and of their behaviours that cause harm to those who love them.
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KTF 80 FINAL
Readers’ letters We’d love to hear your views on Keep The Faith and the featured articles. Send your letters to KTF Letters, PO Box 574, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 9BW or better still, email email@example.com
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ARE YOU S: SUFFERING FROM RE ACTIO FACTOR?N
REV WA HUDSONLE ROBERT -
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Life les Christiasons learn frons can m Pope Fran cis
WINNERS OF WISE WO AWARDS MEN ANNOUNCE2013 D
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I’m glad I’m not a ‘reaction factor’ parent
Honouring our pioneers is a good thing It was sobering to read about church pioneer, the late Pastor Io Smith - what a great woman of God. It’s good to be reminded about the lives and great sacrifices made by the people who established the Black Majority Church here in the UK, as well as hear about the hardship and racism they overcame to do so. Pastor Io Smith is a great example of the men and women, who travelled from the Caribbean to the UK during the 1950s and 60s, and I’m so pleased that her life and legacy were celebrated with a special service. Churches should do this more often, so that members are reminded about the shoulders of the spiritual giants upon which they stand. Natalie Peters, Nottingham
Let’s hear it for the men I had to do a double take, after reading Marcia Dixon’s Food for Thought, ‘What About The Boys?’ I have felt for a long time that not just society but also the Church fail to recognise the valuable contribution men make in this world, and have often wondered if people give any consideration on the effect that their negative comments about men might be having on young boys in our midst. Churches are the perfect places to raise awareness of the positive, exemplary men we have in our community; to remind the wider community that men do have an important role to play, and that their contribution is valuable. Olu Johnson, Bristol @keepthefaithmag
After reading Amie Buhari’s article, I’m so glad that I’m not a ‘reaction factor’ parent. I grew up in a strict Christian family and, although there were many things about my upbringing I didn’t like (I thought my parents were too strict, and went to church too much), on reflection, I know my parents did their best to raise me right; teach me right from wrong, and get an education. I am what I am because of the discipline my parents instilled in me.
Twenty-first century parents, particularly those raised by strict Christian parents, need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, ie. forget the good things their parents taught them, in order to inject some liberalism into their parenting style. Amie’s right; whilst we must give our children freedom, we must let them grow up with boundaries and the understanding that discipline is a good thing. It will put them in good stead when they are adults and raising families of their own. Jason Roberts, London
Shauna Muamba deserved her award After reading Shauna Muamba’s interview, I had to conclude that Keep The Faith made the right decision in making her their ‘Woman of the Year’. Who would have thought that her tweets, ‘God is in control’ and ‘Pray for Muamba’, would cause the football community across the UK and people throughout the world to start praying? I was also moved by the fact that people had become Christians as a result of Shauna’s tweets. Her story is proof that God can use anyone and anything to remind the world of His existence. And what’s great about her story is that it has a great ending. Her husband, Fabrice Muamba, was restored back to life; they are due to be parents again, and Shauna is set to start an exciting business venture. May God continue to bless them both. Jennifer Andrews, London
What an inspirational lady I was very inspired after reading the Keep The Faith interview with Shauna Muamba; what a lovely, godly young lady, and Fabrice Muamba is very lucky to have a woman like that in his life. Shauna is just the type of woman a man needs by his side when he’s experiencing difficulties: a woman who knows how to pray. The interview also highlighted to me how God can use the seemingly little things that we do – in the case of Shauna, she tweeted ‘Pray for Muamba’ – to touch the world. Karen Clarke, Manchester
Believers need to laugh more often I’m still smiling after reading Stephen Brooks’ article, ‘It’s OK For Believers To Laugh’. It’s sometimes easy to forget that Christianity is about experiencing the joy and peace of the Lord, when you see the sour faces of some believers when they are in church. Thank you, Rev Brooks, for reminding me of the humour inherent in the Scriptures, and for letting me know, as a servant of God, that it is OK to laugh, and that we should do so more often. Alison Maynard, London
CHURCH MOTHER CELEBRATES 80TH BIRTHDAY Mother White, the wife of the late Bishop Leon White, founder of Bibleway UK, recently celebrated her 80th birthday with a special church service and a dinner with her family, which comprises six children, six grandchildren and a greatgrandchild (expected to make his or her appearance this month). Grateful for life and health, she told Keep The Faith, “I have finally learned to listen to my body and to do what it says, so when it says ‘Stop’, I do, when it says ‘Rest’, I do, and when it says ‘Exercise’, I do. I have learned to control my appetite and never eat too much.” And when asked what are the main lessons she’s learned about life, God and faith over the years, she said, “Patience - with myself and others; to trust God - no matter how difficult the time may seem, He will work it out.” She added, “God has taught me how to set/be a good example; I don’t feel there is enough emphasis on us thinking about the way we represent ourselves and how that impacts the generation behind us.” Hear, hear, Mother White, and here’s wishing you many more birthdays.
Evangelicals want more women leaders Life in the Church?, which carries out ongoing research into the views of evangelicals, found that an increasing number feel that churches should have more women in leadership roles, although men still outnumber women when it comes to running churches. The latest Life in the Church? research canvassed the views of 1,864 people, and discovered that 73% agreed that women should hold senior positions in the Church, and 80% stated that women should preach or teach. Most of those who participated in the Survey attend churches led by men – 84% of senior leaders are men and 16% women. Women make up 36% of the leadership of churches that have a leadership team. The balance might soon shift if the number of women in ministry training go on to become involved in church leadership. More than 40% of ordinands, currently in Church of England ministry training, are women. These figures are matched at the London School of Theology, Europe’s largest evangelical training college, who say there is an upward trend for the number of women studying Theology. Dr Dave Landrum, Director of Advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, said: “This Report confirms our earlier research, showing that evangelicals are strongly supportive of women being in all kinds of church leadership. Countering some of the less helpful caricatures of evangelicals, the Survey shows church life as being vibrant and healthy. “The Survey also illustrates how much churches both value and contribute to community wellbeing – further evidence that community engagement by the Church is propping up a Big Society that would otherwise wither and die.” Visit www.www.eauk.org/snapshot/ for more details.
GUVNA B MAKES HISTORY Guvna B has become the first ever urban gospel artist to top the Official UK Christian and Gospel Music charts, launched in March 2013, with his current album, Odd1Out, which knocked Amy Grant off the top spot. A MOBO Award-winning artist, Guvna B is also a Celebrity Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a Youth for Christ ambassador, and presents a show on Premier Gospel. Obviously elated, Guvna B told his Facebook friends, “Thank you. Have had one of the most memorable weeks of my life. First urban act ever to hit #1 on the Official Christian & Gospel Chart and also hit #22 on the Official Urban Chart. Onwards and upwards. Bigger and better. Just getting started. God has no limits.”
Black Church meets Ofcom to discuss signs and wonders ministries Leaders of Britain’s Black churches have met with Ofcom, the broadcasting standards watchdog, to discuss concerns that TV ministries, with a focus on miracle healing, could be endangering lives by encouraging people to stop taking their medicines because God will heal them. The meeting, led by Bishop Dr Joe Aldred (pictured), was called by Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs (MECA) of ecumenical organisation, Churches Together in England (CTE). Ofcom used the meeting to share its remit, which includes regulating UK-based TV and radio broadcasters, to protect the public from harm or offence. It is mindful not to interfere with people’s right to freedom of religious expression. Whilst some questioned the need for Ofcom, and wondered aloud whether or not the organisation was trying to restrict the expression of Black faith, others welcomed its work. Dr Michel Sacramento, President of Pastorale Francophone UK said, “Far from hindering our mission for broadcasting the message of the Gospel, the Ofcom regulations may help spur evangelical broadcasters into developing more imaginative ways of communicating the Gospel to a cosmopolitan audience, taking into consideration the peculiarities of the environment
in which it is articulated. The challenges we now face may turn into blessings, as we grow stronger in effectiveness and scope.” Those present agreed that church leaders, who broadcast TV ministry programmes with an emphasis on healing, should encourage their viewers to seek medical advice before making any change to their treatment regimes.
GOVERNMENT URGED TO CALL REFERENDUM ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Some of Britain’s leading Black Pentecostal churches have endorsed a letter published in the Daily Telegraph, in which they rejected the Government’s claims that they are acting in the interests of ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ by re-defining marriage. Signatories to the letter included Bishop Eric Brown, Head of the New Testament Church of God; Rev Yemi Adedeji (pictured), Director of the One People Commission; Rev Kingsley Appiagyei, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, and Pastor Agu Irukwu, Senior Pastor of Jesus House.
Male mentors needed The Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) wants men, who are part of Britain’s Black Christian community, to become volunteer mentors, after receiving a lottery grant of £362,000 for its Routes2Success Community Role Model Programme. The mentors will serve as role models, and participate in a Jeremy range of activities to be held across the UK, which will aim Crook OBE to inspire young Black males (11-25 yrs) to reach their full potential in learning, employment and self-employment. Jeremy Crook OBE, Director of BTEG, says: “BTEG welcomes and appreciates this Big Lottery grant. It will allow us to help 1,200 young Black males to reach their full potential over the next three years. In these difficult times for young people and small charities like ours, this is great news.” Brianna Cyrus, Programme Manager at BTEG, told Keep The Faith: “We, at BTEG, understand the barriers that many young Black males face today, both in education and employment. These young men are calling out for successful Black professional males from similar backgrounds to offer them guidance, support and inspiration. We want successful Black males from all faiths and backgrounds and with different experiences to support the Routes2Success programme, and make a difference to the future of young Black males.”
If you are interested in being a mentor or for more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7832 5805.
The letter states that the Government has failed to think through the consequences of pushing through changes to the legal definition of marriage, and adds that the Government is ignoring the opinions of ethnic churches and is, instead, listening to the voice of smaller churches (The Quakers and United Reformed Church). The leaders have also called on the Government to hold a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage, stating that the people of Britain should have their say on the issue. The leaders wrote, “These plans were not in any party’s manifesto and, if the Government had any respect for democracy, they would allow a referendum before making fundamental changes to the nature of marriage.”
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KEEP THE FAITH ABOUT TOWN Graduates of Esther’s Academy
Women graduate from Esther’s Academy
Graduates of Esther’s Academy, a seven-week course that teaches women how to apply the principles of biblical character Queen Esther in their everyday lives, enjoyed a sumptuous dinner and inspiring graduation ceremony at a special banquet held at Edgbaston Cricket Club recently. Pastor Yvonne Brooks, founder of Esther’s Academy, served as host; Geoff Schumann was the humorous compère, and Marcia Dixon, Editor of Keep The Faith, gave the keynote speech, encouraging listeners that, like Esther, they too can change the destiny of a nation. As the women accepted their graduation certificates, all shared how Esther’s Academy had helped them draw closer to God; throw off their emotional baggage, and had empowered them to achieve. And such is the impact the Academy is having, it’s due to launch in London in 2014. Visit www.facebook.com/pages/esthersacademy.
e Yvonn Pastor s k o Bro
Marcia D ixon
Fabrice Muamba visits the Love Life Festival The people of Barnsley turned out in force for the third Love Life Festival, organised by Christian couple Bruce and Janine Dyer, in conjunction with Barnsley Football Club. ro r and ex p Over 6000 people poured through the gates of Barnsley Football Club at Bruce Dyer Darren Moore otballe fo the May Bank Holiday event to enjoy a football tournament; a funfair; gospel singing from various artists, including Lurine Cato, Janine Dyer, Isaiah-Raymond Dyer and friends; delicious Caribbean food … as well as a special appearance by Fabrice Muamba. The Love Life Festival is going from strength to strength and, alongside that, God is using Bruce and Janine as powerful witnesses of Christians living in the North. Visit www.lovelifefestival.com for more details.
Bruce Dyer a nd
Fabric e Mua mba
LCGC break World Record Jahmene Douglas ert LGCG Conc
Rev Basi l Meade
The London Community Gospel Choir had a ball during their first ever 30 Choir Festival, held at London’s Southbank Centre. Not only did they welcome choirs from as far afield as Spain, France, Germany and Italy, but they also celebrated their 30th anniversary with a special concert at the Royal Festival Hall, that featured guest appearances from Jocelyn Brown and X Factor runner-up, Jahmene Douglas. During the course of the concert, where LCGC performed to a capacity crowd, they also broke the Guinness World Record for the largest number of gospel singers – 1169 – performing together. The Choir continued their celebrations by performing for the Prince of Wales at a special reception at St James’s Palace to celebrate the contribution of Caribbeans in Britain, and are gearing up for their Reunion concert on July 26. Visit www.lcgc.org for more details.
Leaders appreciated at
Ministers’ Appreciation Ball Leading Christians, heads of church ministries and charities, as well as church leaders from across the UK, were present at the third annual Ministers’ Appreciation Ball (MAB), which was held at the London Hilton Tower Bridge Hotel in central London, and hosted by Premier Radio presenter, Nage, and Pastor Keeth Bandara of Elim church, Watford.
teve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance; Lord Taylor of Warwick; Rev Jacqueline Peart; Bishop Derek Webley of the New Testament Church of God; Pastor Michael White of The Tab in Lewisham, south east London, and Isaiah-Raymond Dyer were amongst those present. The event is the brainchild of Rev David Shosanya, Regional Minister and Director with the London Baptist Association and a columnist with Keep The Faith. He founded the event in 2011, so that church leaders could enjoy a relaxing evening out amongst their peers, where they could also be inspired and motivated. Mrs Olave Snelling, CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Council, was the keynote speaker. She reminded the 250 people present that, whilst it’s great to be an ambassador for God, Christians can and do sometimes experience great suffering when carrying out God’s work.
In a new addition, this year’s MAB also featured an awards ceremony to appreciate Christians who have served their communities well. AWARD RECIPIENTS WERE: Andy Frost - Contribution to Mission in the UK Award Rev Roy Smith - Eldership in the Community Award Rev Les Isaac OBE - Apostleship in Action Award Leondre Douglas - ‘One to Watch’ Emerging Leader Award Dr Anthony G Reddie - Outstanding Contribution to Theological Education Award Rev Dr Joel Edwards - Christian Statesman Award Bishop Derek Webley - Great Public Service Award Shirley McGreal - Outstanding Contribution to Black Media Marcia Dixon - Outstanding Contribution to Black Media
Keep The Faith has always aimed to highlight and report on the positive things happening within the Black faith community, and I feel honoured that our work has been recognised with this unique Award. Shirley McGreal, Publisher of Keep The Faith
Top L-R • Dr Anthony Reddie and Tessy Ojo • Lord John Taylor of Warwick • Nage and Donald • Lurine Cato Left L-R • Olave Snelling and Marlene Cato • Shirley McGreal and Marcia Dixon • Bishop Webley and Elizabeth Berry
12 GOSPEL NEWS
L E P S GO WS NE SAY ‘AMEN’ AT THE NATIONAL THEATRE Are you looking for an enjoyable night out at the theatre? If your answer is Yes, you might want to pop down to London’s National Theatre to see THE AMEN CORNER, which will open on 11 June. The Amen Corner is a classic stage play, featuring a gospel music score, that is based on a novel by American author, James Baldwin. It tells the story of Sister Margaret, the uncompromising pastor of a Harlem church, whose congregation are in revolt against her hardline leadership. Their resentment escalates when her absentee husband, a trombone-playing sinner, returns to the church, and is doubled by the wayward conduct of her formerly-paragon, musical son. Charges of hypocrisy hang in the air, and Margaret’s devout world looks perilously close to falling apart. The cast of this classic production includes Eric Kofi Abrefa; Oscar-nominated actress, Marianne Jean-Baptiste; Sharon D Clarke, and singers of the London Community Gospel Choir. Rev Bazil Meade (pictured below) is serving as Music Arranger and Supervisor on this production. Beautifully expressed through the rousing beat of the gospel choir, the community’s sense of love, grief and spiritual survival will be given full voice in this classic production. For ticket details, visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ shows/the-amen-corner
artist Natalie Phillips
is an award-winning gospel artist, who started singing in church from the age of five. She talked to Keep The Faith about her recently-released debut album, Unique Perspectives KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): You’ve been singing for a long, long time. How come you’ve chosen to release your debut album, ‘Unique Perspectives’, at this time? NATALIE PHILLIPS (NP): Well, I have been wanting to do this project for some time now. But I truly believe that nothing happens prematurely! An opportunity came up last year to start working on my album again, after starting it years ago, and I took it! It was a step of faith and it continues to be! But I have found the more I trust God, the more tools He gives me to complete what He started in me. KTF: How would you describe the music on the album, and what are the key messages you are trying to convey on it? NP: Well, the music on the album is quite diverse in its genre and feel. There is something to suit any mood! It takes the listener on a journey, and encourages them to keep pushing through life’s struggles; it’s an uplifting album, which always points to Christ. KTF: What kind of response have you been getting to your debut single from the album, ‘Hold On’? NP: Oh, wow!!! The response has been immense! I’ve had people telling me that the stories in the video are moving, and that they show the dark reality which many people face in everyday life but, at the same time, the song itself causes people to smile and feel they can face life’s challenges, holding on to God, who never fails. KTF: What do you enjoy most about being a gospel singer, and what have been some of the most memorable moments in your music ministry? NP: I absolutely love expressing myself through a variety of genres, but also love being able to take someone, who may be in darkness, to a place where they are liberated through music. I remember once, singing gospel in a bar, and a lady came to me in tears saying how much the song had blessed her, and that she would start going to church again! There are too many memories to mention. KTF: Now that you are getting back out there as a singer, how are you finding it, balancing family life with your work and ministry, and how is your faith helping you get the balance right? NP: I’m enjoying every minute of it - the highs as well as the lows! Being a parent can be hard to juggle as a singer at times, but I have a great support system in place. KTF: With your album out there in the public domain, what other plans do you have for your music ministry in 2013? NP: I plan to keep doing what I’m doing: bringing encouraging words to hurting people. I intend to take my music to as many venues, from churches to concert halls, big or small as possible. Wherever there’s an opportunity, I’ll sing! KTF: Describe Natalie Phillips in seven words. NP: Funny, Bubbly, Caring, Passionate, Sensitive, Giving and Warm. For more information, visit www.nataliephillipsmusic.com
GOSPEL NEWS 13
WariYah is back with Breaking Through After a six-year hiatus from the UK gospel music scene, holy hip hop pioneer, WariYah, is back - older, wiser and with a new album entitled Breaking Through. Produced by Ibe Otah, the album is filled with some hot tracks that WariYah, the former frontman for holy hip hop collective, ZionNoiz, hopes will relay a message of positivity and upliftment to listeners. Breaking Through encompasses various music styles, including rock, afrobeat and rap. Speaking about his album, he stated, “I’m always looking to break down barriers. My music challenges mindsets, but it will also entertain you.” Some of the tracks are already causing a stir, including one entitled ‘Sexy/Beautiful’, a song that opens with the line, ‘I’m a man and I appreciate the bum, breast and thighs...’ He also pays homage to his Ghanaian roots with the song, Gold Coast. As well as re-acquainting WariYah with holy hip hop lovers from back in the day, Breaking Through is set to re-introduce him to a new generation of music fans. One thing’s for sure: they are bound to love what they hear. Visit www.wariYah.bandcamp.com for more details on ‘Breaking Through’.
f you like your gospel music to have a rhythmic beat, then you’ll love the music of gospel reggae artist, Marky T. He recently launched his EP, ‘Upliftment’, in front of a packed audience at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill, London and, in the process, consolidated his reputation as gospel reggae artist to watch. Marky T, 25, cut his musical teeth on gospel sound system, Radical Family, which he helped launch in 2002. In 2009, he stepped out of the musical shadows to launch his ministry as a reggae singer. Two years later, he was wowing audiences with his debut single, ‘My God Is a Millionaire’, which was a hit with the masses, along with another song he’s renowned for: ‘Fish ‘n’ Bread’. Aside from being a popular singer, Marky T has a heart to serve others and, when not performing, he is a mentor, speaker, youth choir director, and is involved in prison ministry. There’s no doubt that Marky T is a young man spreading a message of positivity, hope and encouragement via his gospel reggae sound. Let’s pray he gets to spread his message far and wide. Follow him on Twitter @markytmusic or like him on Facebook @ marcusmarky.ttracey
GOSPEL NEWS BITES Birmingham-based singer, Monique Thomas, is gearing up for the release of her sophomore album, ‘Full Circle’, and a tour of the same name. The tour will kick off on June 22 at Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds, and will see her travelling to various venues across the UK in Manchester, Bristol, Newcastle and London. Monique is set to release a single, ‘Now That I Found You’, prior to embarking on the tour.
Talented young Christians, eager for a platform to share their talent, should consider entering the ‘Just Out of This World’ Christian talent competition. The winner of this search for new talent will receive a £3000 cash prize, plus a video promo, photo shoot and website. The runner up will win £500. Auditions will take place in Birmingham and London. Register at www.justoutofthisworld. co.uk if you wish to take part.
Tina Campbell, of gospel duo Mary Mary, revealed in a candid interview with Ebony magazine that she tried to stab her husband after learning that he committed adultery. Following that revelation, Tina has shared in a Facebook post that, since the interview was published, the challenges in their marriage have worsened, and asked Christians to join them on a month-long fast to help them develop a deeper love for God and for each other. The fast ends on June 24.
14 GOSPEL NEWS
WANNA GET INTO THE GOSPEL CHARTS? HERE’S HOW The launch of the first-ever UK Christian & Gospel Chart gives UK gospel artists the chance to get their music more widely recognised. Juliet Fletcher shares how
is Director of Greentree, a specialist music consultancy and production company
e’re all excited about the first-ever Official UK Christian & Gospel Chart! It’s a fantastic platform, which shows everyone how much we all love this music, and which specific albums we enjoy most. It is the most important industry development to impact our scene in the last 20 years! The Charts seem to work very simply: we hear, we buy, and the sales results show in the Charts in an orderly listing. The UK Official Christian & Gospel Album Chart displays the Top 20, with the Number 1 reflecting the best in that week. However, behind the scenes, artists have to register their album in a specific way to be in with an opportunity for their sales to be reflected in the Chart listings. It has become very evident that most of the independent artists in UK Gospel don’t know what they are meant to do to make that happen. We’ve got to wake up if we’re serious about our music being of greater influence in the national/international marketplace. The Charts makes this so much easier. Music industry expert, Linton Beckles, is also my fellow Executive at the GMIA – Gospel Music Industry Alliance. On the GMIA website is an excellent video by Linton about the Charts. I’ve taken the privilege of using some of the details for this column. First, a reminder of who manages the Charts: the Official Charts Company (OCC) compiles various “official” UK record charts, including the UK Singles Chart, the UK Albums Chart and the UK Official Download Chart. The OCC produces its charts by gathering and combining sales data from retailers, through market researchers Millward Brown. OCC claims to cover 99% of the singles market and 95% of
the album market, and aims to collect data from any retailer who sells more than 100 chart items per week. This first Official UK Christian & Gospel Chart only lists albums, but there are future plans for others. If you are a Christian artist, ready to release material, and would like your material to have a chance of getting into the charts, there are three steps you must take before your Chart quest begins: 1. Your Product must be completed. Recorded, mastered and packaged. You must have cleared usage for all legal and contractual affairs with your record label, producer and publisher, if you have one. Of course, if it’s your own label and you’re self-published, you simply assign it to your label with all the revelant ‘works’ and ‘copyright’ details. 2. Your Rights are upheld through registration of your works (tracks). PRS/MCPS and PPL/VPL look after Statutory Music Rights, and collect and distribute ‘performance’ and ‘mechanical’ royalties on behalf of songwriters, publishers, artists and record labels. 3. Your Marketing Plan must be ready to implement BEFOREHAND. It is critical that you make it clear where your physical and digital music can be found and purchased. The details of Chart-returning retailers are not published by OCC, so it is advised that you seek to retail your releases through as wide a variety of retailers as possible. 4. Sign up for Online Digital Distribution with iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, among others, that are known to be included in the Official Charts Company (OCC) for the measurement of sales. The next step is to follow all the Official Chart rules, which apply to physical and digital formats. This includes the following steps: 1. Obtain a catalogue number and barcode from GS1 (www.gs1uk.org) for each of your physical formats. GS1 is a globally-recognised supplier
of barcodes to industry standard. A barcode represents numbers or letters in a machine- readable format that can be decoded, recorded and processed by a computer system when read by a barcode scanner. The data in the barcode can automatically identify physical items like your CD. 2. Obtain an ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) for each of your individual digital tracks, and a digital barcode for each of your digital formats. International Standard Recording Codes (ISRCs) are an internationally- recognised system to identify recorded music tracks and music videos. These can be obtained when you sign up to rights body PPL. By adding an ISRC to each recorded music track or music video you register in the PPL Repertoire Database, you are ensuring that you will receive more accurate payments. 3. Register your physical release formats by submitting the details of your releases in the “Release File” to Millward Brown by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Millward Brown will need the following details: catalogue number, barcode, artist, title, record company hierarchy, published dealer price and release date, as well as details of each track of the release, including ISRCs. To register digital formats, you will need access to an online application called Tornado. Again, email email@example.com to request a Tornado account. For more details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3086 8348 between 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday. Once registered, remember that creative ways of communicating YOU reinforces the potential of your appearance in the Official Charts which, in turn, becomes ‘the icing on the cake’ of your ongoing success. Juliet Fletcher is a former BBC Producer and founding Executive of the GMIA. Visit www.gmia.org.uk for more details, or phone 020 3086 8348.
Exciting Job Opportunity Two Play & Outreach Workers Starting salary ÂŁ18,000-22,000 WorldShapers is seeking two new members of staff to work with our Childrenâ€™s Centres in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted. We are looking for people with a background in either health or early years and hold a relevant degree or a minimum of Level 3 in childcare.
WorldShapers is a ministry of New Horizons Christian Fellowship. WorldShapers Academy is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.
As a candidate you should be passionate about working with families, thrive on meeting new people while at all times maintain a high level of confidentiality. The centres services are always developing and changing to best serve the community and so the role could look different from one week to another.
Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of young children. For further information please contact Lillian Andreasen on email@example.com or call 01442 269 804. Charity no. 1109886. www.worldshapers.org.uk
NOEL Noel Robinson is one of the foremost musicians and worship leaders to come out of Britain’s African-Caribbean Pentecostal church. He honed his musical talents whilst a member of the Church of God of Prophecy, and was their National Music Director. He learned about being a jobbing musician whilst playing for Bishop John Francis and the Inspirational Choir in the early 80s, and subsequently became a house band member on the groundbreaking gospel music TV show, People Get Ready. In recent years, Noel has become a musician and worship leader in his own right, performing throughout the world and, during the past five years, he has expanded his ministry further via his Renewal conferences, and has travelled across the UK, hosting worship events with leading practitioners. On June 24, Noel Robinson is set to release Devoted – his first album in seven years. It will feature a number of guest artists, including Tim Hughes, Guvna B and Fay Simpson. Noel Robinson spoke to Keep The Faith about his album, his ministry and his hopes for the future. KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): You’re getting ready to release your new album, Devoted. What’s the inspiration behind this release? NOEL ROBINSON (NR): The inspiration is my journey of life, and how the presence of God has impacted every area of it; that it was God in valley, who carried me to the top of the hill. KTF: Israel Houghton co-wrote one of the songs on Devoted. He was also a guest at the London Renewal event. What’s going on with you and Israel, lol? NR: Israel co-wrote ‘Let the people say’. I met him at a restaurant in London some years ago - I was actually there to meet someone else. He knew of my work, and we started connecting and wrote two songs. Both were used on an album, but one, ‘Somebody please’, became the song used to raise money for Haiti, and was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios. I have led worship at his Deeper Conference in Houston, also playing guitar for him in the UK at various conferences.
ROBINSON KTF: Who else is guesting on the Devoted album, and what impact are you hoping the Album will have on listeners? NR: I have Tim Hughes from Worship Central, who wrote ‘Here I am to worship’, singing on ‘You are holy’. I have known Tim for many years, and I have been a great supporter of Worship Central and Soul Survivor movements, so it’s a real privilege to have him. Jamaican artist, Chevelle Franklyn, is guesting on the reggae-infused ‘We cry Hosanna’. Chevelle is probably the number one artist coming out of Jamaica, and being able to do a song that is birthed out of the musical heritage of Jamaica - where my parents are from - is a real blessing. Guvna B, rapping on ‘Unity‘ - an incredible young man, whom I had the privilege of helping to create his MOBO Award-winning album, which was an honour. I have been nominated for three MOBOs, so it’s great that he could do it, and also with songstress, Marion Powell, lending her powerful voice. Gospel legend, Faye Simpson - of Nu Colours Fame - guesting on ‘One hope, one faith’; I grew up with Faye, so it is an amazing thing to connect with her ministry again. My expectations are that folk will enjoy listening and joining in the journey of this Album; be inspired to worship, and experience the presence of God wherever they are. It’s a difficult one, because the Album really is my journey of the last seven years, having to deal with rejection, shame, sickness and pain. These were some real, tough places I had to travel through. It was whilst in those places that I always tried to find a place to worship. I am hoping that someone, who is going through, will be able to relate to some songs, and find their place of worship and not run away from the presence of God. It was in His presence that healing took place; it was in His presence that deliverance took place; it was in His presence that content was deposited.
It has to be God who, as you go through your circumstances, still wants to use you to deliver messages of hope and revival.
ethnicity, culture and denominations and that is centred in Jesus. The Church should be that kind of place.
KTF: You’re an artist who learnt your craft in the Black Church, and you now minister and work with artists and churches of different races and cultures. How did that come about? NR: I believe that the music is part of the equation, but content is the real key. What message you are carrying gives you access to destiny and to people. I have always put serving others as primary. If I can give to others - regardless of age, colour or even culture - then I am doing what Jesus did. We can give away what we do easily, but to give away who you are, really connects you to people. Over the years, I found myself forming relationships across cultural and ethnic divides. I grew up in the Church of God of Prophecy, and we had no connections with any other churches. When I started playing for Bishop John Francis and the Inspirational Choir, I started to meet other Christians who were not ‘of the fold’. This has expanded today through my ministry into working with charismatic Catholics to Portuguese and Spanish communities. In fact, the music, worship and my Christian walk have been the connecting factor for all my relationships over the years. I have been fortunate to meet some incredibly gifted people, by having a heart to serve where God has placed me in the Kingdom of God. Sometimes that has meant changing many things about me to engage in relationships of great significance to my destiny. It has been about evolving into that place where God has chosen me to be.
KTF: How has doing so (working with different Christians) enriched your faith and appreciation for the Church? NR: I believe that the Church is God’s agent in the earth. Yes, we divide ourselves by our clans and tribes; I have grown to appreciate the many different expressions found in this incredible movement of people, from the villages of India to the mega-churches of Africa and the US. It’s all about people; their stories of overcoming and finding God truly inspire me. I am always asking what would happen if we could capture the vibrancy and passion of all the diversity of the Kingdom, put it all in one place, and let the world hear it. I believe it would be a place of commanded blessing.
KTF: What do you enjoy most about working with Christians from different races, cultures and denominations? NR: I love seeing the passion, depth and expression of worship in the lives of believers. Jesus was a friend to sinners, but not much is talked about how diverse the disciples were - from fishermen to physicians - and Jesus got them working and building relationships with each other to form the Kingdom. It’s my greatest joy to be a part of something that transcends language, www.keepthefaith.co.uk
I am very excited about a generation who is still passionate about Jesus, and about people who are willing to use their abilities and giftings to proclaim His fame.
KTF: Who are some of the high profile ministries you’ve worked with over the years, and what have you learnt from doing so? NR: I have worked with Fred Hammond, CeCe Winans, Morris Cerullo, Jesse Duplantis, Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn, Ron Kenoly… the list of names goes on and on, but I have learnt that God is able to take the smallest seed and turn it into something of effect for His Kingdom. If God can use me, He can use you to touch your world. Just be sold out to Him. Don’t become what you do, but always become what He wants you to become.
- maybe I am all of these things, so I can win all men to Christ. My advice is keep on giving life to the things God has placed within you. I am very excited about a generation who is still passionate about Jesus, and about people who are willing to use their abilities and giftings to proclaim His fame. I am hoping that people will show their support by purchasing the music and give platforms to the expression of worship that is locked up in our churches, so that churches will give opportunity to young artists to answer the call of God in their lives.
KTF: For the past five years, you’ve taken your Renewal Conferences around the country to train and provide a platform for worshippers. Will you be continuing with this, or has God given you a new vision? NR: Yes, we are continuing to do that and to provide a platform and places of worship to affect the lives of all believers in the Kingdom. We have seen some 20,000 Christians impacted by the Renewal Encounters, both practically and spiritually I believe we are preparing the hearts of worshippers for a revival in this nation, seeing the supernatural operating in their everyday life, locality and church.
KTF: Your Facebook followers (including Keep The Faith) can’t help but notice that you are a man in love. How is married life treating you and your lovely wife? NR: God is faithful. We are doing well and are pursuing together the purpose of God for our lives. To have a wife who supports is special to me, and I take care of her especially, and I celebrate her life achievements and ministry. Tanya has been very instrumental in helping me to believe and release the content that’s within me. Having someone to travel with has been fantastic, as we experience God’s faithfulness together.
KTF: You have been a pioneer of UK Gospel. Would you still describe yourself as a gospel artist, and what are your hopes for music produced by Black Christian artists? NR: Good question. Labels are there to define us to those who don’t know who we are. I was once a child, but now I am a man. If I am described as a child, even though I am a man, it’s a wrong definition; I am a worship leader who is Black. The musical style that I play is a fusion of all types and genre. To some, I am a gospel artist; to others a worship leader or musician/songwriter/producer
KTF: Following the release of your Album, what are your plans for the rest of 2013? NR: More albums - just trying get the content in me out; a book – possibly - but wanting to use what I have to release a generation into the fullness of who they are in whatever part of the world that God will use us into.
Devoted will be released on iTunes on June 24, and is available in physical CD format on July 2. Visit www.noelrobinson.com or www.thekwm.co.uk for more details
20 INTERVIEW KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): You were recently appointed as Head of the One People Commission. Why was it formed and what does it do? Rev Yemi Adedeji (RYA): The One People Commission was formed as a visible partnership of unity that will bring transformation in the land. It’s an (Evangelical) Alliance body made up of key national church leaders, who really want to celebrate our diverse ethnicities, but also say that we need to come together as the UK Church. KTF: Why was the decision made to form an organisation that represented all ethnicities, as opposed to a replacement for ACEA (African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance)? RYA: The One People Commission has been established in recognition that the Church in the UK needs to be more inclusive of churches of all ethnicities – not just African and Caribbean, but also Korean, Chinese, South American, Asian, etc. We recognise that ACEA did a good work, but the One People Commission is going beyond this remit. We don’t just want to do this for unity’s sake. It needs to be unity for a purpose – to see our wonderful, diverse communities transformed with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Rev Yemi Adedeji
ev Yemi Adedeji is a Christian leader of influence, who wears many hats. He has been ordained in both the Pentecostal and Anglican churches, and serves as the Head of the recently-formed One People Commission (OPC), a new representative body for Britain’s ethnic Christian community. The OPC is making waves, and has already challenged the Government on its plans to legalise same-sex marriage. Rev Yemi also has a heart for mission, and served with the CMS (Church Mission Society) for many years. He is now an Ambassador for Christian charity, Compassion UK, and his remit includes encouraging the Black Christian community to support the Charity’s work, whose aim includes taking children out of poverty. Alongside this role, Rev Yemi is an Associate Director for Hope Together, an organisation which encourages UK churches to engage in mission, and he runs a consultancy advising churches how to impact their communities. Rev Yemi spoke to Keep The Faith magazine about his work; the need for a united Church, and how the Black Christian community can help bring about revival in the UK, by working more closely with the wider community.
KTF: What are the special and unique qualities Black and ethnic communities bring to Christianity here in the UK? RYA: Black churches are intense in their prayer life, since prayer is what informs and shapes who they are. Together with other ethnic communities, they have developed a cohesive internal community that places value on family and significance. Their expression of faith and style of worship come from their soul, which may often be seen as extravagant. Most White evangelical churches are, however, exemplary in biblical exposition. You just need to imagine a combination of both working in synergy! Now you have a dynamic and a fertile ground for a revival. KTF: How should those qualities be harnessed to help revive the spiritual temperature of the UK? RYA: It is already being harnessed. For example, Pentecost UK is a result of synergy between three major churches in the city of London. HTB, Hillsong and Redeemed Church have been coming together to create an atmosphere of worship, with diverse ethnic groups and denominational backgrounds. Equally, the bi-annual ‘Festival of Life’, an all-night prayer meeting, is organised by Redeemed Church at ExCel Centre London, where 40000+ people gather overnight in prayer for the nation. The more we work and stand together in unity, with our brothers and sisters from different backgrounds, the more we are going to see spiritual and physical revival in the UK. KTF: Does the One People Commission have any projects/initiatives planned for the future and, if so, what are they, and when will they be happening? RYA: The One People Commission has been active in challenging the Government on the issue of same-sex marriage. We have researched and
INTERVIEW 21 KTF: What spiritual lessons or insights have you learnt from your experiences in these very different organisations, and what can they learn from each other? RYA: • That we can do more in unity • That prejudice is the major barrier • That authentic relationship must first be developed ahead of collaborative ministry work • That clear understanding of areas of uniqueness and gifting must be acknowledged and celebrated • That partnership in ministry and relationship must be engaged with definite intention, backed with clear strategy
produced helpful tips to help inform church leaders on this issue, and we have also gone ahead to start putting together advisory guidelines to help churches serve their communities if the bill is passed. We are also looking forward to a joint celebration of all ethnic churches within the One People Commission in the autumn. Ultimately, we hope to influence and help shape the future of the Evangelical Alliance on all fronts. KTF: Aside from the One People Commission, what other projects are you involved with? RYA: I represent Compassion UK as an Ambassador across 26 countries, where I help connect many ethnic churches and their leaders into global mission and child poverty eradication. In the last 18 months, I have taken several key ethnic church leaders on mission trips abroad. Over 2000 children have now been sponsored out of poverty through (these churches’) members through Compassion UK. I also serve as an Associate Director for Hope Together, with the main focus on doing mission locally within the UK. We have just produced a Hope resource book to help churches do mission locally within their context in their community. I am an Ordained Anglican Priest, serving with the Nigerian Chaplaincy across two church parishes in the UK. I am a member of the Pastoral Council at Jesus House, where I help foster ecumenical engagement and external relations for the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG UK). I lead as CEO at RYA Consulting, a firm that supports leaders, churches and Christian charities in the UK. KTF: You are an ordained Pentecostal minister, as well as an ordained Anglican minister. Why did you opt for ordination in two very different church traditions? RYA: It was not my original intention, but somehow along the way, as an ordained Pentecostal Pastor in the year 2000, I felt a burden to engage in authentic mission with the UK community. With this in mind, I was clear that I needed to explore ordination within the context of the established Church in the UK. So, for seven years, I served the Church of England Church Mission Society as the Outreach and New Relationship Advisor to over 2000 Anglican churches in the UK and mission outlets across the world. I later became the first Black Trustee/Director of the CMS since its inception in 1799.
KTF: Can you tell me a little bit about your childhood? Where you were born; how many siblings you had, and a little bit about your parents? RYA: I was born and educated in Lagos, Nigeria. I went to the University of Lagos and am the fourth child from a family of five. My late father was a policeman, and died when I was 13. I was brought up by my mother, who is now 86 years old. I owe my life today to my mother, who gave everything as a widow to bring up and educate five children at a younger age. KTF: What role did the Church and Christianity play in your life whilst growing up in Nigeria, and what made you decide to become a Christian? RYA: I was born into religious syncretism. My late father was a Muslim; my mother was then a nominal Christian, who was also a daughter of an African king, where sacrifices and African traditional religion were rife in their animistic faith. I grew up a practitioner of three faiths, until I became a born again Christian at the age of 25. Becoming a Christian was not negotiable in 1987, when a mini revival spread through Nigeria, particularly in Lagos through the ministry of Dr Tunde Joda of Christ Chapel. I was the first to become a Christian in my family, but was faced with serious rejection and opposition. Today, every one of my siblings is an ordained minister of the Gospel. KTF: When did you get your call to ministry, and how did you pursue/how are you pursuing that call? RYA: I was first ordained into ministry in September 1999 as a Pentecostal Pastor. I cannot confirm whether I felt called into ministry then. To me, it was an appointment, and I continued to serve.
Barely two years later, whilst working as the Commercial Manager at the flagship store of Marks and Spencer in Marble Arch, London, I began to feel a sense of dissatisfaction in my life. I felt a sense of higher calling, and took some time away to pray for direction. I resigned and, after a period of conviction and assurance, I began a new journey by first taking a 70% salary drop with the Church Mission Society, and working with people who were totally different from me. I was constantly faced with prejudice, and yet I had a feeling of joy and fulfilment as my world opened into authentic ministry calling. KTF: Black Christians are at the forefront of church growth here in the UK. What steps should Black Christians take to have more impact on the spiritual life of this country? RYA: • Intentional relationship building with the host communities • Sharing ministry strength in the area of prayer, boldness and faith for witnessing, while encouraging and supporting host churches • Engagement in public life and politics to influence godly decisions • Basic theological education to help inform and engage in public witnessing
KTF: In what ways do you help churches to do so? RYA: Through my consulting firm, I help churches and their leaders to identify areas of concerns and establish core areas of development. I also help to signpost them to right relationship, and to networks that will enhance their work and create impact. KTF: What should we expect from Rev Yemi Adedeji in the forthcoming months? RYA: I take every day as God gives grace and opens the door for more opportunities to serve Him through the Church. I am, however, committed to helping churches and leaders engage in authentic integration of purposeful meaning. KTF: And lastly, what message would you like to leave with the Keep the Faith readers? RYA: When God’s blessing stops flowing through you, it stops flowing to you. That’s why you cannot afford not to be generous with your gifts, your talents and your resources. A church vision must be Jesus’ mission. Anything else is self-promotion.
Pastor Yemi with Rev Agu Irukwu, Head of RCCG UK and Dr Rowan Williams, the retired Archbishop of Canterbury
PASTOR PETER NEMBHARD
is a Pastor and Evangelist who loves God, people and himself!
A FEW GOOD MEN Much has been made about the ‘Men Problem’ in society. You can hear about it on Oprah; read about it in TIME magazine, and watch the destruction it creates with Dr Phil. School teachers can barely educate because of this issue; Social Services are inundated because of it; the Police feel the brunt of it; many prisons are full because of it; politicians don’t know what to do about it, and women are stressed out by it. The issue of the lack of good men is having an effect in the Church in a major way. During my time as a church leader, there have been many times when the topic about the lack of men in church has arisen, but is then suppressed, disappears and resurfaces again. However, it would not be far-fetched to say that our churches are not reaching men, or getting men involved in ministry at a high enough rate.
WHY OUR CHURCHES NEED MEN Pastor Peter Nembhard shares his views on why we need more men in the Church, and the steps churches can take to encourage men to follow Jesus
THE DIFFERENCE MEN MAKE When men get saved, it is quite logical that their family will follow and, if they are not married but have children, are likely to be reconciled to them and treat the mother of their children better. And if they get radically saved, they’ll be role models, mentors and fathers to young people, and become leaders, preachers, teachers and play a major role in God’s army.
GETTING MEN INVOLVED Men’s ministry must be one of the most challenging departments in the church. If we are going to involve men, churches @keepthefaithmag
Malachi 4:6, the last verse of the Old Testament, should be regularly prayed as a precursor to revival. Whilst the men from the Windrush Generation are slowing down and dying out, and the pioneers of UK Black churches are declining, there is a ‘Changing of The Guard’. What is going to be the face of the Church in the next 30 years? If we want it to be different, there has to be a focus on reaching men, and developing more effective ministry to men. Having more men praying and interceding is the answer to the last day revival. If you are a man reading this article, join the intercessory team at your church, or start a Men’s ministry intercession team that begins by praying for your pastor and leaders and for men.
THE NEED FOR MEN IN OUR CHURCHES The Church needs men. Our Christian ladies need men, and our children need men. I pastor a church where we have a lot of young people, and more than 70% of them do not have a father who is born again and, furthermore, who is actively fathering them. We have a fatherless generation, many of whom struggle with the concept of love because they feel hate for their fathers. I have personally seen a lot of Black beautiful women grow up in church, waiting for a Christian Black man to come along, only to be left disappointed, frustrated and sometimes very angry when they don’t.
THE IMPACT OF MEN IN CHURCH
To reach men, we must do so beyond church meetings; get away from a whole lot of talk and chat, and connect with them in their everyday lives.
can’t do the ‘soft touch’ approach to ministry; we must create adventure and excitement, and play hard. I believe it’s time for churches to direct some of their resources into Men’s Ministry. To reach men, we must do so beyond church meetings; get away from a whole lot of talk and chat, and connect with them in their everyday lives. Men don’t like too much talk; they like action, and it’s at an action-orientated event that we can reach men with the Gospel and teach them God’s Word. I have been greatly helped in my approach to Men’s ministry by two books: ‘Wild at Heart’ by John Eldredge and ‘Why men hate going to church’ by David Murrow. The latter book helped me to create a church décor more inviting to men, and also empowered me to change my preaching style to appeal to both men and women. We need to get men involved in our churches: teaching the children; singing in the praise and worship team; serving as ushers; mentoring the youth and other men. It’s not an impossible goal to achieve.
We need men on the frontline in the last days. It’s time for the Black men to stand up and be counted; to be men of God, who aren’t motivated by money or women, but rather by a desire to be like Jesus. Our community needs men who are husbands of integrity, and loving fathers who take responsibility for their homes and encourage their children to pray. Every church needs a man who will have the heart of his pastor; the heart for reaching and discipling men, and a man who won’t quit but leads Men’s ministry at his church. I have such a man at my church, thank God! But be prepared to work closely with the pastor at the church for it to work effectively.
Peter Nembhard has been married to Carris for 24 years, and has four children. He serves as the Senior Pastor of ARC in East London. Visit www.arc4u.org.uk for more details
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Men we admire There are lots of great men in our community doing great things, positively impacting lives, and inspiring others in the process. Keep The Faith has compiled a list of men that we admire and respect for the work that they do, and who can serve as great role models to others as to what is achievable when an individual puts God first.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
REV LES ISAAC, OBE In 2003, alongside Rev David Shosanya and PC Ian Crichlow, Rev Les Isaac founded Street Pastors as a response to the gun and knife crime that was plaguing Britain’s urban cities. Rev Isaac now heads Street Pastors, one of the most successful charities to be started by Black Christians here in the UK. Over the years, its remit has broadened, and Street Pastors teams are based in over 250 towns and cities across the UK. And, whilst Street Pastors teams are now more likely to give out flip-flops as opposed to combat gun and knife crime, they are a highly-regarded community service. Aside from running Street Pastors, Rev Isaac also pastors a church in Stockwell; is an in-demand speaker and teacher, and also finds time to mentor young people. The OBE he received last year for his services to the community was well deserved. Visit www.streetpastors.co.uk for more details.
Earlier this year, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu became the first Black South African to win the Templeton Prize – a cash award of £1.1million, which is given to someone who provides new insight into the realm of the spirit. Tutu, formerly the Archbishop of Johannesburg played a major role in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, and helped to focus global attention on the issue. After Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, and became South Africa’s first President to be elected by all its citizens, Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to uncover some of the atrocities that were committed under the apartheid regime. Although Archbishop Tutu retired from public life in 2010, he still travels the world sharing a message of peace, justice, love and courage. Visit www.tutu.org for more details.
BISHOP WILTON POWELL Since 2000, Bishop Wilton Powell has been serving as National Overseer of the Church of God of Prophecy, one of Britain’s oldest Black Pentecostal denominations. He is a church leader who is not satisfied with solely providing spiritual leadership; he’s also greatly interested in leading a church that serves the community. Initiatives that have come to fruition with the aid of the COGOP include educational charity, Excell3, which seeks to raise academic achievement amongst Black boys and disadvantaged people groups; the Nehemiah Housing, which provides low-cost housing for the elderly and vulnerable groups, and RAFA, an overseas development agency. Although Bishop Powell experienced a heart attack earlier this year, he is expected to be at the forefront of the COGOP’s 60th anniversary celebrations taking place in July at the Bethel Convention Centre, West Midlands. Visit www.cogop.org.uk for more details.
BISHOP DEREK WEBLEY An ordained minister within the New Testament Church of God, Bishop Webley made history when he became the first Black person to serve as Chairman at the West Midlands Police Authority, when he was appointed in 2009. He stepped down in an attempt to become the region’s first elected Police and Crime Commissioner and, although he never won the elections, the respect in which he is held increased 10-fold. He leads the NTCG Handsworth, and is District Overseer of the Birmingham and Solihull district. Visit www.derekwebley.co.uk for more details.
SETH PINNOCK Aged just 23, Architecture graduate, Seth Pinnock, is creating a movement. His annual July conference, Midnight Oil, is one of most well-known non-denominational youth gatherings here in the UK. It brings together over 2,000 young people from across the country, so that they can be spiritually encouraged, empowered and equipped to make a practical difference in their communities. Seth was recently appointed as Regional Director for the Eden Trust, alongside a new role as Regional Ambassador for international charity, Compassion UK. This year’s Midnight Oil will feature a live album recording at Birmingham’s world famous Symphony Hall; flash mobs in the street; a young leaders’ breakfast, and much more. Visit www.godsbride.org.uk for more details.
MUYIWA This is a man who wears a number of hats: he is Station Director of Premier Gospel, and presents a radio show on sister station, Premier Radio; and also hosts popular Christian TV show, Turning Point. He has also blazed a trail for UK gospel artists by demonstrating that it’s possible to experience success and build a fully-fledged music ministry. He has experienced a number of firsts. These include being the first UK gospel artist to appear on BET’s Celebration of Gospel, being the first UK gospel artist to sell out the Apollo Hammersmith, and becoming the first UK gospel artist to be signed by the Food for the Hungry charity. He is now in talks to embark on a UK/US tour with a major US gospel artist to promote the Charity. Visit www.riversongz.com for more details.
BISHOP TD JAKES He is a world famous church leader, who has touched the world via media. He leads world famous mega church, The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, which broadcasts its services to the world, and runs numerous community projects that help the vulnerable, disadvantaged and emotionally broken. TD Jakes also hosts conferences attended by Christians across the world, including Megafest, which brings together over 50,000 believers. This year, it will take place in Dallas in August. Bishop Jakes is also one of the few church leaders to experience success, not just as a preacher, but also as an author, motivational speaker, film producer and adviser to athletes, business executives and US Presidents. He is also due to start a show on BET this autumn, entitled Body and Soul. Visit www.tdjakes.com for more details.
DENZEL WASHINGTON What can I say about this award-winning actor, producer and director, Denzel Washington, that has not been said? Not only is he handsome and an award-winning actor, he is also a Christian who has openly spoken about his faith and the role it plays in his life. He is the recipient of not one but two Oscar Awards, and has appeared in critically-acclaimed films that reflect leading Black historical figures, as well as movies that have served up great entertainment. Real-life characters Denzil has depicted on the silver screen include Steve Biko, Frank Lucas and Malcolm X, and has scored box office success in numerous films, including Training Day, American Gangster, Mo Better Blues, Philadelphia and The Preacher’s Wife. Visit www.facebook.com/pages/ Denzel-Washington/ for more details.
26 FEATURE The order of God In the order of God, man was placed as the head of the human family. God created Adam, and then gave him the authority to name the animals. Adam also named Eve, the woman created from his rib. God made a covenant with three men: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; every head of the 12 tribes of Israel were men, and Jesus’ 12 disciples were all men. This was because, in the order of God, men have a specific role and function. I call this Man Power!
is an award-winning speaker, preacher and entrepreneur
Man Power is in your mouth
Malachi Talabi writes about Man’s power to influence lives and destinies through their words, and calls on men to speak words of affirmation to people they come into contact with more often
f you were a member of my secondary school, you would have heard many cursing matches. Children would shout out, “You’re so ugly, the mirror breaks when you look into it!” or “Your dad is so dumb, he drove into a parked car!” But if they said anything about a student’s mum, a fight would break loose! I can’t explain why children were more sensitive to words about their mothers than their fathers; it always bothered me, but as I got older, I noticed that Father’s Day was just another day, but when it was Mother’s Day, the whole world would stop! I put it down to the fact that it was the mother who carried the baby for nine months and, as a result, built a special bond with her child. I believed this to be true, until I started working with young people, and the majority of the badly-behaved children would say, “I don’t know my dad. I only see him once in a while.” As a result, I realised that children and society were missing a crucial component that I call ‘Man Power’.
‘Man Power’ defined Man Power is the ability to speak revelation and affirmation into individuals, to help them live and fulfil their prophetic destiny. Some biblical examples would include Jacob who, before he died, called his sons and spoke prophetically about their destiny. He described them spiritually, and told them what they would do, and what they were called to be. Before Jesus was baptised by John @keepthefaithmag
the Baptist, He heard the voice of God, His Father, affirming Him saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” For an individual to walk in their true identity and God-given purpose, they need revelation and affirmation. It was God’s plan for men to fulfil this function! This doesn’t make men more significant than women; it just means they have a different function.
An attack on Man Power The enemy understands Man Power, and that is why his main plan is not to try to tempt the men into sin. His main plan is to shut men up and send them into hiding! We see this in Genesis. The first time we see Adam, he is speaking! He’s naming the animals, and using the dominion and authority God granted him, but the next time we see him, he’s hiding! After eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and his wife, Eve, hide from God. Adam became silent and went into hiding, like a lot of men in today’s society. The enemy doesn’t want men speaking, because he understands the power that men have when they open their mouths and speak words of positive affirmation. Could it be that so many of our young men, who are in prison, unemployed, or strung out on drugs, are where they are because they had no one speak the positive, life-affirming words that only a man could speak into their lives? When men are silent, society suffers.
Open your mouth If you are a man and you are reading this, I encourage you to come out of hiding! Society needs you! I work in a school, and there are so many fatherless children! But even worse, there are children who have fathers who are not using their Man Power! They are not speaking revelation and affirmation into the lives of their children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, as well as neighbours and friends. Nelson Mandela used his Man Power to transform South Africa, and became South Africa’s first Black President. Martin Luther King Jr used his Man Power and helped transform America’s racist society, just by saying a few powerful words that still ring true today: “I have a dream.” Barack Obama, America’s first Black President, used Man Power when he said, “Yes, we can.” You may not be a preacher, a president or a politician, but you have Man Power. You have the ability to use words to impact the world.
MESSAGE TO MEN: YOUR WORDS ARE POWERFUL!
Words aren’t just sounds; they are spiritual grenades. God created the world with words, and you can create your world and the world of others with your words and, if you are a man, it is a part of your assignment!
For an individual to walk in their true identity and Godgiven purpose, they need revelation and affirmation. It was God’s plan for men to fulfil this function!
From today onwards, use your Man Power. See people from God’s perspective, and speak what you see; affirm those around you; give that word of comfort or advice. It’s part of your destiny to speak things into existence and, when you decide to use Man Power, you are healing the wounds in the identity of many. You don’t need to be a biological father to have spiritual children! You don’t need to be a prophet to use Man Power. Just go out there, and use your words to change the world. It is a part of your divine assignment to speak revelation and affirmation to those around you, so start using your Man Power today.
Malachi’s latest book, ‘The Book of Talabisms: 150 thoughts, phrases and quotes for speakers, preachers and entrepreneurs’, is available from www.malachitalabi.com
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The legacy of the
Windrush Generation This June marks the 65th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush in Britain, which heralded the start of Caribbean migration to the UK. Dr Anthony Reddie explores the social and spiritual legacy of the Windrush Generation
DR ANTHONY REDDIE is editor of ‘Black Theology: An International Journal’ and author of ‘SCM Core Text: Black Theology’, SCM Press, 2012.
ne of the most seismic social, political and cultural events to have occurred in contemporary British history commenced on 22nd June 1948. This date marked the arrival of 492 Caribbean people at Tilbury Dock on the SS Empire Windrush. These British subjects were travelling from the disparate islands of the Caribbean, and began what was to be seen as a mass migratory movement that reached its peak in 1961, when approximately 74,590 entered this country from the Caribbean. 1961 is significant, for it was one year prior to the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, which greatly limited Black immigration from the Caribbean to Britain. Across an approximately 20-year period, somewhere in the region of 500,000 people made their way to the UK from the Caribbean. Among that number were Lucille Walker and Noel Reddie, who came from Jamaica and were married in August 1962. They are my parents. One of the enduring legacies of the ‘Windrush Generation’ was the Christian faith they brought with them. Part of that legacy has been the development of Black-led and Black Majority Churches. These predominantly ‘Black churches’ can be understood in two forms. The first category is comprised of Black-led Pentecostal churches. These churches were, for the most part, offshoots of predominantly White Pentecostal denominations
in the southern states of the US. These churches were first planted in the UK in the early 1950s. The largest and most established of these churches are the New Testament Church of God, the Church of God of Prophecy and New Testament Assembly. The second strand is Black Majority churches in White historic denominations. These churches are demographically determined, as their Black majority membership has grown out of Black migrants moving into inner city, urban contexts, coupled with the White flight of the middle-class. It can be argued that the Black Church is the institution that has affirmed and conferred dignity upon Black people in a wider context, where racialised oppression has been all too prevalent. To put it quite simply, Black folk in the African Diaspora may not have survived up to this point, had it not been for their God-inspired genius for creating churches in which they could seek refuge from the ravages of racism and White supremacy.
In the Christian liturgical year, we are presently in the season of Pentecost. In Acts 2:1-47, we see a depressed, frightened and dispirited group of individuals, transformed by the Spirit of God into a forceful, dynamic and vibrant community. Throughout the long, turbulent struggles of Black people, particularly on our Diasporan journeys, we have been sustained, strengthened and transformed by the dynamic power of God, manifested in the form of the Holy Spirit. The legacy of the Windrush has been a visionary faith of the spirit in which these faithful people have had visions and dreamt dreams of a
better life in the UK. The rise and success of Black Christianity in Britain has reminded us of the dreams and visions of Pentecost that show us that God is bigger and beyond the inherent racism, prejudice and discrimination that have bedevilled Black people living on this island across the past 60 years. Windrush has changed the UK. It has shown what generous, non-racist Christianity ‘from below’ looks like. When many Black people travelled to the UK in the post-war Second World War migration of the 1950s and 1960s, where was the outpouring of love for one another, upon their arrival in post-war Britain, as depicted in John 13:34-35? The Pentecost faith of the Windrush Generation has questioned the alleged nature of so-called White, British Christianity. Some of the older Black Christians of the Windrush Generation have wondered whether many ‘good White English Christians’ had ever read and understood this passage at all, given the treatment they had experienced from British society. The legacy of faith of the Windrush Generation is a reminder to their descendants of the need to practise a generous form of Christianity that seeks to love God by loving one’s neighbour, especially when that person is not like you. Image credits: Below left, Empire Windrush with the Jamaican immigrants en masse being welcomed June 22nd, 1948. TopFoto. Below right, 17th July 1936: A group of young children leaving the Friend’s House in Euston Road for an outing to Epsom Downs, organised by the Society of Friends, the League of Coloured People and the Coloured Men’s Institute. Photo by Ward/ Fox Photos/Getty Images. Main right, At 7 a.m. today a ship the Empire Windrush berthed at Tilbury with 417 “Sons of the Empire” on board. TopFoto
22nd June 1948: The ex-troopship ‘Empire Windrush’ arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images
‘One of the enduring legacies of the ‘Windrush Generation’ was the Christian faith they brought with them.’
BREAKING THE CHAINS
Pastor Alton Bell explores how slavery continues to impact Black people’s lives, and what steps can be taken to counter its negative and detrimental effect
PASTOR ALTON BELL is a church leader, and explores the themes raised in this article in his book, ‘Breaking the Chains of Mental Slavery’.
ave you ever wondered where the anger and rage, exhibited by some of our young men in the UK, emanate from? Have you ever thought why is it, that a large proportion of our Black men think that it is OK to have children with multiple women? Does the fact that so many of our young women are single parents bother you? What about the Strong Black Woman syndrome; do you suffer from it? Additionally, why does the Black Church continue to ignore the ongoing impact of slavery, particularly on Christians? Such behaviours have not appeared out of a vacuum; I would argue that they are a direct legacy of Black enslavement. During the extended period of African slavery, Black people were encouraged to believe that “Black” was bad and “White” was good, to such an extent that Black Christians still have paintings of a White Christ at home or in their churches. They think nothing about singing hymns using the metaphor ‘washing us whiter than snow’ or describing sin as ‘black’. Yet, God created Black people in His image! He created us this colour for a reason, and we are to celebrate this, but many still appear to be ashamed of their how they look, and are happy to bleach their skin; have plastic surgery on their faces, or straighten their hair; basically, doing everything to make themselves look dissimilar to the way they were born. We continue to view Black as inferior and White as
superior, not trusting in anything that Black people do, unless a White person validates it. Sadly, far too many Black folks still exhibit what Marcus Garvey called the ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality, which manifests itself in self-loathing and a near-hatred for anything Black. One of the ravages of the enslavement of Africans as chattel was the near destruction of the family unit, and the severing of most of our links with the past1. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 18332, however, prior to this, Black males were used as studs to create offspring to increase the workforce, and to help swell their burgeoning coffers. There was little regard for their humanity or for the ‘links’ they had with their progeny. This was a deliberate ploy to destroy the family unit and create a ‘disconnect’ with their past. This methodology emasculated the male and, by default, created the strong Black woman. Subsequently, today our boys have no concept of a ‘rite of passage’, and there is a real distrust between Black men and women. The fact that over 100 million Black people live in the West is largely a result of slavery. In 2007, Britain marked the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, which was a seminal moment in all our collective histories, offering a chance to remember an extended event that changed history forever. It was particularly important for the Church, since Christianity played an important role in both enslavement and freedom. But, while practically every British institution chose to mark this anniversary, the Black Church remained silent on the subject, with only the NTA in London and the NTCOG and COGP in Birmingham marking it. Unfortunately, most Black Christians know very little about their faith’s role in slavery and abolition, and this has made them susceptible to those who peddle half-truths and downright lies.
Subsequently, we are always on the defensive when we speak to those of other faiths, who are keen to denounce Christianity as the “slave master’s” religion. As Black Christians, we still struggle to engage with a history that told us our lives were cheap, and that we were movable property. And if you don’t value your own life, you will not value others. This lack of value is visible on our streets, as our young people are killing each other every day and very little is done about it. I wonder if this happened in the ‘White community’ if there would be real action? I would argue that there was something fundamentally evil about African enslavement. It took men and women, made in the image of God and, through religion, science and philosophy, sought to reduce them to the level of animals. There remains something quite negative in the psyche of too many of us, which says we are not good enough. I believe only deliverance can reverse what I would describe as the ‘curse’ of slavery3.
What is Deliverance? It is a process that sets people free from the mindset that dictates short-termism, working against each other (the ‘crab in the barrel’ mentality), and procreating without taking responsibility. It is the means of getting people to understand their cultural, spiritual and economic heritage. If we believe that the truth sets us free, we need to engage with our history - warts and all - and confront issues that still affect far too many Black people. How do we start the process? Here are the first three steps: 1. We need to make Jesus Lord of all areas of our lives. 2. Forgive all the countries involved in the slave trade. 3. Find out as much as you can about your ancestry, to deal with generational issues. This freedom is not about hating anyone, but about loving ourselves as people of God, made in his His image. 1. See Fredrick Douglass, His Life and Times, Boston: De Wolfe & Fiske Co., 1892.
Parliament ratified the abolition of the slave trade in 1838 after its abolition 1833. During this time, the soon-to-be ex-slaves were required to serve a five-year apprenticeship whilst their masters received £10m in compensation for loss of earnings.
See my book, ‘Breaking the Chains of Mental Slavery’ Chalfont St Peter: A&M Publishing, 2013.
For more details on ‘Breaking the Chains of Mental Slavery’ visit www.hdr-ministries.co.uk
WOMEN AS INSTRUMENTS OF PEACE Dionne Gravesande draws attention to the role women play as peacemakers during periods of conflict, and says the Church should recognise women for the work they do in this important area
is Head of Church Advocacy at Christian Aid
So powerful was MARWOPNET’s voice, that it was invited to the sponsored peace talks on Liberia, and was later asked to be one of the signatories to the peace agreement. Women, as torchbearers of peace, are making a difference in hotspots of every region of the world. Palestinian and Israeli women have joined forces, and work together as advocates for peace in the Holy Land. Women’s Peace Caravans venture into the most treacherous conflict-ridden interiors of Colombia to protest against the civil war and to negotiate with the guerrillas. Throwing themselves into peace processes with enormous courage and determination, women of faith through their often unseen and unsung work are bringing peace to many troubled countries.
’m a little fed up reading how women today do not know how to enjoy thriving, intimate relationships. In what could be an area of great strength is, instead, an area of weakness. Of course, I acknowledge some Christian women often feel isolated, misunderstood, belittled, and rejected, and I do not want to deny some friendships and family relationships are frequently marked by ongoing conflicts and a flight mentality. But there is another story to tell. So, while the plight of women in war and conflict often gets close media attention, what is often overlooked is the vital role played by women in negotiating peace and rebuilding communities. The reality, often glossed over, is that in post-conflict situations women are in the forefront when it comes to negotiating and building peace. As former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan pointed out, “Women, who know the price of conflict so well, are also better equipped than men to prevent or resolve it.” For example, since August 1999, Mothers Against Violence (MAV) have supported the inner city communities of Greater Manchester. It was birthed at a time when gun violence was at its worst, after three young Black males were murdered in the space of eight days. The mothers of that community took a stand, and came out fighting - not with guns, but with words of hope. It is with this same hope that MAV now serves the community. For generations, women have served as peace educators. They have proved instrumental in “building bridges rather than walls”, and there are many stories that remain to be told about women from all walks of life, who are making a quantum leap from lives in the private sphere to leading the way in reshaping their societies. At the peak of the 2007 crisis in Liberia, women of the Mano River region (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone) came together to form the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET).
Peace does not mean absence of war. Peace is building relationships that will bring about diversity and economic growth among people.
In fact, women enjoy a special role in biblical peacemaking, due to their strong relational and verbal skills. The Scriptures are rich with examples of godly and wise women brokering peace. Consider a brief snapshot from the life of Abigail (1 Samuel 25). She married a man, who jeopardised the safety of their entire household. However, Abigail’s intelligence and fear of the Lord empowered her to exercise good judgment in the most harrowing of circumstances. We learn Abigail did what was right before God, despite the personal cost, and her appeal to King David demonstrates wise, interest-based negotiation at its finest. She knew when to overlook and when
to confront; how to make a respectful appeal, and when to remain silent. Though obviously intelligent and gifted, she did not promote her own agenda, but considered the welfare of others. For me, this is spiritual maturity at its best. As you consider your own life - or the life of your wife, daughter, mother or friend - you may wonder how the Christian women of today can relate to women such as Abigail. After all, most women will not be called upon to negotiate with a king bent on destroying her family. However, just like this biblical heroine, all women of God are called to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). It is important for me to say that peace does not mean absence of war. Peace is building relationships that will bring about diversity and economic growth among people, since no family or community can develop and grow if peace is not established. Peace is associated with patience, utterances, understanding, sympathy, apologies, love, togetherness, unity, good behaviour, reconciliation, trust, tolerance, forgiveness, advice, happiness, dialogue, respect, negotiation, justice and truth. The fact that many women are natural peacemakers needs to be better acknowledged by the Church. Too often, the woman’s role is played out as passive and behind the scenes. The reality is that, where there is relationship, there will be conflict, but the goal is to live out the call to be peacemakers. Since Christianity is at its core relational, the deep and abundant relationships developed by women clearly reflect the Kingdom of God. Simply stated, apart from God Himself, there will only be two things in eternity: God’s Word and God’s people, living in relationship with Him. This reality should serve as a wake-up call to every Christian - we must strive diligently and faithfully to have God-honouring relationships in this life. So let us, for the love of Christ, keep on keeping the peace.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Rev David Shosanya examines the factors that may have contributed to the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, and says the Church must provide disenfranchised young people with tools that help them counter the negativity they experience
REV DAVID SHOSANYA
is a Regional Minister & Director with the London Baptist Association
ny commentary on the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby should appropriately be precipitated with a sense of condolences for the sad and tragic loss of a life and the pain of a family. I add my expression of sympathy to the many voices that have expressed deep regret at this unspeakable occurrence. The motivation of his killers is complex and multifaceted. However, we have been given clues. In seeking to explain their actions, one of the attackers made reference to Allah; British soldiers in foreign lands, and a sense of solidarity with Islamic states that practise Sharia law. Given these facts, it is reasonable to conclude that their actions were, at least partly, if not substantially, motivated by religious, socio-political and identity narratives. Acknowledging this is important, in that it offers an insight into the nature and character of the psychology that leads to such unspeakable acts. Perhaps one of the most pressing questions is how we help young people to negotiate the intersection between faith, socio-political realities and personal experience. It is possible that the malaise that exists - and our ability or inability to empower young people to manage each of these independent and linked powerful motivators of human behaviour - may determine whether we see such an evil act of violence again. Making sense of the presence of evil in the human experience is a subject that individuals have wrestled with since the beginning of time. Philosophers refer to the exploration of the problem of evil as ‘theodicy’. The argument goes something like this: if God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good, why is there evil in the world, and why doesn’t He prevent it from occurring? It’s an argument that seeks to set out the inherent logical contradiction in the assertion that God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good. The argument can get technical, as one could imagine. The point here is not to rehearse arguments and counter-arguments, but to highlight that the reference to God, associated with this act of violence, can raise questions about the nature of God. I understand and appreciate
that. However, the central assertion of the most powerful and coherent responses that I have read that seek to address the apparent contradiction of the existence of God centre around an understanding and appreciation of human free will. Accepting that all humans have free will means that we replace the question of whether God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good with a question about human beings, which goes something like this: ‘Why is it that individuals carry out such acts of atrocity?’ The question is important in that it reframes the debate away from being a discussion about the existence and nature of God, and correctly locates the enquiry between tensions about religious beliefs, worldviews and personal experiences, and asks interrogating questions about how human relationships are negotiated in contested spaces, particularly when an individual or group of individuals feel disenfranchised and structurally or socially marginalised in comparison to the other. This approach may appear to pander to what some might consider to be the unfounded complaints or protestations of senseless extremists. However, it might equally be considered to be one of a number of ways to wrestle with the real-life circumstances that lead individuals to feel a sense of powerlessness. Such individuals may find themselves looking for enfranchising religious and political discourses that create a strong sense of identity. This may lead them to arrive at a place, where their lives - and those of others - are wilfully and senselessly sacrificed as a consequence of extreme beliefs and actions that find their genesis in social realities, which they might otherwise have been able to manage, had they been able to seek help to do so. The easiest thing to do is to demonise the rhetoric and actions of the perpetrators of such acts, without asking ourselves whether it is possible
to understand - not sympathise or condone - the social, psychological, emotional and religious impulses that bring an individual to a place where it is thought to be rational, even righteous according to a prescribed religious code, to cold-bloodedly take the life of another human being. We will do well to remember that extremist rhetoric provides disenfranchised individuals and communities with what appears - to them - to be a coherent narrative, which simultaneously allows them to embrace, retain and promote a religious worldview that legitimises acts of violence and inspires racial hatred. Whether we like it or not, the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby has redrawn the fault lines of race relations in the UK. The forward trajectory is frightening! Normally repressed and censored points of views and emotions - about who does or does not belong, or who is or is not an integral part of British society - are re-emerging in unhealthy and unhelpful ways. In a very real way, the feelings of many individuals, who would identify themselves as British or English, mirror the same or similar sentiments as those prone to religious and political extremism; while they may not be motivated by formal religion, there is often a civic expression of religion that informs their rhetoric. Similarly, their analysis of social realities as they view them often impinges negatively on their sense of national and personal identity. Lastly, it is worth noting that Lee Rigby’s attackers were once adherents of the Christian faith! This raises serious concerns about whether or not some Black young people are increasingly viewing the Christian Gospel as incapable of providing a coherent narrative that adequately equips them to navigate daily experiences. We must rise to the challenge of providing young people with the practical tools needed to synchronise every aspect of their lives - NOW! www.keepthefaith.co.uk
IMMIGRATION: SINGING A STRANGE SONG IN A STRANGE LAND Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts looks at the UK’s changing attitude to immigration, and calls on the Church to be a safe haven for foreigners who come to Britain to build a new life
is the Racial Justice Co-ordinator for the Baptist Union of Great Britain
noch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech delivered in April 1968, in which he severely criticised immigration from Commonwealth nations - sent shock waves around the country. Many Conservatives, despite their endorsement of it, were deeply concerned about its impact on their Party’s image. It was no surprise, then, that Party members distanced themselves from him, forcing his resignation. Some years later, another Conservative - David Cameron - delivered a speech, which also challenged immigration policy. He insisted that certain benefits would be restricted to people who have lived in the UK for several years, or who could prove their entitlement to state funding. He unveiled a crackdown - with hospitals ordered to charge foreign visitors, and those from outside the EU, needing health insurance before being given visas. Immigrants would also have to wait at least two years (and possibly five) before they could get social housing. Last year, 32,000 of the 360,000 available council homes went to foreigners, so we are told. The 60s and early 21st century social and economic contexts are similar. Marred by economic depression, skilled jobs were at a premium, employment low, international trade wavering and foreigners increasing in numbers. Then, as now, immigrants became the ‘fall guys’, blamed for taking jobs and housing, and for peddling crime. History is repeating itself. Libraries, Start programmes and parenting schemes have closed - or are at risk of closing - due, apparently, to the rising numbers of immigrants. It is for this reason that draconian measures are being put in place to discourage large numbers of Bulgarians, Romanians and other immigrants from entering into the UK. Labour, when in power, assumed a more relaxed and hospitable approach towards immigrants, believing that Britain’s economy would blossom as a result. They increased the number of work permits issued to migrants wishing to come to Britain. In 1947, 40,000 work permits were issued - three times as many @keepthefaithmag
were issued in 2008. Labour’s predictions were right; the wealth of the country got stronger. This was made even more obvious for me during a meal with friends. The conversation went something like this: “The Polish and other Eastern Europeans should go back to their countries. The National Health Service is suffering because of them; Black and White people cannot find jobs anymore, and the benefit system is imploding. They need to leave our country, so that our economy can recover and be made good again.” I looked at my friend, perplexed, and thought, ‘Is she oblivious to her own colour - Black? Has she forgotten her history - Windrush? Did the experience of her parents as first-generation Caribbeans not teach her that xenophobia hurts really badly and leaves a lasting legacy? Obviously not!’
poor’. He maintains that God champions and defends the poor, and that justice is who God is. Indeed, he is right; throughout the Old Testament, God demonstrated His commitment to the poor and underprivileged. The Exodus paradigm is a fine example of God’s defence of the exploited - God’s ancient people, immigrants in Egypt, used by their slave owners, but protected by their God. I am of the opinion that Christians need to do the same. This can be done by developing a theology that is contextual. By this, I mean culture - the reality of the human story, such as oppression and marginalisation - informing and shaping our faith and praxis. The likes of Sam Sharpe, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Christ were theologians who contextualised ‘God talking’ by liberating the poor. Churches can then advocate on behalf of those whose voices are infrequently heard, such as immigrants. Writing letters to councillors, MPs, government ministers and so forth can make a difference.
REV WALE HUDSON-ROBERTS
Africans and Caribbeans… agreeing with Cameron’s rhetoric, do well to remember that it was not long ago that their own parents were also criticised for taking jobs from people in the host country.
I do agree that immigration has to be carefully managed, but to suggest, as my friend did, that Eastern Europeans and non-EU citizens should not set up home in the UK, search for work, and make a decent living for themselves and their families, strikes me as a little hypocritical. Africans and Caribbeans, criticising the generation of newcomers and agreeing with Cameron’s rhetoric, do well to remember that it was not long ago that their own parents were also criticised for taking jobs from people in the host country - their presence contributing to the UK’s precarious economy. How easy it is for the oppressed to conveniently forget their history and become the oppressor! This is not a biblical approach, according to Latin American theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez, who believes in ‘God’s preferential option for the
Suffering has a way of making the sufferer empathetic towards others who are suffering, and concerned for their needs - or at least it should. This should mean that the Africans and Caribbeans - not born here, still struggling with British traditions and cultures who, despite having lived here for many years, continue to sing a strange song in a strange land - should know how other foreigners feel. Vulnerable, lost and strange are just some of the descriptions that come to mind. Having been in a strange land and, for plenty of others, still in a strange land, our homes and churches should easily be hospitable places that embody love and hospitality for the ‘other.’ Our churches should not be judgmental, but be places of refuge and peace for those on a quest for belonging and identity, and our homes should be fully embracing those who continue to sing a strange song in a strange land.
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NOT BY BREAD ALONE - WORDS MATTER, TOO! Bishop Dr Joe Aldred talks about the power of the written word, and shares why Black Christians in the UK should write down, as well as verbally articulate, their experiences
BISHOP DR JOE ALDRED
is a published author and editor of several books including ‘Thinking outside the box - on race, faith and life’.
ifferentiating between the transient and the enduring is a real challenge in a fast food culture, where instant gratification rules OK. As the saying goes, if it feels good do it. Put differently, irrespective of how valuable ‘it’ is, if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. The challenge we often face is ascribing appropriate values to things of relative value. In the biblical account of the wilderness temptations of Jesus, we find the immortal words: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). Literal bread, with a short shelf-life, is being contrasted with something more substantial and enduring – the Word of God. Even in a context where literal bread was needed, spiritual bread took precedence. The cost of literal bread - complying with a malevolent power - would, in the long term, prove destructive. Food is essential to life, but not food alone. We humans tend to be at our differentiating best when asked to choose between extremes like right and wrong, but find it more difficult to choose between better and best. Yet we know that not everything is a matter of black and white, right and wrong. Often, grey is the predominant colour, with choices to make. Such is the case when we think of oral and literary traditions and cultures. Humankind was oral long before we were literate. People learned to memorise in order to perpetuate, and developed rhythmic life patterns
to aid memory. Much of what we have as biblical narratives in Old and New Testaments bear this out, and were first transmitted and perpetuated orally. In the Jewish tradition, ancient rabbis were required to memorise huge sections of the Old Testament, and Muslims and imams are noted for memorising large portions of the Qur’an. And I recall as a Sunday School pupil memorising Golden Texts every week. I am fascinated by the origins of writing. The earliest writing is thought to have been invented in ancient Sumer and Egypt around 3200 BC. After that, written languages spread to Mesoamerica and China, and right up to the modern times in all its complexities. The Babelisation of language means that today, according to the Linguistic Society of America, there are about 6,800 distinct languages in the world, and they come to us almost always first spoken before developing in written form. When the Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk, was instructed to write down the revelation he had received from God and make it plain on tablets, so that a herald may run with it (Habakkuk 2:2), it was recognition, if any were needed, that while orality has its place, if you truly want to proliferate a cause, then write it down. And, in an age of mass printing, the written word can take on a life all of its own, covering the world as the waters cover the sea. Which brings me to my final point, of why I am so zealous about writing. I have a suspicion that the Black community, including the churches that serve it, in Britain since the Windrush has been so preoccupied with survival (bread), that we have neglected the pen. Thankfully, the picture is changing, for the danger is that, in a literate world, if a community does not self-articulate, others will study and write about it in their own
“If you want to leave your thoughts, your history, your philosophy to posterity, write it down, so that present and future generations can run with it.”
words and for their own purposes. It has been said that until the lions tell their tales, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. Of course, some proudly declare that White people come from literary cultures, while Black people come from oral cultures. Really? What kinds of people do we think hail from Sumer and Egypt? But we don’t have to choose between literary and oral - both are necessary and exist cheek by jowl. However, if you want to leave your thoughts, your history, your philosophy to posterity, write it down, so that present and future generations can run with it, ie. learn from it and propagate it. After years of not writing enough, Black Christians in Britain have taken to the pen since the 1990s, and not before time. My new book, ‘Thinking outside the box – on race, faith and life’ (my sixth book), is the latest in an increasing corpus emerging from the context of Black British Christianity. And I am driven by the knowledge that, since language emerged, God has seen fit to use it to communicate with humanity. God shows divine commitment to communicate in the Incarnation, where the eternal Logos put on flesh and lived among us. But alongside this divine self-revelation has come a canon of Scripture written over thousands of years by various human instruments, so that today we can speak not just of the living Word, but also the written Word of God. For a people made in God’s image, we too should continue the tradition of writing down our revelation, so that everyone may learn about what God has enabled us to become. Oh the power of the written word!
‘Thinking outside the box – on race, faith and life’, is published by Hansib Publications (£10.00). Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
REV STEPHEN BROOKS is National Development Manager for Excell 3
he nature of Christian worship is such that it does not require any formal setting; the only criteria is the minimum attendance of two people (Mathew 18:20). Neither does it centre on an object or an image that has to be protected or reverenced. The Christians of the First Century chose their homes as the location for worship. The question is what the 21st Century Christians should choose as their preferred place of worship: a dining room, a conference centre, an open field, an industrial estate or a live broadcast over the Internet? Whilst researching this article, I attended a Family Worship Centre Media Church, who tune in to the services at Family Worship Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hosted by Jimmy Swaggart. On arrival at the mid-terraced property, I was warmly welcomed by the host, and invited to join the other five members of the house congregation, sitting on voluptuous white leather sofas. In front of me, there was a ten foot screen, displaying a live broadcast of Jimmy Swaggart’s Easter Camp Meeting service. It was interesting to hear that the ministry does not have numerous church venues, but one central worship centre in the USA, avoiding the mega-church structure which is so impersonal, voyeuristic, and where members seemingly participate anonymously. Alternatively, what I was experiencing was a home-based cell church, within the mega-church structure. The way the home group participated in the onscreen broadcast, with the help of the surround sound, tinted lights, large screen, and responding to the service with applause, singing and corporate praise, created a real church atmosphere. Just like the Alpha Course at the end of the service, there was corporate prayer and refreshments that provided the context for conversation, and an opportunity for the testimony of one’s faith. It is not without coincidence that Jesus was known as a ‘glutton and drunkard’, as one who could often be found at a party, around a table with tax collectors and sinners. In fact, He seems to have been in such places much more than He was in the synagogues.
Is the online church taking over real-time worship? Rev Stephen Brooks explores the growing trend amongst Christians to ‘attend’ on-line services, and argues that they should supplement, not replace, real-time engagement in church A common misunderstanding about attending church within a formal setting is that it should somehow make us better people. It is not the action of going to church, but the encounter with God and with others that changes our lives for the better. Most people who go to church do not understand this and, as a result, do not seek to have life-changing experiences through worship and church activities. Many churches have begun to broadcast their worship services live on the Internet, and have expanded their following with a virtual crowd. The mentality of many who ‘go to church’ from their home and watch the service on a screen in isolation is that their presence doesn’t matter. This attitude underestimates one’s significance and the power of the Spirit of God residing within them, when you believe staying home is just as good as going to church. One will miss what God wants to do through you and for you when you stay home. There are three spiritual pillars necessary to have a strong Christian life: personal prayer, Bible study and fellowship with believers. The Bible says that believers must not keep apart from other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25). It is true that we are influenced
and become like the people we associate with. Also, by getting together, common beliefs are affirmed, and ways to overcome problems are shared. A significant number of Christians are tempted to allow these technologies to serve as a substitute for participation in a local church. This can be a dangerous practice for less mature Christians, as they are more vulnerable to false teaching, particularly at a time when, according to the Office of National Statistics’ latest figures (2011), 82.9% of all adults in the UK have used the Internet, including nearly 80% of those aged between 55 and 64, so we are not looking at the exclusive realm of the young. Believers need the accountability found only within the local church. We need to hear sermons preached by flesh-and-blood preachers in the real-time experience of Christian worship. The limitations of the digital preacher and technology become evident when the church is most needed at times of personal celebration or grief. It may be true that lots of people live in the digital world, but don’t forget we all live in the real flesh-and-blood world. Many of us need to recognise that the Church has changed, and nobody has told us! The principles are the same, but the methods are in a state of flux! Churches with an online community have another opportunity for mission. It shouldn’t replace church attendance, but supplement it. It enables ministers to reach out, more frequently, to those who are physically unable to participate in church services.
The limitations of the digital preacher and technology become evident when the church is most needed at times of personal celebration or grief.
For more information about Excell3, visit www.excell3.com
38 INSPIRATION You can follow Esther on Twitter: @mew36
is an International Development Journalist
It’s never too late to achieve your God-given dream If you feel life has stopped you from fulfilling your goals, Esther Williams reminds us they can still be achieved. God is just making sure the timing is right
hen you’ve been a Christian for as long as I have, there are certain phrases that you hear repeatedly. Things like: ‘Never give up’, ‘It’s not over ’til it’s over’; ‘Don’t quit’ and - my favourite of all – ‘If the dream’s big enough, the facts don’t count.’ I love that statement! However, it’s so easy to become familiar with these catchphrases, and even start to dismiss them as clichés. But they are not clichés; they are truth. It is crucial for us to understand that the devil will use any tactic possible to distract or divert us from fulfilling destiny. Even our own perception of what success is, or should look like, and our personal timeline for when we think we should have accomplished all the desires in our heart, can be a distraction. Surely I am not the only one who has looked at someone else’s life and, as a result, wondered where mine was going? Particularly when, at times, it looks like all the dreams and plans we have for our lives are a million miles away from where we are now. From a very young age, I wanted to be a journalist and travel the world. In my academic years, I failed all my exams. While my friends were excelling at university, I went to work, and did a variety of courses that would lead to me eventually going to university. I certainly wasn’t the best student, but I was very relational, and quietly established contacts with people in the media through my own efforts. I went on to spend five years working in national TV, before moving on to a successful career in PR that has seen me travel the globe. I share that glimpse into the journey of my life because it wasn’t plain sailing, but it was all about God’s timing. Failing my exams took me back two years, but I got there. I thought that my travelling would be while I was working in TV, but this happened once I had left my job as a producer and had started a new career in international development - at the age of 34. It’s never too late to start again. Never let your age, location or current circumstances prevent you from realising your dreams. I recently attended the Wise Woman Awards, an annual event that celebrates the achievements of ordinary, everyday, Christian women leading extraordinary lives. A beautiful 82-year-old lady, called Enid Jackson, whose mother had died of dementia, shared her story. After her mother’s funeral, Enid decided to start a charity about dementia, to inform the Black community about the illness, and to help remove the stigma attached it – at 67! She was amazing, full of passion, with a glorious glint in her eye. It’s never too late to run with a vision that God has placed inside your heart. So, you planned to be a successful author, then you got married, had children and, right now, your reality is the chaos of the school run, football on a Saturday morning, nappies, homework, etc. You’re wondering,
‘What happened to the dreams I had?’ not realising that the single lady’s dream, sitting over on the other side of the congregation, is your reality it’s all about timing! Here’s another one of those familiar phrases: ‘Delay is not denial.’ In fact, sometimes what looks like delay isn’t delay at all; it’s more about God’s place of preparation, and understanding seasons and timing, so that when your life collides with destiny, you can handle it. That collision may happen at 30, 40, 50 or 60 - it doesn’t matter. That said, let’s not be passive. We will not fulfil our dreams through a lifestyle of complaining or wallowing in self-pity. God never called us to sit back and wait for good things to happen to us. He called us to ‘love mercy, walk humbly, and to have a heart of justice and compassion’ (Micah 6:8) and lead proactive lives.
It is crucial for us to understand that the devil will use any tactic possible to distract or divert us from fulfilling destiny.
If your life looks like the busy example I illustrate above, find an hour in your day that belongs to you. You are worth it. It could be first thing in the morning; it could be last thing at night - and ask God to help you to guard that time - then quietly use it to work on that dream seed that God has placed within you. If you’re single and want marriage, babies, homework and nappies, look for opportunities to be a blessing to some of the busy mothers in church, establish new friendships, and get out and have fun. Never resent where you are now, as you will be surprised by how many people would be willing to swap their reality in exchange for yours. Let’s immerse ourselves in the Word of God, acknowledge Him in all His ways, and allow Him to order the course of our lives. The result will be God-ordained success that has His stamp of peace and blessing on it. Don’t wait for tomorrow, start today.
Read Esther’s blog at www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/esther-williams
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I DO MIND THE WAITING! Waiting on God to fulfil His promises in our lives can be a spiritually wearing process. Gladys Famoriyo encourages believers to not give up, because God will show up
is a speaker and author of ‘Quit Hiding, Start Living!’, ‘Healing A Discouraged Heart’ and ‘Overcoming Emotional Baggage’.
remember when Juanita Bynum’s song, “I don’t mind the waiting” came out a few years back. I must admit when I heard it, I baulked at the idea, because I DID mind the waiting. I have told Father my feelings on the matter on several occasions. And if I’m honest, it is still a struggle at times. If only I can get Him to move a little quicker, I would be happy. Or so I think.
The waiting game I discovered that I am not alone in this struggle. Many Christians find themselves in the same quandary. We need Father to move quickly, yet it seems He is dragging His feet – according to our reasoning. After all, we have done our part, right? We have prayed in faith. We fasted. He even whispered into our hearts telling us He will come through. Yet, days, weeks, months or years later, we are still waiting. After a while, it takes its toll on us. We are told to “just trust God” (oftentimes by people who don’t seem to be waiting for anything), and some of us retort in our hearts, “For how long?” We get weary of lifting up holy hands and giving Him the worship He deserves. Why? Because we can’t seem to get past what appears to be His unfulfilled promises. And so, we resort to ‘acting’ like everything is OK between us and Him. On the surface or in public, we continue with our spiritual activities but, deep within, our hearts betray us. We wonder if He will make good on His promise. Behind closed doors, we start formulating our ‘Plan B’ - just in case. Meanwhile, our resentment towards Him grows. Lord, help us!
Tick-tock, the clock never stops We live in a time-driven world, where the clock always seems to be ticking away. We are encouraged to squeeze every little bit out of our day and ‘seize the moment’. The fact is, these notions are not unscriptural. Psalm 90:12 is one of many Scriptures encouraging us to maximise our time here on Earth. Yet, the same Bible also stipulates that everything on Earth has a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). That means God’s Word will come to pass in the season it is meant to. That’s just the way Father has instituted things. In between the seed time and harvest time, there is a period known as the waiting time.
fact that He is NOT a man that will lie (Hebrews 6:18). We have both His oath and His promise (Hebrews 6:18-19). Moreover, He watches over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). He never shirks from what He says He will do. He perpetually remains faithful to us. And so, we need to take confidence in the fact that whatever He says will surely come to pass, no matter what. Doubtful moments may come, as Abraham and Mary (the mother of Jesus) experienced. But, like them, we can turn our “How can this be?” moments to one of “Be it unto me according to Your Word.” In closing, whilst moments of waiting are a certainty in our lives, we need to get to the place where we are able to quieten our souls. This requires silencing the ‘voices’ that cause us to be flummoxed. And, if you are still enough (Psalm 46:10), you may just find that Father has been trying to catch your attention to let you know He is on your case. Therefore, hold on, because your season of waiting is almost up. PS: I want to take a moment to acknowledge and commend those experiencing tough times, yet refusing to let go of the hope of their salvation. Because you stand, many others are able to stand. So keep standing, faithful soldier.
Why are you cast down? Hope in God I have been pondering on the subject of waiting for the last few weeks, and it just so happened that my Bible reading for today was Psalm 42. This psalm depicts where some of us find ourselves today. Like us, the psalmist longs for God to show up, recognising God as their only salvation. We see the effects waiting has on them (tears, heartbreak and despondency). Yet, through all that, we see elements of positive self-talk cutting through the ‘Woe is me’ dialogue. The psalmist reminds themselves of the good times, and questions why they are downcast. Furthermore, they encourage themselves to trust God. I believe this psalm is a model of how we are to handle our waiting times. It does not deny that waiting can be hard. Yet, in spite of this, we are encouraged to hold on in faith. Our present challenge is whether we are able to do so, regardless of the surrounding circumstances.
Scripture: So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable, because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:18-19, NLT)
God’s blessed assurance When we take our eyes off the circumstance and consider God’s nature, we are reminded of the @keepthefaithmag
For more details of Gladys Famoriyo’s ministry, visit www.gladysf.com or call 0870 750 1969.
is the author of ‘Go to the Ant’ - a simple, effective guide to money management
It is not biblical for a man to allow his family to struggle financially, while he spends his money on himself, things or generally wastes it!
he last 50 years have seen revolutionary changes in the gender roles. The emancipation of women throughout the world has indirectly called into question the role of men in the 21st century. Traditionally the primary or sole breadwinner, men have, for many years, made the major financial decisions within the family unit; however, with the changing nature of the family and the increasing role of women in the workplace, the man is no longer unquestionably “the one who brings home the bacon”! The role of the man, including his financial responsibility, is a subject on which the Bible speaks in great detail. Some of these Scriptures have, in the past, unfortunately been taken out of context to reinforce some chauvinistic practices within the Church; however, it is clear that God has placed particular emphasis on the man’s financial role, both inside and outside of a family context. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, the Bible identifies the man as the spiritual head of the home. In this role, the man is given the role and responsibility of vision-scaping for the family, and this must include a financial vision. Whilst this does not exclude the female spouse or partner from financial responsibility, it is clear that the Bible which, at the time it was written, was primarily directed at men, sets out what God expects of men and their money.
life insurance, a will, money saved your future retirement. Remember, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
1. “Provide for your family”
3. Don’t be lazy!
1 Timothy 5:8 states that failure of a man to provide for his household is a denial of his faith and makes him worse than an unbeliever! Men have a primary responsibility to provide for their family financially. It is not biblical for a man to allow his family to struggle financially, while he spends his money on himself, things or generally wastes it!
A man should not be lazy, and should always be willing to work, where possible, to meet his financial responsibilities. The current debate regarding welfare benefits versus work should not be used to obscure the fact that men have a responsibility to work for hire when they are able to. The Bible is unequivocal about this. “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
2. Have a long-term financial vision Proverbs 13:22 states that a wise man leaves an inheritance for his children and his grandchildren. A man should have a long-term financial vision; he should be planning to leave a financial legacy that will live on after he has died. Plan for the future: have a pension,
4. Single Men! The Bible also speaks to single men, who have aspirations towards getting married and taking responsibility for a family one day, or maybe building a business, or carrying out some other major endeavour. In a word, you must plan!
Men and money Isaac Carter sets out a biblical template on the approach men should have toward issues concerning money, financial responsibility and leaving a legacy for their children
3. Avoid debt! The Bible speaks about avoiding debt on numerous occasions, and this is particularly important for me for two reasons. Firstly, debt is often pursued against the family of the debtor, so getting into debt jeopardises not only your future but that of your family as well. The position is succinctly set out as follows in Proverbs 22:26–27: “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge: one of those who is surety for debts; if you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?” Secondly, debt conflicts with the goals set out in points 1 and 2 above, and can damage your long-term future.
Luke 14:28–30: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it - lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” Financial planning is a must for all men! Your budget, your short-, mid- and long-term financial projections are a must, if you are planning for future success!
5. Be an example of stewardship It is the responsibility of the man within a family household to be an example for his children in every area, including financial responsibility. You cannot expect children to have a responsible attitude towards dealing with money, if the man within the home is seen to be financially irresponsible. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This also includes giving. Children will not grow up to give tithes and offerings to the House of God, if they do not see an example set at home from the head of the household. Conclusion In conclusion, whilst the traditional role of the man, in regards to finance, may have changed within wider society, the biblical role of the man - as being a financial steward, a provider, a financial visionary and the creator of a financial legacy - remains the same.
For more details visit www.gototheant.co.uk www.keepthefaith.co.uk
is a Writer and Web Designer
Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
ow do we use images in our communications? We have all heard the popular saying “A picture paints a thousand words”. If this is true, are you using images as part of your communication strategy - online and offline? People learn differently. Some people connect with words and others connect with images. As Christians, our lives are about communicating the Gospel and, as business people, our goal is to help clients or individuals achieve their business goals, and we need to communicate this. Most of us now share our messages via social media and the Internet, using mobile devices, apps and emails. Already the ‘WhatsApp’ application is more popular than the tried and tested text messaging, as it is more user friendly in the way it displays images. MMS is also widely used, as people want to share images, not just thoughts. The age of the good ol’ PowerPoint presentation is long gone. We no longer need to be subjected to long pieces of text and a miniscule image. Give us the big image and a miniscule piece of text, or embed the text in the image. Our brain can consume it easier and remember it better. The emergence of picture sharing sites (such as Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and others) has reinforced our need for images, and perhaps the biggest indicator of our obsession was the sale of Instagram to Facebook for a whopping $1 billion. Using images in social media Pictures should form an intricate part of every social media strategy. This saying is so true in social media land. Social media is about consuming bite-sized information on the go. People simply don’t have the time to digest huge essays, unlike in other media. Therefore, your pictures need to tell a story without the need for long words. As said, a picture can paint a thousand words, but a caption can dramatically alter the meaning. People use captions a lot nowadays to insert their own inspirational quotes in relevant pictures.
Tweet of the month
Useful Apps and Websites Sharing images online: Instagram
Owned by Facebook, and available on the App Store and Google Play, Instagram is a fast and effective way to share photos with friends and family.
Creating presentations: Prezi As we know, others rush in their droves to share these pictures, which ultimately drives traffic/ recognition back to the originator. This technique works particularly well on Facebook. Funny pictures, inspirational pictures, thought-provoking pictures. Business people - and everyone with a cause - have picked up on the power of this, and probably have their marketing teams sweating through the night, trying to conjure up captions to drive people to their cause. A lot of the time, the pictures are nothing that we have not seen already. But if the words are fresh, the image can be used over and over again. A word of warning: An increasing number of images/statuses on Facebook are posted with the sole purpose of getting more ‘likes’. More likes and comments mean more popular pages, which can then get sold off by scammers. So watch out for sympathetic posts, eg. “Click if you hate cancer”, or ‘test’ posts, eg. “Name a fruit without ‘a’ in it, this is hard”. Sometimes even the religious images are a scam, eg. “Share if you believe in Jesus”. These posts gather thousands of likes and shares. Sharing a photograph does not prove you love Jesus, and ignoring a photo does not mean you are ashamed of your faith. It is unbelievable how many people fall for these scams.
Prezi is a virtual whiteboard that enables people to see presentations in a dynamic, obstacle-free manner. Prezi agrees that a picture can tell a thousand words, but a picture doesn’t tell an entire story. A visual story has a flow and narrative, where images and words work together to present an idea or lesson. Prezi is easy to use and is web-based, or you can use the Prezi desktop.
Promoting interests: Pinterest
Pinterest is a social network, used to share images of things that interest or inspire people. Other people can then discover these images (pins) and share them with other users. Organisations and businesses use Pinterest to create interest in their products. On Pinterest, a picture definitely tells the story.
KENO OGBO runs Spiral Web Solutions, based in London. She is passionate about helping businesses achieve their goals using websites and other online marketing tools. Contact her on 07958 004 739, or email email@example.com
DENISE ROBERTS is founder of Christian Women in Business UK and Loud Voice Communications
Couple who’ve made teaching others their business Denise Roberts speaks to John and Rose Small, whose education business is turning both the young and old on to the rewards of learning. When John and Rose Small set up Learningsure College in 2007, they didn’t seek out a location in one of the most prestigious boroughs in London, but one of its most deprived: Newham. The couple, who also live in the borough with their two grown daughters, offered IT classes for the elderly, and GCSEs and A Levels for young people. Just two children sat the first exam, held in 2008, but this year there were over 300 pupils sitting exams at the Centre. Among them were people in their sixties... and eight year olds. “We wanted to bring education to the failing children around here,” said John, who has a background in accountancy and banking. “Many of these pupils had been told by teachers that they would not amount to anything. We gave them a different perspective, and today many are in college and university. We believe that there is no child that cannot learn.” Today, John and Rose employ about eight full-time staff members. Their students include pupils from other boroughs, such as Southwark and Waltham Forest, and from farther afield, such as Italy and China. They shared, “Learningsure is different, because our teaching is adapted to each individual child. We don’t only teach but mentor, too. It’s about giving them the confidence to learn by finding the best way that a child learns.” Both confess there isn’t much money in education, but the satisfaction of seeing children, who have been written off, turned around is a huge reward. “We’ve got them in some of the most prestigious universities in the country, like the London School of Economics, UCL and Cambridge,” said John. “We had a Muslim guy, who felt he did not need to follow the Western education system, and we have managed to turn him around to somebody who is getting A*s in maths, physics, biology and chemistry in less than 18 months.” Their sense of social action moved them to introduce a Saturday School, and other college courses, like IT courses, teacher training, NVQs and more. “We also realised that a lot of parents who spoke English as a second language couldn’t
How to increase the chances of your website being found for free SEO can be expensive, especially if you use an agency, or operate in a competitive area of the market. Then there is Google frequently changing what’s ‘legal’, so that what may have worked previously could now get you removed from their search engines altogether, like having loads of irrelevant backlinks. Here is what still works, and what you can do for free:
help their kids with their homework, so we started offering ESOL courses, and started a homework club,” said Rose. Their sights are now on expanding to reach more students by way of offering e-learning courses, but Rose admits that they couldn’t do it alone. She says God is the inspiration behind the work. “I started teaching at Sunday School in 2002,” she said. “I knew it was my passion, so went to teacher training school and then did a Masters.” She adds: “In the early days, when things were taking long to move off, I reminded God that we have a partnership here. He has never let me down. When you look at the foundation, I started in church, where I worked for 15 years. I say it is good to work for God, as He will always reward you greatly.” “The most important thing is that Rose and myself have been given a lot in life, and we believe sincerely that to whom much is given, far, far, much more is expected,” said John. “I find it more satisfying when, at the end of the day, a child can say, ‘Thank God for this’. It is about contributing to another human’s life.” Visit www.learningsure.org.uk
• Update your content regularly, and include the keywords that people are likely to use when searching for you. • Sign up for a keyword analytics service, so you can see how many people are competing for your keywords. You can use Google, but there are others around that offer additional value, like Market Samurai and Searchmetrics. • Choose keywords that you stand a realistic chance of being able to compete for. • Analytics will also help you to see which keywords people have used to find you, but which you are not including in your site, then, if appropriate, you can tailor your content to appeal to more of these. • Tag the images and videos on your website with the keywords, too. • Use your keywords in your headers and subheaders, as well as in the body of the content. Try to make use of H1, H2 and H3 size headers. • Set up a blog, and contribute to it at least twice a week. • Guest blog for others working in a similar or complimentary field. • Use your Twitter, Facebook or other social media page to point people back to your website.
Marketplace breakfast, event exhibition and seminar Business with Excellence will be holding a marketplace ministry day in Croydon on Saturday 29th June, aimed at Christians in business. The day will include a Marketplace Breakfast meeting, with people sharing their testimonies, an exhibition, a seminar on marketplace ministry, and a question and answer session to conclude the day. Hosted by Sharon McLean, alongside guest speakers, the day will run from 8am to 5pm, and take place at Croydon Park Hotel, Croydon. For further information, visit www.businesswithexcellence.com
ESTHER FENTY is a qualified psychologist and pastor’s wife
I’m discouraged; my church won’t grow, and is in danger of splitting
’m a discouraged man at the moment. I have been pastoring a church for four years, and the membership has only grown a little during that time - despite the effort I put in. To make things worse, two of the most influential women in my congregation have fallen out and, since then, the atmosphere at church has become quite poisonous. I’m not too sure what the issue is, but it concerns their children. From what I understand, one of the women feels that the other one insulted her child and is very angry about it. What makes this situation particularly sad is that these two women used to be the best of friends. I have two major issues to deal with: the first one is how I can go about growing my church and really impacting the community with the Gospel, and the second one is helping these two women to restore their broken relationship. My fear is that, if they don’t, there’s every possibility that they will split the church. Any advice you are able to give will help. John, London
Esther Fenty says In order to fulfil your vision of having a growing church which impacts the community with the Gospel, you will also need the support of your present congregation. It is often said that a discouraged man is a beaten man. Try to be positive in your approach to the problem, or your discouragement could affect the congregation. Whilst you must not bury your head in the sand and hope that the problem will go away, asking the members to stand with you on church growth - whether it be through prayer and/or an evangelistic programme - will encourage them to support you. A negative approach could leave people thinking that church growth is impossible. Whilst I am not an expert on church growth, @keepthefaithmag
I would suggest that you continue to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayer and fasting; read about church growth; learn from those who are experiencing growth, and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into what will work for your particular church. Perhaps you could also seek support from your wider church organisation and/ or attach yourself to a mentor or prayer partner, who will pray with you and for you. I also wonder whether the initial influence of these women was ever really directed to your goals, or whether they only worked with you whilst you played to their tune but mainly followed their own agenda. A lot of friends grow apart for whatever reason, but that it has created a poisonous atmosphere in the wider church indicates that this is the tip of the iceberg. You may have to deal with the issues bubbling beneath the surface. Using mediation and negotiation skills to work through the stages of conflict resolution with the women may help (ie. setting the scene, gathering information, agreeing the problem, brainstorming solutions and negotiating a solution). They may not necessarily become bosom pals; in fact, they may have already started to grow apart in their relationship, but they could come to understand and forgive each other. A demonstration of this may be enough to bring healing, but a follow-up discussion may be needed with the whole church. A useful place to start, and then focus on the particular issues of your church, would be Paul’s advice for restoration, described in 2 Corinthians 2: 6-11, where forgiveness, comfort and confirmation of love are emphasised. He also warns that we need to be aware of satan’s devices, and this conflict is an example of this. Esther Fenty provides godly and practical advice on a wide range of issues. To contact Esther email firstname.lastname@example.org
My fiancé is pressuring me for sex I have been going out with my boyfriend for quite a while, and we recently became engaged. I considered him to be the perfect Christian gentleman, but now I’m not so sure. He has started talking about sex a lot, which I was initially OK with because we will be getting married, but then, when he started suggesting we should sleep together before our marriage, to see if we are sexually compatible, I began to feel very uncomfortable. Why is my fiancé saying these things, as he knows my views about sex before marriage (I don’t agree with it), and should I have second thoughts about marrying him? Andrea, Luton
Esther Fenty says I think you already know the answer to your question. However, before doing anything rash, you will need to speak to your boyfriend, not just about your views but also about the biblical basis of your beliefs about sex before marriage. Perhaps he is not sure about what the Bible says about the subject, and thinks that it is something that ‘old fashioned Christians’ are against. You may also want to find out more about his perspective on a number of other issues. You cannot assume, as you are discovering, that you have the same world views just because you are both Christians. If you think that you should still be together, you will need to have premarital counselling from a good Christian counsellor, who will explore other issues like communication, personality, parenting styles, finance, etc; these can make or break a marriage. This will enable you to see whether you are compatible. Most married people will tell you that sexual compatibility takes time and deepens with maturity. Some personal habits are hard to die, and diametrically-opposed personal characteristics and world views could make it more difficult for you to be compatible. Those things are more likely to split your marriage than sexual incompatibility.
BA, MSc is Managing Director of Crowne Consultancy
3 simple steps to acquire the funding you need...
Keep The Faith magazine is Britain’s leading Black community-focused publication, promoting and supporting faith and family values.
met a client recently who had a brilliant concept, an aesthetically pleasing website, and lots of ideas all, however, in her head. At our consultation meeting, the first question she asked was, “How do I get funding?” Well, the truth of the matter is she won’t; well, at least not like that she won’t. Sadly, this is not uncommon with most people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. What I said to my client - and what I say to others like her - is to break it down into three simple stages:
1) Develop your business plan (fundraising strategy), which is your strategic road map detailing everything about the organisation’s strategic directive, including your products or services; marketing and sales strategies; the management team; financial forecasts, and who and when you will approach the most suitably identified funders for your project. By doing this before you become legally constituted, you have the necessary information needed which can then be drawn down into your governing documents. It also requires you to begin to think about how your organisation is charitable, and provides some context for your Case for Support. 2) Become legally constituted as a charity. To attract funding, most funders these days will require you to be registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. It is paramount that you ensure your vision is charitable and sits within charitable statute, stating the obvious you may think, but it is surprising how many people think that any profitable business venture can attract charitable funding. If you visit the Charities
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Commission website (www.charity-commission. gov.uk), there is a lot of information you can begin to read to get you started. 3) Develop and write up your Case for Support. What makes you special, and why are you most suited to meet this identified need? You should develop a compelling case for support on why someone should fund you. Typically, this can include background on your organisation; your aims and objectives; the need and how you have identified this; the project and the outcomes you hope to achieve; the cost and a broken down budget; how you intend to monitor and measure the success of the your work, and how you expect to maintain the project when the funding runs out, ie. will you start to charge for the service?
“It’s a must read for every Christian. The magazine keeps you abreast from the best perspective and is a great resource for ministry.”
“I would encourage churches and individuals to support this endeavour by taking out a subscription. Keep The Faith is a great inspirational read.”
With these steps completed, you are now ready to start fundraising! For further support, contact email@example.com
Funding Focus for your Ministry THE JOSEPH RANK TRUST Trustees take into account the primary objective of the Trust, which is to advance the Christian faith. Unsolicited appeals are selected for consideration by the Trustees that demonstrate, in their view, a Christian approach to the practical, educational and spiritual needs of people. The Trustees currently want to encourage work that supports the following outcome: Projects that demonstrate a Christian approach to the practical, educational and spiritual needs of people of all ages. In normal circumstances, papers received before the beginning of February, May and August may be considered in April, July and October respectively. All appeals are acknowledged and the applicants advised that if they do not receive a reply by a specified date, it has not been possible for the Trustees to make a grant. See http://www.ranktrust.org/rank-trust-grants.htm
Does child sponsorship really make a difference? Kate Sharma reports on specially-commissioned research by Christian charity, Compassion, which looks at the impact of sponsorship programmes in the developing world
or millions of households in the developed world, sponsorship represents a practical and personal way to make a difference in the lives of the poor. Roughly $3.2 billion is spent on sponsorship programmes every year, and more than 9.14 million children are enrolled in programmes throughout the developing world. But, until recently, no one has conducted any empirical, independent research into the impact on the lives of children. That is, until now. When Evans, a 35-year-old teacher from Kenya’s Lake Victoria region, became a father for the first time, he knew exactly what to call his son. Many were surprised to see him shun tradition, as he decided not to give his baby boy a family name, but to call him Albert. The child was named after Kristen Albert, a young woman from the US, who faithfully sponsored Evans for more than ten years. She is a young woman who Evans credits for transforming his life. Before he knew Kristen, a young Evans would watch his mother leave early each morning in search of food for their family of seven. Her desperate attempts weren’t always fruitful, and many an evening this family went to bed with empty stomachs. “I remember that food was scarce,” Evans says. “People fought for food.” In 1987, with Kristen’s support, Evans was registered into the Anglican Church of Kenya Maseno Child Development Centre, run in partnership with Compassion. Through his sponsorship at the Project, Evans received regular meals, an education, regular medical check-ups and an introduction to Christ. Evans was even able to purchase a goat with money that Kristen sent for his birthday. When the goat gave birth, the family sold the offspring to purchase a cow and, when the time came for Evans to leave the Project, the family sold the cow to pay for his university education. Nearly 30 years on, this string of events has led Evans to where he is today: a school teacher, who can provide a healthy, happy and poverty-free future for his family. Stories of personal transformation, like that of Evans, are commonly quoted by child sponsorship organisations, but when Dr Bruce Wydick, a Professor of Economics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, noticed that no independent research into child sponsorship had been carried out, he decided to take a closer look. “We were surprised to see that no one had ever done research to determine if international child sponsorship really works,” said Dr Wydick, “so we conducted a study of Compassion International’s programme in six countries we believed to be representative of its work around the globe.” The research focused on six nations, where Compassion provided its child sponsorship programme between 1980 and 1992. A total of 1,800 formerly-sponsored children were interviewed, along with more than 8,000 of their peers who did not benefit from the programme.
The results, published in the April 2013 issue of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy, demonstrate ‘large and statistically significant positive impacts from child sponsorship on years of completed schooling, primary, secondary and tertiary school completion, and on the probability and quality of adult employment.’ Findings from the two-year research project show that former Compassion-sponsored children were more likely to: stay in school longer; finish secondary education; complete a university education; have salaried employment, and secure white-collar employment than their non-sponsored peers. Perhaps one of the most striking elements of the research is the light it sheds on Compassion’s approach to development. “Poverty is about more than just a lack of food and shelter,” says Ian Hamilton, Compassion UK’s CEO. “Poverty denies children choices, and prevents them from fulfilling their potential. This is why, through its church-based projects, Compassion seeks to meet the needs of the whole child, including their spiritual growth, education, relational development and health.” This holistic approach is one that Dr Wydick credits for the success of Compassion’s programmes. “Economists have focused traditionally on releasing external constraints. But some of the most important constraints the poor may face are internal constraints,” says Dr Wydick. “I think what the Compassion programme does, almost uniquely among the organisations I’ve worked with, is work on these issues of aspiration development for individuals, and help to build self-esteem and spiritual relationship with God. These are things that may be just as important - maybe more important in shaping life outcomes.” Evans, and the millions of others who have benefited from Compassion’s child sponsorship programme over the years, would certainly agree. “I am grateful to God; first, for allowing me to be alive, to have the strength to work hard,” says Evans. And, should he and his wife be blessed with a daughter, Evans knows exactly what to call her. “I will name her Kristen,” he says with a smile.
To view full details of the research, visit www.compassionuk.org/research
Compassion has been working in partnership with churches across the globe to deliver its one-to-one child sponsorship programme for more than 60 years. Currently, more than 1.4 million children attend Compassion’s church-based projects in 26 countries. To sponsor a child, visit www.compassionuk.org
GOSPEL PROM TUESDAY 16 JULY • 10.15pm–c11.30pm
ROYAL ALBERT HALL
MUYIWA & RIVERSONGZ • LONDON COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR
MUYIWA & RIVERSONGZ LONDON ADVENTIST CHORALE LONDON COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR PEOPLE’S CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP CHOIR PASTOR DAVID DANIEL host Raise the roof of the Royal Albert Hall as the BBC Proms celebrate the world of Gospel music. In this meeting of musical styles from four continents, leading vocal ensembles combine with community choirs and soloists to create a thrilling massed wall of sound at this Late Night Prom.
SEATS £12.00, £16.00 STANDING TICKETS £5.00
bbc.co.uk/proms @bbcproms #bbcproms
Published on Jun 20, 2013
In this issue . . We have an interview with Noel Robinson, one of the UK’s foremost worship leaders to come out of Britain’s Black majority...