Page 1

Britain’s leading Black communityfocused publication

ISSUE 91

Celebrating a decade of spreading good news

promoting and supporting faith and family values

Couples talk about the JOY, PAIN and CHALLENGES of MARRIAGE

DIONNE GRAVESANDE

looks at how porn is affecting society

EUGENE JORDAN

7 things he has learnt about marriage

DAVID

OYELOWO The star of Selma talks about God, life and work

TWO WOMEN SHARE THEIR STORIES OF OVERCOMING ABUSE

£2.95


KEEP THE FAITH MAGAZINE

Britain’s leading Black community-focused publication promoting and supporting faith and family values

• A great resource for your ministry • Educational, informative and inspirational • Distributed nationwide in print and electronically • Read by three generations of church goers • Individual subscriptions available • Make money with Keep The Faith • To advertise or subscribe call 0845 193 4433

Find us at keepthefaith.co.uk or on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn


WELCOME 03

CONTENTS ISSUE 91 14

16 30

Dear Reader If you’re reading this edition of Keep The Faith, it means that God has allowed you to see 2015 – despite the obstacles and difficulties you had to overcome in 2014 - and that you’ve been given another chance to fulfil God’s purposes for your life and to be a blessing to others. 2015 is a special year for Keep The Faith magazine; it will mark our 10th anniversary of publishing stories about the great things happening within Britain’s Black Christian community. A special shout out must go out to publisher, Shirley McGreal, for her perseverance, courage and determination in making sure the magazine is published regularly – no matter what the obstacles. With this month’s Keep The Faith magazine, we’ve kept to our tradition of focusing on the important issues of love, sex and marriage in our first edition of the year. We have two Christian couples - Pastor Gbengá & Selone Ajewolé and Lloyd & Dorothy Dwyer - talking about their marriages and how they deal with the ups and downs of married life. Eugene Jordan shares the seven things he has learnt after seven years of marriage; Dionne Gravesande looks at the effects of porn on men and women, and how the Church can help those addicted to porn, and Rev Stephen Brooks sheds biblical light on the thorny issue of divorce and remarriage. We also interview actor David Oyewolo, who plays Civil Rights hero, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, in the box office smash, Selma, and have paid tribute to the late gospel great, Andraé Crouch, who died on January 8, 2015. And, of course, we have a range of great articles that we pray will bless, encourage, uplift and inspire you. Happy reading

Editor, Keep The Faith Magazine

18

46

20 WELCOME

04 Food 4 Thought by Marcia Dixon 06 Readers’ Letters

NEWS

07 News pages

GOSPEL

10 Gospel News by Marcia Dixon 12 2015 set to be a great year for British gospel by Juliet Fletcher 13 UK Gospel Top 10 14 Our tribute to Andraé Crouch

OUT AND ABOUT

16 People and Places 18 Keep The Faith about Town

INTERVIEW

20 David Oyelowo: The star of Selma talks about God, life and work by Tobi Akingbade 24 Interview with Lloyd and Dorothy Dwyer and Pastor G and Selone Ajewolé

FEATURE

26 Why study theology? 28 Belfast Bible College - a unique learning environment

Keep The Faith Limited Suite 48 88-90 Hatton Garden London EC1N 8PN Tel: 0845 193 4433

R

30 Overcoming abuse God’s way 32 How internet porn is rewiring society’s brain by Dionne Gravesande 33 7 lessons learnt over 7 years of marriage by Eugene Jordan 34 Master of your destiny - Men’s One-Day Conference

COMMENT

36 What’s the talk on divorce and remarriage? by Rev Stephen Brooks 37 Racism, Police and the Church by Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts

LIFESTYLE

38 Pastors’ Column by Marcia Dixon 39 Business Matters by Denise Roberts 40 Cyber Corner by Keno Ogbo 44 Mind, Body & Soul by Lola Olarewaju 43 Heart to Heart by Esther Fenty 44 NEW TO KEEP THE FAITH! How does your garden grow? by Jason Loh

MISSION

46 Gateshead Millennium Bridge glows yellow and green in support of Traidcraft Appeal

Founder/Publisher: Shirley McGreal FCMI, admin@keepthefaith.co.uk Editor: Marcia Dixon editorial@keepthefaith.co.uk Advertising: advertising@keepthefaith.co.uk Admin and Subscriptions: admin@keepthefaith.co.uk Twitter: @keepthefaithmag www.keepthefaith.co.uk www.blackchristiandirectory.com

The Publisher would like to thank Marcia Dixon, Juliet Fletcher, O’Neil Dennis, Anna Shaw, Jackie Raymond, Becky Wybrow, Rev Stephen Brooks, Rev Wale-Hudson Roberts, Dionne Gravesande, Tobi Akingbade, Eugene Jordan, Denise Roberts, Keno Ogbo, Lola Olarewaju, Esther Fenty, Jason Loh, Emily Slimings, our supporters and all our advertisers. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Publisher.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


04 WELCOME

FOOD 4 THOUGHT

Supporting families through our churches

C

hurches that want to continue playing a part in building a Black community that is strong, vibrant and prosperous, and where its members participate fully in civic society, need to give more support to the family. Ours is a community, where a large number of families are characterised by lone parents, a seemingly high incidence of family breakdown and divorce, and fatherlessness. These factors can and have led to emotional brokenness and to pain, poverty, underachievement, crime, gangs and some of the other problems that affect our community. Churches serious about strengthening the family will have to assist people to develop healthy relationships with God, themselves and others; as well as encourage marriage; support married couples and lone parents; provide mentoring and activities for youth; mediate and reconcile broken families, and unite fathers estranged from their children. And, in light of the increased secularisation of our society, it’s beholden upon churches to reiterate the biblical perspective on the issues many Christians are struggling with and that are impacting our families, like pre-marital sex, dating, divorce, adultery, broken families and the

like, as well as offer hope and healing for those who may fall short of the biblical ideal. One of the key things our churches can continue to do is remind people of the role that love and respect play in fostering great family and marital relationships. Love for God - and a healthy love for self - will provide individuals with the impetus to reach out to others in love, and treat them how they would like to be treated themselves. And this type of agapé love is much needed, particularly amongst our youth, some of whom seem trapped in a cycle of self-loathing and violence, which has cut short many young lives. The church community is filled with numerous individuals, who can share how their faith in God and the teachings of the Church enabled them to obtain emotional healing and support, experience wholeness, find partners, restore broken marriages, be reconciled with estranged families, and much more. And it isn’t surprising that this is the case. Our churches are the Black community’s ‘fourth emergency service’. It is the institution to which we turn, when we experience crises in our lives and, when it’s operating at its optimum, it delivers. The Church has a major role to play in continuing to help our community reach its potential – and you know what? I believe it’s up to the task. Hope you do, too. Here’s to happy families.

GREATNESS STARTS WITH SERVING So much talk these days, on how to be great, is being propagated by the plethora of self-appointed motivational speakers and gurus that have sprung up in recent years. The greatness they talk about is usually characterised by attaining professional success, generating wealth, or having exceptional amounts of influence over others. Whilst there’s nothing wrong in having these types of aspirations, the greatness alluded to is totally at odds with Jesus’ definition of greatness. In Mark 10:43-45, Jesus addressed His disciples stating, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Christ’s words are a reminder that Christians need to be mindful that, whatever position of wealth, success or worldly influence we might have, greatness is gained by serving others with a servant’s heart. This will entail using our talents, position and influence to build, to encourage, to support, to challenge, to inspire and to help others reach their potential and fulfil their goals. So, in 2015, let’s endeavour to see our positions of influence as God-given, where we can follow the path carved out for us by Jesus to serve humanity and, in the process, be considered great in Christ’s Kingdom.

Tongue-lashing leaders in love Prior to the start of the Christmas holidays, Pope Francis delivered a scathing message to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Vatican, outlining 15 ailments that, in his view, were negatively affecting the work of the church office. Ailments listed included: the ‘terrorism of gossip’, the disease of feeling ‘immortal and essential’, the pathology of power, working too hard, being indifferent to others and forming cliques. According to reports, the Pope’s speech received a lukewarm response from the gathered church leaders. Hardly surprising really, but he has to be commended for his tough talk to ministerial leaders - and other churches should take note. It’s so easy for Christian leaders to lose sight of their true mission, instead getting caught up in the trappings of power and influence that go with their office. Not only do leaders have to stay close to Jesus to prevent this from happening, sometimes they have to be reminded of the

reasons why they were called into ministry in the first place, and be called back to basics. If you lead a church, and you can sense that your leaders are moving away from their core mission, don’t be afraid to whip them into line with a biblically-inspired tongue-lashing. You’ll be doing your parishioners a favour, and helping your leaders align themselves with God’s purpose – something we all need to do.


Specialist Church Accountant All Your Accounting Solutions Under One Umbrella

Competitive Fees

07908638703 07956401770//

SPECIALIST CHURCH SERVICES Independent examination work Charity audit and accountancy Advice on accounts presentation Minister of Religion Return

on accuracy, ion that majors “At last a translat t style. ” en flu rn, de mo a combined with es, England e Benn – Bishop Rt. Revd Wallac

VAT and other taxation issues Gift Aid tax reclaims Payroll services Management accounts Risk Assessment Consultancy services Bookkeeping

of Lew

SPECIALIST CHURCH ACCOUNTANT Accountant with over 20 years experience of Church Financial Management We are primarily church accounts specialists, but also work with a variety of commercial clients. We serve clients across the UK. team, team leaders and trustees Meeting all the requirements of HMRC, Charity Commission and Companies House Produce accounts within 21 days T: 07908 638 703 | 07956 401 770 E: tunji@dttconsultancy.com W:www.dttconsultancy.com

We’re friendly and approachable, and always at the end of the phone to answer your questions !! Design: www.fullpoints.net // 07984 858 850

Could you adopt a child like me?

m13773 Bible Society KTF ad (135x90) AWP.indd 1

29/04/2014 10:05

We need people to adopt children from a wide variety of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. You do not need to be wealthy or own your home. Come to one of our information events. Seats are limited. Please phone in advance to register your attendance.

Thursday 29 January 2015 Adoption information morning 10am–12noon Westminster City Hall 64 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QP

Freephone 0800 781 2332 adoption@rbkc.gov.uk /adoptionandfostering

Adoption information evening 6pm–8pm Westminster City Hall 64 Victoria Street London SW1E 6QP

For more events visit www.lbhf.gov.uk www.rbkc.gov.uk www.westminster.gov.uk

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


06 LETTERS

Bishop Bolt is the man for the hour I was inspired reading the interview of the new National Overseer of the New Testament Church of God, Bishop Donald Bolt. I know people like to say that Black churches are out of touch, but I read the interview and it featured a man that loves God, his family and the Church, and is desirous to lead an organisation that is fit for purpose in the 21st century world. My prayer is that God will be with Bishop Bolt in his endeavours, and that the New Testament Church of God will continue to be a church that touches and transforms lives. John Forbes, London

Readers’ Letters ISSUE 90

Celebrating a decade of spreading good news

SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO: DR MYLES MUNROE

Britain’s leading Black communityfocused publication promoting and supporting faith and family values

CHRISTM AS MESSAGE OF HOPE By Rev

WANT CHANGE IN 2015? Make

Les Isaac

it happen with Jacqueline Peart’s tips

SPECIAL

OH TV 8-PAGE FEATURE

KTF INTERVIEW WITH:

BISHOP DONALD BOLT

CHECK OUT

SHAUNA MUAMBA’S SPECIAL CHRISTMAS RECIPES

£2.95

NEW LEADER OF NTCG

We’d love to hear your views on Keep The Faith and the featured articles. Send your letters to Keep The Faith Letters, PO Box 574, Bury St Edmunds IP33 9BW or better still, email letters@keepthefaith.co.uk

DR MYLES MUNROE: THE MAN OF PURPOSE I’m so pleased that Keep The Faith was able to include a tribute to the late Dr Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth, who died tragically in a plane crash. He was one of my favourite preachers, and his teachings played a major role in helping me to find my life’s purpose and pursue God’s calling for my life. It was good to be reminded of his life’s journey, and to be made aware of the wide range of people he helped by being obedient to God’s call. I’m just grateful that there are men and women in this world, who choose to follow the Lord and impact others in the process. Jennifer Johnson, Bristol

Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

I really do enjoy the Business Matters column and reading about the various firms that have been started by Christian entrepreneurs. The article about awardwinning businesswoman Elizabeth Forbes-Stobbe was uplifting, particularly as she was so open about some of the personal issues that she experienced whilst establishing her business. It’s easy to forget that, whilst individuals are busy building their businesses, they also have a life, and although things might not be going as they would like, they still press on building their business regardless. I commend Mrs Forbes-Stobbe for building her business, despite the difficulties, and wish her every success during 2015. Michelle Andrews, Manchester

CHRISTIANS BRING HOPE TO THE WORLD

Focus on women’s health issues I think it’s really good that Keep The Faith has a health column. Christians don’t always pay as much attention to our health that we should, so it’s good that Mind, Body and Soul brings to the fore important health issues, as well as provides health tips to enable readers to enjoy optimum health. I’d love to see the Mind, Body & Soul column deal with some of the health problems that seem to plague Black women, namely anaemia and fibroids. I’m looking forward to reading future editions. Elizabeth Omideyi, Wolverhampton

Business really does matter

Rev Les Isaac’s end-of-year message in the last edition of Keep The Faith really hit the nail on the head, and was a pertinent reminder to me - and to Christians in general - to never give up hope. Although there is a lot of negativity in our world, it was good to be reminded of all the positive things believers are doing to counteract the negativity. During the Christmas season, my church hosted several events, including a special dinner for senior citizens that was well attended and well received. It’s so important that we focus on the positive impact and difference believers are making, and thank you, Keep The Faith, for being a vehicle that shares a message of hope. David Evans, Birmingham


NEWS 07

EA APPOINTS ITS FIRST BLACK FEMALE DIRECTOR Chine Mbubaegbu has become the first Black woman to be appointed as a director of the Evangelical Alliance, in the organisation’s 168-year history.

Chine Mbubaegbu

PENTECOSTAL CHURCH PIONEER DIES One of the pioneers of Britain’s Black Pentecostal church movement, Archbishop Malachi Ramsey, died recently, aged 87, following a long battle with illness.

The Jamaican-born minister founded Shiloh United Church of Christ Apostolic Worldwide, and became the UK’s first Pentecostal Archbishop when he was ordained by the International Ministerial Council of Great Britain (IMCGB) on 9th July 1988.

The former Head of Media and Communications at EA is now its Director of Communications for the Alliance, and is also one of the youngest people to ever be appointed to the role. Commenting, Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: “Over the last four years, Chine has made an enormous contribution to the growth and development of so much within the Alliance. Her appointment as Director of Communications is, in many ways, a recognition of the significant role she is already fulfilling, while looking forward to her influence growing both inside and outside the Evangelical Alliance. Chine provides us with the insights and voice of the millennial generation.” Chine, 30, is excited about her appointment. She stated: “I have been privileged to work for this amazing organisation for the past four years, and am looking forward to bringing a different

perspective to the leadership team. In my new role, I’ll be focusing on ensuring that people like me are attracted to the Alliance, and see it for the vibrant organisation that it is.” A Cambridge University graduate, Chine, who is a writer and author, is of Nigerian descent. She is a former journalist and editor with a passion for reporting religion’s impact on society, as well as writing and speaking about faith, race and gender. Chine has been a part the EA’s ‘One People Commission’, which has been comprised of national church leaders from across ethnic minorities since its inception. She also played a key role in the launch of www.threadsuk.com - the Alliance’s online collective of people in their 20s and 30s exploring faith and life - which has won both Best Christian Blog and Best MultiAuthor Blog at the Christian New Media Awards. Visit www.eauk.org for more information.

Church celebrates 100th anniversary The multi-ethnic Elim Pentecostal Church, part of the Pentecostal denomination, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with a series of events across the country. The movement was founded on 7th January 1915, in Moneghan, Ireland, when Welsh evangelist George Jeffreys was invited to lead a series of meetings. The first Elim Pentecostal church was opened in Belfast and, by 1920, the number of Elim churches in Ireland had grown to 15. In 1921, George Jeffreys planted the first Elim church in the UK in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. There are now more than 550 Elim churches

working in communities across the UK, and 9,000 churches in other countries. One of the most well-known Elim churches here in the UK is Kensington Temple, based in Notting Hill, London. Events to celebrate the church’s centenary kicked off with a Day of Consecration and Prayer for Elim Ministers on January 7. Other events planned for the year include a Leaders’ Summit scheduled for May in Harrogate, and a series of regional celebrations in the autumn in London, Birmingham, Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester. Visit www.elim.org.uk for more details.

During his many years in ministry, Archbishop Ramsey travelled to 64 countries as a missionary to preach the Gospel. Nations he visited included: India, Russia, Jamaica and Germany; however most of his mission work was carried out in Africa, namely Kenya and Ghana. In 1970, Archbishop Ramsey founded the Croydon Race and Community Organisation Unit Trust, a charity he ran as Director for 13 years. He was heavily involved in prison ministry and, in August 1983, he started the Youth Development Project, through which he became the first Black leader to get a Black Pentecostal Minister into a British prison as a chaplain. He also founded a Bible School with correspondence courses. Archbishop Ramsey is survived by his wife, Inez Ramsay, five children, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, and his church family in the UK and abroad.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


08 NEWS

Church musicians buy new fringe theatre Christian musicians and producers, Samuel Facey, Bishop Mark Nicholson and Dave Prince -The DOXA Partnership - have achieved a long-held dream and bought a building, which they will turn into a 220-seater venue and arts centre in Croydon.

The DOXA Partnership have big plans for the arts venue, which they have called The Barn. It is set to house a theatre, live studios and rehearsal space, and will stage drama productions, live music and educational events, and offer accredited arts courses for young people. Facey, Bishop Nicholson and Prince, who staged the sell out gospel musical, ‘A Dream Across The Ocean’ in 2013, are excited about their new initiative, and believe that when The Barn opens it will make a real difference to arts provision in Croydon. Group spokesperson, Samuel Facey, stated: “In Croydon, arts facilities are very rare. The Barn is going to be the only fringe theatre in Croydon, so it’s important that we do the best we can to create a venue that is renowned for its intimacy, atmosphere and quality and, as producers, we want to present theatre that is innovative, inclusive and inspirational.” An Open Day is planned for February 7, where members of the local community will be invited to hear The DOXA Partnership share their vision for the centre and their plans for The Barn’s future. Bianca Miller, runner-up on BBC 1 series, The Apprentice, will be the guest speaker. The DOXA Partnership are hoping to stage their first production in the Autumn, so watch this space. Visit www.doxapartnership.com for more details.

Website launched to help Black Christians find If you’re a believer looking for love, then help is at hand from Christian Dates4Us, who have launched a new site for Black and mixed race Christian singles in Britain. “With thousands of Black Christians living in the UK - many of whom are single - launching an online dating site specifically for this community made perfect sense,” says company founder, Leon James.

According to a survey carried out by Single Christians, 54 per cent of unattached Christians said they hadn’t been on a date in the last year, while only five per cent said they date often. Recognising the challenges many Christians particularly Black Christians - face when it comes to finding love was key in launching Christian Dates4Us. “The desire to find a partner who shares your faith is one thing. But finding a partner who shares your faith, your race and the same or similar cultural values, narrows down the options, particularly as the Black community is a minority community in Britain.” James added: “We essentially want Christian Dates4Us to be an online hub for single Black and mixed race Christians here in the UK, who are looking for a relationship. “We do hope single Christians will give us a try. A partner who shares your faith and cultural values could be just a few clicks away!” Visit www.christiandates4us.co.uk for more details. Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

NEWS SNIPPETS WORLDWIDE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS INCREASES Open Door, a charity that supports persecuted Christians, recently published its annual world watch list that highlights places in the world where Christians are likely to experience great persecution. North Korea tops the list, and is followed by Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea and the Maldives. The report also highlights that the persecution of Christians is growing in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that there has been a major exodus of Christians from the Middle East following conflicts there.

BLACK CHRISTIANS LISTED ON MOST INFLUENTIAL LIST Four Black Christians have been featured on a list of the most influential Christians in Britain, compiled by www. archbishopcranmer.com, a site named after Thomas Cranmer, the author of the Church of England’s Common Book of Prayer. The Christians featured on the list are Pastor Agu Irukwu (pictured), Chine Mbubaegbu, and Premier League footballers, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.

MARTIN LUTHER KING CHILDREN AT WAR The children of civil rights campaigner, the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr, are in court arguing over the fate of his Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal. His sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King, who manage their father’s estate, want to sell their father’s Bible and Nobel Prize medal, valued at $200,000 and $10million, respectively. King’s daughter, Bernice, is contesting the sale, as she is in charge of her mother’s estate, and states that her father gave her mother the Nobel Peace Prize medal as a gift, and so belongs to her.

ANGLICAN CHURCH TO ORDAIN FIRST FEMALE BISHOP Rev Libby Lane is set to become the first woman to be ordained as a Bishop in the Anglican Church. Following her consecration service, she’ll be appointed as the Bishop of Stockport. Rev Libby is married to a priest and is a mother of two adults. She was ordained in 1994 and has carried out most of her ministerial work in the north, serving in the diocese of Blackburn, York and Chester.


09

(KAT ) LAUNCH

T

he Kingdom Advancement Trust (KAT) will be launching on the 16th of March 2015 in Croydon at the Community Suite of The Bernard Weatherall Building in Mint Walk. The launch starts at 6pm until 9pm and the keynote speaker will be Rev Les Isaac OBE, of the Ascension Trust. KAT is the brainchild of a number of key church leaders in Croydon; Mark Nicholson, Mary McCauley, Damian Luke, Melodie-Ann Dalrymple and Danny Bennett. Its objective is to work collaboratively with other agencies, to raise up men and women who can identify with their God-given potentials and give them the necessary training, resources and opportunities that will help make them succeed in the marketplace. By being successful, new businesses will be created in the community ensuring financial success in the home and community. Bishop Mark Nicholson, first Chair of KAT said ‘‘The Kingdom of God is not only spiritual, it is intensely practical and the church today must move beyond its traditional role if it is to truly

fulfil its mission of having economic influence. It can no longer respond only to spiritual needs and speak only to people’s hearts. The church is called to be a force for change in the world, especially where the needs are greatest: the inner-city neighbourhoods where crime, violence and unemployment are at their highest. The care for our elderly, youth and the empowering of our community through entrepreneurship are the order of the day.’’ He continued, ‘’The trustees feel that all the hard work that they have been doing in the past few years has now come together, to offer them the greatest opportunity to achieve the goals that they set, and they are hoping the community will rally together to support this wonderful venture.’’

Keynote speaker Rev Les Isaac OBE

For more information about the Kingdom Advancement Trust please contact admin@kingdomadvancement.co.uk

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


10 GOSPEL NEWS

GOSPEL NEWS Meet the Artist:

NOEL ROBINSON SIGNS DEAL WITH INTEGRITY MUSIC

Noel Robinson, one of the foremost worship leaders to come out of Britain’s Black Church movement, has signed an artist deal with Integrity Music, the world’s leading worship record label.

“This is the first artist agreement Integrity Music have ever given to a worship leader who is of African Caribbean heritage, British-born, and it feels like a door-opener to a new generation,” says Noel. “Integrity’s a good place to be for someone like me, who feels called to cross cultures.” Noel has 25 years’ experience, both as a musician and worship leader; has released four albums; was nominated for a MOBO Award in 2014, and has worked with numerous artists, including Graham Kendrick, Ron Kenoly, LCGC and Gloria Gaynor. Integrity Music Managing Director, Jonathan Brown, recalls: “Having known Noel for many years, I have seen up close his heart to serve the Church. He has a special anointing for ushering in the presence of God, whether in a corporate gathering or simply one on one. Our heart at Integrity Music is to curate the hymnal for the local church, and to partner and serve Noel’s vision and calling on his life through the songs he pens, and the cross-cultural soundtrack he carries, which is an absolute privilege.” Noel’s first release, ‘Outrageous Love’, will be a live album, due to be recorded at the House On The Rock Church, London on February 13th, and released in September 2015. Visit www.noelrobinson.com for details.

Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

RICARDO (ROCSTARR) WILLIAMS Since being featured in Keep The Faith in 2014, Ricardo (Rocstarr) Williams’ album, The Show, entered the iTunes r’n’b chart at No 2, and he’s been nominated for and has won awards; been invited to sing at numerous live events, and inundated with interview requests. He spoke to Keep The Faith about what life is like for him at the moment. KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): Since you were featured in KTF’s ‘Artist Watch’, your album has entered the iTunes chart at No 2. What was your reaction on finding out? RICARDO WILLIAMS (RC): I was completely surprised and overwhelmed. I knew it was going to do well, but wasn’t expecting it to do what it did so quickly. The support I received from my fanbase new and old has been phenomenal. It still hasn’t really sunk in. KTF: Why do you think your album entered so high on the iTunes chart? How well did the album do on other digital charts? RC: I ran a very aggressive social marketing campaign, which I think had a lot to do with it, but I also believe it was good timing. People have been waiting for some good wholesome music, and all they needed was a push in the right direction. I was in the Top 10 across all major digital charts. I even broke into the main iTunes album charts. KTF: British gospel artists seem to be experiencing great success on the digital charts at the moment. What do you think are the reasons for this? RC: I think it’s a mixture of a few things. People are literally begging for good music. So, as long as you have a quality product and are marketing it to the right people, people will get involved. I think that’s why artists like Guvna B, Noel Robinson and Seth Pinnock have had such a great year in music.

KTF: What new opportunities have opened up for you since the album’s release? RC: There have been quite a few developments: bloggers reaching out to me, a lot of requests for interviews, TV appearances, etc. There is also some stuff I can’t share yet, but you will definitely see me in more of a live capacity over the next year. KTF: You are part of gospel group, The Company. How difficult/easy have you found the transition from being in a group to being a solo artist? RC: The transition has been fairly easy. The ethos of The Company was always that each member brought to the table their gift to make one vision possible. What has been hard is doing it all by myself. Especially when gigging, you look around and realise it’s only you on stage. Oh, and I’m still part of The Company; we plan to release our follow-up album this year (2015). KTF: What do you enjoy most about singing gospel? RC: It allows me to share my heart with the world, and sometimes I get to see the effects of that. It really is a magical thing. KTF: What exciting things does 2015 hold for you and your music? RC: Touring, touring and more touring, music videos, and really looking forward to my next project, Intermission, coming out at some point in 2015, which I have already started working on. Also, I’ve been writing for other artists behind the scenes - both gospel and non-gospel - so really excited to see those songs out and released this year.

Visit www.rocstarrmusic.com for more details


GOSPEL NEWS 11

‘GOT GOSPEL’ CAMPAIGN TO LAUNCH IN MARCH

ARTIST WATCH Sue Neil

In celebration of its forthcoming fifth birthday, Premier Gospel, one of the UK’s most popular radio stations dedicated to playing all forms of gospel music, is set to launch a #gotgospel campaign to encourage music lovers to buy gospel.

The campaign coincides with HMV’s decision to have a dedicated rack within its UK stores, which are devoted to selling Christian and gospel music. Premier Gospel invited some of the movers and shakers within UK Gospel, as well as artists, to share their plans at a special reception. Those present included rapper and Uprise presenter, Faith Child; IDMC founder, John Fisher; Keep The Faith’s Juliet Fletcher and the Premier Gospel team. In a presentation led by Isaac Borquaye, aka Guvna B, the gospel community learned of the radio station’s 5th anniversary plans, which also includes hosting a gospel music showcase at HMV’s flagship store in Central London, an on-air and social media campaign, as well as a planned 5th year birthday bash.

Londoner Sue Neil is making a big noise in the US, following the release of her debut single, ‘Shining’, there. She has received extensive media coverage for the track, as the public love her big voice and warm persona. This talented singer/songwriter is also a pastor, and has a musical talent that was honed growing up in a Christian family, and playing and writing songs for The Noel Gospel Band. However, when she left the band, she travelled the world, singing with secular artists. Whilst performing with dance band, Faithless, Sue says she heard God say that if she continued doing what she was doing, she’d die. Those words were enough to make her give up her secular music career and devote herself to God. Since making that change, Sue has been singing as well as pastoring the New Generation of Christ church. With a successful single under her belt, Sue Neil is busy working on her debut album, which is on target to be released in the first quarter of this year and, of course, ensuring that whatever she does, she’s shining. Like on Facebook at Sue Neil, follow on Twitter and Instagram @sueneilofficial. Guvna B

GOSPEL NEWS BITES Greater Than It All (It Is Finished) is a recently penned song from Jake Isaac. The song is creating a spiritual storm everywhere it has been performed, so Jake, being the generous person that he is, has decided to give the song away as a free download, so that you can listen to the song and be uplifted. If you visit http://goo.gl/13wRIc you’ll not only be able to download the song, you’ll get the lyrics, a backing track and songtrack.

America’s premier gospel music awards, The Stellars, has undergone a major change. Now in its 30th year, the date has been moved from January to March 28, and will be held for the first time at the Las Vegas Orleans Arena. Erica Campbell and Ricky Dillard are leading the pack with nominations; they are both nominated in 10 categories. The event will be hosted by David and Tamela Mann and Ricky Smiley. Visit www. thestellarawards.com for more details.

After experiencing turbulent marriage problems, which included finding out that her husband had cheated on her, Tina Campbell has declared that she has forgiven him for his misdemeaneours, and is more in love with her hubby than ever. The couple also revealed on social media their plans for 2015, which include wanting to love more purely, be more understanding and prayerful, and be less insensitive to others. This is a beautiful list and sounds like the couple are well loved up. Keep The Faith wishes them all the best for 2015.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


12 GOSPEL NEWS

2015 set to be a great year for British gospel more prominent, particularly in light of marking the memory of key leaders and artists, like Derek Wade, George Dyer and Andraé Crouch.

JULIET FLETCHER

J

is a former BBC Producer and founding Executive of the GMIA

uliet Fletcher gives her predictions for UK Gospel during 2015, and sees nothing but good things happening in the scene during the course of the year Now, I’m not prophesying “Thus saith the Lord” but, according to the title of the classic Sounds of Blackness hit, I’m ‘Optimistic’ for British gospel music in 2015. Here are my top three expectations:

MORE UK GOSPEL IN MORE CHARTS

First of all, this year we will see more gospel in charts – not only in the UK, but in other territories of the world. In the short nine months of their existence aStepFwd.com give artists an excellent platform with their popular online Top Ten UK Christian Chart. It was great to see, in the last quarter of 2014, Seth & A.N.T. (Midnight Oil Summit) and Ricardo ‘Rocstarr’ Williams both reached No 2 (Official Christian and Gospel Album Chart and ITunes R&B Chart, respectively). This makes Premier Gospel’s plan - to run a campaign called #GotGospel - an exciting prospect. It coincides with HMV’s promotion to the public – yes, THE PUBLIC – encouraging them to buy – yes, B-U-Y – more Christian and gospel music products. This is so brilliant! To have a high profile brand, with main high street stores all around the UK, decide they are going to encourage consumers everywhere to buy music from artists based in our churches, because an official Christian and Gospel Album Chart exists, is Seth Pinnock

SIGNATURE SONGS THAT WILL RESONATE

Adelaide McKenzie

phenomenal. Jesus said: “A city set upon a hill cannot be hid.” We must lift high what we do for all to see and glorify God. Get it? The Premier Gospel campaign ties in beautifully with the GMIA’s brand new rolling programme of monthly webinars and workshops for helping artists to be Chart ready. You can contact GMIA to book a session at your church. The quality of products, both sonically and in physical presentation, must be matched by what the audience experiences, and this brings me to my next expectation for 2015.

This year, we are set to have an unprecedented number of songs, which become anthems that transcend Black Majority Churches and capture the mind and hearts of congregations everywhere. Throwback concerts will remind us how much songs are at the heart of what we do, and therefore successful British gospel songs and songwriters in our time will truly matter. There are quite a few individuals who are closer than others to achieving this in 2015. Noel Robinson’s recent signing to Integrity increases that likelihood, but I also think that we will experience some wonderful surprises in this direction. Over the years, British gospel performers have not been in the habit of re-recording each other’s material. This has to change. It is standard in most music circles, but in ours… Uh-uh! Why that is, I do not know. If you have any ideas it would be good to hear from you. It would be easy for a song written in our community to go viral across churches, if we took to re-recording - as well as singing - the best songs. Andraé Crouch

BETTER AND BIGGER EVENTS

We will have a recognised gospel circuit for performance and ministry, because we need it. Everyone I have spoken to says it’s a necessity - whether it’s amongst the churches (highways) or in venues, coffee and wine bars (the byways), this vision must come to pass. How will it work? That is yet to be revealed, but it must have the cooperation of church leaders, music ministers and performers, promoters and event organisers. However, events need to be better planned, promoted and delivered. People are taking notice of how good or bad events are. It’s quite rightly getting harder to have an excuse for failing. Producing shows that are both spiritual yet well presented by performers, as well as the technical aspects, is what most audiences expect their ticket prices to reflect. There are those who consistently do well – like GL360, SoulCure, Gospel Central and Adelaide McKenzie’s Blessed Souls. More specialist monthly music events are developing: I recently learnt of a promotions outfit, called TKR, which focuses on a reggae monthly, and JC&Friends, which is a smooth MOR jazz. Annual initiatives are making a mark again this year; for instance Premier Gospel Week, iGospel’s Singspiration, and the music industry business event Gospel Summit. Throwback and tribute concerts will become

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

With the churches registered with a license through the music agency CCLI, and the writers registered correctly, it would create a circular economy that would benefit all involved. What if 20% of all UK Gospel releases contained a cover of another British gospel artist? You’d be amazed at the effect on our scene. 2015 is just getting under way, but we can declare the end from the beginning. As the Sounds of Blackness sing, “Don’t you give up, don’t you give in, hold to your goal!” I’m lifting up my “head to the sky”, and I’m saying that this year will be a year of major achievements, greater unity and improved relationships on many levels. So help us, Lord!


2014 has been an incredible year for music in the UK. aStepFWD has seen loads of new talent coming through, monthly feedback from over 80 industry judges and thousands of public votes in support. Check out the top tracks from last year below!

2014 UK TOP 10 CHRISTIAN CHART

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I Am Devoted

Top Track: June

Noel Robinson

@NoelRobinsonUK

Already Done

Top Track: October

Seth & A New Thing feat. Wayne Brown

@sethanthonyp

Set Apart

Top Track: November

Worship Central

@worshipcentral

Amazing Love

Top Track: March

J Vessel

@realjvessel

Jesus

Top Track: May

Matthew Allen

@MattAllenMusic

Today Today

Top Track: August

Andrew Bello feat. Monique & Mike Abdul

@BELLOAREA1

First Noel

Top Track: December

Rachel Kerr

@Rachelkerrmusic

African Drum

Top Track: April

Dwayne Tryumf

@DwayneTryumf

Something for the Summer

Top Track: July

Guvna B feat. Mark Asari

@GuvnaB @MarkAsari

Ignition

Top Track: September

Moses For more information please email info@astepfwd.com or call +44(0) 20 8133 1690 Connect with us @astepfwd

A-Step-FWD

www.astepfwd.com

@imjustmoses

Submit Youtube or Soundcloud link for music or spoken word releases monthly.

Get involved!


14 GOSPEL NEWS

Our Tribute to Andraé Crouch: The father of Modern Gospel

Y

ou get a measure of the impact the late Andraé Crouch had on gospel music and popular culture by the fact that US President, Barack Obama, issued a statement following his death on January 8, aged 72, when Andraé Crouch passed away after experiencing complications upon suffering a cardiac arrest. The statement read: “As a leading pioneer of contemporary gospel music, the soulful classics that Pastor Crouch created over the years have uplifted the hearts and minds of several generations, and his timeless influence continues to be felt not only in gospel, but in a variety of music genres. We are grateful that his music and spirit will continue to live on for years to come, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans during this time.” Others who paid tribute to Crouch included: Bishop TD Jakes, Marvin Winans, Rick Warren, Donnie McClurkin and The Clark Sisters. His passing was even covered on the Daily Mail’s website, one of the world’s most read internet news outlets. To many, Crouch is the father of contemporary gospel music. During the 1960s-80s, Crouch’s music provided young believers of all backgrounds with Christianinspired songs like Through it All, To God Be The Glory, Jesus Is The Answer, and I’ll Be Thinking of You, which were teemed with modern sounds, like jazz, funk, soul, r’n’b and, of course, gospel. Crouch was a seven times Grammy Award winner, and such was his exceptional talent – he wrote his first song, The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power, when he was just 14 – he

Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

became the go-to person for artists who needed a gospel sound on their projects. His singers were featured on Madonna’s single, Like A Prayer, and Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror. He also contributed to the soundtrack of The Color Purple and Disney’s Lion King. Artists who covered his songs included Elvis Presley and Paul Simon, and Crouch is one of a few select gospel artists with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Alongside his twin sister, Sandra, Crouch was born in 1942 into a Christian family. His parents ran a business and street ministry. Crouch accompanied his father to speaking engagements and, encouraged by congregants, began playing the piano and developed his musical skills in the process. During the 60s, Crouch came to prominence with his group, The Disciples, and they recorded a number of well-received albums, including his classic, Live In London. The group disbanded in 1979, but Crouch continued to record, and also helped discover various groups, including The Winans. Following the deaths of his parents and brother between 1993-94, Crouch took over the pastorship of Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ in Pacoima, California - the church his father founded and served as senior pastor during the last two decades of his life, working alongside his sister, Sandra. A prolific artist, Crouch recorded a total of 19 albums and, prior to his death, Crouch had been making plans to go on a tour along with a range of gospel artists – but it wasn’t to be. Instead, Crouch has joined the great heavenly choir, singing praises to the God he served so well. To God be the glory.

Andraé Crouch influenced gospel artists across the world, including artists here in the UK. Two artists share his impact on their ministry. Nicky Brown, producer, musician and Head of Music at Ruach Ministries Juliet Fletcher had a reception and interview session at Tottenham COGIC with Andraé Crouch. The keyboard player she booked hadn’t turned up, and she convinced Freddie Brown and me to play, even though we were very young and totally inexperienced. That was the second time I had a chance meet him. That night, Andraé pointed me out and it made me feel special. He came to Tottenham again at least three times more. I toured with him several times and taped a couple of live TVs with him, too. He was excellent. He also encouraged me to lead worship, mix professional music creation and ministry. Bazil Meade, Founder and Director of the London Community Gospel Choir I was introduced to Andraé Crouch’s music in the late 60s by my mentor and adoptive mother, Dr Olive Parris. His songs were easy to sing, with beautiful soulful melodies, and became popular in churches throughout the Black community here in the UK. I had the privilege of touring with him as LCGC in Sweden and UK. It was a wonderful experience, inspiring to watch him minister with great confidence to a mainly White audience, who loved and admired his ministry and music. I learned to be confident when sharing faith - irrespective of the cultural differences of one’s audience. He inspired LCGC greatly with our own ministry.


15

Field Director of Ministries Salary, housing and car provided

London City Mission has been serving London through evangelistic mission for nearly 180 years. Our strategy is to reach the most spiritually needy of London, patiently and sensitively sharing the Gospel, working in partnership with London Churches.

LifeLines is an organisation run entirely by volunteers that supports and befriends prisoners on death row in the United States. LifeLines was founded 26 years ago by Jan Arriens in Cambridge, UK. Although not a religious, political or campaigning organisation, we are respectful of the varied individual beliefs and values of all its members. LifeLines Patron is the renowned Human Rights Lawyer, Clive StaffordSmith who has spoken often at our Conferences, which are held twice yearly in London. Guest speakers have included lawyers, exonerated prisoners and representatives from victim support organisations and inmate counsellors, mostly from the USA. Since LifeLines began we have put over 5,000 people in touch with a pen friend on death row. Close friendships have been made, both among members and with the people on the row who may have no family or friends to support them. Members have access to a knowledgeable group of volunteers with many years of experience of writing to Death Row, which can be very rewarding to both members and prisoners on Death Row. If you are a special person that sees the humanity behind these people, then for more information please visit our website www.LifeLines-uk.org.uk

Are You Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired!??... Start 2015 with a good CLEAN OUT with our Bowel & Colon NEW YOU Reboot. Flush out deadly toxins, eradicate constipation and bloating and watch your energy levels skyrocket! www.GoJuiceDetox.com 0207 175 0052 07963 555 161 erranlives@gmail.com

Key benefits • Eliminate Bloating • Shed up to 8lbs • Increase energy • Normalise bowel movement • Eradicate IBS • Improve sleep • Relieve lower back pain

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Field Director of Ministries to join our team. Reporting directly to the Lead Ministries Director, this is a strategic role in our outreach, responsible for leading, envisioning and managing team leaders, outreach staff and volunteers on the ground. This post also has a specific responsibility for cross-cultural ministry, working with people across ethnic groups. The successful applicant will oversee the management of our teams in the field, assess the effectiveness of their work, and input into the direction and development of London City Mission’s urban ministry, in particular in our outreach into communities of particular ethnic groups. Applicants must be confident in communicating their faith in Jesus Christ and able to represent London City Mission through speaking and ministry engagements, as well as possess excellent people management and analytical skills. There is an Occupational Requirement that the person appointed be an evangelical Christian. We particularly welcome applications from women as they are under-represented at leadership level in the organisation. For more information and an application form, please go to: www.lcm.org.uk/Join_Us Alternatively, contact The HR Department on 020 7407 7585, or by email to: personnel@lcm.org.uk

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: 28 FEBRUARY 2015

Thinking of buying a home in the sun?

Have you considered the Costa Blanca, Spain? Please call 01507 610 607 to discuss our current offers.

from £45 "Absolutely amazing!! I feel much lighter, more energised and lost 7lbs in 3 days!”

Detox

Sherry Ann Dixon, Motivational/Keynote speaker

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


16 PEOPLE AND PLACES

PEOPLE PLACES AND

Welcome to People and Places, providing an insight into some of the things Christians are doing within the Church, and how they are sharing Gospel values in society at large

love through AYO SAGE Spreading acts of service

I

n the early noughties, pop group Black Eyed Peas’ hit song, ‘Where Is The Love?’, provoked us to answer this rhetorical question regarding the social issues on our doorsteps.

One guy, who has found love and wants to spread it, is Ayo Sage, Founder and Director of MAD: Love Foundation (MLF), who wants to develop a generation of leaders by injecting ‘mad love’ back into his community through his organisation.

Ayo launched MAD: Love Foundation in October 2012, after researching the needs in his community and understanding that God’s love was far more than a sentiment. He shared, “I’ve always had a passion to be a blessing to my community. I set up MLF after reading Titus 3:4, which talks of the kindness and love of God in a philanthropic nature. God Himself is a philanthropist and it is His passion to serve the community.” Two months later, after learning that he lived in one of the poorest areas in his community, Ayo collaborated with local churches to provide Christmas hampers to those in need. And, in December 2013, Ayo implemented a ‘Feed The Poor’ campaign, which provided food provisions for over 300 struggling families in southeast London. He says that these initiatives fuelled his passion further to becoming God’s ‘arms and legs’ in his community. MAD is an acronym for ‘making a difference’, which is the core objective of this organisation. One group that MAD is particularly concerned about working with is young men, and dealing with the issues they face. Ayo states, “Due to factors like fatherlessness, dysfunctional homes, abuse and poverty, many young men grow up hurt and confused. As a result, they are unable to fully realise their true value in society, and so end up in a life of criminality and ‘nothingness’. MLF seeks to raise awareness to the brokenness of young men, and provides HELP (Healing,

Equipping, Leadership and Protection) within the community through programmes on leadership, manhood, seminars, mentoring, counselling and accountability coaching.” Although MAD: Love Foundation is not an overtly Christian organisation, Ayo calls it ‘back door evangelism’. “Everything we do is to spread the Gospel. Although we do not overtly mention the names ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ in our material, everything we do points to God.” Contrary to UK government decisions to close down numerous youth clubs in the name of saving funds, Ayo believes that they are still a successful way of engaging young people. “Young people are the leaders of tomorrow. They need help in developing their purpose, identity and potential. No one else is doing this in our community; this is why MLF is so important.” Currently serving areas within the Greenwich and Bexley boroughs, MLF will be covering further regions in the near future, and making a lasting impact on the wider community in London by putting MAD: Love Foundation into real and tangible action.

To find out more, Like Madlovefoundation on Facebook, follow @Madlovefdn on Twitter and Instagram.

Donna-Marie McDonald

Sharing a positive image of singleness

A

ny optimistic person would say that their single years are a time of freedom, self-development and career progression. So why does the term ‘singleness’ within the Church sometimes carry a lonely label, and individuals feel like they’re being overlooked and left out? Well, one woman who wants to put a new spin on the word ‘singleness’ and put the SASS back into single is CEO and Founder of VEP, Donna-Marie McDonald.


PEOPLE AND PLACES 17

TRACEY-ANN MUNROE Tea ching co m mu nities their cultu re AND ELEASAH ROBERTS

I

t appears that being of colour nowadays is starting to carry a negative connotation. With the #blacklivesmatter protests in the US and UK on the recent injustices in America, is the Media trying to tell us that Black lives actually don’t matter? Well, they certainly do for culture-based organisation, Colour Me Cultured.

Launched in June 2014 by community activist Tracey-Ann Munroe and former schools worker, Eleasah Roberts, Colour Me Cultured (CMC) provides alternative services in history and culture for ethnic minorities and underdog communities. CMC is birthed out of Eleasah’s and Tracey-Ann’s

The name VEP stands for ‘Very Eligible Person’ and this is Donna-Marie’s definition for singles. Donna-Marie, aka @MsVEP, believes that singles shouldn’t wait for perfect circumstances, but instead should create them and, as a single Christian herself, that’s exactly what she did. VEP’s core mission is to celebrate, support and encourage singles in their purpose. Knowing all too well the frustrations and challenges of single Christians between the ages of 23 and 37, Donna-Marie knew that there needed to be a space where Christians could socialise and network in a safe environment. “The vision was to create a VEP community, and host a range of varied social events, from luxury bowling to beautiful annual dinner and dance events.” Explaining how the idea came about, she says, “It was literally the Lord’s. I kept finding myself caught up in ‘single pity parties’ and it felt as though the topic of singleness was the focal point of every conversation at the events I attended.”

growing passion to provide education that empowers and allows individuals to explore their culture and history for themselves. It’s a passion that is rooted firmly in Eleasah’s and Tracey-Ann’s faith. Eleasah shared, “Our responsibilities as Christians are to help people find truth and it be because of the colour of their skin or their class.” Coming from very different upbringings, both ladies drew inspiration for CMC from their backgrounds and experiences. Eleasah, a theology student, shared how their unique experiences have impacted their joint initiative. “Tracey was born in Jamaica, to an Afrocentric mother who was aware of her culture, which she passed onto her children. I was raised in Brixton and brought Donna-Marie launched her first VEP Suite’s SASS (Sip And Strike Sunday) event in April 2013, after being asked to visit an upcoming singles event for the purpose of marketing it to the singles in her church.“I’m naturally very analytical, and found myself assessing the night in great depth, trying to figure out what was missing and how I could improve it. This spiralled into a ball of creative solutions and, before I knew it, I was on a mission to create a contemporary event that was both fun, yet sophisticated, which is how Sip And Strike Sunday, aka SASS, was birthed.” Held in the All Star Lanes venue in Shoreditch, all SASS events have had hugely successful turnouts. Guests such as Premier Gospel DJ, Lady T, commented: “The VEP event on Sunday was dope!” and motivational speaker, Kunle Oyedeji, and gospel artists, JayEss and Jake Isaac, have all made appearances. The VEP ministry isn’t just limited to socials.

up in a Christian, Irish and Jamaican family. I went to a Black school, and was surrounded by Black role models within my community. However, we both got to a place where we felt cheated. Questions weren’t being asked or answered regarding our colour and faith, so we decided that building a culture-based library and resource centre providing educational services would be a positive and constructive answer for people within our community who shared the same experiences.” Having three successful CMC events already under their belts so far, Tracey-Ann shares her excitement at seeing the project coming together at their 2014 Black History Month event, held at SOAS University in London, “…During the event, we had an Ethiopian communal meal together (with Ethiopian music playing in the background), and it was amazing to see everyone dining together. I sat back and looked at the set-up and all the different shades of people and thought: This is what Colour Me Cultured is all about.” Both Eleasah and Tracey-Ann have tremendous plans for the growth of CMC within the next five years.“The CMC bus will be running, and we would like schools, local councils and churches to know who we are and what we do. We see CMC clubs, classes and plans for supplementary school developments and so much more!” says Tracey. Wanting to see individuals excited about their cultural history, and how they can honour it through education, Tracey-Ann and Eleasah have created a niche platform through CMC, where any culture and individual can learn something. Visit www.colourmecultured.com for more details, or follow on Twitter @colourmeculture/

When VEPs (Very Eligible People) aren’t striking up conversation and bowling pins, they can tune into Donna-Marie’s YouTube series, ‘Waiting Well’. “I’ve recently started a new and exciting vlog, where I offer practical tips and advice, spiritual insights and coaching for single Christians,” she says. Big things are in store for the future of VEP. Donna-Marie plans to launch an interactive lifestyle site, where VEPs can feast on features and blogs on health, fashion and beauty, as well as write a book documenting 365 days of singleness. Dedicated and determined Donna-Marie wants singles to ditch the lonesome label and pursue their purpose! Like on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ vep.suite, follow on Twitter @VEP_Tweets or visit YouTube channel VEPsuite.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


16 KTF ABOUT TOWN 18

KEEP THE FAITH

ABOUT TOWN If you have an event or news you would like featured in Keep The Faith About Town, email editorial@keepthefaith.co.uk with details. You must have pictures to accompany your story.

BIRMINGHAM TURNS OUT TO PRAY Desirous to start 2015 seeking God’s direction for their lives and purpose, hundreds turned out for Headstart, a six-day long series of prayer services, organised by God’s Bride Ministries, founded by Christian leader, Seth Pinnock.

Christians from across the UK flocked to Headstart, held at Cannon Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, where prayers were said for various issues, including the Church, Christian unity and young people, as well as prayer requests. Features speakers and special guests at Headstart included: Lord David Urquhart, Lord Michael Hastings, Bishop Wayne Brown, Pastor Celia Collins-Apeagyei, Nicky Brown and Pastor Jonathan Oloyede. Seth Pinnock, who is known for his work hosting the popular youth event, Midnight Oil, was overwhelmed at the response to Headstart, and wrote about it on Facebook stating “7 mornings, 6 nights, 13 services, 400 in attendance, 300+ prayer requests sent in, 20+ new Project8 supporters, 5+ salvation reports, and an awesome testimony of a man whose scheduled operation got cancelled after healing prayer - none of it could be done without GOD, the amazing God’s Bride Ministries team and Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church”. Amen.

Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag


19

GOSPEL’S FINEST JOIN DAVE DANIELS AT HIS 50TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

One of Britain’s most popular gospel singers, Dave Daniels, recently celebrated his 50th birthday with a spectacular party and music event, featuring many luminaries from the UK gospel scene. Daniels has been singing gospel since a teenager, and came to the public’s attention whilst a member of 80s gospel group, Clarity. He then joined the London Community Gospel Choir, and was feature soloist on many of the choir’s early albums. In recent years, Daniels has focused on pastoring. He serves as Senior Pastor of the Peoples’ Christian Fellowship, based in Tottenham, north London. Joining him for the celebrations were his wife, Donna, and their two children, Tehillah and Karar. Gospel luminaries present – some of whom performed – included Priscilla Jones-Campbell, Faye Simpson, Lurine Cato, Mark Beswick , Bazil Meade, Judith Bennett and the LCGC members from the 1980s. Pastor D also received video tributes from US gospel stars, Carvin Winans and Fred Hammond. Pastor D, a keen cyclist, shed a few tears when he was presented with his birthday gift , TREK MADONE 3.5C 14 58-BKRD, a top-of-the-range bicycle!!! When asked how he felt about joining the 50s club, Pastor D replied, “I’ve joined the grown ups.”

REV GEORGE HARGREAVES FINDS LOVE Keep The Faith extends hearty congratulations to Rev George Hargreaves, CEO of Kingdom Films. He recently married beautiful actress/model and TV presenter Maureen Jolly Nankya, in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in front of 40 guests.

Rev Hargreaves was widowed in 2011. When he met Maureen, a Christian, in 2013, he knew that she was the woman for him. Talking about his newfound happiness, Rev Hargreaves told Keep The Faith that he is ‘elated’ with the marriage. He shared, “I knew she was the one the first time I clapped eyes on her, and I promised her we’d get married in 2014. Despite some challenges, we tied the knot on December 28.” As far as Rev Hargreaves is concerned, he has found a real helpmate in Maureen. This talented woman recently produced her first movie, and runs Kingdom Cinema East Africa in Uganda. Keep The Faith wishes Rev Hargreaves and his new wife all the best as they embark on this journey of life together.


20 INTERVIEW

David Oyelowo British actor David Oyelowo became a household name as MI5 officer Danny Brooks in the TV series Spooks. He went on to play supporting roles in many box office films, such as Red Tails (2012), Middle of Nowhere (2012), Lincoln (2012) and The Butler (2013) to name but a few. His role as Martin Luther King, Jr in the biographical drama film Selma, which was released in the US in December 2014, earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor (Drama). A devout Christian, Oyelowo believes God called him to play Rev Martin Luther King. Keep The Faith spoke with him about his role in Selma, working with Oprah Winfrey and his faith . . .

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine


INTERVIEW 21

Hearing the voice of God is very much incumbent upon your relationship with Him. Like any relationship, you are able to hear someone far more if you relate to them daily.

BY TOBI AKINGBADE

Tobi Akingbade (TA): What was your first response when you were first asked to play Dr Martin Luther King? David Oyelowo (DO): Well, I read the script in 2007, about two months after my wife and I had moved to America to pursue our acting careers, and I felt God tell me that I was going to play Dr King in this film. I put myself on tape for the director at the time, but the director didn’t agree that I was right to play him. But, having felt like this was a call from God to do it, I basically just decided “OK … let’s see what God does”. That director moved on and two other directors came and went. In 2010 when Lee Daniels became attached I was cast in the film. I had worked with Lee Daniels on ‘The Butler’, but we still couldn’t get the film off the ground. Then Lee felt it was time for him to move on from ‘Selma’. I had worked with Ava DuVernay on a much smaller film called ‘The Middle Of Nowhere’, and I recommended her for ‘Selma’, and so she was brought on as director. It was a very unorthodox path: from God telling me I was going to do it; to a director telling me I shouldn’t do it; to me recommending a director that did do it! TA: You mentioned that God told you that one day you would play Martin Luther King. What tips would you give our readers on hearing and recognising God’s voice? DO: I think God speaks to everyone differently. I have four children, and the way I talk to one doesn’t work for the other; it all depends on the relationship. Hearing the voice of God is very much incumbent upon your relationship with Him. Like any relationship, you are able to hear someone far more if you relate to them daily. At the time that I heard God tell me about ‘Selma’, I had been praying and fasting, so my ears were far more attuned to Him speaking and cutting out the white noise of life. The way I hear Him tends to be a voice that crosses my own will; I want to go one way and He comes along and says, “This is the way to go”.

TA: Along the way, did you ever doubt that what you heard was actually true? DO: There were definitely very challenging moments, but it has all been divine timing. I’ve felt God say, “In My divine time … this will happen”, and what has been so encouraging is that the notion of ‘divine timing’ was given to me in my prayer life. Now I’m doing interviews with people, or people are talking about the film, and they are using that phrase ‘divine timing’. In relation to some of what’s going on racially in America right now - like the murders of unarmed Black men like Michael Brown and Eric Garner - it’s like this private notion is now a publicly accepted truth, and that’s also indicative to me of God’s faithfulness in finishing what He started. TA: You kept the faith, you believed in what God had told you. How did you prepare yourself for the role? DO: I started right there and then. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s to work hard. What I couldn’t have anticipated is that I would be afforded the opportunity to do four films in particular, all of which touched upon the Civil Rights movement. I played a Unionist soldier in ‘Lincoln’ (set in 1865), an African American fighter pilot in ‘Red Tails’, a preacher in ‘The Help’, and the son of the butler in ‘The Butler’ (set in 2008). I had an education into what it is to be an African American over a 150-year period, which I needed as a Brit. I noticed that when Dr King was giving his speeches, he was flowing in an anointing that was outside himself. I just watched him and I’m like “Wow, this is God plus man”. I think the seven years it took to get the film made actually helped me as an actor to be able to play Dr King. TA: What did you learn from Martin Luther King whilst doing the role, as a Christian? DO: I learned the difference between talking the Word and doing the Word. What really struck me was that for 13 years he did it: he walked it, www.keepthefaith.co.uk


22 INTERVIEW

he lived it; not only his life, but his children’s lives were under threat; death threats every day. He still chose to go out there and submit to the call of God upon his life till the day he died. To me, that’s where the rubber hits the road as a Christian, and certainly as a leader. TA: You played him in an era of his life that was quite intense. What was your most memorable scene to act out, the one that had the most impact? DO: One scene in particular was the speeches I give in the church. We had 500 extras in the church, and I had the opportunity to pray with everyone before we shot the scene. Just as I had finished praying, Ava DuVernay (the director) was just about to say “Action” when all the lights went out, and an unforecasted thunderstorm started, so we couldn’t shoot. We went outside and the sky was pink and blue with a double rainbow. The people basically said they had never seen anything like it. When the storm passed, we all felt that we had seen something supernatural. It was

Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

extraordinary. It was almost as if God stopped everything and showed up for everyone. It was really a remarkable day for me.

can change some of them by your disposition, and by loving them because it pours hot coal on their heads, just like it says in the Bible.

TA: What was it like acting with Oprah Winfrey again, after starring alongside her in ‘The Butler’? DO: What I admire so much about her is the fact that, even though she is who she is, she never projects that. A bit like Dr King, he never thought of himself as an icon, and that’s what I admire about Oprah. I asked her to be a producer in the film, because you want that truthful energy around you, and I adore her as a person.

TA: What advice would you give to people of faith, who are in an industry that may encourage them to compromise their faith? DO: Be the head and not the tail. You’ve got to know what God wants, not just biblically but personally. There are times when God wants you to go to a dark place in order to be the light in that place … but that’s not for everyone! Then there are non-negotiables, like anything that encourages darkness.

TA: How would you like ‘Selma’ to impact your audience? DO: I think the power of non-violent protest; of love in the face of hatred, and of solidarity (between all races and different faiths) brings about change, and that’s a very potent message today, certainly in America and what’s going on in Paris with the hideous terrorist attacks. Love will win out. The light will always obliterate the darkness. TA: Do you think, with what’s going on in the UK and the US regarding police and race issues, that this is an ideology that can still be held, like it was in the 60s? DO: I think if you’re referring to ideology of non-violence, love and social responsibility, I think absolutely, because there is no alternative. You can’t fight fire with fire. Well, you can, but it just burns everyone to the ground. I absolutely believe that even though it tends to be the longer road, it forces the perpetrators to look in the mirror. You can’t change people just by talking at them or shooting at them, but you

TA: Aside from ‘Selma’ and starring in ‘Americanah’ alongside Lupita Nyong’o, what other projects do you have set for 2015? DO: I’m doing another film, again with Lupita, called the ‘Queen of Katwe’. It’s a true story about a girl in Uganda, who is plucked out of obscurity by my character, who inspires her to play chess, and she becomes a grandmaster despite her not being able to read. It’s a triumph of the human spirit, and we are going to start shooting that in the next few months.

“SELMA” is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is on general release on February 6.


®

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE

BEST PICTURE & BEST ORIGINAL SONG – JOHN LEGEND & COMMON, ‘GLORY’

“THE

BEST FILM OF THE YEAR” HHHHH “ HHHHH TIME MAGAZINE

TREMENDOUS...

DAILY TELEGRAPH

LITTLE WHITE LIES

A FLAT-OUT GREAT FILM... OYELOWO IS ELECTRIFYING AS

MARTIN LUTHER KING” TIM ROBEY, DAILY TELEGRAPH

D AV I D O Y E L O W O

TOM W I L K I N SON

CARMEN EJOGO

TIM ROTH

WITH

OPRAH WINFREY

AN D

“MAGNIFICENT”

“UNMISSABLE”

HHHHH

HHHHH

“STUNNING”

“A TRIUMPH”

HHHH

HHHH

ROLLING STONE

GQ

RED

TIME OUT NEW YORK

DAILY MAIL

NEW YORK TIMES

EMPIRE

TOTAL FILM

IN CINEMAS 6TH FEBRUARY Facebook.com/SelmaFilmUK #SelmaFilm Facebook.com/SelmaFilmUK Facebook.com/SelmaFilmUK Facebook.com/SelmaFilmUK Facebook.com/SelmaFilmUK

12A MODERATEINFREQUENTVIOLENCE,STRINGRACISTLANGUAGELANGUAGE


24 INTERVIEW

The joy, pain and cha Strong marriages form the bedrock of any strong community; however, no one said marriage was easy. Keep The Faith spoke to two Christian couples at different stages of their marital journeys, who shared about their marriages, the challenges they face, and how their faith in God helps them overcome them.

Lloyd and Dorothy Dwyer

L

loyd and Dorothy Dwyer are both Christians, and part of the pastoral and leadership team at Junction Community Church in Wandsworth, south west London. Lloyd is also a qualified trainer, and Dorothy co-runs a loss and bereavement group. They’ve been married for 30 years, have three adult children and are also foster carers. When you meet Lloyd and Dorothy Dwyer, you are left with the strong impression of a couple who love God, each other and their family, and who have a strong desire to serve others. The couple met as non-Christians in a nightclub in 1980, started going out two years later, and got married on 1 December 1984 - six weeks after their conversion to Christianity. Lloyd reminisced about their first meeting. He shared, “At that time, we were both in the music world and part of the London soul/funk music scene. Dorothy sang, and I played saxophone. We felt a strong connection to each other and, within a very short time of dating, began living together. It’s only when we had our 25th wedding anniversary that our children got to know these details, and we told them ‘Don’t do what we did’!” The couple lived happily together for three years but, when they became Christians, both felt convicted to get married. Dorothy shared how they got converted: “In the autumn of 1984, we visited my mother, a serious Christian, who was always praying for us. For some reason, Lloyd was drawn to a Morris Cerullo book, which he borrowed and read. I was curious and read it, too. He says he got saved on the last page; I got saved on the first page. We immediately knew we had to get married, and did so six weeks later.” Unlike some couples, who live together before getting married, the couple found the transition to married life easy. Dorothy explained, “When we got married, not only was marriage new, but we were both new people. We had already spent years of being a couple as part of the ‘showbiz’ scene. I explicitly heard the Lord say that we should ‘come out from among them’, and it was easy for both of us to immediately turn our backs on this lifestyle, as God made a way. The first year of marriage was very much about getting to know the Lord, as well as getting to know my new husband.” Almost everyone is agreed that having children definitely brings challenges to marriage. Lloyd and Dorothy seem to have navigated the new

experience well. “The first child is a shock, as your couple relationship changes,” Dorothy recalled. “It’s true that the man can feel left out, as the new mum is preoccupied with the new baby. There’s no more popping out to dinner or a concert, like before. However, the blessing of children can also bring you closer together. Both of us had to change to accommodate our new status as parents. We also believe in mentors, and always surrounded ourselves with like-minded friends and parents that we have learnt from.” Living in an age where Christian marriages seem to be under attack and increasingly ending in divorce, Lloyd and Dorothy’s marriage has remained firm and has stood the test of time. When asked why they’ve remained together, Dorothy replied, “We always say God knew what He was doing when He put us together. Our main connection is the Lord Himself. Lloyd once made a deep observation about wedding vows. He said that when you say your vows, it’s not just before the congregation. Through the minister, you are promising the Lord to honour and respect your wife. And the whole ceremony is a contract with the Lord. When we both have this perspective, this is the tie that binds.” And it’s obvious that the couple’s faith in the Lord has been at the centre of their relationship since day dot.

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

“We always say God knew what He was doing when He put us together. Our main connection is the Lord Himself.” Keep The Faith had to ask them for three tips they’d give to couples looking to get married and to those who are already married. Here they are: “Make sure the Lord has made the match. Don’t get married under pressure. Someone we know told us that as they were walking up the aisle, they knew it was wrong. That marriage did not last. Make your marriage spiritual. Pray, do Bible study and share testimonies together. As Christians, we can talk about anything, but we always have a God perspective. This is also a way of checking in with each other spiritually and emotionally. Work as a team, and never make unilateral decisions that can affect your family without consulting your partner. Make sure that the decisions made are covered in prayer.”


INTERVIEW 25

allenges of marriage Pastor Gbengá and Selone Ajewolé

P

astor Gbengá Ajewolé serves as Senior Pastor of The Rock Church in Bethnal Green. He and his wife, Selone are one Christian couple, who have decided to share the secret of marital love and their wisdom gained over the years, in their co-authored book, The Colours of Love, which covers everything people want to know about love and relationships, singleness, marriage and overcoming problems. The couple are in a great position to do so. They have known each other for 15 years; been together for 14, and been married for almost eight years, plus they are always either preaching about marriage, or giving people advice about it. In fact, they were inspired to write The Colours of Love together, because people constantly turn to them for dating and marital advice. Pastor Ajewolé, affectionately known as Pastor G, shared, “In a counselling and pastoral capacity, we have been a natural source that individuals gravitate towards for relationship advice. We felt it necessary to counteract the negative examples of love in society, with the blueprint provided by the Creator of love, thus The Colours of Love Relationship Manual was birthed.” As well as focusing on helping married couples, The Colours of Love also seeks to address the concerns of Christian singles, particularly those on the search for a marital partner. It’s a known fact that Christians face challenges, which Pastor G outlines: “The three main challenges are: a lack of guidelines on how to build a sustaining and fulfilling relationship; finding a partner who values and practises biblical principles of waiting for marriage before having sex, and the fear of approaching the age by which one ‘ought’ to be married, therefore causing them to pick an unsuitable mate in order to not be ‘left on the shelf’ or satisfy mounting family pressure.” Other challenges young single Christians also face is the temptation to live together before marriage and pre-marital sex. These are issues that Pastor G and his wife, Selone, occasionally deal with pastorally and, when they do, biblical rinciples are what they espouse. He explained, “When issues pertaining to co-habitation and sex before marriage arise, we use the Word of God as our reference. If society on the whole had listened and adhered to biblical principles in waiting for marriage before engaging in intimacy, we could have avoided people - young and old mistaking sex for love, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, emotional hurts, soul ties, and so on. As such, we highlight the benefits of doing things God’s way.” One thing about Pastor G and his wife is that they are not frightened to be open and honest about their lives or relationship. Selone even

“When life has thrown devastating curveballs our way, we have found the best remedy to be cleaving to the Word of God, together.”

admitted she was initially fearful of marriage. She explained,“We have been married for almost eight years, and it’s the best decision we have ever made! I used to be scared of marriage but, at age 23, Pastor G simply depicted life as a journey, which he would like to go on with me, and navigate together. Personally, a journey to me meant that the road was bound to be bumpy, but that I would have him in my corner, to laugh and endure with me as we navigate life’s tricky pathways. We decided to share our lives together simply because we make each other better than we would be on our own.” And, like any other couple, as much as Pastor G and Selone love each other, they do face challenges, which they overcome by applying the principles of their faith, such as being slow to anger, and dealing with disagreements swiftly. Pastor G explained, “The main thinking behind our approach to challenges is that there is no back door or exit and, since divorce is simply not an option, we think very carefully about what we say and do. Also, when life has thrown devastating curveballs our way, we have found the best remedy to be cleaving to the Word of God, together.” As you can imagine, Pastor G and Selone are great advocates for marriage, and would recommend it to all believers who are lucky enough to find someone to share their life with. “No relationship is perfect but, in the second chapter of Genesis, God talked about creating a helper that is just right for Adam; that’s what your spouse should be there to do and be: help, not hinder you. As such, don’t be terrified of getting married; however, equip yourself with the tools and concepts from The Colours of Love Relationship Manual. Invest wisely in getting married, staying married, keeping your marriage formation fresh, and experiencing For more in ook visit heaven on earth in your about the b ve.co.uk relationship and home. w.coloursoflo

ww


26 FEATURE

Why study theology? London School of Theology (LST) “I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people…” Jude 1:3 Here are the three main reasons believers should study theology: • It is vital for those who lead in the church to have a full comprehension of the Word of Faith so that righteous blessing can be bestowed on those we minister to. • As believers we are called to have a deep commitment to Scripture. • Knowledge of the Word is the basis from which the Spirit can move in power. The London School of Theology (LST) is the largest interdenominational evangelical theological college in Europe and over the 70+ years of training Christians we have seen thousands of men and women go out into the church, mission and the world after studying theology. LST is unique in offering theology ‘&’ courses too, such as Theology, Music & Worship or Theology & Counselling.

Theology is not an enemy of faith but rather theology is faith seeking understanding.

The Scriptures teach that we must be able to give account for what we believe and defend it in the world. We live in changing, often confusing times but the Word of God is the constant upon which we can depend. The Bible is a book that requires study, reflection and spiritual leading in order for us to know God’s will and act upon it. LST theology graduates go on to be dynamic disciples who stand for the Lord in this changing world. Empowered to understand our contemporary world so they can preach the Gospel and make further disciples as we are commanded to do. Theology is not an enemy of faith but rather theology is faith seeking understanding. Reverend Desmond Hall, Pastor of Pentecostal City Mission Church (Willesden Branch) who studied theology at LST said: “Studying at LST has grounded my faith and broadened my knowledge of the God I worship and serve. I see studying theology as the key to unlocking more understanding of Scripture and would certainly recommend it.” LST has courses in theology from a one-year certificate level upward, both online and on campus or distance learning; also if you have musical gifting you can combine studying theology with worship. Find out more including how to book on a ‘Discovery Day’ where you come and ask questions, experience a taster lecture and get a feel of the campus here: www.lst.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

Steve Thomp so contemporary n - Lecturer in music studie s


NEW EVENING COURSES ON CAMPUS 2015 FOR ALL OF YOU IN THE LONDON AREA

DISTANCE LEARNING CHOOSE ONLINE OR PAPER BASED

THEOLOGY FOR YOUR LIFE THE LST EXPERIENCE TO FIT YOU 2015

WEEKEND INTENSIVES

FIRST CHOICE RESIDENTIAL DEGREES SINGLE MODULE LEARNING FOR CPD IF YOU DON’T WANT A FULL DEGREE

MAiTh: A unique new theological MA which equips you to engage theologically with the world around you. Find out more at: www.lst.ac.uk/integrative

Next LST Discovery Day is Saturday 28 February 10:30am to 3:00pm - Book your place today! London School of Theology Green Lane, Northwood, HA6 2UW tel: 01923 456000 email: enquiries@lst.ac.uk Registered Charity No. 312778 ‘Like’ us on Facebook: facebook.com/LondonSchoolofTheology | Twitter: @LSTheology | www.lst.ac.uk


28 FEATURE

Belfast B Bible College

- a vibrant and diverse Christian community, where staff and students live and learn together as they seek to grow as disciples and serve God with their lives.

elfast Bible College (affectionately known by us as BBC) is a leading, and one of the largest and longest established Bible Colleges in the UK.

Set in the village of Dunmurry midway between the cities of Belfast & Lisburn in Northern Ireland, the tranquil campus in a rural setting is 5 minutes’ walk from bus or train links, and 30 minutes from 2 airports making accessibility very easy.

Why study at BBC?

Students would say that several aspects of BBC life makes it a unique place.

Different courses to study

Since when does one size fit all? Our desire is to help each student realise their vision and calling by tailoring courses to suit their individual needs. Whether you feel a calling to cross–cultural ministry, youth ministry, or simply more effective ministry where you are – we’re committed to working with you to find a pathway which will ensure that you are prepared. We have a wide range of full and part–time study options, whatever your areas of interest or the amount of time you have available. (Information below on the range of courses.)

Different places

This year international students make up more than 25% of the student body, coming to us from 28 countries representing Europe (East & West), Africa, South America, North America, Asia, and India). Over our 70 year history, the college has attracted students from over 80 countries, and graduates are now serving in more than 70 countries worldwide. Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

Different churches

(We are a non-denominational college). Students and staff come from a wide range of churches and fellowships, both the established, the Pentecostal, and the Emerging churches. At college we respect each other’s backgrounds which gives a rich tapestry to our worship!

Different callings

Students leave us to go into mission (home and overseas), ministry (in church and community), or secular workplace as salt and light, witnessing to their faith, be that as a doctor, lawyer, civil engineer, teacher, nursery assistant, housewife, or community worker. All students leave us united by a love for God and His people, and wanting to serve Him wherever, and in whatever they are called to be and do. Yet in this diversity, we share one purpose. Belfast Bible College is called to be a welcoming community in which God works to form His people by integrating spiritual, academic and practical education rooted in His Word, for growth in Christian life and service, locally and around the World. Belfast Bible College is a unique learning environment where study, discipleship, personal transformation and practical application go hand in hand. This three-stranded approach is crucial to all that we do at BBC. We are unashamedly in the business of challenging men and women to be “not merely hearers of the Word, but doers also.” (James 1.22)

Student Committee

Each year students have the opportunity to elect


FEATURE 29

Belfast Bible College is called to be a welcoming community in which God works to form His people by integrating spiritual, academic and practical education rooted in His Word, for growth in Christian life and service, locally and around the World. a Committee from among their peers. The Community Life Team works closely with the Committee to support them in planning and facilitating a programme of social events, worship and prayer evenings, as well as the College formal at the end of the academic year.

Learning through Study

Study is at the heart of BBC. We are wholly committed to the Bible as God’s Word, and the Gospel it declares. Our desire for our students is that they would understand God’s Word more deeply, in order that they may apply it more lovingly and powerfully in today’s world.

Study Options

You can use our interactive course finder http://www.belfastbiblecollege.com/study/ course-finder.php to find out which options might be open to you. For further information, please get in touch, and we will be happy to guide you to the most appropriate course of study. (Details below.)

Queens University Belfast (QUB) Undergraduate Courses

BBC is a Constituent College of the Institute of Theology of Queens – that is students are enrol as QUB students but study at BBC with courses of the highest academic calibre as you would expect from a Russell Group university. This year again BBC students have won prizes as outstanding students in the 3 year Batchelor courses, and 20% receiving a First Class Honours, 50% a 2.1, and 30% a 2.2. QUB students may also gain a “Degree Plus Award” which, through recognising additional skills gained through extra-curricular activities, enhances employment opportunities http://www.belfastbiblecollege.com/study/ undergraduate-qub.php.

Postgraduate Courses

With the Masters (MTh) options, many students gain a Merit or distinction, and PhD students have their work published.

University of Cumbria (UoC)

A one year Certificate in Higher Education, 2 year Diploma in Higher Education or the 3 year BA (Hons) in Theology is offered in partnership with the University of Cumbria. These programmes are ideally suited to those who are looking for a Theology Degree which blends biblical and theological education with a practical ministry focus rooted in the purpose and values of BBC, and are designed to develop skills, knowledge, and attitude necessary to live a life of faith in the contemporary world. Graduates regularly achieve excellent results -59% gaining a 2.1 or above. http://www.belfastbiblecollege.com/study/undergraduate-uoc.php.

BBC Courses

A range of bespoke courses are available to those not seeking a degree, but good quality, Bible-based teaching. For further details contact our Enquiries office.

Paying for your course

We realise that deciding to come to Belfast Bible College may well have a significant financial impact, whether you are coming as an individual, couple or family; from Northern Ireland, the UK or further afield. Our fees are much lower than many UK and European colleges, and the normal “Student Loans” are available. Additional help may also be available – details on our website. www.belfastbiblecollege.com

What next?

Growing in Discipleship

Why not pay us a visit – there are over 20 flights to Belfast from the main UK airports each day, and nothing is better than experiencing a “day at BBC” meeting students, staff, experiencing a lecture, the wonderful catering, a “Community life” event, and enjoying the facilities.

We recognise that having more knowledge about God is not an end in itself. Rather, this increased knowledge should lead to personal growth and transformation, resulting in a greater love for God and His world.

Training by Doing

We believe the Christian servant should care about professional competence, regardless of the context in which they will eventually work and minister. We are a practical training college, where your ministry skills will be honed and tested though many placement opportunities.

For further information, or to arrange a visit, contact us at info@belfastbiblecollege.com, visit our website, or telephone (028) 9030155. www.keepthefaith.co.uk


30 FEATURE

OVERCOMING ABUSE GOD’S WAY Abuse is defined as any action that intentionally harms or injures another person, and is unfortunately perpetuated by fellow human beings upon others. Many people have experienced abuse, whether emotional, psychological, physical or sexual – this includes men and women who sit on the pews. Keep The Faith spoke to two women, who have been victims of abuse, and found out how their faith helped them overcome it.

Malakh Zebulun

O

ne woman who has decided to be open about her experience of child sexual abuse is Malakh Zebulun, whose book ‘No More Secrets’ has just been released. This gripping story chronicles the abuse she experienced, how it affected her emotionally and psychologically, and how her faith in God helped her to deal with the after effects of her childhood trauma. Malakh says she wrote the book after being inspired to do so. She recalls, “One day I put to prayer an issue I was experiencing within my business, and asked God what He wanted me to do. I needed clarity from Him if I was where He wanted me to be, because I could not understand why the situation was feeling so difficult to address. To my surprise, the answer I heard Him say had nothing to do with the query I had asked. Instead, He told me: ‘Write and tell your story’. Immediately within my spirit, I knew what I was being asked to do, and that was to share my journey of child abuse, domestic violence to self-healing.” Malakh was first abused at eight years old by her mother’s then boyfriend. She was later abused by her cousin, who wanted to sexually experiment with her. When his mother caught him in the act, she told Malakh not to say anything. She was also abused by a foster child her grandmother looked after, and raped by another cousin. As you can imagine, the sexual abuse she experienced had a devastating effect on her. “I was both emotionally and psychologically distressed after the first encounter, and the complexity of this increased later after the other accounts of abuse by others. As a child, I had an eating disorder, drug addiction, suffered increased asthma attacks, and my helplessness led me to suicide attempts. As an adult, my smoking increased, so did my asthma attacks and attempts on my life, which led me to embrace counselling.” Despite her childhood trauma, Malakh was able to develop a successful career as a manager and trainer, specialising in empowering vulnerable young people. However, when she hit 40, she decided it was time to deal with her own inner issues. She recalls, “Having spent the last 25 years, at that time, working with and empowering

vulnerable young people and women, and hiding behind my own career growth as a manager and trainer, I decided I needed to take my own advice that I had been handing out in empowerment workshops, and begin my own self-healing journey.” It was definitely the best decision she could have made. “I put everything to prayer and wrote prayer lists. My relationship with God has helped me identify personal boundaries, and given me purpose and knowledge that I am worthy. I use my life experiences to show God’s healing in my life.” One of the things she did was promise God that she would remain celibate and let God choose her life partner. It’s a prayer God answered, because Malakh got married this year. No More Secrets seems to be striking a chord with readers, and she’s getting numerous requests to speak at events and conferences. She feels it’s important that child abuse victims share their stories and has this message to share: “Your past does not dictate your future. You can heal and live your life happy and well. But you must engage in your self-healing programme and keep investing in your wellness. Be aware of removing negative situations from your life; build up your mind; expect positive and beautiful things to happen in your life. Most of all, learn to tell your story differently. One day you will look back at every little step taken, and notice how far you have come.”

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

For more details visit www.malakhzebulun.com and to purchase a copy of No More Secrets (£9.99). It is also available on Amazon.

“Your past does not dictate your future. You can heal and live your life happy and well.”


FEATURE 31

Kudakwashe Nyakudya

W

hen you look at Zimbabweanborn Christian, Kudakwashe Nyakudya, it’s difficult to believe that this beautiful 30-something mother-of-two was once a victim of domestic violence and abuse. Although Kudakwashe’s husband claimed to be a Christian, during most of their 10-year marriage, his behaviour was anything but. The couple met in her native homeland when she 17, married, and then immigrated to the UK. Kudakwashe shared that emotional abuse started in the first year of the marriage, the physical abuse in the second. It started off indirectly as ‘play hitting’, but escalated into full-scale abuse five years into the marriage. She recalls, “I’d be isolated into rooms; barricaded in the bathroom; pushed down the stairs; thrown against furniture. In the last five years, when I was pregnant with my second child, he started abusing me sexually.” She also suffered psychological, emotional and financial abuse. All the while, Kudakwashe and her husband still attended church, but she didn’t confide in anyone. She explained, “Where I grew up, I was told it was my duty, as the wife, to present a positive image of my husband, and also that some issues are just private - just for your home - and you don’t expose them. I kept quiet, but there were times I would say indirectly what was going on.” When the violence got too much, Kudakwashe finally started speaking out when the violence became more intense, and she began fearing for her two children, who were experiencing emotional and psychological abuse from their father. The

advice she received was not always helpful. After spending time in prayer and meditation, Kudakwashe realised God hadn’t created her to be abused. “The day I actually called the police, he had confiscated all my documents that you need to show that you ever existed, and I felt he was planning something.” When the police came round to speak to Kudakwashe, they gave her a description of what she’d been suffering – domestic abuse. She was able to move into a safe house along with her children, and it was whilst there, rebuilding her life, Kudakwashe got the idea of setting up an organisation that helped people from faith communities, who had experienced domestic violence. They say that no experience is wasted, and Kudakwashe has put hers to good use and established Kahrmel Wellness (KW). Based in the West Midlands, KW provides support services, and educational and training programmes for the victims of domestic violence.

“I’d be isolated into rooms, barricaded in the bathroom; pushed down the stairs; thrown against furniture” The organisation also seeks to raise awareness of domestic violence in faith communities, through talks and workshops and, such is the impact of Kudakwashe’s work, she has been featured on local and national media talking about the issue.

Visit www.kahrmelwellness.com for more information about the services it provides for victims of domestic violence, and training programmes it runs for churches.

NEED HELP?

If you have experienced abuse and want to talk through your experiences with a Christian counsellor, visit the Association of Christian Counsellors at www.acc-uk.org. They have a directory of qualified counsellors from across the country. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can get support from www.womensaid.org.uk a national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. They have a free 24-hour helpline on 0808 2000 247, or email helpline@womensaid.org.uk. S:VOX is a national survivor-led self-help organisation for survivors of any form of violence and abuse. Visit www.svox.co.uk. Kim Bacchus runs an organisation that puts on training courses for churches, so that they correctly handle situations involving domestic abuse. Visit www.kimbacchus.com for more details. The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence - regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation. Visit www.ncdv.org.uk or phone 0800 970 2070.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


32 FEATURE

DIONNE GRAVESANDE

is Head of Church Advocacy at Christian Aid

Dionne Gravesande explores how pornography is impacting the Christian community, and calls on the Church to create safe spaces, where people can deal with their addiction to porn

I

nternet pornography is very real and very dangerous. In my life as a counsellor, this issue is having devastating consequences on the lives of women and men in and outside church, and it’s important that we are aware of the mental, emotional and even physical dangers of Internet pornography. Here are some facts you should know about pornography on the World Wide Web: • there are 420,000,000 pages of pornography on the Internet • there are 4,200,000 pornographic websites • there are 68,000,000 search engine requests for porn every day! With such high numbers of people watching porn, don’t assume that this isn’t a problem in the churches. One UK evangelical leader was sceptical of similar survey findings, which said 50% of Christian men have looked at porn recently, so he surveyed his own congregation. He found that 60% of them had done so within the past year, and 25% within the past 30 days. Is this a shock? And it isn’t just men who have a problem with porn, since other surveys reveal that one in three visitors to adult websites are women. At Quit Porn Addiction (the UK’s main porn counselling service), almost one in three clients are women struggling with their own porn use. Yet, what is striking is the real sense of despair and loneliness for the women who get caught up in it. In almost every case, the women believe they are the only ones ever to have struggled with the issue. “Porn and sexual addiction may be referred to as a man’s problem, but for women it’s an unspoken struggle. Many women talk of a problem dating back to their early teens, before they’ve even had a relationship. Whether started out of curiosity or other factors, it seems that once you start, pornography can take over your Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

life. The images can sit in your mind all day long, and it taps your subconscious, encouraging you to look at more.” Porn is gaining a stranglehold on mainstream society and culture. One reason is the false message that porn viewing is harmless and socially acceptable for the sexually frustrated. The reality is it is not harmless; the number of casual porn viewers who end up sexually addicted runs into the hundreds of thousands. Pornography appears to be a taboo word in the corporate church space and, in my view, we cannot afford to play the taboo game; there are too many lives at stake and in need of help. Christians, who have spoken out about this subject, say: “It was like a constant battle between my sexual urges and my self-control. I’d think to myself: ‘It’s not doing any harm’, but then I started to loathe myself for giving in and wasting so much time on it.” Like me, you might believe the Church stands as Christ’s disciple, and we need to be mindful of the evils that wrap and bind people into lonely isolated places. And it isn’t just the new believers coming into church who are getting addicted to pornography, but also those who have been in the pews for a while. For those inside church, stigma and fear work against those Christians who wish to address this issue. A courageous churchgoer, John, bears witness to this reality. After much prayer, John decided to step out and start a ministry to offer church leaders an unprecedented look into the way men’s accountability groups function. One crucial element is creating a confidential context for full disclosure. Disclosure of sex addiction or porn use is so stigmatising that it is best handled in a confidential, small-group setting, in which participants agree not to pass judgment. They also grant each other ‘the right to call’ 24/7 for unannounced check-ins. The ministry is successful and is growing.

This reminds me of how distinctive Christian community can be.“Because Christian community is founded solely on Jesus Christ, it is a spiritual and not a psychic reality. In this, it differs absolutely from all other communities.” Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s comment perfectly sums up what faithful, risk-taking congregations offer a sexually obsessed society.

“It isn’t just men who have a problem with porn… surveys reveal that one in three visitors to adult websites are women.” Evil has many names, and we should call out the names if people are to be liberated. Pornography is addictive and a very destructive poison. It is a way to control and promote a society that looks at marriage as something for the weak. It causes you to redefine women and men as sexual playthings, and destroys [future] family units. Porn really will blind you from the true meaning of sex. God intended sex to bond the two persons together, so that they become one flesh and enjoy not just the sex but all of the other amazing things that a partnership can bring: love, loyalty, a family and other more important things. If porn has become a habit for you, take a step in faith, confide in a trusted pastor, counsellor, elder or friend. If you are an overcomer, consider setting up a support ministry. Since there are not many meetings where pornography addicted people can help support each other, we need to send a message saying: You are not on your own; the Church can support, pray and deliver men and women from addictive behaviours.


FEATURE 33

5. Telling the truth is not the same as being honest

EUGENE JORDAN

A

Whilst I’ve always been truthful, I haven’t always been honest. Here’s the difference: ‘Telling the truth’ requires being asked a series of questions and simply answering truthfully. ‘Being honest’ displays the use of free will to openly tell the truth without being probed. I used to think my wife was crazy when she would say, ‘Why can’t you just be honest?’ I’d always answer truthfully if asked, however, as a man, it can be difficult to be ‘open and honest’. I now understand that being forthcoming with information means a lot fewer questions and can turn the ‘Spanish inquisition’ into an honest, pleasant conversation.

is the founder of the ‘Men and Marriage’ blog.

s my wife and I hit the sevenyear marker in our marriage I wanted to take a moment to reflect and share seven things that I have learnt about marriage over the past seven years of our journey.

1. My mother can no longer be my No 1 woman

The reality is this: some of the choices my wife and I make are not always going to be in line with my mother’s wishes. I learnt this pretty early on. Picture this: it’s our wedding rehearsal, and we’re in church being told what to expect from our ceremony, when the minister asked me, “Who’ll be taking pictures with us whilst signing the register?” I requested it would just be my best man and the chief bridesmaid. My mother, however, had other ideas. My wife and I had already planned this day, so it was my duty to stick by that, no matter who decided to contend it. This caused a public debate with the woman who birthed me, as I made a stand for what my wife and I had planned. Was I handed a very public backhander for it? Yeah sure, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for standing by your woman!

2. Marriage - More than just a couple of love birds

Bill Withers wrote a song called ‘Just The Two Of Us’, but I’ve found marriage to be anything but that. My wife and I spend a lot of time speaking with each other’s families and, over the years, it’s highlighted the benefits of building our own personal bonds with each other’s family members. Developing our own personal connections has been crucial to the development and building of the family support network that we now have.

3. Everything’s said in love

‘It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.’ Ever heard this saying before? I’ve

7 Lessons Learnt over 7 years of marriage Eugene Jordan shares the life lessons and insights he’s learnt during his first seven years of marriage. learnt that wives will not always say the stuff you want to hear. Sometimes the things you may need to hear are already being said; however, you’re unable to digest the advice because of how the message was packaged. It’s important to look beyond how things are said, start paying attention to the content that’s being communicated, and know that it’s all said in love.

4. Nipping it in the bud with other women

One night, when I was young and lacked real life experience, my wife and I were at a bar in London, listening to a poet do his thing. The poet finished and, whilst everyone was clicking their fingers, I started to feel this hand rubbing against mine as it rested on the back of an empty chair. This lady must have been in her 30s and I had just left my teens. I didn’t quite know what to do, so I froze like a deer in headlights. My then girlfriend simply observed to see what my response would be. Safe to say, not responding at all was NOT the best response. A decade on, I’m still reminded of this story! So, to avoid making any more dumb mistakes like this again, I simply nip it in the bud as soon as I get the slightest inappropriate approach.

6. Kids change everything

I’m thankful for the family I have, and there’s almost nothing in this world that I’d trade them for. However, I’ve come to learn that planning is key if I want any quality time with the Mrs or by myself. Pre-parenthood, it was just the two of us; we could do whatever we wanted, whenever and wherever we wanted. (Wink, wink.) We didn’t have to plan a thing. Spending time with the Mrs will not always ‘just’ happen when you have kids, so planning how and when to make time for each other is vital.

7. Keep falling in love

As the years have gone by, our likes, dislikes and characters have evolved. We’re no longer the pubescent teenagers we were when we met. What this fundamentally means is that we need to keep an eye on who we’re becoming as we evolve as individuals and as a couple. So it’s crucial to keep falling in love with who your spouse is in the present. Touch base with each other, by talking about things other than work and kids. By continuously rediscovering more about who your partner is in the present, you’ll help towards building a better understanding of how to best serve her needs, keep things fresh, and keep that flame burning. For more information, visit www.menandmarriage.com, like on Facebook @MenandMarriage, or follow on Twitter @Eu_GeneTweets. www.keepthefaith.co.uk


34 FEATURE

MASTER OF YOUR DESTINY MENS 1 DAY CONFERENCE Saturday, 21st February 2015

T

Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1HT

he Master of Your Destiny – Men’s Conference is to motivate and influence men of all age range, cultural, social, class and religious backgrounds to be positioned to enter the in the workplace with renewed confidence, to identify the type of leaders that they want to be and to become leaders. This conference aims to drive ambitions and provide the necessary supportive skills to enter into existing businesses or seek to start their own. It also aims to encourage men to reach out to other men to express their fears, hopes and dreams, and more importantly to listen to other men who have journeyed along similar pathways and have become successful; their stories needed to be aired for lessons in learning and to challenge and evaluate the current Some of the benefits of attending: Free health check, free courses, train tickets to interviews, CV and interview preparation for some attendees, This Is a hands on, results orientated workshop. Admission is free for young men aged 15 – 17 (limited places available).

The founder of this initiative is Mrs Michaelene Holder–March who was prompted by her concern of growing male unemployment, poverty, family breakdown and other social and economic problems which afflict individuals and families,

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

especially the ones without relatives nearby or financial resources to rely upon. Mrs Holder-March, is a goal driven professional, well known in the public and private sector for her vast experience in Managing Corporate Governance, Information Governance, Risk Management, Clinical Governance, Claims, Audit and Health and Safety with over 31 years of significant NHS experience. Additionally, Michaelene is recognised as Health Informatics Accredited Clinician for Connecting for Health. She has engaged speakers, including leading clinicians, recruitment specialist, property millionaire, finance expert, senior managers, international motivator, business entrepreneur and well known corporate coach to offer their skills, expertise and to share their hurdles and successes. Tickets are available via Eventbrite. Registration starts at 7.30am. For more information about the conference visit www.masterofyourdestiny. co or contact 07932014644.


Need a personal loan? Amount Borrowed £500 – £2499 £2500 – £4999 £5000 – £20,000

Typical APR 12.9% 10.9% 6.9%

Representative Example Representative example of a Reliance Bank unsecured Personal Loan of £5,000 over 5 years, monthly repayments would be £98.77, representative APR of 6.9%. Total interest charged would be £926.20, and a total amount payable of £5,926.20.

A Reliance Bank personal loan offers: • • • • • •

Guaranteed fixed rates – your repayments will not change A choice of repayment term from 6 months to 5 years No arrangement or early settlement fees You can borrow from £500 to £10,000 (subject to status and application) Lending between £10,000 and £20,000 is available to homeowners only A choice of 4 monthly repayment dates

Interested? To find out more call 020 7398 5400 or visit our website reliancebankltd.com or write to the address detailed below.

Registered Office: Reliance Bank Limited, Faith House, 23–24 Lovat Lane, London EC3R 8EB. Tel 020 7398 5400 Fax 020 7398 5401 Email info@reliancebankltd.com Web www.reliancebankltd. com. Registered in England No. 68835. Reliance Bank Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.


36 COMMENT

REV STEPHEN BROOKS

is National Development Manager for Excell 3 www.excell3.com

What’s the talk on divorce and remarriage? Rev Stephen Brooks examines what the Bible says about divorce and remarriage, and provides some encouraging advice for Christians marrying for a second time

I

n the Church, the concept of divorce, although not encouraged, is accepted as biblical; but there is no consensus when it comes to the divorced getting remarried. Divorce is always very painful and traumatic for all involved, as it destroys the most intimate of human relationships, including the breaking of a covenant-vow made before God. It’s no wonder that the Bible says “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:14-16). However, it is important that the Church uses the Bible as its guide to decide all matters, including whether divorced people have the right to remarry. Within the Church, there are typically two views, which are: (i) that remarriage is never acceptable after divorce, whilst the previous spouse is alive, and (ii) remarriage is acceptable after divorce, if the injured party has legitimate grounds for divorce (eg. adultery, desertion, abuse). These discussions are not new. In Jesus’ day, the rabbis and teachers confronted Jesus with questions regarding divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19:3-9). The question posed by the Pharisees was: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” In order to understand the text, we must know the beliefs they had regarding divorce and remarriage at the time. There were two predominantly held views:‘Rabbi Shammai’ claimed that divorce and remarriage were acceptable only in the case of adultery, whilst ‘Rabbi Hillel’ reflected the more lenient interpretation that said divorce was acceptable for almost any reason, even as trivial as burning a meal! Jesus replies in Matthew 19:9: “I tell you the truth, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery.” Jesus’ answer shocked His disciples to the point where they responded: “It is better not to marry.” Was Jesus’ answer contradicting what Moses said in Deuteronomy 24:1-4? It states, “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it comes to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

he hath found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.” As Jesus came to fulfil the Law and the Prophets, clearly this was not a contradiction. The Pharisees claimed that Moses commanded them to divorce, but Jesus said He only permitted it because of the hardness of their hearts. Jesus also redefined adultery in Matthew 5:28, letting us know that what we think is as important if not more important than what we do. Moses` `Certificate of Divorce` was a protection for the woman should she remarry, so that she couldn’t be charged with adultery, which was an offence punishable by death (John 8:5)! The Bible has not given us all the answers to every question regarding divorce. The apostle Paul had to consider the divorce and remarriage issue in 1 Corinthians 7, and he does so in a context where he has to interpret Christ’s answer to respond to different circumstances. The point being, if the apostle Paul had to reapply Jesus’ teaching in a new way for a new situation that Jesus didn’t specifically address, then we may be called upon to do the same in a way that best reflect the values and principles taught in the Scripture. Jesus encouraged reconciliation by repentance, and for forgiveness to be granted to avoid divorce. If, on the other hand, repentance is not forthcoming and attempts of reconciliation have not been fruitful, then one is free to remarry (1 Corinthians 7:28). I believe churches need to develop a stronger focus on building healthy relationships, and helping restore and reconcile couples whose marriages are in trouble. Without exception, premarital counselling should be mandatory for couples to help prepare them for the inevitable difficulties they will encounter in marriage. It is vitally important that pastors are

competent and biblically balanced on this issue, as some treat divorced persons as if they had committed the unpardonable sin (Matthew 12:31-32). Divorce is not the unpardonable sin and, if a person has wrongfully initiated a divorce, if they come in repentance before God, He will always forgive. We diminish the grace and the forgiveness of God if we say this is not so. If you are divorced and contemplating remarriage, spend significant time in prayer and also seek out godly counsel from mature believers, who will give you wisdom and insight. You also need to allow a considerable time to lapse from your separation from your former spouse, in order to allow yourself time for reflection, learning and healing. Use this time to look closely at all of the circumstances that led to your divorce and, consequently, deal with the issues that can be dealt with to avoid bringing ‘old baggage’ into a new relationship. Guided by a responsible Christian leader or counsellor, a repentant divorced person considering remarriage must ask: 1. Have I truly repented of having broken a vow to God? 2. Have I freed myself from all past obligations? 3. Have I sought forgiveness, not only from God but also from my former spouse, children and others? 4. Have I made every effort at reconciliation, where possible? When this process is applied, one will have the ability to choose the right person as a potential partner, and improve on any shortfalls identified, and become a better person having been healed and restored through God’s grace.

You can contact Rev Brooks at sbrookaui@yahoo.co.uk or phone 07940 237959


COMMENT 37

Racism, Police and the Church With relations between the Black community and the Police in the US at breaking point, Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts explores the rise of racism around the world, and shares how churches can make a difference REV WALE HUDSON-ROBERTS

is the Racial Justice Co-ordinator for the Baptist Union of Great Britain

“I can’t breathe!” These were the final words of Eric Garner, as he lay on the floor, gasping for breath. Garner, 43, suffered a heart attack during a confrontation with officers from the New York Department Police (NYPD), who were attempting to arrest him on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes outside a beauty parlour on Staten Island. Two plain clothed officers confronted the six-foot man, who had denied the charges and refused to be handcuffed. One of the officers placed him in a chokehold, wrestled him to the ground with the assistance of at least four other officers - ignoring his pleas for oxygen. Garner lost consciousness and died. Even though Garner had been arrested 31 times since 1988, on charges such as drug possession, selling untaxed cigarettes and assault, on this occasion, his treatment by the police was disproportionate and uncalled for. He - like many African-American men before him - will be remembered as dispensable commodities, prematurely swallowed by death for having a pigmentation, which symbolised the absence of privilege. A White police officer killing yet another unarmed Black teenager, aspiring college student Michael Brown, sparked 10 days of riots during August in Ferguson, Missouri. The decision not to indict the police officer responsible, Darren Wilson, sent shock waves throughout America, and reinforced the country’s racial divide. Three months later, another unarmed Black man, Akai Gurley, 28 and father of a young daughter, was shot by a White officer, who opened fire in a dimly lit staircase at a Brooklyn New York apartment block. On the day of his funeral service, December 7, New Yorkers Michael Brown expressed their dissent by taking to the streets to denounce the unlawful killing. Just when you thought the standoff between American police officers and young Black men could not get worse, a newspaper headline read: ‘Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy, shot dead by a police officer for carrying a replica

gun’. With attacks by police officers on young Black men refusing to abate, in December a police officer shot dead an African-American teenager in the town of Berkley, near Ferguson. Their defense: ‘The teen was carrying a hand gun at the petrol station’. Retribution, in view of escalating Black deaths, was more certain than uncertain and, on December 20, an AfricanAmerican gunman, with what seemed to be a grudge against the police for killing Black boys with impunity, killed two New York police officers. Not surprisingly, post-racist rhetoric reached new heights when Obama became America’s first ever Black President. On the day of his inauguration - an event for people of colour to rightly celebrate - social media was awash with positivity; the global family delighted that good had triumphed over evil, at last. According to many, his constant visibility in the corridors of power confirmed that racism does not have to have the final word. This is true. But what is not true is that his presence in the White House is confirmation that we live in a post-racist society. The irony of the ‘not true’ is obvious to those able to read the times. Since Obama’s ascendency, racism appears to have also been on the ascendency too, particularly in parts of Europe, North and South America, and the Middle East. While it is difficult to provide immediate empirical evidence for this apparent correlation, anecdotal evidence suggests people of colour cannot afford to sit on their laurels. A British passport cannot shield us from racism’s lethal lashes. Increasingly, it appears, the world is becoming a less comfortable place for many people of colour. In parts of Europe, laws are being penned that might unwittingly

normalise racism. While I do not have the temerity to claim to be an authority on race relations in America, I am left with an impression that the dispensability of young Black men verses the indispensability of young White men might be a factor at the heart of America’s problem. Even if partly correct, Britain and America have yet another thing in common: the indiscriminate death of young Black men. I, like many others, can wax lyrical about the under achievement of young Black men - a ubiquitous problem in our criminal justice and educational systems - in particular. But words are not enough. To simply decry, a rather benign and perhaps therapeutic exercise, the American and British systems that keep many young Black men institutionally colonised should have had its day long ago. Increasing numbers of Christians need to initiate and participate in long-term strategies that seek to support and empower young Black men. This should not only be the responsibility of the State, but also the responsibility of the Church. God will not only blame those in power for the displacement of the sons of our Black churches, but also Christian congregations and those Christian leaders who could have and should have assiduously worked to address this now endemic problem. Our prayer must surely be for an increase in Black Christians willing to work with the displaced sons of the Church, too, for Christians to make the necessary sacrifices that will minimise the death (psychological and physical) of our young Black men, preventing, if not too late, an occurrence of America’s most recent nightmare. www.keepthefaith.co.uk


38 LIFESTYLE

Pastors’ Column Bishop TD Jakes

Rev Les Isaac

Congregations, who are envisioned by their pastors to impact their world, tend to do just that. And how can a church envision their congregations? The number one way of doing so is through fervent, dynamic and relevant preaching, which motivates believers to pursue their God-given calling, broadens their horizons, and inspires them to make a difference in their communities.

Pastors: Envision your congregations to make a difference Marcia Dixon writes that pastors can inspire their congregations to touch the world by envisioning them, and shares how they can do so

C

hurch leaders are invested with much power and authority, and can motivate their congregations to do almost anything, so it makes sense that their energies are focused on utilising their influence to encourage parishioners to do as much good as they possibly can, both within and outside the Church. Those church leaders having an impact both on the Church and wider society are individuals who use their positions of influence to promote Gospel values to as wide an audience as possible, in as many ways as possible. They are also excellent at envisioning their congregations and the Christian community in general, with what the world could look like when infused with Gospel values. Some church leaders in the public eye, who are using their power to positively envision and influence others, include: • Rick Warren pleasantly surprised many by giving back the salary he’d been paid whilst serving as pastor of Saddleback Church, when his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, sold millions of copies • Bishop TD Jakes, whose church, Potter’s House, runs initiatives, which positively impact some of the most vulnerable people in his community. He also influences culture worldwide, via films, his TV programmes, preaching broadcasts and conferences

• Brian Houston, who, as the visionary behind the Hillsong church group, has established churches in some of the world’s leading cities, which are touching the lives of thousands of Millenials • Rev Les Isaac, one of the brainchildren behind the Street Pastors movement, which has equipped Christians across the UK and throughout the world to help foster community safety and provide prayer, a listening ear and support on local streets • The Pope who, via his compassionate, honest and down-to-earth leadership, is changing the way people perceive God and the Catholic Church Whilst many church leaders think about leadership in terms of pastoring their congregations and preaching the Gospel, in this modern age, church leaders need to give more thought into envisioning the people they lead, so that they can in turn impact the world. Modern leadership is about maximising one’s leverage. A church leader, who envisions his or her congregation, presents them with a picture of what the future could look like - indeed what the world could look like if they embraced Christ’s command to be the ‘salt of the earth’ (Matthew 5:13), the ‘light of the world’ (Matthew 5:14) and to be true disciples who do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:24).

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

Other ways of envisioning a congregation could include: • inviting Christians, who are making either a spiritual or societal impact in society, to share their story at church events, • running information sessions that encourage and demonstrate how members can participate in civic society • provide training for congregations in those areas where they lack the skills and the knowledge • focusing prayer on key societal issues where a church wants to make a difference Aside from envisioning a congregation, church leaders must find ways to counter the negative view increasing numbers of the general public now have of religion, and that includes Christianity as a whole. We know that in the general scheme of things, Christians can and do make a positive difference in society - and that isn’t just because of the lives that are transformed by the Gospel. Many Christians are doing good works, feeding the poor, visiting the sick, working with orphans, stepping in when natural disaster strikes. In fact, it’s what Christians do best, and more people need to know this. I was buoyed, whilst browsing the web recently, when I found an article written by Labour stalwart, Roy Hattersley, which had the headline, Faith Does Breed Charity, and the strapline, ‘We atheists have to accept that most believers are better human beings’. His article described how Christians often put atheists to shame, because they are usually found helping the world’s most vulnerable people. In fact, Mr Hattersley was forced to conclude “faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that, while they do not condition the attitude of all believers, influence enough of them to make them morally superior to atheists like me. The truth may make us free. But it has not made us as admirable as the average captain in the Salvation Army.” When a Christian is envisioned, and doing what God has called them to do, it’s a fact that even atheists are inspired, so come on, Pastor, envision your congregation, because we know that when they get working, actions always speak louder than words.


LIFESTYLE 39

Business Matters

Marriage is a serious business Denise Roberts speaks to Robert and Enomfon Ntefon, who have made it their business to encourage and support marriages

FIVE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR BUSINESS BLOG FRESH

DENISE ROBERTS

D

is founder of the Arable Woman business network and the editorial and publishing consultancy, Editor’s Chair

ivorce figures of over 40% tell us that, when couples get married, it is not always ‘’til death do us part’, but Robert and Enomfon Ntefon are in business to change that. They launched Winning Relationships in 2012 with two central messages. One is that whatever wrong ideas and concepts about love and marriage you learned from Hollywood and such other sources, get them out of your head. The other focuses on the heart. “Divorce is caused by hardness of heart,” they explain. “We look at what is generating and propagating these issues, then it is easier to bring couples together.” Robert and Enomfon had been counselling couples in Nigeria for over 20 years before arriving in the UK and seeing how dire the situation was here. “We saw that divorce was as high as 38% among Christians; cohabitation and marriage delay; children adversely affected by divorce, and the ongoing propaganda from celebrities showing young people what ‘love’ is. We saw a need for marriage education for young people; there are lots of ‘Yeses’ that are based on hormones, because he ‘looks like Will Smith’.” Both are qualified relationship coaches, marriage mentors and pastors. They have been married for 24 years, and have four daughters and a son. Their Love and Marriage School runs six programmes, covering pre, during and post marriage. “We look at expectations and values,” said Enomfon. “We go in-depth and, when people see the realities, they either decide it’s not for them or they get ready for the long haul. It’s better you get that perspective earlier than later. The government spends £44 billion on family breakdown, and that is a huge chunk of taxpayers’ money.” Robert says his call to the business didn’t come like a loud voice from heaven. It was more like a gentle but persistent knock at the door. As a single young man - well before he met his wife - he would attend women’s programmes and conventions, determined to learn all he could about marriage. He had strong beliefs about what makes a successful marriage: “Things I believe that are now confirmed,” he says, “as I’ve personally witnessed how a marriage can succeed.” They have enjoyed much success with people travelling to their London-based school from as far as Manchester, Newcastle and elsewhere. A high point was when “…pastoring a congregation of barely 70, we had up to 10 couples wedded

under us. This was significant when bigger churches were struggling to get others to commit.” And, of course, there are challenges, largely because “Many people don’t see the problem until it has already happened. They think,‘Why do I need marriage education? I just love him and he loves me’, but forget that this is unpredictable terrain. “Another is Christians - not all, but some - think it should be free. You have to explain that you have to make a profit to reinvest to reach more lives. They miss the importance of investing into their lives.” The vision for the business is to work closely with pastors and leaders to reach more couples, and for schools and universities to reach young people. They are also developing a programme to train new mentors, and pursuing avenues for accreditation. Both Robert and Enomfon have an inspirational approach to Kingdom business, believing in continual personal development and a life of integrity that speaks for itself. “One encounter should make people want to encounter you again,” said Robert. For more information about the Love and Marriage School, visit www.loveandmarriageschool.com

B

logging is a great way to market your business. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and attract new clients, but how do you continually find fresh sources of inspiration on what to write? Here are some suggestions: 1. U  se daily newspapers and magazines as a source for current issues; they are littered with stories. 2. Try specialist or trade publications in relevant fields, like business, science or health, for the latest research. 3. Check out the Media or press sections of reputable organisations, like the FSB or CBI, to find out what agenda-setters are up to. 4. Use forward planning calendars to plan posts around relevant national, European and international dates. 5. Re-purpose your content. Rewrite past blogs with a new slant, or by summarising your ‘most read posts’ over the past year.

Need funds to start a business?

EVENT

As part of their ‘Start & Evolve’ series of business events, South Bank University is organising a free event for people looking for finance to help start and develop a new business. Business funding can be difficult to find, especially when you don’t know where to start looking, so this event aims to provide you with a solid understanding of how to finance your new business. It includes an overview of different types of funding, plus helpful tips on how to secure the money you need to launch. Refreshments are provided, and there will be an opportunity to network. The event is free to attend, and takes place on Wednesday 18th March from 5.00pm to 6.30pm at its central London campus. For more information, visit https://alumni.lsbu.ac.uk/enterprisesupport

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


40 LIFESTYLE

Cyber Corner

KENO OGBO

is a Digital Consultant and founder of www.rentawebsite.co.uk

A case study on how social media gets your voice heard

O

ne thing I have come to appreciate in life is that there are many more listeners than speakers in the world, and somebody out there needs to hear your voice. There is a popular saying that goes ‘Evil flourishes when good people do nothing’ or, as I paraphrase,‘…when good people are silent’. If you have a message, it is important to put your head above the parapet and speak up in faith, using the tools and strategies that are available. On November 23, I decided to start a campaign in my loft room, out of a simple conviction that Africa had been portrayed wrongly in a song. This led to media exposure, networking with like-minded people, and being able to share other people’s stories to an audience. This simple case study shows what can be possible when you put your conviction into action, and the question to you in 2015 is: Will you let your voice be heard?

THE CAMPAIGN

WeKnowitsChristmas was created in response to the recently released Band Aid 30 song, which had lyrics that were criticised in the Media. I felt that people could not see beyond Africa as a place of need. Despite the professional, intelligent people coming out of the continent - and playing key roles on the international scene - all some people could see were charity videos that hinged on income-raising activities by showing these negative images of Africa.

OUR GOAL

Our aim was simple: to get images/stories and videos that depicted beauty, hope and good in Africa. We were then going to share these stories, and ask for donations for the DEC appeal and Doctors Without Borders.

STARTING POINT

The best place to start a campaign that will gain attention is a good website. By ‘good’, we mean: Clear focus, Great copy, Concise content, Responsive design, Great images, Easy to read and navigate. It was built in two days, using Foundation Zurb, a responsive framework. We opted for a simple look with a strong message and minimal navigation, so a quick look on the home page and people would understand exactly what we were about.

COLLABORATION

Our next step was to collaborate. It is key to work with people who share the same vision, and to connect with people who felt exactly how we felt. We used Google Search to identify people Follow us on Twitter @keepthefaithmag

SIX TOOLS THAT INCREASE YOUR ONLINE INFLUENCE Website: Having a well-built website improves your credibility and creates a one stop point for all your news and information. Google Search: Learning how to use Google Search effectively aids your research and connects you with a key network of like-minded people. Facebook: Social media is a free, easy way to spread your message. Be prepared to use paid advertising for your Facebook page, and ask your network to promote your message. Participate in like-minded groups to increase your reach. Twitter: We attribute most of our media exposure to Twitter, as people retweeted our messages, and various media agencies found it easy to contact us on Twitter. Follow the right people and engage in conversations.

who had written about the Band Aid 30 lyrics, and connected with them online using social media. The campaign did not depend on creating our own content, but rather on collaborating and sharing other people’s content, thus raising awareness of their activities, while being a distribution platform for positive content from Africa.

E-Newsletters: We sent our e-newsletters to our database, and this helped bring people to our website and our social media pages. Using other e-newsletter distribution platforms also helps to spread your message. PR: Never underestimate the power of a well-written press release and PR contact. Our campaign was published in The Voice newspaper, and led to discussions and comments on The Voice Facebook page.

EXPOSURE

Within a week, we had been interviewed by the BBC World Service and contacted by a BBC TV programme. We were then interviewed by Radio France Internationale, and had an article featured in The Voice newspaper. According to Facebook figures, in less than a month, posts were served to over 40,000 people, and had over 200 comments and 50 shares.

WHY WE THINK IT WORKED

• The name we chose made sense • Use of hashtags on Twitter and Facebook • Retweeting relevant tweets brought us to people’s attention • Some journalists retweeted our tweets • Using graphics attracted more attention • Having the website as a background source of information means people could easily check us out • Having our website perceived as credible – a journalist asked how long our organisation had been active, even though we were only two weeks old • Positive slant on a topic that had attracted controversy • We were raising funds, not criticising a song or person.

App of the month RAC Traffic News Every driver in the UK should have a traffic news app on his or her Smartphone. But, if they don’t, I recommend the RAC app, which is free to download and features Live Traffic Updates, showing accidents and delays. Using the app before embarking on a journey, particularly on the motorway, can save you hours of frustration and waiting.

KENO OGBO is the CEO of Spiral Web Solutions, a digital marketing agency helping organisations achieve results online. Contact Keno on 07958 004 739 or email keno@spiralwebsolutions.com to book a complimentary 45 minute strategy session.


Support

Keep The Faith by taking out a subscription

REACHING THE HEART OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY

One publication you cannot afford to be without is Keep The Faith magazine, Britain’s leading Black community-focused publication promoting and supporting faith and family values. Each edition is filled with: • News/features about issues affecting the Black community • Interviews with leading Christians and church leaders • Gospel music news • Business & Lifestyle • Inspirational articles • Interesting and insightful social commentary from a faith perspective ibute • Uplifting Testimonies  Paying trte great   to the la MAYAELOU Keep The Faith magazine enables ANG the general public to get an insight to some of the great things happening within the Christian community, and informs the church community of who r shares is doing what and where, and how the A ministelived under w he t of o h work of the church is impacting lives. a the thre igeria ISSUE

88

in N terrorism

OULD HOW SHHURCH C THE ND TO

SUBSCRIPTIONS Have Keep The Faith delivered directly to your door for just £25 (UK), £30 (Eire and Europe), £37 (worldwide) a year.

RESPO UKIP?

#

Britain’s leading Black communityfocused publication

ISSUE 89

promoting and supporting faith and family values

Can a Christian

Britain’s ck Bla leading nitycommu lication pub focused and

BE MODEST AND SEXY?

ISSUE

promotingting suppor family faith and es valu

CIA SPEW henL are Bl

k men and wom BLACK learn to en going to get alon g? HISTORY MONTH ac

to move It’s timeond Black bey pes by stereoty

ISSUE

VID REV DAANYA S O H S

OLDWAGE:

The role of the Black Church in Black history

LEADERIAN S

should force fobe a r good

ASSISTED SUICIDE?

STEVE

RICH REDDAIERD ASKS ‘IS BR

AIN A CHRISIT TIAN COUNTR Y?’

THOMPSON CK

Special Keep Th e Faith

NNO I P H T E S

A worship leader with a powerful cultural heritage rship e d a le f rience o e p x e is shares h £2.95

PEOPLE & PLACES

BELIEVERS IMPACTING SOCIETY

ENEU TALK TREPR AND EN

Yes, I would like to support Keep The Faith magazine Subscription required: £25 (UK)

£30 (Eire and Europe)

£37 (worldwide) a year

Title: (Rev/Dr/Mr/Mrs/Miss/other) First name: Surname: Address:

Postcode: Email:* Telephone:* Signature: Date: *Only complete if you are happy to be contacted in this way

Please send your cheque made payable to Keep The Faith, Suite 48, 88-90 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8PN or subscribe online at www.keepthefaith.co.uk Data Protection Keep The Faith Ltd from time to time may wish to send you information on our other products and services that might interest you. Please tick if your prefer NOT to receive such information by post phone email Keep The Faith Ltd occasionally shares data, on secure basis with other reputable companies who wish to contact you about their products and services. Please tick if you prefer NOT to receive such information by post phone email

PR

HEN The essential part ofCGod’s HRISplan T

WHAT’S YOUR VIEW ON

E NSHIPS OPELLAT IO NGATPHE EISM, R S YOU ABOUT RSHIP

87

£3.95

VI JU

TALKING MINIST

YOUTH, feature AND VCIORIME LENCE WISE OM AWARW DS EN 2014

WINNER S ANN OUNCED

£2.95


42 LIFESTYLE

Mind, Body & Soul

LOLA OLAREWAJU

is a Personal Trainer, freelance Certified Lifestyle Coach and Owner of Final Measure - a fitness and lifestyle company

SKIP YOUR WAY TO FITNESS

New year, new diet and fitness regime = A new you!!! ’Tis the season to make resolutions, FA, LA, LA, LA, LA, LA.... Been there, done that, right? New Year after New Year we make promises to ourselves; buy the latest fitness gadgets and diet books; join the gym… all to no avail. We set our start date – usually as 1st January - and then when the big day arrives, bursting with so much enthusiasm, we aim for our goals only to experience defeat by the third or - for the really determined ones among us -the fourth day. So, the question is: why should this year be any different? Well, because if you choose to do things differently this year, you will get different results. If there is one piece of advice I can give, it is to never ever again start your New Year Solution on 1st January like the rest of the world does because, more likely than not, it will end in failure for the majority of us for a number of reasons: from not being ready mentally, to you still recovering from your hangover and/or from your Christmas bulge, and so forth. If you insist on starting in January, then try later on in the month, on a date when you will be better prepared to start your journey towards a New You. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us know we need to exercise more, eat more healthily, reduce stress from our lives and so forth, but we don’t. But, if you are truly ready to make the changes you desire in your life, here are three tips to get you started on that road:

TIP 1

Romans 12:1-2 - Renew Your Mind It might sound like a cliché, but the truth cannot change. Change the way you think about healthy

eating and exercise, and you change your life. SIMPLE. If there is one thing I have learnt during my 15 years working as a fitness professional, it’s this: ‘DIETS DON’T WORK’. In fact, dieting makes you FATTER in the long run. Secondly, there are no shortcuts to becoming healthy in the long term. A balanced, healthy eating lifestyle, with regular exercise on the other hand, is guaranteed to help you shed any extra pounds permanently. The key to losing excess weight is not in diet pills; the newest fitness gadget on the market; following the latest fad/celebrity diet. Instead, the formula to being fit, lean and having a strong body that will support you for the rest of your life is eating wholegrain foods, oily fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, plus regular exercise, such as walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, skipping and much more.

Are you looking for an inexpensive activity to start you on your new fitness regime? Then can I recommend skipping. Skipping is an excellent and cost-efficient way to get fit, lose weight, tone up and keep your body strong. All you need is a skipping rope and a little space, and you can start to skip yourself into that NEW YOU!

Blueberries

TIP 2

Habakkuk 2:2 - Write Down The Vision... Write down your goal – making it realistic for you. Break your goal into bite-size pieces, and set about achieving the goal bit by bit. If the goal is to lose four stones this year, start by losing 2lbs a week, and gradually the rest of the weight will go.

TIP 3

Philippians 4:13 – ‘I can do all things through Christ Jesus’ In other words, ‘Just Do It’. Get On With It! Begin doing the little bits that need to be done and, as the year rolls by, as Galatians

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

The original and ultimate superfood, blueberries are bursting with antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins, which makes them the perfect addition to porridge for breakfast; taken to work as a mid-morning snack, or even added to a mixed grain salad in the evening. They also increase the brain’s feel-good production of dopamine – a natural neurotransmitter that makes you cheerful!


LIFESTYLE 43

HEARTTOHEART

ESTHER FENTY is a qualified psychologist and pastor’s wife

I feel called to sing gospel music

How do I deal with women who dress too sexily for church?

I

am head of a woman’s ministry at my church and I love serving the women - those that are part of the congregation and beyond. I organise various activities and am encouraged by the fact that many of the women, including the under 30s, participate in the ministry. Increasingly, however, I’m recognising I will have to broach the subject of modesty and clothing, as it’s now an issue I can’t avoid. Some of the women dress immodestly; when they are new converts I don’t see it as an issue, but I’ve noted that some of the ones who should know better are dressing more sexily, ie. short skirts, low-cut tops, super tight and see-through leggings. Also, some of the brothers have complained to me that they find how the sisters dress distracting. I’ve never had to deal with this issue before, and I know it’s a sensitive area for some, so any guidance you could give would be greatly appreciated. Angela, London

Esther Fenty says:

The issue of dress code in church has been a sensitive one for women, especially since it appears that the men seem to be let off so lightly. Yet it is a subject that affects the whole church (both genders), as each generation of Christians struggle in the face of societal and cultural pressure to define an acceptable standard of dress. Although this is a recurring issue, it appears that we have not learnt from past mistakes on how to address it. Women can be left feeling aggrieved or as if they are ‘unsaved’, because it is either addressed insensitively from the pulpit or on an individual basis by the well-meaning ‘wiser woman’, who does not know how to handle the subject effectively. It is not usually seen as it should be: contextually as part of the wider issue of Christian character and lifestyle.

I happen to agree with the researchers who suggest that all our behaviour is motivated by internal factors. Therefore, whenever we dress, we make a statement about something either intentionally or unintentionally. This could be our security/insecurity, attention seeking/withdrawal, keeping up with the latest fashion/dressing down, etc. Unfortunately, we can be judged or misjudged by what we wear, and it is not always possible to tell a book by its cover. Like other women, the dress choices we make as Christian women can also reflect our theological stance; the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, or sheer ignorance of the responsibility that freedom brings or the impact of our behaviour on others. To address the subject of dress code in isolation, and only regarding women, may be counterproductive. It should be considered within the context of the whole church - across both genders. Therefore, discussion with the leadership team is essential. A workshop (or series), which looks at the wider issues of behaviour and responsibility, might be preferable. The workshop could give participants some information, but would also allow the opportunity to have guided discussion in small groups on what the Bible says about dressing; the internal (heart) influencing the external; modesty, which varies across cultures, and what it means in the 21st century; the impact of certain styles on both men and women; beauty, image and identity, and opportunities for people to discover the styles that suit them. This would allow participants to come to an informed decision in the light of the Word of God. Esther Fenty provides godly and practical advice on a wide range of issues. To contact Esther email editorial@keepthefaith.co.uk

I’m a Christian and sing in my church choir, but also work as a backing singer for secular artists. I enjoy what I do: I get to travel, see the world, meet lots of interesting people and also make very good money. However, in the past few months I’ve been sensing that the Lord wants me to give up my singing career and sing gospel. I’m reluctant, as I have seen very few people make a living from doing so full-time, but yet I sense this is what the Lord wants me to do. I don’t want to be disobedient. What would you advise? Janet, Bristol

Esther Fenty says:

Firstly, you need to make sure that this is God’s calling on your life. You will need to make this decision as you would any other: through prayer, listening to the Holy Spirit, discussion with your church leaders and the important people in your life, etc. If you are sure that this is God’s will, then you will need to step out in faith. You cannot base your decision on what has happened to other people. You are accountable to God for your own actions. God may not have called them into full-time ministry, but He equips those whom He has called. Doors will open for you as you trust Him. The way may not always be easy, but He will never let you down.

You may have more financial security if you continue as you are doing, but you may never find fulfilment as a person, nor peace of mind by walking outside of God’s will. He has a purpose for your life and, if gospel singing is your destiny, then obey God and walk in His will. There are some famous artists, like Noel Robinson, who have made it. It might be worth thinking about seeking opportunities to talk to one of them.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


44 LIFESTYLE

How does your garden grow?

God, man & the garden JASON LOH

A

worked as a property solicitor before retraining in landscape and garden design

s a professional garden designer, I have enjoyed working with clients to create beautiful gardens where they can relax, reflect, socialise and strengthen relationships. During the course of the year, I will show you how to transform your outdoor spaces, and how you can connect with both God and community in the most amazing ways. I will reveal gardening tips and give you insight into the latest horticultural trends. But, before we dive into all that, we need to ask an important question: What is the point of the garden? ‘There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind’ (CS Lewis) We need to understand where we came from, in order to see where we are heading, and how we are likely to get there. Did you know that the first ‘church plant’ (pun intended) was done by God? It was the Garden of Eden. There is an intricate link between God, Man and the Garden. After God Himself breathed life into Man, the very next verse says that He created a garden in Eden and put Man in charge of it (Genesis 2:7-9). We see that: 1. God gave of Himself to create Man 2. God assigned Man a sphere of responsibility (Genesis 2:15) 3. God provided things that were beautiful and productive (verse 9) 4. It was good for Man to eat of the fruits of his labour (verses 15-16) 5. Man was not alone; God created the perfect helper and companion for him. There was an intimate community (verse 18) 6. The garden was a place of fellowship with God - in Genesis 3:8, the man and his wife recognised God’s footsteps

REVITALISE YOUR GARDENING SPACE

God created Woman in such a way that Man knew that Woman was part of him, and that a man should join with his wife and become one. I also think that God loves surprises. He wanted Man to wake up and see the love of his life before his eyes. But here’s another possible reason for the deep sleep, which I think some of you can relate to: Man got too busy. Allow me some creative licence, but this is what I think happened. After Man was put in charge of the garden, he needed to organise his schedule. Soon, there was a business plan, a finance plan, an operating plan, an environmental policy, waste management policy and an animal resources policy. (There were no human resources yet.) Add in monthly targets, and well... you can see where this was going. So God said, ‘Right, all this running around is giving Me a headache, and Man needs to take a break. He needs a helper just right for him, and only I can give Him exactly what he needs, just as I have given him everything else.’ Man had to take a step back, to let God take a step forward. Here are some challenges for 2015: 1. Spend more time in your garden with God, and less time on mobile devices 2. Make plans, but allow your ‘doing’ to come from your ‘being’ 3. Start a community garden project 4. Visit one of the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens

In the next article, we will look at how churches can develop their gardens or outdoor spaces to build strong communities. Jason Loh established his award-winning garden design practice, Jason Loh Designs Ltd. For more details, visit www.jasonloh.co.uk.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:

EVERGREEN PLANTS

Jeremiah 17:7-8 mentions plants whose leaves ‘never wither and never stop producing fruit’. There are not many evergreen plants that produce fruit fit for human consumption. Most are deciduous or grow only in tropical climates, but some fall within the ‘Jeremiah category’. Berries are known to be ‘superfruits’, containing rich vitamins and antioxidants. Winter winds bring a flash of crimson to the leaves of the blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus, V. corymbosum) and cranberry ‘Pilgrim’ (Vaccinium macrocarpon). Olive trees (Olea europaea) were prevalent in biblical times. Its oils were used as currency and for medical and culinary purposes. The olive branch is a sign of peace. The Olive Tree of Vouves (Crete, Greece) – the oldest olive tree in the world - is about 3,000 years old.

Our ‘default mode’ as people is to often let things go out of shape. Not only is this evident on our waistlines after the Christmas feasts (!), but we can see this in our gardens as well. Planting beds grow wild; lawns turn into meadows. Having created the garden in Eden from His master plan, God placed Man in the garden to tend and watch over it. These early months are the perfect time to get in touch with a garden designer to revitalise your outdoor space. A competent, professional designer should not only be able to make the most of the space, but work within a realistic budget to create a space where family and friends can (re)build strong bonds. The designer should have sound, horticultural knowledge, good working relationships with fully insured landscape contractors, and be able to provide you with a plant maintenance schedule.


45

A

ll too often today Africa is seen only in a negative perspective or as a problematic continent commonly ravaged by conflict and war, with high infant mortality, HIV Aids and Ebola, poverty and disaster. But in the last twenty years it has made significant progress towards peace, security and economic development, despite some unstable zones such as South Sudan, Central Africa and the Great Lakes region. Africa’s advance is remarkable, as has been shown by the level of growth in many different sectors, for instance banking, telecommunications, energy and power, mining, agriculture, tourism and the development of infrastructure. It has been driven by greater political stability and by economic reforms which have facilitated booming private sector investment. A new middle class has emerged, a class of business owners, with higher incomes and higher purchasing power. This has indirectly contributed to job creation for a great number of people, giving the long-term unemployed the chance to escape poverty. So we ought to be looking at the increasing changes in the global image of Africa and the Diasporas. Today, Africa is the land of opportunities with a growing market in both food and clothing, technology, mobile and telecommunications (TMT), entertainment, financial

services and healthcare, which also has a trickle down effect into other areas such as construction, infrastructure development and agriculture, education and technological advance. There are also the African diasporas, which constitute an asset for both their hosts and their countries of origin, as most of them excel in their specialised fields. They are successful entrepreneurs, business people professionals, scientists and clergy, and important element in the social and economic progress of their host countries, not to mention the contribution they make to the countries they come from by means of their remittances. The British Award for Africa Development is a project pioneered and developed by Peace International. The initiative is focused on

highlighting the achievements of talented individuals who have excelled in academia, entrepreneurial endeavours, and other areas, and NGOs and companies who have contributed time, finances or sheer hard work to support the development of Africa and the African Diasporas. This is a unique opportunity to recognise personalities from various industries and sectors for their work. Whether it is in the African communities in the UK or through their involvement in improving the quality of life for disadvantaged people at home, we want to champion these individuals. We believe the Braad Award will also encourage emulation of good practice in business, enterprise, charities and NGOs, and will help promote good practice in the UK as in Africa. Nominations are invited of UK and European residents, organisation or global entrepreneur and business, which support African development, or personalities of African origin with a track record of excellence in their contributions to their communities. Further details of the criteria and nomination forms, which need to be submitted by 30th March, are available at www.Braadaward.com Organisations are also invited to become sponsors of the awards, which will give them the opportunity to promote themselves during publicity activities and at the awards ceremony.

IC OUL US E S M TH

R FO

Millicent Stephenson

Saxophonist for your celebrations Email: info@millicentstephenson.com Tel: +44 7976 279 736 www.millicentstephenson.com

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


46 MISSION

Gateshead Millennium Bridge glows yellow and green in support of Traidcraft appeal

The iconic Gateshead Millennium Bridge was hijacked recently to raise awareness of a high profile charity campaign. The normally white bridge was turned bright yellow and green on Friday in a bid to get the public behind a new appeal by Traidcraft, the UK’s leading fair trade organisation.

T

raidcraft lit up the landmark in its brand colours to mark the launch of its Fair Necessities Appeal, the charity’s biggest ever fundraising drive. The appeal, which runs until April, hopes to raise £1 million to help smallholder farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries escape poverty and build better lives, enabling them to afford life’s essentials. The UK government will match every donation made to the appeal through the UK Aid Match scheme, so the money raised will go twice as far. A survey conducted by Traidcraft, a national charity based at Gateshead’s Team Valley, last week found that six in ten people in the UK said they could not go a day without access to the internet, and four in ten could not survive without their morning cup of coffee. These UK necessities are in stark contrast with the needs of the farmers that Traidcraft supports, who struggle to access food, adequate housing and clean water. A smallholder farmer currently working closely with Traidcraft is Josna Begum, a female farmer in north eastern Bangladesh. In the last year, she has seen her profits from crops grow

by 700 percent. This is down to learning new growing techniques which have transformed her farming, and also her life. Josna said: “Before joining the project my social and financial conditions were very poor. I had a house made of paper, and faced problems with being isolated and getting my children an education. I felt so sad then. Now my production is double what it was.” Feroz Ahmed, Traidcraft’s senior project manager in Bangladesh, who works closely with Josna, commented: “She did not know about soil testing, she did not know about the importance of compost fertiliser. Now she is acting as a role model farmer for her community, and many of the farmers nearby are following her advice and are changing their own cultivation techniques. “Generating more income has made a huge difference to Josna’s life, and that of her family. They now have a house made of corrugated iron, a well for fresh and clean water, and electricity for the first time.” Larry Bush, Marketing Director at Traidcraft, said: “We lit up the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to catch the eye of commuters and hopefully encourage people to give what they can to our Fair Necessities appeal. “Everything donated will be match funded by the Government, meaning we can do so much more to help people who are struggling to afford food to eat, basic healthcare and education. Traidcraft really are making a difference in some of the world’s poorest countries, so by supporting the appeal, you will help change lives.” You can donate to the appeal by clicking onto www.traidcraft.co.uk/donate-now or by texting ‘DOUBLE’ to 70500 from your mobile phone to donate £5. Emily Slimings

Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/keep-the-faith-magazine

 Traidcraft is the UK’s leading fair trade organisation and has been fighting poverty through trade since 1979. Supported by its unique structure – a trading company and a development charity working together – Traidcraft runs development programmes in some of the poorest countries in the world, campaigns in the UK and internationally to bring about trade justice and sells the UK’s widest range of fair trade products.


To look at her you wouldn’t know that Paola used to go to bed hungry, afraid of what tomorrow would bring.

EVIE JOHNSON, FROM BRISTOL,

TOLD PAOLA “I’M HERE FOR YOU” Could you do the same? There’s a child like Paola waiting for you to sponsor them.

SPONSOR A CHILD TODAY

www.compassionuk.org 01932 836490 COMPASSION UK CHRISTIAN CHILD DEVELOPMENT 43 High Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8BB Registered Charity No. 1077216 Registered in England No. 3719092 COM100679


christian resources

exhibitions is coming to a city near you cre international

excel, london 19-22 may 2015 cre midlands

nec, birmingham

7 & 8 october 2015 visit us for all your resource and equipment needs and enjoy

seminars, theatre, film, books, multimedia & more ...

For all the latest information and to buy your tickets go to

creonline.co.uk or call 01793 418218 CRE is part of Bible Society (Charity Reg: No 232759)

Profile for Keep The Faith magazine

Ktf issue 91  

2015 is a special year for Keep The Faith magazine; it will mark our 10th anniversary of publishing stories about the great things happening...

Ktf issue 91  

2015 is a special year for Keep The Faith magazine; it will mark our 10th anniversary of publishing stories about the great things happening...