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Comfort Zone or Unfamiliar Zone?
I recently spent a week in Harare with my family. During this week I took the liberty to walk back through my past there by visiting my old junior and senior schools, the house I grew up in and even some of the old familiar places we had often visited in and around Harare when I was young. Those first 18 years of my life continue to have an influence on my life today; even though I have lived more years in many other places over the subsequent years. Of the three siblings, I was the one who most enjoyed staying at home and loved the familiarity of the ordinary. It is therefore strange to me that I have also felt called to the unfamiliar – the desire to engage and be a part of the world, its joys and pains and it is this pull that led me to get involved in relief in places such as Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Mozambique. It has always been a challenge as there is a pull towards wanting to have the same old familiarities and places in my life – in a sense they seem like the comfort of the known.
In many ways our spiritual journey can seek the comfort of familiarity rather than the willingness to explore with God the mysteries of all He has for us. Perhaps this is why transformation takes so long as we desire change but we long for familiarity. "We have always done it this way" – our tradition, tried and tested; our culture to be protected. In the midst of all of this is the nudge from the Holy Spirit, stirring us to be free from all that would hinder us in our walk with Him, and in His passion to demonstrate his love to our world.
Similarly, we may also seek social conformity and stability above social transformation. Jesus brought radical change – there was nothing conservative in his approach. His values and teaching challenged the status quo.
As we have faced the challenges of financial constraint these last months in Micah Network, the desire to hold onto the familiar, the ways we have always done things is strong. It is unsettling to move into what feels like unchartered territory. It is full of emotional dilemmas of having to release staff (who because of shared vision and passion have become friends and allies in our Network). There is the inevitable search for a reason – a "why God" question is in every prayer.
And yet as we reflect on all of this we also acknowledge that we long for, cry out for and desire to see grass root impact, real holistic transformation and if this means leaving the comfort of the familiar and moving into the unfamiliar – then lets do this together, trusting God for the direction and the fruit. We know that networks and movements face the threat of becoming institutionalised and rationalised. If these changes are a shake up because God is wanting us to be awakened and re reenergised for the way ahead, then as painful and hard as it now feels, I would rather we are shaken than trapped in the old way.
Thank you for standing with us in this time. We welcome your insight.
Who's Responding to East / Horn of Africa Crisis?
As we watch the unfolding disaster in the Horn of Africa the questions arises "what can we do to help those affected?"
• Join us in our weekly prayer focus ([email protected])
• Link onto the Prayer for Change: One Voice: http://onevoice.tearfund.org/
• Cry out to God for those affected that they will have access to food, water, shelter and love.
• Be ready – to be a part of the answer to prayer!
2. Know who is doing what:
• Micah Network members: there are 17 members in Kenya and 8 members in Ethiopia. To find out who these members are log into our web site and see who is who: http://www.micahnetwork.org/network
• International Micah Network members responding are:
- World Concern
- See Integral Alliance
• Integral Alliance: the following integral alliance members are engaged in responding to the crisis: (www.integralalliance.org)
- CEDAR Fund (MN member)
- CRWRC (MN Member)
- MAP International (MN member)
- SEL (MN member)
- TEAR Australia (MN member)
- Tear Netherlands (MN member)
- Tearfund Belgium (MN member)
- TEAR Fund Switzerland (MN member)
- TEAR Fund New Zealand (MN member)
- Tearfund UK (MN member)
- World Relief Canada (MN member)
- World Relief US (MN member)
• EU CORD: the following EU CORD members are engaged in responding to the crisis:
- Kindernothilfe (MN member)
- Medair (MN member)
- Red een Kind
- WORD en Daad
3. Share what you are doing:
• Get in touch with one another and keep each other informed with regards to what you are doing so potential synergies and sharing of skills and expertise can evolve.
4. Offer to help:
• What can you, your church, your organisation do to help?
5. Cooperate and Coordinate:
• Draw on our network links to work together and be more effective.
6. Demonstrate love:
Jesus had compassion on those who were hungry. He gave thanks for the food they had to share, blessed it and started sharing it. It was then the miracle occurred!
A Practical Impact
CBM acts upon the needs and rights of people with disabilities. Through their network of local partners they support more than 800 projects in over 80 countries. It is amazing to realise that their work has impacted at least 23 million people who are living with disabilities! They do this by working with communities to help improve the quality of life persons with disabilities have to reduce the risk of disabilities.
Dr Bill McAllister is the National Director of CBM UK and leads CBM International work in developing partnerships – hence works closely with Micah Network. Bill was please to inform us recently of some of the impact CBM has been having:
As you know CBM is a Christian mission working over 80 developing countries to help persons with disabilities realise their full potential. I am sure you also know, the WHO estimates that between 10% and 15% of the global population has a disability. That is at least 650 million people.
I am happy to announce that CBM has now established a department for Faith and Inclusive Development to challenge the global Christian community to take more seriously mission to and with persons with disability. This will be done by working with existing Christian leaders in the developing world to rise to their responsibilities but also to develop curricula for theological seminaries so that future church leaders will understand their responsibilities towards person with disabilities.
An immediate success was that CBM took a lead in making sure the Lausanne Commitment highlighted mission to and with persons with disability (part iiB.4) Last year we worked with the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network to run a workshop for 21 representatives of Theological Institutions in West Africa to develop curricula on Biblical teaching on disability. A committee was formed to draw up materials and a further meeting this year will establish the programme. This year we are also working to do the same thing with theological institutions in East Asia and the South Pacific. Next year we hope to do the same with institutions in Central Africa, East Africa and South America. All the while an increasing amount of material is being written, edited and printed.
Working with persons with disability has been a priority for Micah Network over the last few years and we want to encourage members to draw on the resources of such organisations as CBM and The Leprosy Mission who have gained so much experience. For more about CBM: www.cbm.org or The Leprosy Mission (TLI): www.leprossymission.org
Jannine Ebenso (TLI) hosts the Micah Network disability forum, which all members can access through our web site – just, log in and read and contribute to discussions, add resources that members can use and play a part in this ongoing conversation so we can all make a practical impact. www.micahnetwork.org/disability-forum
Micah Sunday – 16th October 2011
What is Micah Sunday? Micah Sunday is an opportunity for churches in the UK to join the global church in remembering the poor and considering what role it can play in the fight against poverty. It's a chance for you to connect with Christians around the world and find out about the work already being done, through churches and partners, to alleviate poverty. It's a great time to reflect on the part your own church can play in this great project.
The date is chosen so as to be the nearest Sunday to the international day for the alleviation of poverty (October 17th)
Micah Challenge provides simple instructions and creative ideas that make it easy for you and your church to get involved. You can register to be involved and find out more on: http://www.micahchallenge.org.uk/home
Be the Change – Dave Andrews
Dave will be teaching in the UK on 13th October 2011 in Leeds and the 17th October 2011 in London.
Be the Change is aimed at Christians employed by churches/Christian community projects and church leaders. The focus of the sessions will be:
• Conversion - The heart of community work. Not us converting them, us being converted to serve them. Changing our ideas, images, models and paradigms of church/success.
• Participation - The place of professionals, the importance of volunteers, and how we can mobilize and organize people's involvement with maximum impact and minimal structure
• Conversation – From bonding with people who are the same to bridging to people who are different and how we can talk about faith across the cultural and religious divides.
For more information and to register: Jill Clark at Livability: [email protected]
To find out more about events hosted by Community Mission see:
Asia Mobilising for Integral Mission – to be held during 17th – 21st October, 2011 in Kukuleganga Holiday Resort, Kalutara, Sri Lanka
How can we as a Network support one another to respond effectively and with love? Asia Mobilising for Integral Mission seeks to underpin the theological values that inform and inspire our practice, strengthen the quality and witness of our response and mobilise us to be the agents of change in our communities and our work.
For more information about this consultation please see our web site: http://www.micahnetwork.org/events/asia-mobilising-integral-mission
Registration can now be done directly from our web site!
For further information about programme, participation, costs and other queries, please write to Sundar Daniel [email protected]
Africa Consultation - Changes
Decisions and Changes for Micah Network - Africa
At the start of 2011 we were overjoyed with the appointment of Ben Akpera to the role of Micah Network Africa Regional Coordinator. By February we had managed to re establish the Africa Regional Coordination Group and together we outlined our vision and hope to engage and support members in our shared passion for integral mission. At the heart of these plans was our desire to facilitate an Africa Regional Consultation, which we entitled: Africa Mobilising for Integral Mission. We saw this as a call and space for us to discuss how we can further holistic transformation throughout Africa.
In April 2011 we learnt that one of our generous sponsors who had graciously supported our Regional Coordinators over the last 3 years was unable to continue. In the following months we have tried to explore many other options to secure sufficient resources to retain our staff knowing that if by August we had not done so we would need to take tough decisions. That day has come and we are sad to announce that our Africa Regional Coordinator, Ben Akpera, will need to officially step down from this role. Ben has shown such amazing commitment and belief in what Micah Network is doing and his love for Africa is so great that his response to this outcome was to volunteer to continue in anyway he could. Thank you, Ben for this. Ben will therefore be volunteering time to Micah Network to cover a number of the commitments we have made for 2012.
Cancelled Consultation - November 2011
The further practical consequence of our current financial standing is that we feel we are not in a position to facilitate the planned Africa Regional Consultation that was to be held in Zambia from 15th to 19th November 2011. We ask all those who had planned to attend, participate and speak to stand with us in this disappointment and to focus on the Global Consultation that is being held from the 10th to 14th September 2011 in Thun Switzerland.
Where does this leave us for our plans in Africa this year? We are still able to continue with 5 integral mission conversations and are working with members to finalise dates and locations. These will be announced in the coming weeks.
In particular we hope to utilise some of the logistics and work already done in preparation for the now cancelled Zambia Consultation and use this for an Integral Mission Conversation in Zambia.
Vision and Hope: we want to encourage members in Africa and globally to really get behind the heart of what Micah Network is doing and work together to forward this. The activities and discussions that form much of what Micah Network does should not depend on initiatives run by staff but rather initiatives by members who then mobilise others in the Network to engage. We anticipate that God is preparing us for a new surge in action and that this transitory and painful stage will be one that produces fruit as we wait on God.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Jobs Going – is it for you?
• Executive Director – SERVE Afghanistan
Starting spring 2012. The position will be based in Kabul.
Aim: To provide overall organisational leadership to SERVE Afghanistan. SERVE Afghanistan's projects focus on Community Development, Community Based Rehabilitation, Education and Vocational training for Afghans with Disabilities, and Public Health/nutrition Education.
Applications: [email protected] to the attention of Mr Ray Cooper or Mrs Rina Teeuwen.
• Communications Officer - 6 month position – The Leprosy Mission
Part time Role (21 hours /week) based in Brentford, UK
Aim: This role of for someone with proven experience in producing publications, editing and proof reading. Includes provision of a comprehensive information and communication service to TLM fellowship members.
Applications: [email protected]
• Operations Administrative Coordinator – The Leprosy Mission
Full time position based in Brentford, UK
Aim: Provide support within the dynamic operations teams in a wide range of activities so as to ensure administration and management of all projects and programmes progresses.
Applications: [email protected]
School of Reconciliation – 30th January to 9th March 2012
Dr Rhiannon Lloyd from Le Rucher Ministries gave us a taster of material to be used in this School! It was fantastic. If you or one of your colleagues is able to attend this school it is highly recommended.
Location: Kigali, Rwanda
In 1994 Rwanda experienced a horrific genocide; a dark event which has been woven into the identity of the nation. But out of the darkness there is also light and hope. Individuals have risen above the trauma to become peace practitioners in their communities. Their stories of pain and loss have become testimonies of healing and hope; they have become voices of reconciliation; they have become mediators of truth and justice.
With over 15 years experience working in 12 different nations, Le Rucher Ministries is combining the healing and reconciliation workshop and community development course into a 6-week training and optional 3-week practicum. This course will offer concentrated teaching on principles for heart change, healing and reconciliation for situations of ethnic conflict, skills and models for holistic community transformation, and a deeper understanding of the dynamics and practice of conflict transformation. The location in Rwanda, regional and international trainers and participants will provide a rich and diverse learning experience.
For more information: www.lerucher.org
Transformation 2011 Conference – Jos, Nigeria
Dates: 1st to 5th November 2011
Theme: Good governance and political transformation: pathways to reducing conflicts and poverty.
Five core modules:
• Developing transformational leadership
• Establishing good governance for national development
• Power and political transformation
• Public finance management
• Good governance and the MDGs
For registration and further information please got to: www.transformationconf.org
This conference in a shared initiative between: Global Relief Nigeria, SIM and SUWA
Proposal Formats and Guidelines - Revision
A number of years ago Micah Network developed a standard proposal format that our international members agreed could be used for partners to use so as to help decrease the multitude of formats imposed on organisations seeking funding support.
The current formats are available of our web site at: http://www.micahnetwork.org/resources/best-practice/disaster-management-project-guidelines
We feel it is time to revise and update these very useful documents and ensure they not only meet funding partner requirements but also reflect an integral mission perspective.
We are looking for an inspired and skilled member(s) to take on the challenge of revising and updating the proposal format with linked guidelines. Please contact Sheryl Haw ([email protected]) if this captures your attention.