March 2009 Volume 7, Issue 1
Empowering the Church to transform society
CONECAR 2009 in Advanced Planning Stage
It’s that time! Register now for the 9th Congress of Evangelicals in the Caribbean (CONECAR 2009) in the land of reggae and praise, Jamaica, October 26-29, 2009.
Enjoy a variety of activities…. the famed disciples in transformation arena… six educational tutorials…the Caribbean’s Discipling Wonders exclusively for Caribbean leaders… six elective fact finding Treasure Workshops, plus the spiritually refreshing and enriching Biblical Foundations.
The Congress will be practical, informative, spiritually invigorating and enjoyable. The days will be devoted to exhilarating speakers and enlightening focus programmes. The evenings are set aside for fellowship and worship, including a Grand Opening and the 25th Anniversary Awards Dinner at the noted Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
By the end of March full registration details should be on our website: http://www.caribbeanevangelical.org
Plan NOW to attend this historic event marking 25 years since the first CONECAR in Jamaica in 1984.
Praying for Guadeloupe and Martinique
January 20 saw the start of a major national strike in Guadeloupe that has virtually shut the country down.
Reports from the island indicate that violence has raised its ugly head and, at the time of going to press, one person had been shot and killed and several others injured.
Indications are that cars are been burned in the streets, some businesses are being attacked and streets are being barricaded so that law enforcement officials are unable to travel freely throughout the island.
The coalition of several trades unions has issued 146 demands including a significant increase in basic wages and a reduction in the price of goods. While goods are two or three times more expensive than in France wages are considerably lower.
EAC urges Christians throughout the Caribbean to monitor the situation and to make it a matter of intercessory prayer.
On February 05 trades unions in Martinique joined the strike. Reports now indicate violence has started there as well.
Please pray that:
- Peace will prevail and there will be no further deaths.
- Negotiations will be concluded swiftly.
- God will glorify His name in the situation and men and women will find Him in the midst of the storm.
ANTIGUA: Prayerful Concern
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has declared March 12, 2009 election day for Antigua and Barbuda.
This general election is expected to be keenly contested as the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) seeks to regain the government after five years in opposition.
Already some violence has erupted as two constituency offices burned to the ground.
In the midst of the electioneering the announcement has come from the USA that Sir Allan Stanford is under investigation for fraud. Sir Allan is the largest private sector employer in this small island state. His financial institutions also hold the life savings of many Antiguans.
The situation with Sir Allan is bound to become a political football in the partisan atmosphere of the election campaign.
Please pray that:
- There will be a violence free campaign.
- God will overrule in men’s affairs and guide the selection of a new government.
- The financial issues will be resolved without hurt to Antiguans.
W.E.A. Accepts Call to Action on HIV
At its General Assembly in Pattaya, Thailand World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) overwhelmingly accepted a call to action on HIV. Micah Network, meeting the week before in the same venue, had drafted the call to WEA.
Acknowledging that Evangelical Christians have allowed stigmatisation and discrimination to characterise relationships with people living with HIV, WEA apologised and committed to change.
Bishop Gerry Seale, EAC’s General Secretary and CEO, is leading a small task force that is developing recommendations on the next steps WEA needs to take in bringing positive action throughout its member organisations.
The Task Force on HIV met in London during
January and is on track to submit its recommendations to Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA’s International Director, shortly.
Other members of the Task Force include Sally Smith (UNAIDS), Debbie Dortzback (World Relief), D. Kennedy Dhalaban (EFICOR), Rev. Francis Makandawire (Malawi) and Rev. Pat Sawo (ANERELA+).
Grenadian Churches Launch Evangelical Alliance
"For religious, educational and humanitarian purposes which will assist in promoting closer fellowship in members' work and worship" is the stated purpose for which the Alliance of Evangelical Churches Inc. Grenada has been brought into being.
The final steps began on December 12, 2007 when a number of pastors committed to the concept of an Evangelical Alliance. On January 21, 2008 an interim committee was formed to bring the many years of discussion to fruition.
The interim committee completed the constitution & bylaws using that of the Barbados Evangelical Association as a model, registered the Alliance, opened a bank account, met with denominational heads, and held intermittent meetings with interested pastors.
On January 24, 2009 the first Annual General Meeting was held where officers were elected. President of the Alliance is Rev. Ricardo Alleyne, Vice President is Rev. Gerald Keens-Douglas, Secretary is Rev. Benedict Newton, Treasurer is Rev. Adrian Banfield and Member is Ms. Eleanor Swan.
OM's Largest Ministry Ship to Serve the Caribbean
SHROPSHIRE, UK (ANS) – While the charity sector is being hard-hit by the credit crunch Operation Mobilisation UK, who are set to launch their largest ever missions ship the Logos Hope, say they're weathering the financial storm and so far haven't had to make any cutbacks.
Paul says one of OM's most high profile projects is the launch of their new ministry ship the Logos Hope, which is due to sail from Denmark to the UK this spring on a ministry tour: "There have been challenging aspects of getting the ship ready which has taken longer. We want to get it right and this time we've taken the decision that if its more cost effective to spend a little bit more money now rather than having to spend a lot more money later, we've gone for that to try and increase the life span of the ship and that's added to the time its taken to get it ready.
Once the ship has toured the UK it will begin ministering in some of the neediest parts of the Caribbean, which according to Paul has been a long-term vision for the work of OM Ships: "The original vision for the Logos Hope for getting a bigger ship came really from the experience of the Logos II in the Caribbean. Logos II has visited the Caribbean region many times. I know this sounds wonderful cruising round the Caribbean but with a lot of these islands the actual people are living in poverty, AIDS, problems with alcohol and drugs, lack of opportunity and education.
The ships have always had an incredible response in the Caribbean and they’ve just been overwhelmed, but the capacity hasn't been enough, people wanting to visit the book fair, the huge line has just been too long for people to wait and having to tell people the conference room is full, we can't take any more for this conference. Now having a resource in the Logos Hope that is going to meet that capacity is tremendous. The best way to follow the work of the ship and OM is www.omships.org
Seventh-day Adventist Becomes Jamaica's New Governor General
KINGSTON, JAMAICA (ANS) – For the first time in the 47-year history of Jamaica, a Seventh-Day Adventist will hold the nation's highest office.
According to Mark A. Kellner, News Editor, Adventist Review (www.adventistreview.com ), Dr. Patrick Allen, president of the church's West Indies Union, was expected to take office as Jamaica's sixth Governor General in late February. Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced his appointment in a Parliamentary session on January 13, 2009.
"The appointment of Dr. Allen as Governor General of Jamaica is something historic in Jamaica and the world field. As far as memory goes, this [appointment of an Adventist pastor as a Governor General] has never happened before. But the Inter-American Division is so pleased that one of our leaders through the high standing of the church, has reached such a distinction that he could be considered for such a position," said Israel Leito, Inter-American Division president.
Leito added: "We wish Dr. Allen all the best, realizing the serious challenges he will have – to be the leader with non-political authority but still in leadership position for a whole nation. The church will always be praying for him in this position."
New Secretary for the Bible Commission of Cuba
The Board of Directors of the Council of Churches in Cuba/CIC, elected Rev. Alain Montano Hernández as the new Secretary of its Bible Commission. The decision was made at the recommendation of the Finance and Human Resources Commission after assessing several candidates.
Rev. Montano took office on January 2, 2009 and succeeds Rev. José López. Meanwhile he was brought up to date in all things related to Bible work in the Commission, in the country, and to relations with United Bible Societies and the other ministries of Bible and theological literature with which it cooperates.
Alain Montano Hernández is a member of the Church of the Nazarene, and holds a Masters Degree in Religious Studies. He is a professor of systematic theology, New Testament Greek, and Hebrew for the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Cuba (SETENAC), where he also currently serves as Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs overseeing off-campus programmes in theological studies, with over 300 students.
First National Youth Conference in Suriname
With EAC working to build a youth network across the region, churches in Suriname have held their first national youth conference around the theme, We are the salt of the earth, the light in the darkness. According to Rachel Stakel, leader of the conference and a member of the Leadership Team for EAC's Caribbean Youth Network, "It was a life changing experience. God really touched the lives of these young people and I can see already that their lives will never be the same. The feedback that I got from the young people was mind blowing and they are looking forward to the next youth conference."
Speakers included Pastor Eworth Williams (Guyana), Dr. Nicole Nicholls (St. Maarten), Cynthia Enser and Rachel Stakel (Suriname). Topics included Dare to be Different, Sex and You, Know Your Enemy, and My Emotions.
Plans are already underway for the next youth conference to be held in August 2009.
Apology Issued to Irish Indentured Servants in Barbados
A release issued by Arise Ministries states: "In 2007, a lot of attention was given to the issue of slavery, and rightly so, as it was the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. However, during this time less attention was given to the plight of white slaves and in particular the Irish. For many years, Huntingdon has been associated with Oliver Cromwell, as this is where he was born. In the 1650s, Cromwell saw the slave trade as a way of clearing the lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England of Royalist supporters and Catholics. Many came to your land as indentured servants, some of whom were paid as promised, but many were never paid and were treated as slaves. However many thousands more were shipped out as slaves to work on plantations. All were denied the freedom to practice their Catholic faith.
"We, as Christians here, recognise the pain his legacy has left in many parts of the world including Barbados. In 2002, we sent a letter to the churches and people of Ireland expressing how deeply sorry we were for the pain they suffered. However since then, this appalling trade of human lives has come to our attention and we recognise that treating people in this way cannot be justified and is ungodly.
"We want you to know that we fully support this act of reconciliation and want to take this opportunity to say to you how deeply sorry we are for the years of pain many of you have suffered. We pray that you may know our Lord's abundant blessings and His great love for you."
EAC Launches Research Project with UNICEF
In partnership with UNICEF and local member-bodies EAC has launched its research into the sexual practices of youth attending Evangelical churches.
The pilot project was done in Barbados in late 2006 with the results published in 2007. The survey form was then strengthened and funding obtained from UNICEF to extend the project to Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.
Bishop Gerry Seale, EAC’s General Secretary, has visited each of these islands twice since 2009 began. The first visit was to brief local pastors and encourage their support of the project. The second visit was to train the volunteer youth leaders to conduct the survey.
Interest in all three countries has been considerable and Bishop Seale reports that he expects around 100 churches in the three countries to participate in the research.
One of the volunteer researchers in Antigua thanked EAC for “being so timely with this exercise. Your Spiritual alertness is quite evident with this project. I pray that this project will fulfill its purpose, bringing an awaking to society more so our churches.” Funding is still being sought to also conduct the research in Grenada, Guyana, and the Bahamas.
According to Bishop Seale, the research will culminate in 2010 with a major regional consultation on human sexuality.
“HIV is not the problem,” says Bishop Seale. “HIV is the symptom. The real problem is how we handle our sexuality. Unless this is addressed quickly the symptom will continue to spread throughout the islands.”
The Caribbean is second only to Sub-Saharan Africa in the incidence of HIV infection. Participants in the Barbados research indicated that 1% of youth attending Evangelical churches there are already living with HIV.
The full report of the Barbados survey can be accessed on-line at: www.caribbeanevangelical.org/pdfs/sexsurvey.pdf. As research in each island is completed the results will also be posted on the website.
Youth for Christ Launches Programme in Haïti
By Brian Harmon
Special to ASSIST News Service
ST. MARC, HAÏTI (ANS) -- Haiti, the poorest and least safe county in the Western Hemisphere is also the latest to form a national Youth for Christ organisation, according to Larry Williams, YFCI Americas Area Director.
Haïtian National YFC Director Galilee Perlus has already held a training programme for youth workers and pastors which has graduated 50 students. The training took place for three months, all day Fridays and Saturdays. The graduates were proudly decked out in full graduation garb, including robes and mortar board hats.
"Haïti is currently in a state of semi-anarchy and armed mobs roam the streets and highways (or whatever). The YFC organization in Haïti is virtually self-supporting and was formed indigenously by the National Director Galilee Perilus with very little outside help," Larry said.
Youth for Christ International operates in 22 countries in the Western Hemisphere and over 100 worldwide. The programme in Brazil alone has 50 ministry centres throughout the country. Every YFC national programme has a locally selected board and a National Director from within the country.
Larry Williams and his wife, Gail live in Poplar, Wisconsin. After college he worked with young people for the Salvation Army for two years before joining Youth for Christ over 30 years ago. On a mission trip to Haïti he developed a burning desire to help evangelise and disciple young people in the very poor countries. He spent four years in West Africa and then headed up "Project Serve", YFC's short-term missions programme for twelve years before becoming the Americas Area Director.
YFC Americas is a full member of EAC.
Another Christian Killed in Orissa, India
Another Christian has been killed in Orissa State’s Kandhamal District. A wave of fear and shock enveloped the district with the discovery of the body of 45-year-old Hrudyananda Nayak on February 19, 2009.
Ashis Parida, an Evangelical Fellowship of India correspondent, reported that Nayak left his village of Rudangia on February 18 to accompany his older sister to her village of Bandaguda, one-and-a-half kilometres from Rudangia.
It is alleged that an eyewitness saw Nayak being stopped by a group of extremists on his way back to the village and he vanished thereafter.
The area Christians informed the police of Nayak’s disappearance. A search team of policemen and Christians found the lifeless body of Nayak among some rocks in the forest near the village of Rudangia on the evening of Thursday, February 19.
His face was disfigured with blood spots all over his body. There were marks around his neck and it is presumed that he was dragged towards the forest with a rope tied around his neck.
Rudangia is a mainly Christian village, about 260 kilometres from Bhubaneshwar, the state capital.
Nayak’s death is the third since October last year. Despite tight security measures, violence against Christians continues in the area since the worse out-breaks of anti-Christian persecution in August and September 2008.
Please pray for Orissa and for all the Christians who are suffering for their faith.
Bible Translation Controversy in Jamaica
While the nations gathered in Beijing to battle it out in the Olympic sports arenas, a different battle, but also with ancient traditions, raged in Jamaica. The September issue of Christianity Today magazine reported on the controversy surrounding the ongoing translation of the Bible into Jamaican Creole, or patois, the language spoken fluently by the vast majority of the population. While English is the official language of Jamaica, most children grow up speaking patois and learn English in school.
In being criticised, the translators of the Bible into Jamaican patois, as well as the translation teams working in nearly 2,000 other minority languages around the world, are in good company. John Wycliffe was criticised strongly for translating the Bible into English, the first major translation since Jerome's Vulgate a thousand years before. By Jack Popjes
About the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean…
Founded in 1977 EAC exists to “unite Evangelical Christians in the Caribbean, giving them a regional identity, voice, and platform to extend the Kingdom of God through Christ-centered proclamation of the Gospel to all peoples, discipling the nations, and the transformation of society.”
EAC’s vision: “Every Church empowered to transform Caribbean society through biblical discipleship so that poverty is reduced, peace (shalom-wholeness) is increased, public justice is ensured, and national righteousness develops.”
In pursuing its mission and fulfilling its vision EAC purposes to “empower the Church to transform society.”
Membership consists of 11 national alliances, four denominations, four agencies and four associate members.
An overview of its ministry can be seen on EAC’s website: www.caribbeanevangelical.org.
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