There is something exciting and liberating about the word "New" – an expectation that something different or fresh is occurring. Opportunity and change is ahead. The Bible captures this in many places such as:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23-24
See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God, many will see and fear and put their trust in God. Psalm 40:3
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
...to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:23-24
No one sews a patch of un-shrunken cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. Matthew 9:16.17
As Jesus announced the arrival of a new Kingdom using the words from Isaiah we read: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour... Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. Luke 4:18-21
I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2
What does this means for us today? Today - now is the time for us to engage in responding to our communities' needs, in sharing the hope we have in Christ, in drawing closer to God, serving as a kingdom of priests. (Revelation 1:6)
So, friends, as we start this new year together I hope and pray that our expectation and our energy is ready to take hold of all that God has for us this year! The new Micah Network strategic framework has three core objectives:
1. Integral Mission: To promote, encourage and motivate Christians to embrace and practice integral mission.
2. Equipping: To enhance the capacity of members as they strive to make a biblical-shaped holistic response in our world through active engagement in relief, rehabilitation, development, environmental care, and justice ministries.
3. Networking: To serve, support and share with one another, strengthening our inter-dependence and increasing our impact and mutual accountability.
I would like to invite members to consider how they can play their part along with the Network to apply these objectives. One way is to send in your new information forms recently sent out so we can update our database along with your new annual member contribution.
After a long search and waiting on God for who we could appoint as Rev John Wesley Kabango's successor we are very pleased to inform you all we are thrilled to welcome Ben Akpera (based in Jos – Nigeria), into this role as from the 1st January 2011. Welcome Ben and we look forward to sharing with you as you work with our members throughout Africa.
He served as Director, Holistic Leadership Development with Harvest Leaders Network, Africa, volunteering on associate status and as Board Secretary. He has been involved in discipleship, missions and leadership development for two decades. Ben served with United Nations for 17 years. His last posting was to Southern Sudan during the reconstruction efforts, following the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005. These operations were under the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office of UNICEF. He also served with UNICEF, Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi. He was previously Chief of Human Resources Management for UNICEF, Nigeria, within West and Central Africa Region. Due to an increasing desire to focus more time on integral mission, Ben opted out of the UN in Dec 2007 to focus more on holistic leadership, peace-building, discipleship, capacity-building and missions development through networks. He passionately believes that Africa, like any society, can be transformed through multiplying competent leaders of integrity and facilitating effective integral missions. He is motivated by seeing gifts and vocations used as platforms for serving communities, as unto the Lord, and by the support he enjoys from his family, friends and collaborating partners.
Ben is married to Lydia and they have 4 children: Glory; Jeremiah; Israel and Praise.
Many of you may have received emails and been in touch with Timothy Sands the new Executive Assistant to Sheryl and the manager of much of Micah Network's administration and communications.
Timothy lives in Carlisle and is married to Mikaela whom he met whilst working with OM Ships International. With a passion for history and a keen interest in sport, philosophy and church planting, Timothy enjoys reading and playing, watching, talking, debating about these interests.
Timothy joined the Micah Network staff in September last year and has among other things been helping with the organisation of Micah Network events and building up the network's information on our members and their ministries. We want to be able to know our members circumstances and contexts to maximise our effectiveness in strengthening you in integral mission, helping you to develop theological perspectives in your areas of expertise and build members' capacity to meet the needs of the people and communities you serve. Timothy's information gathering and conversations with you has been part of this work, but we need you to participate in building up our knowledge of your stories so we can celebrate God's work among you and intercede with you in times of challenge.
In September 2010 Micah Network commenced phase one of the Disaster Management Project, which had the following objectives:
Objective One: Establish a baseline of existing interest and capacity amongst members. This includes understanding of their biblical perspective of disaster, suffering and advocacy, as well as their capacity to deliver good practices.
Objective Two: Establish a baseline of the extent to which members have been involved in disasters and advocacy.
Objective Three: Map key hazards members need to deal with
Objective Four: Outline what capacity enhancing interventions could be provided
Objective Five: Based on the results of the review suggest how we could proceed within the Network
The initial results are being complied into a full report, which will be made available on our web site. A brief summary of the findings are:
Of our 550 members 46 responded to the online survey – thank you for your insightful contributions. Our consultant visited three sites: Sri Lanka, El Salvador and Honduras to carry out interviews with organisations who had been involved in disaster responses. Telephone / Skype interviews were carried out with organisations within the various regions so as to gain a global perspective as far as possible.
The graph indicates the types of interventions our members engage in.
Two areas on training and input that members highlighted a need in were coordination and security management.
When asked which areas members would prioritise for seeking support / enhancing capacity – the following were listed.
The results also revealed that much work could be done on disaster risk reduction.
Finally, looking at the theological issues that were raised we recognise that there is considerable scope to cover in the coming months to consult with one another and so develop some supportive responses to be shared within organisations. The Disaster Management Task Force will now review the full report findings and work together on how we can approach phase two.
A very big thank you to Adriaan Korevaar our consultant, to Roshan Mendis (Sri Lanka) and Hilda Bojorquez (El Salvador) for facilitating the country site visits, and to all who participated in the review. And a special thank you to Tearfund UK for supporting the Disaster Management Project Review.
We are looking forward to the new strategic plans that Ben and the reforming new Africa Regional Coordination Group will be developing. They plan to hold their first meeting in Burkina Faso on the 5th to 7th February 2011. Please do send Ben Akpera any thoughts, ideas or initiatives that should be considered at this meeting.
The Vision Africa Conference 2011 will be taking place from the 31st January to the 4th February 2011 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This is an event facilitated by CREDO (a Micah Network member) and under the auspices of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA). The aim of this conference is to ensure African Christians engage in the development of Africa. Sheryl Haw will be presenting a paper on integral mission and Ben Akerpa will be facilitating a workshop.
Dates for your Diary: The Micah Network Annual Africa Regional Consultation is planned for the 16th to 20th November 2011 – the theme and location will be finalized at the Regional Coordination Group meeting in February.
Amahoro Africa – an excite network that facilitates holistic transformation by encouraging, resourcing and connecting emerging Africa leaders who are committed to the tangible manifestation of justice, mercy and goodness in their local context, Over the next few months Amahoro will facilitating 7 city conversations in:
• Bujumbura, Burundi • Kigali, Rwanda • Kampala, Uganda • Nairobi, Kenya • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Micah network members are encouraged to participate in these conversations and fellowship with one another as discussions are held over the heart of God for Africa.
The annual Amahoro Africa gathering will be held in Mombasa, Kenya from the 2nd - 6th May 2011.
Ruth Alvarado, our Latin America Regional Coordinator is busy developing the 2011 work plan and highlights a number of up and coming events:
• Regional Consultation of Integral and Arts, planned to be held in Argentina – dates to be announced shortly. • Conversations around Latin America on ethic / indigenous groups and integral mission. • Follow up from the 2010 Regional Consultation on Gender and Violence against Women.
News from Latin America COLOMBIA: Rosa Camargo de Bravo has been awarded the Letra Viva topp essay prize last December. The eassy was entitled: "Un pastor con corazón de niño / A pastor with a heart of a child. " Rosa is Colombian sociologist and works as a Tearfund UK representative in the the Andean region. We send our congratulations to Rosa. To read further see: http://premioletraviva.com/sala-de-prensa/2010/ganadores-del-premio-letra-viva-2010/
PERU: Samuel Escobar - theolgian, a well known Peruvia writer and supporter of Micah Network and integral mission, has been awared the Jorge Borrow prize. This will be awared on the 12th March 2011 in Salamanca. We share in his joy and congraulte him on this amazing acheivment. To find out more see: http://www.larepublica.pe/03-01-2011/autor-peruano-gana-premio-jorge-borrow
The Disabled People South Africa [DPSA] will be hosting the 2011 Conference which will beheld at Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban – South Africa.
The Conference Theme for 2011 is: "Disability Movement United in creating a society for all through the UN Disability Convention and the Millennium Development Goals." This year's Assembly will draw attendance from leading professionals from all over the world. Speakers will address practical topics including, but not limited to, Independent living and Millennium Development Goals.
Description: Discussion forum for all who are working to ensure good practice and inclusion of disability as a response in integral mission.
Purpose: The purpose of the Micah Network Disability Forum is to link people working on or concerned with disability in order to:
1. provide a space for development and dissemination of theological reflection on disability in different cultural and contextual settings 2. advocate on disability inclusion as a critical development and ministry issue for Micah Network members and the broader community 3. share information, learning, strategies and resources (e.g. technical support publications, theological reflections, case studies, good practices, policy and briefing papers and training materials) to better equip one another to respond to disability 4. develop good practice guidelines and other resources where needed 5. provide a space for fellowship and prayer for our work on disability 6. act as a resource for the wider Micah Network member base (e.g. capacity building, speaking into the church and advocacy)
Phillip Tsvangira from the Institute of Christian Leadership has shared the information about the up and coming training course which is to take place at the Celebration Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 3rd and 4th of March 2011.
New website: the launch of our new web site has now been delayed another month as we await we anticipation the trial and finalisation of the design. Apologies for this lengthy process – we hope the long wait will be worth it.
Prayer Focus: each week Micah Network collates and sends out prayer points that have been shared within our network. If you are not receiving these then we encourage you to send your request to be added to the list to Steve Bradbury, who faithfully complies this for us each week. His e-mail is: [email protected]
New points should be with Steve by no later than Thursday each week as the Prayer Focus is sent out every Friday. Urgent prayer request will be sent out as and when they arrive.
Member's Journal: we will be sending out a quarterly communication to all our members every quarter, which will focus on the network news, initiatives and outworking of the strategy. We encourage you to send in your case studies, stories of transformation or examples of good practice.