The International Society for Urban Mission (ISUM) first annual summit will be based around the theme of “Integral Urban Mission”. ISUM is partnering together with the Micah Network and the World Evangelical Alliance: Theological Commission! Based in Bangkok at the Evangelical Church of Bangkok (ECB), the dates of the summit are January 26-29, 2013. We are looking forward to meeting together to build trust, wisdom and be inspired to better engage our new urban world!
Speakers and participants include:
-Shane Claiborne – The Simple Way, Philadelphia
-Dr. Ruth Callanta – Center for Community Transformation, Manila
-Dr. Sonny Tha Nyan – General Secretary YMCA, Yangon
-Dr. Ash Barker – Urban Neighbours of Hope, Bangkok
-Wallace and Mary Kamau – Missions of Hope International, Nairobi
-David Bussau – Founder, Opportunity International; President, Wholistic Transformation Resource Center, Manila
-Dr. Rosalee Velloso Ewell, Executive Director – World Evangelical Alliance, San Paulo/Birmingham
-Dr. Viv Grigg, International Director of MA in Transformational Urban Leadership – Azusa Pacific University, Auckland/L.A.
Key practitioner themes, best practices, reflective prayer, active bible studies, calls for collective action and case studies/story telling will be featured. Some of the addresses will be used in the May 2013 Issue of the New Urban World Journal (www.newurbanworld.org/
To register for the Summit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: http://newurbanworld.org/
The goal of the Wholistic Development Organisation is to develop a core group of local Christians who are able to work with their communities in facilitating transformational development in each community in Cambodia. These groups will have the capacity to implement a process of holistic development, by facilitating community initiatives that contribute to food security, income generation, literacy and health.
The problems that the WDO project is trying to address are:
- Community disempowerment. Part of the legacy of the Khmer Rouge era has been a reduction in people‘s ability to care for their families, and a reduction in communities‘ decision-making abilities and participation in activities.
- Limited church responses to needs. Church expressions of compassion are often relief-orientated, which can create dependency and result in ”rice Christians‘.
WDO work with the local church in selecting and training a number of Christians from the local community. These Christians form a core group which then mobilises the wider community to identify and address poverty issues. They are trained as Community Development Facilitators, which includes training in community development, leadership, management, dealing with trauma, creative ways of facilitating group meetings, and significant character and values development through weekly Bible studies.
Communities are then identified on the basis of need (taking into account a number of factors such as presence of water resources, distance to the nearest health centre and school, availability of rice throughout the year, availability of jobs, and the presence of other NGOs in the village) and on the basis of the maturity of the local church and its leadership.
The Community Development Facilitators begin work in a village by working with the local church. They use Bible study and discussion to help church members to identify their vision for the future of their community and how they can facilitate this. The church elects a group of 5-7 committed Christians (the Christian Core Group) to act as the main catalysts and organisers of the process.
Supported by the Community Development Facilitators and the Christian Core Group, the community begins to take action to address these issues. Such actions may include the digging of wells, the building of latrines, the development of vegetable gardens, and the setting up of rice banks. Some funding for these initiatives is provided by WDO in the form of loans. Repayments are kept in the community to act as a community revolving fund. However, funding is given only when the community themselves show a willingness to make a significant contribution.
The negotiations to conclude the re-writing of Nepal’s Constitution allowed the Christian Community to engage constructively with people from community-level up to leading politician – level, in a way that has never been possible before. Several organisations have come together to support the Christian Commitment to Building a New Nepal (CCBNN) ‘movement’ both financially and by mobilising prayer support in theUK.
So far, the CCBNN initiative has involved gathering about 2,000 people from 600 churches in almost all ofNepal’s 75 districts to prayerfully identify and discuss the issues facing their communities, then to consider how the church can reach out in love, to address some of these issues.
On one occasion, in every district across the country, Christians met with political and civil leaders to share their vision for a “new Nepal”, as well as their commitment to praying and working towards that vision. They encouraged leaders to be active and accountable in seeking to address the problems thatNepalfaces, such as corruption, unemployment, caste discrimination, violence and discrimination against women, illiteracy and so on. Meetings were also held in the offices ofNepal’s President, and the new Prime Minister. The events generated media coverage locally and nationally.
Three main impacts from the CCBNN initiative can already be seen:
- Increased interest and enthusiasm for social engagement among church leaders. Participants were extremely enthusiastic about identifying the social issues faced by their community, and overwhelmingly positive about engaging with political leaders and the broader community to try to address these issues.
- Evidence of the potential political impact of this type of activity. One workshop, in Bhojpur in Eastern Nepal, was conducted in a hall hired from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP or National Democratic Party, a conservative, pro-monarchy Hindu party). The district chair of the party, after observing some of the workshop proceedings told participants that, “If we had known that you Christians love Nepal like this, then our party’s national platform would have been different.” In other districts, political leaders from various parties have made supportive comments about the process.
- Increased unity and cooperation among churches and Christian networks. The two major national, Protestant networks (NCS & NCFN) have come together for a joint project, for the first time. At a local level, new relationships have been forged. For example during the Surkhet workshop, one pastor commented, “This is the first time that all the churches in Surkhet have come together.”
Naba is from a farming background and a dedicated pastor of a growing congregation with a heart for evangelism. Naba used to visit homes and local villages with Christian literature and would share about his faith with everyone he met. His church has grown in strength and in numbers, currently home to over 200 baptised members. He attended a ‘Church and Community Mobilization Process’ workshop and, upon returning to his church, gathered the elders and deacons to share with them all he had learnt. The elders and deacons were interested yet sceptical and they felt disheartened because they felt they had no resources. However, Naba Raj challenged them and helped them realise that they had a great chain of resources available. Almost immediately the group of elders and deacons were convicted that they should do something practical to help the poor in their local community.
The group discussed, prayed, and contributed whatever means they had and even sought resources from outside the group. The elders and deacons were able get 14 goats from a Nepali organisation and then identified poor people in the community to distribute the goats to (90% went to non-Christians). No one in the community was experienced in animal health so when the goats got sick the beneficiaries called upon the church leaders to pray for healing. Miraculously, the sick goats recovered and have since given birth to 14 more goats, who have all been to more families in the area. The elders and deacons have also been able to help the poor in their area receive training in tailoring through a local organisation, and have supported the establishment of a small business for those who wanted to continue tailoring.
Throughout this whole process strong and supportive relationships have been forged between the church members and the local community. The local community feels respected and they have developed a new found trust for the Christians. The church leaders are relaxed and comfortable in their neighbours’ homes and listen to their troubles, and pray with them when the family members are sick. Naba has been greatly encouraged at the response of the local community and the changing attitude of the church members. He has since felt called to move from his local village to rent a house in another, where he and his wife have established a small chalk-making business and have employed a young local man. Naturally, the villagers have become interested in their new neighbour, which has brought about opportunities for Naba and his wife to share the faith. In just 8 months 6 villagers have come to faith and been baptised.
An Integral Mission seminar was conducted in Lamjung. After finishing a session on the ‘Role of a church in the community’ we led the group in creating an action plan.
There were about 24 leaders from different denominations and all the people were divided into three groups. One group planned to clean streets in their surrounding area, another group to a build public toilet and last group to organise an HIV/AIDS awareness program.
After the workshop the organisers visited the groups to monitor and review their progress. Now the first group had cleaned the street with the help of their neighbours, and Nava Shanti church organised a HIV/AIDS awareness program on the occasion of World Aids day. The other group initiated street-cleaning together with Hindus from their community. Now they have understood that whether they are Christian or Hindu, they are part of the society/community. Mutual co-operation and help has begun because of the IM seminar which is a sign of transformation of the community. One of the pastors said “because of the Integral Mission workshop we could established a good relationship with our community which is the first step of social transformation.” The groups have not been supported financially, but there has been a positive impact that shows that the future project can be long lasting and sustainable.
Following a series of Trainer of Trainers workshops in Nepal on the Nepali version of the Umoja material (run in coordination with a large number of organisations), there are now 12 competent trainers read to help ‘roll out’ the Nepali Umoja, with UMN and Micah coordinating continued reflective sharing and exposure visits to build competence and confidence. Many of these Trainers open new doors for the use of Umoja within churches and church networks who have not previous engaged with integral mission in this way.
Three examples stand out:
~ The ‘indigenous’ Gyaneshwar Denomination has about 200 churches and is one of the biggest denominations inNepal. They heard about the first ToT workshop and asked us to run parallel workshops for some of their leaders. They are now piloting Umoja in their 4 principle Kathmandu churches and if successful Umoja could then steadily be shared and applied among the whole denomination.
~ One of the Trained Trainers leads a NGO which supports a rapidly growing network of churches (currently about 300) from many denominations across Nepal. The NGO was set up to help church leaders tackle weaknesses in management and technical issues so they could be more effective in their ministries. There is now potential to share and apply Umoja throughout this network.
~ One AoG pastor (a former UMN employee) who attended the ToT workshops is now passing on his learning to leaders from a group of 30 Methodist Churches.
Those involved in CCM/Umoja in Nepal now refer to it as a ‘movement’. They very much consider it as ‘God’s business’ not an NGO-style project. This is immensely exciting because it has the potential for widespread organic sustainable replication. However, there are risks associated too, especially with regards to the quality of the training that will be given and whether churches can be properly supported during the early stages. One of the big challenges now is, through our partnership with UMN, to maintain a healthy growth of awareness and competent use of Umoja without the ‘movement’ growing so quickly it spirals out of control with a possible loss of long-term impact or credibility for Tearfund as the material’s originators.
Micah Network’s fifth global triennial consultation in coming up later this year. It provides an exceptional opportunity to focus on the challenge of integral mission and grass roots impact in our communities. The focus is local church, local change, global impact!
Dates: 10th-14th September 2012
Location: Thun, Switzerland
Cost: From $440 for members
Speakers include: René Padilla, CB Samuel, Joel Edwards, Elmer Thiesson, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Johannes Reimer, Amanda Jackson, Gbile Akani, Ebenezer Joseph, Rhiannon Lloyd
For more information, view the flyer.
The organisation TASK runs a Church Capacity Building for Community Development project. This year they researched and fellowshipped with 10 churches to understand the needs of the church members in Khan Mean Chey. As the result, there have been five workshop trainings with the organisation Peace Bridges, in which about 23-25 church members and pastors have participated.
After church members and pastors had finished the course with Peace Bridge, most of them understand about the important of having the peaceful environment for their church members and community, understanding that the peace should starts from their own self first.
Pastor Savoung of Noko Preah church shared his testimony:
“I am Pastor Savoung, I am 40 years old. I serve the Lord in Noko Preah church. My congregation used to have problems with each other not trusting or respecting each other. I have shared what I learned from with Peace Bridge and they now trust and respect each other more when they speak or communicate with each other which is a very big change.”
Mr Nou Vuth, 54, lives in Ampil village, Kraingyoew commune, Saang district, Kandal province. Vuth is married and has eight children living with him. The majority of the village are poor and do not possess any land for farming. The villagers earn their living through migrating from their home village to another place in search of jobs in order to meet the family’s needs.
Vuth used to be a violent, aggressive person, with limited personal development skills and professional skills. He often beat his kids with a stick when he was angry, which made them very fearful of him. His behaviour did not help him to connect well in the community, and his relatives did not dare to ask for any help from him or connect with him.
On March 15, 2008, Vuth and his household accepted Jesus Christ and started serving the Lord. Vuth has been appointed to the assistant pastor at theNewLifeChurch. After his conversion, God has tremendously transformed Pastor Vuth to have an incredible new life. Pastor Vuth is a real changed person who helps his neighbours regardless day or night, believers and non-believers without favouritism. Pastor Vuth is an honest person who loves God and serves Him faithfully. He lives holistically according to Jesus’ example in Luke 2:52, which reflects to physical, spiritual, intellectual and social response that he has learned from the training program provided by Cheas Ponloeu Project of Wholistic Development Organization (WDO).
Vuth’s community didn’t appreciated the Christian Faith, especially the village chief who has said Christians help only those who are in their care and work to convince people to convert to their faith. The programme has been developed in response to this kind of view.
It is a pastoral compendium training program has been training pastors in Kandal province since 2005 in collaboration with World Vision International. Whilst in the training program, Pastor Vuth has improved his ability to deal with personal and community problems. As a result of the training, Pastor Vuth felt compassionate for the poor in the community. He, then, mobilized other pastors and people from his church to plan and pray together that there will be funding and resources to help the poor. In April 2010, God answered the prayers and blessed them with enough resources to help some poor families; a family of seven and a mother and her child who can’t make a living. Each family received rice, soya bean sauce, cooking oil and some money. This event was presided over by the village chief, and he was very pleased with this act of incredibly generous of Christians who were willing to help their poor neighbours.