GA-1910

GA-1910

 DIVISION OF OVERSEAS MINISTRIES/GLOBAL MINISTRIES

Julia Brown Karimu
President of DOM and Co-Executive of Global Ministries
1099 North Meridian Street, P. O. Box 1986, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-1986
Telephone (317) 713-2577
Fax (317) 635-4323
E-mail: jkarimu@dom.disciples.org

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The Division of Overseas Ministries has participated in a joint witness in mission with Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ for twenty-two years. This ministry is under the auspices of Global Ministries, which has 291 partners located in 91 countries.  The mission of Global Ministries is “to share and receive the good news of Christ by joining with global and local partners to work for justice, reconciliation and peace”.  In addition, Global Ministries continues to appoint mission co-workers in response to specific requests from overseas partner churches and organizations.  These appointments are made through the lens of Critical Presence, “that is meeting God’s people and creation at the point of deepest needs; spiritually, physically, emotionally, and economically”.  One hundred and five individuals served as mission co-workers in 2018.  The number included twenty-seven fully supported mission co-workers, thirty global service workers (long-term volunteers), ten global mission interns, and thirty-eight global associates.  The Global Service Worker is the fastest growing category of mission co-worker appointments. Twenty-five individuals also served as short-term volunteers.

This past year found partners in the Middle East and Latin America responding to the needs of the mass movement of people.  Partners in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in East Asia and the Pacific responded to the impact of climate change, which has resulted in droughts and floods.  Partners in Southern Asia are working to prevent human trafficking. Peace efforts continue in Colombia, the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.  Interfaith relations have become more critical as we are called to address interfaith tensions within the United States and around the world.  Many of the critical issues in mission are cross-regional, and area executives are exploring new ways of collaboration to address them. The area reports will give a glimpse into the daily challenges of our brothers and sisters and the ways in which the church is engaged in working to address them.

The Caribbean Initiative was completed December 31, 2018. It included the following countries: Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.  The purposes of the initiative were to enable members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ to understand the religious, social and political realities of partners in the region and to provide mutual exchanges.  (A more detailed report is found in the Latin America and Caribbean Report.)

The next initiative will be related to Southern Asia and will be launched at the 2019 General Assembly.  It will include the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, East Timor, and Indonesia.

The Division of Overseas Ministries sponsored a People-to-People Pilgrimage for new regional ministers to Ghana and South Africa.  This is a discrete program of the Division of Overseas Ministries.  It is designed for regional ministers to have the opportunity to visit overseas partner churches and organizations in order to better understand Global Ministries.  The following regional ministers participated in this pilgrimage: Nadine Burton, Regional Minister of the Great River Region; LaTaunya Bynum, Regional Minister of Northern California and Nevada; Penny Ross-Corona, Regional Minister Team Leader for the Christian Church of Mid-America; William Rose-Heim, Regional Minister of Greater Kansas City; Jen Garbin, Regional Minister for Canada; and Dale Braxton, Associate Regional Minister of Alabama and Northwest Florida.

College of Mission Interns
Abimael Betancourt, a student at Claremont School of Theology, and Fiyori Kidane, a student at Texas Christian University, served as College of Mission Interns in the Indianapolis office from June to August in 2018.  Abimael worked on the Caribbean Initiative and Fiyori worked with the Mission Personnel Office.

Collaborative Efforts
Disciples Home Missions and Disciples Women continue to collaborate with Global Ministries in a variety of programmatic areas.  Under the leadership of Sotello Long, the new president of Disciples Home Missions, a new leadership team composed of staff from different ministries has been established to respond to specific requests for resources from congregations and regions.  Cathy Nichols, Vice President of the Division of Overseas Ministries, represents the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries on this team.  The team is organized to accompany a congregation or region in addressing a specific need.

Disciples Home Missions and the Disciples Women continue to participate in the Global Ministries’ regional initiatives.  Global Ministries facilitated a Woman-to-Woman Pilgrimage to Cuba in 2018.  The Disciples Women are planning a Woman-to-Woman Pilgrimage to southern Asia as part of the next regional initiative and continue to collaborate with Global Ministries related to human trafficking.

The leadership of the National Benevolent Association (NBA) met with the Area Executives and Co-Executives of Global Ministries to explore possible exchanges related to the NBA’s Incubate Initiative.  This is a new program of the NBA that provides expertise and grants to local non-for-profits and for-profit organizations related to health, social development, and micro-enterprise projects.  Representatives from NBA will visit micro-enterprise projects of partners in Southern Asia and Latin America in order to learn about their processes and procedures to determine possibilities for an exchange with similar organizations in the United States and Canada.

The Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries collaborated with the Disciples Peace Fellowship in sponsoring Ricardo (Ricky) Rivera from the United Evangelical Church of Puerto Rico to serve as a Peace Intern during the summer of 2018.  He spoke in a number of Disciples regional youth camps on topics related to the issues facing the church in Puerto Rico and peace.

Staff Changes
Tom Morse resigned from his position of Executive for Mission Engagement, effective April 23, 2018.

Francesca Klein, Program Associate in the Finance Office, resigned, effective August 24, 2018.

Rune Nielsen began as a temporary worker in the Office of Resource Development April 2, 2018, and became a regular DOM employee on June 4, 2018.  She serves as the Database Manager and Administrative Assistant.

Beth Guy, former Program Associate in the Resource Development Office and a former Global Mission Intern became the Director of Communications on August 20, 2018.  Bethany has a B.A. degree from Park University in Parkville, MO and an MTS degree from Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas.

David Barickman began as a Program Associate in the office of Resource Development on October 29, 2018. David has a degree from Christian Theological Seminary.

Yashira Flores began her work as Administrative Assistant in the Mission Personnel Office September 18, 2018.

FINANCE

Lonna Owens, Executive

The Division of Overseas Ministries (DOM) revenue for 2018 is estimated to be nearly $6.5 million.  It is too early to know the actual revenue for the year.

Of the total revenue, some is designated giving for special programs, projects, endowment contributions, capital, and new church funding.  Approximately 25% is from Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ as part of the funding of our joint work together as Global Ministries.  The balance of the revenue comes from Disciples Mission Fund (DMF), investments of DOM, United Christian Missionary Society (UCMS) endowment distributions, Christian Church Foundation (CCF) permanent fund distributions, operating fund gifts and miscellaneous income.

The DOM Endowment assets are invested with the CCF in the Beasley Growth Fund and the Campbell Multi-Strategy Fund.  Annually DOM takes a draw, which is 4.5% of the average prior 20-quarter rolling market value of the total investment.  This draw is used to support operations and designated spending based on the restriction of the endowment.  In 2018, this draw was $569,812 (compared to $656.020 in 2017).

An independent audit is performed annually of the financial records and accounting systems of DOM.  Upon completion of the audit, a complete audit will be provided for the Yearbook and report delivered to the audit committee of the board.  The audit committee will address any material internal control weaknesses found during the audit and suggest improvements to internal controls in a management letter to the board.

RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

Jane Sullivan-Davis, Executive
Kelsey Cameron, Program Associate
David Barickman, Program Associate

Global Ministries Special Giving and Ministry with Donors – Introduction

In 2018, the Global Ministries Resource Development Office continued to engage members, various expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, and other individuals and entities with like-minded commitments to God’s global mission, to provide direct and planned gifts for the work of Global Ministries.  The priorities for all types of special gifts are the following:

1st Priority:    Unrestricted Gifts, used where needed most in the work of Global Ministries

2nd Priority:   Gifts for Mission Co-Worker Support, including intensive efforts on the current experiences in personalized fundraising for mission personnel support

3rd Priority:    Restricted Gifts for donor-specified partner churches/programs or theme-based designations

Strategic Plan Update

The Global Ministries Resource Development Office participated in several of the Global Ministries Strategic Directions during 2018, including Nurturing Community and Sharing the Story. However, the main focus of the work is on Strategic Direction #4:

Developing Resources — To recognize God’s abundance, and growing opportunities for collaboration and generosity by strengthening existing and exploring new funding mechanisms and sources for God’s mission.

In 2018, the Global Ministries Spring Appeal letter was signed by the two Co-Executives and mailed on April 11, 2018, to approximately 29,000 households with a connection to Global Ministries.  The 2018 Indianapolis Year-End Appeal, signed by the President of the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries, was mailed October 8, 2018, to approximately 15,000 households of Disciple constituents, individual constituents from denominations other than the UCC, and constituents for whom no denominational affiliation is known.

The Global Ministries staff team worked on four personalized fundraising campaigns for Global Ministries mission co-workers. Larry and Deborah Colvin began their service with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. Continuing cases included those of Monica and Thomas Liddle, serving with the Protestant Church of East Timor, and Paul Turner, serving with the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo. Anne Gregory concluded her service as a fully-appointed Global Ministries mission co-worker in mid-2018 and has returned as a long-term volunteer serving with the Church of Christ in Thailand. All of the personalized fundraising cases are on track to meet their goal (Colvin) or have surpassed their fundraising goals (Liddles, Turner).

Special Giving promotion continued in 2018 for the Global Ministries Caribbean Initiative: Embrace the Spirit! The special giving component for the Caribbean Initiative consists of special gifts given for ministries in the seven countries involved in the initiative: Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. As a part of the Caribbean Initiative, special gifts for AMANESER 2025 in Puerto Rico and the House of Hope in Haiti were featured in the 2018 Global Ministries Alternative Christmas campaign. Special giving promotion for the Caribbean Initiative and Alternative Christmas concludes as of Epiphany/Three Kings Day in 2019. Preparations are underway for special giving opportunities related to the new Global Ministries Southern Asia Initiative.

Throughout 2018, the Resource Development team had a special emphasis on planned giving through specific promotions. Promotions included: a monthly emphasis on planned giving, electronic and social media communications about different ways to give planned gifts, one thank you mailing in February 2018 sent to approximately 200 individuals whom Global Ministries has record of being in their estate plans, and a second mailing in March 2018 to 1,400 donors inviting them to consider including Global Ministries in their estate plans. Responses arrived via a response card, phone inquiries, and through the normal donor visit system carried out by staff. The three mechanisms of planned giving were: bequests/estate plans, establishment of endowment/permanent funds, and charitable gift annuities.

Resource Development coordinated with the Mission Personnel, Child and Elder Sponsorship, and area offices in planning and facilitating visits from Global Ministries partner entities in which fundraising for the partner ministry is a component. In April 2018, Resource Development staff helped with the itineration of Ms. Anita Paul of the Family Village Farm in India as she visited individual donors and UCC churches with existing strong connections with the Family Village Farm; and continued with the support of two representatives of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico at the regional assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Virginia. Additional international partner visits with a fundraising component are planned for 2019.

AFRICA OFFICE

Marco Cable, Area Executive

Introduction

On July 18, 2018, Nelson Mandela would have turned 100.  Africans across the continent organized celebrations to remember this Ambassador of Peace and African Nationalist.  These tributes, events, and memorials commemorating the Centenary of Nelson Mandela have been a call for reflecting, accessing and recommitting to the causes in which Mr. Mandela committed his life.  Partner churches and organizations are engaging in the political future of their countries.  Responding to the changing political and religious landscape, they are planning for a stronger and more united Africa. It is out of the church’s clear call from the Gospel to engage leaders in all spheres of life that has motivated this involvement in shaping their democracies.  In fact, the African Church offers a more honest way for churches to engage political leadership without becoming partisan in their engagement.  Christianity is rapidly growing on the African continent and this growth is attributed to the church’s holistic approach to ministry. The church is providing spiritual and social engagement guidance to its membership and surrounding communities.  The continent is filled with optimism with changing national governments, more inclusive churches, and young people, born after colonial rule, moving into leadership roles.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

On May 8, 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo reported an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Equator Province in the district of Bikoro. Bikoro sits on the shores of Lake Tumba, about 74 miles from Mbandaka, a city of over one million people and headquarters of the Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC). The first two confirmed cases of Ebola were from Bikoro. The CDCC has 25 churches, 20 schools and 11 health care facilities in the Bikoro District. The CDCC Health Department engaged communities in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) workshops, provided handwashing kits to each church in Mbandaka, along with new protocols for baptism and communion. It is estimated that more than 500,000 were reached through CDCC media campaign. One week after being declared Ebola-free on July 24, 2018, four new cases of the Ebola virus emerged in northeastern Congo.  This is the first time that the northeastern area of the country, which is already suffering from unprecedented violence, has been impacted by Ebola.  The unrest in the area has made it very difficult for international health workers to contain the virus. According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak in Congo is the second deadliest in history following the West Africa outbreak that claimed thousands of lives in 2014.

On January 16th, Dr. Francisco Ekofo, a Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo pastor and Dean of Theology at the Protestant University gave a sermon at the Protestant Cathedral for the commemoration of the assassination of Laurent Kabila, father of the current president, Joseph Kabila. In that sermon, he gave what some have described as a mild critique of the current government along with a prophetic message.   In his homily, Dr. Ekofo dreamt with the congregation about a nation he would like to leave for his children – a Congo with economic justice, sovereign over its natural resources, where no person was above the law and with a strong infrastructure.  After the service, he and his family received threats from the government including a visit to their home by soldiers.  The UN assisted the Dr. Ekofo and his family to evacuate the Congo.

Zimbabwe
General Elections in Zimbabwe to determine Mr. Robert Mugabe’s successor were held on July 30, 2018. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared incumbent Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwe, the president with 50.8% of votes over the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC) candidate, Nelson Chamisa, 44.3%.  ZANU-PF also received the majority in the House of Assembly.  Within days of the announcement, there were demonstrations across the country organized by the MDC.  The army attacked and open fire on protesters and bystanders, killing six people.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Mtata, on behalf of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, wrote a Pastoral Letter to Zimbabwe and the international community.  The letter had a number of requests to the ZANU-PF and MDC leadership.  Dr. Mtata requested that ZANU PF, “create avenues for inclusive dialogue and engagement as well as to heed to the complaints raised by the MDC Alliance. The nation needs you to commit to a nation-building dialogue process aimed at uniting the nation and creating an inclusive way forward…. To consider and prioritize a formal constitutional recognition for the leader of the main opposition consistent with practices in other developed democracies.”  And to the MDC, Dr. Mtata wrote, “we also plead with the MDC Alliance leadership to bear in mind the pressing need to maintain peace and not take actions that may easily deteriorate to chaos.  Volatile situations tend to deteriorate and attain a life of their own beyond anyone’s control.  National peace is a mutually responsible endeavor that requires you to play your part towards its full attainment.”  The Council continues to engage with the newly elected administration in areas of justice, equality and stability for Zimbabwe.

South Africa
On February 27, South Africa’s Parliament voted to change Section 25 of the constitution, which deals with property, to allow for land expropriation without compensation.  The issues related to land are some of the key unresolved issues since apartheid was defeated.  It has been a campaign platform for South Africa’s ruling party, African National Congress (ANC), yet little has been done to ensure a peaceful transfer of land to the black majority who are among the poorest in the country.  Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, announced in his inaugural State of the Nations Address that the government would accelerate land redistribution. In August, United States President, Donald Trump, tweeted that he was directing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South Africa land reform, farm seizures and the killing of white farmers. South Africa’s government immediately responded to Trump’s misguided tweet and accused Trump of inflaming an already high-octane debate over land in South Africa.  President Ramaphosa in response and in subsequent interviews, speeches, and statements, has ensured South Africans and the world that land reform will be conducted without an impact on economic growth or food security.  The South Africa Council of Churches has been pushing for such land reform since the end of apartheid.  In response to the question of the role of the church when it comes to the issue of land reform, Professor Mandi Kukuni and Mr. Kojo Parris answered: “either as an institution with a prophetic mandate, major landowner or fulcrum of the lives of many in our communities, the church cannot escape involvement in the ongoing debates around land reform.  Further, since the imposition of apartheid, formal institutions of governance in South Africa has been undergoing a deepening crisis of confidence. Unabated even after 1994, the Church is perhaps the largest and most widely spread structure that retains sufficient authority to provide guidance to the broad masses.  Thus, the Church not only has an obligation to address this deeply emotional issue, but it has the access and means – it cannot escape without comment.”  The South Africa Council of Churches has pledged to continue to put pressure on the South African government until a just resolution is found.

Mission Personnel

In 2018, Global Ministries had 11 mission co-workers serving in 7 African nations (Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Ghana). They accompany partners in areas of girls’ empowerment, agricultural and community development, education, social justice, theological formation, and hunger programs.

 

EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC OFFICE

Derek Duncan, Executive

2018 was a period of new leadership of the East Asia and Pacific office, with extensive partner visits throughout the region, and numerous opportunities to extend solidarity and accompaniment on behalf of Disciples. The following are highlights in the areas of nurturing partnership and working for peace with justice in the region.

South Korea

One of the most notable developments in the region is the progress toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. The year began with the U.S. and Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) escalating threats to the point of potential nuclear war. Global Ministries joined ecumenical efforts to urge the two countries to engage in a process of dialogue instead of brinksmanship.

In March 2018, Korean Churches produced the statement, “Cultivating Peace, Proclaiming Hope,” which reaffirmed the five principles proclaimed in the ‘88 Declaration, still necessary for resolution of division today: Independence, Peace, Grand National Unity, Humanitarianism and People’s Participation. It called on the international ecumenical community to work with “renewed urgency to prevent another war in the Korean Peninsula, to reduce tensions and promote dialogue, and that establishment of a peace treaty for the Korean Peninsula is a critical and immediate necessity for denuclearization and peaceful coexistence on the Peninsula.”

A breakthrough occurred in early 2018 during the South Korean Olympics, followed up by a summit in April between North and South Korea focused on improving “inter-Korean relations” by increasing high-level dialogues, humanitarian exchanges, and cooperative ventures between the two Koreas, gradually transforming the military/security environment between them into a “peace zone,” and to work with international partners to establish a “permanent and solid peace regime” to replace the Korean War armistice agreement.

US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un held a follow-up summit in June 2018 in Singapore, pledging mutual steps toward peace, normalization of relations, and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. While analysts remain wary of the details between the US and North Korea, the commitment to dialogue between North and South Korea seems genuine. Leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ issued a statement following the Singapore Summit called “Peace is a Process”:

The statement says peace “must be pursued” by taking “steps…in good faith toward normalization of relations and, most importantly, steps that can lead to forgiveness, reconciliation, and trust which are necessary for peace to be achieved and sustained.” The denominational leaders continue, “we declare our shared hope that the Singapore Summit may one day achieve its aspirational goal of reconciliation and a just peace in Korea, and affirm together our commitment to making such aspirations for peace a reality.

In the fall, the 103rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), was held on the island of Jeju, south of the Republic of Korea. The gathering was an important opportunity to reflect through narrative testimonies and story-telling the issues that many small nations in the Asia-Pacific area face in order to process the pain and grievances of the past, with an aim to collaborate better in advocacy and efforts toward peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula.

Pacific

In May 2018, the biennial meeting of the Micronesian Council of the United Church of Christ (MCUCC) brought together the churches of Kosrae, Chuuk, and Pohnpei of the FSM and the JRD (Jarin Rarik Dron) in the Marshall Islands. Following the meeting, the Area Executive visited the church in Pohnpei to deliver baccalaureate and commencement addresses to the Ohwa Theological College undergraduate class.

Rev. Tafue Lusama, former General Secretary of the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu (EKT), or the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu, was an international guest at the 2017 Disciples General Assembly.  Reciprocating that invitation, in August 2018, Global Ministries leadership attended the General Assembly of the EKT in Funafuti, Tuvalu hosted by Global Service Worker Nikotemo Sopepa. Rev. Lusama, also a Global Ministries International Board member, traveled to Washington, DC after the April board meeting to speak and present on the subject of Climate Migration at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days annual conference.

The Pacific Theological College (PTC) and the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), are running programs addressing the impacts of climate change in the region. The East Asia and Pacific office will continue to look for ways to support the Pacific Conference of Churches and its member churches, especially in their environmental programs throughout the region.

Japan

This year was the 20th anniversary celebration of the Bazaar Café in Kyoto. The Bazaar Café is a café ministry that operates in the Clapboard Inn, a historic property that is being transferred to the Kyoto Conference of the United Church of Christ in Japan. The occasion was also an opportunity to honor the founder of the Bazaar Café, the Rev. Teruko Enomoto, who passed away April 25, 2018. Under the vision and leadership of Rev. Enomoto, the Bazaar Café has developed several ministries of counseling, bible study, and practices of inclusive hospitality to refugees, the LGBT community, and others marginalized or suffering from trauma and in need of community and healing. In addition to her mission appointment teaching at Doshisha University, Global Ministries co-worker Martha Mensendiek supports and volunteers at the Bazaar Café and was close to Rev. Enomoto.

The Fukushima disaster response continues seven years later and emergency relief was provided this year for natural disasters this summer, including record heat waves, intense flooding, and significant storm damage from multiple typhoons. Much of this impact was felt in the southern side of Shikoku and Honshu Islands, from Hiroshima to Kobe and the Kyoto/Osaka areas. The United Church of Christ in Japan has been responding to emergency needs throughout these disasters, with support from One Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion.

Philippines

Bishop Melzar Labuntog was elected new General Secretary of the UCCP at the Assembly, which was held in Cagayan de Oro on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao. The Assembly was held on the first anniversary of the May 2017 attack and burning of Dansalan College in Marawi City, a school of the UCCP that traces its beginning to the early literacy work of Dr. Frank Laubach (1884-1970), a Congregational missionary who developed an interest working with the Moro people of Mindanao and on relations between Muslims and Christians.

The new campus of the Dansalan College Foundation in Iligan City, approximately an hour north of Marawi and west of Cagayan de Oro still employs many of the faculty of the original campus, some of whom were kidnapped during the Marawi attack. It teaches many of the children whose families fled the attack on Marawi and remains committed to teaching its “peace” curriculum which is based on interfaith understanding and community relations. The school, its Principal Fedelinda Tawagan, and its new facility are all impressive and have ambitious goals to serve the UCCP and the region in the area of interfaith community-building. Global Ministries will continue to support Dansalan College and the UCCP as it discerns the future of this vital institution.

The Philippines was severely impacted in mid-September by Typhoon Ompong, which was the strongest storm to hit the northeast Asia-Pacific region in twenty-five years.  Strong winds, followed by flooding and mudslides killed more than 100 and injured and displaced thousands, particularly in the North Luzon Jurisdiction – Cagayan Valley, Ilocos and Cordillera regions. The UCCP has been responding to the numerous emergency needs, with support from One Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion.

Hong Kong

In August Global Ministries staff traveled to Hong Kong to visit partners, including the Hong Kong Christian Council, the Hong Kong Council of the Christian Church in China, the Chung Chi College Divinity School, Hong Kong Christian Service, and the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY). The visit also included the opportunity to worship with and learn about the Kowloon Union Church and the cooperative outreach efforts of the Asia Pacific Migrant Ministry with the numerous refugees and migrant and domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Of special note, long-term mission co-worker Bruce Van Voorhis retired in 2018 after 27 years of service to Global Ministries. Bruce’s last appointment was organizing and conducting human rights workshops for Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF), a joint program of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) in Hong Kong and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and editing ICF’s monthly e-newsletter faith and peace. Previously he worked with the Asian Human Rights Commission and the Christian Conference of Asia. Global Ministries celebrates and gives thanks for the gifts and service Bruce has dedicated in ministry with our partners to the work of God’s mission in the world.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN OFFICE

Angel L. Rivera-Agosto, Area Executive

Introduction: With Faith and Living Hope

At the last Assembly of the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV), this Global Ministries’ partner affirmed its identity within “original Pentecostalism.”  “Original Pentecostalism” is the deep expression of a spirituality which anchors its roots in the national ecclesial expressions of Latin American and Caribbean countries and its connection to the processes of affirmation of human rights, social justice, and spirituality of solidarity. In songs and liturgies, and the sharing of daily reflections, the UEPV affirmed its connection with the Venezuelan culture, as well as its particular Pentecostal identity.

As we end this year of witnessing God´s presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, we cannot avoid feeling in our spirit, mind, and will the spiritual strength of solidarity.  Our partners continued embracing the Spirit through receiving pilgrimages, sponsoring workshops and projects, sharing resources, and confronting the powers that deny the fullness of life. The Caribbean Initiative came to a close with resources and experiences that will endure not only in the work of the region, but also globally.  The accompaniment of our partners through civil unrest, migration, and emergencies awakened a divine presence, offering an opportunity to hear and share the Good News.

Puerto Rico
Both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S.A. and Canada and the United Church of Christ have accompanied Global Ministries’ partners through the humanitarian crisis lived on the island after the passing of Hurricane María in 2017.  On November 25, 2017, a delegation of the DOC General Ministries, led by the Reverend Teresa “Terri” Hord-Owens, DOC´s General Minister and President, was invited by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico to participate in their Administrative Board Meeting held that month.  In that meeting, the Administrative Board expressed gratitude for the solidarity and the accompaniment of its sister churches in the U.S. and Canada. Reverend Julia Brown Karimu, President of the Division of Overseas Ministries and Global Ministries’ Co-Executive and the Global Ministries Area Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean were part of that delegation. In the afternoon of the 25th, both Reverends Brown Karimu and Rivera-Agosto participated in the Joint Commission Meeting of both U.S. and Canada and Puerto Rico churches.  There, both leaders presented reports about the work of Global Ministries throughout the world, specifically in Latin America and the Caribbean. Later in that week, a delegation composed by representatives of the Latin America and the Caribbean Office of Global Ministries, Week of Compassion and UCC Disaster Ministries visited projects and partners on the island.   They had the opportunity to visit the Ryder Hospital in Humacao, the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico as well as two communities in Bayamón and Naranjito related to the work of Amaneser 2025.

Jamaica
The Reverend Julia Brown Karimu, President of the Overseas Ministries Division and Co-Executive of the Global Ministries with the Global Ministries Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean, visited partners in Jamaica from February 7-12, 2018. During their visit, both leaders of Global Ministries had the opportunity to dialogue with the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the United Theological College for the Western Isles and the International University of the Caribbean.  The context of unemployment, violence and crime has placed the church in the call to strengthen the ministries of local, economic development with emphasis on education and capacity building, as well as attention to the protection and shelter of children and strengthening the family. Reverends Brown Karimu and Rivera Agosto participated in a celebration worship for the 25 years of ministry of the United Church in Hellshire, a congregation located in the capital, and witnessed the appreciation for the ministry of William and Veronica Kyle, former mission co-workers of Global Ministries, who served and contributed to the construction of their house of worship.

Dominican Republic

As part of the Caribbean Initiative, ten members of the Common Global Ministries Board traveled to the Dominican Republic the first week of April 2018. There, they met and visited projects of partners to celebrate relationships and to receive and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  The group had the opportunity to visit Social Services of the Dominican Churches (SSID), Proyecto Educativo Caminante, the Christian Center of Family Counseling (CECAF), ALFALIT Dominicano and the Evangelical Dominican Church.  Particularly with the EDC, the delegation lived the experience of worshipping God in a Caribbean context and knowing what does it mean to be a church in the Dominican Republic.  Issues like the rights of stateless people, human trafficking, the right to water and sustainable development were deep in the agenda of the pilgrimage. They had the chance to visit a Dominican-Haitian marginalized community in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, talked and shared with the families in that community.  As one of the participants shared in a written report “I felt honored and privileged to have been able to be in the Dominican Republic and take these gifts back home with me. It will be my job as a Global Ministries board member to explain critical presence and mutuality to my congregation and friends.  This amazing trip has given me a renewed purpose of taking the strategic direction of Global Ministries to heart and spread this message within my community.”

El Salvador:

Both Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) and the Salvadorian Lutheran Synod (SLS) are engaged in exciting work toward a culture of peace. Their projects address the root causes of violence, injustice, and migration. SLS focuses on trauma healing, ecumenical and inter-religious networking, communications, health and wellness, elementary and middle school projects, and the work with “maras” or youth gangs. EBC prioritizes youth cultural projects, Christian Education, local grants for students, youth efforts in peace mediation and sustainable development. There are also prophetic issues that our friends are working on in El Salvador. The right to clean water is addressed by the Salvadorian Ecumenical Movement (composed by mainline Protestant churches along with the Roman Catholic Church and religious institutions such as the Central American University), to address the Salvadorian Legislative Assembly’s proposed bill that would privatize access to clean water.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is living difficult times. The Nicaraguan Evangelical Council (CEPAD, acronym in Spanish) and the Interchurch Center for Theological and Social Studies (CIEETS, acronym in Spanish), reported incidents of violence caused by protests against several structural reforms and policies that the government of Nicaragua has tried to put into effect in recent times – the most remarkable being the one regarding the Social Security Law. This generated a great number of protests across the country, especially from the university students. These protests led to people being killed—students, one policeman, one journalist, innocent bystanders, and other protesters. Global Ministries approved support to our partners through One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC) and Week of Compassion (Disciples) providing funds for medical needs, food, and other supplies to people affected by the present situation in Nicaragua.  Global Ministries has provided accompaniment with the presence of mission co-worker, Jeanette Salley, and global service worker, Ignacio Salinas.

Guatemala
On Sunday, June 3, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. local time in Guatemala, Volcán del Fuego erupted, the most violent eruption of the last 40 years. It impacted the central and southern regions of the country: Sacatepéquez, Escuintla, Chimaltenango, and Guatemala City. The volcano exploded and launched pyroclastic flows (a mixture of sand, rocks, and gases of high temperatures +600 degrees) that directly hit the communities surrounding the volcano. In the most remote areas, the effects included rain, sand, and ash, which interrupted air traffic in the afternoon and evening of Sunday, damaging roofs as well as crops.  The Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala (ECCG), one of Global Ministries’ partners in Guatemala along with CONAVIGUA, have been actively assisting communities near the volcano, particularly in the province of Esquintla where the Catholic Diocese of that town is also working. ECCG is working through the post-emergence stage of the crisis by collaborating in the rehabilitation of communities, ensuring food, security and psychosocial assistance to the victims, specifically the ones that still live in shelters provided by the Diocese. Global Ministries has provided an effective accompaniment through the presence of our partners, our mission co-worker Ricardo Mayol, and funds for projects provided by UCC’s Disaster Ministries and Disciples’ Week of Compassion.

U.S. Mexico Border
The recent Central America Caravan posed a challenge to the people on both sides of the border and raised the issues of the rights of immigrants and the root causes of migration, not only in Central America but also in other parts of the world.  People are fleeing from countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala because of internal violence, poverty, and climate changeFaith communities continue to show the religious significance of unity and love in the face of increased barriers for asylum seekers and unaccompanied children, which impede our moral and legal obligations to offer protection to vulnerable populations.  Both DOC and UCC churches have been active, participating in the accompaniment of the caravan, leading workshops and visits to the border and signing advocacy documents affirming the rights and the humanity of migrants. Global Ministries visited the Brownsville/Matamoros Border from October 9-11, 2018.  Reverend David Vargas, Global Ministries´ President Emeritus and the Latin America and Caribbean Area Executive led a delegation of DOC General Ministries staff, including the Reverend Teresa “Terri” Hord-Owens, General Minister and President, to express solidarity with Global Ministries partner Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries (SWGSM).  Feliberto Pereira, SWGSM´s Executive Director and Founder, gave us a full report of the conditions and challenges of refugees and asylum seekers on that part of the border. He also took us to the places where the migrants arrived, seeking asylum as well as to shelters where they receive food and medical assistance.

Colombia

Reverends John C. Dorhauer and Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, General Ministers and Presidents of the United Church of Christ in the U.S. and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada, and the two Global Ministries´ Co-Executives, Reverends Julia Brown Karimu and James Moos, signed a letter sent to the Peace Discussion Table, composed by the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army-ELN, to resume peace talks as they have been taking place in Quito, Ecuador. They expressed their grave concern for the challenges facing the peace talks at events such as the attack on the police station in Barranquilla (Soledad – Atlántico), the bombing of an indigenous reservation in Chocó province and the recent wave of assassinations of social leaders could erode trust in the possibility of a sustainable and lasting peace accord among both parties and the people of Colombia. In light of President Juan Manuel Santos’ decision to suspend the fifth round of negotiations at that moment, the church leaders encouraged both sides to return to the negotiations and continue with the agreed upon agenda, to declare a bilateral ceasefire agreement, that could be verified and bring peace to the Colombian people and to show political will from each side to facilitate the continuation of the negotiations. Similarly, they invited the guarantor and accompanier nations to maintain their support for the peace talks as a means to achieving peace in Colombia.

Global Ministries participated in a sign-on campaign for churches and faith-based organizations in response to a death threat against the Christian Centre for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action (JUSTAPAZ).  JUSTAPAZ learned of a communiqué in which an illegal armed group, self-identified as “Águilas Negras” (Black Eagles), threatened to kill a group of social leaders, human rights defenders, organizers, and journalists. JUSTAPAZ was included in the list. Responding to these threats and as part of the international community, the two Global Ministries´ Co-Executives and the Area Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean expressed their solidarity, support, and accompaniment of JUSTAPAZ in the face of this threat. They and the rest of the signatories of the document rejected all forms of violence that could affect the staff of JUSTAPAZ and the communities that they accompany in different regions of Colombia. They also demanded that the government of Colombia act with celerity and efficacy in investigating and judging those responsible for the death threats against JUSTAPAZ. Additionally, they demanded the provision of appropriate protective measures for the staff of JUSTAPAZ and the communities they accompany, with the goal of guaranteeing the continuity of the human rights and peacebuilding efforts they accompany, as a faith-based organization in Colombia.

Cuba
On March 9, 2018, Reverends John C. Dorhauer and Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, General Ministers and Presidents of the United Church of Christ in the U.S. and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada, accompanied other heads of communion signing a letter addressed to the U.S. Congress regarding the reestablishment of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba and to continue strengthening relations between both countries.  The heads of communion expressed their great concern about recent U.S. decisions regarding our Embassy in Havana, the suspension of visas and the State Department travel advisory. As a consequence of mysterious and unexplained health issues reported by some U.S. personnel serving at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, the U.S. Department of State ordered the departure of all nonessential U.S. diplomats from the embassy in Havana, Cuba.  This has resulted in a suspension of virtually all consular services at the embassy. Cuban citizens wanting to visit family in the United States for emergencies, connect with church partners, or to attend faith-based meetings or assemblies are unable to do so. As a matter of fact, the suspension of visa processing within Cuba requires any Cuban citizen wishing to apply for a visa to do so at a U.S. Embassy outside of Cuba. The increasing costs and complications of the application process—which requires rescheduling interviews, obtaining visas for third countries, international travel, and paying to stay there for at least two weeks—have caused much anguish among our Cuban partners on the island and their families abroad. That decision has affected new economic possibilities in Cuba, where Cubans have opened privately owned bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants, as well as other small businesses. With the downturn in U.S. travel, these private businesses have suffered a severe loss of customers and income. Many of them have been forced to close. The leaders urged the U.S. Congress to press the administration for the re-staffing of the embassy in Havana, the reinstitution of consular services at the embassy, and the removal of the travel advisory for U.S. citizens to travel to the island.

The Caribbean Initiative (CI)
During this past year and a half, Global Ministries has been engaged in the promotion and execution of the Caribbean Initiative (CI).  Through the initiative, we invited the whole church to witness together with the Caribbean region through education, advocacy, and support of our partner churches and organizations in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Colombia.  Church leaders, congregations, regions, and conferences experienced the incredible gifts and the strong testimonios (testimonies) from our partners as they receive and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. A variety of resources have been shared including Bible studies, music, liturgical materials, unique giving opportunities, People-to-People Pilgrimages, videos, children´s resources, and more. In addition, discussions related to the universal challenges contained in this initiative, like the quest for peace and sustainable development in the face of climate change has been addressed through the materials and the pilgrimages across the Caribbean.

More than 30 different written, audio, and video materials as well as recorded webinars were published on our website and are still there for future reference, study, and use.  That includes Bibles studies, background documents for witness and advocacy, thematic presentations by partners, liturgical materials for special occasions and worship.  You can access the materials through our website.  One of the most important materials in the initiative has to do with the children.  By inviting children to “Embrace the Fruits of the Spirit,” the initiative developed a Vacation Bible School curriculum designed to help children discover the fruits of the spirit and how to apply them in their daily lives while exploring the Caribbean.

To grasp the experience of the Caribbean Initiative, it has been crucial to fully recognize the inspiring work of our partners in the region.  One of the examples we can quote regarding the witness of a partner is through the challenges of the ongoing peace process in Colombia.  Through meeting our partners, leaders from our churches have reflected upon the contrasts between what they read in the news and the testimonies from the people who put their own commitment and bodies on the line for the cause of peace and justice.  The same can be reported from the church delegations that traveled to countries like the Dominican Republic and Cuba to be present in the lives of the brothers and sisters with whom we collaborate in a spirit of international solidarity. However, a most profound journey that we can describe from the experiences of those pilgrimages during this past year is that of inner transformation to embrace mission from a different perspective.

Another way in which the Caribbean Initiative connected people in mission was through giving opportunities.  By this key element in mission, churches, conferences, and congregations connected with our partners in the Caribbean.  Partners like House of Hope in Haiti and AMANESER 2025 in Puerto Rico could develop their ministries regarding the defense of children’s human rights and solar-powered communities, respectively, thanks to donations from DOC and UCC congregations.  Leaders from the Evangelical Dominican Church and JUSTAPAZ in Colombia could participate in mission-in-residence experiences in the U.S., sharing their experiences with local congregations and networks.

When we embrace peace, when we embrace justice, when we embrace hope, we do what our partners in the Caribbean have been doing throughout the history of all of their ministries: putting their own bodies, their own circumstances and realities into their commitment for the Gospel and the sharing of the Good News.  How can we put our own bodies at stake, if we are about to talk about commitment, ministry, mission, the sake of justice, peace, hope and the fullness of life?  May this initiative, as the ones that came before this one: the Congo and the Middle East Initiatives and the upcoming Southern Asia Initiative, continue inviting the church to go deeper into our vision that all people and creation share in God’s abundant life.

 

MIDDLE EAST AND EUROPE OFFICE

Peter Makari, Area Executive

The theme for the 2019 General Assembly, “Abide in Me,” comes from Jesus’ reminder that, as Christians, we cannot live full lives without faith.  Jesus said, “Abide in me as I abide in you.  Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.  Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).  The relationship Jesus describes is one of ultimate mutuality: each depends on the other to bear fruit.  In mission, and specifically in the Middle East and Europe, the many relationships we nurture are based on a similar mutuality, which Global Ministries describes as “walking in hope with others in God’s mission.”  In 2018, throughout the Middle East and Europe, Global Ministries walks with, our partners to nurture a deeper community, to pursue peace with justice, and to further God’s mission in the world.

In 2018 in the Middle East and Europe, Global Ministries sought to nurture community—to accompany partners in witnessing to God’s abundant grace through the proclamation of the Gospel, and exchanges of people, gifts and talents—in a variety of ways.  With an intensification of unhelpful US policies toward the Middle East, it was perhaps especially necessary to ensure that we engage our partners in ways that were mutually edifying.

Through regular communication and engagement with partners throughout the Middle East and Europe during the year, and in visits to the region to visit particular partners in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Greece, and Morocco, the realities of the continuing displacement of people on a massive scale, the impact of US policy decisions related to Israel/Palestine, and socio-political and economic realities in each context inform and affect the abilities and priorities of our partners, and our participation with them in their ministries and witness—yet our long-term accompaniment which remains steady and steadfast.

Syria
In many countries, the eight-year Syria war continues to impact daily life—for those who have been displaced and those to whom they have fled.  Several partners in Syria, the Middle East, and Europe are actively engaged in addressing the urgent humanitarian needs of the half of the Syrian population who have been forcibly uprooted. Global Ministries, with the generous contributions of Disciples and UCC members, contributes to that response, which is personal, humane, and continuous.  Even as the fighting has ebbed and the world’s attention seems to have moved on, the fact that so many millions remain as refugees and internally displaced requires the persistent care and response from the global community.

Egypt
Eight years after the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring” and the Egyptian revolution that captured the imagination of people everywhere, the country has passed through significant political change, and the economy is struggling.  The population has reached 100 million, all living on a narrow strip of land along the Nile River.  Our partners there, the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS) and the Coptic Orthodox Bishopric for Public, Ecumenical, and Social Services (BLESS) are deeply engaged in local community development to address the needs of the poorest of the poor.  Additionally, CEOSS has initiated interreligious and intercultural dialogue to improve relations in the country and between the people of Egypt and others.  From June 24-29, 2018, CEOSS brought a seven-person delegation from Egypt to encounter interested institutions and partners in the United States as part of an Egyptian-US Dialogue Initiative, with the support of Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ.  In an intense week of meetings, public fora, and advocacy in Chicago and Washington, DC, the delegation strove to provide a more complete and human perspective on the realities of life in Egypt today, and to explore ways that the relationships between Egypt and the US could be strengthened—governmentally as well as through public diplomacy, civil society, and religious institutions.  The dialogue initiative is part of an ongoing emphasis that began in October 2014, and will be followed by a reciprocal visit in Egypt in February 2019, and a further encounter in 2020.

Israel-Palestine
In 2018, US policy directions toward Israel/Palestine resulted in an exaggeration of support for Israel at the expense of rights and justice for Palestinians, including the less than 2% of the population that is Christian.  These shifts included the fallout of the decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency which is responsible for large-scale programs for Palestinian refugees, and efforts to curtail speech that supports Palestinian rights.  Global Ministries walked in solidarity with Palestinian partners through visits and through advocacy.in 2018, participating in a conference of the YWCA of Palestine called “Youth Participate and Youth Decide: Towards Freedom and Justice” in October, supporting United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 which urges “UN organizations and civil society to consider ways to increase meaningful and inclusive participation of youth in building a sustainable future that promotes justice, respect, and security. The prolonged military occupation of Palestine and the consistent violations of rights, targeted mostly against young women and men, have created a desperate and hopeless state for youth.”  We also participated in the annual olive harvest, a program of solidarity organized by the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YWCA and YMCAs in Palestine. Further, Global Ministries was represented at the 9th annual conference of Kairos Palestine, a seminal document-turned-movement offering an authentic and important voice of Palestinian Christians. Further, Global Ministries signed two major ecumenical statements and letters, on the occasion of 70 years since the founding of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe”), and on the dangerous shifts in US policy toward Israel/Palestine named above, by supporting peace, justice, and equality. This, in addition to continuous advocacy efforts throughout the year to urge peace and resolution to conflict in the region, including Syria and Yemen, with a more just US policy.

Europe
Global Ministries continues to pay close attention to the ways that our partners provide bold and humane voices and responses to the refugee presence, often dubbed a crisis.  In Italy with the Waldensian Church’s Mediterranean Hope, in Greece through the Evangelical Church’s Perichoresis, and with the Reformed Church in Hungary, our partners are offering a vision and actions that boldly reject the anti-immigrant sentiment—and even policies—of their societies and governments. By appointing mission co-workers to serve with these church partners, and by supporting their witness, Global Ministries and our partners live out God’s radical love by confronting powers that deny the fullness of life and the integrity of creation.  In addition, Global Ministries affirmed a formal relationship with the Church of Scotland, a communion with which we have worked positively over the years. Such an affirmation reflects our core value to build interdependence and unity among all of God’s children.

Through partner relations, advocacy for peace with justice, the appointment of mission co-workers, financial support for programs, participation in interfaith relations, and by sharing the stories of our partners and the people they serve, Global Ministries’ engagement in the Middle East and Europe reflects a commitment to Christ’s love and God’s mission, and a belief that, in order to share with partners to work for God’s justice, peace and reconciliation. Neither we nor our partners can do it alone.  We are intertwined with our partners as vines and branches, bearing a fruit that is not always easy to recognize, but fruit indeed—the fruit of shared participation in God’s mission.

 

SOUTHERN ASIA OFFICE

Deenabandhu Manchala, Area Executive

Populist politics fueled by religious supremacist versions of nationhood in India, a fragile democratic formation in an atmosphere of terrorism in Pakistan, subversion of constitutional norms and democratic institutions in Sri Lanka, unprecedented floods in Kerala, India and the earthquake in Palu in Indonesia that saw thousands dead, and the continued displacement and dehumanization of many marginalized sections for economic growth and unrestrained industrialization, are the backdrop of the context in which Global Ministries partners in southern Asia region find themselves as they strive for justice, peace and dignity for all.

East Timor
As a follow up to a survey and evaluation of IPTL-GM partnership in Lisadila, a vocational training school in horticulture has started from November 2018. It will become fully operational in about six months and will benefit many families, especially as it addresses the employment needs of those who have no access to higher education in this remote part of the country. Capacity building of IPTL Pastors continues as Rev. Tom Liddle, a GM mission co-worker facilitates training in partnership with the leadership of the IPTL.

Indonesia
Global Ministries provides agricultural training farm for farmers and pastors in organic farming and herbicides, and staff development of the Theological School in Lewa (STT, Lewa) in Sumba, Indonesia. Global Ministries also supports GMIT’s (Protestant Church in West Timor) the House of Hope, Kupang, Indonesia which has recently been opened to be a shelter for women rescued from traffickers in the Nusa Tengara region of Indonesia. Additionally, there is an active collaboration with other partner organizations agencies such as the UnitingWorld of the Uniting Church in Australia and civil society organizations working on issues of human trafficking and religious freedom.

Sri Lanka
The Church of American Ceylon Mission continues to receive special attention. It has had its biennial assembly at which a new constitution, covenanting themselves to be a congregational church, was adopted. Global Ministries continues to help resolve divisions within, and the consistent accompaniment seems to be resulting in positive developments.  Global Ministries’ facilitated events in 2017 and 2018 have resulted in some concrete planning for mission engagement in the Wanni region of Sri Lanka and for its life and ministries during the next four years (2018-2022).

Partnerships for God’s Justice in solidarity with the victims of human trafficking: Asia, especially Southern Asia, is perhaps the largest cluster of countries where the socially and economically disempowered people are constantly deprived of their livelihoods, displaced, forced to migrate and thus fall prey to traffickers.  This reality has presented itself as an opportunity for Global Ministries in its ongoing exploration for new meanings and expressions of partnership. Through a call to be in solidarity with victims of human trafficking, Global Ministries in collaboration with the Protestant Church in West Timor, Indonesia (GMIT) convened a gathering of church workers, activists, and theologians to reflect on the meaning of partnership for God’s justice. About 53 people from 11 countries met for five days in Kupang, Indonesia. The gathering provided an opportunity for those present to learn from one another’s expertise and experience, develop new partnerships, and to resolve on mutual accompaniment. It affirmed the need for partnerships for justice in contexts where forces of evil and death seem to collaborate to abuse and dehumanize the vulnerable people. The conference participants attempted to reimagine partnership beyond resource sharing and bilateralism, particularly when faced with common challenges, such as human trafficking and forced migration beyond other things. They asserted that partnership in mission is inclusive of all who are committed to the values of justice, peace, and human dignity, and hence is and has to be multi-directional.  The conference participants resolved to work together vigorously through the new partnerships that were facilitated during their time together in Kupang. A full-length report is available on the Global Ministries website.

Forum for Freedom of Religion or Belief:
Many religious minority communities in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are facing new and complex threats on account of the increasing nexus between political powers and religious fundamentalist forces. This forum will give visibility and strengthen advocacy efforts of the civil society organizations and faith communities in their respective countries as well as in the region. It was formally launched in Bangkok, Thailand in December 2018. Global Ministries has played a key role in the formation of this forum for rights and justice to the marginalized communities in South Asia.

Celebrating Diversity: Global Ministries’ Southern Asia Area Focus, 2019-20

Global Ministries invites its constituencies to focus their efforts on learning and solidarity with communities and churches in a specific region for a two-year long process. In 2013-14, the Democratic Republic of Congo was the focus, 2015-16 the Middle East, and 2017-18 the Caribbean. 2019-20 will be an occasion for learning, being challenged and enriched by different expressions of Christian witness in certain distinct and diverse contexts of Southern Asia. It will be an opportunity for learning and interaction in order to be challenged and enriched by different expressions of Christian witness in select contexts of Southern Asia. It will explore and attempt new expressions of partnerships, with an emphasis on facilitating and nurturing partnerships for justice to the marginalized people. The four foci will be: 1. Struggles for an affirmation of human dignity in response to human trafficking, slavery, and forced migration. 2. Freedom of religion as a human right in the emerging context of aggressive assertions of majoritarian religio-political ideologies. 3. Churches as open, just and inclusive communities amidst cultures of discrimination and exclusion. 4. Agriculture as counter-culture to industrial and consumer cultures that destroy earth’s resources and commodify people and relationships.

 

MISSION PERSONNEL

Catherine Nichols, Executive
Lorna Hernandez, Coordinator, People-to-People Program

Mission Personnel
As a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries participates in ministries which attempt to break the divide among God’s people by partnering with churches and church-related organizations in the sending and receiving of missionaries.  The exchange of people and their gifts unites people across geographical, racial, gender, and economic barriers.  A critical component of this ministry includes the presence of missionaries in congregations, allowing congregations to share the vital ministries of the partner churches and our people to people pilgrimages, which offer individuals and congregations opportunities to cross boundaries and share the love of God as they receive the love of God from those they encounter.

Through the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, mission co-workers are participating in ministries of critical presence around the world.  They are engaged in a variety of ministries including theological education, leadership development, community and development work, human rights, health ministries, children’s ministries, and pastoral ministries.

A total of 105 mission co-workers served in 43 countries in 2018, serving in the following categories:  27 fully-supported mission co-workers; 30 global service workers (long-term volunteers); 10 global mission interns; and 38 global associates.  The distribution of fully-supported mission co-workers by area:  Africa, 7; East Asia and the Pacific, 4; Middle East and Europe, 5; Latin America and the Caribbean, 6; and Southern Asia, 5. In addition, 20 individuals served as short-term volunteers.

Seventeen persons were appointed to church and/or church-related institutions around the world, including ten re-appointees.  Terms varied from fully-supported to Global Service Workers.  This distribution by area of total appointments was Africa 6; East Asia and the Pacific 1; Europe 2; Latin America and the Caribbean 3; Middle East 3; Southern Asia 1.

Eight new fully-supported Mission Co-workers were appointed or re-appointed in 2018:  Kahala Cannon, Swaziland; Larry and Debbie Colvin, Ghana; Fritz-Gerald Joseph and Emmanuela Loccident, Morocco; Fiona Kendall, Italy; Jeffrey Mensendiek, Japan; Michelle McKay, Haiti; and, Mark Knowles and Danielle Murry-Knowles, Lesotho.

One new global mission intern was appointed through Week of Compassion funds in 2018:  Danielle Lee, Korea.  Six new Global Service Workers (one year or longer) were appointed during 2018:  Maria Breckenridge, Zambia; Ros Gnatt, Germany; Benjamin Drolet, Lebanon; Anne Gregory, Thailand; A. Violeta Rocha, El Salvador; and, Ignacio Salinas, Nicaragua.

There were 20 short-term volunteers (two weeks to eleven months) appointed in 2018 who served in or will serve in 2019.  List of names and term dates are available upon request.

The overseas associate category is a recognition normally given to members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ who are serving outside of the United States and Canada with a church, ecumenical institution or project that involves a ministry that is in accordance with the mission principles of the Common Global Ministries Board. There was one new associate appointment in 2018:  Ainsley Anderson, Japan.

Seven individuals completed their service with Global Ministries in the category of fully-supported appointees:  Mark Behle, Lesotho, retiring after 34 years of service; Amelia Casillas, Paraguay; Anil and Teresa Henry, India; Loren McGrail, Israel-Palestine; Susan Valiquette, South Africa, after 20 years of service; and, Bruce Van Voorhis, Hong Kong, retiring after 28 years of service.

Five Global Mission Interns completed their service in 2018:  Joanines Adorno-Diaz, India; Mary Kathryn Ball, Ecuador; Stewart Barker, Swaziland; Joshua Busick, Dominican Republican; and, Toni Reynolds, Dominican Republic.

Twelve individuals completed their service as Global Service Worker in 2018:  Pedro Carlo-Muñiz, Paraguay; Scott Couper, South Africa, after 20 years of service; Eleazar Fernandez, Philippines; Jerri Handy, Mexico; Nancy Lott-Henry, India; Linda James, Democratic Republic of Congo; Susan “Andy” Jepson and Lindley Kinerk, Sri Lanka;  Lauren Robinson, Philippines; Magyolene Rodriguez, Nicaragua; Bethany Waggoner, Lebanon; and, Allison Trezona, United Kingdom.

Missionary Relationships
From January 1 – December 31, 2018, 24 missionaries were involved in a ministry of critical presence through missionary visits and relationship building:

Amelia Casillas (1 month) Paraguay; Anne Gregory (3 months) Thailand; Bruce Van Voorhis, (4 months) Hong Kong; Jeffrey Mensendiek (1 Month) Japan; Scott Couper (1 month) South Africa;  Susan Valiquette-Couper (4 Months) South Africa; Kearstin Bailey (1 months) Hungary/ Greece; Lindley Kinerk and Susan Jepson (2 months); Jerri Handy, Mexico (2 months), Mark Behle (4 months) Lesotho; Loren McGrail, Israel/Palestine (4 months); Mary Kathryn Ball (1 month) Ecuador; Joshua Busick (1 month) Dominican Republic; Stewart Barker (1 month) Swaziland; Lauren Robinson (1 month) Philippines; Allison Trezona (1 month) United Kingdom; Magdolyne Rodriguez (1 month) Nicaragua; Joye and Bob Ray (2 days); Toni Reynolds (1 month) Dominican Republic; Mary and Gary Olney-Lord (2 days); Joani Adorno, India (2 months); Tom Liddle, Timor, (2 months),  Monica Liddle, Timor, (2 months); Larry and Debbie Colvin, Ghana, (2 months).

People-to-People Pilgrimages
The People-to-People Pilgrimage Program continues to assist Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ congregations, regions, conferences, and other related organizations with mission pilgrimages to meet our international partners face-to-face. In 2018, the People-to-People office assisted with inquiries, provided educational materials and supported delegations, resulting in 67 mission pilgrimages. The numbers of pilgrimages per area were 3 to Africa, 4 to the Middle East and Europe, 3 to Southern Asia, 2 to East Asia and the Pacific, and 55 to Latin America and the Caribbean. The countries visited were Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Israel/Palestine, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Philippines, South Africa, and South Korea. The Guides for Leaders, Participants, and Advocacy are still available to delegations in an effort to prepare them before, during, and after their international pilgrimage. The Caribbean Initiative offered and experienced an increase of pilgrimages to this region, which was a focus this year on the webpage, designed to offer information on costs, itineraries, and partner information.

 

GLOBAL ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION

Rebekah Choate, Program Associate

The Global Advocacy and Education program provides leadership in implementing the Global Ministries strategic direction “Working for Peace with Justice.” The advocacy program coordinates with the area offices in relation to regional justice issues that are of concern to our global partners and the communities they serve, and responses are guided by the actions and position of our partners. Opportunities to take action in response to regional or global advocacy concerns include awareness-raising in Global Ministries updates, on the website, and using social media; through supportive letters, statements and solidarity actions by denominational leaders; engaging Disciples members in ecumenical advocacy campaigns and initiatives; and by resourcing board and General Assembly actions.

A cornerstone advocacy event Global Ministries sponsors is the annual conference Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice. The 2018 Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference, held April 20-23, was titled “A World Uprooted: Responding to Migrants, Refugees, and Displaced People”. The 2019 Ecumenical Advocacy Days, entitled “Troubling the Waters for the Healing of the World,” will be held April 5-8, 2019. As the Main Representative accredited to the United Nations, the associate participated in a WCC symposium on the role of religion and faith-based organizations in international affairs with a theme of, “Perspectives on Migration: Displacement and Marginalization, Inclusion and Justice. Global Ministries was also represented in the first Disciples Public Presence meeting of grassroots activists in September 2018 in order to network and resource local church leaders and activists with global advocacy tools.

With the Africa office, Global Ministries works with partners to support peaceful and democratic elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Elections were supposed to be held in November 2016, they then were postponed to December 2017, and have now been scheduled for December 2018. US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has been calling for elections to take place and for a peaceful transfer of power, which is a good thing. Global Ministries will continue to work with partners to support democracy, peace, and human rights in the Congo and in the surrounding region.

With the East Asia and the Pacific office, Global Ministries provides support for implementing the 2015 Disciples resolution “A Call for Peace, Justice, and Reunification in the Korean Peninsula.” In 2018, attention focused on the steps towards calming tensions, particularly the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. The associate was also a delegate to the NCCK’s 2018 Peace Treaty Campaign in Japan and South Korea. Peace and human rights in the Philippines is a priority for Global Ministries’ advocacy and has been focused on indigenous peoples’ rights and the extra-judicial killings under the Duterte government’s war on drugs.

With the Latin America and the Caribbean office, the focus of advocacy for the Caribbean initiative is on relations with Cuba, the peace accords in Colombia, the status of Puerto Rico, the economic situation in Venezuela, climate change and the hurricanes that ravaged the Caribbean in 2017, and the situation of migrants and refugees. In particular, advocacy backgrounders were produced on issues talked about during the webinars.

With the Middle East and Europe office, advocacy focuses on peace, human rights, and demilitarization throughout the region. Many of the action alerts come as part of the implementation of the resolution passed at the 2017 General Assembly, “A Call for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to Advocate for the Rights of Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation.”

With the Southern Asia office, human trafficking continues to be a large focus of partners in the region along with advocating for the rights of marginalized groups and more resources will be produced for the Southern Asia Initiative launching in 2019.

 

MISSION ENGAGEMENT

Marcy Gansler, Executive
Beth Guy, Director of Communications
Brande Midgett-Crosby, Communications Associate

Caribbean Initiative

The Caribbean Initiative continued in 2018 after being launched at the 2017 General Assembly in Indianapolis, IN. In 2018, five webinars were held with Caribbean partners on subjects such as migration/ human-trafficking, peace, economic justice, and sustainable development. There were approximately 150 live views of webinars and several more who later watched the webinar recordings. Videos sharing Caribbean partners’ perspectives on mission were also created as a way to hear and learn directly from Caribbean partners. A new children’s curriculum, Embrace the Fruits of the Spirit, was promoted as a free VBS and/or Sunday School curriculum. The curriculum was downloaded approximately 270 times and reviews from churches who used the curriculum have been overwhelmingly positive. A seven-day devotional/Bible study written by the Reverend Dr. Oral Thomas, Acting President of the United Theological College of the West Indies, was added as a resource as well.

World Communion Sunday

Global Ministries was pleased to add six new communion stories to the list of World Communion Sunday resources this year. These resources come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Indonesia, Mexico, and Cuba. In 2018 alone, the World Communion Sunday page on the Global Ministries website received over 9,000 unique page views. Resources for World Communion Sunday continue to be in high demand and developing new materials is a priority for Global Ministries.

Social Media

The Office of Mission Engagement has started the process of strengthening the social media presence of Global Ministries, beginning with the launch of the Global Ministries Instagram page. Through Instagram, Global Ministries is sharing information about programs and projects. There are also “humans of Global Ministries” posts sharing personal stories from leaders of partner organizations, and “where in the world” posts highlighting beautiful images from locations around the world. While still in the early stages of gaining an Instagram audience, Global Ministries already has approximately 170 followers and has about 11 interactions per post on average.

Also, in strengthening the social media strategy, the Mission Engagement Office has started utilizing the social media scheduling software, Hootsuite. This has helped to streamline social media posting and has provided statistical data to ensure that Global Ministries can communicate with the constituency via social media most effectively.

Global Mission Church

The Office of Mission Engagement worked on streamlining the process to become a Global Mission Church. This new process asks congregations to meet five criteria each year to keep or gain the Global Mission Church designation. Through the new process, churches are asked to Pray, Receive, Give, Learn, and Advocate – with specific activities listed for each action. Global Ministries will begin heavily promoting this new, simplified version of the Global Mission Church process in 2019. It is the hope that more churches will begin the Global Mission Church process as it will be easier to implement.

CHILD AND ELDER SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM

Linda Lawrence, Program Manager

The Global Ministries Child and Elder Sponsorship program works collaboratively with fifteen of Global Ministries’ partners. Individuals, local Disciples and UCC churches and organizations commit to providing financial aid to children and elders from Global Ministries partners participating in the program.  Partner sites vary in the number of children and elders they serve and the services that are provided.

In 2019 the program will include its third elder care program. In many countries, individuals do not have social security or retirement benefits.  The program will be partnering with the Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture’s Ajyal “Generations” Senior Care Program in Bethlehem, Palestine.  A site visit was made in 2018 by the Middle East area executive and the sponsorship program manager.  The word “Ajyal” means generations and is the first program in Bethlehem to provide support to residents over age 60. The program includes spiritual and cultural programs, basic health services, computer classes, a book club, drama group, and choir.  Currently, the Ajyal program is providing services to approximately 100 seniors.

In 2018, we invited the sponsorship coordinator of the Family Village Farm to visit the United States. Mrs. Anita Grace Paul spent a month visiting congregations that have supported children at the Family Village Farm as well as students attending King’s Matriculation School.  Currently, all eligible residents for the sponsorship program are sponsored and more than 100 students of King’s Matriculation School have been able to pay tuition and receive daily hot meals during the school year through sponsorship.

Mrs. Paul’s visit proved to be very helpful. She was positively received by all the local churches she visited.  In 2019, Ms. Betty Murillo, Director of Dumaguete Kalauman Center for Development (Kalauman) in the Philippines will also participate in the Mission Co-worker in Residence Program.   She will visit and share stories with local Disciples and UCC churches that support Kalauman children. Depending on the schedule of her visit she may be present at the General Assembly and General Synod.

Kalauman provides holistic services and programs for children, adults, and the Dumaguete community.  The program was operated on the campus of Silliman University for more than 30 years but was displaced by a university expansion plan. Beginning in 2017 to the present, Global Ministries sponsorship donors and others have contributed to a new building costing approximately $130,000.00.

The Child and Elder Sponsorship Program continues to have a Critical Presence in many areas of the world because of ongoing needs and the support of sponsors. Through this program, children are allowed to be children and elders are provided assistance to live out their lives in dignity and love in their own tradition, faith, and community.

 

RAMBO COMMITTEE
Landa Simmons, President
Rambo Committee, Inc,
1648 River Ridge
Williamsburg, VA 23185-7546

The Rambo Committee’s main priority is assisting in building the capacity of the Christian Hospital in Mungeli to respond to the critical medical needs of the community. During the last 15 years, the hospital has achieved tremendous expansion and growth in terms of infrastructures, equipment and resources. The hospital has experienced challenges in the recent past in terms of leadership, but is now under the capable leadership of Dr. Raj Singh.

 

DISCIPLES AMATEUR RADIO FELLOWSHIP, INC.
John Park Winkler, Jr, President
7201 Astoria Ct., Watuaga, Texas 76148
660.464.2471
Website: www.darfucan.org
Email: johnparkw@gmail.com

The Disciples Amateur Radio Fellowship (DARF) has provided Radio and communications equipment for overseas mission work since Jim Sugioka convened the organizational meeting at the International Convention in St. Louis in 1958.

In 2015, the installation of a fourth generation of HF communications equipment was completed in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), consisting of 26 solar powered HF Stations. The DARF is reviewing a request from the Disciples community for an additional ten stations.

Over the years, DARF has provided equipment for mission work in Paraguay, the Philippines, Lesotho, DRC, and Guatemala.

DARF continues regular daily and weekly communications among its membership using networks on the 20 and 75-meter amateur radio bands and using Skype. It also occasionally publishes “The Mission-Aire,” reporting on its work and activities.

John Park Winkler, Jr, (W5JPW) President
7201 Astoria Ct, Watauga, TX 76148
(660)464-2471

Dan Owen (W5AHC), Vice President
9004 Bancroft Trail
Austin, TX 78729
(512) 263-7788

John Dale (N0FYE), Treasurer
6110 Leighton Ave
Lincoln, NE 68507
(402) 467-1085

Fred H Erickson, (WD9IXA), Editor, The Mission-aire
3750 Miller Dr. Apt 1414
Columbia, MO 65201
(573) 489-3176

GA-1925

GA-1925

 ADRESSING THE STATE OF GLOBAL FORCED MIGRATION

(Sense-of-the-Assembly)

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WHEREAS, currently more than 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes globally for reasons of war, violence, persecution, climate change, economic injustice, impoverishment, colonialism and its legacy, and exploitation, among others, so that the global state of forced migration and displacement has reached a crisis, a trend that continues to increase with no sign of a reversal; and

WHEREAS, more than 85% of those who are displaced are currently in countries that have little economic or structural capacity to provide care or services for them, while those nations who are far better able to do so, including the United States, have oftentimes placed restrictions on refugee admissions, asylum applications and other forms of immigration, even while benefitting economically from the impoverished and unstable countries from which many of these displaced persons flee; and

WHEREAS, policy debates and general discourse on migration in the United States, Europe, and, to a lesser extent, in Canada, have centered on justifications of restrictions that are racist, xenophobic, bigoted, and slanderous, and have specifically named people who are brown and black, from specific countries, and of certain faiths, particularly Islam, as excluded; and

WHEREAS, those countries that do host refugees and migrants often receive compensation from the US and Europe to keep the migrants from attempting to enter the US or Europe; and

WHEREAS, thus far, the global community has failed to address comprehensively and collaboratively the massive movement of people, most often for reasons of fear, self-interest, preservation of privilege, power, and wealth, enabling wealthy economies to benefit from the labor of migrants with little acknowledgement of obligations for the security and welfare of the migrants themselves; and

WHEREAS, due to restrictions and strict regulations, people take tremendous risks to reach safety and a new home, crossing deserts, seas, and other difficult terrain, for days, weeks, and months, only to meet reinforced and militarized borders, detention, and incarceration, likely rejection and forced return; not to mention the thousands who do not survive the journey at all; and

WHEREAS, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a long history of providing welcome and creating robust structures of welcome for the resettlement of refugees; and

WHEREAS, global partners of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are advocating for and responding to the needs of the displaced and refugees among them, often with support through Global Ministries, Week of Compassion, and the United Church of Christ’s One Great Hour of Sharing offering, including:

  • People fleeing from high levels of structural, social and economic violence in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and seeking asylum elsewhere to escape horrific conditions;
  • African migrants and refugees who have become bottle-necked in North Africa, including in Morocco, in their attempt to make their way to Europe;
  • Refugees from conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, now living in camps in Tanzania;
  • Syrian and Iraqi displaced persons and refugees who have escaped war and conflict, now located throughout the Middle East and in Europe;
  • Generations of Palestinian refugees displaced and dispossessed of their homes and property following the wars of 1948 and 1967, in the Middle East and beyond;
  • People from throughout Southern Asia where millions are forced to migrate, and are trafficked and pushed into various forms of slavery;
  • People at risk from climate change in the Pacific Islands, including Tuvalu, where rising sea levels threaten to flood and eventually eliminate whole island countries;

WHEREAS, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is called to become an immigrant welcoming church (GA 1723); and, with the guidance of our global partners through Global Ministries, advocates for the rights and dignity of displaced persons and migrants the world over;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the 2019 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, July 20-24, 2019, affirm a vision of God’s family that is all-inclusive, accepting, and welcoming, recognizing the dignity of every human being; and rejects the divisive discourse of fear, xenophobia, bigotry, and racism that pervades the discourse on global forced migration, including as it relates to policy debates on immigration; and

 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2019 General Assembly call upon the members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to engage the matter of global forced migration, to pray and learn about the current state of global forced migration using, among other resources, those made available through the church, specifically Global Ministries and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Refugee and Immigration Ministries; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2019 General Assembly urge members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to participate in practicable ways to address the state of global forced migration through

  • support of denominational partners around the world who are responding to the needs of displaced people, whether they are refugees, migrants, internally displaced, asylum-seekers, or others, through Global Ministries and Week of Compassion;
  • engagement in refugee resettlement programs in the US including the Disciples Home Missions’ Refugee and Immigration Ministries;
  • advocacy for the rights of refugees everywhere based on the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951); and for Palestinian refugees specifically as stipulated in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948), and for continued US funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency;
  • advocacy and action on issues of economic justice, climate justice, and immigration justice; and
  • efforts to dismantle racism, to learn about different cultures and religions, including Islam, and to counter any form of discrimination, bigotry, and xenophobia when encountered; and

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the 2019 General Assembly call upon the governments of the United States and Canada to take the issue of global forced migration seriously, leaving behind partisan discourse and promoting actively the principles of the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, which seeks, among other things, to:

  • address all aspects of international migration, including the humanitarian, developmental, human rights-related and other aspects;
  • make an important contribution to global governance and enhance coordination on international migration;
  • present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility; and
  • set out a range of actionable commitments, means of implementation and a framework for follow-up and review among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions,

and for Disciples members and settings to advocate for the US and Canada to work with the global community toward these goals.

Board of Directors of the Division of Overseas Ministries

 

_____________________________________________________________________

The General Board recommends that the General Assembly ADOPT GA-1925. (Discussion Time: 24 minutes)

 

BACKGROUND:

Migration, displacement, and exile have been present throughout human history, including in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.  Some biblical examples include God’s call of Abram to leave Ur; Joseph’s brothers’ venture to Egypt to buy grain because of famine in Canaan; Exodus as a story of escape across borders; Noah and the threat of climate change; the Babylonian exile; and the Holy Family’s escape to safety soon after the birth of Jesus because of King Herod’s edict that all first-born male children under two born in the Bethlehem area be killed.

Jesus teaches us that the two greatest commandments are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).  When Jesus spoke of the judgment, he taught the reality of the realm of God by saying, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’… ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it unto me’” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40).  The author of the letter to the Hebrews goes on to remind the faithful, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). James warns against the sin of partiality that gives preference to those with resources over those without access. (James 2:9).

In our day, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in a 2017 report, estimates that more than 68.5 million people are forcibly displaced from their homes, including more than 5 million Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).  This massive displacement is the largest in recorded history, and there is no sign of a reversal of the trend.  While almost two-thirds of those displaced remain within their own countries, most cannot return home.  The UNHCR report cites war, violence, and persecution as significant causes.  Additional factors for global forced migration include climate change, drought and famine, and impoverishment, among others.

The overwhelming majority of those who have been forcibly displaced outside their home countries currently reside in poorer, developing countries, barely able to provide services for their own populations, let alone influxes of new arrivals.  Countries and systems increasingly restrict the movement of people, denying them respite and dignity.  The global community needs to be engaged in creating and strengthening international systems to better accommodate this phenomenon so that the responsibilities, and the opportunities, of caring for humanity are shared.

Among economically developed countries, contemporary policy debates around immigration policies in the United States and Europe in particular, with few exceptions, have centered on stereotypes and fear, suggesting that newcomers would be “criminals and rapists,” violent terrorists, usurpers of public wealth and job opportunities.  Efforts, including presidential executive orders, have been made to disallow people from coming to the US based on their countries of origin and their religion.  Children have been separated from their families, with long-term impact on their mental health a result.  This is a not-so-subtle message that brown and black people, and Muslims, in particular, are not welcome, and a clear effort to preserve the privilege of some at the expense of many.

With this resolution, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) recognizes the global scale of the issue, the human impact, the variety of causes, the responses of many of our global partners, and the abhorrence of racism, xenophobia, and bigotry that underlie barriers to addressing the matter with a sense of justice.

 References:

  • “Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2017,” published by UNHCR,

http://www.unhcr.org/globaltrends2017/

  • Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951),

https://www.unhcr.org/1951-refugee-convention.html

  • UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948),

https://www.unrwa.org/content/resolution-194

 

 

GA-1710 Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries

GA-1710

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DIVISION OF OVERSEAS MINISTRIES/GLOBAL MINISTRIES
Julia Brown Karimu
President, Division of Overseas Ministries
Co-Executive, Global Ministries
1099 North Meridian
Indianapolis, Indiana 46205

“That they all may be one” (John 17:21)

Introduction

January 1, 2016 marked the twentieth anniversary of Global Ministries, a common witness in mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. Global Ministries represents the visible commitment of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ to live out the unity of the Church of Jesus Christ.  That commitment was formalized at the 1989 General Assembly and General Synod in the adoption of the Resolution on the Ecumenical Partnership, which stated that the two denominations would “not do anything separately that we can do together.”  The vision of Global Ministries “that all of God’s people and creation share in God’s abundant life” speaks to the foundational belief in the quest for unity, peace and justice. Global Ministries has over 290 partner churches located in 90 countries and continues to respond to requests for missionaries, as well as receive missionaries to serve in the various expressions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.  Over 112 missionaries served in a variety of categories in 2016. (The area reports provide details related to the ministries of overseas partner churches and church organizations.  The mission personnel report provides specifics related to missionaries.)

Strategic Plan

The Global Ministries Board of Directors affirmed the continuation of the current strategic plan, with minor revisions at the November 2016 Board meeting.  The first strategic direction is nurturing community: to accompany overseas partners, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ regions and conferences, and congregations in witnessing to God’s abundant grace through the proclamation of the Gospel and exchanges of people, gifts, and talents.  The second direction is affirming God’s just and peaceable realm: by living as God’s global mission church, facilitating the mobilization of God’s people as advocates for current issues impacting communities. The third direction is telling the story: to acknowledge mission comes alive through personal stories as a result of hands-on opportunities with local and global partners.  The fourth direction recognizes God’s abundance and growing opportunities for collaboration and generosity by strengthening existing and exploring new funding mechanisms and sources for God’s mission.

Global Ministries introduced the concept of regional initiatives at the 2013 General Assembly.   This provides the church an opportunity to focus on a particular region for a specific time period.  The first initiative focused on the Congo and concluded in early spring of 2015. The Middle East Initiative was launched at the 2015 General Assembly and concluded on December 31, 2016.  This particular initiative offered the church an opportunity to become familiar with the range of denominational partners in the region and the issues they face; to learn about ways that the Disciples and UCC continue to build on a history of engagement; and to become involved in advocacy, as well as support the various programs and witness of partners in the region. The initiative focused on the following countries: Armenia, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Turkey.  Please see the Middle East Report for further information.  The next initiative will focus on the Caribbean to be launched at the 2017 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the General Synod of the United Church of Christ.  This initiative will highlight Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Collaborative Initiatives with other General Ministries

There has been on-going collaboration between the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries, the Disciples Home Missions, Disciples Women and the Council on Christian Unity, which has resulted in the prioritization of four missional issues. These issues are human trafficking, climate change, interfaith relations and migration/refugees. On September 21, 2016, these four ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) met with the staff of the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries to discuss the establishment of common goals and work plans to address these issues. This was a historic meeting and the beginning of a new form of collaboration both within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also with the UCC Justice and Witness Ministry.  The Global Ministries’ staff is incorporating objectives that ensued from that meeting into their work plans.

Global Ministries collaborated with the Disciples Peace Fellowship Intern Program by supporting two Palestinian young adults to serve as peace interns in 2016. Rachel Shomali and Minerva Halteh engaged youth in summer camps on issues related to peace and justice.

The Division of Overseas Ministries and the Disciples Home Missions share a common finance office.  Lonna Owens serves as treasurer and vice president of finance for both the Division of Overseas Ministries and the Disciples Home Missions.

Leadership Development for Young Adults

Global Ministries has three programs designed for young adults.  The first is the Global Mission Intern Program, designed for young adults between the ages of 21 to 30 who have completed their basic college degree but have little or no professional training.  This year, there were 15 individuals serving as global mission interns.  The second is the College of Mission Intern Program which is designed for seminarians.  This program provides an opportunity for seminarians to work in the Indianapolis Office on a specific project and it culminates in a cross-cultural experience in order for the students to have a direct experience with an overseas partner.  Two College of Mission Interns served in 2016.  John  Culbertson, a member of First Christian Church in Georgetown, Kentucky and a student at Vanderbilt Divinity School worked with the Latin American Office researching partner information in preparation for the regional initiative and assisted the People to People Program with an advocacy manual.  Whitney Murphy, a member of Light of the World Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana and a student at Christian Theological Seminary worked on advocacy issues and assisted in the promotion of MissionWorks.  The third program is a supervised ministry placement.  A grant from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation enabled Global Ministries to have a supervised ministry placement.  The goal of the program is to nurture future ministers for effective leadership in the global church.

¡Missionworks!

¡Missionworks! was held August 26-28, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. ¡Missionworks! is designed for regional, conference, and congregational outreach leaders to enhance their understanding of the global church through engagement with international church leaders, missionaries, and home-based staff.  A change in strategy and design was initiated in the planning of ¡Missionworks! 2016.  This event has historically been a national event; however given the growing lack of interest and support of national events, it was decided to make this a regional event, including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Illinois.  123 individuals participated in ¡Missionworks!, along with 24 regional ministers and moderators whose event was coordinated to overlap with ¡Missionworks!.   The Rev. Rick Spleth, Global Ministries Board member and Regional Minister of the Disciples of Christ in Indiana, coordinated the participation of the regional ministers and moderators.  Seventeen states were represented at ¡Missionworks!; 51 (including Indianapolis Global Ministries homebased staff) participants came from Indiana; 19 (including the Cleveland homebased staff) from Ohio; 9 from Illinois; 7 from Michigan and 4 from Kentucky.  Seventy-seven of the participants were from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); 24 from the United Church of Christ; 2 from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and 20 not identified.  The keynote speakers were Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Rev. Dr. Johnson Mibillah of the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa and Global Ministries Board member.  The evaluation of this regional event has been extremely positive and requests have been received for ¡Missionworks! to be offered in other regions across the country.

Personnel Changes

David Owen submitted his resignation as Associate in the Resource Development Office as of June 30, 2016.  David served nine years in this position and twenty years as mission personnel in Lesotho and Kenya.

Bethany Guy began her work as Program Associate in the Resource Development Office on November 1, 2016.  Bethany previously served as a Global Mission Intern in Haiti and Guadeloupe.

FINANCE
Lonna Owens, Finance Executive

The Division of Overseas Ministries (DOM) revenue for 2016 is estimated to be nearly $7 million.  It is too early to know the actual revenue for the year or to be able to share the significant fluctuations in revenue.

Of the total revenue, some is designated giving for special programs, projects, endowment contributions and capital and new church funding.  Approximately 25% is from Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ as part of the funding of our joint work together as Global Ministries.  The balance of the revenue comes from Disciples Mission Fund (DMF), investments of DOM, United Christian Missionary Society (UCMS) endowment distributions, Christian Church Foundation (CCF) permanent fund distributions, operating fund gifts and miscellaneous income.

The DOM Endowment assets are invested with the CCF in the Beasley Growth Fund and the Campbell Multi-Strategy Fund.  Annually DOM takes a draw, which is 5% of the average prior 20-quarter rolling market value of the total investment.  This draw is used to support operations and designated spending based on the restriction of the endowment.  In 2016, this draw was $662 253 (compared to $618,168 in 2015).

An independent audit is performed annually of the financial records and accounting systems of DOM.  A complete audit will be provided for the Yearbook upon completion of the audit and a report to the audit committee of the board.  The audit committee will address any material internal control weaknesses found during the audit and suggest improvements to internal controls in the management letter to the board.

OFFICE OF RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
Jane Sullivan-Davis, Executive
Kelsey Cameron, Program Associate
Bethany Guy, Program Associate

Global Ministries Special Giving and Ministry with Donors

In year 2016 the Global Ministries Resource Development Office continued to engage members, all expressions of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and other individuals and entities with like-minded commitments to God’s global mission, to provide direct and planned gifts for the work of Global Ministries.  The priorities are the following:

  • 1st Priority: Unrestricted Gifts, used where needed most in the work of Global Ministries
  • 2nd Priority: Gifts for Mission Personnel Support, including intensive efforts on four cases in personalized fundraising for missionary support
  • 3rd Priority: Restricted Gifts for donor-specified partner churches/programs or theme-based designations

Strategic Plan Update

The Global Ministries Resource Development Office participated in several of the Global Ministries Strategic Directions during 2016; however, the main focus of the work was on Strategic Direction #4:  Developing Resources — To recognize God’s abundance, and growing opportunities for collaboration and generosity by strengthening existing and exploring new funding mechanisms and sources for God’s mission.  Year-end information on special giving to Global Ministries for 2015 and some highlights of 2016 as of this writing are shared below.

The final total of special giving to Global Ministries for the year 2015 through Global Ministries offices both in Indianapolis and Cleveland was almost $2.6 million in direct gifts and almost $900,000 in planned gifts (bequests, residuals of life-income gifts, and contributions to new and existing permanent funds).  The universe of donors working with Global Ministries in the year 2015 included approximately 1,800 individuals, 620 Disciple and UCC churches and judicatories, and 50 other organizations and churches of other denominations.

Promotions, Appeals and Special Campaigns

During the period of January – August 2016, Global Ministries received almost $1.6 million in direct gifts through its offices in Indianapolis and Cleveland, both unrestricted and restricted.  More than $220,000 arrived during the same time period in planned gifts for the same time period.  The amount received in direct gifts represents an increase over the same period of 2015 of $1.4 million.  The final report on 2016 special giving to Global Ministries will be calculated after the writing of this report and is available upon request.

In 2016, the Global Ministries Spring Appeal letter was signed by the two Co-Executives and mailed on March 28, 2016, to approximately 35,800 households with a connection with Global Ministries.  The 2016 Indianapolis Year-End Appeal, signed by the President of the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries, was mailed November 14, 2016, to approximately 12,200 households of Disciple constituents, individual constituents from denominations other than UCC, and constituents for whom no denominational affiliation is known.

In early January 2016, the Global Ministries staff team declared financially viable the fourth case of personalized fundraising for new mission personnel  launched in May 2015.  By this date, the resources received for the appointments of Monica and Tom Liddle to serve with the Protestant Church in East Timor had achieved the benchmark of covering the first year of the appointment, and intentions/other funding sources identified to cover approximately 50% for years 2, 3 and 4 of the appointment.  The fundraising goal for these two appointments is a total of $510,000 spread over four years.  As of September 30, 2016, Global Ministries had received over $280,000.  The Liddles began their four-year term of service in East Timor in June 2016.

The remaining three personalized fundraising campaigns continued on track in 2016.  The first trial experience to raise funds for the missionary appointments of Kim and Erik Free to serve in Mozambique received $145,000 as of September 30, 2016, toward the goal of $200,000.  The fundraising goal has been adjusted because term was shortened due to violence in the area of Mozambique where they were working.  The Frees’ itineration and home assignment period will conclude February 28, 2017.

As of September 30, 2016, almost $123,500 was received toward the goal of $150,000 for Anne Gregory to serve with the Church of Christ in Thailand. Anne completed the second year of her three-year term in December 2016.

As of September 30, 2016, more than $300,000 has arrived toward the goal of $360,000 for Paul Turner to serve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Paul will complete the second year of his four-year term in May 2017. The additional resources given for this appointment, which represent an over-subscription of the original fundraising goal, are being used to cover unanticipated on-site expenses for Paul Turner’s appointment.

Special Giving promotion related to the Middle East Initiative, which concluded December 31, 2016, centered around five special giving themes, with specific countries emphasized during one or two months during the Initiative.  The special giving themes were:  a) Exile and Diaspora; b) Christian Presence and Witness; c) Justice, Peacemaking, and Human Rights; d) Education for the Future; and e) Health, Wholeness, and the Environment.  Support for the YWCA of Palestine was emphasized during the Global Ministries 2016 Alternative Christmas campaign.  Since the launch of the Middle East Initiative in June-July 2015 through September 30, 2016, Global Ministries has received more than $340,000 for these special giving themes and the specific partner churches and programs working in the region, representing a significant increase (more than 100%) as compared to the same period length previous to the Middle East Initiative.

The 2016 Global Ministries Alternative Christmas campaign utilized the Alternative Giving Catalog, published in late 2015, in print and online.  For the second year, the Alternative Christmas materials featured a specific special giving opportunity related to the area emphasis (the YWCA in Palestine as part of the Middle East Initiative) as well as the special giving themes of:  General Gifts, Peace with Justice, People in Mission, Water, Health, Education, Microcredit, Child Sponsorship, and Church Capacity Building.

The Global Ministries Case Statement of Support Walking Together in Hope was published in April 2016.  It is in use by staff and included on Global Ministries’ display tables.  Walking Together in Hope presents a rationale for giving to Global Ministries based on the Global Ministries Vision, Mission Statement, Core Values and Strategic Plan, and includes donor stories of current Global Ministries constituents.

In 2016 Global Ministries Resource Development launched the Community of Mission Advocates made up of individuals who give automated recurring gifts monthly or quarterly to Global Ministries.  Over 300 Mission Advocates are committed to accompanying sisters and brothers in Christ around the world by providing regular support for the work that is most near and dear to them.

AFRICA OFFICE
Marco Cable, Area Executive

Introduction

Partners in the Africa region continue to reach milestones in development, reducing poverty, and educating women and girls in spite of challenges and pillaging and exploitation from communities outside of the continent.  In 2016, Global Ministries through the Africa Office accompanied partners in southern Africa in their response to climate change which has caused droughts and poor agricultural yields and increased the costs of fertilizer and seeds.  Many of the challenges impacting partners in Africa often go undocumented in mainline US media, yet Global Ministries has been able to respond and invite others to participate because of the strong partnerships in Africa.

Congo

The Community of Disciples of Christ in the Congo (CDCC) continues to place a strong emphasis on evangelism which has resulted in a Disciples’ presence in new regions around the country.  With this expansion, the CDCC is building new churches, schools and clinics to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the congregation.  In addition, the church is increasing their micro-credit project programs for women. This program has assisted local women in starting businesses that generate income to support their families and congregations. The ecumenical organization in the Congo, the Church of Christ in Congo, partnered with the CDCC and other mainline denominations to put pressure on the Democratic Republic of Congo president, Mr. Joseph Kabila, to respect the country’s constitution by holding scheduled elections in November.  Despite the ecumenical communities’ advocacy, the elections were not held as scheduled. The capital, Kinshasa, has been bombarded with protest marches organized primarily by the nation’s youth. Forty-two people have been killed during protest and hundreds injured and arrested. The faith community in partnership with political and community activists brokered a deal that calls for elections to be held by the end of 2017.  The future of democracy in DR Congo is unclear; however, the faith community is committed to working for a country with peace and justice.

Angola

After 27 years of civil war, the Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola (IECA) continues to restore hospitals, schools and communities destroyed by the war.  IECA has partnered with the government to make community services available in areas most impacted by the war in response to the poor health care and poverty in these regions.  In addition to building infrastructure, IECA in partnership with the Council of Christian Churches in Angola, responded to the worst outbreak of yellow fever in 30 years with a documented 350 deaths since December 2015.  The country experienced death rates up to 75% of those who were infected.  In addition, 2,915 died from malaria in the country.  IECA and the Council provided medical support to people impacted and hosted educational seminars on how to avoid getting infected. These epidemics are occurring in the midst of the country’s debt rising and currency plummeting as a result of depressed oil prices.

Mozambique

The United Church of Christ in Mozambique, the Mozambique Synod of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa and Christian Council of Mozambique collaborated in calling for peace and stability in the country.  After 24 years since the end of the Civil War, sporadic violence erupted in the last six months of 2016 as former civil war adversaries, the Mozambique Liberation Front and the Mozambican National Resistance, took up arms with demands for the country’s political future. Partners organized to encourage both parties to continue negotiations.  The church is challenged to maintain peace within its membership as church members have political afflictions on both sides of the conflict.  The United Church of Christ in Mozambique and the Mozambique Synod of the United Congregational Church in South Africa provided housing for their members who fled their homes as a result of violence.  In the midst of violence and brokenness both churches continue their ministries of evangelism, Christian development and Christian education that encourage peaceful resolution to conflicts.  The rise in violence in the region instigated the early return of missionaries, Kim and Erik Free.

Drought

The first two quarters of 2016, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland were the most impacted by drought.  Malnutrition and food insecurity due to below-average rainfall threatened these communities that depend greatly on the growing seasons. Data from the U.N.’s World Food Program report that 40 million people in rural areas and 9 million in urban centers who live in the drought-affected parts of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, and Swaziland will need food assistance in the next year.  The Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) experienced the driest summer (October, November, and December) in memory with elevated temperatures and severe winds.  This resulted in water shortages in communities where the majority of the population depends on community taps or natural springs to supply their daily water needs.  This drought interrupted classes at the church’s seminary because the seminary relies on piped water from springs on the Makhoarne Plateau to source their buildings and dormitories.  The church continues to work with Global Ministries to provide water to these communities and respond to food shortages that are expected later into 2017.  This humanitarian crisis has the potential of causing starvation in many remote rural communities.  In response to the crisis, Zambian authorities have imposed an export ban on maize meal in an attempt to boost its reserves in light of drought.  Zimbabwe will be impacted the most by this decision because the country needs more than 1.8 million tons of maize to avert the crisis.  The United Church of Zambia (UCZ) has coordinated programs that will provide food and potable water to the most vulnerable communities: elderly persons, children and households headed by women.  They continue to work with Global Ministries to implement projects that encourage women and youth participation in climate change adaptation which include climate-smart agriculture, environmental stewardship and rainwater harvesting.

In Memoriam

Lillian Moir died on November 13, 2015. In 1987, Lillian became a missionary in Swaziland through the Division of Overseas Ministries (today Global Ministries).  During her two year appointment in Swaziland, Lillian was the Director of Communications with the Council of Swaziland Churches.  Lillian then returned to Indianapolis to become a home-based staff member of the Division of Overseas Ministries in the Office of Mission Education and Interpretation for several years until she returned to Africa in 1995, appointed as the Communication Officer for the Council of Churches in Namibia.  In 2002, she transitioned into the position of Registrar at the Kgolagano College in Gaborone, Botswana, until her retirement in 2005.

Mabel Alice Christofersen died June 15, 2015.  She was born to missionaries Arthur Fridtjof and Julia Marie Rau Christofersen, serving with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a predecessor mission body of Global Ministries, at Ifafa Mission, Natal, South Africa.   After graduating high school and college in Illinois, Mabel returned to South Africa and taught Home Economics at Inanda Seminary, a secondary-level boarding school for girls affiliated with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA).  After teaching at Inanda for approximately 20 years, Mabel taught at another private secondary school for girls.  She then spent a number of years working at the Durban YWCA where she was very active in the recycling program.

Carol Ann Cannon Gilley died on September 19, 2016.  She was a missionary in southern Africa for 38 years.  Appointed in 1963, Carol began her 38 year missionary career at Ifafa Mission Station near Umzinto, South Africa where she was both a student of the Zulu language and a teacher until 1969.  From 1969 through 1974, Carol worked with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA).   From 1974 through 1977, Carol was assigned to the Zululand Churches Health and Welfare Association (HELWEL) at Kwa Magwaza, in Melmoth, South Africa and from 1978 through 1985, for the Anglican Diocese of Swaziland.  From 1988 to 1997 Carol taught in the Inhambane Region of the UCCSA – Mozambique Synod at Zakewu Likumbe Bible School. Her final assignment in 1998 was at Kuruman Moffat Mission Trust, in Kuruman, South Africa.

Rev. Dr. Bongajalo Goba died on September 21, 2016. An ordained minister of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), he resided in the South Africa Synod of the UCCSA. He served a number of UCC churches and taught in seminaries in South Africa and in the United States. Dr. Goba was one of the signatories of the historical ‘Kairos Document’.   Rev. Goba served as vice-chancellor at the Durban University of Technology. From 1989 to 1992, he served as the Regional Secretary for Africa with the United Church Board for World Ministries in New York City and from 2002 to 2005, he served Global Ministries as the Area Executive for Africa.  After his work with Global Ministries in Indianapolis, he returned to his beloved South Africa to teach and work there until his retirement.  He was honored with a Special Provincial Official funeral service on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at the Amanzimtoti Civic Center, Durban, South Africa.

EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Xiaoling Zhu, Executive

Pacific

The churches in the Pacific Region are going through an important time of transition. In the last two years almost every member church of the Pacific Conference of Churches has elected a new president or moderator. The transition in ecclesiastical leadership is vital for the people of the Pacific at this moment in time. Issues of political economy and the manipulation of smaller island states by bigger countries like Australia, Indonesia, and New Zealand are becoming more common. An Australian mining company in a joint venture with two Japanese mining companies paid millions of dollars to the Fiji government to mine the interior of the largest island in Fiji. Awaiting the implementation of the new UN Climate Change agreement that calls for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, smaller island nations (mostly atolls) continue to face the blunt force of climate change, tropical cyclones, heat waves, and prolonged drought. These are just some of the regional problems these new church leaders are walking into.  For the Pacific Conference of Churches, women’s leadership in the church has become an important issue.  With profound biblical meditation and discussion, it was agreed that at the next meeting in 2018, every church should send both a male and female representative.

China

In 2015, the crosses of more than 1,400 churches were demolished in Zhejiang Province, China because of a violation of sign code. Zhejiang Christian Council, under the leadership of Rev. Yuese Gu (Chairman) issued a statement against this on July 10, 2015.   In January 2016, Rev. Gu was removed from the senior pastor position at China’s largest church with 10,000 members in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province,  and ten days later taken into custody and arrested for “economic crimes.”  In early February 2016, the Area Executive visited the State Administration for Religious Affairs of PRC (SARA) and had a conversation with officers about Gu’s case.  It was said that these issues were limited to Zhejiang .  The Center Government in Beijing, as well as the SARA, had tried to stop these actions in Zhejiang without success.  “What Zhejiang did has pulled the freedom of religion policies backward 30 years.” said the SARA officers.  Prayers continue for Rev. Gu to be fairly treated and for all of the Christians in Zhejiang Province.

A China Christian Council (CCC) delegation led by Rev. Dr. Feng Gao, President, visited the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church USA, the United Church of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from September 18-24, 2016, to deepen the relationship, exchange information on current ministries, and discuss further cooperation.

The Chinese people experienced serious flooding in many places during the summer of 2016.  One Great Hour Sharing and Week of Compassion provided humanitarian support through Global Ministries.  A Week of Compassion delegation visited some of these projects led by Xiaoling Zhu.  They visited Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi’an, Zhengzhou, Zhoukou and Beijing from Oct. 16-30, 2016.  The group met church leaders, visit programs and projects supported by WoC.

Hong Kong

Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) is a joint program of the Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) in Hong Kong and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  ICF’s main activity since 2006 is the School of Peace (SOP).  All of the 112 members of the network in 17 countries have taken part in this program.  Several human rights programs for the Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) were carried out in August in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  A one-week workshop in September in Vientiane, Laos, focusing on the rights of people with disabilities was requested by ICF’s national forum in the country.  During a field visit to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE), the participants of the ICF human rights workshop learned about the hundreds of people in Laos who are still killed or disabled each year by unexploded “bombies” that were dispersed by cluster bombs by the United States during the Vietnam War.

Japan

Five years after the disaster in northeastern Japan, 177,866 people are still displaced because of the tsunami and nuclear disaster. The population along the coastal areas has decreased by 156,000. Many of those living in temporary housing are the elderly. They have lost their supportive community, and their livelihood. The Emmaus Relief Center in Sendai and Ishinomaki provided relief for tsunami survivors in the initial stage, and still continues to walk with those living in temporary shelters, and with farmers and children who still suffer. During the past five years, 7,711 people have volunteered via the Emmaus Center that continues to work in temporary shelters with the mandate to continue support “until the very last person moves out of temporary housing.”  In addition, Emmaus helps farmers who lost everything to the tsunami.

The Aizu Radioactivity Information Center in Fukushima and the Kyodan Nuclear Disaster Relief Task Force “Izumi” in Sendai are two projects that support those suffering from the ill effects of the nuclear disaster. There are many families concerned for the health of their children. Medical counselling services, free thyroid tests, community building, information gathering, educational opportunities about radiation, fresh-air retreats and advocacy for victims are some of the services provided to the wider community.  Since last year there has been an increased demand for free and trustworthy thyroid testing.   All of these projects have been supported by CGMB from the start. The local leadership intends to continue these projects in order to walk alongside those who are still suffering.

The 5th Global Inter-Religious Conference on Article 9 of the Japanese Peace constitution was held on June 7-9, 2016, at the Minami-Mido temple of the Shinshu Otani-ha, Osaka, Japan.  More than 200 participants from different parts of the world attended.  Participants affirmed that at this time when peace in the world is facing deep crisis, it is our duty as people of faith to speak out.  The conference called on people of faith to analyze the international situation, name the violence and to continue working for peace. The conference urged the Abe administration to look honestly at Japan’s history of invasion, colonization and militarism and make a clear apology to the world.  A sincere expression of remorse from Japan remains a critical dimension for the foundation of peace.

Philippines

Christians in the Philippines shared their concern over the conduct of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.  The reality of extra-judicial killings has shaken people’s confidence in the ability of the government to uphold basic human rights and legal processes, hallmarks of their constitution.  More than 2,000 people have been killed extra-judicially this year.  Churches are making their prayers concrete by mobilizing their resources to help out in this task.  The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) consistently continues to campaign to uphold human rights.

The senseless and inhumane bombing of a night market in Davao City took place on September 2, 2016.  This act that claimed the lives of 15 people and injured 71 was senseless and brutal. The National of Churches of the Philippines called on partner organizations and Christians to lift the families of the fatalities in prayer.

Korea

Both the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) passed resolutions supporting the reunification of the Korea Peninsula in the summer of 2015.  Global Ministries has been working hard on implementation since then with the following actions:  participating in PROK Conferences on Peace and Justice;  participating in international ecumenical meetings on Korea Reunification in Germany and Hong Kong; PROK delegations attending DOC regional and UCC conference gatherings; supporting the NCCK Peace Treaty 2016 Campaign by sending two staff to receive training in South Korea and helping them to collect 100,000 signatures to be presented to President Obama;  and supporting a PROK youth group to attend and share at the  National Youth Event, July 26-30, 2016.   All these activities focused on the mission of supporting Korea reunification.

The Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reunification and Development Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula (EFK) held a meeting in Shenyang, China, June 10-11, and again in Hong Kong, China, Dec. 14-16, including the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) from the North, the National Council of Church in Korea (NCCK) from the South, and representatives of churches from the United States and European counties. Global Ministries was confirmed as a member of the EFK Steering Committee which gave more opportunity to focus on peace and justice mission work in the Korean Peninsula.

The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) Peace Treaty Campaign led by Rev. Kim Young Ju, General Secretary, traveled to the United States from July 14-29, 2016, to promote a plan for permanent peace between North and South Korea. Churches and religious leaders from the US joined them in this call for peace.  The delegation visited the national office of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  On July 18, 2016, Global Ministries, UCC and DOC leaders issued a letter to President Barack Obama opposed to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea.

In Memoriam

Rev. Richard Lewis Lammers, best known as Dick, died at the age of 90 on February 2, 2016 at the Uplands Retirement Village in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee.  In 1948, he accepted a three-year assignment to Sendai, Japan. After he married his colleague Martha Lewis, Dick and Martha returned to Japan in 1954 as missionaries sent by the United Church Board for World Ministries.  They returned to the United States in 1990 and settled in Tennessee where they both became very active in the Pleasant Hill Community Church and the broader community.

Armin Kroehler died on July 31, 2016.  Armin married wife Evelyn on July 29, 1950 and the very next day they were commissioned for Christian service in Japan where they served for over 50 years. Armin taught at the Aizu Christian Rural Life Center in Aizu Takada, Fukushima, Japan. As part of their ministry, they also made 22 mission trips with Japanese delegations to US Churches.  He passed peacefully at home on July 31, 2016.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN OFFICE

Angel L. Rivera-Agosto, Area Executive

Introduction

The work of our partners in the Latin America and Caribbean Region throughout this past year is echoed in the words of a former missionary, Rev. Juan Marcos Rivera, who described devotion to God and to the neighbor:

 “To live now means to go around leaving fragments of one´s life among those who are being crucified daily in the midst of a suffering people.  Living today is also being aware of your presence, Jesus, in every human being, in every circumstance. Each human being is a witness of your grace, and each new day a hope that begins to take shape to the rhythm of your mercy.”

Leaving fragments of one´s life among those who are being crucified daily”, is the testimony of the work of our partners: building solidarity networks across the continent, working on sustainable development in indigenous communities and advocating for the ceasefire and the fulfillment of peace accords.  They are a witness of God´s grace accompanying displaced and uprooted people, affirming indigenous peoples’ right to the land and building new hope by empowering women and children with socioeconomic possibilities in the midst of an unjust neoliberal system.

Guatemala

The Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala has been active in the promotion of just peace.  At the beginning of the year they sponsored a consultation in La Milagrosa from January 21-25, 2016. This gathering reaffirmed the process of creating a Continental Christian Network for Peace (CCNP).  As a network, CCNP stands to hear the cries of those who suffer violence across the region and to find and build solidarity promoting actions that restore comfort, hope, peace, justice and dignity of the men and women affected.  The ECCG also sponsored an Intergenerational Ecumenical Dialogue “20×20: 20 Years of Agreement, 20 Years without Peace” with youth representation from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia, as well as leaders who supported the Guatemalan peace process. The event included forums, dialogue and activities where different generations gathered to share knowledge and commitment in the search for peace with justice in Guatemala.

Ecuador

The Ecumenical Foundation for Integral Development, Capacitation and Education (FEDICE) continued sponsoring sustainable development projects in Cotopaxi, in the northern highlands of Ecuador.  Contributions from Global Ministries, as well as resources from the provincial government and the community have joined forces in the construction, implementation and equipping of children´s centers, medical centers, sustainable development projects for women.  When the community repays the loan, FEDICE opens other possibilities for new communities to join into the solidarity system for their own projects.

Since the earthquake that devastated the Ecuadorian coast, FEDICE has been working with congregations in Sua.  They have helped the community organize including the provision of a refrigerator, 25 small plastic chairs, 50 large plastic chairs, 10 large tables, and 6 small tables that allowed the community to provide food during the crisis.   FEDICE worked on credits for micro-family projects for approximately 30 families providing for the creation of 27 small sustainable ventures that would reactivate the economy of this small village.

U.S. Mexico border

Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries (SWGSM) held their Board of Directors’ Meeting from April 20-23, 2016 in Los Fresnos, Texas.  It was established in 1985 with the specific purpose of providing assistance to refugees (primarily from Central America) seeking asylum in the United States.  SWGSM Executive Director, Rev. Feliberto Pereira reported the continuing work with refugees and migrants from Latin America.  SWGSM helped individuals and families with comfort, temporary shelter, transportation, and other needs, as they get resettled in the U.S. with relatives, friends, and/or churches.

Paraguay and Argentina

On August 13-22, 2016, a delegation travelled to Paraguay and Argentina.  In Paraguay, they were received by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paraguay, the International School, Friendship Mission and the Churches’ Committee for Emergency Affairs.   In Argentina, they were received by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Argentina, the United Mission Board, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo and the Argentinian Commission for Work with Refugees (CAREF).    The delegation also met with the indigenous communities in both sides of El Chaco to hear about the struggle for their land rights, sustainable development, health and well-being and the affirmation of their cultural identity.   A key meeting was with Mrs. Estela Carlotto, President of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, and a long-term advocate for the grandchildren who disappeared in the midst of the Argentinian dictatorship (1976-1983).

Mexico

The closing event of the first phase of the Mexican Woman-to-Woman Project 2013-2016 was held in September.   The Mexican Women to Women Project is sponsored by women from the three denominations that are part of the Joint Mission Table: the Confraternidad de Iglesias Cristianas Evangélicas (CICE), the Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo) in Mexico (ICDC) and the Junta General de Iglesias Cristianas Congregacionales de México (JGICCM).

Puerto Rico

Global Ministries supported the advocacy efforts of the Disciples of Christ and other churches in Puerto Rico related to the recent socioeconomic and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico regarding its public debt.  On December 3rd, 2015, Global Ministries signed a letter calling for a resolution to the crisis that includes debt relief, investments in people, increased budget transparency, increased public participation in economic decision making, and halting austerity.

Colombia

The Christian Centre for Justice, Peace and Nonviolent Action (JUSTAPAZ) and the Colombia Council of Churches´ Peace and Justice Commission participated in efforts to give continuity to the peace process in Colombia despite the negative results of the referendum held in that country in October that prevented the Government from implementing the Peace Accords.  Organized as the Interchurch Dialogue for Peace (DiPaz), they attended a hearing at the Colombian Congress.  Jenny Neme, director of Justapaz, challenged the senators of Colombia to “show greatness or show smallness.  What has come to your hands is not a simple document with good proposals, regular or bad.  What you have in your hands to study and decide is nothing less than the future of Colombia, a choice to continue seeking peace in the midst of war or to build peace amid the differences. We are tired of violence. We do not want a cheap peace where more pride and arrogance can lead to desperate conditions that make democracy and coexistence in the country unviable.” As a result of this and other efforts, the Congress approved a fast-track process to implement the new Peace Accords as amended.

Brazil

Barbara de Souza is working on the final stages of her book related to her experiences and work in Brazil as a missionary.  She worked with the Associacao das Educadoras Comunitarias de Saude and the book will tell the stories of women who have worked with her on this exciting project of community health work.  The title of the book is “When Sleeping Women Awake, Mountains Will Move” and it will be edited by Chalice Press.

In Memoriam

Genoveva (“Beba”) Córdova Rodríguez – former DOM missionary serving in Paraguay (1979-1982) and loving wife of Reverend Luis F. Del Pilar, also a former missionary and General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico (1993-1996) passed away on January 26th, 2016, after battling with different health conditions.

Flor María Piñeiro – Flor María and her husband, Juan Marcos Rivera, served with the United Christian Missionary Society, appointed to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paraguay from 1959 until 1962.  She continued her missionary service with Juan Marcos in Venezuela until 1972, serving with the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela.  In both places, Flor specialized in education.  From there, they went on to Puerto Rico where she served as mission personnel from 1972-84.  In Puerto Rico she assisted the Latin America Council of Churches in its early years in document translation, writing, and correspondence.  Flor Maria passed away at the age of 94 on July 11, 2016.

Marshall “Frisco”Gilchrist – Frisco and his wife, Bertha G. Jacobs, lived and worked in Paraguay for 24 years. He founded and served in the Friendship Mission, a project sponsored by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Paraguay.  After years of improving the lives of many, in 1976 he was imprisoned by the dictator, Alfredo Stroessner, and had to return to the United States.   Frisco became Director of International Human Rights for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He retired in 1986 and was a member of Central Christian Church.  Frisco passed away on August 29, 2016. 

Michael Saenz – From 1954 until 1965, Michael and his wife Nancy served as missionaries of the United Christian Missionary Society (UCMS) in Puerto Rico where he provided training and guidance in stewardship and administration, leading to the construction of churches, schools, and parsonages of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico. He also served on the boards of the Puerto Rico Council of Churches and the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico, and led in the construction of the ecumenical Centro Evangélico which now is the seat of the Puerto Rico Council of Churches.  Michael passed away on November 3, 2016.

Patrick Villier, 53, was the President and General Bishop of the National Spiritual Council of Churches in Haiti (CONASPEH) since its founding in 1986.  Rev. Villier was an all-around leader in Haiti.  He was a local pastor, an engineer and university professor. He taught physics, mathematics and Spanish.  He was also assigned by a Presidential committee to head up a literacy program, through local churches, for many of the poorest and disenfranchised.  As an International Partner on the Global Ministries´ Board (2004-2011), he brought a unique vision and presence.  Patrick passed away on December 15th, 2016.

MIDDLE EAST AND EUROPE OFFICE

Peter Makari, Area Executive

Introduction

At the end of 2015, the Middle East was in the news.  The battle for Aleppo reached a climax with the plight of the people remaining incurring great sympathy.  Days after the safe passage of Syrians from Aleppo was announced, a cease-fire agreement involving Russia, Turkey, and the Syrian regime and several opposition parties to end certain aspects of the war was reached.  In the midst of that, the UN Security Council approved a resolution defining Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories illegal, and Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a seventy-minute speech in which he assessed the then-current state of affairs in Israel/Palestine, offered warnings if trends persisted, and hope for a way to resolve the conflict.  Finally, in Istanbul, 39 people were killed and many others injured by a shooter at a nightclub—an incident for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.  In the midst of all of this, with support from Global Ministries, partners in the Middle East and Europe continue to offer life and hope, a critical presence in the midst of profound challenges that “all of God’s people and creation share in God’s abundant life,” in the words of the Global Ministries vision statement.

Middle East Initiative

Throughout the eighteen months beginning with the 2015 General Assembly and running through the end of 2016, Global Ministries actively promoted the Middle East Initiative to provide Disciples and United Church of Christ churches and members with opportunities to pray for, learn about, and engage the issues and partnerships in the region.  Over the course of the year and a half, 900 groups made use of the children’s curriculum; nearly 3,700 individuals participated in webinars with partners and mission personnel; over 17,000 advocacy messages were sent; and over 3,000 individuals and groups engaged with the 18 Bible studies written by Global Ministries’ partners.  Presented through geographical and thematic lenses,  each of the countries where the church nurtures partnership relationships was highlighted for a set period of time, and the themes of Christian Presence and Witness; Justice, Peacemaking, and Human Rights; Education; Health, Wholeness, and the Environment; and Diaspora and Exile: Refugees and Migrants were lifted up.  In 2016, a major Disciples and UCC leadership delegation visited Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel/Palestine to engage partners, to be in solidarity with them, and to learn about their vital ministries.  The visit included interfaith dialogue with Muslim leaders in Egypt and Lebanon, and people of the three Abrahamic faiths throughout the trip.  Another highlight of the Initiative in 2016 was the collaboration of Global Ministries and the Disciples Peace Fellowship to invite two young women nominated by the YWCA of Palestine to spend the summer as Missionaries in Residence as part of the DPF’s Summer Internship program.  Rachel Shomali and Minerva Halteh spent June through August in Disciples camps, at MissionWorks, and at the UCC-Disciples National Youth Event, sharing what it is like to grow up under Israeli occupation.  Their presence and witness had a strong impact and they characterized their time among the churches as some of the most meaningful moments in their lives.  One of two keynote speakers at MissionWorks, held in Indianapolis in August, was His Grace Bishop Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.  His speech focused on the situation of Christians in Israel/Palestine, and the many ways that they, including the Lutheran Church, are engaged in peacemaking and justice-seeking efforts.  A powerful presence, Bishop Younan’s speech was well-received (available on the Global Ministries website).  Although the Initiative has concluded, all of the stories, webinars, Bible studies, youth curriculum, and other resources remain available on the website (www.globalministries.org/meinitiative).  It is especially significant that the whole church embraced the Initiative including Disciples Home Missions and the Council on Christian Unity.  Ron Degges and Paul Tche were active participants with Global Ministries colleagues throughout the implementation and promotion of the Initiative, demonstrating the unity of the church in purpose and effort.

Syria

A major focus in the past year has been on the Syria crisis.  In March 2017, the war will have passed the six-year mark.  It began peacefully, but quickly degenerated into a violent conflict that involved the Syrian regime, multiple Syrian opposition groups, has included several Islamic groups including Islamic State and Jibhat Fath ash-Sham, and expanded regionally and internationally.  It is a complex situation, but the human toll has been more than half a million Syrians killed and more than half the Syrian population displaced from their homes, either internally or as refugees in neighboring countries and beyond.  Global Ministries has worked hard to educate and to encourage advocacy through various means, all of which can be found on the “Syria Crisis and Our Churches’ Response” webpage (globalministries.org/syria_crisis).  Global Ministries took a lead in organizing, the Global Day for Action and Prayer for Syria, which was held on September 21, 2016, to coincide with the World Day for Peace, and held a follow-up webinar.  In addition, Global Ministries has produced statements, resources, and supported partners working in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Hungary, and Greece to offer humanitarian needs.  Global Ministries, in close collaboration with Week of Compassion, remains committed to responding to those needs and Disciples have been especially generous in responding to these efforts.

Israel/Palestine

In 2016, the Disciples were present at two major events related to the churches’ ecumenical engagement on Israel/Palestine.  The first was a major consultation held at the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA called, “Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence: The Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land.”  Held from April 19-20, the Summit brought together heads of churches from Jerusalem, representatives of churches from the Holy Land, and church leaders and staff from US churches and church-related organizations.  It was the first such meeting in many years, and perhaps unprecedented.  President Jimmy Carter addressed those gathered and engaged in discussion for a one-hour session, committing to give his energy to this issue, and commenting that this summit is perhaps the most important meeting that the Carter Center would host this year.  The statement from the Summit is available on the Global Ministries website.   A second event was a World Council of Churches and National Council of Churches joint consultation on Israel/Palestine that was held in the Washington, DC area from Sept. 19-21.  This meeting also brought together representatives from Israel/Palestine, including church representatives, ecumenical bodies, and human rights and advocacy organizations, with US church leaders and representatives of church-related councils and agencies.

As we continue to engage the world through prayer, education, solidarity and support, and advocacy, we must continue to seek ways through the church to look for and raise the perspectives of those most often forgotten or lost in the swirl of discourse, those whom our partners work directly with, those whose voices cry out.  The Syriac Orthodox evening prayer concludes this way:

O Lord, Listen to our prayers with mercy and answer them with compassion.
May God accept, and be pleased in our worship and prayers, and be gracious to us.
May it be so. Amen.

In Memoriam

Fay Mary Linder passed away March 4, 2016 at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California.  She was hired in 1971 by the United Church Board for World Ministries (today Global Ministries) to teach and coach at Uskudar American Academy for Girls, where she taught until her retirement in 1992. Ms. Linder also worked at the Uskudar school at various times as registrar, college counselor, director of activities, boarding supervisor, and vice-principal.  Under Ms. Linder’s leadership the Uskudar school contributed to the start of a Special Olympics program in Turkey.  Ms. Linder also authored a history of Uskudar American Academy for Girls, supported by the Uskudar graduates association.

SOUTHERN ASIA OFFICE

Deenabandhu Manchala, Area Executive

Introduction

In January 2016, in the Indian city of Hyderabad, Rohit Vemula, a Ph.D. student in the Central University hanged himself, blaming his birth as a “fatal accident.”  Rohith belonged to the Dalit community which bears the brunt of discrimination and exclusion legitimized by India’s caste system. According to the National Human Rights Commission, a crime is committed against a Dalit every 18 minutes, every day three Dalit women are raped, two are murdered, and two houses burnt. Caste-based discrimination is the most shameful reality practiced in India, and also in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Women are the worst victims as they face the triple oppression on account of caste, patriarchy and poverty. Along with Dalits, there are also tribals (Indigenous Peoples), and religious and linguistic minorities who are constantly disempowered and marginalized by these cultures of domination and discrimination. The region is also gripped by the resurgence of rightwing religious forces, often incapacitating the state to protect these vulnerable communities. Social justice, therefore, remains an important missional challenge for the churches in the region.

Human Trafficking and Migration

Nayanti Sarkar, a 17 year old young woman of Betahar in South Dinajpur district of West Bengal, India went missing from her home on April 17, 2013.  Nayanti was lured by her aunt, a distant relative, to go shopping and the next day she found herself sold to a brothel. After a few days of search, staff of the Anti-Human Trafficking project of the Diocese of Durgapur of the Church of North India was able to locate and rescue her with the help of local police. A day later Nayanti identified the man involved who was then arrested and admitted that he had been marrying and supplying young women to the brothels in nearby cities. Nayanti, along with a dozen others like her, continues to receive the support and encouragement of the AHT team to rebuild her life. Trafficking of young girls and boys has become commonplace in many parts of the world; and especially in Southern Asia. Structurally embedded injustice, cultural legitimizations of inequalities and human suffering, the wide disparities between the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural, and the literate and the illiterate on the one hand, and the pathological obsession of many governments for economic growth, make many lives exposed to be abused and discarded as if they were mere things.

For decades, the region has been known for the rapid movement of its people within and across regions in search of livelihood. Most of them are forced to migrate. Extractive industries and injudicious mechanization of agriculture during the past two decades have been driving people out of their traditional homelands to search for employment and livelihood in already overcrowded cities. Hundreds and thousands of families and impoverished children living on pavements, under bridges and trees are a common sight in many Asian cities. These children are constantly exposed to traffickers.  In partnership with the Churches Witnessing with the Migrants, the Area Desk was involved in organizing the Fourth International Consultation in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2016. The objectives were to provide a space for the grassroots migrants to articulate their needs, concerns and advocacies, and to identify strategies and practical action for international, regional and national campaigns and to unify on themes and issues for common action and accompaniment. It also facilitated a one day special session on Responses to Human Trafficking. The Asia Pacific Forum will follow up on the recommendations of this event. We hope that this meeting will help us to strategize on collective actions that would make an impact in Asia as well as in North America.

India

The Student Christian Movement in India, a partner of the Global Ministries, has initiated a forum called “Christian Collective for Justice” with a view to bring together churches and Christian organizations to join the struggles for social justice. The Christian Collective for Justice hopes to expand further to enable the churches to recognize the moral and spiritual imperative of justice as well as to be an instrument that moves initiatives into concrete action.

Global Ministries is now in partnership with AHT Programme in the Diocese of Durgapur of Church of North India for three years (2016-2018). This project operates in the north and south Dinajpur districts of West Bengal that border with Bangladesh and the state of Bihar. It will focus on awareness education, livelihood support, health and hygiene, and use of information technology, besides offering training for other churches and dioceses. Supporting initiatives that prevent Human Trafficking, assisting victims, and advocating for effective deterrence are the major concerns of the Southern Asia desk. In addition to similar partnerships in India and Laos, we are exploring partnerships in Cambodia.

Sri Lanka/East Timor/Indonesia

In the upcountry tea estates in Sri Lanka, and in the remote parts of East Timor too, the Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM) and the Protestant Church in East Timor (IPTL) are involved in protecting and also providing opportunities for children who are exposed to child labor, traffickers or early marriages. In Sumba, in Indonesia, the Protestant Church of Sumba (GKS) with the Week of Compassion funds, is renewing its efforts on sustainable agriculture with a view to help small farmers to find livelihood without having to migrate or send their children away to other islands in search of livelihood.

The leaders of the Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM) in Sri Lanka were able to heal their divisions and elect a new panel of officers at their Bi-annual convention in June 2016. The new leadership has been very active not only in streamlining their administration but also in planning to develop their ministries and mission activities. They organized a grand celebration of the 200th anniversary of the American Ceylon Mission in Jaffna in October 2016.

The Protestant Church in East Timor (IPTL), a partner church of the GM, continues to be vulnerable on account of a number of reasons, the most important of which is that it is the only protestant church in a predominantly catholic country. IPTL is a small and frail church with challenging ministries.  The presence of Tom and Monica Liddle, mission personnel, should help in activating and strengthening their ministries and training pastors.

Laos

Efforts to train the leadership and staff of the Dongsavath Child and Youth Development Centre, Vientiane, Laos in organizational management, program development and financial accountability continue. Through this intervention, the staff team of Dongsavath are learning new skills and developing new plans to expand, grow and become effective in addressing issues of child protection in Laos and the Mekong region.

 

MISSION PERSONNEL
Catherine Nichols, Executive
Lorna Hernandez, Coordinator, People-to-People Program

Mission Personnel

As a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world, the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries participates in a ministry which attempts to break the divide among God’s people by partnering with churches and church-related organizations in the sending and receiving of missionaries.  The exchange of people and their gifts unites people across geographical, racial, gender, and economic barriers.  Other important aspects of this ministry include the presence of missionaries in congregations, allowing congregations to share the vital ministries of the partner churches and our people to people pilgrimages, which offer individuals and congregations opportunities to cross boundaries and share the love of God as they receive the love of God from those they encounter.

Through the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, missionaries are participating in ministries of critical presence around the world.  They are engaged in a variety of ministries including theological education, leadership development, community and development work, human rights, health ministries, children’s ministries, and pastoral ministries.

A total of 112 missionaries served in 44 countries in 2016, which included 34 fully-supported missionaries, 15 global mission interns, 23 long-term volunteers, and 40 associates.  In addition, 21 individuals served as short-term volunteers.

Nineteen persons were appointed to church and/or church-related institutions around the world, including 5 re-appointees.  Terms varied from fully-supported to long-term volunteer staff.   This distribution by area of total appointments was Africa 4; East Asia and the Pacific 1; Europe 0; Latin America and the Caribbean 5; Middle East 4; Southern Asia 5.

Six new fully-supported missionaries were appointed in 2016:  Maria and Laurence (Nishan) Bakalian, Lebanon; Bosela Eale, Kenya; and, Ricardo Mayol, Guatemala. Two of these fully supported missionaries were appointed through the personalized funding model:  Monica and Tom Liddle, East Timor.

Five new global mission interns were supported by Week of Compassion funds.  They are:  Cara McKinney, Ecuador; William O’Brien, Egypt; Stewart Barker, Swaziland; Toni Reynolds, Dominican Republic; and, Nia Sullivan, South Africa.  Three new long-term volunteers (one year and longer) were appointed in 2016:  Leah Dewey, Thailand; Bethany Waggoner, Lebanon; and Brigitte Eale, Kenya.

There were 21 short-term volunteers (two weeks to eleven months) appointed in 2016 who served in or will serve in 2017.  A list of names and term dates are available upon request.

The overseas associate category is a recognition normally given to members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ who are serving outside of the United States and Canada with a church, ecumenical institution or project that involves a ministry that is in accordance with the mission principles of the Common Global Ministries Board. There was one new associate appointment in 2016:  Ann Rogers-Brigham, Thailand.

Three individuals completed their service with the Common Global Ministries Board in the category of regular appointees:  Gloria Vicente, Guatemala; and Timothy and Diane Fonderlin, Haiti retired after nineteen years of service.

Eight Global Mission Interns completed their service in 2016:  Nathaniel (Nate) Bailey, Palestine; Henry Brewer-Calvert, Dominican Republic; Bethany Guy, Guadeloupe and Martinique; Lauren Kabat, Chile; Tyler Reeve, Morocco; Sarah Williams, India; Ariel Royer, Lebanon; and Bethany Waggoner, Chile.

Five individuals completed their service as Long-term Volunteers in 2016:  Glenn Herbert, Ecuador; Benjamin Lyvers, India; Santos Par-Vasquez, Guatemala; Sharla Russell, Congo; and Andrew Shearer-Cooper, Lesotho.

Missionary Relationships

From January 1 – December 31, 2016, ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­21 missionaries were involved in a ministry of critical presence through missionary visits and relationship building:   Ariel Royer, Lebanon, (3 months), Lauren Kabat, Chile (3 months), Nate Bailey, Palestine (1 month), Gloria Vicente, Guatemala (1 month), Santos Par Vasquez, Guatemala (1 month), Elena Huegel, Chile, (4 months), Anne Gregory, Thailand, (4 days), Bethany Waggoner, Ecuador, (2 months), Tim Fonderlin, Haiti, (3 months), Diane Fonderlin, Haiti, (3 months), Bethany Guy, Guadeloupe & Martinique, (1 month), Jim Wilson, South Africa, (3 months), Jayanthi Wilson, South Africa, (3 months), Henry Brewer-Calvert, Dominican Republic (2 months), Anil Henry, India, (2 months), and Teresa Henry, India, (2 months) and Kristin Wolf, Thailand (2 days). Additional interpretation was done by long-term volunteers Linda James, Congo, (4 days); Nancy Lott-Henry (2 days); Andrew Shearer Cooper (2 months); and Jeff Wright (6 days).  Throughout the year we had 28 current and former missionaries participate in twenty annual meetings and eight regional assemblies.

Global Ministries hosted four Missionaries in Residence. Nehemias Ayala, Honduras (3 months). Marta Bernadini, Italy (4 months). Two as a part of the Middle East Initiative: Rachel Shomali and Minerva Halteh, both from Palestine. In collaboration with Disciples Peace Fellowship, Rachel and Minerva each attended 7 different camps. They also attended a Mid-Summer Retreat in Indianapolis, NYE, one month of itineration and MissionWorks.

Three Global Mission Interns attended the National Youth Experience in Orlando, FL July 26 – 30, 2016: Tyler Reeve (Morocco), Bethany Waggoner (Ecuador), and Beth Guy (Guadeloupe & Martinique). Rachel Shomali and Minerva Halteh, Missionaries in Residence (Palestine) also attended.

Five missionaries participated in the Mid-West Mission Event in MO: Judy Chan (Hong Kong), Tyler Reeve (Morocco), Beth Guy (Guadeloupe & Martinique), Tim Fonderlin (Haiti), and Diane Fonderlin (Haiti). Rachel Shomali and Minerva Halteh, Missionaries in Residence (Palestine) also participated.

Nine missionaries participated in the 2016 MissionWorks! event in Indianapolis. They were Judy Chan (Hong Kong), Tyler Reeve (Morocco), Tim Fonderlin (Haiti), Diane Fonderlin (Haiti), Elena Huegel (Chile), Jim Wilson (South Africa), Jayanthi Wilson (South Africa), Paul Turner (Congo), and Beth Guy (Guadeloupe & Martinique). Rachel Shomali and Minerva Halteh, Missionaries in Residence (Palestine) also attended.

From January 1 – December 31, 2016, 34 UCC Conferences and 24 Disciples Regions received visits.  (Three point sixty three Conferences/Regions were visited per missionary unit.)  Of those visits, 122 were to UCC Congregations and 133 were to Disciples Congregations.  (Sixteen congregations were visited per missionary unit.)  There were a total of 497 missionary presentations made.  (31 presentations were given per missionary unit with an average of 15 presentations per month of interpretation.)

People-to-People Pilgrimages

The People-to-People Pilgrimage Program assists Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ congregations, regions and conferences with mission pilgrimages to meet and walk in solidarity with our international partners, share their joys, understand their challenges, and experience their unique connection to our wider church. In 2016, the People-to-People office assisted with inquiries, provided educational materials and supported delegations, resulting in 63 mission pilgrimages. The numbers of pilgrimages per area were: 5 to Africa, 6 to the Middle East and Europe, 7 to Southern Asia, 1 to East Asia and the Pacific, and 44 to Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, in 2016 this office has created a new People-to-People advocacy resource, “Now You are Home: What Next?” intended to guide delegations as to how to remain engaged after their pilgrimage. This resource can be ordered through the Global Ministries website.

GLOBAL ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION

Derek Duncan, Program Associate

“Building Bridges” across Denominational Advocacy Work

At the April 2016 Extended Staff Meeting it was decided that Global Ministries would identify four global issues as priorities for its collective advocacy work: Human Trafficking, Refugees and Migration, Climate Change, and Interfaith Relations. To prepare for developing strategic work on these issues, Global Ministries invited to its September 2016 Extended Staff Meeting select colleagues from other ministries in the Disciples and UCC to seek common goals and identify opportunities for collaboration. Called Building Bridges, the consultation was an opportunity to learn more about our respective program work on global issues, to better understand and define the scope and contours of our work on those global issues, and to explore together how to communicate and collaborate better in our work generally, and on the four priority issues specifically.

The Global Advocacy and Education program provides leadership in implementing the Global Ministries strategic direction “Working for Peace with Justice.”  The advocacy program also coordinates with the area offices in relation to regional justice issues that are of concern to our global partners and the communities they serve, and responses are guided by the actions and position of our partners. Opportunities to take action in response to regional or global advocacy concerns include awareness-raising in Global Ministries updates, on the website, and using social media; through supporting letters, statements and solidarity actions by denominational leaders; engaging Disciples members in ecumenical advocacy campaigns and initiatives; and by resourcing board and General Assembly actions.

Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice

The 2016 Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference, held April 15-18, was titled “Lift Every Voice! – Racism, Class & Power.” The 2017 Ecumenical Advocacy Days, entitled “Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: Challenging Racism, Materialism and Militarism,” will be held April 21-24, 2017 and will mark the 50th Anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King’s “Beloved Community” address.

Africa

In coordination with the Africa Office and in support of Congolese partners, the advocacy associate maintained a focus in 2016 on the urgency to hold free and fair presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. President Joseph Kabila’s efforts to delay and then cancel elections scheduled for November 2016 incited demonstrations and incidents of violence throughout the year. Congo Week in 2016 was focused on the U.S. administration maintaining engagement with the DRC and regional players to support the DRC Constitution and democratic process, alongside guaranteeing civil and human rights. At the end of this year there were hopeful signs that an agreement had been reached for President Kabila to leave office and recognize the results of elections now scheduled for late this year.

East Asia and the Pacific

Working with the East Asia and the Pacific Office, the advocacy focus was the implementation of the 2015 Disciples resolution “A Call for Peace, Justice and Reunification in the Korean Peninsula.” In 2016 attention focused on preparing background and advocacy materials focusing on peace and reunification in the peninsula, and supporting a delegation of our Korean partners who toured the US to gather signatures for the Campaign to sign a Korean Peace Treaty in July 2016, on the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice in 1953. Peace and human rights in the Philippines is also priority for Global Ministries’ advocacy. As co-chair of the Philippines Working Group of the Asia-Pacific Forum, the associate hosted a delegation of Lumad survivors of violence in Mindanao for Ecumenical Advocacy Days in April 2016.

Latin American and the Caribbean

There were notable achievements in long-time advocacy efforts in three areas in Latin America and the Caribbean. First, throughout 2016 partners in Puerto Rico engaged Global Ministries in advocacy with the U.S. government to strengthen the U.S. territory’s legal rights to restructure tremendous debt that restricted government and social services and placed the public welfare at risk which resulted in the U.S. Congress in September passing legislation providing for a mechanism for debt relief for Puerto Rico. While the plan includes an undesirable Control Board that undermines Puerto Rico’s self-governance, it nonetheless provides some means to support the island’s economy. In Colombia, the churches played a key role in engaging in a peace process to end the fighting between the U.S.-backed Colombian forces and various popular resistance groups. A historic agreement was signed on September 26, and while not initially ratified by the Colombian people in October 2, the treaty provides the framework for a sustainable peace likely to be approved in the near future. Finally, through years of cold war-era isolation by the U.S., Global Ministries supported efforts to end U.S. sanctions against Cuba and promote rapprochement between the two countries. While increasing religious exchanges with Cuba, Global Ministries will continue to advocate for the U.S. Congress to fully lift the embargo on Cuba.

Middle East and Europe

In Middle East and Europe the advocacy focus was on peace, human rights and demilitarization throughout the region. As the Global Ministries Middle East Initiative entered its second and final year in 2016, advocacy focused on political and material support for Syrian refugees, recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and promotion of the Kairos campaign and facilitation of denominational relations with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel. Global Ministries was part of a core group that planned resources and activities to mark an event called the Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria which focused on promoting peacemaking alternatives to end the war in Syria and encouraging greater U.S. support for Syrian Refugees. An interfaith Prayer Service was held in New York City on September 21, which is the International Day of Peace. The materials were hosted on the Global Ministries website and included five study resources: Shifting to a Just Peace Approach, Nonviolent Resistance in Syria, Unarmed Civilian Protection in Syria, Syria’s Acute and Intergenerational Trauma, and Islamophobia, the United States.

Southern Asia

A focus of advocacy in Southern Asia concerns social, economic or political rights of marginalized groups in the region, including the Dalits or so-called ‘untouchables, indigenous and tribal groups, religious and ethnic minorities, and migrants. For the April 2016 Advocacy Days conference, Global Ministries hosted a workshop. From December 4-14, 2016 Global Ministries staff participated in a conference on Migration and Human Trafficking and made partner visits in Bangladesh and India.

MISSION ENGAGEMENT
Tom Morse, Executive, Division of Overseas Ministries
Marcy Dory, Executive, Wider Church Ministries

Middle East Initiative

The Middle East Initiative concluded in December 2016. The office of Mission Engagement carefully tracked participation throughout the initiative revealing broad use of the materials throughout the life of the church. The Children’s Advent and Vacation Bible School curricula were downloaded by over 1,000 individuals; the 18 Bible Studies created by Global Ministries partners were viewed over 3,000 times along with nearly 30,000 page views for the other resources of the Initiative; and the 21 webinars featuring partners and former mission personnel attracted 1,300 viewers for the live events as well as 2,400 views of the archived events. These resources were heavily promoted in Global Ministries’ communications as well as in other denominational channels. The office of Mission Engagement was encouraged in the significant growth of congregational participation compared to the previous Global Ministries Initiative.

¡Missionworks!

Global Ministries hosted ¡Missionworks! at the Marten House in Indianapolis, Indiana August 26-28, 2016. 123 individuals attended the event along with 24 regional ministers and moderators. The event featured two international partners – Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and Rev. Dr. Johnson Mbillah of the Programme for Christian Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA). Global Ministries was pleased to introduce participants to the critical work of partners, mission personnel, and home-based staff.

Global Ministries Book

Restoring Dignity, Nourishing Hope: Developing Mutuality in Mission was released by Pilgrim Press mid-2016. The chapters relate to Global Ministries’ five core values, and feature contributions from international partners, home-based staff, mission personnel, and individuals who have participated in Global Ministries’ programs. The book has been very well received by regions and congregations, contributing to a broader understanding of Global Ministries’ unique lens of how the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) participates in God’s mission in the world. The first printing sold out in November, and a second printing was released by the end of November.

National Youth Event

The National Youth Event was held in Orlando, Florida July 26-30, 2016. The event was well attended, with thousands of youth from the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Global Ministries had a strong presence at the event through workshops, after hours events, exhibits, special guests, and mission personnel. Global Ministries’ booth focused on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and was effective in encouraging youth to think deeply about the individuals being affected by the ongoing war.

Be a Global Mission Church

The Be a Global Mission Church program continues to grow and the office of Mission Engagement has taken steps to improve the program for participating congregations. This includes the launch of a new monthly newsletter that highlights resources and opportunities for mission committees and a revised Be a Global Mission Church handbook. Efforts have also been made to reach out to perspective congregations and the webpages related to the program were revised to invite additional participation in the program.

GLOBAL MINISTRIES CHILD AND ELDER SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM

Linda Lawrence, Program Manager

The Global Ministries Child and Elder Sponsorship Program works with partners to assist with providing the basic needs and education of impoverished children and destitute elders in their own communities and cultures.  Sponsorship funds supplement partners funding to operate and provide services to their children and elder constituents and programs.  The sponsorship program is a way for Disciples and UCC local churches and church members to provide direct assistance to children and elders.  Sponsored elders are given the opportunity to live out their lives in dignity in an environment where they feel loved and cared for. Children are given an opportunity to receive basic healthcare, meals and to attend school as well as opportunities to participate in programs that will provide them skills to succeed in achieving a better life and an inspiration to achieve more in life.  Donors and program directors over the years have praised the Global Ministries Sponsorship Program as one that serves God’s children when in need. Others state they are thankful to all the sponsors who made things possible for them and they are happy and feel blessed by the partnerships.

The program continues to grow in the number of sponsorships and contributions.  New patterns have emerged to support and sustain the children and elders in the program by faithful constituents.  Sponsorship funds are not always sufficient to fully sustain a program’s operation and in some cases, individual sponsors have gone beyond their sponsorships by supporting mission endeavors of our partner agencies.  The Child Sponsorship Program in cooperation with the Resource Development staff raised more than $40,000 for a new building in a new location for the Dumaguete Kalauman Center for Development in the Philippines.  Kalauman needed to relocate because Silliman University was expanding and needed the space Kalauman occupied.  Along with the Middle East office, unrestricted donations were collected for Rawdat El Zuhur in East Jerusalem during the year.  The contributions were in addition to collected funds to support sponsored children.  We have been asked to participate in a fund raising program for the Family Village Farm in India in 2017.

The Global Ministries Child and Elder Sponsorship program is committed to providing quality service and personal attention to the children, elders and sponsors in this ministry.  Both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ affirm the unity to which we are called to do as part of the whole body of Christ, sharing in God’s one world for everyone.

The following are recognized ministry partners of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) through the Division of Overseas Ministries:

RAMBO COMMITTEE
Steve Minson, President
Rambo Committee, Inc.
1648 River Ridge
Williamsburg, VA  23185-7546

The Rambo Committee, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation that has as its sole purpose the support of the work of Christian Hospital Mungeli, India, including its School of Nursing, the Rambo Memorial English Medium School, and the Springer Community College.  During 2016, this support focused on three areas: seeking additional funds for capital construction to assist the Hospital deliver critically-needed services to the people of Mungeli, administering existing financial awards from United States Agency for International Development, and facilitating the travel to Mungeli of persons interested in its witness.

We are delighted to report significant success in raising funds. In October 2016, the Rambo Committee received preliminary notice of a $600,000 award from the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program (ASHA) of the United States Agency for International Development.  This sum, together with $49,000, from the Rambo Committee, will be used to construct a new dormitory to house 217 nursing students and graduate staff nurses, thereby expanding critically-needed staff and student housing on campus.

Also, over the past year, we have overseen the administration of two prior ASHA awards. In 2014, ASHA awarded the Rambo Committee $600,000 to purchase essential healthcare equipment for Christian Hospital Mungeli, especially for its maternity ward and NICU, and for the construction of a mobile health clinic.  The custom-built mobile health clinic is now complete and bringing critical heath care to people remote villages around Mungeli.  Also, last year, we received a $720,00 ASHA award that, with the Rambo Committee’s $64,000 cost share, is funding construction of a new maternal and child health wing. This new wing will consist of one neo-natal intensive care unit with 25 beds, one maternal ward with 45 beds, two labor rooms that can hold up to six women each, three intensive care units, and six operating rooms, and one classroom for post-delivery education for mothers.  Construction of the new hospital wing is now in progress.

Also, during 2016, through the efforts of the Rambo Committee’s Executive Director, Landa Simmons, more than four dozen people visited Mungeli, each bringing unique talents and perspectives.  Visitors to Mungeli in 2016 included five students from Denison University; one fourth-year medical student from Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine; one graduate of the Harris School of Nursing at Texas Christian University; three students from Butler University; and five students from Eureka University.

 

DISCIPLES AMATEUR RADIO FELLOWSHIP, INC.
John Park Winkler, Jr, President
7201 Astoria Ct., Watuaga, Texas 76148
660.464.2471
Website: www.darfucan.org  Email: johnparkw@gmail.com

The Disciples Amateur Radio Fellowship (DARF) has provided Radio and communications equipment for overseas mission work since Jim Sugioka convened the organizational meeting at the International Convention in St. Louis in 1958.

In 2015, The installation of a fourth generation of HF communications equipment was completed in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), consisting of 26 solar powered HF Stations. A team from DARF traveled in 2010 to the DRC to conduct a seminar for church leaders on the process of installing the stations. During his 2016 visit to the United States, DARF leadership met with the Reverend Iliki Bonanga, President and Legal Representative of the Disciples Community of the Church of Christ in Congo (CDCC). The CDCC is requesting 10 additional HF stations for the 10 new Supervisory Posts that are being established as part of their evangelistic goal of having one million members by the end of the decade. DARF is exploring ways to enable those additional stations.

Over the years, equipment has been provided in Paraguay, the Philippines, Lesotho, DRC, and Guatemala.

DARF has regular daily and weekly communications among its membership using networks on the 20 and 75 meter Amateur radio bands and using Skype.

John Park Winkler, Jr, (W5JPW) President
7201 Astoria Ct, Watauga, TX 76148
(660)464-271

Dan Owen (W5AHC), Vice President
9004 Bancroft Trail
Austin, TX 78729
(512) 263-7788

John Dale (N0FYE), Treasurer
6110 Leighton Ave
Lincoln, NE 68507
(402) 467-1085

Fred H Erickson, (WD9IXA), Editor, The Mission-aire
1550 Fernwood Dr
Hallsville, MD 65255
(573) 696-3715

_______________________________

The General Board has reviewed GA-1710 from Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries. The report is submitted to the General Assembly for presentation and discussion. No action is required. (Discussion time: 12 minutes)