UK Orthodox and Pentecostal leaders in solidarity with The Persecuted Church (Press Statement 30 November 2017 For Immediate Release)

 

 

Leaders of Britain’s Eastern and Oriental Orthodox and Pentecostal churches meeting at The Raynors, Harrow, Middlesex on Monday 27 November 2017 reaffirmed their commitment to stand in solidarity with Christians suffering persecution, including martyrdom, in our world.

 

Stories of atrocities and suffering met by love and non-retaliation, of tragedies met by deep spiritual resolve were shared concerning the Middle East, Asia, Africa and elsewhere. In response the leaders encouraged Christians everywhere to:

 

Prayer

Generosity

Advocacy

Keeping the matter of The Persecuted Church alive

Speaking after the meeting the three conveyors, Bishop Angaelos, Pastor Agu Iruwku and The Rt Revd Maxim Nikolsky responded:

 

‘The second meeting of our Orthodox-Pentecostal Forum was a good opportunity to discuss our relationships here in Britain and how they can impact our surrounding communities. It was also a time to share news and experiences of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world and see how we can best collaborate to support them’ (Bishop Angaelos, CTE President for Orthodox churches)

 

Pastor Agu Irukwu, CTE President for Pentecostal churches said, ‘This was certainly a historic meeting as representatives of the leaders of the Orthodox and Pentecostal churches in the UK came together. Amongst other things, we deliberated on The Persecuted Church and the role we should play in praying and speaking up for them. We also discussed ways of supporting churches and organisations that are actively working with our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for their faith around the world. We committed to ensuring that this message of solidarity is communicated throughout the churches that we represent and that we can all work together to be there for our brothers and sisters who are suffering simply for loving the Jesus we love’

 

The Rt Revd Nikolski said, ‘The second meeting of its kind today between Orthodox and Pentecostal churches in which we shared common concern and pain regarding the oppression and persecution of Christians throughout the world. The killing, torture and exile of thousands of believers in Our Lord Jesus Christ stirred the meeting to consider what action, as well as prayer, the we should take. We all must take on the responsibility of helping victims of this tragedy and do all we can to prevent further persecution.’

 

Orthodox and Pentecostals will continue to raise awareness and encourage action throughout the churches and beyond, and to continue to meet jointly in the years to come.

 

End…

Notes:

 

 

 

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Pastor Agu Irukwu becomes new Churches Together in England Pentecostal President(Press Statement 30 October 2017 For Immediate Release)

Pentecostal members of Churches Together in England have elected Pastor Agu Irukwu as the next Pentecostal President.  A law graduate of the University of Warwick, a barrister and former investment banker, Pastor Agu is national leader of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in the UK, and Senior Pastor of Jesus House, London. Pastor Agu becomes only the second person to serve in this position following Bishop Eric Brown who was first elected Pentecostal President in 2013.

CTE Presidents provide spiritual leadership to the national ecumenical movement that facilitates closer working together by the churches in England.  The Pentecostal President is part of a six-member presidium representing the breadth of English Christianity, these are: Bishop Angaelos, the Revd Canon Billy Kennedy, the Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Justin Welby.

In welcoming the new President, the Revd Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of CTE said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Pastor Agu as our Pentecostal President and look forward to working with him to build on the foundations so ably laid by our first Pentecostal President, Bishop Eric Brown. ‘

The new Pentecostal President signed a joint covenant at a meeting of CTE presidents and national church leaders on 24 October 2017 at Lambeth Palace.  The covenant commits the presidents to ‘pray to God to lead us, with all our sisters and brothers in Christ, towards communion in faith, life and witness; so that, united in one body by the one Spirit, we may together witness to the perfect unity of his love’.

Commenting on his appointment Pastor Agu said, ‘I consider it an honour and a privilege to serve as one of the six presidents of Churches Together in England.  As the Pentecostal President, I have tremendous regard for the five other presidents most of them I know personally and are people whose ministries and lives I have admired. I am hoping that I can bring whatever graces God has given to me to bear as we serve the church in what I consider exciting times. Exciting because in spite of negative news that all abounds, I see tremendous opportunity for the church. I am believing that as we serve we will play our part in bringing to pass the revival that we so earnestly desire for this nation’.

The Pentecostal President’s term will run from October 2017 to September 2021.

End…

 

Notes:

 

  1. Press enquiries: Dr Joe Aldred 07775 632288 or joe.aldred@cte.org.uk
  2. Churches Together in England is established by the 45 national member churches to facilitate and encourage collaboration in mission and unity.
  3. The Presidents of Churches Together in England provide spiritual leadership for the churches together movement in England
  4. For further information about Pastor Agu Irukwu: click here
  5. For further information about CTE: click here

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African Initiated Churches (AIC): The History of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement

The history of the cherubim and Seraphim church starts with the remarkable story of its founder, Mose Orimolade Tunolase. The pregnancy, birth and growth of Mose Orimolade is all shrouded in African mythology and cosmology that will sound like fairytale and made up stories to the educated minds. For example, it is recorded on one occasion that while his mother Odijoroto was pregnant with him, he spoke from the womb in order to assist his mother with some domestic chores. Another story goes that the day he was born he decided to walk and was cursed by his embarrassed father Tunolase who was an Ifa priest. These stories and many more have circulated among the C&S faithfuls since the period of Orimolade until now, this is because these stories were traditions handed down from one generation to another. This reflects one of the processes of African historiography, whereby history is in the form of oral tradition. Whether one subscribes to these stories as my Mother does, one thing is clear from the conception and birth of Orimolade in south-western Nigeria in 1879 (a date supposedly ascribed as his birth date as there were no birth registers in those days) and that is that he was sent for a special purpose. His father as explained before, was an Ifa Priest, and had consulted the Ifa Oracle in order to understand the destiny of his son and have been told twice that his son was very special and was sent to serve God.

Calling into Independent Ministry

Orimolade as a result of his father’s curse grew up as a cripple therefore this hindered his formal education considerably. Orimolade had contacts with the only local Anglican Church in his home town of Ikare and was even involved in leading the church choir as he had a lovely voice. Through this involvement with the Anglican Church he began memorising Bible passages and started having various encounters with God. It seems Orimolade must have become a Christian around this period or earlier in his life as this is regarded as his first contact with the Church.

He later felt called by God into the ministry but the Christians in Ikare were not willing to work with him instead they ridiculed him because of his disability. Orimolade frustrated by his physical limitations and ridicule sought the face of God in the place of prayer. One night as he was praying, an Angel appeared to him in a dream and gave him three objects: a rod, a royal insignia and a crown. The rod symbolising victory, the insignia power of prayer and speaking and the crown respect. He woke up confirmed that he was called to preach the Gospel. This dream formally marked his commissioning into ministry as he started preaching the Gospel. An incident occurred in which he helped plead the case of the Christians in Ikare against Police persecution and imprisonment this made the Christians in Ikare to respect him and willing to work with him. Orimolade started preaching the Gospel from street to street as an itinerant preacher. One thing that really impresses his audience was his ability to quote lots of scriptural passages despite his lack of education. Shortly after this burst of ministry it appears that Orimolade was taken ill for about seven years and was in confinement for those periods. A different tradition has it that it was ten years of solitary confinement due to Orimolade seeking God and experiencing the miraculous as angels appeared to him.

The illness was so severe that his people abandoned him to die, but he was assured in a dream that he would recover from the illness if only he would take water from a nearby stream. He obeyed and began to recover steadily, though he remained lame for the rest of his life needing a staff for support. This tradition is more popular than the latter one and it seemed probable in the light of incidences at his birth that Orimolade actually suffered from an illness for a long period of his life. In addition, it must have been during this long illness that he was prepared for his evangelistic ministry through prayers, fasting and visions and dreams. Three important practices emerged from this experience which has come to define the Cherubim and Seraphim church. They are: prayer and fasting, use of holy water from the stream and emphasis on dreams and visions.

Now that Orimolade was well prepared for ministry he started travelling around the country and went as far as the north.  From around 1916 to 1924, when Orimolade settled in Lagos, he travelled about preaching the Gospel everywhere he went. He went to a town called Irun, noted for his witchcraft activities here Orimolade confronted witchcraft practices and pulled down the image of their local divinity. From this town he journeyed to neighbouring villages such as Akungba, Oka, Akoko-Edo, Ikiran and Ibillo Townships.

He went to Benin where he condemned the practice of human sacrifice arguing that human beings were created in God’s image. This sermon led to many Traditionalists submitting their idols, charms and emblems for burning. Orimolade earned the name Alhaji Yisa (Yisa is the Islamic rendition of Jesus while Alhaji is for someone who has done the hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca) during his travels

History of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Nigeria

 

Throughout his missionary journeys and itinerant ministry, Orimolade worked with CMS and other church denominations. His intentions initially was not to start a church but to continue his missionary work, however, while he settled in Lagos in 1924 lodging at one of the CMS churches and later with one of the African Churches (United Native African Church), an incident occurred that led to the formation of the Cherubim and Seraphim church.

 

In June1925, after a year of itinerant ministry in Lagos, an incident that would change the direction of Orimolade’s freelance ministry occurred. On 18th of June 1925, a teenage girl by the name Christianah Aboidun Akinsowon went with some of her friends to the Campus Square to witness that year’s Catholic Corpus Christi procession. While they were witnessing the event, Aboidun claimed to have seen a strange spectacle: an angel of the Lord was under the canopy of Corpus Christi. As a result of this vision, she became feverish and was rushed home. She fell into a trance which lasted many days. Rev. T.A.J. Ogunbiyi, vicar of St Paul’s Breadfruit in Lagos (CMS church) and Abiodun’s minister was called upon to pray for Abiodun’s recovery but nothing happened He explained to them that she was hallucinating. Abiodun came back to herself after seven days of trance. When she came around, she recounted her mysterious experience of how an angel gave her a guided tour of the Celestial city. By this time there was a steady gathering of people at Abiodun’s home.  While she was in trance her guardian on the recommendations of people sent for Orimolade who refused to come as a result of heavy downpour of rain. He was sent for the third time and this time around he honoured their invitation. Orimolade prayed and read the Scriptures to Abiodun after which the whole gathering sang some hymns. As more people gathered to listen to Abiodun’s vision the more the house was getting crowded, therefore, Abiodun’s guardians suggested that Orimolade should take Abiodun to his new residence in Ago-Isofin in Lagos. Many more people kept gathering each day for healing, testimonies and prayers. This eventually led to a regular prayer meeting at Orimolade’s residence. As the prayer group was progressing, Orimolade declared three days of prayer and fasting so that God would reveal the name which the prayer group would be called. On the 9th of September after the three days of prayer and fasting a woman who was a member of the group declared that she saw two letters, SE, written in fire up in the sky. One of the African Church members who now follow Orimolade explained that the two letters were the beginning of the word Serafu (Seraph). The group agreed with what Rev. Barber said and adopted the name Egbe Serafu (The Seraphim Society). Later another  woman mentioned that it has been revealed to her that it is wrong to separate the twin angels: Kerubu and Serafu (Cherubim and Seraphim); therefore Kerubu was added to the name and the church became Cherubim and Seraphim Society (C&S hereafter).

Few weeks later the Society in following with Jewish customs in the Old Testament and African Traditional Religion, decided to covenant the relationship between their Society and the celestial figures by electing Archangel Michael as its Patron and Angel Gabriel as its Deputy-Patron. This election stemmed from an understanding that the Society which had always existed in heaven before it was inaugurated in Lagos was a gift from God through the Holy Spirit. Another basic practice of the church around this period was the wearing of white gowns commanded by Orimolade who believed that Angels were robed in white garments. The Society’s belief that they were a unique gift from God motivated them to engage in evangelistic activities so that by 1928, C&S churches were established in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Ibadan towns. They spread rapidly like a wildfire in the south-western part of the country.

In less than four years after its inception, the church started to experience conflicts which led to different schisms of the C&S church movement. The first of such splits occurred between Orimolade and Abiodun in 1929. To make matters worse a youth group of the church called valiant twelve sided with Abiodun, encouraging her that she was more popular than Orimolade. All attempts to reconcile the two groups were futile and this led to the two groups adopting different names. Orimolade’s group adopted the name The Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Society while Abiodun’s group were designated as The Cherubim and Seraphim Society. As Orimolade was recovering from this schism another one occurred in 1930 between him and the praying band of his church. The praying band led by Ezekiel Davies rejected the leadership of Orimolade and decided to constitute themselves separately from Orimolade. Orimolade took the case to court but it was to no avail. The praying band became The Praying Band of the C&S church. As these developments were happening, the leaders of the C&S churches in the western part of the country pleaded with the different groups to end the divisions. Nobody took notice of their appeal and this led to them registering as a separate organisation called, The Western Conference of the C&S Nigeria under the leadership of Christianah Olatunrinle who became the first General Superintendent of this church. It was this prophetess who influenced the movement in a Classic Pentecostal direction as she was influenced by members of The Apostolic Church.

In 1932, Major A.B. Lawrence, one of the leaders of the Praying Band Church declared that he has received a vision in which he was instructed to start his own church. This led to the Holy Flock of Christ Church. In 1933 while all these schisms and many more where happening Orimolade died on 19th of October 1933 in Ojokoro Lagos. He died a celibate having decided not to marry devoting his time to prayer and seeking God. His death was not based on any sickness or illness it was a natural death. His death without any children however led to the question of who will succeed the Baba Aladura? A week before his death Orimolade had blessed and named one Abraham Onanuga an elderly and knowledgeable man but late convert as his successor. However, majority of the elders felt Peter Omojola, Orimolade’s senior brother was a more likely candidate. This yet led to another schism as a party who felt Onanuga was not qualified to be the leader encouraged Omojola to start his own church. He did and this led to the inauguration of Eternal Sacred Order of the C&S on Hotonu Street, while Onanuga led the Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Society, Mount Zion Ibadan Street. C&S Church movement continues today in Nigeria, other African countries, Europe and the United States, but the schisms that weakened the church in its formative years has continued down the years till today. One commentator has noted that there is probably no sect in Christendom that has suffered so much splintering as this movement.

Attempts have been made to unite the different factions of the movement. Abiodun made an unsuccessful attempt in 1935 after Orimolade’s death. Another attempt was made in 1965 to unite all the C&S groups; this effort was successful to some extent as the C&S churches were united under the umbrella of National Council of Cherubim and Seraphim. Dr G.I.M. Otubu (Dr Otubu became the representative of Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC) Nigeria on the OAIC International executive committee in 1993. He later became the international chairman of OAIC in 1997), the leader of the movement in 1996 managed to rally together fifty two of the fifty six C&S groups, but divisions have resurfaced again, however the church continues to be influential in Nigeria and outside Nigeria today. Cherubim and Seraphim church was one of the earliest AICs to be planted in Europe. The first Cherubim and Seraphim church in Europe was planted in London in 1965.

 

To read more about the history of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement  please see my book 20 Pentecostal Pioneers in Nigeria.

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African British Theology: A New Book, An emerging Field of Study!

A new book published by Langham Partnership (Langham Monographs) is set to be released in September. The book titled, African Voices: Towards African British Theologies sets out a new field of study known as African British Theologies. The book argues and articulates that the significant presence of African Christianity in Britain and the theologising of African Theologians in the British context is paving the way for this emerging field of study. It is African Theology because of the presence of African Christianity, but it is also British because the new context, Britain demands that African Christians contextualise the gospel for the multicultural British society.  One of the uniqueness of this book is that all the twelve contributors are African pastors-scholars all engaged in ministry and theological scholarship in Britain. The book is divided into three sections, Missiology, Constructive Theology and Practical Theology. Under each discipline are emergent theologies such as Reverse Missiology, Sacred use and spaces by African Churches, African Pneumatology, African Christology, Prosperity Gospel, Intercultural Ecumenism, Black Womanist Theology, Second-generation Africans and African church growth and spirituality.

Here is what some scholars have to say about the book

Olofinjana’s edited volume pushes the scholarship on African theology forward in new and exciting directions. While much research to date has focused on theology in the context of the African continent, Olofinjana argues that diasporic African identity – especially in the United Kingdom, his own area of particular focus – needs to be taken more seriously in its own right as a distinctive milieu of theological reflection. The other key area of innovation is the volume’s focus on the intellectual production that is being pioneered by members of African diasporic churches themselves; this, then, is theology deeply engaged with practice and diasporic identity. In this rich and multi-faceted volume, Olofinjana and his eleven contributors explore important themes such as reverse mission, emergent theologies, and the remaking of sacred space in the diaspora.

Dr Joel Cabrita, Lecturer in World Christianities, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

The emergence of sub-Saharan Africa as a major theatre of Christian faith was one of the most striking developments of the twentieth century. The migration to the West of large numbers of African Christians has the potential for hugely important developments within Western Christianity in the twenty-first. This book is full of insights into both these factors, and provides food for thought in plenty.

Andrew F Walls, University of Edinburgh, Liverpool Hope University and Akrofi-Christaller Institute, Ghana

This is a lively, very insightful and much needed compendium of intensive research in the field of theology, done by African Christians. All the twelve presentations in this book represent the efforts at calling our attention to the need to give ample currency to the development of African Theology outside the continent of Africa.

In sum, this volume succeeds in capturing an initiative to provide an opportunity for African scholars to share their unique perspectives and insights on African brand of theology.  This initiative allows for deeper understanding and appreciation of the extensiveness of research being done by African Christians in the field of theology. This includes but not limited to, Missiology, Practical Theology, Biblical Studies and Systematic Theology.

Israel Olofinjana is to be commended for his ability to assemble such a wide spectrum of material which addresses several fundamental issues under three main premises: Missiological Themes: Reverse Mission; Migration and Contested Spaces; Contextual Constructive Theology: Charting Emergent Theologies and Transformative Theology: African Practical Theologies

I warmly commend this book edited by Israel Olofinjana for personal insight and corporate enlightenment. It is valuable to all serving clergy and lay leaders at all levels of the church hierarchy and irrespective of denomination.

Professor Deji Isaac Ayegboyin, Head of Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Past President of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso.

 

 

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Multi-ethnic Congregations: A Flavour of World Christianity in Britain

As conversations on World Christianity continues with the growth of churches in Africa, Latin America, South Korea, China and South Asia, and as Majority World Christians continue to send missionaries to the Western world, it is important to look at multi-ethnic churches in Britain and consider their significance for World Christianity.

Take for example the church I pastor in Woolwich in the Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) in south-east London. Our church have about 17 different nationalities representation drawn from African countries, the Caribbean, white British, black British and so on. We have people from Nigeria, Cameroun, USA, Jamaica, Ghana, Trinidad, Barbados, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Martinique, Congo, Brazil, Vietnam, Seirra Leone, Lebanon, Austria, Ireland, Italy, England, India and Germany. We also have different generations such as first generation Africans and Caribbean and second generation Africans and Caribbean.  In addition people speak different languages such as Yoruba, French, German, Lingala, Igbo, Pidgeon English, Shona, Twi, Fante, Ga, Vietnamese, Hindi, Patio and Portugese

These diversity has allowed me to have a taste of World Chrsitianity. For example, I have presided over a Ghanaian naming ceremy and learnt the deep meaning of Ghanaian names. I have also presided over Nigerian naming ceremonies. This has been done either at people’s homes (the traditional Yoruba way of doing namng ceremony) or at church service. About two weeks ago we had in the same service a Ghanaian naming ceremony and a couple from Congo dedicating their daughter. The name of the Congolese couple’s daughter was Qiyana, a Zulu name meaning the smart one. The names of people at our church reflects World Christianity, here are few examples, Superior, Neelkarma, Huong, Asante, Adeola, Aurille, Angelo, Clement, Akko and so on. I have also visited an Indian family and enjoy a home made curry and Indian tea while having discussions on Christian spirituality.  I have spent time listening to the stories and testimonies of Christians from around the world. This process of listening and praying with people has enriched my own faith and understanding.

Our congregtaion is one of many multi-ethnic churches in Britain and while scholarly attention is on currents and developments of African Christianity, South Korean Christanity or Latin American Christianity, important as they are, it seems to me that multi-ethnic congregations are certainly a place to also study World Christianity. There is the need to look at multi-ethnic congregtaions not just as place to understand multicultural churches, but also as a place to study World Christianity. These congregations often have rich theological significance for our learning and understanding of World Christianity. This is not of course an arm-chair approach to the study of World Christianity as it is still imperative to travel to Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to understand these Christianities, however studying mulit-ethnic congregations in Britain gives us a window and a flavour of World Christianity in a locality.

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Reverse Missiology: An Introduction

So what is reverse mission?

If you live in an urban part of the UK, you have probably noticed the many African, Latin American, Caribbean and Asian churches and Christians in Britain. Perhaps you’ve wondered why all these people are coming and starting churches in the UK?

One popular phrase used to describe this activity is ‘reverse mission’, but what is reverse mission, and why is it a controversial term?

Reverse mission starts with a deep sense of gratitude from those who have benefitted from historical European mission activity, either in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America or Asia. It is this sense of gratitude, combined with the understanding that Europe also has need of missionaries, that has led to missionaries being sent to the UK from across the majority world (that is, Africa, Caribbean, Asia and Latin America).

Some are sent intentionally from churches or mission agencies across these continents to be missionaries to the UK. But do people from these places who are referred to as economic migrants or, refugees, or those who’ve come to study here, also count as reverse missionaries?  Yes, some of them do, because while they may have come to the UK as a refugee for example, they may at the same time have the sense that God is calling them to do mission in the UK.

One example is Pastor Girma Bishaw, who came from Ethiopia to the UK in the 1990s as a refugee, but is now engaged in mission, including organising local community festivals. Pastor Girma deeply appreciates how the UK has supported his family, and therefore loves the UK and wants to help build a multicultural Church and society here.

Another example is Pastor Kingsley Appaigyei, who came from Ghana in the 1980s to study theology, but realised after finishing his studies that God was calling him to the UK. Pastor Kingsley now leads one of the largest Baptist churches in the country, Trinity Baptist Church, and has planted many branches across London and Europe.

What are the controversies around reverse mission?

Some people have a problem with the term reverse mission, because if our understanding of God’s mission is that any Christian anywhere can be involved in mission, does the direction of mission really matter? Others think reverse mission is not really happening, because they say a Nigerian pastor leading a ‘Nigerian church’ in the UK is not engaging in reverse mission.

There are also those who think Britain does not need missionaries, as we are the ones who send missionaries to other people, not the other way round! At times there can be an unhelpful assumption that someone from a majority world country is not qualified or equipped to help British people in mission.

It is true that our understanding of God’s mission is that any Christian anywhere can participate in God’s mission – whether it’s in the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, or someone called to be an overseas missionary in India. But reverse mission does not contradict this – it is just one expression of God’s mission, without claiming to be the sum-total.

What reverse missionaries are simply saying is “we who used to receive before now feel we are matured enough to give”. And surely this is a good thing!

It is also true that there are Nigerian pastors leading ‘Nigerian churches’ in the UK, or Brazilian pastors leading ‘Brazilian churches’ (although many of these churches are in fact multicultural, with people from different tribes and nations attending, possibly from the same continent).

But what is often missing in these conversations are other examples, where a Nigerian pastor is leading a multicultural or white majority church (that is a church full of mostly white people). To illustrate, Pastor Andrew Junaid leads Brook Lane Community Church, a white majority church in south east London, Pastor Tani Omideyi leads a multicultural church Temple of Praise in Liverpool, which has many local Liverpudlian members and Rev Woyin Karowei Dorgu is the Anglican Bishop of Woolwich . And I’ve personally had the opportunity to lead both multicultural churches and a white majority church.

There are also Christians from the majority world working in Christian agencies and institutions founded by western Christians. Dotha Blackwood trains ministers at Spurgeon’s College, Hirpo Kumbi teaches reverse mission at For Mission College in Leeds, while Joel Edwards advocates for the poor and marginalised at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Are reverse missionaries welcome in Britain?

The idea that Britain does not need missionaries is ridiculous really, because the need is obvious! We only have to look at how many people are not Christians, and the number of churches who’ve declined in the last 40 years, and how our values as a society have changed. Besides, if Britain is a multicultural multi-ethnic society, then it’s important that the Church that’s reaching that society is also multicultural and multi-ethnic.

There are UK churches that have invited and welcomed reverse missionaries. While I’ve personally been welcomed, I am also aware that there are cases where reverse missionaries have not been accepted or valued.

There are ongoing conversations to better understand reverse missionaries. The Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World, which I run with five friends from across the majority world, was started to help facilitate such conversations, so that we can all work together for God’s kingdom. After all, we all need each other!

This article was first written for the Great Commission website of the Evangelical Alliance

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Brexit is triggered! What is God saying about Migration?

Today Marks a significant day in the life of the nation as our Prime Minister, Teresa May triggered the important Article 50! What this means is that our exit/Brexit from the European Union (EU) is now certain and there is no turning back. We now have to wait and work out how this affects the status of EU workers, students, diplomats and citizens in the United Kingdom. Added to this scenario is Nicola Sturgeon’s relentless effort to lead Scotland in a Second Referendum. One question Brexit definitely raises is our view on migration and migrants. For us Christians, the question should be what has the Bible has to say about migration and what do we as Christians think of migrants? Should our opinion on this important subject be shaped and dictated by public opinion or has the Bible has something to teach us?

I have been working on a resource with other colleagues (Rev Dr Steve Finamore, principal of Bristol Baptist College and Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts, Racial Justice enabler of the Baptist Union of Great Britain) titled, Moving Stories: The Bible and Migration (A Series of Bible Study Reflections). The resource has contributors from the Majority World (Caribbean, South Asian, Central Asian, African) bringing their own perspective on the subject of migration. Topics covered includes, Reverse Mission, Economic Migration, Syrian refugees, Uncompanied minors in Calais, France, Migration and Persecution, Migration and Land, the trans-atlantic slave trade and Diaspora theologies. This resource is designed to be used in Bible study groups, house groups, cell groups or any other groups interested in discussing what the Bible has to say about migration. At the end of each study are questions to aid discussions and reflections.

To read or use these free resource please follow this link to download Bible and Migration

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