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Connecting Everywhere, Every Day

ONE YEAR UNTIL A GREAT BLESSING

This is an invitation to a great blessing.

One year from now, January 12-15, 2017, you have a chance to experience a life-changing few days. On those dates, World Convention will have its Global Gathering in New Delhi, India. You are invited!

How will you be blessed?

  • By worshipping together with thousands of Christians from all over the world, praising God together in dozens of languages.
  • By hearing the good news of Jesus proclaimed by speakers from every continent, focusing on the theme, “God Tears Down Walls to Build Bridges.”
  • By participating in programs for children, youth, or those of Global Women Connecting.
  • By listening to the moving testimony of dozens of Christians who have been faithful to Jesus under trials and persecutions.
  • By receiving reports of what God is doing in our churches on every continent.
  • By eating with Christians from other nations, sharing your stories of faith.
  • By experiencing the people and places of India through tours or mission trips.
  • By gaining a wider view of God’s kingdom work in our world.
  • By having a foretaste of the day when an uncountable number from every nation, tribe, and language gather around the throne of God in praise.

You have a year to get ready for the experience of a lifetime! Watch our website, worldconvention.org/gatherings/global-gathering-19-india/, for upcoming information on registration, hotels, and tours.

You will be blessed and be a blessing!

 

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From England to India, Praying it Forward 2017

For the last few months we have focused on ministries in India. This month’s focus is on some who plan to attend our Global Gathering in India in 2017.

I was blessed to be part of the Conference of the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Great Britain and Ireland, held in Bournville, England on October 17. The Fellowship Churches began 35 years ago with twenty-four small congregations. They have been intentional about being missional–emphasizing church planting and community engagement. Their college, now called ForMission College, is led by Martin Robinson and focuses on church planting skills. As a result of this missional focus, there are now about 50 churches in the fellowship.

The Conference itself provided opportunity for worship, fellowship, classes on multicultural outreach, and a moving presentation by guest speaker Joel Edwards (a speaker at our Brighton Convention in 2004). National Coordinator Dan Yarnell (who is also a board member of World Convention) and National Administrator Andy Vail provide leadership for the Fellowship.

Martin Robinson, Dan Yarnell, and others from the Fellowship are planning to be at the Global Gathering in New Delhi to share their experiences of church planting and growth and to learn from those in India and from around the world.

In late October and early November, Julia and I were blessed to attend the International Conference on Missions in Richmond, Virginia. There we had a booth, saw several board members, had a helpful planning session with Ajai Lall, and witnessed great excitement regarding our New Delhi Gathering. Ajai was a keynote speaker and invited the crowd of over 6000 to attend the New Delhi Gathering.

Mid-November I (along with board members Mark Taylor, Robert Welsh, and Doug Foster) was part of a ground-breaking Stone-Campbell Dialogue in Baltimore, Maryland on the theme of Racial Reconciliation. Mountain Christian Church, a congregation with more than a hundred year history in our movement, was our gracious host.

Many of you have followed the journey of Julia and Joe Keith to New Zealand and Australia. This is part holiday and part promotional visit for World Convention, since they have been able to meet with our board members from Australia and New Zealand, and with other World Convention supporters. These are important visits since it has been five years since I was able to be in Australia and New Zealand.

This month Christians from the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Myanmar, Pakistan, India, and many other countries have personally told me of their plans to be at the New Delhi Gathering, January 12-15, 2017.

Make your plans to be there too!

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Healthcare in India, Praying It Forward, 2017

As we anticipate our next Global Gathering in New Delhi, January 12-15, 2017, each month we are highlighting a ministry of the Stone-Campbell Movement in India. This month we focus on Christian Hospital Mungeli, with information from their website, http://chmungeli.org.

Christian Hospital Mungeli was founded in 1897 by the American Disciples of Christ Foreign Christian Missionary Society’s Rev. E.M. Gordon and Dr. Anna Gordon.  Mr. G.W. Jackson opened the Mission Station at Mungeli in 1887. Jackson, an Englishman, built the mission station’s “Big Bungalow” on six acres the mission purchased north of the Agar River.  Mrs. Jackson operated a small dispensary at the mission bungalow in 1890.

Later physicians at the hospital included Dr. A.W. Hitt, Dr. Anna Dunn Gordon, Dr. George Miller, Dr. Victor Rambo, and Dr. Dayal Suknandan. In 1971, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in India joined with other denominations to form the Church of North India, bringing CHM under the administration of the Church of North India. By that time, most foreign missionaries were leaving India, significantly reducing external funds and personnel supporting mission hospitals.

Over the next 30 years, CHM struggled. In 2003, after a change of leadership, CHM began to grow again. In 2011, Christian Hospital Mungeli had 120 beds, saw approximately 30,000 out-patients, delivered 600 babies, and performed some 2,500 operations.

Christian Hospital Mungeli is just one of many hospitals, clinics, and medical education ministries of the Stone-Campbell Movement in India. Please join us January 12-15, 2017 in New Delhi to hear more about those ministries. And pray for Christian Hospital Mungeli, other ministries in India, and the people of India.

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Praying It Forward, India 2017 (2)

Each month before our Global Gathering in New Delhi, I will highlight a prayer concern for India in ChristiaNet, This month we focus on the women of India. Stone-Campbell churches in India—Christian, Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ—care for women in a myriad of ways through dozens of ministries supported by Christians throughout the world. Let’s focus on one of those ministries.

Eternal Threads is dedicated to improving the lives of women and children most at risk of extreme poverty, trafficking and other forms of exploitation by providing sustainable livelihoods through income generating projects.

The vision for the Eternal Threads’ mission began in 1988 when Linda Egle traveled to south India and saw firsthand what life was like for women living in extreme poverty and also witnessed their initiative and desire to improve the lives of their families. She founded Eternal Threads in the year 2000 after early retirement from a 27-year career as a United Airlines Flight Attendant to give these women sustainable income and skills development training. The first project for Eternal Threads was established in south India with the SOFI tote.

Eternal Threads began as a mission to help one group of women in India and has become a global community of women. Even though these women live in diverse areas of the world they share the same needs and hope for the future.  Because they live in extreme poverty they need a means of creating income to care for their families, preventing their children from suffering from lack of nutrition, health care, education, shelter and the possibility of being exploited or trafficked.

To learn more, see eternalthreads.org

Make plans now to attend our Global Gathering in New Delhi, India, January 12-15, 2017. More information including registration and housing details will be on this site in the months to come.

As we prepare for our Global Gathering in India, Indu Lall, Usha Rees, and others are working to get 10,000 Christians in India to commit to pray for the Gathering. We are working to get 10,000 Christians in the rest of the world to pray for India. Please commit to pray daily for this effort—Praying it Forward, India 2017.

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PRAYING IT FORWARD, INDIA 2017

Make plans now to attend our Global Gathering in New Delhi, India, January 12-15, 2017. More information including registration and housing details will be on this site in the months to come.

As we prepare for our Global Gathering in India, Indu Lall, Usha Rees, and others are working to get 10,000 Christians in India to commit to pray for the Gathering. We are working to get 10,000 Christians in the rest of the world to pray for India. Please commit to pray daily for this effort—Praying it Forward, India 2017.

Each month before our Gathering, I will highlight a prayer concern for India in ChristiaNet, This month we focus on the children of India.

Those children are at risk from disease, poverty, and sometimes (yes, even as children) persecution for being Christians. Many children are orphaned in India without adequate government assistance. One great need for children is education.

Stone-Campbell churches in India—Christian, Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ—care for children in a myriad of ways through dozens of ministries supported by Christians throughout the world. Let’s focus on one of those ministries.

Global Mission Partners of Australian Churches of Christ (see http://www.inpartnership.org.au/) partners with Gnyan Sampada Residential School (formerly Ankoor Children’s Home) was established in 2002 as a home for children from an extremely poor forest region of Maharashtra State.  Literacy amongst this tribal group is only 2%, so education is highly prized.  The main source of income is from farm laborers or people collecting and selling firewood in the local markets, generating an income of approximately $1 a day.  Poverty forces small children to start working to support families and often they face starvation.  The people live in very remote villages where there are few or no schools for the children.  Some of the village schools only go to Grade 4.

Sixty-five children now live in the home, and the school in its grounds educates 100 children including 35 from the local area. The school teaches Nursery to Grade VI, and hopes to add a grade each year.

So I urge you this month to pray for the children of India, to pray for Gnyan Sampada Residential School, and to pray for all the ministries that serve Indian children in the name of Jesus. And pray that our Gathering in 2017 will connect our churches to give more assistance to the children of India.

God is at work among us!

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AN AFRICAN ADVENTURE

Swaziland.

A small, beautiful country in southern Africa. Those who travel there call it the safest and friendliest country in Africa.

Swaziland Map

I was there a few weeks ago with my friend and board member Doug Foster for two purposes, to explore the possibility of a future Global Gathering of the World Convention in Africa and to teach at African Christian College.

My African adventure (like most) involved seeing beautiful scenery and exotic animals, but it was primarily an adventure in Christian fellowship. World Convention board member Kurt Platt and his wife Wendy opened their home and their hearts to us. Brad and Rachel Carter, Paul and Miriam Chimhungwe, and Manuel and Pam De Olivera did the same. Our students at African Christian College, from ten African countries, opened their minds, and hearts, and lives in our classes.

What I witnessed in Swaziland was a young, vibrant, growing church. These dedicated young students are leaders in their local congregations, bringing the good news of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation to their countries. Their songs of praise continue to reverberate in my ears and my heart. Here is a photo of chapel:

 Africa Adventure 4

There are likely more members of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Africa than in the United States. Those churches grow in spite of wars, disease, and poverty. It is time for us to have a World Convention in Africa, where the world can see the great things that God is doing there. Swaziland would be a good place—politically stable, safe, with good convention facilities. Here Doug Foster and Kurt and Wendy Platt view the Mavuso Trade Center in Manzini, Swaziland:

Africa Adventure 5

 

Please keep that possibility in prayer. And pray for Africa. And your own country. And the world. And continue to pray for the worldwide ministry of World Convention.

 

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WE NEED FRIENDS!

It is an exciting time for World Convention. In January, we were part of an historic consultation on baptism. In March, several met in India to begin planning for our Global Gathering in 2017. Now two board members—Doug Foster and Kurt Platt—and I are in Africa, exploring the possibilities of a future Gathering there. In addition there is the daily work of World Convention of connecting our churches everywhere.
I know you want to be part of this exciting ministry. Please go to our Facebook page, friend us and like us. But more importantly we need friends who will pray for World Convention and who will support this ministry of connection and unity financially.

We need old friends! Some of you partnered with us a few years ago to be World Convention friends, agreeing to give to this ministry on a regular basis. If you have not given for a while, we ask you to renew your friendship and give today. And we ask you to encourage others you know to give.
We need new friends! Many of you receive this monthly ChristiaNet report and are vitally interested in this ministry, but you have not participated with a gift. Consider being a partner with One Minute, One Dollar, send us a check, or click the donate button below to give. All gifts are important signs of support and friendship. No gift is too small. God does great things with the gifts we bring!

 




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An African Adventure, part 2

The students here at African Christian College, are bright, engaged, and eager to learn. Some are quite young while many are married with children. Coming from ten African nations, they bring a variety of experiences to the classroom.

One highlight each day is chapel. The singing moves my heart.

Africa Adventure 4

One of the many interesting people here is Paul Shupikai, a teacher at the college. Paul is expanding our knowledge of the Stone-Campbell Movement globally by writing a history of our churches in Zimbabwe. One person he is interviewing for that history is B.J. Mpofu, Past President of World Convention.

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An African Adventure, part 1

Africa Adventure 1

World Convention board member Doug Foster and I are in Swaziland in southern Africa. We are here to make contacts in hopes of having a Global gathering of World Convention in Africa in the next few years. We also are each teaching a course at African Christian College, starting tomorrow (see http://www.africanchristiancollege.org/).

Africa Adventure 2

We arrived Saturday and instantly enjoyed the hospitality of  Kurt and Wendy Platt and of Manuel and Pam de Oliveira who had us into their homes. Sunday was an amazing day of blessings, beginning with worship at the Matsapha Church of Christ. After worship we toured the clinic sponsored by the church, proving healthcare of all kinds but particularly help to those with HIV (Swaziland has the highest HIV rate of any country in the world). We then spent the afternoon with Bruce and Beth Smith who are at African Christian College to teach a course on “The Church and HIV.”

Doug and I start  teaching tomorrow.

Pray for us, for Africa, and for World Convention.

Africa Adventure 3

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A WORLDWIDE FELLOWSHIP

For many decades, the logo of World Convention carried the words, “A Worldwide Fellowship.” This month the truth of those words were brought home to me. In addition to the marvelous fellowship with Christians in India (see last month’s ChristiaNet), we found the world coming to us.

John & Rosemary Williamson-Australia, Stirling College resize

John and Rosemary Williamson were on holiday and joined us for Easter worship at Vine Street Christian Church, toured our office, and had a marvelous lunch. John is Registrar at Stirling Theological College, an agency of the National Conference of Churches of Christ in Australia (see stirling.edu.au). John and Rosemary brought us news of Stirling and of the churches in Australia and surrounding countries.

 

 

Verlaini & Cristovam2

A few weeks later, Deb and I met our Brazilian friends, Verlaini Cintra and Cristovam do Espirito Santo Filho of the Igreja de Cristo,Faicalville (see pastorverlaini.com). These two pastors were our constant helpers and companion in planning and executing the Global Gathering in Goiania in 2012. They were visiting Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee and we met them for lunch at the appropriate city of Cookeville! They brought us exciting news of the churches in Brazil and of mission efforts in the United States and Africa.

 

2015 GACS reunonJust last weekend, Deb and I attended a choral reunion at Greater Atlanta Christian School, where I had attended and where Deb and I later taught. There we were blessed to visit with several classmates and former students from many states (and even one from Canada, making this an international gathering). They also shared stories of what God is doing in their churches. On Sunday, we celebrated the 90th anniversary of Peachtree Christian Church in downtown Atlanta, a congregation with a rich history and with vibrant current ministries to their community and throughout the world (see peachtree.org). Their pastor, Barry McCarty, plans to lead a group from their church to our New Delhi Gathering in 2017.

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