As we approach our harvest lunch on October 7th I wanted to let you know about it. We will be inviting many in the church family to provide national dishes which we can all enjoy together. Mim is organizing the lunch, which will begin at about 1pm on 7th so that those at EAG 11.15 service can join us in good time. There will be activities to occupy the children between the end of the service at Fordham and the beginning of the lunch. It is also an opportunity to invite friends, neighbours and colleagues to join us as we celebrate the faithfulness of God in the global harvest.
We will also be taking donations for a link we are developing with the Anglican Church in Kenya. Please do label them “Kenya Link”. Bishop Jacob Lesuuda is the Bishop of Maralal diocese in Northern Kenya and is ministering in a very challenging situation. We may be aware of the lack of rain here. The north of Kenya has been suffering drought conditions for over three years. This has led to three challenges: 1. The local people are increasingly dependent on cattle and sheep but this is leading to inter tribal rustling as well as by incursions by Al Shabab militants. 2. Al Shabab militants are also abducting teenage girls, as has been experienced in the north of Nigeria with Boko Haram, as well as offering money to marry local girls. When facing such hardship, this has not always been resisted. 3. Christian ministry in these areas is therefore increasingly challenging and dangerous. The government has lost many police in parts of the Diocese due to both conflicts.
Bishop Lesuuda was keen to avoid a culture of dependency of Kenya on the West. However, when asked what projects could be supported to enable ministry, Bishop Lesuuda suggested two: the purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser, and the training of clergy. As a PCC we have decided to specifically support the training of clergy initially. This is partly because questions remain regarding the Toyota Land Cruiser but also the total to raise is much greater. We would appreciate advice from anyone regarding buying cars in Kenya! Funds to support Bishop Lesuuda will not be routed through Chelmsford Diocese but direct to the Diocese if Maralal. This is because funds from the UK often come to Kenya with strings attached and so direct giving means that we can be sure it will go to fulfil this specific need. So, can I encourage us to come to the harvest lunch, but also to consider giving to this cause. When we hear of brothers and sisters facing such difficulties, it provides us with an opportunity to put our faith into practice, which James commends. (1:27) “faith, in the same way, if it is not accompanied with action, is dead.” (2:17).
With much love in Christ, John Parker.