Thursday, June 18, 2020

World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Tanzania and Kenya

The WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle focusses on Tanzania and Kenya, 21-27th June.
(Our day of prayer for DIAKONIA is on the 26th of each month)

There is a Deaconess Association in Kenya, part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya. And there are 4 associations in Tanzania, all connected with the Lutheran Church in Tanzania. As part of your prayers, consider writing or emailing to say you're praying for their association and their ministry. Let's stay connected in our prayers and ministry.
(Really interesting to find out more about the Associations. Still scouting around for some more. I hope you enjoy reading, learning - and then praying for our sisters and brothers in Kenya and Tanzania). 
Please click on the link for more information, and prayers, on this post. 

The Sisterhood Ushirika wa Neema (community of mercy) was founded in 1979 by the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Tanzania with the support of the Augsburg Mother House. The sisterhood has about 70 deaconesses, 50 of which live in the centre and 20 at their places of activity, as a manager of a Christian hotel, for instance, as the head of nursing service at a hospital or as a pastor at the retreat center. Farmers, accountants, seamstresses for churches and an electrician are also among the sisters. But most deaconesses work for children: as teachers at the Montessori seminar and at other schools. The sisters' program brings teachers in and instructs them in the Montessori method and they build their own teaching aids which they later put to work in their own communities. The sisters live together with Aids orphans in a children's village and give them a future and operate the nearby Neema Orphanage.

Ushirika wa Neema ('Community of Grace') Deaconess Centre provides women with opportunities, such as the means for independent income, for education, for professional training and for learning skills. These opportunities change women’s self-esteem, and raise their self-confidence and respect in the church and community. One visitor described it this way: "The sisters have carved out a beautiful campus in the middle of a busy village on the edge of Moshi Town. There are lushious gardens, cows, chickens, ducks, rabbits, turkeys, pigs and trees bursting with fresh fruits. The Deaconess Center is a 40 acre Garden of Eden from which life saving ministry emanates throughout the entire region. The sisters butcher their own cows and make their own communion bread.  They run boarding schools and clean toilets.  They have committed their lives to service in the name of Christ. To be in the presence of the sisters is to be humbled.  To know them as friends is to be blessed beyond measure."

Moshi – Sisterhood Ushirika wa Neema, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Northern Diocese
P.O. BOX 1 Moshi, Tanzania.

Empowerment and Autonomy of Women
Empowerment and Autonomy of Women: Ushirika wa Neema Deaconess Centre in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, Northern Diocese. By Godrick Efraim Lyimo. Eugene: Resource Publications, 2016. 166 pp.

The emancipation and empowerment of women has been a worldwide phenomenon of concern to many countries and organizations within the 20th and 21st centuries. Although Tanzania, as a country, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) Northern Diocese, as an institution, have embraced the idea of gender equality, most women in Tanzania have yet to experience this in full. This book is, therefore, based upon an understanding of the church as participating in God's mission, which is rooted in a context of equality and as such stands in a better position to empower women to overcome some of the patriarchal practices that have put them on the margin of attaining full humanity. The book examines how Ushirika wa Neema Deaconess Centre contributes to the empowerment of women in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) Northern Diocese and fosters gender awareness in the church and the entire community. Ushirika wa Neema Deaconess Centre provides women with opportunities, such as the means for independent income, for education, for professional training, and for learning life skills. These opportunities change women's self-esteem, as well as raise their self-confidence and respect in the church and community.

This book offers the reader a window into the work of a deaconess center in Tanzania. The author Lyimo unflinchingly names the gender inequality and male dominance still pervasive in Tanzania, despite commitments to gender equity in the Tanzanian government and in various nationwide organizations, as well as in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (specifically in the general assembly meeting of the ELCT in 2009). The Ushirika wa Neema Deaconess Centre established its mother- house in 1980, after fervent effort by determined women in the preceding decades. Deaconesses engage in numerous forms of ministry, ranging from the care of those in need, to educational initiatives for women, to environmental stewardship.Women assume multiple forms of leadership in these ministries. Overall, Lyimo demonstrates that the Ushirika wa Neema Deaconess Centre does indeed empower women in its region in tangible ways, including powerful economic and educational transformation.
Further, Lyimo conveys the hard-won nature of women’s diaconal ministry in this context: to become deaconesses, women fight an uphill battle against societal pressures, and even when a woman has moved to the Centre, the cultural pressures exerted by her family still pressure her to leave her position of ministry. This is particularly so because Chagga cultural values strongly expect women to marry and bear children, while deaconesses at Ushirika wa Neema are celibate (though a separate house for noncelibate or older women is being established).
The book serves as another chapter in the history of women’s leadership in the churches from biblical times to the present day. More widely, the book offers a vivid and contemporary case study for those querying the ways in which vocation and cultural norms can conflict. Helpfully, Lyimo works with third-wave feminism, including texts from African feminist theologians such as Mercy Oduyoye, to ground the book’s concept of empowerment. Finally, Lyimo’s book, and the work of the Ushirika wa Neema Deaconess Centre, are timely and urgently needed. The Lutheran World Federation launched its Gender Justice Policy in 2013. And as the women’s message unanimously accepted in the 2017 assembly of the LWF declares, “Our liberation is bound up together and is a gift of God.” (Anne Mercedes, published in Lutheran Quarterly, Volume 32, Number 1, Spring 2018, pp. 114-116 

2. KARAGWE Diocese Umoja Wa Masister, Tumshubire (10)
The Karagwe Diocese (KAD) belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). In January 2019, the Karagwe Diocese celebrated its 40th anniversary.
The Diaconia Department is part of Karagwe Diocese, situated in Lukajange. The aim of the department is to serve the neediest people in Karagwe by following the example of Christ. Through local Diaconia Committees in the congregations, the Diaconia Department tries to support and ease the burden for the poorest of the poor. Rev Enock Thobias is Head of the Department. Pastors, sisters, evangelists and volunteers in the congregations work locally.
Further contact through,, 255 753 017 933

3. DAYOSIS YA KASKAZINI Ushirika Wa Diaconia Faraja (UDF) (30) - Male Deacons
This community is made up of Deacons and Brothers in the Northern Part of Tanzania located near Sanya Juu in the district of Siha between Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. UDF is part of the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. There are 32 Deacons (in 2017) belonging to UDF. They are ordained by the Bishop. The Brothers share their life in a community of duty, in a community of life and in a community of sending. They are allowed to marry after ordination. Ordained Deacons, their wives and widows and children, all belong to UDF and they are all cared for. The Deacons serve with their ministry in different professions in church and churchly institutions.
UCF is under the global Leadership of ELCT ND and Faraja Board. The governance has two parts: 
  1. Senior Brother (kaka mkuu), Head of Deacon Training and Treasurer are the executive leadership being responsible for Faraja Diaconic Centre, Budget, Deacon Training and Administration.
  2. The members of baraza are six elected Deacons completed by the executive leadership of UDF. They are responsible for brotherhood and community. Personal and other decisions made in baraza the Senior Brother is working on.
Deacon Students
UDF offers Deacon Training to all the Dioceses of ELCT and to the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in the neighbouring countries where swahili and/or English is spoken. The first students began study in 1996. For the Brothers of UDF, the training takes 6 years - the first three years are finalized with exams and a further three years are for field work, followed by a time of probation to grow into the Brotherhood. Students from other Dioceses go back to their Diocese after the exams.
In December 2016 there were 20 Deacon students in training. Three were from the South-Central Diocese. It was anticipated that a further 10 applicants would join the Deacon training in 2017. 
A new Diaconic Centre is located nearby Miono, Morogoro Diocese, launched by Bishop Dr. Fredrick O. Shoo assisted by Bishop Jacob Mameo Ole Paulo, Morogoro Diocese on 8th October 2016.
Deacon Armin Raunigk, Senior Brother Ushirika wa Diakonia Faraja (UDF) says, "We Brothers of Ushirika wa Diakonia Faraja feel the blessing of our Lord and know him guiding us. As Brothers we see ourselves among the "least of our Brothers (and Sisters)" that Jesus is talking about in Matthew 25:40. As churchly staff members we are working on the kingdom of our Lord in the different works of mercy Jesus Christ refers to". 

167 Sanya Juu, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; +255 757 618 508
Facebook link here.

4. Namarila Mother House E.L.C.T. HWD (33)
(scouting around for information for this association)

KENYA: National Deaconess Association of ELCK (20)
(scouting around for information for this association)

World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle prayers

Prayers of thanks:
* the abundant wildlife, natural resources and people indigenous to these countries and that they are protected, not exploited;
* the literacy rate in Kenya, the highest in Africa, and for the schools that churches and their partners support and sustain in both countries;
* the faithful witness of the churches in their communities, and in building positive relationships with those of other faiths;
* persons and organizations who meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees from other African countries.

We pray for:
* greater tolerance between Christians and Muslims as they work together to improve the lives of all people;
* youth, that they not succumb to radicalization but are prepared to sustain their lives and communities;
* all victims of violence, especially sexual or gender-based violence, and all who are marginalized or excluded from communities;
* those who are most vulnerable to climate change and drought, that they may have clean water to drink and for their crops and animals to flourish;
* economic growth and trade that benefits all the people.

In all seasons, let peace prevail

Dear Lord,
We thank you for the gift of peace. It's a gift that only you can give.
Lord, we are living in great turmoil - hunger, disease, poverty and tears.
The cost of living has gone so high; there is so much desperation and despair.
Lord, your children are crying out to you - hearken unto us and bring forth a breakthrough.
We pray that above all we will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are in control. May we be still and know that you are God who never fails.
We stand on your promises that you have a good plan for us - one of prosperity and not harm.
We pray that as we go through the various seasons of our lives - the ups and downs - that your perfect peace will prevail through all things.
We place our assurance on you knowing that you are above all things and in you all things hold together.
Be glorified Lord. Arise and take your place. Amen.
(© 2011 Laura Wachira, Kenya)

God of Hope,
whose Spirit gives light and power to your people,
empower us to witness to your name in all nations,
to struggle for your own justice
against all principalities and powers
and to persevere with faith and humour
in the tasks that you have given to us.
Without you we are powerless.
Therefore we cry together:
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.
And grant that we may with one voice and one heart
glorify and sing praise to the majesty of your holy Name,
of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
(“An Invitation to Prayer” at the opening of the fifth assembly of the World Council of Churches, Nairobi, 1975)

We rise up in the morning before the day, to take ourselves to labour, to
prepare our harvest. Protect us from the dangerous animal and from the
serpent, and from every stumbling block.
Boora Punnu [God], you alone have created us and given us the capacity
to feel hunger, so we need grain and we must have fertile fields.
(The Prayers of African Religion, John Mbiti, © 1975 SPCK, London, UK. In the US, Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY, USA, 1975)

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