Saturday, November 24, 2018

Community Gardens

Congratulations to Rev Christa Megaw (Bridgewater Uniting Church, South Australia) who has been part of a community project to establish a community garden, funded by the Government Fund My Neighbourhood program and launched on 24th November, 2018. Christa is a member of the DIAKONIA World Federation Executive Committee.
Interested also to read about Rev. Jessica Stonecypher (United Methodist Deacon) in an article entitled Growing Food, Growing Community, Growing in Faith. Jessica writes: I’m a farmer. Well, really, I’m more of a community organizer seeking to bring people together around the idea of farming. It’s an endeavor that I’ve been dreaming of for many years and I’m excited to be actively participating in a growing movement around local foods and urban agriculture in my community. When I discerned my call to environmental ministry, I knew it would be a struggle. There simply aren’t many who can wrap their brains around how or why an ordained minister would devote her life to such a vocation. But as I’ve grown into my role as a deacon, I’ve learned that I would be miserable without engaging in the work that drew me to set-apart ministry in the first place.

Would love to hear other stories about Deacons engaged in community gardens and eco-theology. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Ingrit Vogt - good and faithful servant

Dc Ingrit Vogt (left) with Dc Lisa Polito at opening service, DIAKONIA World Assembly
Those of you who were at the DIAKONIA World Assembly in Chicago in mid 2017 may remember Deacon Ingrit Vogt who led the communion liturgy in the opening service.

It is with deep sadness that I share the news that Ingrit has died after having lived with cancer for some time.

Ingrit was a Deacon in the IECLB (Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil) in Brazil. For many years she served on the DOTAC Central Committee (DIAKONIA of the Americas and Caribbean). She also served on the DIAKONIA World Executive Committee. She served as the IECLB General Secretary for many years. She was a highly competent person, and also a gentle soul who led with a quiet, thoughtful determination and with wisdom. She also enjoyed a good laugh with friends and joyful fellowship.

She will be greatly missed by her diaconal community and the IECLB in Brazil, by the communities across DIAKONIA who knew her, and by her two sons and extended family.

May she rest in peace in God's loving care.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

WCC shocked by news of kidnapping at school in Cameroon

06 November 2018

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed shock and dismay at the news on 6 November of the kidnapping of 79 students and three staff, including the principal, from the Presbyterian Secondary School, a boarding school in Bamenda, in the northwest region of Cameroon.

“We are lifting up in prayer and solidarity the kidnapped students and staff, their families, their churches and their communities,” said Tveit.

“We pray to God, and appeal to those responsible for this kidnapping, for the safe release of all those who have been taken.” The school has pupils ages 10-14.

“This incident underscores the gravity of the crisis afflicting especially the western regions of Cameroon, and we urgently appeal for increased international and ecumenical advocacy and action for a just peace in Cameroon, in which the equal dignity and rights of all people in the country are respected and protected, and for the immediate cessation of all armed violence,” said Tveit.

“We pray for the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, and for all the churches of the country, that they may be empowered and strengthened in their witness and for their pilgrimage for justice and peace in Cameroon and the region.”

Communauté de l'Emmanuel is in the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon, and a member association in DIAKONIA World Federation. Please pray for their community and for ministry in challenging times. 
Photos: Left images shows photo taken on Nov. 14, 2013 of a ship anchored next to destroyed houses in Tacloban City (top) after it was swept ashore during Super Typhoon Yolanda and motorists along the street (lower) on Nov. 1, 2018. Right combo images shows a photo taken on Nov. 18, 2013 of survivors of Yolanda marching during a religious procession in Tolosa, Leyte (top) and women holding religious statues walking along a highway in the same municipality on Oct. 17, 2018. 

TACLOBAN, Philippines: 8th Nov 2018 is the fifth anniversary of the country’s deadliest typhoon on record when Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated the Philippines in 2013. Monster storms strike more frequently than previously, packing destructive rainfall that experts say is supercharged by climate change. Yolanda struck in the predawn darkness as the then strongest typhoon to ever hit land, leaving more than 7,360 people dead or missing across the central Philippines.
The wall of seawater the typhoon that was sent crashing into densely populated areas – known as storm surge – is one of the key reasons it was so deadly. Many people simply did not understand the term and did not evacuate despite official warnings.
In the Philippines, roughly 15,000 of the poorest families were ordered relocated from the worst-hit city of Tacloban, yet many have not moved and those who have are struggling. Many people have chosen to stay in the area because the government-proposed housing in a safer area doesn’t even have running water and electricity. Moustafa Osman, a Britain-based disaster management expert, said: “Everywhere the single most difficult thing to do is to move people from their own village or territory and put them in a strange place. Unless you have a proper plan and a better alternative they won’t go. Substandard housing, difficulties in earning a livelihood, no transportation and even conflict with the existing residents of a resettlement area are habitual barriers.
The peril that looms over communities in the Philippines and elsewhere is only expected to grow because of the influence of global warming on extreme weather. Oxford University climate expert Friederike Otto said there is a clear connection between climate change and heavier, devastating rainfall. The storms packing these intense rains are expected to get more harmful as the impact of climate change manifests itself, and because so many vulnerable communities live in threatened areas. “How destructive a storm is crucially depends on who and what is in harm’s way.”
(Philippines Star)

We remember our Deaconess sisters in the Philippines and pray for their safety and strength for their ministry.