The World Council of Churches Acting General Secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca sent a prayerful letter to churches in the Caribbean as they face daily challenges from the continued eruption of La Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent. More than 16,000 people have been forced to evacuate. “This unfortunately comes at a time when communities are already grappling with containing the spread of the coronavirus as well as the recent upsurge in the number of dengue cases,” wrote Sauca. “Yet, in the face of these seemingly insurmountable challenges, we stand with you in solidarity and encourage you to not lose hope.” Sauca prayed that the light that emanates from the empty tomb may illumine the hearts of the people. especially during these challenging times. “Might the presence of the ashes even as they temporarily hide the bright beams of the sun, be a reminder to you that the canopy of God’s divine protection is also present and permanent,” he wrote. “We pray that love of the resurrected Christ will motivate believers everywhere to be in prayer for you and to also be a source of help and strength to you at this time.”
Friday, April 16, 2021
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Anaditj by Aunty Rev (Deacon) Dr Denise Champion, © 2021
Follow the road your ancestors took
Aunty Denise Champion, a Deacon in the Uniting Church in Australia, is a proud Adnyamathanha woman from the Finders Ranges in South Australia, and the Theologian in Residence at Uniting College in Adelaide. In her new book, Anaditj, Aunty Denise speaks of a life principle for Adnyamathanha Peoples, ‘a state of being’.
A literal English translation of the meaning of Anaditj is ‘the way things are’. However, as Aunty unpacks this, the reader will discover far deeper and profound meanings. Speaking of the “dark spaces between the stars”, Aunty describes “Dark Emu”, from which Bruce Pascoe took the title of his book about the way First Nations Peoples cared for the land, cultivated it and harvested it; Adnyamathanha Peoples look at the night sky and see the dark spaces between the constellations.
How do you read the Scriptures? Aunty Denise begins to open the readers mind to fresh understandings. “Jesus… a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek”. Could this be the “priesthood of all Creation”? She challenges the Western constructs and invites the reader to open themselves to Adnyamathanha ancient wisdom.
Speaking of restoring the dignity of the Gospel, Aunty says: “What is the Gospel for us as indigenous people? When my culture and language is affirmed - that is Good News.” Speaking of the question Jesus asked, ‘Who do you say I am?’ Aunty answers, “Nina urtyu Ngalakanha Muda. You are the Christ. Anaditj. You are Big History.” Aunty Denise points the reader to the wisdom of the Cosmic Christ – Big History!
In Chapter 3, Aunty Denise says: “I don’t like the concept of being in or out, the concept of being lost or found, which has shaped the institutional structure of the church.” Aunty prefers to say: “I am urupaku, a follower of Jesus.” She then unpacks these statements and speaks of Christ as “Ngalakanha Muda”, talking of the love, care and protection of God. Aunty speaks about contemporary issues the church is challenged by and the Adnyamathanha wisdom which responds
Anaditj – “The Lord said: My people, when you stood at the crossroads, I told you, follow the road your ancestors took, and you will find peace.” (Jeremiah 6:16, NRSV). First Nations Peoples find peace in the pathway of the ancestors. Aunty Denise tells how she has discovered Christ in Adnyamathanha creation stories and cosmology, in this to “grasp the deeper meaning when Muda are understood as Ngalakanha Muda – wisdom.”
The last chapter entitled ‘Standing at the Crossroads’ explores the moment in time Australia and First Nations Peoples are at. What of colonisation, racism, self determination and United Nations Rights of Indigenous Peoples – it’s time says Aunty Denise for ‘Reformation’!
This powerful book is a blend of wonderful Adnyamathanha story-telling and wisdom, challenging a fresh thinking from this Adnyamathanha Theologian, and a call for justice for First Nations Peoples within the Church and the nation.
The last word from Aunty Denise: “I don’t think God labels people. Does he? Does she? God doesn’t label anybody! Once you recognise this it brings a lot of freedom to determine for ourselves who we are.”
“In the beginning Arrawatanha (God) created, and nobody’s got a monopoly on that. That’s our identity. Anaditj.”
(This review written by Stuart McMillan, Arraru man, National Consultant: Covenanting, Uniting Church in Australia)
In February, a few officers of the DWF Executive Committee, met with some Board members of ReDi (International Society for the Research and Study of Diakonia and Christian Social Practice).
We explored the possibility of DWF and ReDi becoming partners in the work of encouraging diakonia in the church and the world. The meeting was most congenial and positive. We introduced ourselves to one another and discussed the differences in the two organizations. ReDi focuses on diakonia more as Christian Social Practice from an academic, scholarly perspective. DWF represents communities and associations in which individual members are designated in some way (e.g. consecrated, ordained, commissioned) for the diaconate (e.g. deacons, deaconesses, diaconal ministers). The common ground is the commitment to transformative service in the church and the world.
We all felt that strengthening our relationship would be of mutual benefit. We have not made any firm commitments but agreed to a path toward mutual cooperation and promotion of each other’s programming and services. As examples, ReDi will publicize the DOTAC Mondays in May Seminar Series in their newsletter; DWF will invite our communities/association to submit articles for ReDi’s journal Diaconia. Journal for the Study of Christian Social Practice. Check it out; it’s Open Access.https://www.diaconiaresearch.org/diaconia-journal/
'I will be with you to protect you and keep you safe'. Jeremiah 15.20
As per the above words, God of Immanuel is with us, protected from all dangers and disasters, and provided the basic needs to our orphan children, destitute women physically, mentally handicapped, old age and all sick people, helpers, co-workers and sisters of our Deaconess homes in these challenging, fearful and worried days.
In these pandemic days, God safeguarded people in our Homes, and cared for us in hopeless situations. This year, when we were unable to go for Church programs for any income, and no sale of any of our products, God fed our people with more than enough for us.
When we were unable to take our patients to hospital and to doctors, God strengthened the weak and sick. God gave courage when we were fearful. As per the Government instructions, all the inmates of our Homes went for a Corona check up. We also made Corona masks and sold them to our local churches and people in our area.
When churches were closed our Witness Prayer House and Bethesda Chapel were opened and we continued the worship services and Friday fasting prayer interceded with many prayer points.
Very sad news that our former Administrative Mother of the Deaconess Board Ms Gunhild Stahle went to God's kingdom on 6th October in Sweden. We conducted a thanksgiving prayer service.
On 10th November, the Deaconess trainee Nagomi was consecrated as Deaconess Sister by our Bishop Daniel Jeyaraj. The next day, on 123rd of our founder Mother Lydia Vedanayaham. We offered reception thanksgiving prayer for our new sister Nagomi. We also made and supplied stoles and girdles for the 16 new pastors.
On 20th November we arranged and conducted a marriage for our Home grown up girl Mercy Nazrin, brought up from 6 months old. She studied graduate nursing and served at Bethesda Home.
We also provided food commodities to children from poor families during the COVID pandemic.
With Jesus love, we thank our donor friends and convey our loving greetings with prayer.
Sr Grace Padma
The Lutheran Diaconal Association’s weeklong Student Seminar launched on Zoom at the beginning of March – complete with a virtual chapel, student-designed sacred spaces, and a process to increase resiliency in times of stress.
Students gathered around the theme of Wholeness for All Creation: Leadership and Presence in an Uneasy World. In that context, they dug deep into two LDA Hallmarks: Flexibility/Adaptability and Prophetic Voice.
“We want our students to more actively live into our Theological Touchstone and Hallmarks during their formation experience," note Deaconesses Deb Lennox and Valerie Webdell, LDA Co-Directors of Education and Formation.
Presentations, worship and storytelling kept everyone glued to their computers. We are so grateful that Representatives from DOTAC and DIAKONIA shared with our students the origins of their diaconate, the abiding friendship and prayer support that spring from their relationships, and “pivot points” in their ministry.
A day by day description and photos are on the LDA Facebook page.
Operation of the Sick Bay
‘SAFE SCHOOL, SAVE THE SICK’: DIAKAID –COVID-19 Project
Report of the Wesley Diaconal Community (MCCA) Project Response to the Corona Virus Pandemic (COVID -19)
Preamble: In order for schools to reopen in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, COVID-19 protocols, stipulated by the Government, had to be met.
Thankfully, Epworth Maurice Hillier Memorial Junior School met the requirements and was given approval to reopen.
Action: School reopened on Monday, September 7, 2020 with Grades Kindergarten, 1 and 6 attending for the entire day, while Grades 2-5 were placed on a Shift System.
The Reading Room was designated as the Sick Bay. An Assistant Teacher was assigned to work with the Deacon and Principal of the School in ensuring that the Sick Bay was kept in the best condition. Thanks to Ms. Amory who maintained the room on a daily basis.
While waiting for the funds from DIAKAID, the Sick Bay was basically stocked with hand soap, rubbing alcohol and . Having received the funds, the remaining supplies have been purchased including bandages, hand sanitisers and bottles, antibiotics dressings, disposable gloves, disinfectant surface wipes, pillows, blankets, a storage case, a logbook, a bin and a couch.
The maintenance of the Sickbay is ongoing.
Operation for Term 1: In the past school term, September–December 2020, there were a few minor bruises which were treated by a First Aid Trained Teacher. It is the intent that training in First Aid will be pursued in the coming term for teachers.
Now that most of the items are in place, the Bay will be in full operation next school term.
Financials: The total amount of funds expended so far is USD 780.00. The remainder will be used to purchase additional supplies and possibly for the training of the Sick Bay Staff.
The Board of Management expresses heartfelt gratitude to the Diakonia World Federation for the assistance in the establishment of th Epworth Maurice Hillier Memorial Junior School “Safe School, Save the Sick” project.
Reported by Rev. Stacia Williams-Christmas December 23, 2020