Wednesday, April 13, 2022

MAMRE FJKM newsletter January 2022

MAMRE FJKM’s Chronicle N° 23/18/01/22 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be merciful unto you! May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.’ (Numbers 6:24-27) 

The Mamre sisters are delighted to greet you and wish you a Blessed New Year in 2022 with the words of this gracious blessing from Almighty God. Yes, during the last six months of 2021 and up to now we literally live on these blessings. In our fears, our anguish, and difficulties like illness, and every kind of insecurity God’s protection has reassured us. He takes care of us day and night in the face of thieves who keep on coming into our yard and garden. They steal everything they can find in our garden, but the almighty Lord has protected us from their violence. 

The situation in Madagascar remains precarious and ever more difficult, both on the social and political levels. There is a huge difference between the minority of rich people and the majority who are poor. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Many private companies have closed and these closures cause a big rise in the number of unemployed and these jobless people have to live on their stealing and that is the reason why the number of thieves and brigands who attack people in towns in the bush is increasing. They also attack people travelling on the main roads by day or night. Murder is everywhere. All regions of Madagascar are red zones. 

In spite of long periods of lock-down due to Covid-19, our Lord Jesus Christ granted us the grace of completing the consecration service of our four sisters in one of the intervals between lock downs. This consecration service took place in Ambavahadimitafo Church our parish here in Antananarivo, on the 24 July 2021. They chose as their theme, words from the Gospel according to John chapter 17, verse 11b which says: ‘...Holy father, keep them in your name, the name you have given to me.’ The President of the FJKM, Dr IRAKO ANDRIAMAHAZOSOA Ammi, preached on this verse with these three challenges: holiness – trust – communion. 

The FJKM Church had to catch up by having a General Synod (GS) in 2021 having been unable to hold it in 2020. Five sisters: Sr Pierrette, Sr Minah, Sr Danie, Sr Elisabeth and Sr Angeline got ready for their mission just after the consecration service. The GS was taking place in Sambava, in the north part of the Island from the 11th to the 18th August. Sr Danie, Sr Elisabeth, Sr Minah and Sr Pierrette took on the prayer chain together with local Christians available to take part in this task during those days, while Sr Angeline followed the meetings as the delegate from Mamre. Sr Minah fell ill after a few days and could no longer follow the prayer chain, so Sr Angeline had to look after the patient and missed the meetings. 

Dr IRAKO ANDRIAMAHAZOSOA Ammi was re-elected as President of the FJKM. After the GS meetings ended, the three sisters: Sr Danie, Sr Elisabeth and Sr Angeline took advantage of their stay to see the land belonging to the community bought by Marie Homburger at Sambava. We got home safely on the 30th August 2021. 

Faced with the great need of people living nearby, our sisters in Moria with two other helpers made the daring decision to welcome the canteen children all through the lock-downs. The schools were closed but the children were still welcomed. They were divided into five groups of twenty and they ate in the open air in the yard, the other activities had to be stopped for the time being but they continued the meals so that the children were sure of one meal each day during that difficult period. The hygiene was very strict and remains so: masks, sanitiser, handwashing with soap, keeping distance, keeping clean and all this always accompanied by the prayers of the sisters. As a result, everyone kept safe and well. 

They prepared their Christmas show with fervour but have not been able to perform it yet because the schools have not yet returned. 

Our sisters in Horeb have continued receiving guests particularly in the times when the lock-down was relaxed. They have improved their pig-farming and sell the piglets after they are weaned. In October, Sr Dina, Sr Lalatiana and Daniel followed a course on dairy farming organised by our parish in Ambohinaorina, Sabotsy Namehana. They have since applied their knowledge on their own cow who has produced a calf and the milk production has improved. At our fraternity in Soar, Antsapanana, Moramanga on the road to Tamatave: Sr Elienne is living there permanently at present. Other sisters and novices take turns to go and be with her. Sr Pierrette is there since a few weeks after her consecration. They have continued to improve what they had already started: 

* Improving the way to grow the animal feed 

* Improving the drinking water by installing a pump 

* Improving the crops (rice, manioc, vegetables, fruit trees) 

* Tree planting 

* Improving the farming of chickens as people prefer to use them as food (already sold about 50 hens) 

* Improving the care of dairy cows by reducing the number to two (we are expecting both to calve this year)

We are starting to receive guests by welcoming our close friends, just as we are, but our wooden house needs to be repaired as the rain comes in. Our presence in the village is a Christian witness of faith to these villagers, who live in incredible poverty and most of whom are illiterate. They come to us to sell little things they grow themselves and they share their problems with the sisters. Of course, we cannot give them much but they are comforted by our listening ear and our encouragement.

May God who is rich in his bounty and grace fill you with his wealth all through the year 2022. And may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ flood the life of each of you, we are united together in Him in spite of the geographical distance that separates us.

Yours sincerely, 

Sister Angeline and all her sisters. 

Translated by Rev. Eleri EDWARDS 

Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea

 2021 Newsletter - Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea

Mother House at Mokpo

We are entering the third year of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Amid the isolation, fear and despair brought to the world by the pandemic, we share the good news of peace and joy. Jesus is with us. God is with all of us anticipating a sign for hope and recovery.

At Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea, the year 2021 continued to be a time of internal growth and change.

During the general meeting in January, Sr. Jong Sook Ro was elected as the new Abbess and her official appointment started in March with an appointment service. We thank Sr. Young Sook Ree for her dedication in the position for the past 12 years.

Each month we hold an internal gathering program led by Rev. Hyun Joo Lee and spend two days reflecting upon us as individuals and also as a community of Diakonia. We also started “walking prayer” done individually once a day for about an hour, as a way of immersing in prayer, while walking in the world created by God.

Diakonia Family Community

At the end of December 2020, all members of the Family Community got together online. Although we could not meet in person, seeing others face-to-face online to share our lives gave us a much-needed chance to reconfirm the spirit of community.

We held two silent prayer meetings with all the Family Community members, one in January and the other in April.

Then in November, we held the 6th Annual General Meeting for the whole of Family Community at the ‘Shim-Full Stay’ (renamed from the House of Spirituality and Peace) in Cheon An. This had been the site of our Mother Center for 17 years before we moved back to Mok Po and visiting the place to meet our Family gave us much joy. For two days, we shared our lives, prayed, and participated in the Bible seminars led by Rev. Sang Ki Kim. It was a meaningful time for us to think about our journey in Christ in the context of the pandemic and seek new ways to continue our common efforts. 18 existing members renewed their membership. The pledge service also included 3 preliminary members but the admission of new members was postponed in consideration of the pandemic.


Despite the pandemic, many friends and volunteers came to our center to help us maintain our facilities. Mr. Chang Young Oh and Rev. Jong Won Kim helped us repaint areas around our prayer room. 

Mr. Jeong Taek Ji and Mrs. Jeong Ran Koh installed a water pump to irrigate our vegetable garden in August and we had plentiful vegetables and fruits from the garden, enough to share with our neighbors. In September, other volunteers helped us arrange the forest around our center, making it more accessible, safe, and smart.

In August and December, we had online meetings with the members of the the Korea Community Movement Association. 

In August, we were visited by the grandmaster Ko, Myong, and his wife from Shinson Hapkido(Korean martial art) in Germany. They have been supporting us for more than 30 years and every two years, a whole team of them came to our Mother Center to stay for days, sharing news and activities as well as providing financial support to our activities. Although only the grandmaster and his wife could visit today, it was an occasion to reconfirm our friendship and we also used this occasion to hold an online get-together to share greetings. 

On Christmas day, Family Community members from In Cheon and Gok Seong surprised us with a visit making our Christmas celebration even more lively and joyful.

Diakonia Elderly Home

60 elderly people live in the facility together with about 40 staff and our sisters. External visits and activities have been severely restricted since the start of the pandemic and family visits have also been limited to a very short time, but we continue to maintain a comfortable environment with a variety of our own activities. We also frequently communicate with the family members through social media, sharing videos and messages to maintain contacts. Our sisters in Diakonia sisterhood were also there to prepare kimchi, one of our biggest annual events at the Diakonia Elderly Home. 300 pickled cabbages were mixed with a well-made sauce while listening to the joyful songs and laughter of the nursing home teachers and stored in the kimchi jar one by one. The joyful atmosphere made us forget about the pandemic.

What kind of joy can our sisters bring to the elderly this Christmas? “If we can’t sing, let’s dance,” he said, wearing protective clothing and dancing to the Christmas song. At first, they looked at us with curious eyes, and then they applauded and liked it to the upbeat music.


Low-income household support 

Group meetings and consultation became difficult under the current circumstances but we still support North Korean refugee families, multi-cultural families, and other low-income support programs through individual visits, calls, and consultations. We also maintain contacts with the students receiving our scholarship through individual visits as well as through social media networks. There was an incident when a sponsor of our program sent fried chicken to all our scholarship students anonymously and surprised us when we received thank you messages from the students for the tasty encouragement.

Going into the third year, the global pandemic has influenced almost every aspect of our lives but we also witness a constant flow of love, love of God, and love of our neighbor, which enables us to continue our work of Diakonia with joy. We thank you all for your support and we join in prayers for our work in Christ.

Diakonia Sisterhood in Korea.

Sr. Jong-Sook, Ro(Oberin)

Rev Deacon Sandy Boyce - Executive Officer, Victorian Council of Churches

President of DIAKONIA World Federation, Rev Deacon Sandy Boyce, has been appointed to the position of Executive Officer, Victorian Council of Churches, to begin on April 19th, 2022. 

Victorian Council of Churches 

ABN 51 350 238 724

Level 6, West Tower, 608 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 3004

Telephone 03 9412 8487, Email:

President: Dr Graeme L Blackman AO; Executive Officer: Rev Sandy Boyce

21 March 2022

The Victorian Council of Churches is delighted to announce the appointment of Reverend Sandra (Sandy) Boyce as Executive Officer. Sandy, an ordained Minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, will commence the role on Tuesday 19 April. 


Sandy is currently President of DIAKONIA World Federation, an international and ecumenical community for diaconal ministry agents who are part of member associations. She has held the position since 2013.

Sandy has a long background working in the church, particularly with youth and young adults. In 2021, she concluded a long ministry placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide, where she supported and encouraged diaconal ministry in that congregation, and in the wider church. For six years, Sandy worked in a national role coordinating the volunteer’s program for those preparing for short term volunteer placements with overseas partner churches in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, with visits to volunteer placements and meeting with church leaders. 

Sandy loves to cook and welcome people into her home, which has included many overseas students, 'couchsurfers' and other visitors including hosting a regular gathering of young people from various faith traditions and cultural backgrounds so they could learn more about each other while sharing a meal together.

In reflecting on her new role as Executive Officer, Sandy recalls the statement by Konrad Raiser (2003), former General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, who said that “ecumenism - the fellowship of Christian churches as a sign of hope for the world - is not a building project whose state we can describe in a neutral and objective way, but a living process with which we must engage if we want to understand and appreciate it.”

She is looking forward to being part of the vital work of the churches finding their unity in Christ with an openness and appreciation of each other, and discerning with intentionality what God is up to in the world and joining in as part of the praxis of living ecumenism.

Sandy reflects: 

"In a fractured, conflicted world with all its challenges and divisions, the churches have an important leadership role to play in valuing what we share in common and building towards visible unity, as well as speaking into the public space through the lens of justice, compassionate care, peacebuilding initiatives, and reconciliation".

The President of the Victorian Council of Churches Dr Graeme L Blackman AO said: 

“I warmly welcome Rev Sandy Boyce as the new Executive Officer of the Victorian Council of Churches.  Sandy brings a wide range of experience and expertise across many areas of church life including parish ministry, youth ministry and ecumenical engagement, especially within the churches in South Australia.  The Council and Standing Committee of the Victorian Council of Churches look forward to welcoming Sandy to Melbourne and to working with her as we advance the mission and strategic plan of the VCC.”

Anglican; Antiochian Orthodox; Armenian Apostolic; Bulgarian Orthodox; Churches of Christ; Coptic Orthodox; Greek Orthodox; Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East; Lutheran; Malankara Orthodox Syrian; Mar Thoma Syrian; Religious Society of Friends; Roman Catholic; Melkite Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic Eparchies; St George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox; Romanian Orthodox; Salvation Army; Syrian Orthodox; Uniting Church; Welsh Church.

DWF Justice Committee - report to DWF EC March 2022

DIAKONIA World Federation

Justice Committee

Initial Priorities

March 2022

The Justice Committee formed in 2021, has a charter to “create, coordinate, and maintain a justice presence for DWF”.  Later in reference to Justice Committee’s relations with the Executive Committee, the Charter says the Justice Committee is to meet “at least annually, identifying themes, making recommendations, and suggesting actions.”  In Committee’s list of specific duties, it says that it is to:

a. Maintain a current audit of justice initiatives undertaken by our member communities, other ecumenical partners, and individuals, and explore avenues for partnering, networking, and collaborating.

b. Imagine ways our member associations and communities might be supportive of identified justice work

c. Set priorities and develop a plan for amplifying the justice work of DWF. 

d. Recruit leaders to facilitate events and programs that promote justice networking, information- sharing, learning, and acting.

e. Publicize these opportunities, in cooperation with the Communications Committee, using the various DWF Communication platforms.

The Justice Committee believes one of its roles for itself, and with DWF members, is to reflect on justice ministries our members are engaged with or perhaps on issues members are not engaged.  The reflection – praxis model is central to justice ministries which have integrity and sound theological foundation.  This model serves as a basis of the DOVE (Diakonia Overcoming Violence Experience) which DOTAC hosts reflecting on various forms of violence different locations in their region.

We are aware that engaging in justice issues in many regions is not a safe act and we need to be clear and intentional with what platforms we are using to share information and what we say and suggest for action.

In carrying out the responsibilities named in the Charter it is not clear on the style of justice presence or ministry it wants DWF to utilize.  The Justice Committee discussed this extensively at its meeting in December 2021 and agreed that DWF is similar to the values, organization structure, and character of the WCC. However, we recognized that DWF does not have the resources and relationships the WCC has.  So, DWF must choose which style of work best suits our resources and relationships with our members.

For reference we have noted that the World Council of Churches has a variety of styles of work:

  • Education of its members for local actions on global issues
  • Encourage and Support Local Action of its members in specific regions on specific areas of justice
  • Commit To Equip, Mobilize, And Support Faith Communities on justice issues which do not have high profile
  • Transform the Renewal of Church and Society on justice issues which are pervasive both within the church and society. Gender justice is such an issue.
  • Convening and Facilitating Advocacy at Different Levels – globally, regionally, nationally, and locally.  This is done with ecumenical organizations, partner churches, and with global bodies such, as the United Nations.
  • Identifying A Specific Justice Issue and Develop a Multi-Year, Multi-Faceted Program – e.g., Programme to Combat Racism
  • Guiding WCC on Justice Issues and developing ecumenical policy for its members
  • Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance to develop and coordinate campaigns for supportive members, such as HIV and AIDS, food security and sustainable agriculture


  1. The Justice Committee recommends that we continue seek information from each region and member of DWF as to what each are doing on different themes or issues

We will first ask members organizations to name a contact person for the Justice Committee to be in direct communication.  The contact person for the membership organization will:

  1. Share information from their organization with the DWF Justice Committee.  Initially this will be done by completing the survey on behalf of their organization
  2. Share information from the DWF Justice Committee with their membership organization. 
  1. The first theme DWF will focus on will be climate change, because it highly ranked in our initial survey of members and individuals, and is common to all areas. The focus may vary upon the local context.  In some areas the focus may be on promoting electric vehicles and in other regions it may be on mining on indigenous lands for the lithium used for the batteries. Based upon what learn, we will then report to our members on what various regions are doing thereby educating our members and the Justice Committee about the issue of climate change.

Even though we may focus on one theme, such as climate change, our discussion and actions may crossover to other justice issues such as, the global concentration of wealth and power.

  1. DWF Justice Committee’s role initially will be to amplify the work and requests of the regions and members.  We may not necessarily be urging a particular action unless there is a particular urgent action or human rights situation.
  2. Some members of the DWF Justice Committee will be the contact person in their regional organizations:
    1. DRAE – Gwynne Lawlor (Africa) and will seek someone for Europe
    2. DOTAC – Megan Hale (Anglophone) and Dionata Rodrigues de Oliveira (Portuguese and Spanish)
    3. DAP – Emma Cantor - (Asia and Pacific) and Sophia Lizares (Australia & New Zealand) 
  1. The Executive to explore with DWF Justice Committee the possibility of developing working relationships the WCC global and regional committees in addressing justice issues.

We appreciate that this may be a long-term goal because the Justice Committee first needs to educate, engage and reflect with member organizations on what they are doing and not doing on justice issues.

Respectfully submitted,

Eric Tusz-King

On Behalf of Justice Committee