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First BAME bishop for 20 years

One month after a large group of black and minority-ethnic (BAME) clergy wrote a letter criticising the lack of non-white senior clergy in the CofE, Downing Street has announced the appointment of the first BAME bishop for twenty years. The next Bishop of Woolwich will be the Vicar of St John’s, Upper Holloway, Revd Woyin Karo­wei Dorgu. The 58-year-old was born and brought up in Nigeria, and worked as a GP before training for ordination. He has been Vicar of St John’s since 2000. ‘We are greatly honoured to be invited to share and contribute to this dynamic ministry of bringing God’s love to the people of Wool­wich and the diocese,’ Revd Dorgu said. Speaking to reporters, he said, ‘I want to encourage BAME vocations and more participation in ministry. I will celebrate the divers­ity in race, ability, gender, sexuality, and class. Celebrating our differ­ences is a gift.’

Pray: for Revd Dorgu as he takes up his new post, and for all BAME clergy to be encouraged in their ministries. (Gal. 3:28)
More: www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2016/23-december/news/uk/first-bame-episcopal-appointment-for-20-years

Nigeria: day of mourning declared

A day of mourning has been declared for the victims of killings in Kaduna, which is to be observed on Sunday, 8 January, 2017. This is following a massacre that occurred on the evening on Monday, 26 December, 2016, in the Sanga Local Government Area of the state. The Secretary General of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Musa Asake, made the call for a special prayer for the victims, reported to be 38 in number. ‘In view of the present predicament, the president of CAN has directed that Sunday, 8 January, be declared a national day of mourning by all Christians. We are to pray fervently for our southern Kaduna brothers and sisters who are victims of these wanton killings and also for the peace of our dear country, Nigeria.’ Asake thinks the presidency is not doing anything substantial in response to the mass killing of innocent people. ‘While we commend President Muhammadu Buhari for waging war against the Boko Haram fundamentalists since his assumption of office, his silence in the ongoing genocide in the last few weeks speaks volumes over the perceived official endorsement of the dastardly and ungodly acts. The security operatives in the area appear to be turning blind eyes to the killings.’

Pray: that the authorities will be more concentrated on defence of the innocent people being targeted and that peace will be achieved.
More: pulse.ng/religion/can-christian-body-declares-day-of-mourning-for-victims-of-kaduna-killings-id5974419.html


My name is Bosun Emmanuel. I am appealing to you to kindly read this short article. Thank you.

I wish to commiserate with every Nigerian Christian on the various calamities befalling us in Nigeria. It is unfortunate that we have to experience this distress, but it was avoidable. Over the years, we Nigerian Christians have been unable to unite and harness our enormous potentials for the Common Good of all. However, it is better late than never that we embark on remedial actions. The consequence of maintaining the current attitude of disunity and indifference is eradication of Christianity, our culture, our ethnic identity, and the annihilation of our lives. Therefore, we have no option but to commence building structures to engage those determined to destroy us.

Paint a prayer for the nations

On Sunday we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, but peace is missing in so many places. Central African Republic is experiencing armed clashes between Muslims and Christians. Democratic Republic of Congo is warring against rebel groups. Egypt is has militant branches of Islamic State. Libya still has an ongoing civil war. Mali citizens are burdened with clashes between army and rebel groups. Mozambique is contending with RENAMO rebels. Nigeria is battling militants. Somalia is struggling against al-Shabaab. South Sudan is suffering continual atrocities between opposing groups. Praying into so many situations can be overwhelming, but this Christmas perhaps we could offer our imaginations to the Prince of Peace and have our thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit. Let us paint a prayer based on ‘What would it look like if God touched this place, this situation, this nation, with His glorious colours of salvation and restoration?’ Let this Holy Spirit-inspired image fuel our prayers for 2017.

Pray: for the Holy Spirit to give us renewed, inspired prayers that usher in winds of change in 2017. (Jn.14:26)

Nigeria: update

The UN has reported that 75,000 thousand children are at risk of dying of hunger and fourteen million people are in need of humanitarian aid in north-east Nigeria, as it deals with the aftermath of Boko Haram violence. Pray that they will receive all the aid they need to recover and resettle. A trauma care centre is being constructed by Open Doors in northern Nigeria to support Christians who have suffered religiously-motivated violence or abuse at the hands of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. Pray for Open Doors and other organisations to receive adequate funding so that they can fulfil their objectives. Violence continues with a recent spate of attacks on five Christian villages in the Kauru local government area. Most of the fatalities were women, children and the elderly, who could not escape the Fulani herdsmen’s gunfire. 120 houses, including eight house-churches, were burnt down.

Pray: for Nigerian Christians who were displaced by Boko Haram but are now beginning to return home as territory is being won back from insurgents. May they prosper and thrive in the future.
More: https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/search/?q=Nigeria&k=1

Ugandan pastor challenges UK church on persecution

A Ugandan pastor, severely injured by Islamic opponents of his faith, made an appeal for British Christians to help their persecuted brothers across the world. Umar Mulinde was badly burned by an acid attack outside his church. During a brief tour of the UK he spoke out - a challenge which coincided with reports of an assassination attempt on Baroness Caroline Cox in Nigeria by Fulani Islamic militants. Baroness Cox, a committed Christian, is a religious freedom campaigner and cross-bench member of the House of Lords. Umar’s plea also comes amid ongoing violence against Christians in Uganda. He warned, ‘Even in the UK, former Muslims who have converted to Christianity are not safe.’ He mentioned Nissar Hussain whose family had to be moved under police protection following years of harassment. ‘No country can say they are safe. It’s a matter of time. This is not prophecy; it’s reality. The UK is sitting on a time-bomb.’

Pray: for the Church in the west to address global persecution of Christians more aggressively. (1Cor.12.26)
More: http://gatewaynews.co.za/ugandan-acid-attack-victim-challenges-uk-church-over-christian-persecution/

Africa at the UN General Assembly, 20 to 26 September

Thirty-two African heads of state are debating ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ at the UN. Some major concerns are: Chad - continues to fight Boko Haram. Malawi - respect for basic human rights as they open doors to refugees from neighbouring countries. Also millions need food assistance due to climate change. Tunisia - promoting security and human rights but needs support to improve its economy, emphasising Tunisia’s commitment to build a prosperous, united Africa. South Africa - developmental progress in line with the African Union’s agenda, also called for inclusive growth where countries put global interests ahead of national ones. Nigeria - anti-corruption stance and effects of the global downturn on the country, also pointed out that climate change effects are threatening livelihoods of 30 million people. Uganda - preventing discrimination based on religion, gender and political orientation. Ghana - Africa does not need sympathy or overseas aid, it needs a fair chance to trade with the rest of the world and amongst ourselves.

Pray: for developed and underdeveloped countries as they implement development goals. (Php.3:14)
More: www.africanews.com/2016/09/21/highlights-what-are-african-leaders-saying-at-the-un-general-assembly-day-1/

Global famine report - 30 August 2016

The nutrition situation in Borno and Yobe states in NIGERIA is extreme. The Boko Haram conflict has contributed to large-scale population displacement, limiting market activity, and restricting normal livelihoods. Other areas of highest concern are ETHIOPIA: following a severe drought, more people will need food assistance over the coming year than at any time in the past ten years. SUDAN: below-average national food production and very large pasture deficits. SOUTH SUDAN: conflicts continue to disrupt trade, humanitarian access, and livelihoods. Food security has deteriorated to ‘Emergency’ in Northern Bahr el Ghazal. YEMEN: extensive conflict has reduced incomes and elevated food prices. Food is inadequate for poor households. Many are suffering from the 2015/16 El Niño which led to drought. SOUTHERN AFRICA: 2016 is a second poor food production year. The number of people in crisis is expected to continue to increase through the year . HAITI: there are below-average agricultural seasons, reduced labour demand, and continuing high staple food prices.

Pray: for those experiencing food price increases, and the millions of hungry displaced populations. (Is.51:4b)
More: www.fews.net/

Nigeria: only weeks left for Boko Haram?

Nigeria's army expects to seize Boko Haram's last few strongholds in the northeast over the next few weeks, the commander in charge said on Wednesday. The army has retaken most of the territory - at one point the size of Belgium. Major General Lucky Irabor said the jihadists are now holed up in a few pockets of the Sambisa forest - where more than 200 girls kidnapped from the town of Chibok in 2014 are believed to be held - and two areas near Lake Chad, and they would be flushed out ‘within weeks’. ‘Almost all of the locations held by the Boko Haram terrorists have been reclaimed. We are talking only of a few villages and towns,’ Irabor said.

Praise: God for better military cooperation and joint operations between Nigeria and Chad. Pray for the final push into Sambisa and the release of all the hostages. (Jer.33:9)
More: www.gospelherald.com/articles/66260/20160831/nigerian-army-commander-weeks-left-boko-haram.htm

Nigeria: a weight-lifter’s extra problems

Even before she left the shores of Nigeria for Brazil, Mariam Usman knew that winning a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics would be a tough call. She would not pretend to be a magician or claim perfection where there is none. Usman believes one can only reap where one sows. She was the only weightlifter representing Nigeria in Rio. She competed in the +75 category and amassed 265 kg, finishing 8th in her group. ‘It is painful to come to the Olympics and see people who are your contemporaries perform better than you; not because you lack the ability but because you were not prepared like them,’ she said, She added that training for the Rio Olympics was non-existent in Nigeria, while her counterparts from other countries have been training for three to four years. ‘Other competitors had everything they needed: training grants, competitions and access to the most modern equipment. I had nothing.’

Pray: for Nigeria and other countries giving poor support to their athletes, that they should provide adequate funding and training for those displaying extraordinary abilities and strengths in representing their home country. (Ps.59:4b)
More: www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/wont-represent-nigeria-usman/

Nigeria: Ethnic cleansing in the south

200+ people have been killed in almost daily attacks in the northern and north-eastern regions since 30 June by Boko Haram. But lesser reported violence rages farther south, claiming thousands of Christian lives. Militants among the ethnic Fulani, a predominantly Muslim and nomadic population of cattle herders, are suspected of killing Christians in the states of Plateau and Taraba in recent months. The two states form the eastern end of Nigeria's ‘Middle Belt’ (states straddling the pre-colonial line dividing Nigeria's Muslim north from its Christian south) and the most recent violence resulted from 500 Fulani cattle disappearing with suspicion falling on the Berom, an indigenous Christian population. Fulani raiding parties killed 30+ people, including a pastor of the Church of Christ in Nigeria. Cattle rustling and land disputes provide a pretext for the violence across the Middle Belt. For a report on Non-Boko Haram violence against Christians in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria go to: http://theanalytical.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Migration-and-Violent-Conflict-in-Divided-Societies-March-2015.pdf

Pray: for an end to the Hausa-Fulani Muslim oligarchy that has used colonial legacies, political policies and religious sentiments in order to conquer and dominate the Middle Belt region. (Pr.21:15)
More: www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2015/07/3924562

Nigeria: evangelical pastor hacked to death

A pastor has been hacked to death by armed Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria's central state of Nasarawa, according to World Watch Monitor (WWM). Rev Joseph Kurah, with the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Obi town, was reportedly killed on 30 June after going to his farm at around 7pm to cut down trees for roofing wood. There had been a dispute with a local Muslim earlier over ownership of the land, according to members of the church. Many local Christians suspect that the Muslim hired the Fulani herdsmen to carry out the murder. A man who identified himself as Kurah's nephew posted graphic photos on Twitter, saying, 'They attacked him on his farm, cut off his arms and legs; then they chopped his head with a machete. All I want is justice to be done. Nasarawa State and the federal government must find the killers of my uncle.' Kurah has left behind a wife and seven children.

Pray: for Kurah's wife and children, for them to experience God's presence, compassion and grace at this time. Pray for the killers to be brought to justice. (Isaiah 56:1)
More: www.christiantoday.com/article/evangelical.pastor.hacked.to.death.in.nigeria/89953.htm

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