Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Be faithful unto death ...

Francis Omondi from Sheepfold ministries in Kenya has just had a reflection published on Fulcrum aboout the brutal murders in March 2010 of Christians in Jos Nigeria Be faithful unto death

I particularly liked the quote from Tohito Kagawa's book Meditation:

“I do not deny the eventuality of death, death lies sternly upon my course, nevertheless I believe that Love [the love of God] has far greater power than death. ‘ death is swallowed up in love …’

Love is stronger than death, love’s glory tramples even death under feet, I am thinking that death is transformed through love. Death is an aspect of change, while love is the substance that persists through all changes.

The Anglican diocese of Jos have published pictures on thier website. Be warned theya re very disturbing

At the end of the pictures there is a prayer:

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Tangmarg School: before and after

The beautful Tangmarg school BEFORE


We had a day of fasting prayer in the Diocese (Report below). Thank you for praying with us.
I have attached a heart-breaking photo of Tangmarg school after it was burnt. Please share with other friends!
+ Samantaroy

Responding to a call by Bp.P.K.Samantaroy, fasting prayers were observed throughout the diocese from morning till 4:00 p.m. Pastors, field workers, the diocesan office staff, teachers and lay men and women totaling above 100 assembled in the St.Paul’s Church, Amritsar and spent time in prayer, singing and reflection. The participants were seen emotionally moved as they prayed for peace in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. A candlelight dedication prayer marked the closing of the fasting prayer during which people committed themselves to stick to Christian values and to work for peace. The Bishop and a few leaders met the D.C. of Amritsar and handed over a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of India. The participants broke their fast with tea and snacks over an informal fellowship.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tragedy in Kashmir

I received the following from the Bishop of Amritsar about the school in Tangmarg. I quote it in full because it sets the context so well:

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings to you from Amritsar! Today was a very special day for me. In the midst of receiving greetings and messages for my birthday I got a horrifying message from Parwez that the Tangmarg branch of Tyndale Biscoe & Mallinson was vandalized and set on fire. I was shocked and immobilized for few moments not willing to believe what I had just heard. I was even hopeful that the fire brigade would be able to reach the School and save it from devastation. But the unexpected happened. The whole school building got completely burnt destroying everything in it. We have lost the most beautiful school of the Diocese. However, I thank God for there was no human casualty. The few support staff who were present in the School managed to run away to safety in time.

This ghastly incident was a result of a rumor that was deliberately spread to announce an alleged burning of copies of Quran in the U.S.A. There were few other incidents of attacks on church. Last night a C.N.I. Church was burnt in Malerkotla (Chandigarh Diocese) and a Roman Catholic Church was attacked in Poonch (Jammu) but the police successfully prevented any damage to the Church.

I have written letters to the President, Prime Minister and other high officials to take steps to give adequate protection to the Christians of J & K. apart from informing the C.N.I. Synod office, friends and partners. I request you to write letters to the Prime Minister of India urging him to take appropriate action.
The Tangmarg School building is gone but not our hope and confidence. I thank God for the gift of this challenge to rebuild on my birthday. I know my limitations. But I believe your prayers will cause a storm in heaven and invite God’s intervention in the Kashmir situation.
It is a time to pray and act together.
Diocese of Amritsar
Kashmir school principal on burning of Tangmarg school

Mr Parwez Kaul, head of the Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson schools, speaks on the shocking arson attack

"We ask everyone to pray for us around the world," he says. "In Kashmir we are used to facing challenges, this the worst challenge I have been forced to face."

The sound quality is far from excellent, but we wanted you to hear the voice of those involved.

Monday, 13 September 2010

a school in Kashmir burnt in reaction to a pastor in Florida

Ed Lorenz famously said that a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and there is a Hurricane on the other side of the world. (1972 “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”) A threat of burning a Koran by a small town pastor of a tiny congregation in Florida and the next thing you know there are riots in Kabul and then in Kashmir schools being burnt. It is worth noting that this is a supposed 'reaction' or response to the proposed 'Koran Burnings' that did not actually happen. Fighting fire with fire just does not make sense to me.

I received a number of messages about the Tyndale Biscoe School in Tangmarg. I visited it a couple of months ago and it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip - seeing the kids reherse a cultural performance they were doing for their proud parents. And a real sense of bringing education to remote under-served areas where it was most needed. I remember two young girls I spoke to during the tea break and their dream to be doctors..... Now all such dreams are on hold.

I include some of the messages as I received them and the unfolding story of this senseless waste.....

Bishop Pradeep Samantaroy of Amritsar writes:
following the Quaran burning threats in America, the Tangmarg branch of the Tyndale Biscoe and Mallinson Educational Society in Jammu and Kashmir has been put on fire. Curfew has been imposed. Even as this message is being typed, the school building is still burning! Kindly pray that peace will be restored soon and that nobody is hurt.
Read more from the local press in Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Observer

S. Samantaroy The School students are not hurt. The building has totally burnt down. It was entirely made of wood. Though the officials were informed of a possible attack and requested for safety there was no action taken. The mob even stopped the fire brigade from reaching the spot. We are yet to procure a photograph. We will keep you updated.

Bishop Pradeep Samantaroy I am heart broken because I was involved with the Tangmarg School from the time we selected the land. I saw the building built and the School grow and flourish with committed staff and beautiful Kashmiri children. The School was more like a beautiful garden. How can I see it turn to ashes? The students are crying because they learnt their School is no more.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Faith on the move: myDiocese app for i-phone

I have just downloaded the new MyDiocese app for i-phone, with news from CofE and a number of Diocese - including my own Guildford. To try it out (its FREE) just go to i-tunes or apps on your i-phone

There are 4 main areas:

1 home page (with a daily reading) :

2 News (from CofE and particpating diocese - Oxford not yet one of them)

3 Faith (services, resources etc)

4 Community (find churches)

you can read more on the Guldford diocese media release

It's what you might call 'Faith on the move'

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Birmingham Balti: 'we're all in the same bucket'

A good friend of mine, Colin, ran a Balti evening in Birmingham to raise funds for Pakistan Flood relief. Unfortunately I was unable to attend but it sounded a great event. But I'll let Colin describe it himself ......

It went well.... David said grace in Urdu and prayed for blessing on the restaurant staff and the people affected by the floods - the staff and owner were really touched by the whole thing. We had 36 sat down at table and and a few who donated but couldn't come.
The final result - unless more gifts come in: We all paid £10 per person for our meal and on top of that raised £661.18 [ £554 plus we estimate DEC can expect to receive an estimated gift aid top up of 107.18 ]

It is a version of what I talked about in CMS as balti church - there was an enormous buzz of conversation - so much so, it was hard to be heard reading the poems, cos people did not want to stop talking lol.... (but little formal religious expression) and we had folk from about seven churches as well as some members of my family. We did a little quiz about Pakistan at the beginning ... and the level of that was about right....
Balti church / balti gathering cos in the end we're all in the same bucket!

A great effort if you ask me. If anyone else is inspired to do something similar then maybe you could send funds through CMS to help our response. I've written up some bits about it on this blog. Just click away on the CMS website: Give Now