God is Able...

Posted by Colin Corbridge on Tue, 24 Mar 2009 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

When Bishop Joel Obetia spoke to a group of CMS Ireland’s members in Belfast recently his message was clear, “God is able!”

Bishop Joel, from Madi West Nile Diocese in Uganda, was addressing CMS Ireland staff and supporters during a visit to Ireland, which included a week long programme in Armagh Diocese. He was keen to stress that, despite challenges and difficulties, “God is at work through His church.”

Madi West Nile, in northern Uganda, has been profoundly impacted, in recent years, by conflicts in neighbouring Sudan and DR Congo and the area has not escaped the violent atrocities perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Many people living in Madi West Nile can personally testify to this, living as “refugees with one foot in Sudan and one foot in Uganda”, explained the Bishop.

However the local Anglican Church, now 90 years-old, is making a real difference and has just embarked on “decade of mission”. Church leaders and evangelists are actively seeking ways to share the radical, transforming message of Christ with damaged and hurting communities.

“God has picked us from the dust and brought us into grace”, said Bishop Joel. “We want to tell the World what God has done in the last 90 years and what he wants to do in the future. There is more in our future than in our past”, he continued.

As the Church in Madi West Nile builds for that future its priority is leadership training – ensuring that those in positions of responsibility are properly equipped and supported for the task that lies before them. This investment in people is central to Bishop Joel’s vision for the local church. “If we build the people, then the people will build the Diocese”, he explained. His description of ‘partnership’ is just as ‘people-focussed’. “I believe in ‘people to people’ partnership – not ‘things to people’ or ‘money to people’”, he said.

The ‘personal connection’ between Madi West Nile and Ireland goes back many years and has, most recently, been enhanced by the arrival in the Diocese of CMS Ireland Mission Partners Aart and Geesje den Breejen. Bishop Joel spoke warmly of Aart and Geesje’s work and of the importance of the Vocational Training Centre that is once again beginning to thrive.

Bishop Joel’s hope is clear – that God’s people would take God’s message into local communities and work for change. He wants to see a vibrant, active church living out the values of God’s Kingdom in the midst of brokenness. And he is keen that partners from Ireland would “come and see for themselves” the “Holy chaos” of mission in action.

Such expressions of partnership are at the heart of how CMS Ireland thinks about mission and are currently looking for parishes interested in partnering with the Diocese of Madi West Nile. If you would like to learn more then please contact David Gough for more information.


Sarah Hutchinson said Thu, 26 Mar 2009 04:35AM
What an uplifting message! A real encouragement. May God draw us all in the Holy chaos of mission!