What a joy it was to be able to gather together once again last Saturday for our annual 'Shine' event in Dublin. Around 30 participants came to CITI in person, and another 20 via zoom (including two from Kenya!), for a morning of praise, fellowship, reflection and encouragement followed by lunch and the Annual General Meeting of the Society.
From the start there was a palpable sense of enjoyment as friends were able to be together again after so many months of separation. Roger Cooke and Jenny Smyth welcomed everyone and Roger led us in worhsip – which we all felt to be extremely heartfelt and moving.
Using our 2022 annual theme (Kingdom Come) Partnership Coordinators Linda Abwa and Roger Thompson shared stories of some of the exciting things God was doing amongst various of our Global Partners. Linda talked about the dreams and aspirations of children at school in Madi West Nile, South Sudan and Egypt, while Roger gave feedback on church leadership training taking place in the East Africa Christian College, Rwanda and the Gitega Bible School in Burundi.
Personnel Manager Gillian brought news of various overseas mission placements (including Tom & Gemma Withers currently in Kiwoko hospital, Uganda) and then led us in a time of remembrance for two special members of the CMSI family who had passed away in recent weeks.
Firstly we heard a very moving tribute to Canon Cecil Wilson (former General Secretary of the Society) given via a video link by Bishop Mouneer Anis (former Archbishop of Alexandria). Talking about their friendship going back to 1980, Bishop Mouneer spoke very warmly about Cecil’s encouragement in Mission, his support for the Deaf School in Cairo and his ministry of peace-making which will always be remembered.
Gillian then paid tribute to Bikash Adhikari – a wonderful friend, leader and servant of God in Nepal who we tragically lost earlier this month after a long illness. She spoke about his love for his family, his great personal warmth, his tireless advocacy for the marginalised (especially people with disabilities), his visits to Ireland as well as his role in facilitating many Teams, placements and projects in Nepal in partnership with CMSI. Gillian said both Cecil and Bikash will be sorely missed, assuring their families of our profound sympathies and continued prayers.
A number of other CMSI family news items were then shared, including the announcement that after 15 years of service, Roger Cooke will be moving on to a new job next month. Jenny Smyth thanked Roger for all his creativity, skill and dedication over the years and said that his would be very big boots to fill, encouraging all members to pray for the right person to be appointed in the new Communications Coordinator role. We also welcomed our new temporary Adminstration Coordinator Wendy Houston, covering for Megan Totten who has recently become Mum to baby Aurora!
After a delicious lunch served in the CITI canteen, the in-person delegates returned for the business meeting with reports from our Chairperson David Reynolds and Mission Director Jenny Smyth, giving thanks for all the progress made this year and looking forward to a new Strategic Plan currently being drawn up for the next five year period. Our trustees were thanked for their service throughout the year and a new board was elected for the year to come. Adrian Dorrian presented the accounts before the meeting closed with worship.