Hello from Hilary
The year 2020 is now well and truly underway, with all its hopes and expectations, joys and concerns. For those of us who love the Lord, we have the assurance that God is still on the throne and despite changes all around, he is the one who will never leave us or forsake us. As we trust him, he will be there for us, whether the days appear good or bad.
At present another cohort of mission partners in training are in Oxford – please pray for Bev Richardson preparing to go back to Paraguay after serving short term, Neil and Sue Browning going to Moyo, Uganda, a mission partner family preparing to serve in North Africa and a mission partner who will be supporting the persecuted church across the Middle East.
We welcome two new members to the fellowship, both of whom returned from Uganda last summer. Dr Corrie Verduyn worked in maternal health at Kiwoko hospital and Ann Moore worked as a nurse and taught nursing at Kisiizi hospital.
Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers for CMS – we so appreciate your faithfulness.
God bless you all,
Hilary Cope, Mission Partners’ Fellowship Secretary
A word from Alastair Bateman
Towards the end of 2019, I had really enjoyable conversations with many of CMS’s mission partners around the world, using video conferencing.
I was sharing with them about the Isaiah Project (mentioned in my last update in October) from which we hope to discern CMS’s call for this generation. No straightforward task, but we trust the Lord is with us and continue to welcome your prayers as we go on the journey together. The mission partners shared their reflections and we were able to have really encouraging conversations.
I also met a number of people from our wider community at the Partnership for World Mission (PWM) conference in Swanwick. A number said they had supported CMS for decades and it was good to put a few faces to names! I also enjoyed teaching from the Bishop of Guildford on 1 Peter, the Scripture that is the focus for the Lambeth conference next year. Some of you may remember that Bishop Andrew Watson was involved with my commissioning service last May. He also was my vicar when I met my wife and led the thanksgiving service for my eldest daughter 11 years ago. Whenever I see him, which is fairly frequently these days, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness to us!
Alastair Bateman, CEO
Inspiration from the ends of the earth
CMS mission development manager for Latin America, Paul Tester, is usually based in Lima. He recently spent a couple of weeks in the Oxford office. I caught up with him about significant anniversaries for the Anglican Church in Latin America during 2019: 150 years since the founding of the first Anglican mission on Argentine soil and the consecration of Waite Stirling as the first bishop. Waite Stirling was known as “God’s lonely sentinel” and was a pioneer missionary, beginning work with the Yaghanes in what is now Ushuaia, Argentina. From there SAMS’s mission work moved to other indigenous peoples around the continent. There is a portrait of Waite Stirling here at CMS House – in a room named after Allen Gardiner, who inspired a mission movement to South America. Paul comments:
“Across Latin America we are drawing on their inspirational mission work to encourage others to reflect on what that pioneering missionary spirit might look like today. It is a privilege to be part of the mission movement they were led by the Spirit to begin.”
Paul travelled to Ushuaia in December along with other CMS people in mission to commemorate Waite Stirling.
CMS is looking for enthusiastic people to volunteer to represent them in churches and at mission events. We’re looking for a varied group of people from across the country who represent the breadth of CMS experience.
As a valued member of the CMS family, we hope you might be interested to find out more and apply.
Full details and an application pack are available at churchmissionsociety.org/cms-reps
Seasonal message from Taiwan
I’ve received a seasonal message from Catherine Lee, a mission partner in Taiwan.
Greetings to you all from Taiwan! By the time you read this, Christmas will be over and it will be Chinese New Year. It’s the busiest time of year for most families, with the house to spring clean, all debts to be paid, gifts to be given, meals to cook, offerings to be made at the temples and shrines, and relatives to entertain. For young Christians away at college or working in the cities, it is a challenging time as they return home for the New Year celebrations, to families where ancestor worship and temple visits are part of the traditions followed by all. It also comes very soon after the high point of Christmas, with all the lively celebrations and outreach. Even though all schools and work places in Taiwan continue as normal over Christmas, many people are fascinated by Christmas customs and love to send a few cards, decorate their offices and schools, and often welcome church groups to come and sing Christmas carols, who then use the opportunity to share the good news and real meaning of Christmas. This is one of the joys of living in Taiwan, joining with Christians in outreach activities, and seeing new Christians inspired in their faith to go home and share the gospel with family and friends over Chinese New Year.
The sorrows, of course, are not far behind, and include seeing deeply entrenched religious traditions become a barrier to people accepting the gospel. It is relatively easy to be a Christian far away from home, in the big cities where churches are many, lively, filled with young people and offer a wonderful support system. Back home in the countryside, few know anything about Christmas and fewer still have heard the Christian gospel. Instead, temples are the centre of village and family life. Families have continued following the same folk-religion traditions for centuries, and even though many say they just follow them out of habit, they are also reluctant to change. And thus we pray for revival to come to Taiwan!
Happy Chinese New Year to you all, and thank you for your prayers.
Ann Moore, new member of the fellowship, reflects on 23 years as a mission partner in Kisiizi:
Looking back over 23 years at Kisiizi, my overwhelming thought is “What a faithful God have I.” It is he who kept me there; from getting on the plane in 1996, during the first 6 months and very regularly after that. There were times when the only thing that kept me there was the knowledge that I was there because that was where God had called me to be.
It was sometimes very lonely. I would get frustrated with the nurses or feel undermined by all the visiting doctors. Looking back through it all, God’s grace proved to be sufficient. I know if I’d have left ten or even four years earlier I would have felt that I had failed; not reached the finishing line where Kisiizi was concerned. Now I know I have finished the work God gave me to do there.
It was a great time of learning for me both professionally and spiritually and I was often surprised by the power of prayer and sometimes by the reality of the enemy.
Professionally it was good to work in so many different areas of the hospital: children’s ward, special care, maternity ward, adult wards and the school of nursing. No way could I have had such a variety of experience had I stayed in UK. I remember seeing dreadful wounds that made me weep, but also God’s amazing power as these wounds healed. Psalm 139:14 tells us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. This was so apparent in Kisiizi. Many times, patients got better when humanly speaking there was no hope. After preparing parents for what we thought was inevitable it was good from time to time to be wrong. There were sad times, especially when babies or children died, but gradually I came to realise that God was in those situations also. Once I had gone home for a very late lunch and was lying on my bed absolutely spent because of such a case. As I lay there exhausted, I inwardly began to sing “All Hail, redeemer, Hail!” and my spirit was lifted by the Saviour.
Looking back my song has to be “Great is thy faithfulness”. He has indeed given strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
I have some happy news from the fellowship: Alan Nickless, who many of you will know from Northern Conferences you have attended over the years, has informed me that he is engaged to marry Hazel Ford. Many many congratulations to Alan and Hazel.
Please also give thanks for mission partner Lynn Treneary’s ordination as deacon in the Diocese of Maridi, South Sudan on 17 December 2019.
CMS Southern Conference
Date: 28 February–1 March
Venue: High Leigh, Hoddesdon, Herts.
Theme: Sharing the gospel here, there and everywhere
Speakers include: Janet Quarry (executive assistant to Alastair Bateman), Andre Fonseca (pastor of a Brazilian church in Oxford) and Rev Dr Judith Stephenson (chaplain at Wormwood Scrubs prison)
Contact details: Mrs Jane Fulford. Tel: 0118 9695039 Mobile: 07764 947495 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CMS Scotland Conference
Date: Saturday 7 March
Venue: St James the Less Episcopal Church, Hilton Road, Bishopbriggs G64 3EL
Contact: Catherine Stewart: CMSCommunityScotland@outlook.com
Yorkshire Mission Day
Date: 25 April
Contact: Allen Bagshawe: 01482 702220 or email@example.com
Pioneer Conversations Day: For Art’s Sake
A day of creative conversations on art, theology and mission.
Dates: 3 March, CMS House, Oxford and 24 March, Penrith
More information at churchmissionsociety.org/events
I need to let you know that the following former mission partners have died:
- Rev Canon Raymond Smith (Kenya) died July 2019.
- Miss Ethel Bennett (Gambia) died in August 2019.
- Mrs Hilda Mary Russell (Kenya) died September 2019.
- Mrs Maureen Austerberry (Iran) died in October 2019.
- Rev Canon John Gaunt Hunter (Uganda) died in October 2019.
- Dr Selwyn Baker (India) died in November 2019.
- Dr Jon Henderson (Rwanda) died in November 2019.
- Miss Rosa Jane Pelly (Nigeria) died in November 2019.
In addition, I need to share the sad news that a mission associate, Mr Peter Melling, died November 2019 in DR Congo. Peter had spent many years living and serving the Lord in Uganda and DR Congo. I’m sure you will join me in praying for his family.
Tributes to Rev H Neill Mackay, Dr (Lilian) Stella Walters, Miss Rosa Jane Pelly, Dr Selwyn Baker and Rev Canon John Gaunt Hunter can be found on the pdf below.
Download tributes pdf