Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Communities of Shalom

Dear friends and colleagues:

I want to let you know that I will have a new position at Drew beginning January 1, 2008. After 12 years as Director of the Doctor of Ministry program, I will transition at the end of the year to give my full attention to my new position: Director of Communities of Shalom. My role will be to facilitate and provide resources for a grass-roots, faith-based, community development network of "shalom sites" in the USA and Africa, in connection with theological education at Drew.

Here's a link to the announcement by the United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries in New York:

Drew Theological School to Be New Home
Of United Methodist "Shalom" Initiative

If you are Methodist, you may remember hearing about "shalom zones" in the early 1990's. The United Methodist Church responded to the race riots and social unrest in Los Angeles by working with local congregations to create a "shalom zone" in South Central LA and poured a lot of resources into community renewal and development. That initiative sparked a movement of community development projects known now as "Communities of Shalom".

As announced yesterday by the General Board of Global Ministries, Drew University was selected as the new home-base for Communities of Shalom which now number over 250. This means Drew Theological School will 1) coordinate, support, and develop the network; 2) offer on-going consultation and training; 3)teach the theology and practice of faith-based community development; and 4) prepare and place students as interns in shalom sites as part of their theological formation.

I am delighted with the invitation to provide leadership for the Shalom Initiative, and will make the transition at the end of the calendar year.

Yes, I will continue teaching at Drew, but not administering the DMIN program. And yes, I will be able to continue my ministry in Malawi as part of my Shalom work. In other words, I have a new great job at Drew--teaching, training, mentoring, and supporting seminary students and prophetic leaders who are making a difference in their neighborhoods and community settings through faith-in-action and collaborative community development.

So, shalom to you my friends!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

HopeHome Mzuzu Expands Again

Rev. Copeland Nkata, pastor of Mzuzu Methodist Church and circuit, sends the following September Report on his HomeHome for 60+ Orphaned and Vulunerable Children (OVC) in Malawi:

Dear Dr. Michael,

Greetings of grace from the embassy of Christ at Mzuzu UMC in the office of Hope Homes and Hope Scholarships.

The Angel Gabriel remitted to us MK138410.00 equivalent to US$1000.00 for September 2007, which we have spent on the following expenses: food, children’s picnic, pictures, transportation for maize, deliveries to UMC branches where orphaned and abandoned children are cared for, transportation to schools, medical help (malaria), school fees, and administrative costs.

This time we had a more wonderful and awesome picnic with 60 children in attendance, their faces beaming with joy and hope. To add more flavor we had 22 foster parents in attendance. We meant to engage them in prayer as a key factor to working out the future of the OVC. We woo them to Christ by this grand fellowship. Please continue to be part of us in prayer and financial succour. The results of your labours will surely come out in an awesome fashion at God’s own time as he works out the future of the vulnerable social group through your generosity.

We have taken note of the need to reserve the residual funds for the borehole. It’s done. The drillers say that they can still drill in January despite difficulties in traveling. And in March, when you come, you can see the work.

We all heartily thank you for this excellent assistance before God.

Copeland Darlison Leaster
( Pastor) (Treasurer) (Administrator)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bruce Springsteen in concert

We (Rebecca, Jeff Markay, Julie and I) attended the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Continental Arena this week. It was a nexus of joy! There was a special moment when Bruce looked up, enraptured, almost orgasmic and transcendent, that was pure joy shown like shekina on his face. I thought to myself "Bruce is doing exactly what he was made for on this earth."