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Christmas Update on Hope Scholarship House from Rev. Copeland Nkhata

Greetings to you! 
I hope God is keeping you safely during this holy week of Christmas. These photos show how much progress we have made in constructing the HOPE SCHOLARSHIP HOUSE to make our dream sustainable in empowering many souls that God has placed in our care.


The ring beam is next and then the roofing in January.  The house should be ready for occupancy in just a few more months.


What began in 2007 as a charitable educational project of Mzuzu United Methodist Church and WorldHope Corps to support selected youth who otherwise could not attend secondary school, will now become a self-supporting, sustainable, on-going scholarship program for boys and girls motivated to complete their education.   By building a beautiful, 4-bedroom family house in a new development area of Mzuzu that will generate monthly rental income, we will be able to support selected recipients through High School. (See previous posts on Hope Scholarship Program).  


We are grateful for all your support in 2011.  …

Christmas Greetings from Br. Julius and Fr. Paul in Uganda

Dear Brothers and Sisters in America:

I send you greetings in the name of our lord Jesus Christ and I hope God is keeping you safe during this holy week of Christmas.

I have viewed the good articles, comments, and the photos on this blog which clearly describe SARS and the work we do in Uganda.  We are so happy to be part of the WorldHope Corps family.


God makes miracles in different ways, and meeting people with compassion like you is beyond my imagination.

I have attached more photos of the ministry of SARS:

God bless you.

Br Julius



WorldHope Corps Projects in Western Uganda

We raised the roof of the St. George Hope Health Center in 2009.  Now lets equip the buildings, ensure clean water and sanitation, and empower young women for self-reliance. 
During the first ten days of June last summer I had the rich of experience of meeting Br. Julius Kasaija with the Sustainable Action for Rural Sector (SARS)--a Shalom-style community development work near Hoima, Uganda.  WorldHope Corps had been supporting SARS and their partner ministry, St George Hope Health Center, for three years now. Retired Judge Tom Dilts at Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church had introduced me to Julius and his brother, Fr. Paul Bigirwa, and their wonderful work in Western Uganda, but until June we had not met in person. Julius attended our ShalomZone Training in Uganda in June, and we became fast friends.
We've tried to raise a little money each year for Fr. Paul and Br. Julius to keep their good work going.  See previous Uganda blog posts  We Raised the Roof

This month WorldHope Corps r…

Year End Report to WorldHope Corps Donors 2011

Dear Friends and Partners,

Despite many economic hardships around the world in 2011, it was a hope-filled year for thousands of children, women and families in Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia and Haiti—thanks to you!  Together we raised so far this year a total of $108,485 to sustain the Hope programs in Malawi and support relief and development projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Haiti and Belarus. On behalf of all these children, women and families, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for your generous contributions to WorldHope Corps. Specifically this year, we continued to provide food and clothing for 100 vulnerable orphans through the Hope Homes program in Malawi.  We also provided educational scholarships for 16 additional youth who otherwise could not complete High School though Hope Scholarships, and graduated the third class of 12 young seamstresses in Hope Tailoring School, so that they can become self-sufficient and contribute to their local economy. Building on the …

Time to Occupy Christmas

An usually large, warm, Full Moon was visible and clear in the sky today over Madison, NJ.

According to earthsky.org"the big and bright waning gibbous moon shines directly in front of the constellation Gemini the Twins, the radiant point for the Geminid meteor shower (going on tonight). Gemini’s two brightest stars are Castor and Pollux. They shine quite close to the moon tonight." 

I looked up and down, all around, and inside and out, and though I did not see the Twins of Gemini, suddenly I knew what Time it was.

Time to go home to San Diego for the holidays (on Friday).

Time to leave Occupy Wall Street behind for awhile and focus on other things.

TIME TO OCCUPY CHRISTMAS with family and friends.

"There is a time to every purpose under heaven..." (Ecc. 3)

There's a time to cook and clean and mend.
And there's a time for crying with a friend.
Look around, do you see what time it is?
Put down your pots and pans awhile.


There's a time to do what's p…

What Time is it?

While returning to Newark on a 6am flight from Tulsa, the pilot woke up the passengers to alert us to an an astronomical sight not to be missed. I looked out the window and sure enough, the Moon over Tulsa was full and bright and larger than life, with no clouds obscuring the view.  The softer lunar light directly opposed the more radiant light of the Sun which was just starting to rise. In this strange twilight, I beheld that final phase of the lunar eclipse after the moon had turned red at its midpoint.
Since I teach apocalyptic eschatology at Drew (where I discuss biblical texts where the “moon turns to blood”), I could not help but wonder what this astronomical/astrological sign may mean at such a time as this? Perhaps this natural phenomenon, like all solar and lunar eclipses, at least in retrospect, portents or points to important human events of crisis and opportunity, or sometimes to the need for relief and re-balancing—as the ancients believed.   But for now, I simply delight i…

Drew Today--Full Spectrum

What do Drew, Jesse Jackson and Newt Gingrich have in common?
Here are two video clips from Drew Today, the university’s online news channel, illustrating the political spectrum of faculty, students and alumni:  (http://drew.edu/today) Prayers and Protest Social justice is integral to the mission of the Theological School and its Shalom initiative, so it wasn't so out of the ordinary that they led last Sunday’s worship service at Occupy Wall Street in New York City, led by Drew's Communities of Shalom. The surprise came when Rev. Jesse Jackson joined them. Video Journalist Ted Johnsen has the story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCauwTMKUSU&feature=youtube_gdata
Alumnus Propels Gingrich toward White House With only a few weeks to go before the presidential primaries, Newt Gingrich is emerging as the GOP frontrunner. We thought that was a good reason to reprise this 2010 “Life After Drew” feature with alumnus Joe DeSantis C’00. DeSantis, who is now playing a key role with Newt’s…

Politics of Jesus

Dr. Obery Hendricks, Professor of New Testament Intepretation at New York Theological Semianry, Scholar in Residence at Columbia University, and author of The Politics of Jesus, attended the Occupy Advent service with Jesse Jackson and was invited to speak.
“Treat the people’s needs as holy...” is one of seven strategies Jesus used to “give a voice to the voiceless” and “expose the workings of oppression” —to challenge the established order of things.
Hendricks is Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary and author of the book The Politics of Jesus:Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted.
The 7 Political Strategies of Jesus are these:
Treat people needs as holy. Give a voice to the voiceless. Expose the working of oppression. Call the demon by name. Save your anger for the mistreatment of others. Take blows without returning them. Don't just explain the alternative, show it.
“To say that Jesus was …

Three Stories of Shalom at Drew

Friends of Shalom:  
I want to share with you three shalom stories that were posted this week on Drew's Homepage:  http://www.drew.edu/
Feature on Drew Shalom intern, Gaius Charles, on how he balances his acting career and seminary studies.
$85,000 grant received last month from Jessie Ball duPont Fund for ShalomZone Training enhancements.
Jessie Jackson Joins us at OWSvideo clip

I posted more news coverage, video clips, content, and reflection on our Occupy Advent service last week.  
http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com/search/label/shalom%20zone
There is growing interest in the Shalom network about about how we can create shalom zones in connection to OWS.
Taking a break from Occupy for Christmas, but will be in touch as things develop in the New Year.

Occupy Church on Wall Street

United Methodist Bishops, clergy, members, Ministers of Shalom, Drew faculty and students, and other people of strong faith and good will..."Occupied Church" on the Second Sunday of Advent, December 4, 2011.

Occupy Advent article

Here are some of the video clips and news stories about OccupyFaith weekly services at Zuccotti Park and United Methodist support of the Occupy Movement for separation of Corporations and State, exposure of systemic greed, and proclamation that a new world is possible--Shalom for All.

Watch 2 minute video:
Jesse Jackson Joins Communities of Shalom to Occupy Wall Street

Watch longervideoof Bishop Jeremiah Park and Bishop J preaching at Occupy Wall Street, Sunday December 4.


News article: Occupy Advent, Occupy Shalom

News article: Church of the Village Occupies Wall Street

News article United Methodists Who Support Occupy Movement

News article: More United Methodists Occupying

Melissa Hennin's Photos of Shalom Occupy Advent Service on December 4

I&#…

Common Prayer for OWS

Minister Annie Allen, Program Associate and Coordinator of Training for Communities of Shalom at Drew, asked the Occupy Wall Street protest crowd to hold hands and pray this prayer together: 
There is Power in Prayer

Let us hold hands, touch 


somebody

Let us Pray all Together

Holy, Gracious, Loving God

You want Justice for your people

We want Justice for your people

Holy God you act though your children

We are your Children

Rain your spirit into this place

Lord Rain your spirit into our souls

Your Spirit is blowing – Hallelujah!

Lord, we need your justice and your peace.

Please Raise the Lowly and bring down the mighty

As you love us – Let us love one another

As you provide for us – let us provide for one another

We pray for all who are suffering

We ask for your patience, wisdom and strength

Help us create your kingdom on earth

Thank you God, for loving us

Thank you God, for being with us

And the Church says…

Amen. Amen. Amen!



"Occupy Till I Come" Jesus said (Luke 19:13)

Bishop Alfred Johnson, Ret. Bishop of Greater New Jersey Annual Conference and currently Senior Pastor of Church of the Village Church in lower Manhattan, offered these bold and prophetic words  at the Occupy Advent Service at Zuccotti Park:

"...This Sunday's lectionary ushering us into the Advent season, featured the fiery and inspired "John the Baptist." 


Taking editorial liberties and paraphrasing a bit to embody our occasion here, the Gospel of Luke(3) boldly testifies: "right in the middle of a matrix of mighty military and conspiring religious institutional power, the interrupting Word of God "Occupied" John the Baptist, who "occupied" the wilderness with words that "occupied" and even overflowed into the public and political economy of that day, and declared, a change is gonna come! God's change of Justice and fairness for all."


Even with this, John was clear, that water was not enough to baptize the moment, for water …

'To Give You a Hope and a Future'

Bishop Jeremiah Park, Resident Bishop, New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, offered these prophetic words with great passion on Sunday, December 4, at the Occupy Advent church service with the OccupyWall Street congregation:
Long ago, the prophet Jeremiah heard God speaking: “For I know the plans I have for you,”…. plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11)
God’s plan for us is clear: hope and a future.
Our hearts are broken to know that God’s plan is denied to so many people. God’s heart is broken when any one is denied hope and a future.
What is missing in our society is hope. The absence of hope has moved so many people around the globe to occupy their public centers following the example of our own Occupy Wall Street.
Something is seriously wrong in America when the land of the greatest opportunity cannot inspire hope among its citizens, particularly the young! Something is seriously wrong in America wh…

Occupy the Temple

The following "Advent sermon" was offered by the Rev. Dr. Tanya Linn Bennett, University Chaplain, Drew University, on Sunday at the Occupy Wall Street church service: In the Christian tradition
This is the season of Advent The time of year when Christians Wait for the Messiah, Jesus, to come Despite our fairy tale images, Jesus was no meek and mild child Jesus came to turn the world around To bring justice and freedom to those oppressed To make the rich lowly, and to raise up the poor. In one story in the Bible, Jesus enters the temple in Jerusalem Where the moneylenders and merchants Had set up shop And he calls them cheaters and liars Robbers of the poor Exploiters of the vulnerable And he turns over the tables One of the first occupiers-- Jesus occupied Jerusalem In this season of waiting Let us turn over the tables Bringing low the rich And raising up the poor Bringing justice, freedom and a powerful, holy love To those who need it most. To those who need us most. Occupy Advent Now!



Occupy--Down By the Riverside

Rev. David Best of Towell and Basin ministries offered an adaption of the prayer-song "Down By the Riverside", with new verses of repentance for three evils of our time--militarism, racism, and poverty-- that obstruct the creation of the Beloved Community of Shalom:
Here we are Lord,
Down by the riverside.
By the rivers of Babylon we hung our guitars and drums;
our horns and harps.
How can we sing in a strange land?
But sing we must . . . and sing we shall!!
So here we are Lord,
Down by the riverside.
And we prayerfully protest and protestantly pray…
For the evidence of your just rule and saving shalom;
For the elimination of war-making, race-hate and poverty-producing
practices;
That in this bleak winter of affluence, the fruit of your just rule and
saving shalom may blossom.
But, we remember the words of the old African-American spiritual:
“It’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”
So help us - help me - be the change we seek…
Let the song of shalom ring in my hear…

Occupy Shalom during Advent

Here's a copy of my Occupy Advent Prayer and Statement of Support for Occupy Wall Street, delivered as a Call and Response at Zuccotti Park on December 4, 2011 for the Second Sunday in Advent: 
Communities of Shalom is a network of community development sites— known as Shalom Zones—scattered across the country.

We are here today to Occupy with Faith in direct solidarity with OWS because we share your frustration with the System-- the possessed structures of oppression and domination 
that Bible calls “Principalities and Powers...” at work for ill in the world...
We are here today because we agree with you who are occupiers: that our democracy has been coopted and corrupted, that the few are enriched at the expense of the many, that greed is wrong, and selfishness is sin.
We are here today—occupiers and allies—together proclaiming that a new world is possible, a new world is coming, a new world of God's Shalom!
Occupy Advent is about being willing and waiting, waiting and working, watching …