Save Lives This Lent

SAVE LIVES THIS LENT – A Special Request From Bishop Julian Dobbs

Appeal on behalf of the Anglican Church of Kenya and the Church of Uganda

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As drought and famine grip East Africa, stricken
Christians cry for help

“We are appealing for food aid to help us against this ravaging drought,” cried Canon Christopher Chochoi from East Pokot, Kenya, which is enduring its worst drought for five decades. There has been no rain since June 2016. “Cattle, donkeys and camels have died before our own eyes,” continued Canon Chochoi. “Humans are faced with starvation … [they] have now resorted to boiling and eating wild fruit. They boil the fruits for several hours to remove poison before eating them … I doubt we will survive in the next few months.”

From the nearby Diocese of Marsabit, Rev. Jeremiah Omar reports that 70% of the livestock are already dead from drought – a disaster for the many nomadic communities in the area.

“We are being overwhelmed with refugees
from South Sudan.”

Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

The whole of northern Kenya and parts of its coastal region are suffering from drought.

An added problem is that many of the worst affected areas – in the north and the coastal region – are the places where Christians are a despised, marginalized and oppressed minority amongst a Muslim majority.

Deaths expected in Uganda

Parts of neighboring Uganda are also affected. Two consecutive crops have failed due to abnormally heavy and destructive rains which were followed by drought, due to the El-Niño climatic effect. Deaths from malnutrition are expected to start this month. There will be no relief until June at the earliest, and then only if the rains have come at the right time.

Uganda has absorbed over half a million refugees from South Sudan since last July. Mostly women and children, they are fleeing the conflict there and include many widows and women who do not know what has happened to their husbands. “Many people have very little apart from their clothes they are wearing … people were robbed by armed gangs as they were travelling and lost all their possessions,” said Rev. Canon Nason Baluku, Coordinator of Planning, Development and Rehabilitation for the Province of the Church of Uganda, which is seeking to assist the refugees.

“Please pray with us that the long rains [normally starting in March/April] come early and that God provides for His people.”
Canon Christopher Chochoi

An appeal from:

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali
Primate of the Church of Uganda

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

Primate of All Nigeria, Church
of Nigeria

Archbishop Ben Kwashi
Archbishop of Jos, Church of Nigeria

Lord Carey of Clifton
former Archbishop of Canterbury, 1991-2002

Archbishop Peter Jensen
General Secretary of GAFCON

Bishop Julian Dobbs
Missionary Bishop, Convocation of Anglicans in North America

Lord Donald Curry of Kirkharle
Member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on South Sudan

Bishop Keith Sinclair

Bishop of Birkenhead

Bishop Rod Thomas
Bishop of Maidstone

Bishop Robert and Mrs Sue Martin
formerly Bishop of Marsabit, Anglican Church of Kenya and Honorary Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Bath and Wells, Church of England

Prebendary Richard Bewes
Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral, London and former rector of All Souls Langham Place

Rev’d Paul Perkin
Vicar of St Mark’s Battersea Rise, London

Canon Dr Vinay Samuel
Church of South India, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Embu, Kenya

Canon Dr Chris Sugden
Canon St Luke’s Cathedral, Jos, Nigeria and St Anselm’s Cathedral, Sunyani, Ghana.

Colin Blakely
Editor, Church of England Newspaper

Save lives

  The elderly are amongst the most vulnerable in East Pokot, enduring its worst drought for five decades
  The elderly are amongst the most vulnerable in East Pokot, enduring its worst drought for five decades

Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, and Rt Rev. Bishop Qampicha Daniel Wario, Bishop of Marsabit, Kenya, have appealed to Barnabas Fund for help to provide food aid to save the lives of the most vulnerable Christians in the worst affected areas. Just $37 a month will feed one family in Kenya with maize, beans, cooking oil, powdered milk and salt. That is approximately $1.25 a day.

Costs are even lower in Uganda, where food is cheaper. The Church of Uganda has asked us to feed 70,000 people for the next three months. The cost is $5 per person per month – just $1.25 a week.

  Many cattle are dying from the drought in northern Kenya, a disaster for communities which are dependent on their livestock
  Many cattle are dying from the drought in northern Kenya, a disaster for communities which are dependent on their livestock

As Lent approaches, and we turn our minds to fasting and prayer, can you set aside a gift to help the starving Christians of Kenya and Uganda? Can your home-group or church give an offering?

And remember them in your prayers.

Donate now

Other ways to give

If you would like to make a gift, please direct your donation to 00-1313 Project Joseph Fund

If you prefer to telephone, call:

(703) 288-1681

If you prefer to send a check by mail: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference above.

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The Least Of These… who are they?

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.  [Ecclesiastes 3:1]

In 2015, I was working with Congressional Leaders endeavoring to help Assyrian Christians escape the constant danger of Islamic terror. I was thankful for a small but growing number of Democrat and Republican House and Senate leaders who were supportive.

The words of Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Northern Iraq, showed the desperation faced by the Assyrian Christians: Throughout all these long centuries, we have experienced many hardships and persecutions, offering caravans of martyrs. Yet 2014 brought the worst acts of genocide against us in our history. We now face the extinction of Christianity as a religion and as a culture from Mesopotamia [ancient Iraq].

Despite ISIS’ targeting Iraqi Christians, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) told me on January 15, 2015 there was no way that Christians would be supported in coming to the United States because of their religious affiliation.

When the PRM’s position about persecuted Christians was made public in 2015;

  • There were no comments about the Department of State being un-American and cruel
  • There were no tears from political leaders
  • There were no protesters at airports
  • There were no Christian leaders protesting with placards
  • There was no mainstream media outrage
  • There was no political hysteria

There were just suffering Assyrian Christians and the targeted eradication of Christianity from an ancient homeland.

Americas leaders turned their backs on Christians and looked the other way!

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 the U.S. admitted the highest number of Muslim refugees of any year since data on self-reported religious affiliations first became publicly available in 2002.  However, religious persecution against Christians and other minorities continues to increase across Africa and the Middle East.

I am thankful that the United States of America has eventually recognized that persecuted Christians and other minorities can now be a priority for our great nation.

Recently, many commentators have cited Matthew 25 as the basis for Christian care and support for the poor of the world, the sick, the disabled, and the homeless.  Some Christian leaders are teaching that Jesus was referring to refugees from other religions when he said, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” However the early Church, while providing pastoral care for many needy people, had an emphasis on caring for Christians.

Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth in the late 2nd century, wrote to thank the Church in Rome for the aid they had sent to his church. “From the beginning it is your custom to bestow your alms in all places, and to furnish subsistence to many churches. You send relief to the needy, especially to those who work in the mines; in which you follow the example of your fathers.”

A few years later, Tertullian noted how the non-Christians would comment with astonishment about the Christians, “See how they love one another.”

The early Christians sought to fulfil the teaching of Matthew 25:31-46, in which our Lord Jesus, in His story of the sheep and the goats, commends those who provide practical care for even “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine” (verse 40).

Jesus himself refers to His disciples as His brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:49-50).

To neglect to care and support marginalized and suffering Christian ‘brothers and sisters’ is to neglect Christ Himself.

While it is important and necessary that Christians work together for the good of all people, whenever there is an opportunity, they are called to prioritize their care and for their brothers and sisters in Christ.  [Galatians 6:10]

Bishop Julian Dobbs

New Year – Reformation 500

A new year has begun – it is 2017!

This year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, when the Word of God became accessible to God’s people.

I often pray this prayer from the prayer book when I read the bible: Blessed Lord who has caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. 

2015-05-01-Canon EOS 60D-289-13Through the turbulent early decades of the English Reformation, the public reading of God’s Word in the common language of the people was forbidden. The clerical elite closely guarded Scripture and its Latin text was jealously protected. However, through the grace and providence of God, His word written became available and Archbishops Thomas Cranmer’s dream of a renewed church in England was one step closer to reality.

By edict of King Henry VIII, the Bible was not only to be made available; it was also to be read in public. Churches were required to purchase and display the Bible in English. Clergy were instructed to put the Bible on display in churches and that no one should be discouraged from reading or hearing the Bible.

How is your own bible study going? This is such a very important question!  The only place where God supremely discloses himself is in his Word. Martin Luther whose courageous actions triggered the Reformation said this, “The Bible is alive. It speaks to me. It has feet. It runs after me. It has hands. It lays hold of me. The Bible is not antique or modern. It is eternal.”

Anglican theologian and author, Dr. J.I. Packer has wisely written, “Western Christianity has become superficial and shallow. We do not give ourselves time to soak ourselves in Scripture and stunted development, which includes an undervaluing of the Bible, is the unhappy result. We need to be clear, other things being equal. It is the Christians who eat up the Scriptures on a regular basis who are likely to achieve most for our Lord Jesus Christ in the future just as it was Bible-fed Christians who achieved most for him in the past.”

As this Reformation 500 year begins, may God give us the passion to ‘eat up the Scriptures’ on a daily basis.  I encourage you to develop the pattern of daily reading the Bible, taking your Bible to church on Sundays and reading from it as the Scriptures are proclaimed and the sermon is preached.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

Hail The Incarnate Deity

This article was published in the Advent 2016 CANA East newsletter available here.

“Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate deity.”

Don’t breeze over those words – “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate deity.” You will never understand Christianity without getting hold of the message of the ‘incarnation’.

It leads us to the most important question anybody can ever ask, “Who is Jesus?”

The central fact of the Christian faith is not a philosophy; it is a person. To take that person out of Christianity is a little bit like taking the numbers out of math. It’s like taking doctors out of medicine, it’s like thinking of daylight without the sun. Take the incarnation away from Christianity and the whole thing unravels until there’s nothing left bothering about.

Charles Wesley’s famous hymn first published for Christmas Day in 1739 – “Hark the Herald Angel Sing” is a Christmas institution. It is sung at most carol services around our county. Verse two makes a staggering claim about Jesus, “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate deity.” This is the Jesus of the gospels, our Lord and our God who came among us – the incarnate deity. Charles Wesley is spot-on, everything we are and believe as Christians depends on this one thing, we see and know and meet Almighty God in Jesus Christ who is fully God and fully human according to the New Testament, the doctrine that Christian people have for millennia called the ‘incarnation’.

The apostle John wrote in His Gospel, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John chapter 1. We American Christians know these verses so well, we know these great cadences, we love them. But let us not allow our familiarity with the Christmas gospel narrative blind us to the shock and the incomprehensibility of how these verses in John’s gospel sounded to first century disciples of Jesus Christ in the land of Israel. John’s Christmas gospel doesn’t mention Mary or Joseph, it doesn’t mention the inn, or the shepherds, or the stable. In John’s gospel the story is behind the scenes, the story that you would not have seen if you had been at the inn or on the Bethlehem hillside and heard the angels.

This is the story you would not know if you had merely stood in the manger and looked at the baby. This is something incredibly profound and powerful and unique in the whole of the New Testament. It is the reality of Christmas not seen historically, but theologically. Theology is never a word that we should be afraid of, it simply means you are studying and considering the things of God. As John answers the question, “Who is this child born in Bethlehem?” John is stretching our minds almost to breaking point and takes us to the very mind of Almighty God. He takes us into eternity. If you want to grasp who Jesus is, says John, you’ve got to go back to the beginning.

John’s gospel chapter 1 reveals to us that Jesus is:

The Eternal One (vs 1-4)

The Revealed One (vs 4-5)

The Promised One (vs 6-8)

The Rejected One (vs 10)

The Saving One (vs 12-13)

The Glorious One (vs 14)

It all leads to this astonishing claim of verse 14, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

My prayer is that you will more fully know the ‘incarnate deity’, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, born to die on the cross, that we might be brought to God through Him who dwells among us.

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and as we are sorely hindered by our sins from running the race that is set before us, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

God bless you.

This article was published in the Advent 2016 CANA East newsletter available here.

Radio Interview – Christians in Syria

The Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs, bishop with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, has traveled to the Middle East, meeting with Christians facing horrendous persecution. With a focus on the plight of Christians in Syria, Bishop Dobbs shares with Jerry Newcombe on the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ in places like Aleppo.

Listen here