|AEA Regional President Mourns killing of Kin|
The AEA Central Africa Regional President, Rev. Nicolas Guérékoyamé, has been directly hit by the violence in the region as he has lost his youngest brother and nephew (pictured above) in the attacks.
Rev. Nicolas has suffered a spate of targeted attacks before, owing to his strong evangelical ties and engagement in initiatives aimed at promoting peace and reconciliation between different groups in the country.
In a statement released by the World Evangelical Alliance News Service, AEA General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Aiah Foday-Khabenje said: “I am Saddened and shocked at the news of this targeted fatal attack on religious leaders who have demonstrated courage and brought hope to their people in CAR. Pray for God’s grace and comfort for the family. I cannot understand how a small group of people, in the tiny nation, bent on evil, continue to defy the collective will of the rest of the world for peace, represented by the United Nations. Surely, the UN ought to be a force for good and needs to stand up against the seeming triumph of evil forces around the world.”
The tremor of violence that has led to the killing of about 300 people the past couple of weeks has caused concern in the region as chaos continues to loom large.
The Church in the Central African Republic Remains Resilient
7 June, 2017 – Since fighting flared in May between rebels, more than 68,000 people have fled their homes within the Central African Republic, while more than 20,000 have sought refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Despite the rising tides of violence, The Evangelical Alliance has been mobilizing believers for peace. In Bangassou, when Muslims were attacked, some fled to Churches to be protected. The church has been trying to do its best with limited means.
The Vice President of the Alliance, Pastor Anatole Banga, said of the current situation, “The needs are more than spiritual and we need God’s people to consider how they can help the church here.” He adds, “We don’t know how long the situation will last but we still trust God.”
He says the interfaith community has previously met with the UN representative in the country and discussed at length, the potential of increasing attacks if the rebels continue their foray into other regions. Unfortunately for the CAR, what they feared most is currently happening.
Church leaders in the nation are asking the global Evangelical Community to come alongside them in a bid to help meet some of the needs in the communities they serve. “Many don’t have shelter, or lost everything in the crisis and are in great need. Those in the countryside are calling on us Christians to help. When a Catholic Bishop was visiting the northern part of the country, pastors sent him to tell us we forgot them. Recently, the Vice-President of the evangelical national synod paid visit to some cities and came back with sad reports about the situation on the ground, especially Bantangafo.”
So far, pleas of support have not born fruit, but the resilient church community in the nation remain strong amid the obvious challenges.
|AEA Board Chair, Dr. Mario Li Hing meets with Pope Francis|
Rev. Dr. Mario Li Hing, AEA Board Chairman, led a delegation of Christian leaders to Rome to meet with Pope Francis and Vatican leadership.
Rev. Dr. Mario Li Hing shaking hands with Pope Francis at the Vatican
The delegation highlighted the plight of exiled Chagossians or Chagos Islanders who had been forcefully removed by the U.K. and U.S. Governments from the Chagos Archipelago, also known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (“BIOT”), in the late 1960’s.
AEA’s Board Chair, Rev. Dr. Mario Li Hing Meeting with Archbishop Paul Callagher, Secretary of States Foreign Affairs Vatican, Permanent Member of UN for the Vatican.
This move was meant to make way for the U.S. Naval Military Base on Diego Garcia, the main island of the Archipelago. They were later shipped to Seychelles and Mauritius.
Dr. Li Hing, who serves as Chaplain and Adviser for the Chagos Islanders, has been part of the leadership team spearheading resettlement on behalf of the Islanders.
AEA General Secretary Receives Recognition Award from Baptist Church in Sierra Leone
The AEA General Secretary, Dr. Aiah Foday-Khabenje received an award from the first Baptist Church in Sierra Leone -Regent Road Baptist Church (RRBC)-for his key role (alongside other awardees) in the propagation of Christianity in Sierra Leone.
The award letter signed by Rev. Tannie Barbington-Johnson, Pastor In -charge at RRBC read, “You have been wholeheartedly commended for your faith, works and reputation.” It further reads “As Pastor –in-Charge I want to add my appreciation for all that you have done for God’s kingdom and Country.”
Rev. Aiah said he was humbled to receive the recognition and expressed his gratitude for being among the 225 individuals enhancing the Gospel in the country. He said, “Hearty congratulations to Pastor Tannie and the entire congregation on your 225th anniversary. This Church with a few others, were the first in Africa (apart from 2nd -4th century churches in North Africa); planted by freed slaves in Freetown, Sierra Leone, some time before modern missionary movement in Africa -A case for Christianity being an indigenised religion in this part of the world; contrary to popular belief. What an encouragement as we set our gaze heavenward, for that great welcome and crown; when Christ will say: well done. Pray we will remain faithful and not grow weary. May the Lord bless you all.”
The Regent Road Baptist Church was founded in 1792 by David George, An African American freed slave from Virginia. The Church has an illustrious history and is the first Baptist Church to be established in the continent of Africa.
LUTHERAN WORLD FEDERATION HOLDS ITS 12TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
|The AEA General Secretary, Rev. Aiah Foday-Khabenje, joined Lutherans across the globe -as an ecumenical guest – at the 12th assembly of Lutheran World Federation (LWF) held in Windhoek, Namibia from 10th -16th May, 2017; themed – Liberated by God’s grace. The Assembly brought together nearly 800 participants, including 324 delegates, in the Reformation’s 500th anniversary year.|
Rev. Aiah brought fraternal greetings from the Global Christian Forum and the Evangelical Community in Africa during the meetings. During his address to the gathering he said, “The theme of the LWF 12th Assembly: “Liberated by God’s Grace” could not be more apt; as the Church revisits the Reformation era. The grace of God brought Luther to the place where he had the urge to call the church’s attention that grace is a priceless and free gift from God, as the only means for our redemption and was not a commodity to be sold for money. This sparked off the Reformation movement.”
The LWF assembly spoke out on issues concerning the life and witness of the churches and the world among issues such as with running sub themes like, “Salvation- Not for Sale”, “Human Beings Not for Sale”, “Creation Not for Sale” and “Liberating Grace: The Call We share”. Participants were encouraged to reflect on the themes and to reflect on topics of particular relevance in their own contexts.