Photo Credit: Diocese of Egypt
By Bellah Zulu, ACNS
The growing Church in Gambella, Ethiopia, "overwhelmed by poverty, natural disasters, and tribal conflicts", is in need of support, according to Bishop Mouneer Anis.
The Most Revd Mouneer Anis is Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, as well as Primate of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East.
In an Advent message sent to ACNS and other media he said, "Advent is the time of the year when we look back to the birth of Jesus Christ and we prepare our hearts for His second coming. It is therefore also a time when we look at various ways to bring Christ to one another.
"The clergy in Gambella, Ethiopia, are bringing the light of Christ to the people around them, yet the context in which they are serving is overwhelming. Therefore, this Advent we as a diocese have decided to commit ourselves to supporting these clergy both prayerfully and financially."
The Primate explained that though all the churches throughout the diocese will be making their contributions, "It will not be enough to meet the needs of the priests and the 70 churches in Gambella."
Gambella has a large number of Christians with approximately 70 congregations divided into 11 Mission Centres and three or four new Mission Centres still under development. However only 16 clergy and a number of lay readers serve these churches.
These congregations are active in Mothers’ Union, Bible studies, youth ministry, literacy classes, prayer meetings and community development, and serve both nationals and refugees from neighbouring Sudan who worship in a variety of languages including Anuak, Dinka, Nuer, Mabaan and Opo.
Bishop Mouneer said, "Although people give sacrificially, it is not enough to cover the salary of the priests who are active in discipleship, evangelism and planting new churches."
The challenge that the Church faces now is to support these clergy prayerfully and financially. With the long-term goal of establishing self-supporting churches, the congregations are expected to pay increasing percentages of the priests’ salaries each year.
"In the short term, however, our congregations are not able to cover the full amount of these salaries. We need you to consider partnering with these churches on their journey to become self-supporting," said the Bishop.
Christians the world over are invited, as a church, individually, as a small group or even as a family to join them in supporting these clergy, either as a one time gift, or as an ongoing partnership. $2,000 is enough to support one priest for a year.
Anyone willing to help should contact firstname.lastname@example.org