Photo Credit: Church of the Word
By Heather Skull, Outreach and Engagement Officer, Us.
Delegates at the Partners in World Mission conference held in Swanwick this week have been reminded that reaching out with the Gospel needs to be done in a culture of love.
The annual event held at Swanwick in Derbyshire is an opportunity for people with a heart for mission to learn from each other and the global church.
Bishop Gaula Given of Kondoa, Tanzania told the conference that a single act of love transformed an entire community and lead to 17 churches being founded.
He said: “Love is a powerful model for mission.”
Tensions between Christian and Muslims in Kondoa are being addressed by church leaders, he said.
The Bishop added that the Christian Forum in the area was teaching young people about the importance of living in peace and love in their communities. He said they were urging restraint and for people to be peacemakers.
“We can overcome tension and conflict through love so that the Christian and Muslim community can live in peace,” he said.
His wife Revd Lillian Gaula spoke of how women are being empowered in Kondoa through the work of the church.
“They are learning to use the skills of their hands to become self-reliant,” she said. “The church is teaching life skills so they can make money through what their hands can do.
The diocese of Kondoa’s Mother’s Union is working for women’s rights, rescuing women from forced marriages and acting as mediators in families, she added.
Revd Jessie Anand of the London Tamil Christian congregation told the conference that mission needed to be seen as a wider vision.
“Mission is not a programme,” she said, “Mission is journeying with the Lord.”
She said that churches in the UK can make a big different in mission relationships through simple actions – including allowing the use of buildings for the wider community.
“We need to bring the culture of love wherever people are,” she said, “The challenge is to make a relationship with those who don’t go to church.”
Revd Anand said that the biggest disease in the church was the fear of the unknown.
And she told the conference that the fear of the unknown is through trust in God.