As we near the end of 2016, we at INFEMIT have much to be thankful for and much to keep in prayer. We invite you to share with us in celebrating some of the major movements that have occurred over this year. We also invite you to join with us as we lament and bring our sorrows and requests before God.
Celebrating: A Year in ReviewFaith and Life
A major advancement for INFEMIT this year has been within the Faith and Life program. Faith and Life is a process of theological formation for integral mission which empowers Christians to live out the good news of God’s reign in all arenas of life: in hospitals, NGOs, universities, government buildings, and on the street, as well as in churches. Made up of four modules: Work, Family, Church, and Society, Faith and Life is developed for a specific cultural context by those with native understanding of that context.
Faith and Life emerged from the CETI model (Centro de Estudios Teológicos Interdisciplinarios) in Latin America. INFEMIT first translated the CETI curriculum into English so that it could be assessed, changed, and adapted for use at a certificate level in different countries and regions. This year, The Warehouse, a church-equipping ministry in South Africa, underwent a process of adapting Faith and Life and has begun to offer the course to their community.
We look forward to sharing this resource in new ways in the years ahead and to witnessing more leaders equipped for holistic, contextual ministry.
We have shared previously about the encouraging discussions we held during the 2016 Stott-Bediako Forum on “The Refugee Crisis: A Shared Human Condition.” Throughout our conversations and as we have continued to reflect upon this important topic, we realized the need to continue and elaborate this topic in the year to come. For this reason, INFEMIT has begun to organize the 2017 Stott-Bediako Forum on the topic: “The Refugee Crisis” with special emphasis on the African context and displacement. You can Save the Date now!
We look forward to sharing more details with you as next year’s forum comes together. We hope many of you will join us and encourage other organizations and scholar-practitioners (especially young leaders) to come as well!
You can find more information on the Stott-Bediako Forums on our website. For INFEMIT, it continues to be an important gathering, one to which we dedicate a great amount of time and support, in order to bring together scholars and practitioners who are committed to addressing the realities of the contemporary world in light of the Gospel.
INFEMIT Regional Fellowships
INFEMIT’s partners among the regions and its representatives have undergone significant changes this year. Regional leaders in Europe met to officially form INFEMIT Europe in May, and they began to plan their first formal gathering which will be held in Moldova on May 18-19. 2017. The Latin American Theological Fellowship (FTL) held their assembly this June, during which they elected a new directive committee. And the African Theological Fellowship organized an international conference in Zimbabwe in October on Strengthening the Legacy of the Reformation in Africa.
In addition to these organizational developments, INFEMIT’s Networking Team has also seen changes over the past few months. We have welcomed three new people to our team. Paul Bendor-Samuel joined INFEMIT as the new director of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS, UK). We also invited Gift Ladaphongphatthana (Bangkok, Thailand) and Joanna Feliciano-Soberano (Asian Theological Seminary, Philippines) to join us and lead the process of envisioning an INFEMIT network in Asia.
INFEMIT continues to support the efforts of fellowships to promote mission as transformation in their regional contexts. We look forward to significant events and conversations planned for 2017. Stay tuned to our Calendar and emails to find out what INFEMIT-related events you can join in your region.
Other 2016 events organized by our partner organizations also offered significant opportunities to explore and promote a transformational understanding of mission throughout the world today. INFEMIT members were grateful to have the chance to participate in many of these, and we continue to deepen our partnerships with other organizations who share a vision for integral mission.
A few of these events included the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, the first gathering of the Global Forum of Theological Educators, Missio Alliance’s gathering on Young, Wrestling, and Always Reforming, the American Society of Missiology Annual Meeting (ASM), and the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering. Click to learn more about each of these events and how you can get involved.
We give thanks for these programs, partners, and events which demonstrate the exploration and development of a holistic view of the Gospel, which leads us to seek God’s justice and transformation for our communities, our regions, and our world.
In Prayer: Our Laments and Petitions
2016 also held a number of tragedies which we keep in prayer. Violence and unrest have continued to plague countries like Syria and South Sudan, while terrorist threats continue in Niger and countries in the Middle East threatened by ISIL. Earthquakes rocked sevel countries in the Pacific: Ecuador, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand and others. Political unrest continues to disturb many countries, and several elections (especially Brexit and the U.S. presidential elections) exposed deep ethnic prejudice and fear. At the same time, the number of displaced people throughout the world grows daily, calling our attention to the desperation, harsh conditions, and rejection that they face.
On a personal note, INFEMIT grieves the death of one of our Networking Team members, Paul Joshua. Our prayers remain with his family and community in Bangalore, India.
As we move into 2017, we lament these tragedies and ask for the courage and strength to stand up in the face of hatred, violence, and injustice in our world. We ask God for guidance in our efforts during the year ahead and for peace, rest, and wisdom to face the transitions in our own lives, communities, countries, regions, and world.
Our prayers are also for you, the extended INFEMIT community, as you faithfully pursue God’s transformation in your contexts. We urge you to join us in a posture of prayerful lament and hope as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and the New Year.