October Mission Offering Update: World Mission Offering

Our October Mission is the World Mission Offering. This year’s theme is “Celebrating New Life in Christ – On Earth as in Heaven (Matthew 6:10)”.

This offering goes to support the work of the American Baptist Board of International Ministries as well as our special focus missionaries, Dan and Sarah Chetti, serving in Lebanon and Dan and Sharon Buttry, serving as Global Peace Specialists. This year there is a special emphasis on ministry in Cuba.

We have received $445 toward goal of $850.

October Mission Offering Update: World Mission Offering

Our October Mission is the World Mission Offering. This year’s theme is “Celebrating New Life in Christ – On Earth as in Heaven (Matthew 6:10)”.

This offering goes to support the work of the American Baptist Board of International Ministries as well as our special focus missionaries, Dan and Sarah Chetti, serving in Lebanon and Dan and Sharon Buttry, serving as Global Peace Specialists. This year there is a special emphasis on ministry in Cuba.

We have received $155 toward goal of $850.

October Mission Offering Update: World Mission Offering

Our October Mission is the World Mission Offering. This year’s theme is “Celebrating New Life in Christ – On Earth as in Heaven (Matthew 6:10)”.

This offering goes to support the work of the American Baptist Board of International Ministries as well as our special focus missionaries, Dan and Sarah Chetti, serving in Lebanon and Dan and Sharon Buttry, serving as Global Peace Specialists. This year there is a special emphasis on ministry in Cuba.

We have received $100 toward goal of $850.

Mixon Muses: World Mission Month

This is a season of change – some large, some smaller. This is the season in which we move from summer to autumn. It’s harvest season in agricultural settings. Along our tree lined streets, the urban forest turns various shades of red and yellow and orange in spite of (maybe in defiance of) the California myth of balmy climate and eternal sunshine. The trees still understand their fundamental make-up. The change is inevitable and necessary for their survival.

Continue reading Mixon Muses: World Mission Month

October 2016 Mission Offering: World Mission Offering

World Mission OfferingAmerican Baptist International Ministries is supported solely through the generosity of churches and individuals. Their primary fundraising vehicle is the annual World Mission Offering. Currently about 100 full-time missionaries, along with short-term missionaries and mission partners, serve in more than 70 countries. Their central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationship with God and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. Churches may also give through their budget to a missionary of their choice (Targeted Giving).

This year’s theme is “Celebrating New Life in Christ – On Earth as in Heaven (Matthew 6:10)”. This offering goes to support the work of the American Baptist Board of International Ministries as well as our special focus missionaries, Dan and Sarah Chetti, serving in Lebanon and Dan and Sharon Buttry, serving as Global Peace Specialists. This year there is a special emphasis on ministry in Cuba.

Our goal for this offering is $800.

“Of Gods and Men”- and ISIS

In the WorldDear friends,

Sharon and I watched “Of Gods and Men” last night, the story of the monks of Tibehirine, Algeria who were martyred during the war in 1996. (I’d seen it before in a jet-lag haze on an airplane; it was Sharon’s first time to see it–the movie is in French.) It is a moving story of life and death, of love, struggle, faith, and courage. Their witness is a faithful alternative response to Islamic extremism rather than the fear, Islamophobia, hate, and enemy-creation that is going on around us.

I wrote about Christian de Cherge on Read The Spirit and in “Interfaith Heroes.”  De Cherge’s final letter home, released after his death, is one of the most beautiful testaments I’ve ever read. The movie ends with selections from the letter, which concludes with a note to his killer:  “And to you, too, my friend of the last moment, who will not know what you are doing.  Yes, for you, too, I wish this thank-you, this “A-Dieu,” whose image is in you also, that we may meet in heaven, like happy thieves, if it pleases God, our common Father.  Amen!  Insha Allah!”  If you want a fuller read about the story, I recommend John W. Kiser’s The Monks of Tibhirine:  Faith, Love, and Terror in Algeria.

On our recent 2 months in the Middle East Sharon and I were in a constant context of the violence of the Islamic State.  We had to change travel plans in Lebanon one day because of an ISIS incursion that left 8 Lebanese soldiers dead.  We had students from Syria and Iraq whose homes had been destroyed in the wars.  The Jordanian pilot’s death by burning stirred up so many in the region.  Then the 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded in Libya by IS just as we flew into Egypt.  We preached at a church where some of the members were from the community of those folks and had just returned from comforting the families.

What should we do?  More violence?  That seems to be the only answer that the U.S. knows.  Our invasion of Iraq led directly to the on-going chaos of the region.  Our supposedly surgical drone strikes kill so many civilians that they have contributed to growing hostility in Pakistan and destabilization of Yemen.  Peacemakers need to be like good football (a.k.a. soccer) players–you don’t go to where the ball is but where it will be.  We need to not be reactive, especially with the near-sighted and narrow-minded 24-hour news cycle that fills so much of our media.  Instead we need to do the long-range hard work of building the things that make for peace:  Working for gender justice and the empowerment of women, building inter-religious connections and understanding, teaching nonviolence and conflict transformation especially with religious roots, supporting grass-roots reconciliation initiatives (and they are there!), and praying for one another and our enemies.

Peace,
Dan Buttry

 

 

Trip Notes from Dan Buttry in Israel

Dear Friends,

Actually, Sharon and I are in Nazareth, Israel, but most of our time this past week was spent in Bethlehem in Palestine. We have been teaching at the Bethlehem Bible College.  It is a partner institution with the Nazareth Evangelical School where we were the previous week. Continue reading Trip Notes from Dan Buttry in Israel

Trip Notes from Dan Buttry in Israel

Dan and Sharon Buttry with friends in IsraelDear Friends,

Greetings from Nazareth in Galilee!  Sharon and I flew into Tel Aviv after finishing our time in Lebanon.  We spent a few days in Jerusalem before going up to Nazareth to stay with Bader and Rula Mansour.

Bader is the General Secretary for the Association of Baptists Churches in Israel (ABC in this trip notes edition).  Rula is a professor at Nazareth Evangelical College.  Rula is working on a PhD in conflict transformation at Oxford University, so she’s very interested in our work.  She’s also working on developing peace studies programs at NEC and their sister institution Bethlehem Bible College.

Before we got to Nazareth Sharon and I had a few days in Jerusalem.  Of course, we enjoyed the Holy Land sights, especially where Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they did not “know the things that make for peace” (Luke 191.41,42).  We also did some work.  We visited Bethlehem Bible College (where we’ll be next week) to hear Alex Awad speak on a Palestinian Christian perspective on the Arab/Israeli conflict.  Then that Sunday we preached at the East Jerusalem Baptist Church where Alex has been pastor for some 20 years.  Our topic was on being prisoners of hope, from Zechariah 9.  (Pop me an e-mail if you want a copy of the sermon.)  Back in the early 1990s I was part of an advocacy effort with our government and the government of Israel to allow Alex back to Jerusalem after his seminary studies in the U.S., something he was denied for 8 or 9 years despite the call of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church.  We also got an amazing 4-hour tour of East Jerusalem related to the politics of the Separation Barrier, the expansion of Jewish settlement, and the social and legal pressures to push Palestinians out.  The tour was led by a former Israeli tank commander working with Ir Amin, an Israeli NGO doing educational work about Jerusalem for a sustainable peace.

In Nazareth Rula and Bader lined up a series of trainings for us to do:  in the local Baptist church, for the Nazareth Baptists School staff, and for women in Musalaha (Christian Palestinians and Messianic Jews working on reconciliation in Christ).  We also met with Baptist pastors, sharing with them the resource of my “Bible Study Manual on Conflict Transformation” which we have in Arabic.  The centerpiece was a two day conference sponsored by the Nazareth Evangelical College for therapists and counselors from the Arab evangelical churches.  We had an outstanding group from across Galilee including pastors, professional counselors, and many people involved in family ministries.  We were also struck by how many were involved in grassroots reconciliation work in Israel and in Palestine.  We focused on the dynamics of mainstreams & margins as well as trauma healing.

One thing I’ve loved is the music.  Here and in Lebanon we’ve heard some great Christian music in Arabic forms.  In the times when there has been an English translation I’ve been moved by the depth of the lyrics, especially for people who face deep struggles in faith.  It’s great to worship in music that isn’t just translated from the English praise songs but is an expression of people’s heart language.  If U.S. American Christians could hear God’s praises in some of the fires of suffering these sisters and brothers have been through it might shift our way of thinking about what God is doing in the Middle East.

From Nazareth to Bethlehem–that will be our journey in the coming week.  Of course, we plan to see the holy sites, but our main task will be teaching in Bethlehem Bible College as we’ve been teaching in Nazareth.  We won’t be taking a donkey or foot, but rather car.  Still we will be crossing the border between Israel and Palestine, a tightly controlled crossing.  Our hearts are heavy to be amid such intense lingering conflict in a place where the message of peace was brought so powerfully by so many.  Join us in prayer!

Peace,
Dan

 

 

 

 

 

Blessing for Conflict Transformation Leaders

Dan and Sharon ButtryFrom Sharon Buttry who, along with her husband, Dan, has been leading training in Conflict Resolution in Beirut for the month of January.

This blessing was written as the closing for our class at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Lebanon.  The blessing follows the outline of the training design we used with our students.

Blessing for Conflict Transformation Leaders

“But let justice roll down like rivers and righteousness like an ever flowing stream..”  

Amos 5:24  

Wherever you find yourself, may you have compassion for the clueless and also for those who think they have no voice.

May you have the wisdom of the apostles in Acts chapter 6 in all the conflicts you will have in the church.

When you need power, may you receive the power of the Holy Spirit and may God guard you against any presence or use of ungodly power.

May those who oppose you find you to be a listener and willing to learn from the margins.

May you be a person who is known for the love of your enemies.

May God reveal your self-limiting beliefs and may you sing songs of hope and transformation.

May your wounds and grieving make you an effective healer of the wounds of others.

May you have compassion for the traumatized and make safe places for their stories.

May you be blessed with the power to do the unexpected, to refuse to be a victim, to love beyond borders.

May you teach what you know.

May you be a bridge-builder.

May rivers of justice flow down through you and me. Amen.

October Mission Offering Update (10/22)

World Mission OfferingOctober’s Special Mission Offering is our annual WORLD MISSION OFFERING

American Baptist International Ministries is supported solely through the generosity of churches and individuals. Their primary fundraising vehicle is the annual World Mission Offering. Churches may also give through their budget to a missionary of their choice (Targeted Giving). Since 2008, FBC PA has joined the Missionary Partnership Network of Dan and Sarah Chetti who serve at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon. In 2012, we added Dan Buttry, Global Consultant for Peace and Justice.  

To date we have received $570 toward our goal of $850.