Fellowship of At Thomas Newsletter 2016


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Summer letter of the Fellowship

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The Fellowship of St Thomas Newsletter 2016


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Letter from the President Kilmorich 14 Balloch Rd Balloch G83 8SR maenutter@gmail.com Dear Friends, I am writing this on a cool summer day. I am aware that many of our friends and colleagues in India and Pakistan would be delighted to enjoy this cool weather! This summer was particularly hot early on in North India and Pakistan. But nevertheless work goes on. I try in my letter to have an overview of the church in the subcontinent. I have been reading some interesting articles on both CNI and CSI websites and here are links to them for those who might wish to follow them up. The Church of South India has been looking at ‘Green Theology’ and has run various conferences and such like. It is promoting Green Schools along the lines of our EcoSchools Programme in Scotland but there it is strongly tied to church and faith. http://www.csisynod.com/Admin/csilife/76_csi%20life%20june%2020 16%20-%20FINAL.pdf I have just received and am sending on cards of Invitation and Thanks sent out by Bishop Alwin Samuel of Sialkot, Church of Pakistan, for a Service in in Hunter Memorial Church where on 9th July they gave thanks for the service of many Scottish Missionaries and commemorated the death of Rev Thomas Hunter the first Scottish missionary who died there in 1857. How the church of Pakistan has grown from that inauspicious start. The recent news of the Church of Pakistan is a link it is establishing with its neighbouring country’s church – yes, it is forming a link with the church in China. http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2016/06/church-of-pakistanforges-new-links-with-china.aspx


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This year LAMB Hospital in Banglasdesh celebrates 40 years of service. One of the success stories is of Nurasta a 14 years old adolescent with quadriplegic CP. She first came at LAMB rehabilitation centre 8 years ago. At that time, she was unable to standing & walk properly and all her limbs were very tight. She took intensive exercise and some assistive devices which helped her to stand & walk. She is continuing her study in a general school & she is student of grade ten. LAMB has provided her a tailoring machine for 1000 (one thousand) taka only after providing tailoring training. She is earning money 300400/month from her tailoring work. She is very happy. Her family is very happy too for her efforts. In June the Church of Ceylon launched an emergency response to devastating floods in Sri Lanka that claimed over 100 lives and left thousands homeless and without resources. As floodwaters receded, agencies are taking stock. Communities require emergency assistance, and there is an urgent need to prevent the spread of disease through environmental clean-up and waste management. When we meet in Dunblane this year we too will have a green focus and look forward to hearing about such work and worshipping using a recently published green liturgy of the Church of South India. I hope you have enjoyed our quick trip around the sub-continent, I hope to see many of you at our Annual Celebration at Dunblane in September. Yours sincerely, Margaret A E Nutter Margaret A E Nutter reports on Pakistan – Sialkot Diocese I had a wonderful return visit to the Diocese in November and December 2015. What a delight to fly into Sialkot International Airport with only a short ride into Barahpatthar. I went to help Catherine Nicol celebrate her 80th birthday, Catherine has worked in Pakistan since 1961 and in Sialkot since 1968.


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Catherine has worked mainly in the High Schools and Boarding and has influenced countless girls, now women some serving in high places including the Army, Education and Nursing. One of her former students last year was awarded the Quaid-i-Azam Medal for services to nursing. Celebration of her Birthday began after midnight on 30th November and was a bit like Hogmonay as the teachers arrived with tea and cake and music which went on till about 1.30 am. Every possible occasion was accompanied by cake for several days. Celebrations included an act of worship, several dinners much visiting and laughter. When I arrived in Sialkot I met Bishop Alwin J Samuel and was invited as a Scottish and an ordained woman to preach at the Ordination of Deacons in Sialkot and on the following Sunday at the Confirmation Service in Paterson Memorial Church Lala Musa. I was told it would be a long service as about 150 were to be confirmed, so I helped by giving a short sermon. The church in Lala Musa was packed we were greeted with a band (pipes, drums and tambourines) and fireworks. During the service all the Elders who had helped teaching a Confirmation Class gave a short address. After the Confirmation everyone was served cake. During my visit I met up with some friends from Jalalpur Jattan and that resulted in an invitation speak at a House Church. The house church included men women and children who lived close by. As many people came and went to wish Catherine well I had the opportunity to meet many people and heard happy and sad stories. Some women are having a particularly hard time as men are often deserting their families – this includes some ordained men. Divorce is a problem in Pakistan and it is very difficult for deserted wives to find work to keep themselves and their children. I know many of you who pray for Pakistan are aware of security risks and discrimination but marriage is also something that needs our prayers.


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Val Nellist reports on Moumita Biswas Visit to the UK 2016 Moumita Biswas, Executive Secretary of the All India Council of Christian Women made a short visit to the UK from the 24th May to the 3rd June. Moumita had been invited to speak at a conference in Aberdeen but this had been cancelled at the last minute. Moumita decided to come to the UK anyway as she had all along intended to use the visit for further networking with the churches and Christian agencies; and she had purchased the UK visa. With help from friends she was able to purchase her air tickets. The AICCW has no funds for overseas travel for staff. Moumita made good use of her time in the UK, staying in the Anglican Communion hostel in London and meeting with Terri Robinson - Anglican Communion Women's Desk, Methodist Church leaders - Steve Pearce, David Haslam, the Archbishop of Canterbury's officer for women's ministry and visiting the USPG office. In Scotland Moumita stayed with me and met with Sandy Sneddon and Kate Barclay at the Church of Scotland offices, Elspeth Davey - Church Relations Officer at the Episcopal Church, Sally Foster-Fulton of Christian Aid, the Side by Side group in Scotland led by Kathy Galloway, Bishop David Chillingworth and the Calcutta diocesan link group in Perth, and Elaine Cameron of the Inter Anglican Women's Network. Elaine is working with Wendy Young of Christian Aid to adapt Bible study material dealing with the issues of gender based violence in churches. This material was first produced in Brazil and is now being adapted to our Scottish context. The outcomes from Moumita's visit are first, an increasing engagement with the wider church for the AICCW. Then the sharing of practical engagement and experience concerned with gender equality, violence and human trafficking. The Brazil Bible study material is of interest but a more immediate need in India is a comic book style of resource to help children avoid and report abuse. It is hoped that a joint approach using the expertise of a children's worker with East Dumbarton Women's Aid, an Indian graphic artist and Indian publishers, and with finance from the Episcopal Church, will make this idea of Moumita's come to fruition. Last but not least, we


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are planning an opportunity for those from the UK and Indian churches concerned about gender justice to come together in Kerala to spend time together in prayer, Bible study and conversation. A time for sharing experience, offering mutual support and looking at appropriate strategies for our different and yet similar contexts. The dates for this colloquium are the 28th October till the 1st November, the Diwali weekend. More information will be coming from Moumita's office soon. CSI WOMEN MISSIONARIES & LEADERS CONFERENCE - 2016 The Department of Mission & Evangelism and CSI Women’s Fellowship jointly organized CSI Women Missionaries and Leaders Conference at CSI Synod Centre from 2nd to 4th August 2016. 160 CSI Women Missionaries and Leaders participated in this conference. This conference was inaugurated by Rev. Dr. Ramani Dyvasirvadam, President CSI Women’s Fellowship and presided by Rt. Rev. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam, Chairperson, CSI Mission and Evangelism. Rev. Dr. D. Rathnakara Sadananda, General Secretary, CSI delivered Key Note Address on the theme: “Makers and Movers in Mission”. Please remember all women in leadership roles in the Church in India and beyond. As the world witnesses women in leadership, transforming society, we pray for God’s blessings upon them such as PM Teresa May, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and many such around the world, rising.


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The Fellowship of St Thomas Annual Celebration: Sat 24th Sept 2016 St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Fourways Roundabout, Dunblane I /We intend to be present and to bring _ _ _ friends (non-members) I /We enclose £ _ _ _ _ _ _ as the charge for the day (£12 per person) I am / we are unable to be present. Name (s) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Address: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _________________________________ Tel No: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Email: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Please pay by cheque to The Fellowship of St Thomas and send to Rev Mark Wilson, 37 Kings Avenue, Longniddry, EH32 0QN by SEPT 10TH Please tear off this page and send it by Royal Mail


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