By Jaclyn K Jones
The Creator’s Symphony: African Christianity, the Plight of Earth and the Poor by John Kapya Kaoma (STH ’10)
Much is being made of African Christianity’s explosive growth but the phenomenon will be short lived if the continent does not address the mounting life-threatening ecological crisis. Fortunately, as this book argues, African Christianity can help arrest and ameliorate effects of the ecological crises on the continent and the poor. While acknowledging that African theological innovation has been stunted by the historically subservient nature of African Christianity to Western Christianity, the book envisions an authentic and unapologetically African Theology drawing on multiple African strengths. After exploring ecological connotations of African traditional religions; Christology centered on Christ as the ecological ancestor; and addressing manifestations of deities and spirits in natural phenomena; the book proposes a paradigm shift in theological education and Christian formation that can help resolve the mounting ecological crisis.
In a symphony, all parts and instruments must blend together harmoniously. With deep love and roots in Africa, the author skillfully weaves together into a comprehensive whole the ecological crisis with the plight of the poor. A wonderful example of how the West can learn from African religious traditions and experiences.
Prof. Norman Farameli, Boston University, MA, USA
Forward-looking and much-needed, this important book addresses the ecological crisis drawing resources from African traditional religions and Christianity. It broadens our horizons by bringing a unique perspective to discussion on ecology and theology. I highly recommend it.
Prof Kwok Pui-lan, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, USA
This book invites us to re-evaluate our values, theology and spirituality. A must-read to all African Christians and our international development partners working to safeguard the integrity of Creation.
Rt Rev. William Mchombo, Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Zambia
Dr Kaypa J Kaoma is visiting researcher at Boston University, Adjunct Professor at Episcopal Divinity School, Senior Researcher at Political Research Associates and Rector at Christ Church in the United States.
For more information, go to: http://www.kapyajohnkaoma.com/creators-symphony/
West End United Methodist Church is seeking applicants for the position of Minister of Youth. The Minister of Youth is a full-time member of the Church’s staff. The position generally requires a 40-hour work week which includes working Sundays and four weekdays, with alternate workdays and extended hours occasionally required. The position is salaried/exempt and competitive benefits are provided.
The position requires a person with sound Christian beliefs who enjoys working directly with middle school and high school students. The Youth Minister will provide planning, oversight and coordination of all aspects of the Church’s youth ministry. This includes creating and implementing a strong and creative curriculum; developing relationships with the youth, their parents, other staff and ministry areas and local ministry partners; and planning and attending church, regular outreach events, mission events and special activities and retreats, both in town and out of town. Desired skills include: excellent teacher, team builder, communicator, organizer, project manager, and coordinator of parent and other volunteers. The candidate should also be flexible with a good sense of humor, as well as having strong computer and social media skills.
- Divinity and degree in religious studies or related studies, or five (5) years experience in youth ministries or similar position preferred.
For a more detailed job description and to apply, please go to: http://www.westendumc.org/about/job-openings
From Amazon: The Counterpunching Minister (who couldn’t be “preyed” away) is a collection of 64 Counterpunch articles, calling for religious leaders to regain their prophetic role of confronting political power and wealth with reality and moral truth, rather than serving as chaplains of the status quo and providing the Invocations and Benedictions for those in power. The articles deal with America’s moral decay. The refusal of our government to engage in national self-examination after the horrific 9/11 attacks. Instead, starting a so-called global “war on terrorism” in the continuing pursuit of world domination—under the pretext of “protecting our national security.” Launching illegal, pre-emptive falsely based wars of choice against Afghanistan and Iraq, resulting in the deaths, dislocation and diminishing of millions of people. Violating the national sovereignty of other countries with weaponized drones, filling their skies with dread, and bringing sudden death and injury to innocent children, women and men. Creating endless enemies that fuels an unending “war on terror—which benefits the political/corporate/ energy/ intelligence complex. Essays focus on the pervasive militarization of America, aided by mainstream media which serve as guardians of the status quo. A militarization that has accommodated the government’s criminal wars, the brutal Guantanamo Bay detention center, a presidential “kill list” that denies due process even to Americans, the National Security Agency spying on all of us citizens, and the prosecution and pursuit of whistleblowers like Pvt. Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Articles also spotlight the ever widening economic gap between the politically influential wealthy and the 99%. With the country’s white-controlled hierarchy of access to political, economic and legal power reinforcing America’s historic racial divide—with the current black president an accommodating exception to the ruling elite. Certain pieces address the use of “God” to “sancti-tize” the moral decay. Such as belief in “American exceptionalism” and “Christocentricism” and “God bless America”– the latter presidential code words for the imperialistic ways of “Providence.” For many, the “God of our Fathers,” is American, white, Christian, imperialistic, heterosexual, male. The writings confront a major issue of religion: the aversion of many people of faith to politics and conflict. Speaking truth to political and corporate power creates controversy and carries the risk of losing their own institution’s privileged status—and the financial support of disaffected members. It is much easier—and safer—to be a shepherd than a prophet, and to see people as sheep rather than as individuals with human rights. The book is about empathy. Inclusive empathetic moral caring for other persons– near and far– depends on the humanness of those who represent and serve people and the common good—whether clergy and their congregations, health care professionals,, social service and civic leaders, educators, politicians, or citizen volunteers. Included in this collection is an article on the writer’s own successful lawsuit against an abusive denominational hierarchy that violated his right of privacy in an attempt to assassinate his character and end his ministry. The writer’s case provides a landmark ruling that protects clergy—and other workers and whistleblowers– who refuse to allow those with authority over them to control their conscience and set limits on their empathy and political involvement.
Trinity Covenant Church in Bridgewater, MA seeks a part-time worship leader (5-10 hours per week). Must play guitar or keyboard and sing. Experience in liturgical worship a plus. Weekly Stipend. Email us: email@example.com
Calvary United Methodist Church in Middletown, Rhode Island seeks an experienced organist/piano player to serve as Director of Music Ministry. Responsibilities include planning traditional and contemporary music that is uplifting, vibrant, inspirational, and singable for worship services and special events, and building/directing the Adult Choir. While we desire music that employs various instruments and voices, successful candidates must demonstrate proficiency on a two-manual and pedal electro-pneumatic pipe organ and piano. Ideal candidate is a flexible team player who can switch gears. Singing is desirable. Must be willing to work occasionally with children. Salary will be commensurate with American Guild of Organists standards for 3/8 time. For additional information, send resume to MegDuckett@gmail.com, or via post to Meg Duckett, Calvary United Methodist Church, 200 Turner Road, Middletown, RI 02842. Calvary UMC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The Director of Christian Education will lead, support and empower members of the Wilmington United Methodist Church as they seek to fulfill their mission as a church.
Wilmington UMC Mission Statement
“The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, and we are called as a church community to enable one another to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ. To accomplish this, we shall:
– Deepen the spiritual life of persons in our community by providing a variety of meaningful worship settings, engaging one another in small group spiritual formation opportunities and participating in personal and corporate prayer.
– Invite all persons into our church and provide them with welcoming hospitality.
– Commit ourselves to a ministry of justice, peace and dignity for all persons in our communities and in the world.
– Study the Bible and other sources of faith and inspiration.
– Understand ourselves as being on a journey together and provide and nurture and encourage one another along the way so that our community can grow in size and devotion.”
Responsibilities of the Director of Christian Education:
– to oversee the Christian Education program from birth through adulthood
– to assist with the recruitment and support of Sunday School teachers
– to provide training for Sunday School teachers
– to research and encourage Sunday School teacher training and development at special conferences and workshops in the area
– responsibility for the selection and incorporation of Sunday school curriculum
– responsibility for the annual children’s Christmas program
– responsibility for the planning and leadership of Children’s/Youth Sunday
– to support and promote church participation in ecumenical Vacation Bible School program
– to partner with the Education Committee and the Pastor to develop a comprehensive Christian Education program for the church
– to work with the Education Committee to ensure child safety and follow The Safe Sanctuary Policies
– to partner with the Education Committee to maximize the potential of the church learning environments
– to support the Education Commission through presence and participation at meetings
– to assist with the Confirmation program
– to develop and strengthen ongoing programs to expand the church’s ministry as we live into our mission statement meeting needs as they arise and as opportunities present themselves
– promote, resource and support Adult Education programs
In addition to these primary accountabilities, the Director of Christian Education will support and assist in the ministries of the other pastoral staff and the Wilmington United Methodist Church as determined by a mutual agreement between the pastoral staff and the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, with the approval of the Administrative Board.
The Director of Christian Education is hired by the church upon the recommendation of the Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC). The SPRC will review this job description annually, evaluate the performance of the Director of Christian Education and make appropriate recommendations for salary to the Finance Committee.
The part-time position (20 hours per week) of Director of Christian Education grants four (4) weeks of paid vacation annually (July 1 to June 30 year).
The first 90 days of employment will be a probationary Period and will include ongoing evaluations.