Archive for January, 2019

Witchcraft and Human Rights conference

Last week saw a multi-agency conference in Lancaster on Witchcraft and Human Rights. This event followed on from the 2017 UN workshop on the same subject. Several members and supporters of SCWA were present, including BCT’s Carolyn Gent, who presented on the Church’s role in addressing accusations of witchcraft against children.

Carolyn tells us:

‘The conference offered a real range of presentations, including academic research papers and practitioner reports. There was also lots of discussion, great networking opportunities, and chances to meet people who are engaging with witchcraft accusations against both adults and children, and with other human rights issues related to witchcraft. It was an exciting two days with a real sense of momentum and energy behind the issue.

‘What was really obvious was the increasing understanding of the fact that the Church needs to be at the centre of at least part of the response to the phenomenon. It was great to hear people from other parts of the world talking about how some of the most successful interventions have been by pastors and other church leaders. It’s so encouraging to see a real shift in thinking on that. There’s a real sense of excitement about the work of SCWA in particular – it’s been singled out as a beacon of hope in demonstrating that change is possible from within the Church. Our resources and our model are being picked up by other groups. It’s absolutely the case that the Church is implicated in child witch accusations – that’s a matter of real concern to us and to others – but the fact that we are able to show how the Church is actively engaging in changing the story has been a real breakthrough in this conference.

‘I also had some really good conversations with people working in other parts of world, and it was great to reconnect with Dr Bob Priest and Dr Opoku Onyinah, who are such fantastic supporters for our work and highly regarded as experts on the issue.

‘All in all, it’s been a really good two days. Thank you so much for your prayers. God is very good!’

Find out more about SCWA’s work to prevent witchcraft-related abuse against children, and why this work is so important.

 

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The long view

‘As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth… so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ (Isaiah 55:10-11)

At the time of writing, BCT is on the cusp of 20 years of work. 2019 will be our 20th anniversary! Looking back over those 20 years, we can see thousands of lives have been changed, by the grace of God and through the dedication of our partners. Even more people have benefited indirectly, as the impact of our work ripples outwards into wider communities. We rejoice that God has blessed our efforts and brought transformation to so many vulnerable children.

That’s not to say that those 20 years have been all plain sailing – there have been some very difficult times indeed, with disappointing outcomes and painful decisions. In the darkest moments, it has been hard to see God at work at all.

But taking the long view, God’s presence, provision and guidance are thunderingly obvious. Things take time to grow. If a tree doesn’t shoot up within days, it’s silly to think it will never grow. If we care for it faithfully, it will flourish, but we have to be patient. In the same way, God’s purposes often take time. He promises that his word will achieve his purposes (Isa 55:11), and it’s as we look at how individuals and communities have grown over a matter of years that we get a true sense of God’s transformative power at work.

Above all, our anniversary celebrations are a chance for us to say thank you. We’re overwhelmingly grateful to God for his faithfulness to us, to our project partners for their courage and commitment, and of course, to you for your support, prayer, encouragement and generosity.

We praise God for his leading and provision over the last 20 years. As we step forward into the next 20, we wait with anticipation to see what he will do next, and we submit ourselves to his will and perfect timing.

Find out more here about who BCT are and what we’ve been doing for 20 years!

 

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