At Queen’s College, Birmingham was the closing service of this year’s “Face to Face” programme run by the Council for World Mission – how appropriate it was to sing “Sent by the Lord am I”, the Central American chorus by Jorge Maldonado, and musically arranged by John Bell. We sing the offering of ourselves, not only to witness to God’s love, but also to join God in restoring our world into a kingdom of justice and peace. Here were 9 students from around the world “sent by the Lord” to come to our country, exploring themes of Empire and Oppression, homelessness and asylum seeking, human migration and trafficking. As we sang the song at the end of the service – it was they who were going home to continue the task God sets before us.
Their time in the UK had been both eye-opening and faith-affirming. They had gone in pairs to Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield, Essex and South Wales to see the Church in action with asylum seekers, migrant workers and those on the margins of society. They had time together to reflect on their experiences In the service, a number shared these, and the effect it had on them, but all have returned with greater understanding of both the distinct British context, and also the problems of injustice and sin, the consequences of which are shared in every place. And each student enriched us by sharing their own story and how the Church tackles such issues back home.
This photo shows their joy – maybe at going home, but I am sure it is also for having been on such a deep and rich experience of multi-cultural church -, and a great programme run by Wayne Hawkins and the CWM team. Thank you.