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Update from Fr Paul - July 2020

People have been asking how I am doing and what the situation is with regards to our work in Payatas. Let me say a few things.

Certainly my feelings and my energy have gone up and down. In a number of important areas I have not responded to God's grace as I should but God has nevertheless been AMAZINGLY faithful and generous.

One of the ways in which I have failed to adequately respond to God has been not taking enough time, or the right times, for sleep, rest and recreation. Another area has been not spending enough time in prayer.

I am doing better at resting and relaxing but I still need to do better. I think it was about two weeks ago that I was really exhausted but I am much better now. Please pray that I will have the faith, determination and discipline to rest, relax and pray as I should.

It is now 4 months since Community Quarantine was first imposed and the government has just extended the community quarantine until at least July 31. While some people are back at work, many are not and many who had some savings now have none. Many people are desperate!

There are now requests for us to provide relief food to areas of Payatas that we have not covered before. There are many thousands of families in areas which PNA was not covering because they were receiving relief from elsewhere who are now no longer receiving from elsewhere. A main reason for this is donor fatigue. We are intending to try to provide relief food to at least some of these families.

However our funding has been greatly falling as well. The only way we can continue is if God continues to provide, as he has done so far - sometimes at the last moment.

So far we have distributed around 78,000 food packs to around 12,000 families. We will simply continue to give until either we cannot due to lack of donations or until we believe the Lord has said it is time to stop.

I thank God so much for his amazing love, grace and provision. I also thank the wonderful generosity of so many people and the hard work of so many Payatas volunteers.

I have been touched by people's sacrificial generosity. Two days ago one of the people in the areas where we were distributing came up and gave me a small plastic bag containing coins. She said it was a donation for PNA to buy rice!!! The other day someone who had lost his job due to the quarantine gave his second donation for food distribution!!

Please pray and ask others to pray. As well as asking you to pray for the general situation, I am also asking you to pray for one specific situation. On Tuesday it was the burial of of a woman whose husband had been buried fairly recently. I performed blessings before the burial of both of them. The husband was shot dead and the wife died of cancer. They leave behind four orphaned children. Please pray for these children in their great need, in poverty and without parents to care and provide for them. I intend to have PNA provide a scholarship for at least one or two of them.

God bless and be with you all,
Thank you

Fr Paul

International Assembly Report

The Sword of the Spirit International Assembly met by video conference call for two hours on 27 June. The Assembly is the overall governing body for the Sword of the Spirit. Its members are the senior coordinators of full member communities, the regional coordinators and regional missionary coordinators, and some others including special appointees.

This was the first time the Assembly had met by conference call, and 68 of the 76 members were able to be present. We spanned 19 time zones, from 06:00 on the west coast of the Americas through to 01:00 hours in New Zealand.

The following decisions were made:
- Approved three new Full Member communities:
- The Brotherhood of Hope (Boston MA, USA)
- Holy Trinity Community (Davao City, Philippines)
- Tierra Santa (Guayaquil, Ecuador)
- Approved a new bylaw to create a mechanism for ‘Assembly Decision by Email’.
- Approved the creation by the IEC of a work group, comprising the regional presidents and others, to look at new governance processes and models that could be used in situations such as the current Coronavirus pandemic which impact the ability of the Assembly to meet and do business.

Dave Quintana was announced as the new chairman of the Ecumenical Commission, in place of Dave Hughes. Dave Quintana explained that the IEC had decided that in this next season the Ecumenical Commission should be led by a Catholic member of the IEC to underline that ecumenism is something all members of the Sword of the Spirit ‒ including those in all-Catholic communities – are committed to, regardless of their church tradition.

The Assembly received a report on progress across the Sword of the Spirit on the implementation of the Child Protection Framework that had been approved by the Assembly in 2018. There has been a significant amount of work in all the regions and excellent progress has been made but much remains to be done. Of our 42 Full Member and Underway B communities, 12 now have a rolled out and functioning policy, 27 are in the process of implementation, training and roll-out, and in 3 communities a significant amount of work is still needed.

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Worship Events - Summer 2020

Ged Farrell led a powerful and prophetic time of praise last week. As Ged lifted up the name of the Lord in praise, he felt drawn to share the dry bones passage from Ezekiel 37:1-14. Reflecting on this reading, Ged said: "As we are moving out of lockdown, we need to know that He is the living God who breathes new life into us, just as He breathed new life into the dry bones." This message about the dry bones and receiving new life was later confirmed by another person via email. God is moving in our times of praise, as He promised. Thanks to Ged, and to all our wonderful worship leaders, for serving us and blessing us with their gifts of praise.

Praise on 15 July will be led by Gavin Evenhuis. Gavin and his wife Sally organise and lead The Mustard Seed, a monthly charismatic evening of renewal based in St Margaret’s Church, Twickenham. They have been meeting since autumn 2013 after specific inspiration received praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament at the New Dawn Conference. The name was given later; when praying with a friend, they came upon Matthew 13.31 (The parable of the Mustard Seed). This verse confirmed the vision of providing a place of refreshment and renewal (shelter) for folk who have been busy serving the church and the renewal in their local area. Each meeting includes extended praise, prophecy, teaching and prayer ministry. They have been unable to meet during lockdown; so they are now waiting on the Lord to see what next ……

Please do join us on the CCR England Facebook page between 7 and 8pm on Wednesdays. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/CCREngland/

As last week, you can praise however best suits you: in your homes with others if you are able, on Zoom or WhatsApp with your prayer group, or on your own. We may be singing different songs or proclaiming different Scriptures, but we will be united spiritually through the act of praise and will see the Spirit moving. We then invite you at 8pm to have a time of silence and listening to the Lord. If, after this time of listening, you have a prophetic word to share, we invite you to do so viaemail: online@ccr.org.uk Let’s also take time to praise each day, because this is our gift to the Church and the world at this difficult time.

John Benjamin - Attending the heavenly concert

We were all shocked on Thursday 2nd July to hear of the sudden death of John Benjamin. John was one of our members from the 1990’s and in some ways was a fixture of our lives. Most of us have had a cup of tea or coffee from him, as he served refreshments at Acton Hill, and some were much more favoured to be invited to his flat where his record player could delight us with his LPs, and his legendary cooking skills could delight our palates! And did I mention his wines? If you wanted to write a manual of polite behaviour and the art of conversation, you could do much worse than consult John. But many of us know that his faith in the Lord was, by far, the most significant element in his life. He was a man of prayer, and unashamed of his piety. We are poorer for having lost him, but, in fact, for someone who didn’t always arrive before the meeting started, this time, John has simply gone on ahead!

Latest update from Fr Paul

My dear Antioch brothers and sisters in Christ,

PEACE BE WITH YOU! RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT!

I give thanks to God for all of you. Let me also thank the many of you have supported me and the relief work in Payatas with your prayers, with your encouragements and with our donations.
I have been asked how things are going. Here is my response. Things continue to be extremely busy. We have now distributed around 47,000 relief packs to about 12,000 families and the work continues. I am seeking to encourage everyone to remember that although this is a very active ministry it depends on prayer and we need to seek to keep prayer at the centre. We begin with prayer time everyday, we live-stream praise and worship and the Eucharist everyday, and we have continued prayer and adoration going on in the afternoons until 4 pm.
Tomorrow the quarantine in Manilla will be downgraded from Modified enhanced community quarantine (MEHQ) to General Community Quarantine (GHQ). I am still seeking to know what that might mean in terms of people in Payatas. I am not sure how many will now be able to start work and when they will get their first salaries. I think that very many will still not be able to work.
We are needing to think and pray about HOW we end the relief phase of our COVID-19 Pandemic response and start to move on to the rehabilitation and development phases of our work . One issue in particular is whether we have a staggered end or whether we finish our food distribution all at once, there are pros and cons to both approaches.
As well as the “how”, we also need to think about WHEN we should end our relief phase and start move on to the rehabilitation and development phases of our work. I would imagine that, even if there is no return to a stricter lockdown, that the relief phase of giving out food will last for another 2-3 weeks at the very least, but we shall see.
We also need to think and pray and clarify more about WHAT we aim to do in the rehabilitation and development phases of our work and FOR HOW MANY PEOPLE AND FOR WHICH PEOPLE.
We also need to pray that donations still keep coming in and even increasing (there has been an extremely big drop in financial donations recently) and to think and pray about our part in this. I think our part should involve some sort of fundraising and partnership development strategies even as we seek to rely mainly on prayer.
There is also the very big and important issue of how we can help the tens of thousands of people we have served, and whose trust and respect we have gained, to come to know the Lord better and to become or grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. This for me is actually the most important issue.
Once again thank you for all your support. I keep all you friends and supporters in my daily prayers. There are many of you for whom I pray for individually when I have my daily morning offering and intercession times.
I wish you all a most BLESSED feast of Pentecost. May you experience a new Pentecost every day of your lives!!! May you allow the Holy Spirit to convince you of God’s love, convict you of sin, lead you to deeper repentance and faith in Jesus, transform you to become more and more like Jesus, and empower you to live lives of holiness and mission. May you increasingly receive God’s love, love God back and love others, including those who hurt you and especially the poor and suffering.

Your brother in Christ

Fr. Paul Uwemedimo MGL

Preparing for Pentecost

Arthur spoke to us at the Antioch Meeting about preparing the ground for the Holy Spirit in our lives. Here are the areas he addressed and invited us to pray deeper into. This time presents an opportunity for us to be changed, for spiritual transformation in our lives:

1. A deeper desire and fervency for prayer, and particularly for intercessory prayer, which focuses on others, not on ourselves. Forgive us Lord for looking at the world with dry eyes.
2 Chron 7:14

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”

2. A deeper awareness of God in our lives – we want God at the centre of our lives and our community because we value His presence. The Holy Spirit in our lives gives us access to God in a new way, not as servants or employees who are busy with His work, but strangers to His presence, but as sons and daughters. So, let’s take this time to know “Abba, Father” who dwells with us.

3. Conviction of sin in our lives – As a result of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are changed. And so, we want to grow in a desire for personal holiness, a deeper understanding of what sin does, how it separates us from God and His forgiveness. It’s easy for us to make excuses for sin, or not even recognise it.
Ask God to refine you, so you’re in right relationship with Him. You may find it helpful to pray Psalm 51.

4. A deeper revelation of the goodness of God – He is good and His love endures forever. What can God do with me, I’m not a Billy Graham or a Paul Uwemedimo? It’s not about us being good enough, but that God’s grace is enough. He wants to reconcile families, restore marriages, feed the poor, heal the sick. This comes about by his goodness, not our efforts. Isaiah 61:1 “His name is Restorer”. The gifts, fruit and wisdom of the Holy Spirit are for the transformation of the world for the glory of God.

Preparing for Pentecost with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal

NSC Chair Maria Heath encourages us to actively wait in the upper room for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we approach the feast of Pentecost. We invite you to listen to Maria as she shares some thoughts on how we all might prepare for Pentecost - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Dhy6SooY8

Some things we can do

1 - Pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday, praying for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit for ourselves, the Church and the world. One possible way to pray the Novena is at https://www.celebrateconference.org/family and will be available from Thursday, Ascension Day.

2 - Join people from around the world for a Pentecost Vigil on Saturday 30th May at 9 pm led by CHARIS. This will be on the CHARIS International You Tube channel. The invitation is at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mazRVDqri5k&t=57s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bs_EgobDpM&t=24s

3 - Join the CCR family in England on Pentecost Sunday, 31 May: the NSC is partnering with One Hope Project for a special Pentecost event at the earlier time of 5pm on YouTube. This will include, praise and worship, a talk by Jenny Baker, and an opportunity to pray for and receive the Holy Spirit. We will provide the You Tube link next week.

Update from Payatas

Dear Friends,
What can I say except thank you, thank you, thank you and thanks most especially to God!
I have been astonished at the flood of love, heroism and sacrifice that has been unleashed in response to the suffering and pain caused by the COVID pandemic. There has been so much confusion, fear, and panic. There has been so much pain and suffering. One of our PNA trustees, a beloved friend, died a few days ago. The father of one of my religious brothers died just yesterday. Vast numbers of people are sick, have lost their jobs and so many are hungry. Here in Payatas there are hundreds of thousands of people and the majority of them have been going hungry in these last three weeks.
But so many people have been quick to respond, with care, compassion and commitment. I want to thank all of you who have joined in this tidal wave of love, generosity, sacrifice, and service that has been unleashed in this present crisis. We here in Payatas have found ourselves under this tidal wave - and how we need this flood of practical action when tens of thousands of families, hundreds of thousands of people, are hungry - many of them desperately hungry.
Through the generosity of our friends , we in Puso Ng Ama (PNA) started to feed people who were desperate with fear and hunger. Three weeks ago we gave food packs to just over two hundred families, two weeks ago we gave food packs to three hundred families. Then as the situation worsened, as more and more and more people became more and more hungry, we reached out for more help and you responded so readily in spite of the fact that many of you have also been so badly affected by this crisis. Many you are short of money, some of you have lost your jobs and other sources of income, and yet you have continued to give. Thank you!
Your giving has not only provided physical nourishment to people going hungry. It has also provided hope and encouragement to people who feel they have been forgotten and neglected.
Through your help, we have now given a weeks worth of rice to around two and half thousand families and we have given slightly more substantial food packs to over one thousand families. Through your generosity we have now fed around three and half thousand families in Payatas. However, it has now been announced that the lock down will continue until at least April 30th. I would not be surprised if it goes on longer. This means that the hunger will increase. With such vast numbers of people to feed, the government has not been able to cope with the great need and this need will now increase. We cannot simply leave it to them. We in PNA have therefore decided to step up our efforts even more. At 4am yesterday I felt we should aim to feed 10,000 families. I started messaging some people to tell them this belief at around 5am. Throughout the day I asked people people to pray that we would be able to feed 10,000 families. Then yesterday evening 10,000 cans of sardines arrived at our door step!!!! This to me was a sign and confirmation from God that we are indeed being called to step up our efforts even more.
And so I would ask you all, my dear friends old and new, to continue to support us. Please pray for us, pray for the people of Payatas, pray that we in PNA might feed ten thousand families and more. Pray also that when this crisis is over we may continue to help with the work of rehabilitation and development. Please also ask others to consider supporting us . And, if you are able , please continue to give financially and /or to give rice and other non-perishable foodstuffs. Even very small donations are a great help.
On our part, we in PNA commit ourselves to provide relief to many thousands of families during this crisis and then to help as many as possible afterwards though the work of rehabilitation and development.
Once again THANK YOU my dear friends. Please be assured of my prayers for you. May GOD BLESS YOU in his love, mercy and grace.

Fr. Paul Uwemedimo MGL
(PNA Chariman)

Eulogy of Chale Mantica

Dear brothers and sisters of the Sword of the Spirit,
Through this message we communicate to you that Mr. Carlos Mántica, has reached the place of honor for which he strained all his life. God, in his infinite mercy, has called him into his courts and he is enjoying His presence forever.
Chale – as we fondly call him – died yesterday on April 7th, 2020, at 84 years in his beloved Managua, Nicaragua.
Chale was a valuable pioneer of our communities and of the Sword of the Spirit, he was one of the founders of “La Ciudad de Dios” alongside other great brothers. He was also President of the Sword of the Spirit in highly critical and important times of our history. He helped the formation of many communities in the Ibero-American Region, he wrote countless talks, books and courses and he also gave and ran innumerable conferences, retreats and preachings all around the world.
He is a very beloved and respected man by his family, his community, the region, the Sword of the Spirit and, of course, his beloved Nicaragua.
Rest in peace, Chale.
May God have him in his glory.
We will remember you kindly and carry you always in our hearts.
We would like to share this eulogy written by Jean Barbara, president of the Sword of the Spirit, available in our website. Please feel free to share it with members in your communties as a way to honor our brother.

In Christ,

Jean Barbara (President of the Sword of the Spirit)
José Luis Carretero (President of the Ibero-American Region)

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14

From Mr and Mrs Vaz

As you'd imagine, it has been a challenging month for Larissa and me, with the evolving Covid-19 situation, especially since the Government of India banned all travel into the country from late-March. It meant that we could not go ahead with the wedding as planned in Goa, India on 18th April 2020. We had some time to think about what was most important to us, as well as what was most logical under the current circumstances.

Here's the good news - we got married on 21st March in a quiet wedding service in London. It was a very special day for both us. Thanks to Ralph, we were able to share the moments with our families in India and elsewhere via FB live stream, in true millennial fashion!

But for us, that was only Part 1 of our wedding, since we couldn't celebrate with our families and friends. And so we have decided to go ahead with our wedding celebration in Goa, India #L&LWeddingPartTwo. The new date is 21st December 2020, with the assumption that the Covid-19 situation will have died down by then.

We have moved in to our new flat - the address is Flat 2, 11b, Avenue Crescent, Acton, London W3 8ET.

Finally we just want to say thank you for all your prayers. We've been blessed abundantly through all that's happened.

Kind regards,
Lloyd and Larissa

Job Vacancy - Koinonia Men's Mission Leader

Brothers & sisters,
Those of you who attended the online Members' Meeting on Sunday will be aware from the presentation that Joe gave that there are a number of gaps coming up in the Koinonia staff team, especially on the men's side, with different brothers moving away from London this summer. We are currently looking to hire a Men's Mission Leader for a start date of 1 August 2020. We will be accepting applications until 30 April. If you would like more details or know someone who might be interested to apply, please get in touch with me at jpfahd@koinonia.co.uk.
I would also ask for your prayers that the right people would come forward to cover the gaps that we will have, and that the Lord's hand would be upon us in the upcoming time of transition.
God bless,
JP Fahd, for Koinonia

Payatas Update - April 5th 2020

Three weeks ago we gave food packs to more than 200 families including those of our PNA scholars. The week after we gave food packs to the same 200 families plus one hundred more. Last week, the crisis became worse, more and more people were becoming more and more hungry. We responded to this situation by starting to reach out to a far greater number of people.
Today, in order to reach more people more quickly, we had three distribution points instead of one. At the PNA Center, we continued giving out as we have been giving in the past, but we also used the front entrance to give and we also used our other building. In addition, this afternoon we took 120 food packs with rice, cans squash and monggo beans to a small evangelical church in Payatas and gave them out from there in partnership with the pastor to a list of people identified by the Purok leader and the Church.
More exact figures can wait but we have now given 4kg of rice to more than 2,000 families. In addition we have given food packs which included at least 4kg of rice to around 700 families. I expect that in the next few days we will have given rice to more than 3,000 families. I hope that in the next week we will give food packs (which include rice) to at least 300 to 1000 more families. I would hope that we will have given food to at least three to four thousand families by the end of next week. We have not yet made the decision of whether we will then increase the numbers of families we have fed by giving to more families or whether we will concentrate on simply try to feed again the thousands of families that we have already fed.
During this time we are continuing to take special care of the families of our scholars and some other families for whom we in PNA have a more specific responsibility. In this respect, I should add that we have some donors who are trying to raise money to sustain a smaller number of families over a longer period. They are trying to raise money for a group of around 300 families on a longer term basis, for relief now, and then for rehabilitation and development afterwards.

© 2019 ANTIOCH.