Please be aware of this new site for worship in the Sword of the Spirit.
Advent Words from the Brothers
One of our daily practices during this time is to read a particular Scripture passage every day and meditate upon it, all across the brotherhood. For a number of years now, family, friends and supporters have often joined us in this practice. In order to make that possible, we provide a way to download the list of passages here . We also have a daily podcast where one of the brothers (this year from the International Formation House in Ann Arbor) provides a short commentary on that passage. You can either find those podcasts here or simply subscribe to “Words from the Brothers” on I-Tunes, Spotify or any other podcast provider.
We wish you a very blessed and peaceful Advent season! In Christ Martin Steinbereithner On behalf of all the Servants of the Word
New Sword of the Spirit website
If you have not already seen it, check out the redesigned Sword of the Spirit website with a fresher look and some new features. The website was five years old and needed a refresh and to catch up with developments in technology. Thanks to Juan Carlos Aragon and Paul Codouni for their work developing it.
New features include:
• Social media feed • Pray by Day, our own daily prayer tool • New interactive map of SOS communities and outreaches • Design optimized for mobile devices (70% of the views of the site accessed from mobile devices) • Improved navigation and simplified layout
Check out the new website here: Please forward the link to your community members.
Updated Sword of the Spirit world map
We have a new SOS Map, showing all 93 member communities including new communities in Australia, India, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines and Poland.
Joe Pender - we miss you!
With huge sadness we announce the death of our dear brother, Joe Pender. Joe died on Wednesday 4th following multiple heart attacks caused by blood clots after his major cancer surgery on the Monday. Katrina, his wife, is much in our prayers, as are his parents Sean and Karen, his brothers and sisters and ll the Pender and Doyle families. We are so glad his father, Sean, was able to be with him at the end, and that other family members are able to be here for the funeral. A video of the funeral is now available on the link below.
Pronto: find and follow
Around 2,000 people aged 22-35 partook of an online conference entitled Pronto: find and follow on Saturday July 1 8th. Daniel Dunkl from Vienna, Austria, and Michela Brooks from Las Vegas, Nevada, welcomed attendees from 30 countries, multiple languages and time zones. The Philippines, Mexico and the United States had the most attendees, but it was exciting to see those just getting involved in our work who hailed from Brazil and Tanzania. Ralph Mascarenhas, the one who proposed the conference, explained that the idea for Pronto 2020 came from seeing a strong response in Europe to the Legacy Conference, an event for those aged 20-30 that gives a vision for living community life as an adult. They had double the turnout online that they expected to have in person and the participants loved it. Pronto began with a song in English and Spanish that was led from Beirut, Lebanon. That was followed by an online quiz for all 2,000 participants that crowned JP Fahed as the most knowledgeable attendee. The News followed and featured stories from Rebecca Sastre about discerning her call to live single for the Lord and Sara Fonseca reporting on a successful online Alpha Course their Young Professionals Outreach did in Costa Rica. Anton Collela from Glasgow gave the main address and proclaimed the call that unites us. A more substantial time of worship followed where participants could post what they sensed the Lord telling them. There were nearly 1 30 submissions and many of them stressed that we were one people with one call from the One God and that he wanted us joined in
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
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!
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:
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: Let’s also take time to praise each day, because this is our gift to the Church and the world at this difficult time.
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 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 -
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 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:
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.
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.