|Ron Sider||Nov 29|| 2||1|
This Thanksgiving/Christmas, as you give thanks to God for so many blessings, please consider making a gift to a wonderful friend and seminary in Africa.
My good friend, Dr. Sunday Agang, is the Provost of the large ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos (JETS) in the part of Nigeria where Christians are under severe threat from radical Muslims. Literally thousands of Christians have been killed in the last decade in the middle belt of Nigeria where Dr. Agang’s seminary is located. (For details, see the June 15, 2020 report by a group from the British parliament called: NIGERIA: UNFOLDING GENOCIDE?[appgfreedomofreligionorbelief.org].
Dr. Sunday Agang is an amazing Christian leader. His family was so poor that he was not able to go to school until he was 18. Then an uncle provided some help and Sunday started to school for the first time at 18 years of age! After theological studies in Nigeria, he came to Palmer Seminary where he studied with me for his MDiv. After that, he did a PhD at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Back in Africa, he soon became a theological leader in his large (10 million member) denomination called Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). He started the first PhD program in Africa on Public Theology. He has written several books including NO OTHER CHEEKS TO TURN, talking about how Christians should respond with Christ’s love when attacked by radical Muslims. He started a program to help both Muslim and Christian widows (because when Muslims kill Christian men, Christians sometimes retaliate by killing Muslim men)
so Dr. Agang’s program helps both sets of widows, Christians and Muslims, to develop an economic base to care for their families.
In a recent email, Dr. Agang told me about 17 Muslims who disappeared for three days and were thought to be dead. But then they reappeared, praising Christians who had protected and fed them. That is what Dr. Agang and his seminary promotes.
COVID-19 has devastated Nigeria including JETS, the seminary which Dr. Agang leads. The Nigerian economy is in recession. Student fees (the major source of the seminary’s income) have largely dried up for a time. Fortunately gifts from abroad have helped JETS survive. But desperate poverty is everywhere. In a November 10 email to me, Dr. Agang told me that he had recently used his personal family’s money to buy basic food for his hungry neighbors “because I could not watch them die of hunger.”
Dr. Agang and the seminary he leads is literally changing Africa. In addition to starting the first PhD program in African Public Theology, Dr. Agang has edited the first major African text on public theology called AFRICAN PUBLIC THEOLOGY. It will be used all across the continent. His seminary nurtures students with a passion for both evangelism and societal justice.
As you pray about how God would like you to partner with Dr. Agang and his seminary, remember that Saint Paul spent considerable time organizing an offering from Christians in Greece for poor Christians in Jerusalem. That was an intercontinental offering given by European Christians to Asian Christians! Saint Paul wrote to the Christians in Greece urging them to give generously: “At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality” ( II Corinthians 8: 14). I am sure the Nigerian brothers and sisters who are rich in faith will say thanks by praying for the Christians who share with them.
Dr. Agang and his seminary (JETS) have several needs:
1. They would greatly appreciate major gifts for desperately needed student housing. The seminary has received a foundation grant of $100,000 for this but they need the funds to match that grant.
2. They need gifts to help with faculty salaries for some more months until they recover from COVID-19 and student fees return.
3. Support for Dr. Agang – – his ministry with Muslim and Christian widows and his ongoing support for very hungry neighbors.
Please pray about joining my wife and me and giving a gift this Christmas to this superb, currently needy, very influential Nigerian evangelical seminary. Write your tax deductible check to Grace Fellowship Community Church, 3265 16th St., San Francisco, CA, 94103. Mail it to that address and mark the envelope “Attention Nigeria Donations.” In an inside note with the check, designate your gift for one or more of the three above needs.
You can see more about JETS seminary at: www.jets.edu.ng.
Hebrews 6:10: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
Please share this blog with your family and friends and invite them to join in empowering our sisters and brothers in Nigeria.
And as always, invite your friends to join my blog: ronsiderblog.substack.com