Support for Ministry in East Timor

May 18, 2010

UnitingWorld Supports Church Founders in East Timor to Move Onwards in Ministry

On 27 April UnitingWorld launched the Onwards in Ministry: East Timor appeal to empower the founders of the Protestant Church in East Timor (IPTL) to receive training for effective leadership.

Support for this appeal will enable the founders of the IPTL who have previously received little formal training, to train for effective ministry in their own context while avoiding the high cost of training overseas.

Throughout the fight for independence, church leadership training in East Timor became near impossible. Many church leaders lost their lives or were forced in to neighbouring West Timor (Indonesia), leaving just five clergy remaining in the IPTL.

The majority of the population fled the cities established during Indonesian occupation for remote villages in the mountains. A group of evangelists, who played a key role in founding the church, took up the challenge of ministry under these difficult circumstances.

The Onwards in Ministry course seeks to better equip them for the task of leading the church. The course was established by the IPTL, a Partner Church of UnitingWorld, in 2003. UnitingWorld is assisting by helping meet the expenses involved in running this course, including the cost of ministry books, accommodation for participants and supporting visiting lecturers from overseas.

The course has so far been a success. Fifteen participants having already graduated to Phase Two, and have every opportunity to graduate in 2012 and move into the ordained ministry.

Moderator of the IPTL, Rev. Moises A. da Silva, strongly believes that training these church founders and other important church leaders is a challenge that the IPTL must meet in order to be equipped for the future.

“These five leaders are the ones who served from the beginning to form new churches and then served the local church. They did so with dedication and commitment, but with very little education and no financial support. These leaders must be equipped to lead effectively in this new era.”

Alberto da Costa Ximenes, a current course participant from the town of Baucau (122 km east of Dili), is excited that this course is helping his country maintain independence: “I thank the Uniting Church in Australia for support of this course. We are finding new methodology for leading the Church from the Indonesian time to this time.”

UnitingWorld has been actively collaborating with the IPTL since 2003. The Relief and Development Unit of UnitingWorld works in partnership with their development arm, Fundasaun Sosial Naroman (FUSONA) to operate a Health Care and Livelihood program. In August 2010, the first Young Ambassadors for Peace workshop will see community leaders trained in peacemaking and conflict resolution. Several Experience volunteer placements are also available for suitably qualified candidates to assist the IPTL with management and administration.

Click here to read more about the Onwards in Ministry: East Timor appeal

Click here to make a secure online donation to this appeal

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