LETTER FROM BANGLADESH
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Warmest greetings from the Church of Bangladesh.
To begin with, I need to tell you something about the recent flood we had in Bangladesh. We thank God that while writing this, the water has started receding and that this time it was not as devastating as it was in 1998 & 2002. I must say it is also a little comforting for me. Yet the scars of damage are immeasurable and as usual they are being borne by the poorest of the poor people. Many, many have lost their houses, more than half of the country's paddy fields were under water for weeks. Those who had ponds and fisheries had them over-flooded. In short, millions have been suffering from untold miseries of life. Many of our church people are also victims of this flood. We, as the Church, have sent out an appeal to our members for some help and donations to do some emergency relief works. We hope and believe that we will be able to raise a good sum of money to help some of the affected people. We, through our Social Development Programme, have already started giving emergency relief materials we received from the Christian Aid and the ACT. We also plan to do some Rehabilitation Works after the water fully recedes and we can make an assessment of the damages.
The political situation in the country is not too bad now. The caretaker government, backed by the Army, is trying to do their best to eradicate crime and corruption. Many so-called corrupted leaders are now in jail now and awaiting punishment. The more the government anti-corruption department is becoming vigilant and active the more the political parties are becoming impatient, because all their activities are now banned. They are demanding to have the election as soon as possible, so that they may have a free hand again, but that is not due until November/December 2008. You may have seen in the news that, from 20-22 August, the Dhaka University students, being instigated by some University teachers and political leaders, created such anarchy and havoc in the whole country that the caretaker government had no other choice but to declare a curfew in 6 Divisional cities for a few days to bring the situation under control. That was a clear sign to the nation that it is never an easy job to fight corruption and crime. I salute the present government for their courage and wisdom. Please pray for them as they work hard to prepare the nation for a free and fair election.
From July 24-27 we had a very joyful 'Clergy and their Wives' Conference at our Savar Centre. The theme of the Conference was taken from Hebrew 10:24 "Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works". We had some very good speakers who spoke on different topics. We invited the Bishop of Durgapur Diocese, Bishop Probal Kanti Dutta, who spoke to us on "Preaching & Ministry". Bishop Dutta brought with him two of his diocesan clergy and one lay-leader which was a very enriching experience for us all. On the 27th July we ordained eight of our brothers, one to the order of Priesthood and seven to the office of deacons. It was indeed a very big day for us all and very special for the Church of Bangladesh. We had a very joyful reception and Cultural Programme after the Worship Service. Finally, a fellowship meal together with many friends and relations concluded the graceful occasion by expressing once again our thanks and gratitude to God for His abundant blessings on our lives and in the life of our Church.
You will be pleased to know that we have been planning to hold the second "Partners' Consultation" on the 25th & 26th of October 2007. The first one was held in 2002. A good number of our Church and Development partners have agreed to come and join us in this Consultation, when we will be able to review our works and discern the will of God for us for the future to come. We are happy that Bishop Bill Down will represent the Oxford Mission in this Consultation.
In November 2007 we will have our Synod Council, which is held every three years. Please kindly remember us in your prayers.
While writing this, Mother Susila is now in Dhaka in the Birdem Hospital for various check-ups and will soon go back to Barisal. She is in a much better state now than before. Please continue to remember her in your prayers. So far as I know, all the other sisters of the CSS are doing fine and the works in Barisal are going on well.
May God bless us all.
THE RT. REVD. MICHAEL BAROI
Bishop of Dhaka and Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh.