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World Mission Update
18 December 2020
Christmas Greetings from the Faith Impact Forum
It has been a strange year for us all, in every part of our world. More than ever we need to hear the message of Christmas: Immanuel - God with us. When we have been unable to meet each other in person, only virtually, it is a comfort and a joy to know that God is with us, each one of us, in every situation.
 
After his birth, Jesus and his family immediately had to seek refuge. As we celebrate his coming to be amongst us, we remember all those today who seek refuge. Even in a time of pandemic, the Christmas message is one that is principally about hope. The baby's birth is a challenge to the whole of humanity to dare to look beyond ourselves to the needs of those around us, in the knowledge that God thought everyone was worth sending Jesus for.
 
All of us at the Church of Scotland would like to wish you a very peaceful Christmas, filled with the welcoming love and generosity of Jesus.
 
Update will be taking a break over the Christmas holidays, we will see you in the New Year!
Urgent prayer alert for Ethiopia
The All Africa Conference of Churches, a partner of the Church of Scotland, has issued a prayer alert for Ethiopia.
 
A conflict between the government of Ethiopia and forces in its northern Tigray region has thrown the country into turmoil. This has resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands fleeing over the border to Sudan. The conflict started on 4 November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray. He said he did so in response to an attack on a military base housing government troops in Tigray. The escalation came after months of feuding between Mr Abiy's government and leaders of Tigray's dominant political party.
 
Image: Eduardo Soteras / AFP / Getty Images
Read more
Souper Sunday 2021
Souper Sunday is looking a little different this year, as we know congregations might not be able to physically gather together for a while. However, we have produced an online service congregations could use on any Sunday of the year.
 
It is hoped that church members will become more aware of the work of the Church of Scotland HIV Programme and the many issues surrounding HIV. This can be used, either in whole or in part, by you and your congregation, or in a small group setting. We encourage you to also engage the congregation in a ‘virtual’ soup lunch and to donate to the work of the programme to support HIV Projects around the world.
 
The service is available on the Church of Scotland's YouTube channel.
View the service
New equality and inclusion group seeks members
A new Church of Scotland group is looking for members who are interested in strengthening equality and inclusion across the Church.
 
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group needs interested volunteers who can help shape strategies and projects that champion Church values, with a clear focus on equality and inclusion.
 
The group will look at a broad range of issues, from buildings, to worship to specific policy areas. As well as highlighting tried and trusted practices, members will explore new ways to welcome and celebrate diversity within the Church.
Read more and apply
Calendar of events and opportunities
Coronavirus Diaries: The Life and Work feature, Coronavirus Diaries, focusing on the situation of one of our overseas partners, is published each Wednesday. Rev Ustaz Tut Mai Ngoth is deputy executive director and programme officer with the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. He also teaches at the Nile Theological College in Juba. Read his Coronavirus Diary. 
 
Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the Faith Impact Forum, is sharing daily reflections with a national and international focus in our Facebook group.
 
Embrace the Middle East's Advent resources are now available online.
 
Charity gifts for Christian Aid - Send virtual gifts to loved ones near and far and support the work of Christian Aid at the same time. Your money acts as a donation which funds each area of Christian Aid’s work. See details at charity-gifts.christianaid.org.uk.
 
Meet Palestinian Christians through the Kairos 'Cry for Hope' campaign. Join a seminar hosted by Sabeel-Kairos and hear directly from our Palestinian Christian family on what they are facing in their daily lives, and find out what you and your church can do to stand in solidarity with them here in the UK. Seminars are being held from 12:30-2pm on Thursday 14 January, Thursday 21 January and Wednesday 3 February. Email info@sabeel-kairos.org.uk to register. 
 
Edinburgh Interfaith Association's Facebook Live show - every Tuesday at 1pm.

Read Sabeel's, a Christian liberation theology organisation based in Jerusalem, wave of prayer here.
 
COP26, the UN's climate change summit, which was to take place in the UK in November 2020, has been postponed until 1-12 November 2021. Join this month's prayer chain to pray for climate justice.
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