Rooted in Jesus returns to South Sudan

Of all the countries where Rooted in Jesus has been adopted as the primary strategy for teaching Christian discipleship, South Sudan is the most challenging in which to minister. Created only 11 years ago after more than 20 years of civil war, South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. The Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) was quick to plan for the future, and over the next couple of years Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Anglican dioceses of Nzara, Wau and Yambio. But in 2013 a new civil war broke out, and over the next 5 years tens of thousands of people were killed or displaced. After a prolonged period of negotiation a peace agreement was signed in 2018, and whilst South Sudan remains a difficult country to visit, we have been able to continue our support for the Anglican church there.

“As soon as we finished some teaching, they worshipped; and before we started, they worshipped”

The ending of the Covid19 travel restrictions last year made it possible to accept invitations from the Dioceses of Aweil and Wanyjok, and in May this year we were able to send a team to the Dioceses of Maridi and Yambio. Over the last few weeks we have fulfilled a further five invitations, and we have just posted a blog report covering the first two of these – a visit to the Diocese of Wau to train a new generation of leaders, and another to the nearby mission Diocese of Tonj, where we provided an introductory conference.
Conditions in South Sudan are testing – but the many practical difficulties were overcome, the participants responded with enthusiasm, the worship was vibrant and many prayers were answered. To read the full report please check out the blog here.

Building new foundations in Burundi

We have just published a blog report on the recent Rooted in Jesus conferences held in the Dioceses of Rutana and Buhiga, Burundi.

Small group practice in the Diocese of Rutana

The conferences had been organised by the national Rooted in Jesus coordinator Elisha Nkeza at the request of Bishops Pontien Ribakare and Evariste Njiimbere, and were facilitated by a team of five – two from the missionary diocese of Lake Tanganyika in DR Congo, and three from England. We laboured in the heat (UK: 31 degrees, Bujumbura: 31 degrees), communicated with each other in French, and were fed like kings on an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. The conferences were attended by about 250 people (clergy, catechists, Mothers Union and Youth leaders) all of whom were exemplary in their enthusiasm, openness and commitment. A team of intercessors supported us remotely, and their prayers were abundantly answered.
Burundi is, economically speaking, the poorest country in the world; but we couldn’t help feeling that it has a lot going for it. We look forward to praying for the new group leaders.
You will find the report on the Rooted in Jesus blog here.
Posted 2nd September 2022

Helping with mission in Slough

We have just taken a team to help with a week-long mission to Slough, where Tim Wambunya, formerly the bishop of Butere in Kenya, is now the vicar. The team of ten was led by Roger Morgan and Andrew Evans, and the gospel was shared through a variety of events in the church alongside a programme of visiting people in their homes. Many church members went out with the team, often feeling a bit nervous, but always returning rejoicing. At the meetings in church we preached the gospel and prayed for the sick. About 60 people made commitments and many were healed. Tim and his colleagues are now following up those whose lives were touched in one way or another.

Making new friends in Slough

Strengthening discipleship in Uganda

Ben Beecroft has recently led a multi-national team to Uganda to support the Dioceses of East Ruwenzori and South Rwenzori, with a conference for adult groups in East Ruwenzori and one for both adult and Sunday School leaders in South Rwenzori. Uganda was particularly badly affected by the Covid restrictions, which remained in force for many months and prevented churches from meeting together – so it was good to be invited by Bishop George Turyasingura and Bishop Nason Baluka to hold refresher conferences in these two dioceses. 250 or so leaders were trained during the conferences, which were marked by many testimonies of healing and deliverance. We have posted a full report from Ben and the team on our blog here.

Rooted in Jesus workshop in the Diocese of East Ruwenzori

We were grateful during these missions not only to those who went but also to those who prayed – many of those prayers were answered. We continue to pray for Tim and his team in Slough; and for coordinators James, Philip and William as they encourage those leading groups in Uganda.

If you are interested in running a parish mission and would like to talk to us, please do take a look at our mission page and get in touch if you would value a conversation.

Posted 19th July 2022

Making disciples home and away

A Rooted in Jesus team has just returned from two weeks in South Sudan – our second visit to this country in recent months. In November we travelled to the Dioceses of Aweil and Wanyjok; this time we were delighted to accept invitations to minister in the Diocese of Maridi and the Diocese of Yambio.

Practising using Rooted in Jesus in Maridi

South Sudan is the youngest and one of the poorest countries in the world, and it was a particular privilege to be invited to share in the ministry of these two dioceses by Bishop Moses Zungo and Archbishop Samuel Peni. Over 240 leaders were trained, including pastors, Mothers Union leaders, youth and evangelism leaders. We have posted a full report by team leader David Archer on our blog site.
Other conferences have recently taken place in the Diocese of Kibondo, Tanzania (led by Bishop Stanley Hotay), and the Diocese of Kericho, Kenya (led by Tim Grew and a team from Trinity Cheltenham). You can catch up with these on our Facebook page.
Here at home we remain busy too. We are delighted to welcome Sue Whitehead who is joining the team as our Office Manager, and we are looking forward to taking a team to help run a parish mission for St Paul’s, Slough later this month. The muted world of Covid is giving way to the technicolour reality of living relationships!

A return visit to the Diocese of Kitale, Kenya

We have published a blog post on the recent Rooted in Jesus conference to the Diocese of Kitale in Kenya. The team from the US, UK and Kenya were well received and well cared for, and the 195 conference participants and 40 local facilitators participated with enthusiasm. Team leader Richard Morgan has produced a short video which you can view by clicking on the image to the right. The blog includes some encouraging highlights shared by team members, as well as a request for ongoing prayer from Bishop Emmanuel Chemengich:
  • “We praise the Lord Jesus for the successful RinJ leaders conference. Pray with us that Christ’s grace will abide with the newly trained leaders so they move with urgency and passion to establish RinJ groups across the Diocese, and for the existing leaders to be re-energized and keep pressing on with this vital discipleship program for growing our members to be more and more like Jesus.”
We are grateful to the team members who gave their time and resources to the people of Kitale, and to the group of faithful intercessors who prayed daily for them whilst they were away.
Watch Richard Morgan’s video report on the conference here.

A Post-Pandemic World

Life has changed a lot during the last two years. We are still aiming to bring the gospel to many African countries through our Rooted in Jesus programme, and still supporting church leaders in the UK and helping them to grow their churches. We are thankful that despite the challenge of a global pandemic we have been able to adopt new ways of working, to strengthen and even expand both Rooted in Jesus and EQUIP. But nonetheless the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have been very frustrating.
But the situation is now changing. As the last remaining Covid restrictions come to an end in the UK, arrangements are being made for visits from our teams, all on a scale that would have been unthinkable a year ago. In the UK, a team will go to Slough for a week of mission at the end of June; teams will lead weekends on prayer in Whitfield and Sutton Bonington; teaching on worship and evangelism will happen in Oxford – and new plans are coming on stream all the time. In Africa, we have accepted invitations to send Rooted in Jesus teams to run conferences in 14 dioceses this year, with more to follow in 2023.
Meanwhile we have just published the Rooted in Jesus Annual Report for 2021. 2021 was a significant milestone for us : Rooted in Jesus completed its twentieth year of ministry! During that time it has been introduced to 100 Anglican dioceses or denominational networks, trained 17,558 leaders in 142 conferences in 18 African countries, and provided materials in 48 languages. Often it’s been the first discipleship programme people have ever had, and almost always the first in their own language. It’s been a humbling journey, and one which we look forward to continuing in the years to come.
The full report can be downloaded from the Rooted in Jesus website here.
Posted 21st February 2022 by The Mathetes Trust

Discipleship training in DR Congo

We have just published our first Rooted in Jesus blog post for 2022! It comes from the Diocese of Aru in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where CMS mission partner Peter Wyard is working with a team of local facilitators to renew and deepen the Rooted in Jesus programme.

Delegates in Kumuru make pastoral commitments to care for their groups

The Diocese of Aru is located in the far north-east of the country, not far from the borders with Uganda and South Sudan. DRC is not an easy place in which to minister, and this area has suffered from prolonged political and social instability.
Rooted in Jesus was first introduced to the diocese ten years ago, and over the last year Peter and his team have been working tirelessly to translate the leaders’ booklets into a new series of local languages. They have also formed an ambitious plan to train a new generation of leaders through a series of archdeaconry conferences.
The new groups are going well – and Peter shares some encouraging testimonies. You can read his report on the blog here.

Posted 27th January 2022

A window of opportunity

Even as the Covid skies cloud over again, we would like to share some good news! Following the easing of international travel restrictions in October, two long-planned Rooted in Jesus conferences have just taken place in the Dioceses of Aweil and Wanyjok in South Sudan.
The difficulties of travel were more than compensated for by the huge welcome and hospitality which greeted the little team of four intrepid travellers as they finally reached their destination. Over the next fortnight more than 200 men and women, lay and ordained, were trained to lead Rooted in Jesus discipleship groups, and a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit left many saying their lives had been changed for good. The books had been painstakingly translated into Dinka Rek, coordinators were appointed and groups have already started.
It was an immense privilege to serve again in a place where trouble has been great but faith is strong, and we have committed ourselves to continue in prayer as Rooted in Jesus becomes established in these two dioceses. To read the full report do check out our blog post here.
In the meantime we prepare again to celebrate the coming of Jesus, remembering the words of the apostle Jude: “Build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; and look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

Posted 13th December 2021

Sharing the gospel in Tanzania

We have been immensely encouraged by continued good news from our Rooted in Jesus friends, and we’d like to share some recent highlights with you.

The Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro

In the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, where Rooted in Jesus first began, Bishop Stanley Hotay tells us that 420 new churches have been planted over he last decade, many of them among Maasai communities. Hundreds of people have been baptised in these communities in recent months, most of them after hearing about Jesus for the first time. We have been working with Mission Director Clement Manyatta to revise and reprint the Masai translations of the RinJ booklets, training has been provided for a new generation of leaders, and the pastors are preparing to start 50 new Rooted in Jesus groups. ‘Life must go on,’ Bishop Hotay said to us recently – and events are proving him right. You can watch his video report and find out more on our blog.

The Diocese of Toliara

Meanwhile in the Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar, the huge response to the gospel following the distribution of famine relief has continued. An astonishing 1900 people have been baptised, Rooted in Jesus is to be translated into a new local language, Antandroy, and 35 new leaders are being trained to establish groups in the new areas.

Looking ahead

Meanwhile, as the Covid restrictions are gradually lifted, we are beginning once again to plan Rooted in Jesus conferences. Some of these will be led by the national team in Tanzania, some from the UK and some from South Africa. We continue to work with our partners on new translations, and to pray for the Lord’s blessing on our shared ministry as we move into a new phase of our lives together.
To find out more about Rooted in Jesus do visit the website, sign up to follow our blog, or follow us on Facebook.

Posted 4th May 2021

Making new disciples in the midst of armed conflict

We are delighted to be able to share some inspiring news we have just received from South Kordofan in Sudan – a people for whom Covid is simply the latest in a long, and far more devastating, series of challenges and hardships. We hope that you too will be encouraged to know that the Lord is at work in this most painful context; and that you will draw strength from it as we face our own, more modest, difficulties.

People requesting prayer in Salara

The Diocese of Kadugli held a Rooted in Jesus training conference 18 months ago, led by Andrew Evans and a team from the Diocese of Salisbury. Since then the challenges and difficulties of Covid have been added to the far more severe challenges and difficulties they have been facing for many years now. But the Diocesan Secretary and Rooted in Jesus coordinator Babuj Simon has just written to share the news of how Rooted in Jesus is making a difference in the town of El-Dalang – to such an extent that they decided to embark on an ambitious outreach to Salara, a town in one of the rebel-controlled areas. The church there was closed fifty years ago, the building converted into a college, and people were forced to convert to Islam.
Pastor Hassan Sudan, the Rooted in Jesus team leader in Salara, recently obtained access permission for a team of 20 people from El-Dalang and El-Obied to go to Salara, to pray for the sick and to share the gospel. Twenty two people gave their lives to Christ, including some key leaders from the community, and all were baptised. The team was led by Babuj, and most of the members were drawn from existing Rooted in Jesus groups in El-Dalang. To read the report and see for yourself please read our blog post here.
“Surely God is my salvation;
 I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself,
is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
Isaiah chapter 12
Posted 8th April 2021 by the Mathetes Trust