School of Religion and Christian Ministry

Africa Nazarene University is undergoing a restructuring. As a part of that, the religion department has a new name: School of Religion and Christian Ministry.

Greg has accepANU logoted the appointment to be the first dean of the new school. He will be adding administrative duties to his portfolio. He will also be more involved in promoting the university and its various programs. He remains the Coordinator of the PhD in Religion and a senior lecturer.

Dr Daryll Stanton has turned over his duties as the Religion department chair to Rev. Gift Mtukwa. Dr Stanton will be helping with the transition for the next several months until he and Verna begin their year-long “victory lap” in the United States before retirement.

Pastor Gift was also invited to the Senate meeting, but he is in the United States for General Assembly. Greet him and Judy and the other ANU representatives at the ANU booth!

Pray for Greg and Gift as they pray and dream and work together to develop a vibrant vision for the School of Religion and Christian Ministry at ANU. In the months ahead, they will be sharing this vision.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Meanwhile … Happy World Giraffe Day! Click here to find out more about giraffes and the efforts being made to save them at the Giraffe Center in Karen – very close to ANU.

As many of you know, I take a lot of pictures. The goal is to get a picture of every type of animal that lives at ANU or visits the campus. I am happy that some of the students in the Environment and Resource Management (ERM) department are going to use my pictures in a biodiversity project.

Have a wonderful day!

A few parting shots…

 

The enduring value of a proverb

 

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Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe notes: “Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.” We have a little flip calendar with a different proverb for each day. I like one from this week:

The one who wants to do something finds a way; the one that doesn’t finds an excuse.

How true is that, not just in Sudan but globally?

Here’s a list of five American proverbs that I learned as a boy from my parents:

  1. He who hesitates is lost.
  2. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  3. If at first you don’t suceed, try, try again.
  4. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone.
  5. Stick and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.

The funny thing about proverbs is that sometimes they’re just not true. The fifth proverb in the list is well-intentioned, but probably has done more harm than good. As for the second proverb, I prefer oranges and bananas.

Even the Bible realizes that proverbs can become so overused that they obscure other truths. Ezekiel 18:1-4 (CEB) is one such case:

The LORD’s word came to me: What do you mean b this proverb of yours about the land of Israel: ‘When parents eat unripe grapes, the children’s teeth suffer’? As surely as I live, says the LORD God, no longer will you use this proverb in Israel! All lives are mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child belong to me. Only the one who sins will die.

With these cautions acknowledged, we can still celebrate that most proverbs are valid and square with God’s truth. We’re grateful to be living in Africa where people still value proverbial gems of wisdom and enjoy inserting them into conversations.

VIP visitors to ANU

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Pictured (L to R): Greg Crofford, Rev Bishop Hawkins Mugaya (Kenya), Sherry Cahill, Rev Thom Cahill, Rev Mike Reynen (Area Coordinator, FMC-Africa)

One of the blessings of working at Africa Nazarene University is the chance to cross paths with like-minded believers from sister denominations. Yesterday, we had a visit from leaders of the Free Methodist Church (FMC). Dr Daryll Stanton (Chair of the Religion Department) joined us for lunch, and later Mr Richard Muguongo from ANU marketing lead a tour of the campus. We are exploring the possibility of ANU partnering more closely with the FMC to provide higher education for both Free Methodist pastors and students pursuing other disciplines.

Included in the FMC group were Thom and Sherry Cahill. The Cahill family is well-known in Eastern Nazarene College circles. (Amy and I are Class of ’85 ENC grads and we also know some of Thom’s siblings). Thom’s father (now retired) pastored various Nazarene churches on the ENC region. Thom and Sherry are educational missionaries with the Free Methodists and are living in Eldoret, Kenya, where Thom is Director of their Bible College. It was fun to see them again!

Africa Nazarene University is proud to serve the Church of the Nazarene and the larger Body of Christ. Thanks for your prayers as we continue exploring ways that we can be of greater service to the Church at-large.

What will you do? Amos 5:24

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Greg and the multi-talented Gabriella Kisoi who works the media for chapel.

Greg preached in chapel from Amos 5:24 about the importance of transforming the world after your heart has been transformed. We are not called to sit on our hands. We are called to do. You can read a part of what he said on his blog, Theology in Overalls.

After Greg was finished, Jefferson – the student body leader, came up to make some announcements about upcoming events in which students could take part. He also thanked the Philadelphia Work & Witness team who had come to work on the men’s hostels. He said that they had demonstrated taking action as Greg had talked about. He remarked that they had made a difference and he was grateful. (So are we!)

Here are some nature shots, because helping people become aware of the environment is something that I do.

The gift of song

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Dr Crofford presents a Sing to the Lord hymnal to Andrew Ntabo, head of the Religion Major Association (RSA).

Our religion majors here at ANU love to sing. We meet most Wednesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. to sing hymns, to pray, and to encourage each other. I noticed last September when I began teaching at ANU that our hymnals – the old 1972 Worship in Song – were well-used and well-loved, but also tattered.

Enter Melwood, MD Church of the Nazarene, Amy’s and my home church. When I told Pastor Jon Nielson about it, he proposed a solution. The Philly Work & Witness team arrived at ANU last week to help renovate one of the men’s dorms. In their suitcases? Two dozen of the 1994 Sing to Lord hymnals kindly mailed to them beforehand by Pastor Nielson. Thank you, Melwood and Philadelphia District for your generosity.

Like many churches in the U.S., at Melwood, most music is now projected on the screen at the front of the sanctuary. They’re glad to see the hymnals have a second life in Kenya, where they’ll also be used in the “Church Music” course that all religion majors are required to take and that I’ll be teaching beginning in May 2018.

Andrew Ntabo (pictured) is the head of the RSA (Religion Students Association) at ANU. He was thrilled to receive the copies of Sing to the Lord, and we look forward to using them next Wednesday morning and for years to come!

 

Kenyan cuisine

Last week, we went to the Masai Lodge restaurant near ANU. It was buffet style. Here’s what my plate looked like:

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The chicken was tasty, as were the chips (French fries). What resembles brown tortillas are actually chapatis, an Indian favorite. (There are many of Indian heritage who live in Kenya). Next to the chicken is Sukuma wiki (literally, “push the week”), similar to collard greens. When money is running out for heartier fare, greens it is!

Tucked away at the back of the plate are green potatoes mixed with peas. This is a Kikuyu staple known as Mukimo. If you’re adventurous, you can try your hand at making your own by clicking here for a recipe.

ENJOY!

 

We are NTS! (at ANU)

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(L to R) Dr Daryll Stanton, Prof Rodney Reed, Dr Gregory Crofford

There was a time in the Church of the Nazarene when our schools were individualistic. Fierce competition was the order of the day. There’s still some friendly rivalry, but we do a lot better partnering these days.

That was on display yesterday in a small but important way. Prof Rod Reed, Dr Daryll Stanton and I are Nazarene missionaries assigned to work at Africa Nazarene University (ANU). We are also graduates of Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS). Yesterday, we recorded a short video clip for NTS. They’ll use it in their publicity video to be unveiled in June at the General Conventions and Assembly. Our message:

We are NTS… at Africa Nazarene University!

NTS has done a wonderful job over the years preparing women and men for vocational ministry.  A good number of us have ended up outside North America. I’m glad that the spirit of competition has withered away. We’re grateful that sister Nazarene institutions are connected and that we’re getting stronger, together.