The military coup of February 2021 has resulted in a brutal dictatorship in the South East Asian country. The clampdown on freedoms has resulted in thousands being killed, imprisoned and tortured; many others have fled the country and live in exile. The waves of Covid coming at the same time have taken many more lives and exacerbated an already fragile economy, with the result that millions now live in poverty and fear [Read this recent report for more details].
While Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist, the growth of the church there has been an amazing story over the past decades, especially among the minority ethnic groups. In particular the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar has grown to eight Dioceses, and is orthodox in theology. Led by courageous Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo, the church has been at the forefront of bringing material relief with meagre resources, and the hope of the gospel amid the suffering across the country.
The government has used Covid as a reason to maintain pressure on churches. Where Sunday worship is difficult, the faithful find other ways to worship, read Scripture, pray and encourage one another. The economic situation has severely impacted the churches: many pastors struggle to feed their families.
In an interview with Bishop Andy Lines of Anglican Network in Europe and Gafcon Great Britain and Europe, Rev Dr Paul Myint Htet, Principal of Holy Cross Theological College, explains how the work of training clergy continues despite the challenges. (Watch interview here.) Students make huge sacrifices to attend the residential centre, which embarked on a building programme before the crisis began. The hope and faith displayed is amazing: a good training centre is not seen as a luxury, but essential to the future of the church. The continuation of this work and the plans for expansion in such terrible circumstances is testimony to God’s faithfulness.
Bishop Andy says:
‘As we in Europe await the impact of another wave of Covid from the Omicron variant we are reminded of so many in this continent who are vulnerable in many ways. Add a military coup and subsequent repression, being a minority and marginalised on ethnic and religious grounds, continuing civil wars and economic decline, then we have some idea what the Church of the Province of Myanmar under Archbishop Stephen is facing. I have long links stretching back almost 20 years with the CPM and Archbishop Stephen. It would be lovely to encourage the brothers and sisters of CPM in generous giving to this cause.’
Can you help this ministry, and support fellow Anglican brothers and sisters in Myanmar, by making a donation to Holy Cross College, to support students and their families facing hardship this Christmas and New Year?
Donations are collected and administered by Anglican Mainstream, a registered charity with experience of organising such one-off appeals for projects around the Anglican Communion. We will ensure that all the money raised will go to the recipient with no administrative fee.
Please designate all donations ‘Myanmar Appeal’
- By bank transfer to Anglican Mainstream, 08-92-99, 65878837 (Please contact us if you would like a receipt.)
- Through Stewardship Online (click here )
- By sending a cheque, payable to Anglican Mainstream, to 21 High Street, Eynsham, OX29 4HE.