Tariffville, CT – Trinity Episcopal Church of Tariffville, CT and Kateri Medical Services, Inc. will receive a Cross of Nails for Reconciliation Work in Nigeria. On Sunday, May 31, 2015 The Very Revd John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry Cathedral, England will present the Cross at a special worship service in Tairiffville. Dean Whticombe represents the international Community of the Cross of Nails.
Since 2002, Trinity has worked in partnership with the Diocese of Kaduna, Anglican Church of Nigeria to fund and facilitate basic, decent and affordable medical care for the rural poor in Nigeria and to build bridges of reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.
Kateri Medical Services, Inc is a 501c3 corporation founded by Trinity to advance the work of medical missions in rural Nigeria. Kateri Medical Services has a threefold goal in their regular, year round clinic: 1) to demonstrate the love of God through medical care, 2) to minister to the spiritual as well as physical needs of people, 3) to foster social healing and reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.
Beginning in 2008, a three-way partnership was begun between Trinity, Kaduna diocese and FaithCare, a faith-based medical outreach ministry based in Farmington, Connecticut which enabled annual intensive medical missions of two weeks duration. During these missions, around 6,000 people are served with a full range of medical care, including eye care, dental care, basic medical care and surgeries. In addition to medical care, each participant has an opportunity for prayer and spiritual counseling.
These medical missions are conducted in a area of Nigeria in which there have been intense rivalries and violence between different faith groups. The annual summer missions are specifically designed to bring Christians and Muslims together. Trinity pastor, The Rev. Tom Furrer , who organizes the trips each year says: “We try to present an alternative narrative to the prevailing culture of violence and mistrust between Christians and Muslims. We offer medical care with dignity to everyone who comes. About one third of our patients are Muslims. We show them love from their Christian neighbors. For the last two years, we have also had two Muslim doctors and one dentist work alongside of the Christian medical workers. In this part of the world, this is a radical act of courage. In working together, we are trying to break down the walls of mutual suspicion and animosity.”
Bishop Josiah Fearon, the spiritual leader of the diocese of Kaduna Nigeria says this: “We are very grateful for the long-standing partnership between our diocese and Trinity Episcopal Church in Tariffville. The support, partnership and friendship from Trinity gives us strength and encouragement to do the hard work of reconciliation in our troubled land. We are especially keen to end the violence. Trinity’s contribution of funds and enthusiastic volunteers is a great encouragement to us.”
The Community of the Cross of Nails (CCN) is an international, ecumenical fellowship of individuals and groups who are committed to the ministry of reconciliation. This means reconciliation with oneself, one’s family, the local community, the worldwide community, and God. The goal of the CCN is to bear witness to the power of forgiveness, to build new life out of the world’s brokenness. Partner groups or organizations are presented with a Cross of Nails when they are welcomed into the community.
The Rev. Mark Pendleton, President of the Community of the Cross of Nails – North America is excited to welcome Trinity Episcopal Church into the Community of the Cross of Nails and says, “
“ We are delighted to welcome Trinity Church in Tariffville and Kateri Medical Services into CCN. We recognize and commend the great work of they are doing to bring medical care to some of the poorest people on earth and to foster reconciliation between Christians and Muslims in a very troubled part of the world. Their work is a shining example of the kind of ministry that CCN is doing all over the world.
“Currently, they are now building a second clinic in the south eastern part of Kaduna diocese to serve another rural poor population. Building on the work of reconciliation between Christians and Muslims, this new clinic is being built on land donated by a local Muslim village chief. The clinic will be located between a mosque on one side and a Roman Catholic Church on the other side – a power symbolic location and they are working hard to integrate the Muslim and Christian communities into the work of the new clinic. Since 2002, their partnership has provided simple, basic and affordable medical care to more than 120,000 people. When the new clinic is up and running, they except to double the annual patient load. Their goal and vision is to continue expanding their clinics to more and more rural areas as time, energy and funds permit.”
For More Information:
Trinity Episcopal Church
Kateri Medical Services