As I began my mission service with International Ministries, the pastor of my Mission Partnership Team gave me a framed copy of “Aidan’s Mantel.” This call and challenge has hung over my desk until now. As I have retired (Sharon and I are still continuing with IM 1/4-time as “non-compensated” missionaries), I passed “Aidan’s Mantel” on to Philip Kakungulu from Uganda. Philip co-facilitated with Sharon and me at the Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers we just held in Nairobi, Kenya. The torch of gospel work is always passed from one generation to the next, and the time had come for Aidan’s Mantel to go to another.
Rev. Frank McAuley gave me Aidan’s Mantel in 2003. It is a framed commission following on the story of St. Aidan of Landisfarne in 7th Century England. Sharon and I have become deeply rooted in Celtic Christian spirituality using the daily prayers from “Celtic Daily Prayer” out of the Northumbria Community in the U.K, introduced to us by Frank. The text of Aidan’s Mantel speaks about God’s call to proclaim the gospel and live it out among those who are marginalized and in need of God’s love. It speaks about that passing on the leadership in God’s work from one generation to the next, much like Elijah’s mantel fell upon Elisha.
Aidan’s Mantel has hung over my desk ever since Frank gave it to me. Since my cancer in 2009, I have refocused my work, especially designing the 10-day Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) to raise up and equip the next generation of Christian peacemakers and ambassadors of reconciliation. I’ve known my days are limited on this earth, and care must be give to the rising generation.
Many people have been especially close to me as I have mentored them, people about whom I have written in my journals over the years such as Boaz Keibarak in Kenya, Veronika Voloshyna in Ukraine, and Manal El Tayer in Lebanon. Two people have been particularly close in this mentoring over the past few years, Lance Muteyo from Zimbabwe and Philip Kakungulu from Uganda.
Lance and I led TCTTs together in Nigeria and Ukraine. When we were together the last time during Lance’s trip to the U.S. (which included the ABC Mission Summit) I gave him the Bible my mother gave me at my ordination. Lance had wanted a study Bible, and this was a solid study Bible and the Bible I had preached from for many years. That was one way to pass the torch to this brother with whom I’ve shared many peacemaking ventures.
Philip’s growth as a peacemaker and trainer has taken him to so many places: Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, as well as throughout Uganda. Philip’s work as a mentor especially stands out. He has mentored so many who came to TCTTs themselves at Philip’s prompting: Ildephonse from Burundi, Sango from Congo, Pastor Jino from South Sudan, Sisay from Ethiopia, and Banak a South Sudanese refugee living in Ethiopia as well as Philip’s wife Lana who has joined him in many peace initiatives. He has had a particular concern for the margins in society, much like Jesus and in the spirit of Aidan’s Mantel.
Just before Thanksgiving Sharon and I finished leading the TCTT in Kenya with Philip as our co-facilitator. With Sharon and I paring down our global mission work, it is time for me to pass on Aidan’s Mantel. I brought it to Kenya and gave it to Philip. I read the call and commissioning of “Aidan’s Mantel,” then Sharon and I prayed for Philip and his peacemaking ministry in the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit. As has happened across the generations of history, the older one must decrease so that the younger one can move into their fullness of contribution for the Reign of God. Already I am rejoicing in the incredible fruit of Philip’s ministry. The future is as bright as the promises of God!
Philip and Dan join in leadership of a dramatic experiential tool on conflict transformation.
Philip facilitates a tool called Conflict Animals
Philip leading a session of the TCTT
Sharon and Philip check in about upcoming sessions