When the President came to tea
John Ellis discovers the faith of the President of Madagascar
The church where I grew up had annual missionary evenings. The first one I attended sticks in the memory, not just for the excitement of being allowed to stay up late but because in the church hall a big screen had been erected and we saw a film! It was all about a stunningly colourful island in Africa called Madagascar.
Fast forward half a century and the President of Madagascar is paying an official visit to Britain. The work of the London Missionary Society (LMS) missionaries has borne fruit and he thinks their contribution to the life of his country is so significant that he would like to meet representatives of the Council for World Mission (CWM) while he is here. CWM is very happy to be viewed as the successor body to the LMS but its headquarters is actually now in Singapore, not London, and a formal reception with the few staff who could be available might not be too exciting.
Some fast footwork by CWM and United Reformed Church staff, supported by helpful advice from the British Ambassador to Madagascar and enthusiastic cooperation from the President’s staff, and instead of a small, private reception, we are able to advertise a public service of celebration at Lumen URC in London to mark almost 200 years of Christian work in Madagascar. The guest of honour will be His Excellency the President of the Republic of Madagascar, Mr Hery Rajaonarimampianina (pictured) …
This is an extract from an article that was published in the November 2017 edition of Reform