Wednesday, March 28, 2012

International Roma Day

Posted on the Roma Virtual Network by Romano Liloro:

8th of April: A Call for Unity!   

Roma around the world celebrate this day in tribute of the first World Roma Congress held in Orphington, near London in 1971.      

Since 1971, decisions of the World Roma Congress largely shaped our struggle for dignity. Ever since, a moral high ground enshrined in those decisions elevates our determination to the cause. They present a transnational political code for future generations of the Roma people.

Since 1971, we are resolved to be called Roma. We stand up beneath the green and blue flag embellished with the red, sixteen-spoked chakra wheel. We sing a common anthem that echoes our history of determination to peace and unity. We speak Romanes, the language whose endurance is a living source of connection with our brothers and sisters all around the world. We are citizens. We are proud to be a Roma Nation. We commit to live together with other people and Nations in peace and mutual respect.

With these words in our hearts and minds, Roma world-wide could celebrate International Roma Day together in unity under the motto: United in Peace, Prosperity and Solidarity!

On 8th of April 2012, at 12:00 noon all the Roma around the world can unite through the flow of the rivers, seas and oceans. Let us gather at noon to cast flowers into our nearest river, sea, ocean. Let the spirit of the International Roma Day unite us!

A large group of Roma activists in Budapest will gather and cast flowers into the Danube. We call on all Roma to organize celebrations, cast flowers and share this information with others in order to initiate the unity of Roma in the world.

Organizing Committee, Budapest 8th of April

Friday, March 23, 2012

Our three graduates

The Roma church leaders gathered in Bucharest at the Ruth School this week for their quarterly classes. They readily admitted it was hard to concentrate on Philippians and Missions & The New Testament with the beautiful spring weather.

Our March class

The leaders shared openly during their worship service on Wednesday night and again on Thursday night for our graduation celebration. For three men this marked their eighth course so they were given certificates and Bibles.

We have a break in classes during the late spring, summer, and early fall months because so many of our leaders are able to get seasonal work. We will meet again in October.

Thank you to all who have supported the Gypsy Smith School through prayer and support. It is making a difference in the lives of the Roma leaders and their congregations.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This season of Lent I have been on the lookout for the Kingdom of God. Jesus' main message was that this kingdom, this reign of the Most High, was "at hand." He showed us what that kindgom would look like. This new order of things has started to break in here on earth. We catch glimpses of it, like the one in this photo. Two women share smiles on a summer day. They happen to be in a Romany village in Moldova. One is the oldest sister in the local Baptist church. Her house, her road, her education, her income would be considered substandard by many. The other woman, a professional with several degrees, lives in a propserous town in the Netherlands, but she grew up as a refugee in post-W.W. II Germany, first under communism, then as an escapee from Eastern Germany. What brings these two very different women together? What does either of them have to smile about? They are both sisters in the kingdom of God.