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Looking forward from the 175th Anniversary

Published 21 Dec 2016

James M Wells, EMMS International's CEO reflects on the anniversary celebrations and looks at what challenges still lie ahead.

This year saw EMMS International celebrate 175 years of bringing health and hope to poor and marginalised people across the world.  We see this special anniversary year as time to honour the past, live in the present and dream the future. We are blessed to have such a rich history, and 175 years later, we continue to innovate in responding to the needs of poor and marginalised people, and we work hard to encourage the global Church and others to work together in meeting these health needs. 

Right from the beginning, we have been responding to the changing health needs of the world.  We have trained healthcare workers, encouraged support from within the Church, shared information and learning from our work and developed health services that meet the holistic needs of individuals and communities, all based on the core principles of our Christian faith. 

We have always responded to the particular needs of poor and marginalised communities, first in Edinburgh (link to Cowgate article) , and later across much of the world.  Today, EMMS International’s works in Malawi, India and Nepal, as well as continuing a small programme in Edinburgh. Currently, our programmes focus on three core areas of palliative care, maternal & child health, and fighting disease.

All of our work furthers human rights and health for all, without exception. We seek to ensure that all we do is sustainable and integrated within local and national health systems.  In all of our work, we seek to honour God, and reduce health inequality. 

It’s right that we give thanks to God for the many women and men that he used over the past 175 years to bring us to where we are today.  We want to give thanks for their faith, their passion and compassion, their service, and their vision.  The exhibition images gave us a brief insight of what has been, and is being, achieved through our work.

The founding vision is still as relevant today as it was 175 years ago.  Our founders very much went against the prevailing view of mission in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and played a key role in mobilising the Church to reach out in love and service, sharing the Good News of the gospel across the world. This speaks directly to current public debate about the value of development work, issues of global citizenship, and the important role the Church can play in transforming the world for the better.

The last four years have seen us blessed with a period of significant growth, increasing the number of people helped through high quality healthcare form 20,000 in 2012, to 178,000 in 2015.  This year, we are on target to help over 200,000 people.  None of this is possible without the gifts and prayers of our incredible supporters, and the impact that every gift we received shouldn’t be underestimated.  In 2015, 17 people were helped for every gift received.

Today, more than ever, we all need to rise up to meet the challenges of global healthcare, reaching out to the poorest and most marginalised people, and doing so to the highest possible standards.  We have exciting plans to continue the work through these wonderful projects and healthcare workers, which will continue to help people improve their own health and that of their communities.

You can be part of this amazing story by becoming a 175 Friend, which will give you the opportunity to support colleagues like Manju, Mphatso, Sharon and Cornelius. By doing so, you can ensure that the transforming and life-saving work will continue into the future.