Church Mission Society strikes sponsorship deal with musical

JOHN PLUMMER

A Christian charity has agreed a sponsorship deal with a hit musical that will provide West End exposure and the chance to attract more Africans into missions.

Umoja, a colourful show celebrating the music of the townships of South Africa, is performed mainly by young Christians. Some of the dancers attend the same church as members of the Church Mission Society and between them they began to discuss the possibility of collaborating to spread the Christian word.

Since its launch last year, Umoja - which means "spirit of togetherness" - has forged links with churches around the world that are keen to take up its musical message of brotherhood. Under the terms of the deal, the society, which supports evangelism among the oppressed in more than 60 countries, will work with many of these churches.

The society has also taken up advertising in the Umoja programme in the foyer of the New London Theatre in Drury Lane, where the show is being performed. In return, Umoja will be publicised in the 4,000 churches in which the society works in Britain.

David Urquhart, bishop of Birkenhead and chairman of the society's trustees, said: "We want to enable theatregoers, who may think Christianity is dead, to learn of the vibrant work of the church in its 200-year commitment to the physical and spiritual development of the people of Africa."

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