Dispatch Two: Mission Station Geita, Tanzania, and Mission Station, Nyakatto Bible College in Mwanza

Song sung before 1st class in Geita:

Bwana Mungu Nashangaa Kabisa

Bwana Mungu Nashangaa Kabisa
Nikitazama kama vilivyo
Nyota, nguru, vitu vingi vyote
Viumbwavyo kwa uwezo wako

Roho yangu na ikuimbie
Jinsi wewe ulivyo Mkuu
Roho yangu na ikuimbie
Jinsi wewe ulivyo Mkuu

Bishop Kwangu and his wife Mary took Fr Francis and Brother Nathan southwest across the bay and through the valleys for around 100 kilometers to the town of Geita, where Fr Francis was to teach for two weeks at Christ the King Anglican Church in the center of the town.  It has been decided that Geita will become a separate diocese in the future and the teaching fosters that goal.

Geita has many churches and few clergy.   Most of the churches are led by evangelists, commissioned to lead the churches and the Sunday services.  They do much more than just preach the Word;  they lead the congregations; they are the pastors.  Most are not formally trained but do the best they can.  In the past, OFM teaching has been highly successful in such areas.

Bishop Kwangu and his wife and Brother Nathan returned to Mwanza to carry on the teaching of the evangelists back there, leaving Fr Francis in Geita.

Fr. Francis teaching his sutdents in the "outside classroom"

The schedule in Geita:  classes every day, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM.  Rest day on Saturday.  Worship at all three services on Sunday, 8 AM, 10 AM and 4 PM, usually preaching or teaching.

Over twenty students were expected, but only thirteen showed up initially.  The second day, three more students arrived and one student was never seen again.  Travel is not easy for the poor people of Tanzania.  They are interesting people.

Students

Who are the students?  All lay people in parish ministry, mostly evangelists, who lead a congregation, and some choir leaders (an important ministry) . Their occupations were interesting:  two miners, three farmers, a fisherman, a tailor, a bicycle taxi driver, a first grade school teacher, two singers, and a business woman.  Ten men and five women.  Ten new students and five who also attended in 2009.  One person attended but did not complete, bible college in Nyakatto where Brother Nathan is teaching, and the rest attained primary grade five or primary grade seven, except for one man who never attended a day of school in his life.  No high school students or graduates.  Very attentive and participative.  They write many notes in their study books.  There are no students who wear glasses.  No one in Nathans class wear glasses either.

We had an exercise to teach each of the commandments.  There was confusion – they used an alternate numbering system than we do.  They all taught.  Their knowledge is colored by prior teachings.  The teacher on the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath taught that you could not do any thing on the Sunday Sabbath that made you sweat.  The class all agreed.  Local churches will be empty this Sunday 🙂

Fr Francis has missed a day of teaching – sick with stomach distress.  Such ailment is a part of life in Africa.  The treatment – treat it right away – take appropriate medicines quickly – so it does not drag on for days.  Medicines include pink bismuth tablets, Immodium D, and ciproflaxin.  He was down for 36 hours.

Electricity is a problem here in Geita.  We have lost power every day, some days, twice, most times for a long time. We have been without power in Geita for more than half the time.  Mwanza also loses power but not as frequently, and for shorter times, and at different times. We suspect rolling blackouts

Oh, by the way, the song printed above which was sung at the first class is the Swahili rendition of “How Great Thou Art” using Swahili words but the same melody that we know.  Try it out.

Going on at the same time as classes in Geita were other classes at Nyakatto Bible School in Mwanza, taught by Brother Nathan Dunlap.  He taught a large group in the big classroom there, his students numbering around twenty-two.  Nathan was assisted by his interpreter, Pastor Danson, a young energetic priest, recent graduate of St John Seminary in Dodoma.  Years before, Pastor Danson had worked with Fr Francis on his first trip to Mwanza.   After some searching around, Nathan was billeted at St Dominic Catholic Conference Center in Mwanza.  The Conference Center is run by Dominican Sisters under the Catholic Diocese of Mwanza.  What a blessing – hot showers, community  cafeteria, real toilets – not so in Geita!

Nathan with his students in Mwanza

Nathan’s students had many questions about the beliefs, teachings and practices of the Church.  Sometimes, they had learned incorrect things about what the Church taught.  Sometimes they understood things differently even when it was correctly taught.  The combination of lecture and seminar style teaching works well in Africa.  There are blackboards in the classroom, but they are made of a type of slate that requires a wire brush to erase the writing on the board.  OFM uses dry erasable white boards, approximately 18” x 24” to help teach the information.

Nathan responded to a question on applying Scripture to daily life and was surprised when they all stood and applauded when he finished.

Thursday was an intense day of teaching for Fr Francis in Geita.  He finished the teaching on the beliefs, teachings and practices but not before having to visit divorce and remarriage, birth control, and inter-communion.  He hesitated to speak with knowledge and authority because the policies of the Anglican Church of Tanzania were not known to him or the students.  Pastor Mathias came in and helped with his knowledge of the teachings of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.  Evangelical Anglican African theology has some different viewpoints.  It is good that Fr Francis did not speak on those subjects.  Yup!

The lack of electric power was a continuing hindrance to the teaching program in both venues.  The high temperatures were also a continuing problem.  But teaching continued unabated.

Saturday is a day of rest.  Sunday is for worship and fellowship.

We are so grateful to all of you who supported this teaching trip to Africa.  The students are also grateful.  Things are going well and we always pray blessings on our benefactors in class.

Asante sana!  (thank you very much)

Fr Francis and Nathan Dunlap

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Dispatch 6, 17 Dec 2009, Thursday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Well, thanks be to God.  This mission teaching trip is ending and seems to have been a holy success.  Let me begin by responding to some questions.

How do I get home?  I left Geita on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec 13 2009, after the liturgy celebrated by Bishop Boniface Kwangu.  By heavy duty 4-wheel drive SUV, we traveled 100 kilometers to the ferry that crosses a small bay off of Lake Victoria.  The ferry took us to Mwanza, the 2nd largest city in Tanzania.  During this part of the trip, Bishop Kwangu asked many questions, first about the teaching and the students, and then about the Missionary Society and the status of the Anglican Church in America.  Upon arrival in Mwanza, I stayed at St Dominic’s Catholic Conference Center.

On Monday, I visited the office of Precision Airlines, the local air carrier in Tanzania.  My original flight had been cancelled and new flights scheduled.  I had to arrange to fly to Dar es Salaam in order to make my Emirates flight out of Dar. Tuesday, I flew to Dar and stayed overnight at a Lutheran Church hostel next door to Azania Cathedral, the Lutheran Center of Tanzania.  Azania is the ancient Greek name for this area of the East African coast.

Wednesday, I flew to Dubai, on the Persian Gulf.  Thursday I will fly to JFK airport in New York City, clear customs, and catch a Delta flight back to Cleveland, and especially to Patricia. I will arrive Thursday evening.

What do I eat in Tanzania?  I eat everything offered; to not do so would be discourteous.

What is generally offered for breakfast is untoasted white bread (mkate) with margerine & jelly, hard boiled eggs (yai), boiled sweet potato or cassava root (both delicious), and chapati (like pita bread).  I take coffee (kahawa); the Africans take tea (chai), heavily sweetened with raw sugar and lightened with milk.  Not all those selections are served every day but two or three are.  There is no decaf coffee where I go.

Lunch (served 1:00 PM) and dinner (served 8:00 PM) are about the same.  They include a selection from boiled white potatoes (Irish potatoes), or rice (wali) or boiled bananas (ndizi) or ugale (no American name), a pasty bread used for dipping and collecting bits of the other food, in place of forks and spoons.  Assorted greens, beans (like pork & beans – no pork) are usually offered.  And lastly, boiled chicken (kuukuu), or boiled tilapia fish (samaki) still whole with the head, or roasted beef chunks (nyama), one or two selections.  Not much variety but sufficient for sustenance, and usually tasty without being so exotic that it would discourage an American from trying.  I usually drink bottled water (maji); occasionally soft drinks are provided.

How do I take the heat?  After a week or two, I am more accommodated to it, but in many places it is hot.  I sweat – a lot.

Have you seen any lions?  No.  In my trips, I do not come as a tourist.  I travel on donated money, given to support the ministry.  I come, I work, and I leave and return home.

These are personal questions often asked of me.  The more important focus is the students and the legacy of the classes.  We have re-visited people and places where we taught over the last almost ten years to examine what is the legacy.  The legacy of this education is alive and well.

Students from years ago still remember the four qualities of the best pastors – personal holiness and integrity, servant’s heart, leader like Jesus led, and professionalism. They speak of their efforts to live out these values.  I saw prayer books (BCP) we provided years ago, still in use, with well-used bookmarks for liturgy, lectionary, psalms, and morning devotions.

I heard stories of first experiences and continuing experiences of the use of ashes on Ash Wednesday, foot washings on Maundy Thursday (Amri), and processions on Palm Sunday (Mitende).  I heard stories of clergy we trained now being accepted into local Christian ministers associations and becoming valued contributors to the work, thus showing both their new confidence and their new competency.   I heard stories of the old students working hard to receive more education.  I heard stories of new parishes starting, existing parishes growing, and increases in sacramental ministry.

The investment by God and you over the last ten years is continuing to bear great fruit in East Africa.  It is a holy legacy.

The ministry of OFM is to provide ministry education in places where such education is hard to get.  The Gospel command is teach the teachers so that they may teach the saints, the people!

The teaching has been completed for now here in Geita.  Your prayers and donations made a big difference here.  These twenty pastors will change the nature of church in these rural areas.  They will become seed for sowing in God’s kingdom here in Tanzania.  Thank you God.  Thank you people of God.

Your prayers and financial support continue to bear great fruit here in East Africa.   Without you, all this does not happen.  We are grateful for those who supported this trip and we are grateful to the monthly donors who keep this ministry alive.  This ministry, the students in Africa, and the rural church in Africa, all rely on you and all thank you. Without such support from you, this ministry dies.

Asante sana!  (Thank you!)

Fr Francis Wardega MSJ

Mission Station, Emirates Flight 203, Somewhere over Iran

Dispatch 5, 13 Dec 2009 3rd Sunday of Advent

The ministry of OFM is to provide ministry education in places where such education is hard to get.  The teaching has been completed for now here in Geita.  It was hard work for all concerned.  The class members thought that the whole Anglican Church believed, practiced and taught as they did.  They were wrong.  They discovered the need and desire to learn more in order to serve God and His people in the best way possible, now and in the future.  So they wanted to learn.  It was a huge challenge.

Learning was not easy.  The need to translate all instruction into Swahili slowed the process down.  The interpreter was an 18-year-old recent high school graduate whose Swahili vocabulary did not extend into church matters. So many words were a struggle. The students worked so hard at writing down everything that was said, that I often had to tell them put your pens down and listen.  Students with a seventh grade education were learning college level material.

Some things they caught at the first mention.  They understood that Moses himself did not personally write the first five books of the Bible.  They understood that others wrote in the spirit of Moses and God was all the greater for working through many people rather than one.  They spontaneously applauded God when they realized that.  It was a Holy Spirit moment.

They struggled to comprehend that the ministry of the prophet was to announce God’s Word, not to predict the future as they always had been taught.  But they learned that and accepted that.  Thank you Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

What was hardest for them to comprehend was not really important, the concept of dating events in Scripture, B.C. and A.D.  Their Swahili Bibles listed such dates in a routine manner.  They asked what it meant.  It took me a half hour to repeatedly explain the meaning and I do not think that most understood completely. Why is it that for B.C., the numbers get smaller as the dates get closer to the birth of Jesus and for A.D., the dates get larger as you get farther away from the birth of Jesus? There was no answer to that question.

They finished proudly.  They looked good for the class picture. Note in the picture below how some proudly displayed their Bibles.  Each student was thrilled to receive a copy of the class picture.  Remember that they lived at the church for three weeks, sleeping on mats on the floor, having to cook their own food, and having to clean the church.

On the last class day, one by one, they proudly came forward and received their Certificates of Ministry Education, from the area Anglican coordinator, Fr Mathias.  Guests and other Anglican pastors came.  Speeches were made.  The students will put their certificates in a frame and display them proudly in the sitting room of their huts.

They went home different than they came.  What they knew before had been significantly supplemented.  They went home with a new determination to do the best for God and his people and had faith that they could now do such things better.  They went home with a desire to continue to learn.  They were all pressuring Father Mathias for more training and more education.  The seeds that had been planted and nurtured were now sprouting.  New knowledge, new attitudes, new confidence.

Geita is a place of contrasts – contemporary and ancient.  I saw large Mercedes cargo trucks for the gold mines and followed by donkey carts for firewood.  There was electric power but it failed almost every day, sometimes for several days at a time. There were crowded roads with buses, trucks, and cars, but mostly there were bicycles – even bicycle taxis.  The battle between progress and traditional ways is happening.  For the pastors, they must learn much more in order to serve God and his people of the next 25 years.

Every Sunday in Africa, I preached at the liturgy in a local church.  So the people in several churches here in Africa heard about the Missionary Society of St John, Bishop Fick, and your support of ministry education in Africa.  I assisted Fr Mathias, the pastor.

Your prayers and donations made a big difference here.  These twenty pastors will change the nature of church in these rural areas.  They will become seed for sowing in God’s kingdom here in Tanzania.  Thank you God.  Thank you people of God.  Your prayers and financial support are bearing great fruit here in East Africa.  The teachers of God’s people are being taught.  Without you, all this does not happen.  We are grateful for those who supported this trip and we are grateful to the monthly donors who keep this ministry alive.  This ministry, the students in Africa, and the rural church in Africa, all rely on you and all thank you. Without such support from you, this ministry dies.

Asante sana!  (Thank you!)

Fr Francis Wardega MSJ

Mission Station Geita, Republic of Tanzania

Need For Prayer

africa_mapIn the turbulent times of the Anglican Church, mission ministry in Africa has suffered.  African churches are most often Scripturally faithful.  Their faithfulness puts the Africans at odds with those parts of the Anglican Church which are not Scripturally faithful, but revisionist in their application of the Gospel message.  Without financial support from revisionist Anglican churches, African churches suffer.  Bible colleges close.  Ministry to the poor, to those orphaned, and to victims of HIV/Aids, suffers.  In many cases, financial aid from revisionist churches comes with conditions that African churches find unfaithful as they see it.

So, times are hard, again.  OFM cannot replace those lost dollars.  OFM tries to help Africans themselves to do what needs to be done, through education of church leaders.  We ask you to pray for the work of OFM, which suffers in these times of economic hardship.

Prayer:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light, look favorably on that wonderful and sacred mystery of your Church, especially your mission ministry of OFM.  By the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility your plan for salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are now being raised up , and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by Him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

AMEN.

Tanzania 2008 – Dispatch 3

Proud members of Class #1, Nyakato School of Theology

Proud members of Class #1, Nyakato School of Theology

Dispatch 3 From Station Mwanza in Tanzania

Pastor Erasto puzzles about the deeper meaning of Ezekiel chapter 37.  Notice the copious notes that he has taken in his notebook.

Pastor Erasto puzzles about the deeper meaning of Ezekiel chapter 37. Notice the copious notes that he has taken in his notebook.

Summer 2008 Fr Francis Wardega

For many, mission ministry has a sort of exotic glamour to it. Such work includes large crowds, healing services, hospitals built, schools visited, and similar events. Such work is very good and very blessed. This ministry is different. We teach. We teach the teachers. We teach the preachers. We teach the leaders. We teach the ones who had no real prior opportunity to learn. There are many such people in Africa.

The bulk of the work is done daily. The schedule: teach 9 am to 7 pm. Teach ministry subjects to the depth that they are useful to the leaders of the parish. Do this every day, less an occasional rest day. The students quickly adapt to the schedule. They write down more notes than is needed. They listen and ask insightful questions. This is a two-week investment in a life that bears fruit in a parish for the next twenty to thirty years. Not glamorous – just effective.

This week, we finished up the class on Ordained Ministry and moved into Fundamentals of Sacred Scripture. Then we ended with Sacramental Theology. These eleven students are different. They have absorbed so much. They talk about different things. They have a whole new and deeper appreciation of the Bible and their personal Bible. Everyone preached once and was affirmed and critiqued. They want more. “Can you stay for three months?” Sorry. They were very proud to pose for their class picture.

As available, I go to local churches to meet the people there and celebrate the liturgy. Last Sunday, I visited St John in Nyamanoro. I preached in both Sunday liturgies. Each service had a 25 person choir, a different choir for each service. They worship with contemporary African worship music, choreographed. It is Motown gone Jesus! Such music keeps the young people in the Anglican Church instead of being attracted to other, more seeker friendly churches.

The work this trip will soon be finished in this diocese, until next year. Next on the schedule is a ten hour bus journey to Dodoma, the national capital in the center of the country where I will be working with Bishop Daudi Chidawali again. I will be teaching at his Bible College in Buigiri where I taught last year.

One unusual experience. I was invited to dine with Bishop Kwangu and a visiting bishop. As we sat and

Fr Francis preaches at St John Parish in Nyemanoro, Sunday Aug 17

Fr Francis preaches at St John Parish in Nyemanoro, Sunday Aug 17

talked, I realized that somehow, many red fire ants crawling on me. I tried to be a good guest as long as I could but the others noticed my discomfort. I ended up trying to stand still while two Anglican bishops and one bishop’s wife killed so many ants that were feasting on me! That was my lesson in humility that day.

Thank you for your support. God and you make this possible. Please keep on supporting this mission. Please sustain this good ministry. It works!

Fr Francis Wardega Office of Foreign Missions

Missionary Priest in Africa 18401 Canal Rd

www.connectionkenya.wordpress.com Clinton Twp MI 48038

Africa e-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com

Tanzania 2008 – Dispatch 2

St. Nicholas Cathedral

St. Nicholas Cathedral

Dispatch 2 From Station Mwanza in Tanzania

Your mission support is beginning to bear fruit again in East Africa on the southern shores of Lake Victoria. People here in Mwanza, a part of the Anglican Diocese of Victoria Nyanza, were excited to start this mission.

Bishop Kwanzu and Fr. Francis at Holy Eucharist

The mission started with liturgy on Sunday Aug 10, at St Nicholas Cathedral, one block away from the lake. The lake breeze made the temperature most comfortable. I preached and assisted the bishop, Rt Rev Boniface Kwangu, at the service. The bishop asked me to distribute the Holy Eucharist to his people. One young woman was confirmed at the service. This liturgy, one of three liturgies every Sunday, was the English service – the other two services are in Swahili.. It was very powerful to hear the Words of Institution, prayed by the bishop in his British accented, East African English. “Thees ees my boudy, brrroken for you.” Different and the same. Holy.

Our ministry is primarily a ministry of teaching. The need here fits precisely what we do. Here, there are

many priests ordained over recent years with little or no ministry or priestly education. Here, education is hard to get. Bishop Boniface brought eleven priests together to receive the teaching that God has called us to give.

Who are these men. All but two are in their fifties. The other two are in their sixties. All are ordained priests and are pastors of parishes in the diocese. Two came from the island of Ukerewe in Lake Victoria. Here in East Africa, they are addressed as “pastor.” Their names sing an African song, grounded in Scripture, colored by British history. Their names: Japheth, Erasto, Stafford, Zephania, Julius, Boniface, Jesse, Solomon, Iohanna, Abednego, and Josiah. Josiah has a bible school diploma and an M.Div from Cambridge in England. Solomon will be beginning studies at a bible school in Uganda. The rest have a 7th grade education at best, some less.

They bring to the class many good qualities. A daily prayer life, ministry experience (some have been ordained for over ten years), a desire to learn, and an ability to work. Good investment for your prayers and for your donated dollars. These men will be here for two weeks. These classes are a major step in their lives, and an answer to their prayer.

This week, they learned the basics of the faith – they learned new things. Things like Jesus is both God and man. Things like Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins. Things like the liturgy that they do is a 20th century version of what the apostles did.. They are like sponges continually soaking up the waters of new life. They also learned the meaning of what it is to be a priest – a calling from God, not a weekend job. They learned that God calls them to higher standards – the highest possible by grace. Their priesthood is being transformed. Their bishop, who sits in on many of the classes, is excited. More is happening much quicker than he expected.

Thank you for your support. God and you make this possible. Please keep on supporting this mission. Please sustain this good ministry. It works!

Fr Francis Wardega

Missionary Priest in Africa

www.connectionkenya.wordpress.com

Africa e-mail: jambofrfrancis@yahoo.com

Tanzania: Dispatch Five

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Another Week on the Road.

We had returned to Dodoma on Sunday evening and were out again Monday late morning for the next week. In the interim, clothes were washed and semi dried, a few hours sleep was achieved, and a bath was taken. As usual, we do not travel alone. The usual two mechanic/drivers were along. Two other priests came. A fresh new choir of only a half dozen came. The vehicle was not as crowded as on the first trip.

Our first destination was Mpwapwa. I was prepared for about the same as last week. No electricity. Dirt floors in mud huts. Difficult roads. But there were some pleasant surprises this time. There was electricity. The homes had walls of cement block with corrugated steel roofs. However, the roads were still difficult.

Mpwapwa was a regional capital under the German leadership before World War One. Prior to that, it had been a distribution center for the African slave traffic going to the Arab nations of the Middle East. Now, it has primary schools, secondary schools, and even a college.

Three parishes combined there to welcome us. It was delightful. There was a formal Tanzanian dinner with all the favorite dishes. I was a gracious guest, eating and enjoying some of everything. When you dine as a Tanzanian, there is a need to wash before you eat and to wash after you eat. Read the rest of this entry »

Tanzania: Dispatch Four

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This is mission ministry in its basic form – circuit riding in an old Hiace van, beat up and rattling, breaking down frequently, moving slowly through African bush country and through the mountains. We are five days on the road and have never exceeded 25 MPH. The mountain roads are twisty, rutted, and washed away from the rains. All in all, a very bumpy ride. The views are beautiful but we find few people in between villages. We travel very slowly with a bishop, an American priest, two driver-mechanics, and a contingent of sixteen other choir members, priests and assorted children. They sing constantly in Chigogo, the local language. I am beginning to dream in some semblance of the Chigogo language! We see few animals – baboons, a leopard, some lizards.

The first destination was DeBarro Parish with Fr. Samual and his wife Maria. They were all gathered to receive us. It was so joyful. The visit started with an hour of praising God, singing and dancing and worshiping in beautiful Chigogo fashion.

frsamual.jpgThen we ate. God must be protecting my digestive system because I have not gotten sick on the road (I see where they get the water, old wells with hand pumps. And they cook with this water). I eat ugale, which is a pasty bread, rice, some potatoes, very tasty greens, some chicken (coocoo in Swahili) and an occasional banana (ndizi) and mango (embe). They were very proud to serve me tambi – I looked at it and recognized African spaghetti. There are a lot of starch and carbs, hard on my system but that is what they have so I eat it gracefully. Courtesy requires me to eat the plate clean.

We worshipped in the little dug out church. Digging our the church allows them not to have to construct high walls. I preached from Acts about how the believers live as one and got along. I talked about who we are, who we were, and how we are now together and what that means. This is kind of like an introductory tour – they get to know us and we get to know them. It is a very good visit with many questions.

I stayed in a little room in a little hut. They had worked hard to give me a space of my own and I was grateful. It is good I prepared for such things and I am told that they were very pleased to hear me snoring. Breakfast was hard boiled eggs and chai tea. We exchanged greetings and were sent off rejoicing in the Lord. There is something about a personal visit that gives meaning to brotherhood.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tanzania: Dispatch Three

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November in Tanzania

 

The organizational details of church have been worked through and decided. The Gospel Catholic Church has joined the Missionary Society of St. John/Anglican Province of America. That is a big step for them. We have new brothers and sisters, 78 parishes, over eighty clergy, a women’s group, three orphanages, and a school of theology.

 

The people here had talked for several weeks at the parish and deanery level. Then the discussions continued at a diocesan gathering in Buigiri. Many questions were asked and much discussion happened. Finally, the Bishop and Fr. Francis left the meeting room for several hours and the people there, which included the majority of the clergy and representatives of most of the parishes talked and prayed and decided. The people of the church decided to accept Bishop Fick’s invitation to join the Missionary Society of St. John/Anglican Province of America. Bishop Chidawali also joined personally.

 

That being done, the focus switched to instruction.

 

On this blog there are statements of our plan of how we like to work and teach in Africa. Those plans are out the window already. It is good that the Holy Spirit remains.

 

No more small classes of eight to ten. Here we started with 104! Attendance never lessened over four days. Students include clergy, wives, parish leaders, children and infants. It was like teaching a village. The women were fully participative – asking questions and seeking to respond.

 

The students spoke two languages, Swahili and a tribal language. Very few of the people spoke or understood English so interpretation was required. The process was slow.

 

Who are these people? These people are Africa. They are multi-generational – at least four generations were present. They are multi-tribal – at least six tribes. The task of Africa is to combine different tribes into the amalgam of one nation – not always easy. Near by Rwanda is a testimony to its failure. Tanzania is a testimony to its success. Their first president, Julius Nyerere set an example that was accepted by the people.

Read the rest of this entry »

An African Model for Mission

Africa

As the nations of Africa move into the 21st century, a new desire among the people there is rising. For centuries Africa has become, willingly or unwillingly, dependent on Europe and America. Now however, colonialism and the old missionary style must end. There is a new movement to rediscover the strength and conviction that gave rise to some of the first civilizations of the world. The following are some of the quotes that have been the most helpful as the Office of Foreign Missions has developed its ethos.

 

Three Self-Policy: Henry Venn, Church Mission Society, 1850. Venn thought that 19th century European missionary style represented only a temporary historical phase. The transition would come through “Three Self” policy, in which the African Christian church should be built on principles of self-government, self-support, and self-propagation. The result would be a “native church under native pastors and a native episcopate.” (From The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins)

Independence: Bishop Joshua Ayoo Koyo of Kenya realized long ago that “those outside of Africa who would teach [his] people to depend on them for finances would bring about the death of initiative and hard work in [his] diocese.”

 

Nelson Mandela

Continental Renewal: Nelson Mandela,

the first African President of South Africa wrote:”Africa is beyond bemoaning the past for its problems. The task of undoing that past is ours, with the support of those willing to join us in a continental renewal. We have a new generation of leaders who know that we must take responsibility for our own destiny, that we will uplift ourselves only by our own efforts in partnership with those who wish us well.


African Renaissance: Current South African President Thebo Mbeki originally coined the term “African Renaissance:. He called upon African people and African nations themselves to solve the many problems troubling Africa. It continues to be a key part of the post-apartheid intellectual agenda.

In his “I am an African” speech in May 1996, following the adoption of a new constitution, Mbeki proclaimed, “I am born of a people who are heroes and heroines.”

“They are patient because history is on their side; the masses do not despair because today the weather is bad. Nor do they turn triumphalist when, tomorrow, the sun shines. Whatever the circumstances they have lived through and because of that experience, they are determined to define for themselves who they are and who they should be.”

In April 1997, Mbeki listed the elements that would eventually be seen to comprise the African Renaissance: social cohesion, democracy, economic rebuilding and growth, and the establishing of Africa as a significant player in geo-political affairs.

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