Delegates met for the MMF for the Africa Region in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, co-hosted by the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) and United Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA).
Two outstanding social challenges were noted with dismay as the representatives wrestled with the mission of God within the framework of the CWM theme “Healing Hope in Action”: Cyclone Dineo whose floods has decimated people, livestock and infrastructure, and Xenophobic and Afrophobic attacks, which have caused a lot of pain, suffering and anguish to our South Africa brothers and sisters. As they prayed for these calamities, they also pledged to be agents of healing in their society and region at large.
Hope in Action (Jeremiah 29:1-11)
They identified from member churches’ reports issues which drain hope for the future for youth, children and people living with disabilities. Unemployment, poverty, stigma and discrimination, floods and hunger due to climate change, political issues. Jeremiah’s advice to the exiles was to do their best to settle down and to lead normal lives even under hostile circumstances. His advice can also be applied as strategic and constructive engagement with our churches.
Zimbabwe’s mission context and other mission stories
The UCCSA and the UPCSA presented to them the dire state of Zimbabwe as a result of cyclone Dineo, followed by mission stories by the rest of the African member churches. They affirmed the need for teamwork and coordination in their relationships in mission development, sharing of skills, resources and exchange visits, and mission support programmes to further develop their missional congregations. In particular, standing in solidarity and prayer for Zimbabwe as they hold elections in 2018.
Social mission context
Key amongst many effects of the dehumanizing forces are refugees, exiles, and asylum seekers. Corruption has become a rampant scourge in all sectors of our society, HIV and AIDS continue to be scaling heights, the political tension in Mozambique, economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, looming hunger and drought due to excessive rains and natural disasters, and poverty scourge.
They thus need a concerted approach in addressing these social ills. The multifaceted approach will include advocacy and lobbying; joint training of nationals across the denominational spectrum on matters of social justice and the quest for social transformation through healing; initiation of church support for people affected by cyclones and natural calamities; a deliberate approach to eliminating hunger and poverty in the region.
Imagining the future
- Churches with training institutions to come up with full information or time table of their institutions to allow member churches to apply and upgrade their knowledge.
- Respond to cries of people without much delay so that they install hope for the future.
- CWM Regional office to facilitate the process of a proposal to conduct research into the killing of people living with albinism.
- The churches to include mission programmes that that will sensitize communities on love for people and families affected by the barbaric killing of people living with albinism.