By Pierre Omadjela *
Bishop David Kekumba Yemba and Bishop Unda Gabriel Yemba joined their conference leadership and overseas partners to kick off a round-table meeting to shortlist ministry priorities for their respective episcopal areas. The Central Congo Episcopal Area was host to the May 13-15 meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. There will be an East Congo Area round-table meeting early in 2014.
In a dialogue that sought to increase understanding and collaboration, local church leadership and overseas partners agreed to forge ahead on key ministries that would transform lives and magnify influence for the growth of The United Methodist Church in the DRC.
Supporting the bishops’ efforts, Central Congo and Eastern Congo episcopal area leaders and their overseas partners agreed to focus on these deliverables for this quadrennium:
- Cultivate more partners, both internally and externally, to raise funds for church programs.
- Erect structures to aid communication between episcopal leadership and overseas partners and encourage annual volunteer-in-mission visits.
- Award scholarships to girls and women to help develop their leadership acumen and skill set. The meeting resolved to achieve a 30 percent threshold of women in responsible positions and to create facilities for granting micro credits to women doing projects in the two episcopal areas.
- Open a cyber café in each annual conference and support institutions of higher learning in teaching, research and publications of materials for use in the episcopal areas.
- Conduct training workshops for laity and clergy to polish leadership skills.
- Build a large building at Wambo Nyama, rehabilitate six pavilions of the Wambo Nyama general hospital, and finish construction of the United Methodist guesthouse in Kinshasa and the Methodist Resource Center.
- Create a committee in each annual conference to study the feasibility of projects, determine cost and longevity of projects and provide mandatory reports to the episcopal areas.
- Train clergy and laity as nationals in mission for new church plants, local preacher training and other specific tasks. Consider supporting mission work in Ba Congo and Ba Ndundu provinces and in neighboring Congo Brazzaville by seeking financial help from the United Methodist boards of Global Ministries, Discipleship and Higher Education and Ministry.
- Ask the United Methodist Committee on Relief to hire and support financially an officer to assess humanitarian needs in East Congo.
The meeting resolved to meet in November 2016, six months after General Conference. The partners in attendance included the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, United Methodist Women, Peninsula-Delaware Annual (regional) Conference in the United States, the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and the Central Congo Episcopal Area.
*Omadjela directs communications and development for the Central Congo Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church.