Monday, March 30, 2009

Launching Vision 2015

Much has been written about the plight of Africa, including issues of economic injustice and poverty, corruption and war, disease and lack of infrastructure. Addressing these challenges is the task of the 21st century for many government and non-governmental organizations across the continent. The question is often asked, but seldom answered, “what is the role of the church in such times?” At Church Army Africa, we believe that the key for enduring change is bound up with the local church. Local churches can and should play a vital role in shaping the spiritual and social development of individuals, families, communities, and even nations. We believe that the church is God's primary vehicle for positive social transformation and as such should play a central role in achieving social change in Africa in areas such as those outlined in the United Nation's Millenium Development Goals or in national strategic plans.

In June of 2008, the President and Prime Minister of Kenya released a new long-term planning strategy for the nation known as Vision 2030. The plan includes a variety of reforms and new initiatives to produce positive change in the economic, social, and political arenas. The ultimate goal of Kenya's Vision 2030 is to produce a “globally competitive and prosperous nation”, and it aims to accomplish its objectives by facilitating development and reform in areas such as agriculture, education, energy, environment, health care, infrastructure, and justice. The vision document and strategic plan are highly ambitious and are grounded in a wealth of research and good intentions. In reality, however, most Kenyans are skeptical of the government's ability to achieve even a fraction of its stated goals. Mismanagement, tribalism, corruption, and greed continue to plague leadership across the country. At Church Army Africa, we've been asking the questions “How should the church respond to Vision 2030?” and “What role can the Anglican Church play in bringing substantive and sustainable change not only to Kenya, but to the entire continent of Africa.”

As an Anglican missions agency, our response is encapsulated in something we call Vision 2015 or H.E.A.L. Africa. H.E.A.L. Africa is an effort to bring healing and positive transformation to communities across Africa by establishing holistic churches. Our goal is a minimum of 3000 holistic churches by the year 2015. Each church will be mission shaped and share the message and love of Christ while offering contextually relevant services in Health care, Education, Access to justice, and Leverage wealth creation. By serving as centres of change, local churches will reach out to meet the needs of their communities in these key areas. The first phase of Vision 2015 is H.E.A.L. Kenya and was officially launched through Church Army Africa in Nairobi on 18th March, 2009. Specific targets for Kenya are based on mandates from the A.C.K. Bishops and include: the creation of 1500 holistic churches, 20,000 new jobs, planting over 1 million trees, 500 digital villages, 500 trained chaplains across Kenya, and an Anglican secondary school in every province. In addition, Church Army Africa hopes to facilitate fostering of over 250,000 orphaned children and the implementation of a variety of health care, justice, and other H.E.A.L. programmes. The work has already begun. Grassroots training initiatives in various parts of Kenya have equipped nearly 80 pastors and evangelists who will work to plant or develop holistic churches during 2009. The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Most Rev. Dr. Capt. Benjamin Nzimbi, explained: “We have had many revivals in Africa, but never a reformation. What we need is a reformation of the church.” By reforming and equipping churches for holistic ministry, Church Army aims to dramatically transform communities across Africa and play a central role in achieving positive change for Christ.

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