Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Commissioning Week

The middle of June was full of activities and events at Church Army Africa. For Lucy , it was her final time coordinating the commissioning week activities which this year included a Retreat for 66 students, a Conference for over 100 evangelists from across Africa, a Fundraising Dinner, a Board Meeting, and an Annual General Meeting. Planning all these events in the final weeks of pregnancy was a great challenge, but God was faithful to provide helpers and all the details came together. On the final day of events, June 18th, 2010 over five hundred people gathered at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Nairobi to witness the sixty-six young men and women who were being commissioned as missionaries and evangelists. Twenty eight of these had trained as Chaplains while another thirty seven completed three years of study in Theology and Missions. In addition, Davis Manana, the Director of Church Army’s Bungokho Rural Development Centre in Uganda was also commissioned.

“In an era when Western countries are sending fewer and fewer missionaries, it is a momentous occasion that the church in Africa is taking the lead in sending out new mission-aries”, said the Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala while speaking to the young evangelists. The Kenyan Archbishop continued by sharing about pioneer missionaries in Africa mentioned in the Bible such as Simon of Cyrene, Philip, and the Ethiopian Eunuch who was a Court Official and Treasurer of Queen Can-dace. Candace ruled over the Nubian Kingdom of Meroe during the first century in what is now Sudan.

Many Westerners today consider Christianity to be a European religion, introduced to Africa through colonialism and as a form of cultural imperialism. We forget that Christianity in Africa preceded most of Europe by a thousand years with the first Gentile converts being Africans and with Alexandria and Carthage as the intellectual centres of the Roman Empire and the formative grounds for most of Western Christian theology.

As Christianity has declined in the West during the past two hundred years, it has been exciting to see the resurgence of faith in Africa. Lucy and I have been pleased to participate in supporting African missionaries who seek to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed and to offer hope and healing to communities and nations torn by conflict, poverty, and disease. Despite being on bed rest and the challenges of coordinating this year’s commissioning events, the activities all went along well.

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