Missionary Collins Etchi Ako with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries was the only guest.
Ako came to participate in the Kivu Annual Conference and learn more about the major issues that the church faces in this part of the country, including sexual violence against women and youth.
During the morning devotions, Ako preached and sang with the young choristers of Amani United Methodist Church. He also had time to visit United Methodist Orphanage in Goma and to see the work of United Methodist Women in the region.
Ako told the group about an upcoming online training series on Principles & Strategies for Resources Mobilization, scheduled for Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 3-5. Zacky Kabunga was elected to represent the Kivu Conference at the online training.
During the eighth ordinary session of the Kivu Annual Conference, a memorial service was held for the victims of the Beni massacre, the Ebola epidemics and the COVID-19 pandemic in eastern Congo, as well as for late Sierra Leone Bishop John K. Yambasu, who died in a car accident Aug. 16.
During the meeting, Bishop Unda inaugurated the building of Amani United Methodist Church in Goma. He also talked about COVID-19 and its effects on The United Methodist Church, including the postponement of General Conference from May 2020 to August 2021. “Still, it must be said that it will depend on how the world will behave in the face of this pandemic,” he said.
The bishop called on the faithful “to work hard in preventing and combating this pandemic, because it is in unity that together we will defeat this common invisible enemy.”
Unda also thanked his fellow bishops who, through their substantial support, he said, have made it possible to withstand this crucial period in the life of the church. He mentioned Bishop William McAlilly (Tennessee and Memphis conferences), Bishop Minerva Carcaño (California-Nevada Conference) and Bishop Peggy Johnson (Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware conferences), who have helped eastern Congo “during this harsh period of confinement and the flood disasters in Uvira and Kindu.”
Unda also thanked the Board of Global Ministries, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Connexio, Harper Hill Global and United Front Against River Blindness (represented by Dr. Daniel Shungu) for their support and concern. “These agencies have not hesitated in their intervention in my region,” Unda said. “Their contributions have been of great help.”
The number of persons ordained was 86, with 10 received as associate members; the average age was 34. Two clergy retired.
The Kivu Conference elected two new members to its health board: Zacky Kabunga and Guy Umba.
Bishop Unda appointed two delegates to represent him when needed in the two provinces:
1. North Kivu: the Rev. Henry Jean Robert Kasongo Numbize
2. South Kivu: the Rev Clément Kingombe Lutala
Membership is at 26,003 faithful for the year 2020, an increase from 25,256 the previous year. Attendance at worship is 19,464 people present on average each week, an increase over the previous year.
School attendance at the church stands at 4,952, up from 3,541 the previous year.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2019: 512, up from 429 in 2018.
Adults and young adults in small groups for 2019: 43, up from 32 in 2018.
The faithful committed on mission for 2019: 3,731, up from 2,578 in 2018.
To strengthen the four areas of focus, the Kivu Annual Conference made a commitment to:
• The capacity building of pastors and evangelists and sending different commissions in the circles to evangelize such as Kalonge, Bunyakiri, Kalehe and Idjwi.
• Construction in the future days of new health in Beni.
• Fight against malaria, HIV and malnourishment in the Kivu Conference.
• Elaborate on projects on the protection of the environment.
• Send young people for studies at Methodist University in Kindu, as well as universities in Zimbabwe and overseas.
• Continue to raise awareness to fight against COVID-19 in the region.
— Philippe Kituka Lolonga, communicator in the Kivu Conference
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