2021 Mozambique North Annual Conference

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Officiating: Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala

The Mozambique North Annual Conference met Oct. 30-31 at Central United Methodist Church in the Sofala district of the Sifaka province.

The coronavirus drastically affected the conference meeting because it was not able to bring all participants to one venue for an in-person session. Some district superintendents, clergy and lay delegates who live in the vicinity were able to attend physically. This was done in compliance with the government decree that allows the gathering of no more than 100 people in closed places. The remainder of conference delegates, officials and the church at large attended and interacted with the chair of the conference virtually via Whatsapp and Facebook. 

Another setback that affected the normal progress of the conference was that it did not reach 50% of its 2020 designed and approved budget. That meant many ministries were not carried out as planned. 

Virtual attendance was problematic because of lack of adequate equipment and reliable internet in some areas; potential lack of concentration by attendees; slow response to and from participants and the presiding chair; low sense of community and society; fear of contamination among those in-present in the virtual venue Central United Methodist Church in Beira; lack of spirit of worship which is customarily vibrant here; financial constraints for travel, accommodation and meals; and mobility and insecurity issues because of political instability. also hindered many people to attend the conference session. 

Customarily conference sessions take place where many church members of all ages could observe and learn from different aspects of the proceedings. This time, such observers weren’t present because of the aforementioned reasons. 

The Rev. Admó Matare Atanasio, chair of the synod council of the United Church of Christ in Mozambique spoke. The conference theme was from Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

´´A Christian must be strong and firm in the mission entrusted him by God, just like Moses who won all the battles before him because he trusted only God,´´ said Atanásio.

The preacher encouraged the pastors to “accept the humble mission of preaching the good news to the ends of the earth, fearing no harm.”

´´When you are appointed to serve in distant areas, be courageous, strong and do not be frightened and dismayed because God has a purpose with you in such a place, and will not abandon you in that mission of rescuing lost souls sheep,” Atanásio concluded.

Main actions enacted by the conference:

  • The pensions board will promote awareness campaigns about importance of pension payments;
  • The Episcopacy Committee will promote visits, integrating the honorable bishop, to the worksites of the church with funders/donors to motivate and appreciate them for their support and generosity; and
  • The Finance Committee must include a disaster relief line item in its budget to cater for relief needs within the conference.

Resolutions or action related to the coronavirus: 

  • The Board of Trustees must follow up on the decision about purchasing goods for pastoral and superintendent parsonage;
  • The Board of Trustees must be present in all church levels (districts, parish and extensions) in order to facilitate data collection pertaining to church goods;
  • The Board of Pensions should develop a comprehensive pension plan for all pastors;
  • The Health Board must design and implement a plan in the short run to guide church members in what would be known as the “Counter coronavirus project;” and
  • Every district, parish and mission field must provide the Board of Trustees all relevant information on the status of church property and, if obsolete, will be scrapped;

There were no resolutions or actions related to the postponed 2020 General Conference, now set for 2022. No churches disaffiliated or left the conference during the year, and none closed because they were no longer sustainable. 

Other resolutions adopted by the conference: 

  • The conference choir conductor must carry out planned visits to church districts and mission fields to hold music seminars;
  • District superintendents must report if their salaries and those of the pastors within their districts have been paid in future reports; and
  • A target of 646 souls to be won for Christ was set for the year 202

Two delegates for General Conference were named: Alzira Isaac Sebastião (clergy) and Américo Julião Nhassengo (lay leader).

Two pastors were ordained as elders: Francisco Viagem Tivane and

Belmiro Jotamo. There were on clergy retirements. 

Membership stands at 18,701, down 300 from the previous year. 

Worship attendance stands at 15,000, 3701 down from the previous year. 

Church school attendance stands at 1,520, 50 down from the previous year. 

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2020 was 3,15.

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2020 was 14,000.

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2020 was 13,500.

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