The 80th session of the Central Congo Annual Conference, presided by Bishop Daniel Lunge Onashuyaka under the theme "Keeping our United Methodist Identity for the Self-Reliance of our Church," was held August 14-20, 2022, at Ongombe United Methodist Church in Wembonyama, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Delegates and visitors of the annual conference were joined by the governor Jules Lodi Emongo as well as senators, national and provincial deputies from Sankuru province. The political and administrative authorities expressed their gratitude to The United Methodist Church for its contribution to the development of the province of Sankuru and the DRC.
During the meeting, delegates reiterated their categorical rejection of same-sex marriages in The United Methodist Church.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent the conference from taking place, strict measures were observed to prevent the possible spread of infection. Hand-washing devices were placed at the entrances, temperatures were taken before participants entered the conference room, and masks were distributed daily to all delegates. The health department set up a mobile clinic and urged everyone to respect and comply with national measures to control COVID-19 and other diseases.
No churches disaffiliated during the session and none were closed due to non-viability. The delegates voted to split the Central Congo Annual Conference in two because of the large number of delegates (1,500) and the distance these delegates must travel to get to the venue of the annual conference.
The delegates urged United Methodists to remain in the denomination, avoid the use of dangerous drugs and all forms of alcohol, and encouraged them to embrace people with disabilities and facilitate their participation in worship services.
The conference decided to maintain the delegates who were elected for the 2020 General Conference, and confirmed during the 2021 annual conference.
The delegates are:
- Clergy: the Rev. Michel Membele Lokaso, the Rev. Dimonga Vange André, the Rev. Jean Losango Biheno.
- Lay delegates: Prof. Paul-Ami Djundu Koy, Prof. Sébastien Kitengye Sokoni, Jacques Umembudi Akasa.
At the session of 2021, the delegate John Omalokoho, who was facing disciplinary action, had been replaced by Prof. Sebastien Kitengye Sokoni.
No pastors retired at the annual conference session, 19 new clergy members were ordained as itinerant deacons, eight as local pastors and four as itinerant pastors.
The statistical report was positive, recording increases in all areas: worship attendance (1,700), faith school attendance (510), professions or reaffirmations of faith (1,620), adults and young adults in small groups (583,152), while worshipers engaged in mission increased to 9,350.
François Omanyondo is a communicator of the Central Congo Annual Conference.
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