2023 North Katanga Annual Conference

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Representing 24 districts of the North Katanga Annual Conference, 950 delegates attended the 53rd session in Kabondo Dianda, Congo. Meeting July 2-6 in Nyembo Umpungu District, participants evaluated the conference’s mission and ministry.

On the first day, North Katanga Area Bishop Mande Muyombo focused on denominational unity. In his episcopal address, he pledged support of the African bishops’ statement made in Zimbabwe that encouraged regionalization.

Summarizing accomplishments since the last annual conference, the bishop offered a brief history of global church unity since Methodism’s early days. He invited the conference to join the way forward in reclaiming, reviving and renewing local churches.

“It is true that disaffiliation of local churches is happening globally, and individuals leave locally. People are free to leave, (but) I do not allow global allies to start their outreach within the North Katanga Annual Conference,” Muyombo said, referring to allies of the Global Methodist Church.

He added, “I warned district superintendents not to allow global allies to use the UMC pulpit.”

In heated plenary debate among both clergy and laity, the Rev. Maloba Muluma wa Umba, a board of trustees member, cautioned church leaders not to allow Wesleyan Covenant Association allies to use United Methodist properties as venues for their evangelism and advocacy.

During the Christian education report, the Rev. Nyembo Kinkundulu said misinformation has been a challenge. As a Christian educator, he seized the opportunity to dismiss incorrect information.

Conference leaders noted that the issue of same-sex marriage is being used as an excuse to push people to leave the church. “Culturally,” they said, “same-sex marriage is not African reality, specifically, or local culture.” Through evangelism and Christian education, they noted, members are learning to defend their beliefs.

The new Kaniama District superintendent, the Rev. Ilunga Mubaya Simeon, called the episcopal address a strong awakening and a call to action about misinformation. “In Kaniama,” he said, “I use local radio to show where the UMC stands now.”

During the last day, conference members heard a report on the Wings of the Morning aviation ministry and collected a special offering. “Wings of the Morning is our pride,” Felix Kadimbwe, the director of a school in Malemba, declared.

Muyombo was the first to donate $100; later, medical doctors, schoolteachers and headmasters followed his example. Wings of the Morning pilot Gaston Ntambo provides services for United Methodists, as well as members of other denominations.

“I am not crazy by shouting!” exclaimed the Rev. Ngoy Wakuwambala Theodorine. “I am just inviting you to donate to the saving ministry.”

Some members pledged a dollar a month to the aviation ministry as a token of appreciation and a positive recognition of what the pilot and his wife, Jeanne, do within the episcopal area and the DRC.

In a resolution, General Conference delegates from North Katanga who are not in good standing with the conference were removed from the list of delegates and replaced by reserve delegates. The resolution was read by the board of ordained ministry and approved by clergy.

—   The Rev. Betty Kazadi Musau, Director of Communication for the North Katanga Conference

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