Officiating bishop: Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala
Guest speakers and memorable points or quotes by speakers:
Bishop Nhanala spoke during the opening session.
“We are holding our conference at a very difficult time in our lives, as the central and northern areas of the country were affected by severe weather conditions. Cyclones Idai and Kenneth destroyed many infrastructures of private and public use. Chapels, parsonages and hundreds of human lives were also not spared,” she said.
“Even today, as we gather there, the scars of suffering caused by floods are still visible and audible. Thousands of families still carry the burdens caused by Mother Nature. However, in the midst of that suffering, we thank God that he spared the most precious thing; that is life.
“As I reflect on the aftermath of the cyclones that hit this conference, I want us to remember that God is not done yet with us. He therefore saved us; it is because he has a purpose and a plan with us. So, let us be stronger and united so the devil will not take advantage of us,” she said.
The Rev. Hortência Americo Langa Bacela, director of connectional ministries in the Mozambique South Conference, also spoke.
Drawing from the Book of I Corinthians 10:1-5, 21, she reminded the conference delegates about “the immorality that the Corinthian community practiced among themselves and their resistance to follow Christian doctrine and resistance to follow divine ordinances should not be the case of the Mozambique North Conference, especially gathered in Maninca District,” she said.
“As God’s servant, be like Moses, who was obedient in the hard mission of liberating his children from Pharaoh. You, too, can play that role of liberating many of God’s children from the pharaohs of poverty, social injustice, political unrest. Be the Moses who can lead God´s children to a promised land.
“We need to be obedient in order to be in the palm of God just as Moses did,” Bacela said. “You have to know that if you are still alive, it’s because God has a good plan for each one of you, so watch out and make a good use of the time you are given.”
On the closing day, guest speaker the Rev. Tafadza Mudambanuki, a native of Zimbabwe, shared the word of God from two books: Genesis 19:15-26 and Mark 4:35-41.
“Look forward as you do the Lord’s work. Believe that God’s hand will always be upon you; do not doubt. Keep on working to develop and transform the Lord's church,” he said.
“My dear brothers and sisters, I am encouraging you now to accept the transformation and move on to another stage of life.
“Jesus told his disciples to go to the other side of the river, because when you go to the other side, new things will be manifested,” Mudambanuki said. “There will be new songs, a new way of being. There will be reconciliation, welcoming everyone into one family. And for that to happen, there is one thing that you must break: That is sin.”
Main actions enacted by the conference:
• That parishes and evangelical extensions contribute to the construction and rehabilitation of their respective parsonages and chapels, as there are few promises of overseas funding.
• Districts and local churches should send and cover the pastor, lay leader and delegates’ expenses to the annual conference session every year.
• That tithing be a common practical denominator for all church members as a way of creating conditions for self-support and for church sustainability.
• That lay people visit with their pastors regularly as a way of living and understanding their lives and difficulties in order to find solutions.
• That candidates for theological studies provide all required documents and make sure they meet the requirements, and that recommending districts should send candidates with good reputations.
Other resolutions adopted by the conference:
• It was decided that Moatize Evangelical Extension should be elevated into the Moatize Pastoral Office category.
• Concerning pensions, it was decided that the pastors allocated in the special services shall contribute 4% and the employer will contribute the remaining 6%.
• It was decided to reactivate the literacy and education classes for adults in the local churches, extensions and in all educational establishments of the church.
• That the money collected in the parishes and extensions on the seminarians’ day be channeled to theology students.
Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership:
One pastor was ordained as an elder, the Rev. Eurico Gonçalves Gustavo, 32.
Names of delegates for 2020 General Conference:
Clergy: Alzira Sebastião
Lay: Americo Juliao Nhassengo
Number of clergy retired: One clergy retired, The Rev. Naftal Chicudoane.
Membership stands at 18,002, up 541 from the previous year.
Worship attendance stands at 1,125, up 325 up from the previous year.
Church school attendance stands at an average of 60 students per class.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2018: 18,808, up 1,950 from 2017.
Adults and young adults in small groups for 2018: 10,908, up 1,372 from 2017.
Worshippers engaged in mission for 2018: 1,225, down 230 from 2017.
What did your annual conference do to reinforce the Four Areas of Focus, and what commitment has the conference made for the coming year?
A. Improving global health.
1. Health workshops within the conference have been held, with positive outcomes that can been seen and measured through quality of life and less visits to hospitals and/or deaths due to diseases.
2. The health board has spent hours in preparing, teaching and disseminating health information to create awareness in valuing and preventing curable diseases.
3. Water wells have been drilled and are now providing clean water to communities, thus reducing the risk of drinking contaminated and unclean water, boosting health quality within communities.
4. The conference plans to continue focusing on community health education, in order to reduce mal-hygiene, which results in preventable diseases.
B. Developing principled Christian leaders.
1. Education and training of both lay and clergy forms the foundation. Seminars have been held from the grassroots to the top.
a. Annually, there is a conference workshop geared solely to pastors, equipping them with updated knowledge and tools to respond to the church and community needs.
b. Laity also has been equipped in areas such as discipleship. The youth, young adults, women and men are the main target for those studies and trainings that will enable them to serve within their communities.
c. Our schools in Muxungue, Tete and Gondola serve as hubs of learning, education and of Christian leader development.
d. Any school or water well built contributes to the church family’s growth.
C. Engaging in ministry with the poor.
1. Mozambique North Conference is within a country where poverty is visible, sensible and tangible.
a. One, among many hands stretches to assist the poor and vulnerable. Dondo Orphanage is one place where children are catered for.
b. Hopefully, this year, the construction project of Niassa Orphanage will start, which will also assist and respond to many orphans and needy children in that part of the annual conference.
c. The schools aforementioned play a significant role in combating poverty (illiteracy) but also as centers where leadership is shaped.
d. Water wells provide fresh water to communities and help in reducing poverty within the country and specifically within the conference.
e. Within this spectrum, the Mozambique North Conference still plans to focus more on ministry with the poor for the quadriennium that soon will begin.
D. Creating new and renewed congregations.
1. The Mozambique North Conference has in its church plan this area of focus.
a. New congregations along our vast geographical area are created.
b. Struggling congregations are renewed or revitalized in order to follow the pace of the mission, and this is done intentionally.
c. New chapels are built and dedicated.
d. Any ministry that is ushered at any given community serves as an evangelizing tool.
e. Intentionally, our schools and orphanages will also have chaplaincy offices to cater for its users.
Eurico Gonçalves Gustavo is a communicator for the Mozambique North Conference.
News media contact: Vicki Brown at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.