Your opinion my Brothers in Africa : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

To Rev. Mwandu and others in Africa

How do you see leadership in Africa.Most of us are so very far away from you. With the large areas you have in Africa. Should there be the consideration for increasing the Districts in Africa to be more representational of the different cultures and independant countries in Africa?

Please circulate and give us your views. To may times you listen but I would like to know what you think. God Bless you my Brothers and Sisters in Africa

-- Anonymous, April 29, 2004


Dearest Nalton Brangman

Africa, is a continent rich with cultural diversities. In my country Namibia, we have about twelve tribes and fourteen dilects and you can just imagine for the rest of Africa. Another fact that one needs to consider is that African countries were colonised by different 1st world countries. Those that played a bigger role in Africa, were the English, the French, Portuguese and the Dutch.

Thus you will find that the current seventeen has got a mixture of French and English, the Fifteenth has a mixture of English, Dutch and Protuguese, the eighteenth alike. this state of affairs makes life difficult for us since you will require interpretations all the time and no one language can be utilized to conduct the affirs of the church. In addition, the Prelates that are coming to Africa, speaks mostly English and while those that are competent in English associate themselves with such a Bishop, others feel left out and left behind.

Furthermore, the vast distances to be travelled and the fact that Africa does not consist of united states but rather many countries, each governed by their own Presidents and Prime Ministers adds even more to the equation. If the AMEC was in a position to sustain development of the church in Africa, the right thing to do would have been to have a Bishop in each country where the church is in existence.

Needless to say, we managed to put together a proposal to the 47th session of the General Conference for consideration where we requested the greater church to support us and redistrict Africa, to add more districts as per the aforementioned.

In terms of leadership, there are quite a number of colleagues who are more than qualified to do the job. They may not have Masters and PHD degrees but they have a wealth of knowlege of missionary work, and some of the Bishops that we have now in our church should perhaps come of their high horses and pedestals and learn from the masters and perhaps than they will be succesful in their mission. Please understand me well, there are some bishops from overseas that are really trying their level best, to bring about development and change here in our Zion in Africa. But there are others. "Lord forgive me" that just come and craete division, havoc, anarchie, pile up a bunch of lies and even get away with it. When the next Bishop comes he will simply tell you I am not interested in the previous Bishop's administration I want to start on a clean page, just to add more insult to injury.

Now as we are preparing for the general Conference we have quite a number of candidates who claimed to be ready. However, in my opinion ther are two candidates, Rev. Dr. Wilfred J. Messiah and Rev. Andrew B. Lewin whom I am confident are ready for the higher office. I solicit your prayers and votes for them.

God bless!! Rev. A. Eberhardt Biwa

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Brothe Nalton, thankyou so much for adressing this question to me by name and as well as to my brethren on the "Mother Land. I will submit my opinion in a few days.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Blessings and Thanks to both of you

I have had some introduction to your issues with my work within the connection over this past 5 years and have had the pleasure of talking with some of your Brothers in the Ministry.

It is my belief that this General Conference should be the launch of the most significant program for cultural and economic development for these "Missionary Districts". There is much that we need to learn from all of you and it is the position of my associate, Senator Rev. Dr. Santucci that indeed there should be an increase of Episcopal Districts in Africa to better manage the growth and development of mission work in our "Mother-Land". For this to work it will require significantly more funds as has been outlined in his new economic development proposals. These, if approved at the General Conference, will forever change the finance position of the Church to better grow the work in Africa.

I will continue to pray for all of you working in Africa and pray that one day I will be able to visit with you in the land of my roots.

May the Blessing of God be upon you

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004


May i take this opportunity to thank Nalton Brangman for requesting for my personal opinion as well as that of my brothers and sisters in "Mother "Africa on how how we see leadership in Africa.

Firstly, it is true most of you our brethren in the US are so very far away from us.God has indeed blessed us to have vast large areas in Africa with natural resources most of which up to now are intact and unexploited.

Nalton you have asked a wise and probing question if there should be consideration for increasing the Districts in Africa to be more representational of the different cultures and independent countries in Africa.

On the Spiritual front, the church has not been able to reach out and evangelize the vast land compared to other denominations. On paper most land is geographically covered as areas where the AME Church is firmly planted but in realities the presence of the AMEC is rather scanty. These whole picture gives an impression of inadequate membership growth on a vast piece of land. This has been largely due to the less days and time spent on the “mother land” by our Episcopal fathers from the USA. Given an opportunity for them to spend more time coupled with their competence and rich visions could have added more value to Church growth numerically than at the present moment. The result is a picture of inadequate membership growth in a vast piece of land has been created over a decade.

Should there be consideration for increasing the Districts in Africa? My personal response is Yes and No. I will not attempt to justify my "Yes" and "No" but leave it to readers to decide based on my opinion, but if I do I will ask all of you to pardon me.

I will begin with the area I am conversant with, the "Sensational 17th Episcopal District. Official papers of the AME Church, tell us that the 17th is composed of Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is a vast area and there is potential for church membership growth that can multiply and exceed the current 2,000,000 that the 17th is composed of. The total population of the 17th is 36,000,0000+/-. My home country, Zambia alone with a piece of land equal to the state of Texas USA has a population of 11,000,000 people and yet Texas on it’s own makes the 10th Episcopal District.

A proposal has been made by the AJC to redistrict the 17th by creating two more districts. By implication, this is a creation of two more positions of Bishop which will result into three Bishops. While I am not sure what bench marks are used to create a district I would like to guest that we can approach this from two fronts. The first is the population and the second is the size of the land.

Assuming that redistricting is proportionately done based on current membership the bishops of the three bishops of the new look 17th will share the 2,000,000+/- membership and each will have in their district 666,666+/-.The question is what number or population is required to constitute an Episcopal District if we use the numeric approach?

Secondly, there has to be awareness that the large piece of land may not always represent a big population. For instance, there are reports of a "discovery of more than 100 AME Churches in Congo DR with more than 1,000,000 members out of which 700+/- have been ordained itinerant ministers during current quadrennial. This leaves us 300+/- members of a piece of land that is almost twice the size of the State of Texas. But the DRC itself has a population of more than 17,000,000. This is a potential area of church growth but people are not yet in tune with the operations of the church. For instance, out of the reported number of 1,000,000 membership, no one represented the DRC during the just ended 17th Episcopal Christian Education Congress.

The current Bishop has spent lest that 60 days in the 17th Episcopal District this quadrennial and. So it goes without saying that the "New Found Land" (NFL) of DRC has not been nurtured as well as the other countries have been and yet in less than four years the same territory has new membership over and above half of areas where the church has existed for more that 100 years?

My opinion is that redistricting first be put on hold until the 2004 General Conference sends a task force to Congo DR to verify the numbers. The church will end up having Ghost membership on record. Be on the look out for the DRC report in the forth coming 2004 General Conference. Redistricting will not ultimately result in increased membership. What Africa has suffered from for more that a decade was the "absence with official leave" of Bishops, who check out of the Episcopal Districts as soon as the annual conferences are closed.

With the coming of indigenous Bishop's this trend can be reversed for the better. Let the first, indigenous Bishop's come and mop up as well as clean up the Episcopal Districts and there after present justified recommendations on Geographical Redistricting based on a combination of language, size of land as well as population distribution.

If the church would like to redistricting using the size of land only or population only and language only or a combination of the three I strongly support the idea, though it will be costly to the church with the creation of additional positions of Bishops. What do you think?

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Dear Rev Royd Mwandu

I am profoundly grateful for your thoughtful and well presented points. I agree with you on both your yes and no. My Challenge is that the AMEC suggest a member ship of 3 million in total yet the field has yet to be fully worked. I believe that the instruction for Episcopal Service must require a minimum time in the District. If we can grow and develop these areas as you have described we could double or even tripe the membership of the AMEC. The economic plan of Senator Rev. Dr. Santucci is positioned to make an historic difference to the work on the continent. This dialogue must continue on this board.

I have other thoughts which I will share on another thread. I hope you and others will respond. Please pray for both Rev. Santucci and I as we continue to be about the call of God.

Blessings from Bermuda

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

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