ROOTED IN JESUS
A Course in Christian Discipleship for Africa

Nord Kivu

Nord Kivu

Aru

ARu

Boga

Boga

Aru 2012

katanga

Kalemie

Lubumbashi

kalemie

Mamba DRC

katanga

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging from 40 years of civil war, during which most of its infrastructure has been destroyed. In the Diocese of Nord Kivu alone, which is 4 times the size of the UK (but has only 2 km of tarmac road!), 4 million people are estimated to have died during the war years. The church is the only functional institution in much of the country, and people are turning to it in large numbers. Many church leaders have never had the opportunity to pursue secondary education, and not all own Bibles. The Church has identified the need to train leaders and plant churches throughout this remote region as its top priority, and Rooted in Jesus is seen as a key part of this strategy.

Rooted in Jesus has been translated into Congolese Swahili and into French for use in the Province.

 

Diocese of Nord-Kivu (from 2007)

The Diocese of Nord Kivu was the first to host a Rooted in Jesus conference, which it did as soon as the security situation improved enough to permit travel to and within the diocese. The conference took place in November 2007. A return visit was made in September 2009, and another in July 2011.

During the first visit in November 2007, 180 leaders were trained and some got off to a good start. The diocese was however soon embroiled in internal conflict, and the momentum was lost. Rooted in Jesus was relaunched in September 2009 as part of a SOMA conference which majored on reconciliation; 40 people attended the afternoon workshops, 27 of whom committed to starting new groups – the majority clergy but with some lay leaders including 5 women. Mupagazi Bwanamuzuri was appointed Diocesan Coordinator.

In July 2011 the diocese hosted conferences for 26 existing and 99 new leaders in Beni and Butembo, rejoicing in the new readiness to leave the difficulties of the past behind and move forward in repentance and faith. One participant said "These people have brought us medicine. God has brought them to revive our Churches. He has vision for His people and the Church in Congo'; another simply said, 'We are catching the fire, we are catching the fire." New groups were established in eight parishes, and a request was received for training from a local Baptist church. The Coordinator wrote: "The RinJ program is good to help the church to grow and Christians to  witness."

More recently there has been renewed conflict in this part of DR Congo, and we understand that this has brought further disruption to the lives of the people and the ministry of the church; may have had to leave their homes and seek sanctuary elsewhere.

 

Diocese of Aru (from 2011)

The Diocese of Aru is linked with the Diocese of Chester, UK, and Rooted in Jesus was introduced in April 2011 by a team from Chester. Aru is a large diocese, and 140 participants gathered for a 4 day training conference. By April 2012 most of those who attended the conference were involved in 16 active groups in the three archdeaconries, with up to 12 people in each group; most groups had completed the first book pf the course. The coordinators were able to provide regular support and training for group leaders.

Followup conferences were held in August 2012 in Mahagi and Aru. Each parish had been asked to send 7 delegates, and 160 people attended in all, 50 of whom had been at the 2011 conferences. 78 of these were commissioned as group leaders.

Renewed rebel activity in the area meant that the ongoing training planned has not been able to take place.

 

Diocese of Boga (from 2011)

The Diocese of Boga is the oldest Anglican diocese in the DRC, and is also linked with the Diocese of Chester, UK, and in April 2011 it hosted its first Rooted in Jesus conference in Bunia, where the diocese has its administrative base. 83 leaders were trained to lead Rooted in Jesus groups. The response was overwhelmingly positive - and the team learned that this had been the first time in 32 years that lay men and women had received training at a central conference alongside clergy.

In April 2012 Gill Brown, visiting from Chester, was able to report that most of those who attended the conference were involved in 32 active groups as either leaders or members, and that demand from people wanting to join groups was high. The situation however has remained highly unstable both within the diocese and more widely, with a high level of rebel activity. We hope a return team will be able to visit to provide support and encouragement when circumstances permit.

 

Diocese of Katanga (from 2014)

The Diocese of Katanga is situated in the east of this huge country, and has established a missionary diocese within its borders. The diocese hosted its first Rooted in Jesus conferences in March 2014.

Training conferences were held in Lumbumbashi and in Kalemie, the heart of Katanga's new missionary diocese. 176 people attended, and the programme was launched with immediate effect. In Kalemie the gathering was ecumenical, involving leaders from not only the Anglican but also the Methodist, Baptist and Pentecostal churches; it was the first training event held in this missinoary diocese. Commitment was high: in Lumbumbashi the team walked into the prayer room to be greeted by four ladies whose undertaking was to pray for the conference: "We will be here all night." In Kalemie one priest arrived by bicycle, having taken 6 days to cover the 512 km from his home. The team included members from the UK, Zambia, South Africa and Tanzania. Stephane Makata and James Mayundo were appointed as the diocesan coordinators for the two areas.

Bishop Elisha wrote afterwards: “We would like to present our thanks to management of Rooted in Jesus who released and sent you to come in Congo, and you were faithful in accepting, without to hesitate lack of enough security in Congo, but your faith and thirst to serve others brought you without fear. On behalf of the conference participants we thank you so much, and we will continue the work of God as Rooted in Jesus taught us. Prophet Ezekiel saw the valley of dry bones, so we were valley of dry bones but now through RinJ team God breathed new life into a valley of dry bones, created waves of revival, waves of growth and spiritual life to His people in Congo."

By July 2014 Stephane had visited 22 groups in Lubumbashi, of which 8 had completed book 1. Groups include non church members (one is composed entirely of non church members), and some are held on church premises, some in the city. The group leaders and pastors pray for the group members, and members are enjoying reading the Bible and praying together.In August 2014 James Mayundo wrote to say that groups in four parishes in Kalemie are completing book 1, and that reports from the other denominations represented at the March conference are also encouraging. James reports people growing in faith, congregations increasing with new members joining the groups, and greater love among the people. He asks for our prayers for peace, citing fear, rebellion, polygamy and poverty as key issues. "Surely, GOD will be willing to grant our prayers so that we can serve Him," he concludes.

Further conferences were held in July 2015. A followup conference was held in Lubumbashi, attended by 44 participants; an introductory conference to train new leaders held in Kapolowe, attended by 54 participants, and a followup conference in Kalemie, attended by 110 participants.

In December 2015 Coordinator James Mayundo reported that in Kalemie there were 610 people in 61 Anglican groups, and a further 180 people in 18 groups hosted by leaders from 8 other denominations ranging from Methodist to Orthodox to Pentecostal. In Katanga there were 639 members meeting in 77 groups.

By 2016 the number of groups in Kalémie had doubled to 143 groups with some 1500 members, including 34 groups among other denominations. In Katanga there were now 110 groups with 761 members. A group from St Pierre in Lubumbashi became the first to complete all 4 books; another from St Joseph Kipushi has sent in many testimonies of the ways their lives have changed.

Coordinator James Mayundo reported that 2017 had been a year of encouragements in the midst of difficulties. There are now 199 Rooted in Jesus groups meeting in the diocese, an increasing source of strength as the church works to help the community recover from the recent severe tribal conflict. He writes: "The RinJ members help the population to resolve the conflict with a Program named 'Anglican Campaign of Peace and Reconciliation. The groups have plans to instal RinJ group members in different displaced camps where the Anglican church of Congo is assisting displaced people in the camps around Kalemie; through assisting those people, new churches are born."

In 2017 the diocese established a new vision for a ‘strong, vibrant Diocese which is rooted in Jesus'. This is a diocese with a consistent strategic emphasis on discipleship; and it is growing.

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