A Course in Christian Discipleship for Africa








Chilema 2017




Diocese of Southern Malawi (from 2007)

Rooted in Jesus was first introduced to the Diocese of Southern Malawi on the recomendation of its neighbour the Diocese of Niassa, where Rooted in Jesus had been introduced the previous year.

The diocese has only 17 clergy, and many churches depend on dedicated lay leadership. Rooted in Jesus was adopted as a new strategy in a diocese which has hitherto relied on crusades for its evangelism, and is looking to develop an effective strategy for lay discipleship. Diocesan Evangelism Coordinator Martin Mlaka wrote:

'"For over three decades, the Anglican diocese of southern Malawi has involved itself in crusades but without a proper tool for follow-up. It is in this regard that we find the Rooted in Jesus material and methods helpful to nurture the converts right immediately after each crusade. Soon after their training, we are going to deploy the catechists one by one at each place we have a church planting crusade and where the congregations are at establishment stage".

The 2008 visit offered training and support to a wide group of lay leaders from 120 parishes, and Martin wrote:

'"I want to thank you for the wonderful team that you sent to this year's conference. It was great and marvellous and charismatic, you should have seen how exciting it was. It was good also to me because this year we only invited those parishes that are in Blantyre and part of Chiradzulu district. Already, this year's group has started forming groups for Rooted in Jesus. Monitoring will be easy on my side because I will not have to travel very long distances to observe how they are faring. Pray for me as I face a challenge to seeing the groups up this year. I am meeting the Bishop tomorrow to brief him on the conference. We are doing well, more than half the parishes of those who attended the conference have started their small groups". - Martin Mlaka

Ten years have now passed. Bishop James Tengatenga has been succeeded by Bishop Alinafe Kalemba, and Martin Mlaka has moved on from the diocese. Bishop Alinafe has asked us therefore to run a refresher course for Rooted in Jesus, and this will take place later this year.

Diocese of Upper Shire (from 2015)

In November 2015 John Lee took a joint team from the UK and Zambia to the Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi, in response to a longstanding invitation from Bishop Brighton Malasa. Bishop Brighton gave a warm and authoritative welcome to RinJ. The conference was opened by the two Zambian team members Fr Kapomba Sekeleti and Canon Susan Chulu, who were joined the next day by the 3 UK team members. 31 clergy and 49 lay leaders were trained to lead groups, and a couple of weeks later we received the following surprised and moving email from Fr Edward Kawinga:

Rooted in Jesus is a real eye opener! There is a lot l didn't know about my parishioners! Group introductions alone reveal that our parishioners are dying in silence and I am very convinced that RinJ is the real Cure,”
Fr Edward Kawinga, Diocese of Upper Shire, Malawi, November 2015

A followup conference was held in February 2017, and Fr Elliot Litereko reported that RinJ is bringing great changes to the lives of those involved, with people committing their lives to Christ for the first time, and groups becoming self sustaining and offering love and support to others in the community. Bishop Brighton writes:

We are happy and glad that the laity of this Diocese can be given such a chance to undertake theological studies in their local parishes which was perceived as for the ordained ministers. When I visit the parishes I have seen people gathering and undergoing these training on Saturdays and Sundays after Mass. I am delighted to see such progress. I am convinced that if people (the laity) are rooted in Jesus having undergone these trainings, we shall have both the laity and clergy rich spiritually which will lessen the tasks of our priests as we shall have knowledgeable faithfuls.


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