ROOTED IN JESUS
A Course in Christian Discipleship for Africa

Chipili

Chipili

Mike Samuel

E zambia

Mfuwe

E Zambia

Mfuwe

fish

Chipata

Mfuwe

Lusaka

Lusaka

Lusaka

Lusaka

Chipili

Lusaka

Alfred Sichone

 

Zambia

 

Rooted in Jesus is in use in 3 of Zambia’s 5 Anglican dioceses: Luapula, Eastern Zambia and Lusaka. It is also being used by Dignity International for their fast-expanding ‘Life’ project, whose vision is to see rural areas of Zambia transformed through the power and practice of the gospel.

Diocese of Luapula (from 2005)

Luapula is a young diocese in NE Zambia, and Robert Mumbi is its first bishop. Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the diocese in 2005, when nearly 300 people participated in 3 regional training conferences. Archdeacon Cornelius Chalwe was appointed Diocesan Coordinator, working with local coordinators in each archdeaconry. Cornelius has also taken part in Rooted in Jesus teams to Malawi and within Zambia. The planting team was led by Alison Morgan, with John Lee, Mike Hutchinson, Mark Bedford, Hils Revill (UK) and Mike Samuel (Tanzania). Rooted in Jesus is used in Bemba.

Individual clergy began using Rooted in Jesus in their parishes with great success, but due to distance and lack of resources it took a little while to establish it as a diocesan-wide programme.In January 2007 the programme was reviewed, it was agreed that those who had used it had found the material to be "very good for teaching at all levels", and a resolution was passed that all lay readers in the diocese must hold a Rooted in Jesus certificate before they may be licensed. RinJ is used for confirmation classes and Bible study in small groups.

In 2010 Sylvester Phiri, the Dean of Chipili Cathedral and Diocesan Training Chaplain, took over from Cornelius Chalwe as coordinator. Both Sylvester and Fr Alfred Sichone, who has led a group of lay leaders thorugh the complete course and appointed them as leaders in their turn in his parish of Mbala, joined the RinJ team to the Diocese of Eastern Zambia in June 2010.

In 2012 we received some inspiring feedback from a dynamic and outward looking group in Mansa led by Robert Katandula - see below.

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Diocese of Eastern Zambia (from 2008)

Bishop William Mchomboh. Teams led by Alison Morgan, with Amorim Rocha, Amanda Johnson, Nigel Rawlinson and Charles Mchomboh (2008) and with Anita & John Benson, Richard Thomas, Alfred Sichone and Sylvester Phiri (2010). RinJ Junior team led by Jonathan Rendall, with Hilary Buckingham, Martin Mlaka and Fran Huff.

Rooted in Jesus is used in Chichewa.

The Diocese of Eastern Zambia is a small but growing diocese with a great vision for lay ministry. We were invited by Bishop William in 2008 to lead Rooted in Jesus conferences in Chipata, Mfuwe and Petauke. The conferences were attended by all the clergy and by some 180 lay leaders, men and women. Some had walked or cycled up to 86 km to meet with us. Each of the 11 parishes formed a parish plan, and groups began shortly after the conference. Rooted in Jesus is also used for baptism and confirmation preparation across the diocese. In 2010 Bishop William invited us to return to strengthen the existing programme and to train 130 youth leaders to run groups - the first time they had been offered a residential training programme. The programme is now self-sustaining in the diocese, with additional leaders being trained through both diocesan and archdeaconry training events. RinJ is now required preparation for baptism and confirmation candidates throughout the diocese, and there are groups in every parish.

The programme is overseen by Susan Chulu, Canon Missioner for the diocese, and Fr Kapomba Sekeleti, both of whom travel regularly round the diocese to support and encourage group leaders. The Junior programme is overseen by Abraham Phiri.

In April 2014 four initial training conferences for Rooted in Jesus Junior were held in different parts of the diocese, with 199 Sunday School teachers commissioned to begin using Junior in their parishes.

Rooted in Jesus is now a self-sustaining programme in the diocese. Confirmation candidates are required to complete all four books, printing of books and certificates is done locally, and regular training conferences for both the adult and Junior programmes are organised by the coordinators. The most recent of these took place in May 2016, when a series of four conferences were run in different locations across the diocese to provide further training for Rooted in Jesus Junior leaders. In March 2015 coordinator Abraham Phiri reported that there were 60 groups meeting in 4 deaneries, with many testimonies from both the children and their parents.

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Dignity Zambia (from 2008)

During the summer of 2008 Jon Paul Witt of Dignity Worldwide worked with a small group of pastors to train and equip them to teach Christian discipleship in their villages using Rooted in Jesus, as part of a bigger project called "Life!", whose vision is to see the rural areas of Africa transformed through the power and practice of the Christian gospel. From that small starting point the project has expanded rapidly. By the end of 2015 there were 311 groups running in rural areas all over Zambia, with some in Tanzania and Namibia. We have received some remarkable testimonies from the groups (see the commendations and feedback pages).

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Diocese of Lusaka (from 2010)

In April 2010 we accepted an invitation from Bishop David Njovu to introduce Rooted in Jesus to the two archdeaconries of the Diocese of Lusaka. Team led by Martin Cavender, with Lucy Mugwanja, Kevin Roberts, Amy Gorman and John Beckett.

Working with Archdeacon Peter Rivett in the rural southern archdeaconry of Mapanza, and with Revd Frank Hakoola in the cathedral city of Lusaka, the team offered two 4 day conferences. Each congregation sent between 2 and 5 people who were involved in lay leadership in some way. Altogether, around 150 people were commissioned to lead small discipleship groups in local churches. The conferences were marked by some extraordinary testimonies of healing and deliverance. Bishop David commented: "I was blessed with the team who came and I believe we have established a long term relationship for the benefit of God’s Church."

Follow up conferences were held in May 2012, working this time with 75 leaders adult groups and for the first time with 32 Sunday School teachers who will use Rooted in Jesus Junior. The team was led by Ven Kevin Roberts. Fr Isaac Mwala and Fr Sanford Busika have been appointed as coordinators of RinJ in the two archdeaconries, and Diocesan Youth Officer Fr Robert Sihubwa will oversee the Junior programme across the diocese. In November 2013 Fr Bob reported that 9 congregations are now using Junior, and they hope to build on this foundation in 2014.

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Day in the life of a coordinator

“At Chibondo I only met the Priest and the Deacon. When I arrived I found the church leaders who came for Rooted in Christ had been sent away, for they had not enough food to stay for the two days. And I was late by a day because I had to come from Nchelenge, pass home and take something to use (mosquito net). And I had to hire someone, a watchtower member, to cycle me on both his bikes. I had to hire 2 bicycles, one to carry my bag and the man to carry me. The road was long and tiresome and some place sandy” – Ven Cornelius Chalwe

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