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2011 Mozambique South Annual (regional) Conference

Mozambique South Annual (regional) Conference
Dec. 6-11. 2011, Cambine Mission

The Mozambique South Annual (regional) Conference of the United Methodist Church met in one more session, at Cambine Mission on Dec. 6-11.

Hundreds of delegates among clergy and laypeople representing all the 16 districts and the 160 churches and evangelical extensions, made themselves present to the event to discuss issues that are crucial for the church in this part of the world.

This conference counted with the presence of a special guest, Bishop Katembo Kainda from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who came mainly to share his experiences on the sustainability of the church.

Discussions included the creation of superintendence districts, appointment of six superintendents for the districts and other actions.

Assisted by Katembo and the retired Bishop João Somane Machado, Mozambique Area Bishop Joanquina Felipe Nhanala ordained 18 new ministers of the word, among those 11 deacons and seven elders. This was the highest moment for those who have gone through many years of training. Now, they were just waiting for the fulfillment of the laying of hands as a way of giving authority for them to proclaim the Word of God for all the Nations.

The ordinands vowed to go and serve the community and to obey the rules and regulations of the United Methodist Church as they do their work, having God as their guide and protector.

João Sambo, one of the recently ordained pastors, says that it was a long way for him to get to ordination and he hopes to be able to perform according to God's will and lead by his unfailing grace.

Asked what his feeling was after ordination, he said, "It is a strange feeling because every new thing brings us a lot of expectations and anxiety, and it is the end of one phase and starting of a new one."

Sambo is a graduate from Africa University in Zimbabwe, where he attained his Bachelor of Divinity degree and he did his master's degree at Emory University in Atlanta. Recently he served as the chaplain and full-time lecturer at Cambine Theological Seminary. His most recent appointment is at Liberdade United Methodist Church in Maputo West District.

While these servants of God are joining ordained ministry, three pastors celebrate their retirement. They feel happy for the years of work in the field of God, despite of the various sad experiences they have gone through. What matters now is the fact that they have accomplished their mission as God called them to do.

With assistance of Machado, Katembo delivered the message on Sunday as the conference was getting to its end. After reading from Mark 6:35-42, the preacher urged the Mozambican community to think about what they have so they will not consider themselves poor. Katembo said, "As the order comes for us to feed the people, we have to check where we are and see what we have to feed the people." He emphasized that sustainability of the church must be taken seriously.

Thousands of United Methodists attended the closing service, and as always. it was a big celebration. Government leaders and other guests honored the service by their presence. A special offering was taken on behalf of the orphans of the late Rev. Benedito Mapswanganhe, a district superintendent, and his wife, who died in November and December, respectively.

The appointment of pastors and laypeople to the different ministries of the church was the most expected moment. A unique thing about these nominations is that only six district superintendents were appointed instead of 16 as habitual.