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2013 North Katanga Annual Conference

North Katanga Annual Conference
Aug. 18-22, Kamina, Democratic Republic of Congo

The North Katanga Annual Conference convened its 43rd session attended by clergy and lay people in Kamina from Aug. 18 to 22.

Every morning, the participants started the conference with the devotion. The first devotion held on Monday, Aug. 19, was dedicated to the miracle of the new Cessna Caravan, which serves the Wings of the Morning aviation ministry that provides transportation for those in need of hospital care. North Katanga Area Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda read Psalms 150. He praised and thanked God for the miracle.

This official opening of the conference got participants in the mood of praise and blessings. Bringing greetings to the conference members was a team from the West Ohio Annual (regional) Conference, which was among the major donors of the new plane. Churches in West Ohio also helped support the education and training of the plane's pilot, Gaston Ntambo, Bishop Ntambo's son.

The West Ohio team included the Nancy Byrd, Kenya Cummings, Jeff Jewell, Alison Walther and Doug Walther. The team also included the Revs. Roger Grace, Wendy Lybarger, Bill Patterson, Deanna E. Stickley-Miner and Don Wilson.

The Rev. Kyenge Sungu, graduate of United Methodist-related Africa University in Zimbabwe, chaired the session one day. The Rev. Kora Mwamba chaired the session on the second day. Mwamba has been assigned as the registrar at Kabongo Methodist University and is a 2012 graduate from Africa University's master program.

The five-day conference was attended by almost 400 participants. In attendance were choir members from the communities Katongola and Kamalondo as well as the Bana Ba Zebende Choir.

The conference participants celebrated the dedication of the miracle, the Cessna Caravan, a result of faith and hope from the partnership between North Katanga Annual Conference with West Ohio, Greater New Jersey, Arkansas and Texas conferences as well the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., and the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.

Lybarger of the West Ohio Conference preached during the conference session.

During her sermon, she said, North Katanga is a source of hope for West Ohio United Methodist, and the breath of transformation is visible. She challenged clergy and lay to be hope for one another. With God, she said, people take responsibility for the good of their neighbors even though doing so requires risks.

Bishop Ntambo thanked West Ohio Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, who could not attend, as well as the team who came from West Ohio to Kamina.

Pastors and other clergy congratulated Bishop Ntambo for receiving a peace award Aug. 18. It is the highest civic honor award by the National Chancellor office of the Democratic Republic of Congo led by Gen. Shilungu Nembeso Otoko.

During the events, not only United Methodist members attended but al so Catholics, Muslims and representatives from the government in Kamina.

The five-day conference provided strategies and resolutions to enhance leadership, health and congregational development in North Katanga.

The district of Bukama introduced Mr. Kaniki, who donated $12,000 for Bukama local church construction. He is a business man in Bukama district.

The board of ordained ministry presented elders, deacons and local pastors to be ordained and called for ministry in North Katanga.

The annual conference also elected representatives for North Katanga. They are: the Rev Kabongo Ilunga, Pistchi Kazadi and Ilunga Mbayu Watete.

The conference heard other reports and took additional actions.

Fostering agriculture

Mukabi Kapongo Jean Jacques is the headmaster from ITA, technical school of agriculture in Nyembo Umpungu. He reported that four of his students passed state exams. This school trains boys and girls in order to improve agriculture, water and sanitation. Students who graduate mend rivers so that people can have access to clean water in villages along the shore of the Congo River. Jean Jacques is a graduate of the United Methodist Teacher College in Kamina.

Clergywomen in North Katanga

A committee met during the annual conference session to plan how to strengthen the Susanna Center, space for clerywomen. This center serves to train, equip other women for ministry and discuss women issues in North Katanga. The vision that women share with other women is to empwer North Katanga women to contribute with critical thinking and analysis on women issues. The Rev. Dyese Buntu led the meeting by inviting clergywomen to be visible and emulate other women to join the ministry. She referred to Lybarger of the West Ohio Conference who preached on Esther.

The committee decided to train women about human rights and build capacity of North Katanga clergy women. The committee projected the workshop will be held in Kamina in April 2014.

Kanene District

The Rev. Nday Kasambay, an Africa University graduate and now Kandene District superintendent, reported on the challenges his district faces. The district has among its resources primary and secondary school and caring pastors. Fishponds and vegetable gardens are improving food security in Kanene District. However, the district still experiences a high mortality rate among women and infants, Kasambay said. The district has a heath center, but it is not equipped.

He said the district needs ham radio to connect with the conference office and other districts. "If I can connect with other districts and conference offices, difficulties within the district will be defeated," he said.

Women and children's health In North Katanga

An eye clinician from Kamina Vision, reported that he treats 30 people per month. He rents Shungu Clinic room for eye surgery and patients are transferred to Lupandilo Health Center for checkups. It takes ten days for preparations before a patient gets eye surgery. Among those helped are children and individuals caught in the crossfire of violent militias.

Report by Betty Musau, North Katanga communicator
Electronic communications in North Katanga is support through Advance number 14962A