Sunday, October 27, 2013

From the Congo

Report of the ACC-MD Congo to the Provincial Synod 2013

The ACC- Missionary Diocese of Congo is pleased to thank all who have contributed for its development by granting projects and prayers through the Missionary Society of Saint Paul, Anglican Aid Abroad, the ACC-Traditional Anglican Church of Canada, and the Diocese of the South. Thanks for their assistances.

I thank those who have assisted me during my ordination and consecration as the first Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of Congo: Archbishop Mark Haverland, Bishop Damien Mead, Bishop Alan Kenyon-Hore, Father David Marriott, Father Robert Mansfield’s Parish, Holy Guardian Angel Parish- Lantana, Father Lock and his Parish Good Shepherd -Palm Bay, and Father Gregory Wassen. God bless all.

The year 2012 in the Anglican Catholic Church- Missionary Diocese of Congo was characterized by three great events: the consecration of the first Bishop Ordinary of the diocese; the sad event of the lose of some congregations situated in dangerous areas of the Province where the militias and rebels are making the law specially the mountain of Mitumba and Equatorial forest. The diocese has lost 22 churches from four parishes situated in dangerous zone or areas (Equatorial forest) which had 1,287 Christians (adults and many children) who have fled their villages to look for a safe place in other territories of the Province; 2 Missions of 92 faithful in the towns of Kinshasa and Goma lack a deacon or priest to conduct church services. As you know our work is mainly centred in the villages and townships, which have high unemployment, poverty and many social problems created by the long war which has disturbed the population who have lost family members, their jobs and properties. Apart from poverty, which is the common situation of the Church in the poor countries, the Missionary Diocese of Congo has a particular [difficulty] which is the war. With war nothing can be done because people throw off balance and live with despair. This requires the diocese to have many possibilities for trying to lift the development’s level.

A new rebellion against the Congolese government was launched in April 2012 in eastern DRC. The insurgent group is known as the M23 and is thought to comprise around 600 fighters, the core of whom formerly belonged to Tutsi rebel group called the National Congress for the Defense of People (CNDP). According to a recent United Nations report, the M23 has received significant military, financial and political support from senior members of the Rwandan and Ugandan’s governments, including the country’s Minister of Defense and Chief of Defense staff. Rwandan and Ugandan support has included provision of weapons, ammunition and soldiers to the rebellion.

The FARDC focus on the rebellion has created a security vacuum elsewhere. In certain parts of North and South Kivu this has allowed other armed groups, such as the Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels and the local militia groups, to regain territory and in some cases attack new areas. Many persons outside DR-Congo think that the war of Congo is tribal war but it is not that. The common thread of the violence is the presence of mineral wealth in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in North and South- Kivu provinces where the ACC (Anglican Catholic Church) work is based. The wars officially ended in 2003, but today more than 3 million persons live as refugees in their own country. Armed groups continue to spread terror as they fight for control of and access to mineral resources.  Women and girls even children are raped every day; militias use rape as a new weapon of war, destroying communities and targeting women, the backbone of Congolese society. Tens thousands of women and girls have been victims of sexual violence in the DR-Congo. Attacks are common, and access to medical and psychological support is very limited. In this issue the Missionary Diocese of Congo thanks the Diocese of South in the USA through Berry’s family who has been able to fund the opening of Clinic in the village of Mosho, also the ACC- District “Traditional Anglican Church of Canada” has founded two raped girls with sewing machines to offer new hope.

To be priest or Bishop in the most dangerous place in the world; it is to put your life in danger; Because since 1996, more than 6 million persons have died from war-related causes as government and rebel militias have fought to control the mineral-rich region’s mines. Countless women have been raped. Local communities have been terrorized and sometimes razed. As ministers of God, we are obliged to save the souls of many people because there are numerous religious groups that are continually stealing people away from Christian faith and church tradition. Once a person is captured by any such cult, it is very difficult to reach him or her with the gospel, yet we must reach them because Christ died for them too. Time after time it is either a young or a new believer who is deceived by false cults. Once such people enter the cult, they are blinded so much by the cult's seductive arguments and materials that they become almost insulated from the Gospel message. Praying on the immature, the young, and the uninformed is a very common trick, and this is why Paul exhorted his listeners to grow as soon as possible to a sufficient level of spiritual maturity. He says, “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive (Ephesians 4:14).”

Most active members of false cults have a very dedicated religious life, and they are very serious about their spiritual duties. This is another reason why we should definitely be concerned about the salvation of people who belong to different false cults; most of them are sincere, but are in the trap of a lie. The lie of the group that salvation is fully secure for them keeps them away from the gospel even though they are sincere. However, introducing the gospel to people ensnared by the cults is not an easy task. Anyone who is interested in reaching them with the gospel should be willing to invest a good amount of time and energy at the preparatory stage itself, and much more after that.

There are a difference between the Evangelization in most African Countries and Western countries:
-          Like DR- Congo, Cameroun, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa and Soudan most of our churches are going to be evangelized and established by us leaders, that means we start for nothing to get the possibility to open a church in the village, township or town. This is contrary for the Western countries where many churches join the ACC with some means necessary to be called a church.
-          The majorities of our members are from false cults and poverty areas which need more teachings and seminars to remove the false teachings they had from their previous churches.
-          The poverty is a common issue for the churches situated in poor countries, but in DR-Congo add the fighting in some areas of our country to make break of work in certain areas. We could concentrate our efforts on the town and townships where seem to be safe but we don’t have income to get plots of land or rent houses.
-          In the poor countries we observe the massive participation of local people in their desire to hear the Word of the Lord is one encouraging point, because this is the very mission of the church as we read in Matthew 28:19-20. What is needed is an investment in the poor countries where the ACC is already an established means to provide them with the necessary means for the development of the church in all aspects (economic, social and infrastructure).
-           The work of evangelization we are doing cannot be achieved without your participation and assistance, especially as this time our countries are split by the poverty and wars. One dollar you give is a big contribution for our work in Africa.

The step of after the Ordination and Consecration of the first Bishop Ordinary of the Anglican Catholic Church, Missionary Diocese of Congo has made the church to start the period of maturation because Bishop, Priests, deacons and laymen, each where he works, he is obliged to take over the church’s activities. The Missionary Diocese of Congo is the very heart which beats at the centre of Africa: the strategic launch pad for the growth and development of the ACC in the black world, and in particular the French speaking countries, when we take account of the human and economic potential which is here. The massive participation of local people in their desire to hear the Word of the Lord and to join the ACC is one encouraging point, because this is the very mission of the church as we read in Matthew 28:19-20. Even if Your Grace Archbishop Haverland has called the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo the most dangerous place in the world, the Church is growing; the diocese is well established in the Province of South Kivu where the size is four times the size of Republics of Rwanda and Burundi combined. The Church is going to be established in other provinces of the country Kasai Oriental with 5 parishes, Katanga one parish and Maniema one parish. We have 4 Archdeaconries divided into 6 deaneries, 22 parishes and 33 congregations, with a total of 1,657 faithful (adults and children).

We need your prayer that God sends peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the neighbour countries. We beseech our partners of the ACC-OP dioceses, parishes, individual, Anglican Aid Abroad and Missionary Society of Saint Paul to hold hands with us.

Thanks God bless all

For the ACC- Missionary Diocese of Congo

+The Right Reverend Steven AYULE-MILENGE

Bishop Ordinary

(Editor's note: Financial contributions can be sent through the Mission Fund of the Diocese of the South, ACC-OP.)

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