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Overcoming the image of poverty

Bishop Mothusi J. Letlhage, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Botswana (ELCB) and Chair of the Africa Region Board. (Photo: M. Pauly / UEM)

The Africa Regional Board (ARB) of the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) met on the 10th and 11th February 2021. Originally, the venue for this conference would have been Botswana, because UEM member ELCB, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Botswana, had intended to be the host. Due to the ongoing corona pandemic and its negative impact on travelling plans, the ARB was carried out by Zoom, hosted by Africa department Wuppertal (Germany) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania).

Before the sessions started on the first day, all board members participated at UEM’s international weekly morning devotion, which was held virtually. The biblical input was given by board member Rev. Dr Pascal Bataringaya, the president of the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda.

Think partnership work equally

After being greeted by General Secretary of UEM, Volker Martin Dally, the participants focused on their agenda. Among others they received the ongoing report of the Africa department and discussed on a paper on partnership, which was recently edited by the UEM Management Team in the framework of 25 years of UEM as an international communion.

In four break-out groups the participants gave their comments and recommendations. These were recorded for further consideration, before the final version of the paper being presented to its Council at the end of February 2021. The main objective of the paper is for partnership groups to discuss and share on challenges and opportunities for internationalization and equal partnerships between German and African and Asian members, church districts and institutions. The aim is to identify and promote partnership existing strengths and get away from some possible weaknesses in church partnership work.

Overcoming the image of poverty

Another important point of sharing was the contribution of the African member churches to the UEM funds through the UEM campaign “United Action” and to the costs related to hosting national or international UEM events. Strategies of fundraising for these purposes were discussed. ARB member Jane Ewoule from the Evangelical Church in Cameroon said: “We need to join efforts to build UEM financially.” And Rev. Dr John Wesley Kabango, executive secretary for the Africa region, added: “It is a matter of dignity so that African churches lose the image of always being poor.”

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