From 5 to 10 March 2019 the UEM Regional Assembly Africa (AfRA) will meet. The host is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN). Reflections and discussions will be based on the motto of the last UEM General Assembly: "Being the salt of the world": Acting together against violence and extremism on the way to peace, justice and reconciliation.
The ELCRN Chairmen, Deputy Bishop Pastor Paul Hatani Kisting and Acting General Secretary Pastor Wilfred Diergaardt welcomed the participants of the Africa Regional Assembly. Referring to the UEM motto, the Deputy Bishop reminded the AfRA delegates that all UEM members are determined to be the salt of the world and to give hope to people in need through prayer, truth and solidarity. "When UEM members join together, they affirm the power of God to overcome violence and extremism together and to promote peace, justice and reconciliation in our world," said the leading theologian.
During the sessions of the Africa Regional Assembly, reports, successes, challenges and future plans were discussed.
Already on 4 March, the Africa Regional Executive Committee (ARB) met to prepare the AfRA, to receive the UEM staff's working reports, to discuss the celebration of UEM Week 2019 and to reflect on future plans and activities of UEM. The topic 'African member churches as owners of UEM was also discussed.
The ARB also received an interim report from the churches on the preparations within the African region for the 25th anniversary of UEM as an international community since 1996.
On 5 March the youth and women's pre-consultation took place in the run-up to the regional assembly.
African member churches show strong growth
The member churches in Africa are growing rapidly and play an important role in the provision of social services in their countries. In several regions of Africa, about 80% of health and school facilities are owned by the churches. Reports highlight some of the challenges facing African churches. These included: cases of multilevel corruption, abuse of power, ethnic conflicts, religious extremism and human rights violations, especially against women and children. With this in mind, the above VEM motto is very relevant in the African context. The African member churches are currently considering together how they can effectively address the challenges.
In addition, decisions have been taken on how churches in the African region can live up to their responsibilities by increasing their contributions to UEM's fundraising campaign "United Action" and by financially supporting UEM events and activities.
Rev. Dr. John Wesley Kabango, Executive Secretary Africa