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Clinical Pastoral Education and Prison Ministry

The participants of the CPE training (photo: UEM/Africa)

Empowering pastors who work in the hospitals and prisons has been a priority in UEM Africa region. This is due to the fact that there is an increasing number of people who find themselves marginalized, stigmatized and sometimes, they seem to be ignored by their societies due to their status. A follow up training on Clinical Pastoral Education and Prison Ministry has been organized and twelve participants from UEM member churches in Africa attended. The training held from 10th to 14th June 2019 at Ubumwe guest House in the EAR/ Kigeme.

The main speaker of the training was Bishop Nathan Amooti of EAR/ Cyangugu. He stressed his message on the the topic “Who is in prison and who is the prisoners”. Through his presentation, he reminded the participants that the church should not be confused to the church buildings. He stated that some pastors consider people who come for Sunday services or who participate in church activities as the only church members ignoring those who are sick in hospitals and in those living prisons.  For him, church is everywhere. So, the Good News should be preached to all people. In other words, the church is called to announce Good News to the poor in Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins and hope to hopeless. The church has also a message to console the sick people and prisoners and proclaim the healing and restoring the broken-hearted. Therefore, "spiritual gospel" and "material gospel" are needed for both sick people in the hospital and prisoners.

Participants also had time to share their experiences as chaplains and visited the hospital of Kigeme which belong to the Anglican Church. They appreciated the fellowship and welcoming spirits of Bishop Assiel Musabyimana of EAR/ Kigeme who stated that his diocese is proud to belong to UEM family and the support received from UEM is appreciated.

The following are recommendations that came out from participants:

  • Churches are called to provide support for creating awareness and advocacy for chaplaincy and service providers as part of the diaconia/social services of the churches.
  • To strength South- South partnerships so that participants may share their experiences and skills.
  • UEM facilitate chaplains to formulate guideline document that will help them in their work.
  • The next meeting should be done in Namibia or Botswana and the proposed topic is “Reconciliation: Trauma healing”.

Rev. Dr Nagaju Muke (UEM Africa Deputy Executive Secretary)

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