From the 7th to the 10th May 2018, the UEM Africa Board was hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCRN) in Windhoek. It was held at the Tabitha Centre newly rehabilitated and currently used as a Guest House. The ELCRN Administration Board made of Bishop Ernst Gamxamûb, Deputy Bishop Hatani Paul Kisting, General Secretary Rev Petrus Khariseb, Associate General Secretary, Rev Wilfred Diergaardt and ELCRN Co-workers welcomed the ARB Africa delegates, the UEM General Secretary, Rev Volker Martin Dally, the UEM Ombudsperson for Africa Region, Mr. Godwin Lwezaura and UEM Staff members of the Africa Department, from Dar es Salaam and Wuppertal.
The ARB kicked off with a devotion led by the ELCRN Deputy Bishop Paul Hatani Kisting who appreciated that UEM member churches work as an international family called to serve God’s people, particularly in difficult times. He developed how UEM members from Africa, Asia and Germany are committed to unity irrespective of their denominational differences, being missionary churches that use God’s given gifts to work for people in need. Praying for a successful UEM Africa Board meetings, the Deputy Bishop Paul Hatani Kisting concluded saying that UEM member churches witness that “Team work makes the dream work”.
Bishop Ernst Gamxamûb introduced his colleagues in the leadership and welcomed the ARB delegates. “We are joyful to host UEM Africa Board meeting” shares the Bishop. It is a privilege to welcome UEM at the former home for aged people which is currently given a new meaning of hosting sisters and brothers visiting Windhoek. He referred to the UEM- ARB agenda and underlined the importance of each item and its meaning for the church work in Africa. He ended his welcome words by praying and reading the Psalm 100.
The ARB meeting is a UEM regular annual gathering in African Region. It was convened to evaluate UEM implemented activities in the second half of 2017, to plan the rest of 2018 and to share on what will be included in the 2019 UEM goals and activities which will be completed the second week of June 2018.
Based on a questionnaire prepared by the Africa Department, participants shared thoughts and collected ideas on the preparations of the celebration of the 25th Anniversary in Africa Churches and internationally. Soon each UEM African Church will start to collect statistics and prepare series of activities which will start to be implemented in the framework of the UEM 25th Anniversary.
The ARB members deliberated and exchanged on concrete strategies to improve the UEM United Action Campaign implemented by African churches. Members are committed to promote the campaign, encouraging them to be owners of UEM and contributing to its sustainable financial situation. ARB thanked members of African member churches at all levels for their new understanding and contributions. The Rev Volker Martin Dally shared that the last UEM Council advised that “UEM United Action Campaign is a practical way of showing how UEM is a communion of churches in mission, where all have equal rights and responsibilities”. It is an important way of taking more ownership by churches in Asia and Africa while at the same time ensuring the financial sustainability of UEM.
Mr Godwin Lwezaura, the UEM ombudsman for Africa Region who was appointed by the UEM council made a presentation saying that his role is to advise UEM and member churches when needed. Churches are informed that he is tasked to intervene with the interests of the public by investigating and advising on maladministration or a violation of rights. The ARB was informed that the tasks of the Ombudsperson for UEM Africa region cannot be discussed without mentioning the existing UEM Code of Conduct of Conducts: Against Corruption and for Transparency; and against sexual harassment. ARB members appreciated the resolutions taken and committed to promoting them in their churches.
Rev Dr John Wesley Kabango (UEM Africa Executive Secretary)