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Mid-Africa News

Winter 2009


Welcome The news in this issue is of succession. We introduce the new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Congo as he begins the awesome task of serving believers in this vast and challenged country. In our second article, Elias Assia, the Executive Director of IPASC, a leader in community health provision, honours the legacy of Dr Pat Nickson, and describes the Institute’s ongoing vision. Meanwhile, at the Provincial Youth Department, a new team, led by Bisoke Balikenga, prepares

On 9th August Bishop Isingoma Kahwa was enthroned as the third Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Congo. The Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester and chair of the Congo Church Association – a CMS partner –reports on the ceremony and the extraordinary challenge of leading the Congolese Province. Ahead of the Enthronement we spent a few days visiting the Partner Dioceses in the DRC of the Diocese of Winchester, listening to people in Butembo, Goma and Kindu. Everywhere we went, the terrible history of the last fifteen years is etched in people’s memories – and in many places, it is still their experience today or the experience of places not very far away. Five million people have died in the wars of the last fifteen years, and about the same number have been forced to flee from their homes. Over a million are still displaced in the East of the country, whether in camps, on the roads, in the bush, or over the borders. Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been assaulted and raped. All this is still the everyday experience of millions over much of an area stretching for 700-800kms of the DRC’s border with its eastern neighbours. The situation is as bad or worse in the NorthEast of the country, bordering on Sudan, where the Northern Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army

has moved since years-long peace talks broke down at the end of last year. The national Government has very little effective presence outside Kinshasa; it is still the case that only a tiny proportion of the proceeds of the DRC’s vast mineral wealth finds its way back to the Government to be used for peoples’ good; and communications, and internal commerce, are extremely difficult and arduous because the road-system is notoriously inadequate – in many places, non-existent. The national army is as untrustworthy as the “rebels” and the 17,000 strong UN Force, for which reinforcements agreed last October have not yet arrived, is spread very thinly indeed. The Anglican Church in the DRC was founded by Ugandan evangelists just before the end of the nineteenth century, and it is still strongest up and down the East and East-central side of the country. But it is growing in Kinshasa, the capital in the far-West, and in the areas north and south continued on page 6 4

to impact the lives of the next generation of Congolese (see p4). It seems a fitting moment for the launch of Prayer for Peace in Congo - an open access body which aims to create a stronger platform to lobby for stability and peace within the country. CMS is a key partner and we invite you to join us in prayer - for peace, and for the men and women taking up key leadership roles in Congo at this time. Laura Harvey Editor

ABOVE: Archbishop Isingoma Kahwa and his wife Mugisa.

The Embodiment of Vision Pioneer mission partner Dr Pat Nickson died peacefully on 26th April 2009. She was perhaps best known for founding The Institut Panafricain de Santé Communautaire et Medecine Tropicale (IPASC) in the North-East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which continues as a vital part of the country’s community health provision. IPASC has birthed a network of primary health care centres, staffed by nurse practitioners, who in turn train up locals to be the first point of contact in the fight against sickness and disease.

Photo: Laura Harvey/CMS

Elias Assia (left), IPASC’s current Executive Director, is a quietly spoken Congolese. He worked alongside Pat as Christian medical professionals responded to a situation where the national government was unable to provide any support for grassroots health care. “She was a visionary leader,” says Elias. “An inspiration to all IPASC staff and to the wider church as well. She could relate to people of all levels, and knew how to make each individual feel special.” RIGHT: IPASC team. FAR RIGHT: Congolese mother and child.

“Last year IPASC helped 2,000 women traumatized by rape with psychological and social support”

Photo: Steve Burgess/CMS

BELOW: Food distribution to HIV/AIDS patients.

Sanitation, understanding and safe motherhood With an underlying focus on prevention being better than cure, clean water and proper sanitation are more important for community health than any other measure. Through its outreach program IPASC alerts people to the perils of water borne diseases. Every year IPASC installs eight clean water systems in villages, serving at least 800 people with each installation. Malaria is still the main killer in the region, and Elias explains that an educational emphasis continues to be critical. IPASC plans to distribute 600 mosquito nets annually and has already exceeded this figure in 2009. Care for mothers and their babies is another key issue for health practitioners in eastern Congo. IPASC aims to ensure that every village has a trained traditional birth attendant so that routine deliveries can occur without the necessity for fragile mothers to be transported long distances. Photo: Steve Burgess/CMS

Social action

With Elias at the helm, IPASC’s core work centres on education, training and supporting local practitioners. There are currently 180 students enrolled on its degree course and a further 49 on its diploma course. Its goal remains to improve the health and well-being of local people using what it calls a “community determined approach”.

Multi-levelled healing IPASC has also pioneered teaching nurse practitioners how to make full use of local herb and plant remedies, reducing unnecessary expenditure and trust in the alternatives available from multinational pharmaceutical companies - which can take a huge slice of the monthly income of a Congolese family. A further aspect of this work, again pioneered by Pat Nickson, in dialogue with local healers.

IPASC in Aru and Bunia delivers a College Diploma Course and a University Degree Course. The students reach a high standard and are much sought after. Because of the unique approach to community health upon which the courses are based, the Government has used the IPASC approach as a model for other courses in the Universities of Congo.

There is also good news in the field of HIV-AIDS awareness. IPASC offers tests for suspected HIVAids patients. The strategy is proving valuable. A year ago the rate of infection among those tested was 54%. The most recent statistics for December-January last year record a drop to 25%. Simply offering tests is a way of boosting awareness. Rape and violent abuse of women in eastern Congo is endemic (see p.1). The spectre of abuse, including the use of bayonets on women’s genitalia is an international scandal. IPASC offers expertise in trauma counselling, last year helping 2,000 women traumatized by rape with psychological and social support.

Photo: CMS


The battle against sickness and for healing and health education is far from over in Congo. However, the development of IPASC and its ongoing vision, equips many more for the fight. =

Peace in the Presence: Celebrating a spiritual legacy

Photo: St. Mary’s Upton

William Challis, Chair, Mid-Africa Forum, CMS …Pat was both a risk-taking innovator and a trustworthy presence – that is a rare combination, but it was a combination which brought Christ’s new life to many in this country and in DR Congo. We give thanks for her whole life, and rejoice in God’s gift of eternal life, to which Pat herself pointed so powerfully.

Bread for the World (one of IPASC’s main funders) … Pat has been inextricably bound to IPASC’s story: from the founding and building of IPASC’s first base at Nyankunde, through the dreadful dark days in September 2002 when she did everything she possibly could, to the fleeing from the horrors in Nyankunde which was repeated again in Bunia, and finally in the resettlement on the current site in Aru. We would like to pay tribute to Pat for the incredible work she has done for the people of the DR Congo. Dr. Rainward Bastian, former DIFAEM director Pat soon became an outstanding member of the “family” which grew around the Christian Medical Commission of the World Council of Churches. “The Church is healing” was one of the convictions of this family; the aim was that in each country of the world this understanding should find its practice in the reality of each church. Dr. Nickson became one of the consultants who brought the learning experiences from one church and one continent to the other and further insights back again to the initial congregations – so developing a truly global network… (and) dedicating her life to the healing of Africa’s women, men and children. Mrs Clene Nyiramahoro I’m from Rwanda and my family has very good memories of how Pat became our Samaritan in Congo. She acted as a true representative of Christ. We were hungry she fed us, we were thirsty and she gave us water to drink, we were desperate and she gave a message of hope. The baby whose

life she saved is now 15 years and she is constant reminder of what God did through many people. Louise Wright (CMS mission partner retired from Congo.) I’ll never forget my first encounter with Pat. It was in 1986 when I was in training at Crowther Hall. I was preparing to go to Sudan but I was living in the same block as the Congolese bishops. I heard them shouting with delight and hurried to see what had excited them. There was a little white woman hugging large African men and jabbering away to them in an unknown tongue. It was a real inspiration to me as at that stage. I never imagined I would be able to do the same. Thank you, Pat. Andy Alo, Translation Studies PhD student, Africa International University …I would like to fix in memory the wonderful work self-sacrificially achieved by Dr Pat Nickson in Eastern Congo. Words are not able to express our gratitude to Dr Nickson and her mission organisation. She came, saw the need for community health, created schools and trained Africans for running them. Even the wars were not able to undo what she did.

“There was peace in the presence”

Grace Sheppard, Wirral I only knew Pat properly for a couple of years. She asked me to ‘walk with’ her when she received her diagnosis for cancer…She carried her distinguished career with a lightness of touch which made her so easy to be with. She left me with a wonderful phrase (describing) when bullets had rained on the roof of her hut. Her neighbour lived quite a way down the track, but he came to her door through the danger to see how she was. They just sat quietly together. She said, ‘There was peace in the presence’. I believe she knew that when she lay in the hospice and until she met her Lord. I feel sad to have lost her, but sure that her spiritual legacy has already begun in all those of us privileged to know her. Ken Mwangi, CMS-Africa Fair thee well Soldier. ABOVE: Pat Nickson. Photo: St. Mary’s Upton

Dennis Tongoi, CMS-Africa Even at the worst of moments, when her work had been destroyed by rebels in DRC and several of her key workers killed, she kept steadfast in her commitment to serve. …Africa will be eternally grateful for the investment of the life of this true servant of God.

Photo: St. Mary’s Upton

After Pat’s death, IPASC arranged a ‘family’ service to coincide with the funeral service in her home church, St Mary’s Upton on the Wirral. Elias Assia had a mobile phone link during the service and the last hymn was relayed to Aru. It was a very special time, bringing the two churches together in remembrance and thanksgiving and reminding us that we are one World Church. Services were held in Boga Cathedral, Bunia and Aru Cathedral. In total almost 5,000 people attended to give thanks for Pat’s life.

A reflection Pat wrote four weeks before her death, as well as an audio interview, is available at: =

FAR LEFT: Remy and Annette Toko, who worked with Pat in Nyankunde, and Rev. Graeme Skinner at the St.Mary’s Upton memorial service. LEFT: Rev. Pat Nickson.


Congo: building for the future

Photo: CMS

Photo: CMS

Photo: CMS

Congo is a vast country with immense potential wealth in the form of its natural resources – yet the majority of people remain poor after years of dictatorship and war. The involvement of many outside countries, militarily and economically, in Congo, alongside rebel and militia groups, has fragmented the country and undermined government control. As peace sustains in most of the country, Christians continue to reach out to their fellow Congolese and work for reconciliation. CMS is seeing the fruit of long years of dedicated service by mission partners, as the colleagues they have helped to train emerge as leaders who can help to carry the country forward. Archbishop Isingoma Kahwa has recently been enthroned as the third Anglican Archbishop, and leads the ministries, which CMS supports. LEFT: Dr Francesca Elloway has worked in DRC since 1994 in the Diocesan Service Medical. She is a training consultant, supporting colleagues with much needed medical expertise, in a hospital and 6 isolated Health Centres and facilitating communities to think through their specific health priorities. Francesca is also involved in training nurses in the Diocesan Health Centres and other health institutions. LEFT: Judy Acheson has been pioneering youth work in Congo since 1980. This year she celebrates handing over her role of provincial youth coordinator to Rev Bisoke Balikenga and Mr Jean-Bosco Tshiswaka his assistant. Judy will continue as a consultant at Mahagi Youth Training Centre, where she will advise at a groundbreaking training centre for youth leaders. Bisoke will be visiting the UK from November 2009 LEFT: Bisoke and his wife. BELOW LEFT: Gill Brown (SALT) is Chair of the Chester/Aru and Boga Dioceses link. She gives relational support to staff at the Pan-African Institute of Community Health (IPASC) both in Congo (where she also teaches English to IPASC and diocesan staff and in the diocesan schools) and as member of the Board of Trustees of IPASC Friends in the UK.

Photo: CMS

Photo: Gill Brown

LEFT: Ian Harvey is a mission partner at The Kimbilio Project, reaching out to street children, working to restore relationships with their families and engaging in preventative education work with community leaders. Read more at

Photo: CMS

RIGHT: Eric and Sandra Read, with Peter and Attiyah, are mission partners in Lubumbashi. They are community development workers for the Diocese of Katanga, where, through discussion groups, leadership training and micro-credit programmes, they help to bring about transformation to individuals, churches and communities.

RIGHT: CMS is an official partner of Prayer for Peace in Congo - an initiative, which gathers believers across Christian denominations, non-governmental organisations, businesses and the political sector to campaign for peace and reconciliation in DRC. See the latest updates at: Pictured: John Bosco, coordinator, with Judy Rous (CCA) and Stephen Burgess (CMS).

Photo: Janet Taylor

RIGHT: Janet Taylor (SALT). Janet is an evangelist working in North Kivu diocese with Bishop Enoch Kayeeye, recently helping the local church to prepare for September’s renewal convention. She leads bible study and prayer groups for Diocesan staff and local women, and groups to promote healing and reconciliation.

Photo: CMS

RIGHT: Ministry to displaced people (IDPs). UK supporters made a gift of just over £7,000 to Bukavu Diocese in 2009 to support humanitarian assistance to IDPs in the Goma and Masisi areas. CMS-Africa contributed a further £3,500 through the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA).

Photo: CMS

Photo: Eric Read

BELOW RIGHT: Capacity-building training seminars bear fruit.

of it. There are Anglican parishes in the towns on the road down to the Atlantic coast; and there is now a lively Anglican presence over the Congo river in the separate State of Congo (Brazzaville). RIGHT: The new Archbishop with clergy and guests following his enthronement in Kinshasa.

Photo: Sue Parks

FAR RIGHT: The Mothers’ Union in Kindu. BELOW: Visionary diagram.

The churches, schools and medical centres of the eight dioceses, soon to be nine, are marvellously brave and faithful in this very demanding setting. The Mothers’ Union is the church’s backbone. Not for nothing did the Archbishop of Canterbury call the MU, not long ago, the “fifth Instrument of Communion”, alongside the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Committee, the Primates Meeting, and his own Office! The Congolese church longs, prays and works to be “self-sufficient” but in reality, rooted in its situation and the country’s experience through many decades, it is substantially dependent financially on its range of external Partners, led by the Church Mission Society and the Congo Church Association.

“…a prophetic church, speaking to those with power…”

The new Archbishop was born in the East of the country. With his wife Mugisa he has served as a bishop in Katanga, and then for just two years in the Diocese of Boga before his election in April this year to succeed Archbishop Dirokpa. His priorities, with the rest of the College des Eveques, were largely expressed at the end of a remarkable Consultation with almost all the Province’s external Partners in Bunia in April 2007, in which I was privileged to participate. The wonderfully near-unanimous outcomes, from representatives of every part of the Church were: a church renewed spiritually; a church which is a transforming agent in society, witnessing to the love of Christ; a faith-full and confident church;

a missionary, evangelistic church; a church selfsufficient financially; a prophetic church, speaking to those with power… On this visit we heard how each diocese is seeking to encourage active, confident worship, bible-reading, and the discipleship in everyday life of every Christian – with the consequent and urgent need to raise the standards of the training of catechists, evangelists and clergy, and everywhere to improve literacy. There is fine work in hand developing materials for the Christian education of young people and young adults, in which the Government is taking a keen interest. But there are so many church buildings, health centres, and schools that have been damaged in the wars. Everywhere people are laboriously making bricks, and some buildings have been damaged many times, just as many thousands of people have been refugees more than once…

Photo: Michael Scott-Joynt

4continued from page 1

I always leave the Congolese Church wondering at the resilience and the graciousness of the Holy Spirit of God – and then at so many people’s joyous perseverance in the face of so much that threatens to pull them down and make life impossible. There, as in so many other parts of the developing world where the political situation is uncertain or simply dangerous and cruel, I find that our fellow-Christians re-introduce me to the New Testament as their Church lives through conditions remarkably like those of the first decades and centuries of the Faith. In this way our Partner Dioceses and Provinces constantly earth and enrich and renew us… = The Archbishop’s enthronement was followed by an international partners meeting where CMS was able to express their commitment to continuing to support discipleship in EAC through: Interchange - Strategic placement of Mission Partners responding to requests from EAC dioceses. Short term visits of UK Christians to DRC and visits of EAC personnel to UK. Leadership formation – fundraising and support for scholarships for theological training, management training, women and youth. Support to Bible schools, capacity building of EAC staff. Social transformation – led by CMS Africa’s Samaritan strategy. Prayer - through CMS and Mid Africa Region supporters’ networks for prayer.


News round up

The Rema Ministries clinic at Nyembuye, near Rutana, Burundi was officially opened on 26th June. A culmination of 3 years work, it will provide much needed medical support to an area which is coping with large numbers of refugees returning from Tanzania. The build has been a partnership between the people of Nyembuye, who offered land and practical support; the Government, who approved the project and are supporting the technical staff; Rema Ministries, who organised the building, staffing, and operations and Rema UK, who gave financial support. Sally Botteley, trustee of Rema UK and a member of the CMS Mid Africa Forum, was able to take part in the opening, and reports that well before the official ribbon had been cut, one mum in labour had reached the clinic and two lives had been saved. The next phase is to build staff houses for the clinic.

Photo: Bill Lovett/CMS

Children’s mission in Kigezi

after being diagnosed with cancer. Ian, a friend to many within the Mid Africa family, led CMS Ireland for two years having previously served for 23 years with CMS Britain, based in Yorkshire. He was both a champion for mission and a great net-worker, particularly cherishing links with the Church in Sudan and Burundi. He leaves a notable mission legacy in the north of England. Encounters 2009 and 2010 Photo: CMS

Photo: REMA

Birth as clinic opens

Three tailor made teams visited the Mid Africa Region this summer. A youth group from Ipswich headed to Kigali in August, spending time at Hope Village, and strengthening a relationship begun by the same youth group in 2007. Link Church visits to Meg Guillebaud (SALT) in Byumba and Jenny Green (Mission Partner) were enjoyed by teams from St Mary’s, Rodbourne Cheney and St Andrews, High Wycombe respectively. Check out the two exciting Encounter groups already planned in Uganda and DRC for 2010 on

Relationship building between the Anglican Dioceses of Winchester, UK and North Kigezi continued as a team from Christchurch Winchester collaborated with the Kisiizi Hospital Chaplaincy and local primary school staff to offer a third week long outreach to children. At the main event, 7,000 children took part in songs, talks and 5 activity streams. In addition the team preached in 11 local churches and offered a day seminar for Lay Readers and their wives, and a 2 day retreat for clergy and their wives.

Life After Violence Mission Partner Alison Gill recommends a new book that gives voice to ordinary Burundians: farmers, artisans, traders, mothers, soldiers and students talking about war, peace, and their hopes for a better life. Life After Violence: A People’s Story of Burundi (African Arguments) by Peter Uvin highlights these voices alongside an exploration of the theory and assumptions of international development and peace-building organisations. The published is Zed books (ISBN 978-1-84813-180-4).

Photo: Darron Lawer

Remembering Ian Smith

Ian Smith, CMS Ireland’s Director of Mission, died at home, on Wednesday 29 July, seven months

Final Mid Africa Conference call: 27-29 November 2009 If you’ve yet to book to join us at High Leigh in Hertfordshire contact Nick Fanes at maconf@ without delay! Our speaker is David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham and former Chair of CMS Trustees. Thanks and Welcome A big thank you to Pat Clay for her work as Africa Administrator, and a warm welcome to Veronica Meredith, the Transcultural Team Administrator, whose remit will include the Africa region.


“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”

RIGHT: St. Peter’s Bible study group. BOTTOM RIGHT: Richard with KATC students.

“Their faith is a living reality and they know that God forgives and provides”

a week and has a number of roles: visiting the local hospital, running a study group, being in charge of the cathedral and still finding time to lecture at KATC (three bus rides and a bicycle journey away from Byumba) twice a week. It was also good to meet again with Canon Phineas, a member of the CMS local missioners programme, who has taken over the running of Byumba Bible School (training catechists and pastors) from former mission partner, Meg Guillebaud.

After four sessions I asked another regular member of the group to lead. Unbeknown to me it was on a topic he had struggled with for many years, forgiveness. The next week he shared with us how he had been deeply burdened with bitterness against someone else for many years. Through these studies he had asked the Lord to help him forgive and had been released from this burden.

On another visit, this time to Kibungo Diocese, we met Raymond, one of Richard’s computing skills students, and saw how he is using so much of what he learnt at KATC in his work as Diocesan Administrator. It’s been encouraging to see the impact that the teaching at the college is having. God is clearly building his church in Rwanda through KATC, despite the many difficulties in funding and staffing.

Over the next two hours many stories of forgiveness were shared, as were testimonies and prayer requests about the need for forgiveness in post-genocide Rwanda. Every week I am challenged by the depth of spirituality that these Christians have, despite not having access to many resources or study groups. Their faith is a living reality and they know that God forgives and provides. The grammar of faith For the past nine months I’ve also been teaching English to a group of female staff at the Anglican Provincial headquarters. Having very few TEFL resources I decided to use these sessions to study the Bible in English. We look at a passage and use it to learn about grammar and vocabulary. The passage then serves as a basis for discussions about faith and life. We share our hopes and fears as mothers and wives. Each of these ladies has a story to tell about life as a refugee or as a survivor of genocide, and it is with a sense of great privilege that I listen to them share some of this. It also helps me reflect upon my own experiences, particularly some of the more difficult or traumatic times. Through these English lessons each one of us has learnt more about the love and faithfulness of God. “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 Impact and intercession Richard works as a lecturer at Kigali Anglican Theological College (KATC). On a recent trip we were glad to visit the home of one his colleagues, who is a pastor in the Diocese of Byumba. As with many pastors here he works seven days

Please continue to pray for wisdom and guidance for the college leadership, the Principal Rev. Louis and the Board and House of Bishops who are the decision makers at KATC. We’d also value your prayers for the Bible study group, and for patience and renewed motivation for Richard as he continues as the main teacher for a small Intensive English class, and as he delivers a course on “Islam and the Church in Rwanda” for the first time. =

Photo: Sue Kellow/CMS

ABOVE: Richard, Sue and Emily Kellow.

Sue writes: “Leading a Bible study group in a culture different to my own has challenged the way I understand scripture. Richard and I have been praying about the need for discipleship in our own church for a long time and were thrilled to be invited to contribute. I choose a series of studies looking at the Lord’s Prayer. Each time I prepared I was challenged. “Give us today our daily bread” means something very different to an African than to a European who has probably never seen real hunger.

Photo: Sue Kellow/CMS

Photo: Sue Kellow/CMS

Mission Partners Sue and Richard Kellow share news of challenge and encouragement in Kigali.

Mid-Africa News - Winter 2009  

Christian mission in Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Magazine from the Church Mission Society (CMS).

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