The Indiana e-Christian

News and information from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

DOM Executive for Africa Issues Statement

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On Thursday, May 21, ABC’s Nightline aired a report by Dan Harris, a reporter for ABC, on the practice of child exorcisms in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After consultation with church leaders in the Congo, Sandra Gourdet, Africa Executive for the Division of Overseas Ministry, issued the following statement.

ABC Nightline recently aired a special program on child exorcisms in churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although this is a serious matter in the Congo and a few other African nations, I wish to state unequivocally that this is not a practice found in any of the churches with whom we have a relationship. Neither the Community of the Disciples of Christ nor the Church of Christ in Congo is involved in this horrendous behavior and abuse of children.

Most of this abuse is happening in the capital city of Kinshasa and the lives of many children are threatened. It is not happening in mainline churches, but rather in what one calls 'Revival Churches' or 'Churches of the Holy Spirit.' One of the renowned organizations is 'Spiritual Combat' that has gained an international following. Pastors of these organizations have generally not received much education and have not been trained theologically. They claim that their authority comes from the Holy Spirit and proclaim themselves pastors, doctors, apostles and other.

Children are accused of being a source of evil in some families – some thought to be possessed by evil and others thought to be the source of family misery or loss of employment. Given the already fragile socio-economic and political state of affairs in the country, this situation has worsened the plight of children and increased the number of street children in main cities of the country, especially Kinshasa.

Many families have been torn apart by this phenomenon. In some cases where the father has divorced and remarried, the step mother feels threatened. If she joins one of these 'churches,' the husband is often faced with the choice of choosing between the wife and the child. Children are often forced to admit that they are sorcerers. They do not feel safe at home and many prefer to live on the streets of Kinshasa.

The government is ineffective as it deals with this issue, the issue of violent rape and sexual assault on women, looting of natural resources in the country, stability in war ravaged part of the country and many other problems.

Mainline churches are working to make a difference. The Community of Disciples of Christ churches in Kinshasa are offering some counseling to children who have been abused. The Church of Christ in Congo through its Department of Women and Family is assisting children with finding a safe haven and counseling.

Read Harris’s report on the USA Today website.

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Written by ccindiananews

May 28, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Posted in News

Tagged with , , ,

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