The Indiana e-Christian

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

Congolese Disciples Affected by Violence in Mbandaka

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Last week the regional office and the Congo Partnership Task Force shared news about new violence in the Congo city of Mbandaka that has affected the Mbandaka District of the Community of Disciples of Christ in the Congo (CDCC). The Christian Church in Indiana shares a mission partnership with the Mbandaka District.

Through conversation with Sandra Gourdet, Global Ministries Africa Executive, and a video conference with Ilumbe Ndjongo, Principal Supervising Pastor for the district, and others in Mbandaka, the Task Force received more information on the situation in the city and in affected churches.

On Easter morning, April 4, more than 200 armed soldiers in opposition to government authorities entered the Mbandaka by river and clashed with government and United Nation troops. The violence and gunfire in the streets on Easter morning disrupted worship in all congregations in the city of Mbandaka, including 16 congregations of the Disciples of Christ. No news is currently available from the outlying congregations in the district. People left the churches in panic, fleeing to their own homes.

Earlier communication from the regional office referred specifically to the Basoko congregation’s loss of the Easter offering. This also happened in all 16 congregations. The Task Force learned that this is far more serious than it would be in U.S. churches.

The custom among Disciples in Congo is to contribute only a symbolic small token to the offering during Sunday morning worship throughout the year, saving up to make large contributions at Christmas and Easter. Nearly 50% of the total offerings for the year are made on Easter Sunday. Not only will this effect the ministry of the local congregations, but contributions to the ministries of the Mbandaka district and the national church are also affected.

In U.S. churches, many members simply bring last Sunday’s offering to church the next week if they miss. It is highly unlikely that the Easter offerings in Congo can be recovered in this way. The violence triggered immediate and dramatic increases in prices of food and other necessities with costs of many items doubling and tripling. Many families will be forced to spend the money they intended to give on daily necessities.

The Congo Partnership Task Force was able to speak with Ilumbe on Thursday, April 8, through a video call. Rick Spleth, Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Indiana knelt before the computer and prayed with Ilumbe and the committee. This prayer and the promise of continuing prayer for the people, pastors and church in Mbandaka were received with great emotion.

The ministers and staff of the Christian Church in Indiana ask that all churches and pastors in the region be in prayer together for brothers and sisters in the Congo.

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Written by ccindiananews

April 12, 2010 at 5:15 pm

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