Thursday, 25 April 2013



We set out from Mwandi at 1000h on Friday morning in the newly-serviced mission bus for the journey to Kabwe. Unworried was our driver. The new tires and shocks would enhance our comfort and safety on the deteriorating pot-holed sections of the road. The all age group of 18, consisting of the Minister and his family, the Deaconess and her relatives with supporters from the Consistory and congregations headed for the UCZ Synod Executive, the equivalent of the General Assembly, for the ordination and commissioning services which would take place on the Sunday. The back seat was commandeered for the assortment of all our suitcases, bags, crates and cool boxes that were carefully stacked there, bonded like bricks, or one of those cube puzzles, to utilize the space available as fully and effectively as possible.

The next stop two hours later was a quick visit to Coillard Church and the Livingstone shopping mall for banking, shopping, talk-time and lunch. With Hungry Lion chicken and chip carry-outs, Cokes and Cabanas, we again started off on the trip north, through Zimba to Kalomo where we dropped off crates and had a children’s ‘pit-stop’;  then on to Choma where we picked up Deaconess Josephine and her big brother and  also took on fuel. The next stop was in Mazabuka, outside Debonair Pizzas, where we handed over Arissa, a Mwandi granddaughter, to family there and received a massive pizza to share out in return. We trundled on over the Munali Hills to Kafue, Innocent’s home-town. He would overnight here and rejoin the group tomorrow. The sun was setting as we passed Munda Wanga Zoo and the Chilanga Cement works on the final stretch to Lusaka in thickening traffic.

We were welcomed by ululating, flapping chitenges and the Zambian cheek to cheek embrace and handshakes at St Paul’s Church where the Lusaka Presbytery has its office.

The St Paul’s and Mwandi Anamoyo (Women’s Christian Fellowship) are twinned so the St Paul’s Anamoyo had prepared a delicious and rib-sticking supper of nshima, chicken, mixed cut beef and cabbage. We enjoyed the meal and fellowship and after the Rev Kasovu’s prayer and blessing, we then scattered to the various places arranged for overnight accommodation. The next morning we all gathered together outside the Church as we arrived back from all over Lusaka; the Mwandi-exiles in Lusaka also came to say hello and see us off to Kabwe.

By mid-morning we were on our way to Kabwe, contrasting the tall khaki coloured maize in the fields at Chisamba, with the stunted frazzled crop at home. We received a warm welcome from the Rev Lydia Mwale at All Saints with thirst-quenching chilled watermelon while accommodation was prepared. Again this was another good opportunity for some of the group to meet up and stay with friends and relatives.

The bus picked us up just after 0800h to take the group, resplendent in the red black and white of the Anamoyo and Alume uniforms and the Lozi women’s Musissi dresses. Like the Scots and the kilt, the musissi and siziba are worn by the Lozis for special occasions and celebrations; I did wonder about combining the MCF red jacket and kilt but thought better of it! I think we’d need to design a special MCF tartan.

St Peters is on the southern outskirts of Kabwe. The old church is too small for the young and growing congregation so a new structure is being erected. It presently consists of the concrete slab with a large rectangular barn-like steel framework which is roofed. The windows, walls and doors and interior walls have still to be tackled. It however provided a wonderful shaded and fresh air-conditioned canopy for the ordination and commissioning service. Before the service the opportunity was taken to greet old friends and acquaintances and make connections. In the world it is said than on meeting anyone you are only three people away from being known in the Church family even closer and is easy to find some-one mutually known. We met up with Sulota Drong, our old friend from Mwandi, the Bangladeshi Mission Partner and Nursing Officer at Mbereshi, who had also been invited to the Synod Executive.

The service began with the procession of the ordinands, and the participating UCZ clergy, headed by the Synod Bishop, Rev Mutale Mulumbwa. The worship leader was Rev David Mujumila, North Western  Presbytery Bishop and the preacher was Rev Musonda Bowa. After the call to worship, the opening hymn -How great Thou art in Bemba-, the prayers of approach, confession, intercession and the Apostle’s Creed, Deaconesses Author Nyondo and Josephine Kabamba were commissioned and presented with a Bible and towel to remind them to be a witness to the Gospel and of their calling to servanthood in supporting the weak, binding up the broken, gathering in the outcast, welcoming the stranger and seeking the lost.

Next followed the presentation of the ordinands who had previously been licentiate probationers in various presbyteries; they were Elijah Chisulo NE Presbytery, Mwenya W Kangwa N Pres, Charles Musonda N Pres, Howard Haamwinga NW Pres, Melvin Mubanga  S Pres, Godfrey Gama S Pres, Oscar Musonda S Pres and Wezi Manda W Pres. After affirmation and reading and signing the oath the ordinands were dressed in their white cassocks, white rope girdles and red stoles embroidered with a cross of their choice. They too received a Bible as a sign of being Ministers of Word and Sacrament.
It was  moving to then offer them the right hand of fellowship.

The Readings were Psalm 24:1-2, John 21:4-8 and Hebrews 11:8-11 and the theme of the sermon was Prudent Stewardship by a Prudent Engineer. Rev Bowa took three heads from them firmness, being satisfied with God’s provision – the lines from Psalm 65 came to mind here: We surely shall be satisfied by thy abundant grace – and finally connectivity – vertically and horizontally.

The Ministers Deaconesses and invited clergy celebrated the Lord’s Supper in the French fashion standing in a horse-shoe around the Communion Table. This was followed by the offering, the final hymn, 200 in the Bemba Hymnary – I am so glad that our Father in heaven - and the benediction.

After lunch at the Diakonia Centre the Mwandi Party minus Ida and me set off for Lusaka to overnight there again and proceed to Mwandi on Monday, where they arrived safely in the evening.


After lunch on Sunday we were invited to the opening session of the Synod Executive, chaired by the Synod Bishop. The General Secretary Rev Peggy Kabonde Mulambya had sent invitations to all Mission Partners serving with the UCZ. This was another time to greet and catch up with old friends that we had not seen for some time including the Health Secretary Rev Sitali and Albert Chituka, the Head at Chipembi who was acting Education Secretary.

Prior to this the Executive had been busy with pastoral issues, the Finance Committee and planning and development. The theme for the meeting was Seeking the Church transformed through prudent stewardship.

After roll call and the choosing of officers the welcome and notices and adoption of the previous minutes we went to matters arising and the action sheet. This covered a wide area of concerns including Church lands, pensions and increments, Health and Education institutions, building, twinnings, media, radio and communications and policies manuals for scholarships and study, doctrinal guidance for congregations and finally a document on preachers and lay-preachers. Health and education matters were dealt with including Church schools, health clinics and the inclusion of both Chipembi and Mindolo as faculties in the new UCZ University. 

The major issue discussed at this session was the UCZ Investment Complex. This will comprise of 2 buildings, one office and one residential; all office units and apartments would be leased. The Fundraising Committee is levying K10 per urban member and K5 for rural members; there remains a need to further sensitise some presbyteries and their consistories where committees are yet to be formed. The National Committee would be starting out in faith soon and begin to build, while a coordinator would shortly be appointed to help organize and bring together this and other Church projects.

On Monday morning we met up with again with Sulota, Liton and Laya Mozunder and their children Akash and Chandra who serve at Chipembi. Laya is the school nurse and Liton is the accountant at the Agricultural College. Also with us were Edward and Marina Summadar with their now 3 year old daughter, Prokriti. Marina is a former Mwandi nurse too, but they are now stationed in Choma. Marina is the school nurse at Njase School and Edward is a Church Social Worker in Choma. They have a little daughter, Prokriti.

After devotions each of us were asked to address the Executive and report about our life and work as Mission Partners in Zambia. This was a useful and appreciated opportunity to share the successes and challenges each of us face and to thank Synod and the UCZ for their help and support.

Following our slot, the meeting continued with recommendations from the Christian Training Committee and from Appointments and Stationing. It was here that the Rev K Munjita was appointed and took his seat as Constitution, Rules and Regulation Officer.

The Mission and Evangelism Committee then gave is report. There was reinforcement of the standards expected with clerical attire and the liturgical colours used for drops at different seasons and occasions in the Church Year. Mention was made of the growing trend of removing pulpits and wooden pews and replacing them with plastic garden furniture. It was emphasized that the pulpit is a special sign and symbol of special significance to the Reformed tradition of which the UCZ is a part.

Highlights from the Board of Trustees were presented including the requirement for all Congregations, Consistories and Presbyteries submit building plans to Synod for ratification. The UCZ Theological College presented its report. The next item on the Agenda was the Misprol Board’s brief report covering the Diakonia Centre, Mpongwe Beekeeping Enterprises, United Church Printers (UCP) and Chilomba Farms. 

We adjourned in the early afternoon and after lunch Ida and I caught the bus to Lusaka. Then the Bishops, clergy and executive met with the Honorable Wynter Kabimba, Patriotic Front Secretary General and Minister of Justice, to receive an update on the state of the nation and hear about the Governments commitment to fight corruption. He said that corruption was a vice and sin and deprives citizens of much needed resources and can eventually kill those most in need. The Church should be unequivocal in its condemnation of corruption and abuse of power but should also commend and encourage law enforcement agencies in this struggle.


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