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A handbook of councils and churches profiles of ecumenical relationships


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*National Council of Churches of Burundi

(Conseil national des Eglises du Burundi, CNEB)

Founded in 1989 (forerunners: Alliance of Burundi Protestant Churches founded in 1970, and Protestant Missionary Alliance of Rwanda-Burundi founded in 1935).

Mission statement: “Allowing the member churches to mobilize and help the pop­ulation to live an abundant life.”

Member churches:

Anglican Diocese of Bujumbura
Anglican Diocese of Gitega
Anglican Diocese of Makamba
Anglican Diocese of Buye
Anglican Diocese of Matana
United Methodist Church

Free Methodist Church


Union of Baptist Churches
Evangelical Church of Friends (Quakers)
Church of Jesus Christ on Earth by His Special Envoy Simon Kimbangu
Website: www.cnebonline.org

Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi

Church Family: Anglican

Membership: 800,000

Dioceses: 6

Parishes: 113

Bishops: 5

Clergy: 173

Member of: WCC (1961/1994) – AACC – CNEB – ACC – CAPA

Periodical: Amakuri (monthly, in Kirundi)

EAB Press (bi-monthly, in English)

The Anglican presence in Burundi was established through the work of the Church Missionary Society in the 1930s. It grew rapidly as a result of the East African Revival, and through medical and educational work. The former Rwanda Mission set up its first mission stations at Buhiga and Matana in 1935, and Buye in 1936. The first national bishop was consecrated in 1965 and Buye Diocese was created, covering the whole country. New dioceses came into being in 1975 and 1985. These became part of the Francophone Province of Burundi, Rwanda and Boga-Zaïre. In 1989 the synod of that province decided to divide the province in three: Burundi, Rwanda, and Zaïre (now Democratic Republic of Congo). The dioceses in Burundi affirmed this action and formed the Province of the Episco­pal Church of Burundi in 1992. The church has currently five dioceses, and a sixth one is in the process of being created. Since 2005 the official name is Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi.

The Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi accepts and teaches the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine, sacraments and teaching of the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church. Its purpose is to maintain and to strengthen the vision and mission of the Anglican Church of Burundi, in confor­mity with the doctrine and faith of the Anglican Communion.

The church is committed to mission and evangelism, and to the support of the­ological education and training for ministry. Among its main concerns are peace and reconciliation, repatriation of refugees and displaced people, community development, literacy and education, and HIV/AIDS.



CAMEROON

Population: 16,564,191

Surface area: 475,400 sq.km

Capital: Yaoundé

GNI per capita: 630 US$

Classification: Developing economy

Languages: French, English, Bamileke, Douala and other

Religions: Christian 56%; African traditional 24%; Muslim 20%

Christianity: Catholics 4,470,000; Protestants 3,290,700; Other 685,550

Many different ethnic groups lived in the area when the Portuguese arrived in the late 15th century and began a trade in ivory and slaves. In the late 19th cen­tury, Germany declared Cameroon a protectorate, which lasted until the end of World War I, when the land was divided between the French and the British. After World War II, there were moves in each part towards self-rule and inde­pendence, but by 1961, former French Cameroon and part of British Cameroon

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merged to become one country (the northern part of British Cameroon joined Nigeria). The economy is dependent upon timber resources and agriculture. Cameroon holds a significant reserve of natural gas, which is relatively unex­ploited, and petroleum products constitute more than half of all exports. The majority of the people are farmers inhabiting small villages in southern and cen­tral Cameroon. Many of the northern people were semi-nomadic herders. Despite movement towards democratic reform, the process of democratization remains slow. Christianity in Cameroon is closely linked with the colonial history of the country. In 2005, the Federation of Protestant Churches and Missions in Cameroon, which was originally organized in 1943, was restructured to become the Council of Protestant Churches of Cameroon. Yaoundé, the capital, has two important institutions for the Protestant churches in West Africa: a theological faculty, and a Centre for Christian Literature (CLE).



*Council of Protestant Churches of Cameroon

(Conseil des Eglises Protestantes du Cameroun, CEPC)

Founded in 2005 (forerunners: Federation of Protestant Churches and Missions in Cameroon, founded in 1969, and Evangelical Federation of Cameroon and West Africa, founded in 1943).

Basis: To be a member a church must accept the holy scriptures as the only authority for the teaching of the gospel and in all matters of faith, and respect the traditions, doctrines, and liturgical and administrative forms of the other member churches.

Member churches:

African Protestant Church

Anglican Church

Cameroon Baptist Convention



Evangelical Church of Cameroon

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon

Fraternal Lutheran Church of Cameroon

Native Baptist Church of Cameroon

Presbyterian Church in Cameroon

Presbyterian Church of Cameroon

Union of Baptist Churches of Cameroon

Union of Evangelical Churches in Cameroon

Associate members:

Christian Mission

Full Gospel Mission in Cameroon

Mission of the Evangelical Church of Cameroon

Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Cameroon

Seventh-day Adventist Church

Worldwide Mission in Cameroon The Council is organized in ten regional sections. Website: www.wagne.net/femec

African Protestant Church*

(Eglise protestante africaine, EPA)

Church Family: Reformed

Membership: 10,000

Congregations: 32 Pastors: 26

Cathechists: 32

Member of: WCC (1968) – AACC – CEPC

The church had its beginnings in the work of the American Presbyterian Mis­sion. For the sake of the defence of the local language, Kwassio, it organized itself as an independent group in 1934. After several changes in the name, the desig­nation African Protestant Church was adopted. As a church that has its roots in the tradition of the Reformation, the EPA confesses Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord of the universe. It has developed a theology and a teaching focused on the biblical theme of abundant life for all (John 10:10) and is therefore strongly involved in development activities and the struggle against poverty. The laity play an important role in the church, and much attention is given to the participation of all the members. Originally concentrated in the region of Lolodorf, the church has spread to other parts of the country. It has a training institute called School of Theology Abraham Nzie Nzouango. The EPA has no historic relations with churches outside Cameroon. It benefits from the cooperation with sister churches in the country, e.g. for the training of its ministers.



Evangelical Church of Cameroon

(Eglise évangélique du Cameroun, EEC)

Church Family: Reformed

Membership: 2,000,000

Congregations: 700

Pastors: 300

Evangelists: 485

Member of: WCC (1958) – AACC – CEPC – WARC – ARCA – Cevaa

The gospel was first brought to what is now Cameroon by African-American missionaries from Jamaica. They joined the work of the Baptist Missionary Soci­ety (London) in the area which began in 1845. After 1884, when the territory came under German rule, the Basel Mission took over. Following the defeat of Germany in the first world war Cameroon was divided into two mandated terri­tories of the League of Nations. In the part of the country placed under French mandate the Paris Mission Society replaced the Basel Mission. Its work gave birth to the Evangelical Church of Cameroon, which was officially established in 1951 and became autonomous in 1957. The church has extended itself and has grown very rapidly, particularly in the regions of Bamileke and Bamoun and in the south.

The Evangelical Church of Cameroon understands itself as part of the univer­sal church, the body of Christ endowed with the preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ and giving testimony to God’s kingdom. It recognizes the sovereign authority of the word of God and is in communion with all the churches having Jesus Christ as their foundation. The pastors of the EEC are trained at the theo­logical college in Ndoungue and the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Yaoundé.

The EEC is organized in parishes (which can comprise one or more annexes and places of worship), districts or consistories, regional synods, and a general synod at the national level which is the highest decision-making body of the church. The regional and general synods meet annually. An executive commis­sion represents the general synod in between meetings. Four departments con­tribute to the life and witness of the church: Christian education, which is in charge of theological and liturgical research, hymnology and church choirs, and children’s worship; communication and information, comprised of a press service,

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television unit and radio service; youth, responsible for the Christian Youth Union and four youth centres, and organizing specific programmes for parish youth, stu­dents in colleges and universities, youth in towns and villages; Christian Women Union, which promotes the participation of women in the church and the society and runs a socio-educational centre for young people. The church has also a group for justice, peace and creation which is involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, care for street children, training for self-employment and the issue of violence against women.

The EEC runs extensive educational, medical and social services. It has 53 nursery and 140 primary schools, and 13 secondary and technical colleges; three more colleges are being planned. In the medical field four hospitals and 39 dis­pensaries and health centres are at the disposal of the people. Several social cen­tres take care of children and youth who are in need of assistance. In the area of development the EEC has five agricultural schools and three centres for training and integrated development. It has also a sailors’ community centre.



Native Baptist Church of Cameroon

(Eglise baptiste camerounaise, ECB)

Church Family: Baptist

Membership: 55,000

Synod Districts: 15

Local churches: 500

Pastors: 60

Evangelists: 39

Member of: WCC (1995) – AACC – OAIC – CEPC – BWA – AABF

Periodical: Eyala (The Word, quarterly)

The British Baptist mission began working in today’s Cameroon in 1845. After the territory came under German rule in 1884 the British missionaries had to leave and the Baptist community was expected to cooperate with the German mis­sions. Difficulties arose on questions of doctrine and liturgy and the Baptist lead­ers realized that the missionaries wanted to dominate their churches. The ten­sions resulted in the creation of three churches in 1897: the Evangelical Church (Basel Mission), the Baptist Church (Berlin Mission) and the Native Baptist Church. After World War I the Paris Mission arrived in Cameroon and tried, in vain, to re-unite the three. In 1921 a charismatic leader and opponent of the colo­nial regime was elected president of the NBC. After many contentions with the Paris Mission the NBC was finally recognized as an autonomous denomination in 1949. It received official recognition from the government in 1972. The church understands itself as an African Instituted Church.

Like other Baptist churches the NBC is a confessing church, whose doctrine is based on salvation by grace, the authority of the holy scriptures as the word of God, the Holy Trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the spiri­tual unity of God’s children and baptism by immersion.

As part of the universal church, the NBC is involved in mission and witness, diakonia, the formation of the workers of the church, the improvement of their living conditions and the struggle against poverty. The church has a secretariat for education which runs four school groups comprised of primary and secondary schools. Four associations contribute to the life of the church: women, men, youth and the choir. The highest decision-making body of the NBC is the general con­ference. The church has departments for evangelism and Christian education, for social work and for development. In terms of territorial organization it is com­prised of four large regional synods or conventions. Besides the 500 local churches there are another 50 places of worship. Pastors are trained at the Protestant The­ological Institute of Ndoungué, the Baptist Institute of Biblical and Theological Studies at Ndikinimeki, and the Faculty of Protestant Theology at Yaoundé.

Presbyterian Church in Cameroon

Church Family: Reformed

Membership: 700,000

Presbyteries: 23

Congregations: 1306

Pastors: 220

Evangelists: 65

Member of: WCC (1961) – AACC – CEPC – WARC – ARCA

English Baptists had first come to this part of West Africa in 1845. In 1884 the territory came under German protection and it was agreed, at a conference of European Missionary Societies, that the Basel Mission should take over the work of the English Baptists. This was done in 1886. During the first world war the administration of the country passed into British hands and the German and Swiss missionaries were called back. This had a tragic effect on the work of the mission but a small group of faithful people continued the work, making the church a truly indigenous one. In 1925 European missionaries began returning to the country. The second world war again disrupted church life, which was how­ever followed by a period of intense activity and growth. The church became autonomous in 1957. A new constitution was drawn up and adopted, marking the autonomy of the church. It consists of three parts: basic principles, organiza­tion, worship and life.

The church runs three general hospitals, a rehabilitation center for leprosy patients, 18 health centres, two with an opthalmological unit, and a central phar­macy. Much emphasis is placed on primary health care in the villages. In the edu­cational field the church has 23 nursery schools, 122 primary schools, 14 sec-ondary/high schools and a teacher training college. There is also a centre for agricultural and employment training. The pastors receive their training at the theological seminary in Kumba (66 students in 2004/05). Some are still being trained outside Cameroon, in Africa and overseas. There are plans to begin a church university by the year 2010. The church has departments for women, men and youth. The radio and communication department runs its own radio station, the Christian Broadcasting Service in Buea.

The PCC has joined other Protestant churches in Cameroon to address common issues of an educational, social, political as well as spiritual nature. It supports and promotes the information and eradication of HIV/AIDS and has a very strong policy statement on the issue.

Last year the PCC celebrated one hundred years of the gospel in the Grassland, in Ntanfoang, Bali, where the first Basel missionaries settled. The church is look­ing forward to celebrating in 2007 the golden jubilee of its autonomy. To God be the glory.



Presbyterian Church of Cameroon

(Eglise presbytérienne camerounaise, EPC)

Church Family: Reformed
Membership: 1,800,000

Africa


Parishes: 300

Pastors: 500

Member of: WCC (1963) – AACC – CEPC – WARC – ARCA

Periodical: Mifassan, Donal (in local languages)

Fruit of the American Presbyterian Mission (now Presbyterian Church USA) since the 19th century and partially of the Basel Mission since 1920, the Presby­terian Church of Cameroon became an autonomous church in 1957. At the start of the 21st century the evangelical action of the EPC covers the whole of the national territory. The vast northern part of the country, which for a long time was considered a Muslim area, is today a mission field. The church has been able to train two pastors who are from that region. The EPC is also active in Europe, particularly in France and Switzerland where it has parish communities, and in neighbouring Gabon.

The church is composed of six synods and 25 consistories (or presbyteries). The medical department is responsible for eight hospitals. The school department runs 14 nursery, 32 primary and 11 secondary schools. There are also depart­ments for Christian education and for agriculture. Various associations contribute to evangelism and social activities of the church: women, men, youth, compan­ions for evangelization, and sons and daughters of pastors. The ECP maintains close relationships with the Presbyterian Church (USA), its historical partner.



Union of Baptist Churches in Cameroon

(Union des Eglises baptistes au Cameroun, UEBC)

Church Family: Baptist

Membership: 75,000

Local churches: 360

Pastors: 100

Member of: WCC (1961) – AACC – CEPC – BWA – AABF – Cevaa

Periodical: Echos de l’UEBC (monthly, in French)

The Union of Baptist Churches of Cameroon grew out of the work of the Bap­tist Missionary Society (UK) which started in 1846. The first Baptist missionary came from Jamaica. As of 1884 the churches which later constituted the union were successively under the tutelage of the Berlin Mission, the Basel Mission, and finally, after World War I, the French Protestant Mission, from which the UEBC obtained its autonomy in 1957. The primary task of the union is evangelism and diakonia. Its vision is to remain a united church, formed and constituted dynam­ically in order to witness to Jesus Christ to the people in whose midst it wishes to live a full life.

In its strategy the union has developed during the past ten years its reflection and activities with the aim to open itself up. It has now two centres of theologi­cal training, one in the south and the other in the north of the country. It runs 25 primary and secondary schools and four hospitals, plus a number of community health centres. It is organized in 20 ecclesiastical regions or conventions, and has completed the construction of its national office which is the management centre of its work and human resources. The union is in the process of restructuring its international relations. Evangelism campaigns are held to expand the UEBC, scholarships are allocated for the formation of its personnel, and the union has an ecumenical project for the creation of a guest and meeting centre. The UEBC works closely with the European Baptist Mission which provides support for its activities.



CONGO (REPUBLIC OF)

Population: 3,920.514

Surface area: 342,000 sq.km

Capital: Brazzaville

GNI per capita: 650 US$

Classification: Developing economy

Languages: French, Lingala, Kikongo and other

Religions: Christian 90%; African traditional 8%; Muslim 1,3%

Christianity: Catholics 1,950,000; Protestant 438,650; Orthodox 4400;

Independent 519,980

Bantu people lived in the area of the Republic of Congo long before European colonization began. The territory became a French colony and was part of French Central Africa until independence in 1960. Congo was one of the new nations in Africa with a socialist regime, which lasted several decades. In the 1990s the coun­try suffered two civil wars because of power struggles between political leaders, who had each their own militia. Many people lost their lives, others were dis­placed or fled to neighbouring DRC. Congo has rich oil resources. Oil is the main export product, followed by coffee, but the revenues do not benefit the people. Most of the population in the rural areas lives from subsistence farming. The Catholic Church is the majority church. Besides the Evangelical Church, which is the largest Protestant denomination, other WCC member churches present in Congo are: the Kimbanguist Church, which has its headquarters in the DRC just across the Congo river, and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, which has a large parish in Brazzaville. These churches, together with the Salvation Army and the Lutherans, form the Ecumenical Council of Congo. There are also several Pentecostal and Evangelical churches.

*Ecumenical Council of Christian Churches of Congo

(Conseil œcuménique des Eglises chrétiennes du Congo, COECC)


Founded in 1970.
Basis: To be a member a church must confess faith in God the Father, the Son, and

the Holy Spirit, and be committed to unity in diversity and to the promotion of


the ecumenical movement.
Member churches:

Evangelical Church of Congo

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Congo



Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Alexandria)

Roman Catholic Church

Salvation Army

Associate members:

Christian Action for Development and Relief

Christian Action for Peace and Justice

Committee of Religious Communities for the Struggle against HIV/AIDS

Evangelical Church of Congo

(Eglise évangélique du Congo, EEC)

Church Family: Reformed

Membership: 150,000

Congregations: 118

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Pastors: 132

Evangelists: 289

Member of: WCC (1963) – AACC – COECC – WARC – ARCA

Periodical: La Couronne (in French)

Protestant missionary work in what is today the Republic of Congo began in 1909 with the arrival of missionaries sent by the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden. Baptist missionaries, also from Sweden, started evangelizing a region in the north of the country in 1921. From 1947 onwards, missionaries of the Mis­sion Covenant Church of Norway worked in another area in the north. The Evan­gelical Church of the Congo became autonomous in 1961. It is the largest Protes­tant church in the country and is growing rapidly. The fundamental vocation of the EEC is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, in obedience to the command­ment to make disciples of all nations. The church recognizes its responsibility to evangelize the people among whom God has placed it, as well as other people who have not yet received the gospel. The church also responds to its calling through other manifestations of the Christian faith, in particular by committing itself to the struggle for justice, peace and the integrity of creation, and in combating ill­ness, misery, poverty, ignorance, obscurantism, the pollution of nature and the ruthless exploitation of human beings and the earth’s resources.

By virtue of its charismatic approach and its zeal, its use of African musical instruments and its dynamic campaigns of evangelization, the church has a dis­tinct influence in the society. The EEC is very interested in the improvement of medical services, the practice of preventive medicine and the enhancement of the standard of living. It runs a number of dispensaries and maternity wards. It has a theological faculty for post-graduate theological studies and a Bible institute for the training of evangelists. The church has a rich spiritual life but lacks financial resources. Many of its members are unable to contribute financially to its activi­ties. The EEC maintains close relations with churches in Sweden, Norway, Fin­land and France.


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