Hope Proves Key Theme of Congo Pastors Conference

Post a Comment » Written on April 24th, 2007     
Filed under: News
KARAWA, CONGO (April 24, 2007) – Last month’s violence that trapped Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries in Congo’s capital city of Kinshasa was a somber reminder of the dangers that still face the country.

However, the passion of 1,400 attendees to a pastors’ conference at which these mission representatives had taught was a sign of hope.

CrowdRoughly 800 pastors and 600 spouses attended the biennial Pastors and Spouses Conference of the Congo Covenant Church (CEUM), which ran March 18-23, says Pete Ekstrand, Africa regional coordinator with the Department of World Mission of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

The conference in Karawa focused on “The Pastor and Mission: CEUM and Local and International Mission.” To listen to CEUM President Mossai Sanguma’s reflection on the value of such conferences, please visit Curt-file-edit.mp3 Our Pastors and Mission.

Hope could be found in the hardships endured by participants just to arrive at the conference. One pastor traveled 500 miles from Aketi by bicycle. Many people traveled at least two days over almost impossible terrain, on foot. All of the guests were provided housing by local church members.

Worship also testified to the vibrant faith of the Congolese. As many as 6,500 conferees and other Congolese attended the opening service. Curt Peterson, world mission executive minister, spoke during the opening service on “The Good Shepherd,” with reference to John 10:16 and Psalm 23. Seven choirs performed at the service that lasted more than four hours and was filled with dancing and singing.

President Sanguma encouraged church member Vincent Ngedenza, who recently was elected to Parliament, to work to eliminate poverty and help rebuild the country. Nineteen CEUM members have been elected to Parliament – four at the national level, and 15 at the regional level.

Harvey Drake, pastor of Emerald City Bible Fellowship, a Covenant church in Seattle, Washington, gave the morning meditation each day. He reminded the attendees that they are important to God, “no matter whether we are pretty or ugly or crippled.”

Other activities included multiple seminars:
•    Peterson led two sessions on the biblical basis of mission and a review of current Covenant World Mission ministry around the world.
•    Drake spoke on reconciliation and discipleship.
•    Ekstrand led a session on personal purity for pastors.
•    An ordained woman of the CEUM spoke on women in mission.
Keith Gustafson, Congo country coordinator, translated the English seminars and sermons into Lingala.

Also participating at the conference were retired Covenant missionary Roger Thorpe and Fidele Vaindisi of the West Congo Baptist Church. To see photographs from that event, please visit Congo Pastors Conference.

Curt-file-edit.mp3 Curt-file-edit.mp3

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