Angola Conference June 7-10, 2004
We, who are in attendance at the Angola Conference in Chicago, June 7-10, 2004, rejoice that God has brought us together, the Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola, the United Church of Canada, and the Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. We come to pray, reflect and respond to the priorities coming from the Angolan partners in the context of challenges for reconstruction after a devastating war. We find ourselves energized by the sharing of worship and efforts to discern God’s will in these times, and by the likelihood of continued collaboration. We affirm our efforts for reconciliation, justice and solidarity as a natural and essential component of our faith commitment. We commit ourselves to continue to explore together meaningful and practical ways of responding to identified priorities, taking into consideration our respective mission mandates, while remaining open to the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us in developing concrete objectives and deepen our partnership in God’s mission.
As separate constituents in the Angola Consultation and as caring partners in building the future of Angola, we offer the following covenant statements:
- The Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola (IECA) commits to continue its intentional and prayerful search for ways to be faithful in the new Angola, as well as its challenges to those of us the in the church outside Angola to share in the current effort to take the initiative in reconciliation, peace-building and reconstruction. IECA will move forward with as much of the 2004 Strategic Plan as possible, beginning with local resources and collaboration and seeking outside support when needed for priority emphases and projects.
- IECA will continue to evaluate the Angolan reality and priorities within the Strategic Plan and revise them as appropriate. IECA will communicate regularly with those who are in partnership in this effort that all use of resources may be transparent and that all may understand both successes and difficulties, in order to rejoice together, pray together and strive together to overcome challenges and adapt to evolving circumstances.
- The United Church of Canada, Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit, covenants to continue to walk with the people of IECA and Angola and to participate in the continuing dialogue to evaluate priorities, projects and ministries. Funding and personnel will continue to be made available as possible.
- Global Ministries Africa Office and Resource Development Office covenant to continue to walk with the people of IECA and Angola and to participate in the continuing dialogue to evaluate priorities, projects and ministries. Appropriate staff will explore with IECA creative sources for support as projects of the Strategic Plan are developed in fuller detail, while recognizing that Global Ministries’ existing block grant will likely diminish annually. Staff will listen with interest to good ideas and suggestions and cooperate with individuals, churches, conferences and others who can be helpful partners in this effort.
- Those present with a missionary history in Angola covenant to tell the Angolan story and promote support of IECA priority projects, not only through the church but also in other networks of contacts of which we are a part. Insofar as we are able, we will seek to identify and to help cultivate possible sources of support or partnership for the Angolan IECA efforts at reconstruction and reconciliation.
- All parties present at this consultation covenant to reach out to our constituents over the next five years to enlarge the community of concern and cooperation that accompanies and assists during this evolving process of transformaton in IECA and the building of a new Angola.
- We commit to promote a greater two-way flow of resources between Angola and North America, acknowledging many needs within North America and gifts within IECA and the Angolan church, such as music, ministry to and of youth and children, women’s struggle for recognition, community building, and sacrificial leadership.
- We recognize that we may bring different perspectives, interests and approaches, but that we should see ourselves as complementing one another in a common project of support to IECA, rather than in competition. It is not expected that all will participate equally in everything or that we will all operate from the same theology or mission philosophy, but we trust God will guide the total project. We will encourage IECA to take the lead in visioning what is necessary and we will all share in support as we are able.
- We commit to have a small representative group meet by phone or in person every six months to evaluate progress, needed next steps and follow-up.
- Full documentation of ideas discussed at this meeting will be among the resources of the three church offices, however brainstorming related to the 2004 IECA Strategic Plan resulted in the following:
- Training of pastors for communicating the Good News in both the urban and rural context.
- Enabling IECA to train and support persons for full-time evangelization work.
- Maintaining a steady pace of rehabilitation or new construction of church-related buildings in rural areas – 2-3 per year perhaps.
- ntegrating evangelization work with efforts at peace, reconciliation and nation building.
- Providing vehicles for the six provincial secretaries within three years.
- Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation:
- Advocacy by North American churches for transparency by Angolan government in its use of oil and diamond revenues and also with corporation involved in those industries for transparency and disclosure of the amount of their payments to Angola.
- Research and advocacy by North American churches in relation to Angolan debt burden, possible odious debt cancellation, and the role of international financial institutions and economic globalization. Objective is release of more funds to meet survival and development needs of Angola’s people.
- Founding ecumenical Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation commissions in every Angolan city.
- Organizing a national youth conference that would build trust and understanding and increase networking across ethnic and linguistic lines of youth concerned to build a better future around common concerns.
- Education and Health:
- Providing literacy programs and personnel in as many provinces as possible, with priority for women.
- Establishing a fund to support teachers in salary and otherwise, for use by IECA.
- Creating 5 new training centers in 5 years.
- Assisting in education in the English language, with priority for pastors.
- Producing and distributing education and health information for the general population.
- Promoting pre-natal, peri-natal and post-natal care for pregnant women and their babies.
- In cooperation with appropriate NGO’s providing increasing sources of safe water, especially for schools.
- Spreading information about appropriate traditional or “green” medicine options.
- Institutional Development:
- Reinforcing retirement benefits fund for IECA staff until IECA can be self-sufficient.
- Providing funds for computers in church offices and training in their use.
- Providing funds to upgrade internal IECA communications.
- Providing an adequate office building for a IECA national office in Luanda.
- Sustainable Development:
- Providing seeds, tools and other inputs for farmers returning to the land.
- Securing professional expertise about land tenure and property protection and ownership.
- Promoting income-generating projects, being sure to include women in training.
- Exploring the establishment of micro-credit as a development resource.
- Women, Children and Youth:
- Including women in all the training and programs already mentioned.
- Promoting increased leadership and participation in decision-making by women and creating a climate to support this.
- Continuing to expand the opportunities for women to train for leadership.
- Establishing lists of opportunities for short-term specialized volunteers from North America – based on IECA needs and information.
- Promoting male/female and rural/urban equity in pay.
- Continuing to teach and emphasize that women are not property and should have the right to own land, to be treated with respect and dignity, and to live free from violence.
UCC & Disciples of Christ