Tremendous gains, capacity and capabilities of the Tanzania Chapter were crystal clear when OAIC team visited Mwanza recently. A lot of headway has been made in Theology and Livelihoods programmes and general leadership capacity building over the years.
An elated Bishop Samwel Kitula, the Chairman of Tanzania chapter could not hide his joy and was grateful to the team noting that it was the first time for a General Secretary of the OAIC to pay them a visit. “This is a great day for Africa to come to Mwanza and we thank God for this opportunity,” noted Bishop Kitula.
“Indeed it is great to be in Mwanza this year. The last time I was here was about 10 years ago when I was in the Development programme. Today I visit Mwanza for the first time as the General Secretary. In 2018, OAIC will be celebrating 40 years since it was founded and we would like to bring together AICs in fellowship. There are many AICs around Africa that are yet to be connected,” noted Reverend Nicta Lubaale.
OAIC founders came together in Cairo, hosted by the Coptic Orthodox church with a mission to bring AICs together. They had a vision that would equip AICs to enhance the preaching of the gospel and to continue to proclaim the good news of Christ who heals and transforms.
The team was able to visit various regions in Mwanza where implementation of numerous activities by the church and its congregants was ongoing. The visit also culminated into a leaders meeting that brought together leaders from various areas of Mwanza: Shirati; Geita; Simiyu; Lubango and Roria. Discussions centred on the need to ensure that AIC churches equip themselves with knowledge on tackling poverty and other related issues in their communities, countries and Africa at large.
In reference to John 17:21-22, Bishop Kitula noted that it was God’s prayer that all may be one, in unity and purpose which would ensure that people collaborated and worked in unity. “God has given us glory to collaborate and ensure a better world. This will enable others to know that we’re together and the world would cherish us. Africa has prayed earnestly for OAIC. This has even enabled Reverend Nicta to come here. He is sent of God and whatever he has brought through Him we give thanks. He will treat everyone equally and God will be given the glory, see what the good God has done to us,” stated Bishop Kitula.
Tanzania Chapter Treasurer Bishop Joshua Oronge who hails from Shirati region notes that Theological Education by Extension (TEE) currently has 10 tutors while 8 others are still in training (stage 1). “We have 8 preachers who have been ordained. However, the Pastor’s often experience challenges from lack of sufficient training materials; some students repeat classes while others drop and give up. Challenges such as old materials, lack of curriculum review, dwindling number of tutors is common and this has been partly due to lack of TEE materials coupled with surging travelling expenses,” the Bishop noted.
The Leaders present stated that they would like to see Theological education enhanced for it to move to higher levels and be recognised internationally.
In the Livelihoods programme, the chapter has made headway in implementing various successful projects in the various regions. Roria for instance has 5 projects: A tree nursery on a one acre plot of land with 1500 trees; a primary school in Kariangati that goes up to standard 2; a kitchen garden; a centre for an orphanage as well as a pharmacy owned by the church. In Geita region, “the church members are involved in maize farming, rice growing as well as fish farming. They also have a centre that caters for children infected with HIV/AIDS,” notes Bishop Oronge.
In Bishop Kitula’s words,“ Mwanza has a lot of the congregants that are engaged in fish farming, bee keeping, as well as growing of passion fruits. After trainings we often pray and we are praying for more trainings. We however, require more material for these trainings as well as more facilitators. More finances and resources are required to continue working effectively on these projects.”
“OAIC is involved in the Theology programme to ensure that churches have well trained Ministers; to enhance communities Livelihoods so that they can have life in abundance in the spirit and all areas of life. Theology, Just communities and other programmes were formulated so that we can fulfill God’s work and have it in abundance. Such tragedies as early childhood deaths, maternal mortality, after birth complications should be eradicated to ensure that everyone lives in abundance as Jesus would have wanted it to be. Out of every 100,000 women giving birth, 460 of them will die in Uganda; 380 in Tanzania and 800 in Burundi yet gospel is spreading so fast in Africa. In Sweden the number is less than 10 yet they don’t go to church. It’s Africans who love church and go to church and it surely is not God’s will. Ministers of gospel need to think about such tragedies,” noted Rev. Nicta.
The Rev. further noted that everyone had a responsibility to speak like Prophet Isaiah who said “for Jerusalem’s sake, I’ll not keep quiet until it’s saved.” “We should not rest until the man, woman, child in Africa who is not well, becomes well. We are going to pray, preach and ensure that all things that are problematic are resolved. These deaths are a vote of no confidence in our leadership when all these deaths occur,” noted Nicta.
OAIC promises to continue supporting the chapter in its endeavours and is grateful for all the efforts done to better the lives of its communities. In the TEE programme, so far 9 Ministers have been ordained and currently 86 are being trained. 3 trainers are currently in charge of the trainings while 10 more are being trained currently.
Venerable John Gichimu notes that challenges currently being experienced by the TEE programme will be looked into as there were plans underway to ensure that Theological education is enhanced through Curriculum development. This would enable it move from the certificate to Diploma, Degree and eventually Masters level. “We are developing a master plan that will ensure the Theology programme is developed further. We are also looking into ensuring that more material for learning exercises are available. Furthermore, there’s still need for more collaboration as well as the possibility of translating the documents that are in English to Swahili. Tanzania leadership can help with that but the OAIC office will invest in the training. By the end of 2016, the Diploma level will be complete so that those who have certificates can move to Diploma level.”