WDC Connects with Congo Church
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
There was an outburst of joyous praise at the ordinations of the first women in the Mennonite Church of Congo in Kinshasa on Sunday, September 22, according to Amanda Rempel*. Women joined in a parade of exuberance using mops, brooms, kitchen utensils, and even a small refrigerator as rhythm instruments. The five-hour worship service was held in a large, rented pavilion to accommodate guests from across Kinchasa and Congo plus six representatives from the United States. Amanda is serving as an ambassador from the Western District Conference (WDC) to the church in Congo in support of these women pastors and as encouragement to the church. She was commissioned by the Leadership Commission and Executive Board of Western District Conference. Five choirs sang, six offerings were received, and numerous persons spoke before the ordinations of both men and women according to Amanda’s report.
The C of WDC’s vision stands for “Connect to God’s mission in the world.” This is a very tangible connect that began with two Congolese businessmen and church leaders visiting Western District Conference on April 29. Macaire Kilambo Kabanga and Roussel Kumakamba invited Amanda as an ordained pastor to come and stand in solidarity with those women who would be ordained in Congo. What seemed an impossibility gradually became a call from God and the church to which Amanda said “yes.”
On Sunday, September 29, Amanda preached at the Bondeko Mennonite Church in Kinshasa. Singing was already underway when she arrived at 9:30 AM. There were multiple singing groups, multiple offerings, multiple prayers of confession, intercession, and praise before she began to preach at 12:00 PM on “Pentecost, the Early Church, and Women.” The church building had a corrugated roof overhead with walls and floor partially completed.
Amanda is currently in Tshikapa for more ordinations of men and one woman on Sunday, October 6. She appreciates your prayers and the support of WDC.
God’s unfolding vision of redemption and restoration in the Old Testament moved out from the particular of calling one person, Abraham, to encompassing all peoples on the earth. “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3). Mennonites in the first half of the 20th century had a small part in sharing God’s restorative blessing in the Congo at great personal sacrifice. Medical, agricultural, and educational development accompanied proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and planting new churches. In spite of great political turmoil, oppressive poverty, and church conflicts, the three Mennonite church bodies in the Congo have grown to a membership of 235,000, the second largest national Mennonite church in the world.
Let’s join in an exuberant outburst of praise to God.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
Proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous needs among all peoples. (Psalm 96:2-3)
*Amanda is my wife