Historic Cooperation Agreement Signed
The South Congo Episcopal Area and The PNW Conference work together to care for Africa’s orphan children for a better future.
By Barbara Dadd Shaffer | Photos by Jesse N. Love
A Cooperation Agreement between The Pacific Northwest Conference and the South Congo Episcopal Area was signed during a dinner event during General Conference in Portland in mid-May. After working together to support the two Jamaa Letu Orphanages since 1999, the relationship is now solidified with this agreement that took more than two years to develop.
The Agreement was signed in a public ceremony at a festive, fun dinner in Portland. More than 60 Congolese were guests of The Pacific Northwest Conference for dinner with a similar number of people from the US present. There was good food, speeches (inevitable!), humor, storytelling by Jamaa Letu graduate Claudine “Blessing” Nyota, lively singing and the signing of the Agreement by two bishops.
The Methodist movement began in the southern part of what is now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo back in 1910. The relationship of the sending missionary agencies and the receiving mission projects has evolved over the years from one of significant inequality to that which is represented by this agreement. The Agreement is clear that everyone has responsibilities to their own constituencies and to the other one – different but equally important responsibilities. The Agreement is clear that both Congolese and the PNW have responsibilities in both their own geographic area and in the other area. For example, the Congolese United Methodists have the responsibility to assist the Pacific Northwest Conference with their efforts as well as raising the children and teens in the two orphanages.
It will take all parties a while to live into the Agreement, but it has a good beginning and a great future.
Bishop Grant Hagiya will serve the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area until September 1, 2016. Bishop Kainda Katembo (right) serves the South Congo Episcopal Area.
The Jamaa Letu Orphanages for boys and for girls is a ministry of The United Methodist Church in the South Congo Conference (Africa) and The Pacific Northwest Conference. Donations may be made through your local church or directly to the Treasurer’s Office of the PNW Conference.