BUILD Partners – BUILD’s UK charity – carries that name for good reason. BUILD emerged through the Church of Uganda developing various partnerships, and a growing range partnerships continue to build the work. These partnerships are with provinces, dioceses, training initiatives, colleges, universities, individuals, charities, and mission agencies. One agency, CMS-Africa, now plays a significant role in encouraging local BUILD workers.
For those who are unfamiliar, CMS-Africa is “an autonomous international mission agency formed in 2008 from the Church Mission Society, UK.” And linked to that rich and varied CMS history its mission focus is on, “equipping and multiplying leaders in church and society to transform nations.” In relation to that it understands the church to be “God’s principally ordained agency for social and cultural transformation.”
BUILD’s own vision is “to see a multitude of well-equipped leaders at the grassroots building healthy churches across Africa’s Great Lakes Region and beyond.” And its mission to achieve that is “to enable churches to train their own leaders with a practical understanding of the gospel, Scripture and theology.” BUILD and CMS-Africa both believe in transformation in and through the Church. And with CMS-Africa’s roots in the mission of the Anglican Church on the African continent and BUILD’s roots in the Church of Uganda and its spread to neighbouring provinces, it is hardly surprising that there is a natural synergy between the two, with an overlap of vision, mission, values and relationships.
CMS-Africa has its main offices in Nairobi but is a pan-African organisation with presence in an increasing number of countries. It not only has a number of partner organisations but also has a growing number of individuals who are CMS Local Partners or Associate Local Partners – their two forms of individual mission partners. Three of those are key BUILD leaders who have wider missional responsibilities, and who receive membercare, prayer and other forms of support through CMS-Africa.
Revd Capt Benjamin Kibara was the first to be accepted by CMS-Africa as the pioneer CMS-Africa – BUILD Local Partner. Ben, who is well known on this blog, was released as missionary clergy of Butere Diocese in western Kenya to be a CMS-Africa Local Mission Partner seconded to the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) as the Coordinator of the BUILD Programme. Ben functions as a mission-partner not only across the various internal boundaries of Kenya, but also across borders to neighbouring countries from time to time.
Revd Sammy Atsali Mangu was the second BUILD leader be adopted as a CMS-Africa Local Partner, he too having been released by Butere as Missionary Clergy. Sammy’s secondment is also to BUILD in the ACK, where he serves alongside Ben and others. But one of Sammy’s main roles is as an itinerant mission partner to the Diocese of Gambella in Ethiopia, within the Anglican Province of Alexandria. This has been an adventure in mission mentioned elsewhere on the blog, which will continue in 2023 when the inaugural BUILD training-of-trainers cohort will be selected in Gambella early in the year. With the church in areas of conflict as one of CMS-Africa’s themes, there is a special dimension to this particular relationship.
Mrs Mercy Mungai is the third and most recent. Mercy has a unique story. A Kenyan by birth she studied mission at a Bible college in Nakuru many years ago, studies that included a mission to Tanzania, where she met her husband. She is now based in Tanzania in Mwanza, by Lake Victoria. Mercy travelled to and from Uganda regularly from 2014 to 2016 for her BUILD-based Diploma in Bible, Theology & Leadership, which trained her as a BUILD trainer in a block-release pattern. Mercy’s special focus for her leadership development paper was on the Swahili translation of materials, which she road-tested in eastern Congo and elsewhere. So not only does Mercy have rich intercultural experience, she continues to operate cross-culturally within Tanzania as a Kenyan CMS-Africa local partner leading BUILD’s Anglican Church of Tanzania Lake Zone training initiative. Again, she is an excellent fit for CMS-Africa and for BUILD’s wider work.
Three local partners in local partnership growing a gospel partnership that is full of promise, both for BUILD and for CMS-Africa. And it is hoped that others will join their ranks in 2023 and beyond, continue to watch this space…
Featured image, Sammy Atsali Mangu of BUILD with Karobia Njogu of CMS-Africa in their Nairobi offices (Karobia is CMS-Africa’s People in Mission Manager).