Kamango Diocese in Eastern DRC borders Uganda, and has strong links with the BUILD Unit in the Church of Uganda who continue to encourage work in the diocese. Prior to the pandemic our news-blog featured the impact of the BUILD course on Manzi Costa, sent from Kamango for training as a trainer in Uganda on a block-release basis. Despite the disruption of the pandemic and the far greater turbulence of insecurity in his local area, Manzi has pushed on with training others: now his focus is on developing a team of trainers for across the diocese.
Manzi, back in 2019 you spoke about confidence in God despite the insecurity in Kamango Diocese. What is the current situation in the diocese and the area?
Currently, the situation is somehow okay. People are returning back in their home areas after the deployment of Ugandan soldiers.
How has that affected ministry and the training of leaders in Kamango Diocese? What does it all mean for local leaders?
Most parishes and churches were closed mostly in the affected areas such as Buvata, Bundiguya, Kikula, Bahumu and Mpoku, including the Cathedral Church which is found in Kamango town. Most church leaders have left the ministry and joined other businesses for survival. Most of the church properties were stolen and destroyed by the rebels. For example, burning of some churches and the office at the Cathedral Church in Kamango. Killing of some important Christians who used to support the church financially. It has increased poverty among the church leaders and others. It affected the training program were most of the participants were scattered from different places, and so it was hard to get them.
That is heart-breaking. Well done for starting a new BUILD training initiative in the diocese. Can you tell us about who you are training, what sort of leaders they are, and how they have been selected?
We have a group of twenty participants as per now: ten lay readers; two Archdeacons; and seven clergy, and Damari, the Bishop’s wife. They were selected from different parishes by the diocese.
What BUILD modules have you covered so far and how have they been received? Have there been particular truths or topics that people have welcome and that have had an impact on them?
We have covered modules 1, 2 and 3. We received [the manuals] from the Nyahuka Bus Park after they were put on a bus in Kampala by Daniel Mukiibi [from the Church of Uganda].
All these modules were appreciated by the diocesan staff and gave me a job at IBCM college [(Institut Biblique Chanoine Moti)] to continue teaching some of main topics such as breaking down the passage to get the main theme.
Why do you think those things have been so important to people in their situation on the ground? What training needs to they face?
Most of these pastors were all trained locally and these things improved on their preaching skills as they said. Mostly face the challenge of bible interpretation, and keeping the bible at the centre.
And they are now being trained to train others across the diocese, to rebuild and renew the mission of the diocese. What sort of things have the trainee-trainers been saying about the training?
Most say that they have never had such a good training like Build. Others that [it is as though] they did not study anything in the college. Still others says they have been teaching and preaching wrong things to their people. And the Bishop’s wife, Damari, recommended that Build training should continue in IBCM college as an academic programme. Others say they need to see you some time!
Thanks Manzi, I very much hope that will be possible one day.
*Featured picture with Bishop Sabiti and his wife, Damari, in the centre.