AMECEA was among the participants of the 4th Workshop of the Network of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Africa, which was held at “Centre Theresianum” in Kinshasa –Democratic Republic of Congo from 6th to 11th September, 2017.
According to Rev Fr Emmanuel Chimombo – AMECEA Pastoral Coordinator, who attended the workshop, the Kinshasa workshop was a follow up meeting after the previous workshops in Accra, Ouagadougou and Nairobi in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Participants at such workshops are experts and practitioners who are passionate about the growth and sustainability of Small Christian Communities in Africa.
The workshop organized by Missio – Pontifical Mission Society Aachen (Missio Aachen) with support from the offices of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) brought together twenty-six members from seven different countries namely Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Missio Aachen was represented by Prof. Dr. Klaus Vellguth and Miriam Leidinger – the convener.
The objectives of the workshop among others were to : assess initiatives undertaken since the Nairobi
workshop, create a platform for sharing experiences and resources among Small Christian Communities in Africa and in the diaspora, review and critically analyze the impact of online networking involving the internet site www.africansccsnetworking.org, consolidate the relations between the SCCs on African continent and consequently bring together individuals committed to the life of SCCs from several African countries and finally discuss the viability of including SCCs in the network at diocesan and national level from the respective countries.
After days of sharing experiences, it was clear that great strides have been made since the last meeting as participants noted that the SCCs are becoming an important anchor point in many countries as a response to the challenges of evangelization. Through SCCs, the faithful are empowered to be self-reliant and accountable. Members were further encouraged to share resource materials by liaising directly or indirectly through the website “www.africansccsnetworking.org” that has been successfully introduced to serve this purpose.
Despite the successes, participants felt that there are gaps that need to be filled. These gaps exist in areas of Structure, Capacity and the Strengthening of the Network through the website. Members therefore, encouraged further reflection on the following issues: The necessity to, invest in trainings and formation of the leaders of SCCs, promote attendance of youth and men in SCCs, embark on research that will bring along the statistical data in countries and dioceses that SCCs are well established noting that, despite being a pastoral priority in Africa, not all Conferences have embraced the idea of SCCs.
Therefore, they appealed that this spirit be encouraged to ensure that SCCs are well grounded suggesting that SCCs be formally introduced as a course in Seminaries, Houses of Formation, Pastoral Institutes and Institutions of Higher Learning.
Finally, members expressed gratitude to Missio – Pontifical Mission Society Aachen, for convening and facilitating the workshop. Gratitude also went to the Local Church of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, through His Eminence Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya, who apart from being a host, officially visited the participants and gave them words of encouragement.
As a way of strengthening the network, participants committed themselves to support each other in the distribution and sharing of resource materials while dedicating the outcome of the workshop to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa.
By AMECEA Online News Reporter