Africa University hosts landmark Africa Continental Summit
Attending the summit were church leaders from Angola, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the United States.
By Ngoni Dapira
More than 120 evangelism leaders from 20 African countries and 18 Wesleyan Methodist family churches under the World Methodist Council attended the landmark Africa Continental Summit held at Africa University in Zimbabwe.
The eight day Summit which ran from 1-8 December, 2012 was organized by the World Methodist Evangelism Institute of the World Methodist Council.
The World Director of the World Methodist Evangelism, Dr Eddie Fox said the Africa summit follows a series of summits held in the America’s, Asia, Philippines and England.
“As the World Methodist Evangelism, we have been engaged in this vision of doing our part so that the world may know who Jesus Christ is. We had a series of summits around the world beginning a few years ago in the America’s.
“We were in South America, Central America, North America and Havana Cuba. “That was followed by summits in Asia and the Philippines. We also held another summit at Cliff College in England which was for Europe. Almost every Methodist Church in Europe was represented.
Dr Fox called Africa the ‘continent of light’ and said they had dreamed about the African summit.
“We dreamed about this summit in Africa the ‘continent of light’. A summit for all Wesleyan evangelism leaders in Africa and I am glad that it came out in a wonderful way.
“We say Africa is the continent of light because the Christian faith is growing faster in Africa than any other continent in the world. It is also true that Africa has entered into the orbit of Christian faith with the majority of the people on the continent believing in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour,” he said.
Dr Fox said as Wesleyans it was important to carry on strengthening each other and reorienting each other on the doctrines of John Wesley.
“This summit like all our other summits focuses on the words of Wesley who experienced the movement of the Holy Spirit in his heart. We are however clear as Methodists that we do not worship Wesley, but worship and follow Jesus in the company of Wesleyans.
“Mr Wesley not long before his death wrote and said he did not fear that the people called Methodists shall never cease to exist, not in Europe, America or anywhere else in the World.
“He said he only feared that they Methodists will exist as a dead sect. He however continued that this will undoubted be the case unless they hold firm to the doctrine, discipline and the spirit with which they first set out.
Dr. Winston Worrell, the Director of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute said he was delighted that they had held their landmark African summit during a celebratory time when Africa University celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
“We are very happy to be here at Africa University and grateful that they opened their doors to make this very important event a success.
“This is my first time here and we are delighted to have come here, particularly, this year as the University celebrates its 20th Anniversary. This University as Methodist and Christian related institution has already begun to have significant impact across the continent.
“As we travel around the continent to hold seminars like this one we are meeting several graduates from this institution who are making significant contributions as pastors and leaders in the country’s they are.
“It is also significant that Africa University as a Christian institution therefore provides the opportunity for people to come not only to learn the Christian faith but also to be impacted by the true morals and standards of Christians who serve God diligently.
“No doubt, our stay here has been very blessed and the Holy Spirit has been among us at this campus,” said Dr Worrell.
The Vice-Chancellor of Africa University, Professor Fanuel Tagwira said the University was privileged to host the event.
“As a Methodist related institution we are proud to host this significant event, the first summit of its kind to be hosted on African soil for Wesleyan Methodist evangelists.
“Our mandate as a Pan Africa institution is to ‘Invest in Africa’s future.’ So it brings us so much joy when we host such landmark events which call for unity among African Methodists in the Wesleyan family.
“Africa needs unity of purpose in all spheres of life to develop. I thank the World Methodist Evangelism Institute for organizing this workshop,” said Prof Tagwira.
The World Methodist Evangelism is ministry that brings together the churches under the Wesleyan Methodist family. Its primary mandate is around the tasks of mission and evangelism and spreading the good news of Christ Jesus all over the world.
The Wesleyan Methodist movement is in138 countries with over 80 million followers.
Dr Lamin Sanneh a renowned academician that has written extensively on World Christianity was also present at the summit and presented on ‘Challenges facing the Christian Movement on the continent’.
The Chairperson of the World Methodist Evangelism Bishop B. Michael Watson said it was very important that Africa’s Methodist leadership step forward in the Christian movement going on around the world.
He said the summit would provide more clarity and energy to carry out the vision of Wesleyan Methodists and also create a sense of unity.
“The ‘people called Methodists,’ followers of Jesus Christ in the company of the Wesleys, are one family with one mission--that the world may know Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Watson.
Pictured at top are: Back-Front (L-R): The chairman of the World Methodist Evangelism(WME), Bishop B. Michael Watson; the General Secretary of the World Methodist Council, Bishop Ivan Ibrahim; Africa University Dean in the Faculty of Theology, Rev. Dr Beauty Maenzanise; Africa University, vice chancellor emeritus and lecturer in the Faulty of Theology, Professor John Kurewa; the Director of the WME Institute, Dr Winston Worrell; the World Director of the WME, Dr Eddie Fox; the African Continent Secretary of the WME, retired Bishop Lawi Imathiu; and the Regional Secretary, Africa West of the WME, Bishop Sunday Onuoha.