From 6th to 9th November 2015, the 3rd annual meeting of the Network Pastoral Africa, organised and sponsored by Missio Aachen, took place at the AMECEA Pastoral Institute Gaba, in Eldoret, Kenya. The two previous meetings were held at Lumko, South Africa in 2013 and at the Centre for Social Concern and the Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art in Malawi in 2014.
At this 3rd meeting, six Pastoral Institutes from different corners of Africa were represented: the Capuchin Franciscan Research and Training Centre of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Lux Terra Leadership Foundation of Abuja, Nigeria; Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies, Ghana; Centro de Formacao de Nazare of Beira, Mozambique, Lumen Christi Institute of Arusha, Tanzania; and Faith and Encounter Centre, Zambia. Other delegates came from: the AMECEA Pastoral Institute, Gaba; the Pastoral Department of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA, the Pastoral Department of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference; the Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate of Kenya; and from Missio Aachen. The big absents were the Centre for Social Concern, Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art, Malawi and Wadzanai Training Centre of Harare, Zimbabwe.
For the first time FENZA participated in this meeting and I was privileged to represent it.
This year, the discussions and presentations at the meeting revolved around the core theme of the pastoral challenges and implications of Evangelii Gaudium. The three main presentations were: Evangelii Gaudium and Interreligious Dialogue in Africa, by Rev Prof. Fredrick Mvumbi; Pastoral Challenges in Kenya in Relation to Evangelii Gaudium, by Prof. Eunice Kamaara; and Evangelii Gaudium in Relation to the Church as Family of God in Africa, by Rev Dr. Jordan Nyenyembe. Then the participating pastoral institutes, FENZA included, were given the opportunity to give each a presentation on the impetus the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium has had so far on their respective work.
Besides knowing, sharing and learning from one another, the most important point of this 3rd meeting of Network Pastoral Africa, was the setup of a concrete networking among the various Pastoral Institutes. Under the facilitation of Fr. Pikiti Febian Mulenga from the AMECEA Pastoral Department, the Pastoral Institutes reached and agreed on a networking action plan that should promote and advance co-operation among them.
At the end of the meeting, the delegates decided that the next Network Pastoral Africa meeting will take place from 3rd till the 6th February 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania.