Justo Mwale Universiy (JMU) & University of Zambia (UNZA) – Department of Religious Studies Joint Conference 2016

Justo Mwale University LusakaCall for Papers: Religion and Society in the Contemporary Context of Zambia and Southern Africa

Justo Mwale University and UNZA Department of Religious Studies will host a conference on Religion and Society from Wednesday 6th to Saturday 9th April 2016 at the premises of Justo Mwale University located in Chamba Valley, Lusaka. Conference participants will arrive on Wednesday and depart on Saturday morning. The conference will explore the relationship between religion and society, and in particular the place of religion within society in the contemporary context of Zambia and Southern Africa. The conference will look at this question from both a religious studies and a theological vantage point. It will investigate our concepts of religion and their developments, and how to theologically evaluate the changes over time in that respect, focusing in particular on the current context of Christianity in Zambia and Southern Africa.

VENUE: Justo Mwale University, Plot 19-Sub-E-609, Chamba Valley-Munali Rd, P.O. Box 310199, Lusaka

The conference theme Religion and Society in the Contemporary Context of Zambia and Southern Africa will cover the following questions: – How does religion’s place within society determine what we take religion to be? – What is the impact of the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation on religious education? – How is the place of religion within current Southern African society different from the position of early Christianity within the Greco-Roman society; and what are the implications of this difference? – To what extent is the place of religion in current Southern African society informed by African Traditional Religion’s perspective? – How does religion in the current Southern African society relate to politics? – How does religion in the current Southern African society relate to business? – If a ministry is viewed as a business or investment opportunity, should we still call it religion?

More details about the conference will follow later. Click here to read the PDF file.

Please send your abstracts (max. 250 words) before 21st February 2016 to: hermen.kroesbergen@gmail.com

Note: Reverend Justo Mwale was the first Zambian to be pastor in the Reformed Church in Zambia (from 1929). Since the church’s theological training moved to Lusaka at the end of the 1960s, the institution has opened its doors to other churches, brought the academic standards and accreditation to an internationally accepted level, contextualised the curriculum, expanded its infrastructure and built relationships with a multitude of similar institutions, churches and individuals. In 2008 the Zambian Ministry of Education awarded Justo Mwale Theological College university status. By expanding the student numbers through additional academic programs the institution was renamed Justo Mwale University in 2015. 

My first missionary appointment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

By Humphrey Mukuka, M.Afr

Humphrey Mukuka DRC 2015 01My journey to Aru.

 My decision of passing by Lubumbashi, situated in the southern part of the country near Zambia, to go to Aru, next to Uganda in the North-East, was a bit adventurous. Everyone was advising me to pass through Kampala in Uganda and then enter to DRCongo by road. Being in Zambia, I wanted to go to Lubumbashi to see the families that had welcomed me and my friends Robbin Simbeye, Sylvestre Chimenge, Mathew Kalumba and Joseph Mulenga for a French course in 2008. One in particular, Papa Kabangu and Mama  Annie, came to witness my priestly Ordination in Kabwe last year on the 27th June, 2015. It was so nice to see them again.

I heard that flights from Lubumbashi to Bunia was risking due to negative experiences of local airlines. Anyhow, I thought to myself, “Let me accept it the way it will be. Besides, it will be a learning experience.” Guess what! I was very surprised to find a very well-organised airline called CAA. We travelled safely only that we had to stop over in many places.

République Démocratique du Congo - Carte GoogleUpon my arrival in Aru, I soon discovered deep tensions between some youth and the missionary community. I was wondering how I will integrate myself in such an environment. What will be my participation in the rebuilding mutual trust? Then, I remember what I learned during the Spiritual Year: “An ideal community does not exist but we try by all means to build our community according to the model of an ideal community where we are sent as missionaries.”

Fortunately, things have largely improved since my arrival. We have worked out our “community project”, meaning the way we wish to live as a missionary community. We have regular fraternal meetings and a monthly recollection.

Pastoral Activities

The Parish Notre Dame du Congo is a very dynamic one based on primary evangelisation focussing in visiting outstations in various villages. The warm hospitality the Christians help us to forget the bad roads. Those visits are more intensively made in November and December. I have already visited some outstations but still need much more time to know them all. This is really a wonderful experience.

I have been designated to look more closely to various parish groups such as the Mass servants, the Kizito-Anuarite association, the Bilenge ya mwinda or Youth of the light group, the “Mouvement Sacerdotal Marial”, “Les mamans catholiques” and the sick. For the later, I came to understand how deeply most of them are in need of the sacrament of reconciliation and receive the Holy Communion as quite a few have been waiting for a long time to welcome a Priest in their homes.

My difficulties and challenges.

The misunderstanding between some youth and our community is still being badly felt. But we are seriously working to rebuild confidence with a high sense of creativity so as to encourage everyone to remain joyfully active.

The state of poverty in Aru and its surroundings is unfortunately very high. Consequently, solicitation for financial assistance is constant and can become a form of harassment.

With so many spiritual needs to cover and leadership responsibilities, my time as much as my energy is running out quite often. However, I remain confident with the help of my fellow confreres and God.

Remember me in your prayer!         Click here to read the PDF file of this report.

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