Christianity in the Luangwa Valley, by Bernhard Udelhoven

A Luangwa-cover-JPEGChristianity in the Luangwa Valley, by Bernhard Udelhoven

Where faith and culture meet of don’t meet.

What does the Christian faith offer to people in the remote Luangwa Valley of Zambia? How does it link up, of not link up, with their values, life-experience and knowledge of God and the unseen world?

The first Catholic missionaries opened a mission station in the Luangwa Valley in 1904, but they left the valley barely seven months later. They had found greener pastures elsewhere. Within the next 100 years of evangelisation, the valley had witnessed periods of renewed impetus, but the social, cultural and religious coordinates of people in the valley found only few considerations in the pastoral plans of the established Church. For many pastoral workers, the valley was conceived as a difficult place, backwards, and left behind.

Now people of the valley are themselves asking questions to the Church. The answers given to their questions should be significant for the approach to Christian evangelisation far beyond the valley.

This study into the significant social and religious coordinates of people in the valley was commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Chipata in search for a contextualised pastoral approach.

FENZA Publications, 252 pages, 2015. (First publication in 2007)

Kambwiri : the first Catholic Mission in Chipata Diocese in 1904

Kambwiri 07 - Copie_modifié-1Two weeks ago, I visited Kambwiri (today Chasera) in one of our outstations to see how it looks like.  It was the first mission of the White Fathers in the diocese. I asked Mr Kezyius Phiri, the vice chairperson of Chasera, to accompany me. From about 60km from Lumimba Parish or 2km from the new church of Chasera, it was on this rarely visited spot that the Diocese celebrated its centenary in 2004. A stone was laid as a remembrance. I took a few minutes of prayer and silence to thank for the great men of faith and hope who started this mission in 1904, though they had to close it and leave the valley barely seven months later. This is part of our history connecting us to our ancestors in faith. More about Kambwiri mission can be read in the report of Luangwa Valley written by Fr. Bernhard Udlehoven in 2006. This is an historical place to preserve for future generations.

By Phelim Malumo, M.Afr

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