Awards of Affirmation at UCC’s General Synod
At the UCC’s General Synod, the following guests were honored during the Wider Church Ministries/Global Ministries Dinner on June 28, 2009.
Certificates of Partnership
Europe: Rev. Dale Rominger, Secretary for World Church Relations for the United Reformed Church, United Kingdom
Latin America/Caribbean: Mr. Miguel Villa, Superintendent, Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico
Southern Asia: Rev. Sampath T. Bagavandoss, Secretary of Diocese of Madras, Church of South India
Award of Affirmation: UCC in Zimbabwe
The Award is presented to two partners in Africa for “Courage Under Fire.” The Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo will receive an Award at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly in Indianapolis, IN on July 30, for persisting to provide ministry and services in the face of an ongoing civil war.
Tonight we recognize the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) for Courage Under Fire. The escalating economic and political problems in the country led to poor health care, food shortages, and high unemployment. Despite the tremendous challenges of circumstance, this denomination of 30,000 members in 47 churches, based in Harare, has continued to promote Christian living and to relate to the larger body of Christ through teaching, healing, stewardship, preaching, and farming. UCCZ centers on the core values of hard work and self-reliance, working to eradicate poverty and disease through technical and vocational skills, and participatory community based development.
Mt. Selinda is a UCCZ mission community in the southeast near Mozambique, founded by the ABCFM in the late 1800s. The UCCZ now operates a hospital, an orphanage, a church, primary schools, a prestigious high school, and assists with extensive farming activities. The hospital’s committed staff persists in providing basic medical care with the partial funding support received from Global Ministries. Transportation is an extreme hardship for many patients, so the UCCZ leadership worked diligently to obtain an ambulance for the hospital.
When First Congregational Church in Madison, CT heard about our partners’ need for an ambulance for the hospital, they started fundraising activities that extended over several months. Global Ministries and the United Church of Canada joined hands with First Church to bring the project to fruition. Today, the ambulance is the pride of the community. When asked what has been the impact on the community, Rev. Edward Matuvhunye, President of UCCZ, had the following to say:
“Mt Selinda receives patients from the community and as far away as Mozambique. Often they come late at night and must be referred to a specialist at a larger hospital hundreds of miles away. Without an ambulance, many patients suffer unnecessary and often die. Expectant mothers often cannot reach the hospital in time creating serious problems if there are complications. With the ambulance, we are now able to provide improved service to the community and there is high morale within the community and within the church. Furthermore money that was used previously for repairs and extra transportation costs can now be used to purchase drugs and domestic items.”
Award of Affirmation: Dr. Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi
Reverend Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi is the General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches. Reverend Tevi is known for providing outstanding leadership in the strengthening of ecumenical relationships. He is outstanding in his advocacy of human rights, social justice, and his commitment to environmental issues. In his role as General Secretary, Reverend Tevi promotes interfaith dialogue and interreligion cooperation throughout the world as well as in the Pacific region.
Award of Affirmation: Mr. Samer Laham
Mr. Samer Laham is of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All East and serves the Middle East Council of Churches in Damascus, Syria. Mr. Laham faithfully and conscientiously directs Iraqi refugee relief programs in Syria, both for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All East, and for the Middle East Council of Churches. His tireless work to make life more bearable for Iraqi refugees in Syria is life-giving. Whether he is distributing food supplies, conducting a graduation ceremony for graduates of training programs, or advocating on behalf of refugees, Samer does so with professionalism and ongoing commitment, grounded in his deep Christian faith. Global Ministries is especially proud to honor Mr. Samer Laham for this work, which he does in addition to his regular responsibilities in ecumenical relations.
Award of Affirmation: Rev. Dr. Richard Daulay
Reverend Dr. Richard Daulay will receive this award at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly in Indianapolis, IN on July 30th. Reverend Dr. Richard Daulay is the General Secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia. Interfaith relations between different religious communities, particularly between Muslims and Christians, is a crucial matter in Indonesia. Even though there is seeming peaceful coexistence most of the time, there have been several instances of violent conflicts between Muslim and Christian communities in different parts of the country that have resulted in the loss of life, including the death of awoman pastor, as well as properties damaged, and several churches force fully closed. Reverend Daulay has worked dilligently to build bridges between the Christian and Muslim communities at various levels. His industrious work with the leaders of the major Islamic organizations in the country on behalf of the communion of Churches in Indonesia has been instrumental in restoring peace to a great extent.
Award of Affirmation: Bishop Luis Ulises Muñoz
Bishop Luis Ulises Muñoz will receive this award at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly in Indianapolis, IN on July 30th. Bishop Luis Ulises Muñoz is the President of the Iglesia Pentecostal de Chile (Pentecostal Church of Chile) – IPC. Bishop Muñoz began his ministry in the city of Iquique in northern Chile, almost 1300 miles from the city of Curicó where the church headquarters is located. He continued his pastoral ministry in Chepica from 1973 to 1978, and from 1978 to 1990 he pastored an IPC congregation in the city of Tome in southern Chile. Since March 1991, Bishop Muñoz has ministered as the Bishop and President of the Pentecostal Church. In addition, Bishop Muñoz has served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, the General Board of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), and he currently is a member of the National Board of the Union of Evangelical Churches of Chile (UNIECH). Bishop Muñoz’ vocation of pastoral service is based on having discerned the calling of God early in life, and in response to this calling, he has dedicated his life, in faith and obedience, to serving his church and the community as a whole.