Congo Week Worship
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the most mineral resource rich country in Africa; yet, 80% of the population survives on $.30 a day and 75% of the population is undernourished according to the UN. Further, there are an estimated 1.3 million displaced Congolese, and estimated 1.1 million are living with HIV/AIDS, and close to two-thirds of the population cannot afford conventional health care. The Congolese live in these dire conditions because DRC is entangled in war over a natural resource, coltan, which has resulted in the death of over 5.4 million to date. This war has been described as the deadliest since Adolf Hitler’s armies marched across Europe and has been dismissed as an internal African implosion. In reality it is a battle for coltan, diamonds, cassiterite and gold, destined for sale in London, New York, Antwerp and Paris – the metals that make our technological society vibrate, ring and bling.
In addition to high death rates, the war has lead to the use of child soldiers, child slavery in mines, a rise in HIV/AIDS, the mass displacement of peoples, and the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war. In one province alone, the United Nations has estimated that 45,000 women were raped in the last year.
May 18 to May 28, 2008 Global Ministries Africa executive, Rev. Sandra Gourdet led an Indiana delegation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to the Congo. Among the participants were the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins. Upon returning the group gave a presentation on their experience in the Congo and of the vibrant spirit of the people despite the hardships they currently experience. In that presentation, the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins posed the question, “Have we forgotten the Congo or do we just not care?” We dare to say that most around the world are not aware of the human rights violations that are occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Paul wrote in I Corinthian 12:26, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” The Body of Christ suffers today because of injustice and exploitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is our calling as members of the Body of Christ to break the silence, stop the pillaging, promote justice, defend women and children, protect the environment and support the people of the Congo. Through this worship resource we seek to honor the millions who have lost their lives, those who struggle to survive and the many displaced Congolese. As we gather to raise our voice to God, we pray that God will use our voices to address the root causes of suffering in the DRC.
We pray that this resource will aid your congregation in beginning the talks about the atrocities being committed in the DRC. Use it during the Break the Silence Congo Week to speak a word of hope to what appears to be a hopeless situation and speak prophetically to leaders around the world to make a real difference in their policies concerning the Congo.
In addition to using this resource for your congregation, visit www.globalministries.org, www.congoweek.org and www.friendsofthecongo.org to learn more ways we can strengthen our collective voice in raising awareness, creating accountability and ensuring a peaceful future for the DRC.
Friends of the Congo
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ