Prayers for Zimbabwe: Luke 16:19-31
Beloved God, in your magnificent model of Creation, it’s hard to understand why some people wrestle hardships of poverty, hunger, violence and hate, while others enjoy privilege and abundance. As Christians we are called to minister to the least of these and attempt to make meaning of hardships in life. In Zimbabwe, we witness firsthand the deep pit that divides the rich from the poor, the sick from the well and the loved from the unloved. I ask for your guidance to cross the deep divide before it’s too late. Guide me, so you don’t have to nag me to follow your Word and do good works. Help me to listen to you the first time and to minister with acceptance, respect and love for all humankind. I pray for peace and understanding. Amen
(Prayer by Maryjane Westra)
Global Ministries International Partners∩╗┐:
- Christian Care: Christian Care was formed in 1967 by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches tasked to improve the quality of life of the disadvantaged, including refugees. As an arm of the church Christian Care is called to witness the presence of God among the poor and disadvantaged who are burdened by oppression, poverty, ill health, lack of freedom or knowledge to make sustainable life-supporting choices. Before Zimbabwe’s political independence in 1980, Christian Care was concerned with relief of families of political prisoners and the prisoners themselves. This program reached out to about 5000 people. Other relief program included drought relief, special emergencies, an essential service for people displaced by escalating war which peaked around 1975 with the establishment of protected/consolidated villages. Shortly after independence, Christian Care was heavily involved in post war reconstruction. In 1985 the organization broadened its mandate to include rural development. Projects to date have included disaster relief programs, dam construction and irrigation development, integrated rural development programs, water and sanitation, livestock restocking, HIV/AIDS, gender, advocacy and income generating projects.
- United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe: The United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) was founded in 1893 by the American Board of Foreign Missions, predecessor mission program of the United Church of Christ. Global Ministries works closely with this partner church in the many facets of its ministry in Zimbabwe. The denominational membership today is approximately 30,000 people in 47 churches and several preaching points and worship groups. The UCCZ has worked ecumenically on important efforts in Zimbabwe and is responsible for many schools and several health institutions in the country. The church’s mission is to promote Christian living and to relate humankind to the larger body of Christ through teaching, healing, stewardship, preaching, and farming. The church revolves around the core values of hard work and self-reliance, and works to eradicate poverty and disease through technical and vocational life skills training for survival, and integrated participatory community-based development.
- Zimbabwe Council of Churches: The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has been in partnership with Global Ministries since 1964. The council has twenty member churches, nine associate member churches, and two observer members. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches’ mission is to meet the needs of their communities, proclaim the gospel, develop their capacity to be self-sustaining, and to speak with one voice on issues of national interest.
- Zimbabwe Synod-UCCSA: The Zimbabwe Synod is one of five synods comprising the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. It is located in Bulawayo with congregations and schools throughout Matabeleland. The church’s greatest constraint is the economic and political situation prevailing throughout the country. As a result of this situation, ordinary Zimbabweans suffer greatly. The migration of the youth and other members of the work force is taking its toll on the church and communities where the churches are located.
- United Theological College, Harare: United Theological College is an interdenominational institution whose purpose is to train quality pastors and teachers of the Christian gospel for churches in Zimbabwe and the region. The College seeks to prepare students to understand and articulate the Bible’s transforming holistic and prophetic message to individuals, families, groups and society at large. The college recruits qualified and experienced Christian lecturers who are committed to excellence in teaching and research. United Theological College is the largest ecumenical theological training school in Zimbabwe run by seven participating churches namely: Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, United Congregational Church in Southern Africa, Uniting Presbyterian Church and African Methodist Episcopal church. United Theological College (UTC) was founded in 1954 as an institution of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, situated on part of the Epworth Mission Farm and named Epworth College. It became an Ecumenical Protestant Seminary in 1955 when the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, The United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (therein called the participating churches) resolved to co-operate in sponsoring the college for the training of pastors and other church workers. In 1976 the name was changed to United Theological College.
Global Ministries Missionaries:
Maryjane and Don Westra, members of Federated Church UCC, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, serve the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe. Maryjane works as a health and child care consultant at Mt. Selinda. Don works on the staff of the Micro-Enterprise and Strategic Planning/Management program at Mt Selinda.
Mary and Dale Patrick, members of Glen Echo Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Des Moines, Iowa, serve with the United Theological College of Zimbabwe. Mary teaches Greek and New Testament and Dale teaches Hebrew and Old Testament.