Congo Mennonites suffer ‘major wounds’

May 29, 2017 by , and

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The Mennonite Church of Congo has sustained “major wounds” to its people and infrastructure, said Adolphe Komuesa Kalunga, the church president.

Komuesa was reporting on the annual administrative council meeting May 19-21 in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mennonite Church of Congo leaders head the graduation procession at Kalonda Bible Institute in 2012: Joly Birakara, vice president; Adolphe Komuesa, president; and Marcelin Mbalo, Komuesa’s wife. Classes had to be suspended this year due to violence. — James Krabill/MMN

Mennonite Church of Congo leaders head the graduation procession at Kalonda Bible Institute in 2012: Joly Birakara, vice president; Adolphe Komuesa, president; and Marcelin Mbalo, Komuesa’s wife. Classes had to be suspended this year due to violence. — James Krabill/MMN

He named 10 congregations unable to gather for worship due to violence before saying he could not list all the places people had fled. Fields are left untended, so hunger is pervasive.

“It will get much worse in the coming weeks,” Komuesa said. “Most of our members are hiding in the bush and forests.”

In the Tshikapa region, with about 50 Mennonite congregations, only a dozen have not reported damage to their church and school buildings.

The Mennonite Church of Congo — one of three Mennonite conferences in the country and a partner of Mennonite Mission Network — is organizing a relief effort to collect gifts of clothing, food and funds for their members who have lost everything.

Fighting around Kalonda Bible Institute, where most of the Mennonite church leaders are trained, forced the suspension of classes when some of the students were just six weeks from graduating. Efforts are being made to reunite students at the church national headquarters to help them complete their year of study.

The husband of the regional president of the Mennonite women’s association was decapitated May 19. He was chief of a village about eight miles from Kalonda.

A Mennonite pastor in Lubami was arrested along with a pastor from a Neo-Apostolic congregation. The Neo-Apostolic pastor was executed immediately. The Mennonite pastor was beaten and whipped, but those who tortured him fled the scene without killing him.

Located in Bandundu Prov­ince, Kitwit is calmer than the Kasaï provinces, where most of the Mennonite congregations are established. Komuesa indicated most of the current violence was in the regions around Kananga in Central Kasaï, Mbuji Mayi in East Kasaï and Tshikapa in Kasaï.


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