From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Bishops, Mozambican president attend church consecration
Thu, 8 Aug 2002 15:05:41 -0500
Aug. 8, 2002 News media contact: Tim Tanton7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn.
A UMNS Report
By Holly Nye*
Two United Methodist bishops and the president of Mozambique were on hand
for the dedication this summer of a church building in Maputo.
Two years ago, a team of Volunteers in Mission from the Troy Annual
(regional) Conference helped pour the concrete floor and raise the
foundation for the new church. Some of the same volunteers were present for
the July 28 consecration.
"To see this building complete within two years is nothing short of a
miracle," said Bill Barney, one of five volunteers to serve on both the 2000
and the 2002 teams. The 2000 team, working alongside the people of the
church, mixed and poured concrete without benefit of electricity and running
Bishop Susan M. Morrison, whose Albany (N.Y.) Area includes the Troy
Conference, joined with Bishop Joao Somane Machado of Mozambique in
consecrating the new building, the Xinhambanine (SHEEN-yaum-bah-NEEN-ay)
The president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, sat with the congregation for
the celebration, while his armed guards waited outside.
"There were guards visible outside," Barney said, "but the vanload of men
with automatic weapons stayed at a distance. This shows the respect the
president has for the work of the United Methodist Church in his country."
The congregation was overflowing, with "more people seated outside than
inside," Barney said.
Machado enumerated some of the ways that the United Methodist Church has
helped Mozambique: building homes in flood-ravaged areas; advocating for
land-mine removal; building and staffing schools in under-served areas;
digging wells; improving community life. Machado worked with Chissano 10
years ago on forming a plan for peaceful self-rule as the country emerged
from civil war.
Morrison, the preacher for the consecration service, spoke about the
empowerment of ordinary people through "Christ, our liberator." It was a
message not only for the African congregation, in a nation recently
liberated from colonial rule and from 17 years of war. It was also a message
for the Volunteers in Mission, who find liberation in stepping beyond their
North American perspectives and forming relationships with African friends
"The people of Mozambique are such a rich people," said Paula Griffin, a
first-time volunteer. "They have so much more to give us, and to teach us,
than we could ever give."
Morrison and the team of 11 spent two weeks in Mozambique. They helped with
the construction of a pastor's house in Malhazine and the renovation of a
church-owned guesthouse in Maputo. They also spent time with some of the 800
children at the United Methodist-run school in Malhazine. The team raised
$9,500 for the building projects, in addition to raising funds to travel to
The Troy Conference is one of many in the United States doing mission work
in Mozambique. Troy has sent teams to the country almost yearly since 1993.
# # #
*Nye is media editor for the Troy Annual Conference of the United Methodist
United Methodist News Service
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