150 pastors, church leaders, and twenty students met in Kabwe, in the Central Province of Zambia, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008, to learn about and discuss the Micah Challenge program. Micah Challenge, a worldwide Christian initiative to encourage social action within the church, seeks to promote the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) signed by world leaders at the UN meeting in 2000. Various speakers came to present information and provide vision for the attendants who responded through question and answer sessions and group discussion.
Pastor David Muwowo of Kabwe Chapel opened the program with a devotion based on Jesus’ parable of the rich man found in Mark 10:17-22. The rich man in the story became conscious of his unhealthy attachment to material wealth through an encounter with Christ. Pastor Muwowo argued that a true interaction with Jesus should result in conviction and recognition of personal corruption.
Pastor Martin Kapenda gave the first formal speech of the day. He introduced the MDGs and presented the current status of Zambia on reaching the proposed UN goals by 2015. He then highlighted the vision of Micah Challenge to build a global coalition of member organizations, churches, denominations, institutions, and individuals who are committed to engaging in poverty reduction and responding to the biblical call to ‘do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8).
The second speaker was the Jubilee Centre’s Executive Director and National Facilitator of Micah Challenge, Pastor Lawrence Temfwe. He exhorted the participants to put into practice the biblical commission to make disciples of all nations while calling on them to live out the greatest commandment to love God and to love neighbor. Fulfilling this call requires integral mission. Such mission, emphasized Pastor Temfwe, seeks to positively affect the entirety of a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual life with the Gospel. The Church must therefore be relevant to the Zambian context. Relevancy requires engagement in the lives, struggles, and needs of the people, actively working to love them and serving them. He argued that the call to integral mission is based on the work Jesus outlined in Luke 4:18-19. According to this passage, Jesus came to restore relationships. As the body of Christ the Church holds the same mission as Jesus. Therefore, as a body the Church must respond to the MDG campaign not because the UN says so, but because God commands us. Pastor Temfwe offered the attendees practical means to get involved through prayer, signing the Micah Call, and taking action as an individual, church, community, and a nation.
The keynote speaker of the day was Central Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Christopher Mutembo. He called for the government, opposition parties, international institutions, the business sectors, civil society, and the Church to work together towards the MDGs. “To achieve the MDGs, Zambia needs everyone,” exclaimed the Deputy Permanent Secretary. He emphasized the role of the government as an entity for the Church and Civil Society to partner with in development. He also encouraged unity “across denominations, and tribes, across
Report submitted by
Chloé Lee, Ashleigh Rogers, and Bethany Wilson.
Friday, June 13, 2008
District Steering Committees
RE: A Micah Call to the churches to Civic Responsibility
On September 25th the United Nations will convene a high level conference in New York. The conference will bring together world leader, civil society and the private sector to help translate existing commitments to the Millennium Development Goals into action and strengthen the accountability of all parties in the global partnership for development. President Levy Mwanawasa is likely to attend the conference and address the participants.
This specific meeting provides for us a historic opportunity to deepen our engagement in poverty reduction. Our engagement with public life is because God created us in His image and gave us dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).
Against this biblical framework and in view of the common commitments we share, we invite you to engage your local public leaders that your concern “to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” maybe known and heard at the highest level of public life.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING YOU TO DO
1. The UN Summit on September 25th
A. Engage your local public leaders. Let the District Commissioner, the Resident Development Committees, member of Parliament and the counselors know that you are committed to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Let them know what programs you’re involved with that are addressing the MDGs. Engage them and find out from them their commitment to the MDGs as leaders. Provide information to your member of Parliament on MDGs related issues for debate in Parliament (this can include HIV/AIDS/TB infection levels, malaria, unemployment levels, education issues and food security). Write your provincial Minister and share your concerns with them and ask them to forward the same to relevant government line ministries.
B. Get debate going on MDGs on your local Radio – have some of you speak on Radio on MDGs. Let the community know about the MDGs and how they relate to the communities. Also let the community know how your are engaging public leaders that they keep the promise. Do press releases on MDGs.
C. Organize a prayer summit on or before 20th September around the MDGs as they relate to your area. Pray for the President that he will be burdened to reduce HIV/AIDS and poverty as he attends the UN meeting with other leaders. Pray for your local leaders that they be committed to achieving the MDGs
2. Stand Up and Speak Out Campaign
On October 17th Micah Challenge in partnership with a wide range of partners including the Global Call Action Against Campaign (GCAP) and the UN Millennium Campaign will join hands to mobilize tens of millions of people to the streets to support the goals in the annual Stand Up and Speak Out Campaign. Each year as more and more people Stand Up and Speak Out, our voices are no longer being ignored; our numbers are a powerful testimony to the growing global movements of citizens demanding and end to poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development goals now. Last year Micah Challenge Zambia mobilized 8, 000 people for the Campaign. This year with your participation we plan to mobilize over 100, 000 people. Here are some suggestions of the activities you can do between the 5th and 19 October:
- Organize a day of prayer at which your church members and senior public officers can be invited to participate. The armies of HIV/AIDS, poverty, child abuse, high maternity mortality rate and unemployment have declared war on Zambia. Just like Jehoshaphat was alarmed about the news of the armies of the Moabites… (2 Chronicles 20) we too should be distressed. Like Jehoshaphat, we call on you to mobilize your people for a day of fast and prayer over these issues that are devastating our beautiful and peaceful country. Call for a gathering to pray to the God who told us that, “Whenever, we are faced with any calamity such as war, disease, or famine we can come to stand before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.” You can choose any day between 5th and 19th October.
- Organize Micah Sunday for your church on October 19. Every year across the world pastors who have signed the Micah Call or who are supporters of Micah Challenge mark and campaign in their churches on Micah Sunday. In 2008 Micah Sunday will be on 19th October. We are encouraging that on this Sunday you take time to share the vision of Micah Challenge by praying for the poor in your community and elsewhere and by challenging your members to live lives of compassion and justice as a community. We will be sending you some ideas for Micah Sunday service during the first week of September. Please let us know if your church will observe Micah Sunday and if you will need our input.
- Organize Stand Up and Speak Out Activity on October 17, to enable you and your community join with people from all around the world to STAND UP and SPEAK OUT against poverty. Micah Challenge Zambia is mobilizing Christians to organize events that literally and symbolically make people Stand Up and Speak Out, demanding our government to keep their promises to end extreme poverty, and meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals. We are all encouraged to be part of this global movement of people who refuse to stay seated or silent in the face of poverty and broken promise. On October 17th people will literally and symbolically Stand Up and Speak Out demanding their governments keep their promises to end extreme poverty. For Micah Challenge Zambia this Stand Up and speak out is also a moment to engage Christians more deeply in the transforming mission of Christ. It is a moment for the church to speak up with impoverished and marginalized people and not turn away.
These events are likely to create new energy of your key local public officers and other leaders and may lead to renewed commitment to achieve the MDGs by 2015 in your local communities. On our part your involvement will inform us on how we can engage our national leaders and the international communities to renew their obligation in the fight against poverty. Therefore, we would love to hear from you what your district and communities are doing to attain the MDGs. We would also like to know what you’re doing in fighting corruption and ensuring that public institutions are delivering HIV/AIDS, health and educational services in an appropriate manner.
Brothers and sisters these Goals can be achieved. Your church and other churches together with your Christian professionals working together can make a profound difference. Biblical characters like Joseph, Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah should inspire us. Your prophetic voice is needed. To stand up and speak out and let those in power to stand by their pledges and honor their commitments they made to make a big dent in poverty by 2015. Here is our opportunity to see the prophecy “They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune, for they will be a people blessed by the Lord.” (Isaiah 65:23) fulfilled. We have no excuse. By God’s grace we can make it happen.
Let me know how we can support your efforts,
On behalf of Micah Challenge Zambia,
Cell: +260 (0) 966 788 487
+260 (0) 977 147 320
Office +260 212 6811172
+260 212 681482
“State, Church are partners”
By Times Reporter
Central province Permanent Secretary Denny Lumbama challenged the church to consider the Government as a partner in development and not its rival.
Mr Lumbama said this in a speech read for him by his deputy, Luke Mankapi in Kabwe on 28th May 2008 during the launch of the Central province Micah Challenge Zambia, a national coalition campaigning for poverty reduction and the attainment of the millennium development goals (MDGs).
He said the MDGS could only be met if all partners in development such as the church, civil society, the business sector, as well as trade unions worked as a team and not in isolation.
Mr Lumbama said the MDGs were attainable but such a resolve required seriousness by partners involved the world over.
“Government has and continues to remain steadfast in working towards meeting the MDGs as could be seen by some of the policies it has instituted”.
“We have an HIV /AIDS policy in place that has seen many patients access Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs free of charge and we have also instituted measures aimed at reducing extreme poverty,” said Mr Lumbama.
Mr Lumbama was encouraged to see that Christians throughout the world had realised the need to work with the governments in ensuring that the MDGs were met by 2015.
He commended Micah Challenge Zambia for taking up the initiative to supplement the Government efforts in meeting the MDGs and stressed that this was how it should be for the development of the country.
And Micah Challenge Zambia representative, Martin Kapenda said his organisation was building a coalition of member associations, churches, institutions, and individuals who were committed to engaging in poverty reduction and the biblical call to do justice and to love.
“as coalition of Christians committed to do justice and action, we will help the government meet eight MDG goals that include eradicating extreme poverty, achieving universal education, promoting gender equality and reducing child mortality through our actions,” Mr Kapenda said.
The other goals the organisation would assist the government in attaining were to improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop global partnerships for development.
As a coalition of Christians committed to standing for justice in Zambia, Mr Kapenda said his organisation strongly urged the Government to keep its promise on attainment of the MDGs.
Micah Challenge Zambia was officially launched in Zambia on August 4, 2007 and it is in the process of being launched throughout the country’s nine provinces.
So far the initiative has already been launched on the Copperbelt, North-western, Luapula, and Central Provinces.