Recent weeks have seen yet further incidences of terrible atrocities committed by rebel groups in eastern DR Congo, with lives lost, innocent people wounded and traumatised, and families and communities displaced. North Kivu (Beni, North Kivu and Kamango Dioceses) and Ituri (Boga Diocese) are all affected. The large towns and cities of Butembo, Beni and Bunia have all seen huge influxes of displaced people and in this context, the Anglican Church of Congo and other churches as well civil society and NGOs are seeking to respond to the huge needs of the displaced people : for shelter, food, medical treatment, psycho-social and spiritual care.
Displacement and insecurity mean that huge swathes of the population are no longer cultivating their small-holdings; food production in the fertile lands of North Kivu and Ituri provinces (and further afield) has been decimated. A recent UN report says 27.3 million Congolese face ‘acute’ food insecurity – 1 in 3 people, a terrible reality. While conflict is a major factor, there’s also been a slump in the DRC economy and the socio-economic impact of Covid-19.
This week, there have been protests and shut-downs in a number of towns in eastern DRC, as the population seeks a response from the authorities to bring an end to these atrocities.
- for the authorities to bring an end to this cycle of violence and atrocities, impacting every sphere of life ;
- for provision of care, food, shelter, and God’s blessing on the churches’ response;
- for peace so that people may return home and rebuild their lives;
- for church leaders, pastors, lay workers and MU members as they lead churches and reach out to their communities with compassion, care and the Good News of Jesus Christ.
March is designated ‘Women’s Month’ within the Anglican Church of Congo, with International Women’s Day on 8th March widely celebrated by church and civil society organisations and then Mothers’ Union Day on 25th March. In Bukavu Diocese approx 400 women gathered to consider the theme : Women’s leadership – for an egalitarian future in the world in the context of Covid-19, looking at the role of church women in Covid protection, as well as how to tackle sexual violence and domestic abuse.
Give thanks for all the women’s seminars and celebration days held in March, equipping women to face current challenges and pray God will use them to bring lasting change in their families and neighbourhoods. Give thanks too that cases of Covid-19 have been far fewer than initially feared.
By contrast, May will be a month of Christian Education and Evangelism across all the dioceses of the Anglican Church of Congo, an initiative spear-headed by Archbishop Masimango and Canon Nzua Emmanuel, who is National Coordinator for Evangelism and Christian Education. From 16th May onwards there will be outreach activities on the theme ‘The unfathomable love of God in Christ for all’, culminating in the annual celebration of St Apollo’s Day on May 30th, who pioneered the Anglican Church of Congo.
Please pray for many to hear the Good news of new life in Christ, and put their trust in Him.
Thank you for praying with our brothers and sisters in Christ in DRC, interceding for the hard situations where we long to see change, and give thanks for the dedicated, compassionate, perseverance of God’s people in DRC.