Bellah Zulu, ACNS
Young Anglicans from the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) have called for urgent training of Sunday School and youth leaders to enhance leadership skills among youths in the Province.
The call came during a Provincial Youth Executive meeting in Zambia’s capital Lusaka, from April 5 to 7. Items addressed at the meeting included the adoption of a code of conduct for youth leaders as well as financial guidelines for the management of funds generated from their Youth Fund.
“Most of the youths in our Province have not received any form of training in the area of leadership,” revealed Provincial Youth Co-ordinator for the Province, Fr. Robert Sihubwa. “Most of these young people just rely on their own initiative, but if we are to ensure sustainability in the long run young people need specialised leadership training.”
The Executive Committee also proposed training sessions for each of the national Churches in the Province--Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana--covering such topics as child development, the basics of Anglicanism, facilitation skills, HIV/AIDS and entrepreneurship.
“These trainings are meant to groom leaders to take over the reins of the Church in future. [Also] children with a solid foundation of their faith can be relied upon to continue contributing to the Church even when they grow up,” said the Reverend.
Commenting on the need for training in the Province, Bishop of Eastern Zambia, the Rt Revd William Mchombo said, “It’s important that the youths are empowered and we are agreeable and willing to act positively to help them become better leaders.
“We are excited that as CPCA we have youths of such caliber; they have shown us that they are innovative and this assures us that the future Church will be in safe hands."
The meeting also acknowledged the seriousness with which issues of HIV/AIDS ought to be dealt with in the Church. Fr. Sihubwa said, “HIV/AIDS affects a good number of our youths with some of them having been orphaned because of the epidemic.”
It will come as no surprise that HIV and AIDS is included in such training because, despite the reduction in new infections on the continent, it is estimated that more than 11 million children under the age of 15 living in sub-Saharan Africa have been robbed of one or both parents by HIV/AIDS. A situation that has usually left grandparents with the burden of having to take care of orphaned children.
According to a recent UNICEF report, “The number of orphans in sub-Saharan Africa will continue to rise in the years ahead, due to the high proportion of sub-Saharan African adults already living with HIV/AIDS.”
The meeting also emphasised the need for better networking among the youths. The Provincial Co-ordinator said that it is only when youths are well organised and in touch with each other that they are able to present a representative picture to Church leaders, as well as to share resources within CPCA.
Bishop Mchombo was impressed that the Church has a generation of youths who have a passion for the Church and for Christ. He said that despite the Province having limited resources, it would support them.
The youths have also scheduled a provincial leaders conference and provincial youth conference for 2013 and 2014 respectively.