The Revd John Kafwanka sends a final report from the 60th anniversary celebrations for Church Army Africa in Kenya...
The second day was enriched by a keynote address presented by Bishop Charles Muturi Mushene on the theme, 'The African Youth as Force for Here and Beyond'.
Bishop Mushene said that many people are talking about 'unlocking the potential of Africa' but no one is talking about 'unlocking the potential of the young people', even in the Church.
He explained that this was due to the fear people have of being outshone by young people if they were given the opportunity. He lamented the reality that young people are not found in parish councils, deanery councils and synods, even when they made up more than 60% membership of the Church.
"How does one explain the fact that the Church has majority of its membership below the age 35 years and yet had its leadership above the age of 50?" he asked.
He pointed out that it was the failure of including young people in the whole life of the Church which made the Church fail to understand the needs of young people and possess the capacity to develop appropriate contextual resources for them.
Bishop Mushene called upon the Church in Africa to develop appropriate liturgy for the young people, but he underlined the point that such liturgy cannot be developed by anyone else but only by or with the input of young people themselves.
Bishop Mushene, who is also the Chairman of Kenya Anglican Youth Organisation (KAYO), the provincial youth arm of the Church, decried the Church's lack of serious concern to tap the potential of young people.
He noted that while the Church can afford to fund any other programme that was geared at older generation, no funding was made available for young people, and he wondered what kind of Church leaders were leading.
The Assistant Bishop of Mount Kenya South, Bishop Mushene called upon Anglican leaders in Africa to develop a very clear vision for children and young people rather than be preoccupied with 'how to sustain the existing structures.'
John Kafwanka, front right, delivered greetings to the meeting from Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board of Church Army Africa, Mr James Gitoho, outlined the vision of the organisation emphasising the continued focus on Biblical centred evangelism that is holistic and integral. He told the attentive audience that CAA will remain a pan-African mission agency with a central office in Nairobi but will be opening country offices where its work is present in order to provide efficient coordination and increase mutual collaboration and learning across the continent.
Mr Gitoho explained that Church Army Africa will be introducing industrial chaplaincy. He also observed that because Africa is a young continent with 70% of its population under the age of 35, Church Army Africa will be developing appropriate and contextual material and methods for evangelism, and especially the use of social media and networks to reach the young generation. He reminded the delegates that Church Army Africa is the evangelistic arm of the Anglican Church.
Closing the conference on Wednesday, the Bishop of Nairobi Diocese, the Rt Revd Joel Waweru, thanked and congratulated the organisers for a successful event and challenged the delegates that "We are called by God not only to be transformed but to be enablers."
Bishop Waweru also thanked the international delegates for having had the confidence to travel for the conference even when the news coming from Kenya was about the insecurity of the country, adding that sadly every part of the world was insecure in some way.
Earlier in the day the Director for Mission of the Anglican Communion read the message of greetings and congratulations from the Anglican Communion Secretary General, Canon Dr Kenneth Kearon. Noting the many achievements of Church Army Africa in the last 60 years, Canon Kearon encouraged CAA to "press on to make Christ's transforming power known in every place."
The 60th anniversary Church Army Africa conference was profoundly enriched by daily vibrant worship and music led by the Divine Voices and deepening and challenging Bible studies provided by the Revd Canon Captain Titus Baraka, respectively. Captain Baraka is the Church of Uganda Provincial Missions and Evangelism Coordinator. He centred the Bible studies on Romans 12.1-3.