[Anglican Communion News Service] Church Army Africa, a community of evangelists in Africa, has embarked on an ambitious program to “positively transform society” by setting up 1,500 Anglican churches by 2015.
The organization’s general secretary, the Rev. Capt. Richard Mayabi, told ACNS that they plan to achieve the goal through a program called Heal Africa. Said to be holistic it ensures each church offers “healing through health care education, access to justice and leveraging wealth creation.”
“HEAL – which stands for Health, Education, Access to Justice and Leveraging wealth creation – was launched with a view to re-branding and empowering Church Army both at the training level and grassroots level to re-engineer the church to become a beacon of hope for the African people,” said Mayabi.
Since its establishment in 2009, Church Army Africa has persuaded more than 12,000 clergy and evangelists to consider HEAL as a model for mission. “We have seen a number of HEAL Africa projects initiated such as nursery schools, clinics, village micro-finance programs, peace and reconciliation initiatives and, above all, 350 new churches planted across the continent.”
“The overall goal of this program is to promote church planting movements and also the sending of African missionaries to Africa and beyond. We have initiated church planting on the street with hawkers and touts who are even undergoing a course and exploring Christianity.
The program has become so popular on the continent such that the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean has agreed also to adopt the Church Army training.
“The HEAL Africa vision was spawned by the 2007 post-elections in Kenya where Church Army seriously questioned the impact of Christian discipleship on its members on one hand and the training of church ministers on the other,” explained Mayabi.
“Two things stood out. Firstly, it was Christians who went about killing each other, even those who belonged to the same church. Secondly, the entire church leadership in Kenya became tribal supporting their tribal leaders at the cost of standing for truth and preaching love, and we observed that what was happening in Kenya was a common trend in the whole of Africa. “
“We want to use this program as a vehicle to mobilize the church towards creating transformation in Africa and, so far, this is being realized but the challenge is how to grow this vision to the whole of Africa.”
He said that their dream is to see the whole of Africa evangelized through the recruiting of students from every African country to train at Church Army and “carry this fire back home.”
“Currently, we have students from twelve countries in Africa and soon more are are coming on board.”
Mayabi explained that Church Army Africa is also setting up a radio station as a platform for addressing emerging issues in communities in Africa, and to allow church leaders to speak hope to people in their countries.
The original Church Army was started in 1882 by a tough London businessman, Wilson Carlile, who was “transformed by Christ and resolving to share the love of Christ with both the rich and the poor.”
More than 130 years on, and Church Army Africa are asking for the support and prayers of Christians around the world to achieve the dream of a transformed Africa.