Visit of Rev Chipasha Musaba - June 2022

The District will be honoured in the coming weeks by the visit of Rev Chipasha Musaba, General Secretary of the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), together with his wife Barbara, to Southampton Methodist District.

Rev Musaba has been UCZ’s General Secretary for two years and is highly qualified and experienced. As well as his training at what is now the UCZ University, he has qualifications and degrees from St Paul’s Theological College in Kenya, the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and Uganda Christian University.

Rev Musaba has been an ordained minister since January 1995, working on the Copperbelt, including service as Copperbelt Presbytery Bishop.

He and Barbara are to attend the Methodist Conference in Telford and then to stay with our Southampton District Chair, Rev Andrew de Ville, enhancing the District’s link with the UCZ.

On Saturday, 2nd July, there will be a memorial service in Poole for Rev Peggy Hiscock who served in Zambia from 1958 to 1974 and was the first female ordained minister in the UCZ. Peggy died in Poole last year; it is great that the UCZ General Secretary will be at her service, because Peggy’s ministry made a huge difference in the life of the UCZ.

On Sunday, 3rd July, Rev Musaba and Rev de Ville will lead morning worship at Salisbury Methodist Church. Salisbury Methodist Church, together with Salisbury United Reformed and Bemerton Methodists, is linked with a UCZ congregation in Lusaka.

The visit of Rev and Mrs Musaba is the first personal visit since before the Covid lockdowns and will revive the exchanges which strengthen the link between our churches. The prayer links between congregations have continued through the lockdowns, as well as sharing worship through streaming and Zoom. Worshipping together in person will be an added blessing.

Cecil King

Zambia Update - May 2022

The United Church of Zambia is much more led by lay people than the British Methodist Church is; for each ordained UCZ minister there are several thousand worshipping members. Yet the UCZ is a “sending church”. There are three UCZ ministers working in Methodist circuits in England; last month two UCZ ministers left to work for the church in Jamaica.

A serious concern for our partner congregation – St John’s, Mtendere – has been a cholera outbreak in Mtendere, the first case of cholera in Zambia for several years. We are asked to give thanks to God that this outbreak has been contained, with only 4 other cases reported. And we are also asked to pray for the UCZ’s nine Community Health Posts in Lusaka, originally set up to treat HIV/AIDS and now doing great public health work in poor neighbourhoods during the COVID-19 waves.

The negotiations continue between the Zambian government and the lenders who are being paid huge amounts of Zambia’s debt. Zambia’s debt payments are more than health, education and social spending combined, which is an appalling situation for one of the poorest countries.

One aspect of our link with the United Church of Zambia is the worship material they share with us.

There is new material recently added on the website worshipwords.co.uk/zambia-praise/, a website which includes prayers and songs for us to use from Zambian Christians.

Like us here, Zambians are experiencing a steep rise in the cost of living, and they have fewer financial resources to cope with that than most of us have. Please continue to pray for and with our partners in Zambia, as they continue to pray for us.

Cecil King

Zambia - April 2022

The United Church of Zambia (UCZ) has celebrated Easter in worship almost “normally”, still wearing masks but with full churches and choirs in full song.

Covid cases are falling in number, and reported deaths from Covid very few.

Still there is a desperate shortage of medicines and medical equipment, and our prayers are asked for the UCZ Health Secretary, Gina Siatwinda Olivier,

as she works to make sure there are sufficient staff, equipment and medicines in UCZ’s two hospitals and nine clinics.

The UCZ’s newest venture for outreach is fundraising to build new TV and Radio studios in Lusaka.

Each congregation is asked to give at least 2,000 kwacha. The present UCZ radio station opened in 2014; the premises were gutted by fire in September 2021 but got back on air a month later. Now the church wants new studios that will broadcast the Gospel to people in the eight official languages of the country, reaching the farthest village through the most up to date media.

Our Southampton District’s link with the Lusaka Presbytery should be revitalised by the planned visit of Rev Chipasha Musaba, UCZ General Secretary, to the District in July. After that we pray and trust that people exchange between our congregations will be resumed.

Cecil King

Zambia - March 2022

Life, including church life, is almost back to normal following the pandemic. There are still more than 100 coronavirus cases recorded each day, but deaths from COVID are very few. However, there is a critical shortage of medicines and basic medical equipment in Zambia’s hospitals and clinics. Our prayers are asked for the two hospitals and seven clinics run by the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) and for Gina Siatwinda-Oliver, UCZ health secretary, working to get supplies needed by those medical facilities.

Zambia is mourning the death of Rupiah Banda, fourth President of Zambia, in office from 2008 to 2011. Mr Banda was best known as an international diplomat, working for reconciliation in Namibia and Kenya and at the United Nations. As we give thanks for the good work he did, pray for the unity of Zambia and for reconciliation across Africa, especially in Ethiopia and in Cameroon.

During the Southampton Methodist District Synod at Salisbury Methodist Church on April 2nd, Bryan Coates will speak about Revd Peggy Hiscock, who died last year. It is my hope that the Synod will agree to give money to the Peggy Hiscock Scholarship, set up by the UCZ University, to support students training to be church ministers. Peggy served in Zambia from 1958 to 1974 and was the first woman minister ordained in the UCZ.

During April, the Zambian Government will be negotiating for the cancellation of the nation’s huge debt. Zambia spends more on debt repayment than on health, education and social services combined, which is an appalling situation for one of the poorest countries. You can sign the petition “Cancel Zambia’s Debt” on the website of the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

Please continue to pray for the Lusaka Presbytery of the UCZ, as they pray for us.

Cecil King

Zambia - February 2022

In late January and early February, parts of eastern and southern Zambia were devastated by tropical storm Ana. The storm hit Mozambique and then spread far inland causing flooding and destroying homes and crops. Pray for the people affected and for the work to help people in need and to restore damage.

On 25th January, a minibus run by the United Church of Zambia from Southern Province to Lusaka crashed into another vehicle and seventeen people were killed. Pray for the bereaved families and everyone ministering to them.

Good news is that the number of Covid cases and Covid deaths has fallen fast in recent weeks. In most ways life is back to normal, though “face – hands – space” is still the advice and, in church, many people are wearing masks and bumping elbows rather than shaking hands. Give thanks to God for vaccines and health workers, and pray that more testing kits will be provided.

The United Church of Zambia (UCZ) runs nine health facilities – from clinic to hospital – scattered over the country; they have been heavily overworked during the pandemic. The new UCZ Health Secretary is Mrs Gina Oliver, a Zambian nurse. Pray for her as she travels to the nine facilities and works to support them in their work. Gina’s husband is British Methodist minister: Rev Malcolm Oliver; pray for him as he joins the family in Zambia and takes up ministerial duties in Lusaka.

Our partners in the United Church of Zambia Lusaka Presbytery ask that we give thanks to God that the life and mission of the congregations have revived after the restrictions on church activities when Covid was at its worst.

Please continue your prayers for our partners in Zambia as they continue to pray for us.

Cecil King

        

 

Zambia - January 2022

The prayer requests which we receive from the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) each week have recently been about the fourth wave of COVID 19 infections. The number of new cases each day has gone up into the thousands again; some deaths from COVID are reported daily. Nearly all the COVID patients in hospital are people who have not been vaccinated because Zambia does not have enough doses of the vaccine. There is also a shortage of testing kits, and so there can be no practice of isolating people who are infected.

In church life and in schools, mask wearing is common, but otherwise normal activities have been resumed after the lockdowns of last year.

This is the rainy season in Zambia (November to March); the rains started late in parts of Zambia but are now falling. Until a year ago, Zambia suffered some years of drought, so bad that Victoria Falls dried up. Thank God that rains are falling this year.

In November, we heard of the appointment of the Revd Dr Jonathan Kangwa as Vice Chancellor of the UCZ University, where ministers and deaconesses of the church are trained. Dr Kangwa has recently told us that the UCZ University has set up the Peggy Hiscock Scholarship to support men and women who offer themselves for full time ministry as deaconesses or ordained ministers but are unable to sponsor themselves for training.

Rev Peggy Hiscock, who died last year in Poole, was a Methodist minister who worked in Zambia from 1958 to 1974. She is remembered in Zambia as a pioneer and champion of women’s ministry in church who inspired and trained many women. Peggy was the first woman ordained in the UCZ.

The news from UCZ congregations is that, in spite of the lockdowns and limitations placed on church activities during the pandemic, congregations continue to grow in number and in membership. Continue to pray for Lusaka Presbytery of the UCZ, as they pray for us.

Cecil King

Zambia - November 2021

The hot weather is now prevailing in Zambia, and the number of coronavirus cases is much reduced, with less than 15 new cases per day and less than 5 deaths each week.

As a result activities are getting back to normal, though with the hands-face-space precautions.

School pupils are preparing for the usual school leaving exams in December. Church worship and ministry in the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) is flourishing. And, praise God, the rainy season has begun well.

New senior appointments have been made by the church. The Revd Dr Jonathan Kangwa, who was in England three years ago as part of the District’s Zambia link, has been appointed Vice Chancellor of the United Church of Zambia University.

Jonathan is a theologian and church historian.

One of his major articles deals with the work of Peggy Hiscock in Zambia. Peggy, who died in Poole earlier this year, was the first woman ordained in the UCZ. She had gone to Northern Rhodesia a Methodist Deaconess and pioneered training of African deaconesses. She was ordained a minister before the British Methodist Church ordained woman ministers. On her return to work in England, Peggy was in our Southampton District and helped to forge the District’s Zambia link.

Another of Dr Kangwa’s major articles is about the ministry of Rev Dr Peggy Mulambya Kabonde, who served for years as General Secretary of the UCZ. When she stepped down from that work last year, she came to work with the British Methodist Church and lives in Melksham, working with congregations in West Wiltshire.

As we give thanks for the ministry of women ministers and the Women’s Christian Fellowship in the UCZ, we remember the Methodist women teachers who established the first secondary school for African girls – at Chipembi - educating girls who became leading professionals – in education, the law, diplomacy and medicine.

Pray also for the new Mission and Evangelism Secretary of the UCZ, Rev Andrew Chulu, and for renewed mission work of the church now that COVID cases are reduced.

Cecil King

Zambia - October 2021

On 24th October Zambia celebrates the 57th anniversary of the nation’s independence. It is an occasion for looking back with thanksgiving.

In 1964, on Independence Day, few people gave Zambia a chance of peace or prosperity or real political and economic independence. In five of the countries bordering Zambia there were wars. Landlocked Zambia, a thousand miles from the sea, had no good route to the coast to export the copper on which the economy depended - only a long dirt road to Dar-es-Salaam. There was no university, and there were very few secondary schools for Africans; nearly all skilled professional jobs were done by foreigners.

The borders of Zambia – formerly Northern Rhodesia – had been drawn by European politicians in Berlin in 1885, with no regard to or knowledge of the people who lived there. So Zambia was an artificial creation with more than 70 different languages spoken and people’s primary loyalty being to their extended family and home area.

Today, we give thanks that Zambia has been an independent democratic peaceful nation for nearly 60 years, despite the big problems it was born with.

There have been setbacks – times of economic hardship, the AIDs pandemic, devastating drought, leading to the failure of electricity generation from Kariba Dam, some corrupt government, crop failures, the COVID pandemic.

There has also been huge expansion in schools and universities, great improvements in road links especially to previous isolated areas and, for some people, higher living standards.

Christian churches have multiplied and the number of church worshippers has increased enormously. The government elected in August this year has renewed the declaration that Zambia is a Christian country.

Give thanks for Zambia and for the United Church of Zambia. There are three United Church of Zambia ministers serving as circuit ministers in British Methodism; Zambia sends ministers to us – a rapid change from 40 years ago, when Britain was sending ministers to Zambia.

Continue to pray for the United Church of Zambia, as they continue to pray for us.

Cecil King

        

Zambia update - October 2021

From October 2021 newsletter of Salisbury Methodist Church

Our Zambia link

The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Zambia has fallen from the peak in June and July; two or three COVID deaths are recorded each day.

This fall is not because of a large vaccination programme; less than 10% of the population have received doses. The weather is warming up, and schools are back. People are still being urged to wear face masks, keep socially distant and wash hands frequently.

Church activities are not yet back to normal, but Sunday worship, including Holy Communion, is resumed, as well as local Bible Study meetings.

The newly elected government, led by President, Hakainde Hichilema, is pursuing very different policies from its predecessor – much more encouragement of private enterprise and looking to the West for assistance in Zambia’s economic recovery. Soon after the new government was inaugurated, the UK agreed to provide £9 million for small and medium enterprises and for girls’ education in Zambia.

We are asked to pray, giving thanks for the peaceful change of government and praying that the new government will deliver their promise to reduce poverty in Zambia.

In the United Church of Zambia, we are asked to pray that the mission and ministry of Christ will be maintained even with the anti-COVID restrictions.

At St John’s, Mtendere, we give thanks that the building of the Consistory (equivalent to our Circuit) offices has just begun and pray that the building work goes on well.

Our partner in the link to St John’s, Salisbury URC, will be using some of the worship music from Zambia composed and performed by Revd Cephas Ng’oma. You can enjoy it by clicking on:

Music from Revd Ng’oma | Salisbury United Reformed Revd Church (salisburyurc.co.uk)

Please continue to pray for our link congregation – St John’s United Church of Zambia, Mtendere, Lusaka, as they continue to pray for us.

Cecil King

Worship Music from Rev Cephas Ng’oma of the United Church of Zambia

https://salisburyurc.co.uk/prayer-music-from-revd-ngoma-zambia/

Prayers for Zambia - August 2021

16 August 2021

Zambia has a new President as a result of the elections on 12th August. He is Hakainde Hichilema, a millionaire businessman; the people of Zambia – 59% of the voters – have turned to him in the hope that he will improve the economy of the country.

Mr Hichilema, who has stood for President five times before and lost, is the first President of Zambia whose roots are in the Southern Province and in the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

We are asked to pray for peace and unity in the country following the election results. Both sides have accused each other of intimidation at the polls.

The pandemic continues to claim lives in Zambia, but the number of cases and deaths has declined since the spike in mid-July. Schools will fully re-open before the end of August.

The United Church of Zambia is still not allowing church fellowship and organisations to meet, except for section Bible Study. Holy Communion services are being held again, after nearly two months when they were not held. Sunday worship is supposed to be with masks and social distancing, but that is difficult to impose.

We are asked to pray for unity in the church, which has members of various political parties, and for maintaining fellowship and pastoral care in congregations amid the COVID restrictions.

And we are asked to pray for health workers and the vaccination programme; less than 10% of adults in Zambia have received one dose.

Cecil King

A letter of welcome to the new Bishop of Lusaka Presbytery - December 2020

Greetings to new Bishop Lusaka 2020[1].pdf

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Farewell to Bishop Rodwell Chomba

The Wessex Synod of the United Reformed Church sends its warmest greetings to Bishop Rodwell Chomba and to the Ministers, Elders and Members of the Lusaka Presbytery of he United Church of Zambia: Grace to you and Peace. 

We would wish to join with others in testifying to the way in which our God has used Bishop Chomba in the service of the Presbytery and of the whole Church of Christ; and the blessings we ourselves have received through his Ministry. We are so thankful for the ways in which he has embraced the opportunities provided by the link between the Wessex Synod and the Lusaka Presbytery and given his support to the extension and development of the programme. 
As he prepares for the next stage of Ministry we assure him of our prayers for him, and for Gertrude and the whole family, confident that the God who calls us to service will bless all his endeavours. 
We shall pray too for every Minster and congregation, and especially for our friend Revd Dr Lordwell Siame, as the Presbytery moves to this time of transition.
Yours in the bonds of Christian fellowship: the Moderator, Ministers, Elders and Members of the Wessex Synod of the need Reformed Church.