CHILEMA ECUMENICAL TRAINING AND CONFERENCE CENTRE
The Chilema Ecumenical Training and Conference Centre (CETCC), previously known as The United Church Lay Training Centre, is a non profit making ecumenical institution. It is a consortium owned by three mainline churches in Malawi namely, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod, the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire (ADUS) and the Churches of Christ in Malawi (CCM.). It is 1.5 kilometres from the M3 Blantyre -Zomba -Lilongwe Road and it is just below the beautiful Malosa Mountain.
The ecumenical centre, CETCC is a dream of C.C.A.P Blantyre Synod and the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire (ADUS) then the Diocese of Southern Malawi (DSM). The ADUS is of the Central Africa Province of the Anglican Church. The centres inception dates way back in 1960 through the innovative leadership of Reverend Jonathan Sangaya of the C.C.A.P then with responsibilities of General Secretary of C.C.A.P Blantyre Synod and the Rt. Reverend Bishop Donald Arden (retired) of the Anglican Diocese of Upper shire (ADUS) then Diocese of Southern Malawi respectively. Chilema Ecumenical Training and Conference Centre was officially opened in 1967 although the capacity building leadership training programmes started in 1964.
THE CETCC ECUMENISM INTERPRETATION
The Chilema Ecumenical Training and Conference Centre (CETCC) 'ECUMENISM' is interpreted by the three equal rings, which are inscribed on the wall of the Conference Centre hall. And underneath the circles, you read the inscribed words as core values that:
"The Trinity of God Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
We are all equal in the eyes of God.
No one can live separate from others.
Each one of us is a part of the whole.
The wholeness is broken if one of us is missing.
One in Love, in sharing, in work,
One faith, one baptism, one hope, one God."
The name of "Chilema ETCC" has been associated with the ecumenical leadership training of Christian men, women, youth and children for over 40 years. Since its inception, Conferences, consultations, synods, training courses, seminars, retreat camps, board meetings, consortium caucuses, women guilds orientations, colloquia both local and international have taken place at Chilema and the influence of these activities have effectively contributed to the development of this country - Malawi. It has facilitated the social transformation of thousands of men and women, youth and children of all races and from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
THE NAME 'CHILEMA' AND ITS THEOLOGICAL MEANING.
The name 'Chilema' is a Chichewa name for a 'cripple' (disability). Why should a place be called 'disability' when it has ability to train leaders? The Centre draws its name from two unique features. The first feature is a small stream or brook that flows from the top of Malosa Mountain. Unlike other brooks, which start as small streams from the source and widen and become bigger as they flow down the mountain, this one started as a big and wider stream at the source and grows smaller or narrower until just below where the Centre is located where it has completely disappeared. Local people called the stream 'Chilema' for it is like a cripple.
The second feature which is very meaningful is the peculiar tree, nicknamed "walking tree". This tree, which is right at the Centre, close to both Chapel and Conference hall grows quite uniquely. The roots come out from the ground and form a tree whose branches would go down again to form roots and again until it has covered a wider area hence the influence of Chilema ETCC's trainings.
WHAT DOES THE NAME PORTRAY
Theologically, one would choose to agree that no one is perfect but God alone. Meaning that everyone in one way or another is crippled hence needs a bit of panel beating. Chilema ETCC accepts shortfalls in men and women, old and young and believes that to take a role of helping to overcome some of the shortfalls requires training. That is why Chilema is committed to running different programs and makes sure that its influence reaches a wider area.
LEGAL STATUS OF THE CENTRE
Chilema Ecumenical Training and Conference Centre (CETCC) is a brain child of legally established and registered denominations in Malawi namely Anglican Church Diocese of Upper Shire (ADUS), the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod and Churches of Christ in Malawi (CCM). These are some of the well respected, reputed and recognised denominations in Malawi. Chilema ETCC has got its own constitution which guides the operations of the programmes of the Centre in its endeavors.
CHILEMA ETCC BOARD OF GOVERNORS
The Chilema ETCC is governed by the Board of Trustees of high repute from the three main line church members of the ecumenical group. The Board of Governors has the sole responsibility for the management of the Centre in liaison with the sitting appointed Executive Director. The Board of Governors meets thrice a year excluding emergency meetings.
Current Board of Trustees Chairperson is The Most Reverend Archbishop Dr. Bernard Malango of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire (ADUS). The Board membership is co-headed by the sitting high offices heading the three mainline churches, the General Secretary of C.C.A.P Blantyre Synod, The General Secretary of the Churches of Christ in Malawi and the Archbishop of the Central African Province of the Anglican Church - Diocese of Upper Shire chairs the Board of Governors. Other Board members are appointed from the respective churches of various responsibilities with relevant professional backgrounds and their commitment. Also included are the representatives of the Lay Christians who are put in the Board to serve the interest of their congregations. This is done to take on board all key social groups into the ecumenical centres management so that it can perform to its expectations in meeting the needs of the ecumenical consortium member churches.
A society growing spiritually and God fearing with necessary resources and capacity effectively responding to individual needs of church leaders, children, youth, orphans, women and men living in a conducive environment for humankind development and church growth.
CHILEMA ETCC MISSION STATEMENT: To strengthen the ecumenical three mainline church consortium members in CCAP Blantyre Synod, Churches of Christ in Malawi, Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and obligations response to community living and HIV/AIDS programme through high level advocacy, social mobilisation, pastoral clinical education, ecumenical evangelism, HIV/AIDS counseling, integrated home care, youth peer education, women capacity building, support programmes, promotion of girl child education, child protection, development and resource mobilisation, capacity development, life skills training, partnership building, networking, knowledge and information sharing among ecumenical participating churches and local community to sustain targeted individual and national development.
The mission of the ecumenical Chilema Ecumenical Training and Conference Centre (CETCC) was established to meet the following objectives:
The Chilema ETCC carries out the following specific programme of activities in order to achieve the stated objectives of the centre.