The Church and Society Department
An interview with the Director of the Church and Society Department, Rev Master Jumbe.
Please tell me about the department
Church & Society is an arm of the synod. We look at the social, political and economic aspect of the synod’s responsibilities. It is not new, it was here in the past. Since the year 2000 the department was not operational. This created a gap in the ministry of the synod. At the end of 2016, the synod management decided to revamp it.
Was there something in particular which prompted the revival of the department?
Not in particular, there were a number of issues. The synod was not able to address socio-economic and political issues in the public domain. At the end of 2016 there were issues where the synod would be expected to speak out e.g. the killing of albinos, corruption, land disputes (there was a need for mediation), witchcraft and the killing of suspects as well as the degradation of the natural environment e.g. deforestation, Mulanje Cedar.
The department allows the synod to speak on these matters and also take the role of mediation where necessary.
What are the main issues that your department will be addressing?
There are two main issues. 1/ Economic governance meaning the tracking of the national budget. Assisting people in understanding what is being spent in their area. Mining: addressing the impact of mining on the people. If the mining company signs an understanding on social responsibility the synod can help to ensure that people can understand it and the business is held accountable. Also, addressing the issue of stewardship of the environment . This will involve training the pastors on the stewardship of the environment. 2/ Political governance: election monitoring. Training people in the monitoring of election processes. Also, issues to do with local accountability on government spending. Social governance. Abuse of the rights of people: rape, defilement, women’s rights, children’s rights.
What are the foundation principles of your support for the social needs of people?
Firstly, we are created in the image of God. That is the source of our equality as we are all equal in the eyes of God. We are sinners in need of repentance. God also created us for loving relationships and He teaches us that He is our Father. He created us male and female.
What is the structure of the Department?
We have a secretariat with which the Executive Director will work. We will have directors for different programmes. The synod has 18 presbyteries, each will have a Church and Society Committee. We expecting the committees to do grassroots research on the problems in their locality. The members will be volunteers from the local CCAP. However, they will look at issues that affect the whole of their communities, not just problems internal to the CCAP.