They’re both working to find solutions for long-time challenges
by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service
“ … If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20, KJV)
LOUISVILLE — When mission co-worker and regional liaison the Rev. Paula Cooper thinks of this passage in Matthew, her thoughts are drawn to how the CCAP Synod of Zambia developed and is growing Chasefu Theological College.
“In this passage, our Lord Jesus takes this occasion to show his disciples and those present the power of faith,” said Cooper. “This teaching shows believers that a growing and strengthening faith, even from the smallest beginnings, can help us perform even the most difficult undertakings. Chasefu Theological College is an illustration of that kind of faith.”
Despite many challenges, Chasefu will soon transition from a college to a university.
The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Zambia grew out of the Livingstonia Mission of the Free Church of Scotland. Missionaries came from the Presbytery of Livingstonia in Malawi to establish Chasefu Mission Station in 1913. It became a center of learning, with the vision that it would one day become a university.
Those plans were delayed in 1952 when the colonial government took over the Chasefu Mission Station and all its mission health centers and schools.
Fast forward to November 2003 when CCAP Synod of Zambia regained ownership of the Chasefu Mission Station property. In 2004, the Synod approved the creation of a theological college at the site of the Chasefu Mission Station.
It was indeed a step of faith.
In 2007, Chasefu Theological College began operations, offering a two-year certificate program to meet the growing need for more pastors. In 2010, the first group of 16 students graduated. Faced with many challenges, a two-year program became a nearly three-year program.
In 2010, the synod created a three-year theological diploma program and added student housing. In 2014 the synod revised the curriculum to include courses in agriculture, community health evangelism (CHE) and a Village Savings Loan Association (VSLA). By October 2016, 38 students had graduated.
The challenges facing the institution today include lack of accommodations for visiting lecturers. The only house available has no running water and no electricity. There is a second house under construction, but work continues on plumbing and electricity.
Sustaining full-time lecturers is another challenge Chasefu faces. Since 2010 the organization has operated with volunteer management and lecturers. Most of the volunteers are themselves pastors and can offer help only during their free time.
Just last November, the future university hired a full-time principal, a major step toward progress. Rev. Bannet Muwowo moved onto campus in December to begin finding solutions for long-standing challenges.
“It is very encouraging to see that the volunteer lecturers have begun using the unfinished house,” said Cooper. “The steps taken by these staff members show their willingness to walk with the synod on a journey of faith.”
She asks for continued prayers for the Chasefu faculty, staff, and students.
For more information about Chasefu, contact the Rev. Paula Cooper at Paula.Cooper@pcusa.org.
The Rev. Paula V. Cooper, World Mission’s regional liaison for East Central Africa, facilitates PC(USA) relationships with partner churches and institutions in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. She also provides support for PC(USA) mission personnel and Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) in the region. She assists PC(USA) congregations and presbyteries that are or who want to be in relationship with partners in East Central Africa. Contact her here. Subscribe to her letters. Consider supporting her work in East Central Africa.
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Categories: Theological Education, World Mission
Tags: Chasefu Theological College, Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, matthew 17:20, Rev. Bannet Muwowo, rev. paula cooper, synod of zambia, theological education, world mission
Tags: ccap synod, ccap synod of zambia, central africa, challenges, chasefu, chasefu mission, chasefu mission station, chasefu theological, chasefu theological college, college, college to a university, east central, east central africa, mission, mission station, paula cooper, regional liaison, synod, synod of zambia, theological college
Ministries: World Mission, Theological Education