August 17, 2012

Global Notebook - Day 6

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The final day of the ACSI Africa Roundtable in Johannesburg, South Africa, delegates gathered for the closing plenary and breakout sessions of the six-day conference, concluding with public worship and an opportunity to celebrate and praise God’s goodness.

Representing EduDeo Ministries at the historic assembly, Executive Director Hank de Jong joined delegates for the concluding proceedings at the Johannesburg-based Willow Park Conference Centre, participating in and documenting the significant event.

The largest gathering of Christian educators in Africa, the roundtable is drawing delegates from across the continent, including representatives from ACSI’s five member regions (West Africa Francophone, West Africa Anglophone, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa).

Dr. Derrick Mashau, Professor of Missiology at North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), returned to the podium to lead opening devotions, directing delegates to Exodus 4 and the divine commission of the patriarch Moses.  God provides the patriarch with two miraculous signs of confirmation, transforming the patriarch’s staff to a snake and back to a staff and afflicting and restoring the patriarch's hand from leprosy.  The assembly was urged to trust in God’s confirming strength in the context of Africa’s daunting challenges and exciting opportunities.  Believers are called to seek the Father who is acquainted with the need, suffering and sorrow of His children. Like Moses, believers can be afraid to pursue God’s divine appointment in their lives, yet the Lord assures the saints of His favour.  The delegates were called to trust in the Lord and His gifting.

Congolese educator Bishop Asial Idore Nyamuke, National Vice-President of the Église du Christ au Congo (Church of Christ in Congo), led the first keynote address, directing delegates to the growing unity of the Christian school movement in Africa.  The Church of Christ in Congo is a federation of sixty-five evangelical denominations uniting over 25 million believers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The federation represents 18,466 elementary and secondary schools and 5,088,306 students.  While the growing federation recognizes denominational distinctives, the association of churches strives for national unity. Bishop Nyamuke called the delegates to seek unity and common ground in the grand vision to promote Christian education on the African continent.

A highlight of the day, each delegate was encouraged to don traditional national and regional dress for the closing dinner session of the roundtable.  A patriotic Canadian, Hank participated by wearing the team jersey of Canada’s national hockey team.

Dr. Samson Makhado, Director of ACSI Africa, delivered the closing address of the roundtable, pointing the assembly to 1 Kings 6 and the theme ‘Every Piece Fit Perfectly’.

Dr. Makhado echoed Bishop Nyamuke’s plea for unity, calling the African church to dwell in one accord. One of the most important figures in Africa’s Christian school movement,
the Director of ACSI was reluctant to discuss his personal achievements as a leading academic and visionary leader, but preferred to point delegates to God’s great plan for the African continent.

Following Dr. Makhado’s passionate challenge, delegates were asked to come forward and sign a declaration of unity.  A summary of the week’s regional discussions and deliberations, the document provided the leadership of ACSI Africa with a renewed mandate and strategic direction for Christian education in Africa.

Key directives in the document included:

  • Spiritual Formation
  • Biblically-Integrated Curriculum    
  • Accreditation
  • Positive School Culture
  • Good Governance
  • Professional Development
  • Developing Strategic Partnerships
  • Prayer Covering
  • Increasing the Number of Tertiary Education Faculties
  • Increasing Relevant Post-Graduate Research

Executive Director Hank de Jong signed the historic document, demonstrating EduDeo Ministries's support of the declaration. 

"We want to invite our Canadian partners to join us in solidarity as we support the roundtable’s renewed mandate for Christian education in Africa," Hank noted.

"This is a critical time for Africa.  Please join us in prayer as the delegates strive to implement the broad recommendations of the roundtable declaration at the national and local school level.  My prayer is that the delegates will continue to lead Africa’s Christian schools with unity and focus."

The final evening session of the roundtable closed with a time of praise, worship and celebration. 

"God has been faithful!" Hank exclaimed. 

"I want to thank our support community for their continued prayers during the roundtable this week.  The work is not done, it has just begun.  Please continue to faithfully to support what God is doing in Africa!"

Dismissed, delegates retired for the evening, preparing to return to local schools and communities across the continent and throughout God's kingdom. 

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