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There are several Churches in our District who are already working with Partners in Zambia - Caversham with Mindolo; Kempshott with N'dola - and there may well be others. Please tell me about these partnerships, send me articles and pictures; let us raise the profile of World Church Partnerships. We have much to learn, much to benefit and grow from what they can teach us.

Work of the United Church of Zambia

Cecil King writes:

The UCZ is the largest Protestant denomination in Zambia and has congregations in every district of the country. The church locally and nationally runs schools, hospitals, clinics, projects to promote good agriculture and better nutrition and projects to help AIDS orphans.

Nationally, the UCZ has a Community Development and Social Justice Department (CDSJD) with a vision of providing sustainable spiritual and physical growth for people and their environment. CDSJD works to empower the poor, especially women. In groups of 20, women are taught business skills, encouraged to save their income and helped with capital support from the group savings to start or boost their business. General and financial literacy skills are taught within the groups, and leadership capacity is enhanced through a rotational leadership system that allows every member of the group to exercise their leadership skills.

Training in discipleship, leadership, preaching and Christian living is difficult to deliver in thinly populated rural areas. In 1980, the UCZ, together with 3 other denominations, started Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ) to give training in Zambian languages and, through local tutors, in all parts of the country. I was the second Programme Organiser of TEEZ, when it was a small operation. 34 years later TEEZ provides all-age courses to congregations in subjects like evangelism, Bible, preaching and leadership and on important social issues such as domestic abuse. When one ordained minister may have pastoral charge of 50 congregations, visiting some for only a week each in a year, training of local church members is vital; the life and witness of the church is in the hands of the local Christians.

The UCZ has also created the Tamar Campaign (see 2 Samuel 13), a gender justice programme which empowers lay church leaders to read the Bible as a tool for raising awareness in social justice issues, especially on gender abuse and violence. And the UCZ is working with training institutions in the neighbouring countries of Malawi and Tanzania so that local lay leaders can use e-learning to raise awareness of and to counter gender injustice.