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Visit of Bishop Rodwell Chomba to Salisbury Circuit:
On Sunday, 20th November, 2016, our link with the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) in Lusaka was built up by the visit of Bishop Rodwell Chomba. He leads the UCZ’s Lusaka Presbytery with which our Southampton Methodist Church District is linked.
The Bishop was able to meet some of our church members over tea and cake at Bemerton Methodist Church that Sunday afternoon.
Bishop Rodwell was especially interested to find out how our church buildings are used not only for church activities but also for other groups and events. In the churches he works with, the buildings are so busy with church activities that making them available to the wider public rarely happens.
In conversation with church members, the Bishop told us why the UCZ changed from having a national President and regional Moderators to having Bishops. It is because Zambia’s Head of State is a President and “Moderator” is a title frequently used in business, education and politics. The church wanted a Biblical name for its leaders and so changed to calling them Bishops.
Bishop Chomba also talked with us about the shortage of ordained ministers in the UCZ. In the Presbytery he leads there are 105 congregations and 45 paid ordained ministers. There are plenty of people offering to become ordained ministers, but the UCZ does not have the money, premises or staff to train enough ministers to meet the needs of a growing church.
Asked why the UCZ is growing in number of members, the Bishop said that foreign missionaries who worked in Zambia during the 20th century had planted the desire for bringing more people to Christ which the church had not lost. The UCZ loses some young people to Pentecostal churches with livelier music and more vivid preaching, but UCZ congregations are still growing.
Bishop Rodwell thanked us for the money we sent to St John’s, Mtendere, Knitting Project and for our prayers for St John’s. And we thanked him for coming to visit us and blessing us by his gracious and wise presence among us.