South Georgia returns to East Africa, provides funding for eight projects


Rev. Denise Walton, Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries in the South Georgia Conference, left, and Bishop Daniel Wandabula of the East Africa Annual Conference, sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

By Rev. Denise Walton, Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries

The South Georgia Annual Conference has a long history of partnership, mission, and ministry with the East Africa Annual Conference. Two of our primary points of focus have been Humble United Methodist School and the Hope for Africa Children’s Choir. Over the last five years, the partnership became dormant as the East Africa Annual Conference faced allegations from the General Church. The South Georgia Conference has prayerfully observed all the proceedings to include the ruling of the Judicial Council and the ongoing investigation of the Africa Central Conference Council of Bishops.

While the church continues to work through the outcome of allegations, there are critical ministry needs within the East Africa Conference. To that end, Bishop James King, outgoing resident bishop of the South Georgia Conference, requested that I visit the East Africa Annual Conference to assess the critical needs of ministry and return to the East Africa Conference to ensure funding was provided to the chosen projects.

I have traveled twice to East Africa this year, in March and June. The first visit was one of observation, as I visited ministries and met with lay leaders and district superintendents from six countries. I observed the church in East Africa alive and well, the episcopal staff ready and available to assist, and ministries thriving. These ministries ranged from ministering to refugees in Congo, rural schools, ongoing construction as churches build and grow, and medical services to those most in need. It was wonderful to witness Humble School providing education for local children as well as scholarships for vulnerable children.

Following the initial visit, ministries submitted requests for funding and Bishop King, in consultation with leadership, chose eight projects to fund on a one-time basis. The following projects were funded:

Humble School Urgent Needs – painting, repairs to the facility, purchase of beds for baby class, repair of kitchen stoves, mosquito nets to combat a constant malaria problem, and repair of the well.

Humble School Poultry Project – a new project to begin a poultry farm that will create a food supply for children at Humble and generate income for the school and church. Three thousand chicks were purchased and a building at Humble School was converted for this project. In addition, to ensure the safety of children, a fence was erected to separate the project from the school.

Nabulagala United Methodist Church – a new church start in the slums of Kampala. This congregation primarily consists of very hard working young adults who were refugees from the recent conflict in the Congo. This new church start already had a large structure with more than 300 in average worship attendance. South Georgia partnered with this community to complete the roof of the church and cement the floor of the worship facility.

Wanyange Central United Methodist Church – this church has a long history of reaching out to the community to offer practical skills development in the women’s tailoring project. The sewing machines and materials were in need of replacement. South Georgia partnered with this ministry to provide sewing machines and increase the capacity of the project to reach women in the community.

Nakivale United Methodist Church – Nakivale is located in northern Uganda within a United Nations refugee camp. Despite the harsh conditions as refugees resettle from the Congo and strive to reorient their lives, The United Methodist Church has a very large presence in this crisis. Nakivale has an average worship attendance of more than 300 and a developing women’s ministry to care for the needs of vulnerable women and children. A facility has already been constructed and ministry is developing as lay people work to meet the ongoing needs. This local church received assistance with evangelism and worship as well as the birth of a tailoring ministry which provides income for women to meet the urgent needs of vulnerable in the refugee camp.

Hope Primary and Nursery School in Budondo – one of the projects at the United Methodist Empowerment Centre of Jinja located at Ibungu Village. The school was established in 2012 to meet the needs of rural families. There are 182 children enrolled in this school located on a two-acre piece of land. The school has a community well, garden for students, and three buildings. South Georgia partnered with this project to complete the construction of one classroom, purchase new desks for students, and repair the well to restore clean water to the school and surrounding community.

Dr. B.T. Cooper United Methodist Educational Centre (Nairobi, Kenya) – this school meets the urgent and critical needs of children living in a poverty stricken area of Nairobi. A John Wesley medical clinic is just across from the school providing medical care to the community. The school has an enrollment of 350 students. South Georgia met the urgent need of clean, accessible water and textbooks for the students.

Trinity Medical Dispensary – a ministry of Trinity United Methodist Church, this project addresses the critical need of medical care in a rural area of northern Kenya. The clinic is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Providing immunization, health services for expectant mothers and children, HIV medical services, mobility services for the disabled, eye exams and a host of other medical needs. The South Georgia Conference partnered with this project to purchase vaccines to immunize children, laboratory supplies to better serve the community both in the clinic and through mobile medical services.

Today, the East Africa Annual Conference is restoring and rebuilding as ministry continues to grow and strengthen. Over the next few weeks, we will share stories from the East Africa Communication Department along with photos of the projects described above.

East Africa Partnership: South Georgia at work again with East Africa – click here to watch a video

East Africa Partnership: Dr. B. T. Cooper United Methodist School – click here to watch a video
Living in the power of God’s promises

Written by the episcopal staff of the East Africa Annual Conference

On July 2, 2016, Trinity United Methodist Church was blessed and honored to have Rev. Denise Walton, the representative from the South Georgia Annual Conference, as the guest preacher. The day sparked off with great praise and worship and the congregation was full as people received the Word and even responded by giving their life to Christ.

The Rev. Denise Walton, Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries, South Georgia Conference, arrived with Bishop Daniel Wandabula and a delegation from the East Africa Annual Conference. Rev. Walton centered her preaching on Living in the power of God’s promises. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

The worship service included a presentation from David Talbot, founder of Crutches 4 Africa, based in Denver, Colo. Talbot’s living testimony expressed his triumph as a survivor of polio. He encouraged the congregation to embrace and love the disabled and extend a service to one person in their community. Through Crutches 4 Africa, Talbot is giving back to the disabled who can’t support themselves by collecting mobility equipment like wheelchairs and shipping them to East Africa and beyond. Talbot educated the congregation on ways to include the disabled in the activities of the worship service. He insisted that the church began to use inclusive language such as, “please stand, if you are able.” The congregation immediately responded and begin to integrate this language into the service.

Rev. Walton preached that God gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless, and those who trust in the Lord will be strong like the eagle. She asked people to be strong and always count on the Lord because God never fails.

“The world is full of things that can’t be trusted, and if you are not careful we can be so hurt that it becomes hard to trust. This can also apply to our relationship with God as we begin to doubt the promises of God.” The Bible is the word of God and God never fails, she said. (Malachi 3:6)

As the message concluded, the invitation to Christ was extended and several people gave their lives to God while others came forward for prayer. One could not fail to see and feel the power of God’s spirit in the church.

As the worship service concluded, the congregation and community leaders witnessed the signing of The Memorandum of Understanding between the South Georgia Annual Conference (Rev. Denise Walton) and the East Africa Annual Conference (Bishop Daniel Wandabula). This agreement outlines the responsibilities of both annual conferences, measures of accountability, and the specific mission priorities between mission partners.

Following the signing of the memorandum, congregants and community constituents were given mobility devices. The church was alive with laughter, excitement, and joy as the elderly and disabled received wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

It was a blessing of God to be in the Central District, Trinity United Methodist Church, Gilgil, Kenya.

The location was Trinity United Methodist Church, Kenya. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the South Georgia Conference and East Africa Annual Conference. The MOU included the parameters of the mission partnership, measures of accountability, and responsibility of each party.