Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda has appointed the Rev. Bob Walters the Director of Connectional Ministries for the North Katanga Episcopal Area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Bishop Mike Coyner of Indiana has made the enabling appointment making Walters, an elder of the Indiana Conference, available to North Katanga.
North Katanga , which includes the North Katanga, Tanganyika and Tanzania Conferences, is one of the fastest growing areas of The United Methodist Church. It also is one of the poorest with malaria, cholera, typhoid and HIV/AIDS epidemic. Many of its districts have survived the recent horrific war in eastern Congo and are struggling to recover.
United Methodist pastors and lay leaders behaved heroically during the war and are now in place to lead in the recovery. North Katanga had 66 delegates at this year’s General Conference in Tampa, Fla., the largest delegation attending. 2010 was the centennial year of Methodism in the DRC.
Walters’ time will be split between the DRC and the United States. While in the DRC, he will continue to work with districts in connecting them with the vision and strategies of the Episcopal Area. While in the U.S., he will be interpreting the progress and struggles of the church in North Katanga to general agencies and partner conferences.
Ntambo has a vision of North Katanga moving from a mission project of American United Methodists to a full partnership, including reversing North Katanga’s financial relationship with the rest of the world. Both Ntambo and Walters agree that there are sufficient natural resources in the DRC that the people should not be this poor. They also agree that The United Methodist Church is positioned to provide the leadership necessary for this transitional development.
Ntambo says, “This will take 50 years to accomplish, and I won’t be here to see that (vision accomplished), but we must start now.”
Walters said, “We have a large cadre of next generation leaders trained at the UM Seminary at Mulungwishi, Africa University, Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., and now, Kamina Methodist University. Our task is to make good use of this great pool of talent.”
Walters will continue as President of Friendly Planet Missiology. Taylor Walters Denyer will be heading the global operations of FPM and Joseph Mulongo Ndala will head the Congolese operations.
Ntambo has a vision of North Katanga moving from a mission project of American United Methodists to a full partnership…
A Together photo
Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner (left) greets the Rev. Bob Walters, president of Friendly Planet Missiology and DRC Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda at the Conference Center in Indianapolis during Ntambo’s visit to Indiana summer 2010.