Many of you will remember the writing I did last May about my three weeks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (you can find it in the archive of the blog under May, 2005).
There has been a grass-roots effort from the Congo Mission Network, with some support from the Worldwide Ministries Division, to bring a choir made up of members from our two partner denominations in the DR Congo for several weeks of touring this summer. I am posting a note from the Mission Network below, for two reasons.
First - if they are going to be anywhere near where you are, don't miss this opportunity to hear the best (without qualification) choir you will ever hear, and to learn about how we can be supporting our partner churches in the Congo as they confront overwhelming challenges.
Second - there are a few empty spots left on the tour. Check out the scheduling holes below, and if there's one that you and your church can fill, please do so.
This is the best of what church is going to be in the future, Presbyterians! This entire project has been organized and funded by volunteers across the church who care a lot about the Congo because many of them have been there. Our colleagues in the national office gave some support and agreed to follow the energy of the group. This is a great example of how the new mission patterns are going to work.
Presbyterians are raising the bar on what it means to be faithful. Please help if you can!
The Congo Choir Tour is a new type of mission partnership with theDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Because there are more than 38,000 people dying monthly in the DRC due to the effects of civil war, including poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS and the fact that the Congolese have not had a democratic election for more than 40 years, the Congo Mission Network (CMN) of PC(USA) Worldwide Ministries Division (WMD) has heard God's call to action.
By the grace of God, the CMN has launched the Congo Choir Tour in partnership with the Presbyterian churches of the DRC to bring 12 Congolese singers/drummers from the various Congolese presbyteries to the USA from June to August, 2006. This Congo Choir will be part of Opening Worship at the 2006 GA Meeting inBirmingham, AL in the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley (named for the first Presbyterian missionaries to the Congo in 1891). They will also perform at the Peacemaking Program 25th Anniversary Dinner and during the WMD GA presentation time. In addition the choir will perform at Our Cultural Connections in Sarasota, FL and at the Black Expo in Indianapolis, IN. We hope that they will appear at the PW Churchwide Gathering in Louisville, KY and they will tour various cities/presbyteries in the eastern part of the USA.
The MISSION of the Congo Choir Tour (CCT) is to "celebrate and share the musical gifts and cultures of the Congolese people. The U.S. visit will provide a means to inspire a more hopeful view of this large nation of Central Africa, while encouraging participation and aid, nurturing self-sufficiency, and promoting health, education and well-being in the DRC. The tour will raise public appreciation for the challenges facing communities in DR Congo and their dreams for a better life for their diverse people."
The CCT Planning Team is eager to find congregations to host the CCT in some intermediary locations along the tour. Hosting the CCT will involve providing housing for 15 persons with willing families, an evening meal, breakfast and taking a free-will offering to support the cost of bringingthe CCT to the USA or to support education in the DRC through UPRECO, the Presbyterian University of Congo. In return, those receiving the CCT will hear some wonderful music, learn about the Democratic Republic of Congo, and be blessed by the faith of the Congolese.
Please note the routes and dates below:
From Wilmington, DE to Louisville, KY for the night of July 7
From Indianapolis, IN to Baltimore, MD for the night of July 17 and/or July18
From Raleigh, NC to Birmingham, AL for the night of August 8
If your church is on the routes mentioned above and you think that there is support in your congregation for such an adventure, please let me know.
Sue FricksNational Coordinator of the CCT