In an ecumenical service organized by the Congolese churches and hosted by the Disciples of Christ parish in Lemba, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), shared reflections on the resurrection of Christ which, he said, holds particular significance for the DRC, known by some as a “forgotten country with forgotten problems”.
Tveit, currently in the DRC, is leading a WCC delegation visiting the country from 25 April to 2 May. The delegation is meeting with WCC member churches and ecumenical organizations, and includes representatives from the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC).
Among other speakers at the Kinshasa ecumenical service, attended by more than two thousand people, Tveit focused on the themes of justice, peace, security and harmony in the DRC, Africa and beyond, sharing reflections on the resurrection of Christ.
“According to the Gospel of John, a crying woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first to meet the risen Christ. The resurrection of Christ did not happen when things were perfect,” said Tveit.
“Christ rose to meet the vulnerable and suffering who, like him, are victims of injustice, sin and death. It happened in the darkness, when nobody was expecting him,” he said.
“Christ is risen for you,” he said.
“Christ’s resurrection brings and restores dignity among people.”
“He rose in a world that needed the restoration of broken relations. Mary of Magdalene, a marginalized woman, had her dignity restored when Christ appeared to her first and called her by her name.The risen Christ entrusted Mary of Magdalene with the mission to go and announce the good news to the brethren and to the world,” he added.
Tveit continued, “The resurrection shows that injustice, sin and death are not having the last word. There is a word of salvation, justice and peace to be shared. The risen Christ calls us: Go and tell them! This is where our pilgrimage of justice and peace starts.”
In Kinshasa, the WCC delegation met with Bishop Pierre Marini Bodho, national president of the Church of Christ in Congo, Bishop David Yemba Kekumba of the United Methodist Church and president of the National Committee of Churches in the DRC, and representatives of the Church of Christ in Congo and other WCC member churches in the DRC.
The WCC delegation together with representatives from the AACC and the OAIC also visited local churches. Their meetings included encounters with the Church of Jesus Christ on Earth by His Special Envoy, Simon Kimbangu. This meeting led to an agreement establishing a commission of accompaniment which will involve the WCC, the AACC, the OAIC and Congolese member churches of these organizations.
Members of the WCC delegation worshipped with different local congregations in Kinshasa on Sunday, 27 April. The WCC general secretary also preached at the Cathedral of the Centenary.
While in the DRC, the WCC delegation is scheduled to meet with more church representatives, as well as political leaders in the country.