Here you can find the contribution of the Institut Majengo. It is written in English.
RECONCILIATION OF LIFE AND FAITH
How do you link your faith and your life?
This work shows the link between the Christian faith and the life of a Christian in the Baptist Community in Central Africa (CBCA). It should be noted that the Christian faith recognizes that Christ is God who appears in the flesh and that He is God Himself. This faith is based on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross to restore the broken relationship between God and man as a result of sin. These relationships are to be maintained on the internal and external aspects. The internal aspect is to have faith in Jesus Christ as God, Lord and Savior of one’s life. However, the external aspect is the testimony of this faith made visible by the acts in the life of the believer in the light of the Bible. As an example, here are some biblical texts that show that the Bible must regulate the life of the believer: 2 Cor 5,17 (united to Christ, one becomes a new creature) James 2,14-25 (faith without works is dead) this last one is taken up by the reformer Martin Luther; Galatians 5,16 (walking according to the Spirit); Joshua 1,8 (do not let this word of the law depart from your mouth); Exodus 20,1-17 (the ten commandments).
1.1 Context and issues
In addition to the Bible, within the framework of the CBCA, these actions are also regulated by the Internal Order Regulation (IOR) called: “KWA UZURI NA KWA UTARATIBU”. This name is taken from 1 Corinthians 14, 40 which says “Let everything be done with dignity and order”. This logic even reaches the projects of the CBCA such as schools, hospitals, reception centers etc. In this work, I will focus on schools. The integral man: soul, spirit (couseling, evangelism) and body (development: schools, hospitals, nursing homes):
To achieve his Vision (2015-2024): Transformed for change, through Word and Action. This vision is showing that actions speak louder than words about faith. You can recognize a tree by its fruit. The CBCA, aims at the integral transformation of man (soul, spirit and flesh) on the faith level and on the level of daily life. Thus, it organizes worship services, trainings, detraumatization sessions, counseling, health campaign, development projects…
At the kindergarten, primary and secondary school levels, students have two hours of religion per week, one hour of which is devoted to religion as a course and the other to school worship. The CBCA assigns two theologian teachers of Religion, one of whom is in charge of the course and the other as a chaplain in charge of listening and counseling. The latter is permanent at the school’s counseling center. It should be noted that the religion course is Protestant in orientation.
We are not afraid of tomorrow. As a committed Christian, we are convinced that faith helps us to address the current problems in our society. Even though Genesis 1:28 tells man to have dominion over creation, the CBCA urges its congregation to do so in a rational and responsible manner to keep our planet livable. This will allow for climate control (ecosystem) (emitting greenhouse gases), nature conservation (wildlife): (Schools maintain gardens for this purpose), demographic management (births and deaths), economic analysis, geopolitics, personal reflection.
The problem is that life must testify to the faith of a person. It is a question here of making daily life very eloquent in order to make faith visible. In Matthew 7:16 Jesus says that you can recognize a tree by its fruit. Man is composed of three aspects: body, spirit and flesh. To these three, we can add the will. The difficulty is that some people know the word of God without putting it into practice. Their actions are in contradiction with what they say. In addition, the fact that the school recruits learners regardless of their original religious denomination, there are some contradictions that muslims learners, Jehovah’s Witness and those who believe in their custom sensitize other students against the Christian faith.
This work is structured around five points: introduction, context, development, challenges and references. The introduction focuses on the purpose of this work: the link between faith and life. The context presents the environment in which this topic is addressed, the development shows us how Christian faith is lived in the CBCA as a church and as a school project. Then I present some of the challenges we face as a faith-based school (Protestant school).
This section addresses the connection between faith and life within the CBCA first and then in the school setting.
2.1 The life of the CBCA members in the light of the Christian faith
In this section I identify the elements that show how the Christian faith regulates the lives of members in the CBCA .
- Our body is the temple of the Lord. By this biblical truth the CBCA discourages impure living. It forbids the use of alcoholic beverages and debauchery.
- In each service, the creed is recited
- Baptism for those who publicly testify their faith in JC and the Lord’s Supper in memory of their salvation through the cross.
- Delivery of a baptism card with the writings of Mt 28,19
- The choice of business (item to be sold. Eg: No alcoholic drink), the place where to display them: eg: bar, nightclub ; the time of work (the day).
From the wedding
- Involvement of the church in the question of marriage: to officialize the engagement (the dowry), before marriage to avoid possible conflicts, to prevent unpleasant surprises).
- To discourage illegal cohabitation, the church identifies the couple in contentious marriage, facilitates the process to the commune so that these couples regularize with the state.
- Requirement of baptism for the Catholic fiancé who wants to get marriage with a Protestant as a sign to join Protestantism.
- The church requires prenuptial examinations for the those who want to get marriage before they bring dowry to the girl’s familly to prevent unpleasant surprises.
- Monogamous marriage is encouraged,
- No divorce,
- No homosexuality [Editor’s note: This passage reflects the opinion of the CBCA, not that of GPENreformation as a network]
- The choice of Christian music during the ceremonies, no secular music,
- Dancing and drinking are strictly controlled.
- No alcoholic beverages are allowed to be brought into CBCA halls and schools.
- Funeral ceremonies: Last homage to the deceased and dignified burial of the member (the body is exposed in the temple before burial).
- The recruitment of staff (especially the head teacher and the chaplain) within the school is dictated by the Christian faith. Because of the change/impact that depends on the leader, all head teachers are from the CBCA.
- Dismissal of any school leader who changes faith. He will not know how to lead the school in a faith other than Christian.
- Teachers give some contributions to the retired pastors; the tithe to the community in which his school belongs. Here, all the agents are concerned either Christian or not.
- Sunday is a holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
- The church organizes visits to hospitals, prisons (a basket for the needy),
- Budgetary provision for the needy,
- Twinning between parishes, schools, choirs, district, collection of goods for orphans,
- Creation of solidarity groups in the churches (microfinance).
- The clothing is also impacted by the faith (the wearing of headscarves: case of the Pentecostals)
- Excommunication of the parents in case of the indicipline of the children,
- Establish a strong chaplaincy within the schools,
- Planning of the chaplaincy week in the “MUONGOZO” of the CBCA (This book contains preaching per year allover the CBCA). Students and teachers intervene in all CBCA churches to talk about the impact of school chaplaincy within the school, the challenges encountered.
- In case of movements that can instigate war, revolts, the church leader writes a letter to all the churches which the pastor reads to the whole congregation to remind them that we are Christians and not to get involved in anything or to unite with the ungodly in order to pretend to restore peace or to seek peace. The church guides the members in their peacemaking.
- Some CBCA members are elected as parliamentarians for the management of the public patrimony enlightened by the scriptures.
2.2 Christian faith in school activities
- Religion course in the school curriculum,
- A guiding convention, management of teachers by texts: school convention; presence of the religion course on the report card (« bulletin » in french), the student who fails in religion (Catholic) is doomed to failure,
- Display of Bible verses in classrooms,
- Insertion of an intercessor club for the school,
- Election of two chaplains per class
- These two chaplains take care of the spiritual life of the students in their classes (For this school year, they were elected on October 10th). They collaborate with the school chaplain.
- Printing of T-shirts to popularize Protestant values (work without cheating or corruption: our devise)
- The prayer is done in Jesus name.
- Creation of a peace club for the management of conflicts within the school (promotion of peaceful cohabitation, forgiveness, culture of peace),
- Evangelical outing for teachers’ couples (the choice of theme varies according to the needs identified during the current school year. Of course, in collaboration with the teachers).
- One day a year of donations in favor of the needy students (from this point of view, some students pay for their friends in financial difficulty; contributions in case of death, fire,…).
- Existence of a mutual insurance company called MECMA (for teachers of Majengo institute),
- Twinning with a school in need at “Buyinga”, in Noth Kivu province.
- Counseling of students, pastoral care to the students in the light of the text of the seed of mourtarde: parable of the four kinds of lands,
- Celebration of Christian feasts framed by nationally recognized vacations. Christmas, Easter, Pentecost (Pentecost Monday) etc.
- At school, every Wednesday, we organize church services as the school is a field of evangelization (second hour of Religion).
- The presence of each student is mandatory. It does not matter his religious tendency.
- Implimentation of a day of evangelization for each school year.
- The school year is dedicated to God by the pastor of the parish to which the school is attached during a church service. For this year 2022-2023, the dedication took place on Wednesday, October 05.
- Each student must have a Bible.
- The school’s internal regulations include a few articles on school worship and the promotion of the Christian faith.
2.3 Indicate the interesting part you find in your every day life
- Inter-religious cooperation for the exchange of experience
- Presence of a school agreement- We can create a network, a partnership; formulate the objectives, have the same vision identify the challenges of each other, give advice. According to UNESCO 2015, education is a matter of collaboration and not of solitude.
- Reflecting on our common roots in the reform
- I hope to learn to enrich our vision with new perspectives and to contribute to high quality Christian education through this exchange.
- The meeting with the school from Hong Kong will help us to open up personally and professionally.
- As a school, participate in the educational revival of these two schools.
- Stand firm in the faith like Martin Luther (Poster of the 95 Theses in Wittenberg)
- Presence of the curriculum with Religion courses following the religious trend of the church that created the school.
- Christocentric preaching in spite of the differences in origin
- My protestant identity and its profile. Thanks to it I practice justice, freedom, I try to be autonomous, responsible in the society wherever I am.
- My school reflects the principles of the reformation even if it fails to use the local language as a learning language.
- Communion with members of other communities
- The focal points of Martin Luther’s reformation (95theses): faith alone, grace alone, and scripture alone.
- For Melanchthon and Luther, everyone must read for themselves (idea of freedom); schools must strengthen and make education accessible (education for all); states must strengthen schools (accessible to everyone, see “priesthood of all Christians”)
- Some difficulties
- Education is not accessible to all in my country
- Pupils from non-Christian religions who drop out of school when school worship is obligatory, participation in school evangelization,
- Influence of morals: case of pupils who do not have a solid faith and are victims of certain fears).
- Challenge: When a Muslim converts to Christianity, he becomes a burden to the church because he is rejected by his family.
Internal Order Regulation (ROI) of the CBCA
Internal Order Regulation (ROI) of the school
UNESCO (2005). L’éducation pour tous. L’impératif de qualité, Rapport de suivi global : ISBN France.