PAN-AFRICAN CONGRESS ON EVANGELISATION IN AFRICA AND MADAGASCAR BY SECAM
22nd January 2008
Resolutions and Recommendations
1. Meeting at the Pan-African Congress on Evangelization and the 14th Plenary Assembly held at Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania from 15th to 22nd January 2007, We, Members of SECAM, Delegates of the Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Church in Africa, Madagascar and surrounding Islands, have prayerfully reflected on the theme of Evangelization 12 years after Ecclesia in Africa, in relation to the impending 2nd Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.
2. Six sub-themes retained our attention:
3. Interreligious Dialogue
4. Justice, Reconciliation and Peace
5. Self-Reliance and Development
6. Proposals for the 2nd African Synod
With regard to these sub-themes we have taken the following resolutions and made recommendations for a more intensive involvement in the evangelizing mission of the Church on the continent.
The evangelizing mission of the Church has been deepened in a considerable manner since the last 12 years at the level of SECAM who has strived to provide the needed working tools for the People of God to achieve a better rooting of the faith in the continent.
It is on account of this basis that we recommend:
3.1 That SECAM must provide all the necessary means of formation to the Lay Faithful so that they become conscious of a Laity that must stand out as a sign of visibility and efficiency of the Church, sacrament of transformation and elevation of temporal realities namely, culture, work, economics and politics.
3.2 That SECAM must make of the Laity and of the Lay Apostolate a determining factor of her pastoral activity, as she did make work of the Basic Christian Communities (BCC) “Locus theologicus” of concrete pastoral action to enable her meet the problems and challenges of the society and the continent.
3.3 That a plan of formation and action be designed by SECAM to defend the Family which is the first victim of a carefree dictatorship of relativism which is dominating the world today and which does not only attack cultural values but the very creative act of God, and by so doing, destroying the Family to the root.
3.4 That SECAM puts in place a formation programme for all the agents of Evangelisation according to the different categories and levels.
3.5 That, as a matter of necessity, SECAM provides adequate training in communication skills for all those involved in the work of evangelization on the continent in collaboration with all pastoral agents in the spirit of team-work at all levels of Episcopal Conferences.
3.6 That, the member bodies of SECAM should promote and support the BCC in fostering close human relationships, warmth, care and love. To this end, there is the need to intensify the study and sharing of the word of God, source of life and nourishment for Christ’s Faithful. The BCC should become the desired places for the administration of the sacrament of reconciliation and healing, as well as the celebration of lively liturgies.
4,1 EIA no. 59 recalls that the Synod Fathers on several occasions underlined the particular importance for Evangelization of inculturation, the process by which the Church’s catechesis “takes flesh” in the various cultures (Cf CT 53). SECAM should therefore take every necessary step to consider the process of inculturation as an urgent priority in the life and ministry of the local Churches for a deeper rooting of the Gospel in the African continent.
4.2 In her inculturation efforts within the context of rapid changes in the cultural, social, economic and political domains, the Church in Africa must constantly respect the criterion of fidelity to the Gospel and Apostolic Tradition through a solid theological and spiritual formation. Care must therefore be taken to avoid religious syncretism, “cultural entertainment” and “artificial inculturation”.
4.3 Inculturation is not only liturgical. It comprises the totality of the life of the Church and the whole process of Evangelisation. SECAM must consequently promote a serious research work in the field of African cultural realities in all their complexity.
5. Interreligious Dialogue
5.1 Dialogue is a constitutive dimension of our Christian faith. To achieve a more fruitful interreligious dialogue, SECAM must embark upon a deeper study of the sacred texts (written or oral), theology and spirituality of Islam, African Traditional Religion (ATR) and the New Religious Movements (NRM).
5.2 SECAM must train the needed and competent personnel to realize the objectives of interreligious dialogue. Every effort must be made to consider it as an essential component of formation at all levels: theology, catechesis, etc.
6. Justice, Reconciliation and Peace
6.1 Christ, the sun of Justice, is “our peace and reconciliation” (Cf. Eph 2, 14). Consequently, the Church founded by Christ, is always at the service of justice, reconciliation and peace. It is recommended that Diocesan Commissions of Justice & Peace be established where they do not yet exist, and that old ones must be redynamised and equipped with the needed technical skills and competence to accomplish their mission.
6.2 Justice and Peace Commissions should be empowered to carry out lobbying and advocacy roles in their respective countries, regions and on the continent vis-à-vis cases of injustices abuse of human rights, corruption etc. The role of the Laity at this level is primary. They must be formed, structured and networked with similar continental instances. They can, from within, animate the African civil society to control the three arms of power which constitute formal democracy (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary).
6.3 The Justice and Peace Commissions should have available to them, not only in European languages but also in local ones, copies of the Compendium of the Social Teachings of the Church of a means of creating awareness among the people about issues of justice, reconciliation and peace.
6.4 In some countries, the Church has contributed to the emergence of the democratic process. This must be pursued in a prudent and non-partisan way. The Church must continually enlighten the Faithful to know their civic rights and responsibilities.
7. Self-Reliance and Development
7.1 SECAM must impress upon all the Churches in Africa to understand, henceforth, Self-Reliance and Development in a holistic manner, in the sense of autonomy of thought and action, primarily. It is within this context that we recommend that SECAM requests all member – Conferences to evolve a strategic plan of action which spells out clearly the self-reliance and development roles of the Laity vis-à-vis their Church, their own lives and the society.
8. 2nd African Synod
8.1 SECAM is strongly encouraged to send all the Resolutions and Recommendations as well as the Lineamenta of the impending African Synod to the Institutions of higher learning: universities, theological, pastoral and catechetical centres and to mandate them to organize colloquia which will bring to the fore and attention of SECAM all that the 2nd Synod must consider.
8.2 Themes emerging from the Dar-Es-Salaam Congress are, inter alia, the Family (3.3), ATR, Islam and NRM (5.1) and Church and State partnership (6.4).
(Source : sceam-secam.org)