E. KEITH EWING
JOANNA K. PROFERES
1122 E. MCDONALD ST.
The challenges facing the East Angola Conference and the Angolan people are greater than realized, according to the testimony from the delegation that visited the Angola United Methodist Church, January 26 - February 11, 2003. Melba Whitaker, my spouse; Dr. Geraldine McClellan, Gainesville District Superintendent, and Mike Wacht, Director of Conference Communications report that the Church needs nearly everything to provide ministry for her people. The thirty-seven year war destroyed the buildings and services of the Church. United Methodist Angolans were targeted and murdered by rebels. Stories abound with the great faith of the people and their hope in Jesus Christ.
The Florida and East Angola Conferences have embarked on a long term partnership. José Quipungo is the newly elected Bishop and his wife, Dr. Laurinda Vidal Quipungo, is a pediatrician. Melba and I have become close friends through meetings and travels together. Every conference in world United Methodism has a partnership with one of the African conferences. This is part of the Council of Bishops' Initiative for Children and Poverty through the Hope for the Children of Africa.
I am inviting every local church in the Florida Annual Conference to pray about this partnership and to prepare for a great offering that will be brought to the 2003 Annual Conference Event in late May. I believe this partnership is based on the greatest need and filled with a faith promise. I am asking that each church and mission set a goal of a $2.00 offering per average attendee in 2002, plus $10 per congregation! This response is a faith commitment rather than a dollar amount. Seventy-five percent of the offering will go to Angola and 25% will be distributed as Bishops' Initiative for Children & Poverty grants to local churches in Florida. With every church's participation, we will be surprised by how God is blessing Florida and Angola.
Bishop Quipungo has set as the first priority the reconstruction of the Quessua United Methodist Church. Currently fifty members are worshiping in its ruins. The cost for the rebuilding of the sanctuary is $150,000 for materials plus local volunteer labor (see pictures in the back). Quessua is also the site of the College and the Theological School; as well as the Parsonage. All must be reconstructed, with the help of future appeals. The Rocky Mountain Conference is joining the Florida Conference by responding to other parts of the Quessua Complex.
Thank you for your initial response for the $150 per church offering for School Kits that is being raised for Angola and Florida Outreach Ministries. Remember, we need to receive this offering by April 1, so that we may have the materials ready for volunteers to assemble the kits for shipment at the Annual Conference Event. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…Be still and know that I am God!" Psalm 46.
Yours for the Sake of Jesus Christ,
Timothy W. Whitaker