Written by Rebecca Woods
General Synod 28 of the United Church of Christ today called on all settings of the church to reflect and advocate for the people of the beleaguered central African nation of Congo.
Claiming that the international community has not “adequately responded” to the civil and military injustices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the resolution encourages congregations and our partners to “advocate on behalf of sisters and brothers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” and to work with governments and international agencies to secure Congolese sovereignty.
Since this central African nation achieved independence in 1960, it has been frequently invaded by neighbors Rwanda and Uganda as well as controlled by various militia groups seeking dominance over minerals and other natural resources. In the process, according to the Global Witness report, more than 6 million Congolese have been killed. Rape and sexual utilization of women and girls is commonplace, and the incidence of HIV/AIDs has increased drastically.
In addition to prayer and advocacy, churches are asked to participate in “Congo Week” in October — an international effort to call attention to the suffering in that nation and “stand for justice in solidarity with the people of the Congo.” Mobile phone users are also encouraged to stage a one-hour “Cell Out” where cell phones are turned off and voice mail messages tell callers that critical components of cell-phone technology are mined in the Congo where people do not benefit fully from their own natural resources.
The Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo (CDCC), in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), formerly known as Zaire, was founded in 1889 in relation to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada, and is an ecumenical partner today of the United Church of Christ through our Common Global Ministries.