121 George Street, Africa, Africa Week, Care, Challenge, Church of Scotland, Community, Development, Future, Harmony, International Development, Jesus, Join Hands, Malawi, Theology, University of Edinburgh, Young People
Rev Matiya Nkhoma from the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia in Malawi shares a little of his studies at the University of Edinburgh which were in the area of Theology and Development.
It was really interesting to look at development issues through a theological lens. The Bible has a huge portion dedicated to how human beings need to treat one another. Along with that, human beings have a huge responsibility to care for their own environment in order that human beings and all creation live in harmony.
Whilst studying, I learnt that when development is initiated, proposals may be very convincing on paper. But when funds have been provided, sometimes the elite act like a net, intercepting the resources. This often creates a sad situation as development funds do not reach the intended beneficiary. Some have therefore suggested that development activities must be managed in project form, where results can easily be measured. This understanding has enabled me to critically look at all proposals that are being presented for funding.
After my year’s study, the Church of Scotland extended my stay in Edinburgh and offered me the privilege to work at the Church of Scotland offices as an Associate Secretary to the then Sub Saharan Africa Secretary; Rev James L.Wilkie. To me this was like the average person being invited to work in the Vatican!
During that time I learned about some of the challenges that the Church of Scotland has locally, as well as abroad. I also learned of the huge responsibility that the Church has to a wider global community at a time when resources are diminishing.
I noted that the status that the Church of Scotland had in the 18th-19th centuries is very different from today. Therefore, in order for the church to be relevant today, it needs to seriously consider and adopt new ways of reaching its people while remaining faithful to the values of Christianity.
There is a serious challenge to attract younger people to join the church. While thinking about that, I have taken note of the huge impact that the Church of Scotland has had on my country. The introduction of legitimate trade, medical services, education, technology and many other development activities in Malawi owe some of their origins from the early missionaries from Scotland.
Above all I have been impressed that amidst new ideas and influences, there are many people who have remained loyal to the true teaching of Jesus. We are all called to join hands in thinking of others in places where we come from.