Kafakumba Pastors' School - a brief history
The first session of Kafakumba Pastors' School was held in 1964 at a small compound that had recently been built on the shores of Lake Kafakumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The school grew out of a situation that developed in the Congo where the United Methodist Church opened a large number of congregations in villages throughout the southern area of the country; however, there were few trained clergy to work in these villages.
Each small congregation would have a leader, but the leader often had no training at all. Kafakumba Pastors' School allowed these lay leaders to come for two months a year over an eight year period and receive education that would allow them to lead their congregations better, as well as become ordained as ministers in the United Methodist Church. It was also soon recognized that these village pastors held an important position within the community and were able to share information concerning health, agriculture, development, and other needs in their village environment. The Kafakumba Pastors' School broadened its curriculum to incorporate some training in these areas also.
The school was held at Lake Kafakumba every year until 1998, with the number of students growing to about 120. Half of the students (those who had attended the school for at least four years) were allowed to bring their wives and young children. A complete program was set up for the wives and children as well. In 1998, major political unrest erupted in the Congo and continued until 2005 and beyond. During that time the school moved to Ndola, Zambia, which lies on the Zambia/Congo border.
A facility was purchased in the Fisenge area of Luanshya (near Ndola), and after only a one year break, the Kafakumba Pastors' School resumed under John Enright's leadership. Students come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Tanzania (with occasional students from other countries). That program continues today at the Zambia location with approximately 105 pastors, as well as about 50 wives and 90 children.
In 2005 the Kafakumba Pastors' School was reintroduced in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been held at various locations due to logistical difficulties in the Congo. In 2008, for example, it was held at the Katuba Training Center. The number of pastors and family members is about the same as in Zambia with a similar curriculum and using many of the same teaching staff.
Over 200 pastors (primarily United Methodist, with growing numbers of others) gather for theological and practical studies in congregational and community development. Pastoral spouses and children join them during the last four years of study. In addition, classes and ministry with wives and children takes place at the same time as the school.
Local children's clubs called "God's Kids" meet throughout the year in the surrounding villages. Small groups of women also meet together for prayer and study.