Shining A Light on the Dark Continent

In Africa, when religious leaders speak, people listen

“Whew! What an amazing day,” Dave said. On March 3, he met with Bright Mawdor, deputy general secretary of the All African Conference of Churches and learned a lot.

Unlike in the United States, separation of church and state does not exist. “When the Secretariat speaks, the government listens,” Dave said. AACC leaders interact with both the people and the national leaders of the 41 countries it represents. They support democratic transitions and many people are losing confidence in the political leaders and turning to religious leaders for direction.

“The churches are now speaking for the masses,” Dave said.

AACC ensures democratic procedures

The AACC leaders Dave met were closely watching the Sudan Separation Referendum and the elections in Uganda and 13 other countries to help ensure democratic voting happened without coercion. Human interest is such that when governments know that people are watching procedures, they tend to be more honest.

“Bright Mawdor is a remarkable man,” Dave said. “He is educated, polished, caring, and engaging with a great love for the people of God. I could easily have worked with him.”

From left, Dave stands with Arthur Shoo, of the AACC, Missionary Brenda Harcourt, Mbari Kioni, AACC, Bright Mawdor and U.S.Navy Chaplain Jon Cutler
From left, Dave stands with Arthur Shoo, of the AACC, Missionary Brenda Harcourt, Mbari Kioni, AACC, Bright Mawdor and U.S.Navy Chaplain Jon Cutler

Community-building to help stop terrorism

Mawdor and his contingent wanted to use the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa as a resource in planning an interfaith conference already in the works. They expressed interest in the HOA operation because of similar goals of community-building and capacity-building for the people of Africa.

“The hope of stopping terrorism is through dialogue, getting to know each other and building trust on common things like our belief in God. Our faith practices may be different, but our belief in God is the same,” Dave said.

“Community-building strengthens self-reliance and gives extremists views less of a foothold and capacity-building broadens a community’s ability for self-care.”

Dave said when he began this mission he did not realize the spectrum of people he would meet from rural villagers to ambassadors and international and national leaders. “The leaders I met at AACC were all very professional and open-minded people who cared greatly for equality, respect and mutual cooperation. I was honored to be in their presence and thankful God worked with me to make a difference.”

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