Monday, 11 November 2019

Independence Prayer

 Muli shani! Greetings!

Independence Prayer – Zambia
24 October 1964 

Almighty and eternal God, [Creator] of all [people,]
into thy hands we commend our land of Zambia.
Draw into closer unity the people of all races who dwell here.
Send out [your] light and [your] truth
that they may lead us into paths of fellowship and peace.
Deliver us from the pride that fears not God
and the selfishness that regards not [humanity].
And grant that political freedom may, by [your] blessings,
be an instrument for good to us and to the nations of the world.
Strengthen us we beseech [you],
that we may fulfil the law of Christ
and so continue a place and a people
to do [you] service to the end of time.
Through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer.
Reprinted from ‘Zambia’s National Development Plan: A Christian View,’ a series of broadcasts by Mr Wilfrid Grenville-Grey, Principal, Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation, 1967. Adapted for contemporary usage and inclusion of all. Text alterations are noted by [brackets].
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Friday, 18 October 2019

National Prayer Day — Zambia, 18 October

Today, 18 October, is the annual National Prayer Day in Zambia.

Citizens will gather at churches, arenas, sports grounds and schools to give thanks to God, to pray for rain, and to share in the joy of being a free nation.

Please hold the Zambia in your prayers today — the people, the animals, the land, the water, the air.

Friday, 11 October 2019

The Mighty Baobab

Muli shani! Greetings!

The road approaching Siyavonga and the Zambezi River from the north, travels through mountainous terrain and valleys full of baobab trees.

Thank goodness it is the fruit and not the wood that is currently in demand as a new 'superfood.'  Maybe this will help save trees.

The pulp of the baobab fruit contains:
       vitamin C

The Guardian writes: 'In more than 30 African countries, the mighty baobab tree thrives. Parts of the tree are used to treat malaria and infertility.  Now, the rest of the world is catching on to the benefits of the baobab fruit, which health food companies are trumpeting as the newest “superfood”.

'According to the Grocer, Ocado has reported a 27% increase in weekly sales since the start of 2018, thanks, in part, to the rise of “liquid breakfasts”. Baobab, in its white powder form, is used predominantly in smoothies and porridge. It was approved for European markets only 10 years ago, but thanks to its purported levels of antioxidants, potassium and phosphorus, high level of vitamin C, calcium and fibre, it has seen its uses expanded into gin, beauty products and yoghurt.' 

Click here to read the full article on the Guardian's website.

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Ana's Zambia Journey blog link:

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Praying for rain!

Muli shani! Greetings!

One of the last weekends I spent in Zambia, we traveled to Siyavonga, the town near Lake Kariba and the Kariba dam.  I traveled with Mrs. G Chomba, wife of Bishop Chomba, and Mwanza who works for the United Voice Radio station in Lusaka.  After the Sunday morning service at Siyavonga Main United Church of Zambia, we managed a quick visit to the Zambezi River and the Kariba dam and hydropower plant before traveling back to Lusaka. (I'd seen the structure once before, from the Zimbabwe side.)

The water level is shockingly low in both the lake and the river sides of the dam.  Lusaka and Kitwe boath have been experiencing daily 'load sharing' blackouts, and we had heard rumours that the dam/lake is low, but the sight is ominous.

October rains are expected, hoped for and prayed for.  Please join the people of Zambia praying for rain, and enough rain this year.

An article from Bloomberg News on-line, with assistance by Taonga Clifford Mitimingi, provides a sense of situation (written in August):

'The Kariba dam (lake) that straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe, the world’s biggest man-made reservoir, is emptying fast, sparking fears the countries may have to cut hydropower production there completely.

'For the two southern African nations already suffering daily blackouts and growing economic pressures -- Zimbabwe’s inflation rate surged to 176% in June, while the International Monetary Fund at the weekend warned Zambia could be on the brink of a debt crisis -- a total shutdown at Kariba would be crippling. Zambia gets about a third of its supply from the dam, Zimbabwe almost half.

'A severe regional drought has cut water levels at Kariba to 23% of capacity this month from 85% a year ago, prompting the two nations to trim output.

Zambia... has enough allocated water to continue feeding its turbines at a reduced rate until the year-end, according to Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa. “So if by the end of December, we don’t get enough rains, then that’s when we can think of having the problem of shutting down the generation,” he said by phone.

'Regional rains that replenish the reservoir usually start around October or November, but have been arriving later. For much of the Zambezi river basin that feeds Kariba they barely came at all in the past season. River levels at Chavuma, near Zambia’s border with Angola, are similar to 1996, which was the worst year in half a century of records.

'The drought has also hampered food production in Zambia and Zimbabwe, fueling inflation. In Zambia, output of the regional staple corn fell 17% to the lowest level in a decade.

'There is good reason for Chizengeya to fear a total shutdown at Kariba. During the drought of 2015-16, water levels were about a meter (3 feet) higher at this time of the year, and the dam bottomed out at 11% before rains refilled it. If higher temperatures this year cause more rapid evaporation and rains are delayed, the risks rise. Even so, at its trough in 2016, Kariba was still more than a meter above the minimum operating level, when turbines have to be switched off.' —

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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Where our treasure is, there our heart is

Muli shani! Greetings!

From England to Zambia and back again.
From home to a new home and back again.
       Thus far God has brought us.*
Sent by family and friends.
Received by friends who have become family.
Returned yet held.
       Thus far God has brought us.
A heart with a new piece beating in the land of Lusaka.
Joining pieces still beating in Chicago, New Hampshire, Mfanefile, Plumtree, Cleveland, Melbourne, Washington.
       Thus far God has brought us.
My heart, in all its pieces, sings with joy and gratitude.
How blessed I have been to share in your lives.
       Thus far God has brought us.

3rd year Bachelor of Theology students,
United Church of Zambia University

2nd year Bachelor of Theology students,
United Church of Zambia University

1st year Bachelor of Theology students,
United Church of Zambia University

*'Thus far the Lord / God / has brought us' is the 2019 theme of the United Church of Zambia.

Click here to enjoy more photos and the videos I posted during my 11-week visit to Zambia.
Ana's Zambia Journey blog link:

Friday, 4 October 2019

Psalm 46:1-11 – Zambian revision

Evening service, Men's Christian Fellowship Conference at Kasaka
Psalm 46:1-11 – Zambian revision*

God is our shelter and hiding place
Always with us to help us.
Regardless of hard times, God’s assurance is with us.
Even if challenges overwhelm us,
Or chaotic things are within us,
There is a place of peace where God is in control.
Because God is with us, we can be safe.
God’s rod shall reign forever.
The mighty one of Israel is our stronghold.
When we consider great things God has done,
the earth becomes silent.
God provides solutions to the economic and political struggles.
We are assured that God reigns forever.
The God of our ancestors is our shelter.

* Written cooperatively by a group of Ministry Students at United Church of Zambia University: Charles Mwanza,  Francis Muleta,  Alinani Peter Chitalu,  Fannie Juliet Kamenga, Mulindwa Mutale, Elijah Cholobo, Alice Kaonga  (First year in the Bachelor of Theology course)

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Looking ahead from a UK-perspective

Muli shani! Greetings from Salisbury, United Kingdom!

I arrived safely in Salisbury last night after a 24-hour trip via Dubai.  Gratefully, the sun has been shining today -- rain forcast for tomorrow.  Tod and I both have left part of our hearts in Zambia.

This Sunday we celebrate World Communion Sunday (started in 1938 by the Presbyterian Church) with a Zambian version of Psalm 37, a United Church of Zambia table cloth on the communion table and Zambian baskets for serving the bread.

Salisbury URC
Andover URC
I will be sharing a story from Zambia as I preach on the environment and the urgency of our response to the disastrous state of so much of our beloved world.

I'll be continuing with posts in the weeks ahead.  Spending 2 weeks at Westminster College in November will make sure of that.  I would be interested to find out who has been reading the blog, just out of curiosity.  So, if you have time, please drop me a line through the form in the right-hand panel.

Now I look forward to the arrival of Thandiwe and Cora on Sunday.  The week ahead will be filled with playing in our garden, walking to nearby Victoria Park to swing and slide, and swimming at the local leisure centre.  Life's rhythms alter and change, but gratefully are always filled with those we love -- family and friends.

Click here to enjoy more photos and the videos I have posted while in Zambia.
Ana's Zambia Journey blog link:

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Sing praises to God! -- UCZ Choir Membership

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

 United Church of Zambia congregations usually have at least three choirs and sometimes as many as 5 or 6. The three primary choirs are: the 'Main' Church Choir, the Praise Team and the Women's Christian Fellowship (WCF) Choir.  Often the Men's Christian Fellowship creates a choir, too.  There might also be a 'youth' choir.

Each choir will have chosen a name, e.g. at Siyavonga where I preached on Sunday, the 'main' choir is 'Rock of Ages', the Praise Team (pictured) is 'Living Water' and the WCF Choir (pictured) is 'Dorcas Choir'.

Rehearsals are often held numerous times during the week -- perhaps 3-4 evenings and then again on Saturday.  And the results are amazing!

These choirs, like this one at Twatasha UCZ Congregation on the outskirts of Kitwe, are a huge draw for young people. The UCZ has created stipulations for choirs, to ensure that the focus of each choir and each singer remains on Christian praise and worship.  For starters, choir members, in the United Church of Zambia, must be full communicants in the local congregation.

A Choir Membership Card includes the following ‘Rededication vows’ which are renewed annually:

  1. I promise that, I will stay in the house of the LORD, congregating with my fellow Choir / Praise & drama members, learning the Word of God together through music.
  2. I promise that, I will continue to renew my life to my God and my membership to my Congregation each year through rededication.
  3. I promise that, I will sing a new song to you my God and make music to you.  Through music and performances, I will evangelise and reach out to the lost souls.
  4. I promise to work together with fellow Choir/ Praise & Drama team members and the Church at large, supporting one another through the Word of God, prayer and music, contributing my time and resources to the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
  5. Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee.  Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Membership Card includes pictures on the cover of a church, a drum, an icisekese (shaker/rattle) and the UCZ shield logo.

Inside the membership card there is a place for church and personal information and a monthly giving /receipt chart.  Choirs have expenses (uniforms, transportation to competitions and to sing at other churches, recording), and monthly giving raises the necessary funds.
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Friday, 27 September 2019

A Humble Home

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

President Kaunda's home, a typical township home, resembles our home in Plumtree, Zimbabwe -- the same four rooms with a coal/wood-burning stove in the corner of the kitchen.

To walk in the footsteps of history's giants always brings awe and gratitude to my heart.  Where would our world be without vision and the passion for freedom from the chains of injustice?

May our prayer be for the leaders of all nations that they might remain humble and true servants of their people, upholding liberty and justice for all.

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Ana's Zambia Journey blog link:

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Bethsaida Choir of Kitwe

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

Sing a joyful noise to our Creator!
This is the Bethsaida Choir of Kitwe, which I thoroughly enjoyed at the Mindolo United Church of Zambia Choir Competition.

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Ana's Zambia Journey blog link:

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Ministry Covenant: Priesthood of all Believers comes alive!

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

I have attended two induction services for ministers.  The first was for a male Air Force Chaplain serving as Interim Minister at a growing urban congregation in Lusaka.  The second for a female full-time minister, also at a growing urban congregation.  Both congregations are in the middle of massive building projects, turning their current sanctuaries into halls and erecting cathedral-size sanctuaries to seat 2000 people.

Attending these induction services, leads me to reflect on the relationship between ordained minister and congregation.

Here in Zambia, full-time church ministers are appointed, or placed, rather than called, and they stay in a congregation usually 4-5 years before moving on to another congregation.  This enables the variety of gifts held by ministers to be shared around the congregations and presbyteries, and also helps avoid the establishment of any ‘seat of power’ resulting from long-term service in one congregation.  This movement, this fluidity of ministry, enables ministers to experience a variety of congregations, from rural to urban, small to large.

It also means that congregations need to live out their mandate to be a ‘priesthood of all believers,’ as they cannot become dependent on one minister.  For example, building projects, and there are many, are not the purview of one minister, but start with one, continue with another and sometimes are completed with a third. It is the laity that drives the congregation and its mission, not the minister.

Here are the questions asked at the induction services.

The Presbytery Bishop Questions the Minister Elect:
Do you believe in your heart that you are truly called by God to the pastoral charge of these Congregations?      I do so believe.

Do you promise to execute your charge with all fidelity, to preach the word of God, to administer the Sacraments, to fulfil the pastoral office, and to live a godly life, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things?
By the help of God, I do so promise.

Exhortation & Charge (slightly altered to be inclusive)
May God, who has called you to this holy calling, illuminate, strengthen and so direct you in your ministry, that you may walk in an orderly, faithful and fruitful manner praising God and furthering and increasing God’s realm.  Preach the word, be constant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke and exhort with patience and doctrine.  Watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, and make full proof of your ministry.

The Presbytery Bishop puts this Question to the Congregation
And we who are members of the Church in this place will also stand to share this act of induction with you and show our fellowship with you in Jesus Christ.

Do you, the members of this Church, worshipping at ______________ Congregation under her/his care, acknowledge and receive Reverend _____________ as Minister of this Congregation, embracing the word of God which s/he is to deliver, and accepting her/him as one who is to watch over your souls and give account to God?  And do you promise to encourage her/him and share in her/his labours, to maintain and strengthen her/him in her/his ministry, and give her/him all due honour, loyalty and support?
With God’s help, we will.

Inductee’s Reply:   I thank you for your welcome.  I will work with you and pray for you.

Prayer by Bishop or Elected Minister
Almighty God, who has called your servants to make their vows together before you, enable them to keep the same, that they may remain steadfast in faith, and continue in every good work.  Empower your servant, Reverend ___________, to be faithful to her/his promises made this day through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.
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Monday, 23 September 2019

Fulfil your Ministry -- Induction Prayers

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

Prayers from Zambia for your use in personal devotions or for the gathered community.
Opening Prayer  

God of truth! You are worthy of higher praise than we can offer, and of purer worship than we can imagine.  By your Holy Spirit, assist us in our prayers and draw us to yourself, so that what is lacking in our thoughts, actions, words and music may be supplied by your overflowing love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, when we do not listen for your word in the words of others,
Forgive and renew us.
When we do not use the gifts you have bestowed on us,
Forgive and renew us.
When we do not love one another as sisters and brothers in Christ,
Forgive and renew us.
When we do not serve our neighbours in their need,
Forgive and renew us.
When we do not share the good news with those around us,
Forgive and renew us.
God calls us to serve, forgives us in Christ and renews us by the Spirit.
Thanks be to God.
God of grace, you call your Church to be a holy people to praise your name.  In the power of your Spirit, fill our hearts with your love and our lives with your glory; through Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

These prayers are taken from a Service of Induction for a new Minister in Lusaka.  The theme of the service, ‘Fulfil Your Ministry’, draws on texts from Colossians 4:17 and John 15:14-16. 
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Sunday, 22 September 2019

Psalm 46:1-6 renewed in Zambia

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

Psalm 46:1-6 renewed in Zambia*

God gives us a place to stay,
and makes us strong when we are weak.
God is always close to us in times of need.
Therefore, even if the economy is bad, we will not be moved,
When the people we depend on depart from us,
When challenges arise in our lives that are beyond our capability.
God gives me love and grants me hope for my inheritance.
God is with our Nation always.
It shall be still, for joy comes in the morning.

*Composed by Kennedy Chisompole, Precious Mwape, Henry Sichamba, David Chanda, Baron Silomba – a group of First Year Ministry (Bachelor of Theology) students at United Church of Zambia University, Mindolo, Kitwe

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Saturday, 21 September 2019

Morning devotions with the rising sun

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

Juliet Kamanga, a first-year ministry student recently led morning devotions (held Monday-Friday at 6:45 am) here at the United Church of Zambia University.

I invite you to join in worship...

Call to Worship
The LORD reigns.
Let the earth rejoice and make a joyful noise to the LORD and be glad.
Come let us worship the LORD.

Prayer of Approach – praise & confession
Great and mighty you are, creator of heaven and earth and everything in it. We offer praise for your goodness and love, for forming us in your image and setting us over the whole world to serve you, our creator.
But we disobeyed your will, and turned against each other. You have given us life that we may love and serve you, and though we have resisted your purpose and misuse your gift, you have again and again called us to yourself.  Have mercy on us.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
For the assurance of pardon parents, brothers and sisters listen to these comforting words:
‘If we admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ These are the words that we may trust, that our sins are pardoned.  Amen.

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Ana's Zambia Journey blog link:

Friday, 20 September 2019

Psalm 121 – rising from Zambia

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!

Psalm 121 – rising from Zambia*

When I am in search of a solution, from place to place,
It is only found in God
The Creator of the Universe.
God provides ultimate protection
No matter the challenge.
For God remains watchful in all times.
God who watches over nature will always be with us.
God is our Protector all the time.
Nothing harmful will be able to fall upon us, either by day or night.
Even those enemies who threaten your life will not come harm you.
The Lord preserves and guards against any devourers.
God will forever be with you in your outings and comings.
*Composed cooperatively by a group of students in the second year of the Bachelor of Theology Course at United Church of Zambia University, Mindolo, Kitwe: including Kelvin Mumba, Harrison Phiri, Kennedy Mushota, Mukololo, Tembo Kawanje

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Thursday, 19 September 2019

Psalm 122 – Zambia’s voice

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!
Click here to read the complete post and view photos.

A Song of Praise*

I was excited when I heard people say, ‘Let’s go to church.’
Finally, we are joined together with other believers in the congregation,
As the congregation strongly founded together,
By people from different social backgrounds united by God.
And in this place leaders gather to preside over their people
And to pray for harmony in the land.
May those who walk in your love succeed.
Peace be inside your dwelling place and safety.

*Written cooperatively by a group of students in the Bachelor of Theology course at United Church of Zambia University, Mindolo, Kitwe.
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Ana's Zambia Journey blog link:

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

World Week of Prayer for Peace in Palestine and Israel

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!
Click here to read the complete post.

This prayer for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel shared in today's chapel service here at UCZ University, was read by Esnat, a ministry student recently returned from a study programme in the Holy Lands.

She introduced the prayer with these words:
This week, the third week of September, is the World Week of Prayer for Peace in Palestine and Israel, a week set aside by the World Council of Churches, inviting Christians around the world to learn about life in Gaza, in the Holy Land, to learn about the destruction of homes by the Israeli government in order to build the dividing wall, the barrier, through the land.  It’s a week to set a plumb-line in the midst of God’s people there, not to be sure the wall, the barrier, between Palestine and Israel is straight, but to pray and work toward dismantling it, to bringing it down, a time to proclaim the straight and right path of God.

A prayer for the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel

God, loving Parent of all humankind,
You are our Peace.
In Jesus you embodied peace with justice –
And you still do—
Peace at its most down-to-earth,
Peace, which can still prevail
In the face of all the walls we build.
We pray for the people of Palestine and Israel,
especially the hundreds of Palestinian families
whose homes have been destroyed
to build the great dividing wall.
We hear their cry,
their helpless anger at the
wall of concrete cutting across their daily lives,
limiting their travel, study, and healthcare;
limiting their access to work, worship,
family connections, and even celebrations.
We pray for their children,
living in a world crossed by razor wire
that tears at flesh and draws blood.
We confess our complicity in maintaining barriers
of ignorance, fear, privilege, prejudice,
‘us’ and ‘them’.
But you are our peace,
with power to cut this wire for good,
to break down all our walls.
Help us hold up your plumb-line amidst your people,
to proclaim what is right,
and together share in the work of building peace,
the work of justice.
Original prayer by Jan Sutch Pickard (WWPPI), expanded by Ana Gobledale
For the full text of the original prayer, click here.
Photo: The Wall, Palestine -Sadaka photo
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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Prayer for our nation

Muli shani! Greetings from United Church of Zambia University in Mindolo!
Click here to view the photos and video.

Juliet Kamanga (center in photo) shared this prayer in morning devotions here at the University.

Prayer for our Nation
Give wisdom to all in authority.
Direct this nation and all nations in the ways of justice and peace,
that humanity may honour one another and seek the common goal.
Give grace to us, to our families and friends,
and all our neighbours in Christ.
Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind and spirit.
Give them courage and hope in their troubles,
and bring them the joy of your salvation.

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Monday, 16 September 2019

Psalm 46 for Zambia Today

Muli shani! Greetings from Zambia!
Click here to view the photo.

Psalm 46:1-11 – a Zambian revision
Written cooperatively by a group of first year Bachelor of Theology students at the United Church of Zambia University, Mindolo, Kitwe: Derrick Phiri, Francis Kasunde Chilepe, Ezekiel Siwale, Likokoto Situmbeko, Philip Sinkala, Webster Nganyu, Augustine Nkonde 

Creator who is our protector, power and ever with us,
Even when the economy depreciates and political scandal rises,
Will not be shaken.
God is the source of happiness.
Your word brings joy to us.
Your presence, oh Lord, will always be with us to render help.
At the sound of your voice troubles come to a standstill.
God who fights our battles is always present in our midst.
Neighbours, see what the Lord has done.
You are the peace maker.
Be focused on me, for I am your God.
I cannot be compared with any.
The Lord who fights our battle is with us.
God of our ancestors is our protector.

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Ana's Zambia Journey blog link: