Bishop Gerry Schnackenberg reflects on his trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo to attend the enthronement of the new Archbishop Masimango Katanda.
I arrived back safely Monday, Sept. 12, after a whirlwind trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo to attend the enthronement of the new Archbishop Masimango Katanda. Isaiah 40:31 says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” and this trip was certainly an experience in living out this verse! Thank you so very much for your faithful prayers on my behalf through this experience.
It is so hard to believe that just Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, I was enjoying a six-hour service in sweltering heat in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was indeed a glorious affair with archbishops from Tanzania (retired), Uganda, Kenya and South Africa, and representatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the bishops of the nine Dioceses of Congo and other Church leaders and diplomats of the Congo government in attendance, along with Bishop Philip Jones, our Apostolic Vicar, Canon Kevin Donlon, our Canon for Ecclesiastical Affairs, and myself representing AMiA. The service included choirs, singing, sermons, dances, offertories and more. Now Archbishop Masimango has been enthroned and another bishop, Mutshindu Mayamba, was installed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Kinshasa.
The trip started with a chance to practice waiting upon the Lord as that verse in Isaiah says. We were supposed to leave for Kinshasa last Thursday, Sept. 8, to attend the enthronement, but delayed leaving due to still not having our visas approved and processed. After MANY texts and phone calls, we took a chance and Pam drove me to Denver International Airport Thursday to catch a 1 p.m. flight to Washington, D.C. Word had it that the visas for myself, Canon Kevin Donlon, and Bishop Philip Jones were AT hand, but not necessarily IN hand yet. Thankfully, the visas came through as we were on our way to DIA. Praise be to God! I purchased a ticket online at the airport once I knew I had a visa to make the trip. We had one night in Washington, D.C., then flew to Kinshasa via Brussels, and I spent one night in Kinshasa before beginning the return trip home just hours after the service.
Some might ask why one would make such a long trip with such a quick turn around. I was so deeply blessed and indebted to Bishop Masimango and other bishops from Congo, Tanzania and Ghana who came to the U.S.A. to consecrate both Carl Buffington and myself in May of 2015 that I felt it only right to do all I could to be present with and for him at his installation as Archbishop. It has been a long, difficult journey with some opposition to the bishops of these dioceses supporting and partnering with the AMiA. They are all such a blessing to us.
I have been deeply encouraged by God’s sustaining grace in the travels, by the prayers of the faithful for me and for Philip and for Kevin and in the abundant blessings received through the relationships we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa. How wonderful is our God.
Please continue to pray for Bishop Philip and for Kevin as they travel on to the Dioceses of Kagera and of Kibondo, both in Tanzania, to lead worship, preach and be present with our bishops and friends in those places. Also, please keep Archbishop Kolini in your prayers as he goes with them to Kagera Diocese. Finally, please hold Bishop Carl Buffington and Bishop William Mugenyi in prayer as they travel this week and next to India to do ordinations and healing services across India with our dear brother and leader there, Father Ivan.
Praise be to God on high. He is so good. His presence and hand were evident throughout this experience. It was a very, very long trip but worth it in so many ways. Pam was very patient with me through this sometimes trying time leading up to our departure…thanks be to God and to her.