Tanzania Conference Purchases Land, Offers New Opportunities
By Judith Santiago*
Thanks to generous donations, 15 acres of property located in the southwest region of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania will be home to a new United Methodist Church Guest House and Reception (Advance # 12635N). This new mission compound for the Tanzania Provisional Conference will support ministry projects and serve as a home base for the missionaries that work in Tanzania. In addition, plans for church, school, and hospital construction, as well as the installation of wells throughout the property, are in the works.
Dar es Salaam is one of the fastest growing cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city has experienced a continued population growth of 3 percent each year.
Bishop Ntambo (right) and Rev. Mutwale (blue shirt) at the official signing-over of the documents for the Dar es Salaam property.
Photo: Tanzania Provisional Conference
A fusion of African, Arabian, Asian and some European cultures make up the diverse ethnic groups settling into this melding, cultural metropolis. As the population surges, so will the demand by the most vulnerable for access to basic services.
Last month, the Tanzania Provisional Conference of the North Katanga and Tanzania Episcopal Area sealed the purchase of property in anticipation of this growing need. The new mission center will expand the opportunity for the church to reach multicultural and diverse populations.
“We are excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for the people of Tanzania,” said Ellen Knudsen, director of Advance projects for The Advance, the designated mission giving arm of The United Methodist Church. “We are thankful for the commitment of donors who want to see this project move forward. It can sometimes take years for a project to raise the funds needed to purchase land for a mission site,” continued Knudsen.
Gifts Make Land Purchase and Future Mission Possible
Thanks to an anonymous contribution of more than $50,000 and support from several United Methodist churches in response to last December’s #UMCGivingTuesday campaign, the purchase of the Tanzanian property became possible.
“Tanzania is a multi-religious city with many traditions,” said Mande Muyombo, Global Ministries’ regional executive for Tanzania. “So, having a worship space is critical. Church construction is also a priority. Churches have been bringing in volunteers, yet they are without the means to host them. So the decision to build our own guesthouse means we can host and welcome volunteers from outside Tanzania,” continued Muyombo.
The Right Location to Serve Future Needs
Demographically, the mission site will be relevant to adjunct communities. The facilities will offer access to much-needed health services, education, vocational training, and they will provide a place of worship for people living in the surrounding areas. The Tanzania UMC will also work with the local community to provide cash-for-work opportunities and on-the-job construction training once construction begins.
United Methodist missionary, the Rev. Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi, is the district superintendent for The United Methodist Church in Tanzania. He has been very close to the project, keeping each mission effort in prayer from its inception to its ongoing development. He updates regularly Bishop Ntambo, who oversees the North Katanga area in the DRC and the Tanzanian Provisional Conference.
Rev. Mutwale says, “This mission house will impact and change the community, as it will be a source of evangelism. It will also enable The United Methodist Church to be recognized as a viable denomination in the country, while giving visitors and volunteers a home in Tanzania.”
Women learn how to make different types of clothing at the Women's Sewing Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A new women’s business training facility is part of the building construction plans.
Photo: Courtesy Mutwale Ntambo Wa Mushidi
Driving church growth is very important to the Tanzania Provisional Conference, which is looking to become an annual conference before 2020. It also underscores the conference’s social holiness response to meet the future needs of the people in Dar es Salaam.
Plans for a number of construction projects on the new property will include: a 250-seat church sanctuary; an elementary and a secondary school with eight classrooms each; housing facilities for the teachers, pastor, and district superintendent; a church office; a 10-room guesthouse, and a women’s business training facility.
The guesthouse will be the first facility constructed to accommodate mission volunteers arriving to help with other building projects. However, additional funding is needed before construction can begin.
You can help support the building efforts of the United Methodist Church Guest House and Reception in Dar es Salaam with your gifts to Advance #12635N.
*Judith Santiago is the Content and Editorial Coordinator for Global Ministries.