Welcome to the Global Partners registration announcement for the third International Conference of The Wesleyan Church (ICWC).
What is the ICWC? We’re glad you asked.
Dates: January 11-13, 2015 (Sunday – Tuesday)
Location: Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando, Florida
Arrival: Check-in on Sunday afternoon with opening rally at 7:30 p.m.
Departure: Check-out on Tuesday with ICWC concluding at noon
Registration: Free (but required to receive materials)
Lodging: $115 per night
For more information, contact Global Partners by clicking here.
It's quite the story. In the mid-20th century, Kenneth Kaunda was a Zambian freedom fighter, but he didn't use violence in seeking freedom from British rule. A man of humility, he used personal character and the power of wisdom, perseverance, and a heart for justice.
Missionaries from the Pilgrim Holiness Church (one of the two denominations that merged to form today’s Wesleyan Church) were actively involved in what was, at the time, the country of Northern Rhodesia under the rule of Great Britain. Starting medical clinics, a hospital, and more than 150 schools—including the first secondary school in the city of Choma—our missionaries found themselves in the midst of the political struggle. Significant division, inequities, and injustice were the order of the day with European whites in control of virtually all of life—socially, commercially, politically, and economically.
Kenneth Kaunda’s autobiographical book, Zambia Shall Be Free, was published in 1962. Though they could have pushed for independence at that time, Kaunda and the other leaders recognized the vulnerability of the moment, as violence dominated in neighboring Congo. They were afraid this violence might easily spill over and corrupt the nonviolence that they had so diligently sought for the new nation. So, they patiently waited for the freedom that finally came on October 24, 1964. Kaunda was elected to be the first president of the new nation—a position he would hold for 27 years. Under his leadership, the new nation of the Republic of Zambia was one of the few countries to emerge from colonial rule without violence and to go on to successfully develop under self-rule.
As one present on that historic night of independence in 1964, Pilgrim Holiness missionary, Dr. Daniel Bursch, recounts the celebration of freedom:
Madge and I, along with Rev. and Mrs. Ed Jones, were the only Pilgrim missionaries to attend the independence celebrations. We drove up to Lusaka and sat on the grassy hillside. We watched the program and the fireworks from about 8:00 p.m. until midnight when the British flag was pulled down in darkness, and then with spotlights on the new Zambian flag, it was raised.
Interestingly enough, the original manuscript of President Kaunda’s book, Zambia Shall Be Free, was sent—but seemingly unnoticed—to The Wesleyan Church archives in Indianapolis by former missionary Daniel Bursch in 1977. Since that time, the manuscript lay quietly for 36 years. In the fall of 2013, during research on Zambian missionary partnership, a Brethren in Christ professor from Messiah College unearthed the manuscript. The discovery could not have been more timely.
On April 3, 2014, my wife, Gwen, and I, along with Dr. Alfred Kalembo, the Zambian Pilgrim Wesleyan Church national superintendent, and his wife, Muumbe, had the privilege of returning this newly discovered manuscript to President Kaunda in a special ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia. The return of the manuscript was especially meaningful to the first president in light of the celebration of his 90th birthday (April 28) and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Republic of Zambia on October 24, 2014. The fact that President Kaunda is vital and alive at 90—in a country where the life expectancy is only 46 years—made the discovery and delivery of the manuscript even more significant.
I was able to share these words in the ceremony:
It is an honor, your Excellency, to be present for this special day—especially as this is the month of the celebration of your 90th birthday and the year of the 50th celebration of Zambia as a nation! I am truly grateful to be able to share in this unique experience.
In preparation for this day, I took the time to read about your life. I listened to your tribute to your very good friend and brother, Madiba,* Nelson Mandela. (Note: President Kenneth Kaunda was the final speaker at President Mandela’s actual funeral on December 2013.) I also took time to read the published version of the typed manuscripts we present to you today.
I discovered a wonderful simplicity, significance, and consistency in the journey you have walked. Your intentionality, combined with your passionate intensity, moved the freedom and fortitude of a nation and deeply affected a continent and our world.
The title of the manuscript, Zambia Shall Be Free, was more than prophetic—it was a declared destiny. Looking back, it spoke to a preferred future. As you closed the book, you wrote, “For a long time I have led my people in their shouts of Kwacha (the dawn). We have been shouting it in the darkness; now there is the grey light of the dawn on the horizon and I know that Zambia will be free.”
It is now a reality of history. Today, it is alive and well in the present. Zambia shall be, has been, and is now free. Thank you for living out the commandment to love God and to love others—in your own words, to recognize that . . .
“Whether you are white, black, yellow or brown—you are all God’s children. Come together, work together, and God will show the way.”
Thank you for loving and leading, that God might show the way.
We couldn't have been more proud of the Pilgrim Wesleyan Church of Zambia in hosting this event—from the singing of a church choir to the refreshments to the honoring of guests and dignitaries. With the history of the church and its present engagement in active, life-transforming ministries, the team delivered. What a joy to partner in this historic event!
*Madiba is President Nelson Mandela’s clan name.
PICTURE: President Kenneth Kaunda