Wednesday, 26 July 2006


Binju-Nkambe Deanery celebrated their Pastoral Week at Ako from 20 to 22 July 2006. It is always an adventure going to Ako. The road has started deteriorating. The challenge was too much for many people. Ako Parish, the host parish was represented by some 36 people who sat in during all the discussions. Some of their parishioners did the catering. The hospitality was very good.
Binju-Nkambe Parish was represented by their two priests and 24 lay participants, 23 of them being from Kungi zone, and one only from Binju Main Mission. Bakinchini and Mbande Zones were not represented. This was very surprising as the people in those zones had given the impression during the preparations that they would trek to Ako in their numbers. More surprising was the total absence of Mbande zone which had been carved out of Ako and attached to Binju-Nkambe only in December 2004.
Misaje was represented by only one of the two priests of the parish. Last year Misaje hosted the celebration and Ako was represented during that celebration at Misaje by some 15 people! One person from Mfumte arrived in Ako on the night of Friday 21 July. He alone had dared to come out of Mfumte and to brave the adventurous journey to Ako.
Most surprising was the total absence of Nkambe Town!
The first night of the celebration was characterised by arrival and settling in. Most of those who trekked the 40 kilometres from Kungi to Ako had swollen feet and needed to go to bed early. Ako provided some lighting in the Church with a portable generator. We were able to eat at the front of the Church by a little light from one fluorescent bulb. The handy men at Ako worked hard to keep the little generator running. The stubborn drizzle of rain cooled the air a little. This was good for those who had come in from Binju-Nkambe as the difference in climate can be very off-putting.
We started the day of Friday 21 July with concelebrated High Mass at 9 a.m. Ako Mission Choir animated the liturgy. The Dean, Father Robert Tanto presided at the Mass and delivered a sermon on the theme: Christian Service. He elaborated on "Sacrifice" as the underlying element in "Christian" service. He reminded those who had been voted into the various pastoral commissions to expect difficulties: misunderstanding, misinterpretation, rejection, even persecution, ... etc. To build up commitment in themselves, he urged participants to keep a few principles in mind: That we actually do not do God any favour by the sacrifices we make to render pastoral service if we do so grudgingly; that the little things we "give" to God now are only a preparation for the total "gift of our lives" when God finally asks us to come to him; that we actually do not "give up" anything for God, since all we have comes from him; that it is not possible to avoid sacrifice in life", since in the end we will have to "lose everything". He concluded that sacrifice is the key to receiving blessings from God: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God..., and all these things will follow" (Mt. 6:33). He told participants that holiness was all mingled with sacrifice: Christ made the ultimate sacrifice to ransom us and invite us to holiness and wholeness.
The Eucharistic Celebration and the Sermon set the tone for the work of the day. After a simple breakfast of "puffpuff" and tea, partipants went into workshop according to commissions. This led to lunch break. After break, participants went into a plenary session and listened to reports from the different commissions. They made indications for the direction to take in making resolutions that will guide the deanery for the next pastoral year. This led into the night, allowing participants only one hour for evening prayer and supper, and ended a little after midnight.
The Dean left Ako at 4.10 a.m. on the morning of Saturday 22 July to celebrate Mass at Binju and continue to Kumbo to participate in the first meeting of the Steering Committee set up to prepare the forthcoming ordination of the new bishop-elect for Kumbo.
He did not make to Binju in time for 6 a.m. Mass. He met two trees that had fallen right in the middle of the road. It took him a walk of about 200 metres to some isolated homes. He woke the people at 4.30 a.m. and begged for matchetes to hack down the trunks and branches of the two trees to find a little passage for his Suzuki Jeep. One must always expect these kind of adventures on Ako road! The next day Sister Therese Ngam of Tatum, who had been visiting in Ako for a few days boarded a bush taxi which broke down on the way and she trekked for six hours to reach Kungi where she was able to hire a bike to Binju Mission!! That is Ako!
The Celebration of Pastoral Week at Ako continued on Saturday morning with the writing of Resolutions for the next Pastoral Year, the Closing Mass presided at by Father John Njingti, outgoing parish priest of Ako, and the Diaspora Meal.
The Secretary at the Celebration, Mr Raphael Adamu of Ako, sent us the following resolutions:
1. To assign priests and qualified people to coordinate different commissions at deanery level;
2. To reinforce or introduce individual Harvest Thanksgiving in all Missions of our parishes;
3. To form Christian Family Movements in at least the Main Missions of our Parishes;
4. To form those pastoral commissions that do not yet exist in the different missions; and
5. To organise Bible Study in all parishes and follow up with a Bible Quiz.
Robert Tanto


At Thursday, July 27, 2006 1:22:00 am, Blogger Binju-Nkambe Parish said...

Sorry, this blog just wouldn't take any photos today. I will add photos when it accepts them!


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