I consider each one of you highly favoured particularly my fellow leaders and myself whom God has graciously allowed to be at the helm of leadership at a time of celebrating such a significant event as this, when other gallant and humble men and women of God who selflessly laboured to have what we can now celebrate. This is no mean achievement at all. Some of those gallant men and women are privileged to live and see this spectacular celebration while others by God’s will have gone to be with the Lord. The fact that no one who is in the Lord dies, they are surely celebrating with us in spirit. It is for this reason that when l was personally asked to write a “foreword” to this historic booklet to mark the 50th Anniversary of the United Church of Zambia, it brought not only feelings of divine pride but also an experience of humility because many other people other than myself could have deserved this, hence l call myself highly favoured by God and His Church. I thank God that this is happening before my retirement. My profound gratitude therefore goes to all those who were gracious enough to think of me.
This booklet aims at clearly outline the principles and values that our foremothers and fathers were ready to make sacrifices for, and if need be even die for. In their seemingly simple and naïve faith through the lenses of the selfish and power-hungry contemporary world, they wanted to see Christ’s prayer in John 17:11 realised, Jesus prayed “And now l will be no longer in the world, but they are in the world and l come to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name which you have given to me, so that THEY MAY BE ONE even as WE ARE ONE”.
Brothers and Sisters, this is what has kept us this far, and this is what has vividly been expressed in the life and witness of the United Church of Zambia during these past 50 years. The booklet also aims at inspiring those who are in the UCZ and its partners regardless of their form, whether local or overseas. It presents the History of the United Church of Zambia, its organisational structure, special Congratulatory messages, tributes, compliments, commemorative Souvenirs, calendar of events, order of Services and special hymns.
Its contents are a summary reflection of the United Church of Zambia’s continuous 50 years of unbroken gospel propagation, service and unity. This is surely something worth celebrating by any Child of God who appreciates the grace of the Almighty God who has offered Himself to work through ordinary fallible human beings over this prolonged period of time. The anniversary programme is prepared in order to bring to your attention some of the highlights of the celebrations which starts on this year with special services to be held in Lusaka and Kitwe on and on at Mindolo, Kitwe and National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka respectively
It is intended to highlight that even though the United Church of Zambia is spread all over this massive country – Zambia which has 53 dialects and tribes, we are still one in our diversity and that we are still, after 50 years, together and that our ministry is still vibrant and expanding. we also wish to show that as a church we are not only concerned about church matters but that we are also involved when it comes to the well-being of our people at political and social levels where they are being oppressed, abused, are sick, poor and downtrodden. the booklet underscores the fact that we are a church that bears witness to god’s demand for justice and righteousness at all levels of society.
As the United Church of Zambia, we are a church driven by people, not just an individual “Minister or Pastor”. The ministry of the laity is encouraged at all levels. We are therefore committed to building strong leadership at congregational level, a leadership that will render service not only to the church but to all humanity. It is very clear in this booklet that over the years many congregations have made their mark in all spheres of life as it shall be highlighted by our General Secretary.
I therefore highly recommend that anyone who wants to enjoy these celebrations should first take time to read this booklet as it takes you through the most important areas of church life since its inception. It has been prepared by people who were carefully chosen by the church to plan and prepare this piece of work. I know most of us have a bad reading culture but for the sake of this event and for your own sake please read it and be blessed. It meets both your intellectual and spiritual needs.