NDOLA – 17/05/2015: Two representatives from the University of Pretoria in the Faculty of Theology Professor Masango and Dr Robert Munthali came to affirm and officially handover Rev Dr Richard Mupepa Chimfwembe to the United Church of Zambia. This took place at Hill Crest Congregation in Ndola North Consistory during the celebration of Rev Dr Chimfwembe’s 28 years of Long and unbroken service held in his honour. Professor Masango is one of the Africa’s seasoned scholars who have travelled around the world and has been speaker at many conferences.
In attendance were the General Secretary of the United Church of Zambia, Rev Dr Mulambya-Kabonde, Acting Central Presbytery Bishop Rev Georgina M. Ezerioha, Northern Presbytery Bishop the Rev Chayana Nkonde, North-western Presbytery Bishop the Rev David Mujumila, Copperbelt Presbytery Rev Sydney Sichilima, Acting Health Secretary Dr Alex Simwanza, UCZ Communications Secretary, Rev Dennis Mbita Sikazwe, Rev Kangwa Mabuluki – former TEEZ Director, Lay Preachers convenor Rev Morgan Silwenga.
Rev Dr Mupepe Chimfwembe was admitted at the UCZ Theological College (Now UCZ University College) in 1984 and completed in 1987 after which he was posted to Luapula Presbytery in Kawambwa Consistory. He served at Mbereshi Mission Hospital as a chaplain. After ordination he was transferred to the Copperbelt where he served briefly at Kalulushi West congregation, before being stationed at Buchi. From Buchi congregation, Rev Dr Chimfwembe was then moved to Kwacha East congregation. In 1996, Rev Dr Chimfwembe was seconded to Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ) where he worked up to April 2010. The United Church of Zambia appointed Rev Dr Chimfwembe as its Mission and Evangelism Secretary (the current position he is holding).
Professor Masango thanked Dorothy Chimfwembe (wife to Dr Chimfwembe) and the family for supporting Rev Dr Chimfwembe throughout his study programme. On the other hand Dr Munthali thanked the United Church of Zambia for celebrating academicians. He said this was rarely done by the church. Dr Chimfwembe’s PhD thesis and a Master’ dissertation were then handed over to the United Church of Zambia through the General Secretary.
The University of Pretoria, through the department of Practical theology described Rev Dr Chimfwembe as a learned member who journeyed with the University in pursuit of his higher learning in practical theology. Dr Munthali explained that basically practical theology grapples with, not in abstract terms but in complex concrete realities of human conditions in trying to bring a solution from a Godly perspective. This is the discipline that Rev Dr Chimfwembe pursued and attained successfully, masters in 2006 and PhD in 2014.
“In class Brother and Colleague Richard used to argue effectively, convincingly and passionately, you could then tell that this was an academia in the making. Today, I stand to declare and proclaim that we have an academia among us. UCZ, here comes a scholar! The problem of Africa, the higher you go the cooler it becomes. It is exciting today that this is a deliberate programme to celebrate an achievement. Thank you UCZ! Others isolate and overlook the learned among them. Any learning put in the hands of Jesus is a tool for the gospel”, said Dr Munthali.
Rev Dr Richard Mupepa Chimfwembe was born on 9th March 1960 in Kitwe on the Copperbelt. After his primary and secondary education, he attended the United Church of Zambia Theological College (now UCZ University College) from 1984 to 1987, and graduated with a Ministerial certificate and a diploma from Makerere University in Uganda. He did a Postgraduate certificate in ecumenical studies in Geneva, and later went to University of Pretoria for his BA Honours degree in Practical theology in 2004 and a Masters in Practical Theology Cum laude in 2006. The topic of his study was “The Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Zambia challenged by HIV/AIDS which results in creating poverty among Zambian people”. His PhD thesis was based on the “Pastoral care in a context of poverty: a search for a Zambian contextual church response”. The promovendus investigates the role and response of the UCZ in the fight against poverty. The investigation reviewed the main poverty alleviation projects run by UCZ Chipembi and Mpongwe, drawing on the Kafakumba Mission Project in order to create an effective model of pastoral care in Zambia to aid the UCZ. This study attempts to help the UCZ to effectively participate in poverty alleviation in poor rural communities in order to bring healing and empowerment to those suffering from poverty. The study has proposed an optimum participation model as the way forward for transforming the lives of the poor rural communities in Zambia. The service was led by Rev Shadreck C. Mulenga of Chifubu congregation, also Synod Christian Training Convenor.
In her sermon, the guest Preacher Rev Dr Mulambya-Kabonde flanked by her husband Mr Fred Kabonde encouraged her learned colleague to be humble and relevant to the Church and society as he continues to serve the Lord. The service was graced by the WCF Synod Choir, Copperbelt Presbytery Choir, Hill-Crest Praise Team, Dola Hill choir and many others from within Ndola.
Rev Dr Chimfwembe’s daughter, Kangwa Chimfwembe who is also a graduate of the University of Zambia thanked the people for their support.