In Angola, New Church Structure
to Address Post-war Challenges
Former union mission now two administrative structures; move will provide needed “supervision, leadership” in country
BY ELIZABETH LECHLEITNER/ANN
Recognizing sweeping infrastructure needs in Angola as the country emerges from a decades-long civil war, Annual Council delegates voted October 12 to split the current Angolan Union Mission into two administrative structures.
Effective this year, the Northern Angola Union Mission will oversee the Northern and East Association Missions. The Southern Angola Union Mission will comprise the Central and South Association Missions. The remaining Sao Tome and Principe Mission will fall directly under the umbrella of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region.
The reorganization will help administration in the church’s Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region address “severe limitations” to travel and communication infrastructure in Angola, said world church general vice president Lowell Cooper.
As the country rebuilds, it is “impossible” for one administrative structure to “provide appropriate supervision and leadership” in the region, said Rosa Banks, a world church associate secretary.
The split also recognizes the “marked” financial improvement of the church in Angola since the end of civil conflict in 2002. “Angola is on its way to becoming the leading union with respect to tithe [returns] in the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region,” Banks said. Deliberate infrastructure development there is expected to further strengthen the church.
The Adventist Church was established in Angola in 1925. In 2003, a realignment of regional church territory in Africa transferred the Angolan Union Mission from the church’s Euro-African region to its Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region.
More than 380,000 Adventists worship in nearly 1,000 congregations in Angola as of June this year.