The First United Methodist Church of La Grange is working to create a partnership with the Central United Methodist Church of Luanda, Angola. The Rev. Eva Cosmé is the Directing Pastor. The Rev. Francisco Maria is her Associate Pastor.
As United Methodists become involved in the Hope for the Children of Africa appeal, we believe that better communication will lead to real mutuality and trust. To assist with that goal, the La Grange Church accomplished two initial projects.
1) The Mission Committee provided a state of the art computer, printer/fax machine and connection to an ISP, Ebonet. Office 97 in Portuguese was installed on the computer in Luanda with the software needed for internet access. Additionally, two persons from the church, the pastor and the church secretary are taking 30 hours of training in the use of the computer and software. The church in Luanda is reconstructing one room in the church as a secure place for the computer, printer and phone connection. Their e-mail address, when up and running, will be IMUCLuanda@Ebonet.net.
2) The two churches have begun worshiping together over transatlantic phone lines. There is a six hour difference between us, so the pastor and several members of the Church in Luanda met at 5:00 p.m. their time to match our 11:00 a.m. service. We greeted each other and prayed together. In our first connection on September 12, 1999, our choir sang "I Love You Lord" by Klein and Schrader for them. In our second phone connection, we plan to hear their choir. Andre DaCosta provided translation for both churches.
We hope to share the results of both of these projects with all the churches of Northern Illinois. Our purpose is to foster a growing familiarity with and commitment to the Central United Methodist Church of Luanda and through them to the West Angolan Conference. Our own Bishop, C. Joseph Sprague, hopes to make the Hope for the Children of Africa appeal a reality in our conference by supporting a residential facility for street children in Angola. This facility is planned for Catete, Angola, about forty miles from Luanda.
Used by permission of First United Methodist Church, La Grange, Illinois Annual Conference