Provincial and providential: recent BUILD growth

The word ‘provincial’ is ambiguous. It can mean that something is rather marginal or a little irrelevant. Alternatively, it can describe the reach or scope of something in terms of it covering an entire province or region. For BUILD and its work within Anglican churches it is entirely the latter and recent events have only reinforced that positive view.

From the beginning BUILD has been a unit of the Education Department of the Church of Uganda (COU), in the offices of the Provincial Secretariat, which serves the Province of the COU; in other words the Anglican Church in Uganda as a whole. Having been initiated, accepted and developed by the COU, BUILD is a resource that is available to all thirty-six COU dioceses, many of which have implemented the programme.

However, that provincial scope of BUILD is not true of all the Anglican provinces in the Great Lakes. While BUILD has relationships at the provincial level with some of the national churches in the region, it has tended to respond to invitations from individual dioceses in these countries due to the semi-autonomous nature of their bishops. In some cases that work has then in turn spread to a few neighbouring dioceses, as in the case of Rwanda. But this seems to be changing: BUILD is beginning to work not only on a diocesan basis but on a provincial one, in a movement that is from one perspective entirely providential, evidenced by the ‘accidental’ manner in which it is happening.

For a few years BUILD has related to the provincial offices of the Anglican Church of Congo, even if in practise that has meant working with a few dioceses near the Ugandan and Rwandan borders of that vast country. And there have been links with the provincial administration in Burundi, for example, even if the training is currently on hold there. But things are developing in Kenya (and in Tanzania for that matter – a topic for another blog).

BUILD’s strongest link in Kenya has been with Butere Diocese, headed by Bishop Timothy Wambunya, with his Diocesan Mission Coordinator, Revd Benjamin Kibara, leading the BUILD work there. As reported previously Butere has the regional training centre of AICMAR (the African Institute of Contemporary Mission and Research) in its diocesan compound, which has led to a regional BUILD initiative serving Butere and the seven dioceses surrounding it. But Bishop Timothy also happens to be the chair of the Provincial Education Committee for the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), under their Board of Education. The committee met earlier this month in Mombasa and Benjamin Kibara attended and reported as follows on two main areas from the perspective of BUILD:

First, Benjamin described how they worked together on the drafting of the Provincial Education Policy, a new document that will govern education related issues across the ACK as a whole. Benjamin shared about “the work of BUILD in Kenya and Great Lakes Region and we agreed that AICMAR, in Butere, will be the training centre for church leaders ranging from Bishops, Archdeacons, Administrative Secretaries, Vicar Generals and Provosts. We also agreed that once the BUILD curriculum is accredited [in Kenya], it will be recognised and used across the country to train grassroots leaders who may not be able to access the conventional theological training because of its structure and cost.”

Second, they went on to spend time reviewing the curriculum that is being used in schools but this also meant that, “we had time to share on the gaps of the current theological curriculum being implemented by mid-level theological colleges and the need to have a more dynamic, creative and bible focused curriculum. I shared again on the structure of BUILD curriculum, its design and how it places in the hands of the participants the skills to handle the bible passage with confidence and authority by going through from Genesis to Revelation.” Benjamin ended with his prayer that, in “the reviews of curricula and drafting of the provincial policy, God will use them to make the Bible central in all the theological training taking place in Kenya and beyond.”

It is our prayer that, in God’s providence, BUILD will play a significant role in the answers to that.