INERA BONGABO, DR CONGO (January 24, 2012) – Jules Mboka has been elected president of the Congo Covenant Church (CEUM), succeeding Mossai Sanguma who completed two terms in office, the maximum allowed under the CEUM constitution.
Duale Langba was the other candidate nominated by delegates, with a nine-vote margin determining the outcome.
In a separate vice presidential election, Jacques Vungbo was chosen over Weka Mosuku.
Some 300 delegates representing 42 regions participated in the assembly that took place in Inera Bongabo, a plantation town about 45 miles south of Karawa in the Libala Region. The event was held January 14 through 20.
The election differed from the way the process has been conducted in the past, says Keith Gustafson, Evangelical Covenant Church missionary and country coordinator for the Covenant’s work in Congo.
The normal CEUM process is to have a committee of five elders fast and pray to see who God leads them to suggest to the Nominating Committee, Gustafson says. At least 10 individuals expressed interest in being considered – more than normal – making the task of developing a list of finalists more difficult.
The CEUM’s Commission on Statues (constitution) suggested that the assembly develop its own list of nominees by asking each delegate to come forward and write down one name of an individual they believe would be a good leader for the CEUM – not drawing a name from a pre-determined list, but rather reflecting what each candidate was thinking, Gustafson said. Those receiving the highest number of recommendations then appeared on the final ballot.
The same process was followed in the election of a vice president. Announcement of the successful candidates came at 1:05 a.m. Saturday.
“At about 11:45 p.m. on Friday night as people were voting, the worship band started playing “Akumama, Yesu akumama eee, na bomoi na ngai, akumama” (may he be honored, may Jesus be honored, in my life, may he be honored),” says Ekstrand.
“People started to sing and to dance, and the delegates danced to the front as they went to vote,” he reports. “Late at night, even though people were tired, there was a genuine half hour of spirited worship as people went through the voting process.”
Whether their candidates won or lost, many of the delegates expressed their gratitude that the election was so transparent, Gustafson says.
The theme for the gathering was “Do good work so that you succeed.” Click here to see additional photos from the General Assembly activities.
Members of a delegation representing the Evangelical Covenant Church attended the election and preached in different services.
Curt Peterson, executive minister of the Department of World Mission, spoke on Monday. “It is a Biblical truth that we are made to work,” he said. “There is satisfaction in work. Work is a part of how we are made in God’s image. The way you work makes a difference. Work is a discipline and we need to be disciplined in our work the way a runner is with their preparation for a race.”
Debbie Blue, executive minister of the Department of Compassion, Mercy and Justice, spoke Tuesday and exhorted the delegates to “start well, serve well and finish well.”
Chad Erlenborn, lead pastor of Maple Grove (Minnesota) Covenant Church, said, “Whenever we step out to do God’s will, we will always face challenges. When faced with them, how do we respond?” He encouraged his listeners to step out in faith and taken the broken things around them and build a new, better community.
Also a part of the delegation was Bill Hayes, chair of Maple Grove Covenant.
Editor’s note: no photos of the new president and vice president were immediately available. Covenant News Service will publish additional material as it is provided.