Original Article by Charles Wote on EYE Radio News
The International Cooperating Ministries (ICM), is a ministry that builds churches and trains disciples worldwide. Working in partnership with the CEEC, have pledged to construct CEEC churches in rural areas across South Sudan. Under ICM's partnership model, local congregations give land and labor to construct a church building, and ICM provides procedural support and finances to purchase solid building materials for the church building. In addition, ICM also provides discipleship tools in the local language to help train and disciple the people in the church. Currently there are about 12 fully-qualified CEEC churches in different parts of the country that meet ICM's requirements for assistance with building construction.
ICM works in many countries around the world, and for this reason they have a Director of Partnership Review in charge of various areas around the world . ICM has a strong history of building churches around the world, and they have completed over 8,000 church buildings. ICM is working with more than 200 ministries in 93 countries, aiding their efforts to advance God’s Kingdom around the world.
After months of applications, reviews and planning, the CEEC was approved as an International Parnter by ICM in August. Scott, ICM's Director of Partnership Review for Africa, came to South Sudan to meet with CEEC Bishop of South Sudan Rev. Yepeta Nathan Sika on Wednesday this week to finalize the initial selection of sites for the new CEEC church buildings.
Bishop Sika and Andy Scott made the announcement after their meeting in Juba. Scott said, “The ICM has allocated 2 projects for the construction of rural churches in South Sudan because the needs in rural areas are greater.” The first church approval was given for Prince of Peace church in Nabiapai, and the the CEEC has an active application for the St. Paul Prayer Centre in Juba. Also, the CEEC has been invited to submit a third application for a new project in Makpandu. Andy Scott added that, “Once the project is funded, it will finish within the duration of 9 months.” ICM is also considering additional building projects for approval, and will be working with the CEEC to identify other Christian communities in South Sudan who may need church building built under their model.
The CEEC that was established in Yambio in January 2013 now has multiple worship centers in the former Western and Central Equatoria States of South Sudan. The Diocese of South Sudan also includes its mission to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, which was made possible after some Priests and Evangelists sought refuge in Uganda and DRC during the recent conflict.
During the meeting, the Bishop of South Sudan, Rt. Rev. Yepeta Nathan Sika
expressed his appreciation to the ICM for their effort to partner with the church of South Sudan. Bishop Sika said, “Most of the churches built in rural areas are constructed only using grasses, and are easily burnt by wildfire. This sort of construction, using grass for roofing, typically lasts only 1-3 years.”
The Bishop added that, “Christians in rural parts of South Sudan are unable to afford the purchase of iron zincs, nails and other construction materials due to the
economic hardship in the country. But with ICM, we will be able to construct buildings with brick and wood, and these can last 50 years or more. ”
The team also discussed issues on how discipleship can be empowered and strengthened in South Sudan.
ICM has developed a Mini Bible College, so the congregation is also trained with practical discipleship tools designed for oral learners. The CEEC will use these tools to study the Bible in depth, train new leaders, and plant more churches in nearby areas.