The “standing committee” of the “Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa”, known as IMBISA meets two or three times’ a year in Johannesburg. Since 2017 though, one of those meetings brings together also the presidents of the bishops’ conferences. Some of them are already members of the standing committee. The goal of the meeting is to make sure that IMBISA is a body at the service of the particular journey of each bishops’ conference and not the other way round.
The first meeting of this kind was held last year at the end of which we were able to produce a document called: “Coordinated leadership plan 2016 – 2021” (CLP). Now it was time to reflect on the work done based on three questions:
what excites me about the CLP?
what concerns me about the CLP?
how can we improve our CLP?
We were all given “sticky notes” where to write our answers and place them on a white paper. Once that was done, we took some time to read the different notes, change ours or add other ideas.
There was a common feeling that “having a common vision” gives us an opportunity to reflect on the relevance of IMBISA in the region. It gives us a sense of direction and help us move together as leaders while paying attention to the needs of the Church and society.
The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the next plenary assembly to be held in Maputo in 2019. Archbishop Chimoio OFM updated us on the preparations and we then reflected on three questions:
what are my objectives for the plenary?
what topics would I like to see explored at the plenary?
an overall theme that I would suggest for the plenary
We followed the same process as before so that we could all share our ideas and gather them under main topics.
The presidents of the bishops conferences left and the “standing committee” then remained for the update on reports:
Report on the different events held in the past months:
observing the Zimbabwe elections
gathering of delegates to the Synod on Youth
Secretaries General workshop on “Laudato Si”
Financial report (February – August)
Bishop Ernesto Maguenge spoke on the SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) golden jubilee in 2019. The 18th plenary assembly of SECAM will therefore be a special one. It will be held in Kampala (Uganda) from 20 July to 29 July on the theme: “Church-family of God in Africa, celebrate your jubilee! Proclaim Jesus Christ your Saviour”.
IMBISA now counts on two more priests serving full time from the offices in Harare:
Fr Quintino Kandandji (Diocese of Benguela, Angola) will be leading the “social department”
Fr Dumisani Vilakati (Diocese of Manzini, Swaziland) will be leading the “pastoral department”
They both attending the meeting becoming more familiar with the members of the committee and the present goals of the organisation.