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The Integrity of Creation and the Church's Social Teaching

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, 19-20 OCTOBER, 2004

by Dr. David Kaulem and Mrs Dadirai Chikwekwete


1. INTRODUCTION


The African Forum for Catholic Social Teachings (AFCAST) held its 7th meeting of the Working Group at Luwisha House in Lusaka. The meeting was also coming after the successful Working Group Meeting and AFCAST workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe whereby the focus was on The Child. The meeting in Lusaka began with the AFCAST Workshop on 19th October 2004 and then followed by the business meeting on 20th October 2004. As agreed at the last Working Group meeting held in Zimbabwe, the Lusaka Workshop focused on 'The Environment'. The Workshop was facilitated by Dr David Kaulem and Fr Peter Henriot. The Working Group Members agreed that both the Workshop and Business Meeting went on very well. The Workshop was also attended by Jane Leek from Stichting Porticus. The Business meeting was also graced by the presence of Dr Volker Kasch, the resident representative of Misereor in Southern Africa who attended the meeting.

2. MEMBERS PRESENT

The following members of the AFCAST Working Group were present at the meeting in Lusaka: Sr Janice MacLoughlin (Chairperson of the Working Group and Chairperson of the Meeting), Fr Amedeus Shirima (Legal Holder and Rector of Arrupe Jesuit College, Zimbabwe), Fr Peter Henriot (JCTR, Zambia), Fr R Peprah (Ghana), Sr Specioza Kabahuma (Uganda), Fr Pius Rutechura (Tanzania), Dr David Kaulemu (Coordinator), Mrs Dadirai Chikwekwete (Administrator), Ms Marie Salupo (Maryknoll Intern - Afcast), Jane Leek (Stichting Porticus), Dr Volker Kasch (Resident Representative of Misereor in Southern Africa.

3. APOLOGIES

3.1 Arch-Bishop Pius Ncube (Zimbabwe) indicated that he was not able to attend the meeting due to other commitments.

3.2 Bishop Kilaini (Tanzania) wrote to say that he was unable to attend due to other national commitments.

3.3 Mrs Mary Chitsulo (Malawi). Mrs Chitsulo indicated that she was not able to participate in the Working Group Meetings as her current position was demanding.

3.4 Mr Anthony Njui (Kenya) went on study leave and suggested a replacement to attend Afcast meetings but unfortunately the replacement did not respond to email communication.

3.5 Fr Peter-John Pearson wrote to say he was not able to attend due to other national commitments in South Africa.

4. OBJECTIVES OF THE WORKING GROUP MEETING

The Working Group Meeting in Lusaka had two main objectives:
a. To engage in dialogue on the church's social teachings focusing on the integrity of creation
b. To review AFCAST's progress and future planning

This report will document the outcomes of the two objectives.

5. THE AFCAST WORKING GROUP MEETING PROGRAMME

Day 1: 19th October 2004: Workshop on Church's Social Teachings and the integrity of creation

08:30 Registration
09:00 Welcome and introductions: Fr Peter Henriot SJ
09:05 Opening Reflection: Fr Amedeus Shirima SJ
09:20 Presentation and Discussion: Roland Lessepes SJ
10:30 Tea Break
11:00 Presentations
Sr Janice McLaughlin (Zimbabwe)
Fr Pius Rutechura (Tanzania)
Sr Specioza Kabahuma (Uganda)
12:45 Lunch Break
14:00 Group Work: Fr Valerian Shirima SJ (Chair)
15:00 Reporting and Discussion
15:45 Evaluation and Closing Prayer
16:00 Tea Break

A. TO STRENGTHEN MEMBERS OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE INTEGRITY OF CREATION AND THE CHURCH'S SOCIAL TEACHINGS

Opening Prayer/Reflection

The reflection was led by Fr Amedeus Shirima SJ with the theme : Emptying oneself. The reading was from the letter of Paul to the Phillipians Chapter 2 verses 1 to 11 which reads:

Attendance

The following people attended the AFCAST Workshop on the integrity of creation and the church's social teachings; Sr Janice Mclaughlin (Chairperson of the Working Group and Chairperson of the Meeting), Fr Amedeus Shirima (Legal Holder and Rector of Arrupe Jesuit College, Zimbabwe), Fr Peter Henriot (JCTR, Zambia), Fr R Peprah (Ghana), Sr Specioza Kabahuma (Uganda), Fr Pius Rutechura (Tanzania), Dr David Kaulemu (Facilitator), Mrs Dadirai Chikwekwete (Administrator), Ms Marie Salupo (Maryknoll Intern - Afcast), Jane Leek (Stichting Porticus), Dr Volker Kasch (Resident Representative of Misereor in Southern Africa.

Self-introductions and Summaries of Activities

After the introduction of AFCAST staff members, participants were asked to introduce themselves and also summarise their social teachings activities in their respective countries and organisations. There were participants from the University of Zambia who are studying Environmental Studies.

A2. THE INTEGRITY OF CREATION AND THE CHURCH'S SOCIAL TEACHINGS

Introduction: Linking integrity of creation and the Church's social teachings

The Church acknowledges that care of the environment is part and parcel of the common good. This implies that each generation is expected to take great care of the environment for future generations.

What are the Catholic Social Teachings

They are a growing body of social wisdom about human beings in society, about the structures, cultures, systems and processes of society that enable all human beings to grow to their fullness. This body of social wisdom comes from the scriptures, writings of theologians, documents of churches, witnesses of just persons and communities and church traditions.

What is AFCAST?

Dr Kaulem outlined what AFCAST stands for. He informed the meeting that AFCAST stands for a forum made up of practising Catholics already practising Catholic Social Teachings in their respective organization/institutions who came together and formed a think tank. AFCAST is a regional forum for Eastern and Southern Africa. The Working Group members meet twice a year. They hold a workshop and a business meeting each time they come together. As a guide, the members choose a topic and an expert speaks on the particular topic.

AFCAST carries with it an added value which is the social teachings of the church in its workshops and business meetings. On the chosen topic for discussion, it is important to point out what the social teachings of the church say about the topic.

Dr Kaulem chronicled all the Working Group Meetings that were held previously. AFCAST was launched in October 2001. The Working Group members went to Nairobi, Kenya and the theme focused on elections. An input in what happened during the Kenyan elections was also discussed.

Whilst the Harare meeting was used to strengthen one another. The Lusaka meeting was about stewardship.

Dr Kaulem introduced Fr Roland Lesseps SJ to make a presentation on the Integrity of Creation and Catholic Social Teachings. Fr Lesseps has been in Zambia since 1987. He has taught Biology at the University of Zambia. He is involved in farming and organic biology. Reference was made to St Batholo's prayer. What is wonderful about the prayer is that it was written a long time ago but is still relevant to this age.

Click here to read Fr. Roland Lesseps' Presentation