In spite of human limitations, the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Church has negotiated another bend in her history following far-reaching decisions from the 28th General Session that held in Nkwen CBC Church in Bamenda from March 29 to April 2, 2016. The 28th General Session held under the theme, “A Church for the Community” drawn from Luke 4:18-19 with Rev. Liombe Timothy, Rev. Ambola David and Rev. Shadrach Vegah as main speakers.
The General Session, which is the highest decision-making body of the CBC unanimously
agreed to harness her efforts in the next four years towards achieving two main goals: sustainability through the Development Fund that had its final and grand launching at the General Session and evangelistic expansion to the northern part of Cameroon commonly referred to as the ADNOFAN area (Adamawa, North and Far North) as well as ventures into the CEMAC countries for mission.
The over 2.500 delegates and observers at the 28th CBC General Session scrutinized all the Boards and departments of the Convention to strategically plan their actions towards achieving the two outstanding goals before the Church congregates again to take stock after four years in 2020 in a venue still to be decided upon by the General Council.
The three main speakers namely: Rev. Liombe Timothy (newly elected Soppo Field Pastor), Rev. Ambola David (Senior Pastor of Menda CBC Church in Bamenda) and Rev. Shadrach Vegah (Senior Pastor of Gospel CBC Church in Bamenda) challenged the Church to be more committed in ministering to the community where the churches are found. Drawing inspiration from Scriptures beginning with Israel in the Old Testament to the time of Jesus in the New Testament, the speakers propounded that the Church met community needs holistically unlike today when churches have become sources of personal aggrandizement and fame.
The General Session theme was further diagnosed during the National Ministers’ Fellowship, in the wing meetings of CBCMD that met at Musang CBC Church, Women that met at Nkwen CBC Church and the Youth that met at Hope CBC Church, all in Bamenda. A new spice at the 28th CBC General Session was the introduction of Small Groups Bible Studies that transformed the messages into action plans for better implementation by the churches in their communities.
CBCHS Report Sparks Anxiety
Perhaps, the General Session theme as expounded by the three speakers further opened the minds and eyes of the delegates to pay meticulous attention to the report of the CBC Health Services’ Committee presented by the chairman, Dr. Jonah Wefaun and Secretary, Mr. Nji Richard Nkeh. The excitement and anxiety that characterised discussions on the 22-point goals and targets for the CBCHS in the next four years was proof of the department’s direct impact in the community.
Among the 22 goals for the CBCHS are the commitment to improve and expand on chaplaincy and social services, complete and put into use all the Strategy Nine Projects Package and start repaying the loan, strengthen the AIDS Care and Prevention Programme and its components, develop and improve on the Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) component, which is a growing health concern, continue to ensure inclusive actions for persons with disabilities, open three new health centres, open 5 new primary health centres (PHCs), upgrade 5 health centres into full hospitals namely: Ngounso, Bafoussam, Mboppi, Etoug-Ebe and Ekounou, upgrade four laboratories to meet international standards and develop a steady pool for staff development to man and sustain growth.
The 28th CBC General Session should be on record with the highest number of recognitions awarded to past and present convention leaders. CBCHS Press counted up to 28 recognitions made as follows: Education Board – 7, Cooperating Missions – 5, Evangelism and Missions – 5, Health Services – 4, Men’s Department – 2, Women’s Union – 2 and Youth and Students’ Ministry – 2.
Apart from Prof. Tih Pius Muffih, the other three recognitions from the CBCHS were staff who distinguished themselves to receive the Chaffee Memorial Award, which is the highest recognition in the CBCHS and awarded only at the CBC General Session. The three recipients were: Mr. Nfor Dauoda, Senior Administrator of Mboppi Baptist Hospital Douala, Mrs. Diom Helen, Supervisor of Nursing Services in Mbingo Baptist Hospital and Mr. Wepnje Joseph Mupbah, CBCHS Supervisor of Support Group programme based at the CBCHS Central Administration in Bamenda. Among the five recognitions in Evangelism and Missions is Dr. Tambe Emmanuel Arrey, retinal surgeon in Baptist Hospital Mutengene who was recognised as one of two outstanding Christians in the CBC supporting missions with passion. In the words of the CBC Executive President, “The mission field in Mamfe would be in difficult if not of the outstanding support of Dr. Tambe”. Mr. Nsoh Joseph alias Essoka was the other lay Christian recognised for investing in missions.
The 28th General Session put in place a new set of vibrant leaders as vision bearers for the Convention in the next four years. Rev. Ncham Godwill Chiatoh got another mandate as Executive President, Mr. Yosibom John Mkong, retired civil administrator comes in to replace Mr. Chebonkeng Joseph (veteran journalist) as Chairman. Another new comer is Mr. Nyanganji Job (educationist) who replaces Justice Betty Luma as Vice Chairman. Rev. Ambola David, pastor at Menda CBC Church in Bamenda bounces back as Chairman of the CBC Ministers’ Fellowship. He takes over from the person he handed over to, Rev. Dr. Paul Mokake who becomes Director of Evangelism and Missions.
At the wings, Mr. Yuniwo Edison comes in as CBCMD Chairman. He takes over from Mr. Luma Albert who came to the end of his mandate. This is the same at the Women’s Department where Mrs. Chia Margaret takes over from Mrs. Samandi Elizabeth. The Youth and Students’ Ministry renewed their confidence in Mr. Kwalar Rene as President.
Speaking on behalf of the newly elected team, the Executive President and the Chairman thanked the 1,647 General Session delegates who actually voted for electing them. They promised not to undermine their confidence. They appealed for prayer support and collaboration from all and sundry.
Like the last words of a departing father, the outgoing CBC President, Mr. Chebonkeng Joseph called on the newly elected leaders to close ranks with their contesters who did not win in the interest of the growth of the CBC. The next CBC General Session is expected to hold in 2020 in a venue still to be decided upon by the General Council.
The official opening of the 28th CBC General Session on March 31, 2016 witnessed the presence of dignitaries from the civil and religious administration. The Secretary General at the NW Governor’s Office represented Governor Lele L’Afrique who was in Yaounde for state matters. The Mayor of Bamenda III, Fonguh Cletus and the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party, Ni John Fru Ndi, representative of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship joined the Governor’s representative to hail the CBC for choosing such an appropriate and timely theme for the 28th General Session. They particularly highlighted the impact the CBCHS is making in the community, thanks to the charismatic and visionary leadership of Prof. Tih Pius Muffih.