FROM THE PRINCIPAL'S DESK: CUM and Integral Mission in Slums

Although more than 70% of the population in Africa currently lives in rural areas, many have predicted and celebrated that the future of Africa is urban. They have celebrated on the basis of the conviction that, following lessons from the history of the developed world and the so-called emerging economies, urbanization is necessary for developing countries to achieve middle-income economy status. However, left unsaid, and deeply unsettling, is the reality that urbanization has an undesired underside which has spawned slum dwellings where the majority of the population in the cities of Africa live.

Slums are characterized by poverty and by a lack of basic amenities and services such as sanitation, water, electricity, quality schools and health facilities. Consequent conditions are wretched and appalling. In 2003, Carlile College as a specialist mission training institution responded to these unsettling slum realities by designing a diploma program in Urban Mission training to help the church to engage the slums by establishing the Centre for Urban Mission(CUM). Through CUM, the College first committed itself to urban mission training at the grassroots and subsequently the committed itself to working with churches in the slums of Nairobi as agents of transformation in both the proclamation of the gospel and the promotion of health, peace, justice, delight and fulfillment that characterize the quality of life in God's kingdom. This twin approach to transformation, at times called integral mission, is the heartbeat of CUM.

CUM currently runs five programs (down from the six in 2012): Samaritan Strategy, Christian Economic Empowerment, Youth Development, Children's Ministry, and the Kibera - Kiambiu Project (KIKA).

Samaritan Strategy introduces pastors in slum churches to a biblical understanding of integral mission. This program is the hub around which the other CUM programs revolve and are integrated. Efforts are made to introduce to the churches that have undergone Samaritan Strategy studies the other CUM programs.

Christian Economic Empowerment helps slum churches address the sustenance needs of their members by training them in economically viable skills and linking them to micro-finance organizations.

Youth Development runs six Schools of Hope (homework clubs) in slum churches for youth, affording them a good chance to excel in education.

Children's Ministry helps churches in slums to evangelize, disciple, pastorally care for and nurture children.

KIKA works with slum churches to provide support and livelihood training to the most needy and vulnerable households amongst them.

God's work in Christ will never be complete until His Kingdom comes in fullness. And such work that we are doing in CUM, propelled by the vision of God's kingdom, cannot cease as long as slums continue to mushroom in the growing African cities. Unfortunately, as alluded to above, we closed CUM's Shepherd Institute earlier in the year and scaled down considerably the Children's Ministry program for lack of funds. Join us, therefore in praying that God will provide more partners to forge ahead the College's kingdom work of integral mission in the slums.

A section of Kibera slum, the largest in Kenya, and arguably the largest on the continent of Africa.

Dr. Peter Nyende