The core work of churches and religious groups is to proclaim the gospel of salvation, but some have gone beyond this. JAMES CHIMPWEYA talked to the Moderator of Nsanje CCAP of the Blantyre Synod, Reverend Gray Mangoni, whose congregation has Tigwirane Manja Faith Based Organisation (FBO).
Why as a church did you think of having FBO?
In our church we have 14 committees carrying out different responsibilities for the church. The church is like a country that has so many projects to be carried out. One of the committees is Tigwirane Manja FBO. Its responsibility is to look after vulnerable groups within and outside the church, hence, the name Tigwirane Manja. You can see that it is not named CCAP because its mandate is not to serve CCAP members only. We believe that charity work has no boundaries or discrimination. We canâ€™t say these are not our members and so we cannot assist them. They were also created in Godâ€™s image.
When was the FBO formed?
It was formed in 2004. As I said before, the main work of this FBO is to assist those people with different problems ranging from sickness, helping orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), elderly, widows, to visiting prisons and hospitals as well as evangelism. The organisation is doing a lot to win people to Christ. We bring awareness to people regarding HIV and Aids as well as assisting them with other necessities like nutritious foods and starter pack medicines. Apart from these things we also make home visitations and cleaning homes of those that are sick or old.
Where or how do you get funding?
As a church we have one or two sources of funds for this committee. When we have something to do urgently we organise choir festivals and invite other choral groups within Nsanje. More funds are found within the church but not from the Sunday collections, but through other fundraising activities. Our members sacrifice to meet the needs of the whole person (body, soul and spirit). We preach to the spirit, but the body needs to be dressed and the soul needs to be nourished.
Who oversees this FBO?
It has a Board of Trustees that oversees its activities as well as some other logistics. Through this board we have managed to source mattresses and donate them to one hospital. We have also donated bicycle ambulances through our good relationship with the Synod. This FBO is also recognised by our mother body, Blantyre Synod. Our board encourages us to work and assist other churches within the boma because we have more than 50 churches. We also assist less privileged students that have been selected to secondary schools and colleges but have no fees.
What do you benefit from this FBO as a church?
Our aim when establishing it was not for us to benefit financially, but to serve the less privileged and fulfill Matthews 25 which says â€˜I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was sick and you did not come to visit me, and I was also in prison you did not come to pay me a visitâ€™.
Our main objective is to serve the marginalised people in the society. Because of this, people do bring second hand clothes for distributions to the needy.