Fantastic news: At least one shipment of hymnals has arrived in Angola and our church partners – the Congregational Church in Angola, or IECA – have begun to sell them to their members. People are so joyful to have the hymnals. With over 200,000 new members since the last hymnals were published ten years ago, there are thousands of people who can have a hymnal of their own for the first time.
(Unloading hymnals with good ol’ people power.)
The construction of the University at Dondi is also now underway, and IECA is making good progress at opening this critically important educational resources for the church and for all of Angola.
We are about 1/2 way to our fundraising goal of $105,000, so please give generously today through the Illinois Conference donation page:
For any questions, contact Lisa Mitchell, Partnership Team Chair, at mitchell.lisaanne at gmail.com, or Mike Solberg, hymnal project coordinator at jmichaelsolberg at gmail.com (we write the emails that goofy way to keep from getting spammed by web crawler bots, sorry).
(For earlier posts about this project, start at the bottom of the page.)
Several members of the Illinois Conference – Angola Partnership Team visited Angola in May and June and spent time in several IECA congregations. Wow – are they eager to get these hymnals! At the Palestina congregation in Luanda, (pictured below) here are some comments we heard:
“I joined the church three years ago and still have not been able to buy a hymn book. I really want one.”
“See, my hymn book has no has a cover, so pages keep falling off.”
“Even we young people want to buy these new hymn books!”
We are making progress in our fundraising, but are not quite yet 1/2 way to our $105,000 goal. As you may have already read, IECA will sell the hymnals to their members. Now they estimate being able to raise as much as $500,000, and that money will all be used to open a new church-based university! This project will truly be a double blessing to our partners!
Please donate today, as little as $3, or as much as $3,000! Every donation will make a difference.
Because they are used by individuals (not simply owned by congregations) I.E.C.A. has always sold their hymnals to church members. The proceeds of the hymnal sales will largely be used for start up costs for a new university the church is opening at the historic Dondi Mission Station, a few miles outside Huambo, in central Angola.
As I.E.C.A. General Secretary Andre Cangovi tells the story, in 1914, at the inaugural celebration of the Dondi Mission Station, one of the stated goals/dreams was to offer university level education for Angolans at Dondi. For decades, Portuguese restrictions kept that from happening, and then came years of war. But based in current needs and new possibilities, IECA has returned to that dream. For over two years, an “installation commission” has been actively laying the groundwork for a university at Dondi, and earlier this year, they received needed government approval. They hope to begin instruction in March of 2018!
Here are photos of a university building with the outside already rehabbed, a building to be rehabbed, some students who are likely to attend the university, and the countryside around the 7500 acre Dondi Mission Station (in the dry season).
With about 1.5 million members and over 2500 congregations, I.E.C.A. is a vibrant and joyful church. Angola is a young country, with 1/2 the population under age 18 – and the churches are full of young and old.
I.E.C.A. is growing quickly, and has over 200,000 new members since their hymnal was last published nine years ago – thus the need for at least 50,000 new hymnals! They use hymnals much as was common in the U.S. 100 years ago: individuals own hymnals and bring them to church rather than the hymnals sitting in the pews. They are very important resources for personal and spiritual growth, with worship aids in addition to songs.
The Angola Hymnals Project is aimed at raising voices and educating minds. The Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ is working to raise $130,000 to donate 50,000 hymnals to our long-term international partner, the Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola (I.E.C.A.). With these hymnals I.E.C.A. will be able to provide a deeply desired musical and spiritual resource to their people, and through hymnal sales, be able to raise $350,000 to open a unique university in Angola.
Each hymnal costs just $3.00 to publish, so with a small gift you can provide a hymnal to our partners. Ten hymnals are just $30.00. And maybe you are able donate 100 hymnals, or 1000? To donate securely online, just go here: