AEA’s Grand 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service
Nairobi, December 15, 2016
With honours to great men and women who have laboured in and out of season, who God has used to fulfil His purposes in Africa and whose shoulders many of the current crop of leaders stand on, AEA turned the page on a rich 50 year journey since its inception in 1966. This was indeed a celebration of God’s goodness.
PISTIS school children performing at the AEA Jubilee Celebrations
Held at the Kenya School of Law in Nairobi, the thanksgiving service featured the launch of the Africa Study Bible Sampler with a timeline of AEA’s work in Africa.
ACTEA Anniversary Cake
It also the 40th
anniversary celebration of AEA’s project - The Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa" (formerly, 'Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa') – Launch of the book the “The ACTEA Journey” and performances from AEA’s Africa International University Choir and Pre-School - PISTIS. Even as continental para-church and organizations face a myriad of challenges, AEA has continued to serve more than 35 countries in mobilizing and empowering the church for the holistic transformation of communities and societies in Africa.
Dr. Shana presenting the late Rev. Kenneth Downing's award to her daughter Dottie
The first group of honourees featured Past and Current Primary Leaders of AEA. Some leaders, namely; Rev. David I. Olatayo, Rev. Dr. Samuel Odunaike, Rev. Kassoum Keita, Rev. Kenneth Downing, Rev. Dr. Byang Henry Kato and Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo were awarded posthumously with their loved ones on hand to receive the awards on behalf of their families.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Yameogo, Bishop Dr. Goodwill Shana, Rev. Dr. Mario Li Hing, Mr. Mugo wa Karanja and Archbishop Dr. Arthur Kitonga were also awarded with plaques noting their distinguished and faithful leadership and service to AEA.
AEA's Finance Manager, Eunice Njuguna, is awarded a certificate for her long and faithful service in AEA
Also recognized were individuals who served or still serve in, Projects, Commissions and the AEA secretariat for at least 5 years.
Rev. Dr. Judy Mbugua receives her distinguished award from AEA President, Dr. Goodwill Shana
Notable honourees present to receive their awards were Dr. Abel Ndjarareou, Prof. Tite Tienou, Dr. Paul Bowers, Rev. Dr Judy Mbugua and the family of the late Stephen Mugabi and Rev Rene Diadanso who served AEA’s Relief and Development Commission and Associate General General Secretary respectively, for over a decade.
From Left to right: Mrs. Ireti Adeyemo (Wife to the late Dr.Tokunboh Adeyemo), Mrs. Deborah Kato (Dr. Byang Kato's daughter) and Dottie Hildebrandt (Rev. Downing's Daughter ) at the thanksgiving service.
It was fitting for AEA to honour these greats and it meant a lot to the families of those present to witness such a show of love and appreciation from the Evangelical Community from the nations. Dottie Hildebrandt speaking on behalf of the Kenneth Downing (The first AEA General Secretary) Family said, “I want to say a huge thank you to each of you who worked so hard to make the AEA celebrations such a success, and especially for your very warm welcome to me personally. I felt very much a part of the celebrations and I came away blessed and uplifted for having been there in the midst of all of the brothers and sisters from across Africa. I know my dad would have been so blessed and humbled to see what the Lord has done and is doing thru the AEA . I hope that the Lord let him look in on the whole conference!! Thank you for all your work and love shared. I will be sharing as much of the spirit of the celebration as possible with my sister and brothers, who would have liked to be there in person.”
ACTEA's Dr Emmanuel Chemengich and Dr. Paul Bowers launch the ACTEA journey booklet
From a vision in Limuru in 1966 to a truly continental organization. Boasting the formation of two first graduate theological schools in sub-Saharan Africa (Bangui Evangelical School of Theology (BEST) in Central Africa Republic for the Francophone region, Africa International University (formerly Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology) in Kenya for the Anglophone region).
To establishing projects like Christian Learning Materials Centre (CLMC) in Kenya, Africa Christian Television (ACT/PEMA) in Cote d’Ivoire, Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) and a landmark publication in AEA’s stride for biblical resource- Africa Bible Commentary, published in 2006 - that continue to make a lasting impact in the continent.
No doubt, these projects and together with the work of the commissions and the constituent national alliances themselves have contributed significantly in the phenomenal growth of the Church in Africa, in the last 50 years. There was truly a reason to be thankful to God and celebrate God’s faithful. We are encouraged and hopeful that the the 50 years will continue to see the hand of God in the renewal and transformation of Africa.
To God be the glory, great things He has done!