Other Manual Translations: Français (French)
The East Congo Episcopal Area was created in 2012 during the 2012 General Conference. It was part of the Episcopal Region of Central Congo.
Unda was the first bishop elected on March 18 at the quadrennial meeting in Kamina, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the first ballot, he received 277 of the 287 votes cast. He was elected in the episcopal region of eastern Congo, and will continue to serve this region.
He was elected bishop for the first time in 2012, after the creation of the episcopal area of eastern Congo by the General Conference. Now that he has been re-elected, Unda will be a bishop for life.
The central conference of the Congo was created in 1992. Before that date, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly called Zaire) was part of the central conference of Africa (after 1939), respectively of the central conference for South Africa (1920-39).
The Methodist mission in DR Congo has several origins. Within the Methodist Episcopal Church, Bishop Taylor launched his autonomous mission project from Angola and also reached the Belgian Congo in 1886. But the efforts of the mission ended in 1896. The missionary American Springer crossed Zambia and the Belgian Congo in the direction of Angola on his way towards the United States. Upon his return to Africa, he opened a mission in the southern part of the Belgian Congo, establishing a first mission station at Lukoshi in 1911. In 1915, it became the Congo Mission Conference. In 1936, the Central Conference of South Africa elected Springer as bishop.
The Southern Methodist Episcopal Church enters Belgian Congo by the Congo River and establishes its first mission station in Wembo Nyama, in the central part of the country. During the union of 1939, the two mission fields were integrated into the Methodist Church and the Central Conference of Africa under the direction of Bishop Springer until his retirement in 1944. Other American bishops continued to supervise activities for the next twenty years.
In 1964, the Central Conference of Africa was authorized to elect four bishops, including one for the Congo. With John Wesley Shungu, she elected for the first time a Congolese pastor. The general conference of 1980 authorized the election of an additional bishop. The southern part (Shaba, later Katanga province) becomes a separate episcopal area. In 1988 the General Conference again authorized the election of an additional bishop. Shaba (later the province of Katanga) was subdivided into two episcopal zones, the South of the Congo and the North of Katanga.
The ten other provinces of the country remained a single episcopal area despite the extension of the mission to many new regions, including the capital Kinshasa. In 2012, the General Conference authorized a fourth episcopal region for the central conference of the Congo. Thus, the two episcopal regions of central Congo and eastern Congo were created.
Each episcopal zone of DR Congo has also extended to neighboring countries: Central Congo in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Gabon; the eastern Congo in the Central African Republic; North Katanga in Tanzania; and southern Congo in Zambia.