The Church of the Nazarene in Cabo Verde celebrated 120 years of its existence! Under the leadership of the General Superintendent, Dr Eugénio Duarte, we remembered the past, analysed the present and looked at the future with certainty. The epicentre of the celebrations was the island of Brava.
In 1901, João José Dias, a Cape Verdean who immigrated to the United States of America, returned to his homeland, the island of Brava in Cabo Verde, to share the message of salvation. Today, from the small temple of Achada Furna, the first of the Church of the Nazarene in Africa, the denomination is now present in 44 countries.
Thanks to the ministry started by João José Dias, there have been 120 years of the beneficial influence of the Church of the Nazarene for the Cape Verdean nation. There is a street named after him in the capital city of Brava Island (Nova Sintra). The celebrations began on November 6 with a reflection session (The Church yesterday and today) in Ribeira Grande de Santiago, a World Heritage Site, led by Rev. Delfino Ferreira.
The following day we had a devotional service at the National Auditorium in Praia, capital of Cabo Verde. Dr Duarte, a Cape Verdean and a native of Brava, challenged us to keep ourselves pure and to live up to the denomination’s motto and standard, “Holiness unto the Lord.”
The outgoing President of the Republic, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, and the Assistant Secretary of State to the Prime Minister, Lourenço Lopes, representing the Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva, was also in attendance.
On the island where it all began, we were delighted to have our Regional Director, Dr Daniel A.K.L Gomis, visit the small temple of Ponta Achada – the “root of holiness in Africa.” He acknowledged, “I am a product of the Church of the Nazarene in Cabo Verde. Because, when I became a believer, my pastor was Antero Fontes, a Cape Verdean diplomat in Dakar, who was also a pastor.”
According to Dr Gomis, the Church of the Nazarene in Africa has not only been influential in the past, but that influence continues with Dr Duarte, who served as a missionary, held various positions in the Nazarene structure on the continent, and today serves as the General Superintendent.
Today there are Cape Verdean missionaries in Senegal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea Bissau and Angola. The expectation, says Dr Gomis, “is that the new generations of Cape Verdean Nazarenes will also be part of God’s missions in Africa.” A desire echoed by the South District Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene in Cabo Verde.
According to Rev David Araújo, “Because of Cabo Verde’s geostrategic position and the desire of Cape Verdeans to emigrate, we can take the Gospel to several other countries, namely those in Africa. We must therefore invest in training more missionaries.”
Dr Duarte acknowledged that in the past, the communication of the Church of the Nazarene in Cabo Verde with the rest of the African continent was not good. In the beginning, we were a hub, as was Eswatini (Swaziland) for Southern Africa, but we didn’t communicate accordingly. Today our connection is better, we are part of an African region with privileges, so our responsibility now is to do better.
What started 120 years ago on the Island of Cabo Verde transformed a continent! We are confident about the future of the Church, holding true to its mission of making Christlike disciples in Africa and beyond!