Partnership Building Trip to Angola – August, 2019
For Pastors of the Illinois Conference
Believing that our partnership with the church in Angola has the ability to give us new perspectives on our own faith, as well as our view of ministry and “mission” today, the Illinois Conference / Angola Partnership Team is planning a trip to Angola for pastors. We aim for this trip to be a transformative experience, and an opportunity to build long-term involvement in the Angolan partnership.
The trip will be in early August, 2019, and is open to pastors in the Illinois Conference and their spouses. The trip will expose pastors to the vibrant faith and real challenges of our long-term church partners in Angola. We will worship with local congregations, see the social mission of the church in action, talk honestly with Angolan pastors, learn what the Angolans see as the value and limits of this international partnership, and hear how they interpret the complicated history of American Congregationalist missionary work in their country.
The trip will also be a spiritual “retreat” for pastors, getting away from everyday work, and involving worship, journaling, and joint reflection (amongst ourselves and with the Angolans) about the theological issues raised by our partnership, including the history of paternalism and racism, and the theological differences of our churches.
Who: Pastors in the Illinois Conference, with spouses welcome – 12 person limit.
What: 13 day trip to Angola, including two Sundays on the ground, worshipping with local churches. CEU credit is available.
When: Roughly, July 31 to August 12, 2019
Costs: The trip will cost approximately $2000-$2500 per person, all things included. We will be able to narrow that estimate when we know the number of people on the trip and can lock-in airfare. Unfortunately, the Illinois Conference is unable to offer financial assistance at this time. We hope that local churches will be able to help with the cost in some way.
Deadline: A $500 per person non-refundable deposit is required by May 1, and then an additional payment of roughly $2000 (hopefully less) will be needed soon after that to purchase air travel.
Conditions: The trip will require reasonably good health for an active, sometimes taxing schedule. The accommodations will be basic (e.g. running water, but not always hot water). Openness to an Angolan diet will be needed. Transportation may involve long days on bumpy roads. Vaccinations will need to be up-to-date (with current Yellow Fever vaccine absolutely mandatory), and malaria preventative necessary.
Expectation of preaching: All pastors on the trip will be expected to preach (in English, with interpreters provided) in local churches during the trip. Spouses may also be asked to offer a message (anything from a sermon to a simple greeting).
Trip preparation: All those going on the trip will be expected to meet once in May and once in June or July for practical information, background education, and initial reflection about the trip.
Optional mini-safari: Although the wildlife of Angola was almost entirely eliminated during the Civil War, there is now a burgeoning tourist/safari opportunity in the country. If at least four people commit, we can offer a two-day extension of the trip for a two day/one night safari for $500. Beautiful scenery, birds and many varieties of antelope are assured, giraffes are likely, and elephants are possible. Angola is certainly not yet the greatest safari destination, but the cost will support the local economy and the burgeoning tourist/safari industry.
Mike Solberg, Sr. Pastor at the Union Church (UCC) in Hinsdale, long-time member of the Illinois Conference / Angola Partnership Team, and experienced visitor to Angola, will be the coordinator of the trip. To indicate interest in the trip, or for more information, contact Mike directly at msolberg at uchinsdale dot org, or at 630.590.6695.