Bishop Gabriel Unda, who itinerated in the California-Pacific Conference in 2016, is the Resident Bishop of the East Congo Episcopal Area where the “Mama Lynn Center,” as it is called, will be built.
In Congolese culture, women are the foundation of the family, church and village. These women are targeted and used as pawns in the war raging in the region. In an attempt to disjoint families and communities, their aggressors leave them as victims of physical, sexual, psychological, social and domestic problems.
United Methodist Women provide a key leadership role for the program, as survivors rediscover their own value and reintegrate with society.
Named the “Mama Lynn Center” after Lynn McAlilly, wife of Bishop Bill McAlilly of the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences, it will become a life-changing place of hope with a transformative effect on many villages and communities. Supporting this center is a continuation of the relationships and work that each of these U.S. conferences already has established in the East Congo Episcopal Area.
The Tennessee, Memphis and California-Pacific Annual Conferences of The United Methodist Church are partnering with the East Congo United Methodist Church through “Congo Women Arise.” The three conferences are raising funds to assist with the construction of the Mama Lynn Center, as United Methodist Youth in Kindu contribute brick-making skills to the program. An anonymous donation of $150,000 given at the end of 2016 has kick-started the effort to raise a total of $350,000. Bishop Unda said, “I am the happiest man because I initiated this project, and day by day, it is becoming a reality.