Congo Women Arise: Memphis Conference joins with two other United Methodist conferences to support East Congo women's center


The Memphis Conference, along with the Tennessee and California-Pacific Conferences of The United Methodist Church, are partnering with the East Congo Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church for Congo Women Arise – an initiative to address the needs of rape survivors in a location often called the “rape capital of the world.”

Congo Women Arise will be the recipient of the 2018 Memphis Annual Conference offering, according to an announcement by Nashville Episcopal Area Bishop Bill McAlilly. The Nashville Area includes the Memphis (West Tennessee and Western Kentucky) and Tennessee (Middle Tennessee) Conferences.

The 2018 Memphis Annual Conference is June 3-5 in Paducah, Kentucky. Offerings received during the evening service on Sunday, June 3, will be for Congo Women Arise.

In Congolese culture in central Africa, 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.

Congo Women Arise will provide a women’s center with transitional housing in Kindu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as the local church brings physical, psycho-social and spiritual support for survivors. Women can learn income-generating skills such as cooking, sewing, midwifery, and childcare to provide long-term sustainability.

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 Memphis and Tennessee Conferences that together make up the Nashville Episcopal Area, 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.

A team of United Methodists, including laity and clergy from the Memphis Conference,  traveled to East Congo last July to aid in the construction of the women’s center. Scholarships were awarded so young adults could join the team, as well.

The three U.S. United Methodist conferences are raising funds to assist with the construction of the Mama Lynn Center, as United Methodist Youth in Kindu in the Democratic Republish of the Congo contribute brick-making skills to the program.

An anonymous donation of $150,000 given at the end of 2016 kick-started the effort to raise a total of $350,000.

Bishop Unda Yemba Gabriel of the East Congo Episcopal Area said, “I am the happiest man because I initiated this project, and day by day, it is becoming a reality.”

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Here are links to resources to promote the offering:

For more information about Congo Women Arise and the Mama Lynn Center, contact Neelley Hicks at 615-260-6945 or