1. Establishment of the Institute
The original intention of establishing a Missiological Institute in Southern Africa was raised in 1950 by Archbishop Lucas, SVD. He was Apostolic Delegate to South Africa from 1946 to 1952. At its plenary session, held in April 1952, the members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) resolved that “it strongly urges the erection of an Institute of Anthropology, Missiology, etc, and gives a mandate to the Administrative Board to effect its establishment”. The necessary money and personnel were found. Bishop Rosenthal of the diocese of Queenstown offered accommodation and accepted to be the first Director. Although the Institute began in a small way in January 1952 it had to close the same year. This was due to the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith withdrawing its approval for the Institute. There was a fear that it would be left shouldering the financial burden. It was Cardinal Montini (later to become Pope Paul VI) who related the news to Bishop Rosenthal.
In spite of this setback, Bishop Rosenthal persisted with the project and, because the members of the Bishops’ Conference were not willing to accept liability for the Institute, he himself eventually succeeded in 1962 in founding a Missiological Research and Training institute on a property 13 kilometres east of Lady Frere, Cape Province. The Irish Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart supplied staff and, although the Institute was situated in Bishop Rosenthal’s own diocese, he intended it to be at the service of the Church in the whole of Southern Africa as originally envisaged by Archbishop Lucas.
The piece of land on which the Institute was to be built had originally been bought from a local family, Mr and Mrs Lumko who owned a farm of 25 square kilometres. The bishop of Queenstown built a church on this plot and then a house for the parish priest. On the same property Bishop Rosenthal later opened a Catechists’ School. These catechists were Xhosa men who pursued a two year residential programme. Houses were provided for them and their families. The women also received instruction and worked at domestic chores (there was a common kitchen and dining room). A school on the property secured the education of their children. The teaching of the catechists and their wives was conducted by a priest of the diocese of Queenstown who was the school’s Director. The school for the children was staffed by local Xhosa teachers.
Bishop Rosenthal also opened, on the same plot of land, a Domestic Science School, an Art School and finally the, Missiological Training Institute. By then the parish priest had moved to the local town of Lady Frere (the name by which the parish had been known all along). The new Institute became commonly known as Lumko. Fr Sean O’Riordan, MSC, moved in at its inception in 1962 as Organizing Secretary. A year later Fr Patrick Whooley, MSC, was appointed the first Director, and he was soon to be joined by Frs Thomas Nicholson, Sean Coffey and Hugh Slattery, all members of the MSC congregation.
A major focus of the Lumko Institute was the teaching of Southern African languages. Over a period of five months missionaries from abroad, and others working in Southern Africa, could follow beginning, intermediate and advanced courses in Zulu, Xhosa, Southern Sotho, Pedi and Afrikaans. Members of the MSC congregation (for example, Frs Sean O’Riordan and Hugh Slattery) studied these languages at universities in South Africa and then wrote their own courses which consisted of audio cassettes with an accompanying manual. These courses were comprehensive in scope and were popular because they were the first successful attempt to record courses in Southern African languages on audio tape. They are still in use at the universities of Cape Town, Natal and Durban Westville. The language courses were designed from the beginning as one part of a comprehensive approach to mission, especially for those coming as missionaries from foreign countries. A total course included studies in a local language, anthropology, catechetics and homiletics.
During the 1970’s these language courses were attracting less participants. This was due to a general lack of missionary vocations in the Church. A further cause was the strong stand taken by the bishops against unjust laws and actions of the government, which responded by denying visas to new missionaries. Consequently the teaching of African languages received less emphasis. Today one three-week course is offered each year in Zulu and Southern Sotho.
Research was carried out at Lumko during these years, mainly on an individual basis. Visitors could work with members of staff to make a study in the areas of anthropology, African music or missiology. A comprehensive library in these subjects was available. Titles of monographs still available are David Dargie’s Collections of African Church Music in Sotho (1978), Xhosa (1978), Tswana (1978) and Zulu (1981). Darqie also produced Xhosa Traditional Music (1978), and An Introduction to Xhosa Zionist Church Music (sa). Hugh Slattery and Hubert Bucher (1976) edited Pastoral Orientation in a Changing World and Heinz Kuckertz (1981) wrote Ancestor Religion in Southern Africa.
3. A Local Church
The bulk of those who had been attending the courses were foreigners. As their numbers declined, a new emphasis began to be put on building a local Church. At the end of 1969 Bishop Rosenthal invited Frs Fritz Lobinger and Oswald Hirmer to join the Institute, the former to work in the Catechists’ School (which had been amalgamated with the Lumko Institute), the latter to head a newly founded Department for Pastoral Ministry. Both men went on sabbatical leave during 1970, along with Fr Fischer who was to head the Department for Catechetics.
It was Lobinger’s belief that the present system of catechists heading local communities should be replaced by “trainer catechists”, that is, leaders who would train others to share in the leadership tasks of the parish. Before going on sabbatical he had conducted a questionnaire in the Xhosa-speaking dioceses of the country – Oudsthoorn, De Aar, Aliwal North, Queenstown, Port Elizabeth, Umtata and Kokstad. He explains why he embarked on this venture:
It all started with two personal experiences which grew in me while I was a parish priest in a very remote mission parish. The first one was the contrast between the life of our Catholic congregation and the Methodist one next to us. The Catholics were almost completely dependent on the work of their priest, while the Methodists lived in almost complete self-reliance and hardly needed a full-time minister.
The other experience was how even the best of our traditional input methods had the negative side-effect of discouraging people from thinking for themselves. When I later got into …contact with group dynamics courses of the Anglican Church I sensed that there was a way of overcoming this problem.
One of the results of this investigation was to confirm a suspicion he already had, namely, that the catechist is not a teacher of catechism, but an unordained leader of church communities. He was engaged in doing many tasks in the community which the people themselves could do. Lobinger took up this idea during his sabbatical. His thesis on the catechist in Africa, he later said, “was practically a pastoral theology on leadership in the Church which meant that leadership must not provide for people but must build up people, the animator ideal.”
In. 1973 Lobinger changed the content of the Lumko catechetical training course. He presented three three-month courses each year. At the same time he changed the title “catechist” to “trainer catechist” in order to denote the new role this community leader would have in the parish. The purpose was to re-train the catechists who had already followed the earlier two year programme. The emphasis now was not so much on them being “teachers of the faith” but rather animators of the Christian communities in which they worked.
Meanwhile Lobinger continued his research of parishes in Southern Africa. He had discovered that many Catholics felt that it was impossible to have lay people engaged in Church activity. He felt he could not blame them for this attitude which he had once held himself:
We had grown up in a clericalist model which said that lay people are there to listen, and they can’t do more. Their model was: their pastor was there to give food to the sheep. But the sheep can’t nourish themselves. You have to lead them to the grass. The lay people themselves can only be led to the grass. And also in the parish, it will not work; people have no time, people have no energy and they are not willing to do this… So, the idea of lay ministers doing things for themselves was completely written off as just impossible.
4. The First Publications
Lobinger did not study Roman Catholic parishes only, but also ones from the Anglican and Methodist Churches. The results of this research formed the basis of a book entitled “How Much Can Lay People Do?” In it he showed how, while it was a general belief among Catholics that the laity could not be more involved in Church life than at present, in the other Churches they were often fully involved. In the very same area where Catholics would wait for the priest to arrive in order for decisions to be made, he found Methodists and Anglican lay people running services and making decisions:
Then I realised that we are creating a dependency in people… I had catechists and I realized that if we hire more catechists and more catechists, we will not lead them out of it. So, the role of the priest and catechist must change. And with that conviction I went to Lumko.
It was not merely a matter of having a more efficient parochial organization that was interesting Lobinger. He had come across knowledgeable lay people in the Methodist and Anglican Churches who were able to act for themselves; their talents were developed: “It wasn’t just a question that it works better, but I sensed this is what Church should be”.
This insight coincided with the Vatican II emphasis on the Church as the People of God. The documents from the Council had been published and many people were open to new ideas. Many Catholics reacted favourably to Lobinger’s book and some of the clergy wished to work towards this sharing of leadership in the parish. They felt, however, that without ready-made training materials they would not get far. They were either too busy or unable to write their own.
Some efforts had already been made to write training materials at that time. Notable among these are the cyclostyled booklets produced by Fr Noverino Canonici at the Catechists Training School in Lydenburg, Fr Willibrord van Rompaey in the Diocese of Pietersburg, Fr Vincent Hill in the Archdiocese of Pretoria and Fr Lewis Balink in the Diocese of Kroonstad. These booklets contained simply written material in the subjects of dogmatic theology, Church history and scriptural exegesis. These were possibly the first efforts in South Africa to educate and train lay people for leadership. Although the actual approach did fall into the “input method” as opposed to the methodology soon to be employed by Lumko personnel, these efforts still remained an important first step towards introducing lay people to Church leadership.
5. The Need for the Training of Lay Leaders
Lobinger was aware that the many clergy who had expressed a need for training materials were still working out of a “providing” model of leadership. Among other influences, they had been won over to the possibility of lay involvement by the Vatican II spirit of agqiornamento in the church, which found expression in such popular concepts as the “People of God”. However, he realised that the test was in the results. If lay people could be trained to operate successfully as parish leaders, then the change would be long-lasting. If not, then the clerics would revert back to their previous model as providers. The laity, too, could want to turn back to their previous passive role if they saw that this new model of leadership did not work. For these reasons Lobinger was convinced that the key to a changed ecclesiology was in the training material. Proper training materials would give both priest and people a feeling of security, a knowledge that the new type of leadership would work.
At a meeting with the clergy of the Diocese of Umtnta in 1974 Lobinger presented them with his vision of the “trainer catechist”. As a group they accepted that more lay people needed to be trained for Church leadership. They had in mind skill training, that is, the training of people in the ability to perform actions such as leading the Sunday service in the absence of the priest, distributing Holy Communion to people during the Church service as well as to the sick at home and in hospital, knowing how to visit the sick, and how to read the Scriptures in the liturgical assembly. However, it would only work, they said, if they have the training materials in their hands, and it would be the task of Lumko personnel to produce this literature. Lobinger immediately went to work on the first book which dealt with the training of leaders for conducting the Sunday service, ministers of Communion and readers. This material was eventually to appear as three books: Training Assistant Ministers of the Eucharist, Leading the Community Service and Training Readers.
6. Further Influences on the Approach to Training
An important influence on the future direction of Lumko was Fr Lewis Balink, a priest originally from Holland and attached to the Diocese of Kroonstad. The diocese as a whole had embarked on its own programme of preparing local Church leaders. Balink was very much involved in that programme. One of the influences in his life was Ann Hope, a South African, who had attended some seminars with Paulo Freire at the Episcopal Divinity School in Boston. On returning to South Africa, Hope put Freire’s method into practice in an adult literacy programme in Swaziland. At the same time she began to train various groups in South Africa in the Freire method and they too became involved in literacy programmes. (One of these leaders was Steve Biko.) Before long, most of the core team trained by Hope were imprisoned. While the method continued to be used in various parts of the country, there was no systematic approach or coordination among those engaged in this kind of training. In 1973 Hope was expelled from South Africa and went to work in Kenya with Sally Timmel. There they developed DELTA (Development Education Leadership Training) a movement based on Freire’s method and which they were able to conduct in each Roman Catholic diocese of the country over a period of 7 years. They organized workshops on a 4-phase system. Leaders had to attend all the phases and be involved in a grass roots project at home. Hope and Timmel left the work in the hands of a local team when they moved on to Zimbabwe in 1980 to continue their training programmes. From here they ran a number of training workshops in Lesotho and Transkei. Lumko was sometimes a base for these and this became a precarious situation for staff: firstly because Hope was still banned from her country of birth, and secondly because of the nature of the training which was seen by many as subversive. Hope and Timmel had produced many working papers for use during their workshops. They now put these together and produced a three-volume work entitled Training for Transformation (1984). The contents of these books were taught in South Africa as CDE (Christian Development Education). The change of name was an attempt to avoid further confrontation with the government. However, in 1987 investigations began into the contents of the books and lawyers recommended that they be reprinted under a changed title. The edition of 1988 (Lumko was part publisher) appeared as the Community Worker’s Handbook.
Balink joined the Lumko staff in 1974. Between that year and 1976 Lobinger and Balink travelled Southern Africa to present in as many dioceses as possible the way in which local lay leaders could be trained by the parish priest and other pastoral animators. During this period they presented 49 four-day workshops to 1,559 participants, including 13 bishops. They used their newly written booklets as examples of how this training could take place. Lobinger brought to the team his experience in the Catechists’ School where he had had to put his teaching into simple language, often using posters as a teaching method. Balink brought experience in group methods, the learning cycle and leadership training.
As they drove from one diocese to another they discussed their latest written texts and changed them according to the criticisms they had received at the latest workshop. During rest breaks back at Lumko Lobinger re-wrote the materials so that already by 1975 the first books were in draft form.
A significant step towards the development of this written material followed from a meeting at St John Vianney Seminary, Pretoria, in April 1975. Lobinger and Balink called together 40 persons from Southern Africa who were in one way or another involved in the training of local leaders. The result of that meeting was a decision to produce a series of training booklets, and many of the participants formed teams to bring this project about. Thus was born the series Training for Community Ministries. Later that year the first titles appeared. Eventually 25 people were to become authors or part-authors of this series of publications which today numbers 25 titles.
7. A New Vision of Church
The meeting in Pretoria had begun with discussion on the need for books on skills training. As the meeting developed, the need for communicating a new vision of Church was highlighted. In other words, the skills to be offered to local lay leaders were not a “fill in” until there are sufficient ordained clergy to take.over again. The very development of these new ministries in the Church was seen as Spirit-directed, leading the baptized to a new way of being Church. The requirement was for training programmes to help raise people’s ecclesial awareness. For many, if not most, lay Catholics, the idea that they are the Church and should take responsibility for its life would be new and even startling. To implement this programme of awareness one would need to deal with subjects such as co-responsibility, self-reliance, social action and community building. This was to lead to the writing of three major Lumko kits: God Renews the world throuqh Us, The Christian Community and its Leaders and Developing shared ministry.
Meanwhile, Lobinger was attempting to clarify this new vision for himself. In an unpublished paper he explains the underlying vision he had for the series. He writes that the booklets were written to help build a local Church which is a community of communities. It is a Church where the average member is involved in searching for God’s plan in our times and where the community as a whole, and not just special groups, works for justice and development. The series aims at a growth process for emergent leaders which leads them beyond the stage of being mere “helpers” of the priest and gives them real responsibility. He concludes:
We aim at non-dominating leadership in the communities. We believe that real and effective leadership can be combined with communal responsibility. We therefore discourage monopolies and encourage team work. We discourage privileges and encourage rotation of office. We want to give the spiritual foundation for this understanding of ministry.
The methodology employed in the printed materials underscores this vision. The vision, says Lobinger, should “emerge through the way in which the training is organized, the style of the sessions, and the spirit encouraged through the material. We try to design the material in such a way that it discourages status-seeking and encourages community mindedness.”
8. Involvement of the Hierarchy
Convinced that this was the way forward for the Church in Southern Africa, Lobinqer made efforts to influence the members of the hierarchy from whom parish personnel receive their pastoral direction. Within the Commission for the Laity a Department for Ministries was set up which he was asked to head. He also became part-time secretary of the Commission for the Laity. In this way the idea of a community oriented Church began to be heard by the bishops of the country on a regular basis. At the meeting of the Bishops’ Conference in February 1974 Lobinger and Balink addressed the assembly on the question of ministry. One of the results of that meeting was a resolution by the bishops which stated that, because of
the crisis affecting the priesthood and the religious life, a joint commission of Bishops, Priests, Religious and Laity be established to study, with the help of the theological commission, the whole question of ministry (presbyteral, diaconal, religious and lay), with a view to submitting its findings to the next plenary session.
In assisting this study, the members of the Department for Ministry recommended six practical-steps. They wanted all members of the local Christian community to be aware of their joint responsibility for all aspects of Church life. Priests, too, should become aware that their responsibility is shared with the community. Various tasks in the community could “be given to small groups of persons in such a way that they are not only seen as helpers of the priests, but as fully responsible ministers of a particular task.” All this will involve training which in most cases will occur at the local level. This process should be introduced slowly: sudden changes should be avoided.
As a result of this study on ministry the members of the SACBC in 1976 took over the term Small Christian Communities from AMECEA (Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa) and proposed that they become a pastoral priority in their territory. In their resolution on the subject the bishops said that they recognized the value of small communities and approved their promotion according to the norms of Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi. They wrote that they realised that problems could arise from initiatives coming from the laity. The answer is formation in lay leadership and an interest in small communities among the clergy so that these communities may develop in a balanced and healthy way. Responsibility for the promotion of Small Christian Communities was to rest with the Commission for the Laity.
The Lumko staff had already been moving in that direction. In 1972 the Institute had been taken over by the SACBC so that it was in effect a National Pastoral Institute. One member of the staff was to be a standing member of the Commission for the Laity. The bishops’ resolution on Small Christian Communities was an official mandate to continue to research and offer guidance on this pastoral initiative.
A further influence on the national Church was made through the Diocesan Catechetical Schools. Thirteen of the dioceses in the country had such a school where catechists were still being trained as full-time parish personnel. “These are the places,” says Lobinger, “where the wrong vision or the right vision is propagated.” He called a meeting of the directors of these schools and led them in a reflection on the type of training they were offering the catechists and the underlying vision of Church to which they held.
9. Further Developments
Despite the resolution of the. SACAC in 1976 to make Small Christian Communities a priority, Lobinger admits that the concept was still not clear. He himself was convinced that the laity, along with the clergy, should be shouldering responsibility for the Church and he knew that this required training. It was becoming more clear to him that this training should take place in small groups where each leader would be faced with the challenge of exercising his/her leadership in faith and in service. Bible reflection would need to be an essential part of this learning process. However, the concept of Small Christian Communities, as it was to eventually develop in the Lumko materials, required further influences. One of these was a study day on Small Christian Communities which was held during the plenary session of the bishops of AMECEA in Nairobi in 1976. At this meeting the phrase “Small Christian Communities” was coined and from this meeting it was brought back to Southern Africa.
A second influence at about this time was Lobinger’s visit to the diocese of Ndola in Northern Zambia where Bishop de Jong had been working at introducing Small Christian Communities for many years. What struck Lobinger was how the Bible was the centre of the small communities in that diocese. He was already convinced that there would be no togetherness in the communities without the Bible and had already introduced Bible reflection in the Catechists’ School. He was dissatisfied with the method, however, as it seemed to him to be too theoretical.
At the end of 1975 Fr Oswald Hirmer had finished his term as rector of Zingisa Minor Seminary and joined the Lumko staff. The Bishops’ Conference had been looking for some time for a person to take on the job of National Director for the Biblical Apostolate and Hirmer was appointed.
Hirmer established the Department for the Promotion of the Gospel at Lumko and went to work straightaway on methods of bringing the Scriptures to the ordinary believer. In November 1977 he attended a workshop at La Verna Retreat Centre, Transvaal on Gospel Sharing. This workshop brought together people from various parts of Southern Africa who were already training the laity in Gospel Sharing methods. They shared these methods with each other and practised them. One of the insights gained by participants was a certain common element which existed in all the methods. Hirmer continued the promotion of Gospel Sharing and eventually developed a simple method known as the “Seven Steps”. It does not need input from an expert but rather can be used in any group of believers, even by those who cannot read or write, once they have been taught how to use it. The Lumko vision of Small Christian Communities was now complete. A kit was developed to help pastoral ministers set them up, and other publications in the Training for Community Ministries series were re-written with the small communities in mind. Lumko workshops continued to be offered in Southern Africa and their main purpose was to show how Small Christian Communities could be established and how their members constitute the Church at neighbourhood level.
10. Lumko Moves
The location of Lumko influenced the way it developed. Situated in the hilly country of Transkei, near the small town of Lady Frere, the staff were physically cut off from the mainstream of Church life. This meant that they had to travel long distances to meet pastoral leaders, conduct workshops with them and generally “sell” their concept of Church leadership. On their return from these journeys they were able to use the solitariness of Lumko to write without hindrance. Had it not been for the remoteness of the Institute it is probable that the enormous output of written material would never have seen the light of day. From the beginning, Fritz Lobinger had harnessed the help of up to 25 people in the writing of the series. He made use of the quiet afforded by the location of the Institute to design, write and edit the series Training for Community Ministries and to preserve a common methodology and a consistent ecclesiological vision throughout the many books and kits.
During the 1970’s the possibility of the Institute moving to the Transvaal was often discussed among staff members but no consensus could be found. Some, who originated in the Transkei, felt they would not be comfortable in an urban setting. Hugh Slattery, the director at the time, advised that it would be better not to make such a drastic change if important staff members were to be lost in the process. The issue, however, continued to be debated.
The Institute eventually was moved to Germiston, Transvaal, at the end of 1985. One of the main reasons was the desire to be nearer the majority of the Catholic population. According to the government census taken in May 1980, of the 2,930,092 Roman Catholics in the country, 33% lived in the Transvaal and a further 27.6% lived in Natal which has easy access to the Reef.
11. Consequences of the Move
One of the consequences of Lumko’s new domicile is its access to the National Seminary with its colleges in Pretoria and Hammanskraal. Each year Lumko staff members teach courses in the Department of Pastoral Ministry in these colleges. These include interpersonal skills, group process skills and counselling skills.
Since relocating to the Transvaal, numerous visitors, including many from other countries, are able to visit the Institute and see at first hand the work that is done there. Although this requires an expenditure of time on the part of staff members, it has increased the influence of Lumko further afield.
This influence has been considerably enhanced with the introduction of an International Course each year which draws participants from every continent. Between 1986 and 1991, 160 participants from 25 countries attended. Many of those who have attended this course now conduct Lumko workshops in their country of origin.
Lumko staff members receive many invitations to visit other countries for the purpose of conducting workshops. Oswald Hirmer spends three quarters of each year on such visits and in the last five years has visited 20 countries in Africa and Asia (some twice or three times). Once again, the aim is to train people locally to run their own workshops.
Some staff members were apprehensive lest the nature of the Institute and its work were adversely affected by an urban setting. The production level of printed publications has not diminished since the change. At the time of the move, 30 books and kits had been published by Lumko. In the first five years since the move, two new books and two new kits have appeared: Love Your Neighbour, Towards a Community Church, Christian Initiation and Our Journey Together. Two kits have been completely re-written; The Training of Parish Councillors and The Pastoral Use of the Bible. Two kits are in the process of being re-written; God Renews the World Through Us and Developing Shared Ministry. Four other major contributions are in the pipeline. Two are kits on marriage and human sexuality; the other two are books on leadership.
Notwithstanding the continuing output of publications, the move to the Reef has brought added burdens to the staff. The urban setting has led to an increase in relationships with other educational and training institutions, resulting in a never-ending round of invitations to meetings. The staff are called upon far more often to address groups and help out in nearby parishes, work which previously would not have been regarded as “Lumko work”.
Added to this is the possibility of a saturated market. The institute’s staff have been visiting the dioceses of Southern Africa for the past 20 years, conducting workshops for diocesan pastoral personnel. Many of these are trainers and have passed on their learning to others as they conduct workshops in the parishes of their respective dioceses.
Although new Lumko publications appear on a regular basis, there is nothing new about the underlying vision of Church, nor the methodology. This means that anyone who has already attended a Lumko workshop, or has been using the material successfully, does not need to attend further workshops.
Another of the consequences of the move to Germiston was the acquisition of a Conference Centre and with it the financial necessity of maintaining it. Attendance at workshops varies and this has introduced an additional element of uncertainty.
12. Evaluation of the Institute
This situation of uncertainty persuaded Director Richard Broderick to instigate an evaluation of the Institute in 1987. For this purpose an experienced theologian and development trainer, Fr Tony Byrne, CSSp was contracted. In a letter to Byrne Broderick wrote, “Lumko wants this evaluation because we have not had a serious reflection on our work for years and we do believe in reflection on what we do”. Fr Byrne defined the general objective of the evaluation as follows:
To enable the staff of the Lumko Missioloqical Institute to reflect deeply on the objectives, role, function and structure of the Institute and its day to day activities with a view to making the Institute a more effective agent for assisting the local Church it serves, to exercise its pastoral and social mission of promoting the Kingdom of God.
To assist him in the task of personal interviews and assessment was a sociologist (Sr Cora Richardson), a theological adviser (Fr David Regan) and two African assistants (Mrs Khanyisile Mbatha and Mr Andy Nqcobo). A second sociologist, Professor S Bekker of UNISA, helped in the supervision of the data processing and analysis once the written
questionnaires were returned. Two questionnaires were used. The first was for the staff of the Institute and the second was sent to all the bishops of the SACBC area, the staff of the three major seminaries, people who had attended Lunko courses in the previous three years, those who had ordered material and all secretaries of the commissions and departments of the SACBC.
The final evaluation report listed ten recommendations. The staff held three three-day meetings away from the Institute to consider these. The first was facilitated by Fr Albert Nolan, OP and Sr Cora Richardson, MSHR, the second by Fr Sean Connally, OMI. The first two meetings were concerned with working through the ten recommendations listed in the evaluation report. At the third meeting the teaching staff attempted to put together a programme to face the new situation in which the Church found itself in South Africa.
As a result of these three meetings the staff wrote vision and mission statements (recommendations 1 & 2). They planned for a heavier emphasis on development courses and to relate these to the changing socio-political environment (recommendation 3). A qualified administrator was hired to oversee the daily concerns of the Institute (recommendation 4). ‘An experienced retired bank manager was hired to reorganize and manage the finances of the Institute (recommendation 5). The working conditions and pay scales of the domestic workers were improved, new Black academic staff were hired and an educational bursary fund was set up (recommendation 6). An annual course was begun to introduce seminarians to the Lumko vision (recommendation 7). An International Desk was set up to coordinate the organization of workshops outside Southern Africa (recommendation 8). The clerical title “rector” was replaced by “director”, and the term “missiological” was dropped from the name of the Institute because it “tends to suggest the absence of a local Church” (recommendation 9). The implementation of the final recommendation – that there be a follow-up to the evaluation with the use of a facilitator – took place by means of the three staff meetings and the subsequent actions listed above.
Both staff and faculty meetings are now held once a month at which regular reports and discussion on each other’s work takes place. These meetings also provide a forum for ongoing discernment and planning.
In 1990 a new project concerned with Small Christian Communities was introduced. This entails staff members visiting parishes where there are small communities and assessing their strengths, problems and hopes. The staff express the hope that eventually a complete dossier on all the small communities in Southern Africa will be available.
It can be seen from this brief history of the Lumko Institute that, as the work of the staff developed, so they themselves grew in their understanding of the Church and its mission to society. There are certain aspects of this development and some ramifications which would benefit from further study.
13.1. A Renewed Missiology
From its establishment in 1962 the staff of Lumko Institute worked out of what could be regarded as a traditional pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic missionary theology: personnel came to South Africa to bring the faith to the indigenous population. They needed to learn the language and something of the culture in which they were to labour. Catechetics and homiletics were important tools by means of which this missionary endeavour could succeed.
As suggested above, the theology of the Church as the People of God, plus a dissatisfaction among many pastoral ministers with the system of catechists running local communities, led to reflection on practical ways of actively involving as many Christians as possible in the life of the parish. The first attempts to develop skill training were eventually to flower in a renewed missiology. No longer are Church leaders to be seen as missionaries in the sense of persons who bring the faith to others. Church leaders, whether foreign or indigenous, are servants of the local Church. Their task is to serve and to enable members of the community to take responsibility for their own Church. The vision has grown from one of providing leadership to one in which all are called to actively participate in the Church’s mission to the world.
A new vision does not come to fruition by accident. It has to be formulated and a means of bringing it about needs to be planned. The key to the growth of a Community church lies in training pastoral animators to empower believers to own the Church and thus to commit themselves to participation and co-responsibility. Lumko staff decided that this could be brought about through the use of simply written publications which could be used by parish animators with a minimum of expertise.
The method by which training takes place is crucial to communicating the vision of a Community Church. Lumko staff produced materials which are designed to create community as training takes place. The trainees are led through personal reflection and group sharing to develop a faith relationship among themselves. This method of learning enables them to see leadership as a call to draw others through the same process into partnership. The educational method of Paulo Freire was influential to this Lumko method.
13.4. An Official Missiology
It is no accident that the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Southern Africa promulgated the ecclesiology of Lumko as a pattern for parish life. They recognized in the Lumko vision the translation of the theology of the Second Vatican Council into pastoral practice. Consequently, Lumko staff found themselves playing two roles. They not only influenced the acceptance of a renewed ecclesiology among the bishops and other pastoral leaders, but they also became the foremost instruments through which this vision was to be communicated to the Church at large.
In this regard, the contact which the institute’s staff have made with the National Seminary in recent years is not to be under-estimated. Once a year the third-year theology students participate in a three-week pastoral ministry course at Lumko. Other courses are conducted in the seminary itself. In this way Lumko is educating the future ordained leaders of the Church with its missiological perspective.
13.5. On-Going Evaluation
The evaluation process, initiated by Broderick, is continuing at the Institute. The staff and faculty meetings provide a forum for interchange and reflection. Many visitors come to the Institute from countries throughout the world and share their views. Some staff members travel and are affected by the examples of inculturation they discover in the countries they visit. Throughout its history the Institute has seen to be a catalyst for progress. Lumko has helped changes to take place in the Church both at grass roots level, where believers gather for Gospel Sharing in their small communities and become involved in their neighbourhood needs, and at the hierarchical level, where a decision was made to make the building of Small Christian Communities a pastoral priority in Southern Africa. An ongoing evaluation process within the Institute is critical to the maintenance of this creative contribution.