Angola: Culture of Reconciliation
By UPF Germany
The Neumuehle was full to bursting point: 190 participants – about 150 Angolans from all over Germany, as well as members of the Family Federation and the representatives of UPF chapters in Frankfurt, Bonn, Stuttgart and Giessen – had gathered on June 11, 2016 for a family-style get together, inspiration, food, and international exchange, co-sponsored by UPF.
The host was the Angolan Consul General in Frankfurt, Manuel Domingos. He wanted to introduce the Germans to the multi-faceted culture of his country, while at the same time offering spiritual (and physical) nourishment to his people. Both aspects were a great success!
The program was officially opened by the singing of the national anthems of Germany and Angola. In his brief introduction, the Consul General asked the public who they considered to be most deserving of thanks for this gathering: ‘God’ was the answer. Most Angolans are religious and many are members of Pentecostal communities in Stuttgart and Bonn. Their Pastor Lucas offered the opening prayer, and then introduced the European representative of the Portuguese Pentecostal community, whose members mostly come from Angola, Brazil or Portugal.
We saw and heard about the history and culture of Angola, about reconciliation after the civil war, about the economic boom in recent years, and then we were spirited into the world of typical Angolan dance with the ‘Kizumba’.
To close, the moderator Teodoro Cunha from Bonn, led us into the more spiritual aspect. His family had participated in an Easter workshop in the Neumühle, and they had all been very impressed by the basic principles and values of the Family Federation. Claus Dubisz (Frankfurt), explained the three blessings, the fundamental role of the family in human society, and the necessity for a responsible attitude to sexuality, i.e. celibacy before, and fidelity in, marriage. He ended by introducing the marriage Blessing ceremony as a worthy goal for the maintenance of intact families and an intact modern society, and invited the couples to participate in a Blessing ceremony on 3 October in the Neumuehle. Norma Haubold translated into Portuguese, while deepening the message with her Brazilian temperament!
The program continued with the Stuttgart Gospel choir who rendered two soulful songs about the love of Jesus Christ. And at the end, the children had the opportunity to present a dance they had prepared, and a young Angolan sang for us. Do not let them sink into drugs and licentious sex.
The moderator was just about to round off the program in the hall with an invitation to a bountiful buffet of Angolan specialties, when Manuel spoke again. In a passionate speech – the moderator was only able to translate the essential points – he pleaded with his fellow countrymen: parents, take care of your children and youth. Give them spiritual guidance. Show them the value of a healthy family.
He called Pastor Lucas, as well as Hubert Arnoldi (Stuttgart), Gregor Sattler (Bonn), and Claus Dubisz (Frankfurt) up front and challenged them to demonstrate in workshops and seminars, what a valuable, God-centered life looks like. ‘It is not a matter of an emotional experience, it is about guiding the hearts and understanding of youth in the right direction’.
The applause showed that his message was well received. Then the event came to a culinary end. ‘This place is a piece of paradise,’ enthused several of the guests.
Truly, such events could take place here more often.