Bigger than a building

God, Faith, Family, Community, Culture


1. A Place to Worship.


In Africa, a Church is the center of life in a village.  It is a safe and secure place where people are comforted, accepted, and affirmed.  Africans are deeply religious people, and their Churches are important places of worship.

As a place of worship and central to the life of the people of the Village of Umon-Okon, the new church building, when completed, will be truly safe and secure.  This will allow the Blessed Sacrament to be reserved, allowing the Faith Community to receive the Eucharist every week, even on Sundays when a priest is not available to celebrate Mass.  This is simply not possible with the existing church building because it is not safe and secure.

“A Church which ‘Goes forth’ is a Church whose doors are open.”

— Pope Francis


2. A Place to Gather.


A Village Church also serves as a gathering place where healthcare and education are provided, and pertinent information is communicated to the residents.

When anything important or serious happens in a village, or there is a crisis that could affect the life of the villagers, the Church bell rings and people run to the Church to learn what has happened and what to do.  In a sense, the Church is the village’s connection to the outside world.


3. A Place to Make a Difference.


St. Joseph Church, Umon-Okon Village, along with six other Village Churches, form a Parish which is served by a Pastor (Parish Priest).  A full-time Lay Catechist / Evangelizer is assigned to each of these village churches.  This person lives in and serves the community and manages all activities at the Church.

“Encourage one another, and build each other up.”

— 1 Thessalonians 5:11