More than 350 people attended the Cabo Verde District’s highly anticipated 65th assembly as leaders voted on a proposal to split the district into two.
The event, held 26-29 July in Ribeira Grande, Santo Antão, more than doubled previous Cabo Verde assemblies in attendance and included district leaders, local pastors, and several global Nazarene leaders.
"The Church of the Nazarene needs to maintain and raise its banner of doctrine of holiness, but in order to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission on the islands, it must urgently change its focus, practices, tools, language, approaches, methods, and strategies,” wrote the Commission of the Future Advisory Board in 2014. “Division into two districts is the best solution to meet current and future challenges."
The Cabo Verde District is currently 118 years old and has 64 organized churches, 50 ordained ministers, 10 licensed ministers, five lay pastors, and approximately 8,050 members.
Cabo Verde is a small country made up of 10 islands located more than 300 miles off the west coast of Africa; nine of the islands are inhabited and one is deserted. Nearly 500,000 people live in the country with a population density of approximately 300 inhabitants per square mile.
“Our geographic configuration and cultural variations allow for a division of the current district,” said Oziel Morais, district communications coordinator.
Once all the assembly votes were tallied, General Superintendent Eugénio Duarte — a Cabo Verde native — announced the country will have a second district.
"The motion to create a new district is unanimously approved,” Duarte said. “This is a historical moment in the Church of the Nazarene in Cabo Verde. It is 12 p.m. on this 27th of July 2018 in Ribeira Grande. Let us now take a break in this assembly from the assembly business to celebrate this historic moment in our church."
The new district will be called the Cabo Verde North District, and the headquarters will be on the island of São Vicente, the most populated island of the area. The district will also include the islands of Santo Antão, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista. This group of islands currently has 21 churches, 2,633 members, 16 elders, seven licensed ministers, and accounted for 40 percent of the current district's financial collections in the last ecclesiastical year.
The national leadership now has one year to establish the systems and structures for the new district, which will be made official at next year’s district assembly in Sal Rei on the island of Boa Vista. The new district superintendent and other district officials will be appointed at that time.
“It will be a year of great changes and achievements for the Cabo Verdean church — a great landmark,” Morais said. “All wisdom and direction from above are necessary at this crucial time for the church of Christ in the Cabo Verde islands. May the prayers of the Nazarenes of the islands and of the world be made on our behalf, that the purposes of God may be fulfilled in His church.”