The CCAP Synod of Livingstonia on Thursday 30th June, 2016 organised a farewell function for Mr Martijn Boogaart and his wife Dr Anneke Boogaart. The function took place at LISAP Hall, Ekwendeni. Present at the function were: Synod Moderator- Elect, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary, Planning Committee Members and Task Force members of the Strategic plan, Presbytery Clerks, Heads of Synod Departments and Institutions among others.
General Secretary speech:
- The Moderator – Elect
- The Deputy General Secretary
- The General Treasurer
- Heads of Departments
- Mr. Martijn & Dr Anneke van den Boogaart
Firstly, I would like to welcome everyone to this special occasion as we bid farewell to Mr. Martijn van den Boogaart. It is an occasion that could be described as bitter-sweet. Bitter because Martijn is leaving; and sweet because of the memorable legacy that he leaves behind.
We are all aware of the great contribution that Martijn has made to the Synod since he joined us. He is key figure behind the enhanced capacity and visibility of the Synod and its departments with support from the Synod Secretariat. You will agree with me that very few departments, let alone the Synod as a whole, had Strategic Plans. As a result, our functioning was haphazard based on short term goals. This created uncertainty even on financial inflows because there was no guiding document to use for fundraising. But as we speak, all departments have Strategic Plans that are modelled on the broader Synod Strategic Plan. This success was largely made possible because of input and or facilitation of the associated processes by Martijn. It is therefore befitting that we should applaud Martijn for all that he has done in that regard.
Martijn has been at the centre of building the capacity of departments, presbyteries and congregations through various training sessions on topics such as fundraising and resource mobilisation. Owing to knowledge and skills gained, heads of these institutions are now better equipped and able to write winning proposals. I am pretty sure that some of you here can testify to this claim.
Consistent with the foregoing, the Synod is thankful not only to Martijn but also to GBZ, the organisation that seconded him to us. GBZ has also been hugely supportive through provision of technical and financial support to some departments such as Lay Training. The Synod highly appreciates this, and calls upon him to extend our word of appreciation to GBZ on our behalf. We remain hopeful that Martijn will be our ambassador as we foster our partnership with GBZ.
You will agree with me that the Synod had no website until Martijn came on the scene. We now boast of website, www.ccapsolinia.org. Albeit not fully fledged, we are now visible to the whole world because of the website. This too is deeply credited to him and is deeply appreciated.
To say that he will not be missed will be an understatement. Martijn’s leaving is a big blow to the Synod that will possibly be much emptier without him. We are, however, hopeful that we will have a replacement that will continue to build on what Martijn has left much as we know that it is a tall order.
In the few years that Martin has been working with us he has always been an outstanding employee and it is impossible for anyone not to have heard of him yet. His commitment to duty has been unquestionable, always reporting for work on time as well as fulfilment of assignments. This is something that other Synod employees should emulate.
They say behind every successful man, there is a woman. In that regard, the Synod appreciates the role of his wife, Dr Anneke, who has also served the Synod in the health sector as a Medical Doctor at Ekwendeni Mission Hospital. Besides such service, we know that she has been supportive of Martijn, standing by him through thick and thin.
Lastly, I would like to wish Martijn, his wife and family the very best in their new challenges. We really hope that you will have a wonderful life. You will always have a special place not only in our hearts but in the Synod!
Good luck and God’s blessings!
Mr Martijn Boogaart’s speech:
In our journey of Strategic Planning, Nehemiah has been a great
companion these past years. The way he worked on the rebuilding of
the walls of Jerusalem has given us very relevant leadership lessons: on
the need to repent & pray, the need to plan, the need to involve all. In
Chapter 6 of the book, it is narrated how the wall was finally completed
in 52 days. It takes yet another 6 chapters before we find the heading
“Dedication of the wall of Jerusalem.
I stand here with a heart full of joy, full of thanksgiving. Of course not
because we are bidding farewell today. It actually is still very unreal to
me that from now on, I will no longer join you in the taskforces. That
thought makes me sad.
Still, I stand here joyful and thankful.
Joyful and thankful for the gift of friendship which we have built over
the past eight years. Friendship that will last.
I stand here joyful and thankful for the gift of all the work that we
could do together in the past eight years. The fruits of which, I hope
and pray, will last.
I stand here joyful and thankful for the dedication of all of you.
Dedication which – I am certain – will last for the years to come.
Today is a day to share and celebrate joyful memories. Memories of
doing interviews with youth in Kamsolo, Viphya and other places.
Memories of breakfast in the manses in Chitipa, Loudon, Nkhotakota.
Memories of groups at work outside in the shade of trees at Sambani.
Memories of the first participatory Bible study ever with Rev.
Kumwenda, Rev. Bota and Mr. Kabaghe in my office. Memories of the
deep insights we stumbled upon during Bible Study.
By the way, this something very important that I found out during
these years: yes, we are developing strategic plans, but the crucial
insights are revealed to us by the Spirit through God’s Word. That is
how the idea for the visioning process emerged. That is how the
process of gift identification emerged.
When talking about my nearing departure in the past weeks, many of
you have said “you will leave a gap”. I understand what you mean, but I
still would like to look at it differently.
When someone starts building a house and leaves after some time, you
can say: “You did not finish the roof”. Equally you can say: “You left a
I think that together over the past years, we have built a strong
foundation. This is not the time or the occasion to go over all the
achievements. At this point, I just want to point out that what we are
trying to achieve goes much deeper than you may first inclined to
Therefore, I would like to encourage you to continue the work we have
started. Don’t let the changes slip away. Continue pushing until Bible
Study and Contemporary Service and Basic Elder School and Pastoral
Care Teams and Tithing and Audit Committees and Master Time
Tables and Chairs’ meetings and the new constitution are part of the
DNA of the congregations.
This day marks the end of my almost eight years of service with the
Synod as Capacity Development Officer. I now officially handover my
position to my successor, Rev Glad Steven Marko Kumwenda. From
now on, I will be the retired CDO.
Rev. Kumwenda, thank you for willingness and perseverence to take
up this big task. Thank you for our time together. You may feel we still
need more time. I am confident that you will be able to do the job. And
more than that: I am confident that God will provide all you need
through His Holy Spirit. Haven’t we seen Him at work time and again in the past years? Therefore, take courage. He will be there. Trust Him.
Stay close to Him. Be confident that you have all the right skills and
talents needed. And God will provide Arons, Hurs and Joshuas.
I started this speech with a reference to Nehemiah 12 and the joy of the
results achieved. I want to leave you with the words of Philippians 1,
the passage where Paul is talking about the joy of partnership in the
gospel. That joy of partnership in the gospel has characterized our past
years. So, listen to this passage both as description of our past and as a
mutual commitment to the future.