Services Held for Former CEUM President

CEUM members came from across the country to attend a wake and other services for Papa Duale

CEUM members came from across the country to attend a wake and other services for Papa Duale

GEMENA, DR CONGO (July 22, 2016) – Duale Lengena Sabuli Petro, former president of the Congo Covenant Church (CEUM), was buried Friday during a five and a half hour service, with more services being held this weekend. Services also had been held in different locations throughout the week following his death in Kinshasa on July 14.

Duale, 85, served as president from 1984 to 1992.

Papa Duale

Papa Duale

Duale’s body was flown to Gemena on Thursday and was then accompanied by a long line of trucks and motorcycles to the Bokonzo church for a service of mourning and celebration, said Covenant missionary Keith Gustafson. There also was an all-night worship service that lasted until Friday.

The funeral started at 10 a.m. Friday and ended at 3:30 p.m. following the burial. Several choirs sang, including one of all pastors’ wives and another of all pastors.

During the service, a local political leader said Duale was one of the most important people in Gemena and provided important counsel. “When we would send him word of a meeting, even if he did not have money to pay for a motorcycle, he would walk 5 kilometers to come to the meeting,” the leader recalled.

Former president Luyada shared that his predecessor’s driving theology was grace and was gifted in bringing reconciliation among people.” Gustafson said. One of the pastors read text prepared by current president Jules Mboka, who has laryngitis.

Eight pastors sat 15 minutes each next to Duale's casket throughout Thursday night until the funeral service on Friday morning.

Eight pastors sat 15 minutes each next to Duale’s casket throughout Thursday night until the funeral service on Friday morning.

As Duale’s casket was lowered into the grave, the gathering sang “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Services have continued to be held. A final service will be held Sunday afternoon, when there will be the traditional “lifting of the time of mourning.”

Duale is survived by his wife of 64 years and other family members.

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Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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