Shalom University

Shalom University was founded as a seminary in 1961, by five missions working in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). Today, it is run by a board made up of representatives of each of the five churches founded by those missions. Shalom became a university in 2007, and has six faculties besides the seminary: agriculture, business, development, science, medicine and computer science, with a total enrolment of about 860. The university is located in Bunia, capital of Ituri Province, which lies to the west of Lake Albert, along the Congo-Uganda border.

Eastern Congo has seen tremendous strife during the past twenty years. The school’s name derives from the 2003-04 war between two dominant tribes in the region – the Hema and the Lendu. Fighting between these two communities became extremely fierce following the 1994 Rwanda genocide, when all of eastern Congo became caught up in war, and the city of Bunia was divided down the middle. Crossing the invisible line dividing Bunia between these communities could be a death sentence. Shalom’s campus was in the middle of town, and became a refugee camp where Hema and Lendu equally found refuge, since pastors for both communities had trained at this school. Someone chose to call it a place of peace, and it has been called 'Shalom' ever since.

The first principal of the university was Dr Katho Bungishabaku, whose gifts as an administrator saw the school through tremendous growth in the student population, the addition of new faculties, and many new buildings including one of the largest libraries in DR Congo, a second campus on the city’s outskirts where the agriculture and medicine faculties are located, a handsome chapel, and recently, the Muchmore Doctoral Centre, named after Don Muchmore, a Canadian missionary at Shalom in the 1980s who was tragically killed in an auto accident after his return to Canada. In 2017, his children returned to Congo to be part of the service dedicating this centre to the glory of God. Shalom has one of only three French-language evangelical doctoral programs in Africa.

The students who graduate from Shalom’s theological programs will go on to become pastors all over Congo. This is an extremely difficult country. There is widespread corruption, violence, and political unrest, particularly since elections due in December 2016 have been delayed. At this point, it is hard to predict the future, though elections have been promised for December 2018. However, Congo needs more than just elections. Congo needs social transformation. The churches are the most respected institutions in this shattered country. The prayer of the seminary staff at Shalom, the students, and the many friends of Shalom in Canada, the USA, the UK, and in countries such as Germany, Switzerland and France, is that this school will continue to be used by God in the preparation of godly men and women, scripturally grounded, and equipped to be true ambassadors of Christ.

Pastor Steven Van Dyck

New Chapel, 2016

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