National African Religion Congress
THE NATIONAL AFRICAN RELIGION CONGRESS
WE ARE NOT A CHURCH, SANCTUARY, TEMPLE, ILE, HUMOFOR OR PLACE OF WORSHIP.
NARC IS THE CERTIFYING BOARD OF PRIESTS & PRIESTESSES, SPIRITUAL WORKERS, DRUMMERS
AND DEVOTEES IN AFRICAN BASED RELIGIONS WORLD WIDE.
The National African Religion Congress is an international organization founded by Gro Mambo Angela Novanyon Idizol to foster unity among religions of the African diaspora. The organization came into existence by default. First Gro Mambo received a message from Papa Ogu about the need for unity among African-based religions. Then the Loa Mali Louise issued a mandate for the unification of all African religions of the diaspora. Gro Mambo attempted to implement these mandates of the Loa through existing organizations by passing on the Loa messages to the leaders of all the major religions of the African diaspora. She met strong resistance and resentment. But, because she had received the message she had no choice but to move forward, even if it became necessary to start a new organization. She held a unity conference and ceremony in New Orleans, visited the African Village in Sheldon, S. C. and attended an international conference in San Francisco. She then incorporated the National African Religion Congress in January 1999 and called the 1st African Religion Unity Conference and Ceremony of Ceremonies for Easter weekend 1999. She assembled a board of directors representing the religions of the African diaspora. Following the Loa mandate, Gro Mambo invested her own time and money toward the effort of the organization. Following a period of four years, the National African Religion Congress has become a major institution, working on behalf of all priests and priestesses of African-based religions, especially those religions of the diaspora: Voodoo (Haiti), Condomble (Brazil), Lucumi/Santeria (the Latino Americas), Orisa Tradition of Trinidad and Tobago, Ifa/Orisa Worship of Nigeria and the Akan religion of Ghana.
Represent African-based religions nationally and internationally,
Ensure freedom of religious practice,
Ensure the right to perform ceremonies/rituals involving the sacrificing of animals,
Ensure the right to hold public ceremonies, and
Fight persecutions from other religions
NARC is the National Board of African Religions that certifies priests/esses are truly ordained. NARC is an organization that has been established in order to foster unity among all African religions of the Diaspora. NARC was formed in accordance with the mandates of the Loa/Orisha/Abosom for the unification of African-based religions, including the Akan, the Orisa Tradition of Trinidad and Tobago, Ifa, Santeria-Yoruba, Voodoo of Haiti, Candomble and Lucumi. The mission of NARC is four-fold: first, to maintain an organizational structure in which spiritual houses, priests, priestesses, babalawos and interested associates may be represented through formal affiliation; second, to create a registry and system of certification for practicing priests and priestesses; third, to establish freedom of religious practice and to fight persecution of African-based religions; fourth, to preserve tradition and to provide guidance and correct education for practitioners, priests, priestesses, and the general public.
The National African Religion Congress is also the support organization that provides outside agencies with the verification needed for establishing that a priests/ess is qualified to perform legal marriages, Funerals, Baptismal, etc., anywhere in the world.
NARC also ensures the right to perform ceremonies/rituals involving the sacrificing of animals, as well the right to hold public ceremonies.
From its inception in January 1999, the organization has grown rapidly to an international organization of almost 2000 priests and priestesses. The membership of the NARC board comes from the United States, Nigeria, England, Brazil, Trinidad, Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Spain. The board represents every branch of the African spiritual family.
Representatives of all branches of the African religious diaspora have found unity and brotherhood under the umbrella of the National African Religion Congress. They have discovered the strength of numbers and the effectiveness of having a body to represent their mutual interests. The accomplishments of NARC are impressive:
Certification of almost 2000 priests and priestesses from around the world, especially the centers of religions of the African diaspora.
Publication of an International Directory of Priests and Priestesses which is published annually containing the proceedings of each annual NARC conference and in-depth description of each African-based religion: Voodoo, Santeria/Lucumi, Candomblé, Orisa Tradition of Trinidad and Tobago, Ifa/ Orisha worship of Nigeria and the Akan of Ghana. The Directory has become a major sourcebook on African religion for university and public libraries throughout the United States.
NARC membership seminars have been held in many cities, especially the eastern U.S. (New York, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Houston) and internationally (Trinidad, Haiti and Brazil). Requests for NARC certification seminars have come from throughout the United States and from around the world. A major effort is being planned for Nigeria, Ghana, Cuba and Trinidad/Tobago.
The Department of the Treasury has granted a license allowing NARC to legally travel to Cuba. This license can be extended to allow any NARC member to legally travel to Cuba.
Official branches or “stations” of NARC have been established in Nigeria (Ile-Ife and Lagos) and in Haiti.
A large movement has begun in Nigeria called “NARC-Youth” of which the goal is the return of Yoruba people back to traditional religion from the practices if Islam and Christianity.
A major objective of NARC is to gain recognition by medical insurance agencies for the healing practices of priests and priestesses. This objective would allow them to receive payment for healing practices by medical insurance providers. This is a great challenge but it is within the realm of possibility if priests and priestesses work together in unity under the umbrella of NARC.
The annual NARC International African Religion Unity Conference and Ceremony of Ceremonies brings together priests and priestesses from around the world to celebrate and plan the progress of African religious unity.
NARC has forced American institutions to grant time off for African-based religious holidays, celebrations and initiations.
NARC requires urban municipalities to provide priests and priestesses with parking permits.
NARC is the Secretariat of the National African Religion Congress/ NARC World.
There are many people who are calling themselves priests and priestesses who have not passed through one ceremony. The making of priests/esses is performed in the presence of witnesses and other priests and priestesses. Innocent people often find themselves being treated (readings, spiritual baths, counseling, marriage ceremonies, etc.) by those who have not been ordained as priests and priestesses.
African-based religions in the United States are growing but at the same time they are divided. Lack of respect is visible within many of the circles of the African-based religions and lack of respect is shown from outside of these religions. Priests and priestesses all know what is needed to bring about the respect inside and outside. Many of the priests/esses will bring corrections within his/her spiritual house only! Many of the elders are constantly saying “Unity of a governing Board of African Religions, will never happen!” We all say we want other religions to give the same respect to us as they do each other, but many of the practitioners do not wish to struggle against outside agencies.
Although the United States of America welcomes the races, cultures and religions of all people, we must reach the realization that the United States of America is not the home land for any African-based religion. In recognizing this, we must be able to bring all African-based religions on the same page and put the practices, ethics, values, and morality up for the certification from a governing board of all African-based religions.
1. All members and affiliate members of NARC MUST BE REGISTERED. In addition, priests and priestesses must be certified upon verification of their initiation and training credentials.
2. An international council of priests, priestesses, and other advisors will serve as board members of NARC. Active board members should have applications and certifications on file and be in possession of a valid NARC-issued identification card.
3. NARC seeks to build a solid and consistent foundation in the protocols of African-based religions. Therefore, it is necessary that board members adhere to the dogmas and beliefs as set forth by NARC in all of their public statements, speeches, writings, and other literature. In order to counter negative stereotypes and to advance legitimate representations of African religions, NARC stipulates that all board members refrain from characterizations of the Forces of African-based religions as polytheistic, pagan, fetishistic, or akin to Greek and Roman mythology, e.g., gods and goddesses.
4. NARC seeks to promote the character and integrity of African traditions. It is the position of NARC that in order to re-establish the credibility of African-based religions, practitioners should return to the time-honored protocols by separating outside and external influences from their practices. For example, if a tradition demands seven years of training for priesthood, practitioners should not change this. If a tradition requires seven days for initiation, the tradition should not be altered in accordance with anyone’s own ideas, values, or exigencies.