FROM THE MOTHERS’ UNION NEWS DESK
On the 2nd – 3rd June 2017, the Diocesan President Mrs Mhlwatika exercised her leadership oversight and summoned the newly elected Presiding Members for a mandatory training. This is in line with good governance prescripts where newly elected board members attend a training session for compliance to ensure transference of skills and impartation of information and ensure all are on even keel as they are deployed to extend their leadership across the various Archdeaconries throughout the Diocese.
The President was with her formidable team in the persons of Mrs Mangaliso Deputy President, Mrs Beja Deputy President, Mrs Ntshingwa Treasurer and Mrs Mfazwe Secretary.
The training session was held at the El Shaddai Guest House and started at 18H00 for the first night which spanned through to just before 22H00 and continued on the following day to about 15H00 the following day
The Facilitator, Mrs Mangaliso, had all the delegates spell bound as she was exercising her training skills with praise. She was able to unleash hidden potential on the newly elected Leaders who had had to hit the ground running as they were also being prepared to ensure the smooth running of an imminent Biennial Conference.
The topics covered were Governance, the Rule Book, the MU Manual, the Service Book and the Constitution
Mrs Mhlwatika did not waste any time and applied the Service Book to cover the Morning and Evening Prayers as appropriately needed
Mrs Beja presented Financial Governance assisted by Mrs Ntshingwa and Mrs Mfazwe. The President was vocal on issues finance giving an oversight guidance. It was felt that a summit for all handling finances should be expeditiously summoned
The meeting ended on a high note where the delegates came out with Strategic Goals that were aligned with the 5 Objectives of the Mothers’ Union for implementation
As the session ended all were yearning for yet another session
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN
0 2 June 2017 – COTT
Sizwe Ngcobo (student at the College of the Transfiguration) writes...
Violence against women and children is going side by side with the technological improvement in our time. We see images of violence on social media: facebook, tweeter; on TV shows, in the news, in the movies, in our homes and communities. Women from all ages, races and classes, are victims of humiliation, exploitation and torture by the men. This violence against women is one of the least prosecuted crimes and one of the greatest threats to lasting peace and development. It is the ultimate abuse of power.
One of the key characteristics of power is the ability to go unexamined and lacking introspection. The abuse of power is rendered invisible in issues that are primarily about us, even in the theological discourse. It very easy to erase a man as a central subject from the conversation about violence against women. The way that we think and use our language is biased into keeping our attention to man. It takes our attention away from the dominant group, let alone challenging the dominant to think about their dominance.
Violence against women is woven into the fabric of society in such a way that many of the victims feel that it was their fault. I believe that ‘victim-blaming’ messages makes the perpetrators of violence feel justified and that some forms of violence are acceptable in a society. If we can sit here and ask questions about the victims of violence, it will never get us anywhere in terms of preventing violence against women and children. We need to interrogate and problematise not about the victims but about the perpetrators, about us, about men, about our societies.
We need to look at the real, at the root causes. Why in over 20 years into democracy, violence against women and children, is still a big problem? What is going on? Why so many men abuse physically, emotionally, verbally those whom they claim to love? We need to take a closer look at societal institutions that keep on producing abusive men. The family structures, the religious beliefs, the social systems, the economic system, the sports culture, etc. Many women and children continue to suffer, enduring pain in the name or under the guise of culture and religion. There has never been a religious or cultural justification for inhumanity. We need more people who are going stand up and speak out against this virus that keeps on destroying the moral character of our societies.
It is not easy to challenge a societal system that has been in place for years and years because one will be challenging power. In our methodology we need make connections and talk about how we can change the socialization of boys and the definition of man. The same system that produces men who abuse women is the same system that produces men who are abuse other man; and women who abuse other women and other men. We need not to see this as a binary fashion, this gender vs that gender. Violence against women and children is an issue of human rights. Freedom from fear of violence is a basic human right. To intervene is a basic moral obligation for every human being. We need to transcend our boundaries, our religious concerns, and cultural differences. One may not be directly involved in a dyad of abuse but we all affected as social beings.
In a community like this where do we begin, how do we speak out? How do we not remain silent in the face of injustice? It begins here, when someone says something that is sexist or degrading instead of laughing along or pretending you didn't hear anything, one needs to stand up and speak out and say that is not funny. This is my sister, or this is my brother that you talking about. In malicious gossips we need to stand up and speak out. If I'm sitting at Freedom Square with other Zulu's and then one makes bad comment about a Xhosa, if I keep quiet my silence means consent. I need to stand up and speak out. Martin Luther once said, “in the end what hurt the most is not words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
There has been a lot of silence in male culture about this ongoing tragedy of violence against women and children. It is not easy in male culture to challenge another male when it comes to the issue of women abuse. Quiet frankly, it is not easy to intervene in someone’s personal affairs. There are so many men who care deeply about violence against women and children, but caring deeply is not enough, we need courage and moral integrity to break the silence. We need to stand with and not against women and children and break the silence. We need to stand up and speak out until more and more are brave enough to step forward to break the silence. We owe this to our young brothers, to our sons, who are growing in societal cultures that do not give them a choice but dictates how to live and behave.
We can do it we can break the silence.
FEELING THE HURT
THE MOTHERS’ UNION IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA HAS EMBARKED ON A CAMPAIGN TO FIGHT THE KILLING AND RAPING OF YOUNG WOMEN AND GILRS. ON THE 28 MAY 2017 ST KATHERINES’ PARISH IN BERLIN JOINED THE MASSES OF MOTHERS WHO ARE CRYING AND FEELING THE HURT OF THEIR CHILDREN AND REMEMBERING ALL THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES DUE TO THIS VIOLENCE.
MOTHERS IN THIS PARISH JOINED TOGETHER IN PRAYER, READING OF POEMS AND EVEN THE BLACK ATTIRE AS A SYMBOL OF HURT WHICH WE FEEL DUE TO THIS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.
By Samantha Carolus
Spiritfest runs throughout the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown from 29 June to 9 July, celebrating the Arts in the context of the Christian faith with an array of new items along with the familiar favourite performances and events. Spiritfest continues to grow, with more Christian denominations involved this year than before.
New this year are a multi-media service ‘Under African Skies’, which will feature choral music and hymns from South Africa and beyond our borders, accompanied by lively, evocative images of the African landscape projected on a large screen.
The two Sundays of the Festival will see special Festival services in a variety of churches: A Unity Mass at which the congregations of four local Catholic churches will come together to worship; a Jazz Mass at the Cathedral, a Festival service at the Every Nation Church, and on the last Sunday of the Festival Bishop Andile Mbete of the Grahamstown Methodist District will lead a Procession of Witness down the High Street with choir and musicians, culminating in a Festival Service in Commemoration Church.
Spiritfest favourites which return this year include the Lucernarium, a service of candlelight and plainsong, St Michael’s Marimbas, 40 Stones in the Wall Group Exhibition- with book reading of ‘The Bear Who Stepped Up’ by Hilary Murdoch, Winter School, Guided Meditation and Prayer as well as an Open Mic session for poetry lovers.
Music this year will bring the likes of the Grahamstown Circuit Choir conducted by Siyabulela Lali and Reuben Maselwa, and a Stephen Holder Organ Recital titled: ‘Mystery, Modes and Grace’. Singer song-writers and capella musicians are invited to perform Acoustic and Unplugged at two Open Mic evenings.
The Spiritfest Winter School, ‘Faith and Resistance’, will feature lectures, discussions and book launches with the theme ‘#must fall’, looking at aspects of the struggle for freedom and justice from the perspective of Christian faith. Father Anthony Egan SJ will lecture on ‘The Ethics of Protest’, while Zuko Blauw and Sister Aloysia Zellman will lecture on ‘Sister Aidan lives on’.
The Revd Dr Barney Pityana will speak about Steve Biko’s faith, and Lindsay Kelland will be talking about ‘Recovering from Rape Together’. Book launches of ‘The Road to Emmaus’ by Chris Mann and ‘The Book of Joy’ by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama will take place, and a panel discussion, ‘Faith and #must fall’ will be led by Christian students and student leaders. Fitting into the same theme will be a dramatic reading: ‘Bonhoeffer’, about the German pastor who was executed for his part in a plot to kill Hitler. http://www.grahamstowncathedral.org/spiritfest.
SACC Report to the Church Public on the Unburdening Panel Process
Regina Mundi Church, Soweto. May 18, 2017
Why we are here: In 1996, President Nelson Mandela addressed a gathering of African Ombuds Officers – the Public Protectors of Africa, then hosted by South Africa, and he said:
Our experience had made us acutely aware of the possible dangers of a government that is neither transparent nor accountable. To this end our Constitution contains several mechanisms to ensure that government will not be part of the problem; but part of the solution. Public awareness and participation in maintaining efficiency in government within the context of human rights are vital to making a reality of democracy… (Nelson Mandela, 1996.)
We have come to the conclusion that the danger that Mandela warned of, and that we now have “a government that is neither transparent nor accountable”. If government has become a huge part of the problem in our country, do we have, as Mandela suggested, a Constitution with “several mechanisms to ensure that government will not be part of the problem; but part of the solution”? Constitutional experts can throw light on that. What we are able to do is take on the latter part of Madiba’s statement, the call for “Public awareness and participation in maintaining efficiency in government within the context of human rights”. Undergirding our considerations is the preamble of our constitution that calls on us to:
- “Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights”; and Prophet Amos cries out: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”. (Amos 5:24)
- Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law; and Proverbs says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan”.
- Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person…
And the preamble ends by saying “May God protect our people”. This is indeed the constitutional imperative for the church to rise to protect the people of South Africa in the name of God, for “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20a). The Book of Proverbs admonishes: “Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people”. (Prov. 28:15)
We come here seeking to ensure that our communities are aware of the challenges we face, in order to reflect from an informed position when we meet at the SACC National Conference in June. What is patently clear is that South Africa is in desperate need of divine intervention! We need prayer and action – to kneel and pray dutifully, and “gird up our loins” to work and reverse the national hurtle to mis-governance and chaos.
We are grateful that Christians of all traditions, and indeed all people of faith from all religious backgrounds are praying hard for this nation. There is a powerful prayer network of Christians with a daily programme linking prayerful people across the land in a steady campaign to soak the country in prayer. It began at Easter and will conclude the present phase at Pentecost. The National Church Leaders Forum of the South African Council of Churches requests that Christians should add to the present campaign an intensity around the two upcoming holy days – Ascension on May 25, and Pentecost the last day of the present campaign. We appeal that people should plan to gather to pray in their local churches on Thursday May 25, between noon and 2 pm (12h00 – 14h00), and ring bells where they have them. Ascension Day is also Africa Day, and we should add the Africa dimension to our prayers for our continent. In addition, we appeal for national interdenominational prayer gatherings from 14h00 on the afternoon of Pentecost Sunday, so that we mark the end of the present phase of our national prayer campaign with a collective cry for the Holy Spirit to descend to convict us and heal our land.
We further appeal that the national prayer networks should only pause for a moment and not tarry long, but request the organizers to set the next quarterly prayer target from end of June to the end of September, with the last prayer phase for 2017 going into December to possibly close with a major prayer Rally of Healing and Reconciliation on December 16, ahead of Christmas.
In the context of this reality the leaders of our churches have been meeting each year during March/April to reflect on the State of the Nation. In 2015 we committed “to soak the country in prayer”; we committed to use the Solemnity of Good Friday for people in our congregations to mount their pains on the cross of the crucified Christ:
- The pains of rampant drug abuse, gangster terror, wanton rape and domestic violence;
- The pains of abandoned families, children without care, and the maltreatment of the helpless such as the 100+ Esidimeni victims;
- The pains of fearsome crime that renders society unsafe at home and in public places;
- The pains of rampant corruption in business deals, especially with the government; State Capture and the growing impunity of those in power, compounding the challenge of poverty and deprivation.
We committed to pray and work for the promise of the post apartheid South Africa in sync with the values of the Kingdom of God (Psalm 12:5; Isaiah 11: 1-9; Amos 5:24; Luke 4:18-19; John 10:10), the promise of a just, reconciled, sustainable and equitable society; free of racial, tribal, ethnic, xenophobic and gender prejudices; free of corruption and deprivation; and with enough food and shelter for every citizen; and for each child born to grow to its God given potential. That is the South Africa We Pray For!
In December 2015 we came to this historic Regina Mundi Church to declare our commitment to strive for this. We committed to work and pray; focusing on:
- Healing and Reconciliation
- Fabric of family life
- Poverty and Inequality
- Economic Transformation, and
- Anchoring Democracy, which includes the concerns of corruption and maladministration, and the loss of public trust in public institutions.
Today we are therefore seized with Anchoring Democracy, as we have come to recognize that South Africa may just be a few inches from the throes of a Mafia State, from which there may be no return – a recipe for a Failed State. Anchoring Democracy is our campaign pillar that has huge crosscutting impacts on everything else in the land. It is here that our prophetic ministry coincides with our civic responsibility at its thickest and most profound.
The SACC Unburdening Panel Process:
In April 2016, the SACC created the Unburdening Panel as a safe space and a “facility” offered by the churches to any person in the Republic of South Africa who may wish to relieve herself or himself of the burden caused by an experience of someone – an individual, a representative of a business interest, of a political party or of a person of influence – your superior or someone you couldn’t say “No” to, suggesting that you do something inappropriate in return for a promotion, an attractive position or money or shares in a company, or any other favour or incentive whatsoever. This was essentially a pastoral process for the people, and not an investigation.
As the word says, it is a provision for people to “unburden” themselves and tell what they wish to tell freely. The unburdening notion is based on the bible text that says: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2). The Panel is chaired by the SACC President, Bishop Siwa. Other members of the Panel are Madam Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, retired Justice of the Constitutional Court; Dr Brigalia Bam, a previous General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches and former Chair of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); and Bishop Mosa Sono, Presiding Bishop of Grace Bible Church in the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa. Working with a team of voluntary lawyers and researchers, for the public good, the General Secretary of the SACC, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana has been coordinating the Secretariat of the Panel. The panel was intended to work in the following manner:
- The people indicate through the office of the General Secretary their desire to tell their stories. And they are referred to the lawyers to listen to them and, based on the nature of their matter be categorized.
- The General Secretary, on account of his role as SACC spokesperson, would not be involved in any listening of matters, but would direct people to the lawyers for professional legal deposition.
- The lawyers would group the cases into their categories and some presented for oral discussion with the panel.
Depending on the wishes of the person concerned, their information would:
- Be utilized by the churches for advocacy in the Anchoring Democracy pillar of The South Africa We Pray4 campaign.
- Be made public, for South Africans to know what is going on.
- As is appropriate, be given to a constitutional body like the Human Rights Commission or the Public Protector, and any organization identified by the person concerned.
The Unburdening Panel process was indeed triggered by the Jonas and Vytjie Mentor revelations in 2016. When the governing party proved unable to deal meaningfully with these revelations, and instead seemed to live with the view that there would be no room for following up on these as “all hell would break lose” because the leadership all had their “smallanyana skeletons”, the SACC opted to create the listening facility. It was to hear from people who had either been pressured to participate in corrupt wrong doing or had witnessed such. Some came forward only to share their experiences with no desire to be publicly revealed, but to clear their chests only. Others were ready to go public, and these we encouraged to go to the Public Protector and they did. Their stories are now before the nation in the State of Capture report that has yet to be acted upon by the government.
Although the Jonas and Mentor Gupta revelations, and the ANC non-response triggered the creation of this process, we declared at the time that:
The Unburdening Panel will receive information of any corruption experiences that only cover the period of South Africa’s democratic era. It is also understood that there are many cases of corrupt practices that impact on people, that are a roll-over from improper opportunities of apartheid days. As these impact in the democratic period, they will be entertained.
We have yet to receive any person who has information of the pre-1994 era, or even the shenanigans of the transition period. We have been intrigued by the recently published book “Apartheid Guns and Money”, by Hennie Van Vuuren, that makes very interesting reading.
The workings of the panel process changed in two unexpected respects:
Firstly, most people who came to us were broken people who just wanted to unburden, as they would say, “so that I can sleep”! They insisted on talking only to the General Secretary as a priest, the thought of going to the lawyers frightened them. This was a significant change in the process, occasioned by the genuine fears expressed by the people. They were terrified of anybody finding out that they had talked to us, for, as they said, “if my story is told, ‘THEY’ will know that it came from me, and my life and that of my family would be in danger”. If in the age of constitutional democracy, we have citizens who are so terrified of their own government and its agents and operatives, as to fear for their lives, then we have a serious problem.
There were cases of people at municipal and provincial level, who were pressured to divert funds inappropriately to certain activities that had nothing to do with the work and purpose of the budget. There were people who were prevailed upon to rig tender process in favour of certain companies and individuals, or bend and tailor regulations for a specific desired outcome. This is sometimes referred to shaking down the people, accessing money and opportunities through deceitful and illegal ways of pressuring vulnerable people or companies.
While most of the people opted for the security of what we called the “Anonymity Option”, where the deponents are not divulged, some of people chose to go public with the information they were giving the SACC Unburdening Panel Process. A number of those gave much of the same information to the Public Protector, feeding the State Capture report.
The second and most radical change in the process was in the very nature of the process. It began mainly as a receptacle of stories being shared in unburdening; but soon it became apparent that there were discernible patterns of the systemic undermining of governance that go beyond “petty” corruption, so as to seriously threaten constitutional democracy. Therefore, while corruption, which is part of the brief in Anchoring Democracy, the SACC processes on democracy are concerned also with the broader issues of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
When it became clear that the trouble was beyond “petty corruption”, we shifted from a “listening” for unburdening, to the mode of the SACC approach of SEE-JUDGE-ACT. “SEE” is rigorous research to understand as fully as possible the state of the question on the matter at hand; the “JUDGE” is applying the lenses of the Gospel to say what is the value judgment call on this matter now that we know what we know. And the “ACT” is when a resolution is taken to act as informed by the application of the Gospel values. In the SEE part we have previously worked with research entities like the Human Sciences Research Council, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, and also the Nelson Mandela Foundation. This time we linked up with diverse research volunteers that work from different locations and coordinate their work and findings. This, together what we already know from the initial Unburdening Process, becomes the SEE part of our work, which must be followed by a theological JUDGE process, leading to Conference where the ACT will be resolved. What has emerged in the SEE process is disconcerting.
It now seems that the problem is far greater than corruption, but organized chaos. We have now come to learn that what appears to be chaos and instability in government may well be a systemic design of the madness that ills our governmental environment – a chaotic design. A careful analysis makes the case for the following observable trends of inappropriate control of State systems through a power-elite that is pivoted around the President of the Republic that is systematically siphoning the assets of the State. They do this by:
- Securing control over state wealth, through the capture of state-owned companies by chronically weakening their governance and operational structures.
- Securing control over the public service by weeding our skilled professionals.
- Securing access to rent-seeking opportunities by shaking down regulations to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of South Africans.
- Securing control over the country’s fiscal sovereignty.
- Securing control over strategic procurement opportunities by intentionally weakening key technical institutions and formal executive processes.
- Securing a loyal intelligence and security apparatus.
- Securing parallel governance and decision-making structures that undermine the executive.
We now illustrate these 7 Measures of control by the Power Elite.
This is part of a large research project that is going public, and within which we identify the elements on which we shall pronounce on the basis of our gospel values. In the 1980’s we had to examine theologically, the presumed legitimacy of the apartheid government, from which we went on to examine the theology of the Just War in the context of the justness of the war of liberation waged by the liberation movement against an illegitimate government. It was a difficult debate. Now the questions before us are what theological instruments should we use to determine how and at what point the church should withdraw its recognition of the moral legitimacy of a democratically elected government. It sees sufficiently clear to us that the government of the day has lost the moral radar that should inform the public service of batho pele, in a “people first” governmental culture. Its operations seem to be driven by an outside interest, strategically located at the top of the Executive, in order to periodically raid the various attractive units of the State, of which a legitimate government should be steward.
What we see persuades us that the present government has lost moral legitimacy. The question that this has raised is in the constitutional dimension. Does the conduct of the government render it to have violated its constitutional mandate? That is a matter for the lawyers to explore further. The lawyers will examine whether the government is not in breach of Section 41 of the Constitution in Chapter 3 on the “Principles of Co-operative government and Intergovernmental Relations”. Three subsections of Section 41 (1) says that all organs of State “must”:
(b) Secure the well-being of the people of the Republic;
(c) Provide effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government for the Republic as a whole;
(d) Be loyal to the Constitution, the Republic and its people.
Chapter 10 is quite instructive of the values, principles and ethical standards of the public administration in our constitutional dispensation. Likewise there may be legal and constitutional questions about the manner that Parliament has conducted itself. All these revolve around the continued constitutional legitimacy of government, beyond the moral legitimacy that we are seriously questioning at this time.
We urge the African National Congress as the governing party to examine itself and mend the ways of government before we reach the point of no return – for this has implications for the ANC in government, for its leadership and members. We appeal to the civil servants in government, to note and remember that whereas governments come and go with elections, they as civil servants are part of the permanent State system of the citizenry, and the instrumentation of the public good envisioned in our constitutional dispensation.
Ours at this point is to facilitate the availability of what we have seen, for as Stanley Henkeman of IJR said, “You cannot ‘unsee’ what you have seen”. We invite all to see what we have seen, in the knowledge that it can never again be unseen.
Prophet Amos is today addressing our nation:
How you hate honest judges!
How you despise people who tell the truth!
You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent.
Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses, you will never live in them.
Though you plant lush vineyards, you will never drink wine from them.
For I know the vast number of your sins and the depth of your rebellions.
You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time. (Amos 5:10-13)
Anglican Women's Fellowship (St Luke's Parish Nxarhuni)
Greetings Good people of God. The Anglican Womens Fellowship (AWF) of St Luke Parish in Nxarhuni is on a drive to collect Sanitary Towels for the young girls in Ntsonkotha High School. This is the school they adopted together with the Diocesan AWF. Purpose is to restore dignity to the young ladies and also try to ensure continuity in school attendance and promote good results for our young ones. The aim is to collect as much as we can and be able to make our "first delivery" by mid May 2017. Please help us to achieve this by donating a packet or two. SICELA EZINE WINGS BETHUNA!!! For financial assistance towards this cause please use the following banking details: ST LUKE CHURCH, FNB, SOUTHERNWOO, 621261 80919. Many thanks and God's blessings.
Department of social Responsibility
Please click here and find the DSR part-time job opportunity
STATEMENT OF THE BISHOP OF GRAHAMSTOWN, THE RIGHT REVEREND EBENZER NTLALI, AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH SQUARE, GRAHAMSTOWN ON THE 7TH APRIL 2017.
Reflecting on the patterns and blowing winds in the midst of different kinds of social ills, expressing unhappiness, of a crying society.
Greetings to all people of God gathered here today. It is a privilege from God that I have been asked to talk to you on this important day in the history of our country. We heard just recently that Johannesburg was shaken by a tremor. This caused great concern to the citizens and people were asking a variety of questions. One of those asked, ‘Could it be that God is angry with us?’ That question is relevant when you remember that in Hebrews 12: 26b ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’ This phrase ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of what is shaken-that is, created things-so that what cannot be shaken remains.’ Our country and the world are in the grip of a ‘shaking’. We witness what is going on in the European Union, in America, in UK, in Russia, in Syria and in South Africa. All of these prompt people to ask questions but most of all it jolts people into action.
We are gathered here today because of the ‘tremors’ that are shaking our country and these have a potential to bring untold suffering to our people, especially the ‘poorest of the poor’. I have chosen to term these ‘winds and patterns’. This is because whenever a storm strikes there is a pattern of reaction from ourselves and from government. I am going to sight a few of these ‘storms’.
- State Capture. This was one of those moments where the Public Protector had to investigate the relationship that existed between the State and the Gupta family. Central to this was the power that this family had over the state. When that ‘wind’ blew the pattern of response was denial and the unleashing of sections of our community on the Public Protector. Citizens voiced their unhappiness with this but very little action was taken to protect the Public Protector.
- Fees must Fall. Children of our country sacrificed their education to fight for access to Higher Education. The cause was a noble one. It exposed the slow pace at which Government was addressing the issue of Higher Education. We congratulate Government for the increased allocation to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the decision to absorb the 2017 increment for children coming from households with a total income or up to R600 000. A Commission was put into place to investigate. The cost of the Fees must Fall on the State, Families and children has not been quantified. Society was conflicted. Very little action was taken. An attempt to convene a National Convention for Education was disrupted. The question is who is benefiting from this, who might not be interested in finding a lasting solution to this challenge?
- The Social Grants ‘Fiasco’. This is one of those moments when the privileged few forgot about the poor. After the Constitutional Court had concluded that the Contract with CPS was illegal and a new process must be put into place to find a Service Provider, nothing happened. The same court’ in consideration for the plight of the poor, had to extend the illegal contract. This caused great anxiety to millions of grant recipients. We talk about 17million. It is more than that if you take into consideration people who depend on the grant recipients. The State offered excuses and denials. Citizens were angry for a while and no action was taken.
- Cabinet reshuffle. The Church acknowledges the prerogative that the President has to ‘hire and fire’ Ministers. Our concern is the manner in which it is done. It is ironic that a hard-working Minister is fired and those who are not so hard-working, to put it politely are spared. The impact of this action on the economy is huge. The country has been down-graded, Banks likewise. We have been told that Banks have lost R61billion. The cost to the country is unimaginable. The people who will bear the brunt of this, are the poor and the vulnerable people of our country. The Church believes that the matter of breakdown of a relationship between the President and the Minister should have been addressed and maybe a different outcome could have been achieved. Or is he a ‘stumbling block’? We are watching. Will the Nuclear deal be signed now? Will the dysfunctional State Owned Enterprises be recapitalised now? What is the reaction of the state? The same pattern, close ranks and move forward. Civil Society is mobilising. Maybe the ‘shaking’ has jolted us out of our slumber and we now believe that we can do something.
- Radical Economic Transformation. A new phrase, a new, strategy, a new phase and a new approach. We are still awaiting to get a proper and coherent of the real meaning of this phrase. The reaction of the State to challenges is coming up with new terms. This pattern confuses people as a new one is introduced even before the old one’s success and failures have been explained to the electorate. If this is aimed at, and will deal with, the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality it is welcome; if it will be used to enrich a few it will not be accepted and supported.
I have sighted these few ‘storms’ as an example of what we are faced with in our country. The question is what are we going to do about this. At this stage I wish I could have the eloquence of Mark Anthony at Caesar’s funeral. I chose to learn from what the Bible says in times like this. When God liberated His people from Egypt and took them to the promised land He warned them through Moses not to turn their backs on Him. They did and there was hunger, drought and they were bitten by snakes. When they came together and repented He promised to heal their land. That is why we as the Church of God make the following call to Government and Civil Society:
- Bring God back into our Government, work places, schools and even Churches.
- We call upon Our Government to root out all corruption at all levels.
- Civil society to mobilise themselves and report and deal with all forms of corruption and injustice in our communities.
- We call for the restoration of values in our Government and society as a whole.
- We call upon Government and the Governing party to note the warning issued by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, that the same way we prayed for the downfall of the Apartheid regime we are also capable to pray for the downfall of this government.
- Government must put the interests of the people first than that of a few individuals who continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor.
- We call upon the Almighty to help our country by revealing new leaders who will lead with integrity and honesty
- We call upon Churches, Traditional Councils, Schools, Universities, work places, NGOs etc. to be places of education and conscientisation of our people. These places should be places of debate on all matters affecting our lives our people have an understanding of what Freedom means and supposed to entail for the people; what is necessary is the creation of opportunities and platforms to debate. An empowered citizens are a vigilant society.
We would like to honour all those who laid a firm foundation for our freedom. We want to warn all those who are threatening to destroy our hard-earned freedom that our patience is running thin.
Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and majesty, dominion and authority, before all time, now and forever, AMEN.
I THANK YOU.
INVITATION TO THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EVENT
TO : THE BISHOP
: ALL CERGY
: ALL GUILDS
TO BE HELD AT THE GOOD SHEPHERD ANGLICAN CHURCH
ON THE 01 APRIL 2017 AT 9H30
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
The Diocesan Gender desk led by Lay Canon Nontobeko Moletsane was launched during the 16 days of Activism by the Right Reverend Ebenezer St Mark Ntlali at Holy Cross in the year 2015.
After several meetings and trainings that have taken place in the Diocese, where some of the parishes were represented. The Gender desk has come to a decision that one or two of the Provincial Priorities of the church which are Women and Gender must be looked at before the 16 Days of Activism.
You are then invited to the International Women’s Day which is recognised on the 8 March in each year to be held at the Good Shepherd Anglican Church on the 01 April 2017 starting at 9h30.
You are also requested to attend or send representatives that will take this information and share with all the parishes and archdeaconries in the Diocese of Grahamstown.
Your assistance and co-operation in this regard is highly appreciated.
Lay Canon N Moletsane
COLLEGE OF THE TRANSFIGURATION CLASS OF 2017 GRADUATION CEREMONY.
Read the article on the graduation ceremony here.
DYG Opening Service 2017
The Diocesan Youth Guild had an opening service on the 28 January 2017 at St Mary Phumlani East London. Their theme was taken from James 4:8. The Guest speaker was Ms Mamela Nongayi Wontoti.
An Urgent Call to Prayer
No doubt, all of us are aware of South Africa’s ongoing drought. Some schools in the Johannesburg area have shut down due to the lack of water. The Eastern Cape is dry as a bone. In the Western Cape, we are facing a dire situation. Fueled by strong winds, fires are ragging in our mountains, and the Western Cape has less than 100 days of water supply. All of us as South Africans need to pray, and we are calling on our friends in nearby and faraway countries to pray for us as well.
Let Us Commit to Pray
Ds. Braam Hanekom from the Western Cape Ecumenical Forum is calling for people to commit each day for ten minutes to pray for rain. On Sunday, 5 February, the Western Cape Ecumenical Forum will be hosting a worship and prayer gathering for the healing of our land. This will take place at His People N1 City, 14:30-16:30. If you do not live in the Cape Town area, please consider coming together as a community to pray together as a Christian family on that day wherever you are.
We are asking all clergy to encourage their people to step up to the challenge of praying ten minutes each day for rain and to either advertise the prayer gathering at His People on 5 February or to help mobilise people to pray as a community on the same day.
Revd Trevor Pearce and the GtC Team
The Archbishop has called on the Church to pray particularly for the universities on Education Sunday. Here are some suggested areas to guide your prayers but please contextualize them to particular universities, lecturers and students and their families that you might have in your parish or in your diocese. Leadership of universities. Pray that the Vice Chancellors and their senior executive teams might be given wisdom as they lead. They hold the responsibility to keep the universities open for the ongoing academic programme and the responsibility about the safety of the students, lecturers and buildings. Please be particular to local universities in your area. Thank God for good leadership and for integrity and honesty. Lecturers and all academic and support staff at universities. Thank God for their willingness to support students and to help them with their academic progress, particularly in the face of lost teaching time. Pray for their safety in the face of angry protesting students who can be very threatening. Pray for healing for lecturers who are angry and traumatized. Pray also that talented lecturers will not leave the universities for other employment. Pray for students as they struggle to meet the financial challenges of a university education and pray that they will be given courage to stand for what is just and right. Pray that the “#FeesMustFall” campaign will lead to proper mediation and a just outcome that is fair and supportive of the students’ academic endeavor. Pray for student leaders that they will be given wisdom and integrity. Pray for healing for students who are angry, traumatized or intimidated. Pray that the government will find ways to enable and support economically poor, but capable students to get a free tertiary education. Pray that the government leaders and the public would stand against corruption and wastage of state resources that would enable the government to offer free tertiary education. Pray for parents that they be given wisdom in dealing with their children at university. Pray that they will listen to their voices and concerns and support their sons and daughters in their education. Pray for all Anglicans engaged in these difficult times in the universities – university chaplains and the Anglican Student Federation, staff and students, particularly those in leadership positions. Pray for bishops and clergy who have mediated in the conflict. Pray for their protection and that they might know God’s strength and wisdom as witness to the love of God. The Collect for Education Sunday Lord God, Your Son Jesus Christ sat at the feet of others to learn, and sat on the mountains to teach: Bless those who teach and those who learn, those who seek and those who find; So that our homes, schools, universities and churches may be filled with a longing to learn and to grow, to serve and to give; Through Jesus Christ our Lord; Amen
Kindly assist in passing on this information to as many people who were part of Rhodes Divinity Department in some way or other or other interested parties. You are welcome to put on social media to assist.
The event falls under the auspices of the Church Unity Commission.
We are wanting to celebrate the contribution made through the Faculty of Divinity at Rhodes and Fedsem to the churches and the countries represented in the work of these institutions.
The theme of these events is ' Remember, Rejoice and Renew.'
The event at Rhodes is on 21st January, at Alice on 22nd January.
The event in Pietermaritzburg is on 18th February.
The outline of the program flows the same structure for each event.
09h30 - Visit to the site with prayers meet at the old Faculty building in Somerset St Grahamstown
10h00 - Discussion which focuses on Ecumenical Theological Education its practice and effect. The discussion will reflect on what we have lost and how to regain what we have lost.
13h00 - Lunch
14h00 - Service with the Eucharist.
The intention of these events is to bring closure to the pain caused in the ending of this co-operation, healing and an envisioning of possible future co-operation.
The heads on churches will con - celebrate. The preacher at Rhodes will be Itumeleng Mosala and Donald Cragg will facilitate the discussion. John Suggit has designed the liturgy for the event.
Please don't hesitate to contact Bishop Paul Verryn cell 082 6008892 email firstname.lastname@example.org or me with any further questions.
NB. There are Vacant Parishes which are: St Matthew's Keiskammahoe, St Alban's East London and St Francis Mdantsane. for more information please click here
Please click here to download the request for donations
On The 19 of November, Sisters at the Community of Resurrection had their annual meeting closer to the birthday of their founder Mother Cecile. They started the day by the Eucharist Service presided by Bishop Ebenezer who was also a preacher. This service was blessed by the presence of Revd Dr. Isaias Chachine their current Chaplain, Revd Dean Hunter, Dr Claire Hunter, the former Chaplain who is now retired Revd James Hoyle, Friends from Port Elizabeth, visitors from England and congregants from various Parishes around Grahamstown. after Eucharist service, lunch was served then the second session of their programme continued. the gust speaker was Ms Sue Hennessy from England. Her Theme was Bistari-Bistari which means slowly and slowly.
OSB Conference 2016
On the 11 to the 13 of November, our Lay Minister had their Diocesan Conference, the Fruitful and regenerating one. this was held at East London Correctional Service. the House was well packed. Reved Bada the Chaplain opened with the Eucharist Service.Many presentations were made to equipped Lay minister.
Archbishop Thabo's lament for South Africa
Let us pray:
Lord, where are you in these trying and challenging times and amidst these great developments in our country?
Shakespeare said: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”
Lord, we are living through a time of acute misery, amidst an unprecedented political crisis.
Lord, we know though that South Africa is not broken;
Because notwithstanding this orchestrated attack on the foundations of our country, we remain a constitutional democracy;
Our judicial system remains intact and plays a critical role in protecting these foundations.
We are thankful for this, Lord, and we are determined to work to maintain this.
Today, we gathered in silence at the footsteps of your Cathedral, asking you Lord to speak to us and help us discern your will for us.
While we cannot change the past, we must change the future. As South Africans we must hold ourselves up to a higher standard.
We are your children and the children of giants such as Nelson Mandela.
We long for a just, equal, fair and a moral and values-based state, which we know is possible to achieve in Africa.
Lord, we cannot afford the luxury of corruption, quarrelling and never-ending internal strife. We know there is too much at stake for us to allow that to happen!
We know Lord your that you have destined us to be a great society, an infinitely capable society, a hard-working society, a society which has the right to expect something from life.
We refuse to be a society in which, no matter how hard we work, the fruits of our labour are often corruptly stolen from us.
On this All Souls Day, what we see, what we feel, what we know, is that there is a New Struggle that every group in South Africa is beginning to embrace, a New Struggle to end inequality, a New Struggle to end the inequality of opportunity.
So above all, we express our renewed faith in you, God, in our society and in the outstanding, industrious, hard-working and decent people who call themselves South Africans.
We express our faith that this society will have a bright future, because it is we who will ensure that future, and we commit ourselves to pray and to work for such a future.
Our destiny is not a matter of chance, God, it is a matter of choice, your choice, our choice.
God bless you and God bless South Africa. Amen
The St Micheal and St George Cathedral welcomed Oystermouth Rowen Williams (the former Archbishop of Canterbury), at a full attended service of Choral Evensong on Tuesday 25 October. The Archbishop spoke relevantly and memorably on the subject of Anger and Passion, not condemning anger outright but challenging his hearers to ask these questions about anger: "what is it for?" and "who is it for?"
On Wednesday 19 October 2016, The Premier of the Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle visited the Bishop of Grahamstown. This was the Pastoral visit.
South African Religious Leaders Warn of Constitutional Crisis
National church leaders and other faith leaders gathering in Johannesburg from 19-20 October 2016 at OR Tambo, for their annual meeting, issued the following statement:
Conference StatementPreambleWe, as religious leaders have reflected on the meaning of John 10:10 in the Bible of having “abundant live for all” in South Africa – that no-one should be excluded or left behind.The current crisis in South Africa has gone beyond the “fees must fall” and is in fact a constitutional crisis - noting especially the actions taken by the NPA against the Minister of Finance.
It manifests itself in leadership and political factional conflicts in public institutions – that creates instability and distract attention from the fundamental challenges: fighting poverty, creating employment and extending quality health services to all.The meeting expresses its serious concern about the phenomenon of state capture which is undermining the public good and national discourse and threatens our financial sovereignty. The meeting urged all role players to root out this phenomenon as a matter of national urgencyIt also noted the serious shortage of social workers (50 000) – and urgent need to finalize a National Social Development Act in line with the National Development Plan (NDP).We appreciate the co-operation with the National Health Department to fight TB, the main cause of death in South Africa, and further the national health objectives in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the NDP.The meeting discussed the challenges confronting the country in the following areas and took specific resolutions on each:EducationAn education system that is free, decolonized and of high quality, is a just and moral plea for our society to give content to the promise of freedom won in 1994.
We also acknowledge the fact that we are facing more systemic problems within the education system at large. If we don’t deal with that, the current crises will come back to haunt us again.As religious leaders we support the quest for solutions by the students, the vice-chancellors, parents and government. We acknowledge and applaud the work of mediation, prayer and peace efforts done by different faith leaders across our nation during these difficult times. In the days and weeks ahead this work may be even more necessary and we need to be more co-ordinated through the national ecumenical structures.We urge all religious leaders to work through established reference groups that were established by provincial council of churches and/or the local ecumenical structures.We believe, however, that some of the methods used by students detract from their noble struggle. We urge the students to conduct the struggle with the dignity and with due regard for human life and to our national public assets.We urge all role players to strive to conclude the 2016 academic year successfully.Social DevelopmentThe religious leaders noted the completion of the review of White Paper for Social Welfare.
Many issues raised in the report of the ministerial committee were also raised by the NRASD for many years for example the transformation towards a developmental approach, the funding of the social welfare sector, the expansion of social service delivery to reach every corner of South Africa, the shortage of trained social professionals and the partnership between churches, NGO’s and the Departments of Social Development.The NRASD is of the view that this report is opening a window of opportunity for a dialogue between all role players in the Social Development sector regarding the findings and proposals of the ministerial committee. The goal of this dialogue should be to agree on a framework for the social development of the South African society. Important themes that should be part of such a framework are the development of a common vision amongst all role players, the roles of the various role players in the sector, the establishment of solid partnerships, the funding of social development and the human resource needs of the sector.Economy of lifeWe resolve and propose that given that this is a Kairos moment with regard to the following:Theology, development, poverty- Use the economists in the faith communities to assist and help us to reflect on the economy- Conversation of theology and economy needs to be ongoing- Africa Day 2017 (25 May) be utilised to focus on poverty, economics and the regional dynamics of economic relations- The need to revisit previous resolutions by the SACC, Industrial mission and the current mining conversations which will inform the ongoing mission of the church- Establish a movement for critical engagement by theologians and economist for public discourse in the area of poverty and the alleviation there of.Leakage of public fundingWe as a group are sensing (after engaging with senior representatives of the national Treasury: We as a group are sensing that there are at present an enormous leakage of state funds. We urgently ask all relevant parties to dig deeper into this matter. We are convinced that this situation is aggravating the already desperate situation of the poor. We are thus saying this in solidarity of the poor and pray that justice will prevail.Clarify the role and contribution of international donors and partnershipsWe are concerned about possible regulation of international funding supporting civil society development initiatives. International funding contributes substantially to HIV and Aids Programmes, human rights programmes in South Africa.Health.
The meeting express its support for the guidelines of the WHO and the UN Sustainable Development Goals that quality health care is a fundamental human right and we have to overcome the inequalities that exist in this regard. Health is not only the absence of certain diseases, but a fundamental part of having life in abundance, holistically in terms of mind, body and soul.We welcome the opportunity to partner with the NDOH in the national TB and Aids Response, as well as the Global Fund, to fight TB in South Africa.We commit ourselves to regional co-operation (and on a Southern African regional level) in improving healthcare…We identify the following challenges:- Lack of respect and humane treatment of patients by some health professionals in public health system- Public private partnerships: difficulty of support for church-based hospitals- Difficulty of getting training licenses for nurses and doctors at private initiatives- SANAC – does not include strength of prevention and education programmes of faith communities; conflict with priorities of international donors/ support replenishment of Global Fund, but locally side-lined.Press FreedomThe meeting noted the 39th commemoration of Press Freedom day on 19th October and reaffirmed its belief in press freedom as one of the essential gains of our democracy which should be protected and defended.Our Religious texts“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37, 39“Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, God is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (emotions), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, God is Ever Well Acquainted with what you do.” The Women 4:135 (Quran)
1. Archbishop Dr. Thabo Makgoba – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
2. Archbishop Dr. Zandisile Magxwalisa – Jerusalem Church in South Africa
3. Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa – Methodist Church of Southern Africa / SACC
4. Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana – South African Council of Churches
5. The Most Revd Lunga ka Siboto – Ethiopian Episcopal Church
6. Bishop Sithembele Sipuka – Roman Catholic Church
7. Bishop Nkosekhaya Dikana – Word of Life
8. Bishop Horst Muller - Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
9. Bishop Melumzi Norhushu – Ebenezer Christian Church
10. Dr. Sipho Mahokoto – NRASD
11. Dr. Gustav Claassen – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
12. Dr. Emmanuel Tshilenga – International Church of Pretoria
13. Dr. William Van Der Merwe – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
14. Dr. Abraham Hanekom – Commission For Witness
15. Dr. Johan Beukes – In Harmonie
16. Dr. Renier Koegelenberg – NRASD
17. Dr. Robert Munthali - Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
18. Rev. Vusi Mkhungo – Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
19. Fr. Richard Menatsi – NRASD / Roman Catholic Church
20. Rev. Mkhuseli Dukwana – Presbyterian Church of Africa
21. Rev. Bongokwakhe Mkhize – Presbyterian Church Africa
22. Rev. Miranda Magxwalisa - Jerusalem Church in South Africa
23. Rev. Moss Ntlha – The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
24. Rev. Hermy Damons – The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
25. Rev. Cornelis Janse van Rensburg - Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
26. Rev. Canon Desmond Lambrechts – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
27. Rev. Senamo Molisiwa – Council of African Instituted Churches
28. Rev. Yoliswa Mahinji – Salvation Reformed Church
29. Mr. Henry Jeffreys – Journalist and analyst
30. Ms. Frieda le Roux – EFSA Media
32. Sheikh Achmat Sedick – Muslim Judicial Council
Please Click here and read MEC P. Dyantyi speaking notes to the St Katherines Parish Health Expo-16 October 2016
Dr M. Nkohla Represented The MEC.
Here is the Lay Ministers account Number, :
Acsa Order of St Barnabas
FNB ACC: 62646780272
Kind RegardsRevd. Bada
On September 21-2016, Good Shepherd School celebrated 132 years Birthday
The Service was at the Grahamstown Cathedral, and the Officiant was Dr Claire Nye Hunter. Wwe were welcomed by Mbalentle Jebese and Trinity Prinsloo.
·Rev. Claire passed a wonderful message from the Book of James 3:2-12. Sandisiwe Dail and Athule Zabo made words of support as the former students. The Bishop of Grahamstown closed with prayers and made a final Blessing.