Thursday, October 16, 2014

From the Desk of Scribe Synodii

     We recently send out a Press statement to The Sowetan and other newspapers and would hereby give some snippets from the desk of the Scribe Synodii (Secretary) Rev KS Mabelane. 
     
     At our recent meeting of the Southern Synod (7-12 October 2014), we took note of some important developments, successes and challenges and made a few key decisions. 

          A (long and thorough) process of consultation with our members was finally concluded at this sitting with two (2) major decisions taken pertaining to the adoption of a new name (for the Synod), from URCSA Southern Transvaal Synod to URCSA Southern Synod. Also, a new era is inaugurated with the approval of the revised Supplementary Regulations, which complete the process of accepting unanimously the revised Church Order and Supplementary Regulations. This revised and updated document, has as its fundamental statements, the Church Order of the URCSA General Synod, released in 2012 at Okahandja, Namibia.
     But, who is the Southern Synod? Southern Synod consists of 126 Congregations spread from as far as Potchefstroom to Khunwana in North West, Johannesburg and Vaal Triangle in Gauteng and through to Balfour and Standerton in Mpumalanga (See our "About Us" page)Coined by the outgoing Moderator, Rev. D. Malete, as a “Restorative Synod”, Southern Synod elected a new Moderamen (Executive) in the person of Rev Dr LJ Modise (Moderator), Rev BB Senokoane (Assessor), Rev KS Mabelane (Scribe) and Rev Prof RW Nel (Actuarius) to lead the people of God in playing their role as we build our country into a better place for all who live in it.
   
   In an effort to accelerate performance and an effective implantation of its policies and strategic projects, the Synod has resolved to appoint a full-time Administrator before the end of this financial year. The Elders of this church, in a portfolio called The Elders’ Commission, have for the first time in the history of the Church embarked on a Project to raise R1m to support the work of the synod and at its launch, the project generated R325,000 revenue. This Synod has resolved to adapt this project as an Annual Synodical Project to be run by The Elders of the church every 3rd Sunday of Sept.
      Synod has also resolved to be pro-active in taking practical disaster relief remedies when calamities hit our communities, e.g. when communities experience hardships such as the recent earthquake, the Marikana incidence, Water Crisis, etc.
Furthermore and importantly, t
he Synod requested its relevant structures to engage in a study on Homosexuality  and the decisions of the General Synod in this regard in order to assist the church to meaningfully make a contribution in serving God’s people without any traces of discriminatory practices.
As a Synod and communities of faith, who shares the realities and joys of the various communities in our country, we hope to serve God’s concern for all his people. We ask members and friends to keep on supporting, engaging, but also praying for us to remain true to this calling.  

Submitted on behalf of Moderamen, URCSA Southern Synod












Rev. K.S Mabelane (Scribe-0833013936)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"RISE AND GO: YOUR FAITH HAS MADE YOU WELL" (A WORD FROM THE NEW MODERATOR)

The Southern Synod, of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA), which includes the bigger part of Gauteng; parts of Mpumalanga; and part of North West, met on the 07 -12 October 2014, where issues of the past three years were debated and challenges put forth. 


In that synod, the leadership of the Regional Synod was elected as follows: Rev Dr L J Modise (Moderator/Chairperson); Rev BB Senokwane (Assessor/Vice-Chairperson); Rev Prof RW Nel (Actuarius) and Rev S Mabelane (Scribe/Secretary). In terms of the church law this leadership needs to facilitate the smooth running of the congregations 
in the Southern Synod. Its Key Performance Areas (KPA) is to ensure that there is: 
  • Worship in congregations; 
  • Instruction; Care; 
  • Witnessing and Service. 

In short, the leadership need to see to it that in each and every congregation there is service of God, mutual service and service to the world.

According the evaluation of the synod there is a lot that is being done in terms of worship and instruction on the Christian education within the church, but there is very limited work done to the communities. We want to change that. Hence this leadership intends to place more focus on service and witness, as the Word of God teaches that we must love our neighbour with all our hearts. In the ministry for Service and Witness we intend to focus on the following:
  • Local mission and diaconal ministries, which includes service/care; 
  • Mutual and pastoral care; 
  • Institutional Care (Charity, relief, development);
  • Public Witness which includes politics, economy, and civil society and media;
  • Justice, human rights and peace, which deals with violence and crime prevention; HIV/AIDS.
  •  Integrity of Creation – Responsible Stewardship.


The church has the role to play in the modern society. This is because the church is led by people who emerge from communities, who have been a part of communities for as long as they have lived and are in fact, the character inspired by the experiences gathered from communities. Equally so, the church has a membership that is from the communities which the church is serving. These congregation members define the essence of the communities which they come from and the character of their communities is what they reflect. Thus, though the church might have a spiritual responsibility towards the community, it must find its identity within the communities that it exists within.

We are quite aware that poverty and exploitation of workers from all levels are the major challenge for our country and church at large.At the same time employees and employers are members of our churches therefore it is important this leadership emphasis the functionality of Belhar confession to it members moreover article 4 which states that:
We believe: that God’s own revelation has revealed God as the One who wishes to bring about justice and true peace between people; that in a world full of injustice and enmity God is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and those who suffer injustice and calls the Church to imitate this; that God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry; that God frees those in prison and makes the blind see; that God suc­cours the downtrodden, pro­tects strangers, helps orphans and widows and thwarts the path of the un­godly; that for God pure and undefiled re­ligion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their affliction; that God seeks to teach the People of God to do what is good and to seek the right; that the Church must therefore stand by people who in any way suffer or are in need, which among other things means that the Church will wit­ness and take up the fight against any form of injus­tice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream; that as God’s possession the Church must stand where God stands, namely against injustice and with those who suffer injustice; and that the Church as made up of those who follow Christ must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and rule over others to their disadvantage. Therefore we reject any ideology that legitimates forms of injustice and any doctrine that is unwilling to oppose such an ideology on the basis of the gospel.
If the Belhar Confession is central to our identity, then we really need to be part of the government initiatives to fight poverty, injustice, violence against women and children, economic injustice as well as development retardation. It is the aim of this to encourage, develop and guide congregations within this region, to participate in development programs; institutional care like charity, relief and empowerment program in collaboration with the government at all levels of government namely Local, Provincial and National government. Where the government could not provide space like land for projects; buildings for office used, if this church is guided and inspired by the Belhar Confession, then it will provide safe space for community engagement of the church and state.
We as the newly elected leadership of Southern Synod intend to take this church within this region beyond prayer and worship towards a holistic community of believers, where spiritual and physical needs are meet to glorify God the Almighty. In answering the question: which direction to rise and go? The response is towards holistic development of human beings in South Africa within this region, through service of God, mutual service and service to the world.
So, let us all Rise and Go to make well-ness a reality!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Being church in the present world economy

Conference on being church in the present world economy is being held at UP, from 17-18 August 2009.

Program

All is welcome !

Southern Synod a new face and a new heart !

The recent Synodical Commission meeting implemented the decision of the Regional meeting in 2007, to change the name of the Synod. The new name decided upon is SOUTHERN SYNOD. This name, of course has been in circulation for years, so we simply endorsed an identity that has been alive, in the minds and words of us all.

Another deeper development is the decision to implement the Integrated Ministry model. This model has been discussed and workshopped at length and we feel that this is the way to go.
Key ministries is hence for us: Service and Witness, Congregational as well as Proclamation and Worship.

We will continue to update our systems and forms to further phase in this new face of ministry

Monday, February 23, 2009

Message to the churches in Zimbabwe, by AACC

Message to the Churches in Zimbabwe

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is with joy and anticipation I write this letter to you just days after the formation of the new consensual Government between the ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations. I sincerely congratulate you for your perseverance in prayer and your relentless efforts to work for lasting solutions to the dire political, social, humanitarian and spiritual situation of your beloved country. Reiterating what AACC last year said in its statement on the power-sharing agreement of September 15, 2008; indeed “the Zimbabwean people are the real heroes in this process and are the first to be honored for their perseverance and relentless quest for peaceful change in Zimbabwe”.

As members of the world-wide Body of Christ, we are called to be a people of hope, and my hope and prayer today is that this ground-breaking step in the political history of Zimbabwe finally will bring real change to the people that for too long have suffered under the yoke of intolerance, unrest and unbearable economic and humanitarian hardships. But we know that the road ahead will be long and difficult. Our thoughts and prayers go to those who are sick in cholera and AIDS, to those lacking food for the day, for the political detainees and for the refugees that have crossed the borders due to the crisis.

We know that the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, can be an effective vehicle for peaceful change in our world. At the same time we painfully acknowledge our many failures to stay true to this God-given ministry of peace: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14) and “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Therefore, our collective engagement in the Zimbabwe situation calls all of us to a prayerful and humble soul-searching to address our present weaknesses and to empower and reinvigorate the Church again for this life-giving ministry.

In this decisive time for Zimbabwe, our appeal to you, our sister and brothers in Christ, is that you continue to work for unity and peaceful resolution to all the present challenges facing your nation. Your earlier efforts to cross denominational boundaries and bridge political and regional divides have been strong signs of hope for the world outside, and your perseverance and prophetic imagination is still essential.

The 9th AACC General Assembly in Maputo, December 2008, reaffirmed the role of AACC and its members to continue to accompany the situation in Zimbabwe by first and foremost listening to you as our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe and together work towards a common vision for peace, justice and reconciliation. To achieve this goal we sincerely invite you to give your assistance, guidance and input to the dialogue so that the AACC, its member constituency and ecumenical partner network can play its part.

On January 25, 2009, a Special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Zimbabwe was held, as per the call of the 9th AACC General Assembly in Maputo. As our thanks go to God for answering prayers, we know that prayer must continue to carry this process to fulfilment. Therefore, please be assured of our continuous commitment to pray and work together with you for justice and peace to prevail, for democracy and human dignity to be upheld and for relief and reconciliation to heal this beautiful nation.

Finally, as the new General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches, I would once again like to emphasize our longstanding commitment to accompany you as the Church in Zimbabwe as well as the Zimbabwean people in the rebuilding process that is now to take off. May God Bless Zimbabwe!

[signed]
Rev. Dr. André Karamaga
GENERAL SECRETARY

Cc: - AACC Members
- AACC Members of the General Committee
- Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC)
- Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ)
- Heads of Christian Denominations (HOCD)
- Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA)
- World Council of Churches (WCC)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In memory of Rev Dr MS Pitikoe

Rev Dr MS Pitikoe
Born: 19 March 1939
Died: 29 October 2008

The late Rev Dr Molefi Seth Pitikoe was born on the 19th March 1939 in Hendrina. He was the second child of the late Rev Japhet Mizpha and Mrs Stompie Pitikoe. On 11th January 1964, he was joined in matrimony with Sarie Kruger. They were blessed with five children, two boys and three girls: Moroesi, Billy, Tiny, Lieketseng and the late Butiki.

He did his pastoral work at the following congregations of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk in Afrika later known as the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa: Maseru (1963-1964), Evander (1964-1968), Zola (1968) and Tladi (1968) until he was called to higher service.

The late Rev Dr MS Pitikoe had a passion in the quest for knowledge. He started his primary education in Vryheid, he then proceeded to Bethal where he completed his Std 6. He graduated as a teacher at Stofberg Gedenk Skool in 1958 and went on to graduate as a minister from Stofberg Theological College (Pietersburg) in 1962. In 1963 he started with his ministerial career in Maseru (Lesotho).

He acquired his matric and several degrees through correspondence chiefly with the University of South Africa. In 1971 he obtained his post graduate degree at the Free University in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and a PhD in ministry at the Pacific Western University, Colorado in the United States of America in 1979. Over and above his degrees in theology, he obtained a PhD in Naturopathy at the Naturopathy College of South Africa.

He served in the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk in Afrika (NGKA), as scribe of the Regional Synod of Southern Tvl from 1972-1997 and for the General Synod from 1981-1994.

He then served, in the Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa, as Moderator of the Regional Synod of Southern Tvl from 1999-2007 and as Assesor of the General Synod from 2001-2005.

He had a passion for justice and for the reunification of the Dutch Reformed church-family. Being part of the leadership of the then NGKA, he paved the way for the unification with the ‘Sendingkerk’. They would declare in a press statement in 1991, ‘In view of the present time in South Africa, churches are called to give a positive witness with regards to mutual acceptance and reconciliation. The unity of the DRCA and DRMC will present a clear witness that these two churches have ended the sinful separation which was forced upon them for such a long time.’

In one of his last sermons to the Regional Synod of Southern Tvl, he passionately pleaded the church reunification for the whole DR church-family to be seen as a simple act of obedience to Gods call. He read Matt 6: 5 and noted that this is a well known prayer, which we all have known since the days of our youth. He underlined the key verse, which was also the theme for the Synod, ‘may your will be done earth’. ‘What a wonderful place our world would have been if every Christian would simply do this. Our prayers would link up with daily life and we would become more, increasingly conscious of Christ in his life. Our spiritual poverty is because our unwillingness to enter a deep relationship with God, as revealed in Scriptures. It is only if we submit to the will of God, that it will cause spiritual growth. Unfortunately we don’t do it. It might be Gods will for us but we refuses to do it, then we experience conflicting loyalties. Our sense of values becomes distorted.’

He then lamented the fact that for more than 35 we’ve been speaking unity, unity…. We’ve preached unity the late Rev E Buti started this process. It’s now more than 35 years, saying the same thing, hoping that tomorrow unity will come from heaven. But, he stated, in despair, ‘it’s not coming’; why are we struggling, because people are not willing to submit to will of God. We present excuses and my own selfish will becomes first’. Then he spoke a startling word, he stated, ‘I tell you today- we won’t see unification on this earth- some say – give us 3 years- no it will take another 35 years.In our discussions we rather say: my will first and Gods will second. And then we think God must bless us. We however do like Jonah- we’re on a wrong way. So, we know what happened to Jonah. He ended up searching for God in the belly of the whale. Oh, he concluded, we wasted such a lot of money, yet Christ simply said- be one.
Where is the will of God? – I ask you, where is the will of God?
This prophetic sermon seems to be haunting us in our quest for reunification. It haunts those who would constantly remind us of all the difficulties, of all the impossibilities.
Dr Seth Pitikoe died an untimely death, yet his prophetic word still speaks powerfully to this situation in the DRC-family today. May his children see the fulfillment of his hope.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Funeral arrangements of Dr Seth Pitikoe

The funeral arrangments of Dr Seth Pitikoe is as follows:
The service will start at 10am at the URCSA in Tladi.
it is hoped and it was the wish of Dr Pitikoe that the service be simple and short and the family wish to honour this request.