Friday, November 30, 2007

Climate change and the churches

At a conference, 28-29 Nov 2008 at University of the Western Cape on Climate change and the role of the churches, sponsored by Inter-church organization for development Co=operation (ICCO)the role of churches in the South were again affirmed. As local congregations, we need to revisit what we do in our maintenance, in our catechism, in our worship. Many of our congregations, in any case have vegetable gardens, in the backyard, we do ave enegry saving globes in our lights, etc. However, we can do more. Maybe its time for us to inform ourselves more. The UN convene a conference in Climate change, in Bali, Indonesia, 3-14 Dec 2007 and it would be crucial for us at the least to knwo what is discussed. More so, we need to tell the stories of how consumption patterns are impacting on our livelihood, we need to engage on the issue of land restitution, but also proper and optimal land usage. After all, this is one of the few gifts that we can give to our children, being handed down from generation to generation.

Friday, November 9, 2007

ASK vergadering/GSC Meeting

The Algemene Sinodale Kommissie (ASK) or General Synodical Commissio(GSC) met in Mamelodi, from 6-8 Nov 2007. Key issues were discussed and important decisions made, with regards to Unification, Belhar, the Ned Geref Kerk in Afrika, etc. In an article in a Afrikaans news paper today, Prof Kgatla articulated the GCS's position on Belhar, but it also gives insight into the spirit behind these decisions. Let's just highlight a few observations.

The GSC re-affirmed URCSA's position taken at the Esselenpark GSC meeting, that the Confession of Belhar should be part of the confessional basis of the new United (?) church.

With regards to the sensitive and difficult matter of the courtcases between some of our congregations and that of the Ned Geref Kerk in Afrika, where some of us have lost our properties, the Executive Committee were instructed to gather all the relevant information and data, old and new, that possible will shed light on the conversation between the URCSA and the Ned Geref Kerk in Afrika and approach the Human Rights Commission for more clarity on the way forward. GSC also decided to support our various congregations in their plight, which we understand to be the results of a heed to the call of the gospel.

On homosexuality, GSC affirmed the decisions of the General Synod of 2005, embracing gays and lesbians, but took a decision in line with the STvl namely that whilst the report of the Taskteam working on our policy is outstanding, the status qou remains namely that ministers should refrain from conducting such unions.

Another notable issues were the fact that many regions have already implemented the
Integrated Ministries model and that a new congregation, on the East Rand, the Reformed confessing community will possibly be integrated in our region. Praise God !