Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pray for Paul Ntshumayelo

Paul Ntshumayelo, dynamic church planter and key thinker in urban ministry has had another setback on his health. It is hoped that he will recover to again lead the church in building viable communities, but also in leading the church in Gauteng and beyond.

The broader church community is asked to keep him in our prayers and also his young family and ministry. May he receive healing, but also much needed rest.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Workshop in churchgrowth and churchplanting: Orange Farms

The challenge of church growth has not always been central to the self-understanding of churches in the Reformed tradition. Add to this, the context of Orange Farm, a mega township on the Vaal and you might think that some-one is delusional. Not so with Dr Paul Ntshumaeylo, scribe of the Southern Transvaal Regional synod, but also church planter of note.

The conversation on churchgrowth, within missiology is a very controversial one. Many argue that this is a relic of the colonialist missions theology, most evident in the work of Donald McGavran and missiologists, primarily from the US. It however remains a question, how we are to pursue healthy congregations in a new missionary context, where new townships and residential areas render existing congregational boundaries irrelevant, if not redundant. It is in this context where these concepts becomes not only relevant, but also critical in being an authetically missional church.

Dr Paul speaks from experience as well as deeper theological reflection which culminated in the doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof Piet Meiring at the University of Pretoria. His growing congregation on the Vaal hence will host a workshop on Church growth and Churchplanting on the 8 March 2008. At this workshop another young scholar and holder of a Kampen scholarship from the Northern Theological Seminary, Rev Boitumelo Senokoane, from the Lakeside congregation, will also speak on this topic.

Hope towards unification amongst NG family, is fading

Hope towards a united NG Kerk is fading. In an article in the Rapport, yesterday, Pieter van Niekerk, minister in the Cape Regional synod of the URCSA suggest that the process is in peril. Under the heading, Die Hoop vervaag oor een NG Kerk, he suggest that the current political climate as well as the election of Prof Piet Strauss, in particular his position with regards to the confession of Belhar, might have played a part in the fact that hope is dissipating. He suggests that processes on local level is possibly the way to go, but that there should be a conversation on the question at what point do we let go, cut our losses and pursue unity with churches in the rest of Africa, who are ready and 'geesdriftig' to pursue this witnessing calling.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Allan Boesak speaks on churchunity

Prof Allan Boesak, outspoken advocate for re-unification within the NG family of churches, will speak at a workshop, in Johannesburg on 8 March 2008. The workshop being planned by ecumene ministries of the NG Kerk (Hoƫveld) and URCSA (STvl), will also host Dr Nelus Niemand, from the NG Kerk and Rev Vic Pillay from the Reformed Church in Africa, the 'Indian' wing of the 'family'.

The question of re-unification is a hotly contested one and members of the various churches have different view on this. Recently the NG Kerk in Namibia, except 2 congregations, wholly rejected the Confession of Belhar. This was in line with the various other Regional Synods, who did the same. This evidently put a stumbling block in the process and the way ahead. The Moderamina of the two Gauteng Synods met last month and also later this week to plot the way forward.

It is hoped that this conversation will give direction, but more so perspective on the relevance of this process for a time such as this. It is hoped that new impetus could be gained to re-unite the NG Kerk, for witness and ministry in Southern Africa and beyond. There recent statements by Kobus Gerber on the NG Kerk's commitment to South Africa, is dependant on dealing with the lasting, embarrassing legacy of ecclesial apartheid