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.
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