Monday, April 21, 2008

Welcoming the stranger is not optional: WCC

South Africa, experience a disturbing and repulsive surge in crude xenophobic violence. It is reported that last week in Mamelodi-East, over 600 people were on the rampage, looting and destroying homes belonging to 'foreigners'. This is not unique and seemingly there are indications that the South African Polic services are also playing a role in fueling the flames.

It is in this respect that the World Council of Churches' (WCC), most recent consultation on Emigration and hospitality to the strangers is most relevant, if not urgent. In a report called, The Changing Ecclesial Context: The Impact of Migration on Living together, released by the WCC and the Middle East Council of Churches, it is stated: 'Migration is a fact of life. It is as much an instinct to survive as it is an inevitable consequence of globalisation. We can neither turn our backs on it, nor control it'.
Further, they conclude, 'Migrants are not commodities, illegal aliens or mere victims. They are human beings. Migrant rights are human rights. We must respect the human dignity of every migrant and give holistic consideration to their needs, their strengths and the economic, social and cultural contributions they make to society. Above all, we must stand in solidarity with migrants and migrant churches, accompany them and include them in the decision-making that effects and governs their lives'.

In our own context, it remains an indictment agains us as church, where we have failed our brothers and sisters, who fled their countries and now (again) have to flee South Africans, in fear of their lives. For us, as church of Belhar, welcoming and siding with the Zimbabweans, Congolese, Somalis and Sudanese remains at the heart of our witness. Indeed, welcoming the stranger is not optional.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Meeting for unification within NG Church-family

There will be a meeting between the Moderamens of URCSA (Southern Tvl) NG Kerk (Western Tvl) and Highveld Synod (NG Kerk) in order today, 17 April 2008, to expedite the re-unfication process, between black, coloured and white churches, sgaring the same confession, yet still divided on the basis of race. A breakthough in thes regions would send out a powerful message to the rest of the country, given the fact that these regions ( of the NG Kerk) repressent some of the most ardent supporters of seperate churches and opposition to re-unification. Indeed we need to trust a pray to God for wisdom and a break through, because this indeed will give a hopeful signal.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

URCSA is 14 years.... teenager years

Teenagers, some would say face the most difficult stage in their development. This is a time for stepping out of the well-known spaces, exploring new identity, but also choosing new values systems for the future. This is scary as well as daunting. The URCSA since her birth, on 14 April 1994, in the Synod-Centre, Belhar is also at a stage of redefining who we are and where we are going. This is a daunting task, but it is a task that has to be done and pursued with vigour and urgency. In a sense the earlier stages has been aimed at clarifying vision, dealing with the issues in the wake of unification and now we need and face a new challenge of public witness in the postcolonial context. This is also exiting and indeed we will aim to reflect on it more on this blog.