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!