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Messages from the General Secretary

DECEMBER 2012

As we go through Advent we continue to enjoy the love with which God has embraced the world to the extent that he sent his only begotten Son to come and live amongst us, touch our lives, heal our hurt, save us from sin and present us with the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is what we celebrate.

We celebrate because through the Prophet Isaiah God gives us a promise that the One He shall send will never break the reed that is already bruised nor quench the flax that is weakened. Instead, “He will bring forth justice for truth” and will not tire until “He had established justice in the earth”. This is how God introduces to us His Servant in whom “His Spirit is upon Him”.

In Jesus Christ we learn and live justice and truth without which we cease to do God’s will here on earth. Our relation with God gets contaminated and corrupted by our failure to speak truth to one another in love. We fail our part as Christians when we fail to realize how unjust and untruthful the world can be. For those of us who know the Way, the Truth and the Life, our complacency is the one that destroys the world. Our silence in a world where there is a blatant disregard for justice and peace is sinful.

Advent must instruct us to reconnect with the Lord’s values to the extent that we do not allow the world to misrepresent what He lived and died for.

This is the time through which the poor, the weak and the most vulnerable are affirmed and strengthened. Christ does not break them. Christ does not quench them. Rather, He restores them.
What is it that has gone so wrong in the world today that the weak no longer matter. The powerful trample upon and oppress them. The weak live in squalor in the midst of opulence.

They stand along the street lamps and ask for a morsel of food. They have become a “common sight” and do not appear to be a “concern” any longer to the society in which we live. They appear as though they are no longer God’s people because the powerful deprive them of human dignity. Often when we are put in charge of public resources to aid their situation, we loot from them and sentence them into perpetual mode of need and want.

For Christians to speak out the truth is to live like Christ and to advocate for justice is to “lay one’s life for a friend” and to be “neighbourly”. These are values that the People of God are called to espouse. As we celebrate Christ and His “modest” birth, let us not allow capitalists to use His birth in vain.

These are the ones who present Him as a glittering Lord, one who is born within a “monied” environment and appears materially rich. This is clearly not Jesus of Nazareth – one who appeared as a lowly-placed servant of the people “who might have been rich and yet chose to be poor”. Poverty humbled Him and His was a well performed ministry.

Our country needs Christ. No more must we continue to experience death and neglect. Criminals must be ministered to, killers and murders converted to the Lord. The heart-broken must be healed, counseled and made whole.

Exploiters and those who do not care about the welfare of others must be corrected, rebuked and admonished to know the truth that is liberating. No one must be left untouched by the mood of advent. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

AUGUST 2012

Just about a week or so after receiving almost daily reports that about ten (10) people including two SAPS members and two mine security guards were killed in Wonderkop – a mine village in Marikana within the Northwest Province, the leadership of the SACC visited the place on a fact-finding mission. Our visit then coincided with the release of the Bench Marks Foundation Report on mining activity and its negative impact on the lives of the surrounding communities.

Bishop Jo Seoka, in his capacity as the President of the SACC and I arrived in Wonderkop in the afternoon of the 16 August 2012 and proceeded straight to the hill location where just about three thousand workers had gathered in protest over low wages and the allegations that they were being attacked. These workers had downed tools and were on strike – although we got to learn later through our further consultations that it was an unprotected strike.

On arrival we went through two security checks and quite frankly nothing appeared hostile. Although police vehicles were spread and parked all over, you couldn’t miss the fact that this was one of the biggest operations the SAPS have ever put together in many years. Police and military helicopters, bakkies, sedans, water cannons, barbed wire, caspirs, you name it, were all there to give back up to a contingent of about four to five hundred police personnel. The operation was huge, very huge.

No police asked us any question why we were in the area – most probably because we both had our clerical collars on. We proceeded directly and approached the community of workers who some of them were dancing and singing rhythmic songs while others perched themselves neatly on top of the hill overlooking the Lonmin compound. We parked our car at a distance and approached them on foot – demonstrating with our raised hands that we were peaceful people paying them a visit. Their response was to usher us to a separate but close place where their leadership received us.

We greeted and introduced ourselves as Church Leaders from the South African Council of Churches (SACC). Bishop Jo was quite helpful because he spoke to them in Xhosa which appeared to be the language they were quite comfortable with. They did not trust us because they did not know who we really were. Thus one of them asked for our identity cards or drivers’ license. Mine was left in the car but Bishop Jo handed his. The details thereof were transcribed including the cell phone contact of both of us. I was feeling terrified by all this…but kept my cool.

Like in Christ’s way, we asked them, “now that we saw your plight on television and all over the newspaper, how could the Church be of help to you?”. Their response was, “we do not have food and water…if only you could provide. But also if you could make it possible for us to meet the Lonmin Management to present our story, why we are on this mountain…”. We immediately picked to address the latter as we realized that it will take time to drive to Rustenburg (about 40km away) for resources mobilisation.

Indeed we went ahead, located and found the Management Offices where we met three Managers. There, we were also welcomed following our presentation and introduction as SACC leadership. Two of the Managers recognized Bishop Jo immediately and we started relating the workers’ needs. Management placed before us three conditions on whose basis it were possible for them to meet the workers and these were:

  1. That the workers must disarm,
  2. Disperse from the mountain
  3. Elect and sent to Management a delegation for talks.

We accepted to relate these conditions to the workers on the same day and yet were asked by Management to receive further briefing from the Police (SAPS) Management before proceeding to the workers. We stopped at the Police in the company of the Management and met the Provincial police Commissioner who, whereas appreciating our effort, maintained that her brief was to maintain public order taking the national security question into high consideration.

Whereas we saw ourselves dealing with workers, she saw the police dealing with “suspects” and “criminals” who were armed on a public space – which is unacceptable in law.

Even with that said, we indicated our mandate and the intension to proceed and give report to the workers regarding the conditions laid down by the Mine Management for talks to resume. Just when we were about to leave, we noticed an unusual movement amongst the Police – as if something was about to happen. This was a reaction to the command that might have been issued out to the effect that time for the workers had run out and they will be forced to disarm and leave the mountain.

One Manager called us aside and indicated that the area in which we were about to move was declared a “security area” and therefore it would be undesirable of us to proceed into it. We were stopped…and the police moved in. We naturally took the opposite direction with unclear conscience for having failed to report back to the workers. We had hardly made 10km away from the mine, when one of the workers called and said in Xhosa, “where are you, you were here and now the Police are shooting us…” We could hear the sound of live ammunition through the phone and as Bishop Jo tried to respond the phone died down. Bishop Jo called back and indicated to the caller that we couldn’t return because the Police had stopped us from proceeding to them.

We then turned on the radio and all the way to Johannesburg we listened to how the Police had opened fire, killed and injured many people. We were sad…very sad. The following day when we opened up newspapers, we could recognize some of the leaders we spoke to lying dead on the ground. One particular man we could easily identify clad in a green cape, spoke peace to us…and yet gone forever….

Only if we could have been given the chance to return the report to workers, perhaps Wonderkop massacre could not have happened. But only God knows…

 

JUNE 2012

At the height of human oppression and living daily under a government so evil-inclined that it earned itself the description of cruelty against humanity, students in Soweto arrived at a crunch and refused to allow evil to define and determine their human destiny. They refused to learn and to acquire knowledge through the language of the oppressor and were eventually killed for this conviction.

34 years later we sit here as South Africans in a country where their blood brought about our own freedom. We are called to remember them and their families in prayers for theirs could not have been death in vain. And although to imagine them on that fateful winter day evokes a painful memory and emotion, we take counsel in the fact that their fight was for a good cause – the liberation of all humanity.

This calls upon the youth of South Africa to re-focus and lend meaning to a day that ended up so sad and yet gave life to the people of this country. We must never be a nation that allows young people to prey on one another, disrespect the elders and end up in prison for all the wrong reasons.

Rather, the moment of this day, June 16, must be a constant reminder that student had made sound education their priority call. It is therefore a day to be dedicated to education than to wild festivities that often end up in misery.

The Church, for its part must commend the nation to prayer, putting before God a celebration that represents the cry of those who continue to suffer the yoke of neglect even in this democracy.

It cannot be correct that when blood streamed the streets of Soweto and other parts of the country, 18 years since the inception of democracy students in Soweto and elsewhere in the country still go about without decent education facilities. Some still fail to access university education while graduates roam the streets without employment. This is wrong.

Government has to stop just giving long addresses on this day without announcing and staging tangible and practical programmes that could reduce the flow of our youth on the streets.

There must be elaborate programmes that reduce huge numbers of young people who languish in prisons as a waste material. Bodies such as NYDA and Student Organisation, Church Youth, Business Youth and Political Parties Youth Leagues all have to come to the party and be counted amongst those who are to lead and provide solution to a problem so deep and wide. There can be no nation that could prosper when a huge chunk of its young people sit and rot in prison without any form of rehabilitation.

Let us pray as a nation and hold strong the history of June 16 more as a liberation day than just an ordinary holiday. There is God among us who understands our pain and will deliver us from the confusion that we currently walk through as a nation.

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika.

 

April 2012

Message from the General Secretary
April 2012

Once again the month of April has teetered to an end leaving behind a trail of celebrations associated with the freedom of the South African people from the colonial and apartheid rule – freedom that also represents the aspirations of the Southern African region and indeed of Africa as a whole.   

For the first time in 1994, those who were disenfranchised by human design had the opportunity to cast their ballot and put in office a democratically elected a government of their own choice led by the former President Nelson Mandela – a world icon who, many others of his generation and younger, led the struggle for the emancipation of all South Africans.

For the Christian community, in particular, who also commemorated the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, April served as a reminder that Jesus Christ came into the world precisely to offer himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of humanity as a whole. Through his death on the Cross which three days later was followed by his resurrection from the dead, humanity was freed from sin, ignorance and death.

Because nothing forbids us from tapping into the wisdom, understanding and interpretation of human freedom from the perspective of the legendary Mr. Nelson Mandela – who himself became the First President of the freed and democratic South Africa, we do so by reflecting from his Presidential Inaugural Speech:

“Let there be justice for all
Let there be peace for all
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all…”

Guided by the pernicious history that was lined with malice, evil and prejudice where people denied others the opportunity to experience justice and peace, Mandela correctly understood that the dawn of freedom was the negation of that history.

Further he understood that once people are freed from such history, they will access work, bread, water and salt as the basic resources offered by freedom and liberation.

Far much earlier before Mandela could say this, Jesus Christ himself pronounced that:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
Because he has anointed me to preach Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners (captives),
And recovery of sight for the blind,
And to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)

From this excerpt we emerge with knowledge that freedom means a disengagement from suffering, pain and restraint. It is an offering that provides the space for anyone to live in fullness.

This country has all the possibilities to provide its citizens with such fullness. However, because it has people and leaders who still subscribe to the tendencies of greed, self-centredness and abuse, it is failing to unlock its potential to offer freedom in fullness to its citizenry.

That we still have people in this freedom who go to bed without “work, bread, water and salt” is not an exaggeration of anything. While others celebrate the fact that this freedom has brought to them jobs in high offices, huge salary packages and ownership of many houses and farms, we still have those who live in squalor and are without shelter and access to sanitation. We still have children and infants who walk to school on foot for long distance, those who learn under trees and are even without text books.

Eighteen years into this freedom, it can no longer be justified why the delivery of basic social services takes so long to reach the poor.

It baffles the mind and defies simple logic that a construction of a mere 10km road that leads to my grand-mother’s village, Dithabaneng, has not been completed after work had started four years ago. Several meetings held with government officials have yielded nothing as villagers watch daily a community project intended to improve their lives apparently gone wrong. In their helplessness, they have resigned to fate for our freedom has failed to liberate them. They are simply forgotten and will be remembered later when some politician would turn them into an election fodder. At the least, this is very painful.

On an occasion such as this, where to others freedom still represents neglect and exclusion, Jesus Christ teaches us how to pray:
Give us this day our daily bread…
It appears the poor hold title to this bread because they are taught to name it “our” bread. Further the provision of bread has to be a “daily” feed – opening room for failure on the part of God to provide. This prayer also makes it clear that those who deny the poor of bread are not the custodians of this resource for it belongs to God from who it is asked in this prayer.

Leaders all over the world are put in charge of God’s resources and there must never be time when this role gets translated to mean that they own these resources.
A girl gang-raped, a woman emotionally-abused, a child drugged with illicit substance, school children roaming the streets in school uniform, a police arrested for robbery, hospital failing to provide medicine, an informal trader removed from their trading post, a pastor exploiting congregants, are all indicative of a nation yet to be free.

Let us rise and be counted among those who will be determined to advance the cause of the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded.

 

February 2012

In a prayerful manner and dictated to by the strong statements of faith, the South African Council of Churches joins the entire Christian family in South Africa, Africa and the world over to celebrate and observe the Lent Season. We are confident as we enter the Ash Wednesday (22 Feb.) that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we shall walk the full mile through the forty days and nights to emerge with a renewed faith and strength of purpose on Easter Sunday (08 Apr.).

Lent is a season characterized by prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial. It is a period through which our communication with God remains constant and consistent – seeking to amend and correct our ways of relating to him. It is a time through which we deny ourselves privileges and luxuries that are intended to reward self rather than serving the other. Throughout Lent we submit ourselves wholly to God and allow Him the space to lead, guide and guard our lives.

In our resolve to take care of the weak and the vulnerable, we need to reflect also of individuals and nations in the world who are devastated by war, violence, conflict and strife. Our role is to share peace with those circumstances have excluded them from love. As we deprive ourselves of a delicious meal, we do so in remembrance of those who starve and are denied food and drink.

The SACC dedicates this Lent Season to the Palestinian people who suffer repression and exclusion. These are people who know no peace and their children are denied the opportunity to appreciate love, to be loved and to love their neighbor(s).

This dedication goes for the Libyans as well, the Sudanese, Syrians, the people of Afghanistan, Egyptians, Zimbabweans, and many others in the world who are deprived justice.

We further call upon all South Africans to use this Lent to pray for the redemption of our country, the recovery of our humanness and the values that affirm us as the People of God. Our desire to be restored as a nation must become a prayer priority so that those who are corrupt and live in perpetual temptation can be delivered.

All churches are urged to hold special services of worship from the 04 March to 08 April focusing on the following themes:

  • Prayer
  • Penance
  • Repentance
  • Almsgiving
  • Self-denial

The following readings are recommended:


Genesis 9:8-17

2 Cor. 5: 20, 6:10

Mat 6:1-6, 16-21

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

1 Peter 3:18-22

Mark 1:9-15

Ps. 119: 9-16

Ps 51:1-17

Romans 4:13-25

Mark 8:31-38

Ps. 118:1-2, 19-29

Ps 25:1-10

1 Cor. 1:18-25

Mark 9:2-9

Is. 50: 4-9a

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

Ephesians 2:1-10

John 2:13-22

Ps. 31:9-16

Ps 22:23-31

Hebrews 5:5-10

John 3:14-21

Ex. 12:1-14

Ex. 20: 1-17

Philippians 2:5-11

John 12:20-33

Ps. 116:1-2, 12-19

Ps 19

1 Cor. 11:23-26

Mark 14:1-15;4

 

Numbers 21:4-9

 

Mark 15:1-39

 

Ps. 107:1-3, 17-22

 

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

 

 

JANUARY 2012

“TEACHERS TEACH and LEARNERS LEARN”

Acts 8:26-40, reference on 30 and 31

 In this commonly read text, Phillip was sent by GOD through an Angel to reach out to the Ethiopian eunuch – a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians - who was travelling from worship in Jerusalem back home. His struggle was READING a text which was filled with LIFE and yet couldn’t understand. Philip initiates a conversation with him and this is in part how it goes:

30. Philip said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31. And he (eunuch) said, “Well, how could I unless someone guides me?”

This brings me to the theme of this message: TEACHERS TEACH and LEARNERS LEARN.

From this conversation and the willingness by both parties to carry out their respective responsibilities, GOD’s objective to save the eunuch was achieved and eventually through baptism he belonged to the LORD.

This model of relationship extends well to teachers and learners in class. As learners struggle with the reading material in search of saving knowledge, teachers must be there for them to guide and encourage. It must always ring in the minds of teachers that without them interpreting and analyzing knowledge, learners, like the eunuch, will always find it a struggle to understand.

Similarly, it remains primarily the responsibility of learners to take the initiative to learn and struggle through the knowledge material in order to demonstrate the willingness and readiness to learn. This attitude then encourages the teachers since they will realize the learner to be a willing partner. As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango…” For education to thrive both the learner and teacher must play their roles to the fullest.

In this way the South African Council of Churches (SACC) joins the rest of the country in great anticipation as schools re-open and children grabbing the opportunity to be taught, learn and acquire the necessary knowledge that will improve their lives and save them from destitution.

Over years the Church has always been an accompaniment in matters of education which is life-giving. This is because through education communities learn sound values upon which the human view of life is sharpened. Through education leaders are produced and society acquires skills to turn living conditions into better experience. South Africa stands to become even more of a better nation provided we take education seriously and invest all our resources in ensuring that children access it.

Equally, our role on the continent of Africa and the world will be enhanced and made even much more visible provided children of this nation are helped to go through a sound, balanced, well-resourced and competitive education system.

As the year of teaching and learning begins, we appeal to all parents to ensure that their children are fully registered for school. In cases where children stay by themselves, orphaned or neglected, we plead with churches, neighbors and other welfare community organisations to take responsibility and ensure that no child is left out of school.

It is very disheartening that we have children in this country who live on the streets and are without care and support. It is a growing culture that demands of society to make the necessary interventions.
We similarly implore on all teachers to defend the right of these children to learn by committing themselves to effective teaching. Over the years we have seen how some teachers would neglect their responsibilities to teach only to blame it on the children when they later fail. Teachers are parents, leaders and guides.

Their vocation is endowed with the high responsibility that children in South Africa do not continue to live in ignorance and backwardness but are able to join the demands of the competitive world to make their contribution as equal world citizens. This is a noble responsibility second to none and teachers must carry it out with honour.

As it has been said time and again, no amount of teaching and parental accompaniment will ever produce results if learners are themselves not ready to learn. It has to be drilled in the mind of our children to take their own education seriously by using all the resources of time, mind and effort to learn and be teachable. Success is driven by the energy and willingness to fight back all temptation and distraction that cause delay in life.

Obviously the Department of Education has to carry out its responsibility of ensuring that material resources are made available. Unlike in Limpopo Province where it is reported that there are no books at schools as the Department of Education failed to order stationery and textbooks on time, government has the sole responsibility of ensuring that the environment of learning and teaching is highly equipped with the required resources. Scholar transport, feeding programmes, grants for norms and standards must all be made available so that nothing is used against our resolve to produce an educated nation.

We wish all learners, teachers and parents a very fruitful and successful year of learning and teaching; knowing that knowledge liberates fully. Let us later converge at the end of this year to celebrate real success and not mediocrity.

The Rev. Mautji Pataki

 

2011 GS Messages

Christmas Message from the GS
The Spirit of the Lord is with me.
He has anointed me
To tell the Good News to the poor.
He has sent me
To announce forgiveness to the
Prisoners of sin
And the restoring of sight to the blind,
To forgive those who have been
shattered by sin,
to announce the year of the Lord’s
favour.”
Luke 4:18-19

Fellow believers, we have now come full cycle and have arrived at a point where the celebrations of the redeeming birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ have begun in earnest. We sense and see the mood of celebrations all over the streets, in our homes, cities, towns and villages.  It is a birth in the history of the Christian faith that is responsible for having saved the world from what loomed large as a potential human catastrophe. Without Christ, the people of God could have perished in sin – both of omission and commission.
Human character has a way to drift away from God’s prescribed ways and in this way committing a sinful act. This is because once we are a distance away from God we tend to love ourselves more than Him. We get drawn into selfishness while despising others. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ heralds a new and saving beginning where as the Prophet Isaiah puts it,
The people who walk in darkness will see a bright light. The light will shine on those who live in the land of death’s shadow.” Is.9
As we celebrate this birth we must resist the temptation to engage in those activities that add darkness and death to our lives. We must refuse to remain a people led by darkness and evil because the opportunity to live in light and to walk away from death is presented to us.
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is awake to the fact that there are some people who would use this time to destroy their lives and those of us through reckless and negligent driving which in many cases end up in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Our roads are forever painted in blood because we fail to respect each other, fellow motorists and the law that seeks to guide and lead us. In this way we deny many families the joy that comes with Christmas because this is the time when many children who because of the migrant workers system live without their parents and only get to see them.
Christmas must be defined by the presence of organised worship, joy and noise that seek to glorify God. Excessive intake of alcohol, illicit drugs and other intoxicants militates against this spirit. This is because those who engage in all this end up initiating acts of abuse and violence against others. Him born on this day decried suffering that is caused by one on another. He advocated peace that is found in the knowledge of God.
Let us therefore use this time to remember, prayerfully, all those nations and individuals who experience war, famine and neglect. Their experience hurts Christ’s mission among the people of the world.
We have to be of one mind with the Lord Jesus Christ when he talks about the vulnerable groups whom he has come to save from the strong forces of the world responsible for their misery. Our calling is to embrace one another in the spirit of unity and allow God’s Spirit to lead our ways and direct our intentions.
South Africa is one such nation where people are still divided based on material accumulation and class. The most vulnerable continue to groan in their loneliness and weakness. The powerful, on the other side, look the other way and feel detached from the suffering of their fellow citizens. This is not the environment conducive to receive the Lord who calls us to repentance and we seek his face.
The Church must rise to the occasion and lead the processes of national reconciliation. Those who cry for land must be accorded land according to the principles of sharing and caring for one another. Those who crave for food and for shelter must be listened to and be afforded the opportunity to cut their slice in this competitive economy. The poor cannot continue to experience death when the rich and the affluent live in opulence...and we are made to believe that there is nothing wrong with the system.
For Christ to restore sight to the blind is to move us out of the misery of illiteracy and the poverty of education. As we celebrate him, let us be mindful that there is a throng of our people who live and are without decent educational facilities. There must be a deliberate effort to advance education as a defence in the world where the uneducated are despised and rejected. Every child must therefore be provided with an opportunity to be in school and to be supported throughout without dropping out of school. This is adding sight to the blind.
Similarly, access to health is part of Christ’s historic mandate. He comes into our lives so that we may “have life and life in abundance”. What Christ advocates is life without need. Our hospitals, clinics and other facilities that are designed to provide good health must be equipped in such a way that this purpose is not defeated. Life in abundance must be translated into a happy life. This is how our Lord Jesus Christ has to be celebrated.
Those who turn Christmas into a festival to display wealth and opulence, materialism and social class contradict the very nature and character of he whose birth took place in a manger, at a small village of Bethlehem in Judea. Whereas he was a King, he wasn’t born in the comforts of Kings. Whereas he was a Master, his birth was announced to the shepherds far away from Herod and those in his league. His own mother could not find maternity space in the Inn. It was a humble birth and yet the most powerful the world has ever seen.

SACC wishes you a happy Christmas filled with joy.

 

Nov-Dec 2011
The much awaited COP17/CMP7 has started in Durban and listening to some of the delegates, it is quite important that much must be done in order not to prolong the debate but rather find solutions to a challenge that threatens the demise of the world including human life. On the positive is the spirit of determination to fight by those who represent even poorer communities. The powerful still has to say something to energise the passion and anxiety already displayed by the weak.

For its part, the SACC invites all Christians to pray for the success of these discussions. It must not happen that on our very soil in Africa, powerful nations take decisions about our own demise. This is because it is factually recorded that those who emit lethal gases more than anyone else are not the African nations. We need to call upon God to guide the talks so that humanity could be saved.

The SACC released a small liturgical booklet, "The Healing of Creation: Climate Change, COP17 and beyond" to inspire worship services all across the country in search of God's solution that is clearly beyond human capability. The booklet is a resource which would be found in churches and Provincial Councils' offices for easy reading and reference.

There are also extensive documents on CD roms which will also be accessible through our website to serve the same purpose as that of the booklet. Our determination is for all Christians to join this struggle of saving what God gave to us as a gift to be in charge of. We can only become good stewards if we save water, recycle plastic and tin, preserve the soil, and purify the air. These we do by planting more trees in our environment while urging communities including children not to litter.

I am hopful that each one of us would do something in our own environment to ensure that this campaign becomes a success and mother nature saved.


October 2011
O
n Climate Change:

From where many South Africans and I sit, we have come to observe that the momentum for our country to host COP17 is gaining huge grounds.

We hear even in the corridors of government through the pronouncements of the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation that South Africa is indeed ready to host the world as its descends on Durban in Kwazulu-Natal to hold the 17th International Conference of Parties on Climate Change.

Our challenge as South Africans and indeed Africa is to confront the question, “what will make COP17 different from all the other 16 that went through much earlier hosted by other countries and nations?” In other words, at the end of this Conference, what is it that the world could show to demonstrate the willingness and the readiness of the powerful to share good life with the weak and the less influential in our societies. These are pertinent questions behind which lay answers for the redemption or destruction of the planet earth.

Over time, we are told, heavy industrialization and technological advancement by countries of the North and West has led us to this near calamity through the works of carbon emission and energy resources. This is because those among the multi-nationals and corporate who persistently pursue capital and profit at the expense of the poor have now posed serious danger to how the environment is supposed to feed and to take care of humanity.

It is in God’s original plan and intention that the air, the waters, minerals, soil and many other natural sources are meant to sustain human life than destroy it.

So the question that begs the attention of the Church and indeed the SACC is “how does climate change connects with the gospel of Jesus Christ”? In an effort to give answer to this question a lot has been done by theologians in a variety of presentations. Whereas Paul refers to the “groaning creation”, David refers to “the earth as belonging to God with all in it…”. The writings of the Genesis also refer to how God appointed human beings to be stewards of creation, not to spoil it but to preserve it. So, this puts it beyond question how the gospel would relate to issues of environment.

Several consultations have been organized by the ecumenical organizations including All Africa Conference of Churches, Fellowship of Eastern and Southern Christian Councils, Ecumenical Justice Network, Southern Africa Faith Communities Institute and many others who on certain occasions work with the relevant government departments and NGOs.

Our appeal therefore is for member churches and Christians in general to participate in all manners possible to make this conference a success. In small cells and communities, Christians are encouraged to pray for both the environment and the talks that will be taking place in Durban so that they go far to reach the objective which is to save both the environment and people.

These prayers must be sustained and theologically sound. They must call for action on the part of the part of those with the responsibility to design appropriate policies to save the earth, environment and the people from apparent calamity.


People are invited to attend
the rallies, demonstrations and lobby groups that will be taking place in Durban as from the 27th November to 04th December, this year. There will be a rally about which detailed information will be given. Similarly an Interfaith service whose particulars would also be later related.

The intention of this message is to galvanise youth, women and everyone else including clergy and Church Leadership to take the lead and make COP 17 work out in the favour of the people who suffer more.


Let us hear more from you...

Email: support@sacc.org.za

South African Council of Churches

>> VIEW CURRENT SACC PRESIDENT PROFILE
The Right Reverend Dr Johannes Thomas Seoka

Born in August 1948 in KwaZulu-Natal province. He started his schooling in Stanger and graduated as a teacher in 1971 at Eshowe College of Education in Zululand. In 1972 he proceeded to study theology at St Bede’s College 012 – Umthatha, Eastern Cape. He was made Deacon in December 1974 and began his ministry in Newcastle, Northern Natal. A year later he was ordained Priest in the same Diocese of Natal.  Read More...

Presented on 18/11/2012 by Rev. Mautji Pataki, General Secretary of South African Council of Churches (SACC) at Seshego Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the Ecumenical Lecture established in honour of Rev. Abraham Mitši Maja – an embracing icon and a rallying personality of our ecumenical struggle and participation in this country and the Province of Limpopo in particular – those of us both ready and willing to pursue his dream have the responsibility to remind ourselves of the inaugural values, principles and standards that undergird and guided the mind of those who were the first to consider and conceive the idea so noble behind the establishment of this Lecture.

Read More >>


  >> Bible Verse

Psalm 110:3

'Your strength shall be renewed day by day (each day) like the morning dew!'

God gives us strength for each day.

If you live in the future you will get exhausted.

Each day God wants to renew your strength for that day.

Receive that strength right now!

PRAYER: Lord, I receive new strength from You right now. Amen.

Proverbs 14:30

‘A heart that has peace is life to the body, but wrong desires are like the wasting away of the bones.’

God’s plan is that we would live, enjoying His peace in our lives. When His peace is absent, our lives can waste away. So receive His peace and deal with the wrong desires. Then you will know and enjoy life as He intended for you.

PRAYER: Lord, forgive me for my wrong desires. Fill me with Your peace and may I know more of Your abundant life in my life. Amen.

Isaiah 41:10

Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

PRAYER: Lord, how thankful I am to know that You are with me! Because of this great fact I can be strong and filled with courage. Amen.

Romans 15:13 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Dec 2012

Isaiah 41:10 
Fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Nov 2012


Ecumenical Reflections
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South African Council of Churches History


SACC Book - Come Celebrate! - Click Here

  Come Celebrate! was published to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the South African Council of Churches in 1993. It consisted of two books in one volume. The first, written by Rev. Bernard Spong, then head of the SACC's Communications Department, is a brief account of the Council's first 25 years. The second, by the head of the SACC's Faith and Mission Unit at the time, Rev. Cedric Mayson... Read More...
 

  Mission Statement
The SACC works for moral reconstruction in South Africa, focussing on issues of justice, reconciliation, integrity of creation and the eradication of poverty and contributing towards the empowerment of all who are spiritually, socially and economically marginalised.
 
Vision Statement
G A L L E R Y  P H O T O S The SACC as part of the Body of Christ is a communion on a pilgrimage promoting Justice, Dignity and the Fullness of Life
 Our Prayer
If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. — Jeremiah 7:5-7
 

 


 BREAKING NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Dear Pastors, Bishops, church leaders, Youth leaders, Bafundisi, Baprofeti,                                                                                                                                                       
                                                     Dorcas, Zwelonke, women groups, church activists and social justice movements

                                            RE: INVITATION TO A PUBLIC DIALOGUE
THEME: Church and Gender Equality ……… What progress has been made?

The Ecumenical service for socio economic transformation (ESSET) would like to invite you to participate on this public dialogue that will be held on the 28 August 2013.   The Ecumenical service for socio economic is an independent organisation that works for social and economic justice against the systematic exclusion and exploitation of the poor.

As an organisation committed to socio economic justice, ESSETs role goes beyond mere poverty alleviation programmes that only deal with the symptoms of unjust systems. Its work instead is about striving for socio economic transformation by challenging socio economic processes, systems and structures that undermine the life and dignity of poor people. Its mission is to advocate for social and economic justice by committing to being in solidarity with the poor in their struggles as they act in resistance to their marginalisation and oppression. Our focus this month is on women.

Read more

 

Re: ESSET 2 Day Workshop on the legal framework for informal trade                                                            

The Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation – (ESSET) would be hosting a two days’ workshop on the Legal framework for informal trade. The workshop will be attended by 30 women informal traders from three provinces of South Africa-: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. The workshop is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg on the 04th – 05th August 2013. The workshop is the first phase of the ESSET project titled-: Boosting the economic and political empowerment of working class women.”

Background
The South African Department of Trade and Industry found that 3.5 million poor and unemployed people were engaged in survivalist economic activities in 2004 . It means that approximately 19.4% of the 18 million people who lived in poverty in 2004 eked out their livelihood from survivalist economic activities, underscoring the point that survivalist enterprises are an important coping strategy for the jobless poor. The considerable importance placed by poor black women on low-income earning survivalist economic activities, such as street trade and small scale informal cross-border trade, begs the question:

Read more

 

Meals On Wheels - Northern Cape

Meals on Wheels Community Services
is a non-profit organization providing Cooked meals, to the poorest of the poor, vulnerable persons, children and the elderly. Providing community support, infrastructures, and services to those in need... www.mowcsnc.org.za

Read More...

 

Tell them we are from here

 

Invitation to a Seminar on Xenophobia and Churches

The South African Council of Churches through it’s newly formed Programme, Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa (AxaSA), and the FBO Sector in the Department of Community Safety, have joined hands to host a seminar on Xenophobia and Churches. The seminar will reflect on the scourge of xenophobia in our communities and it will, in the same breathe, reflect on the mitigating efforts of churches in the context of violence, conflicts and displacements of people. In particular, the seminar is intended to strengthen the churches towards the prevention of conflicts and violence, as well as the promotion and the defense of the rights of all people. What is centrally desired is that communities should be safe for all people.

You are kindly invited to participate in the seminar to be held as follows:

Date:            Tuesday, 21st May 2013
Time:           08h30 – 15h00      
Venue:        The Methodist Church of Southern Africa
                     Central District      
                     Plot 136, William Nicole Drive
                     Diepsloot Ext 10    

 

Yours sincerely,

Rev Gift Moerane
Ecumenical Secretary: SACC Gauteng

 

 

African Diaspora Forum

Re: invitation to the commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the 2008 xenophobic attacks victims

You are invited to the commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the 2008 xenophobic attacks’ victims, organised by the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) in partnership with Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa (aXaSA) in remembrance of the 62 people killed and in support of the thousands displaced migrants during the 2008 violence that raged South Africa.

Theme: ‘One Society, One Africa’

Time: From 11h00-16h00

Date: 18 May 2013

Venue: Yeoville Recreation Centre,
36 Cnr Raleigh & Fortesque
Yeoville, Johannesburg

Please RSVP by email info@axasa.org.za or africandiasporaforum@gmail.com by May 14, 2013. All inquiries relating to the event should be directed to the undersigned.

Attached is the draft programme, the final programme will be communicated to you shortly before the event.

Kind Regards   

Aline Mugisho


Head of Communication

 

SACC aXaSA meets with the National Commissioner, General MV Phyega
Friday, 12 April 2013

 

Take care of foreigners – Chikane
15 March 2013 15:09

City Press Article

http://www.citypress.co.za/news/take-care-of-foreigners-chikane 

People need to take care of one another, including their “brothers and sisters” from neighbouring countries, former director general in the presidency Frank Chikane has said. “We are one family, we are one people…. We are one people, that’s why our languages are similar. We come from the same place,” he told Daveyton residents at a public meeting today.

Chikane said a person was a human being before he was a foreigner. “This country has got the means for everybody to have some food…. We have a system that takes care of basic needs,” he said. Chikane asked residents to share what they ate with other people because they were family.

Speaking at the Charles Wesley Methodist Church, Chikane said in the past people had not had a problem crossing borders, because they treated each other like family members. It had become a problem only in recent years. People needed to understand the laws of the country so they could use them appropriately to help themselves and others. “We need to make sure that the legal framework helps us to take care of each other; the law is supposed to help us, not cause us pain.” Chikane said some churches had become part of an industry which did not make a difference.

“We need to change our perspective about church and make it about the people; then we won’t see foreigners as foreigners, we would see them as human beings. “Don’t think that because they are foreigners that they are thieves. We are also thieves.” Earlier, former SA Council of Churches (SACC) general secretary Brigalia Bam, who is also the former chairwoman of the Independent Electoral Commission, said South Africans needed to make an effort to get to know and befriend foreigners in the country. “There is a lot of mistrust, there is a lot of jealousy, there is a lot of irritation… mostly over jobs,” she said. “There is no need to be violent. Violence will not solve the problem. People will still come to South Africa.”

“It [xenophobia] is not going to end today. We need to find ways and means of knowing the people that are here,” she said. “We have a tradition here, and we must keep to that tradition of taking care of strangers.” She said people needed to find ways of living together.

“When we receive a stranger at our homes, you may not necessarily like the stranger… reactions are not always the best, but you have to pretend.”
Bam said South Africans also had an expectation of strangers to behave. When South Africans visited other countries they abided by the foreign laws and did not stay for ever. “It is unknown how many living in South Africa are not South Africans. “It’s going to be a very long journey. In the continent on which we live, there are many conflicts, and we are part of that conflict,” she said.

 

AxaSA

http://www.axasa.org.za/logos/axasa_logo_newX_2_300.jpg

Daveyton Public Meeting

A united South Africa for All

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) through its newly formed Programme, Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa (axaSA), will be holding a Public Meeting on “A united South Africa for all”.

The SACC has a long and proud history of struggle against oppression and brutality, especially during the apartheid era. Sadly, though apartheid is gone, it still lives in the minds of some amongst us and we find ourselves confronted with the same kind of brutality perpetrated on innocent and vulnerable people.

In response to the anti-xenophobic violence of 2008, we set up the Anti-Xenophobic Action initiative to work with communities to prevent and respond to xenophobia. In honour of Emidio Marcia, the Mozambican taxi driver who died in police custody, we are redoubling our efforts to mobilise our communities to fight this scourge.

Time: 08:30 – 15:00
Date: Friday the 15th March 2013
Venue: Charles Wesley Methodist Church, Eiselen Street, Daveyton

CONTACT DETAILS
Telephone+27 (0)11 492 3652
AXASA
info@axasa.org.za

 

Press Statement – 01 March 2013

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is angry and appalled at the public humiliation, violence and later death meted against a Mozambican taxi driver at the hands of the South African Police Services (SAPS) personnel. It is simply unacceptable and needs to be condemned in the most possible way by all those who have respect for human life and are committed to a non-violent South African nation.

In the recent past we have seen so much violence in our communities and that cannot be allowed to continue without intervention.

No explanation so far makes sense as to how the police arrived at the manner in which the arrest of this man was arrived at. Footage that displays the violent in which this matter was handled is yet another demonstration that some members within the SAPS establishment are convinced of flouting the constitution of this country in many instances.

As we condemn this dastardly act that should never have happened in the first place, we call for the immediate arrest of the implicated officers.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa


Seminar on Anti-Xenophobia

On the 14th of February 2013, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) through it’s newly formed Programme, Anti-Xenophobia Action South Africa (aXaSA), and the FBO Sector in the Gauteng Department of Community Safety have joined hands to host a seminar on xenophobia and churches.

The participants of the seminar will reflect on the effects of xenophobia in our communities and it will, in the same breathe, reflect on the mitigating efforts of churches in the context of violence, conflicts and displacements of people. In particular, the seminar is intended to strengthen the churches towards the prevention of conflicts and violence, as well as the promotion and the defense of the rights of all people. What is centrally desired is that communities should be safe for all people.

For more information please contact: Rev Gift Moerane at 084 876 3525 and/or at  gmoerane@gcc.org.za

Public Meeting

http://www.axasa.org.za/logos/axasa_logo_newX_2_300.jpg 

On the 26th of February 2013, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and South African Council of Churches will be holding a Public Meeting in Musina, Limpopo.
The meeting will be held under the theme - A United SA for all: Combating Xenophobia. We will, wherever possible, co-ordinate proactive and reactive strategies and actions to STOP violent attacks.

For more information, please call aXaSA offices on 011 492 3652 or Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition offices on 011 838 9642


Apply now: Assembly Stewards Programme 2013

Young Christians from around the world are invited to apply to the World Council of Churches (WCC) Stewards Programme for a 3 week hands-on learning experience at the WCC 10th Assembly from 23 October to 10 November 2013. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.

Deadline: 7 February 2013

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/ programmes/ the-wcc-and-the-ecumenical-move ment-in-the-21st-century/ youth-in-the-ecumenical-movemen t/stewards-programme.html

 

The church speaks.... for such a time as this...1
25 November 2012

Embargoed to the media until 7 December 2012


Introduction:
We, leaders and members from the Christian community, wish to affirm in what follows, our dependence on and submission to the depths and the height and the width of Christ’s love, for without that love we are nothing.2 God calls us all to focus on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—anything which is excellent or praiseworthy” 3 We ask that we will all hear what follows in the spirit of humility and concern for these virtues to prevail in our beloved country.

Read More

 

Dear President Zuma

Re: The church speaks…for such a time as this

We greet you in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


We write to you as the President both of the Republic of South Africa and of the African National Congress. We also write to you as a Christian.

God has entrusted these positions to you at this time and we wish to reflect with you what this moment in our country means for us. Please see our reflections in the attached document.
Many of our people pray for you every week, and we will continue to do so.

Read More

 

An Inter-Religious Alliance for Sustainability in Africa

Responsibility of the Khalifa
Despoil not what God has given us in abundance and placed under our vice-regency to conserve for future generations

Statement on the 18th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Doha, Qatar
26 November 2012 – 7 December 2012

Read More

 

THE “WE HAVE FAITH” CAMPAIGN
We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice , a strong and positive
message !

“We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Change” was the name of a faith-based campaign leading up to COP 17 in Durban in November/December 2011. Using the momentum that the COP created, several activities were carried out in the name of climate justice. Through an Interfaith Rally in Durban; a Climate Caravan bringing 161 youth through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana on the way to Durban, South Africa; Bicyclists from the South Africa border to Durban; concerts and workshops as well as meetings, capacity building, national and international advocacy work awareness on climate justice was raised throughout the continent. The final destination of the caravan was the Interfaith Rally at Kings Park in Durban and it was characterized by the handing over of petitions by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu to the COP 17 President.

Read More

 

Read More

The 3rd Reverend Abraham Maja Ecumenical Lecture - 2012

Presented on 18/11/2012 by Rev. Mautji Pataki, General Secretary of South African Council of Churches (SACC) at Seshego Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

Chairman of South African Council of Churches, Limpopo Province, Rev. Awedzani Nemaukwe and all other Members of the Executive Committee;

Rev. Abraham Maja, Mrs Maja and all other members of the family and relatives,
Members of the Clergy, the entire Church Leadership and Congregants,
The Premier of Limpopo Province, Mr Cassel Mathale, Members of the Executive Council and all other officials representing Government at any other level,
Honourable Members of Parliament and Legislatures
Members of the Judiciary’
Community Leaders and the representatives of other community organisations and institutions including Traditional, Sports and Cultural’
Political Parties, their leadership and general membership,
Youth and Women Groups,
Media
Ladies and Gentlemen!

On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the Ecumenical Lecture established in honour of Rev. Abraham Mitši Maja – an embracing icon and a rallying personality of our ecumenical struggle and participation in this country and the Province of Limpopo in particular – those of us both ready and willing to pursue his dream have the responsibility to remind ourselves of the inaugural values, principles and standards that undergird and guided the mind of those who were the first to consider and conceive the idea so noble behind the establishment of this Lecture.

Read More...

 

South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg

SACC WELCOMES HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION REPORT ON THE KILLING OF ANDRIES TATANE.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) welcomes the findings of the report by the Human Rights Commission regarding the killing of Mr Andries Tatane as an appreciable step in the direction of securing and protecting basic human rights of all South African citizens enshrined in the constitution. It is clear from the report that the use of excessive force on the unarmed Tatane was unwarranted. There is therefore no justification why Tatane was killed at the time when he was simply exercising his constitutional right of protest against things in society that he found appalling and dehumanizing.

We appeal to members of the South African Police Service to learn to understand that all human life comes from God and that all effort must always be made in all circumstances to respect and protect it against any harm and destruction. It is a sacred gift that is given once to one person at a time by one super being, God. Our appeal also goes to Government to prioritise the re-training of police in public order management because this is becoming a worrying factor in this country. We lose life when we could have easily preserved it.

Issued by the Office of the General Secretary on 01 November 2012.

 

Rev Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary

 

Press Release
19 October 2012

SACC Mourns Thomas Madigage.

Message of Condolence on the Occasion of the Death of Mr Thomas Madigage

The South African Council of Churches receives the death of Bafana Bafana Assistant Coach, Mr. Thomas Madigage, with a deep sense of loss and sadness. Madigage displayed his love for our country when he accepted the national call to be part of those to improve our soccer ratings in the world. In our view he carried himself well in this assignment for he was a patriot.

We commend his family to God in prayer. We pray for Bafana Bafana Team, SAFA and the entire soccer fraternity for God’s strength through this trying time.

We pray that God with all the heavenly company receive him warmly and reward him with the heavenly crown.

May his soul rest in peace.

 

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

SACC invites your participation in its new-established
Church-Support programme
*SACC Mjikelo/Mnikelo Fund* 

Main Objective
To assist local churches, particularly in rural and informal settlement areas to
develop physical infrastructure and church-based community projects
throughout South Africa.
Donation Amount - R5 (Five Rand)
Send SMS The name of you Church and Town to 36355 now and your donation will be recorded with SACC.

*How to Make a Donation Now*
SMS “Name of Church”, “Name of Town” to 36355
To make a donation of R5

 

03 September 2012
Message of Condolence: Rev. Dr. Khoza Mgojo

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) receives the news on the passing of one of its Past Presidents, The Rev. Dr. Khoza Mgojo with deep sadness and a sense of great loss.

Rev. Dr. Mgojo was an ecumenical leader, a Christian brother, a theologian of impeccable credentials, an able teacher and a disciple of Jesus Christ who spent the large part of his ministry committed to the cause of the spiritual liberation struggle against human slavery, apartheid, colonialism and the emancipation of the poor from destitution.

He became the President of the SACC at the time when our country was going through a transition from the apartheid rule to democracy. This was the time when the country was negotiating for a peaceful political settlement while confronted with the challenge to bring down a culture of political intolerance and violence which threatened to collapse the negotiations. In this period many families and individuals were uprooted from their communities into the wilderness. It was a delicate period in the life of our nation and yet Rev. Dr. Mgojo provided solid leadership and allowed God’s voice to lead him as he tirelessly worked against violence and the destruction of human life. He worked for peace.

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was appointed, Rev. Dr. Mgojo became one of those who were commissioned to be members. As was expected he discharged his responsibilities well, often taking time to reflect on what it means to build a diversified and democratic society through truth-telling, confession, repentance, atonement and reconciliation. It was not an easy task and yet Mgojo working together with others finally delivered on their mandate.

His death obviously makes South Africa poorer and yet we know that in Heaven he will find a place among those who walked with the Lord all the way. We hold strong that, like Paul, he fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

May his soul rest in peace.

Issued by the South African Council of Churches

Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki


O Sovereign LORD!
You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm.
Nothing is too hard for you!
Jeremiah 32:17
   “SACC Leadership intervention at the Marikana, Lonmin Mine” AUGUST 2012
     

 

Reliance Auctions

CHURCH & RECTORY

For Sale

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www.relianceauctions.co.za

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078 767 0445

AUGUST 2012

 

Presentation at the South African Medical Association Conference by SACC General Secretary in Pretoria on 25 August 2012, South Africa.

Rev. Mautji Pataki

A recent newspaper article captioned, “Fine hospital not working”, reads as follows:

“The state-of-the-art Bertha Gxowa Hospital was opened in November last year as part of a revamp and extension of the old Germiston Hospital. Since then the hospital has not been fully functional. Patients have been housed in the adjacent Germiston Hospital building.

Bertha Gxowa has until this week only been providing pharmacy services, an antenatal clinic, outpatients clinic and chronic illness clinic. The hospital also boasts a Home Affairs birth registration office, a lounge for new fathers and a mortuary, all of which have not been used.
When Sowetan visited the hospital this week only one of the four lifts of the public was working. Outpatients had to bring their own food as there was no canteen.
Some public toilets were not flushing.

Maternity emergencies were still being referred to the old Germiston Hospital.

The beds in the new wards were not occupied. According to staff patients were to be moved to the new building this week.
The old building is in disrepair. The walls are cracking and the toilets filthy. The only public lift was not working.
Jacqueline McDonald, a patient for two weeks, said conditions were disgusting.
"We are about 20 in my ward and we fight over the two toilets. Some patients soil themselves in their beds because the toilets are always busy or not working at all," said McDonald. "We also bring our own linen because the laundry machine is faulty."
Hospital CEO Christina Mndaweni did not want speak about the cause for the delay.
"We've had a few snags at the new building and there's no point talking about them now as they have been fixed," she said. "We are starting to move some of the 149 patients and we hope to finish by Friday (today)."
The communication office of the Gauteng department of health failed to comment yesterday”
-Sowetan 24 August 2012

This story is not uncommon in this country and so for purposes of this presentation I have elected to use this particular case study to analyse the problems that we have regarding the implementation of Clause 27.1(a) of our Constitution which states in part that, “Everyone has the right to have access to health care services…”.
And because access and the provision of health care services is a basic human right question, articles such as the one I have just cited violates such right making it a legal offence on the part of the service provider not to provide such services.

There are a few points that this case study raises:
Government has voted a huge budget to build the hospital – which is highly commendable. And when government arrived at such a decision, one would have assumed that a lot of planning had been put in place with regard to how and when the hospital would start to provide health care services to the community – something that the current situation suggests wasn’t done. So, we have projects in this country that are embarked upon and yet carried out without proper planning.
Whereas it is fundamentally very wrong, it remains uncommon in this country to find toilets in a health care facility not flushing or functioning. In this state-of-the-art hospital, people who are already vulnerable are trapped with a high possibility of contracting new infections and diseases as the result of a very poor hygienic environment. There is no justification that could be made for more than 20 patients to line up for one toilet at a time in an environment when some could be running diarrhea or even vomiting.

Similar to the Limpopo experience, it is becoming fashionable in this country for patients to bring along their own linen and food to a hospital facility. People within the medical and health care environment would know better that when you are in hospital, you eat what is prescribed to you by the doctor. In other words there is a high possibility that people continue to eat what might have actually caused their conditions of illness even when they are hospitalized. And, this trend would obviously take us ten steps backwards even when there are attempts to provide solutions to the ailing patients. Our spending therefore on such patients may be fruitless.

It is a violation of the people’s right to care that they continue to bring along their own linen to hospital on the basis that laundry machines do not function. In certain instances I am aware that such laundry services are outsourced to certain individuals through the public tender system which is a nightmare in this country. And because some people are contracted to do services for which they are not qualified we continue to be confronted with situations such as this even within the health care sector where sensitivity must remain a priority because this is about preservation of life.

Then our Case Study refers to the CEO who refuses to share with the public why these things are happening in a public hospital. As the end users of these facilities, the public has the right to know why their facilities are not providing services to them. However, as Minister Motsoaledi of the National Health Department would argue, government has in place CEOs of hospital who are less knowledgeable with the environment in which they work. His argument has always been to remove such people and replace them with those who qualify to run hospitals. For me this is a commendable move and the Minister must be supported on this one.
It is not about anything against teachers and priests but it is about bringing the much needed stability to an environment that require certain sensitivities for it to function professionally.

If it is the CEO who refuses to explain to the public about the condition of the hospital, who else will? Where is confidence in this official? Where is the capacity?
Without digressing from the subject, this week we were in Wonderkop where as we know a massacre of mineworkers took place. When we visited government mortuary to assist in the process of body identification we could only regret the appalling conditions under which the facility is. The refrigerator was just not coping resulting in a stench all over the place. The staff was also not helpful – putting the bereaved families under additional stress at the time when their anxiety to identify their loved one was already very high. We just do not have a committed, alert and diligent public servant within the public sector – and this does not only refer to health – however it is not only painful but unacceptable for bereaved people to suffer emotionally at the hands of the public service.

Minister Motsoaledi was there and he definitely witnessed what I am talking about here.
What I find concerning and very frustrating even at this stage is that even the Gauteng Department of Health has failed to communicate with the public on the situation at Bertha Gxowa hospital. This is taking the public for granted if it does not border on sheer arrogance by people who have been given the responsibility to dispense services to the public.

This picture that I have painted here is not only found within the domain of health care in this country but cuts across our public life. You will notice that I have not even referred to poor staffing where some hospitals do with very few doctors making it difficult for those who work to perform their duties in a diligent manner. I have also not referred to situations where even medicine runs short making it difficult for patience to remain consistent with the prescribed treatment. Some of you would know that in Limpopo a lot of medication couldn’t leave the storage for distribution with some long expired. And, when things turn out this way, no one accepts responsibility.

As I conclude I need to share my views on the morality of this story and the case study. It is unethical and quite immoral that in a country where there is such massive resources to dispense on the public, end users are unable to access such for their ultimate benefit. While we know that those who depend and rely on the private health care do good to receive services on the basis of affordability and class, those who are poor and vulnerable are made further to suffer at the hands of poor planning and lack of diligence and capacity on the part of the public service.

South Africa remains an unequal society. I am aware that amongst others, the National Health Insurance seeks to attend to this question – which again is very commendable.

But it is not only good policies but their implementation which will bring change in the lives of many South Africans who suffer and die regularly as a result of poor health care provision. As a nation, we need to move away from this and ensure that hospitals do not become a centre of corrupt tendencies but of professional services.

 

Author: Mr. Thabo Koole
Media and Communication Co-ordinator
The Ecumenical Service for Socio Economic Transformation (ESSET)

Reflecting on the gist of Women’s month

ESSET certainly support and agree with the original intent of Women’s Month that seeks to honour women from all walks of life in our country. Off course tribute goes to the famous Women's march against the pass laws of 9th August 1956 which challenged the Apartheid era policies and altered how women are perceived in society today. This famous march organized by the Federation of South African Women challenged the idea that 'a woman's place is in the kitchen’. We should always be inspired by the valiant feats of women of 1956 because they rose to fight for their emancipation though they were in the margins of society and naturally considered feeble.

In order to appreciate and better advance the contribution of women, our society needs to understand that women are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image. Thus we should utilise Women’s Month as a time to thank women for being the gifts God has placed on the earth and the many hats they wear; from raising children, helping with household chores, providing for their families etc. The story of the creation of Adam and Eve is the first place where we would trace the worth of women. Genesis 1: 27-28 tells us that when God created human beings, he made them to be like himself. He created them male and female. In fact before God created human beings, as He was creating animals and objects He pronounced different aspects of it as "good." The first "not good" ensued on the sixth day after God had created Adamand then said it was "notgood for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). After this, God caused Adam to fall into deep sleep, then He took a rib from him and created Eve (Genesis 2:21). The exclamation: “At last! This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.” made by Adam when he first saw Eve is telling how very good God had made her (Genesis 2: 23).

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EGMA - Gospel Music Concert

THE “UNITED IN SONG GOSPEL CONCERT”.
The united in song gospel concert is a gospel music concert uniting gospel artists in a variety of genres from traditional gospel, charismatic, clap n tap and other genres of gospel.

This is a Vaal River Carnival program, the event is aimed at creating employment opportunities for local artists and is planned to be held annually.
This year’s event features the likes of Sfiso Ncwane “the psalmist”, Israel Mosehla who recently won the crown gospel award for best worship, Kholeka Sosibo, Teboho (Twin) founder of Gospel Music association and other local acts.

The event will be a six to six gospel event starting from the 24th of August 2012 until the next day.

This spectacular event is organized by the Emfuleni Gospel Music Association (EGMA) and the GMA. EGMA is a home and custodian of all gospel artists in Emfuleni. We organize, lobby, advocate, promote and develop the gospel music industry of South Africa in its entirety. EGMA is the acronym for Emfuleni Gospel Music Association, we are a NPO organisation founded under auspices of the Emfuleni Local Municipality. The event seeks to raise funds for the association and to create job opportunities for local Gospel artists and promoters.

The event takes place at Mphahlalatsane Theatre in (Sebokeng) vaal on the 24th of August 2012 and admission is R100.00 a ticket and they are available at a gate. For more information call: 084 748 7400 (Themba Khoza) Pro- EGMA

 

Press Statement

16 August 2012

SACC Calls for a Peaceful Resolution of Lonmin’s Dispute.

 

Today the SACC delegation led by the President Bishop Jo Seoka and the General Secretary Rev. Mautji Pataki paid a pastoral and fact-finding mission to both the workers and management at Lonmin Mines in Marikana, North West Province.

The impression we gained is that both parties are willing to engage one another provided the level of hostility is reduced to allow peaceful interaction and resolution. The SACC has committed itself to assist in creating an atmosphere conducive for negotiations to proceed.

However, SACC is disappointed that at the time when it appeared that there was an opportunity for the parties to find each other, violence erupted and we are told several people lost life while others suffered injuries. This is the route we have always tried to avoid in any situation of conflict.

We call upon the Police to exercise restraint in the use of force as they seek to maintain law and order. We also call upon workers and management to resume negotiations as a matter of urgency. The SACC maintains that it is only through meaningful and peaceful dialogue that all parties affected by this conflict can find a solution.

Our prayers go to all the bereaved families and all whose members sustained injuries. We hope that through their pain and loss, peace will return to the people of Marikana.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

For more information, please contact:
Communications Department – 011 241 7804

The Post Article Read More:

SACC visits Marikana mine

August 17 2012 at 02:09pm 
By Meggan Saville

 

SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCH YOUTH FORUM

On behalf of the SACCYF we would like to call on all churches to dedicate this coming Sunday as Black Sunday for miners of Lonmin Mine in Madikana. Our sincere condolences to the families who through the barrel of SAPS found themselves all of sudden fatherless, brotherless and without husbands. The SACCYF rejects any form of killing in any form meted against citizens of South Africa.

We call on religious communities to immediately dedicate a moment of silence to mourn and to be in solidarity with families of those short from this afternoons prayers of our Islamic communities, to the day of Sabbath of our Jewish Communities and our Christian communities on Sunday. May God’s accompaniment heal the wounded and the families & friends who have lost the loved ones….

********************************************
SOUTH AFRICA COUNCIL OF CHURCHES YOUTH FORUM (SACCYF)
Physical Address: Khotso House, 62 Marshall Street, Johannesburg, South Africa
Postal Address: P.O Box 62098, Marshalltown, 2107, South Africa
E-mail: saccyf@gmail.com
           saccyouthforum@gmail.com
Office Number: +2711 241 7808 / 32

 

Ecumenical Reflections

Author: Rev. Lea Marumo

Ordained Minister of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

Currently pursuing Masters Degree in Systematic Theology, University of Pretoria.
She is happily married to Festus and they are blessed with two boys; she also ministers a small community in the Fourways Circuit.

“These are the hands of mothers, women of South Africa…”
Revelation 21:3-5

South Africa has officialised eleven languages from which we may draw a picture of a country, comprising assorted cultures, diversified and colourful. A country that has conceded a human right to all its citizens. A democratic country that permits certain human behaviours within its compass of propriety. Simply put, it is a beautiful country that precepts wholeness and tranquillity in all its Provinces. Hence, the process of rectification of the past damages takes place to correct and highlight its inner beauty.

It is a right of every country to dream the best for its people. Scripture teaches us that no one is perfect, therefore neither is a nation. Galatians 2:17 (MSG), “Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect?”

I, for one, have noticed that this country is far from perfect. Having said that, I would like to highlight some of the issues women in South Africa face, utilizing practical experiences women endure day in and day out. Issues of Culture; Home Support; Modelled Expectation; Societal Stigma and Abuse.

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Press Release
16 August 2012

The SACC President, the General Secretary and other members of the Executive Committee will be visiting the Lonmin mine in Marikana in the North West today; following the on-going strike by workers.

Where 10 people - two police officers, two security guards, three protesters and three other men - have been killed ever since.

 

For more information, please contact:
Rev. Mautji Pataki
0112417800

SACC General Secretary

 

SACC condemns the killing of Fayaaz Kazi
13 August 2012

SACC condemns the killing of Fayaaz Kazi and call on the police and the NPA to ensure that justice is meted against the perpetrators of this crime.”

The SACC is deeply concerned about certain individuals within our society who use religion to either attack or discriminate against others. We find it very disturbing that the death of Mohammed Fayaaz Kazi of Magaliesberg is linked to Islamphobic remarks at a time when religious groups in this country have always co-operated together under the National Religious Leaders’ Forum.

This is a Forum where dialogue, debate and religious engagement on social issues advances tolerance among all religious groups in our country. We therefore condemn acts that are intended to work against the values of this Forum.

The SACC therefore calls upon all Christians and members of other religious groups to remain focused on nation-building and condemn all incidents intended to cause tension and divisions based on religion in this country.

Our religious diversity is rich and has to be used to glorify God and build peace and a united society.

 

Rev Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary

 

Press Statement                                                           
24 July 2012

SACC EXPRESSES CONCERN AT THE MUNICIPALITY AUDIT REPORT AND CALLS FOR RADICAL CHANGE OF SYSTEMS

SACC is deeply concerned and dismayed that there appears to be no improvement on the part of several Municipalities to improve how public finances are managed. Led by the recent Auditor’s Report where issues of skills, professionalism, competence and diligence are questioned, there is every indication that service delivery and resource wastage will still continue if no decisive intervention is made. It is a trend that must be brought to an end if the people of this country are to be taken seriously.

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Ecumenical Reflections - July 2012

July Reflections

About the Author
Desmond Lesejane, Rev
Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
Deputy Director at Sonke Gender Justice Network

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER
Mark 6: 14 – 29

I move from the premise that the setting of the narrative we have read is Herod’s encounter with Jesus, or at least with the news of Jesus Christ. It is more than just the death of John the Baptist or the bitchiness of Herodias. It is upon hearing the news about Jesus that Herod becomes haunted by the ghost of John the Baptist. Whatever he had heard about Jesus convinced him that this was the resurrected John. Could it be they spoke the same language?

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South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg

Press Release
03 July 2012

The Repositioning of SACC.

In line with the resolution of the Triennial National Conference of the SACC which calls for the restructuring, transformation and repositioning of the SACC, aggravated by lack of funds to sustain the work of the Council, National Executive Committee (NEC) took decision, among others, to downsize the organisation with effect from 31 July 2012.

With the ecumenical developments facing the church globally, the reduction of overseas funding and the new social challenges that are emerging in the world, it has become very apparent and urgent for SACC to transform, restructure and reposition itself as a viable churches’ vehicle for public witness. This envisaged task will not be easily accomplished if churches were to rely on “old wineskins” for the “new wine”.

Although this process brings along excitement, newness of ideas and ways of doing ecumenical work within the 21st century, anxiety is seeded in the decision to part ways with members of staff who have been for many years loyal to the cause for which the SACC stands in this country.
Unlike in the previous years, the renewed SACC will depend largely on local funding for carrying out its mission and work in society. Member Churches will be responsive and take full ownership of the Council including designing programmes and canvassing for membership growth while a long-term turn- around strategy will be developed for the self-sustainability of the Council.

We call upon the South African public to assist the Council financially and never allow its legacy to diminish as we are convinced it still has a mission to accomplish in this society today.

Released by the General Secretary’s Office

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
06.06.2012

Government Treats the People of Bethulie with Disdain.

More or less than 10 families who live in sewage flooded Bethulie in Free State Province are victims of a government system that has failed but also a grim reminder of how God’s people can be treated with disdain by those who have power over them. 

Bethulie’s story is one of agony and pain where some families fail to access their homes due to a flooding sewage which has been neglected for over many years. We even learn that these people are unable to prepare meals or enjoy peaceful sleep because of the unbearable stench that has come to define their environment.

The South African Council of Churches calls upon the local government authorities to act with speed and ensure that the health of these people is safeguarded. We are aware that government has all the resources at its disposal to repair the mainhole thus guaranteeing good health to the children in that surrounding.

These and many other services that government neglects is a grave concern to us because of our belief in this democratic dispensation where it is expected of government to put the needs of the people first.

Released by the Office of The General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

We Have Faith

We have faith campaign


Statement from members of the faith communities of southern Africa, meeting to discuss “A green economy for sustainable development and poverty eradication” in preparation for Rio+20 and beyond,

Johannesburg on 14 and 15 May 2012

 

As people of faith, we must set an example and do what is right. We long for legally binding treaties that protect vulnerable People and Planet and strive for intergenerational equity for the community of all life on Earth. We call on world leaders and decision makers when they meet to deliberate on the Green Economy at Rio+20, to be guided by the spiritual and ethical principles of justice, equity, compassion and love for all life on the planet, and to treat the Earth with respect, resist disorder, co-operate and live in peace with one another.

WE HAVE FAITH CAMPAIGN >> Objectives:

  1. To strengthen and mobilise faith communities around climate justice and sustainability.
  2. To elevate the unified voice of faith communities to national and international platforms.
  3. To influence national and international climate and environmental processes through ensuring that the negotiations have a spiritual and moral basis.
  4. To bring the faith language of spirituality, morality and ethics to the sustainable development and green economy discourse.
  5. To raise awareness, provide educational support and motivate action from local people of faith on issues of climate change and sustainability.

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Chikane Book - Eight Days in September

 

Eight Days in September, The removal of Thabo Mbeki by The Rev Frank Chikane
Published by Picador Africa


Review by Rev. Bernard Spong - Head of Communications for the SACC from 1991 to 1997

Fascinating and frightening are the two words that come to mind after reading Frank Chikane’s “Eight Days in September.”

It provides a fascinating insight into the working processes in the higher echelons of both the national government and the ANC political party.

It is frightening in showing that though there is a very clear constitutional difference between the two, the borders have been clouded and crossed leaving a legacy that could cause much pain and confusion in the future of our nation South Africa.

In sharing his personal experience, as Director General in the Presidency, of the days in September 2008 when President Thabo Mbeki was removed from office the author uncovers a number of issues that give pause for serious consideration to anyone who cares for the manner in which our country is governed during these delicate years of our emerging democracy.

I worked for Frank Chikane when he was General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. He was my boss, a comrade in the Council led struggle against apartheid, and a ministerial colleague in the Christian Church. Frank is a pastor. He is not the sort who tells the people what they want to hear. He does not seek to help his congregants feel good and charter easy ways to be named among the saints. His ministry is of Christian discipline and virtue, challenging all who hear him to live up to the soul stirring demands of the gospel.

Put this kind of pastor, with an internationally acclaimed degree in democratic governance and business, into a situation such as he describes where the determined values of the constitution are put on one side for political expediency and revenge and you are asking for a dramatic and critical response. This is what Frank Chikane provides in this enthralling account of his experience of those eight days, together with his Christian and Democratic responses and fears for where it could lead. 

I remember being with him in many meetings during the transition period. One in particular was held with some members of the cabinet of those days. Some displayed an attitude of superiority, of looking upon themselves as the knowing and wise ones because they were politicians. This drew a sharp rebuke from Frank who stated that we are all politicians and being called of that name and occupying particular governmental positions does not allow for dominating control over the lives of others. I could not help but see him as he was on that occasion as I read the pages of “Eight Days in September.”   

His book’s major critique of the “recall” of President Mbeki is that it makes the boundary between government and political party to be blurred and, therefore, establishes a dangerous precedent for the future. The constitution clearly requires parliament to be the organ for the election and, if needed, the dismissal of the President. In this instance it was the National Executive Committee of the ruling party that made and carried out the dismissal decision.
For me there were two other matters that struck me: One is the strength and depth of the loyalty to the African National Congress that holds sway over so many no matter how the party acts or its leaders behave. Thabo Mbeki’s own response to his “recall” is but one illustration of this binding loyalty. The second, illustrated in the unseemly haste which was demanded of Mbeki to leave NOW and not wait for his term of office to expire in the normal way, is that dreadful modern demand of immediate gratification. I can understand it in children who want their toys and holidays as soon as they possibly can.

I remember my own concerned counting of the “sleeps” needed before the much awaited Christmas day arrived. But to find that childish trait in those we have elected to leadership of the nation is a cause for concern. Was it this trait, for instance, that caused our country’s unthinking this-way-no-that-way-maybe turn about regarding the international response to the Libyan revolt?  Mind you, I have to admit that, if that same demand for immediacy could prevail in service delivery it would be more than welcome!

There is no doubt that Frank Chikane holds former President Thabo Mbeki in high regard. This is especially noticeable in his chapter on the Mbeki legacy and is the one part of the book that concerns me. Readers who disagree with the author about some of the decisions he made and paths he trod, such as the policy during much of his presidency on the HIV/Aids pandemic, could emphasise that portion and thereby fail to take the major thrust of the book as seriously as needed.

A short comment by Nombonisa Gasa on the front cover of the book expresses admiration for “the courage with which Frank Chikane engages and reflects ...” I am sure that Frank Chikane would not be detered from saying or doing what he believed to be needed by any sense of possible danger in so doing. And it is this kind of courage that assists me to look at the frightening possibilities uncovered in this book with hope for our future and not despair. It needs to be read to enable us to be clear about some of the problems and dangers that can face us. For this proud South African the courage to write it displays the very antidote to the problems it highlights. 

 

June 16 - South Africa

Reflections on June 16
About the Author: Rev Dr Ben Khumalo-Seegelken,
Edendale Lay Ecumenical Centre (1972-1975),
Convenor of Bible-Translation Project “Biblia Zuluensis”,
Lecturer and Researcher - Theology and Social Sciences,
Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany

 “…put it into practice!”
James 1:22

Soon almost half of this year is over; the next half is more or less already at hand - a series of eventful and tumultuous weeks and months have come to pass as we are about to conclude the second decade on democratic grounds.  Having gone through such times and having reached such milestones one feels the need to hold on for a while and take a short glance backward and forward before gathering strength once more to face the challenges of the day.

A hint I have cherished since my childhood comes to mind: “Do not fool [yourself] by just listening to His word.” stands in the Letter from James, chapter 1, verse 22, and goes on: “Instead, put it into practice!”  

Recalling that hint in June 2012, I realise once more:

‘Lost generation?’

Girls and boys of 14 to 16 in school-uniform who stood up in protest in 1976 and dared resist and confront shooting police-forces in Soweto, Langa and elsewhere are, if they did survive, adults in the meantime – most of them parents and some even grandparents – today, 18 years since that morning in 1994 on which they also woke up and went for the first time with everybody else to cast their vote as citizens in an emerging democratic state. The strides we took that day gave our country a new face and helped open new horizons not only for us and our immediate offspring, but – as we have come to realise -  also for our neighbours the world over for generations to come!       

With the survivors of ‘June 1976’ we rejoice in witnessing the tradition of striving for justice and peace gaining maturity in our midst; we remember with gratitude and high esteem those who gave their lives, we commemorate the strives and struggles of those days, weeks, months and years with the youth of today and particularly those of them coming of age this year, rejoice particularly with the African National Congress for goals reached with and through them over the last 100 years and pray for a good future for us all – including more especially those that we very often seem to have written off in the meantime, having labelled them ‘the lost generation’ and continuing marginalising them in every respect.  

Recalling together the hint from the ‘Letter from James’ in June 2012 might, I wish, confront us with the necessity to revisit the sources and re-examine the teachings underlying our being today. Our eyes, our ears and our hearts might, in that process, rediscover the multitudes in our country that we might not overlook, if the road ahead were to lead to worthwhile horizons for us all – including those we occasionally term and marginalise as ‘minorities’.  

Home again!
  
“Meeting half-way to return home - or to proceed - together”, said MaDlamini, explaining to a guest from a partner-congregation in Germany visiting her village, Vulindela near Pietermaritzburg, recently. The residents of that semi-rural settlement had been undergoing a cleansing-ceremony as one of the steps towards “ukuBuyisana” – ‘burying the hatchet’ and trying to reconcile after over 16 years of ‘civil war’ that had ruined everything and terrified everyone right up to 1996 in that district.  These efforts of breaking the silence and finding words and tokens of dealing with the evils of the past in order to be able to live together today in peace, attract the attention of people in many countries today who are faced with similar challenges as we were especially up to the advent of democracy 18 years ago.  MaDlamini has - not very long ago – conversed also with some visitors from Palestine and others from Damascus and Mogadishu, all wishing to reach home one day – back home hopefully soon.
     

The world under our roofs

Guests from all over are no longer that seldom in some homes in our country today; some visit the victims of farm-evictions, “abaHlali baseMjondolo” in the Western Cape and elsewhere, talk to students, parents and workers in controversies for example at the Free State University and to demonstrating mine-workers and non-government organisations with a variety of concerns, they worship with their hosts in rural villages, on farms and in ‘townships’ in Limpopo, in the Cape Flats, in Lusikisiki, Diepkloof and Sandton in Gauteng, Hartbeespoort in North-West. 

“In almost every home and every school,” one youth-volunteer from the Netherlands reports, “in almost every neighbourhood and every region throughout the country people seem to be gathering new strength and many are, indeed, steadily standing up and taking steps in the sense of – as they say – ‘ukuBuyisana’ – ‘turning a new leaf and reconciling.’Practically no one seems to have chosen to remain sitting where the conflicts of yesterday left them.  South Africa is, indeed, in motion!”  Horrible incidents of children, women, aged and disabled as victims of neglect, insult, intimidation, coercion, assault and murder have nonetheless not decreased by any measures worth mentioning.

The two short sentences in James’ hint are likely to give the misleading impression, as if the reader would instantly and perhaps always know, what it is that has to be done in implementing good teachings and principles.   

Praying and toiling together

I listen to our guests and realise: Men and women all over the globe look at us and watch attentively; many wish us well and pray with and for us that our endeavours at gaining new strength and setting forth the good path towards a stable and peaceful future be at least as successful as the breakthrough 18 years ago.  Some of them kneeled with us as we prayed and toiled with us as we struggled in the darkest hours right back in 1976, in 1948, in 1910 and earlier; they pronounce the same calls and pleas with us before God with regard to those of our children going with an empty stomach to school and dreadful notions to bed, having hardly any prospect of once someday earning enough for a living in dignity and security -  calls and pleas with us before God with regard to many who live in fear in the face of greed, hatred and violence.  We uphold the call: “Yizwa imithandazo yethu!”

Yes, towards the end of the first half of this eventful year, I also hear concerned voices in homes and congregations in the member-churches of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), deliberating and guessing whether and how they as bearers of hope could gather new strength and stand up again to keep pace with the community they have been part of up to this day.  The future seems insecure. 

The youth of yesterday, the adults of today within the SACC-family will hopefully not have to go it alone revisiting the sources and re-examining the teachings and the hints that have kept so many of us –  all of us as a country before and after 1976, 1948, 1910 and earlier - above water and above waters to the present day. 

Makube njalo! [Amen].

>> iThuba-Nhlahla eMzansi-Afrika

 

Event Announcement:

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR 31 May 2012

 [Cape Town, South Africa]  Church leaders speak out in support of a bullet proof, strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty

Representatives of faith-based organizations from over 15 countries1 will participate in a public stunt in support of the Arms Trade Treaty on Thursday. 

There are more global laws regulating the trade of bananas than there are weapons. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), scheduled to be negotiated in July 2012, will be the global community`s first attempt to establish international binding regulations on the arms trade. From 29-31 May, religious leaders and staff from faith-based organizations met in Cape Town to join together in support of the ATT.

This group of over 20 participants are all members of the Ecumenical Campaign for a Strong and Effective ATT, coordinated by the World Council of Churches. This Thursday, conference participants will take to the streets outside of the Central Methodist Mission. The distribution of bananas will offer a symbolic case that if we can regulate bananas then surely we can regulate weapons.

Terry Crawford-Browne, the peace activist, said, South Africa's arms deal scandal confirms the complicity of governments in the corruption of the international arms trade. Even the Department of Trade and Industry now concedes that arms deal offsets are a scam, and simply a vehicle to pay bribes and to fleece the taxpayers.

WHO: Members of the Ecumenical Campaign & Control Arms coalition
WHAT: Information stall & public outreach on the need for an ATT
WHEN: 12h00-13h00
WHERE: Central Methodist Mission, Longmarket and Burg Street, Cape Town, South Africa

Participants include arms trade experts and representatives of many Christian denominations, including leadership as well as technical staff. All are available for interviews.

The World Council of Churches brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

For more information contact: Daniel Pieper, World Council of Churches, +27 (0) 82 690 2619
The participants came from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo and the United States.

 

 

Zuma Artwork

SOUTHERN AFRICAN FAITH COMMUNITIES’
ENVIRONMENT INSTITUTE (SAFCEI)


“Faith communities committed to cherishing living earth.”

To the Faith Leaders of Southern Africa

World Environment Day

5 June 2012

Office Tel: (+27) (0)21 701 8145                      www.safcei.org.za                          coordinator@safcei.org.za  

Dear Faith Leader,
We are all called to live in harmony and peace with one another – within our communities, between nations and countries of the world – and with all of life on this planet, our only home.

Critical for our peaceful wellbeing is the health of our life support systems, so that we have fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, fertile soil in which to grow crops, abundant marine resources from our oceans, and forests which not only provide for our fuel and building needs, but which act as “lungs” for our planet, absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing life giving oxygen.

Our life support system is being threatened by the demands of humanity on the resources we extract from nature. These demands emanate both from our consumerist lifestyle, as well as from growing numbers of people relying on nature to provide for our needs.

One of the most devastating causes of environmental destruction is the burning of fossil fuels – that is oil, coal, natural gas – which is dramatically increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is now at a higher level than it has been for the past 800 000 years. Science has clearly shown that as CO2 levels rise, so atmospheric temperatures rise. The average global temperature is 0.8oC higher than it was before the industrial revolution and our escalating dependence on fossil fuels.

The problem is that we are now burning fossil fuels at such a fast rate that we are set for average global temperature rises of between to 2 – 3.5oC. For Africa, this will result in a temperature increase twice the global average, that is, a rise of between 4 and even 6 degrees.  Our temperature rise of 0.8oC has already resulted in extreme weather events, more intense and prolonged droughts, floods, hurricanes, storms and unpredictable weather patterns.

Scientists are doubtful that we can keep temperature rise below an average 2 degree increase. Urgent changes in our lifestyle are needed if we are to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change impacts, particularly in Africa.  

In South Africa our largest single CO2 emitters are our energy suppliers, Eskom and Sasol, accounting for 80% of our greenhouse gas emissions. Our energy policy is therefore critically important for our future wellbeing.
Fortunately, God has given us the answer – renewable energy – which uses current energy resources rather than resources laid down millions of years ago in the form of coal and oil.

South Africa is blessed with having some of the best sun and wind resources in the world, as well as powerful and reliable ocean currents.
Not only would renewable energy improve the health of the planet, but it would produce millions of more jobs. Germany’s present economic growth is based on a huge development of renewable energy, with over 350,000 new jobs being created by last year. South Africa could become a leader in Africa in this field. More important is the development of decentralised energy generation, so that no longer would we be dependent on Eskom’s monopoly. Every community and household in rural areas and in cities and towns would be able to contribute to decentralised energy generation which puts affordable electricity in the hands of local communities. It is financially impossible for our centralised grid to reach 4 million rural households. The government’s present energy generation plans seem to be for the benefit of high capital, high energy, centralised industry, whereas we must move to a low carbon, labour intensive economy which will employ and empower millions more people.

Neither is nuclear energy the answer. The costs for construction and a centralised grid will absorb our development finance, leaving little for the real needs of people and communities for education, training and communication, health, local access roads, clean water and sanitation and rural infrastructure. Equip our gifted people with training and they will care for themselves and for their land.

South Africa is at a cross roads with its energy policy. We ask that you pray that South Africa follows the clean, renewable energy route, which can be financed by private enterprise, will create more jobs and help heal the planet – rather than the centralised nuclear energy programme which will have to be financed by tax payers.

Your prayers are also asked for Rio+20 to be held from 20 – 22 June, that the three conventions started by the UN: Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification, are able to fulfil their role. At present, none are meeting their goals. Environmental destruction is accelerating. Rio+20 will seek to strengthen sustainable development and the green economy. It is clear that a green economy must work within the ecological limits of the planet.

The three pillars of Sustainable Development are Society, Environment and Economics. This has also been described as People, Planet and Profit.  Economics has dominated and directed the Sustainable Development path over the past twenty years.

A call is now being made that Spirituality and Ethics should be added as a fourth pillar to provide a moral compass for our global community and give direction as we seek to steer our world to a more just and sustainable future.  The Earth Charter provides excellent guidelines for this and can be affirmed by all faiths. Imagine the transformation if world leaders started to apply the principles of justice, equity, compassion and love!  Pray that this might be realised.
I send my warm greetings and prayers for our faith communities so we seek to overcome poverty and establish greater justice for all, 

Bishop Geoff Davies
Executive Director
25 May 2012
Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute
Southern African Faith Communities' Environment Institute (SAFCEI) is a multi-faith NGO working with a coalition of African and world-wide faith and justice organizations.

 

Zuma Artwork

SOUTHERN AFRICAN FAITH COMMUNITIES’
ENVIRONMENT INSTITUTE (SAFCEI)


“Faith communities committed to cherishing living earth.”

To the Faith Leaders of Southern Africa

Prayers for World Environment Day

5 June 2012

Office Tel: (+27) (0)21 701 8145                      www.safcei.org.za                          coordinator@safcei.org.za 

We Pray:

  • That world leaders recognise our dependence on the planet and therefore our need to care for it
  • That world leaders will seek to establish social and economic justice to overcome the immense poverty and inequality in our world. These are an affront to God who provides for our needs, not our greed
  • That we seek Peace through establishing justice as we can’t find true peace through using force and weapons of mass destruction
  • That, by following spiritual and ethical guidelines, our world leaders will seek justice and equity for all life
  • That, as Rio+20 seeks to establish better governance, so world leaders will establish honest governance.  Corruption and power-seeking greatly increases poverty and inequality and is leading to the destruction of the natural environment.

Prayer:

We pray that we may all seek to live in harmony and peace with one another and with the natural world.
May we recognise the wonder and strength of diversity both in the natural world and among all people. May we live in peace with people of all faiths, of all nations, races, cultures and languages.
We pray we may rejoice in the variety of people and cultures and languages. May we rejoice in the diversity of the natural world that is of such beauty and wonder.

We ask you to add your own prayers. 


Here is a prayer written for Rio+20 by the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba:
Leader:
Heavenly Father, through your Eternal Word all of creation came into existence, and is held in being by your Holy Spirit.
In the lives we lead and the choices we make, help us to be mindful of the impact upon your world and its
people, near and far, now and in future generations,
so we may be faithful stewards of all that you have entrusted to us,
until that time when all things are reconciled to you.
Response: Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your wisdom, to safeguard the earth, its soil and all that grows in it.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your understanding, to cleanse the air and all that breathes.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your knowledge, to find ways to preserve our waters and all that live in them.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your guidance, to protect all living beings with whom we share our planet.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your compassion, to reach out to all those affected by extremes of weather, changes in climate, and the degradation of the environment.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer
We pray for your insight, to use the resources entrusted to us wisely and well, justly and safely.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your perseverance, to ensure that all humanity may have adequate food and water, shelter and sanitation, peace and well-being, and so can live in dignity, without fear.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your courage, to do all that is necessary to restore the beauty of your handiwork wherever we have damaged or harmed it.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
We pray for your grace, that each of us may be faithful stewards of all you have given us, in the choices we make and how we live our daily lives.
Creator and Redeemer, hear our prayer.
Together:
Gracious God, Creator and Redeemer of all that is, you have made human beings in your image and likeness and by the work of your hands, fashioned the whole universe in beauty and majesty;
awaken in us a deeper reverence for all you have created,
and renew among us an eagerness to nurture and sustain your precious gift of life.

Amen.

 

South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg

24 May 2012


Press Statement on President Zuma's hurt

The breakdown of President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer Advocate Gcina Malindi during the court proceedings in the South Gauteng High Court earlier today is yet another demonstration that this matter does not only pose legal but moral and ethical challenge to our nascent democratic dispensation.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) has repeatedly cautioned that we have so many incidents in this country that are legally justifiable and yet morally and ethically repugnant and very offensive. Whereas we live and are governed by the rule of law human life is also a spiritual gift filled with emotion and affection – which demands of us to apply law within the context of human values.

By producing this particular painting where the genitals of President Zuma are exposed, Brett Murray has not only violated Mr Zuma’s human rights but his “inside person”. It has therefore not come as a surprise that Advocate Malindi broke down in court – an indication that what is being debated is not only a legal matter but one that has a human face and therefore emotive.

Our plea to Brett Murray is if he could see sense and logic by apologizing to the President and the nation  for this hurt and allow himself to see what he might not have seen at the time he conceptualized the painting. Often it occurs in life to hurt others unintentionally and when his actions have been exposed to be achieving hurt and destruction, it would be a noble act to our nation for Murray to withdraw the painting and apologise without any conditions.

Our democracy is still very fragile because other cultures have undermined and hurt others for a very long time. Therefore sensitivity and caution have to be exercised each time through our relations. Those who look down upon others and fail to see the world through the eyes of others will always miss the opportunity to learn.

Our nation is such that we need to respect each other not because the constitution says so but because we are all human and made of God’s image. We have agreed that we belong together and therefore no one must feel or do such things that would elevate them above the rest. Ours is a hurting history.
Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

Zuma Artwork

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement
18/05/2012
SACC calls for  apology from Goodman Gallery on its artwork of President Zuma


The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is irked and finds the artwork by Goodman Gallery not only insulting of the President but distasteful in the extreme. The picture is not only denigrating to President Zuma alone but to all those who respect fellow human beings and never express their feelings in a hateful manner to anyone.

This artwork is a classical picture of what hate can achieve when it rules the mind. President Zuma, even if Goodman Gallery hold a different view to what he represents, does not deserve to be undressed in public and made to be an object at a time when his task is to lead our nation.

This is an unethical conduct on the part of Goodman Gallery and no amount of justification will make it correct to depict anybody in this manner.

The SACC is entirely not impressed and would be very happy to receive a public apology from those who have designed this dehumanizing picture. Even if it were not President Zuma but someone else, the SACC would still demand an apology in order to restore to the victim the lost dignity.

Released by the Office of the general Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

Limpopo Department of Education

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Release
17/05/2012

SACC Welcomes Court Ruling on Limpopo Department of Education

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) welcomes the court ruling against the Limpopo Department of Education for failing to provide text books to students in many schools across the Province.

As said before, we still find it irresponsible, unjustifiable and a blatant dereliction of duty for the department to fail to provide learners with learning material. For any learner to fail because they had no learning material is tantamount to treason because it goes against the grain of improving other peoples’ living conditions in a Province where illiteracy rate is on the high.

Education is life; and knowledge allows God’s people to live in the light than darkness.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

Workers Day - May 2012

Reflections on Workers’ Day – May 2012
Author: Rev. Dr. Vuyani Vellem
Director - Centre for Public Theology
University of Pretoria

Celebrating May Day in the Midst of an ‘e-tolling Jesus’
Matthew 20: 1-16

Without any doubt, the celebration of Workers’ Day, the 1st of May every year in South Africa must be understood equally as the celebration of the vital role the ecumenical movement played in the struggle for the recognition of the dignity of the workers.

After eighteen years of democracy in South Africa, the National Planning Commission, with many other commentators in public life, acknowledges the good our land has hitherto achieved, while it also recognizes that there is still more that needs to be done to improve the lives of the millions of our people. Workers’ Day is thus part of the broad celebration of our achievements in our land, indeed the bright sun that shone since 1994 after centuries of oppression.

One thing certain, South Africa is different today—of course not different from any of the African countries—but different from what it was destined to be, as a construct of the colonial and apartheid ponderings of the past. We must never take this country back to that past.

Read More...

 

 “Coming Event” SACC Stakeholder Consultation
08 May 2012 at Khotso House Chapel,
SACC National Office starting at 10h00.


The Consultation will be attended by Church Leaders, beneficiaries of the SACC, partners and Provincial Councils.
Agenda: The State of SACC, its Challenges and Possible Solutions. We ask for the public and churches to pray for this Consultation.

 

 

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg

30/04/2012
Media Statement
SACC Mourns the death of Former Minister Sicelo Shiceka

The South African Council of Churches receives the news on the death of the former Minister of Co-operative Governance, Mr. Sicelo Shiceka with  deep sadness and a sense of loss.
As we uphold his family in prayers and we also wish the nation could come to terms with his passing on.  We thank God for his life and his availability to have served the nation.

May his soul rest in peace.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

e-tolling

  e-Tolling - SACC Official Statement

Khotso House, Johannesburg

Press Release
26 April 2012
SACC welcomes government’s announcement to postpone the implementation of e-tolling in Gauteng.

The South African Council of Churches welcomes the government’s decision to put on hold the implementation of the e-tolling system in Gauteng Province as a courageous step in the right direction on how to take seriously the concerns raised by citizens on this matter.

We call on both SANRAL and the Department of Transport to consult on a re-designed a model of funding that will not burden motorists and other road users who are already overstretched.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

e-tolling

   Featured Article on e-Tolling - Have Your Say

e-Tolling

Submitted by Pastor Harry Heydon
Senior Pastor – Peniel Ministries South African

IFP: COVER-UP ON E-TOLLING PROJECT REMINISCENT OF PRE-1994 TACTICS

It is absolutely UNTHINKABLE.......!!!
IFP: COVER-UP ON E-TOLLING PROJECT REMINISCENT OF PRE-1994 TACTICS


The IFP said today that it was shocked to learn the real reasons behind government's push to ensure the controversial Gauteng e-tolling project succeeds It is reported today, that the Public Investment Corporation – an investment manager for state institutions - has bought R17 billion in SANRAL bonds. 89% of this investment is made-up of the Government Employees Pension Funds.

Read More...

 

 

 

Go Green

SACC Parliamentary Officer appointed to African People's
Charter for Climate Justice Interim Committee
     
 

The SACC deems it a privilege for Revd. Keith Vermeulen to have been appointed to the Interim Steering Committee continuing work on the draft African People's Charter for Climate Change.

Within the Interim Committee, Revd. Vermeulen will work closely with the Peoples Budget Campaign sectors - COSATU, SACC and SANGOCO - in order to advance further discussion on the Charter to be available  for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, 20-22 June 2012. The draft Charter is based on principles of the rights of nature that emerged from Cochabamba Summit 2010. 

The Interim Steering Committee will seek to further develop the Draft prior to discussions with other communities working for climate justice and mitigation of climate change. The South African Council of Churches is committed to listening to and including the voices of African indigenous communities - the Cape Khoi, Nama, Griqua, Korana and San - within the draft Charter.

The draft Charter emerged from discussions on climate change held with different communities throughout South Africa aboard on the Climate Train before, during and after COP 17 in December 2011.

The Climate Train was a project of climate change awareness run by South Africa's Environmental Agency, Indalo Yethu.
 

 

 

 


South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement

25 April 2012

SACC Welcomes the Report on Press Regulation in South Africa

The SACC welcomes the recommendation by the Press Freedom Commission (PFC) to have a co-regulated press by both the media and members of the public. The exclusion of government from this model is highly appreciated while the involvement of the public will give the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA) more credibility.

The SACC further commends the PFC for having taken into consideration the protection of children in its formulation of the Press Code. No country in the can be respectable and honoured unless it takes care of its children and the more vulnerable.

It is reassuring that those who will continue to violate the Press Code and act in all manner that negates the constitutional rights of citizens will be punished. We are an agency that supports accountability of the press and this recommendation gives us hope that the situation in the press room will improve so that the people are God are served with the dignity they deserve.

 

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

 Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 


South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement for Media Release
23 April 2012

SACC tackles Financial Literacy in partnership with Financial Services Board.

Tomorrow, Tuesday the 24 April, the SACC in partnership with the Financial Service Board (FSB) will launch the Consumer Financial Literacy Programme at Khotso House – SACC Head Office in Johannesburg. Proceedings which will be addressed by among others, the General Secretary of SACC and the Executive Officer of FSB will begin at 10h00 followed by a Press Conference at 11h30.

The focus of this partnership will be the rolling-out of sustainable, educational programmes to empower communities with information on financial matters. This will enable communities to make sound and informed decisions on how to use their finances including the importance of savings in a financial environment where the economic system consistently breeds poor people.

While educating consumers about good financial stewardship, we shall also lobby and advocate for good ethical practices within the financial institutions, calling them to promote and reaffirm the positive and ethical values, uphold the culture of honesty, truth-telling when marketing their products, urging them to adhere to moral integrity when conducting their business and showing compassion to their clients.

Both SACC and FSB will use the partnership to instil similar values in the life of the Church through training and public campaigns. The output and outcomes of the programme will improve the spiritual growth of participants and their relationship with money. Training will be conducted by several professionals relevant to the programme.

At the ultimate, the programme will:

  • give priority to the needs of the poor,
  • work for social, economic and political justice and
  • ensure that we create a safe sustainable environment for people to exercise

their economic rights.

  • educate communities to make informed decisions on financial matters in particular on occasions of death and bereavement. 
  • To educate people to desist from unnecessary expenditure during bereavement.

 

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

  South African Council of Churches

  Khotso House, Johannesburg

  Press Statement for Immediate Release

SACC Outraged by the Gang Rape of a Soweto 17 Year old Girl
18 April 2012

The South African Council of Churches finds the gang raping of a 17 year old girl in Soweto to be an outrageous and despicable incident that calls for outright condemnation from all sectors of our society. We are angry and worried that this society continues to give birth to people who have no regard for the sacredness of human life as God’s gift.

How else and what more should we say about these people in our society whose lifestyle is shaped by violence and brutality – people who trample upon others’ human dignity, rights and freedom to the extent of making mockery of our constitutional liberties.

We call upon the church community in Soweto and all over the country to go on an offensive and refuse criminality a space within society. Freedom Day, the Church is called upon to occupy streets in solidarity with those whose freedoms are denied and organize at the local level. Until prayer dominates our lifestyle, it will be hard to clean our streets of people who are bent of making it difficult for others to enjoy their freedoms and liberties.

Released by the Office of The General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

 

 

Banning of Alcohol Ads

South African Council of Churches

Khotso House, Johannesburg
Press Statement
16 April 2012

 Ban on Liquor Adverts

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is both concerned and shocked at the seemingly malicious intention of those who already leak and pre-empt the discussions on the content of the Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill as a way of swaying the public to influence the process which is still at a drafting stage. The Business Day headline, “Battle looms over shock move to ban liquor ads” is a case in point.

We are aware how highly contested and emotional the issue of controlling advertisement of alcohol is and would therefore encourage South Africans to act in a more responsible manner and allow the bill to be presented for public comments before engaging its content.

In as much as there would be those who are interested to raise the social, moral and ethical questions, there would also be those who raise economic and political issues. And unless, the discussion is allowed to take a particular focus which will be prescribed to us by the bill, the so-called “looming battle” remains illusory and misleading.

At the ultimate we will, as South Africans, have to receive the bill, apply our minds and correct those ills that come up with the high consumption and excessive advertisement of alcohol in our society.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki

 

 

Human Rights Day - South Africa

 

South African Council of Churches
Khotso House, Johannesburg
21 March 2012

Human Rights Day in South Africa - SACC Press Statement

This year marks the eighteenth year since our country got its liberation from the colonial apartheid rule. With this liberation and freedom came the adoption of the Democratic Constitution with a chapter on the Bill of Rights which primarily promotes and protects the citizens’ human rights.

More than being legal, human rights are God-given rights. They promote equality of God’s people before the law and indeed before God. They emphasis the universal truth that all people are created by God and therefore are to be treated as equals without any form of discrimination and injustice.

Read More...

 

 

Reflection on Human Rights

 

Authors: Emily Mnisi and Helen Vale
Co-Clerks of Central and Southern African Yearly Meeting, (C&SAYM), 2012

Reflections on Human Rights – March 2012

Here are a few reflections on the concept of human rights taken from Living Adventurously (2009) compiled by Quakers in Southern and Central Africa as a way to capture in words our experiences, witness and insight from living our faith in this region which we are sure that Christians from all churches in Southern Africa will be able to relate to as we ponder the significance of Human Rights Day in South Africa

Read More...

 

 

State of the Nation

 

Author: Rev Dr Frank Chikane
Former General Secretary of the SACC

REFLECTIONS ON THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS – A FEELING OF HOPE BUT FEAR OF DISAPPOINTMENT!

“They gave to anyone as he had need” Acts 2:45

The State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma came at a historical moment of joy and celebration of the 100th anniversary of the African National Congress (ANC) – an anniversary that spoke to extra-ordinary men and women who took a stand that they would not let the dehumanisation, oppression and exploitation of the people of God continue without end.

They called on all Africans to unite against the odds (tribal, language, regions, distances, racial laws, and others) to resist the injustices perpetrated against them. Pursuant to this the ANC was formed in January 1912 at the little Wesleyan church in Mangaung (Bloemfontein). From there on many generations of South Africans sacrificed their lives, their professions and possessions; many were detained and tortured; some spent many years in jail and many others were forced into exile, for the freedom of our people and for justice to be done.

Read More...

 

 

 

OFFICE OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY
Khotso House
Press Statement: SACC PRAYS FOR FORMER PRESIDENT NELSON MANDELA’S RECOVERY

Former President Nelson Mandela

 

The South African Council of Churches wishes the former President Nelson Mandela a speedy and full recovery after having learnt that he took ill recently.

Released in JOHANNESBURG on 25 February 2012.

Rev. Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary

 

“Break the grip of poverty, inequality and jobless growth”
Submission to the Portfolio Committee on Labour for its Strategic Review 2012

Read More...

 

On the Occasion of the 8th International Israeli Apartheid Week - A letter from the SA Council of Churches to all
Churches in SA

24 FEBRUARY 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisiters,

Challenging injustice through the courage of faith

The South African Christian community through the SACC, SACBC and other several ecumenical agencies join the other parts of the Church in the world to remember the Israeli/Palestinian people in their celebration of the 8th International Israeli Apartheid Week starting from the 5 -11 March.

Our participation in this Week is influenced highly by our own history of struggle and suffering in South Africa for over many decades when the values of justice, peace and love were suppressed in the interest of apartheid, division, exclusion and conflict. We found through the teachings of the Gospel how these values formed the core of Christ’s ministry.

It is only regrettable that the voice of the Church against injustice in our society is highly weakened today. It is an observation that South Africans have made with a desire now rekindled to resuscitate the voice of prophesy.

As this reflection is made on the life of our own nation in South Africa, many of you will remember that Israel remained the single supporter of apartheid when the rest of the world implemented economic sanctions, boycotts and divestments to force change in South Africa.

Our brothers and sisters in Palestine have made a call in this regard, that we should question what kind of regime Israel is. And to this, after many debates and exchanges, the answer is that it shared and continues to share a similarity with the old South Africa in implementing apartheid where all non-Jews of Palestine are discriminated against, displaced of their land and homes, and subjected to refugee camps and a permanent state of violent military rule.

Today the Palestinians cry out to the world and to God, saying:

How long, O God, will they steal our livelihood? Oppress, imprison and humiliate our people? Deprive our children of their childhood? Indeed how long, God, will the multitudes of Christians of the world ignore the anguish of our Palestinian sisters and brothers and all of the oppressed?

From South Africa we are called to repent of this ignorance and oblivion we have shown. We are called to return to the way of truth, community in humanity and speak out from the podiums to the mountain tops. We are called to tell the truth and join in prayer, in the pursuit for justice, peace and love in their land.

In their Kairos Document, similar to the one South Africans put to the world in the 1980s, Palestinians say:

Our question to our brothers and sisters in the Churches today is: Are you able to help us get our freedom back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace, security and love?
Israeli Apartheid Week

We urge all South Africans and the Church in South Africa to join in the Awareness Campaign that over 100 Universities in the world including those in our country are engaging in during what is called Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW): 05 – 11 March 2012

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings and multimedia displays) held -by ordinary people- in cities, communities, churches and campuses across the globe.

IAW seeks to raise awareness about Israel's apartheid policies towards the Palestinians and to mobilize support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Last year IAW was incredibly successful with over 90 cities worldwide, and 9 universities in South Africa, participating in the week’s events.  We now urge churches in South Africa to join in collective intercession for Freedom in Palestine before the Israel Apartheid Week takes place in different parts of the World. On the 4th of March we will join in collective prayer to bring Palestine to God our Father.

The South African Council of Churches has designed a Worship Liturgy which is obtainable on the SACC website and from all our Provincial and National Offices. Our contact person is Ms. Dudu Masango contactable through dudu@sacc.org.za ; (011) 241 7800/3.

We hope and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that this effort will be possible.

We thank you all in anticipation of your passionate and positive response to this call and participation in Israeli Apartheid Week.

God bless you

Revd. Mautji Pataki                                                                                        Bishop Revd. Dr Jo Seoka
General Secretary                                                                                           President

 

 

 

THE SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES INVITE CHURCHES IN THE COUNTRY TO PRAY
The Jerusalem Prayer for Sunday, March 04 & 11, 2012 

We believe that every human being is created in God’s image and likeness and that every one's dignity is derived from the Almighty.  We believe that this dignity is one and the same in each and all of us.  This means for us, here and now, in this land in particular, that God created us not so that we might engage in strife and conflict but rather that we might come and know and love one another, and together build up the land in love and mutual respect .

In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope.  We believe in God, good and just.  We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in the land of Palestine.  We will see here "a new land" and "a new human being", capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters.

 Gracious God our Heavenly Father, Creator and sustainer of each human life,

we give you thanks and praise for your gift to us of your only Son, Jesus Christ -- His birth in Bethlehem, His ministry throughout the Holy Land, His death on the Cross and His Resurrection and Ascension.  He came to redeem this land and the world.  He came as the Prince of Peace.

We give thanks to you for every church and parish in the country that is praying with Palestine this day for peace.  Our Holy City and our land are much in need of peace.

In your immeasurable mystery and love for all, let the power of your Redemption and your Peace transcend all barriers of cultures and religions and fill the hearts of all who serve you there, of both peoples - Israeli and Palestinian - and of all religions.

In the land you made holy, free us all from the sin of indifference, contempt and violence which only brings hatred and killing.  Free the souls and hearts of Israelis and Palestinians.  Give liberation, freedom and dignity, to the people of Gaza who live under trials, threats and blockades.  Guide the leaders in that land; purify their minds and hearts, to become true servers of their peoples.  Speak your word of love for all to hear, guide them to justice in all lands, grant them power to proclaim your reign, bridge the gaps that divide and unsettle them and let your Kingdom come.

All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, barrier breaker and sharer of our humanity. and in the power of the Holy Spirit, who prays in and with us all.  Amen

 

 

 

The Church-State Relationship post ANC Centenary Celebrations in the Context of the future of Prophetic Engagement (in South Africa). Presentation by Revd. Mautji Pataki, General Secretary SACC.

22.02.2012
SACC – Kwazulu-Natal Christian Council

Church Leaders and Members of the Kwazulu-Natal Christian Council Executive Committee;
Heads and Representatives of other Ecumenical Agencies;
Representatives of Inter-faith formations and Communities;
The Honourable Speaker and Other Members of the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Legislature;
Government Officials and their Representatives at all levels;
Representatives of Political Parties and Traditional Leadership;
Business;
Distinguished Guests;
Fellow South Africans;

I take this opportunity, first, to thank very much the leadership of the Kwazulu-Natal Christian Council under the Chairmanship of Bishop Mike Vorster, the Ecumenical Secretary Dr Douglas Dziva and their team of able organisers for having found it fit, necessary and perhaps even appropriate that I be invited to share this informative evening with the rest of you.


I use this opportunity further to bring you greetings from the South African Council of Churches on whose behalf I stand here tonight to share with you some thoughts around the Church and State relations which I am certain you are aware is an ancient debate that refuses to resolve for as long as it relates to the contested issue of human power and authority.

Tackling a subject, therefore, as exciting and perhaps even as challenging as this, I might just need to introduce the discussion by tapping into the Pauline literature to the Roman congregation where he authoritatively writes, “Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn’t been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God. Therefore whoever resists the government opposes what God has established.”
And of course the Apostle proceeds in an instructive tone that, “Those who resist (government) will bring punishment on themselves.” ...

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SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES-(EAPPI) CALLS FOR ALTERNATIVE TOURISM TO THE HOLY LAND

The Kairos call from Palestinian Christians to Churches around the world: Come and see. We will fulfil our role to make known to you the truth of our reality, receiving you as pilgrims coming to us to pray, carrying a message of peace, love and reconciliation. You will know the facts and the people of this land, Palestinians and Israelis alike. At the same time we call on you to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

For decades, millions of Christians have journeyed to the Holy Land and returned home without even realising that their pilgrimage was missing something very important; face-to-face human encounters with those who share their faith. Palestinian Christians continuous presence for more than 2000 years in the land of Christ’s life, death and resurrection gives them a unique connection to Christianity and its traditions.

A true Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land is an invitation to “come and see”; a journey to find new and deeper truths about ourselves and the meaning of our Christian faith and be transformed so that we may test and approve what is the will of God, what is good and well pleasing and perfect.

In most of the time, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the oppression this brings to their daily lives is not well understood and is often obscured in the media and by powerful interests.  While some are misled and disempowered to speak or act, many Christians and other people of conscience feel disturbed by a one sided narrative that justifies the ongoing occupation and its gross human rights violations.

Yet true faith requires more from a Christian than purveying stereotypes and untruths and supporting injustice. The genuine Christian pilgrim seeks the living Christ in the now, in solidarity with the oppressed, the poor, and the marginalised. They look for truth and seek for justice, supporting both Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers.

Each time a group of South Africans were to travel to Israel we would urge them to include in their itinerary Palestine. Such tours must be organised and planned in such a way that relevant guides are found who could tell the story of Israel/Palestine in a more objective way.
The SACC would just be too happy to share more information and guidelines with the local organisers of such tours.

For more information contact Ms Dudu Masango at dudu@sacc.org.za and (011) 241 7828.

 

 

 

HAVE YOUR SAY PAGE - New Featured Article
(if you have anything you would like to share on this page please email support@sacc.org.za)

A strong family unit in communion with the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation for a happy, healthy and financially
strong country over the long term.


By Adrian De Villiers - 15 February 2012

It also produces adults that were raised with discipline and love as kids, making responsible, generous, honest and caring adults.
Parents live balanced lifestyles balancing time for work and family and sport, so the parents spend enough time with their kids, giving them the attention and love they need.
 
So people are less lonely, as its easier to make friends if you are one of these kinds of people, and because you've been brought up right and you are going to Church and praying daily and fasting regularly, you are constantly hearing what the Lord has to say helping you have the right direction on where to go and what to do in fulfilling the calling on one's life.
 
This also sees a society that lives by God's standards, accepting life in the womb of the mother being from the moment of conception, the sanctity of marriage being between one man and one women only, and this is the only covenant relationship for sexual inter course. We will also be living below our means in order to give 10% of our gross salary, or companies giving 10% of a bottom line figure towards charity, churches, helping someone's parents pay for their kid's education whose parents can't afford it, etc. If we accept the New Testament, Jesus Christ showed us a new way, of non violent, unbiased diplomacy with prayer and fasting to bring change, every single one of Jesus' disciples lived out this example of been pacifists, and it cost everyone of them their lives, except John who got confined to a island.

But when we abandon the laws God gave us to live by, and the new laws ushered in under the New Testament covenant,(re pacifism vs military wars), and replace these laws with our own manmade laws, because we are so smart and high tech, and are able to improve on God's laws, we get a society that accepts consensual sex over marriage, to satisfy our lusts, and use our bodies as skateboards for a quick thrill, only to abort the unwanted babies, because we would rather murder than err on the side of caution to satisfy our self centeredness, we don't live below our means in order to give 10% sacrificially(tithes), instead we become bling orientated and upgrade either our car or home, making us easy pray for the banks to get us debt ensnared and become debt slaves only to be dispossed of the house we bought with our tithes, making bust and boom economies....[... ]

Read More...

 

The SACC invites you to have your say on issues of ecumenism, politics, economics and many others you wish to share with us; and who knows, it might just be featured for discussion on this page. Please drop us a page or two here support@sacc.org.za

Disclaimer:
Article Content and contributions on this page does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of SACC. SACC also reserves the right to have final decision on material which is acceptable for publication.

Now let's get writing...and be blessed!

 

 Political Hit Squads – Enemies of the Nation!
  26 January 2012

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) finds the recent media reports on the existence of political hit men squads in Limpopo to be very disturbing, concerning and outright unacceptable within the values of the peaceful and democratic South Africa.

At the heart of our concern is the failure by certain groups and individual to understand and respect life as sacred and GOD-given opportunity. No one, it doesn’t matter how powerful they are, have the right or even the privilege to end another person’s life. This is a right reserved only to GOD who remains in charge of our beginning and end – the Alpha and Omega.

The SACC therefore calls upon those who are behind the establishment of hit squads in Limpopo Province and elsewhere in the country to desist from this practice and invest their energy in finding solutions through dialogue, debate and engagement. GOD has endowed all of us with brains and minds to resolve even the most incomprehensible challenges.

We are quite happy and do congratulate members of the Hawks, Crime Intelligence and the Police who acted on time and with precision to effect the arrest of the suspects. We further invite members of the public with information to come out and report these kinds of criminal activities to the law and security agencies.

We deserve a peaceful, secure and stabilized country in order to enjoy the fruit of our constitutional democracy. Advocates of death are therefore a great disappointment to what this country has so far achieved and thus need to be locked up in prison!

    
Rev. Mautji Pataki
SACC General Secretary

 

Go to e-tolling itWeb Article  e-tolling - January 2012
In Defence of the Poor People of South Africa who are already over-burdened with tax and fuel levy, the SACC calls on Government to scrap the e-tolling system immediately.

South African Council of Churches - Khotso House, Johannesburg - Press Statement
19 January 2012

Call to Government to scrap e-tolling
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) in support of the call made by other civil society organisations including Cosatu, calls on the Government of South Africa to scrap completely the controversial e-tolling system that has been initiated by SANRAL in Gauteng Province.

Whereas we are aware that Government through the Minister of Transport brought the implementation of the project to a halt so that, as he says, other alternative ways of proceeding could be explored, we find it unacceptable and unaffordable for the poor people of this country who have no other viable public transport system to turn to, to be made to pay even much more than they are doing at the moment.

We are definitely mindful that once the e-tolling gets implemented, prices on basic food and fuel will rise while the people’s income levels remain the same and low. This system of doing economy is evil for it reduces human beings to mere objects meant to feed a system that does not improve but destroy their livelihood.

We hold strong the position that the South African government has the responsibility to ensure that the road infrastructure caters for the needs of its citizens. These citizens are already heavy-burdened with taxes and fuel levy where money for the maintenance of the road infrastructure should come from. Government’s argument that our tax base is not sufficient enough to take care of our public road infrastructural needs is lame and devoid of all accuracy if one was to take into consideration the report by the Auditor-General pointing to the fact that corruption and mismanagement of public funds is on the rise in this country. Therefore paying more taxes can only be interpreted to be making up for the difference attributed to corrupt activities.

It would therefore be in the interest of justice for the people of South Africa not to register for the e-tolling system and allow government to foot the bill.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary
Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

SACC on Dept. Education in Limpopo

South African Council of Churches - Press Statement on Department of Education in Limpopo
January 2012
- Khotso House, Johannesburg

The South African Council of Churches is highly disturbed by reports from many parts of Limpopo Province that point to lack of stationery, books and other learning materials as schools re-opened for the new year of learning and teaching. The act is so unfortunate that it is tantamount to feeding learners darkness when they ask for light, ignorance when they ask for knowledge.

We find it inexcusable that the material that was supposed to have reached the schools by now has not yet been delivered at a time when learners and teachers are ready to start work.  Apart from all these accusations and counter accusations as to whose responsibility it was to order books, we call upon the parents, communities, parent associations and civil society including churches to organize themselves and demand books, scholar transport and food-at-school on behalf of their helpless children who are clearly failed by those who are supposed to be facilitating their success. Strict deadlines must be adhered to in this regard because it would not be helpful for anyone to receive books in June.

In this embarrassing instance, communities, learners and teachers must refuse to be drawn into a mudslinging exercise that seeks to apportion blame on the National Department of Education which we learn took over the administration of Limpopo in December when books could have long been ordered.

This act is a violation of the learner’s right to education and therefore those who are responsible have to be drawn before court to answer for a deed so destructive in the life of the innocent people. It is criminal and therefore not a matter to be treated lightly when adult leaders and officials violate the constitution of this Republic.

Released by the General Secretary of SACC

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary

 

   Rev. Mautji Pataki, General Secretary
   South African Council of Churches (SACC)

    January 2012

  “Glitzy Funerals” - A Capitalist Ploy to rip the Poor of their little earnings!

Thabo Rampola’s writing in the City Press Edition of 15 January captioned, “Let’s bury these glitzy funerals”  demands an elevated attention as it echoes the sentiment already expressed by the SACC’s Triennial Conference Resolution 14 of 2004. That resolution reads as follows:

“As people are created in the image of God, we affirm this God-given dignity in our earthly life and even after death…and therefore extend our respect for life to those who have also passed on and their families. In respecting the dead, we should however not respect death and burial, but the person”.

The Conference, attended by just about 26 Member Churches including Church Leaders, went on to commit itself to the following programme of action:

  • To promote and invest the churches’ resources in life enhancing initiatives;
  • To call upon church members including leaders, ordained and lay, to make public pledges about their burials, i.e how they would wished to be buried in line with the spirit of this commitment;
  • To accompany the bereaved families with (financial) advice and guidance pre, during and post burials.

To cushion these noble ideas, Conference further resolved to invite all church members in South Africa to set up living legacies and endowment funds for their beloved. Instead of using huge sums of money for burial, funds could be channelled to establish bursary funds and memorials in the name of the departed person.
Like the resolution and the letter of its spirit, Rampola goes for the jugular vein from the onset, targeting values that are out to promote “crass materialism” and selfishness while eroding the basics of African and Christian values of bereavement. Indeed the world with all its cultures might have evolved over time but that is no justification to use human death, suffering and the loss life to justify the raking of massive profits by individuals who are only driven by greed and self-enrichment.

In his article, Rampola correctly argues that the public advertisements and the commercialization of funerals demonstrates a deliberate portrayal of black people to be the principal consumers of “glitzy funerals” and yet there are other population groups in the country who are by far wealthy and opulent but who are by design not targeted by these advertisements. This then leaves those behind the adverts with some tinge of racial innuendos and yet death knows no colour, wealth, poverty or social class for that matter. As to when and where it strikes, we all end up in the grave – in our case, a place elsewhere beneath the ground where it is highly impossible for the dead to receive their admirers.

Our point is to alert the unsuspecting prey of this hegemonic attack which comes in the name of “decent funeral” that it is in fact modesty and not display of opulence that lends decency to the way the living treat the dead. In Rampola’s words, “the very last but not least thing that should be erased from our list is the revered casket which takes away the largest amount of cash as we budget for a burial.”

Those who peddle and promote a lie that caskets are made of highly durable and costly can’t-get material valued at R50 000 and more as Rampola contends, only need to be exposed and their businesses paraded as exploiters of the poor in the name of decent service.

Communities, rich and poor, need to be dissuaded from investing in death for in it there are no returns. In other words life, including self-satisfaction, fulfilment and spiritual healing, cannot be attained through burying your loved one in a “glitzy” way. Those who are bent on this illusion are just showy victims of a highly capital-driven ideology which seeks to present wealth possession, materialism and affluence as affirmation of the worth and value of a human being even in death.

There is no beauty in a corpse and therefore no need exists to clothe it in fancy and expensive bed-linen as though it would ever feel the comfort normally reserved for the living. It is only when the mind fights reality that a corpse could be treated as a “living organic”. Otherwise it is the soul of the departed that lives.
In recent time and in pursuance of its own resolution, the SACC went into partnership with the Financial Services Board (FSB) on a financial wellness programme that seeks to educate communities on “modest funerals” and the value attached to them. Of course in our present-day South Africa you hear people referring to it being their right to bury the loved ones in any costly manner possible as long as they have the money to do so. This is definitely not the point. The point is people have to learn to be good stewards of the resources under their care so that other people who have none or less have the possibility to benefit from the same resources while still alive.

Investment is made wiser when its proceeds and dividend improve the lives of the less fortunate than to be splashed deep into the grave where no one stands to benefit. This is Christ’s teaching, to take care of one another and never to boast publicly of your wealth in from of those who are hungry, poor, unemployed and destitute. What do you think the biblical story of Lazarus and the rich man is all about if it doesn’t teach that it is a sin to brag about your possessions in front of those who can’t afford?

In my vocation I have come across family situations where after bereavement members are left destitute following failure to service the debt accrued from the funeral. As Rampola states that expensive and highly celebrated “lunch” is served at “breakfast” time I could only agree that it is an anomaly associated with funerals as the distinction between the two meals is naturally clear.

Let us wake up from this deep sleep and allow ourselves to be counted among those nations whose resources get used to advance life rather than celebrate death.

 

 

 South African Council of Churches (SACC) Khotso House, Johannesburg
  Press Statement
  SACC Mourns the Death of Ilse Naudé.

The South African Council of Churches is deeply saddened by the death of Ilse Naude, wife to the late Rev. Dr Beyers Naude who once served as the Council’s General Secretary. The SACC coveys its heartfelt condolences to the family with great hope that the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom Ilse and the rest family have invested their trust, will bring healing.

We have always known Ilse to be the strong force and character behind Oom Bey’s ministry at a time when he had to disengage from the Afrikaner community following his convictions against apartheid and state theology. We remember how sad and difficult it was for him to arrive at such decision and yet with Ilse alongside him it was achievable. In Ilse, Oom Bey had a strong shoulder to cry on.

The South African Council of Churches thanks God for a life so well-lived and meaningful as Ilse’s life demonstrated. We wish it were possible for the nation to produce more of such women as Ilse so that the challenges we face today could be confronted with solid faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. So much was Ilse dependable that Oom Bey never felt lonely on a path that was destined to define him as a traitor. Throughout his house arrests, Ilse remained a symbol of hope for him and the children.

As we lay her to rest, our fulfilment is derived from her fighting spirit for justice and peace in our land. We hold no regret, as the ecumenical movement in this country and the world that we had a gift in Ilse at the time when we needed such as her. We may not as yet have achieved the goals that he lived and fought for as injustice and poverty continue to characterise our land. However, we are confident that one day we will achieve a nation where no one goes to bed hungry, without water and food.

The SACC will pay the family of Ilse and Beyers Naude a special pastoral visit in the next few days.

We pray to God to receive Ilse’s soul that she may rest in eternal peace.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary
Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
02/01/2012


 

 South African Council of Churches (SACC) Condemns Bomb Attacks on Christians in Nigeria

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) finds the bombing attacks on churches and Christians in Nigeria to be unacceptable and thus condemned in the strongest way possible. We find it even more insulting of the Christian movement that the attacks were planned to coincide with the celebrations of the birth of Christ. Christmas is about joy and peace, life and redemption. He whose birth gets celebrated was named by the Prophets to be The Prince of Peace – suggesting that he wouldn’t advocate for anyone’s death or injury. When we celebrate his birth, we are reminded of him as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Irrespective of who is behind the attack, the killing of other people for whatever reason is unjustified and does have no space in the hearts of the God-fearing. Christians need to be afforded their own space, equal to all other religions in the world, to worship God devoid of any such attacks as we have witnessed in Nigeria. It is not a choice but a duty on our part to come together for fellowship and glorify God. We therefore call upon all South Africans, Africa and the world to:

  • Hold national prayers in remembrance of  the victims of this attacks
  • Express solidarity with those that are under attack
  • Extend word of condolence to the bereaved families
  • Pray for all the people of Nigeria including those behind the attacks
  • Campaign for a Peaceful Nigeria

The world is a better place to be when there is goodwill among its people.

Released by the Office of the General Secretary

Rev. Mautji Pataki
General Secretary
26/12/2011


 

Jacob Zuma
PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA

   President Jacob Zuma’s Statement is a disappointment.

The South African Council of Churches finds the statement by the President Jacob Zuma on the role of Christian faith in South Africa to be very disappointing and irrelevant to the project of building a nation where all religions receive equal respect and recognition. We are even taken aback by the fact that his statement is made out of no provocation.

There is more sense when Christians take care of orphans and the aged because that is the command from our Lord Jesus Christ – to take care of one another, to love one another, feed the hungry and cloth the naked. It is this command about the vulnerable groups which brings out the solid foundation upon which the Christian faith is built.

Without going anywhere deep in history, the church has established some of the most solid health and education institutions where personality of high note were also produced. South Africans continue to live the legacy of such individuals. Our contribution to the liberation struggle against colonial and apartheid regimes speaks volumes of how much the Church has done. Those who will celebrate the Centenary of the liberation struggle in Mangaung next year will find that a Wesleyan Methodist Church has become a national heritage because community meetings used to take place there. This history cannot simply be erased from the face of our nation by a statement that seeks to demobilise Christians.

We call upon the President to view Christians not as a threat but a community of believers whose mandate is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ whose core values are care, justice, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and many others intended to build our nation. Our intention is to live by these and make South Africa a happy home.

Released by Office of the General Secretary

The Revd. Mautji Pataki
22/12/2011


 

SACCYF

SACC
YOUTH FORUM

 

 

On the road to the SACC Youth Forum Elective Conference, Johannesburg
13 – 15 December 2011

As a result of 2008 SACC Youth Forum Church Youth Leaders’ Consultation, the Forum has gone through the restructuring process; as Dr Brigalia Bam was quoted in EcuNews of 1996 “the need for united Christian witness and action is as demanding in the new South Africa as ever before” and as such this in our view is very important. The ecumenical youth movement in South Africa must be consistent in being lively. Some of the changes made and those that will be proposed are not radical shifts in basic purpose but only in emphasis.

These proposed changes are meant to make the SACC Youth Forum lively, and most importantly relevant to the constituency we serve; while remaining prophetic.  There is no doubt that the cornerstone of the churches and youth’s role in the societal development of our nation is through having youth who are united in purpose and critical in thinking, to create the desired change. The SACC Youth Forum is looking forward to a Conference which will change the course of history of our society and its people.

 
PRESS RELEASE
COP17  CMP7 6 DECEMBER 2011

South African Council of Churches (SACC) Welcomes statement by the People’s Republic of China Urges Carbon Quartet to end Climate Insensitivity

DURBAN: SACC welcomes the statement by the People’s Republic of China (the number 1GHG polluter in terms of total GHG emissions* but not per capita) signaling that it is now ready to commit to a legally binding agreement on reduction of GHG’s. We find this position morally sensitive to the need to build world solidarity on matter affecting climate change.

A binding commitment during the Durban round of talks on Climate Change will strengthen both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and also benefit the BASIC group of countries (Brazil, South Africa, India & China) which includes the host nation. Read More

 

Cop 17 - Durban South Africa

 

PRESS Statement

SACC-LED  WORSHIP SERVICE FOR COP17 AND CLIMATE JUSTICE ACTION

Who can attend? 

Everyone is welcome The Service is organised at a special request from the President of COP17 and the SA Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, The Honourable  Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and will be conducted by the General Secretary of SACC, The Revd. Mautji Pataki and other local clergy.

The SACC regards the participation of churches and Christians  in matters of climate change and climate justice action as driven by ethical, moral and spiritual imperatives in solidarity with the poor, marginalised and vulnerable communities.

The service will spread the ecumenical message on Climate Justice Action and use the "Liturgy for the Restoration of Human Communities" contained in its recent publication,

"The Healing of Creation: Climate Change, COP17 and Beyond".

Released by the office of the general secretary 30 November 2011

The Rev. Mautji Pataki - 082 862 4396

Contact: Rev Keith Vermeulen 082 523 0701

   

PRESS RELEASE
The South African Council of Churches (SACC)
Conference of Parties (COP) 17/ COP Members of Parties 7
SACC Resolution supporting the promotion of the Green Climate Fund

The 16th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) held in Cancun Mexico resolved to establish the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Given the urgency and seriousness of climate change, the purpose of the GCF is to make significant contributions to the international community’s attempts to mitigate its effects.

The Fund seeks to make a significant contribution towards the achievement of the ultimate objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and, in the context of sustainable development.

The Fund (GCF) will promote the paradigm shift towards low–emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their Green House Gas emissions. Read More


What? A Service to Uphold the Discussion and Decisions being made at UN International Conference on Climate Change.

Where? The Uniting Presbyterian Church on D 1059 Hambakahlemkhonto Road, UMLAZI

When? Sunday the 4th December 2011

Time? 10h00
 
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
*Applications close on the 5th December 2011*

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) seeks to support local and international efforts to end the Israeli occupation and bring a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with just peace, based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. 

SACC co-ordinates EAPPI in South Africa. To become one of the Ecumenical Accompaniers and spend three months in Israel/Palestine experiencing life with survivors of the occupation, and return home to advocate for just peace in Israel and Palestine, people of all faith and religion are welcome (25yrs and above).

Please contact the SACC office of EAPPI at the following address: dudu@sacc.org.za   An application form and relevant information will be forwarded to you.

AN INTERVIEW WITH AFRICAN ENTREPRENEUR FOR GLOBAL ENTREPRENEUR WEEK   >> GLOBAL ENTREPRENEUR     AFRICAN ENTREPRENEUR
 

Rev. Mautji Pataki, the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches shared with us the story of his journey and what motivated his decisions in life.

The Moravian Church in South Africa (MCSA) seeks to appoint a Director for its Theological Seminary. The mandate for this position is to provide management and leadership in respect of the academic and administrative functions of the seminary; to plan, manage and evaluate the performance of student ministers and oversee their training programmes up to the B.Th honours and Licentiate level. CLOSING DATE 25 NOVEMBER 2011   Read More...

       The SACCYF will be holding its elective conference in December 2011 with church
  youth structures of member churches of the SACC.
Vuyani Pule - SACC Forum President
SACCYF President
Vuyani Pule

As such Koinonia and many other issues will be reflected upon. An agenda for the ecumenical youth movement in South Africa would be paved.

Church youth structures would be composed of youth leaders and members from various sectors of society in which they serve besides their respective churches. The conference would provide an opportunity to have critical theological reflections on many thematic issues which affects both our spiritual and physical lives.   Read More...
 
SACCYF SACC Youth Forum
The SACC Youth Forum is the fellowship of ecumenical youth organisations within the Church which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures which proclaimed in Word and deed the gospel of incarnation of Jesus Christ... Read More...
 


RECENT EVENT

The meeting with the Public Protector took place on Monday the 21st November 2011.

Rev Mautji Pataki (SACC General Secretary), Adv Thuli Madonsela (Public Protector), Ms Rinel Hugo (SACC NEC Member), Bishop Lunga Ka Siboto (SACC NEC Member).


 

New South African Outlook Magazine
Ecumenical Magazine for Thinkers & Decision Makers

Do not miss this one… New South African Outlook Magazine Special Edition now out!

It features the interview of the new SACC General Secretary, the Rev Mautji Pataki, a vibrant ecumenical activist who among other things comments on problems that confront South Africans today.

The Special Edition also features important conversations on the vision of ecumenism in the 21st Century, with contributions from such sharp scholars as Dr Simangaliso Kumalo and Rev Dr Prince Dibeela.

You cannot miss contributions by Provincial Councils, our Parliamentary Office and also the SACC Youth Forum

Order Now....

Youths in bid to save the planet
Sowetan News - NOV 8, 2011 | TEBOGO MONAMA
GO TO SOWETAN NEWS ARTICLE

MORE than 200 youths representing the African continent are coming to Soweto. The youths will take part in the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Durban from November 28 to December 9.

The South African Council of Churches Youth Forum arranged for a caravan to travel from Nairobi, Kenya, to Durban, to teach youth about the environment 
Read More....