TEASA and SACC in ecumenical partnership

Media Release – 17th November 2011
Historic Church leaders’ meeting for South Africa

An historic meeting of Church leaders took place Tuesday, 15th November, at Bishopscourt in Cape Town. Its aim was to tackle divisions between historic and newer churches, where labels such as ‘ecumenical’ and ‘evangelical’ have undermined a broader shared Christian witness within society and nation. Leaders made a renewed commitment to enhance working together for the good of all South Africans.

Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, chair of National Church Leaders Consultation, hosted the meeting which brought together leaders from three major Christian groupings: Revd Mautji Pataki, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC); Revd. Moss Ntlha, General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA); and Mr Miles Giljam, CEO of African Enterprise (AE). Methodist Bishop Ivan Abrahams, out-going chair of the National Church Leaders’ Consultation also participated, and Dr. Renier Koegelenberg, Executive Director of Ecumenical Foundation of South Africa; and Dr Welile Mazamisa, EFSA board member, were also present. Archbishop Stephen Brislin of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Town was invited but unable to attend. He indicated his support of the meeting.

The meeting followed the January 2010 National Church Leaders’ Consultation which expressed the need for organic unity amongst Christian groupings, and strongly recommended that SACC,TEASA and AE leaders meet and explore common concerns as a way forward.

“Now is a kairos moment, “said Miles Giljam after Tuesday’s meeting. “People want leadership and answers. We also need to instil hope in people.”
“The year 1994 was the end and the beginning of history in South Africa,” commented Dr Welile Mazamisa. “The churches stepped back and others have taken that space – we now need to reclaim it.”

“We need a space to reflect together and work on our commitment to one another and to the people of South Africa,’ said Moss Ntlha.
“In our current context, where the dream of our being a rainbow nation is not being realised in certain quarters, it is important that as Christians, regardless of our differences, we should meet and hold to the vision that a united country is possible,” Archbishop Makgoba added.

The Christian leaders shared individual perspectives and identified common priorities. They then considered the Overview of the National Development Programme 2030 and discussed the contribution Churches can make to the way forward.

Participants agreed on key issues in South African society needing urgent attention, including corruption, poor service delivery, and problematic health care and educational systems. They also affirmed the desire of the broader Christian community to be a partner in addressing the problems which are facing our people and our communities.

The meeting concluded with an enthusiastic commitment to continue meeting for reflection, dialogue and common action.

Why TEASA keeps knocking on the doors of those in power

On the 6th July, TEASA General Secretary, along with a delegation of TEASA church leaders and civil society partners met with senior policy experts at the Union Buildings. The goal: to engage government on two matters critical to TEASA members. Firstly, on the way South Africa voted at the UN General Assembly
in December 2010 on the issue of religious freedom, and is likely to vote in October 2011 when the same issue comes up. In the view of the TEASA delegation,
South Africa’s UN assembly vote should affirm the right of the peoples of the
world, in whichever country they may be, to have the liberty to convert from one religion to another. It is an important human right. A state should not choose a religion for its citizens.

Read more

Church leaders speak

The National Church Leaders’ Consultation, comprising of the leadership of the Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Dutch Reformed Church, Uniting Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church of Africa, The Salvation Army, International Federation of Christian Churches, Ethiopian Episcopal Church, Jerusalem church in South Africa, The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, the SACC, the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Shembe, Baptist Convention of South Africa, Assemblies of God strongly resent the efforts of Dr Motshekga, the ANC Parliamentary Caucus and the ANC desk for Cultural and Religious affairs to muscle in on and manipulate Church Leadership Structures.

We are leaders in our own right and lead by Biblical mandate.

We are deeply offended by efforts by Mr Livhuwani Matsila and others to infiltrate our meeting in Johannesburg without invitation.

This is an unwarranted intrusion on our discussions and compromises our freedom of association and of religion.

We call on President Zuma to hear this clearly and to engage with us in our own capacity.

Dr Motshekga does not enjoy our confidence.

Issued by the National Church Leaders Consultation, meeting in Johannesburg.

Events

  • HIV/AIDS Door to door education: 

    * 21-25 November at Palmridge
    * 28 Nov -2 Dec at Kagiso
    * 28 Nov -3 Dec at Brandvlei
    * 24 -30 Nov at Khutsong

  • 26 Nov HCT campaign at Palmridge
  • 27 Nov. CAndle light service and HIV testing- Soweto
  • 4th CAndle light service, Khutsong

Kairos Southern Africa statement in support of Archbishop-emeritus Desmond Tutu:

5 October 2011

Yesterday’s statement by Archbishop-emeritus Tutu is more than a statement of anger and frustration: it is a prophetic statement in the spirit of the Old Testament prophets and of Jesus Christ himself, who expressed woes over those who thought they could flout the will of God. That it was made on the day that we celebrated St Francis of Assisi is also significant – St Francis is one who identified himself completely with those who are most on the margins of society. Continue reading

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