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Brief update on Refugees who were at Hope Farm

KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) writes regular reports updating its leaders, constituencies, fellow civil society organisations and public at large about the latest in relation to the xenophobic related issues in our province and what it has been doing. This is such an update with the latest in relation to refugees who were at Hope Farm and those who had remained.

The KZN Premier’s initiative

The Premier of KZN the Honourable Senzo Mchunu has been concerned about the situation of refugees both in Hope Farm and those that had occupied Becker Street in Durban. He had a series of meetings with the different government departments including the national Deputy Minister of Home Affairs as well as senior representatives of United Nation High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to try and find remedial intervention. The Premier through MEC of Community Safety and Liaison (Honourable Willies Mchunu) as well as MEC for Social Development (Honourable Weziwe Thusi) invited KZNCC and other civil society organisations involved in migration and anti-xenophobia work for a briefing. The briefing included what the organisations had been doing and what they think the solution should be.

The Premier then convened a meeting with all stakeholders which included government officials, civil society organisations, church leaders and UNHCR to present a solution. The meeting took place on the 29 April 2016 in Diakonia Council of Churches. The Premier announced that together with the national Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, they have come up with a solution on how the problem of refugees would be resolved. They have persuaded the UNHCR to reopen the financial packages aimed at supporting refugees to either integrate to communities, be repatriated or assessed with a possibility to be resettled if they qualify. The head of UNHCR South Africa office (Mr. George Kuchio) confirmed this and gave details. A refugee family is going to be given R7000.00 and single refugee receiving R3000.00.

This was presented to refugees firstly in the Hall in Diakonia and later to the refugees who were still remaining at Hope Farm.

The latest on Refugees who were outside Becker Shelter

The majority of refugees who were outside the shelter at Backer Street have reported not to have taken packages. At the time this report was written, only one family had taken the package from those who were at the street. It is not clear why the refugees are not taken these packages. We spoke to the few who had said that it is extremely small and is next to nothing.

In an unexpected development, the refugees have moved from the street and they are now inside the shelter. They reporting that this is their own initiative where they have negotiated with the owner of the shelter and they are paying on daily basis. Some have reported that they busy looking for jobs. They said they will remain in the shelter until UNHCR come back to interview them for resettlement purposes.

The situation at Hope Farm

Out of 31 refugees who were still remaining at Hope Farm, 17 have left leaving about 14 (1 family and 7 singles). Those who have left have are taking packages and are situated at the temporal shelter in Durban not far from the Workshop. Those that are remaining at Hope Farm are saying that they are not safe to leave the farm and would prefer to leave after the interview with UNHCR.

The farmer has started an eviction process and they were (refugees) due to appear in Court on the 9 May 2016. They had approached KZNCC for help with transport to go to court as well continuing with supplying them with food. Representatives from KZNCC visited them on the 8th May 2016 to listen to their request and their future plans. After some discussions, KZNCC came to the conclusion that it cannot justify assisting them whilst the government as well as UNHCR have reintroduce packages. KZNCC has since suspended its support to the group which is remaining at Hope Farm.

It is our suspicion that the reason why some of the refugees are not taking the package is that they are under the impression that if they do, it will jeopardise their possibility for resettlement. There are those who have raised the issues of the packages being small since it has no start-ups in case someone wants to start a business.

Narrative therapy

KZNCC together with Diakonia Council of Churches has organised a narrative therapy to help refugees to deal with their situation and help them to reorganise their lives. This service is available every Thursday at Diakonia between 9h00-12h00.

On behalf of KZNCC, we would like to thank government for taking this issue upon itself, UNHCR and its partners for the role it is playing towards find a solution and continuous support to refugees.

For any form of assistance and, or further clarification, please contact the following:

Musa Zakwe; Cell no 0839833524, 033-3454819

Email musazakwe@kzncc.org.za

50 Langalibalele Street. Kwa-Zulu Natal Christian Council. Pietermaritzburg

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KZNCC on Theology of Disability: Texts of Promise and wellness

KZNCC Logo

Lngoetjana@kzncc.org.za NPO number: NPO 119-523

27 January 2016

KZNCC on Theology of Disability: Texts of Promise and wellness

Issue No. 1

You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:14)

To people living with disability the KZNCC writes a Theology of Disability openly confessing that it is doing it from the sightlessness of the so called ‘abled people’. In this pastoral letter to both the so called ‘abled’ and the ‘disabled’ people we share our reflections the liberation theology of disability. We will release a series of subtopics on this subject as is indicated in the last paragraph of this letter. For now let us look at the liberatory side of the theology of disability and follow up later with others.

Emancipatory Biblical and Theological Views on Disability

The inclusivity of People with Disability (PWD) is seen in God’s plan for the restoration of the Israelites. We find God assuring the remnant of His people, Israel in Babylon that the land of their captivity would be restored to them and that they would return back to Jerusalem: “See, I will bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them the blind and the lame” (Jeremiah 31:8, 9). Micah 4:6-7 sets out God’s plan concerning the people of Israel: “In that day,” declares the Lord, “I will gather the lame, I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought grief, I will make the lame a remnant, and those driven away a strong nation.” The eternal kingdom, which God will establish, will favor above all others the weak, the lame, and the outcasts. They are God’s chosen ones, his remnants” (Etieno 1988).

Isaiah 35: 1 – 10 is one more emancipatory text of the Promise of Wellness: Joy of the Redeemed.

In the old Testament, these verses show that in the restoration God ensured that all PWD would also be brought back. God did not want the blind and the lame left behind but to be restored. There is no indication that the people living with disability is a punishment from God as a result of their sin or perhaps even their parents’ sins.

When we look at the New Testament, we see that Jesus healed everyone thereby implying that anyone who has faith. The passage in John 9: 1ff is very liberating. It is the one which teaches that the blindness of one blind person is not because he or his parents have sinned but that the glory of God might be manifest.

Examples are many; the man who’s blind in Mark 8 asked Jesus for healing; he showed faith and Jesus healed him. The woman with unending menstruation showed faith by touching Jesus’ gown and she was healed.

Paul also wrote about how his own personal infirmity, the thorn in the flesh he calls it, his weakness, which is a term for sickness in the ancient world. He says that this is a positive thing and that he’s perfected in his weakness.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9. In these Bible verses disability serves positive functions for Jesus, the disciples and by extension, the Christian communities. It is for us now to change our minds and attitudes towards PWD. The church and all institutions of society must begin to embrace PWD. PWD should not be seen as a problem but a blessing to all humanity.

Generally as it may apply in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and other cultures there is a way in which vulnerable and disabled people would be neglected though this may not be seen as such in these modern days. “Vulnerable children would not be exempted nor excluded from participation in African institutions of passage. Besides the semblance of the romantisisation of African traditional communities, though there was a level of marginalisation and negligence of vulnerable children on the part of some, it was not the norm. Vulnerable children in African stories are portrayed as saviours and heroes of their people”1(Ngoetjana 2013 Research on African Models of Caring for Vulnerable2 Children in Traditional Communities: Towards a Proposal for Caring for Vulnerable Children in Modern Communities).

Churches in KZN are encouraged to consider deepening the positive theology of disability through involving them in every aspect of church life. There must not only be sermons about disability but must let PWD, to teach, and preach in the church.

Regards

KZNCC

This is Issue No.1. of the Theology of Disability. Issue No. 2. will be about: Disability and Sin: A Hamartiological Problem. Issue 3. will be about: The Healing Narratives in the Gospels and Disability. Issues No. 3 will be about: Theology of Disability and Interdependence. Issues No. 4. will be about Disability, Accessibility and Knowledge of God. Issues 5. Disability, personalization and the personification of God. Issue No. 6. GOD ad God are ultimate symbols of religious imagination.

1 Conversation with Dr. D. Dziva, Programmes Director of the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council on the 01st March 2005. The researcher is looking out for such African stories on vulnerable children.

2 The definition of vulnerability in this research seeks to include the physical, the psychological, the spiritual and sociological aspects. Should there be other relevant aspects of vulnerability, this research will endeavour to include them, more so as they relate to vulnerable children.

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Theology of Human Sexuality in the Context of HIV and AIDS

Theology of Human Sexuality in the Context of HIV and AIDS

12 December 2015

Dr L M Ngoetjana

Introduction

This presentation can be divided into two main areas in which the topic of Human Sexuality in the Context of HIV and AIDS have been discussed. One area is that of the theological and the other the psychosocial perspectives of Human Sexuality. The theological part seeks to argue that humanity is but one homo sapiens despite of a given gender or sexual orientation. The perspective of social psychology takes its departure from the general agreements of its research on human sexuality and social roles and behavioral orientation applied in the context of HIV and AIDS.

Gift from God: Approaching the subject of human sexuality in the context of HIV and AIDS, it is perceived that humanity and the whole existence of being as reality encountered is better expressed as a gift from God. The notion of the existence of God is not in question in this task but the realization that human sexuality in the context of HIV and AIDS is perceived reality as we cognitively assume and wrestle with it.

In this perception we realize that the whole of the human being, body, experience, perception, spirituality and all that constitute it is intrinsically and inextricably sexual as well. The gift from God that is human sexuality is indestructible in mortality. As human beings live, they are holistically sexual beings. External experiences such as infection and affection with HIV do not necessarily extinguish the essence of human sexuality.

Human Sexuality – Gift and Responsibility

Human sexuality is one of the beauties of Gods creation (in Knox-Seith, E. 2005: 34). It is so wonderful and fulfilling especially when practiced as far as it is humanly possible within the prescripts of God which comes with the repercussions and responsibilities of such an engagement. Human sexuality should involve the whole human being, spirit, soul and body. Addition it must be carried with the respect due to its sacredness and glorious beauty.

Human sexuality demonstrates the mighty works of God worthy of respect, care. Besides the questions of procreation and pleasure, it is a practice where the mighty works of God can be made manifest by this Gift through the process of coition, conception and birth.

On the other hand this Gift of God is one very susceptible to abuse. The commercialization and commoditization of human sexuality is one of the major abuses of this beautiful gift. Business in human trafficking is base and mundane. It is a form of abuse and misuse of human sexuality.

The demonization of human sexuality as seen in some of the religious teachings and practices is equally unfounded. Human sexuality is given by God and must simply just not be used or abused for other needs of extreme human gratification.

Gender and the substance of the human flesh: A Theology

Women and men are co-substantial, co-equal and co-existent just as the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit are in the God-head in the Trinity. Women and men are made of the same material substance. The selection of gender is not a human privilege. A gender is not essential to being human. So all actions and thoughts informed by gender differentiation are theologically baseless.

Views on Gender and the Essence of Being

Views on gender and the essence of being such as the worth of being male against the worthlessness of being female which are informed by traditional culture and theology must be challenged.

Men must wrestle with the idea that gender is not constitutive of the essence of being but the principle of life or the Image of God is. Platforms created for Men’s Forums must make this debate towards the transformation of culture and theology possible.

Gender HIV and AIDS in the context of human sexual activity

Infection and being affected by HIV does not remove sexual desire. People infected and affected with HIV must not be deprived from sexual activity. People infected and affected by HIV must be encouraged to practice safe sex. Human sexuality must be practiced in the best interest of the entire humanity.

Gender and socio-political, religio-cultural inequalities

What about gender issues in the time of Jesus? His society was patriarchal; male and female roles were sharply differentiated, with women’s roles centering on the family and home. A woman who could not have children felt deep shame (as in I Sam. 1: 12) Widows were especially vulnerable. Divorce was easy (for the man)”.

A rabbinical custom was to thank God daily, as a man, that you had not been born a woman, slave or foreigner. Religions leaders were not permitted to speak to women in public; religion did not value women’s spiritual contributions” (icmdahivinitiative). “Jesus broke with these assumptions and traditions. He extended honour and respect to all women. Women experienced the power of His miracles. He taught that women were equal to men in the sight of God. Jesus taught that women could also receive forgiveness of sin and the gift of salvation by grace. Jesus taught that women can be his followers and fully participate in the Kingdom (sic) of God. In an era where women could not be legal witnesses Jesus caused that they be his witnesses (Lk in the. 24: 9 – 11).

Gender, stigma, HIV and AIDS

Stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and mis-action (SSDDIM) are six related evils that continue to either frustrate or slow down our HIV&AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, and impact mitigation efforts” (Gideon).

Silence about sexuality (Knox-Seith, E 2005: 11 ff v.1) in our time does not help anymore. We must begin sex talk at home as early as possible addressing the topic according to the level of the maturity of our children and in social spaces which are providing the necessary freedom to talk about sex. We must cross the boundaries of fear and prejudice and enter the sphere of freedom and responsibility when it comes to matters of human sexuality.

Research Report of KZNCC (2009): Comprehensive Report’s Practicable Key Recommendations

The KZNCC research was about The Sociological and Religious Experiences of People on Antiretroviral Treatment: Concern for Human Dignity, Problems of Access and Affordability, Programmes of Counselling, Supervision and Care. A follow-up research was done to measure the impact and progress made since the first one done in 2006. The follow-up research was done in 2010. The Executive summary of the 2010 research report read as follows:

The general findings of the research presented a positive picture. The interviewees it is revealed are happy in the manner in which they are personally living with HIV and a adhering to the ARVs. They paint a very positive picture about the change in attitude of the places of worship and fellow worshippers. They are elated by the way in which households and members of the households are supporting and journeying with them and the same positive feeling is expressed concerning the health institutions and practitioners who have created a caring atmosphere for PLWHA and people of ARVs”.

The key recommendations were presented as follows:

1. Though the majority of the people interviewed feel that PLWHA and being on ARVs is not a punishment from God the 11% which feel it is so need attention as well. The message of the grace, the love and care of God must be presented with more vigor and urgency. Conduct Bible studies, theology of HIV, gender and care.

2. Teach people about the importance of discloser so that they can be supported properly.

3. Give attention to a remnant of nurses who still make stigmatising comments regarding PLWHA and people on ARVt. These nurses, some of them are not educated about this challenge. They comment negatively about PLHWA and on ARVt saying in public at a place of health service – why do you cough so much? Why do you always have a running tummy? What are you eating? These comments are suggestive. Pay attention to the nurses who have stigma. Pay attention to the promises of giving food parcels in vain. Patients need to be honest to nurses about their status. One must not say I have a headache without saying at a properly demarcated place I have this condition – either living with the virus or on treatment. Begin an investigation on the allegation that some health workers still people’s CD4 counts from files for ulterior motives. Organise an exposure visit by the church – pastors.

4. More support groups must be initiated in places of worship. The pastors still need education and information on HIV

5. KZNCC must extend this research to the whole province and compare regional findings, reasons and recommendations.

6. KZNCC must conduct provincial workshops with this research methodology to empower regional emerging researchers

7. Increase more awareness in churches by having a systematic programme of PLWHA and people on ARVt to address the churches on Sunday services.

8. KZNCC must have along side with HIV education and exposure a programme of distributing food parcels especially to people of ARVt.

9. Continue doing workshops to educate the religious sector on HIV and AIDS. Encourage churches to form support groups. Churches must be encouraged to visit people at home. Churches must be encouraged to give both spiritual and material support.

10. This report must be made available to traditional leaders, political leaders, implicated government departments and churches to implement recommendations best suited for them.

11. Individual fellow worshippers must be encouraged the more to give and make an added effort to support PLWHA and those on ARVt. The churches must run workshops on awareness of the myths and forms of denial some people are entangled in and try to dispel such myths.

12. The churches who are working in the area of HIV and AIDS must seek to be in partnership with the health care institution and contribute their share of the fight against HIV and AIDS.

13. Equal emphasis and effort must be given to attending to the elderly people when it comes to dealing with the issues of HIV and AIDS. Conduct family camps of HIV and AIDS including and involving the elderly as well.

14. Run workshops for nurses to help them create a situation where people can easily disclose their status. The same workshops could be run for families and doctors.

15. KZNCC commence with food production projects – fruit and vegetable gardens etc

Gender, Human Rights and Constitutionalism

Especially in the traditionally conservative cultures and theology, it has been muted out that the new Constitution which enshrines the Bill of Rights for all and promotes equality of men and women before the law and in all walks of life, like access to education and employment opportunities has emasculated men. With more debate and mutual education and enlightenment, men are beginning to realise that some tenets of patriarchal structures were indeed oppressive to women and that there is a need to transform and change for the well being of all.

Masculinity and Infidelity

The perception that men who have many mistresses are heroes while women can not do the same and have praise must be challenged. In the context of HIV and AIDS among many methods of preventing new infections the message of fidelity must go through. We just need to keep on spreading messages of prevention including one of faithfulness. The typical cultural proverbial “Isoga” (a man with many mistresses) must be challenged at least at a debate level. The protagonists of Isoga must loose the debate. In other words much that we have emphasized the use of condoms we must equally emphasize the importance of Abstinence, Being Faithful, and Reducing Multiple sexual partners in our fight against HIV and AIDS (Green 2003: 53ff)

Masculinity and Economic Inequality

The manipulation of women by men through control of the means of living must be overcome by empowering women to become economically independent. It is in God’s plan that humanity must work for a living and not be denied the opportunity to do so for both men and women. Structurally, the quest for involvement and activity of women in the mainstream of the economy and meaningful participation of women in political decision making positions is being realised in a visible way. Masculine economic structures must be transformed to accommodate women and their lifestyle. Women must not be disadvantaged in fulfilling their God given way of living.

Masculinity and Cultural Categorization (Izingane = Children)

The classical categorization of women as children must be addressed in the men and gender theological and cultural debates and discussions. In the world where HIV and AIDS is widespread, men and women can do better by treating each other as adult and behaving likewise and so jointly cooperate in safe sex and together fight the scourge of HIV and AIDS. Persistent has been the cultures and theologies of keeping a woman at her place, in the kitchen. And resilient has been the theologies of ‘a woman is made for a man thinking’. These theologies and cultures promoting the idea of the inferiority of women must be challenged. In the context of HIV and AIDS women must be emancipated to participate in civil life and church leadership structures and have their voice heard when matters of human sexuality are debated and discussed even on an academic level.

Masculinity as Empowerment through Re-Appropriation

The notion of the unrelenting appropriation of socialization propaganda (enhancing chauvinism and patriarchy), negative in most cases as it has been when it comes to helping in the fight against HIV and AIDS must be re-appropriated to carry positive messages about the pandemic. Much that traditional structures must be challenged to transform in the age of freedom and human rights; while we do so indeed, the Men’s Forums should be helping men to begin to be positive and helpful in fighting HIV and AIDS as men in leadership today.

Emancipating interpretation of scripture

Women are core players, or fellow players in the game of life and sex. Women, are not just victims of circumstances. Women are also making choices in life. I guise even in the context of masculinity, men, gender and HIV and AIDS. Women are bringing their own hermeneutic and value to theology and human sexuality. And the principles of health and healing found in the scriptures hold and are relevant to both our contextual theologisation and evidential findings of empirical scientific inquiry. In summary, clean living, clean behaviour, clean environment, clean water, clean food, clean sex, clean relationships, clean hands, clean clothes an clean habits are a partial answer to the combat of HIV and AIDS”.

HIV not a Virus of the Scriptures:

The challenge of HIV and AIDS, in inference is related to the texts of disease and healing in the scriptures. HIV and AIDS is not the virus nor the syndrome found in the scriptures. HIV and AIDS is our modern challenge. We can only relate the virus and the syndrome in inference to the scriptures. What we are learning here is that we are beginning to do a theology of HIV and AIDS, and care more and more.

Social Psychology – General Agreements in the Context of HIV and AIDS

General agreement exists about characteristics of men and women in various groups despite differences in sex, age, religion, marital status and educational level” (Severy, B and Schlenker, 1976: 139).

Characteristics descriptive of men are more highly valued that are characteristics description of women” (Severy, B and Schlenker, 1976: 139).

The positively valued masculine characteristics may be grouped together to form a profile which includes competence, rationality and assertiveness. On the other hand, the positively valued female characteristics may be grouped together to form a profile which includes warmth and expressiveness” (Severy, B and Schlenker, 1976: 139).

“ … sex-identity differences are considered “desirable” by college students, “healthy” by mental health professionals, and “ideal” by both men and women” (Severy, B and Schlenker, 1976: 139).

Gender Typing is about categorising things as masculine or feminine. Self-presentation is about display of gender as ones prominent part. The use of gender to structure elements of social life has been basic. Gender typing has a characteristic of impression formation about self as male and female.

Gender Stereotypes is belief about personal attributes of women and men. There are also cultural and personal stereotypes. Cultural Stereotypes is exposure to sex images presented by our culture. Personal stereotypes are our own unique beliefs about the attributes of groups of people such as women and men.

Behavioral Theories in Social Psychology

Behavior Learning Theories are about Association, Classical Conditioning, Reinforcement, and Observational Learning (models/ Imitation/modeling) (Sears et.al, 1988: 8ff)

Cognitive Theories: Are about Perception of the social situation; formulation of Thought; Beliefs about a situation; The importance of the social environment as perceived by the individual; perceiving in groups; Social Cognition (examines perception and encoding of social information, studies integration and classification of information, examines social memory, i.e. how individuals store, retrieve information about people and social events). Cognitive approaches focus on current perceptions, current interpretations, not the ‘reality’ of the situation ((Sears et.al, 1988: 10)

■ “Motivational” Theories: Are about the individual needs or motives. Theorises that human needs influence, human perceptions, attitudes and behaviour. “The core idea is that situations can create or arouse needs which, in turn, lead people to engage in behaviors to reduce the need” (Sears et.al, 1988: 12)

Decision Making Theories: Are about people calculating the costs and benefits of various actions and pick the best alternatives in a fairly logical way ((Sears et.al, 1988: 12). Incentive theory is one about weighing pros and cons and then adopting the best one.

Social Exchange Theories: Are about the behaviour of two or more people who interact with each other. Social Exchange Theories built on Learning Theories and Decision making Theories. The social exchange is about interacting concerning the costs and benefits, pros and cons of their ultimate decision and action. “Social Exchange Theory analyses interpersonal interaction on the basis of costs and benefits to each person of possible waysa they can interact” (Sears et.al, 1988: 13)

Role Theories: Are about the role each person will play within norm of society. “The social structural perspective emphasizes that individuals, like actors, play out pre-existing scripts – prescribed social rules of behaviour – i.e. social norms” (Sears et.al, 1988: 14). On the other hand the “interactional perspective views people as characters improving and constructing their own social scripts” (Sears et.al, 1988: 14).

Psychological Masculinity, Femininity, and Androgyny (and the Undifferentiated) -An Analysis:

Gender self concept: How much am I masculine, feminine, androgynous of undifferentiated? (Sears et.al, 1988: 443)

The Psychologically Androgynous : ( Greek – Andro = male; Gyne = female): – about combining attributes (Sears et.al, 1988: 443)

A Two-dimensional model of psychological masculinity and Femininity

High Masculinity

Masculine

Low Femininity

Androgynous

High Femininity

Undifferentiated

Feminine

Low Masculinity

Behavioral Flexibility = Androgynous: It is concluded that an androgynous persons are best able to adjust in most social situations because they exhibit strong characteristics of being male and female. The opposite thereof being that of undifferentiated persons. On the other hand the persons who fall in the second and fourth quadrant would be the normative male and female of a heterogeneous society

Socialisation: Socialisation is the manner in which society influences its members to think, behave and act according to their way of doing things in terms of mainly their gender. Other words socialisation is gender and class stereotyping. Certain questions and phrases are almost set to streamline and socialize members of society. In certain circumstances such as child birth often a question is asked: What gender is the newly born one? What shall be his/her name? What colour clothing shall we buy for the baby? “Boys don’t cry”? Such questions have their accompanying set of responses and counter responses such as: So and so has worked; or we thank God for the newly born. One can almost guess that the former and the latter are responses for a boy child or a girl child respectively.

References

Edwards, Phil (2008). How Does Ethics Relate to Theology, Pastoral Care and Current World-view.

Green, E. C. 2003. Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries. Westport, Connecticut, London: Praeger

Kalmina-Zake, Dana (sa). Pastoral Care and Protestant Theology. Latvia

www.findarticles.com/p/articles

Knox-Seith, E (ed.). 2005. 2005. One Body: North-South Reflections in the Face of HIV and AIDS. Vulume 1. Nordic – FOCCISA Church Cooperation: Christian Council of Norway.

Knox-Seith, E (ed.). 2005. 2005. One Body: North-South Reflections in the Face of HIV and AIDS. Vulume 2. Nordic – FOCCISA Church Cooperation: Christian Council of Norway.

KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (Sa): Training Manual for the KZNCC on Men, Gender and AIDS: Focusing Men For Change (Towards Transformation of Behaviour and Attitudes in an HIV/AIDS Context. Pietermaritzburg: KZNCC

Lester, Andrew D (2005). Angry Christians: A Theology for Care and Counseling. In Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2005 by Clrke, Jody H. Louiseville: Westminister John Knox Press

Ngoetjana, M L (ed.). 2010. A Followup Research on Experiences of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) (Unpublished Report). Pietermaritzburg: KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council

Sears D O, L A Peplau and S E Taylor. 1988. Social Psychology 7th Edition. New Jersey, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.

Severy, B and Schlenker. 1976. A Contemporary Introduction to Social Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill Company

www.boston.com/news/health/articles

www.ezineartharticles.com/?ntegration –of-Psychology-and-Theology-Christianity

www.religion-online.org/show article.asp

www.ascensionhealth.org/ethics/public/issues

www.biapt.org.uk/2003.shtml

Gideon_byamugisha@yahoo.co.uk

Icmdahivinitiative

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New Teachers in the Postmodern Church: Faith Healing, Salvation and the Gospel of Prosperity

New Teachers in the Postmodern Church: Faith Healing, Salvation and the Gospel of Prosperity

Meaning of New Stone: Rev. 2: 12 – 17 (17).

And will give him a new white stone

The phrase, “to add a white stone”, with the Latins, is used to give one’s approbation of anything; and could it be applied here, might signify the approbation Christ gives of his church and people here, amidst the testimonies they bear, and the persecutions they endure for his name’s sake, and that which he will give of them before his Father, angels, and men, at the last day: white stones were used on various accounts. The Grecians used them to mark good or lucky days with them, as they called them; and could the allusion be thought to be to this custom, the sense would be, that Christ promises, to his people that overcome, happy days, after the times of Popish darkness and persecution were over: white stones were also given to the conquerors in the Olympic games, with their names upon them, and the value of the prize they won; and, here applied, may respect the crown of life and glory given to them who are more than conquerors through Christ, with their right and title to it, and the excellency of it. The Romans in judgment used to give their suffrages for condemnation by casting black stones into the urn, and for absolution white stones; to which Ovid has respect, when he says F18,

“Mos erat antiquis, niveis atrisque lapillis, His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpa.”

And this is thought by many to be referred to here, and may denote, that though the pure members of Christ, and who abhorred and protested against the abominations of the church of Rome, were charged with heresy and schism, and what not, yet Christ would absolve them, and justify them from all those charges. But rather the allusion is to a custom among the Jews, who used to examine the priests and Levites before they went to their service, or to the sanhedrim, to judge and pass sentence, whether their ways and works were right; and if they were as they should be, they gave them (avdqmd armwx) , “the stone of the sanctuary”: if not, they might not enter on business, as it is said; “and of Levi he said, thy Urim and thy Thummim be with thy Holy One”, ( Deuteronomy 33:8 ) F19. Now on the Urim and Thummim, the stones in the high priest’s breastplate, were engraven the names of the children of Israel; and, as the Jews say, the name Jehovah, to which reference may be had in the following clause; and may denote that the church, though in the wilderness, is regarded by Christ, is bore upon his heart and cared for by him; and also its spotless purity in him, and justification by him.

And in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he
that receiveth [it];

by this name may be meant, either the name of “Jehovah” our righteousness, which is the name both of Christ, and of his church, ( Jeremiah 23:6 ) ( 33:16 ) , or the name of a child of God, sometimes called a new name; see ( Isaiah 56:5 ) ( 62:2 ) ; and so designs the blessing of adoption; this may be said to be a new name, because renewed, manifested to, and put upon the people of God, when they are made new creatures, though provided in predestination, and in the covenant of grace from eternity; and because a renowned and excellent one, better than that of the sons and daughters of the greatest prince on earth; and because a wonderful one, being an instance of amazing love and grace; and is what “no man knoweth”, but the receiver of it; the Father of these adopted ones is unknown to natural men; and so is Christ, through whom this blessing is bestowed; and the Spirit of God also, who witnesses to it; and the persons that enjoy it, and the blessing itself, and the inheritance to which they are adopted: and this new name being on the white stone, may show that the blessings of justification and adoption, though they are two distinct ones, yet they are inseparable: they go together, and both give a right to the heavenly inheritance; and they are also, as well as the hidden manna, gifts of free grace, and not owing to the works and merit of men, and are given by Christ, and in and through him. At Rome, some white stones have been dug up, some lesser, some greater, with names and letters, and other engravings upon them, which Pignorius F20 has given the figures of; and to such some have thought the allusion here is, and may serve to illustrate this passage. The Ethiopic version, instead of a “white stone”, reads, a “famous book”. (Internet Extraction April 2016)

Antiretroviral Treatment and the Application of Faith: Towards Healing and Cure

Introduction: “Should a Christian (and for that matter any one) use the services of medical doctors? Does the Bible forbid the use of medicines? If it is not God’s will to heal the person miraculously right now, is it wrong to seek medical aid? Would seeking such help be interfering with God’s will? These are important questions, because the answers have serious implications — implications of suffering or relief, life or death. They are also questions that may not even occur to most people, and may seem unnecessary to some. But the questions do occur to sincere persons who are laboring under certain false impressions (and some who are convinced that they are acting on a type of faith that is pleasing to God) about divine healing and the Bible position on it (Additions mine)”.

There is a challenge that needs some investigation concerning statements made by some evangelistic groups which claim the healing or cure of HIV and AIDS. This rudimentary concept paper struggles with such statements and seeks engagement with people of faith on the general matter of ‘Faith and Medicine’ and the specific concern of the healing and cure of HIV and AIDS by faith or prayer.

Hypothesis: Antiretroviral treatment and the application of faith towards healing work together.

Sub-hypothesis 1: People can use their faith as well as adhere to treatment. There is no contradiction between taking treatment and having faith for health and healing. The use of ARVs is not against the application of faith.

Sub-hypothesis 2: The application of faith should encourage people to adhere to treatment and with confidence knowing that the scriptures do not forbid the use of medicines towards health, healing and cure.

Problem Statement: The application of faith leading people to default or abandon any form of medical treatment puts the patients at very high risk which may lead to death if not attended to on time. There have been peddlers and bogus claims of the cure of HIV and AIDS since the virus has been diagnosed from around the 1980s. At the beginning some people of faith stigmatized people who were diagnosed HIV positive and followed by the latest and sprouting evangelistic groups who encourage their converts to abandon ARV treatment.

What Do the Scripture Say? “Colossians 4:14 refers to Luke as the “beloved physician,” showing that Luke was a physician and was well thought of. The Bible nowhere states that Luke stopped using his skills after conversion, and it would not be proper to conclude that he did merely from the Bible’s silence on the subject” One of the accolades and appellations of Yahweh is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer (Ex. 15: 26) a praise-word Yahweh got by healing the waters of Marah with a tree. Apocalyptically the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22: 2).

Olive oil also can be used on wounds. Wine was used medicinally in the New Testament. Paul told Timothy, in 1Timothy 5:23, to use a little wine as a digestive aid due to Timothy being sick. Also, the Good Samarian used wine in Luke 10:34, “…bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine.” Alcohol is an antiseptic. In “Wine as Food and Medicine”

Other Texts: Ezekiel 47: 12; Jer. 30: 13 – 17; Jn. 9: 1ff (6 – 12)

Question for Discussion: How is it possible that a person who had tested HIV positive come to be tested HIV negative?

Is there any evidence that faith healing works?

Plato said, “The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” While Plato said this many years ago, his ideas are still pertinent in today’s society. Many people believe that medicine and faith should remain separate and that there is no connection between the two. However, new research shows that faith plays a major role in the health of patients. As a result of these studies, there is a growing interest in exploring the role of physicians in patients’ spirituality. Some medical schools are even including classes on spirituality to enhance the physicians’ knowledge and awareness of their patients’ faith in the clinical setting. Brooke Walls.

When an alleged cure by faith healing occurs in a religious context it is usually called a miracle. Those who have investigated these claims have not found a single case that stands up to scrutiny and that can be explained only by appealing to a miracle (Mackay 1841; Rose 1968; Nolen 1974; Randi 1989; Nickell 1993; Hines 2003; Barrett 2003).

In KZN, South Africa faith healing is a community norm. In every city and small town you come across posters written join the miracle service, with the name of the church, the pastor and contact person. Many community radio stations are dominated by these faith healer including some TV channels. Faith healing is founded on the belief that certain people or places have the ability to cure and heal—that someone or something can remove disease or heal injuries through a close connection to a higher power. Faith healing also involve prayer, things like water, anointing oil and even clothing or simply a strong belief in a supreme being. Available scientific evidence does not support claims that faith healing can cure HIV/AIDS or any other disease. Some scientists suggest that the number of people who attribute their cure to faith healing is lower than the number predicted by calculations based on the historical percentage of spontaneous remissions seen among people with cancer. However, faith healing may promote peace of mind, reduce stress, relieve pain and anxiety, and strengthen the will to live.

KZN, Bishop Hamilton Qhoshangokwakhe Nala is one amongst others who claim to heal all diseases including HIV. He claims faith can cure blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS, developmental disorders and total body paralysis, and various injuries. He believes that illness is an illusion that can be healed through prayer: They must say medically there is no cure for Aids. I agree with that, but through prayer and through faith water and any material branded my name, as God said prophetically, I believe in that. People can be healed of Aids,” said Nala.

700 Christian Pastors were interviewed through the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council, Good Shepard Ministry Board, KwaZulu Regional Christian Council and Midlands Christians Council. 500 were also interviewed through traditional healers Association and Iteach. 450 people living with HIV were also interviewed separately through TAC, NAPWA and support groups. Faith Healing conference was also convened by Treatment Action Campaign and KwaZulu Natal Christian Council. 90 % of these believe from a scientific perspective, faith healing is unexplained, incomprehensible, and should not work. Yet it does work. While faith and medicine have not been officially practiced together that much, there has recently been an indication that faith plays a vital role in the lives of patients who are experiencing life-changing events such as pregnancy, terminal illnesses, chronic diseases, unexplained illnesses, heart disease and stress.

Fraudulent Healers/Fake Healers are problematic.

Some extreme religious leaders even ask their congregation to stop all medical treatments and give themselves over to God entirely as an act of faith that may persuade God to help them. They also ask huge amount of money in their services. The service is not for free. It is deeply a commercial issue. Some faith healers suggest that all sickness is caused by wickedness and a separation from God. Some of the local prayer ministers we train have never seen a miracle happen through them before.

Andrew Wommack: Is one of the persons many Christians faith healers used his teaching material

Quote:

Would you like to see the blind receive their sight or the lame walk when you pray? Do you desperately need healing yourself? Here’s the good news —whether you’re praying for another’s healing or receiving your own, it’s available to every true follower of Christ! Jesus gave every disciple who believes the power and authority to do the same works that He did. What a statement! But it is absolutely true. John 14:12 says,

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

All believers will do the same works that Jesus did; it’s not limited to ministers. There’s just a shortage of believing believers.

How do you get to the place where you can see the miraculous happen in and through you? It starts with the renewing of your mind. Faith is based on knowledge, and everything we need to know to be a victorious Christian is explained in God’s Word. That’s what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:3-4:

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Knowledge of a few basics truths, when properly understood and applied, will make a huge difference in releasing His power and receiving your healing. Last month I shared one of the most important things the Lord has ever shown me: God has already placed His healing power within us, and it is now under our authority. It isn’t up to God to determine who receives healing; it’s up to us! What a powerful statement! It’s our failure to understand and use the authority we have that is keeping God’s healing power from flowing as it should. It’s imperative that we discover what we have and learn how to release it. If you don’t have my album entitled The Believer’s Authority, you need to get it. The message will not only affect the way you receive and minister healing, but it will change the entire way you relate to God. It’s a powerful teaching.

Here’s another indispensable basic truth you must know and understand about healing: It’s never God’s will for us to be sick; He wants every person healed every time. That’s nearly-too-good-to-be-true news, but that’s the Gospel. Most Christians don’t know or believe that. They think the Lord makes them sick, or at the very least, He allows Satan to make them sick to either punish or correct them. That kind of thinking will get you killed; it’s not what the Bible teaches.

One of the most elementary principles in God’s Word is given in James 4:7. It says,

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

This verse clearly teaches that some things are of God, and some things are of the devil. Notice it doesn’t present a third category: from God through the devil. No! Sickness has nothing to do with God! Submit to the things of God, and resist the things of the devil. It’s that simple. To believe that God allows or approves of Satan’s actions defies the logic of James 4:7. It eliminates our responsibility to resist and places ultimate responsibility for everything back on God.

The widely-accepted doctrine that God controls everything is a deception. If Satan can confuse and deceive you on that issue, he’s got you! Why? Because you’ll stop resisting. No one wants to resist God’s will, and if you think that God is behind your sickness, you’ll submit to it. That violates the instruction of James 4:7, it won’t get you healed, and it lets Satan have his way in your life.

You must believe God always wants you healed. It’s so simple, it takes help to misunderstand. But sadly, most Christians receive plenty of help from religion in misunderstanding this. Look at it this way: If God wanted you sick, for whatever reason, then why visit the doctor or take medication? It would seem more logical to allow the sickness to run its course so God’s purpose could be accomplished. Of course I think that’s foolish, and hopefully, so do you.

What’s the bottom line on God’s will for our healing? His Word reveals that to us in 3 John 2, which says,

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

John was writing a letter to believers under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He revealed that the Lord wants us healthy just as much as He wants us to prosper emotionally and mentally.

When Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius in Acts 10:38, he summarized the ministry of Jesus by saying,

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

Today some preachers are saying that healing is of the devil, but that’s not the message Peter gave. Notice what Peter said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Not only was Jesus doing good when He healed people, but He healed all that were oppressed of the devil, not of God. That scripture clearly proves that sickness is not from God.

Isaiah 53 should end all debate. It was written prophetically about Jesus, the Messiah. Isaiah 53:4-5 says,

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Many faith healers like Bishop HQ Nala and many others exploit religion. Many people infected by HIV are blacks, women and poor in our country and KwaZulu Natal Province.Despite the problematic presence of faith healing discourse at community level, and acknowledging the few attempts to challenge individual churches, there has in fact been little attention paid to faith healing in international dialogues and strategizing on treatment, or indeed in national advocacy around improving responses. Faith healing is not a secret. But people never really know the scale and the consequence or damage that faith healing causes within communities. It’s almost like an accepted misfortune.

Antiretroviral treatment and the application of faith towards healing work together.

Faith in Jesus Christ, His father God and belief in medical science will never contradict if God, in any circumstance, exists and is the Creator of the earth. If God is the Originator of the creation, and there is sufficient evidence that He is, then science is just knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths about His creation. If God doesn’t exist, then faith and science will contradict since science is the search for facts about the universe. For those with faith, however, science can be one of our greatest forms of worship. Science is mankind’s attempt to understand how the world works.

Antiretroviral treatment (ARV’s) and the application of faith towards healing work together. There is nothing malicious or even unbiblical about praying and taking ARV’s. God made light, matter, water, plants, animals, and humans. We honor Him when we endeavor to understand His amazing creation. We also learn more about Him, about His wisdom and power and elegance. And we appreciate His grace more fully when we understand the implications of the miracles He performs. Science is about fact alone. Faith, however, is the basis for ethics. Faith tells us that humans have value far above fact. That is knowing the Lord. We, of course, also use the tools of science, archaeology, history, literary criticism, personal experience, and similar methods. These things give us evidence of the existence of God and of His character.

What does the Bible say about the wholeness of the person? Genesis 2:7 says that God took the dust of the ground and formed a person. He used natural elements to make arteries, veins, and blood cells; nerves, muscles, sense organs and all of our organ systems. However, amazing as this creation was, it was not alive. The person did not become alive until God breathed into it the breath of life, his Spirit. So we are more than just a physical organism; we are a physical organism imbued with spirit. Medical and pastoral leaders need to find ways to develop this team approach in hospitals, clinics, and private practice situations. We must try to involve the whole congregation in the many aspects of this healing ministry.

This integrated medico-pastoral approach to healing should be practiced in South Africa because; this is a very religious country. Carol Glatz once said: Science and faith need each other for the benefit of all of creation.

Every place of worship should be a treatment, support and a care zone.

The application of faith leading people to default or abandon any form of medical treatment puts the patients at very high risk which may lead to death if not attended to on time. There have been peddlers and bogus claims of the cure of HIV and AIDS since the virus has been diagnosed from around the 1980s. At the beginning some people of faith stigmatized people who were diagnosed HIV positive and followed by the latest and sprouting evangelistic groups who encourage their converts to abandon ARV treatment.

Strict adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is key to sustained HIV suppression, reduced risk of drug resistance, improved overall health, quality of life, and survival, as well as decreased risk of HIV transmission. Conversely, poor adherence is the major cause of therapeutic failure. Achieving adherence to ART is a critical determinant of long-term outcome in HIV infected patients. For many chronic diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension, drug regimens remain effective even after treatment is resumed following a period of interruption.

In his June 2014 budget vote speech Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi stated that 37% of patients starting antiretroviral treatment are lost to follow-up three years after initiation. Information recently released by SANAC shows that 25% of patients on treatment drop out during the first 12 months. This drop-out rate is much higher than had been thought previously.

In order to combat this loss to follow-up an integrated medico-pastoral approach to adherence is needed. People of faith should lead a grassroots approach that will mobilise communities to ensure they have the information and understanding about HIV and TB treatment to ensure better and long-term treatment adherence.

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HOMOPHOBIA & THE CHURCH IN AFRICA

HOMOPHOBIA & THE CHURCH IN AFRICA

A DIALOGUE

Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa – 7 & 8 April 2016

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader (Nokulunga Mjwara): Sisters and brothers, open your hearts,

For faith has come,

And in faith you are set free.

Free, not to mind your words,

But to speak the truth in love.

Free, not to look up at some,

And down at others,

But to look kindly eye to eye.

Free, not to close your senses,

But to feel clearly the pain of others,

And to take it to yourself.

So clothe yourself in Christ-

With the fashion of the heirs of promise.

And praise God.1

All:We respond by promising to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

Leader (NM): Let us pray

All: All mighty God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We give you praise and hearty thanks for all your goodness and tender mercies. We bless you for love which has created and does sustain us from day to day. We praise you for the gift of your Son, our saviour, through whom you have made your will and grace. We thank you for the Holy Spirit, for the means of grace, for the lives of all faithful and Godly people, and the hope of the life of all. Help us treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has done for us, and enable us to show our thankfulness by lives that are given wholly to your service.

Biblical Reflections (NIV) – Rev. Judith Kotze

Ephesians 2: 8 -10. New International Version (NIV)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

All: HYM: Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught,
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear,
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come.
Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far,
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
as long as life endures.

We’ve been there ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
than when we’ve first begun.

Leader (NM): Let us observe a moment of silence (30 seconds) and commit to be agents of change.

All: The path before will be steep and difficult to climb; it may be gravelly and dry. We will likely stumble on our way. We will surely encounter strangers in new ideas, different beliefs, and new visons for the common good. We commit ourselves in this gathering to an intense humanness in the hope that those most marginalised also will empower themselves to speak out of their own experiences and lead us in solidarity. With the disruptive persistence of the prophets and dogged devotion of the world’s great mystics and sages, may we be emboldened to no longer see people and the planet as objects to satisfy our own needs but as essential members of our family. The time is here to walk the talk, embody the statements and join together as agents of change.

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS

Leader (Rev. Gift Moerane): Gracious God thank you that you have reminded us today that we are ALL heirs of your Reign created in your image, in all our diversity, and deserving of your grace. Hear our prayer oh God.

All: Lord in your mercy

Leader (GM): Transforming God, you have also reminded us today that we must display the courage to transform unjust systems and beliefs that cause harm. We are mindful of how difficult this is sometimes, and the risk we take in challenging injustice. And so, we pray for strength as we become agents of change and transformation. Hear our prayer oh God.

All: Lord in your mercy

Leader (GM): Gracious God thank you that you have shown us that your grace and your healing is always available when we have faith and persevere. We are mindful of those who are unwell in body, mind and spirit and feel despondent and hopeless. We pray that you will help us persevere safe in the knowledge that we always have hope in you. Hear our prayer oh God.

All: Lord in your mercy

Hymn: Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing

All:

  1. Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
    My great Redeemer’s praise,
    The glories of my God and king,
    The triumphs of His grace!

  2. My gracious Master and my God,
    Assist me to proclaim,
    To spread through all the earth abroad,
    The honors of Thy name.

  3. Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
    That bids our sorrows cease—
    ’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
    ’Tis life, and health, and peace.

  4. He breaks the pow’r of canceled sin,
    He sets the pris’ner free;
    His blood can make the foulest clean,
    His blood availed for me.

  5. He speaks, and, list’ning to His voice,
    New life the dead receive,
    The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
    The humble poor believe.

Leader (GM): Let us say a blessing

All: May God be with you and bless you.

May you see your children’s children.

May you be poor in misfortunes

and rich in blessings.

May you know nothing but happiness

from this day forward. Amen

1 http://www.divinity.duke.edu/studentlife/womenscenter/manual/chapter6

CHURCH COMMENDS CONCOURT RULING

SACC header1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

South African Council of Churches

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, General Secretary, SACC.

31 March 2016

CHURCH COMMENDS CONCOURT RULING

JOHANNESBURG: The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is encouraged by the ruling from the Constitutional Court on Thursday 31 March, which has served to restore the faith of the people in the constitutional integrity of our nation, and goes a long way towards upholding accountability in the Office of the President.

The highest court in the land has, today, delivered a devastating judgement on the constitutional and moral conduct of the President, the National Parliament and the leadership of the Speaker. In any normal democracy the State President would go before the nation tonight and announce his resignation. But then we are not a normal democracy.

Yet today every South African, regardless of race, religious or political affiliation, can confidently say that there is no individual at any level that can operate above the authority of our constitution. This makes this day both a sad and a happy day – sad that it had to come to this, and happy that the national integrity has been restored by the ConCourt.

In his unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng went to great lengths to demonstrate the constitutional requirements of the Office of the President; the National Assembly and Parliament; and the Office of the Public Protector. This, he did, in an effort to emphasize that the pillars that each of these structures is built on, are interwoven with the DNA of the constitution itself. Any deviation by these three structures, from upholding the rules of the constitution, would jeopardise our young and already-weakened democracy.

The ruling therefore brings us closer to attaining a level of respectability as a nation.

From the time that the Nkandla report was issued by the Office of the Public Protector in 2014, the SACC communicated to both President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress (ANC) leadership (Top 6 collectively and individually), to advise that the funds in question be swiftly returned, in order to steer us away from the constitutional and moral quandary we now find ourselves in as a nation. This counsel was offered on several occasions, and as late as December 2015. We strongly believe that, had the advice been heeded at the time, we could have avoided the intense embarrassment that is currently experienced by the Office of the President and the august body that is the Legislature of our nation. We see this as a crisis of great magnitude for both the President and the National Assembly.

We have additionally observed that there is likely a flaw in the National Assembly electoral system, given the resolution of the National Assembly, now set aside by the ConCourt, that blatantly supported the personal interests the president of the party that lists them for seats in the Assembly. Members of Parliament are meant to represent the interests of the South Africans who voted them into office. However, the actions of the National Assembly point to a complete disregard for the millions of South Africans, in favour of public demonstrations of allegiance to the party president at the expense of the Rule of Law.

This begs the question: is our National Assembly truly representative of the nation? Or has it deteriorated into an ‘individual assembly’, where ‘Honourable’ seats in the house are given by the party hierarchy as deposits into a ‘favour-bank’, from which withdrawals will be made, even at the expense of the Constitution?

Following exactly two years of considerable national strain, we can only hope that President Zuma will act on any shreds of integrity that still remain in the Office of the President, and stand before the people of South Africa, taking ownership of the quagmire he faces, consult with his political advisors and do the Honourable thing in circumstances.

The Nkandla saga is not only a moral dent for the President and Parliament. It is a moral dent for the ANC in government. It surely has a moral duty to remedy this as a matter of urgency. The longstanding values of the party that Luthuli, Tambo and Mandela led would not have allowed for R250 million to be spent by the Treasury in the name of upgrading and securing the home of an individual, in the face of desperate poverty and obscene inequality.

Some of our church leaders are calling on the SACC leadership to formally approach the President and the governing party to request that Mr Zuma’s position be reviewed. While we continue to listen and, like all South Africans, mull over this body blow to our constitutional system of governance, we call on the ANC to seriously take stock of this damage to the country and its integrity. After further thought and consultation, the SACC may pronounce further on these developments.

In the meantime, we have certain minimum expectations of Parliament and the President.

We expect our Parliament, through the Office of the Speaker, to acknowledge the disaster they have occasioned.

We expect our Parliament to urgently take appropriate remedial steps to restore confidence in the oversight role of the institution over the Executive.

Up to now, the President has denied knowledge of the various upgrades to his Nkandla residence, including the building of a kraal (isibaya) for his cattle.

We expect President Zuma’s tune to change.

We expect President Zuma to say that he was at fault.

We expect President Zuma to apologise to the tax-paying citizens of our country.

We expect President Zuma to settle the entire bill that will be presented to him by the national treasury.

Furthermore, we expect President Zuma to call his political advisors together, to determine what the best political options would be, to restore faith to the Office of the President that he occupies.

We do not believe that this is too much to ask, under the circumstances.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For more information and interviews:

Khuthalani Khumalo

khuthalani@khaliphani.co.za

084 074 1285

Eudy Simelane Lecture 7th April 2016

 

Ujamaa centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press release: Eudy Simelane Lecture, 7 th April 2016, Colin Webb Hall, Pietermaritzburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 5.30pm.

The Ujamaa Centre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (in partnership with The Other Foundation,
the Pietermaritzburg Gay & Lesbian Network, and the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council) inaugurates
an annual Eudy Simelane Lecture on the 7 th of April 2016.

Eudy Simelane’s body was violated and her life taken because she was lesbian. This hate crime was
perpetrated by men from her own community in KwaThema, not far from her family home. These
crimes were committed against Eudy Simelane because of her sexual orientation. Her local profile as
a mid-fielder in the Springs Home Sweepers F.C. and her national profile as a Banyana Banyana star
were not enough to protect her.

The Ujamaa Centre recognises that in South African communities religious change is central to social
change. Those who raped and murdered Eudy Simelane would have justified their criminal actions
on religio-cultural grounds. The Ujamaa Centre contests these religio-cultural grounds, collaborating
with local faith-based organisations and civil society so that religion becomes a redemptive and life-
giving, not death-dealing, resource.

In the inaugural Eudy Simelane Lecture we will watch and listen to a video of those who knew and
loved Eudy, including her family, who will be present. We have invited Mmapaseka ‘Steve’ Letsike,
a friend of Eudy Simelane and a gender, sexuality, and HIV activist, to speak about black lesbian
reality. We have also invited Justice Edwin Cameron, an eminent human rights lawyer and
Constitutional Court judge, as well as a LGBTI and HIV activist, to address us.

The Eudy Simelane Lecture, like each of the Ujamaa Centre’s public ‘lectures’ will draw together a
wide diversity of sectors, and will provide space for discussion with the speakers. The Ujamaa Centre,
together with Prof Cheryl Potgieter, the DVC for the College of Humanities, and herself a scholar
and activist in the area of gender and sexuality, invites you to the Eudy Simelane Lecture.

 

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International Aids Conference 2016

Faith in Action at AIDS 2016 – Spread the News!

10 March 2016

Planning for the 21st International AIDS Conference (1822 July 2016 – Durban, South Africa), is in full swing, and the AIDS 2016 conference promises to be an intense networking, learning, and advocacy experience for all.

The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) has now re-launched www.iacfaith.org, where information on faith-based activities at AIDS 2016, including the Interfaith Pre-conference, is being shared. The website will be updated regularly, with new information also highlighted through Facebook and Twitter (@e_alliance).

Together we can increase the visibility and positive impact of the faith-based response to HIV by actively participating in AIDS 2016 – physically in Durban and virtually through all our communication channels.

Please share your news about AIDS 2016 with us – new resources, articles, and activities being planned for AIDS 2016 – which can be added to the website. Send your news to Sara Speicher at sara.speicher@wcc-coe.org

Place a link on your website to www.iacfaith.org, and share the link with your network to highlight coordinated faith-based activities.

If you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #FaithAIDS2016 to share your activities, resources and news.

Participate in the Interfaith Pre-Conference – consider leading a workshop, exhibit materials, or just plan on engaging in the rich networking and learning experience.

Plan on communicating the events and issues at AIDS 2016 through your networks. News releases, blogs, resources, photos and video will be available in advance and during the conference for your use.

Latest news on Faith in Action: AIDS 2016

Interfaith pre-conference

The interfaith pre-conference will be held 16-17 July. The venue will be announced soon, with the goal to have the pre-conference close to the main conference venue so that people can stay in the same accommodation for both.

If you need accommodation, this should be booked through the main conference organizers at www.aids2016.org.

Global and local organizing committees established

The Global Organizing Committee was appointed by the WCC-EAA International Reference Group in January 2016. The GOC plans the Interfaith Pre-Conference and sets the overall direction, priorities, policies and related planning for faith-based activities coordinated and supported by the WCC-EAA.

The Local Host Committee was formed in 2015 and has helped enormously in the initial planning for AIDS 2016. The LOC plans and facilitates the logistical aspects of global faith-based participation in AIDS 2016, including the pre-conference, and facilitates South African-based interfaith input and advocacy during conference.

Committee members are listed at www.iacfaith.org/about

The WCC-EAA is very grateful for the commitment and willingness of GOC and LHC members to contribute their time and expertise to make faith-based participation at AIDS 2016 meaningful and effective.

Interfaith Prayer Room and Chaplains Programme

The WCC-EAA is working with conference organizers to provide an interfaith prayer room during the main conference. Ten chaplains from different faiths have been selected to lead services and provide pastoral counseling on request.

Ecumenical Media Team

A small, professional communications team will cover faith-based activities and issues at AIDS 2016. Follow the coverage at www.iacfaith.org.
If you have any questions, please contact

Nonceba Ravuku (Ecumenical and Interfaith Consultant for AIDS 2016), aids2016@cabsa.org.za

Francesca Merico (WCC-EAA HIV Campaign Coordinator), francesca.merico@wcc-coe.org

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Advert for Position of SKZNCC Manager

SOUTHERN KWAZULU-NATAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL (SKZNCC)

POST: SKZNCC MANAGER

The SKZNCC is an ecumenical structure promoting justice, peace and development through its member churches, fraternals and Christian organisations in the Ugu and Harry Gwala Districts of southern KwaZulu-Natal. Established by the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) it is currently in a process of becoming an independent member of the KZNCC with a mandate to represent the churches in the Ugu and Harry Gwala districts of KZN. Key to the success of this process will be the work of a full-time Manager collaborating closely with the SKZNCC Council and Executive.

Duration:

The appointment will initially be for a one-year contract period which could be extended subject to performance and availability of funding.

Tasks:

  • Overall organisational management as per SKZNCC mission and vision

  • Ensuring that the aims of the SKZNCC, to ensure ecumenical development and social interventions, are achieved

  • Fundraising for the office and for planned interventions

  • Ensuring office growth and effectively managing human and capital resource management

  • Development and implementation of an effective communications and marketing strategy

  • Production of financial and narrative reports on all SKZNCC work

A copy of the full Job Description can be obtained from the www.kzncc.org or philip@kzncc.org.za

Requirements:

  • Active membership of a recognised Christian church

  • Computer literacy and excellent speaking and writing skills in English and isiZulu

  • At least three years of management experience

  • Knowledge and experience of promoting ecumenical action for justice, peace and development

  • Skills and experience in fundraising, marketing and publicity

  • A tertiary qualification in a relevant discipline would be an advantage

  • Being resident in the SKZNCC’s area of operation

  • A valid unendorsed driver’s licence

  • Ownership of a vehicle in good working order

  • Availability to commence work on 1 April 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Application Procedure:

Your CV and letter of motivation, together with the names and contact details of three referees who have agreed to support your application, should be emailed to: philip@kzncc.org.za not later than 16 March 2016.

Only candidates who have been shortlisted for interview will be informed. If you have not heard from us by 23 March, your application has been unsuccessful.

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Anti-xenophobia Update

Introduction

This is to update all the stakeholders and the role-players about the recent spate of xenophobic related attacks and situation in shelters in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and off late the Eastern Cape.

Howick Shelter

About twelve (12) adult refugees remain in this shelter after some have voluntarily left for the reintegration. The situation remains tense between these refugees and their host Sharon. It should be remembered that the misunderstandings erupted between the two after series of allegations from each side. Both KZNCC and the police intervened but no solution was found. Sharon has a restraining order (they are barred from coming near Sharon) against the refugees. She’s also working on the plan to evict all the refugees from the farm claiming that the relationship is unrepairable.

KZNCC had some discussions with United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) as well as Refugee Social Services (RSS) about the situation in Howick and what could be done. The two agents are of the view that they have done everything possible to persuade the refugees to consider reintegrated back to communities where they were or to new communities. They feel that there’s nothing more that they can do. They said the refugees know where to find them if they have changed their minds. Their conclusion is that in case refugees turn violent and break the law, the law should take its course. KZNCC will continue to engage relevant stakeholders and authorities to find the long-term solution.

Cato-Ridge Shelter

It is reported that the refugees in Cato Ridge are now divided into two camps following some disagreements. The source of the disagreement is yet to be confirmed however the rumour has it that one group would like to move out of the shelter whilst the other still would like to stay. The farm owner has reacted by moving the one group to the top.

KZNCC was approached by the farm owner checking if an alternative accommodation could be found for the group willing to move. The KZNCC’s position is that a plan could be drawn if the group wants to be integrated to communities but not when they want to create another shelter. The farm owner is speaking with the group about this.

Grahamstown (Eastern Cape)

We received a report that there were xenophobic attacks which took place in a certain township of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. We read from the report that these attacks emanate from the recent crime incidents that took place in Grahamstown, where people’s body parts were removed.

The report continue to say that the local NGO Masifunde Education and Development Project Trust sensitized the police of the possibilities of these xenophobic attacks and asked them to convene meetings in the township and inform the communities that this crime was not committed by our brothers and sisters who are from other parts of the continent. They say the police refused to do so.

It is reported that some community member had to stand between the bricks and the shops that were being attacked whilst our brothers were inside the shops. The said NGO condemned the police for not taking an action during and after these incidents.

For more information on this particular story please contact: Nomonde Waka Kalipa Masifunde Education and Development Project Trust at 078 7355 269

Georgedale (Hammersdale)

We also received another report that xenophobic attacks broke in the Georgedale (area within Hammersdale near Mpumalanga Township) after a young man (aged 22) was stabbed to death. It is alleged that this matriculant of Phezulu High School was killed by a foreign national who resides in the area after alleging that the deceased had robbed him.

It is reported that some local community members looted the shops of the foreign nationals in the incident interpreted and ‘revenge’.

KZNCC spoke to the Ward Councillor (Mr. Sosibo) in an attempt to get more clarity on the ground. However the Councillor did not know anything except what he read on the newspaper. KZNCC also spoke to the local Police (Merger Ndlovu) who confirmed the incident but denied that there was looting which took place.

KZNCC will visit the area before the end of the day to find out facts about the situation. We undertake to give more information in our next update.

In the meantime we are requesting everybody to be calm and those with power and authority to work with one another in finding solutions. We specifically calling our faith-based organisations, Church Leaders and the ecumenical movement as a whole to support us in this fight against this unnecessary scourge through prayers and their presence where possible.

For more information please contact the KZNCC Offices in Pietermaritzburg through Musa Zakwe 033 345 4819 / 083 983 3524.

Kzncc Update on xenophobia: 3 november 2015