Election Day activities

ACTIVITIES conducted by KZNCC :

  1. Implemented voter and democracy education in rural  and farm areas
  2. Recruited, trained and deployed approximately 1500 static observers
  3. Recruited, trained and deployed more than 50 roving observers (Eminent leaders)
  4. Recruited, trained and deployed 50 mediators that mediated and resolved conflict where it emerged e.g. Bergville, Hlathikhulu (near Estcourt), Weenen, Umlazi township, South Coast etc
  5. Monitored incidents of violence pre-during and post election times
  6.  

 

Pastoral Letter on Easter and Elections

KwaZulu-Natal Church Leaders Group (KZNCLG)                                                       16th April 2019

To All Church Leaders and the Entire People of God

We, the KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders released a Pastoral letter on the 31st of October 2018 at Diakonia in Durban. Therein we lamented the escalation of violence and killings with specific reference to the alleged “politically motivated” killings in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

Now as we celebrate the holiest time in the Christian calendar, we take the opportunity to once again implore the people of our Province to join us in supporting all peace initiatives being made by all sectors of civil society, the churches and those engaged in the ecumenical and interfaith movements. As Easter leads us to the 8th May 2019 general elections, let us exhaust all avenues as we strive to live the principles of tolerance and peace.

We invite all people of goodwill to celebrate principal message given by Jesus after his resurrection: Peace be with you! of Jesus. It is his Resurrection that reinforces the values and fruits of peace: faith, compassion, forgiveness, repentance, gratitude and hope. Jesus himself sums up the message of Easter with these words: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives, do I give to you … (Jn. 14: 27).

With this kind of peace the KZNCLG asks you to give this peace to everyone and to let it go on beyond the National and Provincial elections of the 8th May 2019. We implore the People of God, to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3:15).

In some of our past elections which we monitored and observed, we noted that the Province was showing signs of political maturity on the part of both the political parties and the electorate. Somehow we have slipped from that commendable tolerance, to the current situation characterized by intra-party scuffles, which so easily degenerate into political violence. Whereas what we need is mutual acceptance built on the “principles of peace” and communal stability. As we walk the “via dolorosa” (the way of the cross) towards the Resurrection we implore all the Churches to pray for peace in our province, our country and indeed all the world.

We share with our Catholic brothers and sisters in their deep pain as they begin  this Holy week with the extremely heavy burden of witnessing the destruction by fire of the 850 old Norte Dame Cathedral, a most sacred place of worship in Paris. Let us pray for Pope Francis and the entire Catholic community in France and indeed in the world.

May God Bless our country and us, its people as we celebrate Easter in the hope that God will endow us with wisdom and dedication as we seek to apply the “Principles of peace”, which will hopefully lead us towards a free, fair, credible and integral 2019 General elections on the 8th of May 2018.

KZN Church Leaders Group

Chair: Cardinal Napier.

Interfaith Theology: A Lecture for the Interfaith Symposium of the KZN Legislature

Interfaith Theology: A Lecture for the Interfaith Symposium of the KZN Legislature

5th April 2019

Introduction

The quest for the religious sector to advance their participation towards promoting interfaith theology is the subject of this lecture. The religious sector in KwaZulu-Natal to some extent has not addressed the subject of interfaith theology, or theology of religions in the context of science of religion or philosophy of religion, consciously as a body that is conscientiously, and systematically dealt with.

Among other things, the religious sector must deliberately do a mission theology of religion that consciously seeks to attend to social ills and moral regeneration.  This may happen when some entry points can be explored around interfaith dialogue. In this short essay, one would suggest some proposed entry points towards interfaith dialogue that seeks to introduce an interfaith theology.

Theocentric Approach

Engaging in interfaith dialogue that seeks to consciously confront interfaith theology is our challenge of the moment. The theocentric approach according to Knitter (1989) and Samartha (1991) “… makes it possible to recognise the theological significance of other revelations and other experiences of salvation, a point that for many Christian theologians is frightfully difficult even to admit. Theocentricism  allows for an evading quest for the meaning of Jesus Christ (a Saviour) in which neighbours of other faiths can also participate, as in fact they already do, thus opening for Christians undreamed of possibilities of enriching  others and being enriched by them”.

The realisation of the fact that most religions are theocentric may be an entry point of cooperation not for expediency but for joint operation on dealing with the issues of interfaith theology and moral regeneration from a united front of people of faith. Theocentricism is the provision of a united vision of a participatory theology of mission of religion this time of attending to interfaith theology and moral regeneration programmatically and consciously.

Dialogical Pluralism

South Africa and specifically KZN is mainly a society of diversity and religious pluralism. Dialogue in the religious sector, in search of tools of promoting interfaith theology and encouraging moral regeneration should consider the religious plurality and cultural diversity in which we are called together to act in unity. Dialogical pluralism as an entry point for religious cooperation in the quest for interfaith theology is aware that not all faiths use theology to interact with issues. So, a dialogical pluralism acknowledges the identities, the particularities, the peculiarities   and the limitedness of all faiths especially when it comes to social action in the context of interfaith theology and the need for the elevation of moral regeneration, freedom of religion and the quest for justice, peace and righteousness among all people.

Christic Mystery

Dubuis (1991: 183) is proposing a ‘Christic Mystery’ as one entry point towards interfaith joint social action. The notion of Christic Mystery is affirming the Christic element in all religions and cultures. “… The centrality and obligatory pressure of this mystery in any experience of salvation is maintained, as constituting that salvation ; but instead of claiming salvation to be inseparable from Jesus of Nazareth, it is suggesting that Jesus is only one particular  historical manifestation of it among others … Jesus is no longer essentially linked to the mystery. He is one symbol of it among others, a manifestation or expression – perhaps special, perhaps   eminent somehow, but surely not unique. Krishna, for example, or Gautama, the Buddha, are also historical manifestations of the mystery of Christ”.

Caution is taken however that Dubuis (1991) borders too close to the normativity and superiority of Jesus of Nazareth. The concept of Christological pluralism advocates for a pluralism of saving epistemes (epistemologies/ science of knowing) and living experiences of all religions. This concept does not extinguish the claims and identities of other religions. The discussions of the Christic mystery must be brought in the centre of religious dialogue in the spirit of dialogical pluralism.

“One model of reaching common ground on many difficult issues and doctrines, approaches and methodologies which have dominated ecumenical relations since the late 1950’s has been that of dialogue. Dialogue rather than debate, using reason rather than falling back on ideological positions has been successfully employed in many ecumenical circles of theological, political, social and economic discourse. We get our inspiration from the fact that dialogue at the end of it all remains an instrument of final resolve in any dispute including that of land” (Ngoetjana M. L.  2014, unpublished).

Iconic Reductionism

The implication of reductionism is that God is not ashamed to become like us and to be a creature as it happened in Jesus. God was manifest in creation as a person. The interfaith mission theology proposed the implication that God may not be confined in the revelation through one form of creation, a human being. This understanding could open up a possibility of regarding the revelation of God in other religions and cultures in the manner that is culturally and religiously valid for them. This, iconic reductionism implies that God can be revealed in multiple forms. The iconisation of God through many cultures and religions could be one platform of understanding that can enhance interfaith dialogue which may give us a premise of commencing to conceptualise the possibility of religions embracing interfaith theology and championing moral regeneration, religious freedom, justice, peace and righteousness in the world commencing from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Interfaith Symposium.

Love (Agape) towards the Neighbour

Our search for interfaith dialogue can be enhanced and realised when there is a notion of the love for neighbour among religious people. Where there is no mutual love and commitment to a particular social course people of faith are bound to fail in their endeavour to take social action and thus fulfil their mission on earth. Fellow believers must just make up their mind and mend their relationship and make a difference or be counted where matters of social concern and common good bid us work together.

For now let us deal with this short, first lecture. More lectures will come. They will be dealing with interfaith theologies on Koinonia, Diakonia, Kenosis, Liberation Theological perspectives and insights on interfaith relations, mystery of soteriology, the cosmic Christ, pneumatological comprehensions, translational theology and encountering the Saviour anew.

Conclusion

In this short lecture, comments and suggestions were made around the Theocentric Approach, Dialogical Pluralism, the Christic Mystery, Iconic Reductionism and Agape towards people of other faiths in interfaith encounter inquiring about the possibility of deliberately engaging the issues of interfaith theology and the mission of religions towards world peace and justice. This short lecture is supposed to generate themes or topics that may inform the coming interfaith symposium in the province of KZN.

Dr. L M Ngoetjana

Primary Source

Ngoetjana M. L. 1994. A Christian Theology of Mission which Takes the Existence of other Religions Seriously: With Special Reference to Radical Evangelicalism in South Africa. Unpublished Master of Theology Dissertation: University of Natal.

Media Release: Churches, Faith-based Organisations and the Red Cross and Combine for Long Term Response to Cyclone Disaster

The Cyclone Disaster Response Group Statement

Introduction: We are all still in shock as a result of the scale of the disaster that has befallen the people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, affecting some 3 million people in the three countries, with Mozambique the worst hit. Ordinary words cannot describe the magnitude of the tragedy, and the costs in human suffering, infrastructure and basic living going forward! With the flood waters receding, many are struggling to obtain food, shelter and clean water, and a cholera outbreak is spreading fast.

The Response Group: In the face of this mammoth challenge The Cyclone Disaster Response Group (The Group), held a press briefing on 4 April 2019, at Khotso House in Johannesburg, to inform South Africans about their consolidated emergency relief efforts and appeal for support for the victims of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The Group is setting up a long term response to this disaster. The purpose is to more coherently coordinate the channelling of aid, to avoid causing recipient communities having to go to multiple support options, and to have a more orderly phasing of assistance for more effective long term support. The Group comprises the South African Council of Churches, the Red Cross Society, The Evangelical Alliance, HOPE worldwide, The Warehouse, Youth for Christ, A-Better-Africa and ACT Ubumbano.

How to contribute: The Group is launching a support fund, located at a dedicated bank account of the SACC to receive donations for the Disaster support. All people of goodwill with compassion, churches and faith communities, are requested to make direct grants to the fund, to support the affected communities in addressing the immediate needs and their long-term recovery from this storm. We request all churches, not only SACC and TEASA member churches, to mobilise their members and congregations and regional structures – presbyteries, districts, diocese, etc. to make financial donations to the fund. The money will be used to purchase prescribed goods as needed from phase to phase in the disaster areas of the three countries, and for the administration and the distribution of the goods through approved agencies.

The account details are:

Name: SACC Healing & Reconciliation Bank: Nedbank, Fox Str, Branch code: 190805, Account Number: 1129715000 Reference: “Cyclone Idai” plus name and contact number

From outside South Africa: Bank name: Nedbank Address: 135 Rivonia Road, Sandown, 2196, South Africa Phone number: +27 (0) 11 294 4444 Swift code: NEDSZAJJ Reference: “Cyclone Idai”, plus name and contact number.

Audit: Audit firm Deloitte will provide audit services to the fund, pro bono publico, to evaluate that donations received are spent in line with the objective of this project. Various Roles: We employ the diverse strengths of Group members. For example, HOPE worldwide engages with retailers for significant discounts on essential supplies for disaster relief. The Red Cross has logistical infrastructure and capacity to transport, as well as more than 30 collection points across the country for identified items for relief needs. Some of our partners have the networks to mobilise financial resources from South Africa and around the world. The churches have a broader and a more nuanced role:

First, we encourage South African congregations that have existing relationships with local churches in the affected areas, to build on these on a bilateral basis, and support the relief effort. This should be primarily through donating funds and providing long term support for reconstruction work in the communities.

Second, South African denominations that have extended institutional relationships with the affected countries should seek to work alongside their denominations in the affected communities, supporting their work through financial, logistical and pastoral support. A number of churches are doing this already. This week the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Makgoba whose pastoral responsibility includes Mozambique, has been visiting Beira and hosted by the locals in their misery, to be with, and work with them as they craft their solutions to the crisis. 3. Third, through the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA), the SACC has a direct relationship with the councils of churches in the three countries, this enabling local oversight for accountability and feedback on the impact of the organised support from this system. A more detailed “Guideline for Churches”, including prayer requests, is being developed and will be available by Friday 12 April. When available it will be published in the SACC monthly e-newsletter The Outlook, and the various electronic platforms and newsletters of member churches and partner organisations in the Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are disciples of the One who said: “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matt. 25:35

Additional Information: The most immediate basic needs include food and potable water to survive; shelter and sanitation for hygiene and disease management. Following the immediate first aid, and in the mid-term, there will be the need to ensure food security, as the crops that were about to be harvested have now been washed away. In Mozambique alone, nearly 670, 000 hectares of crops have been damaged. Estimates are that some 12% of Malawi’s national maize output has been lost to the cyclone. There will be need for: • Rebuilding the lives of people living with the missing relatives, some of whose bodies may never be found. • The counselling and recalibrating the lives of orphaned children, some of them were first to be saved, leaving their parents who perished before the rescuers returned for them. • Trauma counselling for those children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods. UNICEF puts the number of children at risk as a result of the cyclone at about 260,000, and direct support will be needed to provide mechanisms to secure these children. This, not to mention the reconstruction of households, and public infrastructure of schools, health services and roads. Immediate HOPE worldwide Compassion Shipment: As a start, next week the first truck shipment that has been organised by HOPE worldwide is scheduled to departs for Beira. That effort began before the creation of the collective Cyclone Disaster Response Group. We are working together to support this first shipment, and seek to build on that experience. We are also aware that a number of church denominations have initiated their own individual response systems which are commendable. In this challenge we have come to recognise that there will be phases, from rescue, food and shelter; to recovery of the deceased and burials; to disease prevention and temporary village building and rebuilding of homes. There will be need for seeds to replant lost crops, and trying for winter cultivation; the building and equipping of public facilities, schools, health centres; and the rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure, etc. All these will need a consistency of support beyond the immediate. Again, at the human level, there is the deeper work of trauma counselling, especially for children who may have seen their parents perish in the floods.

Contact details: For information on how to contribute and logistics, please contact: Ms Pertunia Radebe +2711 241 7800, pertunia@sacc.org.za

For media interview requests, please contact: SACC: Ms Moagisi Sibanda (Director Communications and Programmes) Email: moagisi@sacc.org.za, Mobile: +2782 295 1581

South African Red Cross Society Mr Lwando Zandile (National Disaster Manager) Email: lzandile@redcross.org.za, Mobile: +2781 017 6575

 

 

Faith-based Organisations Response to Cyclone Disaster

Churches Disaster Challenge Response

 

Pics:- Demonstration of Cyclone Idai at various countries mentioned below.

Approximately 3 million helpless people have been affected by the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe with Mozambique the worst hit.
In the face of this mammoth challenge the South African Council of Churches, together with other faithbased have set up The Cyclone Disaster Response Group to coordinate efforts, invite to look at responses in the following ways:

  1. Local churches and congregations: Where relationships with affected communities or agencies already exist, local congregations are encouraged to build on these and support the relief effort. This should be primarily through donating funds and providing long term support for work in the community.
  2. National church structures: The SACC and TEASA have established The Cyclone Disaster Response Group, to act as a central coordinating entity for the church response from South Africa. Partnerships with appropriate aid agencies, government and business will be utilized to ensure the most effective use of resources and networks. It is envisaged that the primary focus will be on encouraging the donation of funds supporting purchase of goods, the distribution of these resources through approved agencies and leveraging networks to advocate on behalf of the affected countries.
  3. Denominations and church networks: These structures should seek to work alongside their partner structures within the affected communities supporting their work through financial, logistical and pastoral support.

 

KZNCC REPORT ON SEXUAL REPRODUCTIVE AND HEALTH RIGHTS (SRHR)

KZNCC Report – Community dialogues on Sexuality and LGBTIQ Issues Final report 30 January 2019

In order to intensify the work that the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) has been doing on the issues of human sexuality and the plight of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexed, Intersexed (LGBTI) communities, we went to the churches, church leaders and communities we had workshopped before to see whether there has been any change of heart. In general, like it was with the issue of HIV and AIDS, the churches are moving away from the condemnatory paradigms to more caring attitudes and relations with the LGBTI communities. This report is about progress made so far.

We have published over 200 000 pastoral letters educating churches’, congregants and communities concerning LGBTI issues. Some of the pastoral letters are appended in this report. We shall continue with the same method of producing and disseminating pastoral letters. With the prospect of a new funded programme we are aiming to produce and circulate 400 000 pastoral letters to the 4 regional offices of KZNCC, i.e., KRCC, TAMCC, SKZNCC and MCC i.e., 100 000 per region.