Healing of Memories Year-End Reunion.

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The Healing of Memories and Reconciliation, Social Cohesion, Networking and Partnerships year-end function was a resounding success of sharing, fellowship and robust dialogue. The event was well attended by KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council’s ecumenical partners and government officials. KZNCC Deputy CEO on Theology, Dr Lucas Ngoetjana, facilitated the robust dialogue that inspired the attendees to engage vigorously. They also came up with solution-oriented responses to topical issues including social cohesion, xenophobia, homophobia and gender-based violence, among others.

Bridget Phillips, a facilitator from the Institute For Healing of Memories, explained that the bulk of her work was about creating safe and sacred spaces where people can begin the journey of acknowledging the pain and letting go of what’s destructive inside them and being willing to leave the past behind. “The Healing of Memories (HoM) methodology has been tried and tested. It’s about taking the bondage off the wound, putting it in salty water and cleaning it. There’s guaranteed confidentiality during these sessions.”

Phillips also emphasised that healing is not an event but a lengthy-involved process of different phases. She urged everyone, especially men, to use the HoM tools as they enter their new journey in life after the workshops.

Rev Bernard Coopasamy of The Christ Tabloid newspaper shared how his Christianity had transformed him having been born into Hinduism. He believes this in itself was a healing process in his life. “Being invited to inter-faith groups changed my perspective on numerous things and this was when I embraced the healing process and social cohesion from there on,” he explained. This change inspired the concept of The Christ Tabloid newspaper which he said promotes social cohesion and seeks to “educated God’s people and bring their lives back in alignment to the Christ”.

There was a platform for people to share their stories and what moulded them into being the change-makers that they have become in society. Nomusa Shabalala, Anti-Xenophobia Community Facilitator and leader of Sisters of Faith in Action (SOFIA), a women’s movement at KZNCC, said that she was excited and proud to see women being well represented at the event. She spoke about the trip they took to Tanzania as SOFIA, learn about Village Community Banking (VICOBA) where they gained women empowerment skills including making clothes softeners, cheese paste and the VICOBA way of banking.

Keeping the enlightening conversations going, Mama Mngadi of Family Unity Organisation said strengthening family ties was important in counter-acting the societal challenges. “It’s one of the pillars that could potentially help us win against any social ills as they are a result of diminishing united and well-ground families.” Radio is another platform where these issues can be sufficiently tackled. Ps Victus Mthembu, responsible for Media and Publicity at KZNCC, said this platform had positioned the organisation in a positive light as a brand. Mthembu spoke about the Gender Justice programme in partnership with the Premier’s Office, in tackling gender-based violence, meted out against women and children.

Dr Douglas Dziva, CEO of KZNCC, concluded the proceedings as saying it was a good way to close off the year. “It was good sharing what is critical and important to us. It was well facilitated and inspiring, engaging and interesting.” Dziva also thanked the various key stakeholders and partners that KZNCC has had over the years.

 

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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Church Leaders Join Anti-Corruption March

MEDIA RELEASE

Church leaders join anti-corruption march

Senior church leaders from a broad spectrum of South Africa’s churches today called on Christians to join the Unite Against Corruption march being organised by civil society groups for 30 September.

The leaders – including those from some of the largest Christian denominations -say their plea for members to join the march constitutes their first step in becoming more involved and vocal about justice for the poor in South Africa, and in ensuring that the country remains a viable state.

The Unite Against Corruption march will simultaneously take place at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Parliament in Cape Town. A list of the leaders’ names can be found at the bottom of this statement.

Rev. Moss Ntlha, one of the leaders and General Secretary of The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, today said the march represents the people of South Africa taking responsibility for themselves and for what is going on in the country.

Not the first time

This is not the first time that senior clergy have taken issue with current affairs in South Africa. Twice in 2012 similarly constituted groups of leaders wrote strongly worded letters addressing the state of the nation. This transpired at the time of the ANC’s centenary celebrations and after the Marikana massacre. The letters called for integrity in politics, social justice and an end to corruption.

“Twenty-five years ago we mobilised across the board to take responsibility for our country,” Ntlha explained.

“Nowadays people have simply abandoned hope as they feel powerless to change anything. We believe ordinary citizens need to take responsibility again to make sure that corruption ends in every sphere of society. This includes churches, civil society, business and government and homes where men abuse their power against women and children. This is a comprehensive call.

“Every person who marches is doing an act of repentance, and is calling others to repent.”

The most trusted institution

According to the Reconciliation Barometer, published annually by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, South Africans last year indicated their highest confidence levels in religious institutions and the Public Protector, and the lowest in political parties and the police.

On top of this, national research has shown that 81% of the population specifically regard the church as the most trusted institution, while at least 80% of the population claims to be Christian.

“We see this march as a time for Christians to take responsibility through confession, prayer, self-reflection; to turn towards justice and away from practicing corruption.”

Ntlha says the leaders are not pointing fingers. They are in fact taking responsibility for South Africans’ corporate corruption as citizens of a 21 year old democracy who claim to be 80% Christian.

“We acknowledge that many of our members are corrupt. So we can’t judge anybody. We have to engage in a self-critical way. That is why, for us, the march signals a call to repentance.

“But secondly, if the church does not use the trust levels that it has to call for a different way of being South African, of respect for the constitution and basic responsibility, we may lose the opportunity to stop the country’s downward slide. And from that we may never recover.”

Faith and action

The church leaders called all Christians and people of faith in South Africa to participate through demonstrations and prayer everywhere in the country on the day of the march, and leading up to that day.

“Beyond the march we would like to see the emergence of a responsible South Africa and we believe the march signals the start of that possibility. We dream of a South Africa where citizens are not only accountable, but hold others accountable, whether they are in business or in government.

“We realize this will be work in progress.”

“I am calling on the Church that we all stand up and say we will go to prison again; we will die again if any person gets victimized because of color, or for any other reason that contradicts our commitments to justice.”

– Rev. Frank Chikane, 1980’s

 

Notes to the editor:

Find the 2012 letter here:

www.beta.iol.co.za/news/top-clerics-pen-letter-to-zuma-1439546

Reconciliation Barometer:

www.ijr.org.za

The leaders who have issued this call include:

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Bishop Zipho Siwa, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and President of the South African Council of Churches (SACC)

Past. Xola Skosana, Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum

Rev. Moss Ntlha, General Secretary of The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa

Past. Ray McCauley, Rhema Ministries, President of International Federation of Christian Churches and Co-chair of the National Religious Leaders’ Forum

Dr Frank Chikane, International President of the Apostolic Faith Mission International and Senior Vice President of SACC

Dr Mary Anne Plaatjies van Huffel, Moderator of Uniting Reformed Church of SA

Prof. Nelus Niemandt, Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church

Bishop Ndanganeni Phaswana, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa

Archbishop Mshengu Tshabalala, Ikhaya le Zione

Bishop Lunga ka Siboto, Ethiopian Episcopal Church

Rev. Angelo Scheepers, General Secretary of the Baptist Union

Mr Michael Cassidy, Founder of Africa Enterprise and the National Initiative for Reconciliation

Rev. Edwin Arrison, General Secretary of Kairos Southern Africa

Rev. Prof. Peter Storey, former President of the SACC & Methodist Church

Rev. Andre Bartlett, Chairperson of Gauteng Council of Churches

The Rev. Canon Prof. N. Barney Pityana, retired Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, Grahamstown, and retired Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of South Africa

Past. Simon Lerefolo, His People Church and Chairperson of Heartlines

Past. Ed Ramsami, Heronbridge Community Church and Chairperson of Youth for

Past. Jean Symons, National Leader of Doxa Deo RSA

Dr Braam Hanekom, Vice Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Synod,

Rev. Costa Mitchell, National Director of the Association of Vineyard Churches of South Africa,

Rev. Barry Isaacs, General Secretary of the Consultation of Christian Churches Various other leaders are on board, and the sign-up process continues.

For interviews, call –

Rev. Moss Ntlha – 0828098533

Past. Simon Lerefolo – 0828229460

Rev. Andre Bartlett – 0832745745

For more information, call –

Miles Giljam – 0795742926

Siki Dlanga – 0738448691

 

//KE Communications, +27 82 747 7104, friends.taking.hands@gmail.com

Wartburg Rape Case

PRESS RELEASE ON THE WARTBURG RAPE CASE (For immediate release)

The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) and ecumenical organisations in KwaZulu Natal; Thukela-Mzinyathi regional Christian Council (TAMCC), KwaZulu Regional Christian Council (KRCC), Diakonia Council of Churches (DC of C), Midlands Council of Churches (MCC) express sadness and shock at the rape of a 94 year-old grandmother by a 25 year old man in her Wartburg home near Pietermaritzburg.

This barbaric act follows a series of recently reported rape cases such as the seven men’s gang rape of a 17 year old girl in Soweto, as well as the two young women’s allegedly rape of a mentally challenged teenage boy in Soweto last month.

  • KZNCC, the KZN Ecumenical Movement together with churches in KwaZulu Natal condemn this despicable cruel act in strongest terms possible.
  • We call upon faith leaders to pray and to pay pastoral visits to victims of rape, as well as to preach morals and a strong sense of right and wrong to the youth.

–  We call upon all people of faith to publicly condemn rape and acts that violate women and children.

  • We call upon all victims of rape and their families to go public and report to the police the violations inflicted upon them.

–  We call upon Magistrates to impose stiff penalties to perpetrators of rape.

  • We appeal to the entire province to join us in the Thursday in Black, a campaign of mourning gender injustices; the domestic violence, the murder of women, the physical and psychological battering, the verbal abuse, the financial depravation and all forms violence perpetrated against women. (Diakonia Council of Churches leads this campaign where everyone is urged to dress in black every Thursday. This is symbolises mourning the current perverse gender injustices (for details phone 031-3103513 or director@diakonia.org.za ).

The on-going scourge of rape in our country is a societal problem that requires responses from all of us in order to solve this pandemic. Our varied responses will contribute to the restoration of morals, ethics, spirituality and human values.

Ends

Bishop Mike Vorster – KwaZulu Natal Christian Council Chairperson Dr Douglas Dziva – KwaZulu Natal Christian Council CEO

Ms Nomabelu Mvambo Dandala – Diakonia Council of Churches Executive Director Rev Gugu Shelembe – Thukela-Amajuba-Mzinyathi Regional Christian Council Director Mr Mxolisi Nyuswa – KwaZulu Regional Christian Council Director

Nelson Mandela – the Icon who challenges to high things

To almost everyone who hears the name Nelson Mandela (or even more fondly Madiba) the first thought is that he is the icon of what is good and true in man today. He earned his status by the manner in which he engaged in the long and dangerous struggle to gain freedom and self-determination for all the oppressed people in South Africa.

For his engagement in the struggle for justice for all, he already gained the respect and admiration of freedom lovers and justice seekers way beyond the borders of his homeland. But for me and many that I speak for, what consolidated his stature and gave him status as a world leader to be imitated and emulated, is the way he conducted himself just before and immediately after his release from Pollsmore Prison, near Cape Town.

For the sake of his country, and his fellow citizens, Black and White, he broke rank with many in the Liberation Movement when taking courage into his own hands he initiated negotiations with the hated apartheid regime. It says a lot for his powers of persuasion that he was able to achieve a breakthrough during the very time that one of the toughest hardliners, President P. W. Botha was in power.

Madiba’s efforts were no doubt aided and abetted by dissatisfaction within the National Party with P.W.’s despotic leadership style. That dissatisfaction led to his ousting by F W de Klerk who took over to lead South Africa into meaningful negotiations and an eventual democratic dispensation.

The calibre of character of Madiba, as also that of the chief protagonist on the White side in the negotiations, F W de Klerk, was undoubtedly inspired and enhanced by the massive moral and spiritual support of the hundreds of thousands of South Africans, Black and White, who took the struggle to a higher level – the spiritual – by the prayers and sacrifices they made personally for a peaceful settlement.

In a real sense, therefore, Mandela’s iconic status was founded and built on the shoulders of ordinary South Africans who transferred to him their deepest hopes and aspirations for peace, dignity, respect and freedom. It says much for Madiba that unlike so many of his peers, before him, around him at the time, and especially after him, he did not let the greatness thrust upon him by his people, go to his head. Rather he remained right to the end a servant to the project: “Set my people free.”

Achieving freedom for his people through really tough and at times brutal negotiations (I’m thinking here of the National Peace Accord, the several deadlocks over amnesty, the Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging’s (AWB) assault on the CODESA Talks venue) was one thing, it was quite another to bring together the followers of the various opposing factions in the South African political field.

It was even more of a challenge to bring into existence an environment in which Black and White could seek and find each other. His inspired use of symbolic actions – “High Tea” with the wives of (a) former apartheid Prime Ministers and Presidents; and (b) their counterparts in the liberation struggle; giving 110% support to the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup – achieved more than volumes of written statements, charters or painstakingly worked out agreements.

Yes, South Africa owes Madiba a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless service to his people (Black and White). But in turn he is indebted to those selfsame people for according him icon status by supporting his every effort to make South Africans -Black and White – a special people. For only a special people could have pulled off, with God’s grace and blessings, the miracle of 1994, which gave the stamp of approval to Madiba as the Icon and Symbol of the Nation!

+ Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM ARCHBISHOP OF DURBAN

Tribute to Mandela

KZNCC Tribute to Mandela

Our heartfelt condolences go to the Mandela family. Be assured of our constant support and prayers.

WE have moved into a ten day mourning period as a nation. The outpouring of love, respect and condolences is staggering. Why has such a man moved an entire country, continent and world in such a profound way? It is because in this man we have seen that another world is possible. Through his core values of unshakeable commitment to non-racialism; non-sexism; justness; compassion; forgiveness, and pragmatism we have seen incarnate glimpses of what every sane human on earth desires.

The mark of greatness is not perfection, but the acknowledgement of one’s weakness, limitations and being prepared to own up to and confess one’s faults. These are the marks of our former President Nelson R Mandela who has become for us in his twilight years the elderly statesman and parent figure.

There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman. We are all shaped by others and our environment for better or worse. The central tenant of Ubuntu is that we are because of others. Mr Mandela would be the first to say I am part of a collective. He was a true democrat. In the early years he was shaped by both traditional and Wesleyan values, a certificate dating back to his early childhood of his attendance at Sunday School attests to this. He attended Methodist schools like Healdtown etc.

Then there was the liberation movement the African National Congress that became a major influence in his entire life for decades He ensured that non-racialism was kept alive by embracing both those who were Indian, coloured and white as part of the struggle. Many would have called him a ‘sell-out’ because of this core value.

If we say we will never have another leader who embraces these values then Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo’s work would have been in vein. Such an observation would be disingenuous. There are many people among us who aspire to these values. Look carefully at our young people as they emerge as non-racialists and non-sexists human beings, especially those who have not yet been tainted by the neo-apartheid influences of their parents. This is the living legacy that Tata Mandela leaves with us. We celebrate a life well lived in spite of oppression and imprisonment. May we go into the streets and tell the stories of Mandela warts and all. For at the end of the day he was human like the rest of us and here in lies our hope.

Peace & Grace

Bishop Mike Vorster 1

Theological Reflections on Dialogue

Theological Reflections: The Power of Dialogue: A Model for Discourse around Land Issues

A series of consultations conferences and workshops were done with the communities of people suffering as a result of unresolved land matters. A document was drawn spelling out the choice of the method of dialogue to engage farm owners and land dwellers and workers. The document proposes a model of dialogue between parties on land matters. A model of dialogue is found to be yielding much needed fruit. Ecumenical theology is also pertinent to this dialogue as a way of resolving differences and that can be applicable to resolving land matters at a local as well as a national political level. The land belonging to God in fact is a possession of all for mutual existence. Humans have, now and in the past, misunderstood this and have personalised access, use and ownership of land. The political, social and economic errors can be corrected to deal with questions of land distribution for human service; reconciliation; nation building; harmonious living, access, use and for the benefit of preservation for progeny.

Ecumenical theology of dialogue: A model of land matters discourse

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 out 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.

In ecumenical discourses, comparative ecclesiology has been superseded by Christological ecclesiology. Concerning churches’ political doctrines on land matters in ecumenical dialogues was concluded to be of political, social, cultural, economic and theological consequence. The ecumenical theological common ground is that the land and all that is in it belongs to God. No persons or generations of nations have a theological and therefore inherent political or economic right to private ownership of land. The land is for common human care, use and preservation as long as one lives for the common good of all one’s neighbours in service to Christ and the realisation of the reign of God on earth.

Historically and missiologically, in the Southern Hemisphere, colonial settlers and Missions have by and large colluded in dispossessing indigenous people of their land, corroding their cultures, undermining
their political structures and subjugating the indigenous people to conditions of slavery and serfdom. In South Africa today some of the land belonging to the Church has been obtained illegitimately in the past due to policies of, or agreements and unscrupulous collusion with Apartheid rulers as events unfolded from 1652 (arrival of Jan Van Riebeeck), through 1826 (Voortrekkers), 1848 (Apartheid in the Church), 1913 (Natives’ Land Act), and then from 1948 onwards (Apartheid laws are legislated), to 1994 (land reform).

And yet the ecumenical movement in KZN is a proponent of the model of dialogue in seeking an amicable resolution which is theologically based in consideration of the political and sophisticated economic context in which justice and peace on land matters must be propelled and advanced in our life time – God have mercy.

Ecumenical theology as IDiakonia – service on land matters

The task of the Church is an expression of God’s compassion as an essential dimension of God’s mission in the world – “that you may serve”. This idea of mission as God’s compassion for humanity applied on land matters could be taken to mean that humanity can well serve one another and in turn serve God by showing compassion in the distribution of land, access to land, reconstruction of human dignity, and assurance of life in abundance for all as promised by Christ Himself. It is conceptualised that land is a Gift of God to all humanity. Land is meant to be passed from one hand to another as humanity play their role of enjoying this privilege of land possession – as God has temporarily had compassion on humanity to do so in good will for the wellbeing of all. The land is meant for service to all humanity and not for personal profit.

Ecumenism and stewardship on land issues

The Church must be involved in the stewardship of the material resources of creation (Ferguson and Wright (eds.) 1988: 435)[I]. “This means encouraging a wise and harmonious use of the natural order created by God, by engaging in numerous aspects of conservation and elimination of pollution. The Church will point to the creator’s gift of life for all which implies renouncing greed, and a restrained enjoyment of material goods by all in such a way that future generations will find life sustainable on earth” (Ibid. 435). The depletion of the material resources and the insatiable human greed is unfortunate and regrettable. We may
well decide to restrain ourselves and save creation or well knowing continue on our ways and see the inevitable demise and catastrophe of the creation that God had gracefully and lovingly given to us.

The Church shall therefore not be found wanting in taking care of the earth, the land, God’s creation; by exonerating and absolving greed, dishonesty, insatiability, gluttony, voracity, self-indulgence and materialism amongst us. The role of the Church is to see to it that humanity is moderate, reasonable, sensible and conserving in the use of God’s gifts to humanity such as water, land and food. The justice of God must always prevail when it comes to issues of land distribution, despite concerns over land restitutions and claims which may not bring a lasting solution. Land must be seen as no guarantee for individuals but a blessing for all generations, past, present and future.

Ecumenism and reconciliation through dialogue on land matters

“[The Church] has a responsibility to show what it means in practice to be a reconciled and liberated community in the midst of a corrupt, distressed and despairing world … The Church is to be both a sign and an agent of God’s purpose to create a new order where [‘His’] peace and justice will reign” (Ibid.435). These statements can be demonstrated by being principled, and truthful when addressing the land issue here in South Africa and everywhere where access and use of natural resources is a cause of contention. A formidable project of nation building and lasting reconciliation and peace can be built on a legitimate programme of responsible access to land and productive use of land for national wellbeing and preservation for future generations. (A fuller theological Reflection is available).

Conclusion

The process of theologisation is a continuum. In the this conclusion the process goes on only that in this short discourse we have reflected on the Power of Dialogue as a Model which can make a contribution is redressing the questions on land matters. The ecumenical theology of dialogue is recommended as a way of entering the discourse of resolving challenges pertaining to land questions. The ecumenical theology of diakonia is the service that dialogue can offer in the terrain of seeking to sort out human rights abuse on the land. The ecumenical theology of stewardship encourages humanity to take care of one another, progeny and the one earth the only gift of God for all without discrimination. And the ecumenical theology of reconciliation is the only soteriological hope in Jesus Christ our Lord and God.

[I] Ferguson, S. B and D. F. Wright (1988) New Dictionary of Theology. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press