Church plants seed of healing

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•Intervention beyond charity needed – SACC

‘We want this campaign to bring unity and give hope’

HUNDREDS of people gathered together on Sunday afternoon in the City Hall to pray for reconciliation, restoration and anchoring of democracy in the upcoming election period.

The event, organised by the Eastern Cape Council of Churches, formed part of a national campaign entitled “The South Africa We Pray For”.

The campaign, launched in South Africa in December last year, aims to see the church taking an active role in addressing societal imbalances currently experienced in post-apartheid South Africa.

TAKING THE LEAD: The EC Council of Churches organised a service on Sunday focused on the church actively addressing the country’s social imbalances Picture:  SARAH KINGON
TAKING THE LEAD: The EC Council of Churches organised a service on Sunday focused on the church actively addressing the country’s social imbalances Picture: SARAH KINGON

The service was held in partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Buffalo City Metro (BCM) council, lead by mayor Alfred Mtsi.

The acting CEO of the Eastern Cape Council of Churches, Rev Canon Lulama Ntshingwa, said: “We are launching a campaign where we pray for healing and reconciliation, restoration of family values, issues of poverty and inequality, economic transformation and the anchoring of democracy. We also pray for our upcoming elections. We want to see unity and peace during this time and call on everyone to restrain from violence.”

“We want this campaign to bring about unity within Buffalo City and among churches and give hope to youth for a better democracy,” he said.

The general secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said: “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission came and went, yet we remain a polarised nation – spatially, socially, economically and politically. South Africa still does not enjoy a fully reconciled existence, and our objective is to fiercely work through the barriers to this vision.”

A research team has been commissioned to look into the issues listed by Ntshingwa to properly assess concerns in communities in order to paint an accurate picture of the current situation in South Africa.

Research showed the vast levels of inequality stemming from economic imbalances and a lack of sustainable economic transformation in the country. The SACC recommends strong education-driven intervention to tackle the issue.

Research also indicated a need for financial literacy in communities riddled with debt. “We are aware that for the bulk of churches involvement in the economic sphere has been limited to charitable and welfare donations. But the time has come to change this.

“We have a task team looking into a range of practical solutions that build on both the survival experience of poor South Africans, and what has worked through church interventions elsewhere in the world, which will contribute to economic transformation,” Mpumlwana said.

A shocking revelation from a study conducted by research firm Chimere-Dan showed that in 2014 62% of South African families were single-parent families, speaking to the challenge of absent fathers and interrogating the patriarchal society we live in.

“The church can no longer sit back in observation, trusting that someone else will fight this fight. We may not live long enough to enjoy the shade of this tree we are planting; however, we are committed to ensuring the seeds are sewn and nurtured,” Mpumlwana said.

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