AFM Election 2020: Nomination Forms

Nomination Form Regional Comittees (For the NOB Elections)

Nomination Form for Assemblies (For the NOB Elections)

Each Assembly Governing Body is entitled to receive and complete one nomination form. This is the same with each Regional Committee. Completed forms must be sent to the Office of the President, through hand delivery, registered mail or through e-mail. The e-mail address to be used, in this regard is [email protected].

The deadline date for the submission of these forms is Tuesday 31 March 2020 not later than 16h00. Your cooperation is highly appreciated in this regard.

Newsflash: Friday, 10 July 2020

Download the PDF version here:

10 JULY ENG 2020

Fellow Colleagues,

Know that you are always in our prayers in this difficult time. Thank you that you remain faithful in your calling. You will be rewarded greatly.

In this Newsflash the focus is on the 2020 GBM. It is uncertain whether we will be able to hold the 2020 GBM as scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The National Leadership Forum (NLF) will discuss this matter and decide how we will proceed – as it greatly depends on further developments related to the virus. I thank you for your understanding and patience. I have also included information on the Ministry Integrated Learning (MIL) for your attention. We must all do something to deal with the scourge of the violence that is meted out to women and children in our country. I am also sharing relevant information in this regard.

1. RECENT CIRCULARS FOR YOUR ATTENTION

DATED: WEDNESDAY, 24 JUNE 2020

In this Circular the following issues were included:

  • The promulgated amendments to Appendix 11 of the Constitution of the AFM of SA. In respect of the Administration of Justice in the church.
  • The approved Assembly Leaders policy.
  • The approved amended policy of the National Children’s Ministry.
  • The approved amended Constitution of the Executive Welfare Council.
  • An invitation to the 2020 GBM.

To register for the GBM 2020 online, please use the link below:

https://afm.easychurch.co.za/?page_id=413

To download this Circular and all relevant attachments, click on the link below:

https://afm-ags.org/category/media/

DATED: TUESDAY, 7 JULY 2020

In this Circular AFM Pastors are invited to complete a survey regarding the status and challenges of discipleship. The survey can be accessed from the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K27L3WN

To download this Circular and all relevant attachments, click on the link below:

https://afm-ags.org/category/media/

2. MIL APPLICATIONS: 2021 

Application forms for the 2021 MIL program is now available from:  www.milafm.co.za.  The due date is 15 August 2020 but may be extended because of the practical implications regarding the current national lockdown. Please note that because of the lockdown applications are to be forwarded by e-mail to [email protected] , and not posted by land mail. For any inquiries, please phone the MIL Coordinator, Dr. Christo van den Berg at 082 086 6269, or e-mail to the aforementioned e-mail address.

3. (NEW) AFM BLOG: ARTICLES ABOUT GBV & VIOLENCE AGAINST- AND ABUSE OF CHILDREN

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. We realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

Please note that articles on the subject matter will be shared on a weekly basis via the AFM website. We trust that you will find the information useful, insightful and practical:

https://afm-ags.org/category/articles/

CONCLUSION

I would like to receive your feedback on the above matters and on how Covid-19 is affecting your ministry. Please send your e-mail to [email protected].

Blessings!

MG Mahlobo

Nuusflits: Vrydag, 10 Julie 2020

Laai die PDF weergawe hier af:

10 JULIE AFR 2020

Mede-kollega,

Weet dat jy altyd in ons gebede is in hierdie moeilike tyd. Dankie dat jy getrou bly in jou roeping. Jy sal werklik beloon word.

In hierdie Nuusflits fokus ons op die 2020 GBM. Dit is onduidelik of ons in staat sal wees om die 2020 GBM te hou soos geskeduleer weens die koronavirus-pandemie. Die Nasionale Leierskapforum (NLF) sal hierdie aangeleentheid bespreek en besluit hoe ons sal voortgaan. Dit hang egter baie af van verdere ontwikkelinge wat die met die virus verband hou. Ek bedank jou vir jou begrip en geduld. Ek het ook inligting oor MIL (Ministry Integrated Learning) registrasies vir 2021 vir jou aandag ingesluit. Ons moet almal iets doen om die plaag van geweld teen die vroue en kinders van ons land aan te pak – ek deel ook relevante inligting in hierdie verband.

1. AGS OMSENDBRIEWE VIR JOU AANDAG

DATUM: WOENSDAG 24 JUNIE 2020

In hierdie omsendbrief is die volgende aspekte ingesluit:

  • Die gepromulgeerde wysigings aan Bylaag 11 van die Grondwet van die AGS van SA – ten opsigte van “Administration of Justice” in die kerk.
  • Die goedgekeurde beleid vir Gemeenteleiers (“Assembly Leaders”)
  • Die goedgekeurde gewysigde beleid van die Nasionale Kinderbediening.
  • Die goedgekeurde gewysigde grondwet van die Uitvoerende Welsynsraad.
  • ‘n Uitnodiging na die 2020 GBM.

Gebruik gerus die onderstaande skakel om aanlyn vir die GBM 2020 te registreer:

https://afm.easychurch.co.za/?page_id=413

Om die omsendbrief en alle toepaslike aanhangsels af te laai, klik op die onderstaande skakel:

https://afm-ags.org/category/media/

DATUM DINSDAG, 7 JULIE 2020

In hierdie omsendbrief word AGS Pastore uitgenooi om deel te neem aan ‘n opname oor die status en uitdagings van dissipelskap. Die vraelys is aanlyn beskikbaar vanaf die onderstaande skakel:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K27L3WN

Om die omsendbrief en alle toepaslike aanhangsels af te laai, klik op die onderstaande skakel:

https://afm-ags.org/category/media/

2. MIL AANSOEKE: 2021 

Aansoekvorms vir die 2021 MIL-program is nou beskikbaar by: www.milafm.co.za. Die sperdatum is 15 Augustus 2020 maar kan verleng word vanweë die praktiese implikasies met betrekking tot die huidige nasionale inperking. Let daarop dat aansoeke weens die sluitingsdatum per e-pos na [email protected] gestuur moet word en nie per landpos gepos word nie. Vir enige navrae skakel die MIL-koördineerder,

Dr. Christo van den Berg by 082 086 6269, of e-pos na bogenoemde e-pos adres.

3. (NUUT) AGS-BLOG: ARTIKELS OOR GBV & GEWELD TEEN- EN MISBRUIK VAN KINDERS

Ons hoor byna daagliks van gewelddadige sterftes van vroue en kinders en ons almal wonder watter soort persoon sulke gruwelike dade kan doen. Ons besef dat daar praktiese bronne vir pastore en ander kerkleiers nodig is om hulle te voorsien van inligting (insluitend die beleid en wetlike raamwerk) oor geweld teen en mishandeling van vroue en kinders – ook praktiese riglyne wat uiteensit wat om te doen wanneer hulle gekonfronteer word met hierdie groot uitdaging in hul gemeentes en die gemeenskappe wat hulle bedien.

Let daarop dat artikels oor die onderwerp weekliks op die AGS-webwerf gedeel word. Ons vertrou dat jy die inligting nuttig, insiggewend en prakties sal vind:

https://afm-ags.org/category/articles/

SLOT

Ek wil graag jou terugvoering ontvang oor bogenoemde aangeleenthede en oor hoe Covid-19 jou bediening beïnvloed. Stuur jou e-pos aan : [email protected].

Seën!

MG Mahlobo

Broadening our Understanding of Gender-Based Violence

In our first article on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), we responded to the recent spike in the number of incidents of the abuse and deaths of women and children in South Africa and we thereafter shared a list of actions that Pastors, other leaders and men can undertake in addressing violence against women and children, in their congregations and in surrounding communities:
https://afm-ags.org/addressing-violence-against-and-abuse-of-women-and-children-the-role-of-pastors-other-church-leaders-and-men-3-july-2020-4/

We therefore felt that it was important to ensure that all of us have the same understanding of what is meant with GBV i.e. violence or abuse of Women, before we venture into articles that provide more details on the proposed actions referred to above. It should be noted GBV is a sensitive topic and that there are different forms of GBV. It is therefore important to understand the concepts and nuances, which is the purpose of this article.

The World Health Organisation’s Key Facts on Violence Against Women

• Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public health problem and a violation of women’s human rights.
• Global estimates published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
• Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime.
• Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.
• Violence can negatively affect women’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, and may increase the risk of acquiring HIV in some settings.
• Some of the contributing factors that make it more likely for men to become perpetrators of violence include having low education, a history of being abused as a child, exposure to domestic violence, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms including attitudes accepting of violence, and a sense of entitlement over women.
• Similarly, some of the contributing factors that make it more likely for women to experience intimate partner violence is if they have low education, exposure to mothers being abused by a partner, abuse during childhood, attitudes of accepting violence, male privilege, and women’s subordinate status.
• There is evidence that advocacy and empowerment counselling interventions, as well as home visitation are promising in preventing or reducing intimate partner violence against women.
• Situations of conflict, post conflict and displacement may exacerbate existing violence, such as by intimate partners, as well as and non-partner sexual violence, and may also lead to new forms of violence against women.

Understanding The Various Concepts Related To Violence Against Women

Violence against women is a persistent and universal problem occurring in every culture and social group. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been physically assaulted, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime – most often by someone she knows, including a member of her own family, an employer or a co-worker.

Violence against Women. The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Gender-Based Violence. Though most documents use the terms Violence against Women and GBV interchangeably, the following points and definition suggest a slight difference:

Gender-based violence is not exclusively a woman’s concern. It is both a cause and a consequence of gender perceptions. GBV can be broadly defined as “the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between genders, within the context of a specific society.”

It should be noted that in some cultures GBV is violence against women based on women’s subordinate status in society. It includes any act or threat made by men or male dominated institutions that inflict physical, sexual, or psychological harm on a woman or girl because of their gender. In most cultures, traditional beliefs, norms and social institutions legitimise and therefore perpetuate violence against women.

So whilst it is true that some types of violence against women (and men) are perpetrated by women, the majority of GBV perpetrators are men.

Domestic Violence. Domestic abuse is defined as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, physical violence or threats of violence, including sexual violence, assault and or harassment, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. Domestic Violence is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). IPV refers to behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours.

Forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
The following forms of GBV are the more commonly known:

Physical abuse/violence

Physical abuse can happen in dating or married relationships, but it can also happen outside a relationship. Physical abuse is any physical force that injures the victim or places the victim in danger physically. Physical abuse can include hitting, shaking, burning, choking, hair-pulling, slapping, kicking, and any type of harm with a weapon e.g. a knife, another sharp instruments or a gun. It can also include threats to harm their spouses/partners and or children, family pets, or other family members. Physical abuse can also include restraining a spouse/partner against their will, by tying them up or locking them in a space.

Emotional or Psychological abuse

Emotional violence often involves verbal abuse, name calling and belittling of the other and which causes psychological harm to the individual. It entails acts of embarrassment, humiliation and disrespect. These acts affect one’s sense of self, self-esteem and self-confidence. Michele Borboa says emotional abusers are often “silent monsters” that fake affection while knowing precisely how to manipulate situations, hurt and humiliate their victims and do whatever it takes to stay in control of the situation and their victims.

Husbands/Partners are guilty of emotional abuse when they:
• Manipulate their partner’s emotions on a psychological level,
• Constantly criticizes their partners,
• Play “mind” games,
• Make her feel bad about herself e.g. through degrading, belittling and or negative comments,
• Makes her think she is crazy,
• Makes their partner feel guilty, and
• Humiliates their partners.

Economic abuse

Economic abuse includes the unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources to which the victim is entitled or requires out of necessity, including mortgage bond repayments or rent. It essentially traps a person into remaining in a marriage or relationship from which escape becomes impossible. Economic violence can take the form of, for example, property damage, restricting access to financial resources, education or the labour market, or not complying with economic responsibilities, such as alimony.

This includes control of a partner’s assets, access to money and other economic resources. The husband/male partner may be reluctant for his wife/female partner to work or may manage and abuse her compensation for work done.

Sexual violence
Sexual Violence is “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, or other act directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting. It includes rape, defined as the physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration of the vulva or anus with a penis, other body part or object.”

This is the most common form of GBV and may involve rape, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and trafficking for sexual purposes.

Femicide

Femicide is the killing of a female, or perceived female person on the basis of gender identity, whether committed within the domestic relationship, interpersonal relationship, or by another person or whether perpetrated or tolerated by the State or its agents, and private sources.

(This definition was agreed on 4 October 2017 by the Committee that dealt with Intimate Femicide under the auspices of the then Department of Justice and Constitutional Development – DOJCD)

In summary, this is characterised by the murder of a female partner by an intimate male partner and is considered to be the most extreme outcome of GBV.

Indirect (structural) violence
Structural violence is “where violence is built into structures, appearing as unequal power relations and, consequently, as unequal opportunities”. Structural violence exists when certain groups, classes, genders or nationalities have privileged access to goods, resources and opportunities over others, and when this unequal advantage is built into the social, political and economic systems that govern their lives.”

In closing we would like to remind Pastors, other church leaders and men that this article is the second in a series of articles on “What Pastors, other Church Leaders and men can do in the fight against GBV and Child Abuse”. The next article will be in a similar vein, however the focus will be on improving your understanding of Child Abuse with the view of assisting you to deal with this societal scourge. I would like to encourage you to raise questions and share your stories and practices so that we can learn from one another.

Ashley Theron
Acting CEO
AFM Welfare
[email protected]

Sources:
centrecare, Australia
DOJCD, SA 2017
Dept of Justice, SA 2018
EIGE Europe
Legal Centre 2012
Lisa Vetten 2003
Ludsin &Vetten 2005
Matthews 2010
Michelle Barboa
Office of Human’s Health, U.S.
saferspaces SA 2020
Sigworth 2009
Swazi Malinga 2016
Tears Foundation, SA
Tshwararanang Legal Centre 2012
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Women’s Aid (UK)

AFM CIRCULARS – JUNE & JULY 2020

DATED: 24 June, 2020

Circular to Pastors 24 June 2020

Addendum A: Promulgated Amendments Appendix 11 Administration of Justice

Addendum B: Approved Assembly Leader Policy

Addendum C: Approved Amended Policy of the National Children’s Ministry

Addendum D: Approved Amended Constitution of the Executive Welfare Council 

Addendum E: GBM & National Conference Programme 2020

Addendum F: GBM Registration Form 2020

Electronic Link to GBM Registration Form:

https://afm.easychurch.co.za/?page_id=413

Addendum G: Minutes of the 2018 GBM

Addendum H: Accommodation List

DATED: 7 July, 2020

Circular to Pastors & Regions 7 July 2020

Letter from TEASA

Teasa Disciple-Making Survey

Electronic Link to SURVEY:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K27L3WN

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

 Confront and Stop abuse
 Stop street harassment
 Tackle violence of girls in schools
 Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women

Ashley Theron (Acting CEO of AFM Welfare)

[email protected]

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men (3 July 2020)

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

 Confront and Stop abuse.
 Stop street harassment.
 Tackle violence of girls in schools.
 Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women.

Ashley Theron (Acting CEO of AFM Welfare)

[email protected]

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men (3 July 2020)

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

Confront and Stop abuse
Stop street harassment
Tackle violence of girls in schools
Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Addressing Violence Against- and Abuse of Women and Children – The role of Pastors, other Church Leaders and Men (3 July 2020)

We hear of violent deaths of women and children almost daily and we all wonder what kind of person can do such evil and heinous acts. It is mostly men who are the perpetrators and to compound the problem, many of them are related to their victims. They were not born monsters as they are someone’s son, brother, husband, father, friend, employee, uncle or cousin.

Some of them went to Sunday School, Youth meetings and/or attended Church. Yet they turned out to become violators, abusers, murderers, and the question is not only what went wrong in their lives, it is also why we are allowing this to happen. Part of the answer lies in the fact that most of us look the other way and don’t want to take action as we hope the problem will go away and there are others that might not know what to do.

We do not like confronting or reporting abuse and violations when we see it happening in our families, our neighbourhood and even in our churches. Edmund Burke hit the nail on the head when he said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

We are not saying this because we are expecting Pastors and other church leaders to play the role of Police Officers, Teachers, Social Workers or Lawyers, but we are expecting them to know what to do; what is within their area of responsibility; which cases should be reported and to whom; and also knowing when and how to refer victims of abuse to the correct resources or authorities.

I realise there is a need for a toolkit for Pastors and other church leaders to provide them with information (including the policy and legal framework) on violence against- and abuse of women and children and also practical guidelines that will spell out what to do when they are confronted with this major challenge in their congregations and communities they serve.

However, I want to share, using my own experience and drawing on research and experience from other NPOs and agencies, a few things that we as leaders in our church can do or undertake to tackle the scourge of violence against women and children.

1. Self-reflection and education

 Confront yourself/your ideas.
 Educate yourself on the roots of violence.
 Confront stereotyping men’s and women’s roles.
 Become aware of resources for girls and women.
 Be media literate and critical and learn to use social media effectively.
 Remember violence is a choice.

2. Become aware of harmful cultures and practices

 Raise awareness of the dangers of harmful traditions.
 Challenge and stop rape culture.
 Recognise the role of gender in violence.
 Confront, interrupt sexist/homophobic and transphobic language.

2. Involving, consulting and engaging others

 Engage and share vital information with the assembly and community.
 Engage respected community elders and leaders in the fight against violence.
 Have a discussion with others about ending violence and to become a mentor.
 Engage boys and young men to become agents of change.
 Help boys and young men understand consent.
 Call gender violence what it is – it is not bullying or part of a cultural thing.

3. Developing and implementing an action plan

 Create a conducive atmosphere.
 Create safe spaces to discuss gender violence.
 Be supportive.
 Stop victim blaming – girls and women often blame themselves.
 Listen to girls’ experiences of violence – and their solutions.

4. Taking action

Confront and Stop abuse
Stop street harassment
Tackle violence of girls in schools
Report abuse and photos that exploit girls and young women

Sources:
Battered Women’s Support Services
Plan International

Opportunities in a Time of Crisis (30 June 2020)

The Bible teaches us that it does not help much if we are weak in time of crisis. In fact, Solomon says that to act with weakness in a crisis is a sign of having very little strength indeed. A crisis is identifiable by some or all of the following components – threat, surprise, urgency and uncertainty. The pandemic brought on us by the novel coronavirus and the disease called Covid-19 can indeed be described as a crisis of catastrophic proportions containing all the above components. It not only challenged the way of life as we knew it, but also our ability to see opportunities in a time of crisis.

Life as we knew it

At the outset it must be said that the church is a place where we find comfort in the presence of the Lord and the believers, the place where our weary souls are restored, our hopes renewed and where we are reminded of 1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”.

We believers are encouraged in the book of Hebrews not to neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but are supposed to encourage one another to meet regularly in the house of the Lord, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near! Going to Church on Sundays and even in the week, have been viewed by believers as their Christian duty. The fellowship and gathering of the saints are no small matter to God’s children and many of us have become used to and comfortable with the way the church functions. In doing so we limited God to fit into our existing paradigms.

Locked down and locked out

When the South African nation went into total lockdown at midnight on 26 March 2020, no one could remain in any zone of life as we knew it. Everyone was unceremoniously evicted from what we were used to and almost overnight the entire world became a strange place. There came an abrupt end to all the things we took for granted. Going to the gym, the hairdresser, and the mall. Popping out for a takeaway meal or going to sit down at your favourite restaurant. Visiting friends and family, attending parties and funerals, even going to church, no more life as we knew it.

 The impact on the church

The impact on the local church was felt in a number of ways. As already mentioned, there was the loss of communal worship and fellowship. There was the challenge of adapting to new and strange ways of “doing church”. Not everybody warmed up to receiving sermons via WhatsApp and the other social networks. Besides, not everybody could afford the cost of airtime and data. No more opportunity to take the Lord’s tithe to His own storehouse on Sundays. And how many would take the trouble to tithe in “strange new ways?”. The result – the income of the church was also impacted negatively.

A biblical lesson

There is a story in the book of Jeremiah 29:4-7 about those who were carried into Babylonian exile. The exiles in Babylon were also overcome by all the elements of a crisis. They also hoped and prayed that the crisis would be over soon. That they will return home quickly. But God advised them differently. Take the longer view, they were told – “Work towards the peace and prosperity of the city where you are”. God gave them instructions to plant their own gardens and live from the produce thereof. To look to the future. The efforts of the present always have an impact on the future. Doing nothing is not an option. But what can be done? How can we built today to secure a sustainable future?

Community involvement and socio-economic opportunities 

Pastors and congregations could consider broadening their impact on their surrounding communities by starting socio-economic programs that could create income generating and/or job creation opportunities. Such programs could include Child and Youth Care Centers and Foster Homes, drop-in centers for children, care and support of older persons in institutions and communities, care and support of persons with disabilities, gender-based violence/domestic violence support services and shelters, early childhood development centers, literacy programs, substance abuse institutions and community based programs, poverty alleviation and job creation.

To assist AFM Assemblies the AFM Welfare has extensive experience and tools to provide technical support with the initiating, developing, and providing of programs and projects (especially where funding is required from the Department of Social Development and other sources). The assistance would include guidance on the policy and legal framework, understanding the requirements and the registration process related to both as an NPO (Non-Profit Organization) and as a designated service. Consideration should also be given to partnering with existing NPO’s.

Conclusion

When Moses stood in front of the Red Sea and the armies of Egypt was behind him, the Lord asked him “What do you have in your hand”. I pray that God will provide creative insight and wisdom on how to apply what He has placed in our hands, to meet the demands we face today and in the future.

Past. B. Petersen (General Treasurer of the AFM of SA)

[email protected]

 

PASTORAL LETTER 2ND QUARTER

Download the PDF version here:

AFM Newsltr 2ND Qrt 2020 ENG web

AFM Colleague, 

We are going through a pandemic crisis which has and continues to disrupt our social, economic and our church life in an unprecedented way. Covid-19 is characterized as a novel crisis because it is indeed a ‘game changer’ which poses a global threat to all sectors of society.

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES IN A CRISIS
Past. M.G. Mahlobo (President of the AFM of SA) – [email protected]

Crises are, generally, grouped into two categories, namely the routine and the novel crisis. In routine crises organizations have the ability to put in place plans on how to deal with these, because the risks are known. On the other hand, novel crises are characterized by high level of risks and uncertainties. Plans and processes that may work in a routine crisis are, in most cases, found to be inadequate and sometimes counterproductive.

“…leaders need to grasp and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic while keeping up hope in their members.”

During times of crises people look up to their leaders for guidance.  As we are going through the current Covid-19 pandemic, church members are looking up to their leaders at local, regional, and national levels. For this reason, leaders need to grasp and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic while keeping up hope in their members. They must also ensure that the decisions taken are prudent.

In this article I would like to highlight some of the leadership qualities we need when we go through crisis moments, such as the current one.

Leadership Agility

The coronavirus pandemic requires leaders that can move with speed without losing their values. They need the ability to process information quickly and promptly decide on the appropriate course of action. This is what the leadership of the AFM did after the declaration of the State of National Disaster and the subsequent National Lockdown. We issued communication on 17 March 2020 to all AFM structures on what they needed to do. Most of the contents of this communication became irrelevant when the national lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020. On 24 March 2020 we updated our 17 March 2020 Covid-19 communication.

“How we behave, in front of those we lead, is important.”

Leadership Calmness

In times of crises like coronavirus we need to stay calm, rational, and focused. Many people lose their cool and begin to panic in a time of crisis. This is understandable. However, it is expected that leaders should adopt a posture of calmness. In this way we will be able to reflect and apply our minds towards positive action. How we behave, in front of those we lead, is important. We should count ourselves fortunate in that we are not lacking information about Covid-19. When a decision has been taken on a particular action it must be communicated with clarity.

Leadership Adaptability

By June last year none of us were talking about social distancing, regular washing of hands, sanitizers, and face masks as we do today. One of the lessons learned from the coronavirus is that leaders must be able to embrace necessary behavioral change to avoid a worst-case scenario. Some of the decisions that we took related to adapting or halting some of our liturgical practices such as laying on of hands on the sick and during the dedication of children, the Lord’s Communion, and water baptism. Any behavior that would enhance the risk of infection had to be changed or stopped. Behavioral change is not easy because it requires a mindset change. In isiXhosa we say: “Isiqhelo soyisa ingqondo” which can roughly be translated as “the habit conquers the mind”. Bold decisions must be taken when it comes to changing human behavior.

During Level 5 of the lockdown many pastors resorted to social network platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype and Zoom. These platforms became useful tools for communication and ministry. I have never been to so many virtual meetings and conferences before as I have been during the national lockdown period.

Leadership Empathy

Covid-19 has become a threat to our survival. Some of the questions in the minds of many people are: “Will I be infected? Will I lose my job? What is going to happen to my family?” On the other hand, there are many who have already lost their jobs and many who have lost their loved ones due to the pandemic. Walking alongside people (who are impacted negatively by the virus) with empathy, may make a positive difference in their lives.

OPPORTUNITIES IN A TIME OF CRISIS

Past. B. Petersen (General Treasurer of the AFM of SA) – [email protected] 

The Bible teaches us that it does not help much if we are weak in time of crisis. In fact, Solomon says that to act with weakness in a crisis is a sign of having very little strength indeed. A crisis is identifiable by some or all of the following components – threat, surprise, urgency and uncertainty. The pandemic brought on us by the novel coronavirus and the disease called Covid-19 can indeed be described as a crisis of catastrophic proportions containing all the above components. It not only challenged the way of life as we knew it, but also our ability to see opportunities in a time of crisis.

Life as we knew it 

At the outset it must be said that the church is a place where we find comfort in the presence of the Lord and the believers, the place where our weary souls are restored, our hopes renewed and where we are reminded of 1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”.

We believers are encouraged in the book of Hebrews not to neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but are supposed to encourage one another to meet regularly in the house of the Lord, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near! Going to Church on Sundays and even in the week, have been viewed by believers as their Christian duty. The fellowship and gathering of the saints are no small matter to God’s children and many of us have become used to and comfortable with the way the church functions. In doing so we limited God to fit into our existing paradigms.

Locked down and locked out

When the South African nation went into total lockdown at midnight on 26 March 2020, no one could remain in any zone of life as we knew it. Everyone was unceremoniously evicted from what we were used to and almost overnight the entire world became a strange place. There came an abrupt end to all the things we took for granted. Going to the gym, the hairdresser, and the mall. Popping out for a takeaway meal or going to sit down at your favourite restaurant. Visiting friends and family, attending parties and funerals, even going to church, no more life as we knew it.

The impact on the church

The impact on the local church was felt in a number of ways. As already mentioned, there was the loss of communal worship and fellowship. There was the challenge of adapting to new and strange ways of “doing church”. Not everybody warmed up to receiving sermons via WhatsApp and the other social networks. Besides, not everybody could afford the cost of airtime and data. No more opportunity to take the Lord’s tithe to His own storehouse on Sundays. And how many would take the trouble to tithe in “strange new ways?”. The result – the income of the church was also impacted negatively.

A biblical lesson 

There is a story in the book of Jeremiah 29:4-7 about those who were carried into Babylonian exile. The exiles in Babylon were also overcome by all the elements of a crisis. They also hoped and prayed that the crisis would be over soon. That they will return home quickly. But God advised them differently. Take the longer view, they were told – “Work towards the peace and prosperity of the city where you are”. God gave them instructions to plant their own gardens and live from the produce thereof. To look to the future. The efforts of the present always have an impact on the future. Doing nothing is not an option. But what can be done? How can we built today to secure a sustainable future?

“The efforts of the present always have an impact on the future.”

Community involvement and socio-economic opportunities  

Pastors and congregations could consider broadening their impact on their surrounding communities by starting socio-economic programs that could create income generating and/or job creation opportunities. Such programs could include Child and Youth Care Centers and Foster Homes, drop-in centers for children, care and support of older persons in institutions and communities, care and support of persons with disabilities, gender-based violence/domestic violence support services and shelters, early childhood development centers, literacy programs, substance abuse institutions and community based programs, poverty alleviation and job creation.

To assist AFM Assemblies the AFM Welfare has extensive experience and tools to provide technical support with the initiating, developing, and providing of programs and projects (especially where funding is required from the Department of Social Development and other sources). The assistance would include guidance on the policy and legal framework, understanding the requirements and the registration process related to both as an NPO (Non-Profit Organization) and as a designated service. Consideration should also be given to partnering with existing NPO’s.

“I pray that God will provide creative insight and wisdom on how to apply what He has placed in our hands, to meet the demands we face today and in the future. “

Conclusion

When Moses stood in front of the Red Sea and the armies of Egypt was behind him, the Lord asked him “What do you have in your hand”. I pray that God will provide creative insight and wisdom on how to apply what He has placed in our hands, to meet the demands we face today and in the future.

THE CHURCH OF THE FUTURE
Dr. H.J. Weideman (General Secretary of the AFM of SA) – [email protected]  

As church buildings and in-person meetings start to re-open, it becomes increasingly apparent that we are entering a new reality and that there are many things in our everyday lives that are changing, and most probably would never be the same again. This includes the way we think about and have church in the future. Observing the realities in our church country wide, reading what others around the world are saying and after thinking and praying about this, I have a few remarks.

“It is necessary to press the reset button on many aspects of being and having church.”

It is necessary to press the reset button on many aspects of being and having church. Many assemblies were not able to meet at all during this time. For some, having the church building closed caused the assembly to practically stop functioning. Members did not receive any Spiritual input, and some had no contact with their Pastor or spiritual leaders at all. For many of these assemblies their only source of income was through the offerings that their members physically brought to the meetings and because of the lockdown that stopped.

Although in-person services were closed, some were able to meet online, making use of sermons and songs recorded in the homes of pastors and singers. Some assemblies also used platforms such as Zoom, Facebook and WhatsApp to be in touch with and communicate to their members.

Most Pastors and many members are eager to restart their normal way of having church, but there are a few things we need to think about and a few questions we need to answer for ourselves considering the future:

What are the important elements of in-person meetings?

During the first few weeks of the lockdown, assemblies facilitating online church services experienced an increase in attendance. Some reached more people in comparison to the number of people usually attending their in-person services. After about eight weeks many of these churches reported a plateau or even a decline in online attendance.

This corresponds with surveys in the USA where almost half of all churchgoers, after two months of lockdown, did not attend any online church.  Digital presence for the church is here to stay, but many people want to go back to an in-person experience in a place of worship and we need to ask ourselves why?  What do people get out of an in-person service that they cannot get online? We need to identify those elements and make sure that we strengthen them. In my opinion some of those elements are corporate singing, worshiping and praying together, as well as spending time in fellowship before or after services.

How can people be reached and ministered to, outside of in-person meetings? 

Crossing the digital divide:
Many assemblies will have to cross the bridge to digital technology, social media and online presence, to effectively reach their members and to sustainably grow their congregations in the future. The church will prevail, but not every assembly will prevail. I do not fully agree with the notion that churches will become digital organisations with physical expressions. However, I am convinced that pastors and assemblies should take cognisance of and utilise the massive opportunity that digital presence presents to the church – to reach people everywhere. Social media and online platforms create the opportunity to show up in the lives of people every day, not just on Sundays. This opportunity will continue to grow and should become a way of entering the church and not a last refuge for people leaving the church, as it was in the recent past.

Social media and online platforms create the opportunity to show up in the lives of people every day, not just on Sundays.”

The future church that really cares about people, especially young people, will care about a digital presence. It is important to know that you do not have to be a big church or have a big budget to have an impact online. You only need to be willing to embrace technology and experiment with the available options.

On demand availability: For those assemblies who already developed a digital presence before or during the lockdown, an important opportunity will be to continue and enhance this service. Many churches presented their Sunday service and mid-week meetings as live events, assuming that people who want to access it, will do so exactly when it happens.

The most successful digital platforms around are providing their product “on demand” and churches can learn from this. Consider making every in-person Sunday service available in a way that can be accessed by members and “visitors” when it suits them.  Furthermore, many pastors and assemblies have years of sermons, sermon series and teachings on MP4 or YouTube videos and should consider making those available on demand.

Home based spiritual formation: It is exciting to see that some assemblies are beginning to focus on everyday ministry, and not just on Sunday ministry. Building on the “on demand” availability of sermons, teachings and Bible studies, other services such as new member orientation, spiritual growth- and marriage enrichment courses can be made fully or partially available online.

This can enable individuals to access the material in their own time at home, and only attend the final session/s in-person at the church facility. It will also go a long way in assisting people to assume responsibility for their own spiritual growth, personal discipleship and evangelism.

What are the key elements and principles of being church?

Over the last few decades churches have become institutions with entrenched cultures and fixed ways of doing things. Many assemblies have developed an array of departments, ministries and fields of interest. Some have diversified to such an extent, that it is sometimes difficult to readily point out what their core business actually is.

The pandemic has brought us the opportunity, maybe even the necessity to go back to zero-based thinking: Imagining ourselves and our assemblies back at the point before any particular decisions on ministries, departments, assembly culture and -operations were made and to now, in the light of the current circumstances and information available to us, make them again freely.

Being church is about more than what happens within the four walls of church buildings. Homes, neighborhoods and communities are part of our ministry field.”

Being church is about more than what happens within the four walls of church buildings. Homes, neighborhoods and communities are part of our ministry field. One important observation in this regard is to ensure that whilst methods and models will have to change, the mission of an assembly never does.

On what should assemblies really be spending money?

Literally overnight the way meetings are conducted became virtual. Indications are that this will become part of the “new normal” and that many staff meetings and even Governing Body meetings of structures on assembly, regional and national level can be done in this way in the future. This can lead to substantial budgetary savings, while assemblies should consider repurposing some of their budget on equipping themselves better for digital engagement and -ministry.

Another implication of this is that staff members who have the means, can work virtually. It is a trend that will probably continue in many companies and that assemblies and church staff members can also benefit from.  The key issues will be productivity and their availability to give full attention to and focus on their job, even when working from home.

Considering wat is really key to being church and what can be considered “nice to haves” is probably one of the important exercises that assemblies will have to do, especially in light of the income of most assemblies being under pressure.

Sources: “Disruptive church trends every church leader should watch.”  – Carey Nieuwhof & “How COVID-19 Is Shaping the Future of the Church.” – Carey Nieuwhof & “Moving Forward: Future Church Trends.” -Anthony Hilder & “Five early findings from churches that are regathering.” -Thom Rainer.

CONCLUSION

As we are passing through different stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to be aware that the re-opening of church buildings and in-person meetings will most probably not have people flocking to the church, at least not yet. Surveys around the world shows that people have different opinions about when they would feel “safe’’ to gather again. It seems that around 30% of respondents will only return when they can be mask-free at church and 15% said they would only return when there is evidence of low cases, businesses are open, restrictions are lifted, and a vaccine is available. Around 8% said that the opening of restaurants for sit-down customers will be a guideline for them.

As church leaders we should not allow these indications to be emotional let-downs and we should not treat people who are cautious to attend, as though they are not people of faith. One thing is sure: We are entering a new reality and many people, even some leaders, are struggling more deeply than we realise, with the absence of what most people perceived as “normal”.

We need to talk about these things to our family, friends and colleagues.  We need to pray and think about it and prepare ourselves for a longer period of disruption than we thought.

Past. M.G. Mahlobo