We are facing the reality of the worldwide Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic. It is certainly unprecedented during the lifetime of most of us, and people are asking: “What should we do? How should we handle this? It is not a time to be reactionary, to panic or to create panic. It is also not a time to be in denial and to say nothing. It is a time to show leadership.
As we read the reports of the spread of this pandemic, as we see the pictures and hear people in different countries sharing their experiences, we all experience the human emotions brought about by times of crisis. We are all thinking of our health and that of our loved ones and our members. But we should not be the ones’ who react with fear or selfishness. We should lead our people in the spirit of compassion and sacrifice, remembering that the One we are following, sacrificed His life for us.
We need to acknowledge the fact that depending on how the situation develops, assemblies might have to make certain choices: Like for example to stop handshaking, kissing and hugging in church for a while. We might even have to choose whether or not to suspend some meetings. Whatever happens, we should not shy away from leading and we should be sure to point out that this too will pass. There is Hope and we have Faith in Jesus.
For us as believers this is a time to exercise faith. We are people with a perspective on life that says: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.“ (Ps.23:4 NIV). We proclaim that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim.1:7 NLT)
We are the people who believe that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 37-38 NIV)
People of faith pray and believe that God hears and answers. We should be praying for hope and healing for those who are suffering or overwhelmed with fear. We should pray for strength and guidance for all medical staff and political leaders. We should pray for wisdom, protection and healing.
The South African Council of Churches meeting on the Coronavirus outbreak has been brought forward to 19 March 2020. We will keep you posted on the outcome of this meeting.
It is a time to act with wisdom. World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of infection. It focuses mainly on improved personal hygiene and promotes habits like washing our hands regularly, not to touch our faces, to clean cell phones and work surfaces with disinfectant. To practise social distancing where possible and to strengthen our immune systems.
We should also guide our people to exercise prudence and not to (over)react to everything that is posted on Social media and especially not to re-send it without first establishing that it is really from a reliable source.
May the grace of God, the Love of Jesus and the communion of the Holy Spirit, rest, rule and abide with you – now and forevermore.
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.
SACC Statement on the Coronavirus in South Africa
March 6, 2020
Issued by the office of the SACC General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana.
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) calls for calm, and for society not to panic over the current single confirmed case of the coronavirus (a.k.a COVID-19) in South Africa, that was announced yesterday by the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Although there has only been one person testing positive so far, we have to be realistic and accept that this being a global phenomenon, it may come to our shores in dribs and drabs. In the main, it has affected people that travel the world, therefore mainly the middle classes, who are more likely to contain it more readily because of their better access to health systems.
Our concern as churches is more about what will happen when it spreads to poor communities in the townships and rural areas, where water and sanitation remain a big problem. In these communities a cough and a fever is common place because of the fragility of life, and it may be late by the time people come to realise that they have the effects of coronavirus.
In this regard the SACC is convening an emergency consultation of leaders of churches on the 31 March 2020, to consider how best to use the wall-to-wall church infrastructure we have, for public education and liaison with the health system. The consultation meeting will also consider to what extent some of the worship practices may need to be reviewed in the light of the possible virus spread. For this we shall have the benefit of experts and officials from the Department of Health.
We appeal to society to approach this concern with calm and vigilance.
For resources and more info on #Coronavirus #COVID-19:
• CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK 24-HOUR HOTLINE NUMBER: 08 000 29999
• Department of Health: http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/outbreaks/145-corona-virus-outbreak/465-corona-virus-outbreak
• National Institute for Communicable Diseases ‘Top tips for preventing the coronavirus’: http://www.nicd.ac.za/top-tips-for-preventing-the-coronavirus/
Ms Moagisi Sibanda
Director: Communications and Programmes,
South African Council of Churches
Tel: 082 295 1581 | Email: [email protected]
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) is an ecumenical association of affiliated Christian Churches, and blocks of churches such as The Evangelical Alliance and the Council of African Independent Churches, with a mandate to lead common Christian action that works for moral witness in South Africa. SACC does not exist for the propagation and the advancement of its doctrinal position, but is the place where our diverse interpretations of our faith come together in action for social justice. It therefore seeks to achieve a visible, just socio-economic and ecological impact, enabled through engaged churches-in-community for a reconciled South Africa and our sub-continent.
VACANCY: Social Worker Position
The Executive Welfare Council of the AFM of SA uMephi, provides care and protection for vulnerable and traumatised children in Child and Youth Care Centres. The organization presently has a vacancy in the Sedibeng area (Meyerton/ Vereeninging/ Vanderbijlpark).
Responsibilities will include:
– Therapy and behavior management for 30+ children in Child & Youth Care Centres.
– Support to Child & Youth Care Workers.
– Participate in local and district CYCC Forums and be part of CYCC Committees and Social Work Management Team.
Please forward CV’s to:
Lize Swart: [email protected]
Tel: 012 753 7940
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
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The AFM of SA like many churches and religious groups was approached by the Family Policy Foundation to take a stand against the proposed inclusion of Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) as part of the Life Orientation curriculum for the 2020 school year.
The AFM leadership wrote to the Minister of Basic Education on 2 August 2019, seeking confirmation and clarity on this matter. The Minister’s Office acknowledged receipt of the AFM’s correspondence. Unfortunately, the Minister did not come back to us.
Some of the national Newspapers this past Sunday, carried articles to the effect that the final decision to include CSE in the 2020 school year curriculum has been taken. Apparently, the Newspapers received this information through a leaked document. According to the leaked document the introduction of CSE seeks to expose children at an early age (e.g. Grade 4 learners) to sex education, which is something unacceptable at such a tender age.
The themes that are addressed in this document amongst others are masturbation, vaginal, oral and anal sex, sexual orientation, trans genderism and illustrations about the use of female condoms. It, further purports to teach children about biological and gender identity. It is alleged that it includes group discussions by learners in which learners will discuss their private parts and be taught to say no in a context where the other learner will insist on having sex. In this context it is thought that the learner who says “no” will be encouraged to remain in a positive relationship with the persistent partner.
The serious concerns of the AFM of SA centers around the following issues:
• The insensitive way in which this document deals with the sensitive issues of sexuality is un-African. The interlocuters of this Government are not the people who elected them into power, but the international world and organizations it wants to please. It fails to appreciate the fact that it has been elected by the South African citizens but behaves as if it has been put into power by Western Countries and the United Nations. When it suits its political agenda, it proclaims its allegiance to African identity but when it comes to matters of sexual ethics it disregards African cultural practices and ethos.
• It is the AFM’s leadership view that this subject, unlike other academic subjects, such as languages, mathematics and science, contains value issues that require parents’ inputs and is therefore within the domain of and prerogatives of parents.
• In the absence of a response from the Department of Basic Education, we are not sure if School Governing Bodies were consulted on this issue. If our assertion in this regard is correct, this would be a serious omission on the part of the Basic Education Department. School Governing Bodies are one of the critical platforms through which parents would have expressed their views on this matter.
• In the absence of the response from the Department of Basic Education we are also not certain if all organizations representing Educators (Teachers) were consulted and allowed to make their inputs.
• If the above structures were not consulted and allowed to give their inputs, the question that begs an answer is “Why not?” “Kungani?” “Hoekom?” “Ndi ngani?” “Hi mhakamuni?” “Hobaneng?”
Our view is that parents have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and education of their children, including their sexual education.
We reject the unilateral action of the Department of Basic Education and as such we would like to register our objection to their proposed plan.
As your leaders we will appreciate your further input in this regard.
Release Date: 1 November 2019
Past. M.G. Mahlobo (President of the AFM of SA)