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Let us be the beacon of hope for South Africa. Whatever happens, we remain people of Hope. We have Hope and we have Faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. 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. This too shall pass.
1. URGENT COMMUNICATION TO OUR PASTORS: THE CHURCHES’ INTERVENTION ON THE IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) reached out to National Church Leaders with a proposed SACC Coronavirus Pastoral Plan. This plan seeks to address the adverse impact of the Coronavirus on some of our local communities. The four critical pillars of this plan are: (i) Relief, (ii) Awareness, (iii) Care and (iv) Support (including Advocacy).
The plan is to create Local Ecumenical Networks (LEAN) which will comprise of a minimum of ten (10) pastors from different denominations or ministries within local communities. These LEAN networks must create Whatsapp groups that include all households in their locality for purposes of communication. If these Whatsapp groups wish to be linked to the SACC Whatsapp, they will be free to do so.
Currently there are two (2) issues that require urgent attention.
These are the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Food Security.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
At this point in time there is a lack of PPE, especially for health workers. These are the frontline “foot soldiers” in the fight against Coronavirus spread. Their protection against infection must not be compromised. We have requested Government to do everything in its power to ensure the supply of PPE.
Food security needs urgent attention. It is estimated that over 200 000 households in South Africa will need food by next week (from Monday, 13 April 2020). This number may increase to 300 000 families if the lockdown is not lifted by Thursday, 16 April 2020. The SACC held meetings with Government regarding this matter. Government is prepared to intervene through the Solidarity Fund that it has created.
Three (3) things are required from churches. The first one is the capacity to identify households that are in need of food. The second is the willingness on the part of churches to do the distribution to the families in need. The third is to ensure collaboration with community-based organizations.
I have requested NLF members to get a response from their constituencies on their willingness to participate in the creation of LEAN for purposes of alleviating food security challenges. They will be in touch with you in due course. In your response indicate if you already have a structure with systems in place to do this. It would be appreciated if you can also indicate availability of church facilities for the purposes of scanning and isolation of infected people in the church’s neighborhood. If need be, we may also require that church facilities be used for food storage.
The leadership of the SACC has been requested to engage Government on the possibility of using vouchers instead of food parcels. Such vouchers must be acceptable to all outlets including tuck shops and spaza shops.
Additional information can be obtained from the SACC Pastoral Plan which is available here:
2. GOOD FRIDAY MESSAGE
I pre-recorded a message for 2020 Good Friday. This message can be accessed through the AFM Facebook page and will be available on Friday morning.
Apart from the bi-weekly Pastoral Newsflash, it is important to stay connected with the church. In this regard I encourage you to Like our AFM Facebook page and AFM Website during this time to receive information that is shared on weekly basis as need arises:
Here is more information on how to stay connected to Pastoral Communication:
3. AFM NATIONAL OFFICE
The AFM National Office is closed during this lockdown period.
For normal enquiries the following staff can be contacted through email:
Sureta (Finances): firstname.lastname@example.org
Mpho Sethole (Data): email@example.com
Mpho Seleka (Pastors’ Calls & Assemblies): firstname.lastname@example.org
Jolande (Marriage Officers’ Applications/Appointments/Resolution 181):
For any emergency you are advised to call the following numbers:
- Mr. Desmond Alie (Office Manager): 079 864 3009
- Mr. France Madiba: 072 704 2347
- Dr. Henri Weideman (General Secretary): 083 282 8432
- Past. George Mahlobo (President): 083 229 8852
Financial stability & communication during the lockdown period.
Our directive is that local Pastors and their local Treasurers/Financial Administrators should find ways and make it possible for members to give tithing & offerings through electronic financial transactions (EFT). We encourage our pastors and our structures to explore innovative possibilities for continuous communication with our members, including but not limited to: Whatsapp, Facebook and other social media platforms, streaming of sermons and e-mail. We need to gather Spiritually and even electronically, though we cannot be together physically. Governing Body meetings can also be held through platforms such as skype, zoom, Whatsapp, Video Calls etc. We need to regularly communicate with one another to encourage and to share our Hope and Faith with each other (Hebrews 10:24-25).
AFM events beyond April 2020.
I would like to remind all AFM Pastors, Leaders and Members that all assembly gatherings, Children’s ministry classes and 2020 AFM Good Friday Conferences have been cancelled. The outstanding NOB Regional Visits, Regional Leaders-, Regional Treasurers-, Regional Secretaries/Administrators- and Administration of Justice Workshops, as well as MIL workshops are suspended, pending further updates.
If the spread of Covid-19 is not contained by the end of April 2020, all National Departments’ Conferences will have to be rescheduled or cancelled. The Church’s National Office Bearers will give a directive regarding church events beyond April 2020.
For a detailed communication of the impact of the national lockdown on AFM church activities, again refer to the following statement issued on 25 March 2020:
And to download the 2020 AFM National Calendar, kindly visit the following link:
4. PASTORAL LETTER: 1ST QUARTER
I want to encourage you to make sure that you have also received and read the Pastoral Letter of the first quarter. The articles contained in this issue will be of great value to you and your ministry. Two of the articles are written in a practical style to assist you and your assembly with tools and steps regarding:
- The Role of the Pastor in a Missional Church Context
- Implementing the One AFM Game Plan Driver: Community Involvement
Available online from: