Reimagining Healing and Transformation

30 October 2020

Reimagining Healing and Transformation

To: All Ministers and Methodist People

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) notes with deep sadness and concern the video recorded and released by Mr Rowan Rennie, a former Minister of the MCSA which has gone viral.
This video clip allegedly seeks to explain the purported reasons why Mr Rennie and a group of followers have left the MCSA. He gives a number of theological and biblical reasons for their
decision, as well as a claim that through the release thereof, to the general public, they sought to challenge the MCSA to return to what they claim to be the ‘original’ theological and biblical tenets
and beliefs.

It is important to note that it is not the MCSA’s practice to publicly comment on the resignations of Ministers. However, having received and accepted the resignation of Mr Rennie, we note with
deep disappointment the aspersive encouragement and invitation to other Methodists to join him. This is a wilful breaking of a covenant he had made both at acceptance as a Candidate for the
Ministry, his subsequent Ordination Vows and annual undertakings made over his two-decade long ministry in the MCSA. The breaking of these solemn and sacred vows is not viewed lightly.

The MCSA as part of the global Wesleyan family holds firmly to the belief, as taught by John Wesley our founding father, that there is no Holiness but Social Holiness and that “Methodism was
raised up to spread Scriptural Holiness throughout the land by the proclamation of the Evangelical Faith”.

This theological truth undergirds all of our beliefs in God, Salvation, our humanity and our relationship with all of creation. This notwithstanding, it is Wesleyan ethos to hold in tension
divergent views within the Wesleyan Movement and this includes issues of doctrine, theological views, social and political views even biblical interpretation and practice.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism said it best when speaking to those who opposed him: “Give me your hand. I do not mean, ‘Be of my opinion.’ You need not: I do not expect it or desire it.
Neither do I mean I will be of your opinion. I cannot. Keep your opinion; I mine; and that as steadily as ever. You need not endeavour to come over to me or bring me to you. Only give me your hand. We must act as each is fully persuaded in their own mind. Hold fast that which you believe is most acceptable to God, and I will do the same. Let all these smaller points stand aside. If your heart is as my heart, if you love God and all humankind, I ask no more. Simply, give me your hand. “

It is this, one of Methodism’s fundamental values, which we have held true through the ages on the many differences of opinion, decision-making and policy changes. Most recently the MCSA has been invited through the Presiding Bishop’s address; to continue to reimagine and re-envision how to be part of Africa and her communities’ transformation and healing.
“To re-imagine healing and transformation therefore calls upon us to look again at what it means for us to proclaim the Gospel for healing and transformation; it means we join the re-imagining tradition of the prophets and become an active part of God’s grace in the world.” PB Address 2020

Methodists were further called to join the movement of God’s long arc of justice; not the God of personal piety- divorced from the pain of the world, but instead the God who listens to the cries of the oppressed and acts to release them.

While it is true that the MCSA, like other denominations, has seen divergent views lead to breakaways and the formation of new churches, this no doubt brings pain to many hearts and indeed to God’s heart, as it opposes the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to heal and transform. We therefore grieve this split as a Methodist family, but commit to walk alongside the St Luke- Welkom Methodists as they journey towards healing.

We hereby urge and call upon all Ministers, Synods, Circuits, Societies and Mission Groups to:

  • Engage in open conversations to raise the theological issues we are not clear about or uncomfortable with, in ways that will lead to a deeper understanding of the Methodist way of life and ethos. Maligning and breaking away from the church will not create reformation, transformation or bring healing to us, our nations, our continent or the world.
  • Furthermore, an urgent call is made to all Ministers to assist our membership to understand our ethos, theology, practices as well as the processes of discernment and decision making within the MCSA to ensure that all Methodists understand how each one is able, under God’s guidance, to contribute in shaping and transforming the church

Our Vision remains that of a Christ Healed Africa for the Healing of Nations. Spreading Scriptural Holiness throughout the land remains relevant and fundamental today as always and we as Methodists are invited afresh, guided by God’s Mission, to re-imagine healing and transformation within the church and in God’s World.

Kind regards,

Rev Purity Malinga
Presiding Bishop

https://www.bmc.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Reimagining-Healing-and-Transformation-A-Pastoral-Letter-From-the-Presiding-Bishop-1.pdf 

MCSA’s Response to Gender Based Violence

23 June 2020

For Immediate Release

Grace and Peace to you!

We write to you in the midst of the Covid -19 pandemic which has begun to devour the lives of many in the Southern African region. This new pandemic has connected and is fuelling centuries old pandemics that tend to be ignored or taken lightly. Gender Based Violence and Femicide is one such pandemic! We are mournful and saddened that thousands of women and children’s lives have been lost to this pandemic, and each day new names are added to the list. South Africa continues to lead the world in this evil as the lives of young women, old women, pregnant women, three year old baby girls are cut short, their bodies raped, stabbed, burned, maimed by brutal so called men! Some of these perpetrators are said to be confirmed members of the MCSA! As a church, we have over the years sought to offer responses through resolutions, programmes and various activities. Our most recent Conference saw us participating in a March of Lament and resolving to deepen our participation in the eradication of this scourge.

The leadership of the church comprising of all Synods, Units, Organisation and Gender Activists met virtually in the last week and affirmed that Gender Based Violence was a societal evil that needed the collective action of all sectors of our nations including governments, NGO’s, churches, schools etc. They confirmed that as a Methodist Church we have a contribution to make in the fight against this scourge! They agreed on embarking on a number of short term and long term responses.

As a short term response to the GBV pandemic:
* The Presiding Bishop and the Bishops will lead an on-line Seven Week Campaign to be launched on Sunday 28th June 2020. During the seven weeks following the 28th June, all preaching and
teaching in all Methodist churches will focus on gender justice, prevention and combating Gender Based Violence. The themes, texts and Resource materials will be sent to all ministers
and they are free to use their own resources. (Contextual Bible Studies attached as a resource) The Bishops will present sermons and prayers to be shared throughout the Connexion.
* By availing Church Property boundary walls to be Walls of Lament and Protest, where people may pin written messages of protest, lament and awareness.
* That all MCSA church buildings; adhering to Covid-19 regulations, continue to offer safe spaces for Victims of GBV – offering support, counselling, accompanying, referral and any assistance
necessary.
* Organisations at Synod levels to create Conversations on-line on Thursday in Black.
* To utilise July as Men’s Month, where Gender Desks, Men’s Organisations and Local Churches will focus on the Boy child and young men and converse on the effects of toxic masculinities
and their contribution to Gender Based Violence. We are encouraged to connect ecumenically and partner with other organisations like Sonke Gender Justice on this initiative. Open Safe spaces for men to share on their pain and experiences.
* To utilise August as Women’s Month, where Gender Desks, Women’s Organisations and Local Churches will focus on capacity building and support for girls and young women as they
navigate patriarchal socialization that make them vulnerable to abuse and femicide. Collaboration with ecumenical and other Women’s Movements in this regard is encouraged.
* The Connexional Office to explore the creation of a Gender based Violence Hotline for support and counselling.

As long term responses, the meeting endorsed the Programme of the Justice and Service Desk that was presented and the initiatives of Synod Gender Desks, our Organisations and Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary that were presented were affirmed and celebrated. However, there was a realisation that some of these initiatives are not reaching all Societies or touching the lives of our people. Whilst in our pews we have, even amongst our leaders – lay and clergy, both victims and perpetrators of Gender based violence.

There is therefore a need for a long-term response to:
* Continue encouraging and supporting victims to speak up and not suffer alone.
* Training and retraining Methodist clergy on gender equality and justice.
* Taking seriously utterances, actions and attitudes that demean women and girls and act decisively against them.

All Synods and all Organisations were tasked to develop Plans or Strategies to prevent and combat Gender Based Violence, these will be consolidated into a single Strategic Plan for the MCSA, to be facilitated by the Justice and Service Desk of the Mission Unit and the Presiding Bishop’s office. This will be shared with the Connexion as soon as it is available.

This is a moment of crisis in the world, continent and particularly in the countries of our Connexion. It requires the participation of all of us especially the leaders of our local churches – clergy and laity, to be united in our efforts to fight this scourge of our time. No one is un-affected by this pandemic! It knows no race, class, ethnicity or age. It sneaks into the most respected homes and families!

We therefore, through this communique request that all Ministers ensure that all Methodist Societies join this Gospel Call and imperative to work towards the creation of a church and a society where all, especially children and women can feel loved, cared for and safe.

We look forward to hearing of and seeing our church united in action against Gender Based Violence!

Your Fellow Pilgrims on the journey!

Rev Purity Malinga – Presiding Bishop

Rev Michel Hansrod – General Secretary

https://www.bmc.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/GBV-Communique-to-all-Minister-25-June-2020.pdf 

MCSA’s Response to the Corona Virus

9 March 2020

For Immediate Release

In the wake of the first positive diagnosis of the Corona Virus in South Africa, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA), a body that meets in large numbers most days of every week, has to implement measures that will help us to curb the spread of this highly contagious virus.

We have noted the panic that seems to have South Africa and other countries in its grip and we call for calm as we, together, implement strategies that can help our communities.

We encourage all our ministers and members to educate themselves about the virus, how it spreads, the symptoms and how we help stop the spread.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that we each take the following simple measures seriously:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water especially after using the bathroom and before preparing and eating food.
  • Maintain social distancing- at least one metre between yourself and anyone who is sneezing and coughing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth because our hands touch many surfaces and they can pick up the virus
  • Practice respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and get rid of the tissue immediately. Sneezing and coughing into the crook of your arm is encouraged.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

As a church we propose the following:

  • Those preparing Communion should first wash their hands thoroughly with soap and running water and paper towels NOT in a communal dish and towel. They can then wear disposable gloves and masks so that if they have the virus, they do not spread it.
  • Anyone feeling unwell should excuse themselves from serving.
  • The ministers serving communion should also wash their hands with soap and running water or use alcohol based hand sanitizer before serving communion.
  • For those circuits who can afford it, it may be wise to use disposable single use cups for communion for each service. For those who cannot, it will be necessary to then have soapy, hot water with a disinfectant and a team to wash the communion cups thoroughly before they are reused in the next service.
  • We plead with those who may feel unwell or have cold or flu like symptoms to stay at home and seek medical treatment until they are feeling better before venturing into church services and other related church meetings
  • We ask that each society ensure regular and thorough cleaning of surfaces that people touch regularly, including such things as door handles, light switches etc.
  • May those who can afford to do so, make alcohol based hand-sanitisers available for congregants to sanitise their hands as they enter the church.
  • Ministers should practice caution when paying home visits to ill patients and when necessary resort instead to phone calls.
  • May we also do away with communal towels in our bathrooms and instead provide paper towels or hand dryers where possible.

We have no reason to believe, at this point, that services should be cancelled but we ask that we all play our part as proposed above, as well by keeping abreast with the latest findings. May we not be found among those who share fake news and spread unnecessary panic.

We continue to pray for a vaccine to end the deadly ravages of this virus and for healing for those who have already contracted it.

Lord in your mercy! Hear our prayers.

 Rev Purity Malinga

Presiding Bishop

https://www.bmc.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-MCSAs-Response-to-the-Corona-Virus-1.pdf 

Statement on Proposed Prayer Vigil for Mayor Gumede

6 August 2019
For Immediate Release

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa MCSA has noted, with dismay, the posters doing the rounds on social media calling for a night vigil on behalf of the EThekwini Mayor, Ms Zandile Gumede, and others shouting, “Hands off our mayor”. We are greatly disturbed by these posts and we categorically state that they were neither sanctioned by the Church nor express our view on the standoff.

We, as a church, will not be party to protecting or covering up any alleged illegal activities or corruption. We strongly condemn any acts of corruption regardless of the social, religious and political stature of the perpetrators.

We acknowledge that the eThekwini Mayor is one of our church members and we are aware of the sub judice nature of the investigations currently underway. These legal processes must be allowed to unfold and reach their natural conclusion without undue influence. Our role as a church is to accompany her pastorally as well as her family.
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa unequivocally distances itself from any planned night vigil. Our internal processes are underway to establish the originator/s of the posters

Released by the Communications Unit of the ( MCSA) on behalf of
Bishop Zipho Siwa, Presiding Bishop of the MCSA
For more information contact: Bongie on 078 131 5137

Statement of the SACC NEC on probity and Integrity

Statement of the SACC NEC on probity and Integrity
For Public office include legislatures

The National Executive Committee of the South African Council of Churches, and the leaders of SACC member churches, meeting in Johannesburg, from 18 – 19 March 2019, believe that holding public office is the highest honour given in trust, to any individual by the people of South Africa through elections as mandated by our Constitution.

We further believe that precisely because this is the highest honor given to any individual in trust, the highest levels of morality and integrity are expected of those who wish to serve in public office. Leadership, therefore, must be entered into with deep humility and honest introspection.

We are aware that the stature of our public institutions has taken a serious knock in the eyes of our people as a result of the many scandals that have rocked our young democracy including, Nkandla, State Capture and Bosasa. This is a clear sounding gong of the need for the electorate to apply gravity and wisdom in their scrutiny of candidates.

We affirm our belief in the principle of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the right to defend oneself in case of allegations made against one. It is our belief, though, that our standard for what is right should not only be founded on the standards of criminality, but must include morality and ethical behavior consistent with public trust. A mere appearance or perception of impropriety is a serious challenge to the trust that our people have in our public Institutions.

We note with concern that the candidate lists given to the IEC by political parties fall short of the ethical standard that must guide all of us. Some candidates named in these lists have been implicated in wrong doing in the public service; some are actually fingered by the courts of the land including the apex Constitutional Court, whilst others are facing serious allegations of sexual assault and acts of racism.

We therefore call upon all political parties:
1. To adopt a higher moral standard which transcends the standard of criminality, and invest in the future of our public institutions.
2. To scrutinize their lists closely so as to identify individuals in their lists who have any blotches on their conduct and remove them as an investment in the public good and a show of good faith.

We also call upon individuals
1. Of good will in all political parties to find their voice and speak up in their parties to advocate for high ethical standards of integrity.
2. Implicated in wrongdoing, to exercise serious introspection, and, guided by their conscience and personal sense of integrity, voluntarily withdraw from these lists.

Lastly, we call upon all South Africans to, as requested by the IEC, “scrutinise parties’ candidates and object if they spot anyone they deem to be unfit.”. We therefore urge everyone who will exercise their right to vote on 8 May, to not only respond to political rhetoric, but also scrutinise the character of the candidates by paying close attention to the names in the lists so as to vote in a manner that confirms their commitment to ethical leadership.

MCSA Press Release regarding Mehena & Sibanga recording

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa – Methodist Connexional Office

31 December 2018

Communique on Rev Dr Mehana and Raymond Sibanga’s Recording

The Office of the Presiding Bishop has become aware, through social media, of an unfortunate and distressing recording of a private conversation between Rev. Dr. Vukile Mehana and Mr Raymond Sibanga. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa would like to distance itself from the offensive and shocking utterances of our minister and state unequivocally that his views are in no way representative of the position of the church and its functional duties.

We note with dismay the blatant disrespect and portrayal of women who are characterised in a dismissive, humiliating and degrading caricature. The objectifying of the anatomy of women and its link to culture and religion is not only unacceptable but also equally distasteful.

We maintain that the opinions express are both offensive and highly intolerable particularly in our current climate in which women are de-humanised, abused and disrespected

This matter is receiving immediate and urgent attention and a full investigation is underway, the outcome of which will be communicated.

Released on behalf of the Office of the Presiding Bishop

Bishop Zipho Siwa

Contact: bongani@mco.org.za

0781315137

Click HERE to read official statement

Video on Social Media of alleged MCSA Staff member

1 June 2018

To all Members of the MCSA

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa would like to distance itself from a video doing the rounds on social media, in which a lady spewing racial slurs and obscenities is said to work for the Methodist Church.

We are still busy with our investigations but our preliminary inquiries have revealed that the woman in question is neither Methodist nor does she work for the MCSA

The MCSA does not condone the use of vulgar language or any slurs one against another, be they racial, ethnic or tribal.

The Communications Team

Click HERE to read official statement

OUR SOULS ARE NOT FOR SALE

“OUR SOULS ARE NOT FOR SALE”

Fellow South Africans, the actions of the Executive over the past 48 hours have had an immense effect on all of us. We, as fellow participants in civil society, civil service, NGO’s, business, and the youth of South Africa, do not condone these actions.

We acknowledge that:

‐ The time has come for all of us to unite behind the values enshrined in our Constitution

‐ That there is a duty on all of us to uphold and protect these values by holding our government accountable to their Constitutional mandate

We wish to dispel the myth that these irrational actions have and will contribute to our economy.

As a sign of our discontentment, we invite all disapproving South Africans to stand together behind the #BlackMonday movement. This coming Monday (3rd April 2017) we will all wear black in solidarity and use the tag to further the cause.

We can no longer be passive. Let us start the change we wish to see in our beloved country, and save the legacy that Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and liberation leaders fought for.

Bishops Comment on Cabinet Reshuffeling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 31 March 2017 The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) is outraged but not totally surprised by the decision to reshuffle the cabinet, as announced by President Zuma late Thursday night, the consequences of which are already rocking the economy. “The recent cabinet reshuffle has left a distasteful and gaping wound in […]