Amatola Presbytery – 19-21 April 2013
Revs C Judelsohn and M Magagane
Tuesday 19th of Feb:
14h00-16h30: We met with a number of Ministers from the Presbytery to:
1) Discuss the work of the M&D committee
2) Share our vision as well as offer resources
3) Hear of the challenges they face in their congregations with regards growth and ministry.
4) Show them the website, which was followed by a time of questions and answers.
(We joined the Moderator, the Rt Rev Botsis, on his tour of the Presbytery for this day:)
08h00 – 11h00: We visited St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Westbank. This is the Mother Church of East London, now 135 years old. We met with Alfie Morman, CDE at St Andrew’s, who shared with us some of the out reach ministries the congregation is involved in.
11h30-13h30: We visited Cambridge Presbyterian Church where we were shown their school, Kingsway. They have applied to be a prep school from 2014 (currently they are a nursery school). We were shown a presentation on the life and work of the congregation where, amongst other things, we were told that the pillars of the ministry at Cambridge are: worship, prayer, family, young people and spiritual gift development.
- Vuga hamba School in Mdantsane which caters for 168 physically challenged children, aged 6 -18 years. They are providing occupational therapy for the children.
- Noncedo School where the congregation takes care of the maintenance needs of the school, provides some food and has provided 2 classrooms for the school.
- Breath of Life, which is a home for abandoned babies
- Support for the ministry of St Andrew’s, Westbank, by providing clothes and food and financial support.
15h00 – 16h30: We joined the Moderator in a tea that Stirling hosted for the retired Ministers in the Presbytery. It was a privilege to meet up again with men and women we had not seen for some time.
19h00-21h00: We met with a number of elders from various congregations in East London and shared with them the work of the committee using the website. We then participated in a question and answer time with the Moderator.
Thursday 21st Feb
We met with the Interim Moderator of St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Quigney, the Rev Terry Scholes, to discuss the challenges facing this small and elderly congregation, as well as the opportunities for growth and new life.
Points of importance:
- We were very pleased to hear and witness the fact that reconciliation has begun in the Presbytery and that many are now working together to build bridges in the Presbytery between: Ministers and Elders, Ministers and Ministers, and congregations and congregations.
- When meeting with the Ministers on the Tuesday afternoon, a few points were raised that we said we would share with the committee:
- There was a request for the word ‘missional’, which is used in the mission statement of the UPCSA, to be properly defined so that it could be understood and enacted in the life of congregations.
- Following from this, there was a suggestion that our committee should consider giving the UPCSA some direction on how to implement the mission priority of “supporting the development of missional congregations’, by not only defining ‘missional’, but also ‘support’.
- A concern that congregations are too individualistic, i.e. they are only concerned about their own ministry and not willing or able to share and connect with other congregations in the Presbytery. What could be done to address this?
- We were also asked to express the thanks of the Ministers of the Amatola Presbytery to the M&D committee for our work. They encouraged us in our vision.
- One of the highlights of the consultation was the visit to St Andrew’s. They are a small, old and poor community, but Alfie has done a wonderful job in building a ministry to the broken in the Westbank. They support a VEC centre run by Living Waters, in partnership with the SAPS, which offers assistance to victims of abuse and violence, as well as to teen pregnancies and abandoned children. They run a ‘soup’ kitchen and provide food parcels and clothes for the VEC centre and also support the Seafarers Institute, which Alfie also serves in. They do not have much, but what they do have, they offer to care for others.
- Finally, we would like to extend a thank you to the Rev Chris Moore and Stirling Presbyterian Church for his and their kindness and generosity. We would like to ask if the committee could write a letter to the Session of St