WHO is TCN? It is an informal network of volunteers supporting and encouraging Church leaders in NM Bay. WHAT is its purpose? To link Christian Leaders in Business, Churches, Education, Government and Civil Society. WHY does it exist? We believe that the Church working together in terms of John 17: 21(as opposed to Mark 3: 25) will be more influential in NM Bay. What makes TCN “DIFFERENT” from the local Church? TCN focuses on initiatives affecting all communities and facilitates the Church speaking with a unified voice.

TCN volunteers account to the NM Bay Church Leadership Group on a voluntary basis. Our current focus is on the SACC document “The SA we Pray For” and it’s six focus areas of healing & reconciliation; restoration of the family, poverty and unemployment, inequality, economic transformation and anchoring our democracy.

The NM Bay’s Nehemiah Vision is the glue that holds us together. The vision focuses on rebuilding the municipal wards (walls of Jerusalem) one by one. (www.tcn.org.za)  It is a practical approach to facilitate effective evangelism, social cohesion, nation building and addressing the socio-economic needs of each ward in NM Bay. A major breakthrough took place this year when the Mayor, Metro Religious Unit and the local Executive of the SACC, endorsed and became joint owners of the vision. The vision was also favourably received by the Western Cape Ecumenical Network, GIBS Business School Network and the Port Elizabeth Anglican Synod.

We accept that we cannot delegate or outsource our prayers to others, but all projects in NM Bay are based on PRAYER and ACTION. To this end we have established an effective prayer network to support “EVERY” activity undertaken in the metro. Special areas of prayer are the safety and security cluster and evolving municipal ward prayer groups.

Meaningful progress has been made in the areas of “healing & reconciliation” and “the anchoring of our democracy”. To be sensitive to the demographics of our metro we held 50% of our monthly meetings where most of our congregants reside. In 2018 we will increase this to 80%. We are enjoying a demanding and exciting partnership with Heartlines which has included the screening of “Beyond the River” movie, several sponsored visits to Carmel Retreat Centre, training and promoting a “Story Telling Revolution” based on “What’s your Story”.

Our involvement in combatting racism has led us to developing a “Whites talking to Whites about Racism” series. This year we spent time finalizing the content and tested the presentation at church workshops, weekly radio programs, church and business breakfasts and business meetings. The W2W approach was endorsed at a recent South African Church Leadership Institute (SACLI) Anti-Racism Coalition Meeting where they requested that it be rolled out on a national basis.

The second area where a number of new initiatives took place was in “anchoring our democracy”. The Mayor and his leadership team have made a commitment to “Unashamedly Ethical” governance, the Nehemiah vision and welcomed an increased number of prayer warriors praying regularly at the municipal offices. Two senior church leaders have been mandated to meet privately with each political party with the objective of building relationships and exchanging views on the way forward. The leadership team has been very vocal in the press, on radio and social media, The Mayor accepted an invitation to utilize Unashamedly Ethical as the theme for the launching of his new metro religious unit and Ward Committee Faith Representatives. Character Transformation trained 35 schools this year and has been promised an allocation from the Moral Regeneration budget to train another 20 schools in 2018. CT utilizes a weekly radio program to reach a far wider audience. Worklife Ministries should receive a huge boost through the “Transformation of the Marketplace” conference lead by Rick Heeren from TOW, a global Christian Ministry, founded and led by Ed Silvoso, on the 12 December 2017.

TCN finished the year off on a high note, partnering with Ikhala Trust, in initiating the first civil society led “poverty and unemployment” workshop. People from business, education, Government, churches and the NGO sector were enthusiastic participants.

Trevor Jennings (08/12/2017)