Archdeacon Zweli Tom opened the meeting with a word from Jeremiah 1: 6-10, and vs 18, extending his thoughts on this passage from last month.
Vs 10 is the mission that God gave Jeremiah. This was the emphasis of Zweli’s sharing last month. Vs 18 is the action that God calls us to. Is this strategy that God gave Jeremiah applicable in our times? In his opinion it is! In 2013 we developed a declaration entitled the Theology of Engagement. He quoted from various statements in that declaration, including “Engaging with the local authority”. Are we going to leave this merely as words on paper, but not actioning it, like with so many other similar declarations by the church over the years? What are we preaching to the people in our churches? Do we resort to select only the soft option?
The Task Team appointed to meet with Gary Koekemoer and deal with how we should give practical expression to our 4 agreed priorities suggested that we tackle one priority at a time over the next 4 breakfasts. Our conversation this morning therefore is on Education and how the Church can make a tangible differences.
A number of people, involved in education that could add value to our conversation, were invited to address the meeting, namely:
Bruce Damons, Sapphire Primary School, Bethelsdorp.
Bruce shared a few thoughts about how we can combat some of the challenges that face our schools. There is a loss of morale amongst the teaching fraternity. The challenge is for “Township” schools where 90% of our children are and virtually all of them are black. Jeremiah 29:11, but do not stop there, vs 12 & 13 are our requirement, and vs 14 is the consequence. The situation is urgent. What will the history books say within this generation? We must take advantage of the situations around us, e.g. unemployment is an unintended blessing, without which he would never have had 47 volunteers who work harder and longer than his paid staff. Our strategy must recognise the vast differences that exist between a poor township school and a former Model C school. His examples of what has been accomplished at Sapphire were inspiring. WE need to do what the individual schools want, not what we would like to do.
Alfie Blum. J.A. Ncaca Primary School, Cradock.
Alfie greeted us in the three languages that he uses to address his assembly. Through the medium of a slide show he introduced himself, his family and his background. On 21 July 2012 his life changed drastically because of a vehicle accident. His wife said while he was recovering that God was calling him to something else. Thus he became principal of the local township school. The school has grown significantly since he started. He has invented a new language a mixture of Afrikaans, English and Xhosa. An inspiring story about one man’s dedication to making a difference in a poor community school.
Trevor adjusted the programme because of time. He told us briefly of what is taking place around the various projects, appealing to the church leaders in the city to get involved as leaders of the city not just their churches. He made reference to the document that was tabled, setting out the training that is planned for the SGB’s. The following speakers were given reduced time.
Mrs Nomvuyo Mbiko SGBAssociation.
She reminded us that the National Association of Governing Bodies appealed to the churches to intervene in the election process and training of SGB’s and parents. She thanked us for the cooperation she has received up to now.
Prof Deon Pretorius, NMBCCC Social Compact.
Needs to try to reduce 8 pages of notes to one page. The emphasis is not on the Social Compact, but rather on how it can be used to motivate actions designed to change the lives of our communities. On the one had we have massively over resourced government versus civil society. Whilst we have a gradual realisation that civil society needs to become more involved, it is still under resourced. We need to start with alliances to build sufficient strength to engage with authorities.
Pastor Afrika Mhlophe addressed the meeting on the planned August 2015 evangelism campaign that is taking place with the assistance of Africa Enterprise.
Ds Danie Mouton closed the meeting in prayer at 10:45.