Winterskool 2017

Written by Wilma le Roux on . Posted in Conferences, Ekklesia, Konferensies

 Hervorming van die Kerk,

Samelewing

en Mense

 

Die Winterskool wat jaarliks deur die Fakulteit Teologie, Universiteit Stellenbosch, aangebied word, vind vanjaar van Dinsdag 13 Junie tot Donderdag 15 Junie plaas en handel oor die tema Hervorming van die Kerk, Samelewing en Mense.

In die lig van die 500-jarige viering van die Hervorming sal die Winterskool van 2017 kyk na die behoefte aan ‘n deurlopende hervorming van die kerk, samelewing en mense. Die fokus sal wees op wat ons van die Hervorming kan leer, maar ook op besprekings van hoe ons kan voortgaan om nuwe maniere te soek om kerk te wees in ‘n vinnig veranderende samelewing.

Die hoofsprekers is:

  • Dr Ishmael Noko, president van die Inter-geloofsaksie vir Vrede in Afrika,
  • Regter Steven Majiedt, regter van die Hooggeregshof van Appèl en
  • Dr Margaret Blackie, dosent aan die Departement Chemie en Polimeerwetenskap, Universiteit Stellenbosch.

Die hoofsessies sal aangevul word met ‘n wye reeks verwante parallelle sessies.

Let asseblief daarop dat, as gevolg van die ekumeniese aard van die konferensie, Engels die hooftaal van aanbieding sal wees.

Die Winterskool vind plaas by die Fakulteit Teologie, Dorpstraat 171, Stellenbosch.

Die koste beloop R350 vir die volle kursus.

Kliek hier vir die inskrywingsvorm:  WinterSchoolRegistrationForm2017

en hier vir die program:  WinterSchool 2017Winterskool

Die sluitingsdatum vir registrasie is Vrydag 2 Junie 2017.

Navrae:

Helette van der Westhuizen, tel: 021 808 9560; e-pos: hvdwest@sun.ac.za

Divine Robertson, tel: 021 808 2827; e-pos: dr@sun.ac.za

Wilma le Roux, tel: 021 808 3624; e-pos: wler@sun.ac.za

Marita Snyman, tel: 021 808 2538; e-pos: maritasnyman@sun.ac.za

Tuiste vir Almal?

Written by Wilma le Roux on . Posted in Conferences, Konferensies

WINTERSKOOL 2016

Die Fakulteit Teologie aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch, in samewerking met Communitas, Ekklesia  en die Beyers Naudé-Sentrum vir Publieke Teologie bied jaarliks ​​‘n Winterskool aan vir predikante en pastors van verskeie denominasies, studente en akademici van verskillende godsdienstige en teologiese instansies, en mense uit verskillende vlakke van die lewe.

Ons is in die beplanningsfase van die 2016 Winterskool met die tema:

‘n Tuiste vir Almal – Die toekoms van die Christendom en ons jeug in Afrika.

Dit vind plaas van 31 Mei – 2 Junie 2016.

Ons is baie bewus daarvan dat daar op hierdie oomblik verskillende groepe is wat nie tuis voel in Suid-Afrika of sekere dele van Suid-Afrika nie. Dis nie hoe dit behoort te wees nie. Ons glo dat Christene in Suid-Afrika kan help om ‘n tuiste vir almal te skep. Ons glo dat die Bybel vir ons riglyne gee om ons visie te bereik. Ons glo dat die ouer geslag gesukkel het om hierdie visie van ‘n tuiste vir ons te leef, maar dat die jonger geslag ons hiermee kan help. In 1976 het ons die Soweto-opstand gehad waar baie jong mense geveg het vir ‘n beter onderwysstelsel en ‘n beter Suid-Afrika vir almal. Veertig jaar later kan ons die volgende vrae vra: Is Suid-Afrika ‘n tuiste vir almal? Wat is die rol van die kerk om ‘n tuiste vir almal te skep? Sal die kerk ‘n tuiste wees vir ons kinders en kleinkinders?

Die Winterskool bestaan ​​uit drie hoofredes met hoofsprekers, asook oggend parallelle sessies oor vyf verskillende onderwerpe geskeduleer oor drie dae, en middag parallelle sessies.

Die hoofredes sal fokus op die volgende onderwerpe:

  • Dag een sal fokus op die rol van die Christendom in die toekoms van ons land en kontinent – met as spreker Ds Esmé Bowers, van die Golgota Sanctuary van die Volle Evangelie Kerk;
  • Dag twee sal fokus op hoe die jong mense ons kan help om ‘n “tuiste vir almal” te skep – aangebeid deur Me Lovelyn Nwadeyi, nagraadse student in Politieke Wetenskap aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch;
  • Op dag drie sal ons fokus op onderwys en ‘n toekoms vir ons jeug – Prof Brian O’Connell, voormalige rektor en visekanselier van die UWK sal hierdie onderwerp dek.

VISIE VAN WINTERSKOOL

  • Voortgesette Teologiese vorming van predikante en ander lidmate;
  • Versterking van die verhouding tussen die Fakulteit en verskillende kerke, en tussen die kerke onderling;
  • Bespreking van relevante teologiese en gemeentelike sake;
  • Om ‘n draer van hoop in SA wees.
PROGRAM EN REGISTRASIE

Die finale program en registrasievorm sal in April 2016 beskikbaar wees op die webtuistes van die Fakulteit en Communitas: www.sun.ac.za/theology  en www.communitas.co.za

NAVRAE

Helette van der Westhuizen (Tel: 021 808 9560, E-pos: hvdwest@sun.ac.za  of

Wilma le Roux (Tel: 021 808 3624, E-pos: wler@sun.ac.za

Theology in times of transition

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Conferences

What to expect from the conference

Pat Keifert, Dirkie Smit, Nico Koopman, Russel Botman and others have been approached to deliver keynote speeches – on what we have learnt from Coenie, where we differ from him and how we should furnish future discussions. As an ongoing conversation, the conference will be structured with optimal “open” spaces for general participation in the ongoing discourse.

This is why the conference celebrting his contribution will run like a continuous, inclusive discussion. The Internationl Research Consortium – of which Coenie was a founding member – meets in Stellenbosch in January 2012, with consortium members also attending the conference. These include Pat Keifert, Pat Taylor-Ellison and Stanley Green from the USA, Michael Herbst and Martin Reppenburgh from Germany, Henk de Roest and others from Holland – all of whom have been Coenie’s international partners over more than a decade.

Your contribution to the conference

We have devised the following overview to stimulate your ideas on a possible contribution to the conference. Coenie’s outputs cannot be encapsulated under a single theme or area. From starting as a rural minister he became the minister for students at Stellenbosch, and went on to occupy various offices in leadership positions in the church, including that of moderator of the Western Cape and the General Synod. He was also the director of Bucter, presently Ekklesia. He was an active force in the ecumenics of post-apartheid South Africa, pursued research, wrote, and perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, stimulated critical thought. The one typical feature is that his contribution belongs in a time during which our country was engaged in profound transformation. His work started in the late seventies, continued through the tempestuous eighties, the transformation processes of the nineties to reach the era of post-apartheid South Africa with the inauguration of the new democratic dispensation. Coenie’s theological reflection always occurred within the context of times of transition.

The list of topics on which Coenie has reflected is almost endless. He did his initial research on pastoral theology and his doctoral work in Homiletics. As a practical theologian he always had a keen interest in Systematic and Biblical Theology. Many South African pastors value him most for his extensive work in “Woord teen die Lig” (a series of preaching guides) and later, the Lectionary. In the middle of his career he started publishing in the field of congregational studies – always leaning toward a theological interpretation of congregations, even when sociological analyses were holding sway. Additionally he contributed in the fields of church planting, leadership, theological education, poverty, definitions of office, adult education, etc., always hovering on the cutting edge between church and academic reflection.

While Coenie’s interest in issues of transformation and renewal is legendary, he also did much research on re-interpreting the reformed tradition. As the confirmed church leader his unquenched passion for church unity has rendered him one of the most influential ecumenical leaders in South Africa. He is currently director of Ekklesia, an ecumenical centre for leadership development and research at Stellenbosch University.

Items from this list of themes and contexts might strike you as topics which you would like to pursue in further discussion with Coenie and friends. Kindly submit your topic together with your subscription, and prepare an introduction of 5 to 10 minutes to initiate a discussion.

Themes already submitted to us, include the following:

  • •An inclusive Missional reading of the Bible
  • •Church planting as a challenge within mainstream churches
  • •The Legacy of David Bosch
  • •Creating a culture of discernment in a congregation
  • •Leadership
  • •Ethnographic research
  • Theological Education and Ministerial Formation

We hope you will be able to attend the conference and invite you to submit topics on which you would like to contribute to the conference.

Kind regards

Frederick Marais

Manager – Communitas

13 December 2011

Lausanne 3 impressions

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Conferences

 

Jurgens Hendriks

The eight days at Lausanne 3 touched me intensely. It was a profound spiritual experience with a multitude of information and deep emotional fellowship. However, this will be a superficial answer. It was more.

Lausanne 3 epitomized a new era. We are in a ‘post’- time. In South Africa we are in a post-apartheid era. When the Berlin wall came down on 9-11-1989, it was more than just a wall that came down. Post 9/11 introduced Americans to the real world. It is also a post-triumphalism time. Super-hero’s, super-preachers and super-theologians who know it all are simply no longer for sale.

We were in a conference centre with 4200 people from 198 countries listening in 28 languages while 600 centres worldwide were simultaneously attending! One experiences the reality of the information era and globalization. Google Lausanne 3 and you will see! In the meantime Chinese hackers were trying to congest the bandwidth and the organizers had a hard time in getting it open again. The reality of a ‘post’ era was no longer a futuristic game… We were requested not to take photos of attendees with blue stickers on their name tags nor use their names in internet messages. Their lives were at stake.   

This new era is acutely influencing the church and theology. As a South African I first experienced it intuitively. The contrast between, for instance, Lausanne 3 and the 1982 DRC General Synod meeting came to my mind. Lausanne was constructed bottom-up, listening to many voices, with openness in my mind. The 1982 Synod was top down in communication style and trying to manipulate and keep in line. The contrast was even clearer by comparing it with how the stage was used at Lausanne – it reflected diversity.  Contrasting pictures came to my mind of a very confident preacher telling the silent subdued congregation what was sinful and what was not. The pulpit had an embroidered cloth… “Thus sayeth the Lord”. This was not the case at Lausanne – even when some tried the take that gap!

There were a few grey-heads who thought they knew it all. However, they were the exceptions and, on the positive side, they helped one to see the contrast. Many voices from many places shared, told stories; women and men. Nobody tried to manipulate the audience. The typical rational academic theology was largely overshadowed by the authenticity of those who shared from the heart and experience. The testimonies of the power of the Bible and Spirit to sustain the faithful in the most trying of circumstances gripped everybody every day. The perseverance of the saints was suddenly stories of real people. Tears were real too.  The injustice suffered by so many of our brothers and sisters is heartbreaking. Suddenly evangelism was portrayed not as a method but as a lifestyle in which the cross was clearly visible.

The way the conference was structured exemplified? the new era. For table discussion we were seated six diverse people to a table, 700 tables in total. Morning sessions were in the big conference centre with its astonishing technology. The first 1¾ hour was “Celebrating the Bible.” Ephesians was our text, divided into six themes that flowed from the text: truth, reconciliation, world faiths, priority, integrity and partnership. We dwelled in the Word, gave feedback of our table discussion and views, listened to testimonies and presentations, looked at video’s and performing art presentations. By 13h00 we reported back again. During the afternoon session one could attend one of four presentations / discussions related to the theme of the day, and that was followed, after tea, by small group dialogue sessions, regional gatherings or special interest group sessions. Music, song and prayer meetings were always available. The evening sessions were all labelled “God at work in the world through his church”, followed by a late night film session.

The fellowship we had at our table was to me the most precious of the meeting: Bethany was from Washington DC (with her baby) working for a justice mission. Philippa from London working for the Tearfund, Farri came from Iran. His family lost 17 members since the 1979 revolution. He is at the head of about  3500 growing house churches. Jack, from Jerusalem, converted Palestinian Muslim, pastoring a congregation of ex-Muslim Palestinians. Having been imprisoned by the Israelis seven times, he put violence aside after discovering the gospel. The third Arab was Fouad from Cairo, Egypt. Businessman, electronic engineer who learned to discern what want God wants him to do and is now involved in a wide range of Christian ministries. Six perspectives on Ephesians, six views on what was happening in the world and, for me, a learning experience about the Arab world and the Muslim religion.

The reality of the missio Dei was overwhelming. God is at work, in many places all over the world. It happens “bottom up”. We have listened to testimonies of the mighty deeds of the triune God taking place at the fringes of societies. Humility, integrity and simplicity are becoming the marks of a true church. I heard “mission” more often than “evangelism”. Honest introspection was done; there was brokenness over the disunity in the church, false motives and the prosperity cult. The economic and political systems and powers that lead to poverty, misery and injustice was a reality. The key role of women was acknowledged and the gender issue handled with integrity. Dogmatic fights were avoided. The time of missionaries going from the “developed” world to wherever is phasing out. Mission is from everywhere to everywhere. The church is no longer linked to buildings and institutions or theology to an academic world. The true church is moving across boundaries, it is where there is injustice and pain, where “the other” needs a neighbour. I think the cross is again becoming centre stage in many arenas around the world. It is a sign of pain and struggle, but it brings peace and is announced and discovered as being the gospel, good news!


 

Combining empirical and theological perspectives

Written by webmeester on . Posted in Conferences

Being surprised by God conference

The conference is to bring together different methodologies.

We hope for contributions that combine empirical and theological approaches/perspectives, but systematic and historical papers will be permissible. We also invite papers that explicitly look at bridging the disciplinary divide across the three areas.

POSSIBLE PERSPECTIVES:

  • From systematic theology/ecclesiology:
    • How do we interpret the local congregation in its empirical reality from a theological perspective?
    • What forms of ecclesiology and which methods facilitate an approach to 21st century ways of being church/congregations and ecclesial communities in this way?
  • From congregational studies/ethnography:
    • What do we seek to know about local congregations, what are the characteristics of local congregations as faith communities, in comparison with other groups?
    • What sort of developments/changes are going on?
    • What is the future of the local congregations as perceived by differing branches of congregational studies?
    • What is the relation between theology and empirical research?
  • From practical theology/congregational development:
    • How might we develop theologically appropriate and constructive models for congregational development?
    • How might this area be developed further as a scholarly field?

The three days are not driven by disciplinary groups (systematics, etc.) but rather by a few invited keynotes on themes and then various papers on the research projects people have to discuss. There will have to be ample time for conversation; informal discussions, networking and social interaction and we try to build in some cultural/historical/informal social activities that involve the main body of people in attendance.

TO PLUNGE … OR NOT TO PLUNGE:

Written by Frederick on . Posted in Conferences

Living the Missional Calling
SAPMC Missional Conference
Helderberg  2009-11-10

Missional Presence
More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.
–  Henri Nouwen

1. WHAT IS A PLUNGE?

At the outset, I want to make a few remarks about culture.  Culture refers to a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.
We all take part in, and are part of culture, and e.g. all churches are cultural institutions. They are governed by this shared sense of what it is all about.
It is often said that culture is like air to a human being, or water to a fish.  Fish are actually not aware that they are surrounded by water.  Water is just there, water is the way things are around here, it is accepted as an invisible part of life.  But take a fish out of water, place it in fresh air, bring it to other possibilities, and the cultural shock is very concretely and immediately there.
A plunge is to deliberately move from the context of your dominant culture to another culture.  It is like a human being plunging into water and moving around in water.  Suddenly everything changes.  Your weight change in the water, movement is different, you need to use your muscles differently, strengths on land, may become weaknesses in water, etc.
For churches to leave the safety of the religious culture they own, to leave their perceived moral high ground behind, to perhaps speak of the deepest experiences of their hearts in a different language, amongst people who do not see life in the same way, who do not value the same things we do, is very threatening.
Our culture is often blind to other possibilities, it is often a closed system where we cannot imagine other ways of being and doing, which make it very threatening for us to jump into the murky water of groups we do not feel comfortable with.

2. WHY PLUNGE?

2.1 To re-connect with our context and with God’s actions

In the Reformed tradition, as is the case with many mainline churches (old or more traditional churches), reality is defined for us by our theological convictions.  We fit our theology likes glasses or lenses to our eyes and we see what our lenses permit us to bring into focus.
We are being taught that God speaks to us only through the Word, and specifically the Word as it is preached to us by well trained theologians or pastors.  In their sermons they (we, us) keep our understanding of the world, with its many cultural groupings (that is groups with a particular way of life, not only ethnic groups) intact.
That disconnects it with the world in which Father, Son and Holy Spirit are active agents, bringing healing and restoration to.  We can re-connect with God’s actions by dwelling, plunging in our world.
It reminds me of the inner-city congregation in Port Elizabeth which started to distribute Bibles to people form other nationalities living in the downtown area. They were welcomed by these people, friendships grew, the outsiders started to attend church services.  A complicated set of circumstances and leadership challenges grew out of this initiative, with conflict amongst members too, but the congregation feels alive, in tune with God’s mission, and energised in a way you could not imagine a short while ago.

2.2 To grow in our teachability

Within our boundaries we have our ways of describing our world and our set ideas about what is going on.
Once we move beyond our boundaries, once we plunge, we experience I different reality.  Suddenly our ideas become problematic – we realise that we do not understand, that we need to be taught how to minister in realities that are vastly different from our presuppositions.
When God sends us to another group, we better learn out of personal experience about that group, we need to connect with them in spaces in which we are not in control of the situation, in order for us to learn.
We often learn what the Gospel is all about.  We may enter a culture thinking we know what the Gospel can offer people.  But as we see, learn, and grow we often grow in our own understanding of the Gospel and about God’s agenda in the world.

2.3 To become aware of our own invisible walls, which keep people out

Your own culture is like air, or like water to a fish, it is not visible to you.  The walls, habits, customs, values, and rituals created by your culture are not visible to you, but it is real, it is there, and it is keeping others out.
A few examples:
• The role of silence in the church – for us silence may be holy, for people with small kids, or youngsters, the silence may be threatening;
• Assumptions about proper dressing, proper language, proper greeting; etc.

2.4 To form new community (the Gospel of Plunging)

If being missional is about forming new community, and welcoming the people to whom you are sent into community, and it is, then plunging is the way to go.  The desire behind plunging is to be taken up into new community.
 
2.5 To form a bridge community that will be able to guide our ministry forward

We do not know how to minster to those to whom we are being sent.  Therefore we need to learn together with them how to minister to them, and how to receive ministry from them.  By plunging into communities the invaluable bridge communities are formed that guide us forward.

3. THE GOSPEL AND PLUNGING

3.1  The plot of the gospel

According to Luke 10 the peace of Jesus is extended by strangers entering a world, a city, a place, a house, where a harvest has been prepared in advance by the Father and the Holy Spirit. 
The plot of the Gospel is the Holy Community, the Holy Trinity, sending the Son as a stranger into the world to bring us into communion with God.  We partake in that mission when we are taken up into this ever expanding search of God to extend this communion.
To plunge is therefore at the heart of the Gospel.  When Jesus originally sent the first disciples into the world my forebears were living in Europe, far from God.  It was by plunging, and plunging, stretching over centuries, that new community was formed.
That dynamic repeats itself over and over as we take part in the dynamic crossing of boundaries wherever we are.

3.2 Taming the gospel?

We can tame the gospel by institutionalising it, by making it our way of caring for existing members.  It often happens in congregations.  We exchange the dynamic character of the gospel for the idol of mutual care for existing members.  Mutual, Christian care is part and parcel of the gospel.  But it is not the whole gospel.
The danger is that we may use the gospel to further the church’s institutional interests by changing it into a way of caring for one another.
It reminds me of our dog, a Belgian Shepherd, called Zoë.  She looks like a wolf – to some extend – but she is domesticated, tame.  We may domesticate the gospel, which turns the gospel into pseudo-good news to those fortunate enough to be included in or company.  By plunging we re-connect to the wild gospel, the gospel that never respects any border or boundary, but sweeps us into companionship with strangers, in order for us to meet God.
STORY:  ZOË, THE BELGIAN SHEPHERD

4. THE BIGGER PICTURE OF PLUNGING

As a way of taking up ministry, plunging is part of a way is understanding that is vastly different from the traditional way we do theology and practise ministry.
We are trained to work with a theory – application model.  You need to see the truth, you need to have a good theory about ministry, and then you apply it.  You have a vision of the “true”, ideal church, and then you do “true church” at ground level.
This type of approach goes back over centuries and is deeply rooted in Western thought.  It reminds me of the metaphor the Greek philosopher Plato, used in his Republic-dialogue, likening us to prisoners being chained in a cave.  Behind us people are carrying stuff around, and a big fire is burning in the mouth of the cave.  We see only shadows against the walls of the cave, and we take the shadows for reality.  We need to be released from our chains, we need to walk in the light to see the real truth, in order for us to apply truth, in this case in the governance of the city.
It is first about theoretical seeing, and then applying it.  This model is the death in the pot for missional ministry.  It is this model that isolates us from real, vibrating, pulsing life, and which isolates us from God in our midst.
Plunging is part of a model of doing ministry that we may call an emergent model.  In an emergent model, the rhythm is doing – reflecting – doing – reflecting.  It is dwelling in the world (plunging) and reflecting (dwelling in the Word).  It is about the Christian community seeking for God’s guidance by reflecting with the Word in one hand and the world (community) God is sending us to in the other hand, reflecting about our Christian identity and God’s preferred future for us.  And then to follow God into that unchartered future, while we keep on doing and reflecting.
In this model mistakes are important.  We need to give one another permission to take the risk of making mistakes.  By reflecting on our mistakes, we grow, and we learn.
Welcome to the dynamic, adventurous world of plunging!