Winter School 2018
JUSTICE, RECONCILIATION AND UNITY:
REDISCOVERING THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
Dion Forster wrote on Instagram
“The @stellenboschuni #WinterSchool
in the Faculty of Theology has kicked off this morning with attendants from a wide variety of Churches, Faith Based Organizations, and Academic Institutions. We are focusing on ‘Justice, Reconciliation and Unity: Rediscovering the Power of the Gospel’. This is always a highlight on the Faculty Calendar!”
More than 200 delegates attended the event this year.
The theme was explained in the Program:
“The focus of the winter school will be on rediscovering the power of the gospel concerning justice, reconciliation and unity with specific reference to the South African context. Especially the three keynote addresses will underscore the inter relatedness of these themes as well as the sacrifices and radical action needed from societal structures, institutions and individuals to create a society that embody these ideals.
The three focal areas of reconciliation, justice and unity are not only key values of the gospel but also vital issues in our South African society. A renewed and deepened process of reconciliation is the only remedy for the still rampant racism we experience; a deeper understanding of justice will help us to tackle the issues of inequality and poverty.”
Every morning started with a devotion session led by ministers from different faith communities:
Day 1 (5 June) Stephen Pedro, Minister in Synodical Service for Witness, from the Uniting Reformed Church in South Africa (URCSA), led the devotion session by building it around a song “Christ be Our Light”. He said that the theme of this winter school was deliberate: Justice, reconciliation and unity “… because there cannot be true peace if justice is absent.” His scripture reading was from Ephesians 4:1-4.
On 6 June Anriëtte de Ridder, Minister in Synodical Service for Youth and Family Ministry, from the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) talked about Stories of Togetherness, using smells triggering things one remember, and sharing it. She used the story in Luke 5 about Jesus eating with Levi. She concluded: “….it is in the making of the fire, together; the cooking of the food, together; the eating of the meal, together; the laughing together; the differing in opinion, together; the sharing of experiences, that unity is born, relationships are restored, and justice is re-imagined. It is then that unity, justice and reconciliation happens in the heart, rather than in the mind.”
On 7 June Stephen Snyman, pastor in the Calvyn Protestant Church, led the delegates in praise and worship with his guitar and singing, and then talked about Zacchaeus in the tree. He concluded: “South Africans stands to lose such a lot. But we are also on the brink of gaining such a lot. May God help us to revive the spirit of Ububtu that has been captured, because reconciliation wants us to be real… reconciliation must be re-covered … re-embraced, so that we can live fully in South Africa – for God’s glory.”
Every day a plenary session with a keynote speaker on the main theme of the Winter School took place:
5 June: On Justice: Eleanor du Plooy, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
6 June: On Reconciliation: Wilhelm Verwoerd, Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology
7 June: On Unity: Reggie Nel, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University
After the keynote session, the programme broke into the morning parallel sessions with the following broad themes (delegates could choose one theme presented over 3 days):
P1: Biblical perspectives on Justice, Reconciliation and Unity
P2: Restitution, Reconciliation and Unity
P3: Justice and Decolonisation
P4: A generation seeking Justice
After lunch, the programme again broke into afternoon parallel sessions – delegates could choose one session on Tuesday and one session on Wednesday.
Jan van Zyl, minister DRC Moedergemeente Stellenbosch wrote beforehand about the RECONCILIATION LUNCH
in the programme:
The Reconciliation Lunch has been held in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch for the past five years. Currently it is held at the Legacy Centre in Kayamandi every second Wednesday. From thirty to fifty people gather around the table at these lunches, and every person is served bread, a warm meal, salads, fruit and cold drinks. It is a table that brings people together from all different walks of life to share hearts, to learn and to grow together.
The Reconciliation Lunch creates a space where hearts connect and strangers become family.
While we eat, we share stories from our own lives about a particular topic, chosen by the facilitator who mediates the conversation for that day.This year 20 participants of the Winter School had the opportunity to join the Reconciliation Lunch on Wednesday 6 June.
have put some of his reflections on the Winter School
in writing. He writes: “Obviously, my experience includes only the parallel sessions that I attended. I send it to you in the event that Faculty may wish to publish something…” Click here tor read his well-written reflections: Bailie WakeUpYoureSleepyChristians FOR SUFT
You will find a number of videos on our YouTube channel – please click on the links provided.
Summary and closing comments
by Dr Sipho Mahokoto
from the Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, SU: https://youtu.be/_54TkCPvV7M