December Newsletter 2020
Dear Fellow Workers
It may well be the case, over this advent season, that our entire world is looking forward to the same event. Of course, it is not the coming of Christ, but rather a vaccination against COVID19. Billions of people are hoping for this ‘cure’ so that life may return to normal again. Certainly, it is true that we are all longing for an end to this epidemic and hopefully it’s not too many months away, but at best, this is a temporary delay of our inevitable death. This Christmas let us be reminded once again that our only eternal hope in this ‘land of the shadow of death’ is the light of Christ. Only His death and resurrection secures our forgiveness, reconciliation and everlasting life. Let us commit again this Christmas season, by word and action, to point others to the true cure for death that is found only by faith in the saving work of Jesus.
COVID19 ‘Second Wave’
I’m sure we have all taken note of the tightened regulations over the Christmas season. All reports point to an alarming rise in the number of infections. Several of our church members and workers are testing positive. Some of the major hot spots are the Eastern Cape and Garden Route. Large public gatherings are particularly risky events. Although it is true to say that our churches are among the safest and most compliant of all the public gatherings, it may still be wise for those in severe hot-spot areas to curtail public meetings over this 2nd wave time. Some churches have also moved to outdoor or ‘parking lot’ church events. We are encouraging all our REACH churches to consider their local circumstances carefully and make the necessary decisions.
It must also be noted that it could be some time before the vaccine makes its way to SA. This will certainly mean ongoing COVID precautions into 2021. Our February national Exec and Trustees meetings will therefore be held online. Further details for other events will follow in the new year.
National Exec Meeting Nov 2020
A special National Executive and Trustees meeting was held in November 2020. The primary purpose of this gathering was to discuss the various documents submitted by our black clergy and workers around the country. I have included a report on this meeting for those who have not yet received a copy. Although I am sad that we are still talking about the problems of inequality and racial prejudice in our church I am also not surprised. Our world continues to show its brokenness through ongoing racism and discrimination in an increasingly polarized world. In our own sinful hearts, we battle these same sins as we seek to follow Christ. Let us strive to work together in applying a Biblical rather than a worldly remedy. Let us also demonstrate unity of the Spirit as we talk and listen to each other as a family in Christ. May there also be true repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation as the Lord’s Word guides us. This includes implementing whatever structural changes are necessary to help us achieve this goal. I am committed to keeping this conversation going through our area councils and hope we can make progress towards implementing effective changes by Synod 2021.
Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to all of you for your prayerful perseverance in the work of the gospel. This has been the most testing year of my ministry and I am sure many of you might feel the same. Tough days still lie ahead and its essential that we continue to work together for the cause of Christ’s Kingdom. Although we are challenged with finding creative ways to proclaim the gospel, let us be sure that we adapt our methodology and not our message. The gospel alone is the power of salvation for all people (Rom.1:16,17). Let us plan our ministry year mindful that, as we serve in all our communities, and minister to their many needs, our ultimate goal is the eternal wellbeing of every soul. Therefore, above all else, ‘preach the Word’ (2 Tim.4:2).
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thess.3:16)