From left: Bishop SVV. Nambala former LUCSA president welcomes Bishop H. Mueller to the cold chair of presidency.

The 9th LUCSA Assembly on September 3, 2016 elected for Bishop Horst Mueller of Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa –Natal Transvaal (ELCSA-­‐NT) as the new President and his deputy Bishop Dr Joseph P. Bvumbwe of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) for a three years term of office running from 2016 to 2019.

Drought is not just an environmental problem

Allison Westerhoff,
Boksburg, South Africa, February 18, 2016

The annual Regional Planning Workshop for the Lutheran Communion in SouthernAfrica (LUCSA) gathered 27 HIV & AIDS Resource persons from the 10 southern African countries that make up the sub-regional expression of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Johannesburg, South Africa from 15-19 February 2016. Participants presented reports from their churches offering insight into programmes and the successes and challenges, including issues of climate change.

Rev. Jesaja Jacky Lipito from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in amibia Eastern Dioceses (ELCIN-ED) offered a glimpse into the current challenges their church faces due to the drought during his report.

“We have had many difficulties because of the little amount of rain. eoples’ crops and cattle are dying,” he shared.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa South Eastern Dioceses (ELCSA-SED) also faced challenges with the drought. Their programme for People Living with IV (PLHIV) uses gardening as a way to empower members of the support group with agricultural skills and harvests of fresh produce, which also gives them the capacity to eat at least one meal a day to take their medication. This last year they planted over 20 bags of potatoes and there was no harvest because of the severe lack of rainfall.

The most implemented programme for PLHIV is the garden project. Four member churches and their diocese implement this ainstreaming programme currently. With this plague of minimal rainfall, an agricultural issue has become an HIV & AIDS problem.

In the coming 500th anniversary of the Reformation, one of the themes for the event is Creation: Not for Sale.” Under this theme, the importance of environmental stewardship is explored and the importance of the global church addressing the responsibility to take care of creation.

During the Regional Planning Workshop, the HIV & AIDS resource persons offered support to each other about how to overcome the challenges they face. There was not much that could be offered in addressing the severity of the drought. This challenge is something hat cannot easily be fixed in a conference room with a new HIV & AIDS programme implementation plan. This challenge needs to be addressed by the entire globe, with drastic changes to match the drastic effects of climate change.

On 12 December 2015, at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) gathering in Paris, France, 186 countries brought forward their action plans on how they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout the conference world eaders negotiated these action plans and next month in New York, those leaders can sign the agreement. If 55 countries, representing 55% of the emissions, sign this agreement there will be real change implemented.

As the participants of the Regional Planning Workshop return to their countries and home churches, they have a new zeal and more tools on how to address issues of HIV & AIDS. Although some of the projects are suffering because of climate change, the resource persons can find hope in the oming month that their global brothersand sisters will help implement change by signing an agreement that each country will be held accountable in caring for creation.

Photo: Ms. Gugu Mkhabela.