Diakonia Desk

Youth Meeting 2018

Youth Meeting 2018

Youth under the age of 30 make up some 70% of the population in Southern Africa and face many challenges related to education, unemployment, gender justice, health and climate change.  So, are youth pessimistic or optimistic, afraid or hopeful about the future? 

Seven young adults representing several member churches of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) met recently at Outlook Lodge at the Lutheran center in Bonaero Park, Johannesburg to start planning for an all LUCSA youth conference in 2019. (LUCSA, with 15 member churches across ten countries in Southern Africa, is a sub-regional expression of the Lutheran World Federation)

The youth unanimously and energetically agreed to work with the Lutheran World Federation theme for 2019-2024 “With passion for the Church and the World.”  

The committee worked on a draft programme that will include reports on youth activities from member churches, as well as Bible studies, presentations and discussions.  The conference will focus on what it means to be “Young Reformers” promoting revival in the church, Lutheran identity, diakonia, gender justice and care for creation.  The LUCSA INFOHUT program which teaches computer skills and life skills including information about HIV & AIDS will be a key part of the programme.  

LUCSA member churches will be invited to send two active youth representatives, a young man and a young woman, to participate in the conference.  Invitations will also be extended to the LWF Youth Desk in Geneva and to a Lutheran youth representative from the Lutheran Communion in Central and East Africa (LUCCEA) and the Lutheran Communion in West Africa (LUCWA). 

The LUCSA youth are enthusiastic and committed to establishing a Youth Desk in the Communion Office and to building strong relationships between youth in the member churches and making a lasting difference in their respective churches and in the region. 

Posted by in Christian Education, Diakonia Desk, Gender Violence
LUCSA council meeting

LUCSA council meeting

The LUCSA Council meeting was held from 3rd -7th September at the Outlook Lodge in Bonaero Park.

The Council is made up of the heads of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in 10 Southern African Countries and 5 in South Africa, 4 women 3 representatives that are elected from these member churches on a rotational basis.

LUCSA Council,Partners and Staff

The meeting started at 16:00 on 3rd September 2018 and this was attended by the President of LUCSA Bishop Horst Müller, the deputy president Bishop Dr Joseph Bvumbwe, Bishop Gilbert Filter, chair of Programme Committee for Education, Theology and Ecumenical Relations, Bishop Chemist Faindi, chairperson of the Programme Committee for Mission and Diakonia, Mrs. Kidi Tshukudu, chair of Standing Committee for Finance and Administration, Mrs. Lynette Burger, women representative, Rev Zelda Cossa, youth representative and the Executive Director Rev Dr David Tswaedi.

The meeting started with a devotion in the morning and in the evenings and these were held in the Chapel.

On the 4th September 2018 during the Opening Service, the new members of the Council were inducted by the LUCSA President Bishop Horst Müller assisted by the Executive Director Rev Dr David Tswaedi. They were Rev Martin Abrahams from MCSA, Bishop Absalom Mnisi from ELCSA, Bishop Eduardo Sinalo ,Mrs. Esther Mathulwe and Miss Emanuela Ndawanapo from EILA. They also each received copy of the LUCSA Constitution.

The sermon was delivered by Bishop Ernst //Gamxamub from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN).

The meeting continued with the report by the Executive Director. Fraternal greetings were given by LUCSA Partners. Rev Dr Elieshi Mungure sent greetings on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Rev Michael Schultheiss gave greetings on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission (ELM) Rev Kevin Jacobson on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)  Rev Dr Christine Keim sent greetings on behalf of the German National Committee (GNC/LWF)

There were presentations made by the LWF Council members Bishop Dr Veikko Munyika from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) the LWF report, Rev Elitha Moyo from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) on Gender Justice and Mr. Khulekani Magwaza from Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA) on Climate change.

On 5th and 6th September 2018 the different programme committees went into the breakaway rooms to discuss issues around the programmes and possible amendments to the LUCSA Constitution.

The meeting adjourned on the 6th September 2018 with the closing service led by Bishop Chemist Faindi from ELCZ.

Posted by in Diakonia Desk, HIV & AIDS, InfoHut
13th Assembly and 36th Anniversary

13th Assembly and 36th Anniversary

From August 23 to 26, 2018 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) gathered in Lilongwe to hold its 13th Assembly and to celebrate its 36th anniversary.

The assembly was officially opened with a worship service and sermon by Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe based on the theme “May God bless the works of our hands” taken from Psalm 90:7. The bishop explained the meaning of Kilimanjaro as Kilima (journey) and Njaro (impossible) saying that for the church “mission impossible” was possible with God’s power and accompaniment.

Some 200 lay delegates and 70 pastors from 9 Deaneries were in attendance.

The assembly received a consolidated report highlighting the work of the church and its departments over the past four years including 60 feeding centers for vulnerable children, the mobile clinic service, income generating activities such as small-scale bakeries and improved sustainable agriculture and crop storage techniques, malaria and HIV prevention, environmental protection and climate change adaptation encouraging fuel efficient stoves and tree planting programs.  The report also mentioned the introduction of the INFOHUT project by the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) which trains young people in computer technology and life skills.

The historic church assembly adopted a new constitution allowing for expansion from one to three dioceses and ordination that “shall no longer be based on gender.”

At the celebration international and regional partners were warmly welcomed with speeches, choirs and dance including displays of the Diaconal and congregational work of this growing church.

Posted by in Diakonia Desk, HIV & AIDS, InfoHut
Response to the Vulnerable

Response to the Vulnerable

The prophetic voice of the Church is visible where the Church responds and advocate on behalf of the marginalised, the disadvantaged and vulnerable in the society. LUCSA heard the cry of the disadvantaged special school pupils in North West Province of South Africa. The community of Atamelang village have a school called Lialian Lehetla Special School with about 200 leaners with special needs. The school provides Socio-psyche services and vocational training for children with special learning needs.

The challenge for the school is that there is no kitchen and cool room where meals are prepared for children. LUCSA responded by assisting the school to build a kitchen and cool room with an amount P250,000.00.  The cheque was handed by the LUCSA Director and representatives of ELCSA- NT, ELCSA and LCSA pastors.

LUCSA Executive Director-Lilian Lehetla School

Responsible to the Vulnerable

Current Schoo-Kitchen Donated by LUCSA

Responsible to the Vulnerable
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Bread for the World Consultation

Bread for the World Consultation

Steffen Wiese (BftW), Beatrice Moyo (LUCSA) receive a tour from the garden manager, Thabo Motsokolo. Thabo works with the other manager, James, seven days a week to ensure that the produce is well taken care of.

Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) Office in Johannesburg had the pleasure of hosting Steffen Wiese from Bread for the World, based in Berlin, Germany. Steffen had a partner’s meeting with Rev. Dr. D. Tswaedi (Executive Director), Mrs V. Mzezewa (HIV and AIDS Desk Coordinator) and Mr. L. Xhakaza (Finance Officer) to familiarise himself with the work of LUCSA on HIV and AIDS and to discuss specific projects and related information for future cooperations. At the end of the meeting, Steffen had an exposure visit to observe two projects of two LUCSA member churches namely ELCSA-EC and ELCSA-NT.

The first stop was at “Diakonia AIDS Ministry” or DAM, a community intervention ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA) Central Diocese located in Jabavu, Soweto. The Programme Director, Rev. SS Mugivhi, welcomed everyone and dove into how DAM is closely working with the needs of the community and how the support of partners and donors is vital to the health of their ministry.

“The need is there, and the funding is why we are walking, not crawling,” Rev. Mugivhi explained.

DAM recently had a fundraising event which brought children from the area to play games and enjoy a delicious lunch. Families could join and purchase a meal ticket as well. The fundraising event was a success for DAM and although their resources for fundraising are limited, DAM is working with its surrounding community to build up the four part ministry.

DAM has a very large after school program that runs Tuesday through Thursday, giving children a healthy meal including vegetables from their garden and from the soup kitchen. The volunteers help with the children’s’ homework and school projects, and often take them on educational field trips. There are also HIV and AIDS support groups that meet to help with the work in the garden and group members can receive support through their contributions to the DAM ministry. DAM also works to educate the after school children and support groups of PLHIV with general health information including HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment. The last part of the ministry is their communications department that releases a quarterly newsletter, “Lobone.”

Rev. Mugivhi and the garden manager, Thabo Motsokolo, gave a brief tour of their produce and future plans for the garden. They have started a small compost, and are growing mainly vegetables such as beet root, lettuce, corn, chard, and spinach.

The next stop was St. Peters by the Lake in Park View, Johannesburg, to meet Stephanie Press who runs the “Special Foster Care Project.” The focus of the project is to give orphaned and vulnerable children a safe and stable home to live in while receiving education and proper treatment for their health needs. Currently the program serves seven households each with one Foster mother and four to five children. Each of the homes are divided by the children’s age groups, and the foster mothers are provided with training and support for their positions in each house. The purpose of having a house mother is to provide supervision as well as a strong role model who encourages the children to become responsible and so that there can be a feeling of stability and family.

Stephanie has been working with St. Peters for less than a year but already has hosted a successful fundraising event through a golf tournament.  She has plans to expand their fundraising events. She has a drive and vision for St. Peters that is going to help the program flourish.

Steffen will continue on his tour of South Africa to learn and monitor projects funded by Bread for the World and attend a Partner Consultation with various partners in South Africa. LUCSA was blessed and appreciates the visit from  their long standing partner, Bread for the World.

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Deadly disease on rise in Angola

Deadly disease on rise in Angola

ACT Alliance – Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Heavy rains in Angola have sparked fears a cholera epidemic in southern provinces of the country will worsen, resulting in significant loss of life.

Until recently, the Huila and Cunene provinces had been plagued by a three-year drought that left 1.83 million people with severe food shortages and resultant health problems. While the long-awaited rainfall is bringing drought relief, with it has come a rise in the number of cholera cases.

ACT members plan to start a major public health education campaign on December 16, tackling the cholera threat with water, sanitation and hygiene programmes and education on disease prevention.

Cholera emerged in Angola in 2006, with efforts to eradicate it unsuccessful. Very little improvement has been made in terms of sanitation and the distribution of drinkable water to most communities. Until now, 80,000 Angolans have been diagnosed, with 3000 having died, according to Portuguese media. The Angolan health ministry says 133 deaths were reported in three municipalities of Cunene province alone this year, 48 of which were recorded in late November.

An ACT appeal for southern Angola will, if fully funded, provide lifesaving food, drinking water and hygiene facilities rural families in Huila and Cunene, paving the way for long-term programmes to improve residents’ livelihoods and put drought-preparedness plans in place. The $740,000 appeal has a shortfall of $200,000.

André Cangovi, of ACT member the Lutheran World Federation and coordinator of the ACT group of members in Angola, says the situation for residents of the south will deteriorate as the rain continues. “People are drinking untreated water, which is really worsening the situation. The government has deployed some medical equipment and personnel but the problem is that some places are unreachable because of the flooding and mud which doesn’t allow vehicles to reach those places.” He said the government needed to airlift medical personnel and equipment to remote areas.

“The drought as such is now ending but the effect is not overcome. People have no supplies, their food stock has really disappeared and they now depend on handouts from humanitarian agencies and government.”

Some residents of Cunene and Huila moved to neighbouring Namibia or regions alongside rivers during the drought, leaving behind cattle and other livestock, many of which died. “Before the rain, the big problem was access to water. The alternative for most communities was to dig boreholes to see if they could reach the water table which had gone down so far – as low as more than 50m in some areas. Now they are getting too much water but cannot make sure it’s safe for drinking. This is what is increasing the cholera situation.”Radio broadcasts will be among the communication channels ACT members news to broadcast the sanitation message. “But the best way for our members to work is to use churches and local authorities and for local NGOs to be involved and to have contact with the communities and explain ways of mitigating the situation,” Cangovi said.

Posted by in Diakonia Desk