GHMCC Newsletter for September 2012
In this Issue
- Changed Venue for Sunday Service on 9 September
- Life in Flux
- GHMCC welcomes new Pastor
- Friends of the Library
- Book Reviews
Changed Venue for Sunday Service on 9 September
On the 9th September Good Hope MCC will be holding the Sunday service in the Central Methodist Mission, Green Market Square. This is as a result of a decision made at the last congregational meeting to hold a “trial” service at the new venue before making a final decision about taking up the offer of the Methodists to share their church facilities with us. The Pastor at CMM, Rev Alan Storey, will be present at the service and will share his vision for this move.
We have not yet received clearance to park in Green Market Square so for this service you will need to use the streets around the church. Burg St between Longmarket St and Wale St is probably the most convenient area to park.
Hope to see everyone there so that we can make an informed decision at the congregational meeting that will be held on the 16th September after the service (to be held at our usual Zonnebloem venue).
Artist-activist Zanele Muholi’s powerful exhibition “MO(U)RNING” at the Stevenson gallery in Woodstock, has just come to an end. Muholi mourns about the loss of a body of work stolen after a burglary at her apartment in Cape Town. The stolen material documented hate crimes in South Africa and gender issues in Africa. The exhibition allows for mourning for this personal experience, but also for the bodies of many, especially black lesbians, trans people and gay men left vulnerable within our society.
But in its title “MO(U)RNING” already carries the double meaning of promise and hope. “For Muholi, MO(U)RNING evokes death but also suggests the cycle of life as morning follows night. Life and death, love and hate are some of the antitheses that appear throughout her work”.
Eccelesia de Lange and Michelle Boonzaaier have led us during Women’s Month at GHMCC with interesting interactive preaching on empowerment. Now we’re going over to the Season of Creation while the cycles of life also carries us into the Spring season. What is new cannot occur without creating space for it by leaving behind what needs to be left behind - a Spring clean, if you wish.
There’s some mourning which goes along with welcoming the new. Some relationships may need to change or be trimmed according to new circumstances. One also needs to be open for new opportunities and see new possibilities for what they are, although they may ask for changes to what one has become used to over time. This season will surely also bring its fair share of change – whether that may be in exploring the possibility of a new venue for the church or in welcoming a new pastor in the person of Beulah Durrheim.
Let’s not miss in our mourning the opportunity offered by the promise of a new morning. And as we experience the flux in the cycles of life between death-life-night-morning-love-hate (Muholi), let’s not forget these simple words by Michael Leunig:
There are only two feelings,
Love and fear;
There are only two languages,
Love and fear;
There are only two activities,
Love and fear;
There are only two motives, two procedures, two frameworks, two results,
Love and fear,
Love and fear.
After Rev. Pressley Sutherland resigned in 2010, we decided to have an interim spiritual mentor. Rev. Laurie Gaum has stepped into this role. In early 2012 the congregation decided to take a leap of faith and appoint a part-time pastor. Following the pastoral search process, the pastoral search committee recommended Beulah Durrheim, and the congregational meeting on 29 July 2012 unanimously elected her. She is appointed from 1 September 2012 on a six-month contract for 40 hours per month.
Laurie Gaum: Although Laurie’s contract as a spiritual mentor ended at the end of August 2012, he will continue to be one of our preachers and a worship leader. Laurie brought an awareness to the church of our role being the body of Christ in this world. Some of the recent highlights of his work are the facilitation of our outreach to Helping Hands in Guguletu, organising the IDAHO ambush theatre and a recent Mourning for Change Ritual at the exhibition of artist Zanele Muhole. We are very grateful for his support to the lay leadership and the congregation.
Beulah Durrheim: She has a wealth of experience in congregational work, counselling and running retreats. She is the spiritual director at Little Stream Conference Centre. We look forward to a new season in the life of GHMCC, with Beulah as our pastor.
Elma de Vries
Last month, I reflected on my trip to Rwanda. This month I thought I would give it over to someone we met on the trip to Rwanda. Jean Elie Gasana is a wonderful man who is the only “out” person we met during the course of our travels. It is difficult to find anyone who is prepared to speak on behalf of the LGBTI community. Jean Elie was such a tremendous person to have made contact with. He is insightful, he is unafraid, he understands conditions for LGBTI people in this part of the world and he introduced us to others. He was also wonderful as an interpreter.
Jean Elie is 34 years old and is an Economics graduate. He also holds different certificates in Biblical studies and two diplomas ( from RFSU and RFSL Sweden) on the Rights and Health of LGBT people and Human Rights. Jean Elie is a fearless LGBT human rights defender. Currently Jean Elie works as a volunteer Co-ordinator of Other Sheep Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. If you have never travelled to this beautiful part of Africa, these two countries are neighbours and we could see the DRC from our balcony in Gisenyi. We took a drive to the border (we probably could have walked)
“Life in Rwanda and DRC for LGBTI’s
The situation is not as complicated as it is in other countries in Africa because the difference in Rwanda from that in our neighbouring countries, is that being LGBTI in Rwanda is not criminalised. The Minister of Justice said: " Sexual orientation is not a State matter but a private matter"
The stigma however, is at high level as it is in so many other countries. Some are shunned by schools and by their families due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identities . For this reason, most LGBTI people in Rwanda are not out. Poverty among the LGBT community is a very big issue. Education and dialogue with civil society, especially church leaders about sexual orientation and gender identity is a great need. The LGBT people from Rwanda face a great lack of knowledge as to how to create small income generating projects.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is also no law that criminalises LGBTI people but civil society, especially the religious right, are pushing and lobbying for the criminalisation of LGBT people. Even though there is no law criminalising LGBT people, we know of cases of arrests, rejection by families, denying access to schools and health services. Frankly speaking, the life of LGBTI people in DRC is complicated. The LGBT people from DRC lack the same skills in how to be self-sufficient as is the problem in Rwanda and also experience a lack of support when facing the courts/police, which is a problem.
Jean Elie Gasana”
I am so hoping, that when we eventually host an All Africa Conference, that we are able to get Jean Elie to the conference. As Jean Elie says, stigma is a huge problem in both these countries and people are denied basic rights to health and education if people know their orientation. Poverty is a great problem in both countries and I look forward to a continued working relationship with Jean Elie to find ways of working and supporting one another. He is a great person. He is many people, both from Rwanda and from the DRC’s go-to person in times of crisis. Please keep him in your prayers!
Our church library has a good selection of books which are available to members and regular visitors to enjoy – all free of charge. There are a wide variety of stories and factual books to choose from, covering subjects and genres relevant to all. Examples are: inspirational titles on Christian living, counselling and healing; self-help books; biographies; being gay and a Christian; gay and lesbian studies/ history; fiction focusing on gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual and straight characters/ life.
You can make a difference with regards to what books we add to our stock. Please become a friend of the library. In this way you can suggest which authors or titles you would like to see at the library, or help us financially by buying new titles. We can also meet on a regular basis to discuss interesting books if the need is expressed.
Contact Stanley for more details.
Oktober / Rèney Warrington (Protea Boekhuis, 2012)
“Warrington is 'n bekende fotograaf en gesiene fliekresensent. In haar debuutverhaal vertel sy van die ontluikende liefdesverhouding tussen Jo Bester, 'n Suid-Afrikaanse fotograaf, en Leigh Osbourne, 'n Amerikaanse popsanger, wat mekaar in Johannesburg ontmoet. Dié twee se ouwêreldse hofmakery, wat deur die uitgewer as ''n liefdesverhaal vir die 21ste eeu' beskryf word, vorm die hartklop van die roman. Wanneer Jo ná 'n onsmaaklike familietwis alle kontak met haar susterkinders ontsê word en na Londen uitwyk, loop sy Leigh weer raak. Omdat elkeen haar eie duiwels het om te besweer, begin hulle 'n verhouding met 'n baie besliste vervaldatum. Maar soos ons almal weet, word die hart nie sommer deur 'n datum voorgesê nie. Gaan die steelfoto's van Jo en Leigh wat in 'n Britse Sondagkoerant verskyn het, hul verhouding voortydig kelder? Of is hulle die gelukkige einde van 'n konvensionele liefdesverhaal beskore? Binne die raamwerk van dié byna idilliese verhouding tussen Jo en Leigh word 'n verhaal van hartseer en gemis blootgelê aan die hand van die twintigtal foto's waarmee elke hoofstuk begin. Want Jo is veel meer as net 'n vrou wat verlief raak op 'n vrou; sy is ook 'n dogter wat moet toekyk hoe haar ma onder jare se hartseer vou, 'n suster wat nie weet hoe lank die gebroke lyf van haar broer gaan hou nie, en 'n tannie wat enigiets sal gee om haar susterkinders weer vas te hou. Die roman is aangrypend, enig en openbarend eerlik. Warrington voeg 'n nuwe, sterk stem by tot die Afrikaanse boekewêreld.” (www.rapport.co.za 2012-05-05; Rooi Rose Mei 2012 p232; www.beeld.com 2012-03-25)
Die hemel is werklik / Todd Burpo saam met Lynn Vincent; Christelike Uitgewersmaatskappy: Vereeniging 2011; uit Engels vertaal deur Uvalde Swart (Heaven is for real)
Hierdie is die ware verhaal van ’n vierjarige seuntjie van ’n leraar van ’n klein dorpie in Nebraska wat tydens ’n noodoperasie uit sy bewussyn na die hemel gaan. Hy oorleef die operasie en begin ná die tyd vertel van hoe hy kon afkyk op die dokter tydens die operasie en hoe hy kon sien hoe sy pa bid in ’n kamer. Colton het vertel dat hy sy sussie, wat nooit gebore is nie weens ’n miskraam en van wie niemand hom nog ooit vertel het nie, ontmoet het. Hy het ook sy pa se oupa ontmoet wat 30 jaar voordat hy gebore is, al oorlede is. Hy het ongelooflike besonderhede oor elkeen vertel waarvan hy onmoontlik kon geweet het. Hy beskryf selfs die ‘baie groot’ stoel waarop God sit. Die verhaal word deur Colton se pa vertel, maar dikwels in Colton se eie woorde. Die boodskap is eenvoudig – die hemel is ’n werklike plek. Todd Burpo is leraar by Crossroads Wesleyan Church. Colton is ’n aktiewe 11-jarige.