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35th Assembly of the UCCSA to be held August 19-25 in Botswana

August 17, 2009

The 35th Assembly of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, UCCSA, which is to be held in Molepolole, Botswana, from the 19th to the 25th August 2009, will be more than just a traditional UCCSA family gathering. While there will be time for internal issues, there will also be time to attend to Ecumenical matters.

The UCCSA has never shied away from engaging the wider ecumenical fraternity and thereby distinguishing its character as a church that exists for the mission of God in the world. The Assembly preacher will be Bishop Zephania Kameeta of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia. The UCCSA's commitment to practical ecumenism is demonstrated by such action of inviting an ecumenical partner to preach at its highest gathering.

The Assembly will also have visitors from the national councils of churches of Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Their presencewill not be just a symbolic gesture, but an affirmation of the Christian faith bonds that we hold in common. It will also be affirmation of our common journey to eliminate injustice, poverty and ignorance. Assembly is meant to be a galvanizing experience for the people of God in order to face the challenges of the world with renewed courage. And when the church acts ecumenically its witness becomes more

Also present will be Dr. Rogate Mshana, serves the World Council of Churches, WCC, as the programme executive on poverty, wealth and ecology. Dr Mshana will deliver the third Joseph Wing Memorial Lecture at the Assembly. Joseph Wing was the first General Secretary of the UCCSA and served from 1967 to 1987. The Joseph Wing Lecture was inaugurated at the 33rd Assembly in 2005 and it is meant to revive theological thinking and to encourage the church on the principles that Joseph Wing stood for, such as ecumenism and social justice. The Joseph Wing lecture will be an important layer in the development of the theme "In Christ there is a future: Hope in a time of Economic crisis."

One group that needs the theme of Hope is the Youth in view of the challenges resulting from the economic meltdown. There will be a strong youth presence at this Assembly since each synod has been asked to include youth among their delegations. In addition there will be the stewardship programme which is an avenue for service and learning for the youth.

Also present among the delegates will be persons with disabilities. The UCCSA is striving to express its principle of inclusiveness by ensuring that groups like the youth and persons with disabilities are present as equal participants at the Assembly. More importantly and since the Assembly is one of the teaching moments for the church, the youth and persons with disabilities will become the animators like all delegates to spread the message to church and the world. And the message of the church is a call to our governments and people to act more justly in the spirit of ubuntu/botho.

Rev. Prince Dibeela

 

Dear Officers and Delegates to the 35th Assembly of the UCCSA

On behalf of Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Church, I join with others who wish you well as you gather for your Assembly in Molepolole, Botswana to deliberate under the theme "In Christ there is a Future, hope in the midst of economic crisis".    This is a very challenging statement that reaches deep in the overall theme that you have been using "In Christ there is a Future".   We encourage you to share some of your discussions and resolutions with the wider church as we are confident that we can learn much from you in the midst of the prevailing economic crisis.  You must continue to challenge the wider church to see the impact of international greed and unchecked business practices on your five member countries.  At the same time you are in a position to inspire us by your faith, resilience and visioning.  This is a gift that you offer to people of faith around the world.

The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa has much for which it should be proud and it is an honor to walk with you on your journey for justice and integrity of life.  Your monumental human rights efforts are to be congratulated.  While other churches and organizations have remained silent, you, through your general secretary, have spoken loudly for justice on behalf of the vulnerable, particularly in Zimbabwe.  When Christian organizations in other places have shied away from speaking out against government abuse, you have stood your ground and called for accountable governance.  Your stance on social and economic justice is second to none, thus giving incredible weight to your timely theme.   You will always have an important role to play in the global context and I encourage you to continue to offer your gifts to a hurting world as you enrich the lives of others!   Continue to share your vision and mission guided by the Holy Bible.  We thank you for inviting us to journey with you and for recognizing our mutual need to accompany one another.

May God's blessings continue to be with you!

Sincerely,

Rev Sandra R. Gourdet

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