Lectionary Selection: Matt 1: 18-25
Prayers for South Africa:
Gracious God, in a world in which so many feel rejected and ashamed, intercede and bring solace. Continue to inspire us to reach out to those who are different to explore a variety of cultural experiences and to discern all that we share in common. Bind us together with a faith that cannot be shaken. May the Holy Spirit speak to us and guide us in our times of decision, as it did for Mary and Joseph. Bless those who are conflicted and troubled and those who seek to do the right thing but are torn in opposing directions. Grant us resolution and peace in accordance with your will. When there are so many valid reasons for us to separate with others, remind us that Christ brings us together. Continue to demonstrate, as you already have, that it is out of our love for You, that we are able to love others, even unconditionally. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from South Africa:
Mlungisi is a friend, a co-worker in Christ and my translator at the Thafamasi Congregational Church (UCCSA). Mlungusi is honest, upstanding, diligent and faithful – to his God, church, partner and children. Regularly, Mlungisi commutes from town to the rural area to worship at and support his home church. One day, Mlungisi asked me to baptise his child. “Of course”, I immediately responded. But, he hesitated and said, “But, I am not married yet”. Mlungisi explained that he was still in the midst of the very time consuming practice of lobola, often taking years, whereby the groom’s family and the bride’s family are bonded before marriage. Mlungisi, like many of us, are trapped between tradition and modernity. We struggle with changing social and ethical mores, especially as it regards love, marriage and family. And Mlungusi is doubly trapped by African and western cultures. I responded, “I would be proud to baptise your child”. As faithful men, I think Mlungisi and Joseph have much in common. I thank God that Mlungisi and I have a close relationship, so that we can discuss matters of mutual concern and discern together what it means to be faithful Christians, here and now.
Mission Partners in South Africa:
- Related Institution: Wola Nani
- Related Institution: Ons Plek
- South Africa Synod, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
- South African Council of Churches
- Theological Education by Extension College
- United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
Video resources about South Africa:
More information on South Africa: http://globalministries.org/africa/countries/south-africa/
Global Ministries Missionary in South Africa:
Susan Valiquette, a member of First Congregational Church, Winter Park, Florida, serves with the Inanda Seminary, Durban, South Africa. She works as the school chaplain and a class instructor.
Scott Couper, a member of First Congregational Church, Winter Park, Florida, serves with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA). He serves Inanda Seminary as its Development Manager. He also serves as pastor of the Thafamasi Congregational Church (UCCSA). He also serves as Senior Honorary Lecturer, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.