Lectionary Selection: John 3:1-17
Prayers for South Africa:
O God, we sometimes feel overwhelmed as your workers in the vineyard. There are so few laborers for the work as it truthfully states in Mathew 9:37. At times, it is overwhelming when we see the vast amount to be done. When we experience injustice, hatred and inequality on a daily basis we are reminded of the long, arduous walk to justice, love and equality. Taking in the daily news becomes too much. Be with us O God when we are astounded by the needs of the world. Remind us of Jesus and his ministry who changed and touched lives one person at a time. Remind us today how life-changing one conversation can be. Embolden these young South Africa women O God.
Mission Stewardship Moment from South Africa:
It is not new to hear that the problems of the world are great. It is not even new to be overwhelmed by all the challenges that are before us. What can be done? What difference can be made? The problems seem too complex and impossible to resolve. They are deeply systemic -so far from simple solutions. The darkness engulfs.
Fear not! Inanda Seminary, a secondary school for grades 8-12, gives great reason to hope and celebrate. The seminary brings light so much brighter than the darkness. For over 145 years Inanda Seminary has been empowering black South Africa girls who graduate and go on to exemplify the school's motto, "Shine Where You Are" or as the scripture says that inspired it, “shine like stars in the midst of a crooked and perverse world” (Philippians 2:15).
Inanda Seminary was founded March 1, 1869 by the American Board of Missions (a Global Ministries predecessor). It was the first secondary Christian school exclusively for black girls in Durban, South Africa. Inanda has maintained the Christian values and African ethos it was founded upon to develop the whole child: spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically.
One recent graduate, who showed great potential in mathematics and science, came to Inanda on a scholarship. Her grandmother, who took care of her, could never have afforded the school fees at Inanda Seminary. When the young woman spoke about her rural birthplace, she seemed despondent about the number of girls dropping out of school due to pregnancies. She had a deep conviction to make something of herself and bring her God-given gifts to her community. She is now pursuing a career in engineering at a top university in the country and plans to return to her community to help the girls who want to attend these excellent schools. It is her hope that young women in her community will pursue their dreams and ultimately contribute to the growth and development of the community and the country.
Inanda Seminary may not have tackled all the problems that plague South Africa, but the seminary has worked consistently - with perseverance - to change the lives of each graduate. The positive results may be hard to measure, but more than 8,000 graduates have gone out into the world shining “like stars” in their respective workplaces, communities, and families embodying the seminary’s core values of honesty, respect, loyalty, self-discipline, sociability, and responsibility.
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
More information on South Africa:
Global Ministries Missionary in South Africa:
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.
Susan Valiquette, a member of First Congregational Church, Winter Park, Florida, serves with the Inanda Seminary, Durban, South Africa. She works as a school chaplain and a class instructor.