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Elders gesien: SARK herinner aan biddag vir vrede op 5 Mei


Die Suid-Afrikaanse Raad van Kerke (SARK) het Sondag 5 Mei gekies vir ’n nasionale biddag vir vrede in aanloop tot die algemene verkiesing op 29 Mei 2024. 

Die ekumeniese liggaam (waarvan die NG Kerk deel vorm) herhaal sy oproep aan landsburgers om te bid vir veilige verkiesingsprosesse wat vry sal wees van intimidasie en geweld sê eerwaarde Mzwandile Molo, algemene sekretaris van die SARK in ’n onlangse verklaring. Hy noem ook dat die SARK-president Thabo Makgoba Sondagmiddag om 14:00 ’n ekumeniese diens lei by die Grace Bible Church in Soweto wat op SABC, Radio Kansel asook die SARK se Facebook uitgesaai sal word.

Lees die volledige verklaring onder.

 

SACC REITERATES ITS CALL FOR PEACE 

AHEAD OF THE 2024 GENERAL ELECTIONS 

 

In the final week before the South African Council of Churches (SACC) hosts the National Day of Prayer for the 2024 General Elections, the SACC has reiterated its call for well secured electoral processes, free of intimidation and violence. This is the focus of the National Day of Prayer, which is scheduled for Sunday 5 May 2024 at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto. 

 This will be a multi-denominational service, led by the President of the SACC, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, where prayer and supplication will be offered for all electoral structures, law enforcement, participating political parties and candidates, that the grace of God inspires a peaceful and indeed a joyous expression of the will of the citizens; and the parties and independent candidates – the central players – are the collective object of our prayers. The service will be attended by representatives from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the South African Police Service (SAPS) and representatives of the political parties and independent candidates.

 The SACC acknowledges that in the signing of the IEC Electoral Code of Conduct, all political parties have demonstrated a commitment to upholding the requirements of a violence-free election. “There have been very few reports of violence or intimidation in the campaigning journey thus far, and our call is for all political parties to uphold this commitment by all means,” said Rev Mzwandile Molo, Acting General Secretary of the SACC.

 The Acting General Secretary added that we all have a common need, which is the resolution of all the big national challenges we face, and as the faith community, this becomes especially important because churches are at the forefront of understanding the needs of those who are most vulnerable in society. It is, therefore, in the collective interests of all South Africans that the 7th General Elections are conducted fairly, peacefully – for the good of all. 

 “As the Body of Christ, we are called to peace by Christ the Prince of peace. Through our individual redemption, we have inherited a level of peace that surpasses all understanding, and it, therefore, becomes our responsibility to stand for peace both within our churches, and in our country,” said Rev Molo. 

 The work of the SACC in Anchoring Democracy has been well documented in South Africa’s history, where the Church was an active citizen in the struggle for freedom in South Africa.  SACC leaders of the past promoted negotiations for a peaceful political settlement; and in the run up to the first elections of 1994, led the Peace Accord that ensured peace and the de-escalation of political conflict. This because peace is a core principle of our faith. “We honour the God of Peace by advocating for peace every day,” said Molo.

 He emphasised the need for churches to be active citizens in the process of peace building in their communities. “Our country is Our Responsibility and our work around Anchoring Democracy clearly outlines our responsibility as churches – motivated by the people’s quest for peace in its fullness – to be involved in matters of democracy, good governance and peacekeeping,” he added.

 In continuing in this work, the SACC is recruiting for training, people from congregations of member churches around the country, to serve as election observers for the 29 May 2024 elections. This is to make sure that the voting stations remain as respected spaces for all voters. “Mounting an observer mission during the general elections ensures that the role of the church transcends the pulpit and finds practical expression in our communities. Our member churches have a responsibility to advocate for ethical behaviour among candidates and voters alike, standing as a reminder for all to uphold the principles of fairness and peace during the elections,” Rev Molo said.

 He cautioned against religious leaders allowing their churches to be used as campaign platforms by political parties. “The SACC has always been committed to a non-partisan approach in its work of Anchoring Democracy and our expectation is that member churches will respect that commitment and allow religious spaces to remain safe and welcoming to all people, regardless of political affiliation.  When we invite political leaders to address our congregations during our services, that safety for all is compromised,” he said. “The choice of who should govern is a sacred responsibility not only given by the constitution of our country, but it is a godly mandate, therefore we must respect the sanctity of our religious spaces by refusing to let them be used for the fulfilment of political agendas,” he added.

 The SACC believes that peace can only exist where love abounds, and if each South African can commit to loving their neighbour as they do themselves, we can see each other as compatriots and not enemies. “In that way, we can respectfully accept each other’s choices without waging war against each other, because we share the vision of a country inspired by justice, love and peace,” Rev Molo said.

 The National Day of Prayer service will commence at 2pm on 5 May 2024, and will be broadcast via cross over on SABC, Radio Pulpit and the SACC Facebook page. “Member churches around the country are also encouraged to observe the National Day of Prayer in their own church services,” concluded Rev Molo.

  ENDS


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