UCCSA and UPCSA churches unite in prayer and preparation for CWM Assembly

by Cheon Young Cheol

On 1 May, Workers’ Day in South Africa, leaders from the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) and the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) came together for work, witness, and fellowship.

The gathering, attended by some 100 participants from various organizations and fellowships within the UCCSA and UPCSA, marked an important step towards forming a deeper bond between the sister churches.

This was first of three prayer sessions leading up to the Council for World Mission (CWM) Assembly in June.

Leaders shared their visions and programmes, as well as their reflections on how the Assembly theme, “Rise to Life: Together in Transformation,” encapsulates the collective aspirations of the churches involved.

The liturgists were two members from the Spiritual Life Group, Rev. Thandi Mwelase and Rev. Thabani Masikane, who led a time of singing. They were joined by the Soldiers of Christ, who added to the harmony with their cymbals.

Rev. Zungu, moderator of the UPCSA in Durban, opened the session with a prayer while Rev. Mthobisi Wellington Sibanda shared the day’s agenda and introduced the members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC).

UCCSA-KZN Regional Chairperson Doc Nhassengo and UPCSA Session Clerk Aaron Nhlabathi offered introductory speeches.

Zimbili Sibisi, Assembly Coordinator, guided the delegates through the Assembly programme.

Praying for the hope of revival

 Rev. S.R. Sokhela preached a message from Ezekiel 47:10-12, which described rivers of life flowing from the temple, bringing life and healing wherever they go:

“Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” (Ezekiel 47:10-12, NIV)

Sokhela noted that this passage symbolizes the abundance, restoration, and healing that God brings to His people. In the context of Africa hosting the CWM Assembly in June and facing various challenges, it was as an encouragement for the region to experience a spiritual revival and renewal despite the difficulties it may be facing.

Revival, Sokhela said, refers to a spiritual awakening and renewal within a community or region, often resulting in increased faith, commitment to God, and positive transformation. God uses revivals to bring about positive change by inspiring individuals, communities, and nations to seek Him, pursue justice, and work towards the wellbeing of society.

As Africa faces tough challenges while preparing for elections, the hope of revival can encourage people to engage in the democratic process with integrity, seek wisdom, promote justice, and work towards the betterment of their nations.

Sokhela emphasised the significance of the Assembly in bringing life and transformation to the African continent, particularly in the face of adversities such as droughts and floods, as well as the tensions associated with the upcoming election season.

A representative from the Independent Electoral Commission was also invited to speak, shedding light on the electoral process, and encouraging prayers for a peaceful and fair election.

The presence of the youth at the session also injected an atmosphere of excitement and hope. The youth members shared plans of holding a joint celebration on 16 June, commemorating the historic youth uprising at the Olive Venue.

LOC members, Ningi Ngcobo and Valmai du Toit, expressed their gratitude for the fruitful prayer session. They emphasised the importance of unity and prayer in bringing about transformation and healing not only within the churches but also in the wider African context.

As the UCCSA and UPCSA prepare to host the CWM Assembly, their commitment to unity, prayer, and collective action continues to shine as a beacon of hope. Through their shared vision and dedication, they aim to bring about transformation and inspire positive change, not only within their congregations but also across Africa.

May the Assembly be a catalyst for life, healing, and renewal, as the churches rise together in transformation, guided by the rivers of hope and faith.

The next joint prayer session will take place at the “Soldiers of Christ Conference” in Inanda Congregational Church.

By Rev. Wellington Mthobisi Sibanda, CWM LOC Convener

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