The newly-inducted Moderator of UPCSA Rev. Lydia Neshangwe introduced the new UPCSA theme “Stronger Together” during the worship service at the UPCSA General Assembly on 25 June 2023, Sunday. Held at Highlands Presbyterian Church, Harare, Zimbabwe, Rev. Neshangwe preached her sermon themed “Stronger Together” with Scripture readings from Psalm 133: 1-3 and Acts 2:1-4. Using the acronym “PEST”, she spoke on Political, Economic, Social, and Technological divisions that afflict the world, and the church. In a world and global church affected by competition, criticism and hatred, she cautioned against having divisive hearts that discriminate and practise “classism, racism, tribalism, sexism, and ageism”.
Referring to the immediate past Moderator’s theme of “going back to basics”, she emphatically offered the panacea of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) that binds church members together. In the face of worldly forces and divisions that separate, disconnect and exclude, the Holy Spirit reconciles, connects, unites and includes. The infilling of the Holy Spirit also imbues us with joy, wisdom, healing, forgiveness, and building one another up constructively. In addition, blessings in church, families and marriages are bestowed by the Lord when there is unity, “when they learn to be stronger together”. Finally, she shared frankly that God had laid upon her heart the need for revival, led not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), and by God’s leading UPCSA into the future.
During the service, fraternal greetings were received from ecumenical partners and churches such as the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) General Secretary Rev. Dr Fidon Mwombeki, Council for World Mission (CWM) General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) President Rev. Rupert Hambira, Reformed Church of Zimbabwe, Methodist Church of Southern Africa, and more.
CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum extended heartfelt congratulations to Rev. Neshangwe, who is also the CWM Moderator. In his congratulatory message, Dr Keum commended Rev. Neshangwe’s outstanding leadership and expressed his confidence that UPCSA will flourish in God’s mission. He also affirmed her prophetic theme “Stronger Together” in a deeply polarised, post-pandemic world, as there is “immense power that lies in unity, ecumenical partnership and inclusivity”.
In addition, Dr Keum reflected the perceptible shift of world Christianity to Africa, making it significant for the African Christian community to lead the global church towards unity and reconciliation, and noted that it had contributed immensely to social and political movements in advocating for justice, peace and development during times such as the apartheid era.