In 2015 the Session of MCPC and the J.Z.S. Ncevu Memorial Church of Queenstown, South Africa, established a Connection Agreement that began a new relationship between our congregations: one of sharing information about our congregations and communities, gaining a better understanding of God’s call, and exchanging prayer requests, news and visits.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE NCEVU CHURCH
Much of a new relationship includes learning about the other. Some of the key things we have learned about Ncevu are: Their Pastor Rev. Xolani Vatela provides strong leadership for their church; there is very high unemployment in South Africa at the present time; the people there are also suffering through a terrible drought; the Ncevu Church has many older members; they are very proud of their music ministry, their junior youth club, and the important role played by the women of the congregation.
We have ongoing monthly prayer exchanges between our congregations, and have prepared several newsletters and pastoral letters which share highlights from the life of MCPC (such as the Women’s Retreat, the Men’s Bible Breakfast, the Ministry of Bright Start, our Special Advent Worship, the Alternative Christmas Market, and our pastor’s sabbatical leave.) We continue to lift up this special connectional relationship as we celebrate being a part of a world fellowship of the followers of Jesus Christ.
A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF OUR CONNECTION
As a member of the South African Connection Team, it has been my (Joanna Damon) very pleasant task to be the contact for our prayer exchange. For almost two years I exchanged emails with Thobeka Masango. We exchanged news of our congregations and our prayer requests. Then we passed these along to our respective congregations. She has since stepped down from her team because of health concerns. Most recently I have been exchanging emails with Lulama Stofile known affectionately as Lulu. Even through the rather impersonal medium of email, her personality shines through. She is a widow who has lost her eldest son to lymphoma, but who has a great faith and an indomitable spirit. How do I know this? It is in what she says and how she says it. She is a retired teacher who is still involved with education at several levels and enjoys close contact with her two daughters, her son, her daughter-in-law, and six grandchildren. She comes to us as an active, energetic, and loving person. Look for pictures of her and her family on our South Africa bulletin board. She has sent a Christmas letter to us and Ncevu Memorial’s most recent newsletter which summarizes their activities for the year. It is my hope that someday more of the congregation will be able to exchange emails with other folks at Ncevu. For me, it has proved to be a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience and has made me feel a real connection with Lulu and that far away church in South Africa. It would be so nice if others got to have the same connection.