The past month of March has been a very busy time for PSD Stephen Pedro, Manager of Congregational Ministry. He facilitated a number of faith-discerning processes with congregations that included workshops and exploratory discussions.
During these discussions, the focus was on the missional calling and task of the congregations, as well as on their vacant pastoral positions, and many more. The following congregations were visited in March:
Over the weekend of March 6 to 7, Rev. Pedro facilitated an explorational workshop with the church council and other leaders of the congregation and concluded the weekend by leading the worship service the Sunday.
This workshop was the start of a faith-discerning process that will be further guided by him and a congregation facilitator. Following questions such as: What is happening in our congregation? (What is the context in which we should be church?) Why does this happen? What can be done to address unfavourable events? Rev. Pedro could, as a facilitator, gain an overall picture and a better understanding of the congregation, their ministry and the community in which the congregation should serve.
The workshop concluded with a discussion on how the leadership of the congregation can be supported and guided by the services offered by synod to congregations.
On 16 and 17 March, Rev. Pedro did a follow-up workshop over two evenings after the exploration conversation he had with URC Bergsig last year. It was the first of a series of three workshops that he and a co-supervisor will facilitate with the leadership of the congregation.
After the explorational meeting last year, the church council, led by the consulent, Rev. Colin Goeiman, decided to continue the faith-discerning journey. The focus of this workshop was on cleaning the first lens of the missional journey, namely the congregational God-lens. How does the congregation see God, what are the dominant metaphors of God operating in the congregation? The leaders were introduced to “Dwelling in the Word”, over the two evenings, as a spiritual exercise and method to help them clean their God-lens. They also started with the “ethnographic research”. The outcome of this research will give the leaders a better insight into the dominant culture of the congregation and is part of the cleaning of the congregation’s “Congregational-lens”. How do they see their identity, role and task as a congregation?
The second evening ended with the selection of an “anchor text” for the congregation. It will be read together for the next year or two during the congregation’s various gatherings. The idea of the anchor text is to bind the congregation together in the reading of the same text together and also especially to listen together to what the Holy Spirit wants to say to the congregation and also to further cleanse their lens of God together.
The second workshop is scheduled for 5 June 2021 during which the cleansing of the lens of God and the congregational lens will continue.
URCSA LOXTON and URCSA Victoria West
On March 18, Rev. Stephen Pedro had two separate explorational discussions with the church councils of URCSA Loxton and URCSA Victoria West.
The purpose of both discussions was once again to gain a better insight into the contexts of the congregations: what is happening, why it is happening and what should and can happen. Furthermore, the process of the faith-discerning journey or lens cleaning was presented to the leaders and it was agreed that the first workshop with both congregations would take place during this year.
The conversation with URCSA Loxton’s church council also coincided with the beginning of the three months that Prop. Pieter Windvogel will help out in the congregation. Witness Ministry also currently supports the congregation with the compensation of Prop. Windvogel.
The night before the meeting with the church council of URCSA Victoria West, Rev. Pedro was privileged to also be part of the acceptance process of the final-year catechists and he fulfilled a supervisory role at the request of the consultant, Rev. Kenny van Rensburg. According to Rev. Pedro, it was an extra special evening because some of the parents of the catechists were former school friends of him.