On Saturday, 13 November 2010, the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, hosted a workshop on Eco-congregations. Kate Davies from SAFCEI (Southern African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute) led the workshop, which was attended by representatives from four congregations in Kayamandi, as well as members from the United Presbyterian Church and Stellenbosch Gemeente in town.
In Southern Africa, the Eco-Congregation programme is promoted and supported by SAFCEI , in partnership with religious organisations and institutions.
When we talk about creation and how a congregation must care for the environment, we are actually talking about everything we need to survive – all our natural resources. The definition of an eco-congregation is a faith-based community that has made a commitment to look after their environment, live in greater harmony and in a more sustainable way on earth. Ms. Davies explained a process developed by SAFCEI and put together a guideline or handbook, on how a church should respond to the biblical command “to keep the earth”.
Expression, stewardship and transformation
The three different areas to look for opportunities are:
- The worshipping and biblical liturgy on how to express and celebrate the environment in for example outdoor worship, special services for the “Seasons of Creation”, special days on the calendar, or even planting a tree at the baptism of a child.
- As custodians of God’s gifts we should take ownership/ stewardship of our resources ‘owned’ by churches, e.g. energy, water, church grounds, food gardens.
- Living our faith in this world, we as faith communities can become the transformers of society, and have a moral responsibility to work for greater fairness and equity in the world.
The talk inspired all participants to tackle a real issue in Kayamandi, and a committee of representatives from all the congregations was elected to start planning a waste workshop early in next year. All congregations are invited to make contact with the organizers of this workshop, VuyaEndaweni, the community conservation group with a passion for the stewardship of Papegaaiberg and the upliftment of the communities living on and around it.
Please call Leanne Seeliger ( 072 2032113 ) if you want to get involved in Stellenbosch.
Learn more about the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute by calling them on 021 701 8145 .
Kate Davies, a SAFCEI founder member and the presenter of the Workshop, addresses a group of the participants.
Author : Lydia Willems